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If Abbott and Kelly want to cross the floor, let them

One of the most important roles of government is to prioritise. They must identify the challenges facing us and the consequences of inaction. They must rank the urgency of responding to problems and decide on the most efficient use of resources to address them.

The current debate about energy policy is a prime example of a government failing to do that.

As Josh Frydenberg tries desperately to reach some sort of agreement with the states on energy policy, we are presented with the ridiculous situation of Captain No and his sidekick Kelly threatening to cross the floor if the government keeps to the emissions reduction agreement that Abbott himself negotiated and signed us up to.

Even the conservatives are pleading with them to give a little.

Trent Zimmerman, in defending the NEG, said it was “the best opportunity we have to find energy security and stability.”

Actually, it’s about the 5th best opportunity, the Coalition having scuttled all the better options.

“We have three goals in energy policy: providing grid security, lowering prices and meeting our Paris targets, and all three of these things are equally important,” Mr Zimmerman said to the party room.

But the point is that those things are not equally important.

On the one hand, we grumble about paying an extra $10 a week on our electricity bill or the possibility of the occasional short blackout.

On the other hand, we face the catastrophic consequences of continued global warming and the climate change that it is causing.

Unless we can turn a corner, millions of people will die. Droughts, floods, heat waves, fires and storms will all intensify. Coastal areas and low-lying land will become inundated and arable land will become desert. Reefs will die off and many species of plants and animals will face extinction.

If Abbott and Kelly want to cross the floor, let them. And then immortalise the photo of them and any who join them in their reckless, selfish ignorance.

History will judge.


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  1. Matters Not

    Looking at the big picture, it’s advantageous that Abbott and Kelly remain in their current positions. They constitute a fifth column of some influence while providing comedic relief for the informed.

    Abbott and Kelly shouldn’t cross the floor. No, that’s far too predictable. Rather they should criss-cross the floor – whenever the parliamentary bells are rung – keeping everyone guessing. And if the Opposition demands a recount, they should repeat the exercise – but not always. On every third …

  2. helvityni

    Nothing will change unless we start voting in better people to govern the country….

  3. Michael Taylor

    helvityni, the way the mainstream media is carrying on anybody (without much in the way of a brain, ie, 99% of their readers) would think that the best people to govern the country have already been voted in.

    It’s a sad situation.

  4. MikeW

    Abbott complains he was misled, what a nerve, this man told Australians out and out lies to get elected PM.

  5. Keith

    Here is a Turnbull quote, it is relevant for the current “government”:

    “We have an Opposition [“government leader”] Leader who has in the space of a few months held every possible position on the issue, each one contradicting the position he expressed earlier.
    …..we are now without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted.”

    The comment was about climate change, it could have been about the “budget crisis” or other policy areas.

  6. New England Cocky

    There are “lies, damn lies” and Australian LNP politicians; the three are inextricably interlinked.

    Last night Turdball crowing about the tax “reforms” merely identified himself as a self-serving multi-millionaire gifting himself a huge tax benefit at the expense of the Australian voters.

    Australian capitalism has a too long history of dependence upon government handouts; currently about $150 BILLION PER YEAR free gratis and for nothing to the undeserving wealthy and corporates. Uhm …. apparently that is not socialism by NLP definitions.

    Meanwhile this RAbbott Morriscum Dutton Turdball NLP misgovernment is driving Australia into a 19th century third world colonial economy for the benefit of foreign multinational corporations and their shareholders living overseas.

  7. Kaye Lee


    On Lateline in 2011, Malcolm also said “If you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions, you know, in a very substantial way to the levels that the scientists are telling us we need to do by mid-century to avoid dangerous climate change, then a direct action policy where the Government, where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget in the years ahead.”

    And then there’s tax concessions….

    In his 2005 tax policy paper, Malcolm Turnbull described negative gearing and the CGT discount as a “sheltering tax haven” that is “skewing national investment away from wealth-creating pursuits, towards housing”, and has caused a “property bubble”. Turnbull also acknowledged that “Australia’s rules on negative gearing are very generous compared to many other countries” and that “the normal deductibility principles do not apply to negatively geared real estate such that the taxpayer is not obliged to demonstrate that the negatively geared property will generate positive cash flow at some point in the distant future”.

    In 2014 he said “Looking at Australia’s tax regime you would say that it is too tough on people earning income… but is incredibly concessional to older people who have made their money…”

    What Malcolm said

  8. Jaquix

    Malcolm Turnbull has trashed his own credibility. What an about turn, and none of it good. Of course he will only remember his life as Prime Minister, which he values above all else.

  9. jimhaz

    [Malcolm Turnbull has trashed his own credibility]

    He seems to get worse and worse each month. Once upon a time I didn’t think he was as bad as his cohorts – but nowadays everything he says is a contextual lie. My god our parliament is a cesspool of deceit and my god the power of herd behaviour becomes increasingly sickening.

