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Tag Archives: Scott Morrison

What’s The Difference Between Barnaby Joyce And A Lump Of Coal?

The answer, of course, is that one is a prop and shouldn’t have been taken into the Parliament, while the other can be burned to provide heat – apart from that it’s useless…

Still confused?

Well, so am I! We have a Treasurer who took a lump of coal into Parliament. Just so you know, it’s against the rules to use props in Parliament. Ok, some of you are thinking, everybody knows that, but clearly Scott Morrison didn’t. I mean he wouldn’t deliberately ignore the rules, would he? That’s not a very good example to set our country.

Still, I guess when you’re dealing with those boring old number things as Treasurer day after day, you might need the odd creative outlet. Joe’s was dancing after the Budget, but unfortunately, not in the dark. Costello’s was creating fiction; he used to tell people that he’d be a great PM and one day soon, he’d challenge John Howard. Scott must have spied a lump of coal and been hit with an idea. Once inspired, you do tend to take liberties. That’s what artists are like, they sometimes feel that the rules don’t apply to them because they have a message to get out to the world.

I can picture it now, Mr Morrison and his lump of coal in his office. He calls in his staff. “I have this great idea,” he tells them.

“What is it?” they ask, fearful that it will involve incredible amounts of work “fixing the Budget”, or at the very least coming up with reasons why Labor owing $287 billion was the end of civilisation, but raising the debt ceiling above half a trillion isn’t worth talking about.

“I’m going to take this lump of coal to Parliament,” Scott tells them.

The staff nod approvingly, figuring that if they can perfect their nodding, they may get a safe seat where they can stand behind the PM and nod approvingly, but Scottie doesn’t notice. He’s on fire… (no, not literally!)

“And I’m going to say ‘This is coal,’ and I’m going to tell the Opposition not to be afraid of it! Brilliant, eh?”

His staff keep nodding as though there’s more, so Scott improvises.

“Um… then I’m going to suggest that the Opposition are suffering from coalophobia.”

When told that there’s no such word, Scott says that he’ll be remembered for creating it, like that guy who invented the word “selfie”.

“I’ll admit that I’m making up the word and tell them that it’s this ideological malady that stops them from allowing coal to create jobs and growth. And it’s an illness and they need help… Brilliant, eh?”

The staff nod more approvingly because nobody wants to upset the Treasurer when he seems in a good mood. Lately he’s been so down, thinking of how Cory has left and that’s one less vote for him when the spill happens. Not even the idea of some families losing Family Tax Benefits has caused him to smile. Even when told that some asylum seekers are being forcibly removed from Manus and sent back to possible torture and death, his spirits barely lifted.

So the staff say nothing.

And Scott appears in Parliament with that ugly lump and hands him the coal when the Speaker tells him to put the prop away. (Someone assured me that a lip-reader confirmed to them that when Joyce was given the coal he stroked it, saying, “My precious, my precious,” over and over.)

Of course, it may not have happened quite like that. Scott may have just wandered in to Parliament and put his hand in his pocket and discovered that he had a piece of coal that he’d forgotten to take out, and when one of the Labor MPs recoiled in horror, he may have quite genuinely thought it necessary to calm their fears.

Whatever, I found Morrison’s performance with the lump of coal more disturbing than Richard Denniss’ great article: How Christmas Prawns Explain Australia’s Power Blackouts

Jobs And Grr… Sorry, I meant to say Jobs and Gr…

Sorry, that was meant to be “growth” in the title but for some reason “growth” just stopped, and I think we all know the reason why it’s so hard to have any sort of gr…

Gro…

G-G-r-r-o…

Oh dear, it just won’t appear.

Anyway, I think we know the reason. It’s because of you.

Well, you all complained. You all ridiculed them about “Jobs And Growth”, so it’s your fault that the last quarter didn’t have any growth. It ran away because it didn’t like have to appear after “jobs” all the time. It couldn’t put up with the humiliation any more.

After all, it can’t be Scott Morrison’s fault that we don’t have “jobs and growth”. Couldn’t be. Ok, ok, maybe it’s not totally your fault. Actually when I think about it, like everything else, it’s Labor’s fault for blocking those company tax cuts. Now, I know Tony said that they were going to be a “no excuses” government, but this isn’t an excuse, it’s a reason. Besides, Tony’s not the Prime Minister any more…

Well, not at the time of writing, anyway, but if that changes before I hit publish then the rumours about him not launching a challenge until Malcolm’s approval rating goes so low that installing Ivan Milat as leader would give the Liberals a boost were wrong.

So, after giving the matter consideration, I think that we can safely say that the lack of growth can be put down to Labor’s decision to block the company tax cuts because reducing the government revenue from profitable companies would encourage all those unprofitable companies who pay little or no tax and the economy would get a boost somehow. I mean, remember the boost cutting the mining tax gave to the miners! Look at how cutting the carbon tax has the economy growing in a way not seen since the GFC!

And speaking of the carbon tax, thank goodness the Minister for Saving And Wrecking The Environment, Mr Frydenberg was able to clear up the confusion about an emissions scheme. Apparently when he said:”We know that there’s been a large number of bodies that have recommended an emissions intensity scheme, which is effectively a baseline and credit scheme, we’ll look at that,” he meant that they’ll view it, shake their heads, before announcing that they can’t consider it because not only is it the most cheap and effective way of reducing emissions but they can’t consider it because it was never on the table, unlike so many of the things that were on the table earlier in the year like the GST or the states having their own income tax. By “look at it”, many of those institutions peddling fake news like the ABC and Fairfax tried to imply that “look at” means the same thing as “consider”, in much the same way that they tried to imply that when Abbott said that he and Labor were identical on Gonski that it meant that they would both implement it, when Abbott merely meant that they had the same election policy. Really! Next they’ll be trying to ask us to believe that the jobs from the “jobs and gr…” slogan were meant to be jobs for people already living in Australia, which is the sort of xenophonic, racist nonsense that Labor and their union mates try to push…

Of course, if One Nation say exactly the same thing we should listen to them because they received nearly five percent of the vote in some states and you can’t ignore with people scoring that many votes in a democracy. In fact, you’re even allowed to disagree with them… but only after acknowledging that they have a point and maybe it is time that we replaced the High Court with the judges from “Masterchef”.

Anyway, it’s good to know that young Josh has come out and explained that on Monday he was misquoting himself when he talked about an energy intensity scheme and as our fearless leader, Malcolm Turnbull pointed out, there was nothing about an emissions intensity scheme in the review and that Josh Frydenberg was clearly being confused with someone who speaks on behalf of the Liberal Party when only Cory Bernardi is authorised to announce policy without checking with anybody on planet Earth.

The profound nastiness of the Turnbull government

It was inevitable that any opposition by the ALP or Greens to Abbott’s reeking legacy, the proposed plebiscite on marriage equality, would provide the Turnbull government with the ammunition to claim (with confected indignation) that both parties are creating an obstacle that thwarts an opportunity for same-sex marriage.

There are bound to be those who accept this warped inversion, however they are likely to be the same groups and individuals that reject marriage equality anyway.

