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Horse Trading

Abbott and Hockey have made their opening bid and guardedly indicated their willingness to negotiate. Instead of being ready to roll (publicly at least), all I hear from Labor is reaction with no positive alternatives offered.

They are missing a huge opportunity here. The media and public are doing the negative advertising for them. They should be focusing on the coming negotiation by having alternatives ready to offer.

Let’s try and help them.

We will accept the 2% income tax increase for high income earners if it is permanent. Perhaps make it for those on over $200,000 to allow for bracket creep.

We will accept the re-indexation of the fuel excise if you abolish the fuel tax credit scheme to mining companies.

We will accept the delayed rollout of superannuation guarantee increases if you reinstate the co-payment for low income earners and the tax on superannuees earning over $100,000 pa in retirement – and don’t tell me this is impossible to implement. The superannuation body issues a statement of earnings (quarterly if necessary) and anyone earning over $100,000 completes a tax return where the appropriate taxation will be charged. They could make an optional quarterly payment in advance with taxation reconciled in an annual tax return.

We will accept an increase in the pension age to 68 by 2035 and an increase in the superannuation access age to 63.

We will forego the short term policy of $10,000 incentives to employ people over 50 in favour of creating more flexible work arrangements for people in their later working life, allowing them to move to fractional positions, and to have longer leave periods. In return we want the senior education supplement reinstated.

We will not accept the health co-payments but will instead, get rid of the Private Health Insurance rebate which will save the budget about $3 billion a year even considering the increased demand for public hospitals (est $2.5 billion compared to the $5.5 billion the rebate costs).

We will accept the formation of a Green Army under certain conditions:

– It must be voluntary and participants who fail to find employment at the completion of their 6 months are immediately eligible for the dole.

– They must be paid appropriate superannuation.

– They are to be administered by a public service department rather than being tendered out to service providers who are then paid for the privilege of having a cheap workforce with no workplace entitlements. This will provide greater transparency and oversight, employment for public servants, and forestall any chance of exploitation by unscrupulous private enterprise labour providers.

– Work must not replace any paid employment. Projects should be overseen by Landcare (or similar groups) who should have their funding reinstated. Universities could also suggest projects and would no doubt be grateful for the assistance. Environmental groups would happily use the manpower without having to be paid to do it.

We will accept the lowering of the threshold of eligibility for FTB – B from $150,000 to $100,000 but do not accept the freeze on indexation of FTB – A for 2 years or the change in indexation for pensions and other payments. All indexation should be based on AMWE rather than CPI to maintain relative quality of life.

We do not agree to the reopening of the ABCC but will support a Federal Corruption Commission.

We suggest that the freeze on politicians’ wages be extended to three years.

We do not support any funding cuts to the ABC and SBS.

We do not agree with spending $245 million on the school chaplaincy program or $20 million on marriage counselling vouchers. This money should be used to reinstate promised funding to the many crime prevention and early intervention programs that have recently had their funding cut.

We do not agree to the changes to the current paid parental leave scheme. This money should be spent on increasing Newstart, Abstudy and Youth Allowance for singles by $50 per week. The Parliamentary Budget Office says that would cost about $7.4 billion over the forward estimates. We will not allow the proposed changes to cut young people off from payments for 6 months of the year.

We oppose the 1.5% decrease in company tax and we will not need the 1.5% levy on businesses for the PPL. This extra revenue can be spent on affordable child care and housing.

We agree to the 0.5% increase in the medicare levy to fund the NDIS and suggest a further 0.5% increase to fund hospitals, preventative health measures, medical research, and aged care. This money should not be kept in a slush fund with only the interest doled out to private companies. It should be invested back into health as collected rather than used to reduce the deficit.

Research agencies like the CSIRO should immediately have their funding reinstated and universities should be the other recipient of research funds rather than private pharmaceutical firms. Patents can earn us a lot of money.

We agree to including a percentage of the family home in the asset test for the pension, with an appropriate revision of the asset ceiling. The percentage should be reduced for each year that it has been the family home.

We do not agree to increased defence spending. The defence budget should be frozen until the overall budget is in surplus with a provision for emergency funding should a threat arise.

