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Where is the evidence?

Before the 2013 election, Malcolm Turnbull said “The politicians and parties that can demonstrate they can be trusted, that they will not insult the people with weasel words and spin, that they will not promise more than they can deliver, that they will not dishonestly misrepresent either their own or their opponents’ policies – those politicians and parties will, I submit to you, deserve and receive electoral success.”

Sadly, the Coalition shows absolutely no sign of living up to those noble words.

At a Senate estimates hearing Greens Senator Larissa Waters asked the Secretary of the Department of the Environment Dr de Brouwer if there was modelling showing Direct Action will work to achieve our emission reduction targets:

Senator WATERS: Given that the government does frequently insist that it will reach its five per cent target by 2020 and claims that it is confident it will do so, what evidence is there on which to base that confidence?

Dr de Brouwer: The government’s position has been that whenever Australia has made commitments along these lines we meet them-for example, with the first Kyoto protocol period that commitment was met; in fact, it was more than met-and that Australia’s practice is that we do not enter into agreements that we are not prepared to deliver. So when the government says it is going to deliver that five per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 and given that that has been our past practice-in fact, that is something that Australia has regularly delivered on-

Senator WATERS: So there is no evidence base per se because you still have not locked down the parameters for how you will meet the five per cent but you are confident based on past practice that it will be met?

Likewise, Treasurer Scott Morrison, when challenged about what modelling the government might have to support its case that changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax would be detrimental, said “We have the common sense to know we have to leave the system as it is. So it’s for the Labor Party, who are proposing a housing tax, to explain their policy and why they think that’ll be good for people who are just simply trying to get ahead.”

On the claim that productivity in the construction industry improved by 20% when the ABCC was operating, I have asked several politicians for the source. None have responded despite requests by phone and email.

Where is the evidence that reducing company tax will promote “jobs and growth”? Ever since we got rid of the carbon and mining taxes, investment has fallen, growth has slowed, and the number of unemployed people has risen.

Where is the evidence that free trade agreements are beneficial to Australia?

Where is the evidence that mandatory sentencing, income management and more truancy officers have helped alleviate indigenous disadvantage?

Where is the cost benefit analysis for our investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in defence materiel? Why do we need strike force capability with squadrons of fighter jets and fleets of submarines?

How much extra is it costing us to build the submarines here for a few thousand jobs at best and why was it not sensible to subsidise the car industry that employed so many more people?

Where is the evidence that metadata retention prevents crime?

What is the reasoning behind Peter Costello’s recent trip to India to discuss using our Future Fund to finance coal mines when no banks will touch the deal and investment advisers are suggesting coal will become a stranded asset?

I would love to hear the Best Minister in the World tell the story of how his management plan for the Great Barrier Reef earned him this ‘prestigious’ award and how that is working out.

Why do we have a wind commissioner but no disability commissioner?

How come we have the money for a plebiscite into marriage equality but not for a royal commission into the financial sector?

When he ousted Tony Abbott from the leadership, Turnbull said “We need a style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it. We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.”

If Turnbull cares one jot for giving Australian people the information they need to make an educated decision then he could begin by answering these questions.


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  1. Kate M

    Brilliant Kaye. Just brilliant.

    Sad. But brilliant.

  2. Miriam English

    Well said, Kaye.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    How about telling us how much the unbelievable amount of party politicalgovernment advertising that’s constantly hitting our screens is costing the tax payer?

  4. Kaye Lee

    “The facts suggest that current negative gearing tax arrangements are economically and socially damaging. They are too generous, require increases in other taxes that drag more on the economy, distort investment away from where it would add the most to national prosperity, reduce home ownership, and primarily help high-income earners. Spin and anecdote cannot obscure that it is time for change.”

  5. bobkav

    Who needs evidence? The master race have spoken. Who are we to question them? Remember your place people!

  6. Miriam English

    Thanks for the facebook link, Paul. I snaffled this from it:

    The top ten deduction claimers by seat
    Wentworth -$20,248 Liberal Malcolm Turnbull
    Curtin -$19,216 Liberal Julie Bishop
    Kooyong -$17,169 Liberal Josh Frydenberg
    Bradfield -$16,969 Liberal Paul Fletcher
    Higgins -$16,659 Liberal Kelly O’Dwyer
    Warringah -$16,423 Liberal Tony Abbott
    North Sydney -$15,895 Liberal Joe Hockey
    Brisbane -$15,666 Liberal Teresa Gambaro
    Goldstein -$15,068 Liberal Andrew Robb
    Ryan -$14,857 Liberal Jane Prentice
    Source: ATO (2014) and NATSEM

    The list is quoted in a paper by the Australia Institute along with a lot more:
    Negative gearing by electorate report.pdf

  7. Miriam English

    Hmmm… I’ll try formatting that as a table. Let’s see if this displays properly on AIMN…

    It doesn’t. Pity. Oh well.

