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From SA election conundrum to the riddle of the ASEAN Way.

Could Adelaide, or “Adders”, as Jeffrey Smart loved to call the Athens of the South, the staid city of churches and canon law, now be under Marshall law? How dare Labor lose when it was electric light years ahead of everyone in Tesla batteries; renewable energy?

Cue our ABC. The national broadcaster is a staunch SA regime change supporter when it’s not gunning for soft-on-crime Dan Andrews and his African gang crisis in lawless Victoria.

Chris Uhlmann led the charge; blaming renewable energy for SA’s blackouts caused by natural disaster but there has been some solid pro-Liberal teamwork from our state broadcaster, including Fran Kelly’s trifecta of power-crisis, the demise of the car industry and rising regional unemployment, all of which are Labor’s fault, Thursday, on RN Breakfast.

Labor is howled down for its “ideologically driven” embrace of “aggressive” targets for wind and solar energy; an “experiment” in a clean and sustainable source of electricity which can never be as affordable or reliable as good old coal. Or coal industry Liberal Party donations. Or a Liberal plug from the IPA with its secret list of big mining, big Rupert donors.

Labor’s SA was a plucky little state, of 1.2 million, the scapegoat in a cynical attack on behalf of big coal and gas. It stood up to Canberra’s bullying over the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee, (NEG), a thought-bubble masquerading as an energy policy.  

What energy policy? Jay Weatherill was never afraid to let everyone know the emperor wears no clothes. Renew Economy’s Giles Parkinson reports growing ranks of critics who argue that the NEG is all negative. It will do nothing to address Turnbull’s “energy trilemma” of emissions, prices, and reliability. In fact, it is more likely to make each of them worse.

It has the capacity to kill investment in storage and to leave businesses with stranded assets.

Utilities, analysts, and activists have already criticised the NEG for doing little on emissions, putting an effective freeze on renewable investment, and creating a scheme of such complexity it would likely push up prices and reinforce the power of incumbent utilities.

Jay Weatherill quickly resigns as SA Labor leader, Sunday, soon after he concedes victory to Steven Marshall, leader of a Liberal Party whose inscrutable win was founded upon an extensive redrawing of electoral boundaries which psephologist, William Bowe and other experts predicted would help its chances in four seats.

Context matters. As do key actors. The SA Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission was chaired by Supreme Court Judge Ann Vanstone, sister-in-law of former federal Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone, appointed in October 2015 under state laws requiring the chair to be the court’s most senior judge. Labor appealed against the redistribution and lost.

A unique, “electoral fairness”, a clause in SA’s constitution requires the commission to attempt to set new boundaries so that a group of candidates which receives more than 50 percent of the popular vote “will be elected in sufficient numbers to enable a government to be formed”.

On ABC Insiders, Sunday, a guest recalls an ABC 2016 report that The Liberal Party’s chances of winning the 2018 South Australian election were greatly improved by a boundary redistribution which “notionally handed the party up to four additional seats”.

398,000 voters were affected by the changes and our ABC predicted Labor would need to secure a 3.2 % swing to stay in Government at the 2018 election.

Was it time for a change? Our ABC repeats a slogan which evokes Whitlamesque reform to misreport the state’s reversion to rule by the coal and gas barons; the oligarchy of corporate captains of industry and finance which commands the ear of our federal government.

Can the barons trash our national conversation? Is our democracy in peril?  Certainly SA’s Liberals ride a wave of industry-sponsored nostalgia for the good old days of paternalistic government delivering mythic certainty for investors with lashings of energy security, all guaranteed free of sovereign risk, as SA 2.0 hops aboard the Coalition’s flight from reason.

Business and mining interests are, nevertheless delighted to see little SA come to its senses; elect a government keen to take it back into the 1950s. A roar of approbation follows from the right, boosted by what Richard Denniss warns is “econobabble bullshit”.

Not so noisy, now, however, are those at Aunty such as Leah MacLennan who, but six weeks ago predicted a premiership for Nick Xenophon and a majority for his SA Best, a party which fails to win a single seat. Was it a bold call? Or relaying a shrewd Liberal spin unit scare-tactic to panic voters into sticking with the devil they fondly imagine they know?   