We do not agree with rescinding the carbon and mining taxes or the establishment of the emissions reduction fund or any windback of in the targets for emission reduction or renewable energy. We do not support cutting the benefits paid from these taxes, but we do support increasing the scope of the mining tax to help pay for them.

We do not agree with the closure of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

We do not agree with offshore processing for asylum seekers or resettlement in Cambodia. We do not agree to the decrease in foreign aid.

We do not agree to spending tens of billions on an NBN that will only see certain properties connected. We are all paying for it and should all receive the same benefit if physically possible so we agree to FttP NBN.

We will accept a lowering of the threshold of HECS debt repayments to $50,000 but we will not support any interest increases.

When you tally up the above measures you will see that we have saved tens of billions of dollars, more evenly shared the burden, and achieved far better outcomes.

We are willing to listen further but let’s be absolutely clear about one thing…



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  1. Mick Quinlivan

    the suggestions in this article are two generous……it is a bit like allowing Count Dracula just one trip to the blood bank…… I understand negotiating is not one of Mr Abbott’s strengths. I would like to see everything in the budget which is unjust or unfair up to a vote including the supply bills…… Maybe if something suggested in unacceptable then a double dissolution should ensure

  2. Kaye Lee

    The very first thing Shorten says should be:

    “The Charter of Budget Honesty was drawn up to avoid arguments about the state of the books. PEFO was an independently prepared document using Labor policies but Treasury and Finance projections. It confirmed our Economic Forecast produced a few weeks earlier. All assessments of the performance of the Coalition should be measured against PEFO, not MYEFO which was a blatant political manipulation of debt and future assumptions.”

  3. Kaye Lee


    There is no way in the world that Abbott would be stupid enough to not continue funding if the Commission make a case for it to continue (seems that they have every justification sadly 🙁 )

    To have 2 Royal Commissions designed purely to slur Gillard and Rudd, and spend millions on reopening the ABCC to intimidate unions….surely he wouldn’t be that crazy?

    “At this stage, the commission’s mandate is due to expire in December. Unless the government grants an extension, and the funding needed for what is a necessarily costly process, its good works will cease. There is no question this would not be a good outcome. To allow this body to lapse would be to betray the trust already invested in it by many thousands of people in the hope that lasting change may be brought about.”

  4. john921fraser


    I have heard Hockey and Abbott talk about the debt so much I thought it would have reached $10^$11by now.

    At least Abbott has been working hard to reach that number.

  5. Le blogeur gair

    I completely disagree.

    It should not be up to the Opposition to make offers to this government.

    This government has been elected to govern and that means not relying on the Opposition to help them draft their legislation or their political agenda.

    It is Labor’s job to oppose or approve legislation that it finds unacceptable, but at no stage should they be helping or assisting this government to govern.

    In the meantime, Labor should be developing their policy in preparation for the next election and release it closer to that election – whenever that may be – just like this government said and did when they were in opposition.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Imagine if your parents died and left you a valuable house that had a mortgage on it. You do some calculations of what that mortgage will be in ten years time if you just let the house sit there, don’t rent it out, make no repayments and let the interest grow, add rates, maintenance and utility bills to the debt….turn to your wife and say…they have left me with a million dollar debt (in ten years time)…BASTARDS!

  7. Kaye Lee

    Le blogeur gair,

    I completely disagree. Everyone who is elected to parliament is there to represent their constituents. They have been elected to make decisions in the best interest of the country. Focusing on electoral cycles and winning elections is what is wrong with politicians. This is not a game to win. This is important and anyone with a good suggestion should make it. Hiding your work is rather selfish considering what you are being paid to do. Anyone who models themselves on what Abbott did is taking the wrong approach if you ask me.

  8. Ricardo29

    Kaye Lee another terrific column. I completely agree with your response to Le blogeur gair. Labor (and the others) need to be pointed in the right direction, now. As you say, saving it all up for the election campaign is just the same old, same old crap. I posted this column to my Facebook in the hope that people will support the concept and voice that support. Go.

  9. James Synot

    Something very important that’s missing.
    No cuts to indigenous spending but an immediate increase to 1billion dollars with CPI INDEXATION

  10. Anne Dall

    Ever thought of standing for parliament, Kaye? I think you would make an excellent Treasurer!

