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An open letter to Andrew Laming

Andrew Laming (Image from theguardian.com)

Andrew Laming (Image from theguardian.com)

Following Kaye Lee’s article, “To my local member” where she provided an exposé of the number of questionable statements by Lucy Wicks (Federal Member for Robertson), AIMN reader Bill Mavropoulos finds that much of Andrew Laming’s (Federal Member for Bowman) recent statements on a range of issues also need to be further examined. Bill writes as follows:

Dear Mr Andrew Laming,

I write to you regarding your recent video presentation on the guardian website published on 26 June 2014. The presentation attempts to explain the Coalition government’s most recent Federal Budget. To avoid doubt the URL for this presentation is as follows:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jun/26/andrew-laming-budget-whiteboard-video?CMP=soc_567

This seems to be an attempt to counter Anthony Albanese’s video published 14 May 2014 as follows:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/may/14/albo-explains-the-budget-video

The number of misleading statements, omissions and inaccuracies littered throughout your presentation was startling. I felt that it was incumbent on someone from the Australian public to deal with the more glaringly omissions, misleading statements and falsehoods.

Saving $550 from the Carbon Tax and Mining Tax repeal

When the Carbon Tax was introduced, it had a number of tax concessions attached to it that negated its economic effect on the majority of the Australian population.

Furthermore, Labor’s official policy was to move from a fixed price on Carbon to a floating Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 1 July 2014. The cost of this scheme on an average household if it is removed from that date is actually estimated at $134 annually compared to this policy (see the ABC Fact Check here). The current law is there because you refuse to have a sensible policy to combat climate change.

The statement in your presentation is a blatant misrepresentation of the difference between the Coalition’s policy and that of the previous government.

In your presentation you mention that the Mining Tax will contribute to this $550 saving per household. This is not just misleading and deceptive, it is a blatant lie. In fact consequential amendments that are buried at the back of the MRRT repeal law will remove the schoolkids bonus, small business tax concessions and concessions for superannuation for low income taxpayers.

This means that, taking these measures together, the net effect of removing these measures will leave an average household worse off rather than better off (as you assert). This takes into consideration the large majority of mining companies are foreign owned. Thus repealing the Mining Tax puts money back in Gina and Co’s pockets (because they get out of paying this tax) by taking it out of ordinary Australian’s pockets, by removing these tax concessions aimed at poor and middle Australia.

This part of your presentation was personally the most offensive.

$50 Billion infrastructure investment

This investment was outlined and explained by Anthony Albanese in his video (linked above). Albanese explained clearly in his well-made and factually correct presentation the make-up of all previously proposed infrastructure spending by Labor. He then went on to explain how the Coalition removed and reallocated large amounts of rail infrastructure to fund big ticket road projects that look good during an election campaign but don’t actually address systemic problems in transport infrastructure.

Transport infrastructure accessibility disproportionately impacts younger and lower income families who generally live further away from large metropolitan centers. The rail infrastructure is less adequately developed the further out from these centers you go. Households in this position are reliant on only one mode of transport. This does two things:

  1. Makes these people reliant on motor vehicles that are subject to increasing cost pressures from the increase in fuel excise you are imposing, increased registration costs that the States have been forced to impose because of cuts you have made to their funding and general increased costs of fuel and maintenance, and
  2. Devalues the property prices of homes in these areas in comparison to areas that are closer to an urban center and also have more than one mode of transport accessible.

What this does Andrew Laming, is create a significant social risk in these places. The measure entrenches inequality by effectively creating ghettos with little or no social mobility because these people will pay a disproportionate amount on transport cost while being subject to a reduced increase in the value of their main asset, their home.

Loan for Apprentices was originally just government grant

The loan to apprentices you mentioned actually replaces a cut of a tool grant of $5,500. The Budget itself anticipates savings of $914.6 million from cutting the tool grant measure. However, despite the measure being linked to the $20,000 loan scheme you did not mention it in your presentation.

This $20,000 loan scheme you spruiked is estimated by that same Budget to cost $439 million. This means the net economic loss to Apprentices from these measures is in the order of $457.6 million.

