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Factional fighting

imageThe title of this article is Murdochesque in that it may have inflamed anger you are already feeling, but the article that follows won’t provide what the titillatory heading implies.

I am not going to discuss Shorten vs Albanese or Abbott vs Turnbull. I am not interested in Left vs Right or misogynists vs misandrists. I am talking about us, we Aussies, regardless of who we voted for or where we were born or if we are rich or if we have breasts.

We have different past (and current) grievances which we could argue endlessly about who said what and who is to blame for current circumstances but where does it get us? What are we achieving by planting ourselves firmly in one camp and refusing to work with the ‘enemy’ in a constantly backward looking blame game?

For three years we listened to Tony Abbott deny the legitimacy of the previous government. We watched the behaviour in (and out) of Parliament degenerate into a slanging match which was reflected by the atrocious treatment of Julia Gillard.

Regardless of whether you agreed with the policies of the day, we allowed our first female Prime Minister to be bullied and slandered in the most despicable way. This would not have been tolerated in any other workplace. Nor would it have been allowed to continue at a school.

And the truly chilling thing was that this was led by people in public life. Coalition politicians and lobbyists actually suggested violence with comments like “slit her throat” from our now Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steve Ciobo, or “they should be out there kicking her to death” from John Howard’s former chief of staff, Grahame Morris.

Tim Wilson, our new Human Rights Commissioner, said on Lateline last night that we must take personal responsibility and shine a light on dark places. Aside from the fact that it was in the context of saying that victims of discrimination and harassment should know their rights (human/moral, not legal) and stand up for themselves without legal protection, I agree at least with the sentiment that we should all try to set a higher personal and collective standard.

It is reasonable to examine what a politician has said or done in the past only in so far as it informs their current view and future direction. This constant waste of time in Parliament speculating about possible illegalities is pure manipulation and obfuscation. If someone has acted illegally or improperly then there are procedures to deal with that and appropriate bodies to pursue the matter.

The blatant trial by media of Slipper, Thomson and Gillard was echoed (or led) endlessly in Parliament. As the police were apparently investigating all three cases, I fail to see how this was in any way productive, and it was unquestionably prejudicial to any future legal case. It was a blatant attempt to destroy the reputation of three people, one of the few things mentioned by Tim Wilson as something that must be legislated against. Aside from this, it was an inexcusable waste of precious Parliamentary time. We are paying them to govern the country, not to pre-empt the judicial system.

I accept that the Coalition was voted into government by the majority of Australians and is therefore the legitimate government of the day. I do not accept that this means that the other parties and Independents must change their policies. They represent people who voted for them and should give alternate views a voice. But we need the courage and skill to be able to compromise, to identify common goals and a path towards them.

What I find harder to accept, but have been forced to, is that the Liberal Party actually believe that Tony Abbott is the best person to lead them and the person of most merit to fill the position of Prime Minister. After such a resounding victory at the last election and their incessant commentary about leadership tensions within the Labor Party, there is no chance that Mr Abbott will be replaced so we are stuck with him and must learn to accept that.

This makes negotiation much harder as Mr Abbott is that rare combination of a populist idealogue. He is in the process of silencing dissenting voices or expert advice that does not suit his agenda and is appointing people who represent only one side of society – that of big business.

Governments are the only protection that the people have from the greed of big corporations whose aim is to maximise their profits. Business plays to the umpire so if he isn’t calling offside then they will encroach as far as they can. Mr Abbott has made his ideology clear by sending off most of the other team so that is the political climate we must deal with.

There is no point sitting here in shock, or wallowing in self-pity, or screaming in indignant rage. We need to do what our politicians seem unable to do and that is to remember we are on the same team. We must listen to each other. We all want a better Australia. There is a common starting point that we can all agree on surely. If we accept that we all have that common goal then we can move to the next step.

Simply put, the role of government is to provide services and protection. They have many tools at their disposal to fulfil this role but before looking at the ‘how’ we should identify which services we need and what is most important to protect. Can we find common ground there?

