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Day to Day Politics: If it were a business you would sack them all

1 As opposed to the lifestyle TV show ‘The Block’ which revolves around the contestants personalities, rather that the renovations they carry out, the ABCs ‘Grand Designs’ hosted by Kevin McLeod is a fascinating insight into the construction of homes or the conversion of building into homes.

We witness the planning, the economics, the unforeseen traps, the mistakes, the personalities, the battles and the time it all takes. They are just everyday people who take on a challenge and prove to be remarkable problem solvers, able to cope with all sorts of problems that arise.

Unlike Australian politics they all have a plan even if some are rudimentary. They have a sense of purpose.

What I am getting at here is that Australian politics is like a construction where the builder thinks he is in charge but the foreman and his crew are undermining all the work because they want to do it their way. The architect drew up a grand design but everyone on the site thinks they know better. The construction is a mess and everyone thinks they have a plan but the sites pet dog ate it.

Look at our Politics. The economy is in a mess as is health and education. Immigration Policy a disaster as is the Environment.

Despite having the most qualified cabinet in Australian political history you would have to say that if they were the board of a major business you would sack them all. There would be a shareholders revolt.

You see we, with undoubtable evidence, have proved that we are just very bad at doing politics. Our democracy is badly in need of a makeover, restoration even. The problem is that everyone is so busy building their own egos that they don’t have time to plan anything, let alone fix it. The only thing they are good at is talking about what they might do.

2 On Wednesday I wrote about the politics of hate. Thursday morning I had the misfortune of seeing an interview on News24 with Cory Bernardi. Virginia Troili asked a question about returning children to Nauru. The question arose following a High Court decision that offshore detention wasn’t illegal. She framed the question in the context of criticism from many organisations interested in the rights of the child, and particularly those groups warning about the damage being done mentally to them.

He answered by saying ‘That’s our policy. I’m perfectly happy with it’

My point is that I have never heard the word ‘happy’ bastardised is such a fashion.

A short time later Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was interviewed on ABC News radio. He said during the course of it something that made my hair stand on end. (That parts a bad joke)…’best interests of these children and those who might follow them’

In the context of what was being said it could only have meant that the children would be sent back as a deterrent to those who might consider sending other children. That the Government was prepared to sacrifice some children so that more wouldn’t come. The bastards really do know how to hate I thought to myself.

This Parliament is collectively liable for its incapacity to find solutions. With a collective communal brainpower from the best learning institutions in the world it has no answers other than hateful ones.

Moreover to make it worse it makes no attempt to find a reginal solution. The politics of hate prevail. The appeal to base instincts for political gain override the best interests of the child.

I’m tougher than my opponent has become the new mantra. It’s not the Australia I so once admired.

3 The Liberal preselection wrangles continue. Craig Kelly is being challenged in his seat of Hugh’s by Kent Johns.

Broadcaster and right wing ratbag Alan Jones will have none of it:

‘You’re not going to get anyone better than that bloke.’

‘So let me say to Kent Johns and anyone else who’s thinking of standing for the preselection out there and to put a torpedo under this bloke.’

He then threatened Kent Johns saying:

‘You’d better pull your head in, Kent Johns. Because I’ll tell you what: if you put your head up, there’ll be a hell of a story that’ll be told about you, Mr Johns.’

It rather reminded me of a few years ago when Alan was visually outraged when a NSW Premier appointed a Police Commissioner and Jones felt he should have been consulted first.

4 As I said last week. Good government has been delayed indefinitely.

Here’s proof.

A NSW government minister has launched a blistering attack on the federal government’s administration of the scandal-ridden private vocational education sector.

In an exclusive interview, NSW Minister for Skills and Industry John Barilaro told Fairfax Media that his ministerial federal coalition colleagues “have made errors that I would not have ever believed from a government” in allowing the private vocational education sector to blow out to an expected $4 billion in public debt this year.

“How have we allowed a private provider in one year to have $300,000 in funding go to a hundred million in funding?” he said.

5 Malcolm Turnbull came to power promising a new politic. One of openness and transparency.

What we have had since is a Prime Ministers department fighting tooth and nail to prevent the release of information under freedom of information laws. And they have spent $70,000 in legal fees doing so.

