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The Coalition cha cha

Keeping up with what the Coalition is trying to do requires daily updates as they swing wildly from one direction to another.

Forward backward cha cha cha and backward forward cha cha cha.

From the outset they have been contradicting themselves, telling us something is either a disaster or a great idea until it’s not, enacting contrary legislation where one hand works against the other, doing things they excoriated Labor for doing.

When Labor raised the debt ceiling to $300 billion, the Coalition were outraged – until they won office and abolished it altogether.  The debt incurred to keep the economy growing and people working during the global financial crisis was ‘bad’ debt whereas the debt raised to pay foreign arms manufacturers is ‘good’ debt.

There was similar outrage when Labor took a one-off dividend from the RBA in 2012-13.  The Coalition have been ripping billions out in dividends ever since.

They screamed endlessly (literally in Michaelia Cash’s case) about Labor knifing sitting Prime Ministers and then did it themselves.  Not content with that, the party of family values then got rid of the deputy PM too for getting a young staffer pregnant.

The Gonski school funding reforms went from unnecessary to a unity ticket to only funded for two years to a whole new rebranding exercise called Gonski 2.0 complete with special deals for rich schools to adjust to the shock.

On climate change and energy policy, they have been all over the shop.

The free marketeers went from a system where the polluter paid the government to where the government pays the polluter.  The emissions reduction fund is all but spent with the result being rising emissions.

An emissions intensity scheme was the best solution, until it wasn’t.  Then, after extensive consultation and research, a clean energy target was recommended.  And rejected.  Now we are running with a national energy guarantee which is an idea with no detail other than a goal to keep coal going.  The NAIF is a slush fund waiting to make that happen.

They object to any subsidies for renewables whilst committing the government to paying for Snowy-Hydro 2.0 – a hugely expensive exercise which will take many years to come to fruition.

We had a Green Army, and then we didn’t.  As they planted seedlings, Newman called open slather on land clearing in Queensland.  (The Qld govt are attempting to change that this week with the LNP opposing them of course)

We were to have a million solar roofs until they abandoned that policy with their first fiscal statement.

The renewable energy target they introduced and agreed to with much bipartisan flourish was then cut causing a halt to new investment.

They stripped funding from ASIC, the ATO, the CSIRO and many other government bodies, and then gave some of it back after we lost many talented experienced people.

They talk about domestic violence and fund advertising campaigns, whilst closing refuges and cutting legal aid funding.

They were dragged kicking and screaming to allow the rainbow community the same right to marry as we all enjoy, a reform they now embrace and claim as their own, but we can’t pretend they are normal by including Safe Schools as part of our education about inclusion and respectful relationships and we must preserve the rights of people to discriminate against them.

A banking Royal Commission was a populist Labor stunt that would achieve nothing.  Oops, sorry, pulled the wrong political rein there.

They said the NDIS was unfunded so we all agreed to an hypothecated increase in the Medicare levy – until lo and behold, there was sufficient funding after all.

They imposed a budget repair levy and then removed it before the budget was repaired.

They opposed Labor’s refugee resettlement deal with Malaysia and then spent $50 million on an abortive attempt to make a couple of people go to Cambodia.

All infrastructure projects over $100 million were to be subject to a cost-benefit analysis, until they weren’t.  Porkbarrelling is far too valuable a resource to be constrained by any comparison of relative benefits.

They encourage Indigenous people from around the country to come together and form a plan to address the problems of disadvantage, reconciliation and self-determination that governments have failed to solve, and then completely ignore them.

We are told we are the innovation nation and yet most of us are saddled with internet access limited by sharing last century’s infrastructure with those between us and the box down the road. (Have I mentioned how much I hate FttN?)

They fund research into diabetes and programs to tackle obesity but staunchly resist a sugar tax.  They strip funding from preventative health and primary care agencies and then tell the states to find the money for rising hospital costs.

Joe Hockey and George Christensen really exemplify the Coalition philosophy.

Indulge yourself without any restraint until the only option left available is urgent taxpayer-subsidised surgical intervention.

The time for such intervention has come.

Bring on the election.


36 comments

  1. Jamboree

    Send this to the papers, do.

  2. Frank Smith

    “Bring on the election.”

    Yes, indeed Kaye Lee! Currying favour by buying votes with taxpayer’s money through the coming Budget and porkbarrelling is now on in earnest. That will no doubt be assisted by big donations from shonkey bankers, lobbyists, “industry leaders” and other blue-blooded, blue-tied charlotans. Perhaps our Prime Minister himself might tip another million or two into the bucket to buy another term in order to wreak more havoc on our country and the 90% who are denied the rewards bestowed by Conservative Governments. Yes, Bring on the election!!