Do we agree that we must protect the environment? Do we agree that we must protect our children? Do we agree that we must protect jobs? Do we agree that we must protect our national health and pharmaceutical benefits scheme? Do we agree that we must provide equal opportunity for education and skills training? Do we agree we must provide a safety net for the disadvantaged and vulnerable?

If we can agree on the desirability of those goals then we can discuss how to achieve them regardless of what colour guernsey we wear. We should stop the hate and start building solutions. We have to open dialogue with people who think differently, ask them what they want to happen, and then find a way to get there that makes us both happy. Can we listen and help each other achieve what we want?

One example is climate change. Half of the population are in favour of urgent action, the other half are worried about their electricity bill. So we have to find a way to reduce power costs whilst acting on climate change. As I suggested previously, this could be achieved by making electricity GST free. I invite comment about this idea because it seems a compromise that satisfies both aims. It is also so simple it should be easy to sell to everyone. The only group that lose out are the government who will have reduced GST revenue but if they kept the carbon tax they would have an extra 7 billion and would save over 3 billion by not having to pay polluters. They would also save money on review committees and if they kept the Clean Energy Finance Corporation they would collect the profits of about 200 million a year. Surely over 10 billion should cover any loss of GST.

Can we agree to




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  1. allenmcmahon

    ‘The only group that lose out are the government who will have reduced GST revenue but if they kept the carbon tax they would have an extra 7 billion and would save over 3 billion by not having to pay polluters.’

    The problem is that GST revenue goes to the state government rather than the federal government. As GST revenue is already down this will lead to an increase in state taxes so we will end up paying the equivalent anyway.

  2. Betty Candy

    Tony Abbott & Scott Morrison are “People Smugglers”. Is there any difference between what
    individuals in Indonesia are doing transporting asylum seekers to Australia and what the government of Australia are doing transporting asylum seekers to Indonesia?

  3. MargL

    Kaye unfortunately you are talking to a brick wall with Tony Abbott.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Marg, that is why I am bypassing the brick wall and want the people to come up with a solution that all parties can agree to

    allen, yes GST goes to state governments. I have already identified approaching 11 billion that would be available for distribution. And think of the money that government bodies will save by not paying GST on their electricity bill. I think the sums would add up to more to distribute rather than less.

  5. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle)

    What a complete change of pace for you Kaye Lee. I have been trying to look through all of the bulldust surrounding the LNP’s policies to see if they have anything that I as a center leftist can find a compromise on & there really isn’t too much as yet, but I do agree with you that there is definitely a need to do something.
    I think that your suggestion regarding the removal of GST on Electricity (and Gas?) bills could be the way to go. There are a lot of people like myself either on low or fixed incomes who really want to see something done about effects of Global warming & Climate Change. I have nominated for my power company to use solar power as a mix to my electricity bill which is a little bit higher in cost so to have the GST would be quite beneficial financially for me.
    How would you suggest we get through to those idiot brained LNP;s that this would be a good idea for ALL concerned?
    This is a really good compromise & should be considered by everyone no matter which side you vote for. Well done Kaye.

  6. Kaye Lee


    asylum seekers is another issue we must find a compromise on. We can probably all agree that we don’t want people to risk their lives at sea on leaky fishing boats. So how can we stop that? First by increasing foreign aid, ending wars, and denouncing human rights abuses so less people need to seek asylum. Secondly we should up our humanitarian intake, even if we don’t increase general migration numbers. Third we should have faster processing by UNHCR centres at refugee camps and here.

    Another idea I had that people may not agree with- They are paying people smugglers up to 10 thousand we are told. Could we have a processing centre in the transit countries where people can elect to pay for a flight here knowing that, if they have no papers, they will be detained for a longer specified period while their claim is assessed.

    Surely we can come up with a better solution than the hugely expensive dangerous war games we are playing now.

  7. john921fraser


    I understand that people from other States don't go looking for what is happening in other States.

    "Mr Abbott is that rare combination of a populist idealogue. He is in the process of silencing dissenting voices or expert advice that does not suit his agenda and is appointing people who represent only one side of society – that of big business.".

    In Queensland it could be argued that Abbott is taking the lead from newman.

    In fact with the AFP raiding offices across Australia I would say that Brandis is just following newman.

