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Rewarding poor behaviour is not going to get us good policy

It seems obvious to say that, if you ignore, or worse still, reward bad behaviour, you set yourself up for future problems. Parents know that. Teachers know that. Employers know that. Sporting coaches know that.

But apparently, our politicians do not.

A whole bunch of people in the Liberal Party spent last week lying to each other. These are people who are supposedly on the same team. And our new PM has chosen to reward them.

Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce now “deserve the respect due to former leaders” and have both been offered sinecures. Barnaby’s job seems to be to wander round outback pubs and farms, chatting and drinking with the locals. Tony’s is a tad more problematic because Indigenous people definitely do NOT want him being the voice to parliament that they asked for.

Arguably the most treacherous player, Matthias Cormann, retains his position as he does a media blitz denying his despicable behaviour which is on the record for all to see.

Peter Dutton, who must now realise that he was a dupe being lied to as well, also retains his position and, whilst immigration has been taken from him, he still maintains power over asylum seekers.

Morrison is going to have to come up with some policies.

His first act was to appease the Nats which he has done by appointing a kazillion people with “drought” in their title and heading off for his first photo shoot.

But he has been lashed by former president of the National Farmers’ Federation, Brent Finlay, who insists that any policy about drought must include action on climate change as they are “interlinked”.

“Instead of jumping in front of the cameras when a drought is on, we need them to do the grunt work on effective financial measures that allow our farmers to build up cash reserves in the good times to draw upon when the dry comes again.

The climate is changing, you can see it in the eyes of farmers who dismissed it as rubbish eight years ago. By recognising climate change, it is empowering resources to support agriculture.

It’s not going to make me popular to say it but unfortunately current drought assistance measures reward our less efficient farming operators at the expense of those families who’ve been better prepared for drought.

You’ve only got to look at our current weather patterns to know that climate change is real and we should expect more extreme weather including more droughts in the future.”

Scott’s next priority is to lower power prices but he is under even more intense pressure than Malcolm was from those who think building new coal-fired power stations will achieve that.

It was April when Morrison “smacked down a backbench push for the Turnbull government to back a new coal plant, arguing that high-efficiency coal does not mean cheap energy, and taxpayers would also be left on the hook.”

He has just appointed an energy minister who spoke at Alan Jones’ rally against wind farms and who has described climate science as a religion based on faith rather than facts.

The facts show that renewable energy will bring down power prices but that doesn’t seem to be where we are headed which is more regulation, possible nationalisation, and government subsidies to prop up a dying, polluting industry. They used to talk about the sovereign risk of blocking the Adani coal mine, yet now they are talking about compulsorily stripping assets from companies, assets we sold them only a few years ago.

The other focus for Scott is immigration but this too is a minefield.

He has pushed the line that we must unite together, I suppose to forestall any playing of the race card, but there are many in his party who do want it to be about race and religion, or “composition” as they say to try to disguise their bigotry and white supremacist tendencies.

Tony Abbott, when addressing the Sydney Institute in February, called for immigration levels to be cut from 190,000 people a year to 110,000.

Morrison responded by saying “Mr Abbott’s plan would cost the budget $4bn-$5bn over four years, and result in a lower proportion of skilled migrants.”

Addressing the National Press Club a few months ago, Peter Dutton backed that view.

“Essentially our two-thirds, one-third mix of skills to non-skills within the visa program has continued as it did in the Howard days because there is economic benefit, as well as a social dividend. My judgment is we’ve got the settings right. There’s an economic benefit to bringing people in who are skilled, who will work and pay taxes and contribute to society. It’s not just a social dividend. There’s a significant economic dividend.”

So are they both going to backtrack on those views to say Tony and Pauline had it right all along? Are we going to hear more about the “composition”? It would appear as a shameful populist capitulation rather than a considered stance on what is in the best interests of the nation.

If early indications mean anything, we will not see any sensible policy come from Morrison’s government, but there is a going to be a whole lot of populism, pork-barrelling, and rewarding of bad behaviour as he uses his few months as PM to appease all the wrong people.

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  1. New England Cocky

    “If early indications mean anything, we will not see any sensible policy come from Morrison’s government, but there is a going to be a whole lot of populism, pork-barrelling, and rewarding of bad behaviour as he uses his few months as PM to appease all the wrong people.”

