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What’s there to crow about?

Image by imgur.com

Image by imgur.com

Tony Abbott is gleefully crowing about “100+ days without a boat”. What Mr Abbott seems oblivious to is that he has closed yet another door on people fleeing persecution and human rights abuses in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The Taliban just fired rockets at the Electoral Office in Afghanistan so the upcoming election doesn’t look like it will make everything tickety poo over there either. Things don’t seem to be getting any better in Syria though the government haven’t done any mass gassings lately, not in the open anyway.

And it isn’t as if we have increased our humanitarian intake or processed any of the people already being illegally held in detention. This has cost us a fortune, subjected our navy to allegations of abuse, seen us internationally condemned, caused enormous mental and physical harm to vulnerable people, and Australian guards are now implicated in the death of a man who was under their protection. Yet this is supposed to be a success?

Tony’s team are also pushing very hard for the repeal of the carbon tax but it is becoming harder and harder to drown out the chorus of condemnation for such an act from world leaders, the UN, climate change bodies, scientists, economists and the citizens of the world. He accused the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, of “talking through her hat”, and said he doesn’t want to “clutter up” the G20 agenda with talk about climate change. Can you imagine how that was received?

Blatantly sacking scientists and advisory bodies to appoint climate change deniers to every position might allow you to fool people in Australia in the very short term. It will not change the science. This headless chicken (Prince Charles) flat earth (Barak Obama) denial is wasting precious time and shows us globally as unwilling to do our bit – something Australians have always been respected for in the past.

The Senate inquiry into the Direct Action Plan has released its findings and they are damning. If this process is to have any credibility, the Coalition must drop this idea and agree to move to an ETS with higher targets for emission reduction and renewable energy. It is what every expert recommends, especially the economists.

Greg Hunt must be the only Minister for the Environment who would be bragging about approving billions of dollars of new coal mining and port expansion which will unquestionably lead to the degradation of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. He has also advocated the removal of marine park legislation to allow for commercial fishing, removal of world heritage listing to allow for logging, and the building of dams in our ecologically sensitive pristine North. With an Environment Minister like that, who needs natural disasters?

And then there is the mining tax. On the 7:30 report, Abbott claimed that the mining and carbon taxes were partly to blame for BHP Billiton’s decision to delay the expansion of its huge Olympic Dam mine despite the fact that Marius Kloppers said it had nothing to do with the mining tax which doesn’t even apply to the copper, uranium or gold extracted from the site.

Mining profits worldwide have slumped by half since 2011 as the mining boom comes off its highs according to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers which says that higher costs, more writedowns and fluctuating commodity prices have hit the fortunes of the top 40 mining companies including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

PwC Australia’s head of energy and mining, Jock O’Callaghan, says the possible repeal of the mining tax in Australia is unlikely to have much impact on Australia’s appeal to investors. Not surprisingly, the government has failed to take note of this advice.

Mr O’Callaghan says he expects more mines to close, including in Australia. “Certainly if we see a further downturn in commodity prices that is going to put more pressure on marginal mines,” he said. “There is no denying that and again that is not just an Australian phenomena.”

As Ross Gittins explains,

“For the income earned by an industry to generate jobs in Australia, it has to be spent in Australia. And our mining industry is about 80 per cent foreign-owned. For our economy and our workers to benefit adequately from the exploitation of our natural endowment by mainly foreign companies, our government has to ensure it gets a fair whack of the economic rents those foreigners generate.

Because Labor so foolishly allowed the big three foreign miners to redesign the tax, they chose to get all their deductions up-front. Once those deductions are used up, the tax will become a big earner. Long before then, however, Tony Abbott will have rewarded the Liberal Party’s foreign donors by abolishing the tax.

This will be an act of major fiscal vandalism, of little or no benefit to the economy and at great cost to job creation.”

Mining currently employs about 2.4% of our workforce but this is set to drop as they move into the less labour-intensive production phase. As we saw during the GFC, they are not altruistic benefactors and have little loyalty to their employees. According to Richard Denniss

“When commodity prices fell during the global financial crisis the first thing the mining industry did was sack thousands of their workers. Indeed, according to Treasury, if all industries had been as quick to punt their employees as the mining industry the unemployment rate would have hit 19 per cent rather than its peak of 5.9 per cent.”

Penny Wong described Abbott’s rhetoric regarding the mining tax as “one of the most dishonest, self-interested fear campaigns that we have seen in Australian politics” and I can only agree.

