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Labor begins the New Year with the same old excuses

When the Gillard government proposed removing John Howard’s grandfathering of the Parenting Payment, moving parents onto Newstart when their youngest child turned six if they had a partner and eight if they didn’t, the parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights held a public hearing into the legislative changes.

In their report, the Committee members expressed concern ‘that the affected single parents would be able to maintain access to appropriate levels of social security support if placed onto Newstart’, and that it would be ‘premature for the government to introduce these measures’ before the completion of a separate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart. The findings of the Newstart Inquiry were not tabled until November 2012 – nevertheless, against the recommendations of the Committee on Human Rights’ interim report, the Gillard government pressed ahead with the amendment in October that year.

The Newstart Inquiry, conducted in 2012 by the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Reference Committee, questioned whether Newstart provided recipients with ‘a standard of living that is acceptable in the Australian context for anything but the shortest period of time’, while noting that more than 62 per cent of Newstart recipients at the time of the inquiry had been receiving the payment for longer than twelve months. The committee expressed ‘particular concern’ at the loss of income experienced by single parents moving from Parenting Payment (Single) to Newstart, but fell short of recommending that Newstart be increased.

In its submission to the Newstart Inquiry, the Australian Council of Trade Unions provided data which showed that the real value of Newstart has remained almost constant since the payment was introduced in 1991, when it replaced the old Job Seekers’ Allowance. Adjusted for CPI (consumer price index), Newstart was worth $233.80 a week in 1991, and just $244.85 more than two decades later in 2012. Moreover, as ACOSS stated in its own submission, Newstart has fallen from 92 per cent to 72 per cent of the poverty line, and in 2012 it represented a meagre 21 per cent of the full-time median wage.

While the real value of Newstart has hardly budged, ACOSS also noted that Newstart’s purchasing power had fallen by $8 a week since 1991, because the cost of rent and utilities has risen faster than the CPI. Indexing Newstart payments to CPI – an initiative of the Howard government – rather than to average male earnings, as aged and disability pensions are indexed, means that Newstart payments fall further behind pensions and average wages every year. Even with the addition of Rent Assistance, which the majority of Newstart recipients are eligible for, Australia has one of the lowest rates of unemployment benefit in the developed world. At the time of the inquiry, the United States – not otherwise noted for its generous welfare safety net—had an unemployment benefit that was set at 47 per cent of the average wage, while in European countries such as Germany and France unemployment benefit was 64 per cent of average earnings.

The Business Council of Australia has described Newstart as “a barrier to employment” that “risks entrenching poverty”. The OECD has expressed concern about the effectiveness of Newstart in “enabling someone to look for a suitable job”. In 2016, KPMG advocated a $50 per week increase in Newstart while a more recent report from Deloittes analyses the impact of raising benefit rates by $75 a week.

The Productivity Commission released a Research Paper on inequality in August which states that “Nine per cent of Australians (2.2 million people) lived below the relative income poverty line (half of median disposable income) in 2015-16” with “Children, lone parents, those with a disability, the unemployed and Indigenous Australians most at risk of multiple deprivation.” It also stresses that “Child poverty is of particular concern because of the damage poverty may do to a child’s development, their future productive capacity, and their life prospects more generally.”

Labor’s revised draft national platform, issued in October, states “The current rate of Newstart is too low and is a barrier to people finding work and participating in society,” promising to hold a “root and branch” review into the adequacy of Newstart and other benefits.

How many reviews will it take before they actually act on their findings?

Julia Gillard made the mistake of not addressing this problem. Will Bill Shorten make the same mistake?


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  1. Shaun Newman

    Kaye, I support the thrust of your argument d would explain that the rabid right wing of the ALP would have been responsible for the decisions taken with Newstart. It is now woefully inadequate however if the ALP announce that they were intending to increase it by an amount the tories would have a field day, as I have explained in the recent past. “Where’s the money coming from” would be their catch cry which may undermine the whole show.

    There must be a better chance under a Labor government than this extremist right-wing ant-people current government that Newstart and pensions will revert to being sustainable for we 3.05 million Aussies living “below” the poverty line. Shorten does not inspire me with confidence either however as far as I’m concerned criticism ay.

  2. Shaun Newman

    criticism can wait until after this extremist right-wing tory government is consigned to history.

  3. Kaye Lee


    The Deloittes report examing a $75 a week increase covers that.

    “The direct cost of the Federal budget is about $3.3 billion a year. In nominal dollars, the size of the Australian economy (“the prosperity dividend”) would lift by some $4.0 billion as a result of that extra spending, meaning that the size of the economy initially
    increases broadly in line with the initial income injection of $3.3 billion.

    That money goes as extra income to a group that, on average, is the poorest of the poor in Australia. Other things equal, most of it is therefore spent. So it’s no surprise that the bulk of the dollars – some $3.3 billion a year – show up as extra spending by consumers.
    And while imports would go up, the bulk of the extra spending by beneficiaries would be spent at home. That extra spending would create some 12,000 extra jobs. And the accompanying strength in the market for workers would lift wages. Total wages being paid to Australians would therefore lift by around 0.2%. Similarly, the stronger economy would boost corporate profits, with that latter boost also running at close to 0.2%. Finally, the stronger economy (more jobs, higher wages, stronger profits) would mean that the Federal Government would raise an extra $1.0 billion in taxes, while State and Territory Government revenues would increase by some $0.25 billion.

    There is a significant body of evidence that higher incomes for the unemployed and other groups who are disadvantaged may lead to better national outcomes on indicators such as health. That is, there are many additional social costs involved with entrenched disadvantage, and those costs are alleviated as the cycle of disadvantage is broken.”

    If you asked me how to pay for it, I would cancel six of our twelve submarines and 30 jet fighters and the vast majority of politicians’ expense claims.. (And yes I know we are a sovereign currency who can pay for anything we want to but until the pollies come on board with that, we have to have other ideas).

  4. pierre wilkinson

    Kaye Lee, isn’t the COALition’s tax relief mooted at approximately the same $3.3 billion, so Labor could claim that they are merely reallocating that funding to pensions. A total no-brainer economy wise, but watch the Murdochracy have a field day with dole bludgers incentivised never to work – because after all, everyone wants to live at the poverty level or below.
    Welcome to the New Year and bring on the election!

  5. Baby Jewels

    Why isn’t Shorten man enough to promise to lift Newstart – it’s this gutlessness and fear of what the LNP might say that holds them back. Their sticking with Liberal policies and staying small “l” Liberals, will keep people from voting from them, rather than them losing votes because of any LNP backlash. Labor will not get my vote, nor any of my family’s despite being about as anti Liberal as it’s possible to be. We do not want more of the same after the election.

  6. Florence Howarth

    There is much more wrong with Newstart than the lousy benefits it pays. I suspect that most on it would agree. Truth is any appropriate inquiry will suggest it be discarded as it doesn’t focus on getting jobs. It focuses is on punishing the unemployed. Works on the belief al are unemployed by choice, out to rip off the system.

    Now that the norm is for both partners to work, means many low-income earners can’t can’t avail themselves of Newstart services.

    CES was a better option.

  7. Frank Smith

    I am sure that this alarming situation with Newstart would improve dramatically if our Parliament had a similar gender balance to the overall population as women are now being unfairly victimised by it. However, I note that today’s UnAustralian is reporting that two recently promoted Liberal women are claiming that the Liberal Party should be very proud of its record on women’s issues as it has done far more for women than the Labor Party. “The Liberal Party has been an absolute champion for women!” Must be that “Fake News” I keep hearing about. I suspect neither Julia Banks nor Jane Prentice would agree with Reynolds’ or Henderson’s analyses.

  8. Kaye Lee


    This was my comment on Linda Reynolds facebook page. I doubt it will last.

    Gee you are easily bought aren’t you. “At the height of the chaos, the Western Australian Liberal Linda Reynolds told the Senate chamber she was “distressed and disturbed” by some of the backroom behaviour that she said had “no place in my party or this chamber”.

    Reynolds also told Sky News that after the leadership ballot she hoped that “bullying and intimidation” would be “brought to account”. Amazing how being gifted the number one spot on the Senate ticket can change a person’s opinion. I used to respect you.