    And your point is ????? ……. THAT is standard operating practice in the NLP misgovernment.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of rewarding bad behaviour, Stuart Robert, who was dumped for heading over to China to lend what the Chinese thought was official endorsement for a company in which he had shares to take up a contract with the Chinese government, who was also a recipient of one of the Rolex watches from Chinese businessman Li Ruipeng, and who has been called in front of the Queensland anti-corruption watchdog for his part in dodgy council elections, has just been made assistant treasurer.

    Sussan Ley, who was sacked for rorting expenses, is now Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories.

  3. Keith

    I’m hoping that the cross bench will join Labor in pushing for a no confidence motion.I have already sent an email to one cross bencher requesting a no confidence motion. The LNP had been shambolic in relation to climate change, I’m predicting they will be worse than that … if that was possible.

  4. nonsibicunctis

    New England Cocky – Try reading the article again and applying your intellect and you may be able to answer your own question – it shouldn’t be hard.

    Kaye, thank you for an excellent summary of the recent behaviour of many senior figures in the parliamentary Liberal Party. I entirely agree with both that and your expectations or predictions of what Scott Morrison will do as Prime Minister. Apart from his elevation perhaps being the lesser of two evils, as compared with Peter Dutton, I see nothing in his elevation that lessens my deep depression at the shameful way our governments, particularly the conservative ones, have acted in the last decade.

    I also regret that the ‘old boys club’ remains so strong within the conservative ranks that Julie Bishop’s worth was discounted so readily by her ‘colleagues’. I am continually bewildered at how many women support a political party so out of touch and misogynist.

    I’d also be pleased to see someone of renown propose a way that we could prevent the privileged and wealthy individuals and organisations from virtually dictating election outcomes because of their ability to fund campaigns that distort the truth and to manipulate virtually all of the mainstream media.

    In my view, we have nothing to which we can look forward under Scott Morrison and I can only hope that Malcolm Turnbull leaves parliament very quickly and forces a by election such that the LNP loses its majority in the House and a General Election is needed. The sooner we are rid of such a disgustingly obnoxious and mean-spirited cluster of destroyers holding sway over policy direction, the better.

  5. SteveFitz

    Kaye Lee, thoughtful and provocative as usual. Since we have once again broached the sensitive topic of migration – Lets have a quick look at the statistics from the Parliament of Australia to paint a clearer picture.

    2015 – 2016
    Permanent migrants: (Migration and humanitarian program visa grants)
    Family = 57,400
    Child = 3, 512
    Skilled = 128,550
    Special eligibility = 308
    Humanitarian Program = 17,555
    TOTAL = 207,325

    Temporary migrants: Overseas student = 310, 845
    Temporary Business (long stay) 457 visas = 85,611

    Business (long stay) 457 (student/working) visas are not temporary. They are the “unskilled immigrant labourers” brought into the country and, after they do their 4-year accounting course they are entitled to apply for citizenship. In the years 2006 to 2016 there were 1,060,095 unskilled immigrant labourers brought into the country sponsored by big business for one reason and one reason only: Cheap obedient labour, to flood the workforce, results in reduced workers bargaining power and conditions.

    Now, there is no issue with the humanitarian, family and skilled immigration program and there is no issue with temporary overseas students but, bringing a million unskilled immigrant labourers into the country every 10 years is questionable, at best, and requires exposure and public debate. Why this aspect of immigration been hidden from us, by government and big business, is no mystery to me. There would be a public outcry and, there should be.

    Unskilled labourers don’t bring any money into the country and if anything, they send part of what they earn off shore. Once again, I have no issue with immigration and no issue with race. My issue is with lying, scheming governments pandering to big business at the expense of Australian working families and our children entering the workforce.

  6. Kaye Lee


    I agree.

    From what I understand, the 457 visa has been abolished but I am sure whatever the new arrangement is is also open to abuse.

    I want more stringent requirements to show there were no Australians willing and able to do the job.

    I want far more planning about anticipating skills shortages and training people to forsetall them.

    I want incentivised programs in areas of needed skills – whether that be scholarships or free adult reskilling or reduced fees or some such thing.

    And I want any foreign worker to be paid under the same conditions as Australian workers. There is, as you say, a real problem of exploitation.