    Instead of bikies its anyone who is likely to be an embarrassment / opposition to the evangelical extreme right.

    Strike first strike hard …. Abbott's cowardly punch is the only rule.

  8. Kaye Lee


    That’s where the populist part comes in. If we can convince the people that this is a good idea then hopefully we can convince the politicians that it would be a good idea. We need popular support so I am going to make it my placard for March in March day

  9. Brian Kirkby

    Yes. This a good idea. I support it. Brian Kirkby

  10. Kaye Lee


    The point of this article is for us to look for common ground and then come up with suggestions on how to achieve what we want. The VLAD laws are being sold to us as a way to stop bikie involvement in organised crime. That is probably a goal worth having but this method is ludicrous. So how can we stop the gun violence and standover tactics from gangs? Any suggestions?

    One thing I have had many a late night discussion about is removing the profit they make from drugs. Could legalising cannabis help? Could having a register of addicts who receive their drugs on prescription whilst having regular health checks/counselling help? Could more customs personnel and inspections help? Do we need more police? Can we get help from within from bikies who are not criminals?

  11. Terry2

    But , how good was it Kaye to hear the voice of Michael Kirby on North Korea: a voice of reason, commonsense and honesty: we cannot now say ‘if only we had known’.

    And, of course John Kerry from Jakarta calling out to the flat-earthers on climate change: are you listening Mr Abbott ?

    Really quite inspiring to think that these voices can still be heard over this blizzard of ultra conservative rhetoric assailing our ears..

  12. JohnB

    I cannot agree with your statement “I accept that the Coalition was voted into government by the majority of Australians and is therefore the legitimate government of the day. ”

    There is no democracy without properly informed voters.
    The very fabric of our democratic process was subverted by 4+ years of concerted propaganda and misinformation, orchestrated by Abbott’s LNP and Murdoch & Co.
    Avaricious corporate LNP backers ran an unprecedented campaign in mainstream media of misinformation that undoubtedly caused many ill informed electors to be sufficiently mislead to cast a vote against their own interests.

    I will never accept that this Abbott LNP government was legitimately elected.

  13. diannaart

    Thanks Kaye Lee

    As another on a limited fixed income struggling with energy bills (which skyrocketed well BEFORE introduction of carbon price/tax) would gladly endorse removal of GST – whatever happened to the idea that GST was for luxury items only?

    So many opportunities for Labor to differentiate themselves from the LNP – so many opportunities lost.

  14. Kaye Lee


    I understand how you feel and there is truth in what you say but discussing the tactics won’t change the result. Addressing media ownership laws and journalistic integrity and the responsibility of the media to inform is certainly an issue I think needs addressing as is paid political advertising and donations to parties and lobby groups.

    Your anger is justified but we have to get constructive to achieve anything.

  15. Kaye Lee

    A comment on my previous story….


    February 18, 2014 • 12:26 pm (Edit)

    Hi I have read your piece on electricity charges At the moment I have a petition before the Senate to remove the GST from power I got my petition signed by almost every state in Australia As power is an essential service it should by law be exempt from GST Thanks Yvonne D’Arcy

    Let’s all help Yvonne by supporting this initiative. Spread the word. Email politicians, particularly senators to help support her petition.

  16. jasonblog

    Quick Reply

    Thanks for this excellent article Kaye Lee. One of the best ways to seek / promote change is to engage with others in a constructive manner. Put alternative ideas out there and engage in discussion. Putting aside easy labels with accompanying prejudices is a good tactic. Being solution oriented rather than preoccupied grievances. Instead of falling back on convenient scape-goats to blame for the current predicament actually look to play a role of influence by engaging with those in our communities who may not know that there is an alternative to what we presently have to put up with. Community engagement from the grass-roots could become a powerful thing.

    The GST free electricity bill is a good starting place. I’d been thinking earlier in the week if the profit imperative was removed from electricity usage than power bills would probably be cheaper (these are just quick random thoughts I’d need to investigate further)

    I’m late for an appointment so I have to go, but your post today has inspired me. I agree we need to look towards the ideas that will make a positive difference.