That you had the gall to smile and tell apprentices they will be better off in your presentation while ripping close to half a billion dollars away from them is frankly appalling.

Hospital Funding indexation

The claim that hospital funding is boosted by certain percentages over the next four years again is not the full story, Andrew Laming. It does not outline the fact that due to changes to funding arrangements the government in its Budget estimates it will save $1.8 Billion of funding from Public hospitals in terms of how the increases are calculated. (Let alone the other cuts to health that are not mentioned)

In short you do not outline that although hospital funding will still go up, it will not go up by as much as originally slated due to a cut to the rates of funding originally envisaged.

Education Funding

The Coalition is increasing education funding by partially adopting the Labor Party’s Gonski funding model. However you say nothing about the Coalition government’s refusal to fund this model fully beyond the forward estimate period.

Further to this, due to changes to indexation and deregulation the costs of obtaining a higher education degree will actually skyrocket. This is coupled with changes to the allocation of the funding that essentially stymie the benefits flowing from Gonski entirely.

$7 Co-Payment and Medical Research Future Fund

The statement that this measure supports the Healthcare system in your presentation is ludicrous. Firstly, introduction of the co-payment will clearly necessitate additional administrative costs borne by doctors that will ultimately need to be passed on to patients. In the shorter term this means increased health care costs for the same or worse level of service.

Further to this any savings generated by Health measures in the Budget are to be allocated to a dedicated medical research fund not into the Medicare system that pays for these health services. Therefore in the medium term the Healthcare system is being deprived of the benefits of this additional funding to alleviate the difference between revenue collected for health and the relevant expenditure.

In the long term, investment in the specialised Medical Research Fund has been criticised by experts. The nature of research and development is very complex. Often completely different areas of research result in the creation of medical applications. These other areas of research are being cut by your budget (think CSIRO). The money collected may therefore not be used as effectively as it otherwise would have been by say, allocating it to a broader range of research activities through established funding mechanisms.

This ‘oversight’ is perhaps as a direct result of the Coalition not having a Science Minister who understands that by creating silos of funding for research you may actually be undermining the long term sustainability of the system.

Full income replacement – Having a child

The statement that the full income of a parent will be replaced when they have a child is outrageously incorrect. I do however love the comment you made along the lines of ‘everyone is happy’ because their full wage gets replaced. Note that; the latest statement in relation to this policy is that the maximum payment to a parent over six months will be capped at $50,000.

Furthermore, this payment is not asset or income tested and so because it replaces income up to this cap it acts to effectively redistributes economic benefit from lower income earners to higher income earners.

I believe from watching this part of your video that you either have a dangerous lack of understanding in relation to how this measure works or are trying to deliberately mislead the public.

Pensions indexed, no changes till after next election

This statement was perhaps the most blatantly misleading one of your entire video. Firstly, from 1 July pension supplements are being removed, this is a well-documented fact. Also, due to the long term nature of receiving pension benefits it is cold comfort that the age and indexation decreases will start in a few years rather than now. This is clearly political as you are banking on people forgetting these changes are in the system by the time the next election rolls around.

The fact that you are legislating changes now to decrease the rate of indexation of pensions and raising the pension age to 70 is not mentioned in any detail at all.

This measure will reduce the absolute dollar value of a pension that citizens will receive when compared to the current arrangements. The fact that indexation effects will compound year on year is another nasty fact you have overlooked.

ABC – Savings can be found without effecting programing

This statement is unhinged and completely contrary to reality. Mark Scott the head of the ABC himself has stated that programs will be cut and staff will be laid off in direct contradiction of your assertion.

Please see his comments ‘here’. Saying something doesn’t make it true Andrew, especially when based on absolutely no evidence.

Conclusion

Please be mindful that the video contained a number of other unsubstantiated, misleading, false and generally ludicrous assertions. It was impossible to address them all in this letter without it running to several more pages.