  11. Shelley Blanchard

    So, Kaye Lee, when are you going to put your hand up and run for parliament? You’d have my vote in a heartbeat!!!

  12. Möbius Ecko

    Until Abbott came along oppositions had a great role in government, not just opposing but actually formulating policy and most importantly proposing amendments where they see weakness, errors or unfairness in policies.

    How many know what role Howard played as LOTO in the great economic reforms of Keating, that is until he used that working relationship against Keating?

    Some of the best legislation this country has produced has been through oppositions and some bad policies have been saved by opposition suggested amendments.

    Abbott destroyed that by becoming an opposer and nothing else, so much so he was labelled a Negabore.

  13. Shelley Blanchard

    Excellent point James, also no cuts to homelessness and domestic violence programs

  14. Kaye Lee

    Perhaps we should all move and form an AIMN commune. I thank you for your support but as it is very unlikely that even one of you lives in my electorate, and I don’t have Clive Palmer’s resources to mount a campaign, I doubt I would be successful. I would also have a great deal of difficulty not telling them all how little respect I have for them. I also dislike having my photo taken and am hopeless at hair and makeup and I don’t own designer suits. But I am more than happy to give advice as my family and friends will attest with a long-suffering grimace 🙂

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    Spot on Kaye with another two years of this government Labor the Greens and Independents need to do some real work on policy development mediation and negotiation and hold the Government accountable through representational democracy. The government is supposed to govern for all not just the one percent. At the least they can stop the flooding and turn it into a manageable leak before the next election. Now is the time for the independents to show some spine and represent their electorates and not their special interest groups. This is why we have a senate. Left, right, center it does not matter they were elected to work for the people and the country. Everyone has a role to play in a time of manufactured crisis to keep government on some sort of equitable even keel. This is the real job of governing not lazily waiting for the opposition to self implode. When dealing with lies and deception you just better have your thinking caps on and participate in limiting the damage or you too may be seen as impotent.

    Labor is playing a dangerous game if it does not come out with suitably negotiable solutions while laying down policies to eventually roll back any any unfortunate compromises. The opposition parties and independents have to think and think fast.

  16. James Harris

    One thing I’d love to see is a discussion about taking over health and education and making them federal only. Too many inconsistencies regarding training, standards, expectations and outcomes between states shows that it is time for a national approach to these two key areas.

    Plus, the money saved from removing duplication in administration and legislation would allow for more funds to the hospitals, GP’s, schools and other ‘front-line’ areas.

  17. Stephen Tardrew

    It should read “Government self-implode.” not opposition. Bloody Seniors moment.

  18. DanDark

    They could even raise more for our indigenous quite easily
    Without having to lift a finger, put a lie and swear jar at the door of Parliament House
    And as they leave, they each need to put $10 in for each sin they have committed on
    Said day, would raise mega bucks, for even more resources for our most disadvantaged
    And teach them not to lie and swear, as they are not setting a good role model for our young,
    And trashing our reputation around the rest of the world…

  19. Bacchus

    Yet another excellent piece Kaye Lee, and coincidentally, it has a certain synergy with a new piece by Ad Astra over at TPS tonight. It seems Labor supporters are currently finding it necessary to offer advice to the Labor leadership – why are they not stepping up to the plate?

    Link to Ad Astra’s ‘Letter to Bill Shorten’:

  20. Möbius Ecko

    That would be a good discussion James, but I’m of the opposite view, that they should remain State administered though I have no problems with the Federal government making the regulations under which they run with State input.

    There’s lots I can state on this but there’s one example I give whenever this topic comes up as it’s one I have had a long first hand experience in, Defence.

    Most know of the big, read massive, spending failures in Defence, like Collins, Sea Sprite etc. There are many more and also lots of smaller ones that add up to as much as the single massive failures.

    If the Feds were the sole arbiters of Health and Education then any single point of failure would be immediately national and severe. If one State stuffs up it only effects that State and the others learn from it. They also learn from a States success, and take that up. At the Federal level that wouldn’t happen, it’s a single point of failure with nothing else to take lessons from.