  9. helvityni

    Shaun Newman,

    “criticism can wait until after this extremist right-wing tory government is consigned to history.”

    I too save my criticism until later… Now I just want the baddies gone…

  10. Kaye Lee

    Sarah Henderson posted on her facebook page “‪The Scott Morrison (ScoMo) Government is leading the way in delivering policies which empower women”

    My response….

    You have got to be kidding me. Are you so easily bought? Liberal Party women face an immediate choice. They can be cowed by the “quota girl” sledge of hostile male colleagues, and other unsupportive comments by these men’s female enablers.

    Alternatively, Liberal women can organise to achieve structural change — the only kind that ever sticks — arguing that if it’s good enough for “quota boys” like Senator Abetz and Michael McCormack, quotas are all right by them, too. Show some ticker. At the moment, you look like a sell-out.

    Perhaps you can explain to me the merit process that led to Craig Kelly being preselected. Better still, explain it to Jane Prentice.

  11. Kaye Lee


    I want the baddies gone too. But I want the people who replace them to realise they will be under the same scrutiny and they better bloody well do the right thing. If they are too gutless to do what is right then they are no better. Show some courage. Explain why something must happen and have the courage to stand up to critics. If you want to be a leader, do your homework and tell the electorate why something must be done. If you start out scared of bad press then you immediately put yourself at their mercy.

  12. RomeoCharlie29

    Kaye Lee, didn’t the government recently change the pension indexing method to CPI? The use of CPI as an indexing tool has been one of the main economic themes pursued for decades by SCOA, the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers Association, in relation to indexing of ComSuper. They argue for the Average Male Weekly Earnings as a fairer measure. Prior to the 2007 election Labor seemed to be persuaded the three Senate reports advocating the change would be accepted. However immediately upon election they commissioned a report by an unknown accountant who ignored all previous recommendations and many submissions to recommend no change. SCOA maintained its campaign throughout Labor’s term in Govt., together with the Defence Force Retirees Association. In the final weeks of the RGR government, the Defence retirees were granted the revision but ComSuper pensioners continued to be ignored. Incidentally I know there is a perception those who retire on ComSuper pensions are ‘fat cats’ but SCOA has pointed out for years that the average CSS or PSS pension is below the poverty line. Given the duplicitous behaviour of that Labor Government, why would we expect anything different from Bill if elected? Weasel words like “ root and branch” review for a welfare benefit even Blind Freddie can see is needed, and commenters from across the political spectrum support, do not inspire hope of change.

  13. Kaye Lee


    I don’t think that change got through the Senate but I am still checking. I am finding it difficult to get a definitive answer.

    “The amount of Age Pension paid is indexed twice a year, in March and September, in line with the rise in Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI), whichever is greater. Pensions are then benchmarked against a percentage of the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). Again, there are plans by the government to change the method of indexation to the CPI alone.”

    This is fairly recent….

    “Pension rates are based on prices and wages, while allowance rates are linked to the consumer price index (CPI).”

  14. George Theodoridis

    Kaye Lee,
    You have read my mind, stolen all my words and thoughts and… well, you’ve also stolen my heart!

    I cannot cope with being told to be silent in the face of disaster because of “pragmatism” a euphemism for “let the disaster stay, the others are even worse, something the ALP has become expert at promoting.”

    By all means, I say, vote for whoever you think needs to be the Govn’t but do also let them know what you’re not happy with; let them know that this party that calls itself a Labor Party, needs to change its ways, its philosophies and its policies so that it does not look like the can on the supermarket shelf that says it contains prime beef when, in fact, it contains dog droppings. The ALP is beginning to look like a misnamed Party. Not even a political party any more but a gang of “security” men and women for the cleptocrats.
    It is far worse to be kicked in the bum by those who you think won’t kick you in the bum than being kicked by those who you expect will kick you there. Far worse. You are nurturing the practice of kicking you in the bum, of supporting the ways, the philosophies and the policies of bum kicking!

    And it is so bloody obvious, where the money should go, especially these sorts of low sums. The very poor will spend it right here, almost next door to where they live. Their local businesses, their coffee shops and strip shops.
    It is the middle class who will go on overseas trips and take their aussie dollars with them to drop there in the economy of their visiting country. I love travel and I encourage people to do it as much and as often as they can; it is a good thing if our money goes to poorer countries and if our people learn from the ways and cultures of those countries. However, if we are going to talk about welfare, that is what happens with it.
    Welfare recipients have no Cayman Island accounts where their money does bugger all for Oz and I cannot fathom how a Prime Minister can utter with such unabashed pride that his millions do nothing for the country he’s supposed to be running. He has hidden them! Bloody hell! And we accept that!
    That totally batters my brain!

    But I’ll praise those who deserve praise, not because of what others are like but because they deserve praise and shall criticise those of opposite proclivities.

  15. ChristopherJ

    Heaven help any Aussie who needs money from Centrelink. No id? Can’t use a computer? Can’t read? All tricks designed by clever consultants so that you become ineligible for assistance and turn to the charity sector to stay alive.

    As if there’s a pool of scarce public money which needs to be held in the bank for a better, more worthwhile purpose.

    Is this any sane way for a civilised society to look after its most vulnerable people, including many children? No-one asks you are children affected when you’re in Centrelink.

    That is the level of empathy for the unemployed and single mums in our society. My own mates buy into the bludger meme, so ingrained is the lie that the cost of an unemployed person means something, like our taxes are too high (they are).

    The top people in Labor know this as it’s not as though sovereign money is new. They obviously can’t come up with sensible responses to how to pay for it, so join in the bashing as it’s much more popular.

    Shame Australia

  16. ChristopherJ

    And, they saw what happened to Gough.

  17. Kaye Lee


    The thing that truly infuriates me is that the Labor Party have a once in a generation opportunity to seize the day. They will win the next election. So why hold back? Scared of a ScoMo negative campaign? There is WAY too much material available to counter that – hypocrisy and backflips at every turn. Scared of the Murdoch Press? Do they think saying nothing will make Rupert like them?

    Go hard and sell it I say.

    They are miles in front on the climate change discussion and must show how renewables are actually bringing energy prices down.

    They are scared to push their changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax but now is the perfect time to introduce them. It would boost construction because investors can get those same concessions on new properties and, as investors are leaving the current market because of the clamp down on interest only loans, first home buyers can maybe get a toe in the door.

    They MUST have a plan to free the people on Manus and Nauru. They just MUST.

    And they should be listing all the cases that Adani is currently facing and all the lies they have told and breaches they have made as a warning to say don’t try to sue us sunshine.

    The facts are on their side. Use them and stop being so worried about what Ray Hadley might say.

  18. Stephen

    yep, they’d rather by second rate yank aircraft that are allergic to the sky than take real care of their own people

  19. Marcus Champ

    Hello All,

    Another great discussion by Kaye.

    I totally agree with the likes of George and others. I get the perspective that shrinks from being a “target” of the LNP, and not ‘criticising the ALP’, but at the same time I UTTERLY reject it. Stand up and have some guts…the LNP are bullies and everyone should know the best approach to bullies is to confront them, not stand cowering in the shadows being a ‘small’ target. Furthermore, if the ALP cannot handle a few home truths they do not deserve to be in power.

    We need a solid progressive policy mix and standing back timidly in hope of change will not not progress that goal. The ALP have shown they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to be better, but I for one will never shirk from that role. As for the solution, its quite obvious: Job Guarantee with integrated basic income for those who are unable or unwilling to work for whatever reason.

    The Job Guarantee would be pegged at minimum wage, would be voluntary , include holiday pay and sick leave just like any other job (this is no stupid work for the dole-like scheme). The tasks would include a wide range of options from home care, to civic improvement, to implementing a green new deal….the details have already been worked on for decades and are completely achievable. As for the integrated basic income it would be paid at a lower level, but well above current New Start, and would wrap up a number of current programs under its banner to simplify the process and cover everyone who needs it.

    In addition I would integrate it with a package of infrastructure renewal, tuition free education and training, industry development, investment program to decarbonise the economy, public housing program, new research and development funding to kick start manufacturing and technology, low interest business loans, all channeled through a new publically owned bank. The impact on the economy would be profound and I for one can easily foresee the end of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness within a few years.

