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It’s all about the jobs, bout the jobs, no trouble

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have been at pains to tell us it’s all about “jobs and growth”. Now that we have “a number” the economies of the world will be saved. But how do we intend to reach this magical figure of “2% growth above what is expected”?

The government’s action plan has listed five “key commitments” to underpin its pledge.

The first key commitment to expanding economic activity is infrastructure spending, including its “asset recycling initiative” – encouraging state governments to privatise assets and then plough the proceeds into new projects.

Considering we are selling the profitable Medibank Private to invest in railways for dubious Indian coal mining ventures, this seems an avenue to privatising profits and socialising losses. No doubt some Liberal Party donors will do well out of it.

“Employment welfare reforms” is ranked as the No 2 commitment, and notes that the changes will “strengthen participation and activation strategies”.

By cutting payments entirely to some unemployed and requiring jobseekers to search for more jobs to qualify for payments, the government argues it will spur the unemployed to look for work rather than live on welfare, thereby boosting economic activity.

But that boost can only come if there are jobs for the unemployed to get and there seems little in the way of a plan to create jobs beyond “axe the tax” and “build some roads”.

Anglicare Australia commissioned a report called “Beyond Supply and Demand” which rubbished the Abbott government’s treatment of the long-term unemployed, calling for a “life first” rather than a “work first” approach to end joblessness.

Anglicare executive director Roland Manderson said

“It’s a problem if the public debate hinges on an assumption that people can just try harder and get work, that’s not true. What is true is that people can get work and develop really great work but you need to put that investment in at the front end. The problem with the ‘earn or learn’ (budget measure) is it makes the assumption that any training will do the trick. It’s disempowering to train people who might find work for a short time, but then are out of work again because they haven’t worked through their life barriers.”

Labor assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh said cuts to welfare payments such as the unemployment benefit, family tax benefits and the pension would act to suppress economic growth.

“If you produce a budget that reduces the income of the poor, it has an impact on consumer demand because they spend everything they’ve got,” he said. “That will detract from economic growth.”

The other key commitments are “cutting red tape”, “contributing to global trade liberalisation” and “creating self-reliant industries”.

If one thing came out of the many millions spent on inquiries into the Home Insulation Program, it was to underline the dangers of “cutting red tape” and oversight.

The most obvious result of this commitment is to fast track development and mining approvals without regard to environmental impacts, and to remove rights of appeal.

The detail of the China Free Trade Agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding to be more accurate, is yet to be released so it is difficult to assess its impact but one concession we made was to allow Chinese companies to bring in their own workers. I’m not sure how selling our assets to foreign companies who send their profits back home and who employ foreign workers will actually boost our economy.

Andrew Robb also admitted that Treasury has not done modelling on the overall impact of this agreement and he does not know how it will affect our balance of trade.

The commitment to “create self-reliant industries” seems to fly in the face of Abbott’s staunch resistance to reducing fossil fuel subsidies. And how does Newman’s Galilee railway and Hunt’s Emissions Reduction Fund fit into that plan?

As was forcibly pointed out over the weekend, renewable energy is an industry of the future, but rather than taking advantage of the billions available for investment in this area, Abbott seems determined to kill off this industry and the tens of thousands of jobs that go with it, presumably because it offers competition to those humanitarian coal producers and users.

Which seems strange as the Coalition’s plan for more jobs is based on improving productivity and competitiveness.

Across the globe, mining productivity has declined by 20 per cent over the past seven years, despite the push for increased output, and declining market conditions.

Efficiency in the Australian mining industry has received a stern rebuke from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), rated as one of the least productive regions in the world.

The damning report ‘Mining for Efficiency’ states that Australia is the second least productive mining region in the world, with Africa taking the wooden spoon, and North America beating Australia on all classes of equipment.

The report claims there is an inherent conflict between the productivity plans of the mining boom which were based on increased volumes, and plans based on cost reduction which are now coming to the fore of business strategy.

Despite claims by industry lobby groups that high wages in Australia will impact on our competitiveness, results actually show “significant divergences” between mines in close proximity chasing the same minerals under the same industrial relations conditions.

Equipment and the way it is used is a key focus of the report, which shows that productivity differences between the best and worst performing mines are stark, with some of the best practice outputs coming in at more than 100 per cent greater than the median performers.

