Energy Minister Angus Taylor will fast-track changes to a $2 billion climate fund as he rejects furious criticism of a new plan to spend its cash on carbon capture and storage projects.
Mr Taylor called on the government’s critics to give up their “ideology” in opposing the controversial projects and said he would consider putting changes to the Parliament to overcome their objections.
Abolishing Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism in 2014 was a consequential failure of politics. The fine-tuning of the patchwork of policies that followed does not make up for it.
Australian Joint Stock Companies. Multinational Corporations and companies have been working in opposition for years telling us they are serving our common interest a better life through the achievement of shared profit. However growth and profit not for any common good but only in the interests of their shareholders and CEOs. Like the British East India Company the model on which they were built it can only eventually leads to Fascism bankruptcy or revolution. Since their main function is assett stripping material and human resources of a nation which will eventually come to a dead end. Oil, Gas and Mining are perfect examples and will even have nations go to war to further these short term interests. Today more than at any other time in history do we see the Aus government operating as a mercenary protecting the wealth of these major corporations and their shareholders at the expense of the common good of the general population. The pandemic and climate change has brought their less than altruistic activities to the fore. (ODT)
However, the neo-liberal prescriptions for growth and economic management have allowed Australia to fall behind its peers, indeed be overtaken by many countries which are not even its peers. There are many reasons for this, and just as many things to do to fix it. But the solution is not business tax cuts and “IR reform”.
Business taxes have been coming down for years, from as high as 70 per cent, and those corporations hit by the virus won’t pay tax for years anyway. Tax losses. Dozens of the world’s largest companies don’t pay tax here anyway.
On IR reform, we already have the gig economy. Topping that, the JobKeeper scheme has allowed businesses to shed workers without entitlements or pay-outs, and taxpayers picking up the tab. It has saved them billions and given them the option of rehiring or not.
But some of us are in more danger than others: physically, mentally, socially, economically. Not only from the virus itself but from some of the social and political responses to it.
From First Nations people experiencing homelessness being issued with move-on notices to asylum seekers in detention, from frontline health workers to frontline retail workers, from casuals and contractors to visa holders, Covid-19, while imposing a common danger upon all of us, heightens the pre-existing contrasts in society, forcing us to focus on the glaring structural inequalities upon which our economy is built.
Parliamentary disclosure is a joke. The Register of Members’ Interests is routinely gamed and ignored by politicians. This is where MPs are supposed to declare their financial interests. Yet even when they do so, in accordance with the rules, key financial conflicts can be concealed. For instance, where an MP puts his lawyer as director of a company which is trustee for a trust and his niece as the beneficiary of that trust, does he or she even have to disclose the existence of a trust at all? In the case of controversial minister Angus Taylor, there have been blatant breaches. Taylor is by no means alone. Jommy Tee reports on Taylor’s other Cayman Islands company, AML
“There’s just no transparency or accountability around this,” Steggall told Guardian Australia. “We’ve seen what happened with sport rorts. We’re talking about commonwealth money at a time when we know the economy has taken a hit due to coronavirus, and I think it should be properly investigated.”
The Australia Institute analysis is based in part on a legal opinion by barristers Fiona McLeod SC and Lindy Barrett, which said Taylor does not have constitutional authority over electricity or legislative authority to fund projects as proposed under the Ungi scheme.
The Morrison Government’s JobKeeper scheme is in trouble. By privatising the administration of JobKeeper to businesses and privatising its funding to the banks, millions of workers are in limbo. Millennial industrials relations lawyer Daniel Anstey reports.
The Victorian Liberal Party is considering asking for federal government JobKeeper payments to keep its staff employed after donations to the party “fell off a cliff” during the coronavirus crisis.
The Liberals, who say they are considering their options, may lodge the claim for economic hardship despite selling their former headquarters for $37 million less than two years ago.
IN CONTRAST to the last severe worldwide economic recession, Australia is poorly placed to deal with the looming downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That is the conclusion of two reviews which assess the Coalition’s economic credentials negatively.
These funds already invest some money in the corporations Morrison is bailing out like Virgin. Now Morrison has turned into a dodgy financial advisor. It sounds as if he’s demanding to invest, no give money to businesses that were already on the brink before COVID-19. Virgin for one.