    And the big elephant in the room are the investor visas which allow people of very dubious character and intent to buy a visa if they have enough money. Our own intelligence services have identified this as a real danger – money-laundering, foreign political influence, organised crime etc.

    I will say about some unskilled visa workers, there is a foreign aid component in some programs. They should be looked at individually. We really shouldn’t be importing hairdressers for example.

  7. Rhonda

    Our Kaye, on top of the sad situation, as usual. So glad you’re always on the ball

  8. SteveFitz

    Being open to abuse is precisely what happens – The 457 visa holders, or equivalent, are entitled to do 20 hours per week to barely sustain themselves. Clearly this is not enough so they work “off the grid” for cash. From one source, as little as $7 an hour. They are open to abuse and they are abused and exploited. It’s wrong for them and it’s wrong for us. All to satisfy the corporate machine.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Fingers in ears? I can’t see you? Leave it on my desk?

    “For the first time in many years, the Federal Government has not included a designated financial services minister — Kelly O’Dwyer has been moved to Industrial Relations Minister.

    That is despite the final report of the financial services royal commission being due within six months.

    For the first time since 2007, neither is there a dedicated minister for the $3 trillion superannuation industry.

    “Ministerial responsibilities within the Treasury portfolio will be announced in due course,” was the response from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s office to questions about who is in charge.

    The new Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said in a radio interview earlier this week that he might be getting the gig, before back-tracking later in the day.

    The absence of a Minister also raises questions about who corporate regulator ASIC will report to — as of last week it was reporting to Kelly O’Dwyer.

    Industry Super Australia chairman, and former New South Wales Liberal leader, Peter Collins, voiced surprise that it was not a priority portfolio given the probable changes to regulation and/or legislation to emerge from Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s report into financial services.

    “Given that we are in the throws of the biggest inquiry into financial services, it is difficult to understand the omission of a minister with the specific responsibility for financial services,” he told the ABC.

    “How do you not acknowledge that, when this is the most thorough, costly, most revealing inquiry, with very likely far-reaching recommendations which the Government will need to work its way through.”

  10. Andrew J. Smith

    Steve Fitz Think you need more compelling evidence re. international students working; headline data does not cut it, Statistics 101.

    Little good research has been conducted, VET students have attendance reqs, while higher ed has performance processes (not forget visa financial reqs).

    Half of the international student cohort may not be using their work rights, at all.

    Focus upon external and perceived threats allows MPs, corporates etc. avoid scrutiny ‘look over there, immigrants!’

  11. Pascoe Bill

    And who has been dropped into the Skills portfolio to look after the VET sector – arguably victim of the largest corporate plundering of the public purse to date and in dire need of policy rejuvenation – probably the most inept, incompetent dill of the lot, Michaelia freaking Cash ffs! Dog save us!

  12. Patagonian

    Barnaby’s job seems to be to wander round outback pubs and farms, chatting and drinking with the locals. ” So, what’s changed?

  13. vicki

    Exactly the kids in Parkes who had a JOB for a moment in the wind farms until they brought in 457’s and most of the locals were layed off, as you know you are NOT really employed for the first three months these days and these kids were physical sick during the HOT summer months and only got a 1/2 an hour break in 10hrs and they were paying the asian kids half the wage, and yet at the top end of Q’land 6 months later same crap only the 457’s were from Germany and earning Twice as much as the Aussie boys, what the hell is going on here? Overseas contractors are getting BIG construction deals in Australia and only have to employ locals for 3 months and then they bring in their locals from overseas and then OUR Government and their Nations too can CLAIM Employment is DOWN yet the Reality is, IT IS NOT, it is a FARCE..And they have the HIDE to Claim young Australians or any out of work Australian is the BLUDGER! This is what happens when G’ments erode the work place and bring in “work choices” HAHA where is the choice? Workers RIGHTS have been eroded so much that Australians will now work below the minimum wage just to have a WAGE and WE must question WHY WE have more homeless per capitol than any other Nation even more than the USA and thats a statement as the USA is known as the HOMELESS Country, this is what OUR Children have to look forward to, a Country who’s Politicians SOLD off all their Assets and they either have a JOB for 3 months or part-time or study and get in so much debt and maybe get a job or be Homeless, I tell all kids go into Politics, do yourselves a favour as you will always be PAID well above a Fair Wage and have a pension for life unlike the rest of US paying for it.