  8. paul walter

    They have not been slow to come forward as to claims. They are never slow when it involves their own interests.

  9. Juggernaut

    Dr de Brouwer : That is actually the standard practice for every country. No country can predict with certainty that it is going to meet it because—

    Senator WATERS: So you can have confidence without certainty; is that what you are saying?

    Dr de Brouwer : There is no absolute certainty. The government has committed to deliver it and it has an instrument that can be calibrated to meet that commitment. That is the standard thing for every country.

    Senator WATERS: I would suggest that the confidence should not be so bold if that is in fact the situation. But they are not your words; they are the government’s words. Thank you for your response. Question on notice response 175 talked about modelling. In that response the department effectively seemed to be implying that it would not reveal modelling for fear that someone could reverse engineer it and work out the average auction price. Can I clarify that that is your approach—that you will not be releasing the modelling?

    Dr de Brouwer : There were specific expenditure numbers in the 2014-15 budget allocated across the forward estimates for the purchasing component of the Emissions Reduction Fund. The concern was that if you broke down that component and said what the quantum was in each of those periods you would be implicitly revealing the projected price. We were not going to reveal our estimated calculations around possible prices over the forward estimates ahead of an auction.

    Senator WATERS: Would you release them after the auction?

    Dr de Brouwer : I think that is a matter for government.

  10. Jaquix

    Malcolm’s stirring words (1st para) may well prove prophetic – his description matches the recent demeanour and policies of the Labor Party. He and his bunch of incompetent hangers on meantime stumble over their weasle words on a daily basis and make our heads spin with their spindly spin. I suspect too that he fancied himself back in the courtroom, addressing the judge, seeing he includes the term “I submit to you”. Its going to be judgement day for Malcolm himself soon, and I dont think he will like the verdict.

  11. votedave

    The government “it has an instrument that can be calibrated to meet that commitment.” Yet wasn’t able to predict the impact of the record uptake of solar PV by sensible, aware and market connected people. More like they have an idea that they’ve modeled, and well, that looks pretty good, it ticks the boxes. ( Why would you care about due diligence or science when there’s no penalty for stuffing things up, the worst that happens is a life in opposition or retirement playing a clown to media and mugging for business)
    We choose to have them and not a democracy, it’s that simple.

  12. keerti

    Turnbull said “We need a style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence…
    this says it all! Malware thinks that everyone is as stupid as he is…

  13. jake

    Turnball was a disgrace on 7.30 last night . He said he disagreed with the report from the Grattan Istitute.with zero evidence to support his theory. Prime Minister your No better than a waffler, waffling over a bar stool in a pub.And that’s exactly who and what you sound like.

  14. Kaye Lee

    I thought Malcolm looked very jaded on the 7:30 report last night for a man at the start of a long election campaign. It must be hard to argue for bullshit continually

    “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered no modelling, only “common sense” to justify his negative gearing policy, telling the ABC’s 7.30 host Leigh Sales that figures showing top earners had the most to gain were “beside the point”.

    Sales asked what modelling the Prime Minister had to support his claim that Labor’s negative gearing reforms would “take a sledgehammer” to property prices

    “This is a matter of common sense,” Mr Turnbull answered.

    Sales seized on his comments: “So, is what you’re saying to voters ‘I don’t actually have any hard evidence here. It’s my common sense and so you have to trust my analysis on this?’ ” she asked.

    “There are well over a million Australians, most of whom are on average earnings, who have an investment property and they are negative gearing,” he said.

    Sales suggested this meant the remaining Australian population, some 23 million people, were not involved in negative gearing.”

  15. jake

    Turnball already looks exhausted.

    Or the real Turnball will come out .
    The not very nice one.Maybe Turnball
    the bully.

  16. Terry2

    Turnbull on 7.30 illustrated quite clearly that beyond attacking Labor he has no policies of his own.

    I too noted that his responses were scripted – and that he had not written the script – and to have no modelling from a recognised source on the impacts of changes to Negative Gearing is worrying.

    The cherry on top of the compost heap is looking very jaded.

  17. Möbius Ecko

    It’s been widely canvassed on social media how Turnbull has now had two train wreck interviews on the ABC, and in both he got an easier run than Shorten or any other Labor/Greens member being interviewed.

    Then there’s the right wing Murdoch media reporting on ticking time bombs for Turnbull if he goes into a long election campaign, which is maybe why he looked so haggard and off key in the interview, and indeed whenever he now appears in the media. Even in a supposed triumphal announcement on submarines Turnbull looked and sounded underwhelmed and sour.

  18. Jaquix

    So, its “Let them eat cake” from Malcolm.

  19. townsvilleblog I apologize for posting this again, but bugger all has been done about the situation. To my knowledge the ATO has been given stronger powers of audit, however that is not where the problem lies. There should be a 20% floor under the corporate taxation system that makes it mandatory to pay at least 20% of their gross income in taxation to the nation where they take their huge incomes from. I enjoyed you piece Kaye, as I always do but, please could respondents give their ideas on how this ugly situation may be remedied it would obviously invole a Labor government because this has been public knowledge for 5 moths now and the LNP have not touched it?