After saying there was no difference between Liberal and Labor on education, we have seen billions cut with a backing away from the bulk of the Gonski funding, the abolition of trades training centres, and cuts to the before and after school care program despite childcare being identified as far more important in improving productivity and workforce participation than paid parental leave.

We have also seen the Coalition attempt to repeal Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act in a bizarre attempt to “protect the rights of bigots”. Countless journalists have said they have not felt constrained in any way by this section of the act and do not see the need for its repeal. This is purely and simply a pander to Andrew Bolt and Rupert Murdoch. Promoting hatred under the name of free speech is a truly cynical exercise which has left many Australians feeling very uneasy about what is happening to our country.

According to the Coalition, our debt and deficit are a real problem and spending must be reined in. While listening to a relentless barrage softening us up for the cuts that are to come, we watch Tony Abbott spend money hand over fist on his Paid Parental Leave scheme, orange life rafts, unmanned drones, planes both for the Air Force and himself, grants to polluters, gambling on the foreign exchange market, tax concessions for the wealthy, subsidies to profitable mining companies, marriage guidance counselling vouchers, and gifts to pollie pedal sponsors.

We are also going to sell everything we own and spend billions to build roads.  Public transport and high speed rail will receive no funding.  I am sure the fact that cars rely on fossil fuels hasn’t entered into the decision making.

With the rollout of the NBN in limbo, Malcolm Turnbull has admitted that he cannot keep his pre-election promises. His inferior offering will take much longer and cost much more than he led us to believe and will be outdated before it is even completed.

Abbott’s rush to sign free trade agreements which include ISDS clauses with all and sundry (No. 87 on the IPA’s wish list), has put our nation at sovereign risk where we will risk being sued if we introduce laws to protect our health and environment. It will almost certainly lead to a huge increase in the cost of medicine as pharmaceutical companies block the release of generic medicines, and a host of other repercussions that we can only anticipate with dread.

We have the Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews, winding back gambling reforms and disbanding the oversight of charitable bodies. We have the Environment Minister disbanding climate change advisory bodies and removing environmental protection laws. We have the Health Minister disbanding bodies like the Australian National Preventative Health Agency, the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia, and attacking Medicare with offices closed on Saturdays and co-payments likely. We have the Assistant Health Minister blocking a healthy eating website and the Assistant Education Minister asking childcare workers to give back their pay rise. In fact, I cannot think of one act or one piece of proposed legislation that has been in the best interest of the people of Australia.

With cuts to foreign aid, indigenous affairs, charities, and asylum seeker advocacy groups, it is increasingly obvious that the vulnerable can expect no protection or assistance from this government. They have made their agenda patently clear. Buy a ticket on the Good Ship Rinehart and lift with the rising tide, or be left to drown as the wealthy stand on the shoulders of the poor to board the corporate gravy train.

 


28 comments

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  1. Kaye Lee

    Mr Swan, who has largely refrained from public commentary since the election, said: ”If Tony Shepherd wanted to offer a genuine critique of government decisions, instead of acting as an unthinking mouthpiece for the Liberal Party, then he might have mentioned the insanity of Tony Abbott’s $5.5 billion paid parental leave scheme, which will smash the budget, increase taxes on Australian businesses and do nothing to boost national productivity.

    ”If Tony Shepherd thinks the National Disability Insurance Scheme or the Gonski reforms are a waste of money, he’s out of touch with mainstream Australia. It also shows zero understanding of the economic value of these huge reforms, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the views of most Australians.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/wayne-swan-hits-out-at-the-head-of-tony-abbotts-commission-of-audit-tony-shepherd-over-labors-record-20140328-35od4.html#ixzz2xUl3Yv1N

    See if you can detect a pattern in this. Tony Abbott wants to review the renewable energy target, so he appoints self-professed climate change ”sceptic” Dick Warburton, who feels qualified to explain to the scientists where they’re going wrong.

    Abbott wants to review the financial system, so he appoints a former boss of a big four bank, David Murray, who feels qualified to explain to economists where they’re going wrong.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/less-fancy-financial-footwork-please-20140330-35rrg.html

  2. dafid1

    Kaye Lee all true and pertinent, however its WA voters who need to be convinced not world leaders, not climate experts, not the professors and scientists. Are they convinced? Well if we are to rely on previous voting trends, no. Abbotts lies and misinformation will win the day and enable him to get his nation dividing legislation through the Senate.
    Hope beyond hope I am wrong, but we are dealing with my fellow West Australians, a rare breed when it comes to elections. Saturday they have the destiny of the nation in their hands, I am not confident of the result we need.