Yet MacLennan is not the only pundit undone. Many a News Corp scribe confidently forecast a swing to “the minor parties” or on ABC’s The Drum beat up a bold showing for the tirelessly self-promoting, reactionary, throwback, Cory Bernardi and his atavistic Conservatives.

One social good is achieved. Hardening into orthodoxy is speculation that disaffection with the major parties’ snake oil salesmen causes voters to flock to more overt shonks; even wackier, crackpot candidates. SA’s result offers no evidence to help such theorising.

But let’s not get too warm and fuzzy about South Australia’s former government. Wind and solar aside. Labor has less of a lead on Liberals in nature conservation.  The Liberals’ ten-year moratorium on unconventional gas extraction, includes fracking, in the rich farmland of the state’s south-east while Labor supports an expanded gas industry there.

And when it comes to letting multinational corporations drill for oil in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight, the two parties are neck and neck in their rush to wreck the precious ecosystems of a unique environment. Liberals are gung-ho, while Labor merely insists that companies “follow regulations”, an approach which does nothing to avert an oil spill accident.

Oil spilled, experts caution could wash up on the shores of NSW. BP and Chevron may have shelved their plans but international oil giants Statoil and Murphy, still hold exploration titles. Expect a lot of propaganda about jobs but don’t expect either to pay company tax.

South Australia’s election result is the week in politics’ riddle wrapped inside a mystery inside an enigma; rivalling the inky, darkness at the heart of ASEAN, ten Southeast Asian supremos in search of a soul attending Turnbull’s monster mash in Sydney this weekend.

The result is also a black hole which sucks energy out of ALP candidate, former ACTU President, Ged Kearney’s winning 54.2% of the primary vote and a 3.2% swing to Labor in Batman, Victoria, a by-election, Labor was widely tipped to lose to The Greens’ Alex Bhathal, who receives 45.3% – with 80% of the vote counted, late Sunday afternoon.

Sabotage, fumes browned off Greens’ leader, Richard di Natale. He blames “internal sabotage”, presumably referring to the leaking of bullying complaints against Bhathal.

Less paranoid, party strategists attribute the Green’s loss to their candidate’s focus on national issues such as the proposed Adani coal mine project and refugee policy while conceding that they were up against Ged Kearney’s popularity. Nor were they helped, they mutter, by Labor’s Faustian preference deal with the Conservative candidate, Kevin Bailey.

But look over there. Shifty Bill Shorten is picking pensioners’ pockets. Rolling old grannies for their savings. Howl down, the scoundrel. Howl him down. Labor’s aim to reform dividend imputation becomes the mother of all scare campaigns.

Raving Scott Morrison is a froth of confected outrage. As always, parliament’s worst ham actor, he lampoons his own case, forfeits any credibility by over-egging his hyperbole.

“It is unfair to steal someone’s tax refund, I wouldn’t do it on your tax refund as a normal income tax payer and I’m not going to do it for pensioners and retirees who are simply making smart decisions in an environment like this where they can get a better return on buying shares,” Morrison rants, conveniently overlooking these investors don’t pay tax.

Only Morrison can turn a cash handout rort costing taxpayers $6bn into a tax return.

Not only is Labor out to sabotage SA’s power grid, then, it is intent on stealing pensioners’ nest eggs.  Reform dividend imputation? Labor is mad, bad and dangerous to know.

In fact, Labor proposes a change which the Parliamentary Budget office calculates “will have a minor impact” on 10% of our 2.5 million age pensioners who receive a part pension and only 1% of those receiving a full pension. But facts don’t matter to Morrison. Labor’s reform, something which the Liberals themselves considered in 2015 is demonised in mainstream media (MSM) as “Shorten’s cash grab”.

The servants have been nicking the silverware again; you just can’t trust Labor, is the major MSM theme. Yet Treasury estimates the average cash refund for age pensioners holding shares to be $900 a year per person. Any cash grab came in 2015 when The Greens sided with the Coalition to deprive all pensioners of up to $12,000 PA by changing the assets test.

In Tasmania, however, the prospect of a Greens alliance with even Labor is held to deter swing voters from voting Labor, explains The Guardian’s Ben Raue, arguing that Labor is destined to struggle to win elections until this dilemma is resolved. Yet for your average mug punter, in all other respects, Tassie, aka Woolworth’s Island Inc., is thriving.  