  17. lawriejay

    Yes I’m with you Brian I also think it is a good idea

  18. john921fraser


    "The commission has heard the complaint should have been referred to police under the school's policies, but neither Mr Hayes nor Catholic education officials contacted authorities.

    Mr Hayes was sacked over the scandal, but was acquitted of failing to comply with mandatory reporting laws.

    Mr Hayes told the hearing today he had not followed the mandatory reporting policy on paedophile complaints because of advice "at principal meetings".

    He said he did not tell police about paedophile complaint because he believed the Catholic Education Office was the "first port of call"."


    How do you fight people who think the law does not apply to them.

    Abbott's gang is in the same "high" tide boat.

  19. Kaye Lee

    You come up with solutions, suggestions, ideas. You spread information. You listen to other people and engage with them in a respectful manner. You educate yourself. Identifying a problem is the first, and usually the easiest step. We need consensus ideas from the people that ignore party affiliation, that we can present to the politicians. Stop the blame game, forget the past, and help shape the future.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Though I agree the things you are identifying in your posts are alarming. we must be vigilant but also proactive.

  21. abbienoiraude

    I really really appreciate the sentiment you expressed in this piece.
    I wish it had been written earlier, like around the time PM Gillard gave her important speech to Parliament. For the one person ( the ‘elephant in the room’ if you will) you did not mention who was vilified, dragged through the muck by both sides, denigrated and disrespected, with hate-filled venom ( again by both sides and the media) was PM Rudd Mk1.
    The mud stuck and the carry-on was dispicable by those outside and inside the camp/support groups.

    By you writing this piece Kaye, I feel that maybe we, the people, have a chance to learn something from those times…not just the hateful, spiteful, cruel and denigrating behaviour toward Ms Gillard but also that which was aimed at a popular and looked to PM, Mr Rudd. I got so tired of it…even though I was so wanting Julia to be my first female PM (but NOT just then, and not that way), I was determined to stand by the leadership whoever it was. Not many then, nor even now, will do that. No nod to the important pieces of legislation he enacted, the work through the GFC, the apology, the sharp change of direction and such a lot of work/rebuilding to do to bring Australia back on track after all those woeful and war-filled years of Howard.

    So now you have written this important piece about unity for the future, looking to a vision of what we want and how to make it happen.

    I doubt it can happen under this lot..I can’t help it. I keep thinking, they can’t get more cruel, much less caring for the needy, more excusing of corruption and nods to the rich and powerful and the next day the bar is raised yet again.

    Love your work Kaye.

  22. Kaye Lee


    They are our elected representatives. Their power only extends so far. They will be influenced if we can get the people to agree. Not immediately of course, maybe not even until near election time, but they care about the polls. That is why the people have to learn to respect each other and negotiate a better Australia. Every person has valid concerns. Dialogue can only help to find acceptable ways to address them.

    I see the price of power being used for a far greater agenda. That is why I have started here. They say, with looks of great concern, that the price of power has made the cost of living unbearable and business impossible. We can all quote articles, scientific papers, statistics, expert opinion, that show otherwise but the facts are that the price of power is a great concern to many people.

    So make it GST free!

    And then have a look at the alleged shenanigans by power companies. We may find it in our best interest to keep/make them state-owned though I suppose that is too late to a large degree. We can nevertheless have them state-regulated.

    Have an emission trading scheme, have a renewable energy target, have a renewable energy industry, fund research and development through CEFC loans, but first….


    C’mon guys….you don’t have any other legislation to introduce. Why not compromise. It could be through so quickly and make everybody happy.

  23. aravis1

    Kaye, I applaud you for trying to find a way to unite and move ahead. Unfortunately I do not believe there is ANY way to influence or work with this government. Also, I have to say that this government was NOT elected by a majority, but by a concerted campaign of lies and libel, aimed squarely at the lowest and most unthinking of our people; and through a flawed system that allows deals with other parties. I do not accept it as my government. i believe the only way to achieve the end of the destruction the LNP is wreaking is to oppose it without cease, and not let up. They are trawling through social media to find out what we think – let them know! Even they are eventually influenced by public opinion, if only to save their own skins.
    We, indeed, can and should work together to find solutions, and to find agreement on asylum seeker problems and electricity prices, etc. But I don’t believe we can find any way to influence this government by dialogue.
    A campaign to make GST-free electricity is a good idea, but it will have to be stubborn, hard-hitting, and widespread. No respectful requests; demands are the only way to go with a government which lies as it breathes. If I thought it could be put through quickly i would certainly back it to the hilt, but realism is needed. And obstinacy and even threats. These are the only things this morally bankrupt government understands.

