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Labor can win the next election on tax reform

Before the last election Tony Abbott, like John Howard before him, promised there would be no change to the GST. Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb reiterated that promise in their final update on election commitments published on September 5, 2013.

It confirms once and for all that:

  • There are no cuts to education, health, defence or medical research;
  • There is no change to the GST

In the last few months of 2015 we had Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg both assuring us that the Commonwealth government had “no plans” to increase the GST.

It is now obvious that those assurances were cowardly crap.

The position now is that some states are supporting an increase in the GST to make up for the funding shortfall due to the Coalition ripping $80 billion out of their future health and education budgets. Scott Morrison, however, stated categorically in December that any GST increase will not be used for budget repair but will be entirely offset by reductions in income and company taxes. There is also talk of changing the composition of tax take given to the states with them giving up some GST in return for some income tax. We are now being assured that all will become clear well before the next election. So much for simpler.

It is going to be very hard to sell a 15% increase on food, education and health and a 5% increase on everything else, with the revelations of the extent of corporate tax evasion and the generous concessions available to investors. Fairer? I think not.

NATSEM modelling shows that a 15 per cent GST would mean a 3 per cent hit on the most affluent households, but a 7 per cent hit on the poorest households.

“A broadening of the base of the GST to fresh food, health, water and education would also be regressive, with people on lower incomes paying proportionately more of their incomes on these essentials. The relative impacts are clear: 4.6% of income for people in the lowest income brackets, 2.7% for people in the middle, and just 1.7% for the highest income earners.

NATSEM has also modelled the impact of raising the GST to 15% to pay for a cut of 5% in all personal income tax rates to demonstrate how this would change who pays what proportion of tax, in reference to their incomes. The results are stark: two thirds of households, on incomes up to about $100 000 would be worse off and the top 40% would gain at the expense of the bottom 60%. The lowest 20% of households by income would lose $33 a week (6.6% of income) on average while the top 20% would gain an average of $69 a week (2.1% of income).

Increasing the GST to fund income tax cuts is also a big, complicated revenue ‘churn’ that would do nothing to ease the pressure on State health, education and welfare budgets, particularly as it would clearly require a major compensation package to ameliorate its impacts on people who are hit the hardest. If it’s not about raising more revenue, the Government has to justify why this option is being considered at all.

Raising the GST to fund cuts to personal income tax across the board, as some advocate, is a recipe for more inequality, not a stronger economy.”

From 2012-14, members of the World Economic Forum listed income disparity as the greatest risk facing the planet. This has been taken over by interstate disputes, forced migration, and extreme weather disasters in 2015 and 2016 but the problem is getting worse as demonstrated by the recent Oxfam report which showed that 62 of the world’s richest people hold the same wealth as 50% of the world’s population.

“About $100 billion annually is lost to poorer nations because corporations put their money into low-tax jurisdictions. And once that happens it means that a fair share of tax isn’t being paid to support the social infrastructure that’s necessary to help people lift out of poverty like education, for example.”

The report noted some of the worst hit by global inequality are often women and that if the interests and welfare of women was not addressed, many communities would be let down.

In Australia, people in the top 20 per cent income group are receiving five times as much income as somebody in the bottom 20 per cent and there is 70 times more wealth for people in the top group, compared to people in the bottom 20 per cent.

Oxfam Australia chief executive Helen Szoke identified three key things that must be done to repair the global wealth gap:

  • Address the issue of tax practices and clamp down on corporate tax avoidance
  • Ensure that governments used that money to invest in social infrastructure
  • The need for a living wage, rather than a minimum wage

The Coalition promised that removing the carbon and mining taxes would boost employment and investment. They were wrong.

They want to cut company tax to boost employment and investment. It is far more likely to boost dividends to shareholders.

They want to protect investors and entrepreneurs, whilst slashing funding and jobs in research.

Stagnant wage growth, increases to the GST, cuts to health, and the possible removal of penalty rates will leave low and middle income earners with less disposable income. Cuts to income tax mean little to someone on less than $20,000. Freezing of the superannuation guarantee and the abolition of the low income co-contribution will also have a significant long term impact on retirement incomes.

Less disposable income means less demand which, combined with technological disruption, will mean less jobs.

While climate change and forced migration may be more pressing problems at the moment, any move towards more regressive taxation will only exacerbate the growing problem of income disparity and poverty in Australia.

The Labor Party came into existence to represent the collective voice of the workers and the vulnerable. I sincerely hope they are crunching the numbers to offer a better alternative to the electorate that clearly demonstrates that the Coalition’s path is not simpler and it is most definitely not fairer. If you want jobs and growth then start looking after your workforce and getting the corporations who would wring us dry to fulfil their part of the social contract.

But what can we expect from a very wealthy Prime Minister who himself invests in vulture funds and family trusts and offshore tax havens and of whom Kerry Packer once said “I would never get between Malcolm and a bag of money.”

PS: The Good Weekend published an interesting article in 1991 about the then 36 year old merchant banker titled Raging Turnbull. It makes for interesting reading.


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  1. Peter F

    What a confidence trick: take $80Bn away from the states in relation to health and education then have the States agree to replace those funds by asking for the GST to be raised. Wait, it gets worse, the increase in the GST will not go to paying for education and health, it will go to tax cuts for the wealthy. Now, this should be easy to sell, with a little help from your friend.

  2. Wayne Turner

    Hopefully Labor can win.BUT,they also have to combat the pro-Liberal and pro-Turnbullsh*t MSM.Along with the majority of a gullible and ignorant public.

    Turnbullsh*t and these Libs will do what they did at the 2013 election – LIE to get in.Except Turnbullsh*t is sneakier,smarter and hence more dangerous than idiot Abbott.These Libs will LIE with “vagueness” – They will NOT rule in or out a GST increase &/or broading of the GST,and the same goes for cutting penalty rates.

    Of course if most of the public are gullible enough they will fall for it.Sadly,you can’t fix stupid.With of course the Libs increasing &/or broading the GST and cutting penalty rates for sure if they get back in.Plus the big end of town getting away with the rorting of us all.

    What ever these Libs say BEFORE the next federal election.It is certain they can NOT be trusted.They are proven LIARS.

  3. salina florek

    I am so so scared of the future so scared t hat I dont want to live anymore. I am a 73yo pensioner and trough no fault of my own I find myself existing on the old age pension. I have no way to making any income short of selling my possessions, The cost of living is exhorbitant as it is, I have pared everything down to the bare minimum, I have life but no quality of life. I am absolutely amazed that these arrogant people have such power over my life and future.
    There is a question I would like to ask , and perhaps someone will be able to answer it. What happened to all the billions collected from the sale of everything that wasnt nailed down, the cost of living has gone up as well ( more GST for the gov) as well as the money raised from stamp duties collected from the real estate boom. No new hospitals or schools so where did the money go?
    The miserly pittance they will give in compensation for raising the GST will go nowhere.
    I am so angry at being discarded as collateral damage

  4. Kaye Lee


    We need people to get angry. Old people, young people, all of us who care about our society. We can make change – there are more workers and pensioners than there are billionaires. We must spread the truth, encourage others to ask questions and use our votes wisely. We can, and must, do better because allowing corporations to rule the world is not sustainable – it does not give us the security we need to live happy lives.

    A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.
    Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. – Swami Sivananda

    You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Mahatma Gandhi

  5. John Kelly

    In 1998, John Howard went to the people with a massive majority proposing a GST of 10%. Labor won the two party preferred vote but failed to win the election by a handful of seats. This time only 16 seats need to fall for the Coalition to lose its majority. Labor, however need to win 22 seats for a majority assuming Clive Palmer loses to the Nationals. It’s a big ask but doable.

  6. Sam

    Some are suggesting Shorten needs to go for Labor to stand a chance. That’s crazy, destructive thinking to me.

    I can see the headlines in the Murdoch papers, on the Murdoch websites, the lead stories on the Murdoch pay tv news networks and in the other Murdoch-like media “Labor up to its old tricks!

    They’d then run that story into the ground, ignoring the horrible policies of the government and the fact that the Liberals did the same thing themselves.

    Sad thing is, it’d likely work as well. Whether you like Shorten or not, it’s waaaaaay too late to get rid of him now and it’d only hurt Labor.

  7. Möbius Ecko

    According to the Channel 7 news piece I just saw on their exclusive Reachtel poll Labor are utterly screwed. The people apparently don’t care about a rise in GST but their number one concern is jobs and growth. Guess what mantra Morrison has been chanting over and over, conveniently mashed up by 7 News, “jobs and growth”.

  8. Anarchist

    As if anyone would want Labor to win…

    I cant believe people still think that either the ALP or the LIB/NAT is any better/worse than the other? This pretend left/right paradigm is what is wrong with this country. If the answer to all our problems is electing either of these twin evils, then the question, is on a whole new level of stupidity.

  9. randalstella

    They are not twin evils. You show no regard for details. Labor have big problems. The Coalition are gangster liars.
    I have just had installed my optic fibre to the premises NBN. Labor’s plan.
    Most people will eventually get copper wire. On Turnbull’s lies.
    It is one of many major differences.
    You should pay attention.

  10. harshmind

    A very well researched and written article from Kaye Lee, as we have come to expect. She should be up for Australian of the Year. I do agree the inequity proposed by this Coalition is a godsend for Labor if they can exploit it intelligently. We are getting to the stage where the tables are so loaded in favour of “the house” that the punters are going to become restive if their interests are not considered. Not to mention the disruptions we might face with climate change catastrophes affecting the more vulnerable because they have nowhere to escape to. One, very minor, criticism – corporations would wring us dry, not ring. Pedantic, I know.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Thanks hm. You are right of course. I will fix it.

  12. ausdavo43

    We need to legislate a Statutory Declaration of honesty for all candidates to sign before they can stand for an election as an MP. There must be mandatory penalties for telling lies including dismissal as an MP for serious offences ! Huge penalties must be imposed on political parties who lie in advertising before the election including de-registration for serious offences. What do others think ?

  13. Wally

    Without fail if the LNP win the next election they will claim they have a mandate to increase GST to 15% and to remove penalty rates so they can save a few cents on their latte’s and croissants. The fact that these measures will cause many more people to live below the poverty line is totally irrelevant to them, so long as their rich supporters approve they do not give a stuff.

    And these greedy people have the audacity to consider themselves to be Christians, I have a name for them but cannot write it here.

  14. harshmind

    ausdavo, it would be good if the politicians could be held accountable for their promises. Many would say they are already, via the ballot box. Others might think that simple human decency would ensure the politicians self-regulate. But we live in a world where cynicism is required for success. There is much historical precedent for this on all sides of politics. A problem I see with your proposal is that it would descend into legal wrangles where nobody wins but the lawyers

  15. diannaart

    Indeed Wally.

    The LNP likes to pretend the economy is the same as the household budget, how about they pretend the relationship between the winners of an election and the Australian people is not so different from getting married – just because we allowed them in doesn’t mean they get to do everything they want.

    In fact, taking the analogy a bit further; even brothels have standards.


  16. Wally


    Love the analogy.

    Would any brothel in Australia let them inside?

  17. Sen Nearly Ile

    I take two pensioners both women 14 years older than Salina, shopping on pension day at coles(one has shares) and despite my pointing out that the home brand is sourced overseas they buy the cheapest. At $775.20 per fortnight who can blame them. They each have two bedroom public accommodation and as they have been there for years they pay $34.44 rent(i help one check her balance on my laptop and it looks like the rent is by fortnight). If they were to shift into a single, more suitable, flat their rent would increase by 500%. So they would be crazy to move.
    Who is the norm? These two have no problems with the rabbott’s ‘essential’ lies and cannot contemplate a return to labor’s debt.
    They are wrong but who do you think they believe? A known commo like me or 7/9 news and the murdoch paper?
    Shorten has been in town and didn’t speak to the paper. This ‘new’ was embellished by the paper say that they had never been invited to a briefing by labor pollie who has been in a member for nearly 30 years.
    Whilst there is no way shorten can win, Robb, pyne, joyce, morrison and the copperman might continue their slips and they may not be so well protected from the media.
    It is also possible, labor women like torpid tanya and winsome wong can find their power under gillard and embarrass the government on health and wealth.
    Noone with half a brain wants labor to sack shorten but for most of 2014 my family were hoping he would see his flaws and leave.
    We are stuck with him and so frustrated because he would clearly be a better PM than turnball.
    Dear Salina life is too precious to lose all hope and there are possible helpers in the department of human services and money smart. You hold the key to Kaye Lee’s wish. If idiots like jay weatherili can be ridiculed over the GST on fresh food and concentrate on subs and jobs, there is a chance shorten will be seen working enough to sneak in.
    The jobs lies are kicking in and hard to counter???

  18. diannaart


    Not the brothels I know anything about.


  19. Matters Not

    KL, ‘articles’ like this one raise concerns that go beyond the immediate example. (I should stress at this point, I have no problems with the ‘facts’ cited and the ‘meanings’ subsequently given. Indeed I applaud this ‘synthesis’.)

    What I have problems with is that while these ‘facts’ are readily available, they are an apparent ‘revelation’ for some readers here and (especially) some ‘visitors’. And perhaps, more importantly, the wider population who perhaps never even consider these ‘issues’. As Julius Sumner Miller often asked: Why is it so?

    Why is it that that some voters can’t see beneath the ‘spin’? Can’t see that all sides of politics are in the business of constructing a hypothetical ‘reality’ and convincing ‘voters’ to accept same? Can’t see that in our society, it’s not about being ‘happy families’ but about gaining an advantage, particularly in the economic domain. (No I won’t mention Marx at this point).

    Is it because they don’t have the skills? Or is it because they don’t have the motivation? (Too complicated and the like – all the same and so on),

    To what extent are we educating people ‘to accept the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it? And in so doing making them ‘slaves’?

  20. paul walter

    Kaye Lee does well to focus on the issue of taxation, income distribution and employ of the nation’s wealth in a positive and constructive sense. rather than as a cash cow for the ultra rich.

    The state of the nation should be ample reason for Labor to finally open its mouth and be heard. I want to be positive about Labor, I want to hear again the long silenced roar of genuine Labor leaders. but their disappointing response to negative gearing for a start, has had me worried.

  21. Kaye Lee

    I wish I could answer that MN.

  22. Matters Not

    I note today that Morrison said that ‘all Australians will be pleased with the changes to the ‘tax’ system’. It’s a ‘magic pudding’ apparently. The ‘rich’ will get more; the ‘poor’ will get more; and all those in between will get more as well.

    Now who could vote against that? (And they probably won’t.)

    The illogicality was ‘mind bending’ but was repeated (again and again) across the ‘lefty’ ABC all day.

    As an aside, I received my house insurance bill from Youi and it rose by 14 per cent. I promised I would publicise that. Just sayin.

  23. rhyllmcmaster

    You may be right, and Labor might be able to win the next election on tax reform. But I will never vote for it, and it cannot win an ethical position for itself while it mistreats asylum-seekers and refugees including innocent children and babies.
    It’s breaking every international convention it’s signed, and has passed all the Border Force legislation put up by the LNP that makes a mockery of human rights.
    Why would I trust a party like that to look after my welfare?

  24. Kaye Lee


    When my son had a protracted stay in hospital I had to deal with Centrelink on his behalf. After hours spent trying to ring Centrelink I gave up and started ringing the Minister’s office (Marise Payne at that time). That worked much better. It also allowed me to personally point out how much of my time was being wasted through their failure to answer calls.

