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“I also went to the educational facilities, the classrooms there [in the detention centre in Nauru] where young people at taxpayers’ expense are being provided with English classes and schooling otherwise that is of a standard at least as good as in Australia.”

Peter Dutton, Minister for “Operational Affairs”

Now some of you may have read that last week and thought, “Gee, why are we wasting money like that on kids who are probably just going to spend the rest of their lives in detention. It’s like how we feed and clothe all those people in jail and give them access to things like cells which is so unfair when there are homeless people that we could be spending are money on… if we wanted to give it away to the undeserving poor.”

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that the decision has been made to close the school. Yes, Mr Dutton may have only made that statement last week, but someone’s realised that we can’t have asylum seeker children getting “schooling that is of a standard at least as good as in Australia”.

Mind you, he didn’t say which part of Australia…

Anyway, soon the children will be allowed outside the compound to attend the local school where they can meet and interact with the locals who are expected to welcome them with open fists. (Strangely some of the Nauruans don’t like the asylum seekers and believe that they should be sent back where they came from – Australia) But at least we can stop worrying that these sons and daughters of “illegal immigrants” are in danger of becoming overeducated, because as the University of New England puts it in their Nauru Teacher Education project:

“Nauru has identified increasing gaps in the supply of quality teachers proficient in subject content and pedagogy to achieve the country’s desired learning outcomes.”

So that’s one thing taken care of, we can forget about these “illegal immigrants”…

Mm, just a thought: How can they be “illegal immigrants” if they’ve never actually made it to Australia, let alone settle here?

Anyway, let’s turn our conversation to tax reform and continue the dialogue we were having with Mr Hockey.

Mr Hockey – while standing in front of an IPA backdrop – asserted earlier this week “our current tax system, which was designed before the 1950s, is ill-suited to the 2050s”, which I find rather strange as I haven’t been able to find a single taxation initiative that occured in the 1950’s. Federal income tax was introduced in 1915 on top of state income taxes. Before that we had a reliance on excise and customs duties. The states stopped collecting income tax during World War Two, which I believe was well before the 1950’s. And the GST was introduced under John Howard who – contrary to popular belief – wasn’t actually part of the 50s.

Perhaps that’s why Hockey picked that decade – he was confusing the design of the tax system with the design of Liberal Party policies. Like their policy on how copper wire is so high-tech, who needs this Internet thingy. No wait, that’s the other way round. Something designed a hundred years ago is completely suited to the 2050s and Labor was just wasting money with the NBN because the Internet is just for downloading movies and playing games and when that talking pictures fad passes we’ll be left with a white elephant.

Now, just so you know, nothing’s being ruled in or out, but apparently company tax is a disincentive on companies making money. Just like the carbon tax was a big disincentive on everything. Except producing emissions. It had no effect on that, in spite of figures showing emissions went down in the two years it was there, and rose in the quarter sinces its removal. Anyway, the carbon tax isn’t up for debate. Nor the mining tax. Even though they weren’t part of the taxation system that was designed in the 50s (or whenever).

But I guess it must be hard to be a Liberal at the moment.

We just had the victory for Mike Baird in the NSW election where a nine percent swing to the Labor Party was dismissed as “ho-hum” and The Greens picking up traditional National Party seats was seen as just a protest against the fact that even National Party voters grow concerned when they feel that their health is under threat. So that was really a great endorsement for Abbott because losing seats was only to be expected when Labor ran a “scare campaign” which involved telling people what the Liberal policy was. Sort of like the 2013 Federal Election where Labor suggested that the Liberals would try to put up the GST.

As for the opinion polls…

I’m sure that you’ve read about Abbott’s improved poll showing. Yes, the last two Newspolls did show that he was now more popular than syphillus. (No, that’s an expression – not a nickname for Bill Shorten!)

However, Roy Morgan had it 56% Labor; 44% LNP two party preferred.

And the most recent Essential Polls look like this:

2 Party Preferred Election 7 Sep 13 4 weeks ago3/3/15 2 weeks ago 17/3/15 Last week24/3/15 This week 31/3/15
Liberal National 53.5% 47% 48% 46% 47%
Labor 46.5% 53% 52% 54% 53%

So it must be confusing when everyone is talking about your poll bounce and any objective reading would suggest that either Newspoll was wrong, or the other two were wrong, and that we can’t be sure which is right without further polling.

But no, all the commentators are telling you, you’ve had a poll bounce and that must make all the Liberals wonder exactly what they’ve done right lately.


