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Why Tony Abbott doesn’t understand

Centrelink Office

Photo: The Courier Mail

It’s not hard to imagine the scene. Tony Abbott’s team are working on the press conference where they will make an announcement about the measly so-called government support for Holden workers who have found themselves out of a job thanks to their not-open-for-business government. ‘Let’s turn this into a positive’ someone suggests (probably Credlin or Textor). ‘Let’s remind the Holden workers that they don’t need that scummy job in a factory anymore, because now they are free to take up the myriad of new opportunities available to them. Free of their unionised workplace. Free of the constraints of the job they’ve been in since they were teenagers’. Textor probably clapped. Abbott smarmed. And Credlin preened. A short silence follows while they reflect on the beauty of their idea. In unison, they all say ‘liberated. Liberated to get on with the rest of their lives’. Bingo.

After the press conference, Abbott and his team feel satisfied. They feel they have atoned. Yes, they might have totally and completely stuffed up the Holden negotiations, putting off a decision, then making a decision, then daring Holden to make a decision, then standing back deer-in-the-headlights as Holden announced they were pulling out after Joe Hockey yelled at them. But they came up with a plan. Not just a pamphlet. An actual plan. And they believed it was perfect. But the obvious flaw in their plan was that it was completely offensive to Holden workers. The use of the word ‘liberated’, and their attempt at turning their Holden stuff-up into a positive, completely blew up in their face. And it would appear that neither Abbott nor his staff has any clue as to why and how they got it so wrong. Nor do they care.

The reaction on Twitter to Abbott’s ‘liberated’ remarks were eloquently summed up by Van Badham, who wrote personally about her father’s experience of being unemployed when she was a child. She explained that…

“We were working-class people, and so were my parents’ friends. When you’re a working-class person who loses a job, there’s no liquid capital on hand to buy your way into retraining or consider a business opportunity. There’s no powerful network of privileged mates who can offer you a consultancy, a designed position, a sinecure, or maybe offer up a $300k a year job just because they like you.”

I myself felt the loss of Holden acutely because I am South Australian. I know how important the car manufacturing industry is to my State’s community and economy, and I understand that it is now gone forever thanks to Abbott and his team’s incompetence. But to say I know how the Holden workers feel would be wrong, because I don’t. You see, my upbringing was far closer to the experience of Abbott’s than the lives of most of the people who will find themselves unemployed once Holden leaves Australia. And what I know about this background makes me well placed to be absolutely certain of Tony Abbott’s ineligibility to make decisions on behalf of all Australians. Because I grew up with the safe comfort of privilege, as did Abbott.

I grew up in a world where everyone went to university. If they didn’t, it was because they already had a career mapped out for them with the confidence of someone who has been told from a young age that they have the connections and the social networks to do whatever they want with their lives. I grew up in a world where unemployment often meant international backpacking to ‘find yourself’ and returning from overseas broke, but with a large family home to fall back on and parents to lend you money, and a few career options to choose from, including a job at your dad’s mate’s company.

Luckily for me, I also grew up with parents who taught me from a young age that a society is more important than an economy, and that your contribution to your community is judged by the value you add to it, not the riches you can squeeze out of it. But most of the people I grew up with, like Abbott, have zero understanding or concern for the lives of people in their community who they are neither related to nor dependant on for something that betters their comfortable lives. Everyone outside of their privileged bubble is completely irrelevant to them. And these people for the most part vote Liberal.

Before the trolls start to attack, can I make it clear that I don’t think Abbott needed to have ever physically worked in a car assembly line to understand the situation Holden workers are in. And no, visiting with a pack of cameras to decry the carbon price doesn’t count as ‘working’. Nor was it necessary for Abbott to have lived through the childhood of someone like Van Badham who remembers the anxiety of her family’s breadwinner being out of work, when the weekly pay-cheque was all the family had to make ends meet. All Abbott needed is something he is obviously lacking, and incapable of acquiring through an obvious absence of emotional intelligence. It’s called empathy. And the staff and colleagues Abbott surrounds himself with are no help to him on this front, because they too just don’t get it either.

Using my empathy, I can guess that Holden workers are scared, anxious, disappointed and angry about their company leaving Australia. I would suspect that they will have trouble enjoying Christmas, with the worry about their futures and the knowledge that their careers are now uncertain, and possibly over. I can imagine that looking at job ads on the internet fills them with fear, possibly depression, knowing that they’re not qualified for just about every job being advertised. They might be thinking about options for retraining, but also worrying about the cost and time needed to retrain while they still have their jobs. They might be regretting their decision to go into automotive manufacturing in the first place, and blaming themselves for making a career decision that has damaged their family’s future. They will be thinking of their wives, their husbands and their children and hoping and wishing that something goes right for them soon. While Abbott and his family fly off to Europe to visit his daughter this Christmas, many Holden workers’ families will be wondering if the money they are spending on Christmas lunch should be saved for a day in the future when they’ll need it more.

I might come from a privileged background, and be lucky enough to have always enjoyed the safety net that comes with such an upbringing. But I know enough about life to know that the last thing Holden workers will be feeling is the wonderful emotion of ‘liberation’. If Abbott honestly believes these workers are better off without their jobs, he’s the last person who should be making decisions affecting the future of all Australians. From his narrow, un-empathetic, self-interested glass tower of privilege, he is therefore unqualified for the job of Prime Minister.


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  1. ian saffin

    Never mind, they’ll get plenty of work in Palmer’s new mines.

  2. Kim Wright

    Nobody is mentioning all the people who are losing their jobs from all of the organisations that he is defunding. Their skills will not be transferable to mines and I am sure they are not feeling liberated either

  3. Kareen Carberry

    Thank you for saying much better than I can how I feel about this PM. I am so angry at the way he treats the less fortunate in our society I struggle to express my thoughts about him without resorting to abuse and insults.

  4. lawrencewinder

    A cogent read…
    Where are the trolls these days? Shielding themselves from the bright light of their own making?
    And what do you, V.R. make of “Rabbott’s”…. “I am absolutely determined to change… and we will change within 12 months.”
    A statement ostensibly made regarding the adoption of overseas children but sounding more like one of “Rabbott’s” Freudian slips concerning his rabble’s plummeting poll ratings.
    A smiling photo op with a celeb or two and attempting a kindness for once that costs nothing whilst slashing and burning everything else: pardon me for my cynicism.

  5. bighead1883

    Thank you Victoria,that is well written and even put simply enough for RWNJ`s to understand.
    When Abbott used the word “liberated” I like many felt sickened at his analogy blue collar plight.
    I hope Abbott is “liberated” from the PMship and soon.

  6. Heather

    Brilliantly said Victoria. I used to work for CSIRO and I know first hand how they feel every year when the axe falls.

  7. kathysutherland2013

    Great read! I hope we get liberated from Tony Abbott sooner rather than later!

  8. Keith

    Insight, negotiating skills and empathy are not abilities that Abbott or his gang appear to have. Will Hagan,, a motoring journalist stated on radio (19/12/2013, around 10.15 pm) that he had asked some leading questions in relation to whether the Abbott gang had forced the hand of GM. His investigation found that GM had been offended by three leaders of the Abbott gang hectoring them; and so, responded with “stuff you.”

    There are scientists on contracts working at CSIRO who look as though they will be retrenched. Research and development are important in maintaining our standard of living. Positions in other Agencies are also being lost through the Abbott gang closing them down.

    While the rest of the world starts pulling out of their economic malaise, the Abbott gang with their extreme ideology could be sending us towards a recession.

  9. Kaye Lee


    Having been through overseas adoption in my immediate family, I know the heartache involved with the complicated process. Having to get your fingerprints done again, having to get another copy of your birth and marriage certificates, the social worker who has already been visiting you after the first adoption has to start from scratch in their assessment of you for the second adoption, you get the photo and history of your child but have to wait for months to go and pick them up..

    I would have more respect for Tony is he hadn’t waited until Hugh Jackman’s wife brought it to his attention. And trying not to sound TOO cynical, I would point out that she was rich enough to not have to bother with the inconvenience of our rules….she and Hugh troddled off to the States where it is so much easier.

    “Bureaucratic hurdles around Australia’s adoption process have been a key focus of Ms Furness’ advocacy, after she and her husband decided to adopt their children, Oscar and Ava, through the United States system.”.

    Read more:

  10. Mike Dutton (@Dex300Mike)

    Well said Victoria. P Reith tweeted to me last week that these “few” workers needed to be sacked because “they had not added value to their employer”. A bit like slavery apparently, never mind their 20+ year careers and self esteem.

  11. CMMC

    Just heard on ABC radio news that some PR company has been handing out free cigarettes today.

    Liberation is coming, can ya’ smell the Freedom?

  12. Frank Povah

    I’d like to remind Reith that GM has never directly added value to Australia. It has been its workers who paid the bulk of the taxes; it never listed on the ASX; all management decisions were made in Detroit – and we know how well they managed business there. Do we know what concessions they were given to start up in Australia? And in the ned they chose the BHP option: make millions, do only token upgrades (Holdens were almost always just scaled down Chevs), take government handouts to keep going then shut up shop in the manufacturing sector.

  13. John Fraser


    The "negotiating" skills of the "Slick' Abbott gang don't appear to be working on the Indonesians.

    The South Koreans were extremely happy for Robb (the drinks waiter) to give their companies the right to sue the Australian government, in their FTA (Free Trade Agreement) ….. a singular skill …. giving more than you get when negotiating.

    With "Slick" Abbott undermining the previous years of negotiating FTA with China by telling the World that he would have a TFA signed in 12 months … what sort of idiot would tell the World that, while negotiations are still ongoing …… thereby giving China the upper hand in the negotiations.

    On the "plus" (?) side it appears "Slick" Abbott is able to successfully negotiate with Clive Palmer ….. although some say it's the same result that Robb (the drinks waiter) got.

    Looks more like "Slick" Abbott is "liberating" all of Australia's resources from Australians.

  14. Lynda

    Well said victoria !! Most of us have had priveledge and a good life . I just dont get this whole scenario of ruining a country and suppressing its people i just dont and god help us i did not bring my children up to believe selfish arsehole bullshit is ok because it is not it is just not on!! Why are they doing this where do they get off !!

  15. Bec

    As the first person in my working class family to go to university, I first want to say thank you. As opposed to Abbott and co., you have a good grasp on the insecurity and anxiety which afflicts people on the bottom of the social ladder during times of change and upheaval. The fact that Abbott is deliberately going out of his way to personally fire thousands and impoverish millions without batting an eye displays this governments complete lack of conscience or common sense. Empathy is a foreign language to the LNP, you only have to look at their reluctance to step in front of the media and own their decisions honestly, they truly feel offense at having to explain their actions to those they percieve as beneath them. I have seen nothing positive coming out of their leadership as yet, all they seem interested in is destroying the last six years of moderate reforms instituted by Labor, and evening the score with all government departments which will threaten their agenda. They want to open Australias protected environments to exploitation so they simply gut the learned community of environmental scientists and public servants to stop criticism. Their arrogant and autocratic management style has zero percent to do with any true national interest and shows their actual agenda at last, creating an Australia where the workers are merely servants to pander to the desires of the wealthy and privileged. There was a lot of criticism about lack of policy from the LNP before and after the election, fact is you only need it if you intend to govern for the people. Empathy is exactly what is missing, as well as any sense of justice or fairness.

  16. Greg story

    While I agree with most of your article I am afraid that like you, many of the commentators on this issue from the progressive side are letting GMH off the hook. Let’s not forget that these guys have had no hesitation to close down a business in a community that has contributed to its profits for a long period now. They have used the talents of the workers, the financial support of successive governments and the support of the buying public only, in the end, to give the finger to us all and close down the business and go home. We can take revenge after 2017 and not buy their fully imported cars…In the end to took an arrogant Government and a ruthless board of GMH to bring this disaster on the workers.

  17. Bec

    The key difference Greg is that GMH was always going to be looking out for their own bottom line. People don’t expect businesses to run at a loss simply to keep people employed, and we expect them to make pragmatic choices to benefit their organisation and their shareholders. Anyone expecting empathy or social responsibility from a corporation is deluded.
    However, the Abbott government is employed by all taxpayers but is not interested in representing their interests unless they fall into a higher income bracket.

  18. johnlord2013

    Luckily for me, I also grew up with parents who taught me from a young age that a society is more important than an economy, and that your contribution to your community is judged by the value you add to it, not the riches you can squeeze out of it.

    Wish I had written that.

  19. Greg story

    Bec, I understand what you are saying. However, like Governments, corporations do have a social responsibility, and simply accepting that they don’t’ mostly exercise it is letting them off the hook. I appreciate that Governments are supposed to represent all the citizens, and I recognise the lack of empathy on behalf of this government and it’s leader but I do not want us to forget the key stakeholders in our society and to hold them to account no matter what their track record is. That boards have a legal responsibility to maximising shareholder assets is a fact but these same boards do have an ethical and potentially pecuniary responsibility to the society from which they draw their returns. In our anger at the inexcusable indifference of this government, lets not forget the men and maybe women on the board of GMH and their collective indifference to the people of Adelaide and Melbourne and the broader Australian citizenry…

  20. Bec

    Greg, corporate social responsibility is simply a clever marketing campaign. All mouthings by business about social responsibility are just window dressing imo and are mirrored in their policies towards environmental responsibility. Small businesses provide the exception, because their wellbeing is tied to a particular location and community and they can see the firsthand impact of their business decisions.
    I may be cynical but a mission statement full of fluffy buzz words does not constitute a real committment to social change or progress and there is no mechanism to hold them accountable when they override their social and environmental policies to chase the dollars.

