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The Davos Experience

Tony Abbott speaking at Davos (image from

Tony Abbott speaking at Davos (image from

On day two of what Tony Abbott refers to as “the Davos experience”, he had what he described as “an excellent meeting with some of Australia’s most senior and important business people”. One may wonder why he has to fly to Switzerland to meet with Aussies but Mr Abbott assured us that it was “not because we love travel, but because we want to do the right thing by the people, the workers and the businesses of our country.” He explained the purpose of the meeting in a press conference:

“The interesting thing about my discussions with Richard Goyder of Wesfarmers, with Nev Power of Fortescue, with Gail Kelly of Westpac, and with David Thodey of Telstra is that …. the leaders of those businesses are here at this conference because they want to ensure that right around the world we have got the policies in place which are going to promote private sector-led growth, investment and employment. What that requires is sensible government which gets taxes down, which gets regulations down, which gets productivity up because if we can do all those things we get growth up and that means more jobs and more prosperity for our people.”

So do these business leaders want prosperity for all?

According to Wesfarmers website,

“The primary objective of Wesfarmers is to provide a satisfactory return to its shareholders.

It is one of Australia’s largest listed companies – a conglomerate with many ventures including Coles supermarkets, coal mines, chemicals, energy, fertilisers, and insurance.

Two months after the election, Wesfarmers chief Richard Goyder sent a clear message to Canberra not to interfere with the nation’s supermarket sector, warning that an attempt to cap the market share of Coles and Woolworths would lead to higher prices for shoppers.

Coles and Woolworths, who currently enjoy an estimated combined grocery market share of about 70 per cent, are concerned that government may one day try to push through caps on market shares to open up competition from chains like Aldi and Costco. The ACCC has promised investigations into Coles and Woolworths for alleged treatment of farmers and suppliers, as well as shopper-docket schemes for fuel discounts at supermarket-owned petrol stations.

Mr Goyder said he gets

“a bit perplexed when Coles is blamed for many of the challenges in the farming/food sector today. The farming and food industries do have challenges today, as they have had for many years. They are not helped by our strong currency, as well as productivity issues and cumbersome regulations. But, it is just too easy, too simplistic, to blame the supermarkets for a lot of these difficulties.”

Wesfarmers have also been actively expanding production and purchasing new coal mines despite the falling price of coal.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Wesfarmers said total coal production in the December 2013 quarter was 3.7 million tonnes, a 6.8 per cent lift compared to the 3.5 million it produced in the December 2012 quarter.

Wesfarmers said in a separate statement it had agreed to acquire a mineral development licence from Peabody Energy for $70 million. The group said the purchase will increase the total base of coal reserves available at Curragh by 29 per cent and reflects confidence in the long-term outlook of its export business.

Another arm of Wesfarmers is CSBP, a major manufacturer and supplier of chemicals, fertilisers and related services to the mining, minerals processing, industrial and agricultural sectors. Along with their affiliated companies, their products include

“Fertilisers, Ammonium Nitrate, Sodium Cyanide, Ammonia, Industrial Chemicals, Solution sodium cyanide, Solid sodium cyanide briquettes, PVC resin, wood-plastic composites, Residential LPG, AutoGas, Kwik-Gas, Bulk Gas, Industrial (45s and Speciality Gas), Natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG).”

No wonder Mr Goyder is keen to get rid of “cumbersome regulations”. They could be a hindrance to “satisfactory returns”.

Whilst seemingly unable to say anything sensible about Syria, and sticking to his “Don’t mention the whales” stance with Japan, Mr Abbott has found time to consult with the miners and bankers on how to increase their superprofits, and with the supermarkets and Telstra on how to protect their monopoly markets.

Mr Abbott’s aim may be to see “more prosperity in Australia” but for whom, and at what cost?



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  1. SmeeHere

    Abbott, you are the worst Prime Minister this country has ever had. History will judge you fairly but it will not be pleasant for your family and descendents.

  2. JAQ

    Arghhhh!!!!! I think I have reached the point when I really cannot take any more of this crap! When are all the Australian people going to wake up to this buffoon, this jackass, this complete and total twerp?!!!! I really hope in a way that it gets worse- why are the Australian public so freakin- complacent? I am writing this whilst the government in QLD are handing out $200 for newly married couple, for counselling!!!!? Are you joking Campbell Newman? LNP GOTTA BE JOKING!!!?

