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Day to Day Politics: This nonsense is taxing us all.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

It wasn’t so long ago that we had a ‘carbon tax’. One that over time would have become a Carbon Trading Scheme. The conservatives conveniently converted a statement by the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, into a lie and as a consequence we have lost years in an effort to tackle a great challenge.

Despite knowing it would be a political disadvantage Labor put the good of the country before politics and proceeded with a tax. The then Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, agreed with it and when replaced, because of his view, gave the Coalition a serve it deserved on its hopeless Direct Action Plan.

That an Oxford graduate, in Abbott, would call Climate Change a socialist plot does a great disservice to that esteemed university. But here we are years later with the conservatives contemplating a form of tax says it all about the Coalition.

As is predictable the right-wing members of his party are screaming and shouting over something that makes perfect sense to most people but a monumental crime of ideology to them. Those in the energy sector and the business community generally pleaded with both parties to stop the nonsense and come up with a bi-partisan plan to cut emissions over coming decades, including some sort of carbon price. Will Turnbull take the bull by the horns and confront the denialists. If he does he will get public support if he doesn’t it will just confirm his weakness. He has to do it sometime so why not now.

The Age headline read:

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces a fresh outbreak of party disunity over climate policy, with backbench MPs questioning the government’s timing, scope and tactics after a formal review of the Direct Action plan was finally announced”.

And doesn’t it make one angry that people like Abbott and Bernardi are at the forefront of these minds so ill-disposed to science.

But science and capitalism will win the day and nothing will stop them. If profit means the end of coal that’s the way business will go. Unstoppably so.

But whatever comes out of the report I don’t think the word ‘’Tax’’ will appear in any legislation.

Josh Freydenberg says his government:

” … is committed to adopting a non-ideological approach to emissions reduction to ensure we secure the lowest cost of abatement”.

If you take that seriously then by extension it would necessarily consider a carbon price, letting the market decide which technology wins at “the lowest cost”.

An observation.

“Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability”.

2 Malcolm Turnbull may be spruiking his ability to get legislation like the ABCC passed. But at what price. Most participants believe it is so diluted as to render it useless. The Master Builders CEO said that it would have to be amended. There are so many concessions that the ones who benefit most are the Unions. The commission’s prerogatives have been diluted to such a degree that the commission was made ineffective. Senator Derryn Hinch may be content with his efforts, but business leaders say he was in fact badly misled and outmanoeuvred by union leaders and Australian Labor Party politicians.

He’s on a learning curve, you might say.

These were very hollow victories indeed.

3 Barnaby Joyce continues to confirm he is not intellectually up to the task of Deputy Prime Minister. As if his decision to move the nation’s agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines regulator into his own electorate at a cost of $250 million wasn’t enough. We now find it was greatly influenced by celebrity gardener Don Burke over people in his own department. Like most things this government does its clear the move was never about what was best for the agricultural sector. He needed to win his seat. That was the real motive.

An observation.

Sorry, I’m lost for words.

4 Senator Pauline Hanson said yesterday when referring to party member Rod Culleton:

“He’s not a team player at all. We can’t work with him, you can’t reason with him“.

An observation


5 The special Minister of State Scott Ryan has an independent review of MPs entitlements but is dragging his feet with recommendations for an overhaul. In the meantime there is a lot of activity in the sky’s with charter planes doing record business.

And former PMs are doing a bit of it also.

John Howard travel costs for the first six months of 2016 released by the Department of Finance show came to $152,968, followed by Bob Hawke on $83,371.Mr Howard incurred domestic air travel worth $14,378, followed by Mr Hawke with $9543 and Julia Gillard with $7872.Paul Keating doesn’t appear to fly much – his airfares were under $1500. – See more here.

6 Peter Dutton with the purchase of yet another property has expanded his impressive portfolio to six properties. Thank goodness I’m not a tax payer and not contributing to his wealth but I feel sorry for the silly buggers who are.

Many federal MPs have properties and it doesn’t go unnoticed. It beats me why the taxpayer should have to fund their wealth.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy have seven properties, including their Point Piper home, a Hunter Valley farm and New York apartment.

Nationals MP David Gillespie has 18 properties, including 17 for investment purposes.

Liberal MP Ian Goodenough has nine – three residential and six investment.

LNP MP Karen Andrews has six investment properties and one residential.

7 In an argument last week about what defines an Australian I came up with this.

Today the characteristic that most defines modern Australia is ‘diversity’. In all its forms, together with multiculturalism it defines us as a nation. People of my generation and later should divest themselves of their old and inferred racist superiority.

8 I didn’t get the opportunity to voice my view on the ‘sugar’ debate last week.

The suggestion that we should tax sugary soft drinks is a nonsense and unnecessary. It’s as simple as this. Science knows that the major cause of ill-health in society is the consumption of too much sugar, fat and salt. Mainly in fast foods. An enlightened society that wanted to save lives would simply legislate to, over time, reduce the amount of these killers in the foods we consume. Problem solved. It won’t happen for two reasons.

One, ideology and two, we are not an enlightened society.

9 When talking about the cost of living I think people get confused. There is a big difference between the cost of living and cost of lifestyle. A recent survey found that 56% of those complaining about the cost of living had taken an overseas trip in the same year. And a further 52% had reduced dining out from three to two times a week.

10 Another thing I missed last week was this headline on Sky News: “Barnaby Joyce vows LNP maverick George Christensen will become a cabinet minister”.

You know what? I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

11 The Essential Poll has Labor on 52% and the Coalition on 48% with some interesting results on the “who is the better at” survey. Newspoll has them the same. However Turnbull’s approval rating has fallen 19 points this year to 41%.

My thought for the day.

“The ideas of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow”.



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  1. kerri

    Turnbull should adopt a carbon tax with huge announcement and fanfare before taking it to the party room and let the media and the polls govern his backbench. His demise is inevitable anyway so why not let the naysayers see the public and businesses rection rather than simply crumble under their threats?
    I think I actually know the answer to that!

  2. Möbius Ecko

    “Will Turnbull take the bull by the horns and confront the denialists.”

    Haha, don’t be stupid. As soon as the mention of a carbon price was espoused by the government front bench it was destroyed by their back bench. Freydenburg has taken it off the table and said it was never part of their policy and never will be. Telling he wasn’t saying that before the extreme right wingers of his party made a hullabaloo over it. Freydenburg is using the furphy that he is all about cheaper energy for the people, not the more expensive energy a carbon price will cause.

    This cements the fact it’s not the right of the party who are running the government, and it’s definitely not Turnbull whose in charge, it’s the far right who are calling the shots and the country and its people are the worst for it.

  3. Deidre

    Good article John. Trying to keep up with the govt position on any policy is exhausting.
    After months of procrastinating on any policy, they finally arrive at a position of “dipping a toe in the water and see if it’s bitten off”.
    Along comes a far right shark to savage it.
    Back flip! Denial of back flip. Blame Labor.
    For the “highest educated govt in our history” to show such incompetence, what does it say about the LNP’s “selected on merit” politicians?
    Perhaps they need to be reminded that their children and grand children will have to exist on a planet that they are helping to destroy.
    Rapid transition to renewable energy should be well advanced by now and the climate change deniers ideas should not be presented as the opposing side of a debate.

  4. Terry2

    I see that Indian energy giant Adani says it does not need a $1 billion government loan to co-finance a railway line for its proposed Carmichael mine, that it has plenty of available commercial finance for the mine development, seemingly shooting its own appeal for public funding in the foot.

    The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 (Cth) includes the provision :

    7. (1) The Facility must not provide a Financing Mechanism unless the Board is satisfied the Project would not otherwise have received sufficient financing from other financiers.

    So if Adani have plenty of commercial funding available to them,they rule themselves out from a government loan.

    That’s the end of that then, or is it ?

  5. Keith

    A new study in relation to micro organisms becoming more active in soil is a warning sign that real action needs to happen in reducing carbon emissions. The cost of energy is a prime concern of the LNP; human life is of little consequence in comparison.

    The seriousness of the new study is expressed by Professor Janssens:

    “This study is very important, because the response of soil carbon stocks to the ongoing warming, is one of the largest sources of uncertainty in our climate models,” said Prof Janssens, of the University of Antwerp.
    “I’m an optimist and still believe that it is not too late, but we urgently need to develop a global economy driven by sustainable energy sources and start using CO2, as a substrate, instead of a waste product.

    “If this happens by 2050, then we can avoid warming above 2C. If not, we will reach a point of no return and will probably exceed 5C.”


    Dr Thomas Crowther’s report has concluded that carbon emitted from soil was speeding up global warming.

    The breakdown of permafrost and greening of tundra areas in the Arctic leading to emissions of methane; and the massive loss of sea ice volume do not bode well for the future.

    Glaciers are breaking down in many Alpine areas; they act as water reservoirs for millions of people. Bolivia at present is having a crisis in relation to water shortages.

    Dr Crowther is also quoted as saying:

    “Climate change may be considerably more rapid than we thought it was.”
    It is an opinion held by other climate scientists.

    A little levity:

    The LNP apparently are happy to cook the planet; they are not taking into account what scientists are saying.
    We can’t expect better from a government where the ignorance of the extreme right determines policy.

  6. Harquebus

    Energy quotas are the only fair way to reduce CO2 pollution.

  7. Ella

    Mr. Lord,
    “many federal MPs have properties….it beats me why the taxpayer should have to fund their wealth’
    So, are these the “mum & dad” investors who would be hurt by getting rid of negative gearing ?

  8. wam

    Great read lord,
    It gives the trolls the point that labor’s carbon deal was scuttled by the loonies xmas 2009. Then gillard was exposed to ridicule by the loonies wedging in the 2011 carbon price and gillard chose to tough out the ‘tax’ attacks of rabbott and his media dogs..

    Loved the joyce is a burke.

    Surely when independent is used in politics the font should be wingdings.

    End of coal??? billions to Adani???

    You have no words on hanson ‘team???’ Remember team australia and the captains picks??? Perhaps a woman captain shutting down the man instead of the dixxxbransims efforts??

    The Vic Andrews shows the power of the church in parliament is no longer absolute.
    Although the assertion ‘he changed his mind’ was it his in the first place??
    It is close to the time when, instead of swearing on the bible, the oath becomes:
    I give my loyalty to the secular state above all beliefs.

  9. Ricardo29

    Like Mr Potato Head. Lib/nats hurrying to get into neg gearing investment properties because they know its demise is inevitable but, as with Labor’s proposal, will only apply to new purchases! Mums and dads? Eell maybe, but not as we perceive them.

  10. Ian Ellis

    The above article credits Tony Abbott with having an Oxford degree. To the best of my knowledge, this degree never materialised. Oxford are not overly fond of plagiarism, it would appear.

  11. helvityni

    …and Mal has that irritating smug smile on his face; getting a couple things through in parliament ( no matter how high the prize), makes him believe that he is indeed a high achieving PM…he is fooling no one.

  12. Terry2


    It is the biggest rort going !

    Members of parliament are claiming travel allowances of $273 a night while staying in Canberra during parliamentary sittings, that’s normally going to be five nights or $1365 a week. Many – perhaps most – are in fact staying in second homes in Canberra owned by a spouse and negatively geared. When they sell that home, they get a 50% reduction on capital gains tax.

    That’s why they don’t want to even discuss getting rid of Negative Gearing or Labor’s alternative and much more sensible scheme.

    I would hate to be a first homebuyer at a Canberra home auction, you would be trampled by politicians !

  13. Matters Not

    Prime Minister Cory Bernardi said today – There will be no Carbon Tax under this Government I control.

    Can’t understand why journalists waste time interviewing the monkey and not the organ grinder, as the first responder.

    PS John, you must inform as to how you avoid paying the Goods and Services Tax .

  14. helvityni

    MN, is it Cory’s turn already, I thought it was still Tony…

  15. Andreas Bimba

    Right at the beginning of the climate change crisis a few decades ago, Dr James Hansen, probably the scientist who has done the most to present the evidence of the critical danger of global warming, recommended a very simple steadily rising carbon tax on all fossil fuels with a full refund to citizens on a per capita basis, including children.