  25. Matters Not

    rhyllmcmaster, you make some great points – ethics and the like in particular.

    As an aside, can you inform as to which Party will get your first preference and your subsequent preference(s). Or do you intending ‘exhausting’?

    Please advise. Very interested.

    You would be aware of course that Labor is not currently in power. Not that would change much.

  26. Kaye Lee


    I too despise both major parties stance on asylum seekers but there are some differences.

    Although Labor has said it will not provide resettlement, it appears to have agreed to provisions to ensure that treatment will be more humane. It will provide an independent advocate for children in detention and require the mandatory reporting of abuse.

    Labor would increase co-operation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the resettlement of asylum seekers found to be refugees. It would provide more assistance to countries of “first asylum” – such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia – if they agree to resettle people the UNHCR determines to be refugees.

    Labor has pledged to increase the humanitarian intake to 27,000 by 2025.

    The ALP has also said that it would restore the Refugee Review Tribunal and reinstate references to the UN Refugee Convention in the Migration Act. The Labor platform also proposes a 90-day rule for processing onshore protection visa applications.

    These are small but important steps in improving our treatment of those who come seeking our help.

  27. Wally

    If we all refused to vote for a party or independent that did not tick every box on our political wish list no one would vote.

    To vote in a manner that allowed the LNP to retain power because of 1 policy would be like biting off your nose to spite your face. The LNP would treat us all as badly as they treat asylum seekers if it suited them and/or the rich capitalists they are hell bent on making richer.

    At least with a Labor government there are avenues to be heard and some possibility of change, by contrast the LNP only listen to money.

  28. paul walter

    I’d just ask rhyll mcmaster, whose opinions I have learned to respect, can you respect the Coalition any more THAN Labor? The Coalition constructively worsened the lot of asylum seekers also during the Howard era, with a conscious playing on actual and reactionary racism, for the ideology, rather than the mere insecurity Labor tried to address twenty years ago.

    It then spent six years trying to obstruct any improvement in conditions that would allow Rudd, then Gillard, any room to move on a powerful emotive issue that have provided results still worse than those so far…we are almost a dictatorship now and a false move or two could have had things even worse.

    As long as advocates hold to a promise of open borders, open ended, no matter how theoretically fair this is, or how little the reality might resemble the result of dread in the application of reformed people movement policy, people in huge numbers are still susceptible to the propaganda of the right, from people like Hadley, Murdoch and Alan Jones, given the right preconditions.

  29. Marilyn

    LNP has not only outright lied in relation to many things. Remember Truss stating only 1,500 residents will be affected by noise with Western Sydney Airport when we know there are 500,000 in Blacktown and Penrith alone with 300,000 expected with new estates, as well as the Blue Mountains. The worst thing is that they have sneakily amended laws to support their proposals. Then they have consistently refused calls for a federal ICAC and been supported by Labor. No morals, no standards of behaviour and no respect for voters. Environmental vandalism, denial of information, abhorrent treatment of asylum seekers,, cronyism and over development all attest to their overwhelming hypocrisy. Will never trust them again!

  30. Kaye Lee

    Treasury report to government on GST increase:

    “Public commitments around which households would be fully compensated should be avoided. Decisions about compensation will be more informed once the impacts of various options have been modelled. Making commitments now risks overcompensation for households and adding significantly to the cost of household assistance.

    The distributional analysis and the assistance packages are reliant on Commonwealth Treasury completing model development work currently underway. The household assistance packages will ultimately be a political decision, which will need to consider a number of issues.

    The household assistance that was provided for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) introduction offers a useful example of the form that compensation could take for a change in the GST.

    When the CPRS was introduced in 2010-11 the government provided assistance through existing cash payments and tax offsets in the tax and transfer system to low and middle income households. The assistance included:

    a. An increase in the pension and allowance benefits (including upfront indexation) that more than fully compensated recipients;
    b. Self-funded retirees received an upfront increase in the Seniors Concession Allowance; and
    c. Low and middle income families received one or a combination of:
    i. An increase in the Low Income Tax Offset;
    ii. An increase in the maximum rate of the Family Tax Benefit Part A;
    iii. An increase in the base rate of the Family Tax Benefit Part A;
    iv. An increase in Family Tax Benefit Part B;
    v. An increase in the Dependency Tax Offsets; and
    vi. A transitional payment per adult for low-income households and others who showed they will not be assisted in accordance with the government’s commitments.”

    Isn’t that suggesting they give back all the things they took away from us? Or is it just to remind us of the good old days?

  31. paul walter

    Geez, it bugs them, the “overpayment” thingie. They would never be bothered if they underpaid you, why the misery if some little guy at the bottom of the heap might actually get someone to answer the telephone for her when she’s cut off subsistence?

    Like, so many things in play, with morale, health training and the one thing that occupies their pitiful excuses for minds is that some sap got overpaid, a little: sort of juxtaposes to Mencken’s fabled “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy”.

    Kaye Lee employs legitimate economic rationalism in discussing the carbon tax and its offsets, but tell me what welfare and social policy in general is often about against really rational aims?

  32. Wally

    Kaye Lee

    The LNP are determined to reduce tax paid by companies and the rich and have the rest of us foot the bill so they will definitely not follow what treasury advises. As you have commented in the past why give a tax break to business operators who pay little if any tax? It doesn’t take very much insight to see where we are headed if the LNP win the next election.

    Historically when the LNP win an election and take control from a Labor government we get bent over. If they win the next election and hold onto a majority in the senate we get screwed every which way. It has happened so often that both parents need to work for young families to survive. What happened to the days when a hard working man got paid enough to provide for his family? Seems like that was back in another life time.

    As matters not commented earlier “Why don’t people realise how the LNP work” or do they enjoy getting done over? Beats me.

  33. Wayne Johnson

    all i ever hear from the lnp is cut cut cut without ever considering they give up some of their perks too

  34. Terry2

    Very confusing, the Treasurer is downplaying the contribution that rolling back concessions on Superannuation, negative gearing and clamping down on corporate tax minimisation will play in contributing to the budget woes.

    He says that we don’t have a revenue problem yet he seems to be saying that we should increase the GST .

    It has been forecast that superannuation concessions – tax forgone – is projected to rise to $50.7 billion in 2016-17. Which means the cost of these tax concession will soon overtake the pension to become ”the single largest area of government expenditure,” yet he doesn’t want to talk about this.

    A significant number of a our major corporations, with income exceeding $100 million, pay little or no tax :
    Why isn’t there more discussion about this glaring anomally.

    If Mr Morrison really wants the ‘national discussion’ he claims he wants then let’s wee some numbers and some honesty.

  35. townsvilleblog

    Just the one policy of a 15% GST should be enough to kick these silver spooners out of office, they should instead concentrate on collecting back taxes from the corporate blufgers who have avoided their responsibility.

  36. terry

    that’s what’s its all about kaye , love the truth of your work , the direction the LNP wants to take this country and our children’s children is heartbreaking . sadly I don’t trust any politician from either party , for all I know shorten goes to turnbulls house for dinner and has a laugh bout the con . but one thing is clear that we need to break the cycle happening now, with this government and their polices , if you are a working man with a family why would you vote for this government ? the plans are on the table, been near three years of bad policy . obviously the polls are rubbish by a corrupt media , nobody in their right mind could agree with a 15% GST . any luck people are just waiting for the chance to vote this mob out , walk quietly but carry a big stick . keep your chin up salina, never know whats round the corner , that’s what keeps it exciting :]

  37. terry

    quite amazing this government seems too get off by worrying THE LIFE OUT OF , the sick , elderly and disabled , people that cant defend themselves and definley don’t need the stress , as stress kills . these people are your grandmothers , fathers , brothers and sisters , people seeking refugee from certain death and 53% of Australians think its a good thing . somehow I don’t think so

  38. Sean Davis

    The challenge the big coporations laid down to the people of Australia at the Senate hearing over tax minimization, was why should we pay any tax when we don’t have to. Well I’d like to take up that challenge. I personally don’t care how we get big buisness to pay tax or any buisness to pay thier fair share of tax. As I know from experience most people in buisness pay far less then the max tax. Now how would you go about this, well start with scraping the current system as it stands completly. Then have a rate based on turnover like a GST which is hard to avoid, you certainly can’t say you billion $$$ company isn’t making any money now or doing NO buisness. 🙂 What the rate would be is a good question 3% up the first 2 mill/ 6% up to 20mill/ 10% from there to 50mill and 15% there after is a suggestion. Nothing is set in stone. The rate of tax certainly isn’t. People splitting thier companies to minimize thier tax has been argued. Thats hilarious, first off if they do that then chances are they already were paying very little tax if any in the first place, second not always practical or economical as you’d have to duplicate a lot of infrastucture, which would create more jobs. I could live with that and last if it were truly getting out of hand you just adjust the tax system to counter. Last as a sweetner I’d implement a tax credit for people who employ Australian citizens. So you would earn 15c in the dollar for wages paid Which again you could adjust for appretices to 30c or more which would be the only tax minimization. In the end if you want to pay Apples tax which you are now doing so as well as some 600 other companies tax, stealing away your future and your childrens just leave the system alone. 🙂 Otherwise, take up thier challengte and find a better and fair way to make those immoral people pay thier fair share.

  39. wakeupandsmellthehumans


    Another great article. You are pro Labor and I support your rational and evidenced arguments. The LNP deserves to be exposed for what it is. Sorry that I can’t add any ideas on how you get the mindless masses to wake up to the propaganda of the mainstream media – sadly where the ABC seem to be positioning itself more and more these days. I also support the comments from others about the lack of trust in Labor, and in particular their poor record on asylum seekers.

    I would be very interested on your position on The Australian Greens and why, when the two horse race we seem stuck in and which has failed to deliver for so long, the Greens get so little attention even in this forum? I fear that the resignation to the dogmatic beliefs that they can never win power, and that they don’t have the experience, may be your response. Please prove me wrong.

    Sean Crawley

  40. Kaye Lee


    My wish list most closely aligns with the Greens but they will struggle to secure a role in the HoR despite a significant percentage of first preferences because those votes are spread unlike the Nats who get less votes and many more seats because their constituency is concentrated in certain seats. Proportional representation would be a different story and could potentially make a big difference.

    I see their role as much more important in the Senate and usually vote for them. I also always fill in the whole bloody tablecloth of a Senate ballot paper to foil the dirty preference deals done by all parties including the Greens.

    I, like so many others, would like to see collaboration between Labor and the Greens. I see, at times, Labor as too reactionary to populism and the Greens too intransigent. I also see personal ambition as a hindrance to co-operation.

    The Greens tell us what should be done. Labor should work with them to find the way to do it or at least get it started. Perfection cannot be achieved, but we can do better .

  41. David Spry

    Perhaps it is time that we went back to basics, and stopped feeding the myth of Big Business as if it has some special claim to dominance. These entities are all companies that can come into being by no other means than that provided by legislation. Their status as a legal person is granted by legislation and it is that legislation that gifts them their most important attribute – limited liability. Governments grant them an immunity from legal and financial responsibility beyond their basic investment, an immunity that is not available to the private person. This has always been said to be a means of encouraging investment and has supposedly been balanced by standards of practice imposed under corporate law.
    But it is now the case that the real living, breathing people of Australia are being treated as second class citizens when compared to the plastic persons created and maintained by politicians.
    It is quite clear that many pseudo citizens with a company name are not being good or responsible citizens, and yet are being treated as if they are complying with our laws and deserve political support.
    If our laws as currently administered are failing to hold them responsible, lets change the basic laws and change what it means to be a compliant company in this country. Make it simple and right at the heart of their legal existence. Their retention of limited liability could be made conditional on fully disclosed compliance.
    Perhaps a more useful tool would be to make total compliance mandatory before any company receives any government grants, loans, advances or any gifted funds whatsoever – they should not receive any tax concessions either.
    Before people leap to the defence of the corporate sector they should consider what they are protecting.
    Legislated artificial persons are not paying their taxes, they are not complying with our laws and they are perverting our democratic system. To what extent is our country better off for their existence?
    When it comes to foreign companies we should require them to register here and comply with our corporate and taxation laws. Present practises allow them to make profits here and take them away without levy – our politicians are welcoming them so that they can steal from us.
    Throughout the world citizens with a heartbeat and a sense of fair play are confronted by the reality that entities given an artificial status by their own laws are breaking those laws and making the general population worse off.

  42. David Spry

    Sean and Kaye,

    For many years I have admired many of the goals of the Greens, and I have voted for them at both State and Federal level.

    However in recent years, including the later Bob Brown years, I have observed a tendency to look to party and personal preservation over maintaining their platform. I have also become disillusioned by the disparity between the parliamentary party and their grass roots supporters. Particularly in recent times, some of the parliamentary decision making and professed beliefs have reminded me too strongly for my confidence of Meg Lees, the Democrats and the GST.

    Clearly parliament puts pressure on principals, but parliament becomes a perversion of responsible democracy if all principals are for sale or disposal.

    The current LNP only have principals as window dressing, the ALP too often have trouble finding theirs and get enough factions to agree on them, and the Greens can’t commit to any until they can see what the context is.

    It is hard to vote for anyone if you can’t predict how they will vote in parliament.

  43. jeff baker

    its about time shorten got off his a:”*e and start to rattle lnps gage you just don’t see enough of labour fighting back are they just to lazy or ?

  44. diannaart

    Protecting the corporate sector above and beyond everything else is rather like protecting a lump of rock from jellyfish.

  45. Terry2

    It is suggested by Morrison that taxing corporations less will lead to greater economic activity and employment ; sound reasonable ?

    There is an alternative view :

    “Corporate tax avoidance, despite hiding behind weasel words such as “tax efficiency”, is unproductive and inefficient. When corporate managers pursue tax avoidance they take their eye off what they do best – producing better or cheaper goods or services – and focus instead on engineering transfers of wealth from taxpayers to corporations. Clamp down on it, hard, to make markets more efficient.”

  46. hforward22

    Sean and Kaye,

    I too wish for cooperation between Labor and Greens.
    I used to vote Greens in the Senate, but stopped when they sided with the LNP over the ETS.
    Sadly, I don’t feel I can trust them now (another recent example is when they sided with the Libs to retrospectively sell out pensioners (like myself) who worked hard to put a nest egg aside into superannuation).

    I don’t understand the Greens targeting Labor seats or vice versa. They should both concentrate on targeting LNP seats (IMO).

  47. Cayman Mal

    Not forgetting that all those taxes abolished due to the introduction of the GST mainly benefitted the wealthy – Stamp duty on share trades, Bank Account Deposit Tax and Wholesales Sales tax on expensive goods.

    GST on expensive items such as motor vehicles would be refunded to purchasers when buying it through a business since businesses don’t pay GST at all. This, coupled with the scrapping of the changes to FBT, the well-off have a good life.

    The top end of town always benefit whilst the rest of us just pay!

  48. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    It would be good if there were a higher authority to seek redress from for the blatant favouritism displayed by LNP tax measures that favour the rich or well-healed.

    I would love feedback from legal luminaries, as to what the prospects would be to seek such redress in the higher court system perhaps under Constitutional Law?

