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When You Put Everything On The Table Something’s Bound To Get Unstable!

A while back I heard an interview with the then Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, where the phrase “sugar on the table” was clearly something his spin doctors had suggested that he use. When it came to asylum seekers, Labor had put the “sugar on the table”, whereas the Coalition had taken “sugar on the table” and if you changed anything you ran the risk of putting the “sugar on the table” again.

It was a subtle way of suggesting that the asylum seekers were like ants and they’d soon swarm all over the table and we’d have to starve because our lunch’d be ruined. Bloody pests.

Of course, now that the sugar is off the table, lots of things can be put back on it. When it comes to tax reform, we were told that everything was on the table. Except sugar, of course. Oh, and the GST. That was on the table, but now it’s seemingly not. It was on the table when its only function was to lower the tax rate for companies and those entering higher tax brackets, but when those pesky premiers started suggesting that it might be used to make up for the slashing of their health and education budgets by the Federal Government, well, it had to go off the table, because there was too much sugar in it.

But we have put superannuation on the table, and negative gearing, because we have to do something about bracket creep. Never mind that Costello did nothing about bracket creep in all the time he was Treasurer, and never mind that it’s less of a problem now, because wages are growing at such a low rate. Nup. We need to do something about bracket creep, so tax cuts are definitely on the table because we don’t have a revenue problem, just a spending problem because Labor was in power and they believed that governemnts should spend money on things like health and education and a twenty first century Internet, whereas we think that the sole function of government is to tell people what they can and can’t do. Except for same sex marriage, we need a plebiscite on that before we ignore it and tell you that the answer is still no.

And company tax. Too high. So a reduction in company tax is definitely on the table, because that’ll help attract investment to the country apparently. Never mind that it seems possible for multinational companies to arrange their affairs so that their donations to the Liberal Party exceed their tax bill. Company tax is a disincentive to making profits and companies say, “Halt production. We’ll only make seventy cents in the dollar from this point on, so it’s not worth it, we’ve made enough this year!”

Meanwhile in Queensland, coal producers are asking for government help because they’re not making a profit. Strange then that Adani is supposedly wanting to start a new coal mine in this market with all the set-up costs when existing mines aren’t even breaking even. Perhaps Adani is waiting for something to be put on the table, which we’re more than happy to do a little bit closer to the election, so we can use the phrase “jobs and growth” and actually have something to point to apart from the way we’ve given those CSIRO scientists the opportunity for personal growth when they get a job in area outside their chosen field of climate science.

Of course, yesterday we learned the startling news that there was no five year old rape victim being sent back to Nauru. Immigration department secretary, Michael Pezzullo told us that in Senate estimates, and the ABC confirmed today that there’d been a misunderstanding between two cases. The five year old had merely been sexually abused and the child refered to was “twice as old”,, so it’s all ok then, because, as Mr Pezzullo told the Parliament, it wasn’t rape, only “physical skin to skin contact” and when you’re as old as ten, then it’s really no problem to send you back to where such a thing happened.

In spite of being a public servant, he criticised those offering to support the asylum seekers. The fact that some of them were state premiers didn’t faze him; he pointed out this reduced the margin of discretion that the department could show. Then, in true public servant tradition, Mr Pezzullo went on to tell us that the media shouldn’t be “advocating”, before declaring, “The moment you have a chink of light, the moment you give someone a clue as to how to game the system, you will put peoples lives in danger.”

So, clearly we need to lock people up away from the light and make their plight as hopeless as possible in order to save Australia those ants who might swarm the table … Or rather, save the poor blighters from drowning.

And media “advocacy” – making these cases public makes it harder to do the right thing because, the logic seems to be, once they’re in the public eye, we have to show that we mean business. By implication, if we just let the department quietly do its work, it could be the kind, compassionate human beings that we know they are when they quietly slip money to people smugglers to return these potential drowning victims to Indonesia.

Mr Pezzullo, not to be confused with his brother Fabio Pezzullo who pleaded guilty to perjury charges over revealing an investigation a couple of years ago, told us that the leaking of sensitive draft document on changes to our refugee program to the ABC last week was a “potential criminal breach”, so I guess that means that, if they find the culprit, they should punish him. Although surely advertising how badly we intend to treat people who come here for humanitarian reasons would put people off, and thus, prevent drownings at sea. Mm, difficult question – jail or Australian of the Year?

Of course, neither Mr Turnbull nor Mr Dutton had seen the draft document, so it seems like it’s just something that the department was kicking around for fun and that it wasn’t prepared with the idea of showing it to them. Well, that’s not exactly what they said, but that’s the impression they seem to want to give you. They didn’t tell us that it wasn’t Dutton’s idea to draw a document like that. And they didn’t tell us that neither Turnbull nor Dutton had discussed the contents of the document either in person or over the phone. But they did tell us that they hadn’t seen the leaked document.

Anyway, it’s good to know that Mr “Jellyfish” Turnbull has taken the GST off the table so it’s another belief that he’s not going to stand up for. I’d suggest that the only time that Malcolm stands up is when he has to pee, but it sounds more sexist than I intend and the politically correct people who bully those who don’t support same sex marriage and refuse to allow pro-violence men into the country would probably criticise me, so I won’t say it.

Besides, I have no confirmation that he does.



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  1. Brett Pattinson

    Morrison was just using the ‘sugar on the table’ phrase that the former Indonesian President, SBY, had coined to describe our previous government’s actions to encourage people smuggling. I think SBY had been irritated by Rudd’s request for Indonesia’s help to stop the boats that Rudd himself had lured by, as the President phrased it, putting “sugar on the table”.

  2. JeffJL

    I didn’t see “that” document. We have no “plans” to introduce a GST. We have no “plans” to introduce a co-payment.

    This government is full of weasel words. Too many eff’n lawyers splitting hairs.

    Nice article Mr Brisbane.

  3. kerri

    Mr Pezzullo neglecting to declare at Senate estimates that his brother was being charged for selling contraband to other customs officers because he was being “legally cautious” sounds like more spin that Pezzullo M is getting away with?
    Thanks again Rossleigh

  4. Stan

    Brilliant! 🙂

  5. Kyran

    “If the protecting of our borders requires the incarceration of babies, the sexual abuse of children, the rape of women and the murder of men, then we are, of all nations, the most depraved.”
    Fr Rod Bower.
    If these are, in fact, the standards we wish to set to protect our borders, we have nothing worth protecting. We have nothing worth defending.
    It seems only reasonable, under such miserable circumstance, that we appoint ruddock as ‘special’ envoy to the UN for Human Rights.
    “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Mr Ruddock’s role would include the promotion of Australia’s candidacy for membership of the Human Rights Council.”
    Isn’t that the council that has Saudi Arabia as chair?
    Wonderful work, turnbull. Whilst everything is on the table (other than sugar, GST, marriage equality, Republic (Sorry, Plato!), closing the gap (gender and First People), etcetera, you know, real subjects), your likely legacy will be institutionalised depravity. Moral and corporate. Where unprofitable companies are not insolvent, just doing it tough. For goodness sake, it’s not like they are manufacturing anything, like cars. Oh, that’s right. That industry was not profitable and has been shut down.
    Thank you Mr Brisbane, sorry about the rant. Take care

  6. Terry2

    It’s whats under the table that worries me. It has been leaked that the government is looking at privatising the delivery of Medicare services which effectively means Medicare becoming a private health insurer if the LNP get their way:


    This is another IPA target and will be the biggest battle at the next election for continuing public ownership of our unique universal healthcare system.

    This proposal will mean that under the guise of efficiency services will be cut, jobs will be lost.

  7. my say

    It is way past time, that Australians said enough is enough, stand as one and say we will fight you all the way, they have taken so much, and if we allow them to take what we have left we will be doomed. We have to fight for what we want.

  8. margcal

    Government – a self-help financial benefit system for politicians

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