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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

1 Our political system is in crisis because our solicitations fail to speak with any clarity on issues that concern people.

In Australia the right to vote is the gift that democracy gives and people are free to vote for whichever party (or individual) they support but overriding this is the fact that people cannot possibly believe in democracy, if at the same time they think their party is the only one that should ever win.

A clear indication of an Australian Democracy in decline is the fact that people have been giving up this voting gift, literally saying: “A pox on both your houses”.

Three million did so at the last election by not voting. Who can blame them when there is no transparency, no freedom of information or politicians simply choose not to answer questions.

Wednesday 17 April

2 The question to Shorten was about an increase in tax on super to which he gave a misleading answer. Instead of saying Yes, we intend to raise taxes on people earning above $000.00 (whatever it is), in order to help those suffering from cancer. Instead he chose to tell a lie. Albeit one by omission.

”Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity” (John Lord).

In doing so, Shorten has made himself look stupid. You cannot be critical about other people’s behaviour and then do the same yourself.

And on the subject of who is the best economic manager:

The Coalition has added more debt in five and a half years than all governments over the preceding 118 years.

It also illustrates just how on top of the detail within policies one has to be. Kim Beasley and John Howard were the best I have ever seen, both having a deep knowledge of the facts between the lines.

Thursday 18 April

3 His apology for his stupid error seems to have been well accepted but it was helped by a Grattan report that said the Coalition would have to find $40 billion in cuts to services to pay for package of tax cuts for middle and high income earners, to start in 2022 and 2024.

4 Still on tax: A report in the Canberra times suggests that Labor has decided to opt out of any tax cuts for 1.5 million workers. It would have been a sizable cut for those earning between $90 and 12. Instead it will go toward reducing the budget bottom line. A good move.

At Shorten’s first press conference for the day he seems to have cast off his absent-mindedness and is mixing it with the journo’s. However, in opposition, and without access to Treasury it is sometimes impossible to give definitive answer, particularly on the cost of cleaning up the environment.

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet” (John Lord).

The latest inconsistency from the Budget is that High-income earners will receive at least $77bn from the Coalition’s 10-year income tax package, shrinking the proportion of the overall tax burden shouldered by the rich, according to a new analysis.

Liberal governments love spruiking large tax cuts and the rich and privileged think it’s fantastic with not a thought to where the money comes from. Nor do they care.

It comes from cuts to services like health and education. In the meantime the gap between rich and poor continues to rise.

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved” (John Lord).

5 Let’s be honest. What has excited you about the election so far? Easter is upon us and people’s thoughts will have been confined to thinking about what they will be doing during the break.

No electioneering will take place and it would be the worst possible time to be talking policy.

6 Looking at Labor, I am wondering if after Shorten’s Budget in Reply speech he hasn’t lost his edge a little. I’m thinking, and I may be wrong, that he thinks he can just drift into power. We all know that would be fatal.

Up until now the campaign has been somewhat lacklustre, even boring and after Easter the people need to be woken from their holiday inertia with a change of subject.

Give the people a decent dose of inspiration, highlighting the inequality in society.

“A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds (John Lord).

If the conversation must continue in the economic arena then the Opposition Leader must underline the difference in approach between the two parties.

The voter scepticism and unrest felt throughout the Western world is the result of a widespread disillusionment with neoliberal economics that continue to make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.

And it is still the model favoured by the Coalition. It is a model that for forty or so years the Coalition has said would flow through to the general community. But the so-called trickle down effect has never materialised.

In this election Shorten must forcibly make the point that building better hospitals and schools is a better investment than making the rich richer.

Friday 19 April

7 With an ever-increasing hostility from the Newscorp tabloids and The Australian Shorten at a press conference on Thursday decided to hit back.

I suggest you read this piece from Paddy Manning in which he says that:

Shorten let rip: “First of all, it is just a nonsense claim,” he said of the suggestion that Labor’s carbon reduction policy could cost business $25 billion. He continued: “It is built upon the back of a big lie. It says somehow that using international offsets to help abate carbon is a bad thing.” In terms of the costs, Shorten said that the Labor plan relied on the same the same public modeling as the government.

Shorten continued: “The News Corp climate change deniers and their ally, the prime minister – a coal-wielding, climate-denying cave-dweller on this issue – they all say, ‘Look at the cost,’ but never mention the cost of extreme weather events, do they? They never mention the cost of not getting into renewables, and they never mention energy prices, do they?”

