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Regaining goodwill

Joe Hockey said “We are going to give economic reform a red hot go in 2015.”

He went on to say “The taxation discussion with the Australian people next year will not be about increasing the revenue take for the Commonwealth, it needs to be how we can have a taxation system that makes us a more efficient and productive nation, and is fairer for all Australians.”

If we want to make revenue collection fairer, and we want to cut wasteful spending, then I have a few suggestions of where to start.

Corporate tax avoidance

Tackling corporate tax avoidance is an urgent priority; Australia does not have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem and it must be fixed.

Up to $80 billion was foregone by the taxman between 2004 and 2013.

Superannuation tax concessions

Superannuation tax concessions will cost the budget around $35 billion in 2013-14 projected to rise at a staggering 12 per cent annually to be $50.7 billion in 2016-17.

Capital Gains Tax and Negative gearing

Generous government tax breaks for property investors see them benefit from a 50% discount on capital gains tax (at a cost to the government’s budget of $4.4 billion per year) and negative gearing (costing $2.4 billion a year).

Fossil fuel subsidies

The Government will spend almost $14 billion in the next four years on fossil fuel subsidies to the big mining corporations.

Fighter jets

Tony Abbott said Australia will acquire another 58 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of around $90 million per plane; $24 billion has been budgeted to purchase and operate the aircraft until 2024.

Submarines

A decision to spend more than $20 billion on up to 10 Japanese submarines will be announced before the end of the year (maybe?)

Offshore detention

The Commission of Audit’s report shows that in the past four years, the Australian government has increased spending on the detention and processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat by 129 per cent each year. Costs have skyrocketed from $118.4 million in 2009–10 to $3.3 billion in 2013–14.

This is the fastest growing government program and projected costs over the forward estimates amount to more than $10 billion.

(It costs $400,000 a year to hold an asylum seeker in offshore detention, $239,000 to hold them in detention in Australia, and less than $100,000 for an asylum seeker to live in community detention.  In contrast, it is around $40,000 for an asylum seeker to live in the community on a bridging visa while their claim is processed.)

Transfield

The Abbott government has given Transfield Services a $1.22 billion government contract to run immigration detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

(Tony Shepherd, who was the chairman of Transfield until he resigned in October to Head the Commission of Audit, left with more than 200,000 Transfield shares, allocated to his family superannuation fund, on top of his final salary of $380,000.  Shares in Transfield soared 20.8 per cent on the news, lifting the company’s market capitalisation by about $80 million. He now heads the WestConnex Delivery Authority where money from the East-West link may be redirected)

Employment Service Providers

The Coalition Government has released its exposure draft of the purchasing arrangements for a new employment services model – a $5.1 billion investment over three years from July 1, 2015 – which includes the new Work for the Dole scheme.

Emissions Reduction Fund

Under the ERF the government will spend $2.55 billion to purchase emissions reductions through auctions.

Public Service redundancies

The federal government is on track to fork out $1 billion in redundancy payouts to public servants even before entitlements such as leave are paid.

School chaplains

School chaplaincy will be continued for another five years at a cost of $245.3 million. Under the program, 3700 schools are eligible for up to $72,000 funding to employ chaplains.

Marriage guidance vouchers

NEWLYWEDS across Australia will be given a $200 voucher for marriage counselling from July 1, as part of a $20 million trial to strengthen relationships and avoid family breakdowns.

Tim Wilson

TONY Abbott’s hand-picked human rights adviser has been given a $56,000 expenses package to top up his six-figure salary.  Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson now has a total salary of $389,000 plus vehicle and telephone expenses following a recent decision by the Remuneration Tribunal.

Hope that gets you started Joe, or whoever is now doing the budget.  (Cormann?  Frydenberg?  Thawley?  Credlin?  Rinehart?)

PS:  In light of the above potential savings, you may want to read my plan to get half a million people employed at a cost of $8.8 billion

PPS:  In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994.  May you use it to contemplate wisely.

46 comments

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  1. Olivia Manor

    Oh God. Hockey on another mission to reform! And he did so well in 2014. What other horrors has he in store for the plebs? And Kay, best wishes for 2015. Your articles are always so well researched and informative. Keep up the good work!

  2. Kaye Lee

    Thanks Olivia. My research could be also called housework avoidance. I need a wife…a real one like Tony talks about.

    If only I could shut up housework shop because it isn’t profitable…or move it offshore…like businesses do. But I can’t, because there are some things that you just have to do to keep things running smoothly.

    Often with housework you are doing things to benefit other people which don’t actually help you personally at all. We do it because we want to help other people so we wash their clothes and we buy their groceries.

