Home » Australian Politics » Federal Election

Category Archives: Federal Election

The reviled Mining Tax, gone at a price we can live with

walking-thong

No matter how often you watch this Gif you will never get beyond its promise to the fulfilment that you desire, which sums up the ill-conceived and now abolished MRRT

The mining tax has been abolished after a deal with the Palmer United party (PUP) in which the government delayed the abolition of the schoolkids bonus and other savings and deferred already-legislated increases to workers’ compulsory superannuation for seven years.

The prime minister was jubilant after the shock deal was revealed, claiming it rendered the Labor party irrelevant and proved the government – approaching the first anniversary of its election – was “getting on with the job.”

After secret negotiations with PUP, the government revealed a deal with the crossbench senators to finally abolish the mining tax – as it had so often promised – if it retained three programs until after the next election, instead of abolishing them straight away.

In changes that will cost the budget bottom line $6.5bn over the next four years but leave it no worse off in the long term, the government has agreed to keep the schoolkids bonus, the low income superannuation contribution and the income support bonus until 2016 or 2017.

But it will also freeze the amount employers are compelled to put into all workers superannuation accounts. It is currently legislated to increase to 10% in 2015-16 and then by 0.5% each year to reach 12% in 2019-20. After this deal goes through it will be frozen at 9.5% and won’t reach 10% until 2021, rising by 0.5% a year after that.

Source

Well by my reckoning that is another victory for the Coalition government in their campaign to undo the follies of Labor, which means that we will no longer have a tax that costs more to administer than it collects which  makes us a laughing stock to the world. Further the suspension of increases in superannuation will be greeted with great joy but those in our economy who provide the employment, it will mean that the cost of hiring someone will be less over time which should help business to employ more people.  Personally as I have two children in school the continuation of the school kids bonus will come in handy but I very much doubt that it has ever been a game changer to parents in this age of voter cynicism.  As Tony Abbott said yesterday in the Parliament this is not everything the government wanted but it will do.

What this means is that the government has actually achieved the three planks of its election campaign, the Carbon Tax has gone, the Mining Tax has gone and the Boats have been stopped, more importantly though this demonstrates that for all of his bluff and bluster in the media Palmer can be dealt with and the government can bring about the reforms that it was elected to do.

Cheers Comrades

tumblr_my0d5xAj9R1s6wlblo1_400

Brother Number One, the Gillard experiment, and the then the second coming of the former Dear Leader

brother number one1

MALCOLM FARR makes an interesting observation about the plethora of books being written by Labor  has beans

That will bring to nine — by one calculation — the number of books from her and former colleagues on roughly the same subject.

Plus, there are books by former cross bench MPs Tony Windsor (House of Windsor) and Rob Oakeshott (The Independent Member for Lyne).

None will have the weight or influence of journalist Paul Kelly’s epic-sized Triumph and Demise which no doubt will become the definitive account of the period.

And there is one player missing from the potential complete set of Labor records, the big K-for-Kevin kahuna.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has given no indication he wants to write a book but so many people are commenting on him — and often critically — he might understandably feel he should write his own side of the story.

But that might be some time off. Like former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans who this week — 15 years after he left Parliament – will launch his diary from the Hawke/Keating days, Mr Rudd might wait a while longer.

Others, however, seem to have started dictating their first chapters on Sunday September 8, 2013 … hours after the election.