  49. paul walter

    Jennifer M-S, a Labor cabinet minister once told me the key to understanding the whole problem with Ozpolitics is down to the lack of ability to reform a flawed and biased constitution, in the first place. It’s a bit like with the USA, where the right adheres to democracy more in the breach, as a target, rather than means for defence of the person and civil society (except when it comes to the right to own hi-powered weaponary, bully women and oppress racial minorities).

  50. Kaye Lee

    Morrison’s bs continues apace. He is wringing his hands saying he must raise GST so he can give us income tax cuts to save us from bracket creep. He said it was a “fantasy” that cracking down on multinational tax avoidance, or reducing the generosity of superannuation tax breaks, would deliver sufficient scope to enable the government to counter the impact of bracket creep, or deliver broader personal income tax cuts beyond basic bracket creep compensation, or cut company taxes.

    For starters, stagnant wage growth means we are creeping very slowly and secondly, why not just change the brackets?

    Expected revenue from company taxes has already been written down by billions. It isn’t taxes that are holding back investment. If a business is profitable, keeping the tax rate at 30% doesn’t make it unprofitable. The most you can pay is 30% of your profit.

    Apple paid Australian tax of $80.4 million on revenues of $5.86 billion for the year to September 2014. Despite Ikea making an apparent profit of over one billion dollars over an 11 year period, only $31 million was paid in Australian income tax. A number of Australian companies use complex tax avoidance schemes based on secret tax deals in Luxembourg via accounting firm PwC – the same firm the government often goes to for advice.

    If the gap between the top marginal income tax rate and the company tax rate is too big then people will disguise personal income as company income.

    It is also worth noting that the company tax rate in the US is 35% and it hasn’t stopped people from doing business there.

  51. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Paul Walter,

    for answering my call for clarification.

    The Constitution can be changed by referendum, so nothing’s impossible.

    It takes a combined effort of, what I bare-facedly advocate, an Alliance of reforming left-leaning and centre parties and minds that word the referendum for pure socio-economic-political reform.

  52. Wally

    Big business like Apple avoid paying tax by sending funds offshore to tax havens that they claim are for consultants, expertise and the like provided by the parent company. An easy solution would be to charge 40% tax on funds sent off shore to parent companies, make it cheaper to pay the correct tax than it is to cheat. If every company paid the correct tax due on their profits it may be possible to reduce the company tax rate without need to increase the GST.

  53. Matters Not

    avoid paying tax by sending funds offshore to tax havens that they claim are for consultants, expertise and the like provided by the parent company.

    True! But they also ‘pay’ for ‘product’ delivered. Should we ‘tax’ funds transferred to pay for ‘product’ delivered of various types.

    Here’s an article that might be of interest.

    when a customer buys an iPad in Australia for A$600, the sale is recorded as a revenue of Apple’s distribution subsidiary incorporated in Australia.

    But this company “purchases” the iPad from another Apple subsidiary incorporated in Ireland for A$550.

    The Irish subsidiary is basically a shell company with no employees and no factory. The iPad was manufactured through third party contract manufacturers in China, who shipped it directly to Australia.

    Hearings on both sides of the Atlantic have revealed that by effectively disabling one of its major anti-avoidance weapons in its tax law – namely the controlled foreign corporation regime – the US government has been knowingly facilitating the avoidance of foreign income tax by its multinationals.

    BTW, there’s any number of examples of how corporations avoid paying tax. Rupert Murdoch is a specialist in the area.

  54. paul walter

    JWS, that’s how I see it also. I think not in out time, or our children’s time or their children’s time, yet to just give up is suicidal and a repudiation of one’s own humanity, as Bonhoeffer discovered. Most of us are reluctant heroes for good reason, but what the system and the people running it try to get away with would outrage even a half wit.

  55. Wally

    Matters Not

    If companies like Apple import goods from known tax havens there are several options that would make it harder for them to avoid tax.

    When payment for imported goods is not made to a companies account in the country of manufacture slug them with import duty.
    If payment is made to an Irish subsidiary the goods must be imported from Ireland, if not hit them with more import duty.
    All monies paid to off shore workers from Australian subsidiaries should be taxed at the maximum rate and include call centre workers.

    As well as importers there are many service providers like Origin Energy, Powercor and AGL who send huge amounts of money to off shore parent companies as consultancy fees and to pay for call centre staff. If these people are earning money for work performed servicing Australian customers and/or Australian business operations the company employing these people should pay tax in Australia similar to what tax would be paid if the work was performed locally.

    The Internet and advances in telecommunications have made it cheaper for companies like Telstra to employ people off shore to provide customer service, as well as losing jobs we lose the tax revenue those employees would have paid. These companies save money at our expense and many of them use tax havens to evade tax on the profits these savings generate.

    I appreciate stopping every tax rort is difficult but our government sits back and does nothing at all. If I owed $1 in tax they would spend hundreds of dollars to recover their money.

  56. Pingback: Labor can win the next election on tax reform – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  57. Terry2

    Changing our Constitution is always fraught with suspicion that the political class is trying to put one over us – which frequently they are – and as a result change is very hard to achieve.

    The exception is when we have a fundamental change such as the Republic. Removing the British head of state – and hence the Governor General – from our Constitution requires fairly significant change to that document as we found last time around. It gave us the opportunity – which we passed on – to do a lot of constitutional cleaning up : for instance, have a look at sections 59 and 60 if you want an idea of how out of kilter our constitution currently is.

    My suggestion would be to have a general Constitutional review which can embrace changes recognising the first Australians as well as our Republic together with other necessary housework.

  58. Michael Taylor

    I agree. The Consitution needs a complete overhaul.

  59. David K

    “For starters, stagnant wage growth means we are creeping very slowly and secondly, why not just change the brackets?”
    – Kaye

    Would there be any valid reason that they couldn’t be indexed, Kaye?

  60. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I have been reluctant in recent times to show overt support for the brand of Republic, I suspect, leading political figures are pushing for as the type of republic they want.

    However, if that Republic means a new Constitution can be written and modeled in an open and general way that addresses all the necessary socio-economic-political changes and also gives sensible scope for 50 year periodic review that meets the equitable expectations and aspirations of the general population, then I might get a bit interested in the Republic Peter Fitzsimons is advocating.

    However, I do get nervous when he pals up to Malcolm Turnbull because Malcolm’s idea of a Republic and my idea of a fair Republic are NOT the same thing.

  61. Kaye Lee

    David K,

    No reason at all except they like the increased revenue from bracket creep. In fact, brackets did used to be indexed.

    In 1975 the Mathews Inquiry into Taxation and Inflation recommended income tax brackets be indexed to the rate of inflation. This was implemented from 1976, but was abandoned by the Fraser Government which moved to half-indexation after one year, and then abandoned automatic indexation completely in 1981.

    The economic reasons for abandoning indexation were two-fold: as the government faced increasing costs it needed to collect more revenue, and bracket creep is less visible than tax increases; bracket creep was a restraint on wages growth during the inflationary cycle. However the rates applicable to the different tax brackets in 1982 were considerably higher than the current rates.

    Instead of indexation, since the early 1980s the government has preferred to legislate changes to tax brackets from time to time, and often in conjunction with changes to the tax rates or other changes.

  62. Kaye Lee

    When we become a Republic there will have to be a whole new document drawn up. Many parts of the Constitution will no longer be relevant. That will be the time to draw up a Bill of Rights which should enshrine the rights of all.

  63. Matthew Oborne

    Would anyone put their faith in becoming a republic in the hands of the LIbs?

    The conditions of our existence become up for grabs.

    Our legal system becomes up for grabs.

    Labor have been battling the 20 points behind on security issues with a spate of me too.

    We have had an orgy of reducing rights and increasing surveillance and we push to become a republic.

    We need big beautiful ideas and an environment suitable to place the conditions of our lives in the hands of politicians.

    A republic would be the perfect time to introduce elected judges.
    Judges who would often make rulings on party lines.

    It could mean legislation is guaranteed success regardless of what it takes from us.

    Does anyone want that?

  64. randalstella

    Australia should become a republic when the Cayman Islands get their independence from Britain.
    I nominate Turnbull to go to fight for their cause.

  65. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    where would Malcolm bury his millions then?

  66. diannaart

    I don’t trust the establishment of a republic by the LNP – coz it would include input from such as Barnaby Joyce – shudder.

    If Labor put effort into proposals for an inclusive Australian republic… they might just make it at the 2016 election – advertisements could envision an Australian set-up up by neo-cons with an Australia by progressives – I almost wrote ‘pro-life’ – another example of far-right subversion of meaning.

  67. Möbius Ecko

    Kaye Lee at 8:05 pm

    Just picked up on that post.

    Can’t remember who, but an economist on TV stated that if Morrison is worried about bracket creep then why is his return to surplus in 2021 (now moved right again I believe) predicated in large part on bracket creep?

  68. Michael Taylor

    There’s a fairly simple answer to that, Mobius: Morrison has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

    I can recall that on the eve of the 2007 election, which coincided with the eve of the GFC, you predicted that whoever won office would be blamed for the GFC. Whilst the Liberals denied the GFC never happened, they tore strips off Rudd and Swan for successfully managing it.

    Another election is around the corner, as is another GFC. I definitely don’t want Morrison attempting to stear us through it. It will be a disaster for the country, but in the long-term, it will be a disaster to the economic credentials of the Liberals.

  69. Mark Needham

    and to think, that all the Government will do with the Tax that it collects, is ”Destroy it”.

    Mark Needham

  70. Neil of Sydney

    Apple paid Australian tax of $80.4 million on revenues of $5.86 billion for the year to September 2014

    The trouble for Australia is that we do not make anything here anymore. Apple manufactures, designs, boxes, packages its computers overseas. They are fully imported. So i guess the tax they are paying is correct.

    I purchase stuff on Ebay from China. I do not see why that Chinese company should be paying tax to the ATO.

    I am sure that mulit-national companies are avoiding tax but the people being ripped off are the American and European taxpayers. Not Australians.

    If i make something in my garage and sell it to someone from Canada i do not see why i should be paying tax to the Canadian govt.

  71. Möbius Ecko

    Yes Mark. The entire premise of this government’s attack on low to middle income earners and the severe cuts in government spending to the most essential services has nothing to do with returning to surplus and everything to do with paying for the massive increase in spending they have undertaken and to pay for election bribes.

    Because they didn’t get their way in the first budget to build up a war kitty for this upcoming election you can now note that all of sudden deficits are not a bad thing, as long as it’s a L&NP one, and as long as you plan for “Jobs and Growth”, repeat over and over, “jobs and growth”. At the same time keep moving your stupid promises of surpluses (as was Swan’s, and he was crucified for it), further and further out.

    Michael the mixed and sometime economically illiterate messages from Morrison were also pointed out.

  72. Miriam Possitani

    Can Labor win the next election .
    I don’t know why but I have a friend who pays $5000 a year for the in depth Morgan Polls stuff .
    The ones out in the last day or 2 still have the Coalition up by 10%
    Worse still for Labor {and the Greens } In the Federal Seats in SA, is that NXT is polling 2nd in SA on 24.5% , ahead of the ALP and the Green vote has all but evaporated .
    A large chunk of Xenophon preferences always tend to go LNP , so trouble with a capital T for Labor .
    Given they need 21 seats at a swing of around 4.5% the ALP are pushing shit uphill on those figures

  73. diannaart

    Miriam Possitani

    I get Morgan Poll updates regularly – for nix.

    The latest one I received was as follows:

    Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman Roy Morgan Research says:

    “The L-NP at 55% remains well ahead of the ALP at 45% on a two-party preferred basis a week before Federal Parliament resumes for the first sitting week of the year. However, this is the narrowest lead the L-NP has had since the weekend after Turnbull became Prime Minister – September 19/20, 2015 (L-NP 55% cf. ALP 45%)….

    Sure, if an election was held today the LNP would win – but what, exactly, does that mean for when we actually do hold an election?

    Hmmm? Labor is not “pushing shit uphill” as you so fervently desire.

  74. Kaye Lee


    28 Coalition seats were won by less than 5%, 11 of them by less than 2%

    An estimated 400,000 young voters failed to enrol. An estimated 1.22 million remained unenrolled across all age groups.

    Voter turnout in the House of Representatives was 93.34% and 94.00% in the Senate.

    The informal vote in the House of Representatives was 5.91% and 2.96% in the Senate.

    There will be some substantial issues to be debated. Let’s hope our young people get involved.

  75. Möbius Ecko

    The first Essential poll for 2016 had L&NP 51% Labor 49% TPP.

    Interesting thing here was that Turnbull polled 80% in the popularity stakes over the holidays whilst Shorten was 20%. This poll was a little controversial in that respondents only had a choice of who was the most popular of the two. “Don’t Know” or ‘Neither” choices weren’t given.

    So with Turnbull on an astounding popularity number the polls went slightly towards Labor in comparison to late last year, or in the case of Essential, shifted substantially for Labor.

    I’m wondering if the very unpopular Abbott coming back into the mix will start to dampen the L&NP’s standing.

  76. Miriam Possitani

    Kaye Lee
    “28 Coalition seats were won by less than 5%, 11 of them by less than 2%”

    That was after 11 years of John Howard , when even his own ratpack had had enough of him
    It was also the time of the Kevin 07 surge when Labor with Kevin rating in the 60%+ range

    Unfortunately , Turnbull has the Rudd ratings now and the opinion polls are the reverse of 2007

    I hope a miracle happens but don’t much trust in miracles

    I was just highlighting the results for a Labor State S.A. and the SA Federal Seats polling which are bad for Labor horrid for Greens

  77. diannaart

    Möbius Ecko

    “I’m wondering if the very unpopular Abbott coming back into the mix will start to dampen the LNP’s standing.

    As much as just mention of his name makes me cringe – yes, the best thing that can happen for Labor (apart from developing an alternative to the Libs) is the spectre of Tony Abbott.


    Are you sure you are on the progressive side of politics? Frankly I can’t tell with many of your comments – you appear to revel in bad news. Just sayin’…

  78. Miriam Possitani

    “Are you sure you are on the progressive side of politics?” I am
    Let me assure you, I hate the LNP with a passion
    , my companies are regular donors to Labor and I personally make my contributions to the Socialist Alliance .
    I assume my problem is , I don’t get caught up in the ifs, maybes and wishful thinking .
    My comment was in regard to Morgan Polls , the outcomes I have no influence over , but which do bring to your attention the state of play in current politics , or the outcome of polls which highlight the areas of concern ,
    Now, I’m no Einstein, but you don’t have to be to see the problems ahead for Labor , and I’m too old to kid myself .
    I wish the results were all good news ,but the facts are, they aren’t
    If you can’t accept the bad news and look for solutions then there isn’t much I can say to you is there ?
    If you can find a good news story in the Poll or in the SA results please tell me and I’ll join the celebration

  79. diannaart


    I do not see how Labor can win the next election – not without a major renovation and learning to cooperate with smaller parties eg Greens.

    However, I will continue to look for solutions, that’s how I keep going.

  80. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    True diannaart.

    Positive thinking and positive collaboration with smaller parties is the way to go. Even just being seen to make a strong effort in those ways will strike a good chord with the electorate.

    Many disaffected and/or prospective voters are looking for an inkling of promise from Labor for making brave decisions that strongly differentiate from the LNP, which are becoming more and more dictatorial every day. People aren’t stupid and, if given a chance to choose a party that puts integrity before pragmatic vote-chasing, they will choose the party they believe will work in their best interests.

    This is the way to go for the short term since the election is only a few months away. If the Greens see a re-energised Labor, the Greens could see the benefits of the mutually beneficial Alliance that could be established for the long term but begun now. Same goes for the other Progressive parties looking for alternative, positive, reformist ways of problem solving in all the policy areas.

  81. paul walter

    Live in hope, die in despair. I have been discouraged by Labor and to a lesser extent the Greens since Brown left, they had a great leader, but are wedged between antagonistic philosophical elements that make being an opposition party difficult.

    Yet, it is arguable that the ALP small target approach has allowed Labor to show up the contradictory nature of coalition thinking through professed intent to actual intentions revealed in actions, if the examples of Bronwyn Bishop, Hockey and Abbott count. It’s just that Labor now has an image of timidity that aggravates many long term supporters.

    Why, after two years the idiot public has the coalition in front in the polls is baffling but it is because the public now see Labor as do-nothing.

    Obviously msm has much to answer for in creating false impressions, but I can’t help feelng that Laor needed to more active in opposing the civil liberties rollbacks introduced by the government, msm is now so bad as to be virtually irretrievable.

  82. John Maycock

    “If the Greens see a re-energised Labor, the Greens could see the benefits of the mutually beneficial Alliance”
    Of course the Greens could see some benefits.
    It might give them some power .
    I thought Labor, through Senior MPS, Premiers and Party Officials had made it quite clear, there would be no deals/alliance with the Greens .
    They have had some bad experiences and have little to gain if, in the HOR they gain the dodgy support of one MP, {Bandt}
    On the other hand with Xenophon polling so strongly ,it seems, with luck and a good preference deal with Labor they could pick up somewhere around 5 seats in South Australia
    Given what I read earlier, it might be to Labors advantage to get friendly with the Nick Xenophon Team ,as they could well become the 3rd force in Oz politics.

  83. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I agree Paul Walter with your assessment of Labor and (OMG to the skeptics!) the Greens.

    But having said that, I’m not giving up on the Alliance that both parties would be stupid to ignore. They would also run the risk of becoming very irrelevant, especially with the rise of the progressive, alternative, reformist parties that put integrity first.

    The alternative is unbearable to think because Australia will be in the wilderness of LNP oppression for a decade or two, if we can’t come up with alternative measures to bring a viable alternative government into power that will work for Australia’s interests and NOT the Big End of Town.

    John Maycock

    I don’t dispute the possible wisdom of forming a working alliance with the Nick Xenophon Team also, although I would be skeptical if that meant policy making and implementation that sits better with LNP ideology. Labor needs to move back to a viable Left-Centre relationship with the Australian people.

  84. diannaart


    Part of the problem is Labor as willing to share. They see any coalition as relinquishing power – I believe this has made negotiating with the Greens difficult – and goes part of the way to explain the Greens attempts to make alliances elsewhere – although I believe that the Coalition is as reluctant to share as is Labor. In fact, I don’t see neo-cons as having much by the way of negotiation skills at all.

    So, mistakes have been made, by all parties.

    The only way forward is to become more flexible – the changes ahead such as climate, peak fuels, increasing development in the third world and so much more, require diversity of ideas as much as learning to effing get along with each other.

    Not so different from many men who perceive equality with women as relinquishing power.

    …and the Capitalist system is all about power – we really need more than just an oil change we need a brand new engine.

  85. Miriam Possitani

    I think the thing that makes Labor not trust the Greens, is what Gary Morgan shows in the last poll.
    Usually Greens preferences go 10%+ to the LNP
    Now Morgan shows it as being higher .
    From the poll
    “Morgan said Greens voters were preferring the Coalition to Labor at a greater rate than they had at the last election.
    Pollster Gary Morgan said the Coalition’s two-party preferred lead was the smallest it had been since Mr Turnbull took over from Tony Abbott in September.”

    Maybe Di Natale is interested in a deal with the LNP. as Anthony Albanese highlighted back in November
    Then there was the Greens/Coalition Tax Deal

    The Greens recently sided with Labor in the Senate to demand those with a turnover above $100 million be forced to disclose their tax arrangements.

    But under the Greens-Coalition deal, the threshold will be higher at $200 million.

    Labor estimates the number of companies that will now be covered by the reporting rules has fallen from 900 to around 300 now that the Greens have agreed to raise the threshold from $100 million to $200 million.

    Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said it was “a dirty deal done very expensive”.
    Greens finance spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson declared his party was “on the side of angels” and the Labor Party “irrelevant”.

  86. diannaart

    Riiiight… Labor is squeaky clean and has never done dirty deals cheap or otherwise….

    The first step to working together is to stop being judgemental and get on with what needs doing.

    That is if Labor is about people more than it is about power.

  87. cornlegend

    Miriam .
    I think you have a point there .
    As Kaye Lee so eloquently spelt out in her featured article
    “Labor can win the next election on tax reform”
    That would seem to be their best shot .
    A deal with the Greens would have the Greens Coalition Tax deal thrown at Labor at every opportunity by Murdoch and the LNPs tame Media. and the Coalition themselves

  88. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    So cornlegend,

    are you suggesting that Labor should run off with their tails between their legs because the Big Bad Media might make them scared?

    Stand up to the bullies and be seen to be pro-active in alternative, progressive and reformist policy. Then, if Labor walks the walk and not just the talk, shortfalls like the Coalition Tax won’t happen. For the short term, at least some of the large corps must declare their income and be liable for tax purposes.

    A better functioning parliament with effective alliances would have achieved a better result in a shorter time. Stop being stupid, Labor.

  89. cornlegend

    No, I’m suggesting that they don’t make a rod for their own back , and just how do you stand up to the Media in this country ?
    Do you forget the “King Rat’ illustrations of Slipper, the Nazi ones of Rudd, and from memory, Conroy and the unmerciless battering Julia Gillard took at the Medias hand all for announcing an election date
    If Labor were to run on a Tax platform, the last thing they would want is the Greens deal dragging them down
    There is a clear difference on this
    “Labor estimates the number of companies that will now be covered by the reporting rules has fallen from 900 to around 300 now that the Greens have agreed to raise the threshold from $100 million to $200 million.”
    Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said it was “a dirty deal done very expensive”. so they have made their position clear on this issue
    Greens finance spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson declared his party was “on the side of angels” and the Labor Party “irrelevant”

    Just where is there a meeting of the minds on this tax issue that would have them work collaboratively ?
    To have any hope of winning, Labor need everything to go right and this issue isn’t one of them

    “are you suggesting that Labor should run off with their tails between their legs because the Big Bad Media might make them scared? ”
    No but you don’t give them ammunition

    could you cite one example where any Party, Labor Green or other have had even the slightest success countering the combined forces of negative Media .?

  90. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The media feeds off what the pollies are saying and doing. If Labor and the Greens showed some common sense and backbone by forming a common front, then what else would the MSM lapdogs have to say?

  91. paul walter

    We’d all love to see that alliance between Greens and Labor finally come to pass. Such an alliance is seen by most rank and file on both sides as some thing complementary, a return to a long-thwarted natural balance damaged by reactionaries like Murdoch.

    cornlegend is right though. Any attempt to bridge the gap would be met with yet another scare campaign, of the sort that had Abbott elected, against all common sense, by the voters. Labor has some right to fear the apparatus of manufactured consent, given the anti asylum seeker campaigns run against it, say, plus the brain power or lack of it, of many Australians. The Greens have never been given a fair ride either. Yet Labor is under the control of a fearful faction that accepts neoliberalism, despite its destructiveness and the Greens are undergoing an identity crisis of their own, by which they have become fretful of being identified with left wing politics, as perhaps evidenced in their treatment of Lee Rhiannon.

    As wiser heads at this thread observe, it is much later in the day than most realise, the reversals needed are less and less likely to happen as time passes and we grieve for the death of a civil society and a culture and our eventual disempowerment, if we were ever empowered in the first place.

  92. diannaart

    Indeed, Jennifer

    Labor & Greens and all progressive parties and individuals stand together and up for their beliefs, refuse to back down, or back-flip – be the (broken) record repeat we need sustainable industries, education, health, transport – and not get sidetracked – that is the way to be defeated.

    MSM becomes background noise against clear speaking.

  93. diannaart

    I realise your is question for Jennifer and I anticipate she will have an answer.

    We cannot change the MSM, but we can stay on message and ignore the bastards – we still have a voice even if it is a small one – but to give up – there is no giving up.

  94. paul walter

    No. There is no giving up. Hence it is right that that the problem is identified, without sentiment, as it actually is. There is no point capitulating, but it is folly to move without understranding say, global capitalism and neoliberalism and the dislocation of leaders ofpolitical parties from those they claim to represent.

    The faction that won out for the ALP was the same faction pushing for funny privatisation deals and who operate in denial of the environment, are incredibly socially conservative on things like like gender issues and embraces too much of the Abbottist fantasy of an Edenic, anti-Marxist nineteen fifities, seen in retrospect through rose titnted glasses. If half the ALP leadership is compliant rather than resistant, how much harder are things made for reconciliation and survival?

  95. cornlegend


    “Labor & Greens and all progressive parties and individuals stand together and up for their beliefs”
    There is no common belief on tax .
    These are their spokespersons statements ,
    not mine
    Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said it was “a dirty deal done very expensive”.

    Greens finance spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson declared his party was “on the side of angels” and the Labor Party “irrelevant”

  96. diannaart


    I do not believe there is not a single issue that is common to all progressives.

    I do believe that the unifying cause could be the Republic.

    The details can be sorted out later – a clear voice is the only way to combat a compromised media – to quote an visionary from last century: “It’s Time”.

  97. paul walter

    cornlegend, it is well to remember that Whish Wilson almost singlehandedly stood up the conservative forces on FTA’s and Data Retention. Who was MIA during that lot, btw?

  98. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I endorse what diannaart said @ 9.50pm.

    A clear voice and united front from Labor and the Greens, and any other allies, will drown out the Murdoch parasites and invite the cross-section media to explore the good news story coming from the Left so that it becomes the story to tell the electorate.

    We create the noise and they report it and help make it grow.

  99. randalstella

    If it looks like capitulation, and it sounds like capitulation, and it smells like capitulation…..

    Don Dunstan won elections against a feral Media, and against a gerrymander. He had a sense of outrage over inequality, and he acted on it – and no one was not clear where he stood. His Labor Party would not have dreamed of setting any policy to avoid contesting a Lib. policy. It would have been a morale-buster. It’s a morale-buster now.

    I feel sympathy for Shorten. He seems not a bad bloke, and he would be again a capable senior Minister. He now knows what being Leader is like, and he might reflect on that as he remembers his past deals over leaders who went before him. But he is a conservative appeaser.
    He is colourless and in his Media grabs he makes sounds like an apologetic whiner. While he says things that have substance unlike Turnbull, the ever-lovin’ public don’t listen to content but tone.
    He does not deserve it, but he is now sub-20% to Turnbull’s 80+%. That is beyond bizarre, given the slimy liar who did in Labor’s NBN. The tax dodger who takes pride in it.
    This shows the stupidity that is the primary cause of the woes for anyone concerned for equity in this country. Is there any wonder why the Libs bash any sign of equality in educational opportunity?

    On afternoon sports shows on the radio, you get middle-aged working class men ringing in all angry and upset about the welfare of some teenager in their footy team, who gets average $200,000 per year. These same jokers vote Liberal directly against their own economic interests, to ensure their own wages and conditions are kept under threat. And they will vote Liberal again. It seems like some kind of cognitive disability.

    Labor are surely going to have to change their leader; if they are at all serious about the next election. Maybe they are not. Another Lib landslide would be a disaster. But it does not seem to matter that much to Labor.
    If it does not matter so much about winning, why not at least have policies that all have integrity and independence? It might even attract members. Who wants to join the small-target Party?

    Labor strategy is going so well that Pyne will be returned on about the same margin. Labor must be very cunning over managing this, because I have not met anyone with an opinion on Pyne who does not despise the critter.
    At the moment in some places, Labor are in serious jeopardy of running third behind slimy Nick’s mild gimmicks Party.

    I would love if this were just a long bad dream.

  100. cornlegend

    Hey, I made a comment, Not change the course of an election somehow .
    It isn’t some great threat to democracy that my opinion differs .
    I don’t think Labor can win .
    Maybe Kaye Lee is right and Tax could be an issue that gets them there .
    I don’t think there will be aany deals with Labor and the Greens
    I don’t think the Greens bring much to the table .
    They have been around in some shape or form since the 80s and they just can’t seem to get the public onside , well 91.4% of them at least
    I keep hearing, next time from the Greens but that doesn’t happen .
    In the last Federal election 2013,The Greens lost over 507,813 votes in the Senate and 342,068 votes in the House of Representatives on the previous result .
    In the last State elections things weren’t all that rosey either
    Actually, to be precise The Greens lost a % of the vote in 55 of the 59 seats in the WA State Election 2013
    Some seats like Fremantle -8.5% Perth -6.6% Swan Hill 7.9% etc

    In the most recent election in Victoria 3014 . where the voters dumped the toxic Napthine Government
    The Greens gained a State wide swing of 0.3 % but managed to have a swing against the , with a loss of % in 47 {fourty seven} seats
    In Queensland with the devastating defeat of the Campbell Newman LNP, with massive swings occuring,
    the Greens managed to gain just a tiny 0.9% swing to them

    Now the South Australia 2014 Election
    The Greens managed a 0.6 % increase in their Statewide vote
    HOWEVER, they managed to get a swing against them and lose of % in 18 {eighteen} seats
    with swings against them like the seat of Giles -7.2%

    Now the Queensland Election 2015 , Campbell Newman , Biggest swings around, 30%+
    A change of Government and
    The Greens managed to increase their statewide % by just 0.9%
    continuing with the same trend however, they actually had a swing against them in 33 seats where their % of the vote dropped.
    In some seats, like Mackay, Hinchenbrook,Warrego, Lockyer etc, the vote was so low, the ABC election site just lumped them in with “Others” for expediency

    Now the ALP have some major tasks in getting their house in order , but rather than worry about alliances I think it could be time for the Greens to get working on theirs as well

  101. diannaart


    I don’t think the Greens bring much to the table…

    Maybe it’s time to take notice of what the Greens and other potential allies do offer. Instead of finding reasons against and harping on about past grievances, look at what is going on beyond Labor’s ‘policies’.

    Given that both the LNP & Labor regularly bash the Greens at any opportunity it is commendable the Greens achieve as much as they do.

    Imagine a united front by all Progressives.


    Thanks Jennifer


    Agree Randalstella, right now Labor needs a friend or two.

  102. Keith Jenkins

    I have followed this discussion and Cornlegend has continuously said that this is {his ?} personal opinion and view .
    Somehow, because he expresses what a few of you don’t want to hear you seem to be blaming him for what ails both Labor and the Greens .
    On reading what he has said and all the election facts I have to say he has convinced me
    you said
    “Maybe it’s time to take notice of what the Greens and other potential allies do offer. Instead of finding reasons against and harping on about past grievances, look at what is going on beyond Labor’s ‘policies’.”
    And I would take it that is our personal view ?
    Cornlegend said
    “It isn’t some great threat to democracy that my opinion differs .
    I don’t think Labor can win .”
    and expressed that it was his personal opinion .
    It seems you are just shooting the messenger

  103. Mick Byron

    Seems to me that if you don’t agree with a few no matter how well you argue your case if it doesn’t suit their ideals they jump on you

  104. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    True Keith Jenkins,

    cornlegend has continuously been prepared to engage in the discussion by expressing presumably his personal view. My respect to cornlegend for that.

    However Keith and Mick Byron,

    it is not a simple case of not liking what cornlegend or anybody else has to say. It is about recognising the problems with Labor and the Greens and the blatant obstacles put up by the MSM and the Big End of Town to a balanced political representative system.

    It is also about engaging in the discussion, adopting a never-say-die attitude, and finding solutions to the problems that we are attempting to recognise and discuss.

    So Keith Jenkins and Mick Byron, what do you both say we can do to fight the fearful possibility that the LNP Degenerates might win again and stay for the next 10 or 20 years!

  105. diannaart

    I thought I was having a discussion with cornlegend… doesn’t mean we have to agree, in fact I thought the point of AIM is to exchange opinions and ideas.

    I am very concerned the Libs will return to power with a sufficient majority to do further damage to what remains of our democracy. I fear Labor’s objection to the Greens is a case of cutting one’s nose to spite its face.

    For any chance for a return to a more humane government we need to cooperate – my point is that Labor cannot do it alone, therefore, I asked cornlegend to take a further look at the Greens – I can post links to other progressives – should I do that?

    Hardly shooting the messenger – believe me if that is what I was doing there would be no room for doubt.

    So what do you think, Keith Jenkins and Mick Byron, Labor should do to win the 2016 election?

  106. Keith Jenkins

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    With respect .
    Cornlegend does seem to have a deep knowledge of politics and the parties involved .
    The extensive Greens vote history indicates he does know his stuff.

    From what I gleaned from ALL his comments is, as a personal opinion of his ,and I may have interpreted it wrong , is what he is saying is rather than spend an eternity trying to find common ground to build alliances , and the Tax example is one that they may never find common ground on, is that it would be far more productive using what little time there is before an election, negotiating preference deals with all of the parties opposed to the LNP in some way .
    The Xenophon Team , it was pointed out are now polling ahead of Labor and that would be more productive to ensure preference deals than try to for an Alliance asthe NXT in most things is closer to the LNP, but maybe on crucial issues NXT/Labor could preference .
    I don’t know enough about the preferencing but do know an organised preferencing ,as has been shown in the Senate works .
    I would like Cornlegends opinion on that as he appears far more knowledgeable than me on these issues .
    I just want the Liberals beaten and the quickest most expedient way suits me

  107. randalstella

    What are Labor going to do about an impending disaster?
    I suggested they might do what they have done in the past. Is this completely out of order now? Why?
    Why is it impractical now to behave like a Labor Party I once supported? Have the Libs’ vicious campaigning and their Media convinced otherwise?
    What about at least cheating a bit – getting a more attractive leader? Replace this poor old Anchorite, this Hunger Artist shrinking in his suit. At least have mercy on him.
    Can’t even do that? You see, the Libs and the Media might start talking about it. And then where would the brave souls of Labor be? They’d be where every Labor Party has been in its history – fighting enormous vested interests, the lies, the slur and scandal-mongering. Rather than kowtowing to it. Rather than destroying your own internal morale by slinking along with the Libs, voting for their most reactionary policies. Repulsive polices. Jackboot policies.
    It looks like utter and complete concession. And it all started with Tampa nudging the horizon.
    Is obsessing on about the Greens any cure, or is it symptom of malaise?
    The pathos is that they probably came here to electioneer.

    The many who vote by habit probably don’t come this way and read it. Here’s hoping they don’t.
    I will not respond to another diatribe about how useless the Greens are – for having humanitarian polices. How dare they?!
    But if you abuse me I might just give you a swift kick.

  108. Keith Jenkins

    Steady on there, you had your dummy spit , and I don’t see anyone doing any abusing anywhere on here
    “But if you abuse me I might just give you a swift kick”
    Who abused you ?
    do you resort to violence ,threatening to kick people over some imaginary threat ?

  109. Kaye Lee

    Regardless of who you vote for, you should control your own preferences by filling in the whole ballot paper. Put the LNP last in both houses (although there are a few parties I would put behind them – gun nutters and racists and fundamentalists).

    Malcolm Turnbull is popular – his policies are not. As I mentioned before, many eligible people did not cast a valid vote in the last election and many seats were won by a very small margin. Keep talking. Turnbull’s glory is not a done deal.

  110. diannaart

    Damn straight, Kaye Lee, there is no excuse to NOT vote below the line for the senate.

    Everything is made easier by the clever people on the WWW.

    Even my elderly mother whose final vote was in the 2010 election took the time to vote according to HER preferences.

    Of course we can just do nothing and diss anyone offering ideas – no wonder Randalstella had a dummy spit!

  111. Miriam Possitani

    Keith and Mick ,
    You too may be wondering about the reams of comments on this issue .
    It seems that some, don’t vote Labor, would never vote Labor , once did, “a Labor Party I once supported?”, Don’t like Shorten , want him replaced , even though they don’t vote for them, mind you .
    They also see Labor as unworthy , as “flip flop”, “LIBLAB ” and other derogatory terms I’m sure you’ve noticed .
    Now I hope you two as relative newcomers here could explain
    ! Why they spend half of their waking hours concerned at Labors internal decision making .
    2 Relentlessly carping on about Labor going into alliances with minor parties
    3 having issues about the Leader of a Party they do not support .

    Maybe you could explain to me why they aren;t putting as much effort into the parties they DO support and getting them to the position of challenging the LNP.
    {or do they realise that is a hopeless cause and need Labor {the ones they won’t vote for, LibLab, flip flappers} to try to resurrect their party of choice’s hopes .
    Now on a similar vein, I don’t support the LNP or their Leader , and I most certainly dont spend half my waking hour arguing the LNP should support my party of choice .

    Any idea why they do ?
    Why would you worry in the least what LIBLAB flipflop Parties do ? when you don’t support them, think they have a decent Leader, and you don’t like their policies .
    Must be something in the water

  112. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Miriam Possitani,

    Three jobs for you to undertake (in between your busy life as a company owner and a Socialist Alliance donor).

    1) Attack the LNP for their reprehensible assaults on the Australian people with their discriminatory ideology that produces discriminatory policies;

    2) Demand that Labor shows some backbone and do what many of us disaffected former Labor supporters and alternative voters, who strange as it might sound, actually want Labor to grow in stature so that Labor has a fighting chance of winning.

    (Caveat, if and when Labor does win, make sure you tell Labor to respect the preferences given to them by the smaller parties and Independents, who helped put them there.)

    3) After the election, tell Labor (that you claim to support) that they would be very wise to form lasting, working alliances with those other left-leaning parties that have the energy and foresight to seek true political reform, alternative policies and community engagement.

    Not too much to ask, is it?

  113. Mick Byron

    You are asking the wrong person the questions as I’m not all that knowledgeable on politics and the make up of the parties .
    I did find Kay Lees article gave me some hope that Labor can win and I got an education on Green voting that I never knew {thanks cornlegend}

    I do see Miriams point when I read question 2 of your statement
    If you are ” disaffected former Labor supporters and alternative voters, ” why do you have such a great concern about Labor
    Can I ask you the same question Miriam did , What Party do you support and why are you not fighting for them to take down the Liberals ?
    You say this is whats wrong with Labor and they must change but you have never said “I vote for Party X, and we must build them to a strong viable opposition to the Liberals ”
    come to think of it, you NEVER say who you vote for , whys that ?

  114. diannaart

    Mick Byron

    Good that you can see Miriam’s point of view.

    You may be able to help me understand why people who identify with the left or progressive politics shouldn’t discuss Labor, its electoral chances and ways it can gain more public support.

  115. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I’m happy to answer, Mick. In fact, I’m going to tell you something I haven’t actually stated before because I too, have been in a state of flux not knowing who to vote for.

    I crave an Alliance between Labor, the Greens, emerging new Progressive parties WITH candidates and sane Independents because together they can FILL the gaps that each might leave for optimum community benefit.

    As many have pointed out, the minor upcoming left parties are not yet established enough to make as much impact as is necessary.

    Also, I want the Greens under its current leadership to keep its distance from any alliance with the LNP because I don’t hold any respect for LNP political measures and never have. I might see some short-term benefit in the Greens tax agreement with the LNP but I treat it as only temporary until it can be improved and extended to include tax scrutiny of the $100 million turnover companies.

    Essentially I want Labor to get their stinking act into gear because they are our main hope of demolishing the LNP at the next election in a few months. BUT they can’t do it alone and they will need the Greens and they will need a few sane Independents like Wilkie and Muir, and arguably Lambie and Madigan, on good days. Like others have said, Labor has to act grown up and start collaborating. They don’t have to like their partners, but they have to cooperate.

    In an ideal world such as what Gough might have been able to at least make us believe we could achieve, I would vote Labor. But this current Labor lot don’t deserve my pure first vote without party preferences playing out. If Labor wants my preferences, they better start making friends with the Greens really quick, as well as any brave new Progressive Left candidates and sane Independents.

    So now that I’ve told you Mick, who are YOU going to vote for?

  116. Mick Byron

    For someone who is happy to answer , it took 23 lines and I’m still not sure .
    First I vote Labor , so that is out of the way nice and clear ,
    I am at work right now on a crib break and passed my Ipad around to 14 others to read your comment .
    4 think you vote Green
    6 think you are an LNP plant and the others are still guessing.
    Just to be clear 9 vote Labor ,3 don’t vote and 2 vote Nationals .
    With my limited knowledge of politics ,to form a Government you need control of the House of Representatives > right ?
    What have Lambie Muir and Madigan got to do with Labor forming Government
    It is good to see that ” I want Labor to get their stinking act into gear”
    why would you want the stinking Labor Party to do anything if they are that bad .
    No wonder the Liberals are going to win
    Time for work again ,
    It was Green wasn’t it ?

  117. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well Mick,

    you’re making my head swell. The 6 who think I’m a LNP plant need to have a few lessons in politics to be able to judge true believers of political reform and equitable policies for everyone.

    Congrats to the 4 who think I might vote Greens because I did vote Greens at the last Victorian and Federal elections.

    However, as I tried to state earlier, it is not necessarily so straight forward now that certain agreements seem to have happened between the Greens and the LNP. Please assure your workmates, I loathe the LNP as they have divorced us Australians and the needs of the environment.

    So, even though I’d like to give you a categorical answer, as to what I will vote, it really depends on what the Greens, Labor, and other Left luminaries will come up with by the election.

    If they fail coz they are useless and more interested in power retention and power plays and not good policies and good politics, then I will choose one, two or three Independents who are not easily bought.

  118. Dangerus23

    I found this a very interesting article but have to agree with the work guys.
    It does seem that the strand has been taken over by Liberal trolls with the express purpose of dissing Labor .
    Are there Moderators here

  119. Kaye Lee

    Yes we have moderators Dangerus but we prefer to allow discussions to unfold provided people remain civil. There is no point living in an echo chamber only talking to those with whom you agree.

    As I have said before, I love my children dearly but that does not make them immune from criticism nor from me expecting them to strive to do better. I feel the same about the Labor party. Criticising Labor does not mean I will vote for the LNP – it means I want Labor to succeed and would like to make suggestions to help them to do so.

    I will probably vote Labor for the HoR and Greens in the Senate though I will be allocating my own preferences because I don’t trust anyone with the dirty preference deals that go on.

  120. Dangerus23

    Kay Lee.
    Thanks for the reply and I have no problem with people voting for whoever they choose as it is a supposed democracy .
    I think you answered for the work guys and me when straight off you said “I will probably vote Labor for the HoR and Greens in the Senate”
    The problem is, some, who seem to cover every story on the AIMN, spend all that time dissing Labor , don’t quite seem to understand the different houses of Parliament and when cornered as to who they vote for gave a 20 something line answer that still left people guessing .
    I vote Labor {declared straight off} but don’t have trouble in having a massive go at them when they do dumb arsed things like Senator Bullock ,
    I am happy enough for Labor to be held account for specifics but comment after comment, day in day out, Labor bad sure seems like liberal trolling to me .
    Further up this article a poster, cornlegend was trying to give what he declared was a personal view.
    He did seem to know the subject ,as he gave figure to back things up .
    That was overlooked and he still got the expected attacks ,and even demands that he somehow change Labor, get in touch with Labor politicians to make them change etcall to meet some vague notion of some unknown Alliance .
    Again Liberal trolls tactics
    Still, that wasn’t you doing it
    Thanks for taking the time to respond and your directness in answering
    I do enjoy your articles

  121. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    On allocating one’s own preferences in the upper house (laudable principle), this would be a much easier task had proposed senate electoral reform, particularly a limited preference below the line option, been passed last year.
    I am reluctant to leave my upper-house vote to the whimsy of the cynical preference dealings of parties, but conscientiously researching and allocating numerical value to the relative virtues of 110 individual candidates (for 12 seats) is a tough ask for all but the most devoted political tragic.

  122. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    You don’t get it, do you Dangerus23?!

    I don’t want the LNP to win! Just goes to show Labor can’t take advice on how to win back its lost voters without accusing people of being a troll.

    I won’t accuse you of being a LNP troll, but I bet you back the Right faction that has hijacked the Labor Party, so that they have become the beige lapdogs of the LNP in so many ways.

    I’m trying to wake Labor up and to be brave with true progressive, alternative policies that will address the needs of everybody in the community and OMG! the environment too.

    And while you quote the workmates so happily who like you, are hiding behind anonymity, they are amongst the lucky chosen, who are employed. I wonder how the workmates and maybe you too, would like to be languishing on unemployment like many Australians, who don’t want to be. I know the LNP don’t give a damn, but neither do Labor.

  123. Kaye Lee


    I agree about comparing the relative virtues of the multitudinous candidates for the Senate and the folly of not allowing limited preferences below the line.

    There are a few programs now that help you to rank senate votes before the election and I think it is crucial to be prepared. People need to be aware that the Outdoor Recreation Party is the fuzzy title the gun lobby have adopted for themselves for example. They also need to look at the policies of the various Christian and Family parties – they are often very discriminatory and show little understanding of the modern world. On the other hand, the unfortunately named sex party has some surprisingly good policies. Anyone who has anything to do with ‘patriotism’ should be avoided at all costs as it has become the rallying point for racist bullies.

    Think about it before hand and point out to family and friends that taking ten minutes to fill in the tablecloth is worth it or we will end up with dangerous fools like Leyonjhelm having the balance of power.

  124. Kaye Lee


    Whilst there are things that disappoint me about Labor (and every party), there are many important defining differences between the two major parties – education and hospital funding for starters, the NBN, action on climate change, tax reform, freedom of information…. to name a few.

    Whilst I deplore both party’s stance on asylum seekers, Labor is at least offering oversight and access to judicial appeal and a time frame for determining refugee status. They also plan to double the humanitarian intake. It’s not good enough but it is a damn sight better than anything Dutton has to offer.

    I think it is dangerous to describe the parties as being the same. Labor may try to appease big business but they are not owned by them.

  125. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Kaye Lee,

    when have I said they are the same? If I thought they were the same, I would not be trying to wake them up to re-take government!

    I am saying that Labor has allowed itself to adopt positions on policy platforms that are eerily close to the neo-conservative position of the LNP.

    If Labor wants to be seen as the worthy alternative to the LNP, Labor must hold a far more progressive, reformist agenda in every platform area. And, I want to see Labor saying now that they are going to reverse every regressive policy inflicted on us by the LNP, for example, the data retention laws.

  126. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    I do not think that the quashing of proposed senate voting reform was an act of folly, it was more like a blatant act of self-interest to protect the positions of many incumbents, at the cost of greater direct democratic choice for the voter.
    I agree that thorough research of all parties is both laudible and advisable, even if it is a very difficult task given the shell games played, sometimes using front parties with eye-catching (and often deliberately misleading) names.
    Those still choosing to vote above the line (particularly for minority blocs) should also be aware of the opaque preference horse-trading facilitated by groups like the ‘Minority Party Alliance’, where a vote for the ‘destroy all post-agrarian technology and revert to subsistance existence on organic vegan produce’ party may well flow as a preference to the ‘Fishing for dolphins using dynamite and jet-skis enthusiasts’ bloc.

  127. diannaart

    Something new every day.

    Although names weren’t named I suspect I’ve been accused of being an LNP troll – friends and family are falling about laughing at this idea.

    Looks like the idea of uniting progressives with Labor to topple the neo-cons is not on the agenda then.

    I guess I’d better hunker down for the next 4 years, if not longer, while the right faction still controls Labor.

  128. Dangerus23

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    you asked
    “when have I said they are the same?”
    Just how many hundred times do you say “LIBLAB flipflop” what is that to be interpreted as ?
    As to the statements to me
    ” Labor can’t take advice on how to win back its lost voters ”
    What expertise do you have in the internal workings of Labor, what political experience do you have in the formulation of policy within the ALP , what Advice do you give other than wanting them to do deals with your Party, the Greens ?
    “but I bet you back the Right faction that has hijacked the Labor Party, ”
    Wrong again ,I am in the electorate of Griffith, have supported the last 2 MPs, Rudd and Terri Butler who represented that seat and will continue to do so ,
    Do you know what factions they represent , and does it matter, as I support the broad ALP with all its factions and groups , as I never believed in this Left Right thing
    “I’m trying to wake Labor up and to be brave with true progressive, alternative policies ”
    Could you post on here all those suggestions you have sent to Shorten , the ALP Head Office, an official of Labor or even a sitting MP ?
    How did you pass the message on to Labor ?

    “And while you quote the workmates so happily who like you, are hiding behind anonymity,”
    I didn’t quote workmates, a poster Mick Byron did, and that is hardly “anonymity”
    for your sake, my name is Russ Hockey, I just use a non de plume as do many others, none of those who agree with you have been accused of “anonymity”
    again ” I wonder how the workmates and maybe you too, would like to be languishing on unemployment like many Australians, who don’t want to be. I know the LNP don’t give a damn, but neither do Labor.”
    They AREN’T my workmates, but like many electricians, I have had my time unemployed and didn’t enjoy the experience .
    It seems. if rather than just hammer Labor, you read some other AIMN articles and saw the specific article on Centrelink and the abortion of a mess they have are making.
    That would be the LNP, not ALP .
    I think your hatred of Labor in not buddying up to your Greens has warped your view

    Russ Hockey

  129. Kaye Lee

    “they have become the beige lapdogs of the LNP in so many ways”

    “Labor has allowed itself to adopt positions on policy platforms that are eerily close to the neo-conservative position of the LNP.”

    On national security, which for some unknown reason has expanded to include asylum seekers, Labor has caved in. I cannot see them reversing policies they themselves voted for unfortunately. But they have far preferable policies in almost every other area, (though they seem to be falling for the same bs about the necessity to cut company tax rates).

    I am also wary of Independents like Lambie and Madigan. Jacquie may be well meaning but she is dumb as a post and Madigan thinks wind turbines make you sick. They have far too much power in our current Senate, a situation that allows Leyonjhelm to trade his vote in return for his own libertarian agenda. We have Lazarus threatening to do a Hopoate or get the PM in a squirrel grip. I find the crossbenchers a very scary bunch.

  130. diannaart

    Can quite rightly be wary of Independents AND far too many Libs and Labor pollies – OK I happily admit that the LNP holds the market on nutters.

    Would just like to point out that Julia would’ve had an even more difficult time without the rock solid support of Windsor & Oakeshott… and look what a refreshing surprise Ricky Muir has turned out to be.

    How can a diverse population be represented by a binary parliament? How is that even approaching democracy? – things ain’t so simple now, we did leave white picket fences and single income families back in the 50’s didn’t we?

    Also, since when was offering solutions and well reasoned critique ‘trolling’?

  131. Dangerus23

    I’m not sure if this comment was directed at me
    “Although names weren’t named I suspect I’ve been accused of being an LNP troll – friends and family are falling about laughing at this idea.”
    You weren’t mentioned.
    To be honest I didn’t take much notice of your comments , and it seems “friends and family ” are easily amused .
    I would give you warning though of “hiding behind anonymity,”
    as pointed out by Jennifer Meyer Smith

    Russ Hockey

  132. diannaart

    Thanks for the advice Russ Hockey.

    Of course I deliberately use a pseudonym just to irritate people like you and has nothing to do with psycho ex.

    Yes my friends and family do laugh a lot about many things – that’s how we swing, dude.

    Does this mean I should never criticise Labor – ever? I want to be very sure about this, ‘coz I might just start thinking about refugees, new mines and so on – I should not mention anything about such issues?

    Like, if I’m not with you, I must be against you?

    Is that what you mean, Russ Hockey?

  133. Dangerus23

    “f course I deliberately use a pseudonym just to irritate people like you”
    It doesn’t irritate me , I couldn’t give a damn
    It was Jennifer Meyer Smith
    “And while you quote the workmates so happily who like you, are hiding behind anonymity,””
    I guess you’d better take it up with her. or was it just to “irritate her “

  134. diannaart

    Unlike you, Russ, Jennifer has been here awhile and knows a little of my background.

    Now about what I am permitted to say about Labor? You going to get back to me on that?

  135. Katrina Logan

    OMH, they are slowly having the courage to admit to who they vote for .
    I did wonder when cornlegend published the Greens voting why so many jumped on him , one {I assume it was directed at cornlegend} even threatening to kick his arse .
    Interesting though , no one has disputed his figures . and I for one didn’t know they dropped close to half a million votes last election
    I think the Greens should spend more time evaluating the Greens and why they turned half a million voters off .

  136. diannaart


    I though AIMN was for progressive thinkers but it’s only for rusted on Labor supporters?

    My bad.


    I am not a member of any political party – if being a member of Labor means never ever disagreeing I am likely to continue to remain independent.

  137. Dangerus23

    Of course Labor policies need scrutiny , and they should be .
    So should other Parties .
    Not this LIBLAB flip flop generalist rubbish
    And it wouldn’t be bad to look at their policies.
    Not try to jam them in some fantasy alliance all the time .

  138. corvus boreus

    Like a shadow-puppet ‘punch and judy’ show, discussional focus is shifted back to repetitious finger pointing along strictly delineated dichotomies, with a sideshow in issues of personal identity and some quotational quibbling.
    This immediately derails discussion away from any potentially constructive dialogue on possible reform of policy and performance within the various ‘representative’ political parties, as well as universal (across the board regardless of party affiliation) reform of the political system for greater transparency and accountability .
    It is almost as if this is being done deliberately.

    Does anyone here, for instance, have any valid objections to the proposal of a limited ‘below the line’ preferencing option for the upper-house ballot? (meaning more electoral options than voting 1 box above the line or every single box below it?).
    Does anyone here think that federal politics is clean enough as not to warrant the oversight of an integrity commission (ICAC)?

    Ps, for those who wish to keep discussing ‘progressive alliances’, here is the most advanced current model;

  139. diannaart

    @corvus boreus

    diannaart January 27, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Damn straight, Kaye Lee, there is no excuse to NOT vote below the line for the senate.

    Everything is made easier by the clever people on the WWW.

    Even my elderly mother whose final vote was in the 2010 election took the time to vote according to HER preferences.

    Of course we can just do nothing and diss anyone offering ideas – no wonder Randalstella had a dummy spit!

  140. corvus boreus

    I vote below the line (esp senate), but, long past any real confidence, sceptical hope or merest hint of knowledge, the boxes continue until I find myself trying to discriminatively differentiate between chunks of mystery-meat and gobbets of rancid ordure.
    I would prefer nullify the leavings of my vote than pass useful scraps to a candidate of personally abhorrhant views or values.
    This is why I support the proposal for below-the-line limited preferencing in the senate.

    Thank you for the link, which I previously missed. Unfortunately, ‘Clueyvoter’, whilst potentially helpful, assumes knowledge of the true stand-points of the registered parties, which can ‘differ somewhat’ from what their name implies. This is what I meant by ‘shell games’, since there is no legislative necessity for registering parties to define and delineate any precise positions of policy (another electoral flaw that I think should be addressed).

  141. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    corvus boreus again,

    I experienced a limited below the line for preferences option in the last Victorian state election and it worked for me. However, I would want the right to number all the 100plus candidates also, if I wanted.

    As for a Federal ICAC, I’m all for it. It can’t happen early enough. But it needs to have teeth, so that criminals like Sinodinos can’t use the excuse of memory loss to avoid liability. It also needs strong enforcement and strong penalties for any found to have acted criminally and against the best interests of the Australian people and the environment.

  142. Matthew Oborne

    Labor need to start advertising The Liberals economic record now. Get up need to start advertising now.

    One thing is obvious getting the message out the same time as the Liberals and Murdoch are in full swing rewriting the last three years will be a difficult thing.

    Labor needs to get the conversation going on these last three years now.

    Abbott was a total disaster. Far right government simply doesnt work because sooner or later they say what they really mean.

    a campaign of the facts matter would show Australia how bad this was.

    The government defunded and closed so many agencies and didnt save a single dollar.

    The brainfarts they never followed through with like protecting allan Jones by proposing legislation that would have made destroy the joint liable for their campaign on the sponsors of Jones to pull out.

    You would expect covertly bringing in a gst while letting education and health go to ruin while running the debt up needlessly while slowing the economy all without the loss of car manufacturing in full swing would be the death of the Liberal Party.

    We gave them a shot and at a time where under Labor we would be having a healthy renewable energy sector continuing to balance out the mining slump, the debt would be less, and our NBN would be fast and people would see the benefit of an economy with world class internet infrastructure.

    We have an economy where renewables are still uncertain, the Libs put our eggs in the miners basket and mining is tanking.

    They made a bet with our future based on who donated the most to them and we lost.

    Labor can present a viable plan to get the economy back on its feet.

    Go to the markets.

    Ask how they are going, the small hopeful operators who perhaps oneday hope their marquise tent will be replaced with something more.

    They will tell you people are not spending much with them.

    It isnt because of shopping centres it is because people either dont have money to spare or are being cautious knowing conditions are getting worse.

  143. corvus boreus

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith,
    Under the reforms proposed, full below the line is still permitted, with the additional provision of a limited preferencing option.
    There is also a proposal for adding the option of numbering your own bloc preferences above the line.
    Both are expansions on the current 1 or all ‘choice’.

  144. Kaye Lee

    It isn’t just the miners who donate to the Liberal Party. James Packer’s mummy was their largest single donor – and watch Barangaroo skyrocket ahead changing the face of Sydney forever. The hotel industry are also very chummy and who would have thought that one of the first acts of an incoming Social Services Minister would be to rescind gambling reform laws (I’m looking at Kevin ‘counselling’ Andrews). The hospitality industry donate a lot – penalty rates are a real burden. As do financial institutions, who need a government guarantee to keep them profitable in the bad times but should have no pesky regulations holding them to account. Of course, many of these industries donate to both major parties. Why would that be?

    We must do something about political donations and advertising. We need electoral reform and independent oversight – an integrity body.

  145. cornlegend

    corvus boreus
    Under the current system I vote below the line and encourage my friends to do the same .
    For as long as I care to remember I worked on polling booths, the couple of weeks on pre polls and did run some Labor scrutineering classes .
    The Party encourages above the line voting particularly in the Senate simple because of the size of the ballot paper and the number of informal votes that occur with those attempting below the line voting
    “It was estimated that three quarters of informal votes in the Senate were those attempting to vote below the line {source}”
    It is an interesting exercise that Crikey undertook , not at Federal level , just the NSW State election 2011
    In that election the Upper House ballot paper came in at an impressive 1.02 metres long {Crikey}
    Crikey also estimated the time factor , again just in NSW
    “And how long would it take if everyone were to vote below the line? There were 4,290,595 voters at the 2011 state election, if every one of those people were to order the 394 candidates at this year’s election for 32 minutes and 20 seconds at the 2741 polling places throughout NSW, we estimate it would take 790 hours, or (assuming that 10 people can vote concurrently at each location), a full three 24-hour days. Or, assuming electoral staff only want to work eight hours a day, it would take 10 and a half days. And that’s just the upper house.

    Given this, it is no wonder that most people vote above the line (more than 95% in some elections, like the WA contest for Senate in 2013). It has been said that this may be due to the unwieldy ballot papers. The trend of above-the-line voting resulted in a very low informal vote rate of between 2.96% and 3.75% since it’s a simpler system for voters.”

    Under the current system I personally will continue to vote below the line but not willing to risk losing votes to informal, at booths I will encourage voters to follow the Labor ticket

  146. cornlegend

    Just looking at the changes to Senate voting ,
    it appears those who support Independents should have concerns according to New Matilda

    How Quickly They Forget: Greens Look To Wipe Out Independents, Minor Parties in Senate Voting Reform
    By Peter Breen on November 5, 2015 Australian Politics

    The Australian Greens are proposing legislation to change the Senate voting system, to wipe out independents and minor parties. How quickly they forget, writes Peter Breen.

    Independents and minor party representatives were pervasive at Canberra’s constitutional convention in 1998. Some of us in the convention wings with time on our hands sat for hours outside the parliamentary offices of the Australian Democrats senators trying to get crossbench support for a popularly elected head of state – a bad idea at the time that ended up scuttling the republic referendum a year later.

    Minor parties wanting to talk to the Democrats included the Australian Greens who had won a seat at the convention on the back of preference deals with other minor parties including the Australian Women’s Party, the Indigenous Peoples’ Party and my Bill of Rights Group.

    How Quickly They Forget: Greens Look To Wipe Out Independents, Minor Parties in Senate Voting Reform

  147. diannaart

    I vote below the line – have been for years even before handy little app. Have also been saying this for years at AIM.

    I understand it is problematic for people given the size of the senate ticket.

    Dunno what we can do about this – as using above line preferences benefits BOTH the Libs and Labor – ooops I pointed out something they have in common.

    Would Labor support a review of preferential voting?

    Yes, cornlegend is indeed a font of knowledge, doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything he says – I do believe the legend himself would understand, rather than the self-appointed little cheer squad.

    @Russ Hockey

    I will continue to comment honestly as I see best – someone doesn’t like what I am saying then don’t read it… and I will not waste my time on people who do not care for equitable discussion and resorts to personal insults.

  148. Kaye Lee

    Good point cornie.

    Also, for many years, voting was done by my family on the way to or from kids sport so time was not a luxury I could afford – the coach yelled at you if you were late for warm up and hungry tired kids (and parents) just want to get home.

  149. diannaart


    Do you mean we lefties should only vote Labor both upper and lower house? IS that what you are saying?

  150. Matters Not

    Just to clear up a few points re voting for the Senate. Antony Green being the source:

    The instructions say you must fill in every square, but the savings provision of the act require that only 90% of the squares be filled in, and will allow a maximum of three sequencing errors. A sequencing error is any doubling up of numbers and any break in the number sequence.

    If you want to be ultra safe, fill in below the line and the fill in one of the above the line squares. The below the line vote takes priority, but if proves to be informal, the ballot paper will revert to the above the line option.

    Be ultra safe. More here.

  151. corvus boreus

    Nothing new or controversial there. Big senate paper means big time and effort to fully fill out without phuqqing up, so most don’t.
    95% of preference allocation is left entirely up to parties.Bad for direct democracy, good for party politics.

    What is missing is your viewpoint on the currently tabled electoral reform proposal that I have repeatedly mentioned (with link).
    The one that would mean that I could take the bedsheet ballot paper and selectively number it 1-12(+) below the line, thus being done with the casting of my (fully informed and double checked) votes for the senate in around 2 minutes?

  152. cornlegend

    No, where did you get that idea .
    I have said regularly people should vote how they wish , it is a democracy and how am I going to force anyone to vote
    Could you point out where I said that .
    I did say however , when handing out “How to vote Labor” tickets ,which people can take or reject, I advise them to vote above the line as do most other Labor poll workers

    As for this
    “Yes, cornlegend is indeed a font of knowledge, doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything he says – I do believe the legend himself would understand, rather than the self-appointed little cheer squad.”

    I have made a few comments, nothing less.
    Diannaart, you and I have been chatting online for what seems like forever and have had our differing views, but ultimately we always come back to a similar view of being LNP haters
    I do hold strong views , but I’m not silly enough to think I can force my views on someone, if thats what you’re saying {it is a bit confusing}

  153. Kaye Lee

    I think we need some form of proportional representation but every idea I have I see problems with.

    Nevertheless, if the HoR represented the nationwide vote, the 2013 election would have seen the Nats get 6 seats and the Greens get 13 instead of which the Nats got 9 seats and the Greens 1.

    Should we have larger electorates with more than one representative?

    And I agree with other commenters about the value of Windsor and Oakeshott and Wilkie and I would add Ted Mack.

  154. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Matters Not,

    I like the fail-safe opportunity of voting below AND above the line to be safe with the below, the priority. It also takes the pressure off knowing that 3 mistakes are acceptable.

    Last election in Victoria, I checked my numbers a dozen times (I’m exaggerating again, oh no!), just to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake. I wasn’t holding anybody up and it gave me great satisfaction knowing I was choosing small parties and Independents, who I thought had integrity.

  155. cornlegend

    corvus boreus
    as I hinted to in the two comments I made, there seems to be conflicting views on the merits of change and I haven’t had time to read up on them and form a personal view .{ I had a couple of months in Ireland and a complete break from OZ politics, so still catching up}
    I will though 😀

  156. diannaart


    Not mad at you – those who have appointed themselves to speak for you are the problem – especially when they resort to personal insult – not your fault. Having a bad day in general…

    Okay, that said, would very much appreciate your thoughts on the preferential system of voting.

  157. corvus boreus

    Thus says an article by a writer in New Matilda, which, like the AIMN, seems to allow some variance of opinions (as well as permitting a degree of literary hyperbole) in the editorial pieces of contributors.
    The senate electoral proposals will quite likely negatively effect the chances of some of the fringe minority players, especially those who primarily rely upon preference whispering for any chance of success (sorry, Ricky).
    They would also, however, allow me, a voter, a more practical chance to cast my exact endorsement of the candidates who I feel a degree of confidence in the competence, ethics, and general sanity of (choose Pratt over Bullock), and thus I support it.
    I asked for your viewpoint on the democratic merits/drawbacks of the tabled proposal, not a quote from an article casting aspersions on some past dodgy preference dealings. You have already pointed out the deep flaws in the current system. Have you scrutinised and considered the actual reform proposals?
    Ps, just read your 3:22. Take your time 😉

  158. cornlegend

    check out comment above 😀
    bugger other comments, no owl, not me

  159. cornlegend

    corvus boreus
    read comment to you , 3 up 😀

  160. Kaye Lee

    And while we are at it, Tasmania, with about 2% of the population, has 12 Senators. NSW with 32% of the population has the same number representing them. The three biggest states represent 77% of the population but only 47% of the Senate votes.

  161. Dangerus23

    “Not mad at you – those who have appointed themselves to speak for you”

    If this is in some way a reference to me , let me make it clear I did not speak on behalf of cornlegend and apologise to him if it seems that way .
    I referenced him because he seemed to know what he was talking about, gave stats and figures to back up his comments and was informative .
    I want to make it clear that as a relative newcomer here I do not know him, nor have i read many of his comments previously and assumed he too was a newcomer
    I do however note that even though he stressed some comments were “personal opinion” it didn’t stop the attacks on him
    Anyhow, I don’t need to defend him, he seems quite capable himself , but again, NOWHERE, was I speaking on his behalf

  162. cornlegend

    don’t worry about it, it’s all good .
    I don’t care if your opinion is similar or the total opposite to mine , we may disagree and debate it but at least you have an opinion !
    It is the mindless no opinion f**kw**ts out there who get us into this LNP mess

  163. Kaye Lee

    ^^^what he said

  164. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee
    stop that swearing !!

  165. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    The absurd imbalances in the current allotments of state senate seats are patently obvious (Tasmanians vote 15 times harder than we New South Welshers). Selling such reform could a plausible task if something reasonable was put forward, like an allocation of state senate seats set according to proportion of overall population, subject to periodic review and amendment,

    I would much prefer a proportional representation system for the HoR (amalgamated electorates, multiple representatives), but the immediate necessity for such reform is much less obvious, thus it is, I think, a much harder sell and more distant prospect.

  166. Kaye Lee

    I have a cousin the same age as me and we spent school holidays together. She had a teddy bear called lovey. That bear could swear like a trooper which my cousin repeated always prefaced by “lovey said…”.

    cb, how we get any reform happening in this country I don’t know. I have endless ideas, except about how to get anyone to consider putting them into practice 🙁

  167. diannaart

    I have never attacked cornlegend – we can disagree without giving up the good fight. Nor do I go in for personal slights – better ways to spend my time.

    I, my friends and family would like an apology for personal insult.

  168. Kaye Lee

    Is there any way I can pour oil onto troubled waters here (in an environmentally friendly way).

    I have regard for all contributors to this discussion. I also find that when people refer to others’ comments rather than topics, misunderstandings can occur. I myself upset a very valued contributor here with no intention to do so. I think that most of us are on the same side in wanting to see the back of the LNP, though I welcome comments from those who feel otherwise.

  169. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee
    “I have endless ideas, except about how to get anyone to consider putting them into practice”
    just keep hammering away mate .
    I have had a perpetual war with the ALP for decades .
    One pet one with me is the Bullock saga and the influence of sick old has beens like De bruyn and Bill Ludwig and the power of right Unions like the SDA and AWU .
    Labour in Ireland had the same problem but came up with the solution {which I will pester all and sundry within Labor about }
    Unions in OZ get a say based on their membership numbers and you end up with fools like Debruyn and and his anti gay position even though he is representing mainly young shop assistants who in the vast majority support gay marriage .
    In Ireland Labor now allocates voting rights to Unions, not on their numbers but on the number of members who hold Labour membership
    So here if you are a member of a Union you technically get a {big}say in ALP policy without ALP membership .
    In Ireland now , combined Union/Labour membership determines voting numbers .A lot of the smaller more militant unions have a far greater input into Labour policy because of this.
    That is my current hobby horse

  170. Kaye Lee

    What a very good idea cornie. Is it still the case that you have to be a member of a union to be a member of the ALP?

    I also think Lisa Singh has been treated very poorly along with Louise Pratt.

  171. cornlegend

    To add to why Labor can win ,
    MSM probably won’t cover it but
    Federal Labor today committed to delivering the vital last two years of Gonski funding.
    The funding would be delivered in full by a Labor Government in 2018 and 2019.
    This is a welcome announcement by the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten who said it was a critical investment in our children and the nation’s future.
    Bill Shorten said
    I’ve spoken to so many teachers, students and parents over the last two years and they’ve been crying out for proper investment in our schools. I’ve listened and that’s why I’m announcing our five part plan today:
    1.Focus on every single child’s needs
    2.More individual attention for students
    3.Better trained teachers — and more of them
    4.Better targeted resources and better equipped classrooms
    5.More support for students with special learning needs

    50 more here

  172. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    All good measures, cornlegend. But again, no mention of better pay for teachers! This is a glaring failing of every government not to address the pay disparity between teachers and many other professionals and tradespeople.

    However, I skimmed the rest of the document and was pleased to see that Labor has listened to grassroots people where we have advocated for financial support for Startups and Micro-businesses, so they have realistic and reasonable opportunities to get up and running. I will be pleased if Labor proves its actions are as strong as its words, “Working with the finance industry to establish Startup Finance, a partial loan guarantee scheme to give micro-businesses the capital they need to grow.”

    My advice to Labor is to ensure government keeps control of this partial loan guarantee (I would have preferred FULL) by allowing for accessible and reasonable eligibility criteria, which would not discriminate against low socio-economic people with good ideas, much energy and commitment.

    If left to the greedy banks, Labor will be abandoning the most needy and this will defeat the point of Startup and Micro-business financial support especially in light of Labor’s desire to create greater job opportunities by promoting home-grown businesses and innovation.

    If Labor does not disappoint me on this, I promise to show great praise on AIMN to Labor for its insight and commitment once it becomes apparent.

  173. Kaye Lee

    People have often asked if I was interested in running for politics. What I would really like to do is run the Labor Party campaign. There is so much material – education and hospital funding, the huge cuts to the CSIRO and practically every other research body despite Turnbull’s innovative, flexible, agile, disruptive bs. Trashing the NBN is enough to show how innovative he is and the proposed changes to media laws make me wonder how long before Rupert summons Malcolm for the pre-election wink and nudge – or has that job been delegated to Tony…we’ll give you good press if you give Tony (fill in the blank).

    Climate change.


    Protection for corporate fraud whilst relentlessly pursuing welfare fraud.

    Increasing GST so they can decrease company tax.

    Having a plebiscite that they won’t follow.

  174. Terry2


    I’ve never been a union member but I joined the ALP in 1987 to lend my support to the ousting of the Bjelke Peterson government in Queensland : it worked 🙂

    By the way did you read Michelle Grattan in the Conversation today ? Morrison is trying to avoid the Green/White Paper procedure on tax reform which was promised by Hockey : to me this sounds ominous, why skirt the system unless you have an ulterior motive in shutting down informed debate debate ?

  175. paul walter

    Jennifer Meyer Smith, a very perceptive character. Only someone who has observed human nature for a time could produce the sort of insight shown in that posting.

  176. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes Kaye Lee,

    I want you to run the Labor Party campaign too. I think you would have an enlightened and fair commitment to promote what would be fair and equitable policy platforms that represent the wishes and needs of all demographics in our society.

    I also think you would have the good grace to acknowledge the smart ideas of other, and often complimentary, political forces. That would encourage building political bridges that would put the LNP out of action for a very long time.

  177. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee, I missed your question ,Terry 2 answered it
    Campaigns are the most fun of an election .
    My first full on one was my Union signed me off to work for the ALP for the Its Time Campaign
    None since have come close though :-{ , still fun !
    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    “But again, no mention of better pay for teachers!’
    As far as i know Teachers are paid by the State and are covered by a State Award .So wrong strand of Government I’m affraid

  178. cornlegend

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    ‘That would encourage building political bridges ”
    It’s not gonna happen !

  179. Kaye Lee

    I have the “It’s Time” single :-). Gough came to my school in the early 70s and then the Liberal Party paid for me to go to Canberra on some sort of leadership thingy. I also got to have morning tea with Roden Cutler in 75. It was an interesting year to turn 18.

  180. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    the federal government provides the funding to the states for education and then yes, the states distribute it. So, if Labor is fair dinkum about improving education and that means for teachers too, Labor can implement conditions on the funding to ensure improved pay for teachers. Otherwise, Labor should stop pretending that Gonski is the great answer to all educational sins that Labor claims it is.

    By the way, what’s wrong with building bridges? I’d be interested to know what Kaye says since she was the one I was addressing!

  181. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Indeed, 1975 was an interesting year to turn 18! Unfortunately, the shine was disappearing by the end and politics all went downhill from then.

    It’s Time to get it going uphill again and hence the exciting Alliance, huh cornlegend!

  182. Kaye Lee


    Tony Windsor, I think quoting someone else, said that it doesn’t matter who unveils the plaque as long as it happens. We must listen to all people. Some may have the ideas and others the skills to make them a reality.

    As for teachers’ pay, I agree they are worth more but every teacher I have ever admired (and I just spent a week away with the principal of a difficult high school in the western suburbs of Sydney) would put needs based funding in front of a pay rise.

  183. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    yes and yes. That altruistic argument is always used about teachers to differentiate the so-called good teachers from the bad. It is not a disgrace for teachers to speak up for their own salary rights.

    One imperative of needs based funding and the other imperative of professional salary parity for teachers should not discount each other.

  184. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee
    I have the “It’s Time” single :

    My missus has always been a mad collector of political badges.
    Years ago we were doing a big cleanout of a barn on the joint and there was heaps of old campaign stuff from all sorts of elections .
    We took a couple of trailer loads of stuff to the tip including a box load of about 1000 Its Time badges .
    A couple of years ago we were in Sydney and went to a shop that sold political stuff .
    Its Time badges were $50 each [scarce} and the guy said he would have bought all we had :-{
    At the moment reproduced Its Time memorabilia is being flogged of by the ALP and is selling well, even bloody T Towels :-{

  185. cornlegend

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    “By the way, what’s wrong with building bridges? I’d be interested to know what Kaye says since she was the one I was addressing!”

    OOPSY , sorry I spoke

  186. Kaye Lee

    “sorry I spoke”

    As if you are 😉

    Political reformers….AND teachers….are made of sterner stuff. We all need to listen more and impulsively respond less. My daughter told me today that it is not my job to always point out when people are wrong. The really weird thing is that my father told me the same thing when I was about 17 and a week away with my wonderful friends helped me realise it is not my most endearing trait.

    Tony Abbott and I are the same age. We both still have a lot to learn.

  187. randalstella

    Trust is a vital thing.

  188. Miriam Possitani

    You seem to know a bit about the internal workings of Labor so 2 questions if you don’t mind .
    Did you ever meet Gough ?
    Why don’t Labor just bite the bullet and install Albanese as Leader .
    I did see Bills list and they were impressive although some on here don’t seem impressed .
    Maybe if Labor joined the Greens en masse would be the only acceptable remedy for some

  189. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Am I hearing right, Miriam? Why ask that important question now after your belittlement before?

    If ever I doubted you, now could be the time when I do moreso.

    And, you know what, Miriam? I don’t blame you alone. Coz I reckon there are just a bunch of self-satisfied inner circle political back-stoppers and back-droppers that enjoy working on these sort of sites where people come together genuinely trying to find political solutions.

