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This is a serious building where serious decisions are made

On Sunday, returning Nationals minister Keith Pitt tried to tell us that “This is a serious building where serious decisions are made and we continue to be focused on that.”

Angus Taylor tried the same line on Monday’s Q&A.

Perhaps they haven’t been paying attention.

The government would not make a decision on ending discrimination in marriage laws.  They made us do it and have since formed a committee to fight for the rights of wedding retailers to turn customers away.  One wonders how many of them actually want less business.

The government will not make a decision on Aboriginal recognition.  They made our Indigenous People go through a lengthy and extensive consultation process to make recommendations and then threw them out without a second glance.  They slashed over $500 million from Indigenous funding and then wondered why we aren’t closing the gap.

The government will not take any action on climate change.  They seem entirely untroubled that, ever since they got rid of carbon pricing, emissions have been increasing.  Despite the heatwaves, changing rainfall patterns, prolonged bushfire seasons, intense floods and cyclones, rising sea levels and coral bleaching, they want the world to burn more fossil fuels.

The government has completely ignored the water theft from the Murray-Darling, going so far as to appoint as Minister for Water Resources the son-in-law of the man whose company is under police investigation for “possible serious fraud” with regard to the Healthy Headwaters grants.

The government wants to claim credit for job creation last year at the same time they are telling us they must cut company taxes to create jobs.

The government says it recognises the problems associated with wage stagnation at the same time that they voted to reduce penalty rates for our lowest paid workers.

The government calls for more respectful workplaces while their senior ministers go on a rampage of rumour and innuendo about people’s sex lives and failed marriages.

The government shows concern for domestic violence by paying tens of millions for advertising campaigns whilst closing refuges and defunding legal aid.  They tell others to promote anti-bullying whilst publicly ripping each other to shreds in the vilest, sneering, jeering, malicious way.

The government refused to subsidise a car industry that employed and trained hundreds of thousands of people in favour of subsidising armaments manufacture which might employ a few hundred people sometime down the track, or coal mines that no-one else wants to finance.

The government ripped up signed hospital and education funding agreements with the states and the accountability/quality standards that went with them, and then threw their hands up at increased hospital wait times and declining educational rankings.

The government has lots of slogans about innovation, they create “hubs”, they subsidise young entrepreneurs, whilst trying to make tertiary education the exclusive domain of the wealthy.

The government talks about the urgency of bringing down public debt while watching private debt soar to precariously high levels.

The government has taken an axe to welfare whilst wondering why consumer spending is drying up.  Rather than heeding the call by everybody including the Business Council of Australia, they refuse to increase the Newstart payment, condemning people to poverty which makes it so much harder to get a job.

The government will not cut overly generous property tax concessions despite our housing affordability crisis, despite Malcolm Turnbull writing about how they skew investment away from more productive enterprises, despite our outgoing treasurer saying that negative gearing should be skewed towards new housing, and despite our intelligence agencies warning that property was being used to launder money.

The government is all over the shop regarding energy policy, encouraging old coal-fired power stations to stay open, appointing a commissioner to see if wind farms make you sick, abandoning subsidies for roof top solar, cutting the renewable energy target, ignoring small scale pumped hydro in favour of spending billions on tunnelling through kilometres of rock, and refusing to retain any of our gas for domestic consumption.

The government will not even consider Australian autonomy as we continue to pay homage to a foreign head of state and salute the flag of another country.

The government tells us that aged care is in crisis whilst dumping a $1.2 billion fund set up by Labor for pay rises for aged care workers in 2013 and then last year cutting a further  $1.2 billion from Nursing Home funding over the next four years. (At the same time, the NSW State Government agreed to remove the requirement for a Registered Nurse to be on duty at all times in NSW Nursing Homes.)

The government has spent many months in turmoil and millions of dollars on court cases and by-elections because a significant number of politicians don’t know their own nationality.

But hey, at least we have a self-policed, honesty system bonking ban.


26 comments

  1. Terry2

    Anticipate the Abbott/Joyce resurgence : can it get any sillier ?

  2. paul walter

    Wondrous. Great stuff Kaye Lee.

  3. Kronomex

    Yes, I agree that the building is serious but the IQ25 LNP idiots that infest it is cause for it be innoculated. At least the election will be a short to medium range remedy.

    Gads, have I made what be (mis)construed as a terrorist threat by some other idiot? What would Heinrich Dutton think (snort)?

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    Kaye your sarcasm hits home. but watching the government minister Angus Taylor on Q&A last night, it will zero effect on the behaviour of these numb skulls. When asked about the 30 poll ratings milestone and his leaders possible reaction, he very studiously and pointedly ignored every attempt to provide any defence , kept blathering on about how many jobs etc etc.Self serving knobs, led by a tax evading PM and his former disgraced DPM followed by another hollow man from the party of hayseeds. So much for serious decisions in a serious building.

  5. diannaart

    The creation of jobs, dragged out whenever the question, “What have the LNP achieved?” arises. The creation of MORE casual, low paid, part-time work IS NOT JOB creation.