What this situation reveals yet again is the profound nastiness of the LNP. This nastiness (there really isn’t a better word for it, their attitude towards their fellow humans is as base as that) has been evidenced in Treasurer Scott Morrison’s decision to deprive the unemployed and pensioners in order to fix his budget, and the vengeful exercise of raw power as illustrated by Peter Dutton’s ongoing implacability over asylum seekers and refugees. It’s reflected in the image that heads this post: even the dead are perceived as new sources of revenue for the LNP.

I don’t need to go on, the evidence of their nastiness is everywhere we look, and it multiplies as we sleep.

Nastiness is the Turnbull government’s default position. From the apparent banality of nastiness all manner of evils flourish, and if you ever doubted that it is being enacted daily, for you to witness, in our parliament.

Though the Northern Territory can’t be ever be taken as typical, the carnage wrought on the CLP this weekend gives me small hope. Citizens can become sickened by nastiness, and they can wreak havoc on the party of nasty when they’ve had enough.

There is not one rational reason to deny marriage equality. We are a secular state: religious arguments ought not to influence our decisions. The unholy alliance of religion and nastiness currently hold sway.

It’s my hope that the ALP hold out against a plebiscite. No Liberal MP has any obligation to honour a yes result. Those who touchingly believe a plebiscite = marriage equality need to disabuse themselves of that belief, because it does not. We could well go through the torturous process and still have necessary amendments to the Marriage Act blocked by MPs who are not bound to accept a ‘yes’ vote.

At the heart of the demand for a plebiscite is nastiness, and a poisonous hatred for anyone who doesn’t fit a narrow definition of ‘normal’. The influence of pure nastiness has been overlooked in our arguments yet it is a powerful driver of irrational behaviour and you’d have to go a long way to find behaviour more irrational than that of Turnbull’s government in just about any area you can name.

There are rumours again that Abbott is preparing himself to challenge Turnbull’s leadership. Not only are they nasty to citizens, they are exceptionally nasty to one another. I would take great pleasure in watching the LNP continue to cannibalise itself. I doubt it would affect our governance to any great degree: they aren’t doing much of that anyway.

It’s my hope that the fate of the NT CLP is the Turnbull government’s future. Barely enough seats left to form a party? I’d go for that.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Dutton’s message: torture works

Yesterday I had a Twitter conversation about Kathryn Bigelow’s movie, Zero Dark Thirty, which was shown on SBS last night.

Many angry critics have described the film as CIA propaganda advocating torture, and accused Bigelow of making an immoral argument that torture works. That wasn’t my reading as I argue here.

This revisiting of the film and the arguments surrounding it made it obvious to me that the message “torture works” is precisely the message the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison before him, and several former Prime Ministers including Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have sent to the world since the indefinite detention, off-shore and previously in the hell holes of Woomera and Baxter, of waterborne asylum seekers began.

They are not even particularly subtle about conveying this message: forcing women, children and men to live in circumstances in which they are tortured will deter others from attempting to seek asylum in Australia. It’s that stark.

To dissuade attacks from rusted on ALP supporters: Paul Keating built Woomera. I went there. It was one of Dante’s circles of hell. So please don’t come at me with the usual defence of your political party’s position on asylum seekers. There’s a bee’s dick of difference between the major parties.

Every time politicians insist that bringing refugees from Manus and Nauru to Australia will “start the drownings at sea again”, he or she is arguing, to the world, that “torture works.”

Frank Brennan, John Menadue, Tim Costello and Robert Manne have here proposed a solution to the current ghastly impasse. Their proposal retains the turn-back policy:

We believe there is no reason why the Turnbull government cannot do now what the Howard government previously did – maintain close intelligence co-operation with Indonesian authorities, and maintain the turn-back policy, while emptying the offshore processing centres and restoring the chance of a future to those we sent to Nauru or Manus Island three years ago or more by settling them either in Australia or, if any are willing, in other developed countries. Like Howard, Turnbull could maintain the offshore processing centres in case of an emergency.

Boats are to be turned back to their point of departure, usually Indonesia or in the case of Sri Lankan refugees, southern India where they continue to live as stateless people with few, if any rights.

The proposition put by Brennan et al would at least thwart the message that torture works, to which our politicians seem alarmingly attached. It’s by no means an ideal solution, but it could be our next step in addressing a situation that in its current manifestation is hideously wrong in every possible way.

Critiquing their proposition is a post in itself, and I won’t do that here.

As I argue Bigelow’s film demonstrated, the proposition that torture works is in itself a terrifying premise for debate. Who are we, that we would engage in such a debate in the first place?

It isn’t about whether or not torture works. It’s about torture even being considered, and then implemented as an option. You might argue that no politician foresaw or planned the circumstances that have evolved on Manus and Nauru, and you’d likely be correct. So we have come to torture by accident, rather than by design. Having arrived at that point, even accidentally, we are culpable and every day we reinforce the message that torture works, we add to our burden of culpability. What was initially accidental, thoughtless, ignorant, uncaring, politically self-seeking becomes, in the maintaining of it, deliberate.

Which puts us in the company of the CIA and its propaganda, does it not? Not to mention Donald Trump.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Labor’s Scurrilous Lie On Medicare!

Ok, we all know that if Labor is elected that our borders will be weaker, the deficit will blow out, the tax cuts for companies won’t go through, it’ll rain all day except in drought areas and the chooks will stop laying. Not only that, we won’t have the stability that we now have because Labor changed Prime Minister twice in six years and the Liberal have only done it once in three years.

However, it’s the Labor Party who are running a scare campaign on Medicare. The Liberals have no plan to privatise it. Didn’t Malcolm say “never ever” and while some people are reminded of John Howard’s “never ever” on the GST or Tony Abbott’s “ironclad guarantee” on the Medicare safety net before the 2004 election, that’s rather unfair on Mr Turbull. He’s not the sort of man to say one thing one moment, and another the next. He said that he supports same sex marriage and the Republic and action on climate change, and he still supports all those things. Ok, he may not do anything about them but that’s because he’s been busy with the job of being PM. It’s a big job which involves working very, very hard to ensure that Labor isn’t elected because they’ve promised action on all the things that Turnbull supports, and if that happened there’d be nothing left for Turnbull to do if he ever actually gets into power instead of just being the figurehead.

Some people have unkindly suggested that the Brexit vote should be good for Labor because it should show the people the consequences of not thinking before you vote and just blindly taking your lead from the Murdoch papers. Only after the vote to leave the EU, the argument goes, did Rupert’s papers start to explain what the consequences of leaving would be. Surely it should be a wakeup call to the people of Australia. However, this overlooks the fact that most people who read Andrew Bolt will hardly be aware that the vote took place, let alone the fact that many of the “Leave” voters are rather unhappy now that they’re discovering that it may have consequences that they hadn’t considered. Not only that, but the leaders of the “Leave” campaign, such as UKIP’s Nigel Farrage now saying that they never promised that there’d be oodles of extra cash for spending on Health… Somebody else painted that “promise” on the side of buses.

