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Tag Archives: abbott

Day to Day Politics. The pigs still have their heads in the trough.

Saturday 5 December

1 After all the furore a few months back politicians expenses are in the headlines again. Julie Bishop ordered an empty RAAF Challenger jet to fly from Canberra to Perth to pick up her and her boyfriend from a charity dinner on October 18.

Ms Bishop and her partner David Panton were reportedly the only two passengers on the flight, costing $30,000 for the red-eye journey.

The bill dwarfs the $5000 helicopter jaunt that cost Bronwyn Bishop the Speaker’s job but now we learn that she spent more than $50,000 on a country-hopping South American trip earlier this year.

The taxpayer is entitled to be offended. I suppose we shall have to wait on a report into MP’s entitlements due early in the New Year. We can only hope that the age on entitlement will then be done with. Having said that, they will probably find another way to rip us off.

2 The political year is fast coming to a close. For me, it and the preceding few years will be etched in my mind as the years where the lying of Tony Abbott reached proportions unheard of in Australian political history.

At the pinnacle of his lying he told us that the best way to understand the truth of what he was saying was to have it in writing. Otherwise what he was saying was just idle chatter for an audience.

So I became a little confused. You see, what he was saying was that what I thought he said is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. That when he said something and I took it to mean one thing, he had the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all. It was only my interpretation of what he meant. I mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really what he meant?

I remember that at the time thinking:

“I know that I have the odd senior moment but usually I know what I mean and what is meant by what I say. I also know that people understand what I’m meaning”.

Oh well, he is gone now. Or has he?

An observation:

‘Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths’.

3 Peter Hartcher’s series on the demise of Abbott is extremely insightful. He is an extremely well-sourced journalist. He would have to know someone very much in the know to write what he has. In his latest piece he suggests that:

‘It was a sign of his gathering confidence and hardening determination. Abbott and the only adviser he still listened to, Peta Credlin, had persuaded themselves that Turnbull would never challenge’.

‘They sometimes described him in private as another Peter Costello, all pose and no pluck, they decided’.

‘They were fascinated by him and frequently speculated about his manoeuvres’.

Seriously, what on earth did they think he was in parliament for? Just to make up the numbers. He was there because he wanted the top job. Nothing more, nothing less.

4 Hartcher’s revelation that Turnbull commonly told colleagues that Abbott’s capacity for self-delusion, his lack of comprehension for the feelings of those around him, showed that he was ‘basically a psychopath’ comes as no surprise to those who have keenly followed Abbott’s career.

5 I have an American friend named Ben Williamson. He is a fine writer on many topics. Especially Religion and Gun laws. On his Facebook page this morning I found this:

‘355 mass shootings in 2015, and Democrats see that we have a gun problem. 355 mass shootings in 2015, only TWO of which were committed by Muslims, and Republicans say we have a Muslim problem’.

6 The backlash against Liberal turncoat Ian Macfarlane continues with former colleagues accusing him of defecting for his own advantage.

They got that right.

7 Barrie Cassidy writing for The Drum succinctly sums up the Mal Brough saga with this observation:

‘Mal Brough’s mere presence as Special Minister of State is dragging down the Government. If the Prime Minister stands by him, he will have a lame duck – indeed, a next to useless minister – on his hands’.

A point not widely canvassed is that if the AFP decided to extend its investigation to include Roy and Pyne and he stood Brough down then he would have to do the same thing with them.

8 As the year draws to a close one Liberal minister was heard to say that 2015 had been a rough one for the government but he still had hopes that good government would start sooner rather than later. Or was that soonish?

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

‘The right to participate in an election is the gift that democracy gives. Therefore, it is incumbent on the voter to at least have a rudimentary understanding of politics and to take an interest in the political landscape’.

Early warning. Day to Day in Politics will be taking a break over the Christmas and New Year Periods.

 

Day to Day with John Lord

Author’s note: My weekly post “This is the week that was” will now appear daily and titled “Day to Day with John Lord” and posted in the “Your Say” section.

Sunday 1 November

1 I know I promised I would not say any more about the disgraced former Prime Minister, but he just keeps on giving. Tony Abbott has said and done some awfully silly things in his time, but I doubt that he has ever inflicted more damage upon himself than with his self-indulgent claims to have a practical solution to the refugee problems of Europe.

His recipe for Europe would be disastrous. He has shown himself to be a fool of extraordinary malevolence, but the greater damage has been to our moral base and any reputation we once had for international decency.

2 There is nothing more cringeworthy that watching a politician deliberately telling lies and knowing they are. Such was the case yesterday when Peter Dutton was asked about payments to people smugglers. When claims were made in June that Australian officials had paid people smugglers to take their passengers back to Indonesia, Dutton initially said they were false. Yesterday, when the claims resurfaced after an Amnesty International report gave them extra credibility, he didn’t deny that the incident had occurred and instead retreated to circumlocutions about his confidence that no Australian laws or treaties had been broken.

An observation:

“When you tell a lie you deny the other person the right to the truth”.

586300-turnbull 3 I was listening to an interview on ABC Tasmania with Malcolm Turnbull. He certainly is devastating in arguing a line whether he believes it or not. In fact his ability to seem to agree with the pretext of the interviewers questions with sound reasoning is incredible. But somewhere down the track he will have to substitute all the smooth talk with the substance of doing. Or making decisions.

4 Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has instructed his department to draft options for an overhaul of media ownership laws he can present to cabinet before Christmas, signalling the government will move quickly to deregulate the sector. All calculated to make Rupert happy no doubt. And sports lovers had better start saving for their subscriptions to Fox.

Another thought:

“There is no greater enemy of the earth and its environs than capitalism”.

5 The PM has said that the same-sex plebiscite cannot be restricted to a simple yes-or-no question but must be based on a specific model or proposal for same-sex marriage similar to a referendum process. I sense the Right are telling him what to do. Bastards. Would that also apply to a plebiscite on a republic? I think not.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

 

The sooner Tony Abbott goes the better

boy2 Abbott’s decision to simply change the mix of asylum seekers we take rather than increase the overall total again places him on the wrong side of public opinion. It is an unsympathetic, lukewarm response to a problem of enormous humane proportion and as such required a response that in another time have might have been filled with the Australian compassion I grew up with.

But of course had he agreed to take Syrians who had escaped by boat would have placed him in an invidious position. Australia deserves better than Tony Abbott. He is a combative PM who uses language with an inference that leadership is about being tough above all else. There are those on the left who want him around for the next election. I want him to go without delay.

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday August 22

1 The process is more important than the individual. That is why Dyson Heydon must step down. When arguing that it puts the future of the commission in doubt people forget that the findings to date could have always been pursued through existing law enforcement bodies. That’s what made it a political witch hunt in the first place. Abbott wanted a show trial and wasn’t concerned with the cost.

After watching the proceedings yesterday, and if I were a betting man I would take odds on him stepping down. The loser in the public eye will be the PM for appointing him. And the pity is that the CFMEU might escape the justice it deserves.

2 So it now looks as though Abbott has conceded to a plebiscite for Marriage Equality. He can still delay it, if he wins, for his full term. And of course it’s non-binding. What if it were closer than expected? I can hear the words now. Well, er, um.

3 It is an endless source of fascination to me just how “terrorism” raises its ugly head when the Abbott Government is in trouble.

Midday thoughts

1 The former SAS soldier standing as the Liberal Party’s prize recruit in the key federal by-election for Canning was the officer in command of a troop being investigated for chopping the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The investigation is ongoing so people should not draw any conclusions. It has been said that Captain Hastie was elsewhere on the battlefield when the incident happened and therefore was not responsible.

backflip 2 There are a lot of captain’s calls, much backpedaling, substantial lying, many backflips with lots of catchphrases and slogans but there is little substance and absolutely no leadership.

3 Which leads me into what former colleagues think. John Howard said “My concern is growth is not picking up quite as much in Australia”. He feared the country had entered a “new paradigm” of “sub-par growth. Peter Costello agreed: “Our economy is growing slower than the long- term average. Letting these average tax rates ratchet up higher and higher is not helping it”. Peter Reith named the solution, and the problem: “Of course the only real answer is bold economic reform but as the party room meets this week, whether spoken or not, the issue on the minds of MPs will be leadership“.

Sunday 23 August

What is Ideology?

Ideology is a word that seems to get tossed around a lot. But what exactly does it mean? Let’s stop for a moment and see if we can’t put some substance to this rhetoric, starting with a few possible definitions:

  1. The body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
  2. Such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
  3. Philosophy: The study of the nature and origin of ideas.
  4. Theorising of a visionary or impractical nature.

Morning Thoughts

1 The word “lying” (in political terms) has been replaced with the more subtle reference of “overstatement”.

2 A Plebiscite on marriage equality at a cost of $100 million will be the most expensive exercise ever to confirm what current polling already tells us.

ml 3 Mark Latham is the Jekyll and Hyde of Australian politics. One day intellectually brilliant, the other a downright grubby individual.

4 To say that you have to live in the immediate proximity of a development that has environment implications you disagree with in order to protest it, is simply nonsensical.

5 The Government is having little success in getting its revised Paid Parental Scheme through the parliament. Has anyone considered the implication on the budget?

Monday 24 August

In proposing tax cuts at the next election Joe Hockey said:

“We are undeterred in our mission to pinpoint government waste; to stop spending money where it doesn’t need to be spent”.

Might I suggest that:

  1. He could save $100 million by doing away with a plebiscite on Marriage Equality and he dispose with the 15% tax discount on Superannuation for high income earners. There’s two for starters. Continuing on the subject of tax. So Hockey wants the rich to pay less tax at a time when revenues are declining. And he planes to offset them with spending cuts but won’t say where. Cuts in spending of the size required to fund tax cuts could only come from areas like health or education.
  2. Hockey’s second budget, delivered in May, predicted a deficit of $35.1bn this financial year. This would be followed by deficits of $25.8bn in 2016-17, $14.4bn in 2017-18 and $6.9bn in 2018-19, and these figures assume the passage of contentious budget savings that are stalled in the Senate and unlikely to pass. On top of that the growth projections in the budget are considered by both Howard and Costello to be fanciful .

The man’s bonkers. Whatever happened to the disastrous debt and deficit crisis? If it did exist why did he add $100 billion to it?

nbn Tuesday 25 August

1 The LNP continues to make a meal of the NBN rollout with a cost blowout of $15b since last estimate in December 2013.The budget had already blown out considerably (after having blown out to $41 billion, twice what the Coalition insisted their less-ambitious version of the NBN would cost before the 2013 election) and that NBN Co are going to have to find the money from either greater debt or private equity. Yes, they were telling lies all along.

