The trouble is – I’ve often remarked – is that we only get one vote. Ok, ok, preferential voting means that we can vote for one candidate that we think is unlikely to win, safe in the knowledge that our vote will be counted if it’s a close contest between two of the others. This isn’t really getting a second vote. This is like a presidential election where they vote once and then have a run-off between the top two candidates; the difference is that we record what our vote would be in the event of a run-off so we don’t have to waste our time going back a couple of weeks later.
So when I have a choice between someone who wants to open a nuclear waste dump in my suburb but who opposes expanding our coal-fired power stations and someone who’s totally opposed to the waste dump because he thinks that coal is the way of the future, you can probably understand why I’m not happy to vote for either of them. Neither am I happy to write obscenities on my ballot paper because – on a certain level – I want to vote AGAINST both of them.
Now it’s interesting to consider the washup from the Batman by-election. The general consensus was that the Liberals had pulled a master stroke by not fielding a candidate, because then their preferences wouldn’t help elect Labor. Of course, it never occured to them that their supporters might just vote Labor anyhow. And it certainly never occured to them that they may have been really able to Kill Bill by running a candidate who preferenced The Greens.
But, like I said, we only get one vote. And one chance to run a candidate. Strangely, while all the talk was about how The Greens hadn’t done as well as the previous election, nobody pointed out that the Liberals support was down 100%!
Of course, Richard Di Natale quickly decided to put the blame on the leakers which is an interesting strategy. “No,” he seems to be saying, “it’s nothing to do with what we did. It’s all the fault of those disloyal people who aren’t supporting me and if I just had unquestioned support then we could’ve make sure that Labor couldn’t go ahead with their Adani mine.”
This sounds fine until one considers that wedging Labor on Adani actually suits the Liberals. Shorten has ruled out using government money to finance the loan and no sane lending institution wants to throw its money away, so that only leaves two ways for the mine to go ahead. If the Federal Government uses our money in the hope that the mine will employ a handful of people leading up to the federal election OR Adani decides to waste his own money on a project that makes no commercial sense.
By blaming the “traitors” who leaked a report that they were trying to cover up, Di Natale also deflects attention away from the fact that he tried to make capital out of Bill Shorten’s announcement on the cash refund for franking credits.
Let’s be quite clear here. There may need to be some tweaking to the policy to ensure that it doesn’t hit people who only own a handful of shares. Notwithstandng that, some of the complaints are patently absurd.
A letter in the paper today complained about the “double taxation” when the money wasn’t refunded. Of course, this is nonsense. When you have a situation where the company pays the tax and you’re taxed on it again when it’s added to your income, that’s double taxation. When the company pays the tax and you get the tax refunded to you because you’re below the tax-free threshold, that means that the income isn’t taxed at all.
Of course, one interesting point in all the crocodile tears that we’re hearing from the conservative side of politics is the effect of the company tax cuts. The franking credit is thrity percent because that’s the company tax rate. We didn’t hear any howls of outrage about how these people couldn’t afford to lose that five percent from their cash rebate. And we certainly didn’t hear any concern about suggestions that we may need to follow Trump and reduce it all the way down to fifteen percent.
Yes, it’s true. These people may get higher dividends. But that’s not guaranteed. After all, it’s the Coalition who are suggesting that these tax cuts will lead to more investment. The company executives will have the choice to use the extra money to pay higher dividends, to give themselves bonuses, or to invest in other companies.
They might even lend it to Adani.