But let me be quite clear here. Labor’s suggestion that just because the Liberals have a Medicare Privatisation unit set up is no reason to think that Medicare would ever be privatised. If you’ve still got doubts I suggest that you read this article from “The Guardian” written last year:

There now, what could be clearer than that. They don’t want to privatise anything. They just think it would be better if the whole thing were opened up to competition from the private sector. I mean, look how long you spend waiting to speak to someone at Centrelink, whereas when you ring any private company, your call is answered by the next available operator.

No, there’s no doubt at all. The Government has given us their assurance and they know that if they lied to us, there’d be consequences. Why just remember how people over-reacted when Tony Abbott’s “No cuts” statements were misinterpreted as meaning that they wouldn’t cut spending. People got very cross and they had to change Prime Ministers. If Turnbull was lying, why the Liberals would just have to change leaders again to appease people. And Malcolm certainly doesn’t want that. As he keeps saying, “It’s a very exciting time to be Australian now that I’m PM and anybody who isn’t saying how lucky they are is just an ungrateful whinger!”

So vote Liberal this Saturday. You know that Medicare is safe and will “never ever” be privatised and that the plan to let Telstra manage the data has been shelved and was never a real plan like the one where they support jobs and growth. You know the one; if we create enough jobs at $4 an hour then there’ll be a really big growth in the bank balances of the people employing them.

Day to Day Politics: The TRUTH about Negative Gearing.

Saturday 5 March

If ever an Australian politician scored an own goal it had to be Scott Morrison this week. Of course he was ably aided and abetted by The Australian Newspaper. The official newsletter of the conservative parties.

From the time Labor introduced its policy on Negative Gearing, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have sought to conduct a scare campaign on the issue. Morrison could have had a calm, sensible debate as he indicated he wanted to do when such matters arose but political expediency trumped good governance and hypocrisy won the day.

Frankly, Morrison, a co-founder of Christian Church Hillsong, is telling so many lies about Negative Gearing that as a Treasurer he makes Joe Hockey almost sound saintly. Turnbull, a Catholic, is doing the same.

It doesn’t seem to matter that a central tenet of the Gospel is ‘truth’.

So The Australian on Thursday publishes a report by BIS Shrapnel that Morrison says paints Labor’s policy in bad light.

The report has nothing to do with Labor’s proposition but Morrison arrives like a lone star cowboy in Question Time with two Colt 45 pistols rapidly exhausting both barrels before reloading. He does have a quick tongue.

The Australian withdraws the article from its online site. It often has to. It has no credibility and the BIS won’t disclose who commissioned the report.

Morrison rejects all the wrongs, inconsistencies and outright lies and both he and Turnbull in Question Time robustly, in spite of the reports lack of credibility, continue to say that if adopted, Labor’s policy would cause significant damage to the housing market and to our economy. Yet another Clayton’s crisis.

Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley says the report and its underlying assumptions:

‘did not pass the giggle test’ and were ‘manifestly ridiculous’.

He added:

‘Voters should be asking themselves whether a responsible government would rely on this sort of nonsense in a public policy debate. ‘ Late on Thursday the Prime Minister was still defending the report describing it as ‘thorough analyses’.

Other comments came from Board of Taxation chairman Michael Andrews who told a tax conference in Melbourne that the debate about tax was highly politicised, and regrettable:

‘The Australian Financial Review said that the Government has abandoned plans to make changes to negative gearing. The issue has proved to be divisive and it would be politically risky to proceed with the changes. The Government is now likely to focus on the changes to negative gearing proposed by the Australian Labor Party.’

In other words a scare campaign.

Besides the ridiculous assertion that house prices are going to go through the roof under Labor’s plan. Morrison also contends that:

‘Two thirds of those who use negative gearing have a taxable income of $80,000 or less. Seventy per cent own just one property, and 70 per cent have a net rental loss of less than $10,000.’

ABC Fact Check investigated this claim and found that those with taxable incomes above $80,000 have a proportionately larger share of the net rental losses.

Now the point of all this follows on from my Day to Day Politics yesterday when I posed this question: What resources does the average punter have to access the truth? If we have the time we can do some research? Look up the facts presented by fact checkers. Pay for FOI documents. Who has time for all that?

This scare campaign being waged by Turnbull and Morrison in light of what the PM said about fair, reasoned, transparent and open debate illustrates my point.

The truth is that in the absence of readily identifiable evidence we all use what is generally called ‘the pub test or common sense test.’ In other words we digest all the available information and ask ourselves the question ‘is it plausible?’ Does what I am being told have the ring of truth about it. We make judgements based on our life’s experience. Unless your personal bias clouds the ’Pub test’ your inner conscience dictates your judgement.

Now I’m not wanting to confuse the issue here because I thought I had my general principle of the ‘Pub Test’ sort of philosophically in order. Then a Facebook friend by the name of Phil Rudkin sent me this to ponder:

‘Unfortunately we are all subject to what is known as ‘confirmation bias’. That is, we believe what will confirm our beliefs and disregard that which runs contrary to our beliefs. This is a human failing found in us all. So, a lie that matches what we believe will be used to reinforce that belief. I am very aware of the potential for confirmation bias in myself and always try to seek evidence to support things that I hear from sources as unreliable as politicians but know that I will often fail. Confirmation bias is often confused with common sense and so will cause the pub test to fail.’

Now you don’t have to take my word for it but I found a piece headed.

Morrison painting a false picture of negative gearing.’

It’s by Rob Burgess. It passed my pub test (revisited) because it cut through the bullshit and presented a clear view of just where and why Turnbull and Gunna Morrison don’t have a leg to stand on. They are telling confirmation bias lies.

My thought for the day.

‘Never confuse what you want with what you need’

One house is enough.

PS. With degrees from the finest learning institutions in the world dripping from the walls of their Ministerial offices, after two and a half years the Abbott/Turnbull government still needs more time to formulate a tax plan.

That’s a fact. You can check it.

 

Day to Day Politics: The Abbott/Turnbull Government – give credit where credit’s due

Friday 26 February 2016

1 Its only fair, regardless of one’s political ideology to give credit where credit’s due. The Abbott/Turnbull government has done something truly remarkable. At the last election it accused the Labor party of being the worst financial managers in the country’s history. The budget was in crisis. Something had to be done to arrest it. Spending was out of control. We were an economic cot case and if nothing was done we would end up like Greece.

Two and a half years later after doubling the debt amid a debate about the need for major tax reform they have managed to find 30 billion dollars to spend on defence. What makes it even more remarkable is that they have not been able to get the senate to pass legislation for cost savings in the past two budgets.

So credit where credits due. That’s almost the equivalent of Jesus walking on water.

But not to finish there.The Magician is now, according to the AFR signalled his willingness to arrange a funding deal with the states to relieve pressure on their health and education budgets.

Remember Abbott took $80 billion away from them.

Treasurer Scott Morrison maintains at the same time that the states should deal with funding shortfalls on their own. Turnbull would like to resolve the issue and repair the Federal Government’s relationship with the state governments before the May 2016 Budget.

Wow, I wonder what miracle they will perform when we get the ’real’ bill for Direct Action on climate change.

And there are also going to cut your taxes. The miracles will never cease.