  21. Terry2

    Greg story,

    According to Greg Hunt the closure of GMH and other Australian manufacturers is not all bad: it will help us achieve our CO2 emissions reduction target but even Hunt concedes that is not necessarily a positive but what the hell.

    We employ these idiots, perhaps we can liberate a few of them; does the submarines corporation need any more ‘experts’ ?

  22. Rob

    Twists words with his forked tounge.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Greg do the mining companies have this same ethical responsibility? We give them about 5 billion in subsidies every year but they slash jobs at the drop of a hat when it suits them. Look at their closure of the aluminium plant in Gove. Look at the thousands they laid off as soon as the GFC hit. Only 2% of the population are employed in mining whereas over 10% are employed in manufacturing. Why subsidise the miners but abandon the manufacturers, many of whom are suffering because of the high aussie dollar caused by the mining boom.

  24. Monica

    It’s a spot on article.

    I would also like to add that there is ageism in the workforce. Not just by employers, but by human resources and the Job Network Providers. So anyone over the age of fifty and looking down the barrel of loosing their job is going to face an uphill battle to find employment. Add trying to survive on Newstart and your screwed.

    The ageist attitude of bosses is an undeniable problem. But researchers at the Brotherhood of St Laurence are finding bosses aren’t the only culprit. “A key issue we’ve identified is the age profile of people working in HR (human resources) and in the government-funded employment agencies,” said Dr Michael McGann, a University of Melbourne academic. “The people in HR doing the hiring are in their 20s and 30s and they’re more likely than older people to discriminate against older people.”

    Dr McGann is in the midst of a research project for the Brotherhood into unemployment among people aged 45 to mid 70s. In his interviews with dozens of people what’s struck him is their sense of having so much to give: “They feel they have so much vigour and experience; they feel completely wasted.” What’s also emerged is what he calls the “white collar support gap.” Many mature-age unemployed people, have degrees. They’ve had successful careers. But they’re being sent to government-funded job agencies for help. (For Newstart recipients attendance is compulsory). “These services are targeted at getting unskilled youngsters into work,” Dr McGann said. “They teach resume writing and how to dress for a job interview, and the people I’m talking about have had a 30-year career in a senior position. We need new thinking about ways to support people from white collar backgrounds into work.”

    And the productivity commission has suggested raising the pension age to 70.

    If you want to read more about what it’s like to be over 50 and trying to get work, then read this article by Adel Horin and the readers comments.

    Particularly interesting was a comment by Lucy Donoghue who had written to Kevin Andrews- the minister for social services. Read his response. It personifies everything that Victoria has written about above.

  25. johnbkelly

    The references to Abbott’s lack of empathy are not without foundation. Both he and George Pell demonstrate this failing consistently. Abbott’s callous comment ‘shit happens’ in reference to soldiers dying in Afghanistan is one example. Let us not forget that he did it once before in reference to the now deceased champion of the asbestos campaign, Bernie Banton. Both he and Pell are supported by the Catholic Church which displays a staggering lack of empathy across a range of social issues, not the least of which is its attitude to the use of condoms in AIDS ravaged Africa, not to mention victims of sexual abuse by the clergy.
    In Parliament, Abbott attempts to sound scholarly as does Pell when speaking from the pulpit, but when in the arena of the real world, Pell struggles when constantly interrupted and Abbott sounds robotic when reduced to the fifteen second time bite. In both situations, each man succumbs to metaphors and superficial comments that lack any real substance or meaning. Interestingly, both platforms have seen Abbott uttering some frightful gaffes about women. I suspect both suffer from Asperger’s disorder.

  26. Joe Banks

    I always look forward to your articles, Victoria… I cannot understand, and I cannot believe, why people in this country are not outraged by what has happened over the past 3 years and what is still happening today. The constant lies and vitriol in order to win government and the continuing lies, spin and incompetence since the 7th September. I cannot understand why this country is not ‘bellowing disapproval’ loudly and alarmingly together with the threat of rebellion from Unions, Churches, Teachers, Academics, Public Servants… But life is just cruising along as if nothing of any consequence has happened. When, in fact, Australia now has the most dishonest and incompetent government it has ever had. There are a few feeble tinklings in the background whereas there should be a booming crescendo of alarm bells – the sky should be black with thunderous disapproval. I have never been so surprised (and confused) about Australia’s political apathy… Maybe 2014 will see a surge of defiance – when ‘they’ wake up.

  27. lawrencewinder

    Kaye Lee: Thank you for the response.

  28. Clare De Mayo

    Unfortunately this kind of myopia is not the preserve of Abbott and co.. I was disappointed to hear Keating (who I admire a great deal) expressing similar sentiments in the recent interviews when discussing removing the tariffs and protection on manufacturing industries ie textiles and footwear. When questioned about the job losses that resulted, he immediately quipped ‘They got a better job next week, in the service industry’. His example of a woman with failing eyesight, (from working for decades as a seamstress), would have in fact contradicted his positive spin….such a person would lose their job and probably never get another one. What is it that makes these otherwise intelligent people so out of touch? Is it just the old ‘power corrupts’ adage? Keating did not grow up privileged as Abbott did. I guess some people just lack empathy .

  29. olddavey

    That areshole Reith never added any value to Australia. He was and still is a leech on the public purse.

  30. ian forrest

    Wow never ever have I read such rubbish and hate and half truths in my life. Open eyes you sad lot of people feel the sunshine on your faces and smile. It makes no difference who’s in government life goes on you lot are either on meds or only happy when your sad

  31. CraigS

    Lets assume for the minute that Government funds have a limit, how can you justify spending half a billion of taxpayer money $50,000 per year for every job keeping the car industry here when that $500,000,000 each and every year could go to hospitals, schools, disability services.

    Let’s not forget that the real reason that Holden are leaving (aside from Australian’s no longer buying their cars, and yes that includes you) is that Australian car workers are the highest paid in the world, someone here commented about Tony Abbott only being interested in the people in the highest tax bracket.

    Well I have news for you with loadings and benefits most production line (blue collar) workers at Holden where on well over $150k per year, the highest tax bracket.

    It is the greed of the individual workers and the pig headedness of the Unions that killed Holden, when your wages are twice that of Germany (hardly a low wage country) to build a car you have a problem, as Toyota has just tried unsuccessfully, Holden went to the workers and said ‘we have to try and fix this’, a little more flexibility, a little less loadings, the workers said no.

    You reap what you sow.

  32. Coco Nutdog

    The reasons causing Holden to pull out of Australia are that the wages and conditions are too high and that no-one buys Holdens. How many of you here drive a Holden? It’s not the Abbott government’s fault.

  33. Murray James

    Do you own or have you ever driven a Holden? More Faux Outrage from the Luvvies?

    Maybe you never heard the press conference, I’m so emotional” union official blurt out that the government had known about Holden’s planned departure for elev – a long time? What 11 months? Who was in power then? Never let the facts get in the way of an anti Abbott Rant.

  34. Allan Osmand

    ian forrest, you have made my day…couldn’t have said it any better but man they are really going to be hating on you now

  35. Kaye Lee

    CraigS, that isn’t true. The workers, through their union, agreed to a 3 year wage freeze and changes to their shifts. They were prepared to be flexible. It was the government bailing on their part that cruelled the deal.

    In Australia, government funding to the car industry is $18 per capita. In Germany it is $90 per person, and in the US it is $96 per person. Yes we have high wages, but our productivity is also greater. The high Aussie dollar, caused by the mining boom, has hurt manufacturers, yet we subsidise the mining companies, who are making megaprofits for foreign investors to the tune of $5 billion a year. How many hospitals and schools would THAT buy?

  36. Kaye Lee

    Could I add that manufacturing and mining contribute about the same to GDP, while manufacturing employs fabout 5 times as many people. Those people live here and spend their wages here. The mining companies send their profits overseas.

    I ask again, why subsidise the miners and the private health companies, but not the manufacturing sector?

  37. Bb

    Dear Victoria,
    The trouble with socialist ideals is that you eventually run out of spending other people’s money. Holden’s problems stemmed from the stupid union based enterprise agreements which could only be funded from increased taxpayer inputs. Eventually the taxpayer gets rather peeved at all the money feather bedding a privileged few and goes elsewhere. Also Holden did not actually manufacture cars here which people were willing to purchase in large numbers, just like ford and Mitsubishi before them. Eventually they sums do not add up and any responsible company will act as it always should, in the interests of their shareholders and re-establish and reconstruct the company to ensure better value and profits.

    It is how the real world works. Definitely not Abotts fault and certainly we’ll understood by most economically literate people.

  38. The Redneck

    Truth of the matter is that Holden/ General Motors were going to pack up and go anyway unless the Australian govt. paid them more.
    This is abloody expensive country to run any kind of business, mainly due to unionised high wages and failed labor policies. China was and is the choice of General Motors, it wan’t Tony Abbotts choice.
    You South Australians have lived off the rest of Australia for far too long. Get a real job.

  39. Python

    Holy Cow, well this would rank up there as the biggest load of steamed shash I’ve read this year. After working in the auto industry for many years myself and doing financially quite well out of it, not quite as well as the union reps who intimidate both the workers and the company, who get enormous amounts of time being ‘trained’, extra this extra that, still get paid while the rest of us go on strike etc etc etc etc. as far as I’m concerned it’s got nothing to do with the government. Why should our government via the taxpayers pockets prop up a foreign company that makes millions at home but runs a crappy business overseas AND shuts down not just Australia but… no why should I tell you? Why doesn’t Victoria tell you where else they are shutting down? Why doesnt Vic tell you what a stupid idea it is to sell off our companies to OS interests or indeed sell off anything of ours? Why doesnt Vic tell you about what an utter disaster the yanks created when they pumped money into Detroit instead of the government AND the unions demanding that the auto industry lift its game and make better quality cheaper cars. Why doesn’t Vic explain why people are buying cars made by other companies? Hey Vic,what do you drive?

    As far as the workers being scared and anxious – seriously?? How many people do you know have 3 years to find another job? How many people are getting re-trained at the taxpayers cost for their next job? How many people do you know have such a hefty pay packet? What have they done with all that dough? They have 3 years to save wisely as well.
    Stop blaming this government for something that Holden AND especially the unions have done. The last government God bless their profligate little souls, gave Holden millions and even then we all knew Holden wasn’t sticking around, they’d made their decision. Vic should be asking exactly where that particular financial Christmas gift went. And while we’re on that subject Victoria should be asking exactly where all that money we rank and file gave to the unions is going when Holden shuts down? All that money that the union describes as the “Fighting Fund”. Will they give it back? Ha ha sorry only joking. Give it back ha ha, thats pretty funny.

    Basically Vic ol’ girl, bout time you put the blame where it belongs and stop suing it to bad mouth and slander the wrong people.

    As for me and mine, I saved while I worked, I’m happy to re-train while I’ve got 3 years to save some more and find something I want to do. After all, after 25 years making cars, I’m pretty fed up with it and so are most of my workmates. I’m also fed up with union reps and their fake tears being interviewed on TV. The unions dont give a Flying F… and I’ll tell that to you from experience and observation and anyone who says otherwise is, well, probably a union rep or a complete and utter mung-bean. The union organisers just want their lurks and perks, junkets and massive amounts of ‘freebies’ and they love that sense of power they get and what they see as respect. Any psychiatrist will tell you that they are people with poor self esteem who are bullies that love to manipulate and control and to do that they will use any and all means and when they see that they might lose their power and influence and all those goodies their true nature comes out and all the gullible stupid sheeple go “Baaa’.
    So Vic, Shut up.

  40. David Black

    Kaye, it seems to be your job description here to reply to those few (and,no, they are not “trolls!”) who dissent from the AIMN groupthink. I think Ian Forrest really nailed the appalling negativity and dishonesty that pervades this site.

  41. arthur

    Geez, where was all the outrage and name calling when FORD and MITSUBISHI announced they where closing, oh thats rite another party was in power, and how many of you slamming the government on this site actually bought a brand new HOLDEN in the last year, yeah thought so NONE…….

  42. Kaye Lee

    David I am not in the “cash for comment” game. I was wondering what you gentlemen share in common that you all appear the same morning saying the same thing. Alan Jones? Andrew Bolt? 2GB?

    I would be happy to hear your opinions about the points I raised.

  43. David Black

    Kaye, Tim Blair commented on Victoria’s dreadful article this morning. That would account for the unexpected interest in AIMN. Tim’s readers have a different view of life from that of your friends. A refreshing change from “areshole,” “village idiot,” “Rabbott,” “Slick Abbott,” psychopath” etc.
    And, no, John Kelly, Tony Abbott did not not say “Shit happens” about Australian soldiers dying in Afghanistan. Believing that lie marks the difference between the worlds of Tim Blair and AIMN.

  44. Kaye Lee

    Oh, the Daily Telegraph. Then you probably don’t know about any of the issues I raised.

  45. Mick Reid

    Hey Victoria! (sounds like a privileged name) As a GMH worker can you please tell me how many Holden cars you have bought new so far in your life?

  46. bighead1883

    Yes Kaye Lee the LNP trollitariat is cruising the networks with plenty of paid commenters.
    This was imported from the Romney campaign where Democrats College students ran a beautiful scam in the 2012 lead up.
    They contacted GOP Reps during the election saying that the Obama camp had to many favourable commenters in online publications.
    They asked if they could be hired to write pro Republican comments,to this they were told NO,but grants could be given to do this.
    So for every 1 pro GOP comment these “granted students ” wrote they wrote an extra 3-4 pro Democrat ones.
    Part of their ploy was to have multiple Avatars.
    The GOP even hired some of them to monitor “granted students” haha.
    So these same students monitored themselves,how truly neo-conservative of them hahaha.

  47. b2

    I’ve read that Julia Gillard gave Holden $275 million last March and said that would secure their future in Australia for the next decade. True or false?

  48. CD

    I see you were unable to stop the trolls. They’re here supporting you.

  49. T-bone from Turramurra

    So ….. tell me again what you said when Ford announced it was closing during the Rudd / Gillard fiasco?

  50. bob

    We all should revolt against Abbott and get rid of him nothing but lies from the get go, and he really doesn’t car. That is a person we shouldn’t have to lead us.

  51. T-bone from Turramurra

    Hey Bob – I don’t really car that Abbott doesn’t car. In fact, I couldn’t car less!

  52. Bacchus

    I myself have bought two new Barinas.” 😆 😆

    Tell me David, were these the rebadged Japanese “Barinas”, Opel “Barinas” imported from Spain, or Daewoo “Barinas” imported from Korea? Hypocrite! 🙄

  53. Kaye Lee

    In the space of a couple of hours we have had an influx of new people accusing us of “groupthink” and of being sheep. Here is what a few of them have said.

    CraigS “aside from Australian’s no longer buying their cars, and yes that includes you”

    Coco Nutdog “no-one buys Holdens. How many of you here drive a Holden?”

    Murray James “Do you own or have you ever driven a Holden?”

    Bb “Holden did not actually manufacture cars here which people were willing to purchase”

    Python “Hey Vic,what do you drive?”

    arthur “how many of you slamming the government on this site actually bought a brand new HOLDEN in the last year”

    I think you guys might have a little bit of groupthink of your own going on there. Stay for a while. Read a few of the articles here. You may learn something. You will sure as hell learn a lot more than you will from the Telegraph. I ask again, what do you guys think of giving foreign-owned mining companies subsidies of $5 billion a year?

  54. T-bone from Turramurra

    Kaye – a couple of points.

    Mitsubishi closed up shop during a Labour government – the silence from you lefties was deafening.

    Ford announced it was going to close up shop during another Labour government – all that was heard from you lefties was disappointed comments about how high the Australian dollar was. Every excuse that could be made to absolve the Rudd / Gillard / Rudd fiasco from blame was trotted out.

    Now Holden announces that it, too, will fold up its tent and depart – for exactly the same reasons behind Ford’s closure.

    And you drongo lefties go into apoplectic paroxysm about how it is all Abbott’s fault.

    Do you have any idea how foolishly, pointlessly partisan this makes you look?

    The truth is there and the truth is simple: Ford and Holden can’t afford to make cars in Australia, because it is too expensive to do so and because they can make them much more cheaply elsewhere, in other countries.

    It was not the fault of Rudd / Gillard / Rudd that Ford made its decision – and it’s certainly not the fault of Abbott that Holden have made the same decision.

    All your pointless bleating and crocodile tears are nothing more than attempts at political point-scoring. Pity you don’t score any points because of how transparently obvious your entirely-predictable, knee-jerk reaction was.

    I tell you what – I’ll make you a deal: how about we provide the Ford / Holden / Toyota troika $500 million per year, in order to keep them going for years to come?

    We can do it, you know, and still end up in front, in terms of governmental spending.

    It’s easy.

    All we do is sell off the ABC and SBS.

    That will save us all $1.3 BILLION per year.

    From that, we can then fund the car industry to the tune of $500 million per year, and keep all those car-workers employed!

    How good is that!

    I reckon you lefties would be keen on that idea – we keep the car industry going and we save $800 million per year!

    I love a good story with a happy ending!

  55. Kaye Lee

    Here Goldilocks, we found another one.

  56. Kaye Lee

    How do you guys feel about Abbott’s reneging on the deal with Holden to provide 7 bomb proof vehicles?

    The tender was short-listed in 2012 to 2 Holden bids, one from Audi, and one from Mercedes. Holden won the contract. Tony Abbott, after his daughter was Ambassador for BMW at the Spring Racing Carnival, decided to give the contract to them instead for ”off-the-shelf BMW High Security 7-Series vehicles”, worth $525,000 each.

    The AFP uses BMW X5s for security support vehicles when attending to Mr Abbott.

    Read more:

    Perhaps ask Tony Abbott the same question you are asking us.

  57. David Black

    Kaye, it is quite reasonable to ask Victoria and her supporters if they have bought Holdens. (I myself have bought two new Barinas.) How many Holdens have you bought?
    Regarding the Telegraph and its blogs, John Kelly’s “Shit Happens!” lie would never have passed unscathed on Tim Blair’s or Andrew Bolt’s sites, as it did here.

  58. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    I ask again, what do you guys think of giving foreign-owned mining companies subsidies of $5 billion a year?

    Do you acknowledge there is arguably a difference between Governments offering incentives for companies to be here and Governments endlessly propping up failing industries? I think there’s a reasonable discussion to be had in relation to that difference.

    One of the issues I have with the notion of Governments propping up private companies is the arbitrary nature of it. How do we decide who gets significant community assistance and who doesn’t? By what criteria do we decide who gets our money and who doesn’t? I mean, such criteria has to exist; we can’t just go running around making ad hoc judgements. I appreciate, of course, that almost everything a Government offers in terms of subsidies, payments, tax breaks/ thresholds etc has an arbitrary component, but I’d like to see the criteria for company subsidies laid out and justified by those that are advocating such a thing.

    I’m in two minds about the Holden issue, frankly. I can see validity in certain of the arguments from both sides, unlike Victoria who demands that anyone who takes an opposing view to her is necessarily irrational.

  59. Kaye Lee

    b2, that is correct, but that payment was part of a package which is no longer being offered.

    Spending breakdown: The New Car Plan

    The Federal Government groups its assistance to the car industry under the umbrella of what it calls its New Car Plan. Before today’s announcement the spending included:

    – $3.4 billion on the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS): supporting research and development “while also requiring eligible companies to demonstrate an environmental commitment”. The cash is budgeted forward until 2020-21.
    – $116.3 million on the Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Program (AISAP): the program focuses on “mergers and consolidation” in the components sector while “providing training and assistance to displaced workers.”
    – $20 million on the Automotive Supply Chain Development Program (ASCDP) to help suppliers integrate supply chains at home and overseas.
    – $10.5 million to expand the LPG Vehicle Scheme to provide cash incentives to drivers who opt to buy new LPG-fuelled vehicles.
    – $6.3 million to set up an Automotive Market Access Program (AMAP) to send trade delegations to lobby for Australian interests overseas.

  60. Bacchus

    It is the greed of the individual workers and the pig headedness of the Unions that killed Holden, when your wages are twice that of Germany (hardly a low wage country) to build a car you have a problem…

    Sorry to introduce facts into the discussion CraigS (something you right-whingers have an unbelievable aversion to) but:×349.jpg

  61. Kaye Lee

    David Black, I find the he said she said stuff so pointless. I don’t understand why conservatives like to give it such focus. I think the comment was blown up unnecessarily but Tony’s reaction to questions about it didn’t help.

  62. T-bone from Turramurra

    Kaye: No – it’s “Labour”.

    If the ALP can’t spell and has decided to embrace the good ol’ US of A spelling of that word – that’s its own hypocritical problem.

    Funny about that, isn’t it? You lefties spit on everything and anything connected with Uncle Sam, yet you embrace its spelling with fervour, feeling and a zealousness worthy of everything good in the land of the Brave and home of the Free.

    Here in Australia, “Labour” is spelt “L – A – B – O – U – R”.

  63. Kaye Lee


    Ford was given assistance. PM Gillard gave them an additional $34 million in 2012 on the proviso they trade through to at least 2016. She ruled out another taxpayer bailout of Ford after the car maker said it would cut 440 jobs and reduce production by about a third from November of that year. A total of 330 jobs were eventually cut from the plants in Broadmeadows and Geelong.

    When Ford announced they would close in 2016 Ms Gillard announced the federal and Victorian governments would contribute $12 million in extra assistance for the workers and another $39 million for a community assistance fund for the affected regions.

  64. Senya

    Agreed Kaye Lee. If manufacturing company announces it pulling out of Australia during Labor rule – that’s because of structural issues with the company. If the same happen during LNP rule – that’s because of “village idiot”. Completely agree!

  65. bighead1883

    T-Bone you`re wrong.
    It`s LABOUR in England.
    When Labor formed in Australia they Americanised their spelling to coincide with Labor values there and to distinguish themselves apart from their English namesake.

  66. T-bone from Turramurra

    So the ALP is the party with a demonstrated history of deliberate Americanisation?


  67. bighead1883

    Nothing can be explained to idiots,and that you sure are.
    So youread the link I posted?
    Of course you didn`t you`re a RWNJ idiot who can`t stand facts of any type,F$$k off.

  68. Kaye Lee

    The future of Mitsubishi in Australia had been pinned on the new model 380 but its sales slumped so badly that by January 2008 it sold only 692 Australia-wide – outsold by the company’s fully imported Lancer.

    In 2007, Mitsubishi sold 65,397 cars in Australia but only about 11,000 of those were 380 sedans, down from almost 12,500 in 2006.

    Mr McEniry told a media conference Mitsubishi would now continue operations as a major vehicle importer.

    He blamed the ongoing financial losses, the declining large car market, the small Australian car market and the impact of exchange rates for the closure. Mitsubishi Australia had lost $1.5 billion over the past 10 years and chief executive Robert McEniry said it “did not make economic sense to continue sustaining these losses”.

    PREMIER Mike Rann announced a $50 million assistance package to assist sacked workers funded by federal and state governments.

    MITSUBISHI agreed to repay to the SA Government the $35 million it received to develop the 380 model car, designed to save the company.

    Holden had made a submission to the Productivity Commission about what they contribute both directly and indirectly. They needed government co-investment and didn’t get it.

    “Holden said the savings – around $3750 per car – would be found as part of an agreement made with unions and its workers.

    Holden’s submission reports that unions have agreed to an extension of 16-minutes to the work day for Holden’s 1100 plant workers, along with wage freezes, a $2.00 per-hour lower rate for new workers, and flexibility on its obligations to casual workers.

    The union deal alone will not be enough to keep Holden’s manufacturing operations alive however, with future funding both from within GM and from the Australian Government yet to be assured.

    Holden’s submission to the Productivity Commission also outlined key manufacturing costs, revealing that an average of $15,400 is spent on locally produced parts.

    The carmaker added that the new Abbott Government’s plan to cut $500 million from the 10-year $2.5 billion Automotive Transformation Scheme could have a dramatic effect on the viability of Holden’s local manufacturing operations.”

    PS It’s Labor not Labour 😉

  69. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    I would like to see manufacturing of clean energy alternatives on the rise so there will be manufacturing jobs available if the benefits of the car industry no longer justify the investment. Develop new industries first.

    Bingo. I think successive Governments have failed to see the GMH graffiti on the wall, or ignored it and just taken the lazy path of throwing money at the problem. They have failed to immunise the Australian economy against something that they should have known was largely inevitable. Trouble is this Government is highly unlikely to do anything about instituting that immunisation programme (via industry development). That’ll be up to Labor, as usual.

    Wages paid to Holden employees are taxed and spent here whereas mining companies send their profits off-shore

    I agree with what you said about tax levels and that should be addressed. Rudd tried. Epic fail. But the quote above seems to be mixing points. Aren’t the wages of miners taxed and spent here as well? And do all of Holden’s profits stay in this country? I actually have no idea on that last point, but I suspect they don’t.

    I think the most cogent argument with respect to Holden is that we currently don’t have a plan to combat the problems created by their departure. Till we do we may as well keep propping them up. But I would contend that in the interim that plan must be formulated.

  70. Dan Rowden


    The spelling of Labor, or similar words, without the “u” was one adopted by America, but not created by them. It pre-dates American society by several centuries, as far back as the 1400s. So, to argue the adoption of the spelling by the Labor Party – for various reasons – is an “Americanisation” is a stretch.

  71. Kaye Lee

    Dan I agree and the questions must be asked. I found the Holden submission to the Producticity Commission informative. Obviously they were selling their pitch but it detailed the extended value to the community – buying parts here etc.

    After thinking and reading a lot, I have come to look on it as a worthwhile investment because of the flowon effects of employment, skills, support industries and such. I think it is value for money at the moment. That may change in the future.

    I would like to see manufacturing of clean energy alternatives on the rise so there will be manufacturing jobs available if the benefits of the car industry no longer justify the investment. Develop new industries first.

  72. bighead1883

    Well David can you express yourself without a definition to God?

  73. Kaye Lee

    J- bone, you won’t mind if I call you that I hope because that’s what we call people like you here,

    I don’t recall spitting on anyone at all though you seem to be getting rather emotive. Have you any comments on the points raised? As you can see, it hasn’t been the carbon tax or the unions that have been the problem, and Holden would have stayed if the government co-invested. With Ford and Mitsubishi the Government offered assistance but they decided to close anyway. There’s the difference.


    Further on the mining subsidies vs car subsidies. Manufacturing employs many more people than mining. Wages paid to Holden employees are taxed and spent here whereas mining companies send their profits off-shore and pay substantially lower company tax – 14% compared to the average 21% that other companies pay.

  74. bighead1883

    December 23, 2013 • 12:04 pm
    I gave T-bone a link Cornie,but reading anything more than three word slogans is not part of RWNJ activity.

  75. David Black

    Gosh bighead! Can’t you express yourself without resorting to abuse?

  76. cornlegend

    let me assure you Labor as in the Labor Party does not have a U.
    Years ago, I copped an earful from a Labor Minister because a couple of thousand documents were printed, including the U.
    They were all destroyed.
    No U, sorry.

  77. Greg O

    Kaye Lee, you do seem to have an issue with the diesel fuel rebate to miners. That is the “subsidy” you are referring to I presume? Could I ask you if you think a tax on road users to build and maintain roads would be a good idea? If so, perhaps a fuel excise could be used. But then, should fuel users who do not use public roads still have to pay it? That is debatable, but I think most people would say it would be fair if only the road users paid. So way back in 1957, the excise was added to diesel fuel to make sure they paid their share of road costs too. Up until 1982 we had an exemption certificate system to allow non-road users exemption from the tax. That was being abused by road users buying exempt fuel, so it was changed to the current rebate system. So here is the story in a nutshell. The government initially introduced an excise on diesel fuel (as an hypothecated tax) on road users to finance road maintenance. So by definition non-road users shouldn’t pay the excise. So how to ensure that road users pay the excise and non-road users don’t? Over time different approaches have been introduced to collect the excise from road users but not from non-road users. At present the excise is collected from all diesel sales and then non-road users are refunded the excise. So while it looks like a subsidy and many individuals discuss it and describe it as a subsidy it isn’t a subsidy.

    Many individual tax payers receive a refund at the end of the year having over-paid their income tax – nobody refers to that as a subsidy. So too being refunded fuel excise isn’t a subsidy. Instead of the refund being eliminated as being a subsidy, the Commonwealth should be paying interest on that money.

    Apart from that, as Treasury argues, taxing business inputs is a really bad idea, which is what you are arguing for.

  78. Confused

    HI, i tried as hard as i could but couldn’t find your letter to Julia or to the manager of Ford Australia when they shut down earlier this year!

  79. Dan Rowden

    Greg O,

    I have to say the argument you make that lower diesel costs to mining companies should be thought of as rebates rather than subsidies is a strong one. I, for one, had not really thought of that angle before. Interesting.

  80. John Fraser


    @ Kaye Lee & Dan Rowden

    More activity than usual by the extreme right wing evangelistic trolls.

    See "Comments" here :

    Especially the Replies from Errol Bandt in relation to the Poll that he had to take down.

    Must be the trolls celebrating the virgin birth .. or the IPA representative on the HRC.

  81. DocBud

    Kaye Lee said:

    “Wages paid to Holden employees are taxed and spent here whereas mining companies send their profits off-shore”

    Miners are taxed and spend most of their money here. As a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, I’d imagine Holden profits, when it made some, were sent overseas.


    The diesel fuel rebate is available to all primary producers, e.g. farmers, who use vehicles that never use roads, it is not targeted at mining companies.

  82. John Fraser



    I don't recall any farmer lobbying for fuel rebates.

    But I do know where the mining companies park their lobbying donations.

  83. Greg O

    Kaye Lee, re “should the mining companies be taxed then for the railways and ports that we build for them?”, as per the fuel excise, it is reasonable for users of infrastructure to be asked to contribute towards construction and maintenance of them. Forgive me for saying I find it nonsensical though for governments to build things that private enterprise needs. If a mining company needs new rail. let them use their funds to build it. To have the government tax that company, then use those funds to build something the private company would have built anyway seems to me to be a ridiculously inefficient way to go about it. I also don’t trust a government of any persuasion to build those things without political considerations affecting the outcome, so better to let the miners build what they want themselves. If however they are using already built public infrastructure, they should pay to do so.

    I am glad you tacitly now accept Kaye Lee that the diesel fuel rebate is just that, a rebate, not a subsidy.

  84. Kaye Lee

    Greg O, should the mining companies be taxed then for the railways and ports that we build for them?

  85. John Fraser


    @Greg O

    So the Private Health Rebate (provided by the government) is not a subsidy ?

    Once again ….. I know where the Health Funds park their lobbying donations :

    Perhaps you think they do it for altruistic motives.

  86. Dan Rowden

    Infrastructure for mining enterprises is a complex thing. Mining companies do often build their own. Fortescue Metals Group built a 200km rail line and a port near Port Hedland, for example. Governments certainly ought not invest public money in such infrastructure projects unless there’s an obvious short or long term benefit to Australians.

  87. Greg O

    Kaye Lee, is that a “don’t bother me with the details” response? Details do matter unfortunately. But it does get back to your underlying thought processes, which are that the mining companies make big profits, therefore they can afford to pay more in taxes. That would about sum it up wouldn’t it? The assumption you make is that there are no consequences for enforcing higher taxes on high income earners or large companies. The problem is that assumption is false. Obviously you would not want anyone to pay 100% of their profits or income in tax, because then they would not continue in business or continue to work, and you end up not collecting any tax from them. So you would agree that there is a point somewhere where raising taxes is self defeating in terms of what you end up collecting, let alone the other issue of that company or person not having as much of their own money to employ more people. So unless you can show that point has not been reached, raising taxes without looking at details like that is reckless. Your assertion that the minerals belong to all of us is a bit tenuous also. Do I own any minerals you might find buried under your property?

  88. Simon Morgan

    The writing was on the wall, well before Ford abandoned Australia (incidentally, were Shorten / Gillard ‘village idiots’ for letting that happen too? I guess not, because they’re Labor, not Coalition).

    Victoria – You didn’t need your inner voice, your premonitions or any of those wonderful female traits to be to able to see what was coming around the corner. You just needed common sense to keep Holden manufacturing here.

    Alas, common sense and the AMWU / Left in general are worlds apart. They always have been, and judging by your post, they always will be.

  89. John Fraser


    @Greg O

    What's the matter ?

    Can't you use … …. to get the "details".

    Better hope that no one wants to search your property for CSG … because you cannot stop them from drilling on your property.

  90. Greg O

    John Fraser, re the Health Insurance rebate, that is a whole other discussion about our health system. In the health insurance context, have they paid more tax than they need to then are getting a rebate for the excess, as in the personal tax refund example? I think not, in fact it is not even a tax, but a payment to a private company for a product, so it is not a particularly useful analogy to the diesel fuel rebate.

  91. John Fraser


    @Greg O

    Thanks for the reply.

    It helps me understand that you have absolutely no idea about taxation in Australia.

    And absolutely no idea about how subsidies/rebate work.

    Humbly suggest you hack a phone of an Australian tax specialist.

    And put your "profits" into offshore tax havens.

  92. Kaye Lee

    Greg O I am not really interested in arguing semantics. I would like the mining companies to pay tax on the superprofits they make for foreign investors by developing our patrimony. Whether they reduce their tax obligation and costs through rebates or subsidies or depreciation write-offs is really irrelevant. They do not pay us what they should for developing something we own.

  93. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    I was wondering if "Greg O" was from the IPA.

  94. Greg O

    I am a self employed small business man John. I enjoy debating ideas, it would be preferable if you did not get personal.

  95. John Fraser


    @Greg O

    So you do your BAS regularly or do you have an arrangement with the ATO ?

    This is a nice one to know if you are running a successful business :

    Getting personal …. then you should start apologising to Kaye Lee for this … " is that a “don’t bother me with the details” response?".

    When you learn something more than how to do a BAS I suggest you then start doing what you presume you are doing now ….. "debating ideas".

    Because you are not debating ideas, you have not put forward one "idea" about how the tax revenues in Australia will assist Australians or how to go about collecting those revenues in a fair and equitable way.

    You are just trying on some personal "idea" of taxation ideology that you have picked up from god knows where.

  96. Kaye Lee

    Dan the company that wanted to buy Graincorp offered to upgrade rail, storage and port facilities at their own expense. For some reason we said no to this. No mining company (or agricultural company) does these things unless it will improve their bottom line. And when making that appraisal they are usually not considering the environment or the long term cost to the community….just the short term profit to shareholders.

  97. Kaye Lee

    Greg O in fact you DO own any minerals discovered on my property.

    According to the maxim “to whomsoever the soil belongs, he owns also to the sky and to the depths”, there is a presumption that a land owner also owns all minerals on or beneath the surface of that land. The presumption is subject to the exception of the Royal metals. As early as the sixteenth century, the common law has held that all gold and silver, whether situated on public or private land, has been owned by the Crown. This Royal prerogative has also been applied in Australia, by both common law and legislation.

    However, the principle of the owner of land owning the minerals within it has been virtually abolished by statute in Australia. The general rule is that the Crown (in right of the State) owns all minerals. This has been implemented by statute; initially by enacting that all future grants of land must contain a reservation to the Crown of all minerals. Now, all new grants of freehold titles in Australia have provided that all minerals were reserved to the Crown.

    I don’t want the foreigners who own our mining companies to pay 100% of their profits in tax….how about they pay 21% company tax like most others do, and how about they pay for the fuel they use as a contribution to cleaning up the damage they cause by the pollution they are making.

  98. Dan Rowden

    You know what, Greg O’s points have been pretty decent. His point about fuel subsidies being better seen as rebates is a really good one. I would like him to state his view regarding the broader issue of the amount of tax mining companies pay, but this dismissive attitude has got me a tad bewildered.

  99. Kaye Lee

    I really must thank the Daily Telegraph for sending so many people here today. Hopefully they will learn something.

    Lesson number one…what you read from gossip columnists like Tim Blair, Piers Ackerman, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine, is usually factually inaccurate. What you hear from radio shock jocks like Alan Jones and Ray Hadley is just ratings driven hate-speech.

    I do not ask you to believe me. Google is a wonderful tool. Research for yourself what you are being told. Don’t come here in a pack all using some line you have been fed by some inadequate journalist with an agenda to push his boss’s line. Look for yourself. Check what people here have told you. I can guarantee the regulars here prefer truth to BS and research to quotes from party hacks. We all want to learn. If you have a case to put then do so but be prepared to back it up. Sating you read it in the telegraph so it must be true won’t wash here.

  100. John Fraser


    @ Kaye Lee …. sorry I laughed at your travails with the ATO … a bit like a gag reflex.

    And apologies to "Greg O" if they are warranted.

    I sincerely hope he does some research into the Australian taxation system and sees just how inequitable it is.

    Who knows … it might just change his reading patterns.

    And his "Comment" pattern.

  101. Dan Rowden

    I would amend that last bit to “continues to provide one”.

  102. John Fraser


    Private Health Premiums go up by 6%.

    That's gotta be good for all taxpayers …. isn't it ?

    And self funded retirees.

    I wonder who will get a pay rise or extra fully franked dividends ?

  103. Kaye Lee

    Greg O I am also a self-employed small business person now (along with several other interests). I too enjoy debating ideas. I think you will grow to enjoy this site and learn a lot from it if you are willing.

  104. Kaye Lee

    John Fraser you just caused me to have horrible flashbacks.

    I have spoken before about the night we all had to change over to charging GST. The government hadn’t made up it’s mind about so many things and, after hours on hold with the ATO, I was told to use my best guess about the GST status of many of the products we sell.

    I did a correspondence accountancy course to get up to speed with what I needed to do under the new regulations as I had to fill in a monthly BAS because the government owes us several thousand each month. I dutifully filled in first BAS, and my second, and third and on and on……no refund. I contacted the ATO and they told me that my BAS had been spit out by the computer because it used truncation rather than rounding and my claim was $1 out.

    I yelled the f word very loud and told them to buy themselves $1 worth of mixed lollies if they would release the, by now, $40,000 they owed me.

  105. Howard Miller

    I know it is Christmas and supposedly “A time of good will to all men” BUT I thought we could have bought a couple of failing car companies for about 100 million dollars. BUT I suppose if we need “Work Choices again” we will spend the loot and achieve the “party policy.” Beware this man and his Party have a hidden evil agenda. The plant and machinery will sell for scrap at a fraction of that cost. The trade skills will be lost in the mire of destroying our landscape for mining profit.
    And China will have no competition in this bleak land.
    When will we ever elect a government “Of the People and for the People” ?
    Australians want our “own car company”, I would have thought with all the supposed corporate intellect the current government should have, we could manage one Automotive Company. We could have had and owned, AMC, Australian Motor Corporation, fifty years ago, making cars Australian would buy and love but as usual we sold our greatest assets for “trinkets and beads” just like all the indigenous populations around the globe. Goodbye and good riddance to the American giants. I agree Tony, we have given these dills and dunces so much money we just cannot afford any more handouts to wealthy overseas companies. BUT there has to be another option because there are NO other jobs for all these Australians. Mining is not an honorable occupation, it is dangerous, immoral and destroys our World. Let’s buy the car plants and make “Our Own Cars”
    Cars Australian want to buy at prices we can afford.??
    So to Everyone and all my friends,
    “Have a Happy Christmas while you can, I wish all the very best, we are going to need it in the near future.”

  106. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    I find the “semantics” of the distinction between “subsidy” and “rebate” as meaningful and material to this discussion as the difference between “Carbon Tax” and “Carbon Price” was and is to that particular debate. Semantics matter. Using the word to dismiss ideas is actually an intellectually dodgy thing to do. A rebate to users of a product that attracts an excise who don’t use the product in a manner consistent with the reason for the excise should not have to pay it. I find that point simple and cogent, even if that sentence wasn’t. As was pointed out in the comments, it doesn’t just apply to mining companies, but primary producers in general and that seems eminently reasonable to me.

    I think what Greg pointed out renders our use of the “subsidy to mining companies” argument a weak, if not meaningless one when used in conjunction with arguments about propping up companies like Holden.

    The wider issue of how much company tax – etc – mining companies pay is, to me, a different issue. I was absolutely gob-smacked that Rudd was unable to get the Mining Tax off the ground. Its moral rectitude and common-sense necessity seemed a no-brainer to me. Mining companies do not pay their fair share in tax, and unless a Government can adequately argue that we have to suck that up as part of a package of necessary incentives to get mining companies here, then it needs to be rectified immediately, if not sooner.

    I’m not really the person to discuss the finer economic points of this with, frankly. As a fairly hard-core socialist my view is that mineral resource industries, at a primary level, should be nationalised. The economic failings of such a view are probably manifold, but I’d be willing to debate them as far as my limited economic savvy would permit.

    For me, the most substantial issue with regard to mining companies is not what money we might toss them for various reasons, but how much we get back, which I would argue, and I suspect you would argue too, is manifestly inadequate.

    In the sort of approach I would take to mining, a person such as Gina Rinehart could never exist.

  107. Kaye Lee

    Greg O I would be interested to hear what you think about this government stopping the instant asset write-off (capped at $6500) for small business. Why did they not do that to the miners? we employ more people than them. We are more in touch with, and obliged to, our communities. Why cruel us whilst facilitating them?

  108. Kaye Lee

    Dan if you feel I am being dismissive I apologise to all. I am trying very hard to be inclusive but I want well thought out discussion backed up by fact, rather than something written by a Murdoch hack.

    I agree Greg O is the closest we have come to someone to have a rational discussion with. let’s hope he stays and provides one.

  109. John Fraser


    @Dan Rowden

    I guess you haven't been paying much attention to the goings on of the Russian oligarchy.

    The ones who carved up State interests with the collapse of communism.

    No shortage of male Gina's there.

    Lets not get into semantics about communism/socialism …. nationalisation is definitely not the answer.

    But your average Aussie does need a fair deal from the taxation system and they are not getting it.

  110. Coco Nutdog

    Dan, with that approach, I think industry in general would not exist let alone mining.

  111. Kaye Lee

    I feel like I am having a third person discussion by proxy here. Yes Dan, he has raised good points, whilst completely ignoring the responses. I am not an audience. I need interaction.

  112. Kaye Lee

    Since Greg isn’t answering ( and that’s ok Greg, having a life is permissible :-)), Dan perhaps you can answer for me.

    You said “His point about fuel subsidies being better seen as rebates is a really good one.” Can you tell me what difference that makes to the bottom line? It seems purely semantics to me. Either we give them money directly or we don’t take money from them…same result.

  113. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    And boy wonder Nathan Tinkler.

  114. bighead1883

    No left wing Socialists in Singapore Kaye,only dictators.

  115. Kaye Lee

    I won’t jump on the blow-up Gina bandwagon….mainly because if we tax her adequately she can eliminate our deficit (and save whole countries should she feel like it).

    I understand the “off-road” argument for diesel rebate. In my world that would be balanced by a “how much harm do you do to the environment and our health” tax. It mightn’t be exactly the carbon pricing scheme we adopted but hells bells and cockle shells…why the hell am I now being asked to pay over $3 billion to polluters instead of them paying us $13 billion? It’s too silly for words.

  116. Kaye Lee

    I wonder why Gina lives in Singapore. She hates “nanny states” and Singapore is about as nanny as you can get. Could it be because they cap income tax rates at 20% and have no capital gains tax?

    Perhaps she just likes it, same as Nathan Tinkler, and Eduardo Saverin, who co-founded Facebook.

  117. DocBud

    @ Howard Miller

    “Mining is not an honorable occupation, it is dangerous, immoral and destroys our World.”

    Cars kill more than a million people every year, a lot more than mining, and cause more pollution so making cars should also be classed as a dishonorable occupation.

    Without mining there would be no car manufacturing and you wouldn’t be communicating on here. Mining has driven the massive advancements that humanity has achieved since the start of the industrial revolution, including in health and in reducing poverty.

  118. John Fraser


    Either some people haven't seen this or they still refuse to believe it :

    Although now that "Slick" Abbott and the "adults" are in charge things have changed …. in some places quite dramatically.

    Australia's debt is still one of the lowest in the developed world.

  119. Greg O

    Hi Guys, I am back. Sorry, I have a business to run, 5 children to support, suppliers to get off my back, ATO to appease, etc, as I am sure all of you do too. If I could address the “fairness” of the amount of tax that big mining companies pay, a point from Kaye Lee I think? The issue of what is “fair” in taxation is just about the most subjective thing there is. In the end, the only truly “fair” rate of tax for everyone is zero. If their is no taxation at all, no-one is going to complain about it, and everyone is happy, right? However that is obviously ludicrous, as we need a certain amount of money for government to fulfill its essential roles, (happy to discuss the role of government later, but for the moment….) such as a legal system with both judiciary and enforcement arms, a health system (leading to a Bill of Rights discussion, later…) and other services. Kaye Lee, I would ask the question in reverse. I would not ask “How much can they afford to pay?”, as you appear to be, apologies if that is incorrect, rather I would ask “How much do we need?”. They are vastly different questions. The former question often has a punitive factor involved, the latter would seem to me to be more practical, and, dare I say, fairer? So before anyone tells me we need more tax from the rich people in our society, I would always ask what we need that extra money for. I think you have to justify that first before we enter any discussion of who pays how much tax.

    As an aside I gather John Fraser would like to know more about me, so let me tell you that I come from a working class background, my Dad was a mechanic, he rarely earned enough money to submit a tax return, my family were Labor voters through and through from a mining community, I was a beneficiary of Whitlam’s tertiary education policies, graduating 1983, I am now 53 yo, have owned my own business for 27 yrs, have at most employed 6 people, in recent years I have had to cut back to 2 1/2 predominantly due to rising costs, for example I now pay $20K pa in electricity bills, (please do not lecture me on installing solar, where do you think the subsidies come from, and it is impractical in my situation), and basically people are spending less because low interest rates hurt retirees and the costs of those who are working have increased significantly over the last few years. But on top of that, my tax bill has increased, even though my turnover has gone down slightly. This year I will pay close to 40% of my projected income in tax. I will manage,but only by cutting back hours of my staff and working them harder. Tax havens are not available to people like me. My voting record starting in 1980 was Whitlam, Hawke, Hawke, Hawke, Hawke, Keating, Keating, Beasley, Beasley, Howard (Latham was a big mistake), Howard, Abbott, Abbott. Why the turn from socialism to whatever right wing label you wish to apply? Practicalities. Anyone who has to run a business realizes eventually that the problem with socialism is that it simply does not work. I have also read more widely, especially Hayek , Friedman, Tom Sowell (where the only fair rate of tax is zero comes from).

    So there you have me. Can we get back to the debate now?

  120. John Fraser


    @Greg O

    If you get some down time and want to see how some companies dodge Australian tax, then have a read :

    Plenty more where that came from.

    Your taxes could come down if the big boys paid their share.

    But with Abbott …. well he has already signalled that it will not happen, just have a look at his "Direct Action".

  121. Kim Wright

    I have just ploughed this very interesting conversation and the one thing GregO that just jumps out at me. This person who appears to be clearly articulate and knowledgeable seriously considers the Governments from Whitlam to Rudd were examples of socialism/You can’t be serious? that was a sneaky comment to wake us up or check who was reading. Right?

  122. Greg O

    We could argue the definition of socialism Kim, but essentially redistributive governments are socialist. I’m not sure however that I actually said the Hawke/Keating governments were socialist, sorry if I implied that. Keating was possibly more economically conservative than our current Treasurer, although that remains to be seen. I do have a problem with having conservative social policies ascribed to me just because I am economically conservative, just as Keating would never wish to be associated with conservative social policies, even though he was essentially conservative economically.

    I believe the essential difference between economic conservatives and socialists is that conservatives want everyone to be richer, socialists want rich people to be poorer. I think the above conversation is largely indicative of that.

  123. Dan Rowden


    I don’t mean to be pedantic (actually, yes I do), but in 1980 you would have voted for Bill Hayden, not Whitlam. Just sayin….

  124. Dan Rowden


    I believe the essential difference between economic conservatives and socialists is that conservatives want everyone to be richer, socialists want rich people to be poorer.

    Socialists question what dynamics in an economy enable some people to be rich and others forced to be poor. The stock standard explanation for that from free market capitalists is usually breathtaking in its intellectual and ethical paucity.

  125. John Fraser


    Appears "Greg O" doesn't want to debate taxation.

    But would rather "debate" socialism V Liberalism.

    Not to worry "Greg O" your mate "Slick" Abbott (the so called conservative) doesn't want to talk tax reform either …. well apart from giving big business more tax breaks.

  126. Greg O

    Dan, I don’t actually see the wealth gap as a problem. People generally don’t stay in one income category all of their lives, they migrate between them, both up and down. I am just such an example. You also simply cannot relieve poverty by just giving money to the poor, it has never worked. If I am wrong about that I would be interested in an example of where it has been successful over the longer term in elevating poor people to a higher standard of living.

  127. Möbius Ecko

    “…conservatives want everyone to be richer…”

    Sorry Greg O I don’t ascribe to that at all, and if some do it is lip service only knowing full well that everyone in a society cannot be rich, only a small elite percentage.

    If that were the case then conservative governments around the globe wouldn’t continuously bring in policies and taxing regimes that favour the wealthy getting wealthier and suppressing the less well off, with education and goods and services/value added taxes being examples.

    “You also simply cannot relieve poverty by just giving money to the poor, it has never worked.”

    I would like to know of any examples of where money was just given to the poor?

  128. Greg O

    What else do you plan to do with the extra money that you want to take off rich people and corporations?

  129. Kaye Lee

    Pay for the full Gonski reforms, get a proper NBN, reduce hospital waiting times, refund all those charities and advisory bodies that Tony just sacked, help asylum seekers restart new lives, build public transport, high speed rail, university scholarships…….I could go on and on and on..

  130. Kaye Lee

    NDIS, wage rises for childcare and aged care workers, action on renewable energy and climate change

  131. Kaye Lee

    What I would NOT be spending it on would be the 9th investigation into Pink Batts – how much does a Royal Commission cost? I would not be wasting $320,000 paying Tim Wilson to push the Murdoch/Bolt agenda. I would not be giving $16 million to Cadbury because they sponsor my pollie pedal ride. I would not be employing Price Waterhouse Coopers to do a report that the Productivity Commission is already doing. I would not be paying 5 mates $1500 a day each to do a commission of audit which they patently have not been given sufficient time to do properly, and not looking at revenue, just spending, is pointless. They will just rubber stamp what Tony is already doing.

    Greg I appreciate your discussion, but you seem to subscribe to joe’s “We will lift the tide so all boats will rise” crap.

  132. Kim Wright

    Its called inheritance.Many have gone on to great wealth thanks to unearned money being passed down. There are also many examples of people being provided with no income or low income loans and starting business and moving out of poverty. Have a look at the number of loan initiative in India for strutters. Grinding people into further poverty by reducing financial assistance, will ensure generational grinding poverty. I would love to see any pollie live on Newstart, but even then its not a real experience, because they know its temporary, they know they have money in the bank, they know they have family if worse comes to worse, they know they have a home to live in when the game is over. No regular housing, no clothing, or coiffed hair, no regular food……………waiting waiting for that trickling down mate

  133. Kim Wright

    Affordable TAFE fees, affordable University fees,Increase in public housing to counter the huge rent increases unaffordable to many,necessary infrastructure that was run down during Howard years so that he could provide a surplus, increase Newstart so that people could actually survive on it, refund Aboriginal Legal Aid, Increase funding to Legal Aid. I mention this because I have worked with so many people that are in jail only because they couldn’t afford quality legal representation. I too could go on

  134. Greg O

    Kim, is this not a great example of people moving up the economic ladder other than by inheritance?

    “There are also many examples of people being provided with no income or low income loans and starting business and moving out of poverty.”