    LNP you can keep pissing into the wind and claim its raining, but you are not achieving anything except getting wet and smelly.

  6. Ill fares the land

    Firstly, let me say that Angus Taylor’s performance on Q&A (Monday 5th March) was superlative. I have seen politicians resort to weasel words in the past and they will continue to be in the iron grip of non-answers, but his performance by any standard showed a grasp of weasel words beyond the Canberra average. His performance was matched only by the breathtaking hypocrisy of the journalist on the panel who seemed to think that the hypocrisy of others was deplorable, but hers was OK, because her “story” on Joyce made the front pages so must have been newsworthy. I am not suggesting that there was no story on Joyce, but the media frenzy quickly degenerated into abject farce – and then sank to even lower levels with the latest frenzy over the paternity of Campion’s unborn child. I recently watched a documentary on what is happening in South Sudan – that, my friends, is a genuine and appalling human tragedy and should be news. It says as much about us as it does the media – how do we stand for the tripe and ceaseless drivel that now passes for journalism? Stan Grant’s latest show was heavily publicised as “fact-based journalism”, when in actuality, it is nothing more than another forum for opinionistas (yet more self-delusion).

    One doesn’t have to resort to opinion to successfully deride the present Coalition (I won’t refer to it as the “government”, because one thing they are demonstrably NOT doing is governing). The facts speak for themselves. They are lying about creating jobs. They are lying about the benefits of corporate tax cuts. They are deluded about climate change. They are deluded about the “benefits” of slashing benefits – when you read a list of some of their most stunning failures at the one time, their ineptitude comes into even sharper focus.

    I have come to believe that we have reached a tipping point in politics. The world is now dominated by the intelligent idiot (Turnbull?), the downright stupid (Hanson)); the vacuous (Cash?), the corrupt Joyce, Robb [now ex], Dastyari?), the vile(Cash?) and the power-crazed (and some who fold all of those things into one skin). Fact no longer matters – opinion dominates and we should be in awe of the ability of the brain to convert “opinion” into “fact”. But this means that politics is dominated by fools – remember that we tend to form relationships in our own image, so a group of idiots will tend to only allow into its inner sanctum, idiots who see the world in a way that is compatible with the group (why else would IPA-hacks so regularly find their way into safe Liberal seats?). This is what all political parties tend towards and there is now no room for those of outstanding ability but when you look at Cash, Dutton, the now-departed Brandis, O’Dwyer, Taylor it is a collection of staggering incompetence and we are getting the outcomes we should expect.

  7. Kaye Lee

    I want to know what decision they made to be able to claim this job creation.

    The only thing they ever come up with is tax cuts for small businesses but, according to the ABS, at the end of 2016-17, 61.2% of all businesses don’t employ anyone else. Of those that do employ others, 70.1% employ between 1 and 4 people. The percentage share of people employed by small business is falling.

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8165.0

    The latest ABS industry figures from 2015-16, released in May last year, showed employment dropping in eight of the eighteen industry categories.

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8155.0

  8. helvityni

    Yes Henry, watching that lack-lustre Q&A, and listening once more about their job creation, I shouted : what jobs, most of them poorly paying part time affairs…

    The only one worth listening to was the Pakistani woman, the only one with empathy, oops, Di Natali has it too. I was disappointed when Tanya did not see that the teenage would/could be “terrorists” can be rehabilitated, the young ones are usually the rebellious ones, and they mostly grow out it….

  9. helvityni

    Again, well said,Ill fares the land….the vacuous+ vile Cash…LOL

  10. Max Gross

    This is the most accurate, succinct and frightening assessment of the LNP I have seen in years. Tweet and share until you’re blue in the face, folks!

  11. Regional Elder

    Thanks Kaye Lee for providing such a comprehensive overview of the LNP ‘ government’s ‘ desolate, cynical and political charter for the Australian electorate. This article deserves wider exposure and I will do my best on that.

    And, Helvitni, I agree with your comments about Q&A as ‘lack lustre’ . Each week, I find this program increasingly irritating, and increasingly fatuous.

    As I recollect, Q&A was introduced soon after the election of The Rudd government in 2008.
    As a forum, it was intended to improve access of the wider public to members of our national parliament, and their work. It was a good idea at the time, especially following the stultifying 11 years of the Howard administration.

    Trouble is the format has now become jaded, some of the politicians who appear frequently have learned to ‘game ‘ the program, and it has been increasingly colonised by conservative forces ( NewsCorp or IPA representatives or conservative business figures are now almost mandatory on eveny panel) a corollorary of the directions the ABC has taken since 2013 under the LNP government.

    The ABC’s charter is to seek to both inform the Australian public and to entertain them, The present regime under Michelle Guthrie leans increasingly towards the entertainment end of the continuum, and disturbingly so. Q& A is showing all the signs of this shift.

  12. Pete

    It is actually quite amazing how bad they look when you show a list like that. Even more amazing that they have any supporters at all and how stupid they must be.
    You also forgot how they refused to build the proper NBN thus condemning our digital economy to the backwaters, below that of many third world countries.