2 It seems that the Prime Minister has decided to walk away from his much promised Tax Reforms. Reforms that might have achieved some budget repair. And not because they may have brought some equitable redistribution of the wealth of the country. Some fairness. No simply because tax reform might have hurt the pockets of those who vote for him.

It seems he has also decided to walk away from the transparent, truthful, and reasoned and policy explanation politics he also promised.

In deciding to take the path of Abbottism politics he has turned his back on all those who had hoped for a new era in politics.

Seeing him in parliament this week mounting a scare campaign against Labor’s proposed changes to Negative Gearing disclosed him for the fraud he is and people are entitled to ask why they changed from a blatant liar as leader to a hypocrite of titanic comparison.

3 Cory Bernardi said that Bill Shorten had had a Mark Latham moment when he said Cory was a homophobe. By saying that was Cory elevating himself to the position of a Prime Minister?

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews summed him up rather well:

I’m sick of Liberal politicians telling our kids that there’s something wrong with them – when there isn’t’.

‘I don’t think these extreme Liberals are actually offended by the structure of the program, or the teachers who lead it. I just think they’re offended by the kids who need it’.

‘The Liberals now plan to “investigate” (meaning: ultimately shut down) the Safe Schools Coalition, a program that looks after teenagers who are getting bullied at school’.

There is nothing worse than a Clayton’s leader. Grow some balls, Malcolm. Stand up to the ferals in your party. Saying it is a broad church doesn’t gel anymore.

4 When on earth are we going to get the report on parliamentary expenses? It was promised earl in the New Year.

5 Is it just me or are there others who are finding the ABC’s political reporting rather bland? Almost like they are frightened of putting their foot in it.

6 This almost went under the radar but according to The West Australian, retiring Senator Bill Heffernan told Parliament on Wednesday that the child abuse royal commission should be extended to investigate sex abuse in judiciary ranks, producing an alleged list of pedophiles he says includes senior judges and lawyers, as well as a former prime minister.

He says Australia needs a federal judicial commission and he will seek senior legal advice on the matter.

My thought for the day.

‘The young celebrate their youth and the old get their satisfaction by dreaming of the way things once were’.

Day to Day Politics: The table’s a mess. Clean it up, Malcolm.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

1 Malcolm Turnbull came to power promising much-needed tax reform. He placed everything on the banquet table. The GST pie. The outrageously immoral tax concessions on Superannuation to the wealthy and privileged. Negative gearing and capital gains tax. He has promised tax cuts to business and taxpayers in general. On top of these he has floated various recipes of other culinary tastelessness totality out of flavour with the public.

So badly received has the menu been that each day the chef needs to come up with another one.

Take Monday in Question Time.

‘Increasing capital gains tax is no part of our thinking whatsoever.’

He said so while launching into a stinging attack on Labor’s policy. A policy to limit tax deductions on investment properties to new homes and to halve the capital gains tax discount on assets held for more than a year from 50 per cent to 25 per cent.

What a bloody mess the table is in. The following day we find out that there was an error in the printing of the menu. The Government is planning to halve the capital gains tax discount for Superannuation funds.

This has totality thrown a new ingredient into the mix and is at odds with his statement in Question Time. Yesterday I said his right hand didn’t know what his left was doing. Frankly I don’t think he knows the difference between a Carp and a Flounder. Well he may know what flounder means.

Adding far too much pepper to the recipe, the Prime Minister’s office said he was only focusing on tax options proposed by Labor, which concentrate on property. In other words his defence is that he was misunderstood. What absolute crap.

Changes to superannuation tax concessions and tax deductions for work-related expenses are among the few tax reform options that are still available to the Government.

Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics said:

‘We’re now in a world where some of the bigger options in tax reform have been ruled out’.

They have some serious washing up to do. After the clean up when there is nothing left but a blank canvas of white tablecloth the Government will find that real Tax Reform is still whirling around in the dish washer. It’s all starting to remind me of that wonderful song from Les Mis. Empty Chairs and Empty tables.

Probably the only real way to get tax reform ‘for the common good’ in this country is to take it out of the domain of politicians and place it in the hands of an independent body similar to the Productivity Commission.

An observation.

I think the possibility of young people being able to afford a new home is far more important than anyone making a profit from negatively gearing one.

2 Mathias Cormann was out and about doing his inevitable repair job. You have to admire his tenacity. That’s if you can understand what he is saying. The Government has some exceptional talkers but for waffling speed Mathias takes the cake.

‘It’s a matter of public record that we have been looking right across the whole of the tax system to assess opportunities for improvements’.

He said this so quickly that I thought the blender was over taxed while mixing up company tax reductions with pay no tax deductions.

3 The latest Morgan Poll, which uses both face-to-face and SMS interviews, has found that support for the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis is steady at 52.5 per cent. In contrast, the latest Newspoll suggests that support for the Coalition and the Australian Labor Party is tied at 50 per cent apiece. However, the Newspoll is now conducted by Galaxy Research, which uses a combination of automated “robo-polling” and online surveys rather than telephone surveys.

4 Some politicians unfortunately have physical characteriistics that arouse a judgement of nastiness. Former policeman Peter Dutten is one. He reminds me of the copper you would hate to have you cornered up a dark alley on a pitch black night. His sour facial expression gives rise to a judgement of someone with not an empathetic bone in his body. A nasty bastard as Australians are apt to say.

It makes the accusation that he deliberately leaked details of an investigation by Queensland Police into baby Asha believable.

He is not the only one of this ilk in the Government.

An observation.

‘I don’t judge people but I do form my own opinion of course’.

5 Malcolm Turnbull came to office grandiosely promising a new era of politics. An era of politeness, of transparency, of openness – a contest and exploration of ideas. He removed Abbott pledging to transform the Liberal Party. Instead they transformed him.

My thought for the day.

‘I think we can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things’.

  

Day to Day Politics: When action is needed we get waffle

Thursday 18 February 2016

1 Gunna Morrison was at the Press Club yesterday spruicking about what the Government is gunna do with the economy. It was highly anticipated that he might make a policy announcement on negative gearing but surprised no one when he didn’t. They need more time to talk and plan. A blueprint perhaps.

They came into government two and a half years ago on the back of a concentrated campaign of the need for action. Remember, there was a budget emergency. Unprecedented in its depth. The country was in a situation as bad as that of Greece. The sky was about to fall in. Day after day Hockey and Abbott told us that we were in dire straits.

Yet two and a half years after being in government, knowing all too well that aspects of the economy needed attention, they decide to formulate a plan. But it is a plan remarkably short in detail. If the strategy, or the answer is in savings it didn’t make sense that he had saved 80 billion but allocated 70 in new spending. What he didn’t say was that without the spending we may very well have had a recession.

The only thing we got today was journalists shaking their heads at his answers to their questions.

Where is the much vented real structural tax reform that Turnbull has been talking about? The sort a treasurer of the ilk of Keating might deliver.

Like Hockey and Costello before him all Morrison did today was give himself a big pat on the back.

He’s going to fund tax cuts from savings on future spending. The look on Peter Martin’s face was priceless.