The nine books by Labor figures, from 2012 to the present are:

• My Story, by Julia Gillard;

• The Good Fight, Wayne Swan;

• Power with Purpose, Lindsay Tanner (2012);

• Hearts and Minds, Chris Bowen;

• Diary of a Foreign Minister, Bob Carr;

• The Fights of My Life, Greg Combet;

• A Letter to Generation Next, Kim Carr;

• Tales from the Political Trenches, Maxine McKew (updated 2013);

• Glory Daze, Jim Chalmers (former Swan adviser now an MP)

Source

I can’t help but think that at this rate there will be as many books about this ill-fated period of Labor government as the number of bills that Gillard apologists claimed were passed during her time in the big chair. I can tell you one thing though and it is that even when they are to be found on the bookshop remainder table there will be none of them coming home with me to Chez Hall after all as someone who followed the sad and sorry tale Brother Number One, the Gillard experiment, and the then the second coming of the former Dear Leader in real time as it unfolded I don’t fell at all inclined to waste my limited reading time pouring over the entrails of a government that promised so much but ended up delivering so little of value and consequence.
Cheers Comrades

cat-reading-book-fixed-o

Thee true market for all of these books on the Labor years

I told you there would be nothing but “confusion and delay”

Labor’s NBN is damned by the latest review:

“By contrast, with NBN Mark I, the public policy process for developing NBN Mark II was rushed, chaotic and inadequate,” it says.

The plan got just 11 weeks’ consideration and “there is no evidence that a full range of options was seriously considered”.

“There was no business case or any cost-benefit analysis, or independent studies of the policy undertaken, with no clear operating instructions provided to this completely new government business enterprise, within a legislative and regulatory framework still undefined, and without any consultation with the wider community,” the report says.

In other findings, the audit says full cabinet did not consider the policy until very early on the April 2009 morning it was announced, and its role was to “rubber-stamp” a decision by the strategic priorities and budget committee of ­cabinet.

It also revealed that public servants had “difficulty” in having their “voice” heard on many of the most important policy matters related to Labor’s NBN policy, often finding their advice was ignored or that they were excluded from ­contributing.

click for source

Ah How I remember the many minions of the left were singing the praises of the NBN MK2, the problem for them was/is that what they were really praising was the idea and the dream of super-fast internet even though the reality had turned into a nightmare of confusion and delay that would vex any engine.

Cheers Comrades

r383-hornby-gordon-the-big-blue-engine

Waiting for the full wash cycle on “work for the dole”et al

I’ve been watching the minions of the left have conniptions about the proposed changes to the way that Job seekers are expected to show their willingness to  find work. On one hand you have the Government suggesting that the Unemployed should be willing to make 40 job applications a month and on the other side you have people insisting that its too much to ask.

I sort of think that both sides are right and wrong here.

Its very clear that in some parts of the country there simply are not enough jobs for the people who need them. and no amount of badgering  the unemployed to make more of an effort is going to make thee needed jobs magically appear. Frankly the mad drive to import every more people is not helping either because every new arrival is going to be competing for that scarce commodity,namely  a job. Further the march of the technology that is so beloved by our Latte sipping friends is only going to make things worse. Take the example of your local supermarket. Have you noticed they all now have the self serve checkouts? well do you realize that those self serve checkouts only have one person watching say six units in  use and to help customers make their purchases? That represents the loss of five jobs right there. Now while working in retail may not be that glamorous it is an honorable profession that has sustained many workers, (mainly women) in the quest to provide for their own and the sustenance of their families. This sort of automation is happening in every aspect of our society. Its in the your library, its in your bank its every where and the trend is accelerating. The trend simply means that no matter how many more people we have the machine of our economy needs fewer people to run it. Likewise I draw the attention to those cute little robot vacuum cleaners  that are endlessly advertised on TV and ask you to consider how long will it be the case business will be using them to replace cleaners in their offices?

On the other side of the ledger  the obligation to make 40 approaches for those ever decreasing job opportunities will probably not be that hard to meet if a Job seeker digitizes a generic application letter and their resume that they send out to any business or potential job source entity. It does not even need to be customized for each instance that it is sent. Now I’m guessing (because I’m not personally playing this game) this on top of checking any jobs  that are actually advertised  would meet the obligation. How long till someone develops an app to do precisely that? However having made the obligation more onerous and punitive it hardly going to make the lives of the unemployed any easier. Worse yet it will turn every job seeker into something of a Spam merchant and if my friends in small business don’t just mark all of the extra job applications as “spiced ham” I would be very surprised indeed.