“The popular tagline of the mining sector is that the miners are serious about productivity,” PwC states.

“We suggest that most are reducing costs and increasing volumes but there are precious few with legitimate claims to improving core productivity in their open cut operations.”

Comments in the report echoed the new fashion for cost reduction employed by the major miners who continue to sell off ‘non-core’ assets, such as BHP Billiton had done earlier this year with Nickelwest operations.

“Miners are banking the first available dividend, selling or segregating mines deemed too hard to fix and tempering expectations of further productivity gains by citing a combination of labour laws, high costs, regulatory hold ups and mine configuration constraints,” Lumley said.

And then this morning, we are hit with the news that the axe has fallen again at Australia’s research agency, the CSIRO, with another 75 researchers retrenched across the organisation’s future manufacturing, agriculture and digital productivity programs.

All three affected areas belong to the CSIRO’s flagship “impact science” division, set up in 2003, which aims to partner with universities and the private sector to bring “large scale and mission directed science” to bear on major national priorities.

Future manufacturing research will be hardest hit, losing up to 45 full-time positions, including in advanced fibres, biomedical manufacturing and high-performance metals.

Among the work to which future manufacturing research scientists have contributed is state-of-the-art ceramic body armour for Australian soldiers, the southern hemisphere’s first Arcam additive manufacturing facility, which enables 3D printing of metals, and a spray-on topcoat for aircraft.

But this shouldn’t surprise us from a government who thinks coal is the industry of the future and a Treasurer who thinks that climate change is “absolutely not” an impediment to economic growth


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  1. Matters Not

    Speaking of jobs, jobs, jobs. Will the ‘Great Blunder from Down Under’ survive the year?

    Federal Labor has recorded its best Newspoll result in nine months, with the opposition opening up a 10-point lead over the coalition after preferences.

    According to the Newspoll, conducted for News Corp last weekend, Tony Abbott also suffered a fall in satisfaction, with opposition leader Bill Shorten again the nation’s preferred prime minister.

    The government’s primary vote dropped to a four-month low of 36 per cent, while Labor’s primary support was at 39 per cent.

    Support for the Greens dropped two points to 11 per cent, while minor parties, independents and others were collectively up one point to 14 per cent.

    In two-party-preferred terms, based on preference flows from last year’s election, Labor leads 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

    And those figures were generated before Obama’s speech that cut the ‘Great Blunder’ off at the knees.

  2. flohri1754

    Two of the decisions of this government that I find utterly baffling (even though it is difficult to find much logic behind much of anything they do — unless it is giving a legup to rich mates) are the cuts to the ATO and the CSIRO. The ATO is the tool that the government has to use to increase/sustain its revenue. To slash it at such a time as this when it should be ramping up to deal with international tax “minimalization/avoidance” makes no sense. And to cut funding to the CSIRO, the premier Australian research institution, right at a time when traditional manufacturing is being put to sleep and when it is vital to promote “smart” research and development that has endless (and unknown) possibilities??? Has this government sent its ministers to “mass lobotomy” camps??

    I suppose it is all part of the overiding principle of the current government. That being the ignoring of science and reason in order to avert a possible future surrender to Dr. Who’s cybermen ….

  3. stephentardrew

    Living in a dystopian universe fabricated by ideologically retards certainly leads to some dark humor and sad refrains. That one of the greatest research establishments in the world is being treated like a piggy bank for incompetence is a criminal act off self-humiliation and ideological primitivism.

    The masochist are in charge of the playground and no amount of irrationality is enough.

    Solution: bugga the science thing lets just dig another hole in the ground and fill the air with a harmless, colouress odourless gas because God loves us and will save us from ourselves. Well good luck with that Mr Voodoo man.

    Now be a good little poor person and give your pittance to the wonderful glorious mining companies for rail roads and infrastructure while coal is a dying commodity with an uncertain future.

    Oh and while your at it cut the subsidies to carbon capture so we can really bring about Armageddon.

    The LNP make the four horsemen of the apocalypse look like naughty children.

    Beelzebub’s performance at the G20 is a perfect demonstration of early onset dementia.

  4. bobrafto

    I mentioned in a previous that I could see you storming question time and beating the adults over the head with your handbag probably because I would like to do it too.

    Provided of course your handbag is of the average in content and weight as I would really like to make an impact but while I keep dreaming of dressing in drag and storming question time, I’ll keep on ‘pointing my pics’ at the rancid Team Australia.

