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While i don’t want to dismiss the angst I see in the commentary on the Welfare review lets keep a couple of things in perspective here, firstly no matter how much the government may want to do any of the things that make up the sum of all of the fears expressed here they do not have the senate and those with the balance of power there are not going to be able to pass the enabling legislation to change very much of the status quo.
Secondly one thing that the review is right about is that the current welfare system is very complicated and confusing both for those who now rely on it for their sustenance and for those who have to administer it. Further to that there is the popular myth that getting on to the DSP is in any sense easy or that it is subject to a great deal of fraud. Frankly if this government were to find savings with better administration and simpler process without hurting any of the vulnerable I don’t think anyone would object. Given the senate we have now I do expect some changes in the way that the department is run are very likely to eventuate rather than this government doing to the disabled what Gillard did to single mothers .
On the matter of encouraging work, well its fine in principle but I find it difficult to believe that there is even enough unpaid volunteer work to viably engage very many of the disabled especially when you consider the extra support that many of the disabled would need to be able to work at all. So if you are starting form a purely economic point of view it may well be that the cost of forcing or coercing the “unwilling” disabled to “work” is far greater than the value of the work that they may be able to do. Further to this there has been no consideration of the contributions that so many disabled people make to their families and communities. Things like the child care and good old domestic duties that they do for their families and the contributions that they already make to their communities with their involvement in a great deal of volunteering. Of course much of this is totally invisible to the general public who sadly think that shows like “Housos ” is reality TV rather than greatly exaggerated satire. There certainly has to have been some fraud because no system of welfare can be immune to it. But there are enough checks and balances that make it less common than some would have us believe.
Taking that all on board I can’t help but think that this whole thing is a very big ambit claim because the government must know that they will not get the sort of changes that are mooted here through the senate so I think that their end game here has to be to seek simpler and less expensive ways to administer the welfare system while minimizing the possibility of having to run a gauntlet angry starving cripples on the way to the next election, because if they don’t tread lightly here then the desire to reform welfare could become Tony Abbotts’ “Gimpchoices” that sees their much needed tenure in the lodge cut short .
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.
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.
Who would have thunk it?
There has been something rather sad and desperate about the way that the luvvies were taking great comfort in the short lived downturn in the polling for the coalition but this poll reversal must come as a very bitter blow to those who have been clinging to the vain hope that the Labor party can come back into contention without the reformation that it so dearly needs if it is ever to be credible enough to return to office.
I also think that their parliamentary tactics are backfiring badly. Simply put they are being obstructionist to the government legislative agenda in a rather shallow attempt to demonstrate that they still have parliamentary teeth. A sensible party would have waved through the repeal of the Carbon and Mining taxes but in an expression of political machismo Electricity Bill Shorten has just succeeded in shooting himself and keeping the very reasons that his party was thrown out front and centre in the minds of the voters.
The utter brilliance of the coalition’s proposed Royal commission into the Unions can not be underestimated every new revelation of thuggery or other nastiness will stain the reputation of the party that is the creature of the union movement and that means that things can only get worse for the ALP under the current leadership and the truly sad thing is that none of the alternatives are likely to do much better. Shorten had a chance to draw a line under the follies of the last government and move on to rebuilding the party’s fortunes but he chose (or was instructed by his union masters) to carry on in the usual Labor style. Frankly If he is still leader by Christmas I will be very surprised indeed.
As devastating as it will be for Victoria and south Australia the economic realities of the car industry can no longer be denied by the minions of the left who would have our government pump billions of dollars of borrowed money into keeping the car manufacturing industry alive. The whining from the Labor party about this is as unsurprising as it is self serving. Simply put with the end of car making in this country we will also see significant decline in one of the countries larger unions, and where the unions decline so too does the power base for the ALP. Likewise the rhetoric from the ALP that the closure is the fault of the current government is sill beyond description if you ask me, its actually a bit like blaming the doctor who turns off life support for a road accident victim for that persons death.
Not that I think that Australians are going to reject Toyota cars into the future, many of the best selling models are already fully imported anyway. The thing is after both Ford and General Motors made similar decisions we all knew that Toyota would follow As other far more knowledgeable commentators have pointed out its the scale of our market and our sustained high dollar that has caused this death and there is absolutely nothing that the government could do to change those factors. and that is why we could never compete with the other countries when it comes to making cars. Like that imagined accident victim the time has come to turn off the machine that goes ping, to sing our eulogies and to then move on to the future.