    Before anyone points the finger and claims “pie-in-the-sky” cannot do that…you are incorrect and everything I have mentioned can be done if the political will was there. This is my barometer by which I measure any political party that aspires to be progressive, and quite clearly the ALP has a long way.

    As George stated, I’ll praise those who deserve praise, not because of what others are like but because they deserve praise and shall criticise those of opposite proclivities.

    This is our country, our democracy…DEMAND better or at least get out of the way of those that do.


  20. Jacquie Calvert-Lane

    “Go Hard “- so right Kaye! So bloody sick of the cowering and wedging of the ALP.
    ” IF YOU STAND FOR NOTHING, YOU FALL FOR ANYTHING”. They might be the lesser evil, but Jesus Christ, why are we settling for that? If people dont hold them to account, who will? The LNP never had my vote, but the ALP lost it years ago.

  21. Kaye Lee

    Like many parents, I endured Little Athletics when my kids were young. When they were very little, the kids would all look over their shoulder to see who was behind them. I kept saying forget who’s behind you, look at the finish line and go as hard as you can.

  22. paul walter

    Sports day. And who was the fat kid who finished in the last few all the time?

    I marvel at this capacity of Kaye Lee to turn out insightful commentaries on current affairs issues right across the spectrum.

    Two thorns for me, the BCA comment, dog in the manger as ever and the pic, which reminded me of the idiotic decision to launch a purge on single parents in the dying days of Gillard Labor when it was already deeply unpopular with the electorate.

  23. Kaye Lee


    When I was maths teaching I would hand out awards – best and fairest, runner-up, and most improved. Then I would have a quiet word with the kid who brought up the rear about how they were a shoe-in for the most-improved award next time. Always aim for a personal best.

  24. Kaye Lee

    lololol My husband had a quick look through comments and said….yeah she’s great with “advice” accompanied by a severe eye-roll. He has this wonderful ability to pull me up whilst still making me laugh. Sorry all.

  25. paul walter

    In this case I am onside with yourself because I am so fed up with the ALP’s timidity on so many issues that could stay in the scarosanct “principles” basket” ( and as has actually seemed to have happened in the practical realm, re being binned)

    The neo lib right, on the Drum, in the Australian and other places are already demanding more “budget repair” which is code for yet further social and material infrastructure cutting.

    Mean while there is much villifying of the Trotskyite Morrisonists for daring to consider to put the breaks on gangsterist market economics versions of what constitutes a “fair” energy policy, eg something not totally open slather/openseason market economics, yet before Xmas Labor sided with Big Business against these foul socialists in the government for attempting a little re-regulation with the price gouging energy sector.

    I also recall bitterly the continued support from Labor for FTA’s and extreme surveillance legislation from the Tory government and fail to see why they will only support government policies that are despicable,cowardly destructive and unpopular.

  26. Trish Corry

    I do really think if “Independent Media” is to be a thing, then certain authors should stop with the purist driven left wing populist non thinking boring hype that gets churned out, over and over again. It appears to be not for the seriousness of writing & research but for the seriousness of SEO reach and popularity that appeals to the anti major / purist politics demographic.

    It’s realy getting tedious.

    What’s the point of Independent Media if there is no real analysis? What’s the point if it’s the same old formula over and over.

    Grab something from the Gillard or Keating years

    Cherry pick all the bits that sound good or are effective to bash Labor

    Make some ambiguous claim that Labor refuses to increase Newstart or help Asylum seekers or Stop Adani etc etc

    Purposely leave out all the crucial detail that takes time and effort and actual research to present as arguments

    Write the article in the context Labor is in power when they are not.

    Leave out crucial content and context which shows an impact on any decision making or policy direction from Labor, such as oh employment programs, TAFE, apprenticeships, abolition of Work for the Dole and Path, which will all impact on the framework of payments.

    Leave out what Labor may require a review for – for example they may change from a curative unemployment model to preventative. Or block funding instead of outcome based funding. Who knows?
    But it should be a point to consider for the reader to decide the necessity of a review, rather than telling the reader a review is not necessary and irrelevant.

    Exclude any commitment from Labor in the context of a review and make it sound like the vehemently oppose

    End with some old trotted our phrase which implies Labor really should be hated/not good enough/absolute rubbish/devious/not in your interest.

    Question the readers vote or question Labor’s ability to Govern

    Smile and nod at successfully misleading an audience.

    These sort of articles are the purist left version of Murdoch press.

    The only one to come close in the comments is Florence.

    I’m truly over these type of articles and many on Twitter voice the same sentiment.

    The black and white thinking and absence of facts, analysis and context, these articles follow, might be “clickable” but it adds nothing to the seriousness of this issue or genuine debate.

    Readers deserve the opportunity to weigh up all the facts, whether they agree with those facts or not. At least the opportunity should be given to the reader.

    Another three years of LNP will completely destroy every soul trapped within the JobSearch framework.

  27. paul walter

    Well, well.

    Look who Lee has lured out of their funkhole!

  28. Jaq

    Oh Dear! Yes Paul!Trisha has found her way onto Independant media! Every argument re Labor and you are there, kneeling and bowing and scraping. Shorten isn’t the Messiah. If you’re sick of these ” Labor bashing” pieces then I’m sure there are other places you wont find so boring.
    Oh and let’s talk about Adani shall we?

  29. Joseph Carli

    Well, well.

    Look who Trish has lured out of their a***hole!

  30. Jaq

    And the ” claims” that Labor are willing to let refugees suffer, or willing not make a decision to kick Adani to the kerb, or voted against raising Newstart, or voted against a Federal ICAC, or voted to take away our data privacy are not “claims”. They are facts.

  31. corvus boreus

    Apparently the opinion of the twitterazzi is that this tedious article is entirely lacking in detailed research and contextual analysis.

    If you want independent media to be a ‘thing’, perhaps you should include some discussion of the nuances twixt preventative and curative employment frameworks when viewed through the prism of a sociological perspective fixated upon behavioral management trends.

    Either that or maybe you could just pen a generic chest-thumping rabble-rousing rant calling for the proletariat masses to rise up and overthrow the tyrannical rule of the over-educated middle-class.

    But please, no more informational analysis with evidential citations provided to form the springboard for further research by the reader.
    Twitter doth disapprove of such.

  32. paul walter

    So, here we are,early on an Adelaide morning with hot weather forecast for the day. While the weather is pleasant it occurs to me that the Trish Corry post merits consideration on its own terms for a fuller examination what is at stake here.

    Not quite sure what JC is attempting, but I observe Jaq restates the counterargument to Corry and it leads me to consider the thing from Trish’s view point.

    Ok, first, Trish hints at the possibility that Labor was always going to be required to employ small target tactics; a sort of refusal of engagement with an enemy on its terms. That viewpoint would conclude that this created a vacuum by which blustering conservatism might implode in upon itself rather than dishonestly feed off resistance to it regardless of the logic of the opposition. Trish would point to the fall of the Braggart Abbott, then the bland Turnbull, whose internal enemies, denied a soft target elsewhere instead, due to their pathology, would not resist an impulse to then seek an alternative within making further mockery of the LNP claim for government as a responsible party, something it has proven through its own behaviours to be more active more in the breach than the observance.

    So, Corry can mount an argument, but only on the basis that Labor would have done less to oppose myriad failings, some quite horrific, originating from the LNP. That is, that the government has been allowed to, demonstrate its ineptness and stiltedness of viewpoint and action, convicting itself by its own hand without Labor to be at blame for its incompetence.

    We don’t know how Labor would have done in government over the last half dozen years. Could it have done worse, no, but perhaps as badly if it was as unimaginative and reflexive as the conservative government.

    What we don’t know is the depth to which the Labor upper echelons themselves actually subscribe to Tory views, of have merely played along with them for what could be argued is a better course politically speaking. The risk the Corry viewpoint asks of voters is to from Labor’s point of view, no more than, “trust us”.

    It would argue that it cannot be worse than the current government in the upholding of the most paramount of our (previous?) democratic values.

    It is a fair guess that the assumption is true, but the doubt remains. If Labor is NOT foxing and will NOT retreat from what appears to be conservatism through recent deeds and appearances, whither democracy currently on life support?

