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Question Time fact check

In case anyone is unsure about the Coalition’s message, they are about “jobs, growth, and community safety…jobs, growth and community safety.”

Pull out the string and that is what you will hear from every one of them.

Oh, and “the Cabinet is doing exceptionally well” even if we do say so ourselves. Ok, even if we were just told to say that by Peta.

But every time they try to elaborate, we are subjected to a load of “trust me” that bears very little resemblance to truth.

Take Question Time today.

Every opportunity he got Joe Hockey repeated the figures that the Coalition created 38,000 jobs last month and 334,000 jobs since coming to office. He then went on to compare average monthly job creation with the previous government saying he was creating eleventy times more than they were.

A quick look at the Labour Force Survey for July 2015 shows that Joe is using the SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES (MONTHLY CHANGE) which states that “Employment increased 38,500 to 11,810,700.”

So Joe was correct about job creation for July but the same source shows he is wildly wrong about his other figures.

Between November 2007 and September 2013, employment increased from 10,583,200 to 11,645,800 – an increase of 1,062,600 in 70 months at an average of 15,180 per month. Remember this covered the period of the global financial crisis.

Between September 2013 and July 2015, employment increased from 11,645,800 to 11,810,700 – an increase of 164,900 in 22 months at an average of ….hang on….7,495 per month.

Under this government, full time jobs have increased from 8,133,700 to 8,170,400 – an increase of 36,700. Part time jobs have increased from 3,512,100 to 3,640,300 – an increase of 128,200, showing part time employment increasing at three and a half times the rate of full time jobs

Surprisingly, even with all these extra people employed, aggregate monthly hours worked decreased from 1,641.5 million hours in September 2013 to 1,633.2 million hours in July 2015.

A spokesman from Hockey’s office told me they use the ABS figures and the ANZ job ad survey. Using the job ad survey is obviously spurious as it does not differentiate between new positions and vacancies in existing positions, presumably because someone has taken another advertised job. Joe appears to be claiming his policies are responsible for every advertised job and is claiming credit for creating them, new or not, despite the different story shown by the ABS labour force figures he chooses to quote at other times.

And then we had Tony berating environmental groups for standing in the way of the “10,000 jobs that will be created directly by the Carmichael coal mine”, even though evidence from an economist commissioned by Adani itself – Jerome Fahrer of ACIL Allen – given in the land court earlier this year said: “Over the life of the project it is projected that on average around 1,464 employee years of full-time equivalent direct and indirect jobs will be created.”

Adani claims they are the jobs for the mine and about 70km of the 388km railway. An Adani spokesman said the higher figure included contributions from the mine, the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen, and the 310 kilometre rail line connecting the two.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche previously said the rail line alone could provide 2400 new jobs. Considering the source we can count on that figure also being highly exaggerated.

Even if Adani’s interpretation was correct, it meant the port and railway line would have to create “8500 or so plus jobs” for the 10,000 jobs figure to stack up. And as they cannot find a financial backer, the whole argument is moot.

A 2013 report by Deloitte’s found that the total Australia-wide value-added economic contribution generated in the Reef catchment in 2012 was $5.7 billion with employment (as measured in full-time equivalent workers) of just below 69,000. Why would you risk this unique asset?

Lenore Taylor points out the absurdity and inconsistency of the Abbott government’s approach when it comes to wind farms and jobs in renewable energy.

“When an environment group successfully uses 16 year-old national environmental laws to delay a project, the Abbott government tries to change the law to prevent them from ever doing it again.

But if an anti-windfarm group can’t find a way to use existing laws and regulations to stop or delay a project, the Abbott government tries to change laws and processes to make it easier for them to succeed.

The first is called green “vigilantism” and “sabotage” and the second is, according to environment minister Greg Hunt, a reasonable response because “many people have a sense of deep anxiety, and they have a right to complain.”

The government calls regulations that stop fossil fuel or mining projects “green tape”, but a wind commissioner and yet another scientific committee to look at unsubstantiated health complaints regarding wind turbines is apparently no kind of “tape” at all.

Question time also contained an attack on Labor for being xenophobes for questioning labour arrangements in the Chinese Free Trade Agreement. We’re all for jobs but 457 visas are an integral part of creating those jobs….apparently.