  13. Kaye Lee

    How could I forget the NBN? Put it down to the hysterical amnesia of someone who has had to endure FttN at home and work. I am sure there are many things I have forgotten but that was a biggie.

  14. paul walter

    Better a serious building than a disturbed wall.

  15. Andreas Bimba

    So true Kaye. I don’t see many mentioning the car industry any more though. Labor are now silent on this as well.

    Before the closure announcements, the producivity and build quality of the industry had never been higher. When the industry was established after the war, Australia was not the world’s lowest cost producer and it never was but the industry provided a net overall benefit to the nation. Somehow we became much more selfish and forgot such things like providing jobs for everyone and nation building.

    The industry didn’t really need a subsidy, just a moderate tariff of 15% and a plan to manufacture half of the one million unit per annum local passenger vehicles demand locally plus exports. That’s about a $15 billion per annum industry that could have employed about 200,000 directly and indirectly as well as being a technology driver, ensuring the viability of a substantial manufacturing supply chain, being an incubator for other businesses and providing an important potential defence production capacity if ever required and at a much lower cost than the predominantly imported mega defence projects we have now been committed to.

    I was involved in the design and building of the Toyota Altona automotive assembly plant and I knew something was seriously wrong with this nation’s general direction and leadership when the closure announcements were made. I knew that productivity and quality were first rate and that the near identical Toyota plant in Thailand had a production cost of only about 10% less due to lower labour and government imposed costs while the Altona plant’s productivity was about equal to equivalent Toyota plants in Japan, the UK and the US. Holden and Ford could have matched Toyota’s productivity quite easily.

    The various parts of the Toyota Altona plant cost about a $1 billion to build but would cost about $2 billion to build now. It is currently being stripped of its manufacturing equipment.

    Holden decided to cease local manufacturing in late 2013 when Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey refused to provide an additional $80 million ($160 million total) per year for 10 years to modernise their plants and replace the Commodore and Cruze. Toyota received a subsidy of about $85 million per annum needed due to the removal of all tariffs.

    By way of comparison Australia’s superannuation funds charge management fees of about $25 billion p.a. to give rates of return that are in general well below the appreciation rate of the applicable share market indices.

    I clearly have a different perspective than the current conservative federal government about who Australia’s lifters and leaners are.

  16. Terry2

    Andreas

    Not to mention the willingness of this government to hand out a subsidy of around six billion dollars a year to Private Health Insurance companies.

  17. Christopher

    We have about ten years left on our current trajectory. And, it’s going to take a revolution to toss these idiots out. They are cemented in while the majority of people get their news from Murdoch and his horrible ilk.

  18. Roswell

    Loved this piece, Kaye. Fabulous writing.

  19. John L

    Ten years! Good god no! If I live that long it’ll be break out the weapons of mass revolution well before then. There’s only so much mass stupidity and dumb authoritarianism a person can stand!

  20. Matters Not

    Re:

    not make a decision on ending discrimination in marriage laws … not make a decision on Aboriginal recognition … not take any action on climate change. … will not cut overly generous property ..

    KL, given the examples you provide, this is an extremely decisive government – provided one understands that (logically) every decision not to make a decision is in fact an actual decision. Indeed a positive one of sorts. (Ducks head and runs away.)

  21. Barry Thompson.

    Excellent comment Ill fares the land.
    Kaye Lee, you should be employed as a consultant to the Labor party to instruct them on incisive questioning instead of the repetitive drivel they serve up half the time.

  22. diannaart

    I second that Barry.

    Next time Bill Shorten states he will endorse Adani if it is economically and/or environmentally viable, Kaye Lee can eloquently reveal the herd of elephants; “climate change”, “Great Barrier Reef”, “pollution”, “future planning”, long term sustainability”. “protection of arable land” “increased jobs in renewables and tourism”.

  23. Andreas Bimba

    Economist Steve Keen has concluded Australia is heading to a recession due to the record and unsustainable levels of private debt and the record real estate bubble centred in Sydney and Melbourne. The real estate bubble can burst at any time but he concluded it is unlikely to go beyond 2020. Legal and illegal money from China and predominantly local more wealthy investors using loans from the big 4 banks are inflating the bubble further.

    The Conservatives will use this recession as an excuse to denigrate the Shorten led Labor government, assuming they win the next election which is likely. Labor will by necessity need to loosen fiscal policy to ease the severity of such a recession and the neoliberal mainstream mass media, the corporate oligarchy and the Conservatives will attack Labor mercilessly about the ‘huge unsustainable debt’.

    Labor should be revealing our current parlous economic situation to the Australian public at every opportunity.

  24. Möbius Ecko

    “…abandoning subsidies for roof top solar…”

    In the meantime roof top solar has moved away from homes and onto businesses, where it has sky rocketed. So much so that at times of low business output like weekends or holidays, so much solar energy is being fed back into the grid from businesses it is threatening to destabilise it.

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