I note that in response to my protests regarding this Budget Andrew you felt the need to message me on Facebook to say, and I quote:

“Sincerely glad you don’t live in my community”.

This gave me a bit more insight into your mind. It is clear you don’t see me or people like me as, an ordinary Australians, or as being part of the community you are elected to represent. I am unsure whether this is due to the level of our income, our ethnicity or simply the fact that you live in a particular part of Queensland and I live in Victoria.

What this suggests about you Andrew, as a parliamentarian, can best be summarised by my response to you via email as follows:

“I [sic] thought your suggestion that I am not part of “your community” was hurtful and suggests that you are not an elected representative of Australia (my community)”.

Andrew Laming show more respect for the Australian public. I warned you on Facebook that should you attempt to mislead the Australian public regarding the Budget again that I would hold you to account, admittedly in more colourful language than used in this letter. Consider this me fulfilling my promises; at least one of us does that.

Regards,

Vasilios (Bill) Mavropoulos

Tax Specialist

You might also like to read:

Under the shade of a Barcaldine gum tree

An Open Letter to Bill Shorten

Letter to all Coalition MPs

An Open Letter to Frances Abbott


34 comments

  1. corvus boreus

    Vasilios Mavropoulos,
    Formidable surgical dissection of a tumorous piece of propaganda.
    You are obviously a person one should hesitate and contemplate(indulge in analysis paralysis) before pissing off.
    I salute.

  2. Roz

    Surgically exercised, I love it!

  3. Kaye Lee

    I too have had dealings with Andrew. On one notable occasion he was arguing with me on facebook during question time in parliament. I said “Shouldn’t you be concentrating on work?” His reply…”There is nothing in standing orders prohibiting the use of social media”.

    And who could forget when the coalition’s indigenous health spokesman tweeted “Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?”

    Or the time he really caught Gillard out…NOT. Andrew tweeted “Tony Abbott at a Brisbane SES depot today. Where’s the PM?”

    The Prime Minister was touring bushfire-affected parts of Victoria with Premier Ted Baillieu at the time, while Treasurer Wayne Swan visited flood-affected parts of Ipswich and Brisbane.

    And then there was the flyer that he sent out to 50,000 voters showing Australia Day celebrations. Pity about the guy who was exposing himself in the photo.

    Andrew is possibly the most childish politician I have ever met. His exchanges on facebook are cringeworthy. And he is the guy that wrote the “handbook” for Coalition politicians using social media. I remember one of his campaigns was to approve the sale of alcohol at school fetes.

    Andrew would be amusing except for the fact that he is a Member of Parliament.

  4. Nick McCarthy

    Vasilios thanks for this brilliant piece on Andrew Lammings pathetic explanation of the budget.
    As I am a constitute in his electorate I will like to forward this to Andrew and ask for his comment.
    I will not hold my breath on a timely response because as we have seen when anyone takes the government to task they become very quiet very quickly.

  5. Konstantina

    What corvus boreus said (genius) and Bravo Vasili! I’m glad you’re part of my community.

  6. Lawrence Winder

    Vasilios (Bill) Mavropoulos…. that was epic!

  7. corvus boreus

    Thank you humbly, Konstantina, may I one day be truly so.
    I am also profoundly glad that both you and Vasilios are part of our wider community.

  8. Trevor

    Thank you for challenging the disingeneous propaganda that is spruiked Australia wide by Liarberal MP’s.

    I Was recently sent unsolicited a facebook notification thanking me for being a fan of the three word sloganeering one dimensional global embarrasment of a PM known, amongst other terms, as Abbott and the conga line of suck hole Liarberal MP’s known as the present Australian Government

    Needless to say that the reply i sent asking nicely the 1st time to take me from the mailing list from Liarberal hq, that I was not a fan, and not at all nicely the subsequent times with language that makes my position unlikely to be misinterpreted and totally never to be read on Aim

    Export Abbott not Refugees.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Bill,

    You may want to have a go at dismantling our fearless leader’s speech to the “Economic and social outlook conference dinner” tonight.