  24. Kaye Lee

    This government understands polls. And if enough people start speaking out then eventually the media has to cover it. let’s at least make the government explain why they CAN’T remove GST from power bills. I would like to hear their answer

  25. Kaye Lee

    We are seeing manufacturing businesses closing left right and centre and not one of them has blamed the carbon tax for their problems. They all know the carbon tax will be repealed come July (unless we can stop them….come on WA), yet that has made no difference. Carbon pricing and the renewable energy target are NOT the problem

    I just heard BHP have announced an 83% increase in profits. While they have been paying the mining and carbon taxes they have apparently been able to reduce costs by 1 billion. Repealing the mining tax is madness.

    People want cheaper power bills….


  26. John Towell

    I laud your suggestion of compromise..however,you must realise,as alot of us do,that compromise is impossible with these idealogues

  27. scotchmistery

    Interestingly, noting the comments about our outrage disguised as law in Queensland, Victoria are starting their own VLAD process with a law to keep the Hoddle Street chap in jail forever. So it seems the same coloured sock on 2 distinctly different smelling feet – Napthine I thought was centre left in view, but this sounds like populist far right… “if we lock every one up these idiots will love us”. Just like #TheConveyancer and Herr Neumann in the northern state.

    I like the overall plan however. Hadn’t thought about my March in March banner. Seems as good as anything.

  28. john921fraser


    Everything is reversed with the Abbott gang.

    Call them hypocrites and before you know it its the label they stick on you.

    Waving a piece of paper in front of them and calling for a compact encourages them to make more outlandish demands.

    Now where have I heard that before.

    Dialogue with evangelical extreme right wing ……. your dreaming.

  29. Trevor Vivian

    Remove theGST from power bills both gas and elec.

    The history of the GST and it’s implementation by the Abbott Govt mark 1 should be well understood in this move to remove it from essential services.

    I believe the GST came to pass to alleviate the under costed commonwealth public service superannuation funding.

    I believe this includes politicians. Perhaps Kaye Lee can inform me of the basis for the GST.

    When Howard, The master politition of the unscrupulous and unfunded policy, fooled the electorate to allow the GST it was stated in the media that this was a good thing. A good thing for who!

    I support this push by Kaye Lee to move from angst and argument to productive solutions.

    The only way to move this govt is to make the running and force these bastard political parties to follow. That means people power.

    This is the only solution available in the face of Executive govt rule in place of Democrative rule.

    Work out whether you will be an arrestable or not and begin the movement of people taking back the power. Don’t expect polititians to do the bidding as they are well captured.

    Get rid of the Get Stuffed Tax from power bills, and the climate based policies which this Govt is dismantling as we speak need to be kept and good one Kaye Lee.

  30. john921fraser


    If people want to beat the Abbott gang then they have to make the effort.

    And Labor politicians have to get out of their comfort zones …. just like Abbott did for 4 years.

    The longer Aussies sit around and do bugger all the worse it will get.

    Just do something …. again and again.

  31. charybds

    So how do you propose to overcome the problem that 1/2 the electorate are sheeple in the thrall of Mr Murdoch’s propaganda engine?.
    It’s all lovely to say we should remember what team we are on .. but there is a team of what is effectively ring-ins consisting of sheeple whose numbers and disinterest are what allows the grossly unequal representation of corporates in our government. It also empowers greed driven capitalists to continually muddy the issues, if there is some chance they might hamper the accumulation of their obscene incomes.

    Our governments are and have been steadily betraying us for all too long .. time for a new Guy Fawkes.