Virgin wasn’t asking for a loan as much as a buyout. saying if they don’t repay in two years the government can have them. Morrison seems to be handballing companies like Virgin to the pension funds for an apparent commission of making the LNP look good but it simply makes him look dodgy by calling them weak.(ODT)
Casualisation of the workforce disproportionally affects younger generations. From Amazon’s big MEL1 sweatshop to even the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the gig economic proliferates. Millennial lawyer Geordie Wilson reports that even the Australian Government is casualising its workforce at an astounding rate. In this, the first of our series Millennials vs Boomers, Wilson says illegal workplace practices appear to be rife even in the public service. It is something the Baby Boomers generation would hardly have even contemplated as, back in the day, they sought secure government jobs and the protection of the law.
Since posting that on 26 February much has changed. Country after country has been set the IQ test, and the results have varied. China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan are well ranked, though China may have cheated. Italy and Spain are towards bottom of the class. Sweden’s results are still being marked, but very much worth watching. Holland has also tried an intelligent, adult approach, with many shops open, but as death rates rise may move to more severe lockdown. The US is a new arrival to the class, and will be evaluated in a few week’s time.
If you don’t have tests, or treatments, you have to use social distancing. Social distancing works if everyone does it, but if only 10% cheat, then the effect is blunted.
On a broader front, this pandemic raises the question: how much of our economy is strictly necessary? The essentials of food growing, processing and distribution probably account for no more than 4% of the working age population. Power generation and basic utilities perhaps another 4%. Perhaps the remnant 92% will all be bloggers.
Small investors on the ASX are being ripped off again by Wall Street investment banks, writes shareholder activist Stephen Mayne. This time, it’s a sneaky tweak to the rules governing how companies raise new capital, and right now, there are a lot of companies raising new capital, or dying to …
It is welcome then that this federal government, intrinsically reactionary, prone to lassitude, ignorant, arrogant in its ignorance, has turned on the sluice gates. For lack of grounding, it is forced into the ultimate in pragmatism, dependent on a federal Treasury out of its depth.
But will it change its ways after this crisis relents? There’s no evidence, as there is no evidence of such to date in any other country. With a nasty budget black hole, that ‘bigger role’ will, in all likelihood, not be turned to permanently enhancing Newstart or abolishing Robodebt siphoning but to further tightening the screws.
This was the state of play and it certainly hasn’t improved and it’s worse for the Mentally ill. Are there are no experienced mental health practitioners in the NDIA? Doesn’t anyone understand that “Transition” to Independent Living doesn’t mean the consumer needs less care but more? As elderly parent/Carers, we have saved the government hundreds of thousands of o dollars. When the caring framework needs a change NDIA put up barriers with no visible gates or even a desire to assist. (ODT)
Remember when the Surplus was Everything (ODT)
Both of these facts around this part of the government’s response expose the brazen hypocrisy at the core of Neoliberalism. The takeaway is this: these governments have the money for increased social safety net programmes and infrastructure, but they choose to not invest in these things. To put it crudely, the issue is not ‘we can’t afford these programmes’, you fuckers are just unwilling to pay for them! A blank cheque and the keys to the treasury for the political donor class with crumbs and scraps for the serfs! As the Irish poet W.B. Yeats said ‘the centre cannot hold’.
Keeping people at work seems counterintuitive if there is no work to keep them there for. Give the money to the workers not the businesses alone. The record of wage theft has been clear and evident. (ODT)
The most striking reversal of LNP ideology though was the government’s decision to double the Newstart allowance and extend it to others. Hoping that voters would not see that as tacit acceptance of the repeated advice of countless social advocates, as well as hard-nosed economists, they ditched the name ‘Newstart’ in favour of the more benign-sounding ‘Jobseeker Allowance’. It was obvious to all that the LNP was devoted to the belief that Newstart recipients were bludgers, ‘leaners’ rather than ‘lifters’, people who ought to be out getting a job. It must have been a hard pill to swallow to accept that increasing Newstart would have large economic benefits, as so many have been telling them for months.
Morrison and Frydenberg have been given praise for their package, bordering on lavish from their media set. But we have to ask why it took a crisis the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic to bring about their awakening.
The party whose benefactors hold them to ransom must always put the needs of the rich first. This same pattern of behaviour may be seen in the responses of Tory governments everywhere.