And the revised rollout of the network will end up being 20 per cent fiber-to-the-premises, 38 per cent fiber-to-the-node, 34 per cent HFC, 5 per cent fixed wireless and 3 per cent satellite.

Fiber to the house is the rolled gold connection and MPs will have to explain to their electorates why some are getting it and some are not. Are you in a marginal seat?

Mr. Turnbull owns the problem.

2 This week’s Morgan Poll has Labor at 54.5 and the Coalition at 45.5 Newspoll today is 54/46 in favor of Labor with Shorten preferred PM 40/35

3 What is good Government? In my view:

“Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity I mean the people have a right to a fair ‘’reward for the fruits of their labour and the wealth of the country. And above all it should be answerable to the people”.

4 Wow, now we find the Ombudsman is about to investigate the AFP about their refusal to investigate Bronwyn Bishops expenses claims. And the CFMEU to face criminal charges. Truth and justice at work.

5 And to top it off Dyson Heydon has delayed his decision again.

Wednesday 26 August

1 Poor Aunty copping it again. Given the amount of tweets they show, weekly on the ABC I’m surprised they don’t fall foul more often. One of the downsides to new technology is that it gives license to the nutters. I should think that Turnbull would have more serious things to worry about. Like why are we getting inferior broadband technology? And the PM thinks Q&A is out of control. He should know.

2 Pauline Hansen endorsing Scott Morison for PM. Now why is anyone surprised? They have a lot in common, after all.

3 Police in three states are investigating the most senior leaders of the CFMEU for allegations ranging from receiving secret commissions to blackmail. GOOD.

4 Tuesday’s Essential Poll has Labor on 51% and the Coalition on 49%

5 After all the Government’s huffing and puffing over the Adani Mine failure the Government admits it stuffed up, was incompetent, and the court documents confirm it. Green vigilantes indeed. What an abysmal lot they are.

6 Another one of those unedifying Abbott statements.

“We all know back in the 60s Aboriginal people didn’t have much money, they didn’t always receive the respect they deserve but they were in the real economy and they did have pride”.

Fact is that most were virtual slave laborers and worked for food and lodging. “In the real economy”. Really!

7 The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed that everyone can expect a tax cut promise at the next election. Remember those promises at the last. No I won’t bore you. And the money is in the magician’s hat with the bunny.

8 Tony Abbott to keep low profile in Canning by-election. He should face up to it.

pf Thursday 27 August

1 Peter FitzSimons gave an excellent, even brilliant speech at the National Press Club. It was passionate, and at times hilariously funny. He did warn however that an Australian Republic with our own head of state would be impossible as long as Abbott was in power. Joe Hockey is also a supporter together with many other politicians on both sides of the ideological divide.

My piece on this subject for THE AIMN

Also posted my thoughts on how we are being governed.

2 Dyson Heydon will independently decide on his independence on Friday. No one independent of the commission of course will do so. The shit will hit the fan either way.

3 At the National Reform Summit former Treasury boss Martin Parkinson said we are “sleepwalking into a real mess”, a recession in fact. The way Hockey is handling things he is probably right. Why is it political parties cannot govern for the long term instead of prioritizing their own incumbency?

4 So now it appears Tony Abbott is cynically manipulating and misrepresenting the US alliance and increasing the risk to Australian military personnel with negligible strategic gain to create a political distraction to save himself. He says it was a request from Obama. Negative response from them. You be the judge.

5 Simply astonishing the way in which this Government conceals the truth. They released two reports late last Friday that were damaging to its Climate policy.

The two reports showed that the Prime Minister has misled the public on the cost of larger cuts to emissions and that the Government’s current direct action policy is a high cost alternative. They also showed electricity greenhouse emissions have once again started to rise.

6 A Reachtel poll published in the West Australian newspaper on Tuesday found the contest between Mr. Hastie and Labor candidate Matt Keogh was neck and neck, predicting a swing of nearly 12 percentage points to Labor in Canning.

The three pretenders to Abbott’s throne, Bishop, Turnbull and Morrison will appear in the electorate but because of his unpopularity he will not.

7 Greg Hunt is not far behind the PM when it comes to telling lies. Where he differs is that he uses omission to justify his untruths. Now he says the Q&A Abbott tweet wasn’t an accident. He reckons the ABC did it deliberately.

Midday thoughts

1 I don’t think there is any doubt that the PM’s Office underhandedly requested that Washington request an expanded role for us in Syria. He then acted as though they did so formerly, so as to make himself seem important. He won’t answer the question and Washington won’t confirm it. He really is just an out of touch man masquerading as a Prime Minister. Perhaps it’s more about a certain by-election.

2 I suspect Julia Gillard supported gay marriage all the time and was just cementing support from Catholic Union leader Joe de Bruyn who was very powerful at the time. He is vigorously anti-gay.

3 One of the follies of Australian Politics is that every time an issue arises that is a little controversial the reason put forward for not being able to deal with it is that there are always more pressing ones. Goodness, how did we ever raise our children?

Friday 28 August

1 Commissioner Heydon has delayed his decision on himself until Monday. New information has arisen suggesting that he may have been tipped off. I think he may be in trouble. It has now escalated into a problem of not only the commissioner’s credibility but the commission itself. Abbott needs to show some leadership. OMG, did I say that?

2 The decision by the ABS to place “No religion” at the top of the religious area on the census form is a good one. Having it at the bottom encouraged people to tick one of the above before getting to it. A change in holy orders as someone said.

3 Judith Sloan on The Drum last night was in one of her sarcastic negative moods about everything. Particularly on the subject of ethical investment. Like coal mines.

Midday thoughts

1 Goodness me. All Labor wants in the Free Trade Agreement with China is that Australians will be guaranteed first crack at the jobs. There are grave doubts that it does. If the PM is the best friend our workers have ever had then you would think he would give this guarantee.

2 While American politicians are in the pocket of the NRA gun law reform will never happen. They well may be the most technologically advanced country in the world, arguably they are the most morally backward.

3 Germany prepares to accept up to 800,000 refugees this year. Australia Australia . . . yes . . . well . . . um . . . er . . . we . . . Australia . . . we stopped the boats!

4 The PM holds a press conference and attributes high attendance at NT State School, Bamaga to the Governments “school attendance officers”. It was a highlight of the week and gained national coverage.

But the head of the school’s P&C and husband of the school’s principal, Richard McLean, said the remote attendance officers were not a key reason so many kids were coming to class. It was the community who put in the hard work and not the Government. They deserve the praise.

And this is the week that was. Leave you with this thought.

“Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Thoughtlessness is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact”

Just as I was about to post a headline this caught my eye and . . .

abf

. . . I couldn’t believe it!

All that I have written this week about Tony Abbott and his obnoxious Government, means little when compared with this headline in the Melbourne Age:

“Australian Border Force to patrol Melbourne CBD as part of anti-social behavior operation’’… ‘’The center of Melbourne will be swamped with police on Friday and Saturday night”.

For the first time officers from the federal government’s new paramilitary unit will join transport officials and police to target crime among people “travelling to, from and around the CBD”, in a measure dubbed Operation Fortitude.

I was unaware that the city I grew up in and nominated as the best in the world had degenerated to the point that our existing crime authorities could not cope. Yes I am familiar with the problems of King Street and other Night Club areas but to have armed paramilitary personal patrolling our streets with dubious purpose is contrary to the society I grew up in.

The Australian Border Force was formed, contentiously to keep, unwanted arrivals from reaching our shores. Millions of dollars have been spent on it to create an image of additional authority and it has now taken to the streets in an effort to keep the population in a constant state of crisis. The Australian Border Force, officers have substantially greater powers than either customs or immigration officials. They are permitted to carry guns and have powers to detain.

“The benefit to society of these sorts of approaches seems to me to be much much less than the damage to which it does to a society by instilling fear, “I don’t want to live in a community where you walk around with the fear that people will stop you with a threat you’ll be jailed or mishandled if you don’t comply” (Julian Burnside).

There is only one person responsible for this. It is Tony Abbott. Since his rise to power he has systematically set about depriving us of freedom, our privacy and our right to know, He defaults to National Security whenever he is in trouble. Are my fellow citizens so gullible not to see his shock and awe tactics? His making you feel you are under threat when you are not. Dividing us rather than uniting us.

Malcolm Fraser said he was a dangerous man. He was right.

Consider this:

“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you”.

Mr. Abbott – These People Had a More Difficult Day Than Bronny.

This afternoon, Sunday 2nd August, 2015, Bronwyn Bishop, resigned as Speaker of the House, after public pressure over an expense scandal.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister, told Australians that “it had been a ‘very difficult day’ for Mrs Bishop.” I’d like to take this opportunity to share with Tony Abbott the range of people who have also had a ‘very difficult day’ today because of the cuts and broken promises and poor decisions of the Prime Minister and his Government.

  1. Asylum Seekers on Manus Island and Nauru living in squalor in detention indefinitely.
  2. The young person on Newstart who will starve for a month because they have no welfare income.
  3. The young person in Regional Australia who has run out of petrol and is stranded, because the only service station that takes a Basics Card is closed.
  4. The Single Mother who is waiting until Wednesday to buy milk and bread because her payments have been reduced.
  5. The person with a disability who has been transferred to Newstart who has to decide between eating and petrol, because if they don’t go to their ‘obligated inhouse training’ they will get cut off.
  6. The woman Asylum seeker who is so ashamed she is crying because she isn’t allowed a sanitary napkin, because the Guard said she can’t have one.
  7. The low and middle income earner pensioner who is stressed and upset about their future after pension cuts.
  8. The woman with postnatal depression who no longer can go to her counselling sessions because she can’t get childcare because she isn’t working or studying.
  9. The jobless Australians worried that work if even further from their reach because of your China Trade Deal
  10. The chronic pain sufferer who is going without and living in pain due to increases in medication
  11. The Federal Public Servants you sacked who are worried they will lose their home because they can’t find another job
  12. Indigenous Australians in Remote Communities because you have denied them basic essential services and who will have nowhere to live because you are closing remote communities
  13. Sexually Abused women and children Asylum Seekers in detention because you failed to act on abuse claims
  14. The homeless person on Newstart stressing they won’t be able to eat when they get cut off, because their personal life barriers are a hindrance to applying for 20 jobs per month
  15. The Jobless South Australians who could be employed building submarines but they are still jobless.
  16. The Mother who is worried that she can’t afford to take her child to the doctor because the bulk-billing centre is full and you have put up Medicare through the back door
  17. The 756,100 jobless in Australia
  18. Young unemployed people in Regional Australia doing twice as many hours of slave labour with no workers comp protections under Work for the Dole
  19. The Bushfire and Cyclone victims whose lives will never be the same because they didn’t qualify for disaster assistance after your changes to disaster assistance criteria
  20. Everyday Citizens in local communities who no longer have access to services or maintained roads due to your cuts to Local Councils

That is just a list of 20 examples of people who don’t just have a difficult day, they have a difficult day every single day whilst your Government is hurting everyday Australians. Please call an election. It’s not just the Speaker who needed to go. Your entire Government needs to go.