  32. lawrencewinder

    A very worthy article but I’m afraid I would take note of john921fraser and his reference: “Strike first, Strike hard”. For too long, people have been too nice, too forgiving, tolerant and willing to discuss when it is painfully obvious the other side isn’t interested in listening. Note Emma Alberici last night constantly pulling Timmy W. back to the point as he mentally meandered around his new little frolic (worth $330,000.00) or the lobbyists/ “Advisors” (of no legal standing) harrassing senior public servants to get what they need for their real clients. Time to change game plan and play a bit of “Hard-Ball”.

  33. john921fraser


    "The Royal Commission inquiry into child sex abuse at a Toowoomba school has heard Toowoomba Diocese CEO Christopher Hunter told the school's principal to remove "hands down the pants" claims from a letter to since-convicted pedophile teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes.".


    The catholic Diocese.

    That's Abbott's gang.

    Turn the other cheek …. not me.

    I want to fight them on the beaches, in the streets and whatever dark corners they inhabit.

  34. Stephen Tardrew

    I agree Kaye yet don’t agree.

    By all means I am with you all the way selecting issues we can compromise on however when the scientific and moral facts are counter to personal values there are uncompromising limits to truth.

    If there is some ground for compromise and mutual respect then there is a possibility of reducing rampant intolerance and that must be a good thing.

    I am sort of torn because I don’t want to see people suffer, I want to have a proactive society yet as you pointed out the vilification and straight out denigration of individuals points to much deeper problems with human behavior.

    We are not becoming more mature and wise we are wallowing in primitive magical mythical thinking and reactive emotionalism. Currently the oligarchs in this society are destroying human values, running over ethical sensibilities and severely damaging peoples safety and security, citizens or refugees.

    Wisdom is to do with love kindness compassion, empathy and mutual respect and the right of everyone to a decent living. Talk of love and many turn away running from the one thing that can unite us as a species. You touched me the other day when you noted how that appalling migrant brochure turned you to tears. As a long term advocate for reasonable welfare when so many workers are to be thrown on the unemployment roundabout I am grief stricken and saddened. We have to learn to feel the other persons pain and put ourselves in their shoes to understand what is really occurring.

    The selfish society is driving us apart just when we need to join together and plan a better future. My friends here on this site all want the same thing maybe using different strategies and yet it seems so hard to work towards equitable and achievable goals.

    If compromise will help I am all for it yet intuitively, deep down inside, I feel we are on the fulcrum of serious dislocation and suffering which could result in violence and unreasonable retribution.

    I am with you all the way and hope we can find our way out of this impasse.

  35. Kaye Lee

    I agree with you Teri about the means that they gained power but I am sick of looking backwards. It does no good except as a lesson learned. That being the case it is even more important for the people to lead the parties. Abbott has his agenda which needs to be exposed. But ordinary people have concerns which need to be addressed. I too believe they have been misinformed. My focus at the moment is the misinformation about climate change and the way they have been able to convince people to pull away from action is to demonise the carbon price, blaming it for their bills rising.

    This idea can bypass all that argument and make the government reveal their real agenda. Do they want to reduce power bills or is there a more insidious plan? I want them to answer why we can’t


  36. trevor vivian

    Dr Teri.
    What are the legal issues to forcing a DD?
    How do you propose this work?
    What can ordinary Australians do?

    I thought only the polititians in the parliment are allowed to play the game of Double Diss.

    A great thought bubble now explain how it works.

  37. Kaye Lee

    A no confidence motion will not get through the House of Reps due to numbers.

    A double dissolution on something like blocking supply has rules. It has to be twice rejected by the senate with some time frame of three months?

    I can’t see any way that will happen unless Abbott calls it because he can’t get carbon pricing repealed. With the Senate make-up after July I would say it’s a given unless we can do something awful quick.

    Is anyone friends with Clive perchance?????

  38. Dr Teri Merlyn

    I don’t agree. No! Not one little bit! I do not believe, for one moment, in the legitimacy of this government. They got into power by spurious means, using disgraceful, unethical and manipulative strategies that deliberately misled the people who voted for them. Whilst I have previously accepted the ‘will of the people’ as any democracy must, I do not believe this current government actually has the best interests of even those people who voted for them, let alone the rest of us. And there is a solution: A Double Dissolution. There are triggers coming up every day. Abbott has been found to have misled Parliament already, surely grounds for a vote of ‘no confidence’, and his intention to sign away our national rights with no protections for our essential industries with they TPP surely must present an opportunity for insurrection.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Trevor, re the GST

    The basic premise of the new tax was to broaden the tax base, which was heavily biased toward the provision of services.

    Prior to the GST, Australia operated a Wholesale Sales Tax (WST) which imposed a tax on wholesale of goods. The WST was implemented in the 30′s when Australia had an economy dominated by goods. Over the years however, Australia’s economy evolved to be more services based, and the GST served to strip the unfair tax advantage that service providing businesses had over suppliers of goods.

    The tax was introduced by the Howard Government and commenced on 1 July 2000, replacing the previous Federal wholesale sales tax system and designed to phase out a number of various State and Territory Government taxes, duties and levies such as banking taxes and stamp duty.

    Some broad areas were exempt:

    Health and Medical Care
    Educational Supplies and Childcare
    Fresh Food and Beverages (with some exceptions)
    And a few other things like cars for disabled people and certain sales of farm land

    Interestingly, a proposal was made to exempt tampons from the GST but it was dismissed by the Prime Minister. Condoms and lubricants are however GST free, as are shower caps.

  40. trevor vivian

    thanks Kaye Lee.

    I believed that some component of the GST was for CommPublic Serv Super unfunded liability.

    Can you confirm either way?

    Mm.mm,mm!!!! condoms and shower caps. Sure there’s a comedy routine in there somewhere.

    Remove the GST from Power Bills.

  41. Kaye Lee

    I think that’s what the Future Fund is for

  42. Trevor Vivian

    thank you for the info.

    Soo easy to confuse fact and fiction and fiction and fact.

    Yes the F.Fund was for unfunded liability for comm super. Funny not how its the most generous form of super, esp pollies and the taxpayers are lumbered with the costs..Oh well well well Three holes in the ground.

    Ban ABBOTT.
    End GST on Electricity
    No GST on Power BIlls
    Electric Free GST
    No Power GST No Way

    Some musings on Banners for March in March.

  43. john921fraser


    Mr Hayes told the commission he thought it was more appropriate to refer allegations against Byrnes to the Catholic Education Office than the police.

    “The view that I formed was that principals were of the understanding that the CEO was the first port of call, and that the Bishop must not be compromised,” Mr Hayes said.

    “The CEO told the principals that they were there to help us.”

    Byrnes’ crimes occured within the past decade, despite protocols in place in the school for how to deal with sexual abuse. The inquiry heard how the first girl who came to his office with a complaint was forced to re-enact the abuse using her father’s hands in Mr Hayes’s office."


    Shades of Pell.

    Abbott's buddy.

  44. XRay Eyes

    Sorry, Kaye Lee.
    Guess I should have checked before posting.

  45. Kaye Lee

    XRay Eyes,

    We need to remove every excuse Tony has and that article certainly helps. In his usual lack of leadership fashion, Tony said we won’t act because others aren’t. This stance has been backed by his mate Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, who is nearly as bad as Tony.

    With the US and China agreeing to act it would be madness to base our economy around what must inevitably become a dying trade (in more sense than one).

    Industries are still closing – nothing to do with carbon pricing or MRRT. Investment is high – carbon price and MRRT are not an issue. Mining companies continue to make superprofits even with carbon pricing and MRRT. And increasingly the world is calling for action on carbon pricing so the polluters actually pay for the damage they do.

    The only way Tony could convince us to take this retrograde step was by saying look how expensive power bills are. Somehow he has been able to make people forget that power bills went up hugely long before the introduction of carbon pricing and the RET.

    Tony’s team are going to face a hot old time with the G20 leaders and people like Christine Lagarde. Thurday night’s Q&A will be interesting.