    You apparatchiks from any and all parties, don’t care about the passion and the arguments behind every comment.

    You are here to dissuade, disappoint and deter.

    Ugly people, the lot of you.

  190. Matters Not

    better pay for teachers … ensure improved pay for teachers … As for teachers’ pay, I agree they are worth more

    A significant rise in teachers’ pay isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future for any number of reasons. Here’s two to consider. First, in budgetary terms, there’s far too many of them. Do the sums. With a State workforce (here in Queensland) of more than 50 000 teachers with say an increase of $10 dollars a day – $50 dollars a week (and not including superannuation and associated costs) the budget bottom line is in excess of $1.3 billion a year. A significant sum and an increase of such a small amount at a personal level would be considered an insult.

    But at a deeper and more significant level is the second reason which deals with how the debate is currently ‘framed’. In the world of ‘politics’ the education system is seen as ‘failing’, and by implication teachers are to blame. Our international ‘rankings’ are on the decline when compared with both European (read Finland), (and particularly) Asian ‘nations’ (read ‘city states’ such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.)

    That’s the current political reality. Our declining international achievements and how to remedy same is the broad debate that involve all sides of politics. (Or at least those who count).

    As to why it’s been ‘framed’ that way and who should bear responsibility is something for a future discussion. (Gillard won’t look good.)

    Why should we pay more for teachers who can’t perform? We lead the world in cricket, … and the like.

  191. Miriam Possitani

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    “Am I hearing right, Miriam? Why ask that important question now after your belittlement before? ”
    Don’t talk riddles woman ,
    Which particular “important question ” are you getting your knockers in a knot about ?
    Surely not
    “Maybe if Labor joined the Greens en masse would be the only acceptable remedy for some”
    You don’t seem to get much right but this has me intrigued
    “self-satisfied inner circle political back-stoppers and back-droppers ”
    Name them !
    don’t cast aspersions unless you can back them up .

  192. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes Matters Not,

    I understand the budgetry and the framing angles regarding why teacher professional equitable salary issues are always put in the Too-Hard-Basket by political fools.

    Thanks for taking the time to confirm the thinking.

    Why don’t the apparatchik fools look at the prism from a completely different angle and see how the Chinese, Japanese, Nordic nations view the importance of teachers? They have budgets too but they ensure there is enough put aside. When the proletariat sees the benefit of their education, they grow the nation. Russian philosophy.

    Final word for tonight on this point is I cannot understand how teachers and ex-teachers can live with this insult. Maybe such persons are receiving benefits in different ways? Does not make sense any other way.

  193. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    like usual, you ask more questions than you answer, so I bid you goodnight.

  194. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, I am convinced that you just come here to heckle people. I think that is also obvious to a lot of people.

    I’m sure that you are an intelligent person capable of intelligent debate. I would prefer to see it.

  195. Miriam Possitani

    Michael Taylor

    The main question, other than a personal one I asked was regarding Gough was
    “Why don’t Labor just bite the bullet and install Albanese as Leader .”
    and got ,in part this response
    ” Coz I reckon there are just a bunch of self-satisfied inner circle political back-stoppers and back-droppers that enjoy working on these sort of sites where people come together genuinely trying to find political solutions.”
    If this is the case, where is the proof or is it ok to just accuse people who hold differing views .?
    I’m sure as owner of the site you would have the means and ability to detect such goings on if it were the case .
    Would you name these “self-satisfied inner circle political back-stoppers and back-droppers that enjoy working on these sort of sites ”
    so as to clear this up

  196. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, has it occurred to you that nobody is interested in your questions? If people don’t wish to answer them, so be it.

  197. randalstella

    The main witness to the murder of an asylum seeker on Manus Island, his cell mate, has been under death threats from guards since the killing nearly two years ago. The report is that the murder victim was knocked to the ground with a stick, kicked many times in the head, and then his skull was smashed with a rock. These guards are paid for by the Aust. taxpayer. They continue to work there, with control over prisoners.

    Thanks are due to Anna Burke and Melissa Parke, who along with Scott Ludlum are working to get the witness off Manus Island and away from the danger. (But what about everyone else?)
    It is a fiendish situation that he is still there. Only monsters would direct this. Only gutless wonders would allow it.
    Labor policy – because they voted for it – is total suppression of information from these places.
    Of course, Parke is leaving Parliament at the next election. Had enough of it.
    Who could blame her?

  198. Miriam Possitani

    Mchael Taylor
    If they aren’t interested in the question why not ignore it, why give dumb arse answers which are sure to elicit a response ?

  199. Michael Taylor

    Probably because people are at liberty to answer a question any way they like. Too bad if you don’t like the answer.

  200. Michael Taylor

    PS – I’m off for the night. Won’t be engaging any more.

  201. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    as far as I’m concerned, you are a fraud. In between your tirade of me and others not answering your pathetic questions, randalstella raised an important situation of the asylum seeker witness on Manus who saw his cell mate murdered and who is also now under threat.

    But guess what Miriam, YOU took no notice. You are only concerned with winning political points when it suits you. Too bad about the people who need us to make the correct political decisions.

    I am now off to bed so I won’t be engaging in your tripe again tonight but next time you speak here, make sure you listen to everyone else and be ready to answer their questions about your reason for venturing here.

  202. Matters Not

    I understand the budgetry (sic) and the framing angles regarding why teacher professional equitable salary issues are always put in the Too-Hard-Basket by political fools.

    I suspect that you don’t. Teachers aren’t the only group who think they are underpaid. Try teacher-aides as an example. Or child care workers. Or nurses aides. Or nurses. Try GPs as opposed to ‘specialists’. (One could go on). All have a ‘case’, or at least, think they have.

    There’s no ‘objective’ case to be made in any ‘absolute’ sense re salaries that should be paid. It’s all about the ‘politics’, broadly defined in terms of ‘power’. It’s all about who has the ‘power’ to construct a ‘reality’ and then evoke the desired response. And when it comes to the ‘politics’ it’s all about who will attract (or lose) votes for the ‘party’ or the candidate.

    I note today that Shorten and Ellis promised to fund Gonski for the further years. Sounds great. But did you also note the ‘rider’ stressed by Ellis re accountability? Under Pyne, the schools would be ‘responsible’ for ‘outcomes’ (to whom in detail) was never defined while under Ellis the responsibility for ‘outcomes’ would revert to the Feds.

    What is never defined is the ‘outcomes’. (There’s not need to do that in an already ‘framed debate’). It’s left to the ‘common sense’ of the punters to ‘understand’ same. (The framing of the debate). And as I suggest, the ‘outcomes’ are those ‘international comparisons’ which we will never achieve and, more importantly, should never even try to achieve. To go down that ‘Gillard’ endorsed path would be an educational disaster.

  203. Terry2

    As what happens inside the prison camps on Manus and Nauru is under the direct control of Australian authorities this killing – and the rape incidents – should be investigated by Australian officials and the charges brought in Australian courts.

    This fiction that the camps are not run by Australian authorities is an insult to our intelligence.

  204. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Matters Not @11.27 pm on 28/1,

    excuse me? I’m well aware that there is no objective case that deliberates teacher salary parity with other professions and trades. There should be!

    Why doesn’t Gonski include an objective measure that ensures focus on significantly improving teachers’ salaries to complement the requirement to lift teacher standards? To make the insinuation that teacher standards are below expectation but to ignore the incentive of professional salary parity is to beat a tired old drum with one hand tied behind your back. Were teachers ever consulted on what they thought about this glaring omission when Gonski was being formed? I bet NOT.

    I’m highlighting the need to improve teachers’ remuneration which in turn will build teacher status and respect for the profession in the community. I want teachers to have salary parity with lawyers, doctors, and accountants. (Oh dear, the sky is falling!) Building teacher status in the community is the way forward for Australian educational standards to improve in line with well-performing other countries. Teacher retention rates also would not suffer the declines that we see now.

    However, the fact that I’m highlighting my criticism of current pathetic teacher salaries, does not mean I don’t also support increases for other professionals, who have put considerable personal time and resources into achieving their professional qualifications, such as nurses, pre-school teachers and child care workers. I want teachers to be paid better in accordance with their skills and qualifications AND I want the same for these other professionals too!

  205. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    Good teachers at difficult schools really find Naplan and MySchool counterproductive. My former experience makes me feel the same. I always told my students to aim to improve their own personal best – comparisons with rich kids who are tutored to within an inch of their existence and private schools who start teaching to those exams from day one destroy that approach. We are trying to give kids a feeling of self worth, the idea that they can achieve, a love of learning and the skills to make that a lifetime pursuit, creativity, initiative, resilience. Others who have grandiose ideas and no experience like Pyne and Pearson think phonics and direct instruction will solve all our problems. Oh and more truancy officers and threats to cut welfare if your child doesn’t have attendance above some arbitrary number of days too despite them cutting bus services to remote communities.

    Teaching is so much more than exams.

  206. Matters Not.

    Good teachers at difficult schools really find Naplan and MySchool counterproductive

    Agree! The point I am trying to make (without much effect) is that ‘success’ is now defined in terms of test scores leading to rankings in international ‘league tables’. Gillard, for example, pledged to make the Australian school system ranked among the top five in the world by 2025.. To that end she relied on the advice of Joel Klein from New York who was a devotee of cross school comparisons on a very limited range of ‘educational’ outcomes.

    Just a few points about Klein:

    In 2007, Klein installed a computer system called The Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS), at a cost of $95 million, with records on 1 million current and former students. Teachers and parents were able to track student progress with the system. After Klein left his job as chancellor to work at the News Corp., a company owned by the News Corp. got a contract for nearly $10 million to manage the system in 2012. Subsequent News Corp. contracts were worth millions more. Klein denied a conflict of interest. Finally, in 2014, the Education Department decided to abandon the system, due to its high cost, limited functionality, and little use by parents and staff.

    When Gillard arrived in the Education Department in Canberra she seemed unaware she was inheriting a ‘culture’ that could easily be traced back to David Kemp (1997-98). She was easily captured by the public servants of that time and besides that very culture was embraced by Rudd before and after he was powerful in public service quarters in Queensland. His views of what ‘education’ was all about were well known. But enough of the history.

    Both sides of politics are now committed to improvements in ‘international rankings’. There seems to be no understanding that we will never compete with some of these Asian nations. And we shouldn’t even try. There seems to be no understanding of the ‘Confucian’ tradition and its heavy emphasis on rote learning. This gives an idea of what their ‘education’ is all about, and why we shouldn’t go down that track

    Since my daughter began 7th grade, she has had extra evening classes. At that time, the class ends at 18:50 and I accepted it. But ever since she entered 9th grade, the evening class has lengthened to 20:40. For the graduating class, the students have to take classes from 7:30 to 20:00 on Saturdays. There are also five weeks of classes during the winter and summer school vacation… After coming home after 10pm, she has to spend at least one hour on her homework. She has to get up at 5am. She is still a child. May I ask how many adults can endure this kind of work?”

    Whether we like it or not (and I don’t), this is how our educational ‘success’ is being measured in our political world. It’s all about how we rate In PISA and like surveys. What’s even worse is that many educators have bought this nonsense. You must have heard some ‘educators’ claim, the reason why we can’t ‘compete’ is because of poor funding. (Yes funding is inadequate). And they mouth false claims that the implementation of Gonski will fix it. It won’t. Sure it will make some improvements in test scores but that’s beside the point

    The fundamental problem is the way the outcomes of education are ‘framed’. Teachers should be vocal about rejecting that ‘frame’ because if that ‘frame’ remains the ‘common sense’, then good teachers will never win. They will remain underpaid and undervalued and we will all be worse off.

  207. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    When I was teaching (in the 80s and 90s), a group of Japanese teachers came over to learn about our methods. They sat in the back of my maths classroom observing and then we had a plenary session afterwards. They were astonished at how many kids asked questions because, in Japan at that time, that would have been considered an insult to the teacher or an expression of inadequacy on the student’s part. I told them that if a student didn’t understand it was my fault and asked how would I know how to best help them, or to improve/expand on my explanation, if they didn’t talk to me?

    Give your kids self-esteem and curiosity. The learning will follow and it will be a far more enjoyable and productive experience for all.

  208. Matters Not

    Kaye Lee, I too have met with educators from Japan who realised that the way they ‘educated’ their students was all about them ‘fitting in’ to their current society. Maintaining the status quo. They realised that in an increasingly changing world, ‘fitting in’ was not the best way to proceed, but they also recognised the inertia that strong traditions exert. Not much room for ‘innovation’, ‘creativity’ and the like.

    It’s why many parents in Asia (and elsewhere) send their offspring to countries with more ‘liberal’ education traditions.

    Speaking to Asian students at all levels brings an understanding of the pressure they are under in their ‘home’ schools. And also how teachers are the ‘gods’ – not to be questioned.

  209. corvus boreus

    Miriam Possitani (26/1, 1:25)
    Thank you for posting some of the latest Roy Morgan results for South Australia.
    However, it seems that your own interpretation that the ‘Green vote has all but evaporated’ differs somewhat from the Morgan analysis, which states that the Greens had ‘polled strongly’.
    Since neither your post nor the Morgan website tables the actual figures, I ask a question/favour of you.
    Could you please post the actual Greens polling percentage, so that I can decide which of the statements is more correct?.

  210. Jaquix

    I too wish Kaye Lee was working on Labor’s election strategy. They have so much to offer but battle the biased media and dare I say it, also Bill Shorten’s lack lustre public speaking skills. I heard Malcolm yesterday tell commercial radio host that he would take a tax reform package to the election. That means they have had 3 years to do nothing about serious flaws in the system, favouring of course the better off. Except whack the lower paid 90%. We will then hear they have a mandate for anything they fancy.

  211. Terry2


    Something else happened during the week and it was missed by most of the mainstream media ; Scott Morrison abandoned the Green Paper/White Paper process on tax reform.

    The Green paper – and the White Paper that forms the basis for legislative change – is an established part of our Westminster parliamentary process, defined as :

    “A Green Paper is a Government publication that details specific issues, and then points out possible courses of action in terms of policy and legislation. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of a Green Paper is a summary of government proposals published to stimulate discussion.”

    In abandoning this important process Morrison is being dismissive of the electorate – and the business community – who I have no doubt would have appreciate the opportunity of contributing to an informed and mature community dialogue on taxation.

    I don’t know about you, but I am confused with Morrison’s utterances, particularly his statements about increasing the GST only to offset this state tax with reductions in federal income and company taxes.

    If the Green Paper had been issued – originally scheduled for the final quarter of 2015 – and followed by a White Paper we could have gone into the next election with a clear understanding of the direction the government was taking rather than perpetuating the shambles dumped on us by Abbott/Hockey with their 2014 budget.

  212. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks for pointing out the significance of the Green Paper and the White Paper, Terry2.

    Morrison is just the sort of scumbag to have done this arrogant insult to the informed electorate. Community discussion is the basis of democracy, not that Snotty Morrison would care about that.

    This is something that Bill Shorten, or better still, Andrew Leigh needs to come out staunchly criticising, as a deliberate attempt by Morrison to stifle community discussion and understanding of what tax measures are to be implemented.

    To me, the fact that he has failed to issue the Green Paper demonstrates that he has much to hide because he knows a properly informed public would not find his tax intentions acceptable.

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