The other aspect in play is the old “work for the dole” which I have some serious reservations about. Mainly those reservations concern the amount of time that individuals will be obliged to work each week and the effective hourly rate that they will be working for. Its just manifestly unfair that any work people are obliged to do should be anything less than the going rate for such work. On top of that just what work are these people going to be asked to do and who is going to manage organize and supervise such work? Further I have concerns about the possibility that participants may be subject to bullying by those who run any  “work for the dole” schemes.   Finally there is the issue of cost, these schemes will cost more to run than any potential savings in the welfare budget so will it really be  about the savings?

In conclusion though we can’t escape the fact that all of these proposals will require legislation to be made to happen and I just can’t see  the current Senate passing many  of these proposals which means that when the rubber hits the road what we will see will be somewhat diluted from what is currently being discussed. Sadly what neither it nor any alternative from Labor is going to address the clear structural issues that the march of technology is going to pose for humanity  without that in the mix neither side of politics and certainly not the ordinary people are going to be winners. The Politics of this are pretty obvious though The Government is playing to its most  hardline economic  neoCon  demographic who believe that  welfare is just a waste of taxpayer’s money and that the poor or unemployed are just an inconvenience and generally a cohort of bludgers. The simple truth that conservatives like me recognize is that  our welfare system is a necessary bulwark that ensures that we have  a truly civil society and not one where the underclass is driven to a life of intrusive criminality to sustain the necessities of life Maintaining that bulwark at a cost that our economy can afford is the trick of it and on this score both sides of our politics play the “cruel to be kind” game (remember Gillard’s treatment of single parents?)  Taking the longer view  I am going to reserve my judgement on this whole thing until I see just how it comes out in the wash.

Cheers Comrades

prachechnaya_washing_machine

Proof that the Government hates Aussies

by SockPuppet ~ an Australian

What will Gen Y & Aussie Bogans do now?

What will Gen Y & Aussie Bogans do now?

This is a bloody national disgrace.

Next year is the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day, that day in April 1915 when thousands of underage Aussies (and Kiwis but who counts them?) were sacrificed by the Brits on some godforsaken Middle eastern outpost peninsula of bloody Turkey known as Gallipoli – nowknown as Anzac Cove and a tourist destination and camping resort for Gen Y.

But as Anzac Day falls on a Saturday next year guess what?

There will be no public holiday for Anzac Day!

 The citizens of NSW (and every other State except one!) will be short one public holiday next year: Anzac Day.

Both Anzac Day and Boxing Day fall on a Saturday but only one will be marked by an additional day off.

Unlike other holidays, no additional day is granted for the national day of remembrance in NSW under the Public Holidays Act.

Other states will face a similar issue: only West Australians will get a public holiday on Monday, April 27.

What is going on here?

If we cant get a holiday for the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day what else will be taken away?

Whats next, move the Melbourne Cup to a Saturday and take away that national day of celebrating horses too?

No holiday for Australia Day if that falls on the weekend too? What will the abos have to protest about?

Why not go the whole hog and have no public holiday for Christmas Day if that falls on a Saturday or Sunday too? Who needs one? Go to work!

And Easter: Yeah lets cancel Good Friday & Easter Monday because no one goes to bloody church and besides the Muslims have already taken over (just ask GD).

This is the slippery slope – the taking away of our days off .. but it doesnt end there!

Collingwood & Essendon will have to play there heroic Anzac Day battle on a Saturday and compete with all the other games on that day too. They will lose $millions.

And what will Gen Y do? They cant go to Turkey on the weekend because that is ‘hooking up’ time wasted.

Of course we could all move to Perth, the only State that recognises Anzac Day and gives us a day off.

But where the f*ck is Perth?

And what is there to do there?

Dont think this is a oneoff either folks – in 2016 Anzac Day falls on a Sunday so same deal, no public holiday!