  135. Kim Wright

    Greg You give me a big junk of money with no interest expected and I will make more money. Those with no money have no way to increase their wealth especially when day to day survival is paramount. Have you considered just how much talent we lose this way. I have worked with homeless kids, the level of ingenuity just to survive was admirable, the demonstrated skills and critical thinking of kids who had never attended school was admirable , the fact that they wanted to get up each morning after a night of violence and abuse was admirable. Our lack of value for these kids as a society was not admirable. And when the courageous desire to keep going, I want to be this I want to be that, can’t be maintained we, bury them, spurn them for their self medicating, and / or spend lots and lots of taxpayer money on locking them up . Perhaps a real socialist government might consider putting the money it in at the other end rather than the funeral or lock up….but I don’t believe we have seen a socialist Government in Australia. Whitlam may have had the principles though.

  136. Dan Rowden


    Dan, I don’t actually see the wealth gap as a problem.

    Really? You don’t see entire swathes of people trapped in poverty, sometimes generationally, as a problem? Ok.

    People generally don’t stay in one income category all of their lives, they migrate between them, both up and down.

    Income category migration certainly happens, but the reasons for it are many and varied (I would have said “manifold” but that word’s been done to death of late). Upwards migration is much rarer nowadays. For you and me and children of the 70s it was a fairly common thing, but the reason for that is social policy. Most of the families of the 70s were able to get a leg-up via things free tertiary education. Jobs were absurdly plentiful. Kids could walk out of school into a job with a company like the Commonwealth Bank. The economic and social circumstances that allow upward mobility just don’t exist anymore. Most movement is mostly down because of things like the idiotic state of the building sector, company rationalisations and closures and so forth.

    More and more people are being trapped in generational poverty.

    I am just such an example.

    My gorgeous partner is also an example. We both grew up in the 70s in pretty dire poverty for the time. Because, primarily, of free tertiary education, her family is now upper middle class, replete with doctors and people with PhDs up the kazoo. Things like affordable housing, near full employment, a corporate culture that saw itself as having a proper societal role (offering kids jobs left right and centre) are things that also helped. None of that exists anymore. The corporate culture shifted. Rationalisation happened everywhere. The workforce became casualised. These things all make upward mobility extremely difficult.

    You also simply cannot relieve poverty by just giving money to the poor, it has never worked. If I am wrong about that I would be interested in an example of where it has been successful over the longer term in elevating poor people to a higher standard of living.

    Not sure anyone has ever “just given money” to the poor. People can only lift themselves out of poverty if the socio-economic environment allows it to happen. That environment doesn’t currently exist.

  137. Kaye Lee

    It can be done Greg, but it is much harder if your education has been substandard, or university fees are beyond you, or you have to fight the old school tie network, or you have to spend 50% of your wage on rent, or pay interest on loans.

    I wonder if you have read this piece that my daughter wrote?

  138. Wayne T

    Thank you all, this has been by far the most interesting, thought provoking and, for the most part, sensible and rational debate/discussion I have had the pleasure of following on this site. For mine, this is EXACTLY what the AIMN should be, I hope it continues.
    That is all,
    Merry Xmas

  139. Anomander

    “…conservatives want everyone to be richer…” Another outright lie.

    The rich don’t want everyone to be richer at all because then they’d have to pay too much for their services. The conservative ethos is predicated upon maintaining an undereducated, disadvantaged underclass to perform those supposed unskilled jobs cheaply, to face job insecurity so they are are in fear of losing their job and are incapable of digging themselves out of the mire.

    The prime example is the childcare industry. The wealthy all fob their privileged children into care, so they can return to their high-paying jobs, but they don’t want to pay an appropriate wage for those caring for their progeny. They want the cheapest possible workers. Yet, how do these childcare workers make any headway? How do they afford housing, pay their bills and even raise their own families on such pitiful wages?

    Don’t ever tell me “a rising tide lifts all boats” because that is any outright lie. Many of these low-paid workers can’t afford boats, they are anchored to the shoreline anxiously waiting for the rising tide to slowly drown them.

  140. Möbius Ecko

    And another reason why it’s bull that conservatives want everyone to be richer. Not that long ago the average CEO wage was 30 times that of their workers, now it’s 270 times more.

    This was in large part achieved by suppressing unions, workers wages and conditions, outsourcing and automation, and it was actively fostered, sponsored and abetted by governments, more so conservative governments, and I count several supposedly progressive/centre left governments in that over arching conservative political label.

    What chance has everyone of becoming richer when the rich aided and abetted by government actively suppress the means and opportunities of just about everyone being able to become rich.

  141. Greg O


    Re “Really? You don’t see entire swathes of people trapped in poverty, sometimes generationally, as a problem?”

    People in poverty is a problem. The wealth gap is not. They are not the same thing. People are not poor because other people are rich, and taking more money from the rich does not help the poor. Making poverty a bit more comfortable may be satisfying in the short term, but the real goal should be to reduce the number of people in poverty. To do that requires people to take more responsibility for their own lives. The Dutch are currently reforming their welfare system because they have learnt that welfare dependence hurts the people they are trying to help.

    Also, I couldn’t agree more with you on this:

    “People can only lift themselves out of poverty if the socio-economic environment allows it to happen.”

    Most likely we disagree on how best to achieve that environment, but we are on the same page.

    Möbius, I should not purport to speak for all Conservatives, but certainly my personal wish is for everyone to become richer, and all of my acquaintances who are Conservtive feel the same way. We understand that the only way to improve our own standard of living is for the whole economy to grow. Sorry if I don’t fit the stereotype.

  142. Greg O

    Kaye Lee, re your last comment, I say again that people don’t always stay in the same socioeconomic group their entire life, so comparisons between different eras can be misleading, and the entire concept of the rich/poor gap is useless if their is a constant dynamic shift between the groups.

  143. DocBud

    @ Anomander

    “Don’t ever tell me “a rising tide lifts all boats” because that is any outright lie.”

    So you don’t believe that, in general, people have a higher standard of living now than back in the middle of the last century? How do you think India and China have achieved massive reductions in poverty? Not by taxing the rich and giving the money to the poor because that is a very limited resource.

    Those among the rich who are rich because they are evil capitalists want everyone to be richer, that way they can sell more of their products and get even richer.

    It’s all about growing the pie, which is why the wealth gap (a relative measure) is immaterial, the poorest can get richer in absolute terms and hence live more comfortable lives even as the very richest get richer still.

  144. Kaye Lee

    In Australia, for a time, the rich got richer but the poor got richer faster, until the 1980s. From that point on things have gone crazy with the rich being jetted to the top of Mount Everest while the poor have been thrown into a deep crevasse.

  145. DocBud

    finite food? I think you’ll find food is a renewable resource.

    The pie can grow without exploding:

    I wasn’t comparing developing nations to ours, the links were to demonstrate that a rising tide does indeed lifts all boats (I’ll concede not all but generally the incomes of the lowest will rise as GDP rises).

    Personally, I’m not convinced that for two adults with two children, a disposable income of $752 per week after housing costs represents poverty, which is the problem with talking about relative as opposed to absolute poverty.

  146. Kim Wright

    Who gets that? After housing costs?, Many in Australia get less than that before housing costs. 2 adults two children. What do you think would be the cheapest rent they could get in say, Sydney, North COast? Melbourne?

  147. Kim Wright

    DOcBud. Can you tell me where you pulled out the number $752 after housing costs please? Food a renewable resource? Where’d did you get that too. You haven’t read any reports re population growth and food scarcity? You haven’t noticed that we are mining much of our prime farming land or that Indonesia as an example is selling off all their rice farms( that affectedly feed their country) to developers from countries such as Australia to build luxury accommodation for the wealthy. You haven’t noticed reports/ discussions on water scarcity and drought, where whole swathes of country are decimated and unable to produce food anytime in the future. Renewable resources. I for one would love to read some evidence of this, but Telegraph is not accepted as a source, sorry.

  148. Kaye Lee

    We live in a world of finite resources, finite space, finite food. Just how big can this “pie” grow before it explodes? Just how rich does someone have to be before they realise this is purely obscene greed – this money should be helping people?

    Comparing developing nations to ours is not relevant. The fact that 17.3% of children live in poverty in THIS country is an absolute disgrace. How’s THEM apples?

  149. Greg O

    “Just how rich does someone have to be before they realise this is purely obscene greed – this money should be helping people?”

    Let’s say Kaye Lee we gave you the power to arbitrarily determine exactly how rich Gina Rinehart was allowed to be, and that she could accumulate wealth up to a certain point but no more. Leave aside the implication that your use of the phrase “obscene greed” implies you find her level of wealth to be offensive, we will go with the presumption that it is actually harmful for the sake of discussion. Once you say to her that she has enough, what do you think she would do with her investments? Do you think she is likely to develop any new projects if she can’t keep the profits? What happens to the people who would have been otherwise employed in the construction and running of those projects? Have not they been harmed by your decision to limit her wealth?

    BTW I read your daughter’s article. How old was she when she wrote it?

  150. Lord Stockton

    Victoria The ‘liberated from the drudgery of the assembly line’ was not an Abbott invention. Rather it was Paul Keating in the early 2000’s who said it when commenting on Doug Cameron wanting to have tariffs re-introduced to protect manufacturing in Australia.
    Further, among Keating’s successes as treasurer were the floating of the Aussie$ & removal of tariffs & the freeing up of the finance system. Guess which one of those were NOT blamed by GMH when they announced they were pulling out of Australia.

  151. Kim Wright

    Do you look past financial wealth? Some people would be very happy to be able to be secure in their housing, secure in whatever means they make ends meet. I’m guessing you don’t throw in any environmental concerns into your thinking, or wealth of community support and wellbeing or ecological survival, not to mention food scarcity. If Gina wants to divest of her funds in other meaningful areas and still make a whopping profit how about renewable energy that doesn’t impact on all our quality of life….and also has the potential to employ those currently in mining. The reason they don’t is they haven’t worked out how to own the sun and the wind yet………but I am guessing they are working on it,.already there has been talk of taxing those who make more energy than they need from their solar systems, and please there are ample sources of research demonstrating that mining does not have a positive economic impact on those not employed by the mines or the magnate themselves, in fact it has a negative impact on communities close to mines and it just doesn’t trickle down. What a myth that is.
    All claptrap to you I guess. Easy to write off as Greenie nonsense

  152. Dan Rowden

    Hmm, Gina Rinehart …

    Gina Rinehart — mining tycoon and Australia’s richest person — is now also the world’s richest woman. Last year, her wealth grew by $18.87 billion to $29.17 billion. Her wealth grew $52 million a day or $1 million every 30 minutes.

    It means that for every second that passed in 2011, Rinehart made more ($598) than a minimum wage earner made in a week ($589.30).

    Rinehart’s fortune is now so big, if she spent $1 million a year her money would last for 29,170 years. It would take a minimum wage earner about 950,000 years to reach Rinehart’s bank balance

    Rinehart’s personal wealth is more than two times greater than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Cambodia, population 14.5 million. She has about 41 times more than the GDP of East Timor, population 1.3 million. She has more than the GDPs of Haiti and Bolivia put together (combined population 20 million).

    She could buy up the economies of the world’s 10 poorest nations, and still have about $22 billion left over.

    One in seven people — or 1 billion people around the world — do not have enough to eat. Rinehart could feed them all for a year.

    And this is a woman who wants to reduce the minimum wage. Her wealth might not be obscene of itself, but her attitude certainly is.

  153. Kim Wright

    And GregO, you don’t think that someone who owns billions judges their neighbour who struggles to feed, house and school their kids and does nothing to assist isn’t obscene. You don’t think it is obscene that the try wealthy use their money to buy Governments that support the reduction of services to the disadvantaged while promoting and assisting in the development of their business i.e. Abbotts Point and the soon to be destroyed Barrier Reef. There lies the difference in us.
    I am guessing you think its ok too that Aboriginal Legal Services just lost their funding, while mining companies just gained additional government financial assistance to fight Aboriginal Land Claims. Now that would be awful wouldn’t it. Aboriginal people winning Land Claims over Land that had the potential to make them wealthy mining magnates

  154. DocBud

    It’s from this report, Kim:

    I don’t doubt that there are people receiving significantly less than $752 per week and I do not deny that there is poverty in Australia, but I dispute that the cut-off limit for poverty would be $752 after housing costs which is how the 17.3% of children live in poverty figure is arrived at. My wife and I both grew up in households which would have been classified as under the poverty line by the ACOSS definition. While we were not living the life of Riley, we most certainly were not living in poverty.

    Of course food is a renewable resource. When the farmer harvests a field of wheat, there’ll be another one to harvest next year and the year after. Farm animals give birth to new farm animals. There is enough food on the planet to feed everyone, the problem is distribution not availability.

    It’s a bit rich (no pun intended) for you to go on about sources when you make hyperbolic statements like “Indonesia as an example is selling off all their rice farms( that affectedly feed their country) to developers from countries such as Australia to build luxury accommodation for the wealthy.” without providing any supporting information.

  155. Greg O

    “someone who owns billions judges their neighbour who struggles to feed, house and school their kids and does nothing to assist isn’t obscene.”

    Kim, that would be obscene. Could you show me the evidence for “nothing”?

    Sorry if I don’t fit your stereotype.

  156. DocBud

    Christmas for me starts now with dinner for friends and family so I’m signing off.

    Hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year holiday period and manage to get time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

  157. Möbius Ecko

    You love signing off with that “Sorry if I don’t fit your stereotype” statement Greg O. Seems to me the more you post the more you do fit my stereotype.

    Are you using it as an excuse or a obfuscation?

    As to this statement you miss the point; “… we will go with the presumption that it is actually harmful for the sake of discussion. Once you say to her that she has enough, what do you think she would do with her investments?”

    There is no statement of enough or a cap but the fact Gina exhibits her greed by the fact she wants to set up an economic exclusion zone in Australia to pay little to no taxes, bring in cheap foreign labour at the cost of local jobs, and for local jobs pay a rate equivalent to third world wages.

    She doesn’t invest to create new jobs or wealth for the country, and as for several other of the very wealthy in this country, only invest to create wealth for themselves and major shareholders at the least cost possible. If that means screwing workers, even replacing them with automation and foreign workers on little to no conditions, unsafe work places and being marginally taxed whilst being heavily subsidised by taxpayers, so be it.

    I find you defence of her and those like her disingenuous and stereotypical.

  158. Kaye Lee

    Greg O,

    My daughter was 19 when she wrote that earlier this year – the article was an excerpt from an essay she wrote for university. And as for Gina, it is not up to me to be her conscience. I have nowhere near the money that she does but the most joy I get in life is from helping other people. She is not going to leave assets not developed. She is not going to pick up her bat and iron ore mine and go home. Mining is not a big employer in this country. They are wham bam thankyou ma’am profit takers who will sack their workers and decimate communities at the drop of a hat. If they actually paid tax on their superprofits perhaps I could accept the rape and pillage but when they are asking for special tax zones so they pay even less I have to draw the line. Obscene is too tame a word to describe their greed.

  159. Kim Wright

    Obviously not been to Indonesia then Doc. When you talk of you and your wifes background were you working off the same information re poverty rates….because when I was younger $752.00 was a reasonable weekly salary…but I was only paying 150pw rent. You didn’t answer the questions re what you would expect someone to pay now

  160. Kim Wright

    GregO I think Dan provided adequate evidence re Gina’s attitude to the poorer , disadvantaged neighbours. Now how about you provide evidence as to what Gina and others similar have actually provided in the way of support to those less fortunate

  161. Möbius Ecko

    And we have barely scratched the surface of these wealthy miners wanting, and under Abbott getting rid or watering down environmental laws and protections that are there for good reason.

    Whole swaths of environmentally sensitive and irreplaceable eco systems and magnificent unique wild are put under direct threat purely to make a profit for a small few, most of which goes overseas. And when done devastation is left behind and onto the next project, no matter where it’s located or the sensitivity of the area it’s located in. That doesn’t account for the environmental damage that is inevitably caused whilst mining and by the material after they are mined and processed or burnt.

    And now precious aquifers that are the main water supply for the fasted growing area in Australia is also to be put under threat at the cost of mining profit, a profit that is under taxed and heavily subsidised by taxpayers, but even that’s not enough. Environmental and workplace legislation must be altered and watered down so they can make more money at a greater cost to the country, local areas, the towns and people there and workers.

    This Federal government, and some State governments, are now going as far as to expunge the term World Heritage so as to allow mining at any cost anywhere.

    Defend that?

  162. Kim Wright

    Well said and full stop I say

  163. Kim Wright

    I think our friends Greg O and co have evidenced that they believe wealth is to be desired at all cost. And their definition of wealth is financial abundance. Nothing else has entered their discussion. No consideration for environment, not concern for future generations, no concern for the finely balanced ecology and obviously no real concern for those who struggle to get by each day. Money at all costs………justified by a mystical belief that it will trickle down to the plebs if they work harder enough for the “man”. This is stream has been interesting indeed. The responses to challenges have been selective. They haven’t touched anything that may move them out of their comfort zone. Humanity, compassion, genuine concern for future generations and the current ecological make up of this planet we live in. Very narrow thinking…always good to be reminded as to the challenges those who care have to work with. Happy Festivities to all. A damn good feed . Well done. Restore and revive because 2014 is going to require much stamina and determination if we who are concerned for more than our personal wealth are to be effective.

  164. Kaye Lee

    I cannot and would not ever presume to think I could cap or dictate someone’s earnings. I think it quite reasonable to comment, nevertheless, on what Gina earns, where she lives and why, what she does with her money, her care about her employees and her country, and how much I, as a taxpayer, give to her.

    There are rich people in the world that I admire. Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the founders of the Giving Pledge each put almost $2 billion toward philanthropic work in 2012–the year’s only ten-digit givers–with Gates edging Buffett by a mere $35 million. The Gateses and Buffett have both given away a cumulative amount of at least $25 billion apiece through the end of last year. Gina won’t even give her kids what their grandfather specifically left them in his will. The woman is warped.

  165. Joncrow

    The way I see it these blokes still have four more years of long term secure employment something many of us can only dream of. At the end of which they get a fat thanks for coming check on top of more tax payer funds to assist them in ‘job transion’. Are these guys serious?? How many jobs will many of us go thru in the next four years without taxpayer funds or fat redundacys to get us by? Next month my current job finishes up and I ll be back on the street competing with thousands of others for work with no taxpayer funds, redundancy or people the likes of this blog batting for me. Its called the real world. Excuse me if I dont shed a tear for the poor holden worker whos had their hand held their whole career by the goverment and union mates. Oh and please spare us the cries of Abbott Abbott Abbott. I dont recall anyone of you lot bitching about the goverment when ford and mitsubitsu went under..

  166. Kaye Lee

    Joncrow it would be really helpful if you read the comments prior to yours so we didn’t get so much repetition. In the cases of Mitsubishi and Ford, they were both given government assistance and still decided to close. It has been suggested that their marketing choices may have played a part in their losses. The high Aussie dollar certainly exacerbated the situation. The carbon tax was never mentioned.

    The difference with Holden was that they fronted the Productivity Commission outlining their case for government co-investment and the assistance they would need along with a detailed analysis of the broader contribution that the industry made to jobs and the economy. Before the productivity commission produced their report, the government goaded Holden into giving a firm commitment. which they could not do until they heard the govt’s intentions – it was a classic case of provoking someone into quitting so you don’t have to sack them.

  167. bighead1883

    So how are they being painted these neo-conservatives being painted as in income inequality Greg O? 😡
    Are people saying that trickle down is bullshit?
    Are people talking about Reaganomics?.
    Or are they talking about how unionism is destroying Australia in trying to keep a livable wage for workers?
    I`ve followed your rant on this for some days now and it`s time to answer some questions because I do not believe you have any real input,and are an IPA stooge 😈 .
    I deate ya M8,go 4 it. 😆

  168. bighead1883

    I`ll d8 ya mate

  169. Greg O

    Big head, I think you know exactly how Conservatives are painted given what you write is something of an example of it. What did you disagree with in the linked article?

  170. Kaye Lee

    Greg O I read the article. It was a very long-winded way of saying he would rather be poor in the US than in Nigeria from what I can see. I did however find the following comments interesting.

    “In a free society, people get wealthy by making life better for customers, either with an improved product or a lower-cost version of an older one.”

    Life will be better with a new product?…..this kind of misses the point about poverty.

    “I do believe there is an argument to be made that income inequality driven by cronyism and access to special government benefits and protections does destroy overall wealth and growth. In a corporate state, people get wealthy not by creating value but by having access to government power. This kind of behavior can destroy wealth, and in my mind is indeed a driver of a kind of destructive income inequality today. ”

    Just thinking about Gina’s Indian wedding, followed by Gina’s Indian-joint venture mine being approved, and the amount to which we subsidise Gina’s mining companies, and Gina’s push for a low tax zone for her businesses. And Gina’s advertising campaign against the mining tax and Gina’s extensive donations to the Liberal party and mining lobby groups.

  171. Möbius Ecko

    We don’t “paint” them in anyway Greg O, but I guess you see it from your perspective of always painting those on the left and unions wanting better and safer working conditions in a negative light.

    Time and again conservatives prove the opposite to the positive light you attempt to paint them in. The moment they are given the legislation or removal of it they prove they will try to screw their workers every time, Howard’s WorkChoices proved that.

    No that doesn’t go for all business but it certainly does for big business and many SMEs as well.

    Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War by Joe Bageant and several other books and papers on the same theme are better indicators of conservatives.

  172. bighead1883

    @Greg O
    December 26, 2013 • 3:18 pm
    Just as I thought you are a RWNJ 😈 and nothing else.
    You have no input into a db8 and only question. 🙁
    I asked you a number a questions,so start the debate by answering me
    Start with trickle down economics–your thoughts
    Then what have you to say on Reaganomics?
    Then finish with your feelings on unionism in Australia.
    Let`s start,I`m here 4ya M8

  173. Greg O

    Kaye Lee, I took from the article that there is evidence that the country with the biggest wealth gap is also the best country for the poor, and the countries which have made the greatest efforts to redistribute income have not actually helped the poor. The evidence presented is actually evidence for the rising tide theory.

    Möbius, while you say you don’t paint conservatives in any way, it is interesting what the very next post from big head says.

    Bighead, re trickle down, Thomas Sowell has written extensively on that fallacy. Would it be worth linking any of his writing on the subject?

    I’m off to take the kids to The Hobbitt.


  174. Kaye Lee

    How can you call trickle down economics a fallacy yet subscribe to the rising tide theory which bases itself on exactly that fallacy.

    Trickle down means the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by government to businesses and upper income levels will benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole. Isn’t that what you are proposing?

  175. Möbius Ecko

    Sorry Greg O you can keep beating the drum but trickle down economics is a proven failure and the country with the biggest wealth gap is not the best country for the poor because they don’t count the working poor as poor.

    America is destroying the middle class and has created an army of working poor where both parents have to work multiple jobs up to 12 to 14 hours a day and 7 days a week, but count them as being OK.

    Howard was going the same way here and I have no doubt Abbott will try it eventually as well because he owes his benefactors and controllers big time.

    Evidence Is In — Again — GOP ‘Trickledown’ Economics a Failure
    The Epic Failure of Republican Trickle Down Economics

    Alan Greenspan has stated it failed.

    Trickle-Down Economics: Four Reasons Why It Just Doesn’t Work

    …and so many more economic sources, papers and books I could fill this web page with them.

  176. Möbius Ecko

    Exactly Kaye Lee, Greg O contradicts himself.

    “I took from the article that there is evidence that the country with the biggest wealth gap is also the best country for the poor,”

    That’s what trickle down economics is. Make the wealthy as rich as possible giving them all the tax breaks, upper class welfare, public subsidies, cheap labour etc. and they will invest some of that wealth down the chain.

    Problem is that it rarely works out that way for many reasons. The wealthy make every effort to keep as much wealth for themselves as possible, including moving it and their investments and labour offshore whilst still demanding more breaks and cheaper labour.

    But another problem as the US has found government income hugely suffers and the cost of that is diminished services and infrastructure whilst putting a bigger burden on the middle and lower classes to make up that revenue shortfall.

  177. Kaye Lee

    Greg O, I read a paper by Sowell. He points out that the very wealthy use tax havens that are not available to those on lesser incomes to avoid paying tax. Their wealth doesn’t “raise the tide” – it gets hidden and the burden of paying for the country falls on those who are not wealthy. Why do you think Gina lives in Singapore? Capital gains are not taxed. Individuals are only taxed on income earned directly in Singapore, and for the super wealthy, there are no inheritance taxes.

    “Mellon pointed out that, under the high income tax rates at the end of the Woodrow Wilson administration in 1921, vast sums of money had been put into tax shelters such as tax-exempt municipal bonds, instead
    of being invested in the private economy, where this money would create more output, incomes and jobs.

    The value of tax-exempt securities, he said,“will be greatest in the case of the wealthiest taxpayer” and will be “relatively worthless” to a small investor, so that the cost of making up such tax losses by the government must fall on those other, non-wealthy taxpayers “who do not or cannot take refuge in tax-exempt securities.” Mellon called it an “almost grotesque” result to have “higher taxes on all the rest in order to make up the resulting deficiency in the revenues.” – Sowell

  178. bighead1883

    Yup GregO,you`re an RWNJ idiot,everyone who replied to you is more aware than you.
    You do not have an opinion because to do that you would have written it.
    Hope you get a parking ticket.

  179. cornlegend

    “Trickle down” economics has for decades now been literally interpreted as “pissing on the poor “

  180. Greg O

    The fallacy as pointed out by Dr Sowell is that “trickle down economics” is actually a policy subscribed to by Conservative economists. It is a straw man argument created by the left. This is a reasonable summary of what he actually showed:

    “Dr. Thomas Sowell has just released a 20-page essay through the Hoover Institution called “Trickle Down” Theory and “Tax Cuts for the Rich.” If you believe the quotation marks around the two phrases suggests he does not agree with those terms, you would be absolutely correct.

    The Left in America claim that the opposition believes in “trickle down economics” and “tax cuts for the rich.” They misrepresent capitalist theories saying that if some are more prosperous than some of the money will “trickle down” to the rest. That is a straw man argument. In his syndicated column, Sowell has offered challenges to anyone to find any economist who ever advocated such a theory. He says they don’t exist. The Left puts this argument into the mouths of the opposition. This brings about class warfare and the politics of envy that give the Left its strength.

    So Dr. Sowell wrote a special academic essay to refute this claim. It is worth the read and I encourage you to.

    Sowell explains that many have argued for cuts in tax rates in order to gain more tax revenue. When the tax rates get too high people stop investing and put their money into tax exempt havens. This causes government revenue to drop. When tax rates are lower there is an incentive for people to invest into the economy and grow it. This theory is not about making some people more prosperous so that it will “trickle down.” It is about making a healthier environment for investing and wealth creation…which anyone can take part in.

    “The real effect of tax rate reductions is to make the future prospects of profit look more favorable, leading to more current investments that generate more current economic activity and more jobs.” (page 11)

    According to this theory, cuts in tax rates are cuts for everybody. But since this means the rich keep more of their money the Left gets up in arms and harangue against the “tax cuts for the rich.” All they think about is wealth distribution, not about wealth creation.

    Sowell also shows that the theory was not originally based on party. Politicians from both the Republican and Democrat parties advocated the policy. Sowell even quotes John Maynard Keynes—the patron saint of liberal economics—as saying “taxation may be so high as to defeat its object” and that “given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the Budget.”

    After giving a brief history/economics lesson Sowell states, “In short, neither these earlier nor later arguments for cuts in tax rates had anything to do with making some people more prosperous, so that their prosperity might ‘trickle down’ to others.”

    Read the essay since Sowell explains things far better than I can. Keep it in mind the next time you hear someone talk about “trickle down” theory and “tax cuts for the rich.” It is always easier to refute the straw man than to refute the actual argument.”

    The essay itself is here

  181. Möbius Ecko

    Greg O calling trickle down economics a left straw man is a diversion. Trickle down economics is a well founded and stated form of economics with a large volume of books and papers written on it by leading financiers and economists worldwide from all sides of the spectrum.

    It has also been stated of by governments.

    Bringing in tax cuts that heavily favour the wealthy and big business but not middle to lower income earners and SMEs as a method of improving the economy for all is also a proven furphy. If that were so then why do companies and the wealthy still move offshore to even cheaper havens after receiving considerable tax breaks and subsidies?

    Why do they overwhelmingly invest overseas and move their labour and manufacturing offshore even after getting considerable tax breaks and large subsidies?

    Or are you inferring that Australia should lower it’s wages and conditions to that of third world countries so as to give the wealthy and big business bigger profits to supposedly invest here?

    But the tax cuts, middle to upper class welfare and large subsidies to the wealthy cost governments considerable revenue, revenue that falls upon the non-wealthy, mainly middle class, to make up. Because a larger burden is put on them the middle class devolves down to a lower socio-economic level and disappears, as has happened in the US and is under way here.

    Just how low are tax cuts to the wealthy supposed to go to create a supposed good economy?

    Just how low must wages and conditions go and the gap between upper management and workers be to have a good economy?

    Just how much of any environment must be irreparably destroyed to have a good economy?

    Just how much of a finite resource must be exponentially and acceleratory used up to have a good economy, and what happens to the economy afterwards?

    In all things there is a balance, but what we are seeing with the increasing of wealth for the few at the cost of most and the country is not a balance.

  182. Möbius Ecko

    Just how low are tax cuts to the wealthy supposed to go to create a supposed good economy?

    Sorry screwed that one.

    Just how low are tax cuts to the wealthy supposed to be to created a good economy?

    On that. Time and again when the wealthy are given considerable tax breaks and welfare, after a short while they decry it’s not enough, and demand more.

    So can you tell us just what is enough money for them to enable a good economy for all.

    How is this in anyway fair and good for a nation, and we are heading this way as well?

  183. Möbius Ecko

    create not created. Bad night.

  184. Möbius Ecko

    For general information of all.

    I came across this fascinating website and have been immersed in it. Well worth the time to go through all the myriad of information in it and bookmark for future reference.

  185. CraigS

    Kaye Lee, you said my #comment-45040 23/12 was incorrect without proving so.

    You stated that workers voted for a wage freeze, which they did, but that does not negate the fact that they are still the most highly paid autoworkers in the world.

    You stated that other Governments subsidise their car industries more and quoted per capita figures, again these are correct (except in the case of Germany which does not subsidize it’s car industry, those figures relate to a cash for clunkers scheme that is no longer operating) but it still does not change the fact that Aus Gov subsidies equate to $50,000 per worker (which I quoted not per-capita) per year.

    The Government does not subsidize the mining industry, miners do not pay the diesel fuel tax because it is a ‘Road’ user charge, all rural producers that do not use the roads are exempt. Saying this is a subsidy is like saying the low income earners get a subsidy because they don’t pay income tax.

    But even if they did pay it the Government would not collect the whole $5 billion because that $5 Billion would come off the taxable income of the miners the most you would get would be $3.5 billion.

    And as for Australian workers being more productive, you should read the productivity report which has a lovely graph @ 4.2.2 of the hours it takes to build a car, Australia is half, that’s right half as productive as Japan, about a third less productive than Europe and the US.

    Australia is the lest productive and most expensive place in the world to build a car, your answer is that the government (that is the rest of Australia) should pay so that Australian car workers can be half as efficient and get paid twice as much.

    If your answer is yes, I’d like the Government to start subsidizing my job so I don’t have to work as hard and can get paid twice as much.

  186. Bacchus


    that does not negate the fact that they are still the most highly paid autoworkers in the world.

    Perhaps you should try reading other comments before repeating your incorrect assertions!

    Specifically, the link to the productivity commission graph:×349.jpg

    And as for Australian workers being more productive, you should read the productivity report which has a lovely graph @ 4.2.2 of the hours it takes to build a car, Australia is half, that’s right half as productive as…

    That’s a classic right-whinge mislead – assuming “productivity” only refers to “labour productivity.”

    Labour productivity and capital productivity (which measures the increase in output per dollar spent on capital expenditure) combine to produce the overall productivity measure known as “multi-factor productivity”. Australia’s multi-factor productivity has fallen seven out of the past 10 years, yet during that time labour productivity has continued to rise, while capital productivity has fallen.


    So it’s the incompetent management that is causing your productivity problems, not the workers, as you’re attempting to infer 👿

  187. CraigS

    Okay so Australian are the second most highly paid auto workers if only10% of cars come from Europe ( most European cars aren’t actually built in Europe ) you wages are still more than 80% of your competitors, not sustainable.

    I agree Holden management are hopeless, yet another reason we should not be giving them money

  188. CraigS

    Also at no time did I specifically say non capital productivity but the same point arises why should we be spending this money on a business that is unable to operate at anywhere near the efficiency of the competition why do we have to support this business when thousands of other inefficient businesses fail every year?

  189. Greg O

    Bacchus, could you explain to me why in your “source” link which is a Guardian article, the graph showing Annual Australian Productivity Growth shows labour productivity significantly higher from 1996 to 2007, capital productivity sometimes positive sometimes negative from 1996 to 2007, but always strongly negative after 2007, and multi factor productivity virtually always positive from 1996 to 2007 yet virtually always negative after 2007?

  190. Kaye Lee

    I would suggest that has a great deal to do with the mining boom Greg. Minerals prices went up so mining companies made huge capital investments in less productive mines.

  191. Bacchus

    More right-whinge obfuscation from Greg O: “could you explain to me why… blah, blah, blah, blah…

    I’m sure Greg Jericho could take you step by step through that if you can’t understand, but it’s not in any way germane to the discussion – labour productivity is rising, the problem is obviously with overpaid, incompetent management 😉

    It’s also instructive to look at this from a US perspective, where the call is, “How Germany Builds Twice As Many Cars As The U.S. While Paying Its Workers Twice As Much

    Pick the spin perspective of your choice 😉

  192. Möbius Ecko

    That’s it Bacchus. Labour productivity in Australia is amongst the highest in the world and has been steadily improving, but capital productivity has been going backwards, and that’s mainly due to the failure of management and bad company decisions, yet they still demand to increase their wages many hundreds of times over their highly productive workers whilst management fails their companies and workers.

    Now we have management and their business unionsassociations using falling productivity as a bludgeon to demand the winding back of unions and workers wages and conditions whilst at the same time they demand higher wage packages and golden parachutes for themselves along with bigger tax breaks and subsidies.

  193. Greg O

    Here is an article by Grace Collier to let you know what Conservatives think of Abnott’s performance so far.

    “AMONG Coalition supporters old and new, the year ends with a creeping sense of alarm.

    Why is our government wasting time and money trying to please the minority that didn’t back it and never will? This is a lesson in how to disappoint your sponsors, lose friends and alienate people.

    Tony Abbott must stop this typically conservative namby-pamby, turn-the-other-cheek, appeasing Christian nonsense or the punters will throw their betting slips on the ground and turn their backs in disgust.

    Leading up to the election, plenty of people put their shoulders to the wheel for him. Some donated money. Some got up early every day to hand out brochures at railway platforms; some walked the suburbs for weeks on end filling up letterboxes.

    Come polling week, people stood on their feet, bored senseless, for days on end, repeating ridiculous lines ad nauseam while handing out how-to-vote cards to strangers.

    If any of these people knew their efforts were going to put Natasha Stott Despoja into her highly paid “dream job” as a glorified feminist missionary, they would have found something better to do. There is no greater way to slap your loyal hardworking friends in the face than to put people they dislike into non-essential cushy jobs.

    On Holden, the government did all the right things. However, the last-minute donation of $60 million to help workers “transition” was a mistake. All this does is continue the insulting narrative that somehow Holden workers are more special than everyone else.

    Nearly 400,000 workers are made redundant every year. Where are their huge two-year-salary redundancy packages? Why aren’t politicians and bureaucrats making a fuss, wringing their hands, having emergency meetings and pledging millions of dollars for them?

    SPC Ardmona is going to be a big test in the new year.

    The government got off to a woeful start on this issue. Supporters are disgusted that Greg Combet was appointed to advise the Industry Minister on SPC’s industrial relations.

    Within a week or so of accepting the job with the Coalition he accepted another job for the South Australian Labor government to advocate for Holden.

    This creates a conflict of interest so blindingly apparent you can see it from the moon, but our government seems oblivious to it. Is it blind, weak or just stupid?

    Within days of his second appointment Combet, on behalf of his Labor employer, slammed his Coalition employer’s Holden assistance package, proving himself to be a shameless double-crossing double agent and the Coalition to be gullible fools.

    The narrative that Combet will build around SPC Ardmona is likely to be this.

    The workers are modestly paid, but our cost base in this country is far more expensive than New Zealand’s, so we must give the company financial support to keep it here.

    Comparisons between SPC and Heinz Watties in New Zealand will be made. Heinz Watties workers have base hourly rates ranging from $16.69 to $19.69.

    From January 1, SPC workers’ base hourly rates will range from $24.56 to $31.06.

    What Combet won’t tell the Prime Minister is that if SPC didn’t have an enterprise agreement and just paid the modern award wage it would be paying base hourly rates in the $16.37 to $19.07 range.

    This means the workers here could be cheaper than the ones in New Zealand. He won’t say that the company voluntarily made its fixed cost base so high it now cannot function, and he won’t use his skills to convince workers to go back to the award wage to save their jobs and the fate of the local growers that depend on them.

    The entire SPC wages issue has been confused already. A figure of annual salaries about the $50,000 mark was floated and contradicts another figure about the $120,000 mark. Base rates are no indicator of true salaries in union agreements, which are cleverly written to pad salaries with loadings and penalties.

    I would put my money on the $120,000 number, but to be sure the government should make the company show it the group certificates of every employee.

    There are plenty of other morally questionable and fiscally irresponsible matters SPC has agreed to in its union agreement but I doubt Combet will be bringing these to anyone’s attention.

    Workers who start with the company must have a union official at their induction meetings; probably to heavy them to join.

    All workers also are forced to purchase their own private income protection policy.

    The union that covers SPC owns half of an insurance company that provides income protection, called U Cover. The union receives payments from U Cover annually in exchange for the workers it signs up. In 2011 the union’s dividend from U Cover was $1,164,000.

    SPC must allow the union to have eight delegates and must provide them with facilities and time to be unionists on site. Ten paid union meetings with workers can be held every year. Each union delegate is entitled to five paid union training days a year, capped at a total of 40 paid days per delegate.

    If SPC workers are made redundant packages comprise four weeks’ pay for each year of service plus notice and sick leave payout. Some workers’ packages will be capped at 104 weeks, but some won’t. If estimates of salaries at $120,000 are correct, that means long-term workers would be receiving packages of at least $250,000.

    On the SPC issue, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Liberal MP Sharman Stone have already jumped the fence to side with Combet and the unions against the taxpayer.

    The remaining hope for us is that Abbott holds the line. Apparently he is going to read a book on Margaret Thatcher during the Christmas break. Let’s hope he eats lots of protein, watches some films on Muhammad Ali and listens to Eminem music at top volume. Happy new year, everyone.”

  194. Kaye Lee

    Greg O, I am uncertain why you would want to be represented (told what to think) by a woman who wrote at length about Julia Gillard’s cleavage while absolutely denying that Gillard had been subjected to any form of sexism during her tenure.

    And for someone who writes for the Australian FINANCIAL review, she should realise that “group certificates” were replaced many years ago by payment summaries.

    Grace sounds more like a gossip columnist than a political analyst to me.

  195. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    These liberal trolls are singing like Milli Vanilli.

    I wonder if Peta Credlin is the sock master.

  196. cornlegend

    I think you’ll find Grace is just an “opinion writer”
    who runs Australian Dismissal Services.
    enough said.

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