Sad cheers Comrades
Minions of the left are suffering terribly at present, not only do they have to contend with their side losing the last federal election they also have to put up with a total change in style in the way that the government. presents itself to the people. And they are clearly flummoxed by the change. You see they have become addicted to a constant diet of sugar rich media hits from the the previous Labor administration and now they are suffering form a sort of political hypoglycaemia. Take Laurrie Oakes as an example :
As I see I think that Oakes, like a lot co commentators and media players think that governments exist to give them something to talk or write about. That it is the duty of Government to keep giving them the political sugar that they crave. Its a vestige of the Labor years and I can’t be the only one who thinks that Labor created a rod for their own backs in the way that they insisted on being total media whores and now that they are in opposition and well totally irrelevant we get the likes of Oakes whining about the much more grown up government refusing to play by the old paradigm.
To some extent its all about the ever shorter attention span of the political classes that feeds the angst of Oakes and his cronies at Fairfax, lefty bloggers, and the Twiterarti that are to blame here.It used to be not so long ago that our news cycle was all about what has/was/is happening today. now with in instant message culture. The desire is to have something new every minute or so. Kevin Rudd and to a lesser extent Julia Gillard were both very keen to try to tap into the social media demographic and they tried to use social media as a tool to promote themselves and their government’s activities, they may not have created the short attention span of the media but they certainly entrenched the sugar addiction of polity.
Maybe, just maybe, the fact that parliament will be sitting again soon and that will mean a bit more colour and movement which will silence the interminable whining about the government being “secretive” and or that Tony Abbott is “hiding”. Somehow though I expect we will continue to hear the whining of the Hypoglycaemic leftist media braying for another of the sugar hits that they got so used to from the Labor days.
I’d suggest a good twelve step program if I believed in them or maybe hope that there was a type of political Narcan for this sugar hungry leftist-polity but sadly I think that the addicted are going to be obliged to go cold turkey., It won’t be pretty and the wailing will be loud and long but those of us who are politically grown up should cover our ears and look away from the tantrums because what matters in the public life of the country is not the smoke and mirrors of political spin but good solid administration. That is what we elect governments for; to do the job not just to talk about doing it.
- Oakes hits out at Tony Abbott (smh.com.au)
- Laurie Oakes slams Abbott government (theage.com.au)
- Abbott rallies party faithful in Tasmania (abc.net.au)
- Tony Abbott preferred over Kevin Rudd (news.theage.com.au)
- Women’s group accuses Kevin Rudd of treachery over Julia Gillard treatment (abc.net.au)
- Rudd’s 2010 animus is still hurting Labor (abc.net.au)
- I call bullshit on The Age and Kevin Rudd (cateswannell.com)
- ALP boss slams ‘gothic horror’ Labor government (abc.net.au)
- An Open Letter to Bill Shorten (theaimn.com)
- In the internet age, a time when there are effectively no media islands any more (iainhall.wordpress.com)
It usually takes years for members of a bad government to “fess up” to the failings and dysfunction within their administration and under the cover of the smokescreen of Labor’s new and wacky way of selecting their leader a few admissions have slipped under the radar things like Stephen Conroy admitting that their NBN roll out was an utter farce, with no ability to meet anywhere near the targets that were so loudly trumpeted. Its an admission that has largely gone unnoticed. However I very much doubt that the bucketing delivered by Nicola Roxon in the John Button lecture will be as invisible and as that is the topic for to day I will now provide some highlights for discussion:
1) Labor must always focus on the fact that good policy improves people’s lives and that is why the party exists.
If this is always at the front of our minds and the top priority in decision-making, we will be less easily diverted by polls, personalities and punch-ups.
This must be a constant focus. In government, a Labor party needs to choose a few big areas and focus on them, taking people with them.
A government needs to take time to explain the problem, work on a range of solutions, build coalitions to campaign for them, understand the opposing arguments so as to improve its own and measure their validity. It must allow enough time and sufficiently foreshadow the change so local MPs, branch members and citizens can be part of the campaign for change. And take time to get all the technical detail right.
2) Governments as a whole, and the prime minister in particular, need to keep their focus high level – spending time and energy on the things that really matter.
If you can’t describe what you are doing in general terms, and its purpose, then either the policy isn’t right, or you’ve descended into detail most people don’t need and probably don’t want to know.
The art as a minister should be to be across the detail and be sufficiently trusted by colleagues to manage and explain the policy detail when needed, but to allow the PM to focus only on the big picture. The Cabinet should be used to sign off only on purpose, direction and broad structure, but not excessive detail.