I told you he could waffle. ‘Assembly of God’ men can.

The punters really need to ask themselves what this government been doing for two and a half years.

2 Quoting Peter Reith:

The pity was that the Abbott government did little to address the longer term reform issues. Now people like Andrew Bolt expect Turnbull to rearrange Australia virtually overnight.’

It seems Turnbull had always had a long-term plan to displace Abbott but not one for the country. You might recall when he took over the leadership he gave a pungent appraisal of the Government’s performance. He said the country faced challenges that required a more developed conversation.

‘We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges … and sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it. We need advocacy, not slogans.’

So the question is: Where and what are they?

3 Essential Poll Tuesday has the Coalition on 51% and Labor 49%.

4 Steven Ciobo is the MP who once implied that Prime Minister Julia Gillard should have her throat cut. He was back on Q&A on Monday night. A huge supporter of Malcolm Turnbull I think he was hoping that his Government’s efforts in silencing the program last year wouldn’t be mentioned.

Tony Jones wasn’t going to let it pass. Ciobo wouldn’t take the bait. Talking about free speech:

‘I’m attracted to the classic liberal freedoms as a starting point but it doesn’t apply carte blanche’, he began.

Jones: ‘Didn’t apply to Zaky Mallah, for example.’

Ciobo waved the interjection away, as he did sniping from other members of the panel. ‘I am attracted to the principle but there does need to be limits on it. I think that’s a reasonable position.’

I was left wondering how a Turnbull government might have handled the matter just a few months back. It might have been an interesting avenue to pursue but Jones, perhaps wisely, didn’t pursue the matter.

An observation:

‘Until you are a victim of free speech you will truly never understand what free speech means.’

5 The request by the Australian Christian Lobby that existing laws pertaining to anti-discrimination be suspended, held over, over ridden or shelved for the duration of a plebiscite on equality in marriage would only serve to make a mockery of why they were legislated in the first place.

6 Every time you think the Republican Party has reached the zenith of its stupidity if finds another way to look ludicrous. By intending to vote against a new justice nominee put forward by President Obama (his constitutional right) it is doing enormous damage to the prospects of re-election of its incumbent senators.

On top of that we have Donald Trump suggesting that there are unusual circumstances behind the death of a Supreme Court justice.

Only in America!

7 It seems that New Zealand is set to again offer to take our refugees. On the surface you might say that the offer is compassionate and a way out for the Government.

It won’t be accepted for two reasons. Firstly we need to keep men, women and children incarcerated for life, no matter the human cost, so as to send others wanting to escape their hopelessness a message. Secondly giving them safe passage to a country more humane than us might encourage others to come. And we wouldn’t want them to become NZ citizens with rights to visit us.

My thought for the day

‘Everyone has a choice. You can either whinge about the issues you have or do something about them.’

 

Day to Day Politics: Just Talking Heads.

Saturday 6 February 2016.

The Coalition regrets having to announce that good government has been further delayed. At least until after the next election. Circumstances beyond my control.

Authorised by Malcolm Turnbull. Canberra.

I wrote this in jest just a few short days ago. But sadly for the Australian people it is a fact. During his tenure as PM Tony Abbott promised on many occasions to give us good government. Malcolm Turnbull, his replacement, it seems is also incapable of delivering. So with just a few months until the election it seems that for the term of this Coalition Government, good governance will have taken a vacation. It will have been on hold for three years. It was just an illusion.

But who is Malcolm Turnbull. He is a Republican leading a party of Royalists. A Prime Minister of Australia in which all state Premiers (except WA)and Opposition Leaders are republicans makes it more absurd. He is, despite his current utterings, a believer in doing something about Climate Change but the leader of a party that has many influential climate deniers in its ranks who think more about capitalist greed than the future of our children.

He is a committed believer in marriage equality leading a coalition of homophobes. He also leads a government intent on imposing its own religious values on a society rapidly backing away from religiosity.

Malcolm Turnbull is in effect an enormous contradiction.

He came to the job promising much. After Abbott’s calamitous period marked by ‘wars’ on everything he seemed like a breath of fresh air. He told the public everything they wanted to hear. No more slogans. Transparency, optimism and fairness would be the order of the day, he would respect the people. Things would be different. The public loved his enthusiasm.

However, after six months of heavily overdosing on syrupy over saccharised sweet talk he still remains in the concept of old politics. He gave promise to a new paradigm but other than style the prototype is still the same.

Lenore Taylor got it right when she said:

“He promised to “respect the intelligence of the Australian people”, to end the three-word slogans and instead advocate and explain policies he believed in.”

“But Malcolm Turnbull’s great dilemma was obvious as soon as he became prime minister. The public liked him for promising to be different, but many of his colleagues only voted for him because he told them he’d be pretty much the same.”

“If he can’t begin to resolve this dilemma quickly, Turnbull’s perceived authenticity – the view that he is a man true to his convictions, a different kind of politician – could quickly turn into a perception that he is an opportunistic fake, just more of the same.”

And it has. After 6 months of repetitious talk about coloured papers, taxation reform, proposals plebiscites and lectures about there’s never been a better time to be, well you name it, he has been a most indecisive leader.

The lack of any policy difference between him and Abbott is startling. The reason for this is probably contained in Lenore Taylor’s words:

” … his colleagues only voted for him because he told them he’d be pretty much the same.” As Abbott.

He has shown little desire to be his own man. Unlike most incoming leaders there has been no inclination to put his stamp on the party, instead allowing members free rein to run with their own ideas. Abbott, Andrews, Barnardi and others seem to be determining policy.

People are now questioning what they got. He has done an about-face on policies he once championed. He seems to be a leader captive to the extremists of his party?

Yesterday it finally dawned on him that the electorate have woken up.

All talk and no action’ rings the accusation. So he meekly fronts the cameras and tells us that all the talk and talk and talk about economic, and in particular taxation reform, will be revealed in the May budget with the door open, after more talking to other announcements before the election. The GST is being talked down. See what too much backbench talking can do.

It is all very mystifying because since day one they have said they had a plan. It seems like the original plan was to open a discussion to talk about creating one to replace the existing one. Now the plan has become a blueprint.

At least they will be able to skite to their tea party friends of the longest filibuster on record.

So we will have more talk about things that may or may not be included in tax reform. Around three months of it actually. I wonder if all the repetitive talk about what you may or may not do is sustainable without losing credibility. I mean they won government on budget crisis spin but after two and a half years need more time to talk about it. Perhaps they didn’t get their point across.

We will hear much more talk about what is on the table, what proposals will be talked about more than others. There will be talk about what will be ruled in or out together with discussion on the fairness of it all and how it will affect the future. They might even talk about delaying any decisions to give themselves more time to talk the issues through. Even a series of conferences titled ‘Talk Fests for Better Decision Making’

‘Gunna’ Morrison could give the keynote address.

My thought for the day.

‘The ideas of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow’.

 

Day to Day Politics: ‘Knighthoods going cheap. No good works needed’.