  3. Stephen Tardrew

    This is it in a nutshell Kaye. Great article. Makes me want to do unspeakable things to the Rabbit. This is a vile attempt to undermine the rights of Australians. Any single item on this list is a worry together they read as a litany of greed and avarice at the expense of the general populace. Wake up Australia before it is too late.

  4. Kaye Lee

    dafid and Stephen,

    All we can do is try to correct the misinformation and ask our fellow Australians in WA to help save our country. The Senate must be a house of review as senate committees are going to be the only place experts can be heard as Tony dismisses them all.

    “Privatisation usually involves selling cheaply valuable income-earning companies which taxpayers have built and paid for over several generations to private owners who then reduce services and increase charges to reap a rapid return. Consumers who used to win with fair prices and a return to the community in dividends lose both ways.”

    http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbott-and-hockey-selling-off-the-silver-iarem-says-australians-will-suffer,6328

  5. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Just wondrin’

    Buy a ticket on the Good Ship Rinehart and lift with the rising tide

    Strange how not just anyone can buy a ticket.

  6. Miriam English

    I wonder if we can drag them into court on charges of treason and crimes against humanity.

    Treason in the deliberate lies and destruction of the Australian economy and Australian security in collusion with a few ultra-wealthy miscreants.

    Crimes against humanity for their willful denial of the dangers to the human species of climate change and their rush to get quick money out of destroying our future.

  7. Stephen Tardrew

    Thanks for the link Kaye. You probably know my opinion. Government run enterprises help the assets side of the balance sheet and if managed well provide income. The IAREM ratings say it all. As noted previously sell off the silverware and next crisis there is nothing left but to recover bank losses from the public. And this is just what the financial sector wants. Dod-Frank has been weakened and will only have limited impact if there is no substantial reserve pool of capital underpinning the banks. Australia must stand on its own feet or suffer the consequences. The LNP is walking us down a highway too hell.

  8. menialcheerykill

    Reblogged this

  9. randalstella

    Miriam English
    I wonder if we can drag them into court on charges of treason and crimes against humanity.

    No,you can’t.
    They have to be beaten at the ballot box – by people who probably will never care about the result as much as you. That’s what we’re stuck with.
    Next, how to promote this outcome.

  10. Miriam English

    @randalstella, why not? The Nazi inner circle were charged with crimes against humanity for, among other things, sticking people in concentration camps. Milosevic too. Nixon was impeached for lying and bugging. Politicians aren’t immune. They don’t automatically have license to trash all around them.

    All we have to do is decide they are a genuine threat to our country, to lives and freedoms, and to broader humanity. It is clear Abbott and crew are, from sticking people in concentration camps, to plundering our national wealth for some rich buddies, and putting at risk the Earth’s climate by their denialist rush to get as much coal onto the market as possible.

    Abbott was never voted in. Rudd was voted out. Australians are renowned for voting governments out, not in. Abbott never had any mandate, and he has trampled on the Australian people with his dishonest agenda.

  11. Pingback: What’s there to crow about? « The Australian Independent Media Network « SNAFU

  12. mikisdad

    Even this claim by Tony Abbott is another *lie*. The boats haven’t stopped. The boats are still coming, they have simply been diverted; turned around; had their human cargo transferred to a floating orange, or been lost at sea.

    So, even leaving aside the monstrousness of *celebrating* a callous disregard for other human beings and failure to honour our international obligations” – the fact is that the celebration is based on a fiction. Just another of the litany of Tony Abbott lies which, other than hurling unwarranted abuse at those who don’t agree with him, appears to be all that this Prime Minister has to offer.

    Thanks, Kaye, for an excellent summary of how our country is being damaged by this man – whilst I appreciate the article, I only wish that the raw material that justifies and supports it, didn’t exist. Tragically, it does, and tragically, too many Australians, it appears, see themselves as gaining from these acts; aren’t aware of their consequences; or simply don’t care. Otherwise, the majority of the nation would be out on the streets in protest – sadly, I think that will never happen or, if it does, it will be too late.

  13. flohri1754

    Hear, hear and a second for all the comments above. Disheartening days seemingly on most sides of the compass. How anyone below almost tycoon level can vote for such a crew is completely baffling ….

  14. Stephen Tardrew

    Hi mikisdad:

    It’s never too late mate. What we miss here is the technological drive of innovation that is going to radically change peoples lives and conception of their place in nature. This lot are a dying breed in the last throws of their backward looking attachment to a mythical past. Global warming and failed economic rationalism will eventually kill them. Sad thing its going to take time. Just a few links to demonstrate what is happening elsewhere.

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/

    http://singularityhub.com/

    http://www.thevenusproject.com/

    http://expandiverse.com/

    http://phys.org/

  15. Dan Rowden

    mikisdad,

    Even this claim by Tony Abbott is another *lie*. The boats haven’t stopped. The boats are still coming, they have simply been diverted; turned around; had their human cargo transferred to a floating orange, or been lost at sea.

    I don’t think we can really call the claim of stopping the boats a lie. It’s certainly an extraordinary piece of cynical political manipulation, but it isn’t a lie. The Government’s criteria for the claim of “stopping the boats” is that boats do not reach our shores. They have indeed met that criteria. Of course, the claim and consequent “celebration” is, for us, utterly meaningless other than with respect to its moral turpitude, but that’s not true for the demographic the cynical behaviour and rhetoric is aimed at. There are a disturbing number of people in this country for whom the “stop the boats” malarkey has real meaning. These are the paranoiac and jingoistic types for whom national security and sovereignty issues are writ large. Stopping the boats is very much a meaningful thing to them, even if we know it to be a monstrous wank.

    Given the giant pit of moral despair Labor has dug for itself in regard to asylum seekers, I have no idea how we’re going to change this horrendous state of affairs, or who is going to make it happen.

  16. mars08

    Is the electorate paying attention? Do the voters feel worse off than they were 7 months ago? Do many of our fellow citizens worry about their future and that of their children? Are a significant number of Australians appalled at our treatment of the vulnerable and powerless? Are they outraged by the LNP lies and spin?

    Maybe they are… but it has just occurred to me to ask: Why am I only seeing the same handful of people commenting on this site? Is there’s a large slab of the electorate who are unhappy with the current state of affairs, why aren’t we seeing hundreds (or thousands) of people voicing their opinions??

  17. Dan Rowden

    mars08,

    I think the general answer to your questions is that they relate only to the segment of the population that is politically engaged and aware. And that pretty much amounts to the “usual suspects”. Polling in WA seems to suggest that lots of folk aren’t feeling especially perturbed – yet – by this Government, as horrifying as that may be to people like us.

    However, if Western Australians give this mob a leg-up in the Senate, the shit will almost certainly begin to hit the fan. What would be really cool is if someone were able to leak the content of the initial Commission of Audit report before the election in WA. I know it’s not going to happen but it’d be awesome if it did. I’s also like to win Lotto tonight …

  18. Kaye Lee

    mars08,

    The articles get shared to a lot of places and most people comment on where they see them, particularly facebook. A lot more people read the articles than comment on them too. If a thousand people read it that’s a thousand more who might discuss it with others even if they don’t make comment here. We are heading for 3 million hits.

  19. mars08

    Dan, Kaye… what I’ve noticed in my end of the swamp is that nothing this govt has done so far, or looks like doing has really rattled people. I’d say that most people I know are aware of a lot of what is going on, but none of it is a deal-breaker. In practical terms, they are no worse off than a year ago. And they show a disturbing lack of imagination.

  20. Miriam English

    @Stephen Tardrew, hear, hear!

    We used to be one of the forward-looking nations. It seemed that every week in New Scientist I would read about some cool scientific research and discoveries being made by people here in Australia. We “punched far above our weight” on the world scene… until Howard came along, with his eyes set firmly rearward at the 1950s — the era of the great double standard, when propaganda tainted everything. His pathetic jingoism has dragged us down ever since. Abbott is, if anything, even worse. Howard reluctantly saw some small value in science, but Abbott sees none. That nasty failed priest would love to see us become a theocracy. Like any fundamentalist christian he loves technology, but hates the research that developed it. They want a “thus far, but no further” limitation on technology. It explains a lot of the opposition to high-speed internet, renewable energy, and other “new” technologies.

    Thankfully, the younger generations are some of the most knowledgeable and smartest people I’ve ever met and they’re impatient. They seem to mostly have scorn for Abbott and his sock-puppets. A good thing too. It’s their world he wants to wreck.