  33. paul walter

    One other thing. Some are criticised for not accepting the government andmore significantly Labor accedance to, much of it, given its evil nature in many cases?

    To Trish and others, I’d only ask, what in all conscience were we we to do BUT protest the foulness of much of what has gone down over recent times?

  34. Joseph Carli

    Cutting and pasting with subjective running commentary IS NOT analysis, but rather only …selective cutting and pasting with subjective commentary designed to hook-in those acolytes most vocal in their hymn-singing adoration…
    I agree with Trish on this one..and as I said about Kerryn Phelps being a LNP safe pair of hands till the next election, so are most “independants” either feral radicals like Katter was / is or reliable LNP allies like PHON is..and it would appear also : The Greens….
    The times indeed have changed…and not for the better…witness has shown me that where once i would call for the absolute and complete overthrow of the middle-class out of parliament…out of ANY tier of governance…I have to now concede that my once revered “working class” has been corrupted just enough by the rent-seeking middle-classes so that they have invested over their heads , their retiremant super’ or borrowed against any collateral they have accrued in the good years to invest in property or shares or any number of those favourite middle-class swindles that make one appear..that’s : A-P-P-E-A-R to have financial security…in short, the corruption of our society has reached right into the core of this “apple” of society and the only option Labor can go to even placate so many money-hungry constituents is to play a balancing act along with the plate spinning and juggling…and the voting in of too many “independents” will only give the LNP ammunition to knock those balancing policies to smitherines…and as we have seen with so many of those “independents” AND THE GREENS..they are open to be bought!

  35. Barry Thompson.

    It is naïve to expect Labor to put a dollar amount on Newstart or other policies at this stage.To do so is to give the LNP ammunition to fire back at Labor. Shorten is no dill, he is keeping his powder dry.
    We shall see how well Labor perform if and when they take Government.

  36. Joseph Carli

    It would appear on first glance that the LNP, in being SO FAR behind in the polls, is now instigating a “Plan B”, with the subtle prompting of those most suseptable and politically weak willed to clamour for ” Transparent and fair representation” via the election of many independents…This “solution” apparently will ensure socialist policies of the most fair and equable kind will flood the floor of The House and even prompt many, or what’s left of the LNP to have a change of heart and assist both environmental and human-rights agendas…

    And then we get the example of Mr. Final Solution, or Ms Charge That To My Expenses Account…or; The We’ll Vote Your Bill In If You Promise Greens Support….and of course….it ALL went pear-shaped…and that’s where it’ll stay if too many independents or minor parties get in.

  37. Joseph Carli

    And it’s no use pointing to the example of Tony Windsor or Rob Oakeshott as good examples of independent politicians..and YES..they were decent members of the house…but if we are to hold “Democracy” up as a shining light of fair governance, it ought not be left to TWO independent citizens to give THEIR selected preference the right to govern the entire nation…THAT IS NOT DEMOCRACY…that is a broken electoral system…in ANY sense of the phrase.

  38. corvus boreus

    I live in the same electorate as Rob Oakeshott.
    He has indicated that he may run in the next federal election (as an independent).
    Now Oakeshott has shown himself to be an engaging communicator and effective operator as a local member and a skilled and principled negotiator within the halls of governance, with the added bonus that he is the only real viable chance of unseating the Nationals candidate.
    However, upon consideration, I still may not vote for him.

    Firstly, as an Independent, Oakeshott is automatically tainted by label association with senator Fraser Anning, who is also an Independent, albeit by default after his election via PHON then defection to and subsequent expulsion from Katter’s mob.
    Secondly, if Oakeshott does gain the seat of Cowper, then he might.just end up holding the balance of power, enabling him to negotiate towards helping another political party (most likely Labor) to form government, and we can’t have that, can we?

  39. Zathras

    Are hypothetical arguments about what may or may not happen under the ALP really worse than a continuation of the reality of what we are experiencing right now?

    Somehow I don’t thing rewarding the coalition with yet another term is a sensible option. Even considering the comparative strength of the teams behind each leader offers no contest.

    All the noise about boats restarting and other threats isn’t being reflected in the polls so maybe the influence of Murdoch and his media trolls is beginning to wane.

  40. Joseph Carli

    Regardless of how noble or well-intentioned one person’s behaviour is or in the case of Anning; isn’t…a nation cannot be held hostage to that person or only a couple of people’s preferences…What ought to have happened…not withstanding the Australian voter’s lazy attitude ot voting…is that another election should have been called till a majority was decided….after all, they do such things in some lesser “democracies”.

  41. helvityni

    I’m with Barry Thompson, why would Labor let the Coalition know what they are planning to do…’whatever you promise, we’ll promise more of the same…’ the Libs would say…

    If you are unhappy with the Labor, keep the Coalition in power….that’s how it works in Oz….Simple!

    For me a less than perfect Labor is preferable to the other side…Scomo, Dutto, Hunt, Michaelia,Tones, the Fixer et all…

    Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Stockholm, Rome, Barcelona here I come…NZ starting to look tempting too…

  42. Kaye Lee

    I’m not sure that now is the right time for Bill to be keeping his powder dry. The people want change. They are sick of the way this government operates.

    Regardless of what one thinks of the relative importance of individual populist policies, they are the things that are on the electorate’s mind so they want to know where you stand on them. Precise detail is not necessary (just ask John Hewson) but Labor should be more worried about bleeding votes to Independents or Greens than about a negative campaign from the Libs and Murdoch’s mob.

    I would add that most democracies function with a minority government or even a multi-party executive. If the Nationals were smart, they would cut the Libs adrift and offer support to a government who will actually do something to protect the viability of farming and regional areas in the future.

  43. corvus boreus

    No governance and serial elections until an absolute HoR majority is obtained by a single political party?
    That could potentially be very disruptive and extremely expensive, and would require some major changes to our constitution..

    Strangely enough, many other nations have functioning parliamentary democracies in which governance through negotiated coalitions/alliances of different minority parties/representatives is the operative norm,

  44. Joseph Carli

    ” Labor should be more worried about bleeding votes to Independents or Greens”…oh yeah??…going by the last couple of voting patterns, I would say it was The Greens losing votes TO Labor!…and since when are The Greens..with only the slimnest of numbers in either house in a position (except to support LNP policy) to independently pass legislation?

    And, Corvus..all these : ” many other nations have functioning parliamentary democracies in which governance through negotiated coalitions/alliances of different minority parties/representatives is the operative norm,”……name the ones that aren’t or havent’ gone to pieces?…and please…leave out the faux democracies.

    HELVI!!…:” Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Stockholm, Rome, Barcelona here I come…NZ starting to look tempting too…”…How could you possibly leave those Hydrangeas??

  45. Kaye Lee

    I agree the Greens are not doing well electorally lately and have had some real internal problems. Independents are a greater threat. Whilst the Greens only secured one seat in the HoR, nationwide they received 10.2% of the first preference vote in the last election. That is a large block of progressive voters to ignore.

  46. Joseph Carli

    The only reason The Greens haven’t gone the way of the Social Democrats yet, is because the MSM, the LNP and a far louder voice on social media that their numbers warrant is giving oxygen to their faux causes because they are still “stupidly useful” for the right to use to drive a wedge into Labor policies…if Labor do manage to get in next election, it will be the kiss of death for The Greens and so we can expect a kind of vicarious support from the right to their electioneering.

  47. Kaye Lee

    “name the ones that aren’t or havent’ gone to pieces”

    New Zealand, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland …..I could go on.

    As for the Greens “faux” causes, they tend to become Labor policies eventually eg marriage equality, Federal ICAC

  48. Joseph Carli

    “. . . they received 10.2% of the first preference vote in the last election. That is a large block of progressive voters to ignore.”……Oh..I don’t know….I suspect that number could in reality be traced down to several Al fresco cafes in Sydney or melbourne inner-city living and a couple of quid to the relevent baristas there would keep at least 8% of that preference in a comatose state.