  21. Kaye Lee

    You are right. It deserves a post all of its own. Here are a few budget facts that will make you weep. A billion of the money I saved/raised above should go to restoring the following :

    Over the next five years $534 million will be cut from Indigenous programs administered by the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Health portfolios.

    More than $160 million of the cuts will come out of Indigenous health programs. The health savings will be redirected to the Medical Research Future Fund.

    The cuts include a $3.5 million cut to the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

    On top of the program cuts the Government has confirmed the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples will not get $15 million earmarked for the representative body over the next three years.

    Funding for Indigenous language support announced in the last budget will also be cut by $9.5 million over five years.

    Mr Neumann has also criticised the Government for failing to make any commitment to the National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development.

    Mr Neumann says without extra funding it is likely that 38 Indigenous childhood development centres across the country will close.

    The Family Violence Prevention Legal Service program will lose $3.6 million.

    There will be a redirection of funding. This includes a school truancy officer program in 74 schools at a cost of $18 million; $54 million over four years for extra police in remote communities; and $26 million for Indigenous teenage sexual health programs next financial year.

  22. Fed up

    Very good, but this is only a beginning. Yes, give the kids schools bonus back, Yes, end the Seniors card, but leave pension concessions alone.

    Immediately launched as inquiry into the effectiveness’s of the GST, FBT, taxes that apply to people of retirement age. Trust finds, Taxation rebates of all kinds, Sit down with the states, and talk about giving them a fair share of income tax.

    Put Gonski back on the table.

  23. James Harris

    Perhaps Möbius, but I think that something such as this would have to be dealt with in a regional administration way, with more legislative, guidelines, curriculum, etc. are managed on a federal level, while the schools, hospitals and on the ground stuff are managed by the regional administration.

    This would be in contract to Defence, which from what I’m told by ex-servicemen, is all top heavy and no real running from the ground level.

    Perhaps something that could be looked after by councils? Thoughts?

  24. Maree Elizabeth

    Kaye… you dont suspect shorten is sabotaging the party do you… like isn’t it just a tad odd they dont take advantage and have something to offer? is something just hugely odd? other than that Kaye… you should be running … you are a visionary and we need exactly that …. now.

  25. James Harris

    Kaye Lee:

    I know. I’ve been thinking about running in local politics (As a start) lately because of the stupidity coming from not just this government, but all levels. We need some common sense, directed policies and a good think about how we would re-structure our systems (or make new ones to replace the old) to provide the very best for all.

  26. Fed up

    From what Mr Gonski said, it could be delivered cheaper. It is about distribution of money, not necessary increasing the pot. He said that he was restrained in what he could proposed, by the requirement that no school could be worse off. Without this requirement, less money is needed. Of course it is the distribution that Gonski said was flawed. Pyne has reverted back to that form of distribution.

    Every thing else Pyne says needs to be done, can be found in the Gonski policy.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Fed up,

    You make a very good point. that was a stupid restriction placed on Gonski for political reasons.

  28. Kaye Lee

    James Synot, I wrote about putting our First People last a while ago. Sadly the story would be much longer now 🙁

  29. Fed up

    Whatever Shorten said up to now, would be immediately twisted by the media and the government.

    The time starts from this week, The budget is debated in bath house,. We have a fortnight, I think, of senate hearings.

    Yes, replying to the budget,

    That is what being a good Opposition leader is about.

    Just saying no, and destroying a government is not what it is about. About had it wrong.

    That is how our parliament is suppose to work.

    Abbott was just plain wrong.

  30. Fed up

    There are so many issues to be addressed, one does not know where to begin.

  31. Anomander

    Abandon the Royal Commissions and establish a federal version of the ICAC to which all these matters and more will be referred.

  32. Kaye Lee

    ^^^^^ “We do not agree to the reopening of the ABCC but will support a Federal Corruption Commission.”

  33. Kaye Lee

    Oh and while we are at it…let’s close up tax loopholes

    “THE flagship investment companies controlled by self-proclaimed billionaire Clive Palmer have not paid company income tax to the Australian Taxation ­Office over the past six financial years. ”

    Geeze Clive

  34. Olivia mManor

    How can anyone do deals with a pack of compulsive liars. Tone will sell his arse to get the budget through and then renege because he uhmm was misundesrstood. The others thought he had said what he hadn’t. Remember, these guys are power drunk and total idealogues.