The Daily Telegraph has been vomiting out its usual front pages. The Australian is in a battle with itself to see how many anti Labor headlines it can fit on its front pages. After dark Sky News is so partisan it only has comedic value.

One cannot begin to discuss the decline of Australian democracy without at the same time aligning it to the collapse in journalistic standards and its conversion from reporting to opinion.

Murdoch and his majority owned newspapers with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably.

They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodians of it.

8 Barrie Cassidy asks: “Is there another job in Australia that pays you $550 a day to go overseas and do nothing?“

Who might he be talking about?

9 My last comment for today is that the AEC reports the highest voter enrolment since Federation. The young must think this election is very important.

My thought for the day

Invariably when I read about how successful people are. The measure is always the value of their assets. Why is this so?

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13 comments

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  1. whatever

    The MSM crew on the Shorten campaign are acting more like hecklers than reporters.
    The formula is for them to bombard Shorten with trite “questions” like “Why aren’t you telling us about Labor tax increases?” and then report a “Gotcha” moment when he doesn’t fall for the stunt.

  2. Terence Mills

    ‘Morning John

    On the subject of George Christensen, The member for Manilla South ; there was a bizarre interview between that excellent ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas and Agricultural Minister David Littleproud on the radio.

    Karvelas pointed to the excessive periods that Christensen had been away from his electorate whilst visiting his girl friend in the Philippines and questioned whether he was adequately serving his electorate whilst overseas.

    Littleproud introduced the novel idea that, in this era of global electronic communication it was not unusual for someone to work remotely, frequently from home and that he was quite sure that George would be quite able to pleasure his young lady in the Philippines whilst also tending to the needs of his Dawson electorate over skype. Littleproud said that he knew of many people who quite adequately did their job using modern technology without the need to go into the office every day.

    So, there it is welcome to the crazy world of National party politicians with their electronic devices serving their electorates from various points on the compass : they are the multi-taskers of the future and can not only walk and chew gum at the same time but, as in the case of Barnaby Joyce, he could be our Deputy Prime Minister and minister for agriculture AND impregnate members of staff in his spare time without batting an eyelid.

    You can take a boy out of the country……….but why would you : just give him a tablet and an airline ticket !

  3. Keith

    I’m very worried the LNP might con enough people into voting for them through their sewer scare campaign.
    In relation to climate change we do not have 3 years to waste on the avarice ridden COALition. Dr Alley has indicated that in the past abrupt climate change has happened within a decade. Scomo warns younger people about a recession; maybe that is what we need to reduce emissions coming from a business as usual paradigm currently. A business as usual approach is being promoted by the COALition, promoting Adani displays such a paradigm. A real disaster should the LNP be re-elected. We have already had 6 wasted years. The infighting in the LNP displays how they are not up to the task of creating a real policy in relation to climate change.

    The skittles are being set up for tipping points we have no defence for, such as an ice free Arctic Ocean. There is a very remote case it could even happen at the end of this year. Much more likely in 10+- years. Once that happens, we can expect permafrost to thaw even more quickly. Permafrost holds huge amounts organic debris which produces CO2 and methane when warmed. Meanwhile the captains of industry can metaphorically clutch onto their dollars as the world collapses around them.

    For the 18th April 2019 sea ice extent on the Arctic Ocean was 12,693,470 square kilometres, it is 1,270,956 square kilometres less sea ice extent than 2012 for the same day. But, the amount of sea ice extent changes on a daily basis, it could build up and produce a larger sea ice extent than 2012 in September, at the end of the melting season. To illustrate the point some cherry picking was used, in 2018 sea ice extent was 245,208 square kilometres greater on the same day, the second lowest extent recorded for the day. Till so far 2012 has recorded the lowest minimum sea ice extent since satellites began to be used in1979. There is no guarantee the remarkable loss of sea ice for 2019 will continue, it highly dependent on variable weather patterns, though it is definitely a concern. One matter is the condition of sea ice in 2019, it is poor compared to 2012. The amount of multi year ice which provides strength is down, and the thickness of sea ice is now reduced.

    I guess this might be a scare, but at least it does have science backing it!!

    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2533.600.html

  4. Keitha Granville

    Be very afraid Keith, scare as much as possible. The peoples of low lying islands get it, they will be under water if we don’t STOP what we’re doing and make some changes. I understand that no-one with any capacity to make changes cares a lot about low lying islander people, but some of us do and we have the power in our hands to make a difference.

    Or we can all just leave our heads in the sand in the full knowledge that our grandchildren will not have a liveable planet.