The post-Vandemonian pandemonium over Big Gambling’s buying of last week’s Tasmania’s election is quickly drowned out as souped-up chainsaws rev up to tear into Tarkine timber whilst the staccato rattle of automated fire destroys the natural tranquility as cockies, graziers and sporting shooters get bigger, quicker guns in their war on nature.  

But let’s be fair. Lethal, rapid-fire assault rifles are vital if farmers are to have a sporting chance against the lethal, feral fauna threatening their livelihood, or, if they just lust, lawfully, to enjoy the thrill of the kill, like any other normal, red-blooded, responsible sporting shooter who never had a rifle stolen. Or had to lend or even sell one or two to a mate.

Tassie’s battle with the bush and the irksome dictates of democracy are upstaged by Home Affairs Supremo, Scipio Africanus Dutton, who tears himself away from sacking former Queensland Drug Squad colleague, Roman Quaedvlieg, six months’ too late.

Roman, it seems, has been sold down the (Murray Darling) River, lock, stock, and barrel, in Turnbull’s open season on bosses who bonk. He’s dismissed over allegations he got his girlfriend a job at Sydney airport. If only he’d been more discreet; asked Matt Canavan or Damian Drum.  It is all part of an adult soap opera entitled Barnaby’s Choice.

Unlike Sophie’s Choice (1982) which stars Meryl Streep, Barnaby’s Choice involves impaling yourself on the horns of a dilemma by pretending your paramour is not your partner even if you do promote her to a series of well-paid posts in your government, said to involve teaching staff about email even though she, herself doesn’t merit an email account.

In another shotgun marriage, Peter Dutton springs a firearms advisory council proposal, a move to allow our burgeoning gun lobby to bypass tedious democratic process and buy itself “a seat at the table” of government. All’s fair in love and war. What could possibly go wrong?

A proposal to allow white South African farmers, a persecuted minority, special Visas to enter Australia? Our Home Affairs supremo jumps the shark, given the dispossession of white farmers is part of a proposed amendment, as barrister Greg Barns explains in Crikey.

Worse Dutton makes a case for preferential treatment in a statement which has clear, racist overtones. Not only does he claim the farmers share our values, he tells 2GB listeners.

“We want people who want to come here, abide by our laws, integrate into our society, work hard, not lead a life on welfare. And I think these people deserve special attention and we’re certainly applying that special attention now.”

Dutton’s misunderstood that the brutal dispossession is, in reality, a recent move by the South African Parliament to recommend an amendment to that nation’s constitution to allow for expropriation of agricultural land without compensation.

Yet, as Barns points out, had Dutton bothered with any research, the resolution provides ways around the proposed change in a law which is a long way from being enacted.

Farmers and big agribusiness stakeholders can cut a deal with the Ramaphosa administration. Dutton’s act of clemency is in effect a calculated dog-whistle to right wing racists at home. It is the Home Affairs Minister’s White Australia Policy 2.0.

Late Sunday, Julie Bishop disputes Dutton’s claim that the white farmers merit special treatment and their alleged persecution. She pretends that the Home Affairs Minister was referring to Humanitarian Visas which she says anyone can apply for at any time.

Above the chatter of the automatically weaponised, dog-whistling ruling classes, all eyes turn to Sydney by the weekend. The city of bread and circus, is abuzz with fuzz this weekend as it plays host to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, (ASEAN), another fabulous gabfest about business opportunities just waiting on our doorstep and how more state power and secrecy will keep us all safe from ISIS in a “Special ASEAN-Australia summit”, a diversionary circus called by a Coalition which, so far, can’t win a trick.

Shunting aside a hapless ABC News 24 presenter, Friday afternoon, Turnbull mugs on camera with old pal, Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong in an impromptu infomercial where our PM prompts his guest to mouth incoherent platitudes about the great regional leadership Australia is showing already. It’s an inspired vignette of The ASEAN Way.

A big-noting, do-nothing club, ASEAN is an outfit where nine out of ten members are tyrants whose mutual contempt for human rights is protected by a mind your own business pact.