  5. Gilly

    So Jobs and growth, so there needs to be an increase in consumption, where is the best potential for growth in consumption, where consumption is smallest, where is it smallest, where there is least money. How can money be moved to the best chance for growth, jobs, higher remuneration, wealth redistribution, all the areas that this current Government are trying to do the opposite. The rhetoric and the ideology are at odds with each other.

  6. Lee

    Bill Mitchell posted an interesting article yesterday, where he provided a link to this interview of Joe Hockey:

    Is Joe completely clueless or is he nothing but a chronic liar? I’ve read numerous reports of his extremely intelligent banker wife. Isn’t she informing him that he talks pure BS? Or is she not as intelligent as we’re led to believe? I’m more inclined to think that Joe is nothing but a liar.

    Why is the Liberal government stripping in excess of 2300 jobs from the tax office? Is it because they know that they don’t actually need income tax to pay for anything? If they’re so eager to return the budget to a surplus and income tax is real revenue, they wouldn’t be slashing the staff. They now have a war to pay for which wasn’t considered in the May budget. I think it’s all one big lie after another.

  7. John Fraser


    Looks exceptionally good for a recession.

    I wonder who's going to cop the blame ?

  8. Lee

    Will you accept my bet on Labor?

  9. John Fraser



    I am only accepting bets up to $64 quadrillion.

  10. Sad sack

    Wow never thought of myself as a troll but your negativity to my negativity suggests I am. From high school to my 30s was a series of political lying and little more than marching on the spot from an Anglophile.
    However, the one positive was his expansion of the CSIRO.
    A simple check of the website will show the worth of this institution.
    It should be easy to see the billions to be made in the fields of energy production and storage. The achievements of the CSIRO scream that the sensible thing to do is increase funding for science but that is not godly. QED.
    ps do you inform trolls or just pull a plug??

  11. Gilly

    @ John Fraser
    There will be too much noise from the dog whistles to hear who is copping the blame.

  12. Wayne Rowles

    We will see a recession,created by this incompetent government,unemployment will skyrocket and many struggling business’s will fail.Then in a flash,we’ll see this marvellous stimulus package,not unlike Kevin Rudd’s of 2010 and the Liberal National government will have a meteoric rise in popularity and low and behold,be reelected in 2016.WONDERFUL!

  13. donwreford

    To much work is being done,as we all are expected to work more the limited resources of the world are being exhausted, future generations will not have resources to sustain them in terms of what we expect as a comfortable life style, of recent I saw on TV, Silicon Valley, today as a progressive state of human endeavor, consisting of factories manufacturing IT, merchandise, such as silicon chips, and as it was once a farming bowl of produce, the commentary was how things improve? my point is that this may not be a improvement, in the end information such as the silicon chip and information, may well be redundant as we become over loaded with so much information that it will no longer make sense?

  14. Möbius Ecko

    Wayne Rowles straight out of the John Howard book of political strategy.

    Howard often created crises by policy implementation or omission, and then would come riding in like a white knight on a charger, throw millions at the problem that was of his making in the first instance, and on the back of a tax payer funded advertising campaign tell the people what a great leader he is and how good is his government.

    Hope no one has forgotten that as it’s early in this government’s term they are yet to roll out the billions in tax payer funded propaganda and advertising. How much influence this will have is difficult to predict, but in conjunction with the millions spent by big business on advertising backing up the Abbott government along with a MSM campaign a 10% poll deficit could all but disappear very rapidly.

  15. John Fraser


    @Wayne Rowles

    No stimuli packages are going to stop this one.

    Everyone can see the train wreck approaching but the brakes have fallen off and the ink is dry on the deal.

  16. Lee

    Agreed. Yesterday David Cameron warned of a looming global financial crisis and added that it is important his government sticks to its long term plans for austerity. These idiots just never learn. Sigh…

    At a lecture earlier this year Prof Joseph Stiglitz pointed out that all the mistakes which led to the GFC in 2008 were still occurring. There were no negative consequences for the bankers who acted so irresponsibly and they were now busily doing it all again.