Originally published on Polyfeministix

She’s Gone

image

She’s gone.

Barnaby Joyce (possibly our next deputy PM) described Bronwyn Bishop’s spending “as not unreasonable”. He might be correct. It’s not about what’s right, it’s about what you can REASONABLY get away with. It has to be remembered that those who defended her are also guilty by association. And that includes the Prime Minister. The fact that she has resigned does not change that. The Parliament will now be a better place without her. But only slightly. Until the Prime Minister can find it within himself to respect the conventions and institutions of our democracy our Parliament will remain, not a house of debate, but a house of division.

It remains debatable who was the worst offender. He or she.

Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary mountains out of molehills

Unless you’ve been on a desert island or in a coma, you’ve heard Tony Abbott boast over and over and over again that:

“We’ve had a lot of really significant achievements over the last year: We stopped the boats. We scrapped the carbon tax. We scrapped the mining tax“

These three issues were a key part of Abbott’s 2013 election campaign. According to Abbott, the mining and carbon taxes were devastating the nation. And stopping asylum seekers was imperative to save lives and protect our borders. These were his top priorities – the dragons threatening our nation must be slain. On day one he would stop the boats and introduce legislation to repeal the carbon tax – to be followed by the mining tax within 100 days – thereby single-handedly saving us all.

Abbott obviously believes that the Australian people still value his dragon-slaying skills today – threatening a few weeks back:

“if Labor came back, the boats would be back; the mining tax would be back; and now we find out that if Labor were to come back, the carbon tax would be back”

It seems fairly clear that Tony Abbott is staking both the credibility and the value of his government around these three key actions, and that he believes they are the criteria by which we should judge his success for the next election. So let’s have a look at what he has really achieved – and who the real winners and losers are.

Axing the Taxes

In his interview with Leigh Sales on the 7:30 report last week, Tony Abbott promoted what his government has done in the last two years, saying:

“The carbon tax, gone. When was the last time a government abolished a tax? The mining tax gone. When was the last time a government abolished a tax?”

Slaying not just one tax dragon – but two! Certainly sounds good – and according to Tony Abbott, it’s a BIG win for the Australian people. But does that stand up to scrutiny?

Slaying the Mining Tax (Killer of investment and jobs)

“This tax is a great big cudgel that will blow the brains out of the West Australian economy if it goes ahead.” (Tony Abbott, July 2010)

The Mining Tax – a quick primer:
The Minerals Resources Rent Tax was a levy on ‘super profits’ from the mining of iron ore and coal. It was only applied to companies whose annual profits – profits, not revenue – were in excess of $75 million. It was introduced on 1 July 2012 by the Labor government and repealed by the Liberal government on 2 September 2014.

Abbott’s Claim: repealing the mining tax would lead to Australia being ‘open’ for investment again and more jobs . . .

Prior to ‘axing’ this particular tax, the Abbott government argued that the mining tax had to go because it destroyed foreign investment and cut jobs. Once repealed, Abbott stated that the “big flashing red light over investment in Australia” is now gone. So if Abbott was right, investment in Australia should both have dropped during the time of the mining tax, and picked up since it was repealed.

Not so much.

It turns out that this was just another piece of Abbott-Speak or ‘truthiness’ that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. In fact, as ABC business editor Ian Verrender argued recently, if the very similar Petroleum Resources Tax introduced over 25 years ago is anything to go by – which had minimal if any impact on jobs or investment – the Mineral Tax would also have had little or no impact on either investment in Australia or Australian jobs had it been left in place. The reality is that mining companies aren’t all that mobile in their location choices – unlike car companies who can manufacture anywhere, mining companies have to mine where the resources are.

So who are the real winners and losers from the repeal of the Mining Tax?

The winners: the LNP and Big Mining companies

Ironically, one of the biggest winners from the introduction of the mining tax was the Liberal Party themselves. Crikey reported in 2012 that ”the mining tax saw an extraordinary increase in donations to the Coalition that has opened up a huge funding resource for the Liberals” as shown in the following graph:

Crikey1

Data from Crikey article (2012)

The largess of the mining sector towards the LNP continued post 2012. There was over 1.8 million given to the Liberal and National parties in the 2013/2014 financial year from resource and energy companies. By way of contrast, around $450,000 was donated to the Labor party from the same sector over the same period.

And then, of course, the other obvious big winners from the repeal of the Mining Tax are big mining companies themselves. Certainly, if the level of their donations is anything to go by, there were a lot of mining companies (and related suppliers like marine dredging operators) out there who were very happy to see the LNP – with their commitment to the repeal of the mining tax – win the 2013 federal election.

The Losers: The real owners of the minerals (AKA The Australian People)

There is a fairly simple but often misunderstood fact about Australia’s mineral and resource wealth, and that is that with limited exceptions, mineral (and other) resources under the soil belong to the Australian people. They’re ours. Well technically they belong to ‘the crown’ (or in this case, the state governments) – but same thing.

Unlike in countries like the USA, where a gold nugget you dug up in your backyard would belong to you, in Australia, everything under the ground belongs to all of us. ‘We’ then licence the rights to mining companies – like Shenhua and Hancock Prospecting – to extract those minerals (or other resources).

This arguably makes taxing mining (and resources) profits different to taxing other companies, because they are making profits from something that belongs to us. It’s literally Australia’s family silver. Once it’s sold, it’s gone.

When you take that into account, you could argue that the mining tax is closer to a profit share arrangement than a tax – because it’s about what portion of profits made from our mineral wealth should go to mining companies (who are 83% foreign owned), and what portion should go to us. In 2001, the split was roughly 60/40 – 60% to the mining companies and 40% to us. But now, it’s closer to 80/20 – 80% to the mining companies and 20% to us. The mining tax sought to redress some of that imbalance – although arguably not as well as it could have, thanks to the watering down it got prior to its implementation – but that’s another story.

Conclusion: The Abbott government – with some help from the Mining companies themselves – demonised the Mining Tax. It was the economic terrorist that would kill investment and jobs according to Abbott, and he and his government promised to come in and save us from this terrible mountainous dragon of a tax.

But in the stark light of day, looked at this through the eyes of the average Aussie, the slaying of the mining tax is not something Abbott should be boasting about. It may have been a win for the LNP and some of their major donors, but for everyone else, we’re letting mining companies sell off the family silver without giving us our fair share.

Slaying the Carbon Tax (The tax that would devastate a nation)

“I say to Julia Gillard, what have you got against the people of Gladstone? Why are you trying to close down Gladstone with your mining tax and your carbon tax?”
(Tony Abbott, March 2011)

The Carbon Tax – a quick primer:
The Carbon Tax was introduced on 1 July 2012 as part of the Labor Government’s Clean Energy plan. It only impacted 260 large carbon emitters, who had to pay for their carbon emissions. The goal of the tax was to incentivise a reduction in carbon gas emissions – which it did. The tax was repealed on 17 July 2014.

Abbott’s claim: The sky was going to fall down

According to Abbott, the mining tax and the carbon tax were going to ruin life as we know it in Australia:

“There’s hardly a region in this country that wouldn’t have major communities devastated by the carbon tax if this goes ahead” (April, 2011)

Of course that didn’t happen – this was yet another piece of Truthiness. Abbott took the tiniest of molehills and created a massive mountain of fear about what the Carbon tax would do. Not only did Gladstone not close down, but there was even a great article in the Gladstone Observer in March this year entitled ‘Bring back the carbon tax‘.

Leigh Sales questioned Abbott about this last week – asking him to comment on the fact that places like Gladstone, Whyalla and Geelong weren’t actually wiped off the map as he said they would be. In a rare moment of honesty, Abbott briefly conceded that Sales had a ‘gotcha’ moment, which seemed to shock even him briefly, as he then mumbled something about trying “to be as good as we possibly can be going forward”.

Moreover, not only did the carbon tax not cause wide-spread job loss and economic problems while it was in place – following its repeal, we have not seen the promised increase in investment or jobs. In fact the opposite has occurred. Unemployment has continued to climb and investment to drop. So if scrapping the carbon tax was to have fixed those problems, it has been spectacularly unsuccessful.

The winners: Every household gets $550 a year! Ok, not $550 – but nearly enough to buy an extra cup of coffee every week.

No longer able to link the repeal of the carbon tax to increased investment and employment growth, Abbott and his ministers now focus primarily on the savings to households and businesses created by the tax’s demise:

“We scrapped the carbon tax and that meant that every Australian household on average was $550 a year better off.” (Abbott, March 2015)

This is partially true. As a result of the repeal of the carbon tax, prices did drop, and households will have saved some money. However, according to ABC Fact check, the amount is only $280 per year in 2015/16 and $424 per year over three years. Now before you get too excited by these savings, remember that they are expressed ‘per household’. If you convert that to a saving ‘per person’ it is closer to $110 per year next year and $165 per year over three years – or around the price of a coffee once a week.

The Losers: The Planet and the Budget (AKA the Australian people. Again.)

Before you start celebrating, there’s two big things you traded your extra cup of coffee per week in for:

  1. We’ve no longer got a workable climate change policy to help keep us in clean air, dry land and livable weather.
  2. We’ve gone from collecting revenue from heavy carbon emitters to paying companies for possibly, maybe, doing something about reducing carbon emissions at some point in the future.

Australia’s world-first climate change policy – increase carbon emissions

It’s no secret that Abbott is at best sceptical about the need to do something about climate change. In 2009, he said that climate change was ‘crap’. In his autobiography, he indicates that he is a fan of Australian geologist Ian Plimer whose own book argues that ‘the climate has always changed‘ and that humans are not responsible for current global warming. Interestingly, Plimer is a director on the boards of several of Gina Rinehart’s mining companies. And even more interesting, it seems that Plimer is also a fan of Tony Abbott’s – having donated a total of $97,000 to various branches of the Liberal and National parties in 2013/2014.

Given Abbott’s philosophy on climate change, it’s no wonder that once elected, he set about implementing a world first – a climate change policy that actually resulted in a serious increase in carbon emissions. In fact, since the repeal of the Carbon Tax, Australia’s carbon emissions have been increasing at one of the highest rates since records started in 1990. This suggests that Abbott still doesn’t believe that cutting carbon emissions is a priority, despite the clear consensus amongst scientists that it should be. Some even think that it may already be game over.

