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This government makes no sense

It doesn’t really matter what policy area you look at, there is no coherent plan as ProMo bounces around like a demented Santa offering sweeteners to all.

The result is a chaotic shamble where the gift offered by one hand is snatched away by the other in a government that is at war with itself.

Tony Abbott came to power offering a paid parental leave plan designed to encourage “women of calibre” to breed and then return to the workforce.  Not only was that abandoned, those women of calibre were now “double dippers” rorting the system and their existing entitlements were reduced.

After a tortuous process, marriage discrimination was ended – praise be.  But then we have an inquiry to work out how churches can ignore the law and continue to discriminate against gays.

The community and the majority of the parliament decide we have an obligation to provide medical care for seriously ill refugees under our care (I still can’t believe that is something they had to actually debate).  So people who are traumatised by being incarcerated with no hope on an island gulag will be shifted to another island gulag with no hope of any future and the promise of being sent back should they get well.

Successive Prime Ministers take their entourage to remote communities to find out first hand from Indigenous people what must be done to close the gap on disadvantage.  We have a (white) Special Envoy appointed to show how much we care.  And then we cut off services to them because we can no longer afford to fund their “lifestyle choice”, we ignore their call for a Voice to advise parliament, we quarantine their income, we lock them up in record numbers, and we take their children.

Budget assumptions show that the promised surplus is largely dependent on wages growing at a much faster rate than they are now.  Yet the government cuts penalty rates, argues against increases in the minimum wage, fights public sector pay rises (except those bestowed by the Remuneration Tribunal who determine politicians’ pay), and boast about the bill for welfare payments decreasing despite there being over 3 million Australians living in poverty.

When Labor announced their policy to change negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, we were told this would decimate the property market and strip people of their meagre wealth.  Yet changes to lending practices have prompted a far greater crash in property values than any change Labor was proposing was likely to make.  But the government is silent on this with no response forthcoming.

In April 2012, Joe Hockey gave a speech to the Institute of economic affairs in London:

Despite an ageing population and a higher standard of living than that enjoyed by our children, western democracies in particular have been reluctant to wind back universal access to payments and entitlements from the state.

So, ultimately the fiscal impact of popular programs must be brought to account no matter what the political values of the government are or how popular a spending program may be.

Let me put it to you this way: The Age of Entitlement is over.

Yet when Labor propose to wind back the largesse of excess franking credit refunds, the government goes into overdrive about this “retirees’ tax” which is, as per usual, not a tax at all.

Foreign Aid is slashed until China starts filling the void.  Rather than recognising the value and efficacy of soft diplomacy, we scramble to join the arms race.

Action on climate change and energy policy is where it gets truly ridiculous.

Faced with a slew of Independents contesting the next election in previously safe Liberal and Nationals seats and all campaigning on climate change, Scott is trying to convince us that he actually has a plan.

We will spend billions on hydro energy whose business case only stacks up if coal is phased out.  At the same time we will underwrite new coal-fired power whose future is so risky that no bank will take it on.

We export gas at record levels whilst we endure sky-rocketing prices here.

We will spend billions paying farmers to plant trees that they must then try to keep alive through bushfires, floods, droughts and cyclones.  If they are hit by any of these extreme weather events, we will pay them more.

We will pay farmers to reduce herd sizes.  And then we will pay them money to restock after their herds are decimated by floods or fire and we will pay more to feed them during drought.

Meanwhile, the big polluters are free, and even encouraged, to increase their emissions, and rampant land-clearing by farmers and property developers continues apace.

We give billions to different groups to protect the Great Barrier Reef whilst allowing dredge to be dumped on it and ignoring toxic spills from coal ports.  The warming of the oceans and the damage from severe cyclones that will almost inevitably lead to the death of the Reef is ignored as we concentrate on the impossible task of eradicating crown of thorn starfish one creature at a time.

It seems the government’s only clear purpose at the moment is to use its few remaining months to reward as many fellow political travellers as they can with high-paying appointments and to secure employment for themselves post-politics.

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37 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    Uhm ….. the Sharks were recently fined heavily for breaching the NRL salary cap while the former Sharks coach was banned indefinitely. Does Morriscum wearing a Sharks scarf mean the he condones acting outside the rules?

  2. Kaye Lee

    ProMo’s first speech: “Growing up in a Christian home, I made a commitment to my faith at an early age and have been greatly assisted by the pastoral work of many dedicated church leaders, in particular the Reverend Ray Green and pastors Brian Houston and Leigh Coleman.”