All in all I would say the first part of our new three pronged aspiration, jobs, is not doing quite as well as Hockey and Abbott would have us believe.



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  1. Wally

    Love this line Kaye “Pull out the string and that is what you will hear from every one of them” it explains why everything they say is repeated over and over and ov….

    My son has been living and working in Gladstone Qld for the past 18 months and I have a close friend who has lived there his whole life, both of them tell me that work opportunities are virtually non existent but on the island there are thousands of workers with 457 visas.

    In the street where my son lives they are the only tenants on that side of the street, all the other houses are empty because of retrenchments. When construction works near completion it is normal for retrenchments to begin but why are the permanent residents being retrenched while 457 visa holders are still employed?

    Importing skilled workers was considered essential to complete projects when a skills shortage existed but this situation is a blatant abuse of the system and in time it will lead to less local skilled workers. When we have unemployed trades people it impacts on the number of apprentices given the opportunity to learn a trade.

    I have no doubt the LNP are using 457 visas to reduce wages and conditions of local workers.

  2. Lee

    Good article, Kaye. I wonder how many of those jobs have gone to 457s? Some sources I’ve seen state that most of them have gone to foreign nationals.

    Wally, agreed, the use of 457s is intended to reduce wages and working conditions for Australians. There are a lot of Asian migrants in my workplace and not one of them is the slightest bit interested in joining a union. It is not surprising that in other places where they are not even being paid award wages, they cannot afford to join a union.

  3. Carol Taylor

    It’s not going well for Abbott is The Infrastructure Prime Minister, Abbott has failed to yet even start. Abbott was of course relying on others to do the work for him and then claim credit.

    As far as 457 Visa holders. Abbott did claim jobs creation, he just didn’t mention who for.

  4. Terry2

    This is hilarious ; within hours of Abbott reading the Riot Act to his Cabinet about media leaks, somebody leaked the Cabinet ‘Talking Points’ for Wednesday :

    Right on schedule they all talked the talk about ‘jobs & growth’ etc etc : why am I reminded of performing seals ?

    It’s not a good sign when the public are laughing at the buffoons who make up the government.

  5. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Tony Abbott has made me open my eyes on why I haven’t advanced within our society’s structures as much as I would have thought was reasonable over the last 40 years. He’s the same age as me.

    He’s male, I fail.
    He’s ruthless. I fail.
    He’s a sycophant. I fail.
    He’s stupid. I fail.

    I fail at all the things he’s good at.

    But it still rankles me that he’s got more in the bank than I do coz he sold his soul.

    My only satisfaction will be to see him in the mud, drawn through the courts for ALL his crimes and misdeeds, and then made to pay back every $ of ill-gotten gains.

  6. kerri

    Carol Taylor do you really think Abbott is simply relying on others to do the work?
    I have been observing for some time, his and Hockey’s strange attitude that if they say spend, spend, spend regardless of people’s finances they will spend! If they say buy a second cappucino machine and you can sell more coffee it will actually happen. As if the presence of a second machine will act as a magnet and draw in the cash! If you say there will be 10,000 new jobs they will happen! If you cut penalty rates that bosses will naturally employ more people rather than pocketing the difference!
    I can’t help but believe these imbeciles, and that is meant as a compliment, actually believe that all there is to government is to make public announcements on what to do and it will happen! I keep posting “if you build it they will come!” And I seriously think the mysteries of job creation and fiscal stimulus are well beyond this lot!
    Their political nous is akin to an 8 year old who thinks the PM just tells everyone what to do coz he is the boss and of course everyone does it ………. because he is the boss!!!

  7. Harquebus

    Anyone who claims jobs and growth as their mantra is doomed to fail. We have gone past the limits and are now consuming nature’s principal.

    “There is no point in saving the planet if we ruin the economy doing it.” — Morris Iemma

  8. Wally

    @Harquebus even if you are correct we may as well go down the gurgler with full employment, healthy bodies and with everyone living above the poverty line.

  9. Lee

    ““There is no point in saving the planet if we ruin the economy doing it.” — Morris Iemma”

    They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

  10. Kate M

    Great.article Kaye I don’t why I still get surprised by the sheer audaciousness of their lies. But I do.