    Abbott will pass, and hopefully, the time of lying, backward-looking politicians. Knowledge continues to grow at an accelerating pace along with access to it. It is difficult to see the current cesspit of politics surviving in an era where information is many times more easily accessible than it is now, when it will be easy to unmask those who lie for power.

  21. randalstella

    A general observation, not directed at anyone.
    There never was a Golden Age.This never was a ‘fair country’. It does us no good to be offering a past to aspire to, which any check of the facts would reveal very quickly as myth. One such insistent fact is the repeated reelection of Liberal Governments – despite all the damage they have caused. Or is it because of their destructiveness?
    Myths and legends may be aids to imagination; but when the task is to be politically realistic to get the average punter to vote these gangsters out, appealing to some legendary “fair go” is the kind of rhetoric which only consistently serves the reactionaries;e.g that Pyne creature’s ‘plan’ for the re-education of Education.

    How do we get them out of power, when the crucial percentage of the electorate like ‘tough guy’ cruelty to the powerless?
    That’s the terrain we have to deal with. Wishing otherwise will not change this.

  22. contriteshadow

    Reblogged this on

  23. Dan Rowden

    mars08,

    Dan, Kaye… what I’ve noticed in my end of the swamp is that nothing this govt has done so far, or looks like doing has really rattled people. I’d say that most people I know are aware of a lot of what is going on, but none of it is a deal-breaker. In practical terms, they are no worse off than a year ago. And they show a disturbing lack of imagination.

    Totally agree with every element of this post. People may be unhappy with individual policy points, but are they “deal-breakers”?

  24. Stephen Tardrew

    Dan, Mars8, and Kaye:

    You are all spot on. Until the crap hits the fan nothing will change. Which fits with your prediction that this process is going to take some time Dan. Also cognitive dissonance demonstrates people will tend to put a hopeful bias upon there choices even when evidence is to the contrary. People don’t like to be wrong so there is much that plays against obvious facts.

    Actually the situation puts people in a bit of a quandary when Labor is not far removed from the Rud, Gillard debacle. Many may not be readily forgiving of internal ructions of the left.

    Labor has to build trust and confidence that they can offer a meaningful alternative. My expectation often get ahead of the game however I need a bit of upbeat positive reframing to keep my sanity.

    Always look on the bright side da da; da da; da da. The armless and legless black night comes to mind. Come on ava go.

  25. Dave

    I have to admit i have just discovered AIMN and in such a short time have to say “Thanks” your organisation is truly a breath of fresh air compared to the MSM crap that dominates the landscape.
    I have to say i agree with the vast majority of comments made here. It also saddens me that the number of comments seem to be made by the same few people. This site and views it promotes needs wider coverage. The question is how can this be done.
    It would appear Labor needs to find some Keating style debaters and real quick to land some solid hits on the current bunch of clowns running the show who are hell bent on destruction of this great nation
    Again great work AIMN keep up the good work!

  26. Truth Seeker

    Kaye, thanks for all your hard work and constant efforts to bring the facts to a truth starved Australia. 😎 and great job yet again! 😀

    Hockey’s lies and fudging of the figures to justify them, is just the latest in six months worth of total incompetence, lies spin and broken promises, and prompted my last post; “So, we’ve all got to help with the heavy lifting?… WTF?”</b?

    http://truthseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/so-weve-all-got-to-help-do-the-heavy-lifting-wtf/

    Keep up the good work 😎

    Cheers 😀

  27. mars08

    randalstella:

    There never was a Golden Age.This never was a ‘fair country’. It does us no good to be offering a past to aspire to, which any check of the facts would reveal very quickly as myth. One such insistent fact is the repeated reelection of Liberal Governments…

    For the vast majority of Australians the most recent “golden age” peaked around 2004/05. It was a magical time for the aspirationals. The stock market was roaring, mining was in full bloom, houses were increasing in value, and the flood of brown-skinned “illegals” was only a trickle.

    We had been spared most of the pain of the Tech boom/bust. And money was still easy to come by. It was the birth of the “new” economy, the Magic Pudding economy. Just smoke and mirrors.

    Never mind that the whole thing was a house of cards, never mind that Wall St had rigged the game, never mind that politicians were buying votes with “funny money:, never mind that those politicians had been warned that it was untenable. Never mind that there was a steep price to be paid.

    Because too many of our politicians are lazy and/or haven’t the courage to deal with our childish, self-absorbed electorate… no party has tried to explain that the “golden years” were a illusion and would not return.

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