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I’m not feeling stimulated. Are you?

Much of what happens in, and to, our economy is beyond the control of our government.

Technology causes disruption in the labour market. Wars, be they armed conflict or tit-for-tat trade sanctions, affect the global economy. Natural disasters happen.

The government’s job is to recognise risk, do what they can to minimise it through future planning, and have the flexibility to react to current reality and unforeseen circumstances.

Josh Frydenberg is insisting that his tax cuts be passed in their entirety right now even though some parts will not come into effect for six years. He says this is a priority to stimulate the economy.

Tony Abbott said removing carbon pricing would stimulate the economy. He said removing the mining tax would lead to greater investment.

He was wrong.

Joe Hockey told us that “a rising tide would lift all boats”.

He was wrong.

Scott Morrison told us that increased company profits, tax cuts for small business, and low unemployment would lead to higher wages.

He was wrong.

Now Frydenberg is trying to tell us that locking in big tax cuts to the top wage earners will stimulate the economy.

He is also wrong.

When the Global Financial Crisis struck the rest of the world, Australia survived through the immediate implementation of a stimulus package designed to help those who needed it most.

In October 2008, the Labor government announced a $10.4 billion emergency spending plan that included

  • $4.8b down payment to pensioners, payable in December.
  • $3.9b in support payments for families.
  • $1.5b for first home buyers.
  • $187m to create new training positions

The pension aid assisted four million pensioners, carers, and seniors, with single pensioners receiving a lump sum payment of $1,400, while pensioner couples received $2,100. People receiving the carers’ allowance received $1,000 for each eligible person in their care.

The Government tripled to $21,000 the first-home buyers grant for people buying a newly constructed home. Those first-home buyers moving into existing properties received a doubling of the allowance to $14,000, limited to contracts entered into by June 30 the next year.

About 3.9 million Australian children also received a $1,000 one-off benefit, commencing in December, with families who received Family Tax Benefit (A), families with children who received the Youth Allowance, Abstudy or a benefit from the Veteran Children’s Education scheme all eligible.

A second economic stimulus package worth $42 billion was announced in February 2009. It consisted of an infrastructure program worth $26 billion, $2.7 billion in small business tax breaks, and $12.7 billion for cash bonuses, including $950 for every Australian taxpayer who earned less than $80,000 during the 2007-8 financial year.

This targeted response kept people in jobs and kept the economy growing during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

When Julia Gillard introduced carbon pricing, it was accompanied by a compensation package.

The measures included increasing the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200, direct payments to low and middle-income households called the Clean Energy Advance, the Clean Energy Supplement which provided assistance to pensioners and income support recipients, Family Tax Benefit recipients, and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders, compensation for trade-exposed industries by way of free carbon tax credits, the Carbon Farming Initiative which allowed farmers to sell carbon credits earned by planting trees, and the Clean Technology Investment Program which supported investments by the manufacturing and food sectors in “energy-efficient capital equipment and low emission technologies, processes and products”.

In the two years that the carbon price operated, electricity demand in the NEM declined by 3.8 per cent, the emissions intensity of electricity supply by 4.6 per cent, and overall emissions by 8.2 per cent, compared to the two-year period before the carbon price. It also raised $15.4 billion in revenue to cover the compensation.

Since its repeal, the Coalition has spent billions on its Direct Action Plan and Emissions Reduction Fund, only to see emissions rise by 4.2 per cent from their low in 2013. Power prices have also skyrocketed during this time. Increasing gas exports have seen Australians paying higher prices for gas than countries to whom we sell. Uncertainty about policy has hindered investment in energy generation to help prepare us for the closure of old coal-fired power stations.

But Matt Canavan wants more coal-mining and new coal-fired power stations. He also wants banks to ignore the commercial unviability of these projects and for energy companies to stop talking about carbon-pricing and emissions reduction.

It was Labor that earned us a triple A credit rating and Labor who kept the country growing when all others failed. It was Labor that took effective world-leading action on the global challenge of emissions reduction.

Labor offered a bank guarantee to support the strength of our financial sector when the world was in turmoil. The Coalition want to offer profit guarantees to the dying coal industry and job promises in an increasingly automated industry.