  49. jaq

    So we should not be held hostage by Independants, but only by the two major parties? This is no longer democracy, its political ping pong. If any of them were actually there to SERVE the people, that would be something, but none of them are.Shorten will hold off of what the major of the public want so he can turn around and say ” look what we did!” How does that serve the people? As Corvus has pointed out, many other nations function through negotiated alliances of various parties and independent members. Why not here? Perhaps its because this country has only people in its political sphere who are about ego, money and power- certainly not serving the people. I am sure Labor will get in. I however, with all honesty cannot vote for them. If they start bleating ‘ its all the Libs fault” I will be ready with my eggs.

  50. corvus boreus

    Gee…um…New Zealand? Many of those Northern European-Scandinavian countries for which Helvityni is pining?
    I could research further and be more specific, but I really couldn’t be arsed making any real effort on your behalf,;since you are completely enamored of braying your own opinions and care not one whit for listening to facts.

  51. Joseph Carli

    The Netherlands for a start…: ” Nearly seven months after they voted in an election on 15 March, Dutch voters are to get a new government after the leaders of four parties agreed on a centre-right policy programme.

    The negotiations have been the longest to form a new government in modern Dutch history and will be officially presented to parliament on Tuesday, when the process of appointing ministers will begin.”

    Can’t be bothered giving the crow any more consideration since he can go scavenge his own info..

  52. Kaye Lee

    “The Dutch economy, at least, has not suffered from the wait: with Rutte’s previous coalition in charge in a caretaker capacity, GDP has grown by a healthy 3.3% in 2017 and is forecast to grow at a rate of 2.5% in 2018.”

  53. Joseph Carli

    From someone who, I believe, lives comfortably off the proceeds of giving financial / investment advice, I can see that the stat’s for the economic numbers adding up would appear attractive..But I have a close relative citizen in the Netherlands who is an aged single woman and she teeters on the edge of poverty and has to jump through hoops for any morsel of social assistance she can get…

    And don’t be too cocky of the LNP losing the next election..THEY have made their mistakes and we see a MSM lurking vulture-like ready to pounce on the first Labor slip of tongue..also with The Greens doing their damnest to help Labor lose…after all, it would suit THEIR agenda down to the ground to be seen as the “shining light” in an oppressive LNP governance…and it wouldn’t be the first time their naeve political nous has sold the nation down the creek…and now so many core left voters have become “aspirant investors” and are open to LNP financial bullshit.

  54. Hilde Rombout

    Joseph Carli,

    “And, Corvus..all these : ” many other nations have functioning parliamentary democracies in which governance through negotiated coalitions/alliances of different minority parties/representatives is the operative norm,”……name the ones that aren’t or havent’ gone to pieces?…and please…leave out the faux democracies.”

    I can name one democracy that has not gone to pieces having a multi party parliament yet and it has this for as many years as i am alive and more. I am in my 70s now and was born in that country, so speak from experience. And this is not a faux democracy at all. It is the Netherlands. And i am sure there are other countries like this too. So yes it definitely possible, as Corvus states.

  55. Kaye Lee

    I am not sure where you are getting your information about my private life Joseph but, invariably, you are wrong. I have never been remotely involved with giving investment advice to anyone.

    I am certain that the Netherlands has challenges facing them. We all do. The point was that a one-party majority government is very unusual. I think a multi-party executive could solve some of the hyper-partisanship, win at all costs/winner takes all, problem that we have here.

  56. Joseph Carli

    jaq…: ” many other nations function through negotiated alliances of various parties and independent members. Why not here? “…..Just look at this blog for a start!…anyone who comes on Trish above…and gives opinion be it social or political that goes against the grain of the “official policy” of those who lurk on these pages as a kind of “gang of four”, gets dumped on…and thsi is just a blog…what do you reckon will happen if we get a few more like Katter , Anning, PHON or The Greens in The house….MAYHEM!!

  57. SteveFitz

    Joseph – It may well still happen if we can get our politicians back into parliament to do the job they were elected to do and, that is running the country with our best interest at heart. They forget so quickly! They are so blinded by self interest and the money, power game.

    The major beneficiaries of the current political turmoil are who, I wonder? Let me think… That would be the media. And, I’m sure they will play it for everything it’s worth over the next six months. The big money is about to roll out and it may well be worth a very close look at which political party puts themselves up for sale and, to whom!

  58. Joseph Carli

    Did I say YOU…K….?

  59. Joseph Carli

    Hilda…I don’t question the functionability of the Netherlands Governance…I am certain it has ..OVER ALL…functioned well…but has it functioned well right down to the most disadvantaged? …not how I hear it..but then that is only the example of one..and here in Australia, we could easily point to the Liberal Party in a coalition with the National Party and say ; “Look..haven’t they ‘OVERALL’ held themselves together nicely to govern the nation..and we’d all have to say ; “YES”…but then look a bit closer…lift a carpet or two…put the dust-gloves on and we see some dark corners that may have been over-looked in the general health of the nation.

    Many functional coalitions have worked well together, but they have ripped their country apart in doing so.

  60. Kaye Lee

    I apologise for misunderstanding Joseph. To whom were you referring when you said “From someone who, I believe, lives comfortably off the proceeds of giving financial / investment advice, I can see that the stat’s for the economic numbers adding up would appear attractive”?

    And could we please stop with this paranoia about some gang. I have been writing here for most of the time the site has existed and I am unaware of any “official policy”. We are all entitled to express our opinions. I just ask that it be done civilly and with reference to the topic rather than the commenter. Some of us are not perfect in that respect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do better.

    As for “haven’t they OVERALL held themselves together nicely to govern the nation”, I would answer a resounding NO.

  61. Adrianne Haddow

    How did an article on Labor turn into a Green bash?

    Why are commenters, with critical concerns re.Labor’s lack of opposition to the worst excesses of the LNP regime, being accused of being gullible with regards to this article?

    We come to these pages as adults with already informed opinions on the state of our nation and its governance.
    We are capable of reading an article and judging it on its merits, and reforming or reaffirming our own opinions based on the opinions and evidence presented in the article.

    No one could argue that the recipients of Newstart need a better deal.
    No one could argue that the private providers in the welfare mix do not act in the best interests of their ‘clients’, the over-arching compliance measures, too often, leave vulnerable people with no access to the safety net. ‘You didn’t come to your compliance meeting because you had a job interview at the same time … tough. Your benefits are cut. No money to pay rent or buy food for the next 2 weeks, see the Smith Family.”

    Then we have the cashless welfare card. Beneficiaries, or victims of this privatised scam, forced to receive their groceries or services from particular large supermarkets or businesses that are approved to process the card.
    Large amounts of the welfare budget pouring into the hands of the Indue company with strong links the Lib party faithfuls.

    Any socially responsible opposition should have already reviewed the workings of the welfare policy, and made decisions regarding changes without needing yet another review. It’s a way of kicking the can down the road with no real decisions being made for the foreseeable future.

  62. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, Adrianne. Well said.

    Unfortunately too many articles turn into an attack on the author and/or the author’s beliefs. The message of the article is soon lost.

  63. Kaye Lee

    I think it has been an interesting discussion nevertheless.

    Should Bill keep his cards close to his chest? Should he stifle debate in an attempt to show unity? Should the people who are concerned about certain issues hush until after the election for fear of giving the Coalition/media ammunition? Should they be content with assurances that Labor will “review” these issues after they are elected? Should the desire to change government preclude discussion about how Labor might improve?

    I guess if you are a Labor Party member it is understandable that you would want to minimise any possible threat to your party’s election. But for the rest of us who aren’t party members, we want some reassurance.

  64. Diannaart


    I agree with Michael, very well said.

    Kaye Lee

    I agree this thread has revealed much – more about the commentators than anything particularly edifying about Shorten’s Labor.

    This year will bring a Labor victory, well it should… what if some voters want to know before the election what Labor stands for?

    On issues that should form part of Labor’s foundational platform; safety net for unemployed, single parents, those unfortunate to be both unemployed and chronically ill … Well, Sally McManus has been campaigning hard on changing the rules towards a more equitable economy. Does Shorten fear siding with unions?

    Has the far right scheming against workers’ rights to safe workplaces and a livable income completely poisoned the union movement?

    Surely Turnbull was more than enough of the spineless leader for Australia to look towards a vision for the future? Instead of more of the same, except not quite so bad. 🙄

    The 2019 election is Labor’s to win – but not marginally, not with the concessions to an insatiable right both within Labor and endemic throughout the coalition.