In our first term of Government we struggled with this. There were some contentious issues and policy problems that ran for months, in some cases years, without there seeming to be a way to bring contentious issues to a head. There was no avenue for ministers to bring genuinely difficult issues, where there were legitimately tricky calls to be made, to Cabinet for a real discussion. Health and climate change were the two longest running “non-discussions” for the first term of Government, with some other contentious policies getting only cursory cabinet approval at the last minute. There was a reticence by the Prime Minister for big strategic calls to be made by Cabinet, or sufficiently in advance to prepare properly.
3) Good leaders are good delegators.
If they don’t delegate, they and their governments ultimately drown in less important matters.
Having seen it up close, I have a huge amount of sympathy for just how much work a PM has to do. The sheer weight of government and the crushing level of personal demands are far more intense and all encompassing than most people can imagine. Kevin and Julia fully devoted themselves day and night to this task. For all their issues, no one could fault either of them for heroic work ethics and sheer determination to do everything humanly possible in the job.
But the prime minister is still only one person.
We can’t let the system slide, if it hasn’t already, to expect this person to have superhuman powers. Our increasingly presidential-style campaigning doesn’t help this. I hope any new Labor leader will not continue this pretence – it will ultimately be a great benefit to the Party and protection for them.
4) Labor needs to welcome debate, not fear it.
A progressive party needs to be able to argue over issues and not see it through the prism of internal politics.
Both internally and externally Labor, in the time I’ve been involved, has become more afraid of real debate. For a progressive party that prides itself on constantly renewing its social purpose, this is not good news.
Of course, a shallow and manipulative media can make debate or dissent difficult, sometimes nigh on impossible, but we need to push past that and learn to welcome a contest of ideas.
5) Be polite and be persuasive. Or I could call this “Keep yourself nice”.
(I know I’ll be accused of being “nanny Nicola” here, but it is an age-old rule that needs to be re-imposed.) If you don’t do this, you lose ground for no political purpose. You waste time apologizing and you lose arguments for no good reason.
And this is not a tip just for the sake of nice manners. It fundamentally affects political outcomes too.
When Kevin was flashed across the TVs icily ignoring Kristina Keneally in health reform negotiations, it cost us an awful lot to recover from and actually gave NSW the upper hand for the first time. Disparagingly calling her “Bambi” behind closed doors was pretty silly when she was whip-smart and went on to run rings around us at the final COAG negotiating table. As a result, Kevin conceded more to NSW in hospital beds at the expense of money set aside for mental health. As was predictable, mental health became a thorn in our side later on, and in the 2010 campaign was the major health issue that weakened our otherwise great story.
The Garden Island announcement during the 2013 campaign underscored that this lesson had not been learned and we lost a day or two of the campaign needlessly.
6)Always ask what you can do for the party (and the nation) not what it can do for you (with apologies to JFK).
If you don’t ask this question first, you’ve lost your focus and purpose and the public will mark you down fast.
There were plenty examples of people putting their individual interests ahead of the team’s, particularly in ministerial ballots and appointments. Reports of able MPs declining particular portfolios, perhaps because it didn’t suit their long term personal plans, is a sign of this going off the rails. The only correct answer if a PM calls and offers you a particular ministry is surely “Yes, Prime Minister”.
Of course it is natural to have ambitions, and to be disappointed if they are thwarted, but the focus must always be on the team.
7)Good governments run best with good diaries – so boring, but universally true.
This is not just about housekeeping, as it seems, but you actually can get better policy, get more done and protect against foreseeable problems if you plan a diary and run to plan. You can only get to an end game if you have planned where you want to go.
The machinery of Government is enormous. And it can be put to enormous good. But it is a slow moving beast – no matter how bold or impatient a government may be. If plans and projects are set, parameters identified and clear instructions given, with regular and consistent oversight, the work produced can be excellent. Thousands of people can work more effectively around you if direction is set early, timetables stuck to, and materials are read.
But if political direction chops and changes, if the questions being asked constantly move, if deadlines come and go without meaning, it is very inefficient, and ultimately dispiriting. It’s politically confused too.
Kevin had a terrible habit of attending meetings not having read detailed papers that he had commissioned at the last meeting – often very complex ones, at very short notice. For example, I remember a meeting only days before Christmas 2009 when a total rewrite of a health policy was demanded. Despite many, many hours of work into the night, I do not believe that paper was ever – even to do this day – read by the prime minister, let alone read over a Christmas holiday he had already ruined for others.
8) Choose good people – as leaders, as MPs and as staff.
In every walk of life, successful organisations need a pool of talented people, and politics is no different.
This seems pretty basic. And on this front, I have to say I am very optimistic about our future. We get this right more often than we get it wrong. Having a strong choice of two capable politicians in the recent leadership ballot is just one measure of this. And I reckon Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek are as close to “the dream team” as you can get.