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  1. eli nes

    good little chuckle, Rossleigh. Everytime I see Barnaby I think ‘how good was Windsor?’. The latest from the national twit blamed the nimbin hippies for the loss in balana

  2. Blanik

    I know that this is very rude and if it were deleted I would understand, but – as a Labor voter for many, many years – that is an appropriate nickname for the current ALP leader.

    It’s Time to ramp it up Mr Shorten.

  3. Carol Taylor

    The Nimbin hippies have been around since the 70’s..glad to see that they’ve finally woken up not to vote for the Nats. :mrgreen:

  4. CMMC

    Those poor kids in Detention had to learn some English in order to make that pathetic phone call to the Motoring Enthusiast Senator.

    It was his vote that passed Abbotts inhumane Immigration laws.

  5. Aortic

    If they really wanted to know what the punters are thinking they could call a snap election. If they did, I would start believing in Santa again.

  6. Coachman on the Box

    I’ve held off saying this for some time, Rossleigh, but I can no longer maintain the silence. I like your work and I believe we’re on the same songsheet re the current state of politics and government in this beleaguered, beholden and benighted nation. But could you please proofread your copy and refine your use of the apostrophe before submitting? Some may judge me to be something of a grammar nazi, but attention to grammar and careful checking of any work makes good writing even better. It also shows respect for the reader.

  7. kasch2014

    The tragedy is that Australia is largely populated by terrified, money grubbing people whose spiritual path and comfort source (after a childhood in front of the idiot box) is TV and main stream media, which is entirely contrived (including much of this commentary) according to the totally conservative view which is even at home in the more radical comments on this site. We need a totally new approach to government and social attitudes, and that will take a long time in this timid, politically correcty, alienated-from-life, ultra conservative society which always changes too little, too late. See for a more than superficial approach. Go through the on-site links for a few odd and radical attitudes. Down load the PDFs and read them. It’s fun!

  8. crypt0

    I’m afraid Australia has quite lost it’s way …
    With regard to all those people who are living comfortably in taxpayer funded cells , and the poor and homeless out on the streets, the solution is obvious.
    Simply swap them around …
    I’m amazed the LNP government hasn’t already tried it.
    After all,what could possibly go wrong?

  9. Phi

    “taxpayers expense” such a worn out, over used flag for bias

  10. John Armour

    As for the opinion polls…

    The difference between Roy Morgan and the others is a good proxy for the rising temperature in the LNP party room.

    It’s funny how you rarely see Roy Morgan quoted even though it uses a multi-mode sampling method and has the smallest margin of error.

  11. stephentardrew

    Absolutely John I always rely upon Morgan polls they are definitely the most accurate and with the smallest MOE.

    Morgans data collection and sample breadth is superior to others and therefore has greater statistical stability and reliability.

    News Poll is completely unreliable demonstrating extreme swings that certainly represent deviations against long term trends.

    The problem of bias is implicit in human nature and with a factional media it is not surprising that their are data slippages at News Poll.

    The models will appear robust however subjective preferences are not easily detectable.

  12. stephentardrew

    Give it a break Coachman.

    For one drop the Nazi reference and for two you will find many who post here have busy lives giving their time freely to provide relevant information. I want to know facts. I have a problem with dyslexia and completely understand people’s individual capacity. I love Ross’ work and get a lot of fun out of his posts. Beats spelling and punctuation any day.

    We live in a world of diversity and varying ability and that is no reason to exclude those who may not have great literacy skills yet have something vitally important to say.

    We desperately need a world of tolerance not overbearing school masters.

  13. Matters Not

    Speaking of Polls, here’s the latest

    it finds Labor losing one of the two points it gained last time to record a two-party lead of 53-47. Primary votes are 40% for Labor (down one), 40% for the Coalition (steady), 10% for the Greens (steady) and 1% for what’s left of Palmer United (steady).

    The poll finds only 26% deeming it likely Tony Abbott will make it to the next election with 57% opting for unlikely, with wide partisan differences along the expected lines. With respect to tax reform, strong majorities are recorded in favour of measures hitting multinational corporations and high-income earners, while fierce hostility remains to expanding or increasing the GST

    Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor

  14. stephentardrew

    As for the first part of your article Ross one despairs a the blatant cruelty of the L-NP and my fellow citizens who turn a blind eye to such injustice and suffering.

    One despairs at the lack of any type of concern or empathy shown by those who care not for the little children.

  15. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Ditto stephentardrew @2.28pm.

    Thanks Rossleigh again, for giving us a laugh while pointing out the peculiarities of the LNP and its sycophants, who fail to realise they are rotting from within. (We already knew they were rotten.)