Monday 25 January 2016

1 Lynton Crosby’s Knighthood for assisting the Tories with a victory in the last British election was nothing more than political cronyism. To anoint him Australian of the Year in the UK is nothing short of ridiculous. To suggest people are worthy of top civil honours for assisting with political strategies to win elections says everything about why such awards should be discarded.

Reminds of what my wife said to me when I was honoured. Darling, once a knight always a knight but once a knight is enough’.

2 In Australia we have a saying, ‘Only in America’. It’s a phrase we say when something outrageously good or bad happens, as though such excesses can occur only in America. It might be violent racism, another Columbine, kids being slaughtered – any preventable, tragic loss of life that repeats time and again for which no remedy is forthcoming.  All of this is beyond the average Australian’s capacity to understand.

For example when the Republicans put forward a candidate like Donald Trump for the Presidency who says:

   I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters’.

We are apt to say:

‘Only in America’.

3 Gunna Morrison was out again yesterday doing what he does best ‘Talking.’ Yes talking about what taxation reform proposals they are gunna put to the voters at the next election. Now given that won’t be until September I suggest you get ready for a talkfest. Now they might come up with some good proposals. Of course they have the budget in May to also put us on the right track towards a surplus but the Senate is yet to pass legalisation from the previous two. Surely carrying over revenue not yet raised must amount to fudging the books.

And the proposal to take more money from the taxpayer by virtue of a raise in the GST and then dropping the tax rate for business must be reverse Robin Hood economics.

But of course the voters should be asking what happened. Did good government ever start or was it just one of many lies.

4 Google at long last has decided to pay some tax.

‘The Guardian reported that Google’s attempt to counter criticism of its tax arrangements by agreeing to make a back payment of £130m in the UK unravelled after claims that the internet giant had effectively paid an annual rate of corporation tax of just 2.77% over the last decade. Most British businesses currently pay corporation tax on 20% of their profits. But even after the extra payment, the internet giant is said to have paid just £200m in tax since 2005, on estimated profits in the UK of £7.2bn.’

Chancellor, George Osborne, celebrated the move as a “really positive step”. His statement from the World Economic Forum in Davos was received coolly.

When Governments are unable to dictate the rate of tax businesses pay in their country, they cease to function.

5 History, long after I have passed will record the destructive influence former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had on the social structure and the democratic institutions of our nation. However, nowhere was he more devastatingly untruthful than when speaking about the science of climate change.

6 So appalled by his lying was Sophie Lewis, from the Australian Research Council’s centre for excellence in climate science that she has done dissected statements about climate records made by the former prime minister in 2013.

‘It drives me mental that these sorts of statements go unaddressed’

An observation about the NBN.

‘The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow’.

7 Mike Carlton said it.

Honestly. I think this Stan Grant speech will one day be viewed as a Martin Luther King moment.

You should watch it

My thought for the day

‘Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism’.

 

Day to Day Politics. ‘How we pamper the rich and privileged’

Sunday 24 January

1 Have you ever thought about how richly (pardon the pun) pampered the privileged are in Australia? As a cohort they pay less GST tax than any other group. The government takes from the poor and middle class to help them pay for their kids private school education. They can negatively gear as many houses as they want. There are numerous tax concessions. And they, if they so choose, get a 15% tax discount if they put their money into super. Then there are Capital Gains offsets.

Negative gearing is costing the Federal Government about $3.7 billion a year in lost revenue, while the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount wipes off $4 billion.

In two years’ time the tax breaks on Superannuation will cost as much as the pension $50 billion a year.

And of course many of them with family businesses pay no tax at all.

But did you know that the taxpayers of Australia actually underwrite Private Health Insurance companies to the tune of $11billion annually.

‘I don’t think that I can recall a domestic policy that is so outrageous as the $11 b. annual cost to the taxpayer of the subsidy to private health insurance (PHI) companies’. John Menadue.

2 In the house one is expected to call a Minister by his title. Despite the criticism, I will continue to call the Treasure ‘Gunna.’ Gunna was out and about all this week. Firstly on Skye then Bloomberg TV and then the ABCs AM programme. On all three he talked about what the Government is gunna do. Nothing at all about what they were doing or indeed had done. Didn’t even define what it is their gunna do, just talked and talked. Even if that only took a sentence. I know he hasn’t been in the job long but someone has to take responsibility for their period in office.

Gunna makes no effort to inform the public as to why he is gunna do whatever he is proposing to do. There is no concerted effort to take the public into his confidence and explain just what the economic problems are and how he intends addressing them.

Howard was defeated in 2007 it is now 2016 and we are still waiting for a policy from the LNP.

3 Yet another leadership poll. You can expect an avalanche from now on. This one from Reach TELL shows 80.8 per cent of voters nominated Mr Turnbull as preferred PM and just 19.2 per cent nominated Mr Shorten, whereas on November 26, 71.3 per cent of respondents had nominated Mr Turnbull and 28.7 per cent chose Mr Shorten Read more:
4 I notice in The Australian that former Treasurer Peter Costello is going to tell Gunna Morission that cutting everything will fix the budget. That he would fix it like he did in 96. Doesn’t mention that he had the biggest fire sale in our history to do it. And a never to be repeated commodities boom.

5 The federal government says it will consider backing Kevin Rudd for the top United Nations job. He has the intellect and diplomatic experience and unlike at home, respect on the international scene.

6 An observation.

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

Change inevitably happens.  I clearly remember as a small child hearing reordered music for the first time on a wind up gramophone with replaceable needles. Sometime later 78 rpm records improved and the things on which we played then were grandiose pieces of furniture. Then along came 45rpm vinyl records, followed by 33 1/3 rpm LP and EP recordings with multiple tracks and then stereophonic sound.

Tape recorders appeared. The Walkman gave music mobility, with cassettes and tape recorders. They in turn were replaced with CDs which are now becoming redundant with the advent of USB sticks, tablets, ipods and mobile phones.My ipod is now a relic of the past DVDs will be obsolete in the next few years.

What will replace them is anyone’s guess but the certainty is, something will. At present you can stream almost the entire world catalogue of music on your mobile phone for a small monthly fee.

Change is determined by many factors, health, consumer demand, science and many other things. Change, as much as we resist it, is innate in us. It’s part of our DNA whether we like it or not.

7 Clive Palmer spent a lot of money for a seat in the House of Reps and one in the Senate. Power is a very costly thing. He is unlikely to repeat it. Highly inflated I should think.

8 Only in America.

Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz says.

”I’m a Christian first, American second conservative third and Republican forth” Imagine the outcry had a Muslim or Jewish politician said that.

My thought for the day.

‘We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence’

 

 

Day to Day Politics. ‘It’s a bastard this being in opposition’

Friday 22 January 2016

For some reason my computer decided to eat most of my homework for today. This is as much as I have been able to retrieve. And as much as I remember.

1 Leading your Party in Opposition must surely be a job you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. It’s a thankless, powerless, task that has few positives but comes with enormous expectations from those who follow you.

Releasing policy is considered precarious until the election campaign begins. The media focuses on the incumbent and often a 10 second grab on the nightly news is about all one can expect. Often you are dammed if you support something with bi partisan intent or dammed if you don’t. Your followers have a ‘’why doesn’t he stick it up em’’ mentality that is laced with an unrealistic desire to win every argument along the way.