  35. James Harris

    Nice read there Kaye. I’d propose a hybrid system, with the head of state from the elected majority party (or minority grouping) and have the ministers elected i the fashion you described. Would probably look at making these impartial ministers have 6 year terms, as to balance the 3 year cycle of the House of Reps.

    Each would act as a counter balance to each other, making sure that the will of the people is met with knowledge of the ministers.

    Legislation would be drafted between the Prime Minister and the ministerial cabinet, and put to the house and senate for a vote. Policy would come from the cabinet as well.

    Remove the COE or Directors of each Department, and the Ministers take up those roles. That along with the fact we wouldn’t have MP’s being paid extra for ministerial roles.

    Having the ministers separate to the PM would make sure that policies are more impartial, and are formed with the publics interests at heart.

  36. Christine Degan

    You seem to have forgotten that Abbott proposes to axe the supplementary benefit that pensioners receive. This will reduce their incomes significantly and those who pay rent are living pretty well hand to mouth now. What will it be like when they have even less. Be good if you could amend your suggestions which are otherwise very sound. Thanks!

  37. Kaye Lee


    I’ve got ya covered 😉

    “We do not agree with rescinding the carbon and mining taxes or the establishment of the emissions reduction fund or any windback of in the targets for emission reduction or renewable energy. We do not support cutting the benefits paid from these taxes, but we do support increasing the scope of the mining tax to help pay for them.”

  38. Lynne Hugo-Hamman

    I do hope that this gets shown to Bill Shorten and the Front Benchers

    Lynne Date: Sun, 25 May 2014 09:37:05 +0000 To:

  39. Kerri

    Kaye, can you put this on as a petition???

  40. mars08

    So which part of the horse is Abbott?

  41. lawrencewinder

    Excellent piece… particularly If Labor would propose and debate this or very near it. Unfortunately the Liarbril’s have the IPA’s right wing “free-market”agenda and goals in sight and are hell bent on delivering this to their sectional interests and would rather create mayhem than compromise.
    I shouldn’t worry about “looks” if you ran for parliament… it’s never stopped most of the blokes.

  42. Fed up

    The part one makes jelly out of.

  43. Kaye Lee

    “So which part of the horse is Abbott?”

    He’s a fetlock – the closest thing to a horse’s hoof.

    Sorry….I could not resist the GPS humour (and yes I heard the joke from one of Tony’s mates way back when in the day’s before PC, though he was not referring to Tony when he told it to me )

    I know I am going to regret typing this.

  44. mikestasse

    “We will accept an increase in the pension age to 68 by 2035”


    Germany just dropped its retirement age to 63.

    I reckon it should be 60 or less. The problem is not us old foggies not working, it’s the YOUNG! They need the jobs, not us……

  45. abbottania

    The Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) covers all working age pensoners (DSP, carers exmpl) and all single parents on newstart. If this 31-62 / fortnight is cut then these groups will choose between study or eat,
    Yes, I am doing something about it..It must be blocked in the senate !

  46. corvus boreus

    Solid proposals, Kaye. As someone who works for a small business involved in eco-restoration it was obvious you had examined the ramifications of their scheme from a number of angles.

  47. Bob Lawson Paulson

    Trading will get most passed through the senate as others will trade as well .Every Senator should oppose the whole Budget ,that will stuff This Budget .Then it’s a fresh start .

  48. mars08

    Kaye Lee:

    The very first thing Shorten says should be:

    “The Charter of Budget Honesty was drawn up to avoid arguments about the state of the books. PEFO was an independently prepared document using Labor policies but Treasury and Finance projections…

    EXACTLY. Without a clear agreement on the need for Hockey’s budget measures any negotiation is going to be pointless. Before there can be discussion of a treatment, the ailment has to be clearly defined.

  49. Kaye Lee

    as does the end goal of what constitutes “wellness”. In Tony’s mind, it means big business, and particularly Gina, getting wealthier. I think the rest of us have a different idea of what constitutes a healthy society

  50. john921fraser

    Kaye Lee,

    “surely he wouldn’t be that crazy?”