    It’s been said over and over – there is no Planet B.

  5. Alcibiades

    Large numbers are difficult to comprehend/visualise & therefore lose or have little meaning.

    $77Billion in tax cuts for the already rich ? Below is an Image of $10,000 in $100 notes, $1Million in a tightly packed plastic wrapped stack, and lastly $1Billion in $1Million stacks loaded onto shipping pallets. $1Billion will need ten shipping pallets stacked with $100 notes.

    $77 Billion in tax cuts for the wealthy is 770 shipping pallets of tightly packed $100 notes.

    http://i67.tinypic.com/r2j3ud.jpg (Image)

    If 1 dollar is being deducted from your account every second ($60 every minute or $360 every hour or $4320 every day), then you’d need 2,464 years to finish spending $77 billion.

    Trickle down’ is proven bullshit. Let’s try ‘Trickle up’ for forty years and assess the results ….

  6. Bert

    “Instead of saying Yes, we intend to raise taxes on people earning above $000.00 (whatever it is), in order to help those suffering from cancer. Instead he chose to tell a lie. Albeit one by omission.”

    John he corrected this by saying wtte “we have no plan to change anything regarding super from what was announced three years ago”. I think your classification of it as a lie is a bit over the top.

    You and the MSM seem to have missed this or like them you couldn’t give two stuffs.

  7. James O'Neill

    @Terrence Mills. Thank you. You made my morning.

  8. wam

    Only 91% turnout was pretty poor, John? The rabbott dragged 93% in 2013 but that was to punish a woman so was unusual.

    Surely nobody begrudges the politicians the right to not answer questions? But we know what you mean?????
    great score truth 0 honest 1

    Thought: What is the norm for measuring success?

    Go bill show us your are honest and sincere.and we will do the rest.

  9. Kronomex

    And completely off the political track: why do people keep saying Chris Lilley is funy? After trying to watch some of his supposedly humorous TV stuff I have come to the conclusion that he is one the most excruciatingly unfunny comedians (and I use that word very very loosely) that we have produced here in years.

    https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/tv-shows/chris-lilleys-lunatics-not-that-outrageous-not-that-funny/news-story/58bd6284c22f234c05e481acd9cf1a8e

    “What has excited you about the election so far?” Virtually nothing apart from feeling ill whenever I take the time and effort to do a quick perusal of the main sleaze media to see what new vomit inducing crap they can up with to keep telling the sheep how wonderful Scummo is and how HE will do great things if HE is voted in. This election campaign in the meedja has become so one-sided that it’s almost not worth the time to keep up with it on a daily basis and it’s only going to worse and dirtier as time goes on.

  10. Aortic

    If we take Littleprouds assertion literally that in this era of global communication working from home is not unusual, I have a suggestion that perhaps would save the taxpayer millions of dollars. ( Yeah I know it’s not at the heart of LNP thinking but there you go. ) How about when Parliament is sitting ( albeit infrequently) we have everyone on the back bench sitting in their office in front of their ” global communication machines”. The only actual participants in the farce that is Questions without Notice in Canberra would be the front bench. If the input of local members is required electronic questions could be so asked and answered. Most of them have their heads stuck in their mobile phones anyway. This would save a heap of money in airfares, accommodation, meals etc. which could hopefully be diverted to causes of benefit to the most needy. I know snouts in troughs will probably prevail but surely, apart from even the savings, the travail of travel for those in electorates far removed with resultant exhaustion and family disruption could be avoided with obvious benefits. Although I am aware in some instances spouses of certain members would appreciate the break.

  11. paul walter

    I am glad for Bill, for his own sake, that he finally stood up and fought back.

    Time is running very short for this country

  12. pierre wilkinson

    “Looking at Labor, I am wondering if after Shorten’s Budget in Reply speech he hasn’t lost his edge a little. I’m thinking, and I may be wrong, that he thinks he can just drift into power. We all know that would be fatal.”
    After 6 years of campaigning, I think an Easter hiatus is warranted, but be prepared for the final days where Labor will surely unleash their policies regarding correcting the imbalance between the ridiculously wealthy and the rest of us.

  13. Alcibiades

    Coalition ? Better economic managers ?

    Australia’s most wasteful spending was by a COALition government, reports this International Monetary Fund(IMF) study …

    Australia’s most wasteful spending came in Howard era, finds IMF study

    AUSTRALIA’S most needless wasteful spending took place under the John Howard-led Coalition government rather than under the Whitlam, Rudd or Gillard Labor governments, a(n IMF) study has found…

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