9)Accept you are not always right, and cannot always fix everything. It’s easier with this as your starting point.
If the public is promised a messiah, they’re inevitably going to be disappointed.
Political messages do need to be clear. They don’t have cut-through if they are not. In the beginning, Kevin was brilliant at this. It’s why he was so successful at the 2007 election. He talked straight and people understood and liked him.
The curse, of course, is that the problems you are trying to solve and the policies needed to do so are often complex. So we came unstuck when the solutions were necessarily more subtle or convoluted than the cut-through message initially delivered.
“The buck stops with me”, “the biggest moral challenge of our time” are examples that made sense and garnered interest and support, but they come with big risks, as the realities of government can make this cut-through language a dead weight or burden. It’s always more convincing to say you’ll “fix” something, when “improve” is a more accurate statement.
In 2007, Kevin was great at cut-through, then struggled at follow through.
10) And lastly,never forget polling is only a snapshot, not a predictor.
Otherwise we resign ourselves to a static life – and a progressive party will never win without new ideas, and new ideas take time to be absorbed.
Over-analysed, published opinion polls are having a corrosive effect on Australian politics. Their meaning and value have been given enormous weight, way, way above their real value. This is perhaps exacerbated by the advent of online media as these polls, paid for by old print media, are often among the few exclusives they have – so they are inflated by the same media who commission them.
But apart from that, we have allowed the polls, and the way journalists interpret them, to have too much influence. Polls can tell us what the current state of play is, but not what might happen.
What a poll can never tell us is what the results may be after a six month concerted effort to turn an argument around. They are unable to show what might change with persistence.
So, perhaps there is one remaining question you may have about my perspective on this time in government. And it is a biggie.
After all these tips for good and bad behavior for the future, do I believe we behaved properly in removing Kevin as PM in 2010?
While I think the Labor caucus made the right decision, we handled it very poorly.
I think we had all the right reasons to act, but I think we were clumsy and short sighted in the way we did it. We didn’t explain the dysfunctional decision-making and lack of strategy I’ve focused on a lot tonight. We didn’t talk about his rudeness, or contempt for staff and disrespect for public servants (a measure of this was public servants saving up briefs to send to the PM’s office as soon as Kevin went overseas because they got quicker and more thoughtful responses from Julia as acting PM).
Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure. But this act of political bastardy was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people.
So I hope my take on events might be worth something to the next generation. I hope they will have learned from this period, and will not repeat its mistakes.
The new Labor team will need to lift itself above the personality politics, stop seeing things as “Kevin legacies” or “Julia legacies”, and just see them proudly as “Labor legacies”. This will better honour our forbears like John Button.
I really hope that readers have taken the time to read the whole speech , but even if you have not done so I hope that my highlights give you the gist of Roxon’s argument here,namely that the labor Government was very much a dysfunctional one that was in the thrall of Kevin Rudd, in its first term because of his inability to properly delegate and trust his ministers and his utter inability properly run the government and its instruments and after he had been removed for those sins he was then allowed to foment dissent and disloyalty that undermined his successor, who herself had many flaws. Its a far from pretty picture if you ask this humble scribe. and rather like the curates egg the last Labor government was “good in parts” according to Roxon . The judgement of the people was however that those good parts were considerably smaller than the unpalatable aspects of Labor’s six years in office. On balance when we look at Labor’s CV I find it very hard to see any reason to believe that they were ever “fit to Govern” on the whole they provided a perfect example of the promise far exceeding the delivery and had their lack of fitness to govern been less concealed by Rudd’s admittedly slick campaign in 2007 they would have never won office.
The Coalition have for some time been espousing the very reasonable adage that in government one should under promise and over deliver which is a very good starting point in any democracy and until Labor and its minions likewise realise that is the way to political nirvana they will not be in any way fit to govern again. You see in the real world good government is about 90% good governance and sound administration and 10% good ideas, by my reckoning Labor scored well below 50% over all….
- Roxon calls on “bastard” Rudd to quit (abc.net.au)
- Here’s The Dirtiest Of The Laundry That Nicola Roxon Aired In Her Speech On The Rudd-Gillard Years (businessinsider.com)
- Roxon slams ‘rude and dysfunctional’ Rudd (theage.com.au)
- Reign of Rudd: Rude and dysfunctional (smh.com.au)
- Ouch! Nicola Roxon calls Kevin Rudd a bastard (australiantimes.co.uk)
- Rudd deserved to be dumped: Roxon (heraldsun.com.au)
- Nicola Roxon calls on ‘bastard’ Kevin Rudd to quit Parliament in Joh (beaudreux.com)
And there will of course be the damage to the budget, with a fall in the carbon price to $10 reducing revenues to 2016-17 by about $14bn. There must be a likelihood that loss will be partially offset by extending the scheme’s coverage, further cutting the diesel fuel rebate and slashing the number of free permits. But all of those amount to tax increases, imposing distortions of their own; and with mining and many other industries already reeling, how can those increases be justified?