6 How confusing economics can be to the lay person. This is how my friend Fred Martin put it:

‘The LNP claim they are about “growth and jobs” but I fail to see how you can “grow” the economy by cutting Government expenditure and increasing taxes on consumers.’

Remember that, according to the last budget update, the only reason we are not in recession is because of Government spending.

I think they are more about “profit and loss”, profit for the big end of town and the mega rich and the loss of living standards and dignity for the rest of us.

My thought for the day.

‘Ask yourself. Does the culture we have make us feel good about ourselves?’


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  1. Neil of Sydney

    Remember that, according to the last budget update, the only reason we are not in recession is because of Government spending.

    People said that same thing about John Howards first budget way back in 1996. The budget cuts led to a parliament house riot by violent Labor supporters. However the budget cuts created a surplus budget and what followed was a continuing fall in unemployment and a prosperous economy

  2. terry

    be interesting to see the tax payers bill for wagers and expenses for this government all up, over the last 3 years . might open up a few eyes

  3. Steve Laing

    Neil of Sydney. How conveniently you forget Howard’s asset stripping. If you want to know where Howard got his surplus, look no further. Unfortunately it’s a trick you can only play once. Cutting spending? My backside!

  4. jagman48

    Good to see Neil of Sydney has not lost his sense of humour.

  5. Roswell

    “A Parliament House riot by violent Labor supporters”.

    I remember that, Neil. Parliament House was burned down and 175 people were killed.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Here’s the evidence, but those bastard Lefties doctored the video to say it was Ukraine.

  7. terry

    then add up the revenue they have destroyed including job losses and money they have wasted on Iraqi war , finding lost planes got to me , with all the money they have spent on security , why have they not filtered isis propaganda on the net ?

  8. kerri

    I think we need to prevent Australia from being run by a future immoral and unworthy set of politicians.
    To that end I suggest we send a clear message to all future politicians by executing the present Parliament.
    We would do that in the best interests of those politicians who would follow them!

  9. John Lord

    Neil. The prosperity of the Howard years came from two things. 1 A fire sale of National Assets and 2 An unprecedented and probably never to be repeated commodities boom. Please a little honesty goes a long way.

  10. Neil of Sydney

    How conveniently you forget Howard’s asset stripping. If you want to know where Howard got his surplus, look no further. Unfortunately it’s a trick you can only play once

    I get condemned for being repetitive but i have to be. You obviously do not know but asset sales were not put into the budget as revenue otherwise there would have been a huge surplus budget when Telstra was sold. Costello used asset sales to immediately to pay off debt but did not put the income received from sales as revenue. Costello did this because he did not want people like you saying that it was asset sales that gave the surplus budgets. Costello ran surplus budgets because of asset sales is an urban myth that never dies.

    1 A fire sale of National Assets and 2 An unprecedented and probably never to be repeated commodities boom. Please a little honesty goes a long way

    Another urban myth that never dies. See above for comment on asset sales. The commodities boom did not start until 2004 and then exploded under Rudd/Gillard. It was Labor who got the benefit of the biggest mining boom in history. This link shows commodity prices

    And Costello ran surplus budgets way before the mining boom started. Same goes for terms if trade. Rudd/Gillard got the benefit of the best terms of trade in our history.

  11. Möbius Ecko

    We have been over this with Neil so many times it has worn out dozens of keyboards, but he just keep repeating the same shit over even when shown where he’s wrong.

    Neil has been acknowledged as being correct on the timing of the mining boom during the Howard reign, but he uses that timing as an excuse to ignore what Howard did and how the Keating legacy helped Howard before that boom.

    Neil also always brings up Labor’s debt but never acknowledges or addresses the Liberals considerable economic failings over history, especially the worst economic dogs breakfast of a performance by the current Liberals in government.