This all adds up to the inescapable conclusion that conservatives will do the right thing but only when a more profitable choice fails to materialise. It is about pushing survival of the fittest, one hand-wash at a time.
The grossly inadequate and slow response from Australia has been primarily only about washing hands. It has not been about stringent quarantine procedures, the production of testing kits, investing in cures or vaccines.
Today they are telling us to wash our hands while they wash their hands of the great unwashed.
Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah and his predecessor John Borghetti have, over the past two years alone, personally handed Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg – and at least 52 other current Coalition MPs – “gifts” worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Already, the Prime Minister and Treasurer have given Virgin taxpayer support – part of the $715 million fees and charges waiver – but Scurrah is chasing more. Does the Government bail-out a company which is 91% foreign owned and which pays no tax? Anthony Klan reports on a classic case of political influence.
It used to be called nationalisation; a term once considered abhorrent for any Liberal leader. But these aren’t normal times.
Irresponsible lending created the GFC (ODT)
The Morrison Government’s emergency measures to protect the economy are another massive subsidy from embattled taxpayers to Australia’s largest corporations. They are a failure of government to govern. Michael West reports.
Question: why would a bank lend money to a business with no customers?
Answer: it wouldn’t.
Question: who will benefit from the Reserve Bank’s massive loan and money-printing program?
Answer: banks, bond traders and corporate customers.
The Coronavirus will Test the LNP NBN and those working from home (ODT)
Australia now has a record number of underemployed workers, and total hours worked per person per month are also at an all-time low. Alan Austin reports on the latest jobs data ahead what many believe will be a dreadful week for the Government as a slew of economic data is about to be released and two-year bonds have just halved, hitting a record low yield of only 0.4 per cent.
Debt is the time bomb but those that aren’t in debt will be made to pay just as they did in the GFC (ODT)
The Angus Taylor Plan of Economic Management (ODT)
For example, in 2020 our gas output will probably outstrip that of Qatar which gets $26.6 billion in tax while Australia gets only $600 million. ExxonMobil Australia has a total income of $42.3 billion over the past five years. It has not paid one cent in income tax in this country.
An unregistered lobbyist, a ministerial breach of the Lobbying Code of Conduct and a $2.6 million grant awarded during the election campaign minus pesky guidelines. Jommy Tee and Ronni Salt clear the pigs for take off.
The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, struck a pre-election deal with an unregistered political lobbyist and former Howard Government adviser, Andrew Gibbs, for a $2.6 million airport upgrade ahead of the launch of the Regional Airports Program (RAP). McCormack’s direct intervention mirrors Senator Bridget McKenzie in using taxpayers’ money for electioneering purposes. He also breached the Government’s Lobbying Code of Conduct.
The $100 million RAP was announced in the pork-laden 2019-20 Budget, just ahead of the election. It provided grants to upgrade infrastructure and deliver improved aviation safety and access at regional airports.
The Government meanwhile deregulates (ODT)
As Santos reports its profits this week, there is one number you are unlikely to hear from chief Kevin Gallagher: $7 billion. That’s $7 billion in gas losses over five years. Bruce Robertson reports on the government’s penchant for backing a big loss industry, future gas liabilities and the Federal Government’s gas deal with the states.
The massive Home Affairs Department, with a remit for “emergency management”, was entirely absent during the bushfire crisis and yet between 2016 and 2020, $9 billion of taxpayers’ money was spent on indefinite mandatory detention of men, women and children identified as refugees. Has a quarter or even a third of that amount been allocated as the Federal response package to the bushfire crisis?
Meanwhile, in the Coalition party room, even as nations around the world are committed to getting rid of the internal combustion engine – including Boris Johnson’s Britain – the commitment to coal has been reaffirmed. Like all regimes which place their own personal interests above all else, it is always the country, the nation, the majority of the people, the land, the water systems, the very air itself which are all weakened, polluted and made ill, often irretrievably.
Welcome to Australia’s own version of a new Easter Island story.
Definition of Cognitive Dissonance
To put that into perspective below are a few companies to contrast the total number of jobs created:
Thermal coal industry 29,000
But that isn’t what the Coalition is doing. Rather than offering a “Bush New Deal” to ensure its prosperity as it struggles to adapt to climate change and the drought, the Morrison Government is ensuring that Adani mine goes ahead, with a relative handful of jobs used as a justification.