I blame Tony Abbott.

We need an election.

This great battle will become a thing of the past

This great battle will become a thing of the past

Dead, deceased, it is no more, it has shuffled off its mortal coil, the Carbon tax has fucking snuffed it, or death of a vile impost on our lives.

The tragedy of the Carbon tax/ETS is not in its passing but that it ever existed in the first place because it was always based on a false premise, namely that it was ever going to make the slightest bit of difference to the global climate and so many leaders, on both sides of politics have been destroyed by it.  It took out Rudd, Turnbull and Gillard in turn and it also played its part in taking out the resurrected Rudd as well. There has been more bullshit produced to promote the various incarnations of this toxic scheme than our national herd. And for what? All that it ever gave us was a wildly expensive token gesture and a rather nasty piece of socialist wealth redistribution which in layman’s language means it was a totally useless money churn.

Even if you believe the AGW proposition there is no reason to believe in the often chanted mantra that the best way to address it is through a “market mechanism” because there is absolutely no reason to believe that such a mechanism  can ever produce the desired outcome without some nasty unforeseen consequences, of which the massive spike in energy costs is a rather good example, and before anyone says “its the gold plating of the poles and wires” that caused the majority  of those price rises  I’m going to say that the “gold plating” is just another example of the same thinking that the poor long suffering consumers are an eternal milch cow that can be taken for granted by planers and ideologues just as they take for granted the idea that costs for essential commodities can rise endlessly  and no one will suffer or object.

Suffer and object we have and now the vile impost on every aspect of our lives has be dispatched to the dustbin of history and any claims that it will bring down Abbott in its passing are utterly ridiculous. The trend in technology now  is very much focused on energy being used as efficiently as possible and for that I do think that, to some extent,  we can  thank the panic merchants of the Green Religion but just as we can take from the Christian religion useful notions of community and what makes a good society without taking on the supernatural Mumbo Jumbo of that faith. So to we can take the good things that have come from the Green religion, like seeing our planet and its biosphere as a whole and complexly interconnected entity of which we are just a small part, but we can let go of its millenarian prognostications and dire predictions of doom  because no matter what life and the earth itself is far more resilient and adaptive than the doom merchants of the Green religion are willing to admit

Cheers Comrades

no_carbon_tax

Medicine without the sugar chaser

Like others I woke up this morning to the news that the government has had a very sharp turnaround in the polls many people are unhappy with the budget. Well just tell me who is surprised? I’m not because the government have gone the difficult path of doing the right thing. something that is often rather unpopular. Its times like this that we learn the true calibre of our leaders. Perhaps its time for those who are cheering so loudly for Labor in the commentary should take a moment or two to consider just how we got to this place where a government has to bring down such a harsh and, lets be frank, unpopular budget.

That is exactly what happened. Rudd was worse than Whitlam. In the six years Labor was in government, the growth in Australia’s real federal expenditure was close to highest in the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development – even though Australia was a resource economy with a sturdy banking sector and no housing bubble, and thus not susceptible to the financial shock in the US and much of Europe.

It is difficult to move the macro-economic needle quickly in a $1.5 trillion economy that is the 12th largest in the world (larger than Spain, which has 47 million people). In 2009, Rudd managed to jolt the needle, ramping up federal spending as a percentage of GDP.

He was also more profligate than Julia Gillard and she was no prize, loading future budgets with the Gonski education program, the national disability insurance scheme and the multibillion asylum seeker debacle without seeming to have a Gonski about how it would all be paid for.

Now that the bills are coming due, neither Rudd nor Gillard are around. It is the morning after. The clean-up. The payment due date. And the demographic challenge has loomed into focus. So let’s not confuse who did the spending and who is having to pay.

It would also be remiss not to mention the supposed “crisis” in NSW. The people who instigated the current revelations about Liberal politicians, lobbyists and fund-raisers were a Liberal senator, Bill Heffernan, and a Liberal Party executive member, Holly Hughes. Not exactly a cover-up.