    The internet and its unintended consequence of tribalisation is really harming us – the more these people are belittled the harder they and their supporters fall into inane tribal behaviour.

    BTW- Shorten impressed me for the first time in more than 12 months in relation to this tax debate. He actually sounded “fair dinkum”

  10. Keith

    Thanks Kaye

    I saved your reference for the future.

  11. Terence Mills

    When the Howard government was in its dying days and confronting what was to be an election loss – with Howard not only losing his seat, the prime ministership and government – they introduce ridiculous tax cuts daring Labor to match them which Rudd was forced to do.

    We are now seeing personal income tax cuts being legislated out to seven years in advance and next week they will try to have the Senate pass massive corporate tax cuts .

    All of this smacks of desperation on the part of the coalition who so dearly want to cling to power and are prepared to do so at the expense of the budget and with the inevitable cuts to health, education, social services and infrastructure.

    And it now seems that, that silly, silly woman Hanson will go along with all this in complete contradiction to her prior insistence that she would not back tax cuts to the top end of town.

    We’ll all be rooned said Hanrahan if the coalition remain in power !

  12. Harry

    Like Terence, my concern is that the tax cuts will result in an even higher budget deficit that will then be used as a pretext to make further cuts to government spending on much needed support for the disatvantaged, jobless, health and education.

  13. guest

    We know that Howard’s pork-barreling and waste of the mining boom still has its effects on the economy even today. However, the “great big debt” mantra has disappeared and what looks like a huge lump of pork-barreling, as tax cuts, is being offered by the Coalition just before the next election.

    So Hanson, who initially opposed the handout to the big end of town, now supports it. Do we know why she changed?

    Albanese, according to Murdoch pundits, is supposed to have exposed a “gulf with Shorten” because he says Labor should “engage with big business”, thus “repudiating Bill Shorten’s anti-business crusade”. Do the Murdochians really believe that Albanese supports a great big tax reduction for the rich? Do they not see that Shorten is ‘engaging’ with big business but not in the way the Murdochians want?

    And we know that Labor is not the only critic of the “trickle down” tax cut. There are others, but the Murdoch/Coalition choose to attack Emma Alberici because that means a double whammy against Labor and the ABC. It is how they spin and spin the spin – and carry on with it for days, weeks, months, even years. Meanwhile, Turnbull, after 34 consecutive poll losses, has “scored a goal” , they say, but we do not know whether it is in game time or whether we have to wait another 7 years to see the result in what will be way over time.

    And with reference to Howard again. It arises from a piece of puff writing from Geoffrey Blainey about the ANU decision rejecting the Ramsay offer of a Western Civilisation degree course. The essay begins at P15 of the Inquirer section and repeatedly tells us that Brian Schmidt has not offered a “satisfactory” explanation for the rejection, except to say that it was a matter of “university autonomy”. Of course we know that Blainey and the Murdoch media would not accept any rejection of the proposal, whatever reason was offered, even if a doctoral thesis was presented. Blainey tells us that Schmidt “seems to be doubting his own civilisation”. Which is a strange thing to say when we know that the ANU (as do other universities) offers a swag of units on Western Civilisation. To which Blainey lamely asks, Couldn’t they have just one more?

    Blainey goes on to whitewash Western Civilisation with nice things and makes some mild criticisms which we are to excuse. In fact he also points in other directions, telling us how much non-Western cultures have contributed to Western Civilisation.

    But we have to turn to p20 to find an interesting point. Having attributed the supposed demise of respect for Western Civilisation in Oz on “children of the 60s”, Blainey goes on to tell us he is the one who coined the phrase “the black armband view of history”.

    Now the 1960s was a time when recognition was at last given to Aboriginal rights, yet even in more recent times the Uluru Statement has been rejected. In France there were the student riots in 1968 against capitalism, consumerism and American imperialism. Sound familiar?

    So the “black armband view of history” – that the take over of Terra Nullius involved violent invasion – was rejected by people such as Windschuttle, Howard and was critcised endlessly in the Murdoch media in its Culture Wars program – and is still brought up today.

    The white-wash of the history of Western Civilisation – and of Oz – is a mind-set which will not go away, because the children of the Enlightenment on which neo-liberalism and capitalism are based believe the notion of endless growth and wealth is theirs with God’s blessing.

    However, more recent writing about Aboriginal culture has painted a different view of Indigenous culture. Perhaps the Ramsay group could offer a degree course on those 60,000 years of Indigenous culture.

  14. Zathras

    Abbott and Kelly have made their position crystal clear to some if us. We should just kick over that rock, let them get on with it and let’s see which others come scurrying out into the daylight along with them.

    Also, tax shouldn’t be a problem for any of us if we all stashed our money offshore in the Cayman Islands like our in-touch-with-the-common-man PM.

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