    We feel obligated to look after our children because they are vulnerable and rely on us and we spend money on things like their education and health.

    We plan for the future because 16 years will be gone in a flash.

    Households aren’t businesses…neither are governments.

  3. Roswell

    This mob should hang their head in shame, Kaye. If only they had some.

  4. Síomón Ó Maonaigh

    What sickens me most about these scumbags is that they aren’t even well intentioned.

    We’ve had many poor decisions made by past governments but they were rarely if ever as malevolent as this mob of spivs, thugs and ne’er-do-wells.

    Thank you Kaye. Merry Christmas.

  5. Ruth Lipscombe

    Will have to search for Hokey Joe’s email contact and send this on to him Kaye.
    Wishing you less housework in 2015 and a HUGE thank you for helping some of us ‘oldies’ believe we may have a country ( sans the Prime Slime) in the NEAR future.

  6. June M Bullivant OAM

    Yes all of the Kaye, and maybe some strings put on the purse strings that they utilise for their trips etc.

  7. David K

    “Often with housework you are doing things to benefit other people which don’t actually help you personally at all. We do it because we want to help other people so we wash their clothes and we buy their groceries.” – Kaye Lee.

    That brought to mind Julia Gillard’s admission that foreign affairs wasn’t her passion. She still did it and did it very well, yet she was condemned and La Mesothelioma is lauded.

    Bizarro world.

  8. Kaye Lee

    We spend an absolute fortune on defence “capability” then in October..

    “The Australian Defence Force has disposed of almost 100 AGM-142 stand-off missiles costing about $400 million by blowing them up or, as Defence put it, they were “disposed of by explosive demolition”.”

    They changed planes and the old missiles which were NEVER used didn’t fit the new ones.

    And can anyone tell me what we need ten submarines for? I know the Collins class subs are wearing out but what did we use THEM for? When they were being built here I could at least console myself with the employment and use of Australian steel etc…not any more.

    And since the defence budget is about $30 billion a year, can you tell me why we have to come up with an extra $500 million a year for a couple of hundred of them to actually go to work? What are they doing with the money we already gave them?

  9. Möbius Ecko

    Tony Abbott will never learn. His harsh and inhumane policies on refugees, young people, the unemployed and so on have already (and deservedly) earned him acute unpopularity. Now he appoints his henchman Morrison to apply his blowtorch to all social welfare recipients.

    One thing he can be sure of – he heads a one-term government. The untrustworthy Bill Shorten, of all people, is destined to become our next prime minister by absolute default.

    I have to say shame on you Abbott, Morrison and Hockey. You three may get your just desserts. But in the process you will have dumped on the entire Liberal Party community.

    That was not written by any left winger, but was posted to a Letters to the Editor by John Valder, ex-president of the NSW and Federal Liberal Party. This continues a trend I’ve observed of rusted on conservatives speaking out or at a minimum, mumbling about Abbott and this government.

  10. Kaye Lee

    He’s copping it from everywhere ME. When he was talking up Scott Morrison he said what a decent compassionate man he is. Proof – he has two kids.

    “to assume that having children of your own confers an added gift of compassion and humanity is nonsense. Sadly, the scourges of family violence and child abuse are all too common in contemporary Australia. Shocking stories of abuse and neglect, and the stark, sober numbers of child protection statistics, bear tragic testament to the opposite reality that parenthood can bring out the very worst in some people.

    And just because you haven’t had children yourself doesn’t make you a lesser human being.

    Prime Minister, you don’t need children to prove your decency and humanity.”

    – Terry Barnes is a policy consultant and former senior Howard government adviser

    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-compassionate-parents-comments-irritate-and-are-presumptive-20141225-12cld1.html

  11. John Kelly

    It’s a comprehensive list you have given us, Kaye. And it barely requires any increase in revenue. Why then can it not be implemented? 2015 will be the year of decision for the LNP. If they stuff it up like they have in 2014 as I suspect they will, 2016 will be too late to fix it. It’s going to be a punishing time for them. Just watch the MSM switch sides when the death knell sounds.

  12. Loz

    Another year with this government in charge is a very scary.

  13. Rossleigh

    Yes, Kaye Lee, whenever one of the members of this muddle management government talks about getting people into jobs, I’m always waiting for someone to ask what jobs exactly. The Liberals have given the automobile industry its last rites, they’re getting rid of as many public service jobs as they can, drama production – with its associated ancilliary jobs – will suffer with cuts to the ABC, our free trade agreements seem to going out their way to ensure that foreign workers don’t have any “red tape” stopping them from being employed ahead of Australians and, of course, let’s not forget those workers that (ex-Minister) David “he has my full support” Johnston wouldn’t trust to build a canoe. So from where, exactly, are these jobs going to appear that all those “bludgers” are supposed to take?
    There’s only so many nannies that we’ll need before we really are a nanny state!