  20. Steve Laing -

    It is well known that when people are under stress, their personality type can change. Clearly the affable Malky has been replaced by the snarky Malky. And it will get worse.

    The milking of the submarine announcement yesterday shows just how little they have. Although they won’t admit it, this was a massive backdown from a desire to build cheaply overseas (and not support a local unionised industry), and a desperate attempt to shore up votes in SA. But it did show how well the opposition have wedged them, and we largely have the result that makes sense – other than what we actually need all these bloody things for!

  21. Klaus

    Hi Kaye,

    “Where is the cost benefit analysis for our investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in defence materiel? Why do we need strike force capability with squadrons of fighter jets and fleets of submarines?”

    Because we have an Offence department that is doing the bidding of the US. We have ceased to be a sovereign country in many respects. Offence being one of them. 50 Billion for trash and know certainty as to how much Australian content there will be.

    That government works off the back of an envelop at best, uneducated guesses or, at worst, pure ideology.

  22. Klaus

    Turnbull is an empty shell, devoid of compassion and only driven by being in power. As in investment banker, you do not have to be smart. You guess. Yes, you need to wear expensive suits but you are purely driven by profits.

    When has this man ever cared for the benefit of his customers, clients or people. He is overrated trash. Sorry.

  23. Kyran

    With regard to talcum’s appearance, does anyone remember the writing of Oscar Wilde?

    “Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life.

    Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences, while staying young and beautiful; all the while his portrait ages and records every soul-corrupting sin.”

    Is it just me, or does this not only summarise talcum’s appearance, but his very existence?
    Who needs evidence when you have such a lovely visage?
    Thank you, Ms Lee. Take care

  24. Klaus

    Leigh Sales on last nights 7:30 report has asked Malcolm at least 3 times whether there is any modelling on the negative gearing impact of Labors policy. There was of course no response. Just a belittling smirk ‘Let me explain..’ and a lot of wind and waffle. They don’t do modelling. And that is a fact.

    And Australia doesn’t really ask. Was that short question time in parliament, regarding Turnbull’s Cayman Island connection, all? Is this now accepted that the bloke pays all his taxes and has nothing to hide?

    When are we hearing about the Panama Papers? What is happening there? I fear nothing. They will find a token company which is already broke and find that they should have paid more tax. End.

  25. Jack Russell

    I believe we can only expect worse from the LNP, not better, and I have to admit I enjoy watching them squirm under a weight of their own making that’s compounding daily. Yesterday’s bombs were the illegality of Manus Island and the submarines…what will today’s be?

  26. Peter F

    In all of our discussions, we seem to underestimate the damage wrought by Abbott in his ceaseless negativity: he has done more than anyone else in the past 6+ years to destroy any faith in the system. I am simply amazed at the number of people I speak to who don’t know who they can trust to do the correct thing for Australia. While recognising the complete mess we are in now, they fail to see the real achievements of the Gillard government in an almost impossible situation. They have been blinded to this by the continuing negativity started by Abbott.

  27. jake

    Question; Are Labor removing Negative Gearing from old Business Properties as stated from Turnball? And allowing only to New Business Properties?

  28. jake

    Are Labor removing the Negative Gearing on Existing Commercial properties if they win the Election ? Does anyone know ?

  29. Terry2


    This from the ALP website :

    “Negative gearing

    Labor will limit negative gearing to new housing from 1 July 2017. All investments made before this date will not be affected by this change and will be fully grandfathered.

    This will mean that taxpayers will continue to be able to deduct net rental losses against their wage income, providing the losses come from newly constructed housing.

    From 1 July 2017 losses from new investments in shares and existing properties can still be used to offset investment income tax liabilities. These losses can also continue to be carried forward to offset the final capital gain on the investment.”

    Seems it’s only houses.

  30. jake

    Thanks Terry Well it seems Turnball is an even bigger waffler than we thought possible an he isn’t across anything regarding Negative Gearing. He stated last night that Labor was also abandoning Negative gearing on Commercial Properties. Lea Sales didn’t pick him up on this. Bring back Sarah Henderson for mine.

  31. Jaquix

    Found some interesting articles today about the NG debate. So much misinformation around, I like this one. Hope the link works!

    Who, where and how much: It’s time to get the facts about negative gearing, starting with the fact the people of Malcolm Turnbull’s own electorate are the biggest negative gearers in the country.

  32. Florence nee Fedup

    There is one good reason why directing wealth to the top doesn’t work. They don’t spend.Without demand, economies don’t work. Those at bottom spend every cent, keeping money moving through economy, creating new wealth on the way. Money only works when it keeps moving. One spending money can’t waste it.

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