    On a final note, with a dysfunctional LNP Government and an inept Labor Opposition, I would value the Morgan polls representing voters’ opinions of a multi-party system where minor and marginal parties, as well as Independents were all factored in. The 2-party system is a dying breed, so that needs to be represented in the polls.

    Reporting the multi-party preferred reality would keep these major parties on their toes, so that the public could expect their policy plans revealed well in advance of each election forcing each major party to show their policies are intended to benefit our society for the long-term, as opposed to just vote-buying.

  16. gangey1959

    Most entertaining Ross. Thank you.
    Get off the grass Coachman.
    @Aortic. I think that is the real point. It’s a kind of “publish or be damned” as far as I am concerned.
    I was desperate for Baird to be booted, but it was not a realistic possibility, and Shorten and his dickhead mates shafted us on the Metadata security fiasco anyway, and now we are all feeling a bit screwed by the system.
    A quick DD would give us a chance to clear the cobwebs.
    Have a fun Easter.
    I’m working on getting my High-Risk Licenses back. Then you had better all take to the hills. Haha.
    I might go rabbott hunting in my forklift. Hmmm….

  17. John Armour

    I might go rabbott hunting in my forklift. Hmmm….

    I have an image of a rabbott impaled through the ears on the forks.

  18. Matters Not

    Coachman on the Box, I concur.

    There’s two aspects of the use of the apostrophe (or not) that (as a reader) give me the absolute shits.

    Firstly, there’s the use of the apostrophe when it’s unnecessary, not required, inessential, unessential, needless, unneeded, uncalled for, unwanted and the like.

    Secondly, there’s the inconsistency. Ross started rather well.

    which was designed before the 1950s … is ill-suited to the 2050s

    Simply, there’s no contractions involved and there’s no possessives. Just ‘plurals’. In conventional terms, it’s spot on.

    Then there’s:

    that occurred (sic) in the 1950’s (sic) … was well before the 1950’s (sic)

    Can’t see why one would use an apostrophe. Certainly there’s no ownership (possessive). Or contractions. Then why?

    And finally, the resurrection with:

    was designed in the 50s

    Ross I don’t have the wit or wisdom to write as you do. Never will.

    But I suggest that you take note of the ‘criticism’. In much the same way as you expect your students to …

    As Coachman on the Box suggest ‘respect your readers’. (And provide a role model for your students.)

  19. rossleighbrisbane

    O Matters Not
    O Coachman

    I shall certainly watch my use of apostrophes in future.

    (A literary gag there for some)

  20. Möbius Ecko

    What gives me the shits is when someone uses a string of the same or similar meaning words to make a point when one would suffice. For instance; “…unnecessary, not required, inessential, unessential, needless, unneeded, uncalled for, unwanted…” 😉

  21. rossleighbrisbane

    Yes, Möbius, it’s superflous, unnecessary and completely uncalled for.

  22. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Rossleigh, put me out of my misery and explain the gag, please (said nicely).

  23. Terry2

    It is very telling that the only refugee to be “released into the community” on Manus Island, an articulate man and civil engineer by profession, has been refused permission to leave the Island to attend job interviews in Port Moresby, the capital of PNG.

    Peter Dutton, the Minister responsible – and the former worst ever health minister – is of course unavailable to comment.

    Did anybody really believe that these resettlement programs (on Manus and Nauru) were ever anything other than a cynical political fiction ?

  24. Rossleigh

    Ok, Jennifer, just because you asked so nicely:

    “Apostrophe Definition

    In literature, apostrophe is a figure of speech sometimes represented by exclamation “O”. A writer or a speaker, using an apostrophe, detaches himself from the reality and addresses an imaginary character in his speech.

    It is important not to confuse the apostrophe which is a figure of speech and the apostrophe which is a punctuation mark (‘). It shows possession or a mark to indicate omission of one or more letters (contractions) while apostrophe used in literature is an arrangement of words addressing a non-existent person or an abstract idea in such a way as if it were present and capable of understanding feelings.”

  25. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I’m in your debt, kind sir. 🙂

  26. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Terry2, I share your anger that the gentleman on Manus Island whom you describe, is practically incarcerated, since he is unable to leave the island to attend job interviews.

    Dutton’s reprehensible and neglectful conduct as the present Minister for Immmigration and Border Protection is subject to scrutiny in the cold light of day.

    He would be wise not to follow Scott Morrison’s poor example when he had this role for Mr Morrison must surely be concerned that a chair awaits him in the International Criminal Court for his alleged “crimes against humanity” with reference to denying the legitimate rights of asylum seekers on multiple occasions.

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