Here’s a graph of data published by our Department of Environment earlier this year showing total Australian carbon emissions just prior to when the carbon tax was introduced along with projections through to 2020. The graph shows that there was a clear drop in carbon emissions following the introduction of the Carbon Tax (the green bars). This drop in emissions immediately reversed (the red bars) after the tax was repealed, and the stark increase in emissions is expected to continue through at least 2020.

AustraliasCarbonEmissions2015

Let’s stop raising revenue and start paying companies instead

The other thing that happened as a result of the carbon tax being repealed was that we went from a scheme which raised revenue by taking money from companies with high emissions via the carbon tax (some $6.6 billion in 2013), to one where we pay companies $2.5 billion via the Direct Action Scheme to commit to reducing their emissions. At some point in time. But not necessarily straight away. In fact, only 1.5% of companies who are currently participating in the Direct Action scheme are committing to reduce emissions in the next three to five years.

Scrapping the Carbon Tax and introducing Direct Action has left a $7.6 billion hole in budget revenue – which is going to have to be made up somewhere. So don’t spend that $110 too quickly.

Conclusion: Given Abbott’s historical position on climate change, and that his actions since being elected support increased rather than decreased carbon emissions, it’s difficult to believe his stated position last year, that he takes climate change ‘very seriously‘. Climate change is arguably the most important challenge facing our nation – and the whole world – right now. And yet our Prime Minister is making things worse and not better. The potential consequences of this, not just for future generations, but for current generations are staggering, and make the $280 per household savings seem insignificant. What use is money in the bank if the bank doesn’t have a planet to live on?

But instead of focusing on the very real problem of climate change, Tony Abbott created a mountain out of a carbon-tax-molehill to scare the Australian people into believing that Australia needed to be saved from the carbon-tax, rather than from the true foe – carbon emissions themselves. He convinced people that he was the man to slay the mythical carbon-tax dragon, and completely distracted people from the thing that we should really be afraid of – climate change.

Stopping the Boats – a quick look

Space prohibits me from doing justice to a discussion on the winners and losers from Abbott’s Stop the Boats policy. But just some quick points to consider when thinking about molehills, dragons and mountains:

The only winners I can see from the Abbott government’s Stop the Boats policy are politicians, who have turned the plight of a small number of asylum seekers coming here by boat into another mythical dragon to be slain for their own political ends. The biggest losers are of course the world’s most vulnerable – asylum seekers. Asylum seekers who have nowhere to go, or worse still – are stuck in the torturous hell-holes that are Manus island and Nauru. Or even worse, forcibly returned to the country they were fleeing persecution from – as happened this week.

Yet again the Abbott government has diverted billions of dollars into conquering a molehill that their spin doctors have turned into a dragon-shaped mountain.

Molehills aren’t mountains. Or Dragons. Mountains are mountains.

By @Fyfetoons

By @Fyfetoons

Abbott really does seem to specialise in terrorising the Australian people by making mountains out of molehills. He finds a small but ‘credibilish’ fear and uses rhetoric to fan it into fully fledged terror. He then portrays himself as the only possible saviour of the Australian people from this mountainous mythical dragon.

The three so-called ‘achievements’ discussed above are not the only ones Abbott has created dragons out of – look at the fear he has managed to generate around terrorist attacks.

It’s the ultimate political spin doctoring – create a mythical dragon, fight it, and claim to have saved us from it. And the thing with dragons is that they are far easier to slay – what with them not being real and all – than actual problems. It’s much simpler to be a dragon slayer than someone who actually rights real wrongs or solves real problems.

And let’s face it – it has worked. The good people of Aus have by and large been successfully hoodwinked into buying the myths. As have the media, who on the whole let Abbott’s talk of dragon slaying go largely – not wholly, but largely – unchallenged.

When you look at the winners and losers from the three policies that Abbott boasts so much about – the only consistent winner is the LNP. Abbott’s main achievement has been distracting the Australian people with insignificant dragon-shaped molehills so that we won’t look at the truly mountainous problems we should be focusing on.

This article was first published on Kate M’s blog Progressive Conversation.

Wonderful Humanitarians – The Altruism of Our New Coal Miners

“Coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world.”

Tony Abbott.

Now you’ve probably read something about the wonderful humanitarian efforts of Adani and Shenhua and their plans to create thousands of jobs with new coal mines. Of course, when I say “thousands” that’s at the upper estimate, so a more realistic estimate might be dozens of jobs by the time both mines are operational. Mainly in the PR industry.

But I can’t help but wonder what makes these companies so altruistic. Why start a big new coal mine when you could buy one? And when I say “you”, I’m not speaking generally, I mean you personally. If you don’t think you have the money I’ll lend it to you.

Actually, in fairness, I should say that we may have missed our chance because the mine I’m referring to was actually sold the other day. Price? $1. Maybe we could offer the new owners $2 and give them the chance to double their money in a week. The mine I’m referring to is Isaac Plains, so you can check that I’m not making it up by clicking the link.

But don’t worry there are plenty of other mines for sale. Just Google “coal mines for sale Australia” and you’ll see plenty.

Which makes the plans by Adani and Shenhua seem terribly generous. They’re going to all that trouble to set up a new mine when a mine like Isaac Plains – which a Japanese firm bought for $430 million in 2011 – can be snapped up for small change… literally. Those two companies must surely be just thinking of Australians and how they can help us out by starting a brand new mine in an industry which has about as much future as a buggy whip company. (Although “Fifty Shades of Grey” has led to a bit of a resurgence in those…)

I can see no other reason about from sheer altruism for them embarking on these projects. Although I am overlooking sheer incompetence.

I mean, Shehua Australia Holdings, for example, don’t seem all that good at financial management, filing its accounts late in 2014. And 2013. Mm, oh 2012 as well. But wait in 2011… nah, sorry, they were late then as well. Ok, anyone can be late. I mean, it’s not against the law. Oh, the Coorporations Act? Let’s not get technical. If it was good enough for the Abbott Government to break the law by releasing the Intergenerational Report late, it should be good enough for a company.

Univeristy of NSW lecturer, Jeff Knapp seems to think that Shenhua is pretty sloppy with their adherence to the rules, pointing out that they made a basic mistake in 2012 by including interest paid as cash paid to suppliers and employers in their financial report, but then he’s an academic, so what would he know. According to Knapp this a pretty basic mistake, but then he also thought that refusing to release tax details of millionaires for fear of kidnapping was pretty silly, so like all those interested in accounting, he clearly has an anti-Abbott agenda.

So let’s hear a big cheer for these two companies who are doing something out of the goodness of their hearts and not simply out for profit, like the wind and solar industries.

And as they’re not established industries – after all, clean coal is still in the development phase – perhaps we could get the Clean Energy Finance Coorporation to lend them some money, because they’ll have a pretty hard job getting it from a bank!

Gee, I hope that’s not another idea of mine that the Abbott Government steal.

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

w2 1 It’s difficult to criticise Labor’s proposal to impose the so called Buffet Tax on the rich when the Australian Taxation Office had found that in 2011-12 75 Australians earning more than $1 million a year had paid no tax at all. In fact combined annual incomes of those millionaires was $195 million, but through elaborate accounting tricks, the super-rich 75 had been required to stump up just $82 in total.

2 Research shows that Federal Coalition member’s annual expenses are on average $90,000 per head more than Labor MPs. Even allowing for the higher costs of incumbency it is an astonishing figure. No one doubts the validity of claiming expenses but this really has to be sorted out. Joe makes thirteen trips to his farm and Bronwyn attends Mirabella’s wedding all on the pretext that they were on government business. “The age of privilege is over” said Joe. “Crap” said Tony.

3 One of the regrets of my life is that in all probability Australia will not become a Republic in my lifetime. But Shorten is right to aim for 2025. And if you could make it sooner I would be immensely happy.

4 Bill Shorten is planning equal representation of the sexes in Parliament. Did he consult with the Minister for Women?

Sunday 26 August.

An observation:

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

w5 1 Last week at the Premier’s retreat the PM appealed for a calm measured debate on the GST without any scaremongering. Sounds reasonable except he continued his scare campaigns on Asylum Seekers and Climate Change.

An example of this is Dutton’s announcement that if Labor won the next election hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers would invade our shores. We deserve better than these fools.

2 Australia remains the only developed country yet to announce what plan it will take to the global climate summit in Paris. So let’s not have any of these ridiculous scare campaigns. It should be pointed out that Labor has not actually announced a Climate policy and that despite criticising Labor for not modelling its policy-in-progress, the Coalition can’t point to any modelling of its own Direct Action policy because it has never done any – not when it was in opposition, nor when it was in government. During the last election, if I recall correctly, Abbott said he just wanted to have a crack

3 The cost advantage of non-polluting energy is rapidly increasing. Wind is already the cheapest, and solar PV [photovoltaic panels] will be cheaper than gas in around two years, in 2017. Wind will continue to decrease in cost but solar will become the dominant source in the longer term.

4 Speaking of leadership the latest Morgan survey reveals that Abbott is supported as Liberal Leader by only 13% and Shorten as ALP Leader by only 12%. The Libs prefer Turnbull by a whopping margin and Labor prefer Deputy ALP Leader Tanya Plibersek.

5 It just won’t go away. It has now been revealed that TAXPAYERS footed a more than $21,000 bill for Warren Truss to give a speech explaining the virtues of tightening the government belt and reducing expenditure after the controversial 2014 Federal Budget.

It’s our money, folks.

6 All things considered it’s been a good conference for the leader.

w6 Monday 26 July

A poem on the theme of domestic violence.

Maria, I called

I awoke with a throaty dankness Of alcohol overindulged Detestable stupidity And unmitigated sorrow

The why of it deserted me Memories vague but real I had committed a sin Of unforgiving evil

Then my conscience Spoke with morose meaning I had hit her a coward’s punch Destroying her exquisite smile

Maria I called to the silence But it prevailed God I said as if to mock my Self hatred

I pissed and staggered Through my regrets To the kitchen The stench of myself hit me

Where was she and The noise that children make Regret insinuated itself On the absence of love

She had written with miseries ink Just three words “The last time” on pristine white I cursed the grog but

Pathetically I sought the Next bottle of my degeneracy And took it to bed Contemplating the me I used to be

John Lord

1 Last week the PM was full of praise for a debate, without scaremongering, on the issue of the GST. It seems however that scaremongering is ok on climate change and it has begun already. An ETS is a tax he insists with the same enthusiasm he had for a leg of lamb or wiping towns off the map before the last election.

We all might ask though just what it is they are using to fund their nonsensical Direct Action plan. Answer: YOUR TAXES.

Then yesterday afternoon Malcolm Turnbull cut through Abbott’s slogans and semantics dominating the climate policy debate – pointing out that all policies to push low-emission electricity generation come at a cost to households, including the ones the government supports, and that the cost of renewables is falling. He went on to correctly talk about the costs of whatever scheme is adopted. The Coalition has never revealed its costings beyond its present scheme.