New South Wales has a new premier untouched by scandal. He has a thumping majority in Parliament and firm hand on the budget. The Independent Commission Against Corruption is doing its duty to the discomfort of both sides of politics, unhindered by political interference. Its work will lead to better governance of all political parties.

A clean-up is not a crisis. We’ve already had a false crisis and are about to pay for it.

Without this malignant disease of Labor, err “economic management” we would not have the bitter medicine now its as simple as that and having to swallow that medicine with out any of the customary sugar coating its only natural that many folks are going to screw up their faces and complain bitterly about the taste. To my mind its rather like having Chemo  when you have been diagnosed with cancer. Yes the drugs make you feel awful and you hair has fallen out but you will persist because you know that the alternative is too dire to contemplate. Now I don’t like much of this budget more than anyone else but going back to Labor would be like going back to cigarettes after finally getting them off the shopping list.
Its all about will and determination Comrades
?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

2014 Budget overview, or considering how much of the egg is any good

budget-360x237

Well I suppose it is incumbent upon me as the author here at a blog that is mostly about  Australian  politics to say something about  last night’s budget. Up front I have to say that I have not read the original document or even watched the speech on the TV. I had other priorities last night. So instead I am going to respond to the summary written by the Guardian with what I think about the specifics enunciated there.

As leaked, it hits around 400,000 high-income earners with a three-year $3.1bn deficit levy and reaps a further $2.2bn by increasing petrol taxes in line with inflation.

The former will undoubtedly upset my more “economically dry” friends but I doubt that they will notice it beyond its existence as a line item  from their accountants, most will not even notice unless they are obsessive about the amount of tax they pay. A rise in the tax on petrol  will undoubtedly be noticed initially but soon forgotten by most people simply because the price of fuel has become so volatile anyway. Up here it jumped by nearly 20 cents a litre at Easter so I think this will soon become part of the economic background noise in our lives.

But the budget-night surprise was that much of the cash raised from cuts to benefits and tax rises is spent on the Coalition’s own priorities rather than on improving the budget bottom line, including a new $20bn medical research fund – to become the biggest in the world within six years – the Direct Action greenhouse emissions reduction fund and about $5bn in new roads funding.

Why that should surprise anyone is beyond me, Even in tough times a government wants to be seen to be capable of economic multitasking. That said who could complain about more money for medical research? Readers will recall that I would personally ditch, in its entirety, the Direct Action climate policy but in the absence of heeding my advice lets hope that there is the sort of secondary benefits from the spending that I have previously postulated, although I do remain sceptical that the scheme will deliver much for the nation.As a confirmed petrol head I welcome improvements to the road network and I also welcome the economic stimulus that the expenditure will bring.

Although the treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the aim of the pain was “budget repair” – a national effort in which Australians “fix the budget together” – he is not promising a surplus in the four years of the forward estimates, with a deficit of $2.8bn forecast for 2017-18: unemployment remains at 6% or higher for the next three, growth is almost unchanged and business investment is weakening.

Lets be thankful for that! I don’t think that I am alone in hoping that we never again see the false hope of a quick return to  surplus trotted out in every one of Wayne Swan’s budgets .

Hockey conceded the government “could have gone harder” in paying down deficits, but said “it would have detracted from growth”.

Well we all know that its a balancing act between the need to pay down debt and not kill the economy in the process.

He denied his budget was the start of an “age of austerity”, saying he was in fact ushering in a new “age of opportunity”.

No surprise in trying to change the way that the budget will be perceived.

But for unemployed people under 30, this “age of opportunity” means waiting six months to get the dole, then receiving a payment only for six months and only if they work for it, and then losing the payment again for the next six months, during which a potential employers may get a wage subsidy.