  14. la_lasciata

    “Re-blogged” on my site: this is one to make a sticky to keep before everyone’s eyes. I know it’s been said before, but I particularly like this version. As for Tim bloody Wilson … I do wish “The Drum” would stop using him, the arrogant moron.

  15. Terry2

    Offshore detention has turned into the biggest foreign relations debacle Australia has ever been involved in and I have no confidence that the phantom, also known as Peter Dutton, has any clue how to fix it.

    Both the Rudd and Abbott governments – there is no left or right in this – have been categorical in saying that the detainees on Nauru (1100) and Manus (1200) will never be resettled in Australia and have thus blocked the possibility of any reasonable resettlement in the region : why would any other country in our region assist us in resettling these folk when we refuse to take the lead.

    It seems that the Cambodian resettlement fiasco has been binned – did they get the $40 million bribe, I wonder ?

    So, we will watch Dutton stumble and bumble his way through his new portfolio while secrecy and deception prevail and in the meantime these unfortunate people will continue to languish in political gulags operated and funded by the Australian taxpayer – that’s you and me – until, one day the voices of the normally silent majority will call out and sat ‘enough is enough’.

    Kaye,thank you for your commitment to commonsense and balanced insight – maintain the rage in 2015 – we can and will take back Australia from these people.

  16. treehugger

    Do people know how Scott Morrison got into parliament?

    “A second ballot was ordered, in which the balance of power was shifted away from the grassroots in Cook and to the state executive. The second ballot gave the preselection to Scott Morrison. Amazing. He had been parachuted into the seat over Towke’s political carcass. Morrison clearly had backers who wanted him to get the seat. ”These guys were prepared to ruin my life,” Towke said.”

    Read it here http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/nasty-saga-you-nearly-missed-20091025-hem5.html

    I know that was a few years back but it seems things were wrong then and are still wrong now.

  17. Möbius Ecko

    The right like to go on about Labor factional fighting and branch stacking treehugger, which is bad and a distortion of what should be a fair representative system, but the worst of Labor’s infractions doesn’t get anywhere near the underhandedness and evil of the Liberal process that they espouse as honest and democratic.

    You can go right back to see examples of it, with the NSW right being the most underhanded, as it seems NSW always is the worst of both major parties.

    At least that Morrison underhandedness to get him a seat is getting a lot of play through social media, especially Twitter.

  18. mars08

    Kaye Lee:

    And can anyone tell me what we need ten submarines for? I know the Collins class subs are wearing out but what did we use THEM for?

    Mostly to join in “war games” with the US Navy and play with the “big” boys… Because… danger, Indonesia … China… scary… ooohhh…

  19. Ricardo29

    Like Ruth Lipscombe I was going to search for Joe’s email address so I could send this piece on to him but then I thought, heck if he were to actually act on the very good suggestions he might enhance his fellow scumbags chances of re-election, now there’s a quandary.

  20. CMMC

    I fully expect some contrived military emergency in the new year.

    It will be a ‘tie-in’ with the deafening Anzac Centenary homo-eroticism we will have to endure.

  21. Bacchus

    were to actually act on the very good suggestions

    This IS Joe we’re talking about Ricardo – ’tain’t gonna happen 😉

  22. Anomander

    Just as disturbing is the level of support they seem to receive from ordinary people.

    The mainstream media has been so concentrated, there is no alternative viewpoint on offer – even the ABC is offering-up extreme right-wing fare, due to staff fearing for their jobs or the usual government threats to privatise the whole organisation.

    All news is now filtered through the neoliberal viewpoint and the message skewed accordingly. Unless you’re active on the interwebs and aware of sites like this, your sole source of news is nought but propaganda designed to promote the agenda of big business.

  23. Roswell

    Kaye, your post is what people would refer to as a ‘game changer’. It’s articles like this that should be exploding across social media. It needs to be out there.

  24. Julie Hall

    Has anyone here read the damning reports that Joe Hockey’s wife was busily taking their investments out of the stock market just priior to the 2008 collapse. At the same time he was denying there were any problems looming. 3 of my friends lost amounts of $250,000 to $500,000 because the didn’t believe me when I said there was a crash coming. Me? I took my money out and saved every cent like Joe Hockey is alleged to have done. The unhealthy connections between Bank of England, JP Morgan aka the Central Bankers has potentially equally unhealthy repercussions for we the Australian people. What about the Offshore Bank Accounts? Why not more speedy action on them? History does not need to repeat itself if people prevent it. Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England who was the godfather of Hjalmar Schacht’s child has recenlly been shown to have acted not for the benefit of the people but for the benefit of the special interest groups.. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/10214541/Was-Montagu-Norman-a-Nazi-sympathiser.html The portrait of him has recenlty been removed. Why not earlier? They have known from the beginning. It is only on exposure that action is taken.