I repeat: “We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

Remember the “historic and ambitious” climate agreement between the US and China, when Tony Abbott was left out in the ‘coald’?

Asked where the deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

2 I do wish someone amongst all those Labor supporters who so detest Bill Shorten and his Asylum Turn Back policy would show me their alternate so that I might gauge the difference. The question always arises. What would you do?

3 Morgan Poll: L-NP support has slumped 3% to 46% cf. ALP 54% (up 3%) on a two-party preferred basis as the travel expense ‘misconduct’ surrounding Parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s incorrect use of taxpayer entitlements continued to impact negatively on the Government.

Tuesday 28 July

1 Bronwyn Bishop’s office claims she has to keep secret her meetings in Albury on the weekend she claimed travel expenses to attend Sophie Mirabella’s wedding. Sniff test, lie detector test, pub test. Take your pick.

2 Goodness, all the talk yesterday about more women in the Coalition ranks. Don’t they realise they have a minister for women and he also happens to be the Prime Minister. Why isn’t he taking some action?

3 This week’s Essential Poll and Survey sees Labor back on 53% and the Coalition on 47%. What can be read into it? Well this far out from the next election so many things can happen that you cannot view it as an indication of how people will vote. It’s only an insight into how people are thinking at the moment. It is a measure of this Governments unpopularity though that they have never headed the Opposition since the election.

This is what they thought of Bronwyn Bishop and the expenses saga.

25% think she should stand down while her expenses are being investigated, 19% think she should resign as Speaker and 24% think she should resign from Parliament.

34% of Liberal/National voters think she should remain as Speaker – 25% think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament. A majority of Labor voters (59%) and Greens voters (55%) think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament.

On Electricity costs

51% think their electricity bill over the last 12 months has increased, 33% think it has stayed about the same and 9% think it has decreased.

There were not substantial differences by voting intention or demographics – although Labor voters (58%) were a little more likely to think it had increased.

On the impact of the Carbon Tax.

More than 60% of voters think the former Labor government’s carbon price had no effect, or only a small effect, on electricity bills. Just as Abbott tries to rerun a cost of living scare campaign against Labor’s pledge to re-introduce an emissions trading scheme.

On Tax Reform

There was strong majority support for forcing multinational companies to pay a minimum tax rate on Australian earnings (79%), increasing income tax rate for high earners (63%) and removing superannuation tax concessions for high earners (59%).

There was strong majority opposition to increasing the GST (65%).

Wednesday 29 July

Posted my piece Where Did all his Readers Go?

1 Alan Jones opining about the character of Aussie rules player Adam Goodes. You have to put it in perspective of course. Goods is a champion player, champion human being who does a lot to further indigenous culture and represent his race. He is an ‘’Australian of the Year’’ and a fine one. On the other hand Alan Jones is a detestable human who delights in demining people. And he accepts paid millions to do so. How someone of such little character can judge someone with so much stretches my intellect somewhat.

2 Senior ministers, it seems, are ‘ropeable’ over the Bronwyn Bishop’s scandal saying it is damaging the Government.

Some charity should suggest an admission charge to the public gallery for the next Question Time to raise funds. Pressure is mounting on Bishop to resign but she won’t. Abbott is unlikely to force her instead relishing an all in brawl with the Opposition. In the meantime we can all sit and ponder just how it is we are being governed.

It would not surprise if today she says the dog ate her expenses homework-twice.

Who tweeted this?

After 2 interesting tram trips last night now on the 109 on Collins St to Sth Cross to get the train to Geelong to visit . . .

An observation:

“The simplest way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”

3 There is something cringe worthy about politicians delaying the inevitable. Abbott is doing everything possible to delay a vote on gay marriage. It’s not like it’s something new that requires more debate. The public has let the public know their feelings and they should act accordingly. All he is doing is making his Government more disliked than it already is.

Thursday 30 July

Bronwyn Bishop’s gratuitous empty apology to the Australian people on the Alan Jones (where else) program was too little too late. It does nothing for the public’s perception that politicians are openly rorting the system. She has further demeaned the position of speaker if indeed that is possible. Her bias as speaker is acknowledged by both sides of the political spectrum, as does all sections of the media. Her behaviour has reflected on all members of parliament and the Prime Ministers failure to dismiss her is yet another example of his lack of qualities as a leader.

Her credibility is now so tainted that she could not possible command the respect of the Parliament and its members.

The Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne, may well seek to protect her, particularly in question time, but an already tarnished, childish excuse for a demonstration of democracy will be further diminished.

There was a time when our Parliament exhibited some collective dignity and personal integrity. Abbott seems to have so trashed the conventions and principles of our Parliament that it no longer conforms to the traditions of the Westminster system.

A midday thought:

Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths”.

Friday 31 July

1 Has Mike Baird become our de facto PM. Firstly he makes the running on a debate for an increase on the GST. Something you would expect an incumbent PM to do. And yesterday he took on a plea for people to stop booing footballer Adam Goodes. In the meantime the leader of the nation remains silent on the issue.

Midday thoughts

1 Two issues dominated the week. Firstly the Adam Goodes’ saga occupied all genres of the media and many morally unqualified commentators opined their ignorance. It will be the subject of my next piece for THE AIMN.

2 Bronwyn Bishop continued to dominate the headlines and this morning Gerard Henderson was on News24 defending her. The point is this. Her performance as Speaker on any level of judgement has been abysmal. The expenses issue is simple the catalyst in calling for her resignation.

My view hasn’t changed. Bishop should resign and write her memoirs. I’m sure somebody MIGHT be interested.

Even today the PM said this:

“She is obviously deeply remorseful, anyone who saw her on television yesterday would know that she is a very, very chastened person indeed”.

Can someone tell me the medical term for delayed reaction?

And this is the week that was.

Malcolm Turnbull had the last word without saying a thing.

w10

 

Labor’s Asylum Seeker Policy Should Be A Seven Point Star!

“I’m not in favour of changing the flag, I’ve got to say. Although I have to say that if the Commonwealth star was to be a 7-pointed star rather than a 6-pointed star, that’s hardly a massive change. I would say that that is an evolution rather than a revolution.”

Tony Abbott on the Northern Territory becoming a state.

OK, as I’m sure most of you know – and if you didn’t it’s probably been pointed out by several of those lefties who just pounce on every mistake that Tony makes – our flag already has a seven point star. Honestly, you’d think that people had better things to do than laugh at the Liberals every time one of them puts their foot in their mouth, then shoots themselves in the foot, luckily missing their brain. At the very least, you would have thought that those commenting on Tony’s mistakes would have given up through sheer exhaustion.

Personally, I think that there’s something in Tony’s “star” comment for Labor. They need to stop presenting alternatives and just argue that what they’re doing is hardly a radical change. After all, Tony Abbott is so unpopular – thanks to all those who laugh at him just because he’s reality challenged – that if the Labor Party can just keep Bill Shorten out of sight apart from when he makes an announcement like a fifty percent renewable target, they should romp in the next election by about thirty seats.

In practice, this would mean instead of talking about an emissions trading scheme, which the Liberals would argue is a carbon tax by another name, Labor should just announce that it’s increasing the GST, but only on carbon, which is really “an evolution rather than a revolution” and don’t we already have a GST, which John Howard said was his star achievement, apart from his daughter marrying his doppelganger? So it’s hardly a “big new tax” it’s just an extra point on the star of the GST.

As for as an asylum seeker policy goes, well, rather than having a big public argument, Labor should just announce that they’ll be doing all they can to stop boats arriving and people drowning at sea, and when asked whether that includes boat turn-backs, the response should simply be: “It’s been a long-standing bipartisan policy not to comment on operation matters.” Then, when in government, they could do what they like with boat arrivals. Turn them back, send them to Malaysia, create a regional processing centre for new arrivals in some undisclosed location, give them all helicopter rides back and forth to Geelong, whatever. They simply needn’t tell us!

If pressed while still in Opposition, Labor could simply say that they’re refering all comment about “on-water matters” to the weekly press conference held by Scott Morrison to keep us informed. If a member of the press should dare to point out that Scott Morrison stopped holding weekly press conferences shortly after telling everybody that he’d only be making comments at his weekly press conference, and, besides, Morrison is no longer Minister for Immigration, Labor’d have the option of asking, “Are you suggesting that’s why that boat penetrated our immigration zone – because Dutton’s not up to the job?” Again, after the winning the election, when Dutton’s no longer Immigration Minister, they could suggest that it’s not policy to comment on who is, or who isn’t Immigration Minister as it’s an operational matter and revealing such information could be an even bigger help to people smugglers than paying them to not pollute.

Oh wait, that’s the Climate Change Directionless Act policy that the Liberals had; not the pay people smugglers to take the boats back policy which they may – or may not – have had…

Anyway, my advice to Labor is to adopt the seven point star strategy, and now that the Clifton Hill branch has taken my advice by asking Bronwyn Bishop to speak*, I’m hoping to be taken on as a paid strategist. Or at the very least, the Liberals could adopt their Direct Action Strategy and pay me to stop writing.

Yes, like Tony, sometimes I just don’t see the point!

*The other day I wrote:

Mm, I wonder if she’d be prepared to go and speak at a Labor Party fundraiser if she were asked. After all, she is meant to be non-partisan and she did say that she went to Geelong in her capacity as speaker. There ya go, Bill. Don’t move a motion of no confidence. Issue her with an invitation… See if that gets you thrown out of Parliament; I’m sure that she’s trying reach 400 Labor ejections before September.

Yes, while it’s only the Clifton Hill Branch that seems to have taken up my suggestion, I feel that Bishop’s office should be flooded with requests for her to speak at fundraisers, just to give her the chance to show that she certainly wasn’t playing favourites by only speaking a Liberal functions.

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday July 11

1 Kim Carr made a valid point yesterday when he said “we are entering a very dark corner. We are seeing the use of state power to silence political opposition”.

2 The ABC is an independent organisation. The PM has no right to place conditions on it before allowing his ministers to appear on the Q&A program is an absurdity. The people’s right to know should be the major priority.

3 He declared a United Nations report on climate change “got it wrong by almost 100 per cent”, but shock jock Alan Jones was the one who blundered, Australia’s media watchdog has found.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Friday found the 2GB host, described on the station’s website as “a phenomenon” and “the nation’s greatest orator and motivational speaker”, breached commercial radio codes in 2013 by making inaccurate comments about the rate of global warming as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Sunday July 12

1 Earlier this year Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said:

“I have no right, no power, nor should I have, to direct the editorial content of the ABC”

“The responsibility for ensuring that the ABC’s news and information services are balanced and objective and impartial, and accurate, is in section eight of the act, and that responsibility lies with the board of directors.”