    It seems our Liberal PMs are similarly poor judges of character.

    “The victim of a paedophile pastor has accused the man’s son, Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston, of not doing enough to expose his father’s crimes.

    Frank was accused of sexually abusing nine boys, and in 2015 the royal commission found Brian Houston had failed to report his father’s abuse to police.”

  3. pierre wilkinson

    Thank you for another well written article Kaye lee.
    When will there be an accounting for the profligate corruption of the government?
    or Kathy Jackson for that matter!
    Bring on an election and a federal ICAC.
    This current mob no longer even try to hide their dissolution, desperation and degeneracy.

  4. Carol Taylor

    On the subject of incoherence. On the one hand we have Dutton claiming that Australians will be kicked off hospital waiting lists, but on the other hand we have Birmingham claiming that the health needs of asylum seekers will be fully met on Christmas Island. Anyone notice any inconsistency… Both can of course be added to the Morrison government’s ongoing list of lies. However, they are advertising for medical staff to work in a “tropical location”. I wonder how many medical staff they’ve been able to recruit so far??https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-01/federal-government-recruits-medical-experts-christmas-island/10854208

  5. Aortic

    Kaye, I have had business dealings in the past with Houstons aides de camp and believe me if Jesus had met them he would have thrown them out of the temple Any semblance of so called Christianity was sublimated in hard nosed and in the end scurrilous business dealings. I remember thinking at the time what a bunch of snake oil salesmen and if there is any justice in this world their empire deserves to come crashing down on their ill gotten edifices, lifestyles fancy cars et al.

  6. Kaye Lee

    John Hewson, when asked about a possible move by Dutton to Ciobo’s seat, said he just wanted Dutton to lose and be gone. He said he has been terrible at whatever ministry he has had.

    His dogwhistling has gotten to ridiculous levels. He MUST keep his hostages so he has someone to be tough about.

  7. Graeme Henchel

    You can speak very loud
    At a million words an hour
    You can shout and badger
    You can smirk and glower
    You can use a slick slogan
    and advertising words
    But you can’t
    no you can’t
    Polish your policy turds

    You can stage a stunt
    and wear a stupid hat
    You can make up numbers
    and throw up a dodgy stat
    You can twist all meaning
    sounding quite absurd
    But you can’t
    No you can’t
    Polish a policy turd

    You can blame your opponent
    For all the things gone wrong
    You can start a scare campaign
    Sing that you’ll be sorry song
    You can try to spook the horses
    Sowing fear into the herd
    But you can’t
    no you can’t
    Polish a policy turd

    It is not really about you
    though you’re easy to despise
    It is not all the division
    the deceit and all the lies
    It’s not the message
    It’s loud and clear and heard
    But you can’t
    No you can’t
    Polish your policy turds

  8. Matters Not

    So Pyne is going as is Ciobo – to work in the private sector. There is any number of reasons for those decisions but let’s not forget the hip-pocket incentive. Because both qualify under the old scheme, Pyne is entitled to a pension somewhere north of $220 000 a year while Ciobo will trouser at least $180 000 per annum. Given that a backbencher’s remuneration is in the order of $203 000, there’s little reason to stay.

    And it’s fully indexed. As for the FFPs – a calculator is required. For Pyne and Ciobo, The Age of Entitlement is just beginning.

  9. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee,

    If this was the 70’s and I saw the photo of Scummo I would have thought he was a special needs person in need of attention.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Carol,

    Just like those asylum seekers who are taking our jobs while they languish on welfare.

  11. David Bruce

    How can Australia be in Debt when we have our own system in place to fix any debt in any state of Australia, namely the Commonwealth Constitution 1900 -1901?

    Under Section 51 – 4, 12 and 13 – our Prime Minister AND our Parliament have the duty – and the legal power – to solve the so called financial crisies in only a few weeks with no interest and no debt.

    Governments, and governments alone, not the Banks, the Australian Government has the legitimate power to issue the nation’s money (or credit) to represent the real wealth of the Nation.

    Did all this get changed with the Australia Act 1986?

    Queen Elizabeth presented Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the original Proclamation, and an Assent original of the Australia Act UK), to which she had signed her assent on 7 February 1986. She signed the ACT at the TOP of the document, not at the end of the document. She did NOT give Royal Assent, she merely witnessed the document.

    No matter who wins the next Federal Election, the agenda will be the same.