  25. mars08

    Anomander:

    Just as disturbing is the level of support they seem to receive from ordinary people.

    The facile slogans worked splendidly…

    I posted this in another discussion… but I think it also applies here:

    I’m worried that some people might have the idea that just getting rid of Abbott and his foul mob will fix things.

    This government’s policies and attitudes did not pop up, fully-formed during the last election. A great many voters KNEW what Abbott was going to do. They KNEW his character. They KNEW about his dishonesty and stupidity.

    Yet… in our (nominally) democracy… his party was chosen to lead the country. Our political system produced this government. They were elected by the voters based on the electorate’s knowledge, values and prejudices. Just like every government before them.

    Unfortunately, there’s much more going on here than the failings of one shameless buffoon and allied idealogues.

  26. Phi

    Kay Lee, yours is a sound strategy for the coming months i.e keep the narrative on real, practical and effective options for addressing the budget the LNP keeps harping about.

    It’s clear even to rusted on conservatives that none of what Hockey proposes is actually intended to ‘fix the budget’ – of course he just has to say that it is – but the fact that more and more people realise that his job is to implement the LNP Tea Party ideology under the guise of budget ‘fixing’ – cripple working Australians and then offer them slave wages for a job – goodbye work safety, goodbye union protections, goodbye civil society.

    If he pulls this ‘great Australian train robbery’ scam off then the 99% of Australians will well and truly screwed and the 1% will be ecstatic.

    I am cutting and pasting each of your budget solutions and forwarding them, one per day, to my local LNP member with cc to the Federal LNP to keep this narrative alive.

  27. Roswell

    CMMC, I think they’ll save the big ones for the election year. But no doubt planning has already begun. Maybe they’ll get a trial run in 2015.

  28. lawrencewinder

    The Liarbril Party can thank the toxic thought-bubbles emanating from the “Coots-With-Queer-Ideas-from-a-Parallel-Universe” (aka IPA) for the demise of their brand.

  29. Trevor Vivian.

    Thanks Kaye Lee for your end of year round up of the Abbott rabble, with special mentions to Scumlord PM and Joe Balony,and the Minister for Menace who in the new year is set to unleash his special brand of Christian compassion on terrorising pensioners, unemployed, disabled, and the youth with his crafted lies and operational secrecy. It is plain the Abbott non-gov’t came to power without any plans save blame labor and to create a economic crisis to flesh out their three word slogans so as to continue blaming the previous gov’t and win a second term on the basis of blame. It appears that plan A, B and now c,d,e have stuffed the economy properly. We’ll done this bunch of incompetent nincompoops masquerading as The Australian Government, not!! Now for 2015 and reset followed by?? More lies and disgrace on a global level from Abbott and his conga line of Liarberal’s as they trash a country of hard won rights and the fair go for all. The Minister for Menace takes centre stage in this years media wars as he promulgates the Abbott philosophy of “Retail Gossip” which Abbott accused the World Today of in early December. I as a pensioner will expect more”hits” on my “average” wealth assumptions as this mob of arses attacks the lower and middle to fund their lies and leaves the true “Affluent Effluent” to the boundless imagination of highly paid political apologists and Liarberal Party apparatchiks to defend the indefensible.

  30. DanDark

    Past behavior predicts future behavior, so now the Gizzard of OZ and his crew of Cowards
    have rearranged the deck chairs on the sinking ship focusing on how Morbid Morrison can destroy more jobs and leave families and the unemployed youth, the mentally ill, our first peoples and elderly even worse off its predictable it will be another bad year for people already living in the depths of despair in this the “Lucky Country”
    This year has been a shocker for Tones and Co we can only expect the same next year,
    the barnacles have invaded the hull on the LNPs Titanic….

    The Lying Lizards have a plan alright how to destroy ordinary Aussies in 3 years
    That was the only plan they came to power with, they just didn’t tell the punters the truth about their REAL plan that they are gleefully implementing and smiling while they are screwing us

    They really are a pack of feral sociopaths dressed in suits all wearing blue ties,
    after the pack of imbeciles are kicked to the curb, blue ties should be something
    we only see hanging in a museum as a part of history 🙂

  31. Mark

    Spending 24 Billion dollars on those planes… which we wont start getting until about 5-6 years time… which have issues operating in a hot climate. And which will be out of date 10 years later. Fantastic move by a bunch of wastrels and scumbags. If they were interested in replacing the F-18s as quickly as possible, they should have gone to our new favourite trading partner, the Chinese, for F-35 equivalents. We would have them all in 2-3 years time and they would possibly cost us a lot less.

  32. Joe Banks

    Kaye Lee, I hope Labor are following your articles and getting some positive ideas for 2016. The most annoying thing is that all this is so elementary to logical thinkers like yourself and John Kelly. Ideology can be such a blinding curse! All the best for 2015.

  33. jusme

    Good list. Just need a party to promise to deliver them at the 2016 general election now.

  34. Garth

    @Trevor….bravo sir, bravo. I could not have said it better had I tried.

  35. Andrew G

    if you are going to suggest they get rid of useful programs at least suggest an alternative. Otherwise you might as well say the government should just stop spending money altogether! I’m guessing certain comments are based on ignorance as to what the program actually involves.

  36. Kaye Lee

    I don’t consider the things on my list useful. And if it was up to me, I would bring back the carbon tax, bring back the mining tax with a broadened base, introduce a financial transactions tax and a job guarantee. I have more suggestions if you are interested.

  37. Michael Taylor

    I’ll give you an alternative, Andrew G: a new government.

  38. Christine Farmer

    Thankyou, Kaye Lee, for the frequency and quality of your contributions to AIMN. Your précis of events in so many areas help us understand the extent of the stupidity, meanness, and just plain nastiness of what is being dealt to us by the current government. When I think I loathed Fraser, then shouted abuse at Howard on TV – I turn the sound off and read a book if Abbott appears. He’s beneath contempt, but in a position to do so much damage.

    The appointment of Morrison to social security is seriously frightening, if you happen to be dependent on any sort of benefit. There’s no doubt that he will deprive as many as possible of as much as possible, while telling us it’s for our own good. How this man, or any of the rest of the LNP crew, can call themselves Christian escapes me.

    So best wishes for 2015, Kaye, and may you maintain your energy for this fight.

  39. sam

    Just discovered this website. Thank god for some sanity in this insane world.

    A great read Kaye Lee thank you.

    By the way just managed to get a couple of comments posted on Piers Akermans blog, didn’t that set the cat amongst the pigeons.

  40. Dandark

    Touche Michael 🙂
    “I’ll give you an alternative, Andrew G: a new government.”

  41. DanDark

    Sam said “didn’t that set the cat amongst the pigeons.” lol
    Keep up the good work Sam 🙂

  42. sam

    Thanks DanDark,
    I try.
    I hammer Akermans blog,very few of my comments get posted.
    When they are posted I get savaged by the right wing nut jobs with no right of reply.
    I think it’s called democracy.

  43. David K

    “The modern fairytale had a Cinderella ending. The Walt Disney Co began a restructure of its Australian operations with a $1 share trade and ended 25 days later with tax-free profits of $1.3 billion.

    Picture Scrooge McDuck settling down with the Beagle Boys to enjoy tax residence happily ever after in ­Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, perched on a pile of money.

    A new leak of tax documents spells out how Disney orchestrated a ­corporate shuffle that produced ­billions in tax-free profits, including a windfall from Australia.

    In 2008, income tax accounted for 18 per cent of Disney’s combined earnings of ­royalties and profits in Australia. Last year it was 5 per cent. ”

    http://www.afr.com/p/national/how_disney_has_mcducked_its_tax_FFnYkdLFS9qJzpSsckct2J

  44. stephentardrew

    Simple and effective solutions to debt. Now for action.

    Add some infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy expanding employment and revenue and the economy will grow as revenues increase while resources can then be allocated to those most in need.

    Infrastructure are, in fact, capital assets on the balance sheet which put a solid foundation under the assets register. Infrastructure can be maintained thus maintaining value or depreciated and replaced sustaining or adding to the wealth of the nation.

    We are a nation not a business and our most important resource is our people. For heaven’s sake don’t tell the Banks and conservatives that.

  45. John Kelly

    It’s a comprehensive list you have given us, Kaye. And it barely requires any increase in revenue. Why then can it not be implemented? 2015 will be the year of decision for the LNP. If they stuff it up like they have in 2014 as I suspect they will, 2016 will be too late to fix it. It’s going to be a punishing time.

  46. Matt

    Pretty sure Joe can manage by himself Kaye, maybe your advise could have been useful when julia, Wayne and Kevin wasted it all. As treasurer of the elected government he can do what he likes, quite frankly your opinion and mine are meaningless. Trevor please, your vulgar language does so much for the left, way to be the voice of “reason and compassion”.

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