  3. allenmcmahon

    Abbott seems to be blithely unaware that corporations are there for one purpose alone to maximise profits the do not do social equality and justice – that’s what his job is supposed to be not taking orders from Laurice Newman in their weekly meetings.

    The useful idiots put Abbott into the government and he is proving to be the court jester to Murdoch, Packer, Rinehart bells jingling and all.

    I not sure about the trickle down effect but I do know when I am being seriously shat on.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    JAQ that is an Abbott Federal government policy. Whilst he cuts money to disability pensioners and their carers he’s handing out $200 ideology grants. Of course this has nothing to do with his declining polls and woeful performance.

    Expect a whole lot more of these free gifts as an election looms and if the polls are still down. He like Howard will attempt to bribe his way to keep power.

  5. Fed up

    Why did Abbott leave Australia so early. The only people he seems to have talked to, are the Dutch and Japanese leaders.

  6. Fed up

    Carers are already struggling to survive.

  7. Fed up

    Eighty-five individuals have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people.

    That’s not even the richest 1 per cent of people – just 85 people – the richest 1 per cent has 65 times the wealth of the poorest half of the world.

    Oxfam’s recent paper, Working for the few, paints a remarkable and depressing narrative. It is a story characterised by a rising ‘elite’ society with the financial clout to dominate and capture government decision making, often to the detriment of everyone else.

    Unfortunately we are not simply talking about Wall Street or members of the Russian oligarchy. Australia is no exception – in fact we are worse than most.

    From the outset it must be acknowledged that some economic inequality is necessary. Society still needs to reward those with specialised skills and talent and reward entrepreneurialism, hard work and risk-taking. But a high level of inequality curbs economic growth and promotes poverty, creates crime and terrorism, and erodes the very foundation of democracy.

    There is a balance to be had between inequality and opportunity and we have failed to get that balance right.

    As the graph below shows, the share of national income accruing to the top 1 per cent of income earners has increased significantly over the past three decades. It might not be immediately obvious but of the countries listed below, Australia had the second highest increase in inequality.

    The issues, that the Pope demanded being addressed.

  8. Fed up

    More, from above.]

    >blockquote>The actual level of income growth over the past thirty years is quite extraordinary and really reinforces how well the ‘elite’ have done compared with the working class. Real income for the bottom 90 per cent of the income distribution rose by just 34 per cent between 1980 and 2010. By comparison, the top 1 per cent has enjoyed income growth of around 178 per cent

  9. Joe Banks

    Well done again, Kaye Lee. The problem with all of this (every aspect of it) is that the message is not reaching average, ordinary Australians. They are being manipulated by a media that is subservient to greedy multi-millionaires and heartless politicians… But I greatly admire your tenacity.

  10. Clusterpod

    What a gutless, servile jerk

  11. edward eastwood

    Gee, its strange that Tony couldn’t meet with the heads of the major corporations and banks of Australia in Canberra, and of course they all paid their own fare and accommodation and would never ask for a refund from the Australian tax-payer while they frolicked in the snow and tucked into meals that would cost the average unemployed worker the equivalent of six months dole payments – Nah.. never! Not our One Term Tony.

  12. Terry2

    Just been listening to Abbott’s Davos speech which, when you get away from the embarrassing clichés about “Australia being under new management and now open for business” he also made an odd assertion, that the global financial crisis ” was not a failure of markets but a failure of governments”.

    What was he getting at, I thought that it was all about greed, dodgy loans in the US and the global contagion that followed the packaging and distribution of theses loans to banks around the world; wasn’t it governments that bailed out failing corporations (General Motors) and provided economic stimulus ?

  13. Möbius Ecko

    Terry2 the Republicans in the US blame Clinton for the GFC, not the banks or finance institutions, that’s what Abbott is alluding to being an ape for whatever any right wing organisation says,

  14. Fed up

    When was the GFC. Yes, just after Rudd came to power. Therefore, Howard must be to blame. Labor not in power long enough.

  15. Fed up

    Same would go for Obama, I believe.

  16. cornlegend

    We have the chief clown Abbott making a gig of himself on the world stage, and most Australians cringe.

    The low lifes in the LNP get in on the act , but surely this galah must be up near the top.

    “Nats MP doesn’t regret dole comments”
    A federal government MP is standing by his accusation that dole recipients are trying to “screw the system”.

    Ken O’Dowd reportedly told a community forum in his central Queensland electorate of Flynn this week: “You won’t get anyone on the dole coming to these sort of meetings, because they don’t care about the community, they care about themselves and how they can screw the system”.

    The MP’s remarks were made shortly before the announcement of a government review of welfare payments.

    Mr O’Dowd also told the forum about a recent conversation he had with billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart, in which she voiced her concerns about the welfare system.

    She told him that 60 per cent of Australians were on some sort of welfare payment, questioning whether they were all that “badly off”.

  17. Matters not.

    I know it’s considered ‘bad form’ to rain on Abbotts’ ‘tea party’ re the WEF but the theme is here:

    A few quotes.

    DAVOS, Switzerland — Leaders gathered in the Swiss ski resort of Davos are pushing for nations worldwide to shift to cleaner energy sources as the best way to contain global warming and re-energize the global economy.

    Where is that agenda reported in Australia? Further:

    U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, reflecting the top billing that climate change has in Davos this year, said the world economy is at risk unless a binding deal is agreed in Paris in 2015 to lower heat-trapping carbon emissions from coal and oil

    See that. ‘Top billing’ at Davos. Any mention of that theme in the MSM in Australia?

    The WEF is devoting a complete day to discussing how climate change will impact on the world’s economy. Again I haven’t seen any mention of that in the local MSM. Did Abbott attend? If not, then why not? Was he asked? And so on …

    BTW, I won’t provide links, mainly because it’s a complete waste of time.

  18. PeterF

    It reminds me of Howard’s comment , when he said that one advantage of our paying for him to live at Kirribilli House in Sydney rather than at the Lodge in Canberra. He said that it gave him a chance to meet typical Australians as he walked from the ferry to his office. Apparently there are no typical Australians in Canberra.

  19. Kaye Lee

    British journalist Chris Giles, Economics Editor for the Financial Times UK, tweeted from Davos

    “Sign of the times. Rouhani packed out the hall. everyone is leaving before Tony Abbott explains Australia’s ambitions for the G20 in 2014”

    “abbott not taking questions on G20. As Mrs Thatcher would ask, is he frit?”

    “Abbot uncomfortable with all this G20 stuff. Ends saying “better governance does not mean more government”

    “Abbott copies David Cameron’s “open for business” line”

    “Australia’s Tony Abbott is sounding v right wing. Crisis was not “a crisis of markets but one of governance”

  20. Fed up

    I believe not many hung around to listen. He left here early Monday morning, and only managed to talk to four leaders. None that important.

    Running down Gillard overseas I suspect, does not go down well.

    Coming back today.

  21. Fed up

    Where is Abbott living. Still couch surfing, I suspect. What is noticeable, is that his wife is not around.

  22. Paul Raymond Scahill

    I do not know if there is anything I can say about the Rabbit that has not already been said, but it fails to arouse any response from me whatsoever as to the B.S. he expects us, as a nation, to absorb and understand. Apart from being the biggest liar on the world stage at present, it would appear as though he is trying to create an even bigger impression as a world champion liar, at least the equivalent of John Howard. What is it about the people of this wonderful country that they accept and swallow the biggest lies perpetrated by “our politicians”. Could it be that we are descendants of the thieves and liars who were sent to Australia some 240 Years ago. A truthful explanation would be appreciated.

  23. Billy moir

    Goyder old line limited and was right. Goyder new line is unlimited and wrong. Westfarmers can buy whatever it likes because if it makes an error, a few cents extra per item will keep the profits up. This is the simple that obviates the need for complex but complex is needed to fool the rabbott and his henchmen, the former who is too lazy to gather evidence and the latter too inept to understand.

  24. allenmcmahon

    “Sign of the times. Rouhani packed out the hall. everyone is leaving before Tony Abbott explains Australia’s ambitions for the G20 in 2014″

    So his reputation as a riveting er.. orator proceeded him.

  25. James Clander

    ABBOT — Australia’s No1 idiot clown — what an embarrassment to Australia !

  26. diannaart

    Abbott, attempting to breathe new life into the old saying “feed ’em bullshit and keep ’em in the dark” – won him an election thanks to a compromised MSM, however will not work on the international stage.

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