Well this is a great deal tougher than I expected and I can see some individuals could very well suffer severe hardship under such a regime. On the other hand it will clearly incentivise those in this demographic to both accept any work that they can get and to try harder to please their employers to avoid losing their jobs in the first place. I can’t see how it could work in remote indigenous communities that have bugger all jobs though.

For sick people it means paying $7 for every visit to the doctor and every medical test – $5 of which will be invested in a new “medical research future fund” and $2 will be kept by the doctor or test provider, in part to help them waive the payment in cases of “genuine need”. The co-payment will stop after 10 medical payments for concession holders and children. The co-payment for medicines will also increase by $5.

Which means that those sick with concession cards will mostly still be able to see a doctor for free as they do now but I am less than impressed by the increase in co-payment for prescriptions which will almost double with the $5 increase. No more coffee shop stop for me when I get my drugs then :(

Hockey said the aim of the health changes was to “get the nation to invest in its own healthcare … and for people to accept personal responsibility for their own physical health.”

Most of us do this anyway

For students the new era means paying back a greater proportion of the cost of a degree, and this cost potentially rising as the higher education sector is deregulated – although government loans will be available for a wider range of courses.

I have repeatedly argued that tertiary education  is rather over rated and if it is going to cost those who benefit from it more than they will certainly chose their courses with greater care and a consideration of its benefit to their future career. The important thing to keep in mind though is the generous and universal loans scheme means that greater costs will not restrict anyone from doing the course of their dreams no matter what their background may be.

For single-income families it means losing up to $73 per week a child in family tax benefit B payments once the bread winner earns more than $100,000 (rather than the current $150,000) and losing the payment when the youngest child turns six, rather than 18.

Who could object to cutting this? Anyone on 100K a year does not need this kind of benefit at all.

And government payments including family tax benefit, Medicare rebates and private health insurance rebates will be frozen, as will eligibility thresholds for receiving them – instead of rising in line with inflation – an idea Tony Abbott derided as “class warfare” when it was tentatively tried by the former Labor government.

Likewise a reasonable move.

Many disability pensioners under 35 will be “reassessed” and those with “some work capacity” forced to seek employment.

As I have suggested elsewhere this is a largely symbolic matter and that the vast majority of those DSP recipients who will be re-accessed will in fact found to still be compliant with the eligibility criteria which are pretty hard to meet anyway. As for work well it has to be there and suitable for the disabled and I have my doubts that many in this cohort will be able to find work.

But clearly hesitant to break an election promise that no changes would be made to the pension, the government has delayed paring back aged pensions until after the next federal poll.

What the government takes to the next poll will be judged by the people.

It is then proposing major changes – linking pension increases to inflation rather than average earnings, which will see their buying power decline over time compared with current arrangements, freezing the threshold for assets and income a pensioner can hold even though their value will rise over time, reducing the amount a pensioner can earn from their assets.

It seems to me that this is a reasonable change that brings the aged pension into line with the indexation of other government benefits. As for changes to the assets valuation well I’m undecided on that one.

The pension age will rise to 70 by 2035, but addressing criticism that older people often find it hard to get a job the government is offering a new wage subsidy to employers taking on a worker over 50 who has been unemployed for more than six months.

The subsidy will undoubtedly be welcomed  by both small business and older job seekers and is to may mind far more significant than a raising of the pension age in twenty years time.

As I predicted in my last post this budget is not the horror that the pundits were suggesting it would be. Its certainly not perfect in every aspect and only time will tell if the assumptions and expectations that are at its heart will be correct. However one thing we can be sure of is that it has to be better than any of the flights of fantasy delivered by Wayne Swan that were inevitably entirely made of tat hope and bullshit. All big picture instruments like the federal budget are going to be like the curates egg “good in parts” and at this one will be no exception there certainly are some parts that are a bit off smelling but on the whole its seems to be quite reasonable given the mess that we inherited from Labor.

Cheers Comrades

Boiled Egg

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 259 other followers

%d bloggers like this: