OK, Labor introduced the ‘Carbon Tax’. They thought that it was a good idea to discourage people who were doing the wrong thing … If one considers massive carbon emissions and pollution the wrong thing, because as Mr Abbott’s interview with Alan Jones last week shows, not everyone sees that as a terrible thing.
Now this is the problem with Labor. They want to punish the people who “have a go”.
The Liberals, however, have a much better way of dealing with things. We’ll take some of the taxpayer’s money and give it to people and ask them to promise not to pollute any more.
Will they be punished if they don’t actually reduce their pollution? Of course not, that’s Labor’s way. The important thing is that they take the money and have a good hard think about what they’re doing…
Now the obvious success of this policy – we don’t have to wait until it starts, we know it’ll work, it’s like the Liberal plan to reduce the debt – has led to it possibly being applied in other areas.
I say “possibly” because, while nobody in the government will tell you definitely, it seems that they’re taking their direct action plan and applying to the area of border protection.
You pick up a boatload of asylum seekers and you ask who’s in charge. When you find out who’s actually responsible for the boat, you hand over an amount of money and you ask them not to do it again. (Strangely, for some reason, I keep hearing all these people saying “I’m Spartacus”, and “I’m Spartacus”, don’t know why. mm!)
How much gets handed over? Well, that’s none of our business because this is a security matter. Something to do with intelligence. And the Australian people can’t make any judgements about intelligence, so the government doesn’t trouble them with it. But let’s just say that we hand over as much as it takes. Yes, we are prepared to do whatever it takes and there’s no need to worry about things like legality, morality, cost or even why a bunch of people supposedly breaking the law are a “security matter”.
Do we make them sign a receipt? Well, no – because it’s a commercial in confidence contractual arrangement which is by it’s very nature confidential and therefore not something that we should have written down anywhere. It’s a verbal contract. And if you can’t trust the sort of people who are prepared to work in the people smuggling industry, well who can you trust?
Could the people responsible for handing over the money to smugglers keep a little bit for themselves? Hypothetically yes, but, as Tony Abbott told Neil Mitchell, he doesn’t deal in hypotheticals. (Someone rather unkindly suggested that a hypothetical question is a “what if” scenario, while the question of whether or not something happened is rather rooted in fact!) I think we can say that hypothetically the money could just disappear, or find itself in the hands of some sleazy wind farm operator, but this is rather fanciful because in the entire history of Australia nobody in uniform has ever behaved corruptly. It would be as ridiculou as suggesting that the PM was a liar or that the Treasurer was for sale. (Not Joe Hockey, the one they’re replacing him with in the next few weeks.)
So there you have it. A clear consistent policy.
Future applications will include:
- Paying dealers not to sell drugs
- Paying burglars not to break into houses
- Paying the Catholic Church not to hide abusive priests
- Paying sick people not to go to the doctor
- Paying Christopher Pyne not to speak in public
- Paying Rolf Harris not to write any more songs
- Paying Joe Hockey not to have a budget deficit
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