    The Australian Government has ownership and/or control over the basic means of production and distribution of goods and services. When analyzed this means government control over everything, including you. All controls are “people” controls. If the government controls these areas it can eventually do just exactly as Karl Marx set out to do – destroy the right to private property, eliminate the family and wipe out religion. Is this what is happening to Australia now?

    Is the Australian Government designed to centralize power in Australia to facilitate take over by a World Government?

    from: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (A compendium of the voices of others compiled by Dr Amy McGrath OAM PhD Centenary Medal for Electoral Reform and President H.S. Chapman Society)

  12. paul walter

    The mad person’s rationale never makes sense to the (relatively) sane. The mad person themselves can’t and won’t see it. Lacking reflexivity they are not constitutionally capable of examining what drives them but operate within a simulacrum of illogic.

  13. MöbiusEcko

    Yet the government cuts penalty rates, argues against increases in the minimum wage, fights public sector pay rises (except those bestowed by the Remuneration Tribunal who determine politicians’ pay), and boast about the bill for welfare payments decreasing despite there being over 3 million Australians living in poverty.

    This gets worse as employers are pushing for a new class of worker called perma-flex workers. It seems this government has taken it on board and is considering it, but of course, won’t do anything until after the election.

    No surprise Cate Carnell is championing this.

  14. Dr Tim Jones

    Fantastic piece. Great job Kaye. I thought that ‘ProMo’ was particularly good – so true. Keep it up!

  15. Kronomex

    To borrow a paraphrased line from Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall in Bottom Live 3: Hooligan’s Island regarding Scummo –

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-02/christopher-pyne-retires-from-politics/10864364?section=politics

    “”I don’t get flapped by things like this, I just keep on going,” Mr Morrison told reporters at Parliament House.”

    Bullfaeces, it’s more like “Lily-livered yellow-trousered shit-your-pants scared-o girly, who has discovered that he’s sharing a very tiny parliament with a 15-megaton nuclear device of his own making.”

  16. Kate Ahearne

    Terrific, Kaye.
    Kronomex, ‘girly’?

  17. Terence Mills

    These resignations are very much targeted at undermining Morrison and letting the electorate know that even these rusted on Liberals have no faith in him and object to what the Morrison/Dutton style of politics is doing the their Liberal party.

    Had they merely wanted to get out of politics they could easily (if somewhat cynically) have stuck with it through the next election and then resigned half-way through a new coalition term or from opposition (when nobody would be looking anyhow).

    To jump ship now is a very personal F… U to Scomo.

    Dutton’s most recent irrational and hate-filled outburst about sick asylum seekers taking up hospital beds needs to be exposed as does his campaign of unrelenting vilification.

    We know that there are only around 1000 processed refugees and asylum seekers scattered between Manus and Nauru : we are told by informed medical sources that approximately seventy of these are in need of urgent health-care intervention – many suffering mental illnesses which have impact on their physical well-being after so many years of being played as political punching bags.

    It is crazy to take these people to Christmas Island where we know healthcare facilities are inadequate and equally we know that distributing these people within our existing national healthcare systems will put minimal additional pressure on these facilities.

    These lies must stop NOW !

  18. Kronomex

    Kate,

    It’s just a line from Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall’s characters of Richard Richards and Edward Elizabeth Hitler in their Bottom TV shows and 5 Bottom Live stage plays –

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottom_(TV_series)

    Scroll down down to the Premise and you will see that they took losers to the extreme.

    https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/bottom/31133/in-praise-of-rik-mayall-and-ade-edmondsons-bottom

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/jun/04/bottom-rik-mayall-adrian-edmondson-box-set-review

  19. Egalitarian

    Death of the LNP Salesmen. Just saw an interview with Angus Taylor on The Insiders.He reminds me of a used car salesman.

  20. Frank Smith

    Kaye Lee, pertaining to your jobs for the boys reference in your last paragraph, I was shocked to read that Porter made 35 appointments to the Administrative Affairs Tribunal after Parliament rose and commented on that and the size of the AAT in an earlier AIMN thread. I have since read somewhere that there may be 250 appointees to the AAT each costing well over $100,000. If so, this is an enormous scandal and waste of money. With your excellent investigative skills could you please find out how many people are presently on the AAT, what the AAT actually does and how much it is costing the Nation. It appears to me to be a totally unweildy body whose function could perhaps be better served by 5 or 6 key appointees, maybe from the judiciary.

  21. Kate Ahearne

    Kronomex, Thanks for the reference.