  17. stephentardrew

    David Cameron and one of the the least regulated financial sectors in the world, the City of London. It is his own powder keg that is waiting to explode. Austerity deregulation and financial malfeasance what a great combination. These guys are the most dangerous people on the planet. Now Putin he is just a deflection. Cameron warning us of the financial crisis he is complicit in would be laughable if it wasn’t so damn serious. One more GFC and that will be the end of the unregulated financial sector and the likes of Cameron. This time put the bastards in jail.

  18. Shevill Mathers

    Sad thing is that the LNP actually truly believe in their own crap, and that it will change the world, yes, it will send Australia back before the dark ages.

  19. Ricardo29

    Allowing Chinese companies to buy up our resource companies, and import their own workers? Andrew Robb out-idiots his idiot colleagues. Have to wonder how many more dud decisions these scumbags can make since they are already a long way along with destroying our economy. Another excellent post Kaye Lee. Oh and let us know when you are going to storm question time wielding the handbag, that’s one QT I could watch.

  20. Gregory T

    Does anyone remember when the politician’s pay moratorium finishes? I’m sure the age of entitlement is due for a top up.

  21. DanDark

    Japan has officially gone into recession because they raised the consumption tax in April and geeez people stopped buying/ consuming so the head honk of Japan will probably call a snap election for December to get a mandate to fix the problems of his own making….

    Clive’s propaganda has arrived in Victoria, I deliver catalogues so get first look at all junk mail
    Interesting because he is using the wheel to spin his shit lol
    This is how it reads

    Men and women of Victoria
    Every election we spin the well on our future. No matter who gets in, we always seem to end up with same problems

    Let’s fix this and get ourselves a new wheel by voting 1 for Palmer United in the Legislative Council.
    Only Palmer United will grow Victorias economy, bring back integrity to government, support local regions, actually provide strong economic leadership and energise healthy business confidence creating jobs, jobs and more jobs.

    Palmer United holds balance of power in the Australian Senate and is standing candidates in every seat for election to the Legislative Council in Victoria.
    Regardless of which party you vote for in the lower house, make sure you vote Palmer a United in the Legislative Council.

    Victoria needs common-sense policies. Governments of all political persuasion need to be accountable to people.

    Palmer United will keep the Victorian government focused on making your family’s future brighter. If we want good government, we need to send a message to the politicians that you and your family matter.

    There is no better way to do that than to Vote 1 Palmer United in the Legislative Council and help me help you get Victoria back on track.

    All the best,
    Clive Palmer MP
    Federal Leader of the Palmer United Party
    Member for Fairfax

    Clive is full of shit again, it’s sounds like he just invented the wheel to me and it will create jobs
    What a two bit drop kick Clive is and he expects people to believe this shit, don’t think so Clive..he is a politician the same as the others but seems to put himself across as a ” normal citizen” he is an idiot 🙂

  22. John Fraser



    Robb has always been the drinks waiter and once he receives his orders off he toddles.

  23. Erotic Moustache

    Aside from a dubious deal with the Greens over debt capacity, what has Joe Hockey achieved as Treasurer? I can’t think of a damn thing. He’s like a silent fart that also has no odour.

  24. Terry2

    Barack Obama and now Mahendra Modi have spoken eloquently and forcefully in Australian forums and, whether you agree with their views and aspirations or not, at least you know where they stand on a variety of issues.

    Before our last election I said that I had no idea where Tony Abbott was coming from, I didn’t grasp his vision for our country or what he hoped to achieve in office, mainly because he has never spoken publicly to the Australian people as these other leaders did. He had the opportunity during the G20 to show himself as a leader with vision but, to the amazement of most of us, he chose to ramble on about relatively trivial domestic budget matters, embarrassing us and boring world leaders.

    Watching Malcolm Turnbull trying to cover for Abbott’s broken promise “no cuts to the ABC or SBS” I thought, why should these ministers have to keep on covering for this man while he hides from the Australian people : even Alan Jones has had enough of this bloke, that shows you how bad it’s getting.

  25. DanDark

    Terry 2
    Turnbull and co choose to cover for him, every time they open their gobs they choose to defend the biggest liar in Parliament it is A conscious decision and they will pay for it, they are just to addicted to the Lies that they don’t realise how damn stupid they all look, Turnbull was struggling last night on Q&A to get the bullshit across, Tanya and Ben Elton had him for breakfast 🙂

  26. Erotic Moustache

    Alan Jones is in the top 5 most dangerously demented persons in this country. His current “frustration” with Abbott is something from which the left can actually take a bit of solace. If it didn’t exist it would mean Abbott was doing far worse things than is currently the case.