    This undeniably would be the most cost effective and rapid way to transform the entire economy (not just electricity generation) to a zero carbon economy. It was also likely to be politically popular. Other measures such as state funded research and development at a wartime level of intensity and regulations were also essential.

    Yet no governments have yet gone down the best path with the usual horse trading between vested interests behind the scenes. We do not have functioning democracies at the moment.

  16. pierre wilkinson

    Thank goodness I’m not a tax payer and not contributing to his wealth but I feel sorry for the silly buggers who are.
    Well. John, discounting the GST, petrol taxes, alcohol levies, stamp duties etc. you might be paying no taxes to these bludgers, but in reality even the socially disadvantaged pay quite a bit of tax.

  17. helvityni

    Kronomex, I’d prefer the cartoon characters to the job of leading the country, at least I could laugh again; the elected ones make me sad…every day…

  18. Möbius Ecko

    Matters at 9:20 am

    That’s spot on, and why the MSM aren’t highlighting this fact is the real problem in Australia at the moment. Expect this to get worse as Guthrie has hired (at high remuneration) another Murdoch hack to oversee the restructure of the ABC. That will be the final nail in its coffin.

  19. Matters Not

    Andreas Bimba, Re Hansen – and I agree he is probably the person who has been most influential etc – yet (perhaps) he is not that widely known in the US outside the ‘informed’ community. Says much about the US ‘popular’ media and the level of discussion engaged in.

    A few years ago I was on a tour that included 15 US citizens (among a group of 40 plus) when the topic of climate change came up. The Europeans, generally speaking, were across the issues but not so the Yanks. Not one Yank had heard of Hansen. Some of the Europeans had. Amazing.

    (Yes I know – small sample and the like but it was embarrassing.)

  20. Klaus

    This confirms exactly what I said all along. Turnbull & Co. the whole mob called government, has not one iota interest in governing for the people.

    Power is what is of interest, nothing else counts. If it means driving Australia against the wall, so be it. Main thing, they held the steering wheel while it happened.

  21. jim

    We have the worst government . since 1949 and it’s the LNP,……As the Australia Institute’s research in June found – across a broad range of economic measures, the Abbott/Turnbull government has performed the worst of any Australian government since 1949. Economist Jim Stanford’s report examines economic performance across 12 indicators – including GDP per capita, the unemployment rate, employment growth and the growth of real business investment and intellectual property investment …

    And sadly our suicide rate in 2015 has risen by just 45%….

  22. Keith

    Currently, I’m awe struck by the plain recklessness and stupidity of the LNP government and Queensland Labor government in relation to the Adani mine.

    Just came across this:

    “Average Arctic sea ice extent for November set a record low, reflecting unusually high air temperatures, winds from the south, and a warm ocean. Since October, Arctic ice extent has been more than two standard deviations lower than the long-term average. Antarctic sea ice extent quickly declined in November, also setting a record low for the month and tracking more than two standard deviations below average during the entire month. For the globe as a whole, sea ice cover was exceptionally low.”


    Sea ice hits record lows

    Objective information; though in the world of Turnbull/Freydenberg that should not be of concern; opinion outweighs science and data.

    Two standard deviations is getting to be a very worrying change.

    It is snow and ice cover that moderates temperature; but better to let the ignorant right wing of the LNP to determine no real action on climate change.
    The Adani mine, plus voiding of CO2 and methane from the Arctic, with soils expelling CO2, deforestation, very warm Oceans and huge wildfires (extra CO2) around the Earth; do not provide a safe Planet.

    The recently published research by Crowther et al about a warming soil provides little comfort, reference provided above.

  23. townsvilleblog

    What we had under PM Gillard was a carbon pollution tax, we all paid our fair share including the big polluters. This measure caused some large emitters to look for solutions rather than pay to pollute. This as CSIRO has said is the easiest way to pull emissions down but the ultra right wing of the Liberal Party are the servants of the rich and don’t want the rich to pay anything, not even income tax, ‘leave that to the workers’ is their philosophy “people” they consider themselves to be ‘superior’ to.
    Until or unless Australia steps up to meet our obligations other countries may ‘jack up’ on us with trade embargo’s until we meet our responsibilities.

  24. Aortic

    As I continually watch in total amazement at the sheer incompetence of this and the previous government, I am reminded of a letter in the mainstream press years many years ago. ” As I come to the end of a long and fruitful life, I think that anyone who thinks they know what is better for me than I do myself, should be led away before they hurt someone.” What he said.

  25. Lord John


  26. crypt0

    The mal-administration suggests an emissions intensity scheme … then they rule it out.
    Abbott’s great hope was the green army … about to close down …
    I have no idea what the green army achieved in say, three years, but suffice to say, not enough to ensure it’s continuantion.
    Direct action … what in hell is that?
    Does the mal-administration have any idea … about anything other than protecting the wealthy from having to carry their own considerable weight?
    Leaners all, and a large proportion of them are taxed-nots as well.
    It beggars belief that this mob of clowns is actually allegedly a “government” and as for Oxford graduates, if abbott is one, that tells you all you need to know.
    If Australia is to get out of the hole it is perpetually digging itself into, with “leadership” like this LieNP in charge, I don’t see how that can EVER happen.
    Poor fella, my country.
    Poor stupid fella.

  27. Max Gross

    Ever wonder how passengers on the Titanic felt when they realised that the “unsinkable” vessel was going under? Just. Like. This!

  28. silkworm

    Fat is not a killer. You’re an ignoramus.

  29. Jexpat

    Matters not: “The Europeans, generally speaking, were across the issues but not so the Yanks. Not one Yank had heard of Hansen.”

    This is unsurprising. Most Americans ( unfortunately this also applies to many in university- including graduate schools and even siloed professors) remarkably uniformed about public issues to begin with, partially due to the lack of media coverage- what we might call private censorship that’s gone on for decades. This is particularly glaring at the state level, where very few (unless their ox is about to be gored) have the first idea what thier own state government is proposing.

  30. Matters Not

    Jexpat I’ve travelled a bit with US citizens and they tend to be somewhat ‘insular’. Quite friendly and all that but a little naïve. Like some Australians they can be a bit too ‘loud’ as well. I tend to ‘stay away’ but on this trip – through the Balkans it was only the Americans and us for the first 7 days so there were no other options. We became ‘friends’ with a recently retired FBI officer, his wife, brother-in- law and his wife. The FBI guy had never been out of the US and was wanting to track down relatives who lived outside Zagreb.

    Had long talks about the gun culture – most Australians simply don’t understand the US ‘common sense’ when it comes to guns. Best to just listen and nod occasionally with a few questions thrown in to maintain interest because they are not for the turning. No use pointing out that their gun culture has damaging effects, is counterproductive and all that. Only results in looks of disbelief. Although such discussions reveal demographic divides. Generally those from the traditional ‘blue’ States are not as ‘fixed’ as those from the ‘red’.

  31. Andreas Bimba

    Matters Not, yes I agree the Americans are more insular than most. They have also been the ones with the most corrupted political system in the formerly democratic world. The wealthy elite, major corporations and other vested interests like state security and the defence industrial complex have effectively siezed control and the mass media is complicit.

    HOWEVER the U.S. may also be the closest to effectively fighting back as the independent media is gaining traction with the progressive side being larger than the far right but more importantly Bernie Sanders and his movement would have won the U.S. Presidency if he wasn’t blocked by the leadership and establishment backers of the Democratic Party.

    Only 26% of eligible voters voted for Trump (26% voted for Clinton and 45% didn’t vote) and many of these would have been rust belt and corn belt voters, many of whom would have voted for Sanders if he was in the race. The hard right is definitely not predominant in the U.S. electorate and if Trump fails in government then the next Presidential election is a golden opportunity.

  32. Kaye Lee

    OMG Kellie O’Dwyer is dumber than a post. Turnbull has given up his idea of a banking tribunal. O’Dwyer’s response to questioning about it is utterly ridiculous.

    “When the Prime Minister was talking about a ‘tribunal’ he was talking about a ‘small-T’ tribunal, which was a catch-all for having a one-stop consumer complaints stop,” she said.

    “One is far more legalistic, which means it is probably less consumer friendly and that is a ‘Big-T’ tribunal.”

  33. Wun Farlung

    Kaye Lee
    As I listened to Morrison’s turd polishing this morning, I did so with one certainty and it took about 5 minutes for him to blame the ALP

  34. Keith

    Today Birmingham is talking about the need for extra maths and science teachers, don’t they understand after the inept management of CSIRO, children wanting to go into a science area are going to be discouraged. In a conservative political world where opinion is fact, and science is mere opinion, who in their right mind would want to go into a science area. Parents advise their children in what areas they might study at high school.

  35. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee, a small “t” tribunal is much safer to the LNP and the donours…sorry, banks than a big “T” tribunal. The small “t’ can tippy-toe around and make mouse size noises and ultimately run and hide in the skirting boards where it will be back to business as usual. The big “T” is much more threatening and dangerous to the LNP and banks and therefore must be destroyed at the conception stage.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Hockey’s first budget:

    “reductions in general research funding over four years for three agencies in the industry portfolio:

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) – $111.4 million
    Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) – $27.6 million
    Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) – $7.8 million.

    these agencies will immediately lose staff over the coming year: CSIRO drops 489, ANSTO loses 63, and Geoscience Australia declines 96, while AIMS drops 2.”

    Hockey’s second budget

    “The 2014–15 science and research spending was seen to be the equal lowest since records started in 1978–79. Looking at the 2015-16 budget, it appears that overall science and research funding, as a share of GDP, is likely to be the lowest on record.”

    And tonight on the Drum, Sue Boyce says action on climate change isn’t politically expedient. F*ck what’s best for the country or the planet….we will now do what Cory Bernardi and George Christensen say.

  37. Matters Not

    Re Sue Boyce, I think those ‘lefties’ in the ABC are being too smart by half. By inviting Boyce, Weisser, Cater, Dean and the like, on a regular basis, they reveal a cunning plot to unmask these ‘conservatives’ as nut jobs. That the conservatives under discussion commit intellectual suicide on a regular and consistent basis must be known by the ABC management, yet they keep issuing the invitations. And the intellectual suicide continues.

    Such suicide should not be so widely publicised. It should be conducted away from the public gaze. The ABC stands condemned.

  38. Terry2

    Kaye , The Drum loses all objectivity and credibility when they invite foolish people like Sue Boyce on : I think I detected some frustration with her from Julia Baird.

    Matters Not , you may be right but surely if the Left want o show up these Right Wing nut jobs isn’t it better that they stick to the Bolt Report or the swamp that is 2GB. The Drum used to be a platform for balanced comment and discussion with no pandering to the ideologues that you mention.

  39. Ella

    Terry2, The Drum, No sooner the Drum was over I sent a complaint letter to the ABC…complaint….
    I agree with you and was annoyed by the fact that she was talking over people not allowing others to be heard…disgraceful ….don’t want to hear her again, not to mention the direction OUR ABC is heading in under the new management !
    Perhaps we need to be all sending emails every time the panel, reporting or content is unbalanced…then, maybe someone will wake up.

    Kaye Lee, imagine George Christensen in Cabinet….the stuff nightmares are made of …I agree F..k

  40. Terry2

    One thing the Boyce said and it wasn’t picked-up on was in the context of the PISA rankings which showed Australia was significantly outperformed by nine countries, ranking just below New Zealand, well below Japan and Canada, and just above the United Kingdom and Germany with Singapore ranked highest.

    Boyce said that, if we removed Tasmania and the NT results we would shoot right up the rankings : obviously we can’t be selective in that way but it also highlights a much bigger problem. The NT may have a more remote schools and a predominance of first peoples in those area if that is the criterion being used but that certainly doesn’t translate to Tasmania where first people would have the lowest representation of any Australian state.

    So what was she getting at and how do we address this problem ?

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