Saturday 5 March
If ever an Australian politician scored an own goal it had to be Scott Morrison this week. Of course he was ably aided and abetted by The Australian Newspaper. The official newsletter of the conservative parties.
From the time Labor introduced its policy on Negative Gearing, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have sought to conduct a scare campaign on the issue. Morrison could have had a calm, sensible debate as he indicated he wanted to do when such matters arose but political expediency trumped good governance and hypocrisy won the day.
Frankly, Morrison, a co-founder of Christian Church Hillsong, is telling so many lies about Negative Gearing that as a Treasurer he makes Joe Hockey almost sound saintly. Turnbull, a Catholic, is doing the same.
It doesn’t seem to matter that a central tenet of the Gospel is ‘truth’.
So The Australian on Thursday publishes a report by BIS Shrapnel that Morrison says paints Labor’s policy in bad light.
The report has nothing to do with Labor’s proposition but Morrison arrives like a lone star cowboy in Question Time with two Colt 45 pistols rapidly exhausting both barrels before reloading. He does have a quick tongue.
The Australian withdraws the article from its online site. It often has to. It has no credibility and the BIS won’t disclose who commissioned the report.
Morrison rejects all the wrongs, inconsistencies and outright lies and both he and Turnbull in Question Time robustly, in spite of the reports lack of credibility, continue to say that if adopted, Labor’s policy would cause significant damage to the housing market and to our economy. Yet another Clayton’s crisis.
Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley says the report and its underlying assumptions:
‘did not pass the giggle test’ and were ‘manifestly ridiculous’.
‘Voters should be asking themselves whether a responsible government would rely on this sort of nonsense in a public policy debate. ‘ Late on Thursday the Prime Minister was still defending the report describing it as ‘thorough analyses’.
Other comments came from Board of Taxation chairman Michael Andrews who told a tax conference in Melbourne that the debate about tax was highly politicised, and regrettable:
‘The Australian Financial Review said that the Government has abandoned plans to make changes to negative gearing. The issue has proved to be divisive and it would be politically risky to proceed with the changes. The Government is now likely to focus on the changes to negative gearing proposed by the Australian Labor Party.’
In other words a scare campaign.
Besides the ridiculous assertion that house prices are going to go through the roof under Labor’s plan. Morrison also contends that:
‘Two thirds of those who use negative gearing have a taxable income of $80,000 or less. Seventy per cent own just one property, and 70 per cent have a net rental loss of less than $10,000.’
ABC Fact Check investigated this claim and found that those with taxable incomes above $80,000 have a proportionately larger share of the net rental losses.
Now the point of all this follows on from my Day to Day Politics yesterday when I posed this question: What resources does the average punter have to access the truth? If we have the time we can do some research? Look up the facts presented by fact checkers. Pay for FOI documents. Who has time for all that?
This scare campaign being waged by Turnbull and Morrison in light of what the PM said about fair, reasoned, transparent and open debate illustrates my point.
The truth is that in the absence of readily identifiable evidence we all use what is generally called ‘the pub test or common sense test.’ In other words we digest all the available information and ask ourselves the question ‘is it plausible?’ Does what I am being told have the ring of truth about it. We make judgements based on our life’s experience. Unless your personal bias clouds the ’Pub test’ your inner conscience dictates your judgement.
Now I’m not wanting to confuse the issue here because I thought I had my general principle of the ‘Pub Test’ sort of philosophically in order. Then a Facebook friend by the name of Phil Rudkin sent me this to ponder:
‘Unfortunately we are all subject to what is known as ‘confirmation bias’. That is, we believe what will confirm our beliefs and disregard that which runs contrary to our beliefs. This is a human failing found in us all. So, a lie that matches what we believe will be used to reinforce that belief. I am very aware of the potential for confirmation bias in myself and always try to seek evidence to support things that I hear from sources as unreliable as politicians but know that I will often fail. Confirmation bias is often confused with common sense and so will cause the pub test to fail.’
Now you don’t have to take my word for it but I found a piece headed.
‘Morrison painting a false picture of negative gearing.’
It’s by Rob Burgess. It passed my pub test (revisited) because it cut through the bullshit and presented a clear view of just where and why Turnbull and Gunna Morrison don’t have a leg to stand on. They are telling confirmation bias lies.
My thought for the day.
‘Never confuse what you want with what you need’
One house is enough.
PS. With degrees from the finest learning institutions in the world dripping from the walls of their Ministerial offices, after two and a half years the Abbott/Turnbull government still needs more time to formulate a tax plan.
That’s a fact. You can check it.