    Richard Denniss has an excellent hard-hitting article on symbolism in politics in the current issue of “The Monthly” that goes way beyond the Adani issue. All Australian voters should give serious thought to what Richard has published before they approach the ballot box.

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/may/1525096800/richard-denniss/why-adani-won-t-die

  3. diannaart

    The LNP declared war on refugees (well refugees whose skin colour isn’t white) and then wants acknowledgement for locking up families indefinitely in squalid camps on Anzac Day.

    LNP now claims they want to save Great Barrier Reef, but also to continue open cut mining for coal.

    Takes a certain kind of ‘human’ to be a member of the LNP.

  4. Max Gross

    Thanks, Kaye. Once again you have nailed the toxic LNP carcass to the barn wall. And yet, even as it hangs there it twitches and twists, willing itself into a semblance of moribund life, like something out of a horror movie…

  5. etnorb

    Another excellent & thought provoking article Kaye! Sadly the entire bloody inept, lying, flat earth, obscenely wealthy & obscenely over-paid, so-called “liberal” ( I use the term under advisement!) party is just a complete farce, so bloody incompetent it is beyond a joke! There have been other liberal regimes that have been bloody awful, but this lot takes the cake! The SOONER they are kicked out & Labor is elected, the better! And another thing, I have yet to hear anything anyone of them has said, since coming to power, that I have believed to be true & not derogatory towards the Labor party. Just how long do the keep on complaining about what Labor has done:? They have had 3 or more years to “get right” whatever they think Labor had done wrong, & now we are in even MORE debt than when they took over from Labor! WTF??

  6. diannaart

    etnorb

    They (the LNP) wreck the joint, do everything they accuse Labor of doing until people feel there is no choice left but to vote Labor back in. … Labor tries to repair some of the worst, find they are stuck with policy which proves “too hard” to mitigate, do some good, some not so good, then are blamed for every effing thing, the LNP wins back, blames Labor and wrecks the joint …

  7. Terry2

    AGL confirmed on Monday it had received a non-binding and “highly conditional” $250m cash offer from Alinta and its Hong Kong-based owner, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, for the Liddell power station and site.

    Matt Canavan is absolutely delighted that a foreign company is showing interest in this ageing coal fired power station but wouldn’t it be interesting if the FIRB knocked back the acquisition as being against our national interest ?

    But then again, perhaps the FIRB are now part of the Dutton alternative government empire !

  8. New England Cocky

    Yep!! This is the misgovernment that Australian voters got in 2016 and will have until they elect a Parliament that is representative of the aspirations of the Australian people, rather than foreign owned mining corporations, international arms dealers and foreign imperialist military adventures to benefit other nations at our cost.

    But take heart people, the Liarbral Party are obviously the “best financial managers” because the MSM owned by a US citizen no longer parrots that the sky is falling in on the ASX, the Notional$ Party politicians are obviously supporting “family values” by sacking their leader who “did the right thing” and confessed to adultery but remains silent on MDB Water theft, misogyny, alcoholism, failing to sell off CSG assets as promised at the 2013 Federal elections and rorting the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme.

    An excellent article that should be circulated to all our friends for information and consideration.

    Women supporting Adulterers support Joyce (National$).

  9. flohri1754

    It really is a damning indictment when presented in a condensed form as you have done … how anyone could vote time after time for the LNP crew I find difficult to imagine.

  10. Glenn Barry

    The LNP is putting another 18 Billion into education, now who knew they would do that – does this reverse the money they ripped out of education in the first place?

    I suppose we gotta put up with Birmingham’s smug lying mug on TV all week now, and that pisses me right off

    They are already clearly in campaign mode – expect the budget to be a work of fiction

  11. Shutterbug

    New England CockyApril 30, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Don’t forget Beetroot altering Hansard.

  12. Kaye Lee

    They took $30 billion out of promised education funding out to 2024-25. I am not sure over how long the $18 billion is given or what it is for.

  13. Judith

    Whoever can tell the biggest lies has the advantage in a system that says there are two sides to every story. Unfortunately our system is magnified by the msm. The age was once free in schools – now only the herald sun is scattered around staff rooms & school libraries. No wonder our students can’t differentiate between quality journalism and face news.

  14. Andrew Smith

    The LNP lack grounded policies and promote political media tactics (including theatre), masquerading as policy….

  15. PK1765

    SIGH… when are you people going to learn and understand about the monetary system…. seriously… this is why I’ve stopped sharing a lot of these articles due to the myth of the “taxpayers” money, which is driven by the false narrative of neoliberalism rather than how it actually works…

    Taxes and government borrowing NEVER finance the spending of a monetary sovereign central government, such as Australia is.

    People saying they do, or conventions which are introduced to make it look as though they do, don’t change this simple fact.

    People who claim otherwise either don’t understand monetary systems or are being dishonest.