The Coalition’s plan of maximising business profit, protecting unsustainable tax concessions and cutting taxes for the wealthy, cutting the public service and using compliant consultants instead, privatising assets and outsourcing services, and continuing the expensive and ineffective re-named Climate Solutions Fund, will not stimulate the economy or relieve the cost-of-living pressure for low income households. It will not secure our energy future. It will not provide job security. It will not address the lack of affordable housing or the millions living in poverty.

Scott, Josh, Angus, Matt, Peter – I’m afraid you’re not doing it for me.

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  1. Aortic

    Not doing it for me either Kaye, well done again another insightful expose of the sheer inadequacy of the ” thinking” of these clowns. It is said good government envisages the big picture but this lot couldn’t see any picture as their sight is blurred by coal dust and inability to contact each other due to a Neolithic NBN. Still as long as Rupert is mollified and the IPA’s wished adhered to all will be well apparently. I know Morrison speaks in tongues but I am at a loss to understand any of them.

  2. Phil Pryor

    Economics ignoramuses infest this government like fleas around a camel’s clacker, and they use old quotes, slogans, false saying and dickhead dogma from what suits their greed in the hope of justifying the stupidity and selfishness of donors, patrons, fellow travellers. Canavan is a follow on of old Mussolini corporatism, a fascist fool and self seducing liar. Taylor is just a cunning machine man a thief using controls, rules, regulations, screens of law. They look after themselves as egotistical careerists “should”. Sickening for us, the planet, the future. No smart market investor would compute a new range of coal fired anything, anywhere, assessing all costs.

  3. John

    Jeez, I wish I could read this sort of stuff, hear this sort of stuff through the MSM. Even my daughter told me the progressive side needed a printed paper and a TV channel. Any progressive billionaires out there? Well done Amin, IA, TND, Guardian.

  4. Ken

    Love the photo you included Kaye.
    I haven’t seen two more worse drongos for a long time !

  5. Cheryl Bookallil

    Economics is no longer taught at secondary level, except at top private schools and in the ACT. This leaves us with a population lacking in economic literacy and vulnerable to claims of superior economic management by the LNP. Say it often enough, with the support of the Murdoch media empire, then people start to believe it. Remember the story of “the Emperor’s New Clothes”?.

  6. andy56

    look , these guys are fools at the levers. 101 economics , its about DEMAND. DEMAND has many faces. So far in economic developement we have managed to commoditise EVERYTHING. Technology is racing ahead at an incredible amount, its surprising we are still in the game. Old widgets are now obsolete and new widgets are in. We stopped making old widgets and didnt do our homework to develop news widgets. Congratulations to everyone from Keating to Morrison.
    Widgets are now so cheap and in over supply, pretty soon they will have to give them away.
    Retail has been guzumped by the internet, there is no return apart from niche products.
    So what have we got left? Mining and housing.
    Housing has hit the wall. Sky high prices just as we go all casual. If you didnt know, the gig economy is mortgage free, the banks wont lend you money to buy a house. So we have reached an equilibrium point that can topple over at any stage.
    Mining. Looks like by hook or by crook Adani will get his mine. Wait till climate change gets serious, stranded assets and people like Cavanah will be lined against a wall.
    What we are witnessing is death by a thousand cuts. The only solution that will work over the medium term is for housing prices to fall 50%. There i stake my claim. Instantly, new mortgages will become affordable and we will all have money to spend on new widgets.
    if you get the feeling we are in an increasingly hostile world of our own making, your not alone.

  7. guest

    If far more CO2 is being emitted in Oz than there was in the earlier part of this century, then the climate change policy of the current government is not working. And it makes a lie of the claim that they will reach the Paris Agreement at a canter, even though the target is pitifully small.

    The truth about what is happening with carbon emissions is being smothered in the vagaries of economics: jobs, growth, profit…Always economics. But if the economy is not reaching the target, if we do not get a surplus…it must be the economy which is at fault. It has to change.

    There will be mitigating circumstances and unintended consequences, and blaming of others…but there seems to a tendency for politicians to make claims for their economic policies which are implausible.