    He opens with

    “Tonight, I want to address the question: “whether a reforming prime minister can succeed any more in this country given the decisive shift in the system and culture against reform?”

    The age of reform has not ended in Australia.

    It has only been interrupted and is now beginning again. Strongly. Purposefully. And I believe effectively.”

    It only gets worse……

    http://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-07-03/address-2014-economic-and-social-outlook-conference-dinner

  10. corvus boreus

    Re Abbott’s speech,
    Amidst the repetition of the same speech of the last 9 months, I read some vague big dam, special economic zone hints near the end.
    Looks like he’s pushing on with the IPA plan.
    I particularly personally object to the open prostitution of the environment.
    Developers should not ‘shop’ for approvals with an open wallet, they should apply with sound proposals.
    His very language oozes corruption and deception.

  11. Kaye Lee

    “the Australian people will never be content to wallow in mediocrity.”

    Ya got that right sunshine!

    “You know that no country has ever taxed or subsidised its way to prosperity.”

    Then can we PLEASE stop subsidising the mining industry, the banks and the private health insurers?

    “We will set no limits to what we can achieve.

    We will remain a beacon of hope and optimism, freedom and prosperity in a troubled world.

    We owe it to ourselves; we owe it to the people who depend on us, and the people who look up to us, not to let them down.”

    Tell that to the persecuted people seeking asylum in our country.

  12. corvus boreus

    “None of this should come as any surprise”,
    No, you are, if nothing else, a predictably repetitive prick when you drone words together.

  13. Kaye Lee

    I have always been a person who tries to negotiate, tries to find common ground, works towards a solution under whatever constraints apply. I’m like the oldest school captain in the world. But this dickwit makes me what to throw things, yell, swear, bang head against wall, and then punch him in the guts.

  14. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee
    Stupid, smug malevolence on open display will do that to the temperament. But you know the creepy, inappropriate creature that’s parasitised it’s way to power much better than I do(poor you).

  15. Kaye Lee

    I even went to his house for a party back in the day. Yes I knew him then, I don’t believe anyone except Peta, Rupert and Gina know him now. He is plasticine man. I really feel for Margie. She is kind of stuck, same as we are.

  16. corvus boreus

    ‘Leader’
    Strings from his shoulders,
    a hand up his cloacca;
    the puppet Tony.

  17. Möbius Ecko

    This from the speech at the economic and social outlook conference dinner:

    Tony Abbott says Australia benefited from foreign investment because it was “unsettled” before the British.

    Abbott was attempting to spruik up the need for massive amounts of foreign investment in Australia’s large scale projects, in other words selling off the farm.

    The terrible anecdote he gave was that of the English coming to Australia to settle and develop it.

    Apart from his horrible umming and aarring, which was worse than usual and at times painful to sit through, he badly stumbled through this piece of the speech. He missed that what he was selling as a positive and great feat by a supposed foreign investor, was accomplished by invasion, by harshly and violently suppressing an indigenous population, destroying large swaths of the environment (that have never recovered) and building the investment on the back of slave labour, convicts.

    In one piece of a speech Abbott encapsulated what he was about, and what he thought was positive and forward thinking, he harped on being reformist quite a bit, showed just how much of a regressive thinker he is.

  18. Kaye Lee

    “An essential part of our Economic Action Strategy is record investment in infrastructure….. we need it if there is, indeed, to be an infrastructure prime minister!”

    Somebody shoot me now

  19. Möbius Ecko

    The thing is Kaye he’s attempting to build this supposed record infrastructure, which overwhelmingly consists of roads with little else apart from a handful of pork barrel rail lines, by forcing the States to sell off and destroy their infrastructure, some of it very profitable.

    So at its heart Abbott thinks infrastructure is nothing more than roads and some rail (only because it’s a bribe). Schools, hospitals, ports, public transport, public buildings, water, waste management, large scale renewable energy and environment don’t paint the slightest blip on his radar as infrastructure.