  11. keerti

    It is night here where I live and the computer screen is bright in my otherwise dark room. Perhaps that is why I thought I saw the word adolf…, but then I went back and read again and it said abutt. I breaved a deep sigh of relief!

  12. Pingback: Question Time fact check – Written by KAYE LEE | winstonclose

  13. Terry2

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    But he has failed as a human being and you only get one go at that in this life.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Tony also employed the oft-used Liberal putdown, describing Labor’s questioning about Dyson Heydon as “shrill and hysterical” and asking “what are they so scared of? what have they got to hide?” One could ask the same question about his decision not to release the findings of the investigation into politicians’ entitlements or the modelling done for higher education deregulation or his refusal to back a federal ICAC.

    When he was questioned about cabinet leaks Tony became quite “shrill and hysterical” himself, screaming across the despatch box that Bill Shorten was an assassin who had stabbed two PMs in the back. This message was obviously being delivered for the benefit of his own front bench. The Libs are stuck with him so we are in full rabid dog attack mode. My husband who has no interest in politics (or religion) saw a clip on the news of Abbott screaming abuse at Shorten in QT. He shook his head, quietly said “God almighty”, and left the room.

  15. pilgrim

    Great analysis as usual, Kaye.
    With reference to your quote of Abbot describing the Opposition as “shrill and hysterical”, these characteristics are typically ascribed to women, so our Minister for Women is demonstrating his misogyny once again.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Attorney-General George Brandis has been taken to task by Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale for calling Labor senator Penny Wong ‘shrill’ and ‘hysterical’. Senator Brandis was replying to a question from Labor senator Jacinta Collins over the letter Man Monis sent to his office in the lead up to the Sydney Siege in question time on Monday. He told Senator Wong, who was interjecting, to ‘calm down’, saying she was becoming ‘hysterical’ and lamented his answer could not be heard over the ‘shrill hysterical shrieking of Senator Wong’. The comment prompted Senator Di Natale to request Brandis withdraw his comments. ‘I would invite Senator Brandis to reflect on some of the language he is using in this chamber’. ‘Calling Senator Wong shrill and hysterical is language unbecoming of a government minister’.

    – See more at:–shrill-and-hysterical-.html#sthash.c57rVodj.dpuf

    The phrase must have been on their list of things to say. Don’t they realise how stupid they sound all repeating the same phrases over and over and over…

  17. Kaye Lee

    “One of the Liberal Party’s most senior backroom figures has been accused of the theft of up to $2 million of campaign funds. The person suspected of the theft is a high-profile figure who is accused of making out bogus invoices and of having funnelled funds back to his family interests.”

    Oh gee…..corruption in the Victorian Liberal Party? And wasn’t there some mention of same in the NSW Liberal Party – remember ICAC?

  18. Möbius Ecko

    It was something to see the “adults” revert back to being an immature opposition with Abbott, Hockey and J.Bishop being shrill in full on attacking Labor instead of offering anything positive or constructive on what they were doing as a government.

    Several media commentators noted that this is a government that is adrift, leaderless and has no agenda or policy framework to offer the country.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Yes ME,

    Crikey joined the criticism…Our pathetic do-nothing government

    “The dearth of legislation is unlikely to change any time soon. Cabinet only considered two things on Monday: the environmental law changes and the same-sex marriage plebiscite/referendum mess. That was the extent of its business. Next week’s cabinet meeting has been cancelled because there’s nothing to discuss. The legislation program given to the joint party room for approval this week, which often can run into double figures, featured just five bills.

    Everything else is on hold. The government has abandoned: tax reform, fixing the deficit, federation reform, industrial relation reforms, and superannuation reform. All too hard for an inept government that is so internally focused it appears to have forgotten how to govern at all.”

    Our pathetic, do-nothing government

    Remember Tony said he was only good at fighting the Labor Party. That’s all he’s got. Crush, kill, destroy. He’s too scared to say anything original. He’s going to run the same campaign he always does and hope we don’t mention the lies. The irony of watching him say “who do you trust to….”

  20. corvus boreus

    After being called “shrill and hysterical” by George Brandis, member of the Hellfire Club (gentlemen only, no ladies allowed), Senator Wong tweeted that she was going for “a bex and a lie down”.