    How can great claims be made for an economy which overruns its carbon target? How can it justify its position when one of the big CO2 emitters, China, is increasing its commitment to reducing emissions and at the same time is the number one producer of renewable energy technology. It makes the Coalition effort look pitifully inadequate.

    An incident which struck me as iconic was the hysterical outburst from a politician when there was talk of increases in electric car production. The claim was the government would protect the diesel vehicles we might associate with tradies. No electrical vehicles! We’re neo-liberals! Business as usual!

    Well, it was not actually said in so many words, but the conservatism and ignorance displayed was obvious – and very, very scary.

    I thought of a statement made in the UK that Britain would never be a colony of the EU. But of course, Britain made colonies of vast areas of the world. There is a strange national sovereignty attitude here which smacks of superiority and refusal to cooperate. A rufusal to change rom what they used to be.

    I say this because there seems to be a hard-wired right-wing attitude which cannot see past their own noses. It is an attitude which seems to be on the rise – as if its proponents are terrified that business as usual is threatened and they are determined to act out a rear-guard action against change.

    And the challenge is for the neo-liberal view of the global economy to face the reality of climate change – and that means facing the science!

    The Coalition is not very good at that. In fact, it is stubbornly ignorant of the science. They close down scientific elements of government and there are some scientists who sell their souls to the denier faction. We know who they are.

    What needs to happen is that more questions are asked about where economics and science meet. Some of that is happening already in industry, where business is creating greater use of renewables. But at the same time we need to ask the questions about the science – as some banks and insurance groups – are doing.

    THe problem is, too often, journalists, for example, seem to be too afraid or too ignorant to ask the tough questions. The Opposition in Parliament , and in the Senate, need to question the lies and misinformation put forward by the Coalition in particular. Hard questions. Challenging questions. No sidestepping allowed.

    We have allowed ourselves to be led by the idea of jobs shipping coal to be burnt being good for us even when our carbon emissions are rising.

    Ask about plans to create jobs in anticipation of there being no jobs in coal.

    We have been told about these matters for decades – and still we are unprepared.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Labor have to get better in Question Time. Stop with the zingers. Stop with the same question repeated over and over. Stop with the preamble which allows the Minister to then waffle about totally unrelated things.

    Ask questions like….

    Can the Minister confirm that net debt has increased from $161,253 million at 31 August 2013 to $372,154 million at 30 April 2019, an increase of over 130% since you came to office.

    Can the Minister confirm that gross debt is now over $541 billion

    Can the Minister confirm that emissions to the end of September 2018 were only 2.6 per cent below emissions in 2000

    Can the Minister inform us as to what will happen to the refugees on Manus and Nauru that the US government refuses to take

    Can the Minister confirm that only 1.1% of jobs in Queensland are in coal mining

    Does the Minister agree with Senator Bridget McKenzie when she said “(Adani will) be employing 1,500 through the construction phase and around about 100 ongoing.” Where did the figure of 100 ongoing jobs come from

  9. guest

    Thank you, Kaye.

    I respect your writing for its clarity and direct relevance in precise detail. A model of public writing.

    Your list of questions is heartening. However there is also the matter of the nature of the answers – too often a fob-off with answers left unanswered.

    And of course the actual broadcast of Parliament occurs in early afternoon, unheard by so many of the Oz population.

    Marcia Langton on the Drum tonight pointed out that the people getting most attention in media reports were people like Morrison and Hanson, so that Shorten was down the list.

    Even on the Drum a discussion of the Adani mine concentrated on the process of decisions about the right of Adani to go ahead. There seemed to be the idea that stringent processes and restrictions would be applied – as if these would ensure that the right decision would be made without lobbying. Only more requirement to be approved.

    No mention except one about the amount of carbon emissions to arise from the development of the mine. A playwright made the point it was necessary to take into account the effects of climate change, not only on the mine but also on the environment and specific sites such as The Great Barrier Reef and attendant jobs.

    At least Marcia Langton made the point that experts need to be the ones driving the decision, but we know the politicians will/are being the ones to approve these matters.. As a spokesperson on the ABC news said, there is an element of bullying in the process over a long period of time.