As one unnamed Coalition source said: “We can’t legislate for gay marriage and talk about national security at the same time, but we can talk about a TV show for weeks. Why on earth are we prioritising this?”

Well it’s because the Prime Minister thinks the solution to every problem can be resolved with a sledge hammer approach. It is warped sense of what he thinks leadership is about that he actually thinks people are impressed.

bruce

2 Proverbial motor mouth Bruce Billson (pictured above) would have us believe that “If Labor don’t declare political donations then it’s a sling, a bribe, and a conflict of interest”. Tony Abbott declared donations to his electorate of Warringah 5 years later. Hockey 14 years later and only after they got wind of ICACs interest. What more can one say?

But Bruce felt it was fine to attend a Liberal fundraiser when the Mafia was making donations.

Midday thoughts

1 I am convinced, if I wasn’t already, after watching a press conference in which the Prime Minister was asked a seriously genuine question about the Greek and Chinese economic situations that he now believes in his own political infallibility. So much so that he thinks people have factored in the thought that his inane answers to questions are acceptable. His political career is littered with irrational doings and sayings and his lying is legendary. However, this one takes first prize.

In this case a journalist was enquiring about what effect these financial crises might have on our economy.

groceries

His reply to the question was that we need a strong viable Australian grocery trade. In fairness he was launching something to do with that industry but his answer was so ludicrously silly it bore no relationship to the question. He suggested to reporters that his domestic grocery code of conduct would have prevented the various global market uncertainties. He obviously didn’t mean it because what he said was entirely ridiculous. To make matters worse he ignored the fact that we have a grocery duopoly that doesn’t serve us well. But that of course is beside the point.

He is now at a point in his Prime ministership where he has become bizarre, irrational and conversationally incoherent. He seems to have a preoccupation with trivial ideological pursuits such as the ABC.

And to quote Katherine Murphy of The Guardian:

” . . . choosing to micromanage a public broadcaster late on a Friday afternoon wasn’t quite as strange as the grocery code saving Greece but it was pretty darned strange behaviour, monstering the ABC like it’s one of your junior ministers or an arm of the state, digging yourself deeper in a fight which makes no sense and is only sucking up oxygen and hurting you”.

He has always worked on the principle that you say what you want at the time for maximum impact and tidy up the mess, if any, later.

However he is becoming increasingly untenable as a leader. Leadership has been replaced with dictatorship.

Of course Malcolm Fraser warned that he was a dangerous politician. Are we beginning to find out how dangerous?

2 If Bill Shorten’s dealings by some are viewed as suspect then so too must be the decision to award the Royal Commission a $17 million contract to the firm of lawyers with whom Senator Eric Abetz is associated.

The three Royal Commissions into Labor Leadership has now exceeded 100 million dollars.

Monday 13 July

solar

Oh no. It’s just wind turbines.

The Abbott government has opened up another front in its war on renewable energy by pulling the plug on investments in the most common form of alternative energy; rooftop and small-scale solar.

As a storm raged over the government’s directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to no longer back wind energy projects, it emerged that it has also put a stop to solar investments other than the largest industrial-scale projects.

What Luddites they really are. They say they believe in the science of Global Warming but their every action is contrary to that belief. It seems the combined advancement in battery and solar technology has escaped them.

An observation:

People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings.

Tuesday 14 July

Yesterday’s Morgan Poll with Labor on 51% and the LNP on 49% proves that Abbott’s decision to force Shorten to front the Royal Commission was a politically correct one. He has insinuated upon us the politics of negativity and the populace has fallen for It.

Midday thoughts

1 Has Australia ever, so blindly, elected a man so negatively characterless? So ignorant of truth and transparency. So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves. So willing to endorse and foster inequality. So illiterate of technology and science. So oblivious to the needs of women. So inept at policy formation and its implementation. So prone to the language of absurdity. So pugnacious, so confrontationist so self-righteous, in his attitude toward others. So dismissive of those who desire equality. And so out of touch with a modern pluralist society. A man so unsophisticated in deep worldly acumen or discernment, yet religiously motivated.

2 Indonesia’s decision to reduce its cattle imports from Australia must be directly linked to our more recent diplomatic differences. It’s simply payback time for Abbott’s awful diplomacy. Having said that, the National Party representing those affected will remain silent, weekly toe the line as people wonder why they are in the Parliament at all. They are grossly overrepresented as a proportion of their vote anyway.

3 Malcolm Turnbull and John Hewson,both voices of moderation on the right last night slammed the Prime Minister for his deliberate campaign to scare the people on National Security.

And on the issue of Ministers appearing on Q&A they both vented their dismay at the Prime Minister’s attitude.

Wednesday 15 July

An observation:

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

1 This week’s Essential Poll has Labor on 52 with the Coalition on 48.

2 The Morgan Poll tells us that the government still lags behind Labor with voters between the ages of 18 and 34 comprehensively favoring the opposition, 63.5% of 18-24-year-olds polled saying they would vote Labor.

By contrast, voters over the age of 60 favor the Coalition, 58% to Labor’s 42%.

Does that tell you something?

Posted in “Your Say” in THE AIMN:

q and a boy

Q&A And a Boys Question

He is really Off His Rocker or He’s a nut case.

Thursday 16 July

1 Why does the Prime Minister feel the need to enhance his already well won reputation as Australia’s premier political liar by telling more of them?

bishop2

2 Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has charged taxpayers almost $90,000 for a two-week European trip partly aimed at securing her a plum new job. Mrs Bishop was entitled to take two staff members on the trip. And she charged taxpayers more than $5000 to charter a flight from Melbourne to Geelong in November. Her office has repeatedly failed to explain why Mrs Bishop needed to charter a plane for a trip that would have taken her about an hour in her much cheaper chauffer-driven commonwealth car.

Apparently she made a spectacular entrance at a golf club for a Liberal Party fund raiser.

Of course this is not unusual. Remember Tony Abbott’s claiming expenses of $9,400 from the taxpayer while on a promotion tour to launch his book?

And when he was opposition leader his office needed twice the budget of the Prime Ministers to function.

The age of entitlement is still with us. Right, Joe. When you have both the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House ripping off the system with impunity then you know your democracy is in trouble.

There was a time when parliamentarians with integrity resigned over such matters.

3 A group of Federal MPs say they doubt Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s reliability after his decision to oppose a Chinese-backed coal mine.

The fact that he was right in doing so seems to have escaped them. I don’t usually agree with him but on this occasion I admire him for standing on his dig. My God they are a feral lot.

4 Abbott’s response to Labor’s leaked discussion paper on Climate Change drew his usual response but this time there was a touch of desperation. He sounded shrill and over the top. So too were the media.

A Midday Thought

How is it possible that one Speaker of The House of Representatives can be hounded out of office, his life virtually destroyed by an Opposition with no moral compass other than hate and revenge over $900 worth of cab charges, yet another in Bronwyn Bishop get of scott free over a $5000 helicopter flight for a Liberal Party fund raiser? As I said yesterday, there was a time when parliamentarians would resign over such matters. She will probably be given the opportunity to repay the money and that will be the end of the matter. Slipper was never availed of that opportunity.

The question of Parliamentary expenses will never be resolved by politicians. It needs an independent inquiry otherwise corrupt practices will just continue and people like Bishop will continue to drink from the trough at the taxpayers’ expense.

Posted Morrie’s Letter to the Editor.

Friday 16 July

Continuing on from yesterday’s “Bronnies Expense Gate” I repeat again: She should resign. As the principal office holder in the House of Representatives, Bishop has an obligation not only to uphold the highest standards, but to set an example to all MPs. In the absence of a compelling explanation, she has failed on both counts.

One of the more humorous aspects of taking a daily interest in politics is watching politicians defend the indefensible. But more serious is seeing them get away with it.

The issue of claiming unjustifiable expenses has been going on for decades. In recent times we have had the Slipper affair (mentioned yesterday) that cost him his job, his health, and his reputation.

The Prime Minister, a lifelong habitual expense claimer, not so long ago claimed taxpayer expenses for the launch of his own book. Later he arranged a morning visit to a hospital so that he could claim overnight living expenses. The Speaker and the PM ripping off the taxpayer. “Unbelievable”, I hear you say. Reputably he is the highest paid politician in the world and she earns $370,000 a year.

To think that she can tick up $90,000 on a European trip partly aimed at securing a plum new job abroad is a scandal that we should not turn a blind eye too.

Even Treasurer Joe Hockey has called on Bishop to explain why she spent $5000 on short helicopter ride to a Liberal fundraiser, agreeing it doesn’t pass the “sniff test”. Mr Hockey admitted Mrs Bishop’s expenses were “not a good look” for the government, after he had personally declared the “age of entitlement” was over. He declined to say whether she should resign.

Unfortunately the public have become so used to this sort of behavior from our politicians that they just let it go through to the keeper without complaint.

I don’t wish to get into the area of who sniffs and where but this has the smell, the stench, of born to rule privilege written all over it.

Pigs with snouts in the trough of the public purse need to be identified, castigated and ridiculed in any way possible. I’m doing my bit. Are you? The PM, if he has any guts, should ask her to step down.

Midday Thoughts

1 Interesting take on Bishop’s helicopter flight by Murdoch’s The Australian. Their view is that her mistake was in not taking a cheaper price on offer. Really? On that measure Slipper would not have been in trouble had he used Uber instead of Silver Top? How is that for journalistic excellence?

reclaim

2 So George Christensen, the rabid right wing Islamophobic MP is to be a feature speaker at a Reclaim Australia rally. A group of swastika tattooed racist feral types who are anti anything that isn’t white.

One has to wonder why our Prime Minister would allow his MPs to speak at these race hate rallies but not allow others to appear on Q&A.

And the week ends with the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives likely to be investigated by the Federal Police for allegedly misusing Parliamentary entitlements.

Shame, shame, shame.

This is the week that was. I leave you with this thought:

Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it”.

 

A Question of Character

Has Australia ever, so blindly, elected a man so negatively characterless? So ignorant of truth and transparency. So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves. So willing to endorse and foster inequality. So illiterate of technology and science. So oblivious to the needs of women. So indifferent to diplomacy. So inept at policy formation and its implementation. So prone to the language of absurdity. So pugnacious, so confrontationist, so self-righteous, in his attitude toward others. So dismissive of those who desire equality. And so out of touch with a modern pluralist society. A man so unsophisticated in deep worldly acumen or discernment, yet religiously motivated.

Just thinking.

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday June 27

1 Do you ever wonder what happened to the debt crisis? That time when Abbott and Hockey used every negative description they could to describe Australia’s budgetary position as a disaster. Well in less than two years in office, the Abbott government has added almost $100bn to the level of Commonwealth government debt. This is a 35% increase from the $273bn level of gross government debt at the time of the September 2013 election. This increase flies in the face of the Coalition’s pledge prior to the election – and occasionally since – of reducing debt and at some stage, paying it off.