    It’s Time.

  65. helvityni

    Kaye Lee, ‘ I think it has been an interesting discussion nevertheless.’

    You are right, at times it’s the rigid rule/warning “stay on the subject matter” that may silence some people , and you mainly get links to some journalist’s opinions….

    Pedantry does not help if you want not a lively, free-flowing exchange….

    At times when the berating of the fellow commenters starts, no one worries about the subject matter at hand…..the hell breaks loose…

    PS. not referring to anyone specifically, just expressing what I have observed…

  66. Kerry

    Adrianne, I agree whole heartedly.

    I am also amazed that it is so taboo for Labor to work with the Greens. The Libs are ONLY in power because of their coalition with the Nats.

    I see it as increasingly stupid that all the left leaning parties don’t co-operate in the same way.

    Unless of course the major left party is not really left anymore. This would explain a lot of what we see.

    If this was true,Bill shorten would then not be “gutless” he would simply be doing whatever he has agreed to do behind closed doors for whoever pulls the strings. I read an interesting article on Pearls and Irritations on how our much revered Bob Hawke was in bed with the private sector. How surprising…NOT!

    JOHN MENADUE. How Murdoch and Abeles twisted the arm of the Hawke Government to help Ansett Airlines at the expense of Qantas. (Edited and reposted)

    How can we be so naive?

    In the two man political con the Libs play bad cop and labor plays good cop to the socialist audience and reversed to the conservative audience.

    How incredibly economical of them!

    Any hoo….I am happy for Labor replace the libs in the next election, because the libs are just plain evil. But we should never stop having this kind of conversation in my opinion until there is real honesty in Australian politics.

    Thanks Kaye, the points you raise are completely relevant and necessary.

  67. Kaye Lee


    I have no problem about the discussion expanding and going in different directions. When I asked that comments be made “with reference to the topic rather than the commenter”, I meant discuss the opinion expressed by the commenter rather than your opinion of them personally.

    Articles are only ever a starting point for discussion. I am unsure about your reference to pedantry. I don’t think we impose excessive rules here beyond asking for civility.

  68. Matters Not


    into the hands of the Indue company with strong links the Lib party faithfuls.

    And the fake news persists.

  69. totaram

    Kaye Lee: “And yes I know we are a sovereign currency who can pay for anything we want to but until the pollies come on board with that, we have to have other ideas”

    Very well said! In fact, it is “we the people” who will have to drag the pollies kicking and screaming on board; just as we did with SSM and the banking RC, and so many other issues. I don’t see any other way, and it will be a long, hard struggle, the results of which I may not live to see.

  70. Kaye Lee

    Fake news MN?

    “The federal opposition has called for an investigation into revelations that a lobbying firm run by the National party president, Larry Anthony, was acting for energy companies and the firm behind the cashless welfare card.

    Anthony, a former minister in the Howard government, is no longer registered as a lobbyist. But he remains a director of the SAS Group, a lobbying firm which counts Santos, Delta Electricity and Indue among its clients.

    Anthony was formerly a director of Indue between 2005 and 2013, according to records from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic).

    SAS Group continues to lobby on Indue’s behalf. The company has been awarded contracts for the cashless welfare card in a limited tender process.”

  71. jaq

    Oh Joseph… look who’s talking?
    Pot Kettle Black Mate… and Trish for those of us who are on Twitter, we all know what happens when you say anything and I mean the slightest thing about the ALP. I cant stand RWNJ- but LWNJ are just as bad. Plus You with you diatribes re the Greens, and YOU’RE saying that people are incapable of debate? ROFL

  72. Phil Gorman

    There is urgent need to recognise and apply the term “Commonwealth” as denoting the primary responsibility of Australia’s Federal Government. It’s something Labor should fearlessly adopt, promote and apply.

    On the seesaw of Principles and Interests Labor’s right wing interests still carry the most weight in the inglorious pursuit of power at any cost.

  73. Kaye Lee

    As i was looking up the article I linked to in above comment, I also came across this one from September 2017….

    Opening the conference, Mr Anthony thanked corporate sponsors, saying they and regional Australia backed the party “because we are focused and we deliver, we are transparent, and non-factionalised, we are loyal to our leaders, and ministers of the day”.

    “This is what sets us apart from other major political parties,” he said.

    From the same article….

    Until this year, SAS Group listed its Canberra office as in the same building as National Party headquarters, John McEwen House, a low-rise office building a few streets from Parliament House.

    Mr Anthony said that in 2014 SAS was one of a number of companies that rented space in the building, at commercial rates, but it moved out the next year. Fairfax Media could find no former lease for SAS on the historical title deed.

    The proprietor of the building, John McEwen House Pty Ltd, also acts as a fundraising vehicle for the party, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

  74. jaq

    I think its interesting that some people refuse to see in black and white the harm that the LNP have done to this country, and subsequently why the opposition have not called them out.The deaths, not only of refugees, but the Robodebt fiasco- 13 people suicided last count- the deaths through DV- a result not helped by the closure of women’s’ refuges , 70 women dead last year- the reflouements- and turn back of boats, the number of deaths we will never know, the Adani deals,the backhanders and bribery, the cheating, the dual citizenship rubbish….

    If this is the game, why would you want to play?

  75. Matters Not

    Yes fake news KL.

    I’ll return to the article that started this nonsense:

    The Liberal National Party (‘LNP’) Welfare Card programme is really a LNP rort for the benefit of the Liberal and National Parties and their members, donors and supporters. Indue Pty Ltd, the corporation awarded the contract to manage the Welfare Card programme and to operate its underlying systems, is a corporation owned by Liberal and National Party members and that donates to various Liberal and National Party branches around Australia. The former chairman of Indue is none other than former LNP MP Larry Anthony who is the son of former Liberal Country Party Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony. Anthony now holds his shares in Indue in his corporate family trust managed by Illalangi Pty Ltd. Other companies now owned by Larry Anthony, or by the corporate trustee of his family trust, Illalangi Pty Ltd, work under ‘sub’ contracts for Indue itself and make their profits from dealings with Indue in the course of Indue performing its contracts with the LNP Government. These corporations are SAS Consulting Group Pty Ltd – a political lobbying group that counts Indue as a client

    Indue is not and has never been owned by anyone other than a group of Queensland Credit Unions. It follows that Griffin’s claim that Indue is a corporation owned by Liberal and National Party members is completely wrong. As is the claim Anthony now holds his shares in Indue in his corporate family trust managed. See above. Again – not a shred of proof. In fact it’s an impossibility. Anthony was NEVER Chair of Indue and now isn’t on the Board.

    The claim that it donates to various Liberal and National Party Branches around Australia remains pure conjecture – without one shred of proof. That a company Chaired by Dawson Petie with deep roots to the Labor Party would donate to the Nationals is hilarious. Perhaps you have a link – because Griffin, when challenged, went missing in action.

    Re SAS – perhaps a bit of history might be enlightening:

    Former Federal Ministers the Hon Con Sciacca AO (Labor) and the Hon Larry Anthony (Coalition), together with Chief Executive Peter Costantini, established the SAS Group in mid 2009. SAS China commenced with Victoria Qiu in 2011 offering specialist advisory services. In 2014, the SAS Group added a dedicated media and communications practice, led by former senior journalist and Federal Ministerial media adviser Malcolm Cole.

    That the now deceased Con Sciacca a long serving member of Labor would be a party to such nonsense is also hilarious.

    Who We Are

    Ever thought it strange that Griffin seem to have disappeared without trace?

  76. Kaye Lee


    The quote in your original comment was that “Indue company with strong links the Lib party faithfuls”. I don’t know about the Libs but it is beyond question that Indue has close ties with the Nationals Party faithfuls.

    Your subsequent comment is a different matter. I was referring to your original comment.

  77. Matters Not

    And while on the subject of fake news – what about thess claim(s):

    Indue, is now majority owned by a Hong Kong corporation, Stargroup, … that has direct interests in and commercial dealings in, you guessed it, the very thing the welfare card program seeks to eradicate – gambling and casinos … Such blatant stupidity and rank hypocrisy is almost unbelievable yet it is entirely true.

    Yes entirely true. Hilarious.

    But there’s more:

    On a visit to the Stargroup website one can read several updates of Stargroup’s purchase of Indue. The update to the purchase of Indue on the Stargroup website dated 11 April 2017 is an official Stargroup report to the Australian Stock Exchange and states the following:

    Financial Technology and ATM machine company Stargroup Limited (ASX: STL) wishes to advise it and its wholly owned subsidiary, StarLink Pty Ltd, have made the part payment of $2,600,000 to Indue Limited in relation to the acquisition of its Automatic Teller Machine (“ATM”) switching, settlement, processing, telecommunications and reseller business which was required to be made on or before 14 April 2017.

    In other words, Stargroup has purchased most of Indue and its business assets and will acquire the rest of Indue soon.

    It’s what I call fake news. But people can choose what descriptor they like.

    Astounding stupidity! Turnbull Liberals award contracts for the anti-gambling Welfare Card to gambling interests!

    KL, in my opinion Indue had greater connections to Labor than the Nationals. Now the connection to the Liberals is with Malcolm Cole – who once worked for Downer and tried for Liberal pre-selection.

    Like any small lobbying firm they need a foot in all political camps.

  78. Matters Not

    PS, my last comment related to SAS not Indue. Re Dawson Petie – the long standing Chair of Indue

    Here’s his CV.

    His first Board appointment was with 2KY RADIO SYDNEY. Note:

    History. 2KY was founded by Emil Voigt under the ownership of the Labor Council of New South Wales with the aim of broadcasting ‘musical entertainment, news, weather, market reports, public debates and matters of educational value’.

    Note – Labor owned. If you check out his other Board appointment(s) and you know their histories as well you can see deep Labor connections. Note the strong overlap with the Goss Labor government. Now with John Battams as President of the Labor Party in Queensland – check out his connections to TUH (begun by Noel Ross QTU).

    Also when Campbell Newman (LNP) came to power in Queensland, Petie received his marching order quick smart. One could go on. But why bother – the fake news has taken hold and will persist. It’s a study in itself.

    PS, my first citation was clearly not my statement. See above as to its source. As to connections to the Nationals, I think Labor connections trump that. But no donations I’m sure.

  79. Matters Not

    By the way, SAS has a new Director.

    Bernie Ripoll has served in the Australian Commonwealth Parliament from 1998-2016 as the Member for Oxley and worked in both government and opposition roles and on many Joint Parliamentary Committees as the Chair or Deputy Chair.

    An ex Labor MHR not likely to sit on the sidelines and see money channelled to the Nationals. SAS is based in QLD as is Indue. While I can’t be certain as to why Indue contracted SAS, I’ll wager it was Con Sciacca’s connections rather than Anthony’s. Sciacca was liked by all sides of politics and he was well respected. A type of Mafia boss.

    Meet the team

  80. David Bruce

    Thanks KL! Seems we have some high profile people who benefit from the increasing number of children living in poverty as a result of failed Australian Government policies? Were children sought by Hillsong from low socioeconomic families with single mothers, parents in trouble with the law, and who had been brought to the attention of the Department of Children’s Services?
    (log on to FB and search – Mike Munro left 60 Minutes because his report on the death of 10-year-old Helen Karipidis was censored)




    I wonder if the name Scumo still seems appropriate?

  81. Matter Not

    KL, I have any number of links to this issue broadly definedbut now behind paywall so I didn’t provide. Re your link (and fake news)

    with people having bought into the company weeks before the card was announced

    So people bought shares in a company which weren’t for sale. They did well. lol.

    Perhaps it’s worth pointing out that the Big 4 Banks were offered first bite of the Cashless Welfare Card but they weren’t interested because the dollars on offer were simply not worth their while. Further, Indue was on the market for a measly $6 million and while there was an offer on the table, the bidding firm (listed on the ASX) went broke.

    (As an aside but still relevant) Speaking of fake news here’s the latest clip on Elizabeth Warren and why she’s not suitable to be the Democratic nominee. lol

    Oh for a few relevant facts.

  82. Paul Davis

    AIMN 27/2/2017 Article titled “The LNP Welfare Card: the true facts exposed. Corruption disguised as philanthropy!” Authored by Michael Griffin, with 134 comments.

    Lots of to and fro between commenters about who said what with links and references that offered little real hard evidence to support the dramatic headline……. and what of Michael Griffin, no bio like many other contributors…..

    Matters Not has called this “fake news”. For many true believers, proof won’t matter, the story fits into their narrative of a vile fascist government bleeding the poor and enriching their friends.

    Does this matter? Only if you have respect for AIMN and their fairness, integrity etc. Therefore on the assumption the contribution was screened and fact checked before publication, i guess it is Truth and not fake news.

    Speaking of fake news, Graeme Mundine, catholic teacher, community leader and elder, was not convicted of pedophilia and sentenced to gaol before xmas, because no one in MSM reported it…..

  83. Kaye Lee

    I agree that there has been a lot of confusion and misreporting about who is profiting from Indue. For me, the more pertinent question is why is any private company profiting from it? And what evidence is there that Twiggy Forest’s idea is actually achieving its goals?

    “The cashless debit card costs around $10,000 a year per participant to administer, when the person themselves is receiving a meagre $14,000 a year in Newstart payments. How on earth is this good value?” Cassandra Goldie said. “What we spend on this card would be much better spent on investing in services and supports that have a far stronger evidence base of being effective in addressing individual and community needs.”

    PS As for Mundine, it has been reported on a few sites.

  84. Michael Taylor

    There’s also a difference between fake news and incorrect news. Fake news, of course, is a deliberate lie. The latter, not so.

    I communicated regularly with the author of the welfare card article prior to publishing and I was satisfied with its veracity. The author, being a lawyer, was not going to publicly put his name to an article that had the potential to backfire on him (and me) spectacularly.

    As an aside, allow me the liberty to tell a small story that might relate to incorrect news.

    In primary school we had a small test where we were asked to write down everything we knew about Charles Sturt’s expedition up (or was it down?) the Murray.

    I wrote down about four words.

    The teacher failed me. But he was of course unaware that I was far smarter than he.

    “You asked us to write down everything we knew about Sturt’s expedition up (or was it down?) the Murray,” I bravely objected. “I did as asked, and wrote down everything I knew.”

    I wrote down 100% of what I knew, and I was 100% correct in my plea.

    I was still failed.

    Today, fifty-five years later, I still believe I was right.

  85. Kaye Lee


    I tried a similar thing when my history teacher said we had to write a two page essay on a topic that escapes me now. I tore a page out of a small notebook and filled up both sides. She was likewise unimpressed and justifiably so.

  86. Paul Davis

    Michael, thank you for bothering to clarify the fake news comment, I’m sure Matters Not is satisfied, as i genuinely am, on your integrity.

    Yes, i remember a schoolmate did exactly as you did with same result plus being sent to principal’s office for caning.

    Kaye, i wholeheartedly agree that the card is unnecessary, is unfairly administered and should not be a for-profit opportunity for third parties. Pity that the Centre Right Party, so enthusiastically supported by most of us (‘cos there is nuthin else), will continue to expand it after they take office shortly.

    And yes, my bad, Mundine’s court outcome was widely reported by MSS …. as well as SBS the story was carried in local papers in Wollondilly and Grafton, i think.

  87. Adrianne Haddow

    All these posts for one phrase in a post.


    A pity the outrage was for who ran/ owned/ lobbied for the opportunity to make money from the distribution of the cashless card rather than the ideology that sees government money filter from the public sector to the private sector. And in a time of ‘budget crisis’ which was the excuse for the degradation of many public services

    The demonisation of the unemployed and disadvantaged, in particular, the indigenous Australians, by the Lib/Nat/ Murdoch media has worked well for some, whatever their brand.

  88. Michael Taylor

    We didn’t get the cane, Paul. It was a tough school in the middle of Kangaroo Island. The kids were punched by the Deputy Head Master instead.

    That was the way of our world. Our Dads were returned servicemen who only knew one way: tough (with large portions of discipline).

  89. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, sounds like we were of similar ways as kids.

    I was a complete terror. 😀

  90. paul walter

    The Card is an other manifestation of Robodebt, or the sort of torments a sadistic mind dreamed up for asylum seekers.

    Canings, an absolute necessity for peer approval where I went.

  91. Kaye Lee

    Hey, I was a very good girl Michael. My history teacher was a waste of space – she brought out the smartarse in me.

    Just one comment for those who may find repeated calls for Newstart to be increased tedious, there’s an easy way to shut us all up.

    (Actually, on a moment’s reflection, very good girl may not be entirely accurate)

  92. Matters Not

    paul walter, the Cashless Welfare Card when selectively applied can have positive outcomes – particularly for women and children. As can restraining orders for domestic violence.

    Band-aids are sometimes necessary without being sufficient.

  93. Kaye Lee


    I would have no problem if that was assessed by the courts (or a relevant body) as being a necessary temporary resort for certain individuals based on their actual circumstances rather than it being applied by postcode.

    You do not teach life skills by taking away all responsibility. You do not address addiction by pretending that if they can’t use the card at the bottle shop or with the local dealer that they will get clean. You don’t teach parenting skills by restricting the money available to the household. You do not enable people by labelling them incapable. There are better ways for most people.

  94. paul walter

    Thanks, Kaye Lee. I feel that it is an arrogant and patronising measure, almost a form of scapegoating. It is as though someone who doesnt even know you, has never met you, walks uninvited into your home and arbitrarily co-opts your wallet.

    It should be remembered that the measure was first trialled on aboriginal communities as an implied propaganda slur.

    Creeping authoritarianism, a slippery slope and a measure that intentionally removes attention away from other more damaging forms of criminality, such as white collar crime, let alone an examination of how society itself is configured.

  95. jaq

    I went away for a day and this discussion is still ongoing! Well done KL! It is obviously a bone that needs to be picked and people need to discuss.I hope someone high up in the Labor party is taking note. We’ve already had 5 years of total shite – we dont need almost the same, or not as bad for the next 5 years.

  96. Kronomex

    Michael, your bit about Sturt reminded me of being in a science class in high school in 1971. I was part of the “keep them up the back of the classroom so I don’t have to look at them” group (four of us, we were considered p.i.t.a.). The teacher made a statement about Aristotle being a scientist who lived and worked in 4,000BC. That doesn’t sound right, I thought, and when I got home I took out the trusty encyclopaedias and did some digging and found that she was out by almost 3,700 years. I took the book to class the next day (showed the other three up the back the entry) and went up the teacher and pointed out that she was incorrect. Her reply was to slam the book shut, how dare I contradict her, and then told me to sit down and shut up. Came exam time a few weeks later and only four of us in the class got the surprise question about Aristotle correct. I was removed from the class and sent to another class not long after.

    Anyway, the Indue card is probably one of the most vile and degrading things the LNP is foisting upon the lower classes..screw it, peasants, in Australia. Will Labor stop it when they get into power? Probably not.

    LNP, the “natural” party for women?

    And the vomit inducing rubbish from O’Dwyer –

  97. helvityni

    Kronomex, did you get caned before being moved to another class….

    I once asked a teenager if he enjoyed going to school, his answer was ‘I’m in them dumb classes’….

    The separation starts early, in my way of thinking the less bright students learn more if allowed into the clever students’ classes…

  98. Kaye Lee

    That’s a tricky question helvityni. I agree that mixed ability classes are beneficial but in my field, maths, that does make it harder to cater to individual needs. A very important role of a teacher is to encourage personal improvement. Standardised testing is an impediment to that. It is not viewed as a tool for improvement – it is reported as a judgement.

  99. Kronomex

    No, I didn’t get caned but a number of teachers thought I was a smart-arse because I always checked something if it didn’t sound right. Left high school at the end of ’75 and, to me at least, learned far more outside the school system. In 1978 I took up Enrolled Nursing as a dare and discovered that it was the best dare I’d ever accepted. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it until I did my back in at the end of 1991. Ah, the 70’s where only “poofs and fags and queers” did things like nursing and you weren’t a “real Aussie male” if you didn’t drink beer, eat pies, drive a Holden, and follow sport. Peer pressure meant, and still means, eff all to me, it’s just a sign of the herd mentality.

    Everyone has a motto of some sort, mine is: I live one step to the left of reality as we know it.

  100. Kaye Lee

    What an outstanding article paul. Thanks for sharing it. It eloquently, and with lots and lots of facts, expresses how I feel. I cannot for the life of me understand why Labor seems to be more concerned about reactions from the Murdoch media and the LNP spin merchants than they are about giving progressive voters a visionary platform. Yes they have some good policies, but they are ignoring things that they know are important to the electorate.

    “Your upcoming election strategy appears to be photocopying Liberal policies on encryption, climate, refugees, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, political donations, corporate lobbying, and arms exports while offsetting them with an electrifying vision for dividend imputation, negative gearing, and capital gains.

    Your pledges on affordable housing, new environmental regulations, humanitarian intake, and workplace relations are steps in the right direction, but in view of the evidence about the success of a progressive populist agenda and basic human decency, your stances on Newstart, refugees and Adani are inexcusable.

    For Christ’s sake, and for the sake of all Australians who’d quite like a liveable future, please stop feeding us your slightly-watered-down-guilt-filled neoliberal starch sandwich. Please start feeding our fat, depressed, diabetes-riddled bodies some healthful colour with a generous helping of left-wing ambition.”

  101. Barry Thompson.

    Just read that article Kaye Lee. Maybe I am wrong about Bill keeping his powder dry. Perhaps he should put a Dollar amount on Newstart, but I can’t still help feeling that the bias in the electorate against the unemployed could lose Labor a lot of votes. On the other hand I believe a clear statement that Labor would process asylum seekers onshore would win them a lot of votes.
    I just don’t want Labor to lose this election. There is too much talk at the moment that the result is done and dusted.

  102. Kaye Lee


    We MUST help Labor to win. Hence the discussion about the best way to do that. I would like to see more courage rather than caution.

  103. Peter F

    Kaye, while I too would like to see more courage, I accept that history has shown that the coalition will smother any decision with lies if they think they can get away with it. I heard Erica Betts on RN this morning say that the coalition has taken us closer to a surplus so that they can start ‘paying down Labor’s debt’. He was allowed to get away with this.

    The obvious retort( to me) was ‘So you do not intend to pay down your own debt?’.

    IF Labor make a promise, they will be held to it, unlike ‘No change to ABC,etc ……. from Abbott.’ When in power Labor can make their own decisions .

  104. Kaye Lee


    I understand what you are saying but I think this time is different. People are so fed up with the Coalition that the old playbook won’t be as effective this time. As you say, any talk of debt will reveal how much the Coalition have increased it despite a recovering world economy and unexpectedly high commodity prices and record company profits.

    Unfortunately, Labor are making silly promises like our surpluses will be bigger than yours or we will never have an ETS or no-one from Manus and Nauru will ever come to Australia. What the hell do they intend to do with those for whom a third country cannot be found – let them rot? Stop the silliness about the boats will restart. We have an armada of vessels making sure that won’t happen. Give people a legitimate way to get here (which I do think they are making progress on) but you have to have a plan for those we have held hostage for so many years.

  105. Peter F

    Thanks Kaye, I agree with your general sentiments, particularly your second paragraph. JWH started it all with Tampa.

    The problem with you first paragraph is that we are not discussing this matter in the MSM, but in our own little enclave. A large percentage of the population actually believe that the coalition are better managers, and would treat our opinions as rubbish.

  106. Kaye Lee

    It is a dilemma Peter. When I venture outside our safe place here I am continually flabbergasted at how ill-informed so many people are. But the facts are undeniable so Labor have to be dogged about presenting them with help from the ABC, the Guardian, occasionally Fairfax, and the independent media.

    There are increasingly more people who are questioning why they are still struggling if ‘the economy’ is doing so well. Morrison’s trite slogan “if you have a go, you’ll get a go” just sounds ridiculous. “There are just over three million people (13.2%) living below the relative poverty line, including 739,000 children (17.3% of children).” That is a disgraceful situation in this wealthy country.

  107. paul walter

    That last is a gem, Kaye Lee.

    You are worth your weight in gold.

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