  14. corvus boreus

    Perhaps the real statistics (101) regarding the actual number of labour hours worked by holders of overseas 457 and student visas can be found at this highly reputable source, which was credibly cited by Mr Smith in a previous article on environment, population and immigration;
    or perhaps the true numbers are contained at the ‘green-agenda’ linked sister site;

    One shouldn’t rule out the possibility/likelihood that immigration figures, like climate science data, are being falsified in order to install a global governance that will brand everybody with a triple six stamp and facilitate the rise from the ocean of the whore of Babylon, riding atop the seven headed beast (as was foretold in JHWH’s scriptures).

  15. Kaye Lee

    So Tony has accepted his position – how gracious of him considering the opposition from the Indigenous community – and the man who cut over half a billion from Indigenous funding in his first budget as Minister for Indigenous Affairs will now advise us on how we can improve attendance rates and school performance.

    More truancy officers, more rote learning, more guardians held hostage with welfare dependent on school attendance, more standardised testing, abandoning of Aboriginal language study, abandoning early childhood education.

    I’d say the only person pleased to hear this will be Noel Pearson who has already wasted many millions getting no results.

  16. SteveFitz

    Andrew, I agree – This needs a closer look and to do that we need exposure and dissection, keeping in mind the root of the problem and the main objective.

    I feel the need to say this again. The working students who are brought into the country as part of the economic migration stream come here in good faith, and then they are exploited. They do it for the opportunity and because it’s a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. I would do the same thing in their shoes.

    I embrace properly managed immigration and I embrace all races of people from all walks of life. They are not the problem – They are being used and exploited the same way we are. The problem is what drives the covert flow of unskilled labour into the country and why? What I see is this:

    [1] Working students don’t bring money into the country they earn it by working here
    [2] The unskilled component of the economic migration stream service big business
    [3] Over their 4-year tenure they pay $520 p.a. in union fees or $2,080 each
    [4] Over their 4-year tenure they pay for the course they study (Usually accounting)
    [5] To supplement their 20-hour week they work “of the grid” for cash at reduced rates
    [6] After 4 years they are entitled to apply for Australian citizenship and then work full time
    [7] From the stats there have been 1 million subclass 457 visas issued in the past 10 years.

    Every time there is reference to immigration it is always qualified with the word “Skilled”. The unskilled student worker component of the economic migration stream is hidden from us by main stream media? We are diverted by the word “Skilled” preceding every reference to migration. How can they be skilled when they are students?

    The problem is not political corruption, it’s the corporate corruption of our elected representatives that’s the problem and, we need to make an effort to protect them. This can be partly achieved with the establishment of federal corruption watchdog or “National ICAC”.

    “Bill Shorten pushes for federal ICAC-style watchdog to crack down on political corruption” (Corporate corruption)

    To protect our elected representatives from the influence of unscrupulous corporations and the rest of the bottom feeders. The ball is already rolling…

    [1] Undermine Malcolm Turnbull and destabilise the LNP – Done
    [2] Influence Transparency International and prominent QC’s to push for a national ICAC – Done
    [3] Extract an election promise from Bill Shorten to establish a national ICAC if elected – Done
    [4] Place a Labour leader in the lodge – Pending
    [5] Establish the national corruption watchdog with retrospective powers – Pending
    [6] Investigate all allegations of federal corruption over the past 7 years in terms of the statute of limitations. We need to press Bill Shorten for legislation to be retrospective.

    The prime objective, at all times, is what’s best for the bulk of Australians and Australian society. To do that we need to put a leash on unscrupulous and corrupt corporations and those who would plunder society for personal gain. It’s the same old war cry but now there is an action plan.

    Stay focused – Next step, a Labour win at the next federal election and then, we can take it from there. One step at a time and we can protect our beloved country from the ravages of neoliberal and corporate greed and, maybe get to the bottom of the unskilled immigrant labour issue.

  17. Anna Helps

    nobody thinks more coal plants will reduce electricity prices – those who advocate this see only a potential hand-out before the inevitable industry collapse slipping away from their greedy grasp – it’s a bit like the reef hand-out, or the indue card – no one is going to expect any kind of delivery – it’s just a big fat give away – ensuring the next gov, which will be labor, has little or nothing to spend which in turn will facilitate the lnp returning to gov in the not too distant future

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