    Are we both talking about Abbott ?

  51. mars08

    Kaye Lee… I’d like to hear a clear (and loud) explanation of what Labor considers to be a healthy society.

  52. Matters Not

    Mikestasse, Look a bit further.

    The German government passed a bill Friday that will allow some workers to retire and collect a full state pension at 63.

    Citizens who have worked for 45 years will qualify under the new legislation.

    The bill also includes an increase in pensions for stay-at-home parents.

    The government still plans to gradually raise the retirement age to 67 from 65 for all other workers

  53. Kaye Lee

    The reason I suggested an increase in the age where you can access your super is because of concerns I have read about people retiring at 60 and then blowing their super in the 5 years between super and old age pension eligibility. If pension age is going up to 68, we don’t want that gap to be any more than 5 years without some other strategies in place. Sounds like Germany may have some ideas worth investigating.

  54. Stephen Tardrew

    There is so much that needs doing yet how do you get it across to the general public. One of the major problems to be dealt with is the type of thinking that would allow these reforms to take place. Rather than running behind the agenda, which I think Shorten and Labor are doing, they need to get in front and push hard to alter the current confusion created by so much irrational thinking generated by fear, greed and lies. The conservatives have no intention of retaining any semblance of the communitarian sustainability state (time to get rid of that horrible term welfare state which conservatives have turned into a term of abuse just as they have done with socialism) riding upon fear driven by elitism. The list of priorities outlined by Kaye and others and the budgetary solutions is substantial and while most live in ignorance of the complex nature of policy interventions the public need to regain a sense of belonging and shared cultural values in which we do not leave people behind. The whole victim blame scenario has no valid empirical proof it is simply driving an agenda against minorities as if the are representative of some huge sector of greedy bludgers.

    In short we must change the cultural paradigm. People run on visceral emotional responses to information peddled by the loudest voice. In the US it has been demonstrated that the more money you have the more influence you have. The left have to come out fighting with facts and short media statements. Where are the short impact-full one-liners. Christian members on the left should be forming a coalition of religious leaders from all denominations of concerned citizens to uphold values of justice, equity, utility, compassion and so on. Intellectuals need to demonstrate why empathy and compassion is a powerful weapon against irrational fears and that we can solve our problems given sound logical thinking, and dare I say, science.

    Before any detail can be discussed there needs to be a clear and precise attack upon the conservative agenda by sowing doubt in peoples minds then offer some clear simple broad ranging solutions. Get into the minutia and people shut down. An immediate emotional trigger is absolutely necessary. It is being handed to Labor on a platter ant they just seem to be partially paralyzed by self-doubt. If you want to win you must demonstrate you are a winner by excessive exuberance and absolute confidence. What is it that Labor needs to regain its working class Mo Jo? Drive and confidence are absolute necessities.

    AIMN can develop a comprehensive attack on policies and set out objectives and solutions to the more complex problems as well as advocate for a more targeted public profile using the fundamental tools of media control. Bloggers could help to promote these ideas to their local members and the Labor Party, Greens and Independents. It seems to me AIMN is going in the right direction however bloggers should become active promoters and advocates of this site. It may well be more influential outside of the political mainstream than inside where it would be neutered by party political imperatives.

  55. Stephen Tardrew

    It makes me wonder how much the Labor right is still captured by economic rationalism and the debt boggy.

  56. abbienoiraude

    Like others here I applaud this well balanced proposals but like a couple of other comments I am anxious about the importance of NO cuts to PES and no linking to CPI but to Min male wage. We carers are ignored and every cent given to those who receive full aged/DSP pension goes back into the community. Cut this and there is a knock-on effect especially in small and regional/rural areas. Personally terrified about being able to hold onto our modest little home.
    Maybe if you can’t run for Part you could be Labor’s primary advisor?

  57. Mary Poppins

    Where’s the ‘thumbs-down’ icon so I can vote this article down. Firstly, it isn’t Shorten’s job to provide the parliament with a budget that some mythical ‘we’ accept. Secondly, who is the ‘WE’ in this article? It’s certainly not any WE that I want any part of! There are whole tracts of meanness in Abbott’s/Hockey’s budget that you’ve simply ignored to address. Might I suggest that you actually read the Budget papers before you write an alternative one in response next time.

  58. musteryou

    “We will accept a lowering of the threshold of HECS debt repayments to $50,000 but we will not support any interest increases.”

    This is important— because if you saddle Australia with debt, it burns to the ground.

  59. Kaye Lee

    Mary, I have read much of the budget and PEFO and MYEFO. Mr Shorten does have to decide what he will say yes and no to and that will involve some negotiation. he can also propose amendments and should have some ready to go.

    it was presumptuous of me to say “we” but saying “I” would have been even more so don’t you think? These are just a few suggestions.

    You don’t need a thumbs down to indicate your displeasure. What I would prefer is if you discussed the budget issues that concern you that I have failed to address.

  60. Gregory T

    I could appreciate the attempt to negotiate for a fair and equitable budget, if all things were equal. But, how can you negotiate a budget that was spawned out of lies and dishonesty? Is there a point that a lie becomes a half truth? Where dishonesty is an acceptable policy? You seem to forget that we are dealing with a government that has no ethics, empathy or any human emotion, other then greed and self-aggrandizement. To even accept a portion of this obscenity, is a win that could force us to become the drones of it’s Ideology, and condemn the weakest of us to a life of despair. No, you cannot negotiate with anti-social terrorists, who’s words are lies and therefore have failed the “Good Faith” clause associated with any social contract. This government must be held to account for it’s crimes both attempted and completed, against those it has failed to serve. The people should demand and accept no less.

    Of course, IMHO

  61. diannaart

    An excellent articles generating some excellent comment, thank you.

  62. mars08

    Leaving aside the moral consideration of dealing with liars and thugs…

    The practical issue here is that negotiating with terrorists encourages them.

    So… negotiating with terrorists is pointless unless they have the capacity to stop being terrorists. Has the Abbott government shown any signs of reconsidering it’s doctrine? Is there the slighest indication that they are reviewing their raison d’être?

  63. Kaye Lee

    I feel more like I am negotiating with people who don’t have a clue so if you actually look at my offers we end up MUCH better off by conceding a few points to win the big game. Tony never did debating at school…it’s an old strategy.

  64. mars08

    Kaye Lee… I suspect that many terrorists “don’t have a clue”. They have beliefs. They have a world view which, for them, justifies their actions. That’s the ONLY game the hard-core fanatics care about.

    Now…. exactly how hard-core is this government?

  65. Stephen Tardrew

    Kaye I think your offer is well though out and most importantly doable and that is the prime criteria. An idealistic wish list is going to get us nowhere.

  66. Stephen Tardrew

    “Thought out” damn grow up sonny.

  67. Gregory T

    We are no longer dabbling in old school politics, where a little argy bargy, give and take and compromise was played out between outwardly honourable men, who feared being caught out lying to the public. We now have entire governments who no longer fear betraying the electorate with overt lying. This is now a class war, and this government rules by the creed, That all is fair in love(for wealth) and war(against the weak).

  68. Möbius Ecko

    First 7 months of Gillard minority government:
    Bills passed: 127
    Bills not passed: 3

    First 7 months of Abbott government:
    Bills passed: 7
    Bills not passed: 13
    Bills before Reps: 50
    Bills before Senate: 17

    I’ll add. Stuff destroyed: Everything.

  69. mars08

    We now have entire governments who no longer fear betraying the electorate with overt lying…

    Why should they fear the electorate? oooooh… new series of Offspring! Look, there’s Ricky Martin! Go the Blues! Dannii Minogue went to North Korea!!!

  70. patsy

    kaye I do not believe in abbott horse trading….watch his face when he tells the people his lies……THE SMILING ASSASSIN……..EVIL MAN !!!!!!!!!!

  71. dimmy

    Have the ideas expressed by you in tjis column been sent to “the Party Strategists” of the ALP, because they need some guidance because they have not really defended their legacy of the last 6 years well enough.
    They have been too obsessed with Abbott and at times have lapsed into populism (eg Asylum Seekers) and look what that has lead to for those people. I will also admit that Abbott has been aided by sloppy & lazy journalists who have failed to take it to him.
    We already have a PPL and it has been functioning equitably.

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