By the time the next election is held, most likely in the latter part of 2016, the Budget papers indicate the Abbott government will have increased government debt by around $150bn in its three years in power and three years of implementing its economic policy objectives.

2 Now I ask you, if the ABC is as biased as Abbott and his acolytes reckon why would they produce a series as damaging as The Killing Season?

3 President Obama had two significant victories in the Supreme Court this week. Firstly they overwhelmingly endorsed Obamacare as legal. The Republicans had tried to bring it down 50 times in the Congress. This will cement him as a great President. Secondly the Court gave its blessing to equality in marriage in all States further enhancing the President’s progressive political views.

It is now difficult to imagine how our Prime Minister could possibly prevent gay marriage becoming a reality here. He has been on the wrong side of history on so many things. Climate change is but another.

Sunday 28 June

A Sunday reflection:

The Australian flag, for me at least, has little relevance. It is simply another nation’s flag with a few stars surrounding it. It speaks of our past and not our future. But of late, I must confess to being pissed off to see it, or more precisely, many of them being used as background for a Prime Minister to spew unwarranted divisive inflammatory language about national security.

The security of a nation’s people is of course a government’s first priority. There can be no doubt about it. How you go about it is another thing. John Howard was accused, when using the term, “Be alert but not alarmed” of being just that, a alarmist. Tony Abbott on the other hand with his inflammatory language “DAESH IS COMING, IF IT CAN FOR EVERY PERSON AND FOR EVERY GOVERNMENT WITH A SIMPLE MESSAGE. SUBMIT OR DIE” makes no secret of the fact that for nothing more than political reasons he is about not only scaring you, but making you petrified. His aim is to have the entire population in a high state of anxiety.

Why? Well history shows that people are inclined to support an incumbent government in times of crisis. So everyday Tony Abbott creates crisis with National Security. He places it front and center. He makes it his top priority to imply that at any time something catastrophic is about to happen. Making people feel insecure is of the utmost importance to him. Everyday there is a reason for new laws to be passed, more money to be spent on security with explanations scant or nonexistent.

If it were all true a leader with character, judgement and discernment would, without conflicting National Security, take the people and their well-being seriously by creating a comprehensive calming statement of fact and intent that the people could digest with trust. This of course is beyond a leader like Abbott who thrives on gutter negativity.

An observation: “If the Coalition has, as it’s fond of telling us, natural economic qualities superior to anyone else in its DNA, why is it hiding behind the cloak of national security?”

What then are the facts?

When using the language of terrorism, in my mind is a 9/11 or a suicide bomber – a car bomb. Not a couple of confused kids with a sword and a knife.

So without playing down the importance of vigilance I am trying to bring some perspective to the government’s alarmist language when talking terrorism.

ABS stats on deaths by terrorist activity for the period 1978-2014 show that 113 Australians lost their lives. Yes, that’s right. In 36 years 113 people have died from terrorism.

By comparison this year around 730 will die from Domestic Violence and around 2500 will take their own lives.

You be the judge.

For me I just wish we had a leader whose voice was as loud for the victims of child abuse, domestic violence and suicide as it is for terrorism.

An observation:

“You cannot possibly believe in democracy if at the same time you think you’re party is the only one that should ever win”.

In view of the rise of far right Neo conservatism I am currently reviewing my position.

Monday 29 June

1 The LNP should rename themselves the Lost Negative Party.

2 A decent, reasoned leader governing in the public interest would concede that despite his own views the momentum for equal marriage requires immediate action. My fear is that even with a free vote there are enough LNP MPs so influenced by religion that they will ignore the public’s overwhelming desire for change.

3 Malcolm Turnbull said on Insiders yesterday that under its charter the ABC has a higher duty of objectivity than any other media outlet. He is right of course and this is evidenced by the Q&A furor. It’s just a pity that commercial outlets are not subjected to the same rules of objectivity. But that of course would be infringing on their right to free speech.

For a belly laugh read this.

Tuesday 30 June

1 The Morgan Poll shows that Federal LNP support is up 1% to 46.5% down 1% to ALP 53.5%. No doubt Labor had a bad week last week but Abbott is still on the nose. 62% of Labor support comes from the 18-24 group. LNP is favored by 57% aged over 65.

Labor also improved its position in the Essential Poll and now leads 53/47.

You work it out.

The National Security scare campaign hasn’t worked.

isis

2 Sad to see long-term head of the left-leaning think tank, the Australia Institute, Richard Dennis stepping down. Hope he continues to write.

3 Isn’t it ironic that while the LNP is facing a bitter internal dispute within its ranks about the science of climate change a new group has been formed to put pressure on them to come up with a reasonable emissions reduction target from 2020 onwards, warning against “piecemeal” policies and arguing that avoiding dangerous warming and reconfiguring the economy requires tougher and more urgent action from the Government?

Members of the group include the Australian Aluminium Council; Australian Industry Group; The Climate Institute; Australian Conservation Foundation; Business Council of Australia; WWF Australia; Australian Council of Social Service; Energy Supply Association of Australia; Australian Council of Trade Unions; and Investor Group on Climate Change.

When diverse groups such as these come together for a common cause it simply demonstrates just how far Tony Abbott is out of touch on, not only this, but many other issues.

An observation:

‘Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability’.

4 “This is not a question of a boycott” Malcolm Turnbull said referring to the fact that no one from the LNP is allowed to appear on Q&A. What is it then one might ask? An attack on free speech?

5 The children of terrorist Khaled Sharrouf are victims of the sins of the father and it amounts to child abuse. As such they should be afforded the same considerations available to other victims.

6 The proposed changes to the current successful management of Super Funds amounts to nothing more than Union bashing. Conservatives certainly know how to hate.

Another thought:

‘We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups’.

Wednesday July 1

1 Despite Bill Shorten’s horrendous week last week Tuesday’s Newspoll shows Labor is ahead of the Coalition 53% to 47%, nearly a direct reversal of the 46.5% to 53.5% result at the September 2013 federal election.

2 On Q&A the champion of free speech, Tim Wilson, the individual who goes to great lengths to protect the right of people like Jones, Bolt and other right media extremists to spread their hatred, denied it to someone he disagrees with. Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner has a very warped sense of what free speech is. As does Turnbull when it comes to the word independent.

3 Labor has left the door open for the caucus to reverse Kevin Rudd’s rule that makes it nearly impossible for the party’s elected leader to be toppled in a midnight coup. Its draft national constitution, published on its website, includes changes made to the way the leader is elected by an equally weighted ballot of caucus and party members. That’s more like it.

4 The Four Corner’s revelation that key Liberal fundraising body took Mafia money for access is of major concern. Shorten offers a bi-partisan approach to political donations but as yet Abbott hasn’t taken it up. Is it any wonder that politicians are so un-trusted?

5 Joe Hockey received $200,000 in a defamation case but the real problem is in the reason for the case in the first place. That is that for a fee of $22,000 you could be guaranteed attendance at lunches and other events with the treasurer. Reeks of . . .

6 Now out of the blue the PM has taken his unusual manner of talking into another zone.

“May God bless you, may God bless your work, may God bless the country you are helping to protect and prosper.”

Read about it here.

Thursday 2 July

1 I seems that documents obtained under FOI by The Australian Financial Review reveal that the Coalition Cabinet considered similar taxation on superannuation to that proposed by Labor but dropped it when Labor announced its policy.

So they dropped what they inevitably will have to do simply to avoid being embarrassed.

2 A question about National Security. Would you say our Prime Minister is seeking to calm our overblown fears or is playing them for all he’s worth?

3 The former well thought of Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson who was sacked by Abbott because he believed in the science of climate change, has heavily criticised the Abbott government’s renewable energy target and Direct Action policies, saying they will be a far costlier way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than an emissions trading scheme. When the truth comes back to bite you. And the truth is that we are being governed by untruthful fools.

An observation:

“Leaders who cannot comprehend the importance of truth as being fundamental to the democratic process make the most contribution to its demise”.

“Seriously, if our Conservative politicians go any further to the right they will be in danger of falling off”.

4 Has Labor Party morality sunk so low that it would support legislation that would see someone jailed for up to two years for reporting the abuse of asylum seekers? Have we really reached the point under Abbott that for revealing the truth, that someone is being ill-treated, even raped, you can be jailed? Shame shame. Without transparency democracy cannot exist let alone flourish.

Friday 3 July

1 The response to a Private Members Bill on equal marriage from the conservative side of politics is both predictable and illuminating. Reading between the lines of the Prime Minister’s statements it seems he is prepared to delay it for as long as he can.

And this from government whip Andrew Nikolic who heads the committee that decides on what legislation comes before the Parliament. MPs who expect a vote on same-sex marriage any time soon must have “rocks in their head”.

2 When the Abbott government’s Energy White Paper was released it made headlines for its curious reluctance to mention climate change – but the looming Defence White Paper may prove to be a different story.

A report on community consultations associated with the Defence White Paper flags the consequences of climate change, extreme weather events and environmental pressures as a significant security risk for Australia – second only to the risks posed by terrorism.

It’s all catching up with you Tony.

3 In case you didn’t know, the Attorney General and Arts Minister, George Brandis, will have the final say on all grants allocated through the newly established National Program for Excellence in the Arts, draft guidelines published on Wednesday suggest.

Doctors

4 Are Australians aware that yesterday was the start of the GP Tax by stealth? Yes that’s right yesterday saw a four year freeze on the Medicare rebate, meaning that doctors over time will be $8.43 worse off each visit so its expected they will pass it onto the patients.

Gay marriage 2

And this is the week that was.

Anthony Albanese summed it up rather nicely when talking about Tea Party conservatives and Eric Abetz’s piece on gay marriage in the SMH:

“They are stuck in the past and they want everyone to go back there and keep them company”.

One last thing:

The fragility of life and relationship is once again demonstrated with the murder of Adelaide football coach Phil Walsh. I hope the greatest game on earth stands tall in the circumstances.

Adults in charge or a dolt in charge?

Interviewer: Good afternoon, today we have a Liberal Party spokesperson, Noah Dear, because none of the Parliamentary party were prepared to be interviewed…

Mr Dear: Excuse me, but that’s not correct, they were all prepared to be interviewed, it was just considered that it would be best if they weren’t available.

Interviewer: And why weren’t they available?

Mr Dear: They were all involved in an “operational matter”. I can’t say any more, but these are dangerous times, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

Interviewer: What’s so dangerous about them?

Mr Dear: Well, everywhere you have people taking things that government members have said and twisting them so that the context is lost.