Like the fabulous Kray brothers who terrorised London, ASEAN’s strong men are harsh but fair. Cambodian PM Hung Sen obligingly warns any would-be protesters that,

“If they burn my effigy … I will pursue them to their houses and beat them up”.

The ASEAN Way means members vow not to meddle in any other member’s internal affairs. These include Myanmar’s genocide, or the 12,000 plus, Human Rights Watch calculates to be the current tally of victims of Duterte’s “war on drugs”, in reality, a war on the poor.

Sadly, psychopath, Duterte is unable to be with us this weekend because he’s busy pulling The Philippines out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by withdrawing from The Rome Statute, the treaty which established the ICC. He’s furious with ICC criticism of his ways.

It’s inspiring leadership. Our own tin-pot government, a front for big mining, banking and other multinational business interests is already well along The ASEAN Way as Julie Bishop and her funky DFAT backing group refuse to condemn Myanmar’s genocide of Rohingya or utter a peep at China’s Xi becoming President for life.

Still, it’s hard to claim the high moral ground. We have glaring human rights violations of our own, in our offshore detention regime and in our treatment of Australia’s indigenous peoples while our Coalition government increases state surveillance and secrecy.

The ASEAN club fondly imagines itself to be the hub of Asia Pacific regionalism which could  put a spoke in China’s wheel, in an airy grand design that provide a beaut opportunity for our government’s foreign policy wonks to compose carefully worded statements pious intent that lack all specificity; an archly non-committal commitment, the epitome of postmodern politics.

“Australia places high priority on our bilateral relationships in Southeast Asia and on our support for ASEAN. The Government is enhancing engagement with the region to support an increasingly prosperous, outwardly-focused, stable and resilient Southeast Asia.”  

The statement, like ASEAN itself, defies parsing. Just think of APEC without the silly shirts. But it’s a ripper of an opportunity for “Little” Malcolm Turnbull to pose as a regional statesman amongst a bunch of crony capitalists, nepotists, despots and thugs -(strong men is the favoured euphemism) -who preside over governments that deny basic liberties and fundamental freedoms to their citizens. Especially in Myanmar.

Human Rights Watch reports,

Since late August 2017, more than 688,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma’s Rakhine State to escape the military’s large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing. The atrocities committed by Burmese security forces, including mass killings, sexual violence, and widespread arson, amount to crimes against humanity.

Those who expect to hear a statement from the Australian government censuring Myanmar for its policy of genocide towards The Rohingya come away from the weekend sadly disappointed.

It is left to a group of local lawyers to file a private case against Aung San Suu Kyi, state counsellor and de facto leader of the Myanmar government.  

Ron Merkel QC, a Melbourne barrister and former federal court judge, international lawyers Marion Isobel and Raelene Sharp, and Sydney human rights lawyers Alison Battisson and Daniel Taylor file the private prosecution application in the Melbourne magistrates court late on Friday reports The Guardian’s Ben Doherty

The lawyers’ application, which faces many barriers, including the approval of the attorney general, Christian Porter, accuses Aung San Suu Kyi of crimes against humanity for the deportation or forcible transfer of a population in relation to widespread and ongoing human rights abuses inside Myanmar.

May the applicants be blessed with miraculous success. Their action is inspiring as much as it shows up the Turnbull government’s reluctance to assert any real leadership at all.

The last word for the week could be a motto for the ASEAN Way and our own ruling elite’s self-interested, cynical – often amoral but high-handed behaviour. It comes from Trump’s new economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who takes the spirit of neoliberalism to a whole new level:

The wealthy, he claims, “have no need to steal or engage in corruption” because “they know how to achieve goals and convince skeptics that good deals can be made to the benefit of both sides.”

Our nation abounds this week, with examples of great deals made by those whose wealth has made them virtuous or whose virtue has made them wealthy.

 


33 comments

  1. babyjewels10

    I don’t get that people still vote for the COALition in times of rising sea levels and more and more extreme weather events? Don’t these people have children and grandchildren? Has “she’ll be right” overtaken our thinking processes in this country?

