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Pave paradise, put up a parking lot

When Julia Gillard left office we had a carbon price in place, a burgeoning renewable energy industry, and the respect of the world as leaders in taking action on climate change. The system had not been perfected but it was underway and open to refinement with expert bodies set up to advise us on the best way forward.

Now we are advised on climate change by Maurice Newman and Dick Warburton. Billions of investment dollars have been lost due to the abandonment of the Renewable Energy Target.  Instead, we are pinning our economic future on coal whilst killing our natural wonders and tourism industry.  Instead of collecting $10 billion from polluters, encouraging them to move to clean practices, we will give them $3 billion to do their upgrades while we pay for the research – a $13 billion turnaround in revenue.

When Julia Gillard left office, we had a mIning tax that paid us a small but growing dividend for the huge profits being made by selling our resources. Once again, it was not ideal but at least it was in place and the original concessions like accelerated depreciation were running out.

Now we have no mining tax which, even according to Hockey’s pessimistic outlook, will cost the budget about $5.5 billion in foregone revenue.

When Julia Gillard left office, we had signed agreements with most states and territories for hospital and school funding. To get the federal funding, the states had agreed to matching proportional funding, locking both parties in, and to accountability reviews where standards had to be achieved to maintain funding support.

Now we have reneged on those agreements, cut $80 billion in funding from health and education, released states from their obligation to direct set amounts into these areas and from accountability goals, and seem on the road to privatising both sectors and increasing the GST.

When Julia Gillard left office, the rollout of a world class National Broadband network was underway where over 90% of us would have fibre to the premises. There were teething problems as there would be with any such undertaking, but the contracts were signed, the plan was made, and premises were being connected at an increasing rate.

Now the rollout has slowed down while Malcolm Turnbull conducts three reviews into why Labor was bad. In the meantime we have no contract with Telstra, who are in a monopoly situation, who can hold out for the best deal for their shareholders (note the dividends this year were higher?).  We will now get some mix of technology sometime, maybe, but certainly not soon and definitely more expensive in the long run.

When Julia Gillard left office, the orders had been given to bring home our troops from Afghanistan.

Now we are sending them back to Iraq and farewelling them with a wage cut.

[And before anyone mentions the one year freezing of politicians’ wages, could I point out that in the 16 months leading to July last year, they received three payrises, delivering a salary boost of $54,220 or more than $1000 a week since March the previous year.]

When Julia Gillard was in office, she was unable to get her media reform laws passed that would have protected against ownership monopoly, and against factually incorrect reporting. Who could forget the screams of censorship and the Murdoch photoshopping.

Now we have the possibility that the Attorney-General can decide to prosecute and incarcerate a journalist for ten years for telling the truth about what our government bodies are doing.

When Julia Gillard left office, pensions were indexed to rise with Average Male Weekly Earnings which kept their standard of living relative to the community.

Now pensions will be indexed to the Consumer Price Index. The proposal to change the indexation, due to commence in 2017, would cut the value of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Veterans’ pension and Carer Payment by an estimated $80 a week within ten years. Despite the anger the changes sparked, they raised a modest $449 million over five years.

When Julia Gillard left office, we had a universal health care system that was the envy of the world.

Now we will have to pay every time we see the doctor or have a test and our Pharmaceutical Benefits System will be at the mercy of free trade agreements.

When Julia Gillard left office, we finally had universal agreement for a National Disability Insurance Scheme funded by an increase to the Medicare levy, a move widely accepted by the population, even if the Opposition didn’t bother to turn up for the introduction of the legislation of this groundbreaking reform in Parliament.

Now we find Mitch Fifield tasked with the job of holding it up for as long as he can while he conducts….you guessed it… more reviews.

The third quarterly report on the NDIS, released in May, makes clear that there is no case for any cut, cap or delay to the NDIS but Tony wants a surplus so I guess he will collect our increased levy and sit on it while he pays consultant mates to recommend winding it back or leaving it to Labor to pay for.

“In response to the capability review, the Agency has developed an action plan and will provide further advice as to whether the current implementation timetable is consistent with a successful full scheme rollout.” – Mitch Fifield, March 2014

Senator Fifield’s comment echoes previous statements from senior Coalition figures that indicate the national start date of 2018-19 could be pushed back.