Interviewer: Which brings me to my first question, is it true that we are paying people smugglers to return asylum seekers to Indonesia?

Mr Dear: I’m sorry, but that’s not right.

Interviewer: So we’re not paying people smugglers?

Mr Dear: No, that wasn’t your first question, you’ve already several.

Interviewer: Notwithstanding the number of questions I’ve asked, is it true?

Mr Dear: Look it’s been a long-standing policy of this government that we don’t comment on things like that.

Interviewer: You mean operational matters?

Mr Dear: No, I mean anything that the Opposition can use to make us look ridiculous.

Interviewer: Such as anything Joe Hockey says, or most photos of Christopher Pyne?

Mr Dear: Let’s just say that I don’t want to confirm or deny the story. You can put me down as a definite: “No comment”!

Interviewer: But if we’re paying people smugglers doesn’t that seem a little contradictory to the government’s policy.

Mr Dear: Look, Mr Abbott has made it clear that he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to stop the vile trade of people smugglers…

Interviewer: Including paying the very people that we’re meant to be at war with?

Mr Dear: What do you mean “at war”?

Interviewer: In 2014, Mr Abbott himself said: “We are in a fierce contest with these people smugglers, And if we were at war, we wouldn’t be giving out information that is of use to the enemy just because we might have an idle curiosity about it ourselves.”

Mr Dear: So?

Interviewer: Well, if we’re at war with these people smugglers, doesn’t it seem a little odd to be giving them money?

Mr Dear: Look, if we were at war with people smugglers – and I’m not confirming that one way or the other, because it’s an operational matter and it’s our government’s policy not to comment on operational matters – then we’d be using whatever means we could to break their business model.

Interviewer: Including improving it by enabling them to be paid by both the asylum seekers and the government? Paying them twice doesn’t seem like a good way to break their resolve.

Mr Dear: That assumes that we’re paying them.

Interviewer: Well, are we?

Mr Dear: Maybe. But possibly not. However, if we are, then it would be a good idea. And, if we’re not, that’s because we don’t think it’s likely to work.

Interviewer: If I could just move on to another matter…

Mr Dear: Look, Mr Hockey is simply stating the truth, what bank is going to lend…

Interviewer: I was going to ask about the government’s determination to get rid of red tape and needless delays.

Mr Dear: Oh excellent, we’re doing all we can to remove red tape so that business doesn’t face unnecessary delays…

Interviewer: Yes, I understand. My question was: Given your dislike of regulation, why are certain Liberals like Chris Back and Matthew Canavan calling for increased regulation and restrictions on wind farms, and suggesting that there needs to be an inquiry.

Mr Dear: Well, obviously there are potential adverse health effects from living near a wind farm.

Interviewer: Do you have any scientific evidence to back this up?

Mr Dear: There have been a number of studies that people living near a wind farm may be subject ot all sorts of things because of the noise so I think that jury is still out on wind farms and while the jury is out, we shouldn’t be trying to judge.

Interviewer: But isn’t that the PM did the other day when he said that there might be adverse health effects?

Mr Dear: MIGHT BE! He only said there might be.

Interviewer: Like we “might be” paying those vile people smugglers…

Mr Dear: Exactly but until we know one way or another we should give the government the benefit of the doubt.

Interviewer: So when exactly will we know. One way or the other?

Mr Dear: About the people smugglers or the wind farms?

Interviewer: About either. About anything.

Mr Dear: When the minister decideds it’s appropriate for you to know. We are at war you know.

Interviewer: With whom? The people smugglers or the wind farms.

Mr Dear: I’m sorry but that’s an operational matter.

Interviewer: Unfortunately, you’re out of time.

Mr Dear: Not yet, it’s still months till Abbott calls the surprise election.

Interviewer: I meant for the interview.

Mr Dear: Oh. Well, I’ll just say good-night then.

Interviewer: But it’s still the afternoon.

Mr Dear: I’m sorry but I can’t confirm that.

Interviewer: It wasn’t a question. Until next time.

Mr Dear: It’s been a pleasure.

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday May 30

1 I put on the telly this Morning to find Greg Hunt giving a press conference self-congratulating himself on the UNs decision to not place the Great Barrier Reef on the endangered list. Then a half hour later a Greenpeace spokesperson explains that we are only on probation for 18 months and that the effect of future climate change had not been taken into account, nor the proposed coal mine.

What a snake oil salesman he is.

2 Sepp Blatter wins another term as boss of FIFA and gives corruption a serious boost.

3 It comes out that our Prime Minister and the Emigration Minister tried to put one over on the Cabinet and we’re suitably chastised. Abbott had even tipped off The Daily Telegraph without any Cabinet discussion.

When you try to dud your own Cabinet you cannot expect its respect.

4 Does the public realise that the Government has put a freeze on doctor’s fees which, in effect, is the same as applying a copayment because it will force the Doctors to raise fees to cover costs. Sneaky bastards aren’t they.

Sunday May 31

Australians were greeted yesterday with this headline in the Fairfax press.

“Deficit decade: Tony Abbott’s $100 billion black hole”.

black hole

Only weeks after presenting a budget based on pie in the sky predictions punctuated with so many ifs and crystal ball maybes, independent analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office suggests the economy is in dire straits.

It is not beyond repair. All it needs is a government prepared to forego its ideology and govern with fairness for the common good. Too much to ask you say. You’re probably right.

Monday 1 June

1 Labor’s offer for a Liberal to replace Tanya Plibersek as co-sponsor of its Marriage Equality Bill will be rejected and it will lapse. Abbott, who vehemently opposes gay marriage, will present a bill in his own time so as to get all the kudos. Ironically it may be the only legacy this out of touch Prime Minister will produce from his tenure of office.

Abbott lies

2 Another stunning example of his lying is when he says it’s only the States who can change the GST. In 2004 a number of items had their GST status changed. Guess who the Health Minister was at the time. Yes none other than TA himself.

Tuesday 2 June

House of cards

1 After three seasons of “House of Cards” I have concluded that it is the most compelling television show I have ever watched. A superb production on every level. Can’t wait for season four.

2 In my experience young people are fully conversant with the issues of the day if not political ideology. The worldwide move to lower the voting age to 16 is a good debate to have but equally so is the need for a form of Political Education in our teaching curriculum.

3 After listening to Abbott’s press conference this AM I am left with the undeniable conclusion that he is going to fight tooth and nail to destroy marriage equality. He won’t win of course.

4 Someone is lying about what happened in cabinet about withdrawing citizenship. I am under no illusions who that might be. And if 27 back benchers supported the proposition they are as stupid as those who proposed it. They have denigrated science now it’s the law’s turn.

An observation:

“The word “Frugality” is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying and a consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

Therefore life is about doing things not having things.

Midday Thoughts

1 Interesting to see the Government Benches empty when Bill Shorten presented his Marriage Equality Bill. Although it’s not surprising when, if you recall, they were also absent when the NDIS was introduced.

2 “We are on a steady path back to surplus” The PM said in question time. The Independent Budgetary Office tells us the opposite.

Bishop b&w

3 What an embarrassment the Speaker of the House of Representatives is. She seems to have a rule book of her own. Tony Burke, yesterday showed up her bias in no uncertain manner.

4 Morgan Poll has Labor at 53/47. Returning to pre-budget figures further confirming my belief that the budget did nothing for the Coalition. Well other than not making it worse that it was.

Wednesday 3 June

 

1 After doing some research I can explain what the term “come to Jesus” means in the context of politics. It is an American Tea Party expression to describe the instant at which team members recommit to working in unison or pursue their own interests. You’re either on the team or you aren’t.”

How did this religious nut job ever become Prime Minister?

2 The third last poll we are likely get from Newspoll-as-we-know-it, has Labor’s two-party lead at 52-48, down from 53-47 a fortnight ago.

3 Essential follows with the same numbers. In addition their polling on Same Sex Marriage has yes 59% no 30% and undecided 11%. That’s an overwhelming YES I should think.

joan kirner

4 Joan Kirner was underestimated as a politician and her work for women and the advancement of education will not be forgotten.

Thursday 4 June

1 A reminder:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.” (Tony Abbott).

Urinal

2 There are that many Cabinet Ministers denying they leak that one might wonder if they use the bathroom at all. The journalist in question is a friend of the Foreign Minister. Leave it at that.

3 Yesterday in Question Time the PM responded to a question from Bill Shorten about violence against women in a very bi-partisan manner. He must be reformed I thought. Remember he was accused of assaulting a woman at University and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself. Another women accused him of throwing punches at her and hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others collaborate her story. The newspaper involved settled out of court.

Posted my thoughts on Australian democracy.

Friday June 5

1 The worst trade deficit ever.

There are people who say what they think and do the opposite of what they say! There are people who say the opposite of what they think and do what they say! Then there is the current LNP who don’t think, say the opposite of what everyone else thinks and does absolutely nothing! This has been coming for a while and no, it’s not this governments OR the last governments fault but most definitely the Howard Governments fault and the current and previous governments have stuck their heads in the sand. However, only the Abbott lot have made such a song and dance about how bad Labor were at economics while at the same time adding to the problem!

2 Its called an own goal or a self wedgie.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has again put himself at odds with Prime Minister Tony Abbott by failing to rule out reforms to superannuation if the government wins a second term.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said super will not change in this or future terms, despite calls for an end to retirement tax breaks for wealthy retirees.

Reject

3 Tony Abbott’s Reject Shop photo aptly highlights the political worth of our PM. Every picture tells a story.

3 No wonder Parliament House cleaners are asking for a pay rise. People are leaking everywhere. Peter Hartcher, the journalist who got the leak in the first place, makes it clear that the cabinet dispute may never have seen the light of day were it not for extreme frustration within cabinet, not so much over the proposal of the policy itself but over the poor excuse for a cabinet process it constituted.

5 On World Environment Day UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says Australia is not taking credible action on Climate Action and calls us a free rider.

Two observations:

In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”

6 If the week in politics has revealed anything, it is that Tony Abbott is has never divorced himself from the negativity of opposition. He is continuously in electioneering mode. He told voters a Labor government posed a threat to their house prices and their superannuation.

“It is absolutely crystal clear what would happen if members opposite were ever to get back into government: the carbon tax would come back, the people smugglers would come back, the value of your house would go down – because hasn’t he been trying to talk down the economy for the last few days? And your superannuation is going to be raided again and again to try to get a Labor government out of trouble,” Abbott said.

He wants to pick fights with the opposition – even where there is agreement, or a strong prospect of it – and to deeply plumb populism. This maybe marginally helping in the polls, but it is degrading both policy and politics.

We are still waiting for the adults.

A final thought.

I am having trouble coming to terms with the unhinged nature of the rhetoric in which our Prime Minister now engages.

And this is the week that was.