And in their urgent desire to obtain office they don’t take into account the re thinking of policy and party structures necessary to win back government, and the work involved in in doing so. Abbott made the mistake of not formulating policy in opposition and paid dearly for it.

In fact two years later they are still talking about what policies they might take to the next election. Gunner Morrison was doing it again on AM this morning.

It is all made the more difficult when your own ability is limited by your personal capacity to deliver succinct messages because people have an expectation that you should have the presentation skills of a Barak Obama or Bill Clinton. Shorten has none of their eloquence, instead showing a distinct inarticulateness that is at times depressive. Often he comes over as just another apparatchik or Union boss. As a communicator he lacks charisma and personality. So opposition leaders tend to come over as unconstructive, having nothing good to say, or just carpers. Abbott of course made a virtue of it.  Having said that, Australia has not been blessed with charismatic leaders with a passion that excites and inspires. Howard, Gillard, Rudd, and now Abbott have been dour, if not intelligent, individuals who would hardly enthuse one to alight from bed each morning let alone be excited by ideas emanating from enlightened and sagacious minds. You would have to go back to the period of Whitlam, Hawke and Keating to experience the exhilaration that might come about with an enthusiasm for what might be possible through the political process.  Brendan Nelson, Kim Beazley, Mark Latham, Simon Crean, John Hewson and Andrew Peacock, Malcolm Turnbull, Alexander Downer all suffered from the helplessness of opposition and failed as leaders despite their aptitude.

My personal view, as an aside, is that Kim Beasley would have made a fine Prime Minister had he obtained office. And he nearly did.

Last year I wrote a few pieces about how I thought Bill Shorten should approach an election year. They got many responses but this one from Kaye Lee typifies people’s expectations.

‘I don’t want an election campaign mode. I want that marketing bullshit to stop. I want a frank and open discussion with the Australian people. I want us to decide what sort of society we want and then talk about how we can achieve it. That can’t be done in a two week campaign.’

Over to you Bill

What should Shorten do?

The Bashing of Billy Shorten.

My thought for the day.

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved”.

 

Dutton has lost control.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has well and truly lost control of his portfolio. The past year alone provides a rich field of examples of Dutton’s incompetency. There are many instances which highlight the absurdity of his excuses, claims and justifications for the Coalition’s appalling policies. Yet despite a growing list of clear failures, there is a noticeable absence of demands for accountability. Dutton continues his awful attempts to defend the indefensible and the general public laps it up, convinced by the Government’s lies that it is all for the greater good.

Dutton has demonstrated many failures. A man with his level of ineptitude and incompetency in the private sector would have been fired a long time ago. A man in his position in any other institution, would be loudly condemned, and subject to a fiercely independent investigation at a minimum.

The latest in the string of absurdities must be Dutton’s reaction over the recent death of a person under his care and the following riot on Christmas Island. Dutton brushed off the seventh known death of an asylum seeker since early 2014, with little more than a ‘meh’, followed by loud accusations of violent, hardened criminals causing trouble for no reason at all in the remote prison. Not only does Dutton fail to recognise or even faintly appreciate the duty of care he owes to asylum seekers detained under this watch, but he loudly refutes the provable fact that violent criminals, minor offenders and asylum seekers have all been mixed together and none would be there at all if it wasn’t for him and his party’s policies.

The totally preventable death of Fazel Chegeni is the doing of Dutton. The riot, which looks to cost the Australian taxpayer $10 million dollars, on top of the $100 million dollar blowout in the billion dollar cost of offshore detention, is the doing of Dutton.

Dutton is responsible, and in being responsible, must be the most incompetent Immigration Minister since the equally appalling performance of former Minister Scott Morrison.

If Dutton was an employee in any private organisation, he would have been sacked long ago for gross incompetence. If any individual person was paying Dutton’s remuneration, he would have been sacked long ago. Yet the Australian public, every individual tax payer is paying for Dutton, and yet he continues, unchecked, with calculated, deliberate lies to try and cover up his incompetency. And Australia does not hold him to account.

The mysterious death of Fazel Chegeni, a refugee whose body was found after being chased through the Christmas Island jungle by guards, follows other preventable and inexcusable deaths. In October, out of fear of being returned to detention and dying a slow death at Dutton’s hands, Khodayar Amini doused himself in petrol and self-immolated. Leo Seemanpillai did the same last year. Asylum seeker ‘Reza’, fearing deportation on Dutton’s orders, was found dead at Brisbane airport. Earlier, Nasim Najafi was attacked while under Dutton’s care, placed in solitary confinement, and committed suicide.

Dutton is responsible for these deaths. Just like former Minister Scott Morrison was responsible for Reza Barati’s murder on Manus Island, and for Hamid Kehazaei who died from a septicaemia after a treatable infection on his cut foot was ignored.

Dutton holds the power to giving these people hope, freedom and a chance of a life. Dutton refuses.

Dutton, whose actions are slowly killing the people under his care, is doing his best to convince asylum seekers that it is better to return to their own countries and risk death in a warzone, than die a slow and lingering death under his watch. ‘Khaled’, who saw his own father murdered after they both worked as military interpreters for the US, was coerced into returning to the very city he fled from in Iraq. Officials from Dutton’s Department coerced another man, Eyad, to return to Syria, where he was tortured for twenty days by government officers, before finally making it to his home. A short time later he was injured in a shell attack, which killed his father on the spot. Dutton is responsible for this.

If any other person was responsible for so many deaths, so many atrocities, so much harm, they’d be imprisoned themselves. Not Dutton. No, he is being paid by the Australian tax payer to continue his torturous regime.

Who can forget the boatloads of Tamil asylum seekers Dutton returned to Sri Lanka, despite being subject to persecution? And his refusal to help rescue Rohingya refugees stranded at sea? Or the Vietnamese asylum seekers who were returned by Dutton, some of which were arrested and detained immediately on their return to Vietnam?

And of course there is Dutton’s implied admission that his Department paid people smugglers, in a clear breach of international law, backed up by an Amnesty International report finding enough evidence that it happened.

Dutton is determined to continue to expose children to sexual abuse, assault and torture. The Government-commissioned Moss Report, the Forgotten Children Report from the Australian Human Rights Commission, and a Senate Committee Inquiry found that offshore detention is not safe for families and children. Earlier this year Dutton ordered the transfer of a five month old baby, Asha, to Nauru, where her desperate mother is still gravely concerned for her health. Fully qualified, professional Australian doctors have labelled the Government’s treatment of asylum seeker children as torture. Dutton is unrepentant. Instead of addressing the shocking claims, he made it illegal for ‘entrusted people’ to report the abuse, threatening doctors, nurses, councillors and teachers with two years jail.

The Australian tax payer is financing this abhorrent situation. Every Australian is paying for Dutton to put in place laws to incarcerate anyone who tries to hold Dutton to account.