    Taxes are there to limit inflation – government debt issuance is there to provide safe financial assets to savers and/or for the purposes of interest rate management.

    Professor Mitchell explains…

    bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=38885

    TAXES DON’T CONTRIBUTE TO REVENUE FOR OUR COMMON WEALTH GOVERNMENT:

    Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete, written in 1946 by Beardsley Ruml, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and published in a periodical named American Affairs.

    http://home.hiwaay.net/~becraft/RUMLTAXES.html

    Much that people take for granted about money has no basis in fact, and this has implications for the appropriate role for fiscal policy:
    https://vimeo.com/61160311

  16. johno

    To be sure, bring on the election !!

  17. Bert

    “We are told we are the innovation nation and yet most of us are saddled with internet access limited by sharing last century’s infrastructure with those between us and the box down the road. (Have I mentioned how much I hate FttN?)”

    Don’t get me started on the barsteward of a thing……..

  18. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee, “innovation nation” should be changed to “enervation nation” because I certainly have “a feeling of being drained of energy or vitality; fatigue” after five years, and still going, of the LNP incubi and succubi.

  19. Matters Not

    Look like capital is fighting back. And it’s out of the closet.

    The BCA is embarking on an unprecedented level of political campaigning in the run up to the next federal election, committing to a program of television advertising, television programs, town hall meetings and direct grassroots campaigning in marginal electorates to promote business-friendly policies, like lower company taxes.

    7.30 understands the peak business lobby group is asking its 130 members to pay $200,000 each towards a fighting fund for the campaign.

    Those who watched the 7.30 Report will also know:

    7.30 has been told the organisation is paying Sky News $1 million towards the cost of the meetings and television programs. … The BCA has taken on a panel of political advisers which includes former Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane, power lobbyist Ian Smith and strategist Sue Cato.

    It has also directly employed Andrew Bragg. Until late last year, Mr Bragg was the acting federal director of the Liberal Party. He is also highly exercised about the role of groups like GetUp! and the unions in election campaigns.

    Nice to know that my modest donation to GetUp is having an affect. Note also the $200 000.00 levy on each member(s) who so desperately need those tax cuts. Perhaps a backlash is on the horizon? One can only hope. Hope also that Sky comes to Brisbane so that I can actively participate.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/04/30/business-council-to-ramp-up-role-in-politics/

  20. Kaye Lee

    I hope none of those donations are coming from foreign sources…..

  21. Matters Not

    Take your pick. And note the big 4 accountancy firms.

    http://www.bca.com.au/about-us/our-members

    Note also the purposes of schooling as outlined.

    … , and that new approaches are needed to prepare young people for the changing nature of work

    It’s all about work with no mention of education as a ‘good’ in itself

  22. Kaye Lee

    I think that is going to become increasingly important MN. We won’t all have jobs in the future, at least not like now. We must start recognising the value of carers, of volunteer work and domestic duties and child rearing. We must, as you say, start recognising the value of education as a ‘good’ in itself in that it can lead to a more enlightened, more creative and innovative, even more tolerant and caring society – it shouldn’t have to be all about how much money the education can make you.

    We have to make a change or the system will collapse.

  23. Matters Not

    Note that when a union official faces the courts, emphasis is placed on him or her being a member of the (for example) CFMEU. Perhaps when AMP and BCA are in the news, it might be worth pointing out that they are members of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to lower their tax rates. The BCA is a union and engages in political activity at the highest level.

  24. Glenn Barry

    MN, I saw the 7:30 report on the BCA also – in all honesty, putting aside my dislike of the big end of town squealing about needing tax cuts, I do not believe that the campaign by the bca is going to be beneficial – Jennifer Westacott does not present well and most importantly the “we need tax cuts” mantra is completely incongruous – the lack of situational and self awareness is not confined solely to the LNP in parliament

  25. Matters Not

    Glenn Barry, when Jennifer Westacott was asked to name examples of where tax cuts flowed to higher wages, she had to take it on notice. Someone who was across her brief would have expected that question and would have had a prepared response. Apparently she thought she could wing it.

    Not a good look. As far as I know, an answer is still to come. Perhaps the Hutt River Principality might gain further publicity via dodgy books. LOL.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Perhaps we could refer Ms Westacott to the latest RBA report

    “Wage growth has also been slow to pick up in some other advanced economies where labour markets are already tighter, suggesting that some structural factors could also be holding wage growth down. In addition, in Australia new enterprise bargaining agreements are tending to incorporate smaller wage rises than the agreements they replace. Other things being equal, this will induce some inertia that will limit overall wage growth for a time.”

    https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2018/feb/overview.html

    “Spare capacity has diminished further, with many economies growing at rates above potential growth. In particular, unemployment rates in a number of advanced economies have declined to multi-decade lows and are a bit lower than most estimates of full employment. Yet wage growth and core consumer price inflation globally have remained subdued to date”

    https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2018/feb/international-economic-developments.html

  27. economicreform

    Why are the coalition parties doing as well as they are in the opinion polls? Evidently a lot of people are unaware that by supporting this rabble they are acting against their own best interests. There is no accounting for human stupidity.