  22. andy56

    Our current state of non government is a good argument against independents. We all know we are in a holding pattern waiting for the election. So why didnt all the independents vote for the holding of supply and go to an election now? 8 Weeks sitting in 6months is a terrible look. It serves us no good being all lovey dovey ” we wont hold the government to ransom” if the government then turns around and does nothing. Whats in play here? And the GG just sits there like a potato? He should have got up, faced the media and said ” I am not happy that this government is not sitting”. No need to go to the queen, just embarrass the bastards back to work. Whats the point of having power and just sitting on the side lines when obvious incompetence is all around. At least call it out!!

  23. Kaye Lee

    Frank,

    Greg Jericho has written an excellent article today…..

    There are now over 50 LNP-linked people appointed to the AAT since 2013.

    The AAT is not some organisation that has no direct impact on people’s lives, it is part of the legal system. Not only is appointment to the AAT a sweet-paying gig (Gary Humphries, the former Liberal ACT senator, will earn $486,820 for his role as a non-judicial deputy president, for which he was re-appointed this week).

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/03/coalition-rabble-rousing-on-refugees-or-franking-credits-is-beneath-contempt

    As for how many people are on it – kazillions

    https://www.aat.gov.au/AAT/media/AAT/Files/Corporate/StatutoryAppointments.pdf

    As to what they do…

    The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) conducts independent merits review of administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws. We review decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies and, in limited circumstances, decisions made by state government and non-government bodies. We also review decisions made under Norfolk Island laws.

    The Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal and Social Security Appeals Tribunal were amalgamated with the AAT on 1 July 2015.

    https://www.aat.gov.au/about-the-aat

  24. Adrianne Haddow

    Kaye Lee, once again, you have shone a light on this inept government and their pathetic attempts to be all things to all people…. particularly those in the resource sector who butter their bread and sweeten their tea.
    Bravo!

  25. andy56

    yea, Angus Taylor certainly comes across as a conviction liar. Trying to spin the facts around. Its the typical approach they have. Forget the main message, just concentrate on one small area of debate and hammer how you are winning. “we are 1.5billion tons up only”. When the world needs zero by 2050, this is really setting us up for success, NOT.
    Howard comes to a forest. Says its lovely but it needs a prune. Years latter when he has finished, he stands on a hill overlooking the devastation and says thats better.
    Same as refugees, its turned around to people smugglers being the focus. Fuck, what a rich thread of humanity we feed on.
    I hate politicians who are expert in the art of deception and deflection. Especially when its a blatant lie by omission.

  26. Terence Mills

    Christian Porter and the AAT stacking scandal : Porter has admitted that part of his motivation was due to

    Some of its [the AAT] decisions – particularly on migration matters – have been labelled “infuriating” by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

    Mark Dreyfus has said a Labor government would require the positions to be publicly advertised, with an independent panel advising the Attorney-General on a shortlist.

    Ironically, the last Labor government set up an independent review panel for ABC/SBS Board appointments after blatant Board stacking by the Howard government. Whilst the appointment of Ita Buttrose as Chairperson is generally well accepted, her appointment was a clear Trumpian Captain’s Call and a dismissal of the panel review system.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Taylor is an absolute snake oil salesman. His argument with Barrie Cassidy this morning revealed the depths of his perfidy.

    Cassidy said emissions have increased every year under this government and Taylor vehemently said you are wrong. He said the latest figures show emissions have decreased 1.4%.

    To quote the report….

    “Emissions for the year to September 2018 are estimated to be 536 Mt CO2-e, up 0.9 per cent (4.6 Mt CO2-e) on the previous year, primarily due to increased LNG exports (19.7 per cent).”

    What Taylor was spinning was this….

    “National emission levels for the September quarter 2018 decreased by 1.4 per cent relative to the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis, driven by the lowest quarterly emissions output from the electricity sector in over a decade. Reduced emissions from diesel consumption across transport, agriculture and mining also contributed to this decrease. In trend terms, the emissions remained flat at 0.0 per cent.”

    So compared to the previous three months, this three months emissions were lower on a seasonally adjusted basis but flat on a trend basis. Over the year, however, emissions continued to rise.

    Plus Taylor is now all of a sudden mum about the number of coal-fired power applications he is considering underwriting. They MUST be pressed on this every time they speak. They MUST be made to fess up.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Former Liberal speaker of the West Australian Parliament Michael Sutherland was handed a five-year, full-time job on the tribunal. Mr Sutherland caused controversy when he called refugee activists and environmentalists “a bunch of cockroaches” who were “crawling all over the seat” while he was unsuccessfully seeking a federal Senate vacancy in 2017.