Dutton refused for months to help a woman who had been brutally raped while under his care. Abyan, another refugee who fell pregnant after being raped, was also denied treatment in Australia until a mass public outcry. Dutton, insistently lying to the Australian public and the world about the poor woman’s situation, despite even the Coalition’s biggest supporter, Chris Kenny, backing up her advocates, has not been held to account for his lies. Dutton only acted after a scathing press statement from the United Nations, yet he still insists that denying a traumatised woman access to a counsellor and expert medical care is appropriate treatment.

Dutton deliberately seeks to expose vulnerable men, women and children to further harm.

According to Dutton, pregnant women under his care who request to give birth in Australia are trying to blackmail him, are taking him for a ‘mug’, and are partaking in a racket to get to Australia. According to Dutton, it is acceptable to force women under his care to give birth in a third world hospital on Nauru, where a newborn baby is seven times more likely to die at birth, and the mother is fifty times more likely to die during childbirth. Dutton has ignored medical professionals and the Australian Medical Association who insist Golestan, a diabetic woman, must be immediately flown to Australia to give birth. Golestan is suffering a complex pregnancy, and despite medical staff expecting her baby will require specialist care, Dutton insists on risking the baby’s life. Will Dutton sacrifice the life of an innocent baby in his race to provide crueler conditions than those which the asylum seekers have fled from?

It is not just asylum seekers Dutton treats with loathing and contempt. A freedom of information request by Fairfax media revealed that Dutton deliberately misled the public when he said there was no way his Border Force agents would be doing random spot checks on unsuspecting and law-abiding Melburnians in August this year.

Spooked by a backlash to the press release that Government agents would stop and speak with anyone they came across during Operation Fortitude in Melbourne’s CBD, Dutton’s kneejerk response at the time was to deny all knowledge of such a planned venture.

What kind of Minister thinks it’s acceptable and lawful to expect people to carry, and produce on demand, their ‘papers’ while out shopping on a weekend? What kind of Minister then lies to say it was never planned? Obviously one who mistakenly thought Australia was a police state, or one who is grossly incompetent. Dutton forgets he is an elected representative paid for by the Australian taxpayer to represent the Australian people, not treat the very people who elected him as criminals.

Speaking of taxpayers, voters, and Christmas Island, Dutton demonstrates yet again his inability to tell the truth. Despite deliberately, unrepentantly and viciously detaining and deporting any non-citizens who have suddenly become socially undesirable, no matter how minor their wrong-doing, or the absence of any actual offence at all, Dutton is adamant only the most violent and hardened criminals are subject to section 501 of the Migration Act. Many of these people have lived in Australia for their entire lives. They have voted in elections. Many have paid their taxes and contributed positively to the community for decades. They have families, wives, husbands, partners, siblings, parents and children in Australia.

According to Dutton, a decorated New Zealand soldier, Ngati Kanohi Haapu, known as Ko, must be banished forever, despite having no criminal convictions whatsoever. Ko’s ‘character issue’ is that he is allegedly a member of a one percent motorcycle club. Despite no motorcycle club being proven to be a criminal organisation, and police and law enforcement agencies being unable to produce sufficient evidence of such, Ko has been detained and set for deportation.

Ko has committed no crime. Not like Dutton, who has paid people smugglers, enabled and condoned child abuse, rape, and torture, and is responsible for at least five of the seven known deaths of asylum seekers.

According to Dutton, a New Zealand born mother of six, who has served her time for minor drug offences is a violent, hardened criminal. If this woman had been born in Australia she would serve her time and move on with her life. But no, according to Dutton, she must be banished from Australia, despite serving her sentence, because a faceless bureaucrat has applied a mandatory provision enacted on Dutton’s command, that she be deported.

According to Dutton, a single mother of two, charged with shoplifting is such a threat to the Australian public, she should be incarcerated, away from her young child and teen daughter – banished forever from Australia, because of Dutton. There is no such thing as rehabilitation or having ‘done one’s time’ under Dutton’s watch.

According to Dutton, a quadriplegic man, who served time for self-medicating with painkillers, is such a threat to the Australian public, he must be deported, never to return to the land he called home.

According to Dutton, a British man, who has lived in Australia for fifty of his fifty-one years, who in a moment of stupidity lit a scrub fire in which no people or property were harmed, is a violent and hardened criminal. Because according to Dutton, only violent and hardened criminals are being held on Christmas Island.

Where are the cries for Dutton’s resignation? Why is the Opposition silent? Why is Bill Shorten not calling for Dutton to stand down or be sacked? Why is the mainstream media not demanding more answers?

No person in anything other than a criminal organisation, a fascist, police state or dictatorship would get away with such criminal behaviour, and wilful and deliberate lies to the domestic and international community.

How many more families will be ripped apart by Dutton’s arbitrarily applied laws? How many more people must die a violent, painful and preventable death under Dutton’s watch? How many innocent children will lose their parents, and how many parents will lose their children at Dutton’s hands? The Government and the weak opposition, the detention centre contractors, and all the faceless bureaucrats, are complicit in the deaths, torture, and inhumane treatment of people under Australia’s care. Every Australian who does not make a stand against the cruel regime, is complicit.

Enough is enough. Rape, murder, suicide, torture, child abuse, violent assaults, death from medical neglect, and wilful destruction of families is all in a day’s work with Dutton in charge. And every Australian is paying for it.

 

Don’t open the champagne just yet

Today saw the release of what, at first glance, seem promising improvements in employment in Australia.

The headlines are saying that unemployment has dropped from 6.2% to 5.9%.  Supposedly 58,600 jobs were created in October, 40,000 of them full time, with monthly hours worked increasing by 19.1 million hours.

Those are, of course, the seasonally adjusted estimates, which are subject to a great deal of volatility.  Trend estimates are considered the best indicators of the underlying behaviour in the labour market.

If we refer to the trend estimates we get a slightly different story which shows the unemployment rate remaining steady at 6.1% with 18,800 jobs created and monthly hours worked increasing by 5.7 million hours.

Since October 2014, trend employment has increased by 260,500 persons, while the civilian population aged 15 years and over grew by 288,200 persons over the same period, so job growth has fallen short of population growth by some 27,700.

The Labour Force Survey is based on a sample of about 26,000 dwellings and covers approximately 0.32% of the civilian population of Australia aged 15 years and over.  Extrapolating from these figures is therefore subject to sampling variability.

The ABS acknowledges this and publishes, under the heading sampling error, a 95% confidence interval ie there is a 95% chance that the true value of the estimate lies within that interval.  These figures highlight just how wrong the headline figures could be.

We can be 95% sure that employment went up by somewhere between 400 and 116,800 in October.  That’s a hell of a range, 58,600 +/- 58,200, and there’s a 5% chance that the real figure lies outside even that very large spread.

Likewise for the number of unemployed people.  We can be 95% sure that it ranged anywhere from decreasing by 71,600 during that month to increasing by 4,800: 33,400 +/- 38,200.  The unemployment rate could be anywhere between 5.5% and 6.3%.

So when you see Scott Morrison and Michaelia Cash preening at the various press conferences today, keep in mind that these figures are likely statistical noise with trend figures presenting a different picture.  I hope the trend will eventually bear out these improvements but I certainly wouldn’t put money on it.

 

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