  2. Joseph Carli

    A wonderful round up of the weeks mayhem for a good Monday morning read…and yes…the doubtful realigning of the electoral boundaries in SA is going to cost us here more than than the repair-bill on a dodgy used car…I see there was no hesitation in dragging that Dr. Frankenstienian monster John Olsen out for a display run by the unusually ebullient Marshall while in a state of euphoria…when I am sure many South Aussies were still convinced that the person was still resided in hiding in one of the LA. Lakers change-room lockers.

  3. Barry Thompson.

    Once again a masterful summary of affairs.
    Thank you David.

  4. Freethinker

    Very good summary David.
    IMO there is no question that the Liberals and the media that support them know very well what the Australian people want and they are winning.
    babyjewels10, the Australian that are voting for this mob do not care less for the future of their kids or the country for that matter. What it is important is the present, the chance to satisfying their own need for consuming for keeping their life style.
    How many hours they have to work and be out of the home looking after their children it is not an issue for them as long as they can buy what ever they like even if it cost them using their savings.
    IMO the coalition will win again the next federal election by giving more money to the small business, making the super more attractive and increase a tiny bit the basic wages.
    Education will be more expensive and less support in the budget because the students and their parents do not complain about it.
    The moderate right will not support Sally Macmanus and also the left within the party which will cause divisions within to the party to the benefit of the coalition.
    The government with the support of the media will make sure that the unions will ruin the country, create unemployment and instability under a Labor government.
    If by “chance”, there are a energy crisis in the right time we can kiss goodbye to the green energy and go back to the coal to have a “reliable” energy.
    Without apologising to repeat my self, only when things are getting real bad and the majority of the electorate will have nothing to lose there will be changes and most important within the Labor party.

  5. Bert

    I posted this elsewhere:

    “In Tasmania, however, the prospect of a Greens alliance with even Labor is held to deter swing voters from voting Labor, explains The Guardian’s Ben Raue, arguing that Labor is destined to struggle to win elections until this dilemma is resolved.”

    Something people from the “North Island” don’t get is that in parts of Tasmania there is a visceral hatred of the Greens and any whiff of a deal between Labor and them is a death knell for any chance of a Labor electoral victory as most of these areas are in the seats needed to win government.

  6. Freethinker

    I agree Bert and specially on the northwest of the State.
    Another issue is the typical infighting in the ALP every time that they have to vote for a new candidate.
    The result in my area, Franklin, was not to bad with a swing towards the ALP but still not enough.
    Now we have to see what this government can do with only one seat majority and if they can fix the hospital problems soon, no to mention the homeless issue and the people camping on the showgrounds.

  7. paul walter

    Pretty accurate stuff.

    A little long, but too much good in it to be too picky.

  8. Ricardo29

    David, I like the way you draw the disparate threads together to a conclusion. Also shards of information of which I was unaware. So many little gems. I enjoy you weekly writings. Just wish more people/voters would get to see it

  9. Kaye Lee

    It’s interesting how incestuous the circles of power are in this country. I was unaware of the Vanstone connection in the electoral boundary manipulation.

    Another snippet along the same lines….

    In the Fair Work Commission’s consideration about reducing penalty rates, Lynn Pezzullo, lead partner of health economics and social policy and a director of Deloitte Access Economics and ,coincidentally, wife of Dutton’s boss Mike, was engaged by the Pharmacy Guild, Australian Retailers Association, Australian Hotels Association and other employer stakeholders to produce a paper (much panned by actual experts) on why the rates should be cut.

  10. John O'Callaghan

    Thanks again David for another informative piece of writing,and your sprinkling of humour wit and satire!

  11. New England Cocky

    Uhm a PHD in news analysis and commentary … to be read in full later … but why did the ALP apparently fail to mention that the destruction of the automotive construction industry as a deliberate policy of the COALition creating about 200,000 unemployed in South Australia?

    Australian voters have become more savvy recognising that the many state branches of the NLP are like Medusa heads of the same serpent. So when electioneering, it is necessary to call a spade a spade and a Liarbral Party policy of deceit exactly what it is … similarly with the National$ …. women who support adultery support the National$.

  12. PhilC

    Good article David. As a South Australian I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the election result. Marshall and his posse will be hopeless I am sure. On the other hand, while many of the things the ALP did (particularly with renewable energy) have been good, not everything was great. A number of ALP ministers over the sixteen years, from Foley and Holloway, to Snelling, Rau, Vlahos and Koutsantonis, have been far too friendly to big business, miners and property developers, or just plain incompetent in the management of their own portfolios to feel too sorry for the party. It is us I I feel sorry for.