CEO of Carers Australia, Ara Creswell, said:

“The NDIS has an inbuilt review, a cost review at this point in time is both curious and concerning. Costs are right on track, package numbers are consistent and hopes are high. We need to move forward, not tread water while we undertake yet another review.”

[ARA CRESWELL, CARERS AUSTRALIA, 1 MAY 2014]

Kevin Stone, President of the National Council on Intellectual Disability said:

“…we expect the State and Territory Premiers and Treasurers to stand by people with disability and their families and stand firm against any attempts to change the agreements made”.

[KEVIN STONE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY, 1 MAY 2014]

What will be next?

“Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”

Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’

-Martin Niemoller

 

19 comments

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  1. Loz

    These points should be raised again and again by the Labour government. Because this government has no vision for future Australia they are bent on destroying all the worthwhile projects implemented by Labour.

  2. Margaret McMillan

    You’ve done a great job of spelling it all out Kaye. Perhaps the key thing for me is the failed attempt last year to bring some reason back into the media. Everything else that has been turfed or wound back is disgraceful, but if we had a fairer media it might not have come to this.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    This mob is intent on cutting wages. Not even bothering to use the argument of wage breakouts. That must be one lie to far for them.

    NO, just saying, that I regret, but there is no money there to pay more.

    At the same over the last decade because of slow wage growth, a bigger share of the pie going from labour to capital.

    This has led to a slowing down of the economy. What is needed, so say the experts, a more rapid rise in wages,

    Mr regret man, it not a matter of no money being available. No, it is a matter of priories. You choose because of your personal prejudices, not even ideology, to cut all spending so you can cut taxes to the big guys.

    You have this ridiculous desire to produce a tiny government, user pay government. Some how you see merit in lower, almost not taxes,

    If you have no money, it is only because you refuse to raise the necessary revenues to pay for essentials, to pay for investments in the country’s future.

    You ate killing the economy. You are killing any hope of a civil and fair society

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    I have no internet now for two days. No not the ISP fault. It is a fault on the lines still owned by Telstra, It is a outage in one small suburb. Actually it is one small village on the Central Coast.

    It took Telstra 12 hours to let my service provider know. I am at lost knowing how it can take so long to fix problem. Wasted over a hour trying to reset my modem, No one knows when they will fix the problem. Telstra will not say.

    They notified Telstra early yesterday morning of line fault. It was not until 3.30 the Service provider was told of a outage over a small area,

    As it is not a highly built up, and small area, surely it does not take this long to fix a fault. Landline phone still working.

    Yes, I love Telstra. They are a law to themselves. I suspect when Turnbull gets around to making some decisions, we will see Telstra back in the driving seat.

    All I can do, is sit and wait for the red light on my modem turn green

    What makes me angry, most blame their service provider, not Telstra,

  5. Terry2

    Tony tells us that coal is our future and coal is good for humanity and will be for generations to come and not to worry about carbon emissions as Tony has it covered as we are working on Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and that will fix everything – but wait a minute, the Abbott government have just slashed $460 million from the research budget into CCS : how does that work :

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/05/carbon-capture-and-storage-research-budget-slashed-despite-pms-coal-focus

    No, No, don’t look there, look over here, Tony’s in China and he’s going to sign a Free Trade Deal with the Chinese next week at the G20 – but wait a minute, China are already increasing tariffs on our coal exports and restricting our agricultural exports : how does that work ?

    Don’t look there, look here – Tony’s going to shirtfront Putin in Brisbane – what fun, what a whizz , aren’t you glad we got Tony, he makes us so proud to be Australians.

  6. Kaye Lee

    We have given control of the nation’s money to idiots to invest. Go to any investment site and you will read something along these lines…

    “As the shake-out persists and natural gas continues to eat coal’s lunch, the investment merit of coal stocks leaves much to be desired. Don’t be fooled into bottom-fishing these beaten down names. There might be a quick buck to be made here or there, but there’s little to no long-term potential.”

    “Building Australia’s largest black thermal coal mine in the untapped Galilee Basin would challenge experienced operators, but the combination of an inexperienced developer, slack demand globally for thermal coal and a deteriorating cost of production scenario in Australia moves the project beyond speculative.