    Meanwhile, in the lower house, Tony declared (in moderate and temperate tones) “Twice this leader of the Opposition led the Sussex Street death squads to assassinate — politically — two prime ministers”.

  21. Wun Farlung

    I happen to work on Curtis Island and the claim that Wally made that thousands of 457 holders were working there is … bullshit
    The figure he has been told is probably come from the misguided (and widespread at this project) belief that Asian permanant residents/immigrants that are doing mostly coded pipe welding and pipe fitting on site are on 457 visas and they are Union members one and all.
    There were several hundred pipe fitters amd welders bought in from the UK and most have been made redundant.

  22. Terry2


    Like your hubby I turned the TV off after Abbott’s shrill and hysterical outburst : I was embarrassed for Australia and my first thought was that I hope his wife and daughters don’t see this : they would be so ashamed.

    My second thought was, in any normal workplace he would have been escorted from the building after such an outburst and taken to a quiet place for psychiatric assessment.

    Then it occurred to me, had this been a female politician the murmurings would have been ‘woo hoo, that time of the month’

  23. jagman48

    It is to be hoped-for that many more MSM discuss the short fall’s of the current so called Government.

  24. kizhmet

    We are paying these boffins to stand in a room and yell at one another?!?!?

    The old adage, “attack is the best form of defence” springs to mind. It would appear the government has nothing left in its arsenal so Abbott and Co revert back to opposition tactics. Imagine if this had been the case during the Rudd/Gillard tenure … MSM would have eaten them for breakfast.

    Thank you Kaye – anothe great article. Keep them coming.

  25. Kaye Lee

    “The latest version of Adani’s controversial plan to dredge in Great Barrier Reef waters to expand its Queensland coal port is poised to go before federal environment minister Greg Hunt for approval.

    Guardian Australia understands Queensland mining minister Anthony Lynham will announce on Thursday that an environmental impact statement on the Abbot Point port expansion is complete, opening the way for an application to Hunt.

    It is the third attempt at a plan for Adani’s new terminal, after earlier versions involving the dumping of potentially toxic seabed in reef waters and sensitive wetlands were scrapped amid public outcry, legal challenges and a change of state government.”

    I am just wondering who can launch an environmental challenge to this? Could it only be done by dive shops? Who is “directly affected”?

    I also note that Adani tried to sell off part of the existing port to finance the expansion and no-one is buying. In fact banks are lining up to distance themselves from the port expansion due to the danger to the heritage listed reef.

  26. jimhaz

    [The dearth of legislation is unlikely to change any time soon]

    Which is a very good thing !!!! (providing the ALP win the next election and they really should).

    All the legislation passed to date, apart from a bit here and there, should be overturned when the ALP get a majority (but probably wont under the conservative minded Bill Shorten).

  27. Max Gross (@Max_Gross)

    Jobs, growth and eleventy gazillion unicorns dancing on the head of a pin!

  28. Stoo1970

    Was thinking about Abbott & Co. spouting blatant untruths the other night and came to the conclusion that if I could impose my will on our political system I’d set up an independent body to investigate accusations of misleading parliament, and the public. Such accusations could be submitted by MPs, or a member of the public who could present the signatures of, say 100 other people. If the investigators find that the accused has indeed lied, then a substantial financial penalty should be invoked, and the perpetrator should be barred from the House until it is paid in full. A three strikes rule should be applied, and upon the third offense the MP would be sacked, and a by election called. Said election would be paid for by the political party the sacked MP belonged to and if the party couldn’t or wouldn’t cough up the dosh then they should be barred from entering a candidate.

    A reasonable idea, or just pre-sleep wishful thinking?

  29. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    Sounds good to me! Just imagine how much money Abbott will have to repay. That’ll put a hole in all his ill-gotten gains for being ineligible to be in there in the first place.

  30. win jeavons

    Where is the productivity in this house? Lazy and incompetent workers should be sacked! Specially since they appear to be grossly over rewarded for their ‘efforts’.

  31. Harquebus

    Doing nothing is the best that we can hope for from both the Coalition and Labor.

  32. Pingback: The Snouties: Awarding the most ‘On the Snout’ pollies | Progressive Conversation


  34. Pingback: Abbott: Master of lies, damned lies and statistics | Progressive Conversation


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