  27. Lee

    Japan’s problems aren’t solely due to the consumption tax. Their government is more interested in preparing for the Olympic Games in 2020 than rebuilding the areas devastated as a result of the tsunami in 2011.

    Japan demonstrates the real limits on government spending

  28. Lee

    Speaking of bankers being complete dicks….

    “Property investors are dominating the housing market, but at least rising house prices are encouraging people to spend more money, the Reserve Bank says.”

    Great! Let them take on more debt and then hope to get a reasonable rent commensurate with the purchase price of the property as we’re heading towards a GFC.

  29. townsvilleblog

    jobs, jobs, jobs, nobody mentions that the jobs may be subsistence pay rates or casual jobs paying not enough to live on do they?

  30. Kaye Lee

    Not sure about the handbag violence – perhaps some chest poking “Let me explain”. I still think we should fill the gallery in the HoR one day and when Abbott stands to speak we all stand and turn our backs to him like our Indigenous brothers and sisters did.

  31. bobrafto

    I was not advocating any violence, the handbag scenario was more appropriate and lighter than me saying I would like to go and kick all the adults in the nuts.

    And I would like to go further in saying that I do not have any hate, my utterances are the reaction of exasperation.

    I can handle a Liberal govt, if I have to, but not an extreme rancid one which the present govt. is.

  32. Kaye Lee

    I understand and empathise bob. In the privacy of my own home I have screamed expletives accompanied by an overwhelming sense of frustration. I watch in disbelief the horrors being perpetrated against this country in such a totalitarian way, bypassing parliament, ignoring all advice, silencing the experts, defunding scientific research and advocacy and support groups.

    Had I realised that Tony Abbott would ever rise to these heights I would have been more active in student politics when we were both at Sydney University. I considered him an inconsequential bully and treated him with the ignore he deserved when I should have taken him on and got rid of him way back then. I still cannot believe that this man who is inadequate in every way is the PM of my country and responsible for making decisions about my life.

  33. corvus boreus

    Listening to Radio National while commuting to work and hearing interviews with pollies and puppets often induces a suppressed yell of “for Phux sake answer the question(!!!)” in this one.
    Rather than any public hand-bagging or back-fronting, I would prefer a relay of public queries regarding pertinent but unaddressed subjects during tax-payer sponsored ‘community’ PR stunts(eg. pollie peddling).

  34. Terry2

    CB: a classic instance this morning when Fran Kelly was interviewing Scott Morrison about his move to forbid any refugees currently in Indonesia, who have been accredited by the UNHCR, from being part of our refugee intake.

    In other words, nothing to do with boat people but actual refugees who have made it to Indonesia and been accredited by the United Nations, will never be re-settled in Australia.

    When asked if this change had been discussed with President Widodo (of Indonesia) who was our guest during the G20, his response was ‘that he hadn’t been in the PM’s meeting with the President of Indonesia’ – what a cop out !

  35. bobrafto

    Light relief Pickering Plagiarism with a twist.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Morrison and that fool Bob Day said Australia supported the UN refugee convention but wouldn’t tolerate people smugglers abusing it. Ummmm….you have just banned people from coming through legitimate UNHCR channels. I thought it was all about stopping deaths at sea. Now we get the real truth – it is about stopping refugees full stop which means the burden will fall on everyone else to take these people.

  37. bobrafto

    What is the total of the subsidies to the mining industry, the Super, Negative gearing, car leasing and other.

    If it’s around $20B, that equates to $384M per week, so if we turn things around, how many months does the average taxpayer has to work to pay these subsidies?

    Out of my realm but most certainly in yours.

  38. Kaye Lee


    Superannuation tax concessions will cost the budget around $35 billion in 2013-14,projected to rise at a staggering 12 per cent annually to be $50.7 billion in 2016-17.

    Read more:

    The Grattan Institute says negative gearing costs the federal government $2.4 billion a year, and there is “little justification for it”.

    Read more:

    The Government will spend almost $14 billion in the next four years on fossil fuel subsidies to the big mining corporations.

    Repealing the legislation regarding novated car leases and FBT cost us $1.8 billion in revenue.

    In answer to your question “how many months does the average taxpayer has to work to pay these subsidies”, a back of the envelope calculation came up with a kazillion.

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