    And Neil always ignores the GFC that was so successfully negotiated by Labor. It seems he believes it never happened.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    Secret of the Howard Government’s surpluses

    Back to that $96 billion “Labor debt” inherited by the Howard government in 1996 – which actually comprised $40 billion of Fraser government debt that carried through the Hawke-Keating years taking the true level of Labor debt in 1996 to $56 billion. Bringing down that debt wasn’t all about constrained spending and higher taxes, in fact neither of those things were characteristics of the Howard-Costello years. Government asset sales between 1996 and 2007 worth $72 billion wiped the net debt out entirely with $16 billion to spare.

    So many economists do not agree with Neil.

    …and I could go on posting dozens more links but what’s the use, Neil just ignores them to sprout the same Liberal propaganda he’s been mindlessly programmed to sprout.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Don’t forget Neil’s other repetitious dribble, Mobius: only Labor locks up children.

    Oh, silly me. How could you possibly forget. He’s only mentioned is 1,415,622 times.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Mobius, all those economists are idiots. They are not to be trusted. They talk rubbish.

    Just ask Neil.

    On second thoughts, don’t. It’ll encourage him to talk about the children Labor locked up.

  15. Neil of Sydney

    Government asset sales between 1996 and 2007 worth $72 billion wiped the net debt out entirely with $16 billion to spare.

    OK i sort of agree with that. Koukoulas said one thing right. There were $72B of asset sales. Koukliar said this was used to pay off debt.

    OK if that is true where did the $80B in the Future Fund come from?

  16. susan

    Kerri, what a great idea. It’s about time the LNP were forced to swallow their own logic.

  17. LOVO

    NoS is where the truth goes to die. 😛

  18. John Hermann

    Neil of Sydney,

    You seem to be unaware that the appearance of a booming economy during the Howard/Costello years of government was illusory. It was a bubble – in large part associated with unprecedented growth in the level of private debt. And this debt was run up with the active encouragement of the federal government. Incidentally, a “Future Fund” is quite unnecessary as a mechanism for funding the pensions of future retirees.

  19. Möbius Ecko

    Neil at one stage Costello was raking in so much revenue he was underestimating the amount by billions on period to the next. The Fund was established around 2004-2005 from memory. This was when commodities revenue was pouring into the government coffers at a rate never seen in the history of this country.

    There could have been other asset sales at that time as well but I’m taking a stab in the dark on that one.

    If you look you shall find. From the horses mouth.

    In 5 May 2006, A$18 billion derived from government surpluses and income from the sale of a third of Telstra in its ongoing privatisation, was deposited into the fund.[10] On 28 February 2007, the government transferred the Commonwealth’s remaining 17% stake in Telstra, valued at A$8.9 billion, into the Fund.[11] These contributions and transfers increased the Fund to over A$50 billion by the end of the 2006-2007 financial year.

  20. Neil of Sydney

    This was when commodities revenue was pouring into the government coffers at a rate never seen in the history of this country.

    It was seen just a little bit latter under Rudd/Gillard

  21. Möbius Ecko

    John Hermann that is a very important point that has also been pointed out to NoS many times. Under Howard private debt sky rocketed to unprecedented levels, deliberately encouraged by Howard both through policies and propaganda. It was becoming so bad that Peter Costello stated it was unsustainable, something Howard ignored.

    And yet again we have a Liberal government in power encouraging people to give up their savings and rack up huge amounts of personal debt, just as unsustainable as when Peter Costello said it was back then.

    Now we have a leaked cabinet document showing the Liberals want to stop the rise of Super contributions to 12% solely so people have more money in their pay packets to spend so it can get more taxes, especially with a rise in GST to 15%. Just how many attacks has there been by the Liberals on the future retirement savings of Australians? Everything from allowing them to raid their super for immediate purchases to now reducing the amount they need to save to be able to live in retirement.

    Tell us again who are the biggest spenders and taxers in the biggest governments?

  22. Möbius Ecko

    Don’t you know how to read a graph NoS?

    Now I know this is going to a little difficult for you but did the commodity prices under Howard?

    A. Go down.
    B. Stay the same.
    C. Dramatically rise.

    Q2. Was Howard handed?
    A. A tanking economy.
    B. An economy in the doldrums going nowhere.
    C. An improving economy because of Keating reforms.

    Q3. Did Howard reign during a?
    A. Recession.
    B. Depression (though he made many of us depressed).
    C. The longest sustained growth period in Australia’s history, started 2 years before he gained power because of Hawke/Keating reforms.