    GVK‘s Alpha project appears likely to remain “stranded in the valley of death”.

    ” The cost of developing the project is slated at $18 billion all up. Adani has spent $2 billion buying Terminal 1 and $1 billion in Adani Mining. Terminal 0 is the big one. Where does Adani get a cool $15 billion?

    The banks perchance? Unlikely. Thermal coal at a four-year low of $70 a tonne, cost of production $50 a tonne, quality of coal, to put it delicately, not the best. Cash cost of production roughly equals revenue. Then there is the small matter of finding $1 billion a year to fund the interest on the debt.

    Tim Buckley, director at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, puts it bluntly: “This project is not commercially viable”. Apart from the financial deficiencies of the main participants, he says thermal coal is in structural rather than cyclical decline.

    Amid the project viability and majestic funding schism, the worst eventuality is that Adani and GVK dredge up the Barrier Reef before they themselves blow up and hightail it back to India.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/adanis-galilee-basin-project-not-commercially-viable-20140905-10cyc3.html#ixzz3I8lUMaRY

  7. Billy muddle moir

    By the next election there will be a GST hike to keep the states liberal plus union corruption and pink batts to keep the rabbott lying his truth.
    Little billy must have given you all a boost when showed his understanding of parliament by voting for the new laws, then read them and suggested he may have amendments!
    principiis obsta sero medicina paratur cum mala per longas convaluere moras perhaps at my level the meat still look good it is only burnt rotten on the bottom.
    Did any of you applaud his effort with crabbe?
    The clincher for me was his performance at today’s memorial.
    He soared like Eddie the eagle!
    What charisma!
    The perfect speech and delivery for an occasion!

  8. SmeeAgain

    @ Florence nee Fedup
    After testing a guys modem and computer and having an isolation test done on his line i told him the fault was telstra. He was frightened he would have to pay $220 if there was no fault found or if it was internal wiring. I explained on half a dozen occasions how both of those scenarios were impossible. He eventually contacted Telstra. The tech told him the lines were “shit” and he wouldnt be charged. Then told him solution would probably not last long. The guy thanked me and said why do people not know about this!!!!!

    WTF is wrong with people? This is why the Tories get in

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    Now back on air this morning. Seems they fixed it yesterday afternoon but did not notify me as promised

    .Somehow my modem got out of sync when wasted nearly a hour trying to get it work Monday morning.

    Would be nice if they alerted me as they promised. Letting the server know would have been nice.

    Yes, in the past, I have been told by Telstra, I would have to pay, if in the house. That is a furthy,

    They are responsible up to the inlet plug. That s inside the house.

  10. jusme

    I see your list and raise you a retirement age too.
    The coalition is taking us backwards and it would be easy to find negative parallels with the last coalition government.
    I gripe about Labor a lot but generally they take us forward. I expect they’ll be back in 2016. I hope they fix Abbotts mess and pay for it with repeals of mid/upper class welfare.

  11. Möbius Ecko

    I would love to write so much on this government’s backflip on sending people to West Africa to help fight Ebola and treat people there. Dutton’s current rhetoric has this government doing massively heroic things that will apparently save untold lives instead of the real truth that this government is now only doing something because of a massive backlash it received both domestically and internationally.

    Yet all they have done is outsourced the entire thing to a private company that will most likely make considerable profit from the $20 million this government is giving it.

    Every excuse Dutton has made, like not being able to look after Australians if they fall ill in West Africa, is littered with lies, as it was again yesterday. Dutton stated that he could now approve Australians going because they have done a deal with England to look after Australians. Turns out the EU had offered this to Australia over a month ago as had other agencies even earlier than that.

    But as is with everything this government does, and indeed Howard before them, there are hidden or obscure parts to their grandly stated undertakings. In this case Dutton is still not sending any Australian medical staff but instead is using Aspen Medical, the company he’s outsourced his responsibility to at tax payer’s expense, to utilise local nurses and aid workers in the hospital they will build, so he’s even outsourcing that.

    And to top it off Dutton even predestined the propaganda campaign his government will run. He stated that in a few months time the news will be espousing the great success of this government’s actions, telling of the many lives it has saved and the great job it has done of upskilling locals to deal with this health threat.