    There was also expressed the idea that the decision had nothing to do with the Shorten, Morrison etc. It was up to the local people. I find the exclusion of the rest of Oz to be disappointing when in fact the massive increase in emissions to arise from the establishment of Adani – and up to 17 other mines in line to burn more coal – affects us all.

    I would have thought that we have enough coalmines already to provide coal – especially when there is speculation that coal’s decline is imminent faster than we thought.

    Some of the world’s worst horrific enterprises have been deigned in fine detail and carried out with industrial efficiency. Fortunately, such plans have not been universally accepted, but they demonstrate the incredible ingenuity devised to achieve the goals of vested interest and to justify it with cunning propaganda.

    Sometimes these schemes can make incredible profit. So with the Adani mine. So much money to dig up coal to be sold and to emit carbon into the atmosphere, with great approval despite the consequences.

    Whereas, if I tried to be paid to shovel faeces into the local reservoir I would need a great deal of rhetoric and support for me to succeed.. But with Adani and its emissions, it is welcome because it offers jobs and money! How good is Australia!

  10. Kaye Lee

    Sydney is about to start water restrictions.

    NSW’s top water agency has called for curbs on two big coal mines in Sydney’s catchment, saying millions of litres of water are being lost daily and that environmental impacts are likely breaching approval conditions.

    In a submission to an independent expert panel, WaterNSW said “there is now strong evidence that the environmental consequences in the Special Areas are greater than predicted when the mining was proposed and approved”.

    WaterNSW noted mining-related surface water losses at Dendrobium alone were as much as 1.28 billion litres a year. One previously permanent water course was now dry for 1.7 kilometres, or 90 per cent of its length, causing “complete aquatic habitat loss”. Species affected include the vulnerable Littlejohn’s tree frog.

    The series of effects exceeding approval conditions “significantly reduce confidence in the ability of mining companies to reliably predict the likely impacts of mining activities”, WaterNSW said.


    Has anyone else noticed that, even on the ABC, they are saying that the Queensland environment department has until June 13 to approve the groundwater management plan for Adani. One person had the decency to say oops, I mean assess.

  11. Jack Russell

    I suppose it’s too much to hope for that Labor’s frequent post-election fluffy media chit-chats have a deeper strategic purpose. If not, they’ve learnt less than nothing … beginning with value of not being the target when it’s the government that should be, but isn’t.

  12. Leep

    I dos Understand Why doesn’t labor advertiser it’s achievements the stimulus package the carbon tax and its compensation and the achievements of the carbon reduction why don’t they do it I just don’t understand liberals would.

  13. wam

    Spot on Kaye, I am stimulated by the level of ineptitude of scummos team. I am not confident Albo will be able to highlight the errors.
    Wow loved the reference to ‘labor’s AAA I have for 6 years tied it to the rabbott squealing like a stuck-pig about gillard’s debt day after day on sunrise and today then every question to gillrd or swan was debt. But not a question when the rabbott turnbull and scummo more than doubled the debt whilst still keeping gillard’s and swan’s AAA rating. Why??? BVilly didn’t get the morning show to ask???? Why????
    great questions for the autocue journalists to ask. Albo, et al, should:
    Take every chance to put one of those questions into silly sam’s head.
    Take every chance to remind us of the rorts and, at the same time, keep labor’s boys clean.

  14. Mark Needham

    Kaye. Gotten.?

    …..and a teacher……..
    Good god.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Mark, ‘gotten’ is a verb, being the past tense of ‘get’.

  16. johno

    Taylor and Canavan, the undynamic duo

  17. Josephus

    ‘Gotten’ is another sign of how English is being Americanised in its colony. Viz too the quiet, huge expansion of the US base at Pine Gap- a no go area for us mortals. Quid pro quo for their taking a measly few of our stranded refugees? Oh, I forgot, we also took in two mass murderers the US did not want.

    Kaye your suggested questions should be sent to the often too compliant journos at ABC. Recently on ABC Radio was played an ABC journo in QLD interviewing a young man who said his coal miner friends got covered in toxic black dust, and why couldn’t there be investment in clean energy instead? The journo sneeringly replied: ‘Oh, you are a Greenie are you?’ To which the young lad replied: ‘Oh no, I kill and eat fish!’
    Pollies are not the only drongos, it seems.

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