    Q4. Was Howard?
    A. A liar.
    B. Very lucky.
    C. Dishonest.
    D. Sneaky.
    E. Underhanded.
    F. The worst Treasurer ever up until Hockey.
    G. A policy after policy failure.
    H. ….. Y.
    Z. All of the above.

  23. John Lord

    Neil. The Futures Fund was financed by the sale of Telstra and is for the sole purpose of funding the Super of public servants.

  24. Neil of Sydney

    The Futures Fund was financed by the sale of Telstra and is for the sole purpose of funding the Super of public servants.

    Well someone tells the truth. And Public Servants is not just politicians. It includes the army, navy airforce, Federal Police and anybody who works for the govt.

    So some asset sales were not used to pay off debt. They were used to start the Future Fund. This means that Mr Stephen Koukoulas is wrong when he said that ALL asset sales were used to pay of debt. Some were used to start the FF.

    Also not only did the biggest mining boom in history happen under Rudd/Gillard, the best terms of trade in Australian history happened under Rudd/Gillard

  25. Michael Taylor

    Neil, do your homework and you’ll see that in the last three years of the Howard Govt they received an extra $13B in tax due to increased iron ore prices and the demand from China. Go on, look it up.

  26. Kieran Butler

    ‘Ask yourself. Does the culture we have make us feel good about ourselves?’

    No. Australia is Screwed. Australian culture is myopic, ignorant, xenophobic, cruel and inhumane. We are arguably the most despicable nation on the face of the earth.

    At least Islamic State are reacting to decades of oppression and the deaths of thousands of their people at the hands of colonial interests.

    Australians are c**ts just for the sake of it.

    What makes me even more sick to my stomach is the piousness with which Australians will protest about rapey pick up artists, rap artists and right to lifers. These people are more than a bit shit. But they have long, long way to go before they’re as disgusting as a garden variety Australian c**t.

  27. mars08

    @Kieran Butler… you could add “self absorbed” and “chauvinist”

  28. Wally

    NoS continues to refer to the revenue from the sale of Telstra going into the futures fund ignoring all of the revenue from the sale of other public assets for approx. $32 billion.

    Telstra: $30.24 billion

    Australian airports: $8.5 billion

    Commonwealth Bank: $5.15 billion

    Reserve Bank gold assets: 167 tonnes sold for $2.4 billion

    National Rail Corporation and Freightcorp: $1.05 bn

    Broadcast Australia: $650 million

    DASFLEET: $407 million

    Telecommunications spectrum: about $1.3 billion

    Radio licence spectrum: about $1 billion

    Property portfolio 59 sites: for $1 billion

  29. Neil of Sydney

    No. Please do not tell lies. I have never ignored revenue from asset sales.

    Costello had approx $80B of asset sales. he also ran $110B in surplus budgets. That is he saved $110B + $80B = $190B in 11 years.

    With that money he paid off $96B in govt debt and started a $80B Future Fund.

  30. Wally

    John Lord another great article, I like this passage.

    “Australian politics is like a construction where the builder thinks he is in charge but the foreman and his crew are undermining all the work”

    It is surprising how often this does happen, generally due to the onus to make the project comply with Australian standards is the responsibility of the tradesman, not the architect or engineer/s. It occurs much more nowadays with more engineers emerging straight from university rather than starting as an apprentice, becoming a tradesman and studying part time to become an engineer. The old system delivered engineers with hands on experience who could foresee problems that could/would arise and this resulted in a much more harmonious work place with better productivity.

    This aligns the with our current government of highly educated politicians who have little if any real world experience.

  31. John Hermann

    NoS just doesn’t get it. The attempt by Costello to buy back Treasury securities from the private sector was a fool’s quest. As was his attempt to run a sequence of budget surpluses and also his intention to set up a Future Fund. Not only does a monetarily sovereign government not need to do any of these things, but the ultimate result of doing so is counterproductive at best and very destructive of the health of the economy at worst. I recommend that Neil read a selection of the voluminous literature that is available on modern monetary theory (see, for example, the blogsite New Economic Perspectives).

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