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    UK stated that they would look after Australians back in September. Could not give the 100% guardable Abbot demanded. This week, changed the language, hey would look after Australians the same way, as they look after their own. Yes, that is all that changed from September.

    In the meantime, Australian NGO have been working the region, with backup in place. Also Dutton saying we have no experience there, I bullshit.

    Why the lies and excuses.

    Sierra Leone is a Commonwealth country.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Abbott keeps saying he could not send people into harms way without all the paperwork being completed. I note that our Special Forces are STILL sitting in the UAE because they can’t complete the paperwork with Iraq. Abbott had NOT been invited by Iraq to send troops so there they sit 2 months later while the lawyers argue. Our planes have flown 144 missions against the Islamic State and dropped twenty-five 500-pound laser and GPS-guided bombs in October destroying 11 targets. On Wednesday, Vice Admiral Johnston also confirmed some terrorists may have been killed in the strikes.

    How much has blowing up 11 trucks cost us?

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    This government is good at talk. Good at spin. Disastrous at delivering.

  15. Terry2

    On the subject of Telstra, you may have noted that this government allocated, in the budget, $100 million dollars to eliminate mobile blackspots around Australia.

    We are in a mobile blackspot and have to use a fixed aerial/antenna – we have two – to get a signal.

    So I contacted Telstra online and duly got a call from a very nice lady in downtown Manilla (i.e. the Philippines ) who endeavoured to address my problem and managed to analyze the fact that we are in a blackspot and should consider getting an aerial/antenna.
    I went over our situation again and explained that the Australian government had allocated $100 million to eliminating mobile blackspots and that I already had two aerials/antennas but wanted to ensure that our community was not overlooked when Telstra set about alleviating Australia’s blackspots.

    Over a period of some weeks the very helpful and slightly bemused Telstra staff in the Philippines (evidently they have very good mobile coverage throughout the Philippine archipelago) tried to make some sense of what was happening in Australia – they were unable to obtain any information on this mysterious $100 million blackspot elimination fund.

    Finally we got nowhere so I asked them to write to me just summarizing the position as far as Telstra was concerned, they did as follows:

    1. “You are located in a poor coverage area….”

    2.Telstra had no plans ” for upgrades for operations and engineers and no specific timeframe has been provided” (sic)

    3. Further recommendations about upgrading our aerials with a ‘YAGI antenna’ at a cost of $570.

    Yes, Florence, this government is good at the spin but just ignore delivery.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Malcolm Turnbull in July: “We have a process underway which will shortly be released for consultation with the industry and then, very soon after that, made public. It will be a fully transparent, competitive process.

    We are looking, naturally, for the mobile network operators to make contributions to these new towers. We expect that we can fund between 250 and 300 of them. We are delighted by the interest being shown by the government of Victoria, which is promising to commit $40 million—and that should become part of the co-funding with us—and the government of Western Australia, which has committed $45 million. We are also looking forward to support from local government, whether it is in cash or in kind, such as providing land and access.”

    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F9c18a223-4397-465e-bb44-fdddfbae3cf2%2F0118%22

    October: The Government releases a list of 6,000 locations nominated by members of the community as mobile phone black spots.

    Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher says the locations will be eligible for funding under the $100 million black spot program, subject to a “competitive selection process, which is designed to allocate the funding to locations which will deliver the greatest benefit in terms of new coverage, for the public funding provided”.

    The Government will shortly commence the competitive selection process, with a view to announcing the locations which have been selected for funding in the first half of 2015. The first base stations funded under the Programme are expected to begin to roll out in the second half of 2015.

    http://www.paulfletcher.com.au/media-centre/media-releases/item/1164-6-000-locations-nominated-for-mobile-black-spot-programme-database.html

    What more could you want Terry – a review and a list already.

  17. Billy muddle moir

    Telstra, its sale was one of the three successes of little johnnie(the other two were not as memorable but possibly involved lying about children and WoMD).

  18. Terry2

    Kaye

    thanks for that and the links.

    We are actually on the blackspot locations database, now wait and see if there is anything beyond the rhetoric.

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