    He sounds like just the person to appoint to rule on refugee and environmental appeals. NOT!

  29. Matters Not

    Controversy over AAT appointments are not new. Remember Brandis

    Attorney general George Brandis has been slowly stacking an independent tribunal with failed Liberal candidates, unemployed political staffers, and party donors, with some of the jobs worth more than $300,000 per year

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/a-brandis-stack

    So many new, potential candidates now in the queue. Pyne, Keenan, Ciobo – perhaps even Porter himself – then there’s Bishop (both the younger and the older). A nice supplement to the pension. Everyone gets a prize. If you have ever made a decision then you are clearly qualified to judge the correctness or otherwise of government decisions. Hilarious.

    Will such appointments come under the purview of the proposed NIC?

  30. Kaye Lee

    Labor have announced they will have an independent panel make recommendations for appointment to the AAT. Though as we have seen, those panels can be expensive exercises whose recommendations are ignored. We really have to have some process where it is not politicians who hand out these appointments. They obviously cannot be trusted to not use it as some sort of jobsearch for party apparatchiks.

  31. Matters Not

    The panel that recommended three (3) males (only) re Chair of the ABC Board comprised three (3) females and one (1) male yet didn’t nominate one female for consideration. Talk about a political tin ear. And it cost north of $160 000 plus expenses.

    At a deeper and more significant level is the importance of politicians (and factional leaders) having the power to reward supporters – and at any number of levels, in any number of ways.. It helps maintain loyalty, discipline and the like – so important, given the way party politics currently works. It would be a whole different world without patronage.

  32. Rhonda

    Sickening. Absolutely putrid

  33. Kaye Lee

    I was gobsmacked to hear Taylor this morning bragging about the renewable energy projects in the pipeline. He even had the temerity to mention wind power projects, presumably expecting us to forget his strident and active opposition to the industry and his attempts to dismantle the RET which has facilitated this new investment.

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/pollie-watch-angus-taylor-liberal-renewable-energy-59689/

  34. Frank Smith

    Thank You, Kaye Lee for your response to my query about the Administrative Affairs Tribunal. What a quango this body is! By stacking its membership it appears that political Parties can subvert its supposed role by having it just confirm decisions that the Government of the day make. AND, appointments can be for up to 7 years and a possibility of reappointment. Talk about “stacking the deck”! So who are these people. Below is the current list which does not yet include the 35 appointments or re-appointments that Porter has just made. I count 330 names on this list – I repeat, 330. And all reimbursed by huge amounts of our Nation’s wealth courtesy of the Attorney General’s Department. A quango in its most derogatory meaning – this is a real scandal! As Greg Jericho noted the AAT is part of the legal system – so just appoint a few well-versed members of the judiciary to do its work and get rid of all these bottom feeders. Enjoy perusing this list:

    https://www.aat.gov.au/AAT/media/AAT/Files/Corporate/StatutoryAppointments.pdf

  35. Kaye Lee

    The AAT does provide a necessary service. For example, they upheld the charity regulator’s decision that the Waubra Foundation, who are an anti-wind turbine group, are not actually a charity. They had claimed charitable status on two grounds – protecting human rights, and with the principal activity of promotion of the prevention or control of diseases in human beings. Seriously.

    https://www.nfplaw.org.au/administrative-appeals-tribunal-upholds-acncs-decision-waubra-foundation

    Having said that, “In most cases, the hearing will be conducted by one AAT Member, although there can be two or three AAT Members.” That sort of indicates that a shitload of people are sitting there twiddling their thumbs.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Actually, I just checked the AAT caseload and I think I was wrong in suggesting they don’t have much to do.

    In the period 1 July 2018 to 31 January 2019, there were 35,412 appeals lodged with the AAT and 64,625 on hand at the end of the period. The vast majority of these (54,698) relate to migration and refugees. They overturn rulings in 25% of cases, mainly in the areas of taxation, the NDIS, and veterans. Only 10% of refugee appeals are successful and 11% of freedom of information appeals. Their rulings can then be challenged in the high court which the government does regularly.

    https://www.aat.gov.au/AAT/media/AAT/Files/Statistics/AAT-Whole-of-Tribunal-Statistics-2018-19.pdf

    It’s an interesting link in that it gives the type of things they are reviewing and the numbers of cases and how long they take.

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