  28. Glenn Barry

    Matters Not, I was a wee bit pleasantly surprised to see the senate committee question and answer fail included in the 7:30 segment – the only bit missing was the perfectly in unison, collective groan of a full sports stadium.

    I think you’re correct on her preparedness and nope she cannot think on her feet at all, but given the facts of the narrative she’s trying to construct, she’d be well and truly into the realm of fiction attempting to construct an engaging and convincing narrative for her cause

    http://www.afr.com/news/policy/tax/bashing-business-bashes-our-future-bcas-jennifer-westacott-20180219-h0wbq5

  29. John Lord

    According to Newspoll the worse they get the more popular the become.

  30. totaram

    PK1765: You are wasting your time. People here at not interested in understanding the nature of fiat currency. They are very happy with concepts applying to dollars backed by gold. That makes the govt. just like a household or a business, which everyone understands. Going beyond that is too hard.
    Persist if you like but you will meet with stony indifference. Good luck!

  31. Kaye Lee

    That is totally unfair totaram. We have published many articles about MMT and had endless discussions with vigorous questioning in an attempt to understand.

    In my opinion, it is the MMTers who fall down.

    I agree that taxation does not constrain government spending.

    I do not agree that the government and the RBA are the same thing. I do not agree that the RBA is responsible for issuing currency (except banknotes). I do not agree that revenue collected in taxation is destroyed except in a conceptual sense in that it is removed (temporarily) from circulation. It is credited to the government’s operating accounts. I do not agree that, under current legislation, the government can spend whatever they want and the RBA will honour it. Under current legislation, the RBA requires the government to have sufficient funds in its operating accounts to cover its expenditure (aside from a very limited short term overdraft facility). The way things stand at the moment, the government issues government securities to cover its deficit spending.

    Things could be done differently. MMT has potential to change the way things are done, but that would require new legislation. To suggest it is how it is done now is, in my opinion, where the argument falls down. It doesn’t match the reality.

    And please….this has nothing to do with the gold standard or equating the government to a household.

  32. Matters Not

    totaram, one of the claims that seems to attract believers is the claim that sovereign nations with their own fiat currency can never go broke. Thus a simply question:

    In the last 20 years has any sovereign nation with its own fiat currency ever declared bankruptcy – and thereby gone into default? None, one, two … how many? And why?

    Putting it another way – How did any sovereign nation with its own fiat currency achieve the (supposed) impossible? Or is it the case there are no examples?

  33. Kaye Lee

    Under MMT, spending is only constrained by unused productive capacity in the economy. I believe there have been some economies that have spent beyond their productive capacity which leads to rampant inflation. There are also countries who have borrowed in foreign currencies. That then becomes a problem if your currency devalues.

  34. Matters Not

    KL, I am well aware of the theory – having read same ad infinitum – but I’ve also read any number of critiques. (I suspect many run of the mill adherents haven’t read those critiques. ) Nevertheless, I make no claim as to expertise. Indeed, I readily admit the opposite. What concerns me is that for many MMT adherents, MMT becomes the magic pudding – politically speaking.

    If it is the political magic pudding, then why hasn’t any party adopted it with enthusiasm? Given it has great political appeal. From my reading, progressive economists like Quiggan are ho hum – pointing out the practical accountancy reality.

    While I would really like to becomes a believer, I, like the majority of political watchers, remain sceptical.

  35. Kaye Lee

    We are in the same place MN. I am just so used to the mantra that I can repeat the answers I have been told. (without yet another link to Bill Mitchell or that video).

    It is the accounting that always bothers me too. But they say it is unimportant…..which bothers me even more.

  36. Matters Not

    KL, seems to me that a fiat currency (like any other currency) only survives because of trust or faith if you like. Once that’s gone – you need a metaphorical wheelbarrow to transact. Accordingly, the insights seem to become more of a psychological or sociological issue rather than an economic one. Take Bitcoin as an example.

    The former chief executive of PayPal has slammed bitcoin as the “greatest scam in history” and a “colossal pump-and-dump scheme”. … Ernst & Young estimates that 10 per cent of the money raised for initial coin offerings [ICOs] has been stolen. … According to Harris, the losers in the cryptocurrency space were the “ill-informed buyers caught up in the spiral of greed”.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12039408

    What hasn’t been explained to me are the implications of ‘printing dollars’ and the exchange rate with other currencies. Among other concerns.

    Politically it isn’t working.

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