  13. johno

    Freethinker, don’t forget the forests, will the lib’s up the ante with more slash and burn ??

  14. diannaart

    Beware when authoritarians claim to be working for “fairness”, all we achieve are more authoritarians.

  15. Freethinker

    New England Cocky March 19, 2018 at 12:41 pm
    Uhm a PHD in news analysis and commentary … to be read in full later … but why did the ALP apparently fail to mention that the destruction of the automotive construction industry as a deliberate policy of the COALition creating about 200,000 unemployed in South Australia?

    I just wonder why the Mike Rann government allowed Mitsubishi to bring OS labor to dismantlement the factory. The ALP have the opportunity then to nationalise or take over the plant and start looking for alternatives but have not done much apart of few millions to help the unemployed force.
    A left government with guts for sure have done something better after Mitsubishi milk so much money from the tax payers.

  16. GrumpyT

    Freethinker, I fear that you may well be correct when you say in your first post on this article that the Coalition will win the next election. I do hope that you are incorrect, but my glass half empty one and only grey cell thinks that way. “Bring on the next election” is the passionate cry written many times, but I do hope that the ALP can explain their policies very, very carefully before that occurs and that the MSM media and even ‘my ABC’ may actually print/publish it. I shall get myself up off the floor after rolling around with laughter soon with regards to the latter comment. One can always hope and pray.

  17. Freethinker

    johno March 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm
    Freethinker, don’t forget the forests, will the lib’s up the ante with more slash and burn ??
    johno there are trying to opening a wood chip terminal at Dover, that will ruin the water, the tourism industry, the local roads and a start to deplete more the forest.
    The Tasmanian people know that, was a swing against the Liberals in the area but anything can happen now.

  18. Freethinker

    GrumpyT, I base my belief on the results of previous federal elections and the last two state elections.
    Electing Tony Abbott and re-electing his team it is enough to convince me of the values of the majority of the Australian electorate.
    Until people to not accept that and start working towards an effective opposition and not just an alternative with mild right policies we do not have a hope.
    It is wasting time and energy day by day to criticizing the current government they are not going to change, they are going to continue with their polices and manipulate the electorate that know that many of laws put in place are not going to be changed by the ALP because it is to hard, because they bring court actions against the country and many more excuses.
    We should concentrate in asking the opposition for a change, a REAL CHANGE, out of neoliberalism, policies that are proposed by members of the left faction and the ACT.
    So far any progressive suggestion like the ones by Sally Macmanus, the president of the ALP and Swan among others have been ignored or dismissed by Bowen with the support of Shorten.
    ALP supporters think that it almost taboo to criticize the party to the point that do not debate this kind of posts and just remind quite keeping with their agenda of attacking the government as the only solution, as if the readers in sites like this need to be converted.
    Oh bugger, I am frustrated!!

  19. johno

    Freethinker, this dover wood chip terminal sure sounds like another lose lose operation.

  20. diannaart

    We should concentrate in asking the opposition for a change, a REAL CHANGE, out of neoliberalism, policies that are proposed by members of the left faction and the ACT.
    So far any progressive suggestion like the ones by Sally Macmanus, the president of the ALP and Swan among others have been ignored or dismissed by Bowen with the support of Shorten.
    ALP supporters think that it almost taboo to criticize the party to the point that do not debate this kind of posts and just remind quite keeping with their agenda of attacking the government as the only solution, as if the readers in sites like this need to be converted.
    Oh bugger, I am frustrated!!

    Right there with you FT.

    The Right of Centre in the ALP, do not do criticism. The sooner we acknowledge the ALP has more of a Neo-liberal/authoritarian ethos the sooner we can call it out.

    Criticism of Labor is not pro-Green nor anti Labor, it is calling out the B/S, just as the (wonderful) Sally McManus is doing.

  21. silkworm

    SA Labor’s greatest shame was its persecution and prosecution of compassionate cannabis supplier Jenny Hallam.

  22. paul walter

    News just out has it that Marshall’s first decision as premier has been to kill the
    Tesla project.

  23. jimhaz

    I may hate the far left, but I sure hate the far right a lot more. This the big miners money talking here. Corrupt bastards.

  24. JohnI

    “Any cash grab came in 2015 when The Greens sided with the Coalition to deprive all pensioners of up to $12,000 PA by changing the assets test.”

    Groan. I am so tired of this. From 1st January 2017 the Turnbull government lifted the taper rate for, e.g. home-owning single pensioners with non-primary-residence assets of more than $250,000 from $1.50 per $1,000 to $3. Therefore they are heartless old-people-hating barstids.

    But there’s more to the story.

    The Howard government reduced the taper rate from $3 to $1.50 in 2007. (And that had nothing to do – nuthin’, I tells ya! – with the fact that there was an election they were in danger of losing due that year. They did it because they were lovely people.)

    But – do we know who introduced the $3 taper rate in the first place? It must have been some bunch of heartless old-people-hating conservative barstids, right?

    Well, sort of. It was the Keating government, in 1993. And – this is the ‘good’ bit – they reduced it from the $4 rate that the Hawke government imposed when they introduced the assets test in 1985.

    Usually when Party A reverts to Party B’s policy, Party B starts up a chant of “We wuz right! Youse wuz wrong! Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!” For some reason that didn’t happen in this case.

  25. paul walter

    Jimhaz, yep.

  26. David Tyler

    Thank you for the link, Paul. It speaks volumes about the new government of SA that it is going to default on a commitment to a private initiative to give cheap loans to enable the poor to install solar systems and instead offer a $100m government subsidy which will only appeal to the wealthier, (generally Liberal voter) – a subsidy on systems that the poor will never be able to afford.
    Electricity is rapidly becoming a luxury item for low income families – thanks, of course, in part to Liberal government policy which made the poles and wires a nice little earner for the multinational owner of the supply company.

  27. guest

    So, Steve Marshall the Destructer has already started his rampage through anything Labor. He will trample on anything which makes his wishy-washy policies either implausible or too expensive for people less wealthy. He has no idea. The Luddites prevail.

    I will borrow a line from some of his Liberal advertisements:

    …and I am sick of you, Steve…already!

  28. Freethinker

    What people can expect from the Liberals, form the extreme right?
    It is a mastery policy, provide the chance to the middle class to have cheap electricity and at the same time providing loans to the middle and lower class to have them more slave of their debts,
    Credits are a very effective tool to have people under the boot of the elite class.
    This it is only the begging, there will be more to separate more the classes.
    Peoples choice.

  29. paul walter

    Thanks David. Got it in one.

    Spiteful barbarians.

  30. Frank Smith

    Thank You David. I am not from SA, but I am very sorry to see Jay Weatherill and Labor lose the State election – I regarded him as a real breath of fresh air on the political scene and one of very few true political leaders in Australia. I have watched on bemused by all the shenanigans and dishonesty heaped upon SA for their move to renewable energy. Recent SA Governments have been lambasted for closure of their well past “use-by date” coal fired generators, Playford B and Northern, which relied upon brown coal from a small mine at Leigh Creek, 280km to the north. SA does not have any “Bowen Basins”,”Hunter Valleys” or even “Latrobe Valleys” underlain by huge reserves of coal. But they do have wind and sunshine aplenty. So it only seems logical that they would turn to these renewable resources to meet the State’s future energy needs rather than rely upon continuing to dig up a severely restricted, poor quality coal reserve. Weatherill needs to be congratulated for doing just that, not castigated at every opportunity by the likes of Turnbull and Frydenberg. I do hope that Marshall and his Libs do not destroy the work that the Weatherill Government has done in attracting and supporting the very innovative and socially responsible Sanjeev Gupta to take over the Arrium steel works. Apparently moves were also under way for Gupta to invest heavily in the Zen battery enterprise, solar power at Port Augusta and pumped hydro projects at old iron ore mine sites in the Middleback Ranges. It would be tragic if such developments were rolled back or delayed by this incoming Liberal Government. Australia desperately needs forward thinking leaders like Jay Weatherill!

  31. helvityni

    We had two progressive Premiers, Weatherill and Andrews, now we have one…

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