  46. Zofia

    Have you considered that it is the high price of electricity which has forced people to change their behaviour when it comes to the consumption of electricity?
    People have moved to put solar panels on their roofs and sought to improve energy efficiency in their homes ,mainly because of the rising electricity prices, not because they want to do something about AGW.
    What you suggest could be counterproductive and work against reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  47. Kaye Lee

    Of course I have considered the aim of changing behaviour. I have also listened to the people who are struggling with rising energy prices. I also considered that the last election was fought and lost over energy prices as ridiculous as that may seem. I want to keep the carbon price and the renewable energy targets. To convince people to do that we have to address their concerns about power bills.

  48. Wayne T

    In total agreement with the GST-free idea Kaye, as well as the need to bypass the increasingly meaningless ‘right’ vs ‘left’. Quite frankly, my position at the moment is more of a ‘Left right out’ of the ability to have a meaningful dialogue with either. However, I have serious doubts as to whether this government will listen, regardless of what the polls and internet trawls will tell them. John Ralston Saul (and thanks again to the folks who introduced me to his work) says…

    ideology is a form of denial, a denial of reality. It is a profound form of naïveté.

    And this government is, above all else as far as I can see, a government of ideologues.

  49. Zofia

    Between 45 and 55 % of a typical electricity bill is due to network costs. The network has to cater for those peak times when people nearly overload the existing system.
    So to ensure the electricity continues to be available, the network has to be upgraded to meet peak demand.
    If people don’t curb their electricity usage, there will be more costs as network companies build infrastructure to meet the energy demand at its forecast peak.

    With the removal of the GST, the biggest consumers of electricity, who create the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions, are rewarded for their excesses, while those who use the least and create less greenhouse gases receive only a little saving.

    A bill of $200/quarter – $20 less with the removal of the GST.
    A bill of $1000/quarter – $100 less with the removal of the GST.

    How equitable is a reduction of $80 per year compared to a reduction of $400 per year?

    One other thing – who do you think the voter will thank for removing the GST on electricity bills?
    They’ll thank Mr Abbott, of course. They will remember this at the next election.

  50. paul walter

    Its a fair enough article. Abbott is a consequence of the public’s own laziness, but we will not know the full consequences till it’s too late.

    Sorry,kids, but I think it is “Dreamtime over”.

  51. diannaart


    One other thing – who do you think the voter will thank for removing the GST on electricity bills?
    They’ll thank Mr Abbott, of course. They will remember this at the next election.

    Excellent, if disturbing point you have raised.

  52. Zofia

    “One example is climate change. Half of the population are in favour of urgent action, the other half are worried about their electricity bill.”

    The Fourth Annual Survey of Australian Attitudes to Climate Change : Interim report. CSIRO (Jan 2014)
    tells a different story. 5219 Australians were surveyed in July and August 2013.

    This is one of the major findings listed in the Executive Summary.
    Attitudes to Climate Change
    * ” Climate change ranks low in importance when compared to other concerns. Respondents ranked climate change as the 14th most important concern among 16 general concerns, and 7th out of 8 environmental concerns. ”

    Average importance rankings of general and environmental concerns


    1 Health 1 Water shortages
    2 The cost of living 2 Pollution
    3 Employment 3 Water quality
    4 Education 4 Drought
    5 The Australian economy 5 Deforestation
    6 Crime and justice 6 Household waste
    7 Electricity prices 7 Climate change
    8 Affordable housing 8 Salinity
    9 Water
    10 The natural environment
    11 Government and politics
    12 Immigration
    13 Drug problems
    14 Climate change
    15 Population
    16 Terrorism

    Another finding –

    18.4% voted in a government election on the basis of an environmental issue.

    I wish that the population did see the need for urgent action on AGW, but this report shows where AGW ranks as a concern for the Australian population.

  53. Zofia

    Sorry about the mess in the tables.


    1 Water shortages
    2 Pollution
    3 Water quality
    4 Drought
    5 Deforestation
    6 Household waste
    7 Climate change
    8 Salinity

    I hope this makes it clearer.

  54. Kaye Lee

    That survey is truly disturbing Zofia. The rest of the world understand the danger climate change presents. It makes the rest of their concerns seem trivial by comparison as all those things will suffer if we don’t address climate change.

    It shows how effective the misinformation campaign has been.

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