Ultimately, the only certainty that emerges from this ever-moving fiasco is that the government’s climate change policy is anything but a “market mechanism”. After all, markets, to work effectively, require meaningful property rights and price signals that allow decision-makers to weigh the costs and benefits of alternative decisions. Having trashed those, the policy has degenerated into a random tax, liable to be changed at each turn of the polls and (through its dependence on the EU carbon price) captive to the follies of European politics.
No doubt, Rudd will brush all these issues aside. No doubt too, as in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, new modelling, showing massive gains, will be released; and as in Orwell’s Ministry of Plenty, the officials compiling those estimates will comfort themselves with the thought that it is “not even forgery: merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another”, as the adjustment to “the constantly changing party line” requires updating “statistics that were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version”.
Long forgotten is “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”. And forgotten with it is the virtue of taking commitments seriously. Instead, all that remains is the truth Peter Garrett blurted out in 2007: “once we get in, we will just change it all.” Indeed they have, and indeed they will.
Here at the Sandpit I have been entirely consistent in cynicism about any efforts to “change the climate” because it strikes me as being utterly stupid and impossible on a political level even if the alarmists are correct in their claims about the science, which is dubious enough to start with. When our new again Dear Leader announced that the much reviled carbon tax will be converted a year earlier into a trading scheme than originally planned I could not help being very sadly amused. Its all straight from the empty promises play book. In essence what the new dear leader is promising is to lessen a burdensome tax that his own ideology and party has itself imposed on a long suffering nation. Worse yet he expects to be lauded and to receive electoral advantage from this empty promise.
Further our new again Dear Leader seems to think that the utter failure of the overseas ponzi schemes to make a bind bit of positive difference to the climate or economic behavior (apart from encouraging scammers ) can be safely ignored because there is still an aura of credibility to the notion that “market mechanisms” are the best way to address “the greatest moral challenge of our generation” . None the less it seems that the short memories of the voters is what our new again Dear leader is relying upon but I don’t think those memories will remain immune to the truth once the campaign proper from the coalition begins. Then the voters will be reminded that the negative carbon tax effects for which our new again Dear Leader is claiming credit are all a product of the devils alliance made by his own party under Gillard and the Greens.
At present the “floating” price of emissions is between $6 and $10 a tonne and the way that Europe’s economy is going there is no reason to believe that this is as low as it will go. To my mind the whole thing is pointless and that an honest government (the last thing that we can call the Labor administration) would just admit that indirect economic “tools” like ” market mechanisms” are a crock of shit and they never work as their proponents claim. All the while we long suffering energy consumers are paying more for or electricity due to the Carbon Tax and nothing being offered by the new again Dear Leader will make certain that this unjust impost will be removed if the scheme is converted early to a trading scheme .
The politics of the compensation package are interesting here and you just have to admire the political smarts of the opposition in deciding to continue the largess when they abolish the tax. Our new again Dear leader is thus forced to retain the compensation himself even if the change to an ETS lessens the raison detre of the payments because he can not afford to look so mean to those on low incomes or government benefits. What the whole thing turns on is just how much our new again Dear Leader can be believed when he makes new promises and on that I think the coalition can make big dents in his credibility by reminding the voters just how wrong his calls in the past have been as they do in their new ads:
Add to that the calm sensible and dare I say it “Grown Up” tone of this ad:
Personally I think that the opposition are going for the right balance here reminding the voters of Labor’s very poor record and presenting the positives of their policies. Our new again Dear Leader certainly has the Kardassian factor at present however like the feelings that silly woman love can turn to hate in the blinking of an eye so do we really want our government chosen purely on the celebrity of its leader? During the course of the last three years Labor have stuffed up so much that they have to distance themselves form just about every action and policy that they have enunciated so I want know; just what are its policies? We really have no idea at all apart from Rudd assuring us that he is all for “Positive politics”:
Of course its fine to want see a plan but what Rudd is offering is no plan , its only a plan to get a plan which amounts to Fuck all in the real world sadly to quote a friend of mine says it all:
I simply observe that whilst you can’t polish a turd, you can roll it in glitter, and that is all Rudd is doing: it’s all bullshit, but covered in fairy dust and dressed up with a story, he’s betting just enough people might buy it.