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I have a bad feeling about this

Speaking to a business audience in London, our work experience Treasurer Josh Frydenberg informed them that achieving a surplus was his primary goal regardless of what is happening in the economy.

When asked if he would consider pushing back next year’s projected budget surplus if, as economists predict, the economy continued to weaken, Frydenberg answered “No. And I can spell that.”

“We took to the election our budget commitments and we will faithfully implement it. In fact, my first priority is about implementing our election commitments.”

A Treasurer who sticks “faithfully” to a plan which ignores reality is of grave concern.

Josh assures us that the government’s $158 billion tax cut package will provide the stimulus to boost the economy.

People earning $50,000 will get an extra $3.30 a day. Those on over $200,000 will get an extra $32 a day, slightly less than what Newstart recipients are expected to survive on.

This would entrench revenue cuts right at a time when the government has committed to an enormous spend on military equipment and when the cost of caring for an aging population is growing rapidly.

Governments need to be flexible enough to be able to react to prevailing conditions. They need to anticipate what is coming and prepare. They need the courage to do what is needed rather than slavishly adhering to a mantra of lower taxes and smaller government.

They need to evaluate the evidence.

And let’s face it Josh – sticking to your plans so far has not gone well.

You got rid of carbon pricing. Emissions and power bills went up.

You got rid of the mining super profits tax. Mining investment and jobs went down.

You got rid of the fringe benefits tax requirements for leased cars. The car industry closed down.

You got rid of the budget repair levy on high income earners. The budget is still in deficit.

You cut penalty rates. Underemployment goes up.

You cut foreign aid and are then surprised when China fills the gap.

You cut Indigenous funding and refused to give them a Voice. The disadvantage gap widens and the incarceration rate grows.

You cut funding to the corporate regulators and then had to give it back when you realised that big business does not do the right thing without intense scrutiny.

You sacked thousands of public servants, leading to a loss of expertise and very large redundancy payouts, and then contracted thousands of consultants instead.

You spend hundreds of millions on water buybacks. The rivers dry up.

You give hundreds of millions to middlemen to save the reef. The bleaching keeps happening.

Company profits continue to be high. Consumer confidence and household spending are low.

Net debt has increased from $174,557 million at 30 September 2013 to $372,154 million at the end of April. Gross debt is now $541,942m.

The economy has grown for 28 consecutive years yet we are now in a per capita recession and, on Friday, the NAB declared Australia’s retail sector in recession.

This is what has been delivered by the Coalition’s “better economic management”.

The real problem is that they believe their own advertising and cannot see that what they are doing is not working.

This could get really ugly.


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  1. Keitha Granville

    Only when it gets ugly will some people work out what had happened. It may be too late.

    For the rivers, for the reef, for the aquifers and the groundwater, for the air we breathe, for the homeless, for the disabled, for refugees – in fact for anything that actually matters.

  2. Stephen Tardrew

    You elected these economic incompetents now you will suffer the consequences. Point is when will you wake up. A surplus generally dries up the money supply, leads to recession while reducing government expenditure it also increases the need for citizens to borrow more and more. As the government reduces its expenditure you have to increase yours debt to compensate. Australia has one of the highest level of private debt in the developed world. They scare you about government debt while increasing your private debt servitude. It is a balance sheet not a family profit and loss statement. Government expenditure that is not taxed back is private savings and assets on the debit side of the ledger. They are in effect criminals lying their way to power providing endless corporate welfare while continually winding buck social welfare. You are their willing serfs people.

  3. whatever

    As i have stated before, these BackBench bratpack flunkies who have inherited the LNP Govt are merely going-through-the-motions of their University Student Council takeover days.
    They don’t have any plan, other than to stop spending/funding for everything except their own patch.

  4. Wendy Tubman

    Spot on Kaye Lee. I wish I had found all this a couple of weeks before May 18 rather than now. But it won’t be forgotten when this government falls or is kicked out within (not after) the next 3 years

  5. Leep

    All I can do is agree with u Stephen my frustration is tangible I feel as if I’m screaming at the wind why are the people so dumb, why!why!why!

  6. Aortic

    Which part of trickle down economics 101, don’t they understand. It has been lauded many times in the past as the cure for all ills, but all it has a track record of doing is making the rich richer and increasing inequality. How on earth, if you are struggling with a crippling mortgage, paying bills and providing the basics for your family is a paltry increase going to provide the economic stabiliser. This Treasurer, like many of his predecessors wouldn’t know an economy if it jumped up and bit him in the buttocks. You are right Kaye, he is a work experience Treasurer and at this critical time for our economy, one we cannot afford.

  7. Deidre Zanker

    Morrison non-government out of touch with reality, incapable of managing the economy, hopeless at governing, wouldn’t recognise the truth if it bit them, destroying our democracy with a tinpot autocratic leader.

  8. Joseph Carli

    “Preference Farming” for electoral success!

    Ok..here’s what I deduce happened..: The polls are going ratshit for the LNP..they are in the proverbial..what to do?…their spin-doctor lobbyists suggest a consultation with the now defunct “Cambridge Analytica” to crunch the numbers needed to get the LNP over the line in the coming election..They work out that the mood of the voters is toward small parties/indies to get a better percentage of the voting…BUT..where will their preferences go?..Therein lies the solution.

    They need to get heaps of preferences in many seats from a reliable source…enter PHON and Palmer…they are the only ones who can cover so much ground..But PHON are arse-breakingly inept, unreliable and broke…but they are solid on-side..They are keen for a deal..so they are told; ok, but get some money or get stuffed!…Exit Ashby and co. to the NRA. Where they confess that if they had the dosh, they could alter the democratic outcome in the elections..or wtte..

    Palmer, on the other hand, is “reliable old-school Nat’ Party swindle”…and he has his assets frozen in 2018 over the shennannigans of he, his relative and his company’s fiddling the books and wages of his employees etc…he’s under the pump both legally and financially..AND he has that handy, dodgy old political party of his tucked away in the closet like an A. Jones deep, dark confession…He has the many bank accounts where money could be shifted to from..say; Parakeela, a certain “prospecting” group or India..if you get the drift!…whatever, he’s on board..he has no choice…but he’s not interested in getting back into Parliament…he doesn’t have to, they say…he only has to follow instructions and enter a candidate, ANY SHONKY PERSON, in EVERY SEAT running and let the “back-room boys” run the show from there..all he is needed for is to give a sense..a very slim sense…(because the AEC is in the hands of another “Duntroon Poltroon” and can be guaranteed to “do its job”…of f#ck all)…of legitimacy to the scam…HE only has to do a couple of pressers when required and then he can go spend sometime in Fiji or wherever…yes!..of course..all “on The House”…AND as a bonus, he can keep the electoral refund money he gets for the percentage of votes he gathers and the Murdoch press will wash him as white as a Georgia/ American Belle O’ the South!……if he just keeps his big mouth shut!

    Let the preference farming begin!

  9. Judith Bacon

    A comment was made that the person wished they had known all this prior to the election. Now that could have been a sarcastic comment because all this info WAS known before the election via independent media. Having listened to Bob Hawke’s memorial I am left wondering when will Australia have real government and leadership rather than the work experience we are so authorative nongs some of us stupidly elected.

  10. totaram

    What Stephen Tardrew has said is NOT known to most people. But it is true because it is a simple consequence of the 3-sector accounting identity, which is true, by definition, and applies irrespective of the currency in use. However, many people, even Labor and Greens supporters, doubt that it is true or that it holds or… something or the other.

    Having banged on about it many times I will not repeat everything again and waste everyone’s time.

  11. Win Jeavons

    As for governments planning forward, that is what I, with spousal encouragement, have done most of my life, even to planning decades ahead , based on trends. The result is I can assist struggling younger ones and still keep my head above water. This on 2 quite ordinary incomes when jobs were secure. I have no background in economics,but I can see a political con when it appears . Apparently Josh is either too ignorant or too complacently comfortable to do likewise. We have a government of the crooked voted in by the myopically stupid..

  12. Kaye Lee

    Joseph, I am not sure if the electoral funding is handed out on first preferences in each electorate or on national totals. I know you have to get 4% of the valid first preference votes. Nationally, Palmer’s party only got 3.4% of the vote and One Nation got 3.1%. I suppose it is probably paid if a candidate gets 4% in their electorate but I can’t find specific reference to that.

  13. guest


    Palmer…”under the pump both legally and financially”

    Makes us wonder how much Palmer actually paid for the yellow pages in the Murdoch rag – or what sweetheart deal was made.

    So we have Palmer and Rinehart waiting in the wings with a gaggle of other coal miners eager to tear the “untouched” Galilee Basin to bits. And there are coal mines planned which will be bigger than Adani.

    Have a look at photographs of big coal mines – deep holes and hundreds of hectares in area. Are we to believe these examples of environmental vandalism will be magically rehabilitated? Not on your nelly.

    The IPCC has given us 12 years to get organised about global warming/climate change. For decades now we have been hearing about ‘peak oil’ and ‘tipping points’ and indications that what the IPCC warns us about are actually happening already.

    Yet we are dictated to by people with money or access to money. This Adani wallah has been hanging about for many years. Early on we heard stories about shady dealings, Cayman and shell companies, but over time he appears to have become for some people the great Job Provider. He is depicted as the saviour of millions in poverty. These poor people, how are they going to afford electricity, especially if the same kind of energy plan exists in India as appears in Oz. India has the problem of having to buy in huge amounts of oil, gas and coal to support a consumer base which is low.

    Meanwhile, India is working hard on renewables – wind, solar, water – as well as nuclear. How long before Adani’s Oz coal becomes a stranded asset? How long before Coal Oz becomes a wretched backwater?

    They all work together, these moghuls – Murdoch, Palmer, Rinehart, the US coal and oil barons, the Russians, etc. We are fed stale chook mash watered down so we have no idea what it is we are digesting. It is a crock of lies.

    That is why, Judith Bacon, we have known for a long time about the kinds of things Kaye Lee tells us about, but we are too busy keeping our heads above water to be able to look around and see the Great Deception.

  14. Jack Cade

    There was a quotation from Sartre in a Guardian article this week: ‘The worst part about being lied to is the realisation that you are not worth telling the truth to.’
    We have elected the governmental equivalent of ‘black ops’, which is on display right now in the US claim that Iran is stupid enough to torpedo a Japanese freighter while Abe is actually in Iran talking treaties.
    The US has a very long history of sabotaging its own to provoke war.
    Fake news is what governments use prompt responses they want. The LNP got elected by lying; why tell the truth?

  15. Kaye Lee

    People scream about any retrospective financial change yet they seem ok with approvals based on prospective environmental promises. Adani has had ten years to do the research they have now promised they will do in the future. They don’t yet have leases for the land their railway will cut through. Nor do they have a contract with the existing railway they hope to link up to.

    Some facts about coal-fired power in India from Feb this year.

    • a total of 491 GW of planned capacity additions were canceled in the past eight years, a fairly dramatic scale-back of India’s coal-fired aspirations.
    • the risk that new coal plants are unviable is rising, with 40.1 GW of Indian coal plants currently assessed as “stranded assets”

    • power supply auctions have shown that renewables can be offered at less than 3 rupees (4 U.S. cents) per kilowatt hour, a tariff that coal-fired generators have difficulty matching and new plants could not possibly match given higher capital and operating costs.

    • banks are becoming reluctant to lend to new ventures, and insurers are also becoming less keen to offer cover.


  16. Joseph Carli

    The trick of political rhetoric is that you do NOT have to prove something has been done, but to just insinuate that it could in all likelyhood possibly have been done…and then get the MSM to repeat it endlessly…

  17. Stephengb

    Yes All of Kaye’s, list was indeed available.. as indeed was the notion that, “a vote for so called Independents, and minor parties would risk the return of the LNP”. Me!
    I kept saying it, for more that 6 months before the election.

    But what the hell would I know?

    My degree was gained from the university of life.

    Yes I know 20/20 hindsight is a wonderfull thing.

    What we have to do, as well as add to this echo chamber, is get out there and add your excellant articles and your comments to social media, where not so like minded individuals will see another point of view!

  18. helvityni

    …I was surprised to find out that Bob Hawke was already concerned about the GW, so was Julia Gillard, privately people are doing sensible things, businesses are worried….what is our present Government doing about it to prevent further warming…

    Abbott said it was ‘crap’, I was disappointed in Turnbull…what about Scomo..?

  19. andy56

    lets face it, the only ideology the liberals understand is what gets them elected.
    I get sick when i see all the crowing going on about ADANI. Its so wrong on so many fundamental levels yet some brain dead morons think its great. All its going to do is make the repairs so much effing harder when the shit level hits the arse.
    Still, my country never ceases to amaze, beautiful one day, desert the next. The intellectual capital of the world. Makes china look inviting.
    The list of screw ups is long, but how bad does it have to get before the rednecks realise they have been had?

  20. totaram

    Stephengb: Not everyone in the University of Life takes the same courses! You can go to Uni and come out a member of the IPA or something totally different. The point is that there weren’t enough people to listen to you or to learn from you. Sad but true. The reason is that what you had to say was drowned out 100-fold by what others were paid to say and repeat. Unfortunately, many people are easily swayed by what is repeated often. Goebbels knew all about that, as do all politicians since then. What can we do about that? I have no idea.

  21. David Stakes

    Joseph gets it in one hit.

  22. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee (1:18 pm),
    For the senate the >4% / $2.76 per vote cash bonus is dished out to parties/blocs based upon state-wide percentages.
    For the HoR, electoral ‘reimbursement’ is apportioned on a division by division basis.

    Ps, although the 1984 rules for HoR electoral funding specify that the ‘performance bonus’ goes to actual candidates, I strongly suspect that, in most cases where a candidate stands under a party brand, party rules are structured so that the backing party, rather than the fronting candidate, is the body that pockets any proceeds.

  23. David Bruce

    All the investment and financial newsletters I read here are predicting Australia in recession after 2020! Maybe Josh has a mission to do that so investors can buy Australia for a song?

    If things get too hot in the kitchen Josh can always do a runner on his other passport…

  24. Bilal Cleland

    These conservative incompetents will destroy the economy and the environment to serve their constituents. We will reap the whirlwind as a result.

  25. Pete Petrass

    “You sacked thousands of public servants, leading to a loss of expertise and very large redundancy payouts, and then contracted thousands of consultants instead.”
    You forgot to mention that consultants and contractors cost at least double or more of the cost of the public servants they replace.

  26. Henry Rodrigues

    I can sense the anger, the frustration and indeed the hopelessness expressed in all the comments here today, and the mighty hurdles that are in place to defeat the reactionary forces, which are aided and abetted by Murdoch and the rest of the bastards and whores in the MSM.

    Can we crowdfund a broadcast licence ? I don’t know how expensive or difficult or even how possible it is to get approval, but I listen to many community radio stations which lend their studios at some cost no doubt, to many different and disparate groups and organizations to get their message out. One radio station has the LGBT group and on sundays an indian language program and on others days in the week, various others with a specific messages, take over the studios. Its only only a small station based in Sydney’s east with a weak signal but if I can listen to it in Sydney’s west, Why can’t some progressive organization like Getup do the same, or even the Union movement or anyone willing to take on those sobs ???

    Its time to get even, time to do something concrete.

  27. David Evans

    Sick, sad joke…We have been conned yet again Australia.

  28. Aortic

    One of the most disturbing aspects of the Adani mine project is the possibility of damage to our national treasure already under pressure the Great Barrier Reef. I will never be convinced that the countless pages of environmental conditions undoubtedly governing the project will protect anything or anyone. Having worked in the property industry in the past be assured unless environmental experts are on site twenty four hours a day seven days a week, those inflicting the most financial burdens will either be subverted or ignored completely. I recall outlining these concerns on another forum and having a reply from someone whose career was to devise and commit these conditions to paper absolutely confirming that this would be the case.

  29. Trevor

    The Australian Parliament is what it is because some wizened fools decided that The people would be inferior under Law to the Australian Parliament.

    What a grand fcking farce con job and failed experiment in Representative parliamentary Democracy.

    There is a solution at hand.

    Remove the Politicians present rights(politoxicrorts) to a different standard of Justice than Ordinary Ozlanders.

  30. Joseph Carli

    From the Discourses of Nicoli Machiavelli..: ” And this conclusion can be drawn, that where the people is not corrupted, tumults and other troubles do no harm; but where corruption exists, well ordered laws are of no benefit, unless they are administered by one who, with extreme strength, will make them be observed until the people become good [cured]; I do not know if this ever happened, or whether it be possible that it could happen; for it is seen (as I have said a little above) that a City coming to decadence because of the corruption of its people, if it ever happens that she is raised up again, it happens through the virtu of one man who is then living, and not by the virtu of the general public, that the good institutions are sustained:. . . ”

    Unfortunately, as we can see, the people of Aust’ are by and large now corrupt…a rabble…and such a rabble cannot be governed…they can only be led by the nose..and so they will elect a corrupt government to compliment their aspirations..and unless an extreme event or circumstance comes to remake the citizen body “well” again…it will follow the usual course of events in this situation.

    Back in the days of Gough Whitlam, such a person did take control of a corrupt government at the end of the Vietnam War and turned the country around from a agressive military state into a social state with a raft of social policy programs…But he was “asassinated” by the LNP and their cohorts and we have ever since been under the rule of economic policies…I cannot see a happy ending to this chapter, because this regeim must now, more than before, not lose another election or it will face the full force and judgement of national and international law…So many have broken laws…They will need to re-shape the law to suit their own ends….

  31. RomeoCharlie29

    Another excellent piece Kaye Lee and I join with those in frustration and despair. Former Minister, now coal lobbyist, Ian McFarlane was on ABC News or 7.30 looking straight at the camera and tell8n* us that the coal from the Galilee Basin was the best in the world. Fact check anyone?

    Another building safety issue in Sydney sees residents of a high rise tipped out of their homes for an unknown period. Time for an inquiry into the construction industry but the Setka stuff is a distraction the LNP will hammer mercilessly against unions and Labor.

    What we need are two or three LNP retirements in marginal seats in a few months time when a couple more pieces of excreta hit the fan and that could be the end of the government. Nominations for likely candidates please?

  32. Kaye Lee

    Associate Professor Gavin Mudd, from RMIT University, has mapped the quality of coal deposits across Australia.

    “If you look at the Galilee Basin coal, there’s a reason why it hasn’t been developed — it’s poorer quality coal, compared to other places of Australia,” Dr Mudd said.

    “It’s certainly not as bad as brown coal from an energy point of view, but from an ash point of view it’s almost 10 times more ash content.”

    Adani has admitted in court that their coal isn’t the best in the basin.

    The average energy content of coal at Adani’s planned mine is about 18 per cent below benchmark Australian coal.

    Adani conceded in court the ash content was about 26 per cent, roughly double the Australian benchmark.

    A report to the court made on Adani’s behalf said the Carmichael mine would produce “two coal products”.

    “Product one, a low ash/moderate energy product most suitable for Asian premium markets,” the report said.

    “And product two, a high ash/lower energy product most suitable for non-premium markets, particularly India.”

    So the coal bound for India could be a fairly low-grade product.

  33. Stephen

    This all presumes they actually want or care about the intentions they publicly state. It’s the smoke and mirrors again and again look where I direct you, hear what I want you to hear, don’t judge us by the results we get in relation to what we promised.

    They are broadly getting exactly what they want and intended, cutting revenue means you can sell assets to interested parties for their private profit, with the added bonus of directorships and consultancies later. The reduction in revenue means you can claim the need to cut further benefits and sell more Public assets a classic feedback loop.

    Weaken and wind back workers positions any way and and opportunity you can. to increase business profits even further, look at the gap between productivity improvements and wages for the last twenty years ask what the wage workers got from it. Longer hours, job insecurity, loss of benefits.

    They are succeeding at the actual agenda just not the agenda they proclaim.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Re Adani, they still don’t have a lease on Moray Downs land to allow construction of the railway, workers camp or airport. They don’t have a license to build and operate a rail line. They don’t have Infrastructure & Interface Agreements with the local councils. They don’t have accreditation as a Rail Infrastructure Manager and Rolling Stock Operator, and they have not yet agreed to and signed a royalties agreement.


    And I don’t think they have a contract with Aurizon to use their railway yet or insurance which no-one seems keen to provide.


  35. Michael Taylor

    Even in primary school we learnt that most coal in Australia is brown coal, with only a few places having the better quality black coal.

    Who on earth would want to buy something so low grade?

  36. Wendy Tubman

    Much (most?) of the coal in Victoria is brown coal but there are massive amounts of black coal (especially metallurgical coal) elsewhere in the country, Michael.

  37. Michael Taylor

    They still should leave it in the ground, Wendy.

  38. Wendy Tubman

    ‘King oath!

  39. Kaye Lee

    There is still a market for metallurgical coal as they don’t really have better options yet for steel production etc. It is thermal coal that we don’t need more of since renewables can replace coal-fired power.

  40. Michael Taylor

    ’King oath!

    Love it, Wendy. 😀

  41. Michael Taylor

    One million homes in Germany now have solar panels (I read somewhere today).

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