    And even the roads he’s touting so much are not infrastructure for the people, they are being built in part at public expense to appease big industry, especially mining. As has been shown elsewhere some of the major roads he’s promoting aren’t in the commute corridors to growing outer suburbs and satellite towns where they are needed, but just happen to benefit the movement of trucks from mining areas to ports.

  20. dwejevans

    Kaye, Thank you for posting the transcript of abbotts b/s address, I really did attempt to read it before breakfast but found myself dry reaching, er, um, and dry reaching, let me be very clear, I was er, um dry reaching, but , er, um not just dry reaching, I also found that I was er, um repeating myself, yes, repeating myself, let me be clear, I was dry reaching and repeating myself, BUT, the worst thing was that I was actually sounding like abbott, er, um, let me be clear, I was reading silently and sounding like abbott, er, um!……………Scary!

  21. Michele

    I have had many personal dealings with Andrew as he is a “friend” of my parents (unfortunately my mother & stepfather are your typical self-interested narrow-minded Liberal lovers). My husband is a great judge of character & took an immediate dislike to him, he is worse than any of you probably think he is (and yes, I have read all your comments above). I really hope that one day he will be exposed for all of his dodgy dealings-he thinks he is more intelligent than he actually is so the odds of this are good.

  22. Dan Rowden

    I’ve recently seen people Tweeting email responses they’ve received from Laming. Assuming they are real, and it has to be said there’s always a degree of doubt over such things, they are a huge embarrassment to the man, but then he’s pretty used to embarrassing himself.

  23. Kaye Lee

    This shows the level of Andrew’s political commentary. On July 2 he posted this thread on his facebook page

    “Anyone out there still want the Carbon Tax imposed on everyone else? If so, I assume your house is off mains power and you don’t own a vehicle. When you do that, I know you’re serious about minimising carbon emissions.”

    Response with 211 likes

    “An ignorant response from an ignorant person. Well done Andrew Laming for demonstrating the intellectual level of the average Liberal MP.”

  24. Kaye Lee

    Andrew introduces that video of him “explaining” the budget on his facebook page with this…

    “I took up the Guardian’s challenge to explain the 2014 Budget and how we’re putting the carbon tax in the dunny.”

  25. Kaye Makovec

    Yeah, thanks Dan Rowden for that inspirational video on how to …….. Yawwwnnnnn!!!!!!!

  26. corvus boreus

    My sympathies for the people in that drooling gastropoid moron’s electorate. About a third of the way through the above video I wanted to smash my monitor with a ball pein hammer.

  27. John Long

    I read Lamings Wiki which I’m pretty sure he wrote.I wonder if Kryponite affects him ? Surely he didnt include the piece about his involvement in the “printing’ scandal.Andrew impresses as a bright guy,try hard,who rushes around saying ‘look at me ,look at me” and when no one does,he does something stupid so that they do.His video is a testament to that. Sad really.

  28. Ruth Lipscombe

    Great responses.
    Will the day EVER come when we can look back and laugh at this appalling period in our political history.

  29. Möbius Ecko

    Beat me to it Bacchus. Was about to post the same link and story.

    By the way the Liberal trolls are going feral on social media at the moment, throwing in red herrings and straw men everywhere. As soon as they are challenged on facts or asked to address this government instead of harking back to bullshit about Labor past, they get very uppity and sometimes abusive.

  30. Vasilios Mavropoulos

    Hey Bacchus, thanks for being polite but this isn’t even in the same league as Glenn’s article.

    I read his analysis and almost fell over. He is clinical.

  31. abbienoiraude

    I want to send this to my NP rep.

    I have written to him so many times now I doubt he even opens any of my emails…well I mean I doubt his secretary bothers…just deletes straight away. When others suggest you ‘write to your MP’ I really truly have given up. In all the years he has only answered me ONCE. (re climate change and he just cut and pasted anyway).

    Thank you Vasilios for this piece and for all the fine commentary. I wish it were on the front page of every newspaper.

    When I think the information is getting out I then come across an ‘over 60’s site’ that then screams ‘why weren’t we told about the Bust the Budget marches’.

    I roll my eyes in frustration.

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