Back in 2001, Four Corners did a program on the working poor called Going Backwards, where they quoted the statistic that 42 per cent of Australians living in poverty lived in families where one or both adults work.Then Employment Minister, Tony Abbott, summed up the Coalition view.“I’m prepared to accept that lots of people in work are doing it tough. But that’s true of lots of people at — on comparatively good incomes because they have heavier responsibilities.”Lord knows, keeping up with the lifestyle in the Northern and Eastern suburbs of Sydney can be expensive. Even people who score a job that requires no qualifications, no experience and no expertise, that pays in the top 1% of incomes and that allows you to charge your employer for pretty much everything, can struggle because of their “higher responsibilities”.
I am having trouble understanding this energy debate. For starters, we own the resources and we make the rules. Remembering that would be a good first step. Secondly, it is glaringly obvious that privatisation has not worked to keep retail prices down. The bastards won’t even turn the generators on unless they get paid enough.…
To Andrew Bolt What a condescending twat you are. You, who have no qualifications and no experience outside being a media whore, dare to criticise two admirable women, who are far more educated, credible and informative than you, just because they are speaking out. For the vast majority of you who will not be aware…
No doubt emboldened by the resurgence of Arthur “I don’t recall” Sinodinis, Stuart Robert is apparently lobbying Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to return him to the frontbench at the next significant reshuffle, likely by the end of the year. This has come about because the Queensland corruption watchdog has apparently found no evidence of wrongdoing…
The recently released GDP figures for the December quarter put another nail in the coffin of Scott Morrison’s economic plan. Despite a 16.5% rise in private non-financial corporations gross operating surplus (GOS), compensation of employees (COE) fell by 0.5% this quarter reflecting a decrease of 0.9% in average earnings per employee. This is the first…
I sometimes wonder if the real Malcolm Turnbull was kidnapped and replaced by a doppelganger, so different are his actions as Prime Minister to his words before taking on the role. As we bounce from one outsourcing disaster to the next, it is worth reflecting on what Turnbull himself had to say on outsourcing three…
As the government scrambles to claw back money from the old, the sick, the pregnant, and the unemployed, they put no such austerity on their own spending. In the 2014 budget from hell, Tony Abbott promised to cut off free flights for about 100 former politicians. But while legislation was passed by the House of…
There was a time when Rupert Murdoch was not all powerful in Australia. There was a time when politicians weren’t scared to speak up and journalists had some integrity. Hawke and Keating changed all that. Back when truth still mattered, in the midst of the 1975 election, 109 Murdoch journalists went on strike. Murdoch’s overt…
Tony Abbott is insisting he be given a title again. He has previously asked to be judged by his deeds so it would be timely to examine just what Abbott achieved when given the opportunity to lead the nation. Conveniently, the Liberal Party have a website that provides us with a list of their achievements…
Let’s cut to the chase. Our refugee policy is a dismal failure and making it worse for cynical political purposes is despicable. Dutton is a disgrace who has been increasingly emboldened by Turnbull’s weak-kneed pandering to the far right and Labor’s cowardly chase to the bottom for fear of losing the racist vote. Stop the…
Forget recession. This country is suffering from depression, and I don’t mean the economic definition as much as the psychological one. There is a malaise afflicting the nation. We keep hearing that the economy has had 25 uninterrupted years of growth but then we are told we have a debt and deficit disaster and a…
A quick look at One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts’ Facebook page is both disturbing and revealing. One thing is clear – the Senator is very much against renewable energy which he describes as “green guilt” driven by “Socialists masquerading as Environmentalists.” Today he “called on the Federal Government to halt the ratification of the Paris…
When a panelist on the Drum last night said that John Howard didn’t call for a plebiscite to change the marriage act to specify it as a union between a man and a woman, former Howard government minister Jackie Kelly stridently interrupted, shouting that it was Jesus who said marriage must be between a man…
The Coalition have been assuring us for years that they have a plan for real solutions and that the plan will provide jobs and growth and reduce the deficit. Now I’m no expert, which makes me eminently qualified to discuss what the non-experts who occupy the government benches are doing. If those are your goals,…
You have to hand it to Tim Wilson. He is the archetypal dilettante – a man who swans around the world at other people’s expense having a fat old time doing SFA. In a 2014 interview, he revealed his tactics for self-promotion. He became heavily involved with student politics, eventually becoming president of the Student…
Never has there been a better time for people to exert their power. As we have seen, nervous politicians with a very tight margin seem to have a great deal of influence. They can even bring down Prime Ministers. Whilst the Coalition won 76 seats, 12 of them were by a margin of less than…
The notion of “public interest” has been officially abandoned. The interests of the government are now paramount and they intend to keep a very tight control on information whilst being selectively ruthless about who they pursue. In 2006, Lateline aired a program called Sexual slavery reported in Indigenous community in which an unnamed youth worker…
It is Tuesday night and I have had a very hard day with my business which STILL, after almost two months, is having problems with Telstra and the NBN. It’s been so stressful I have avoided looking at politics while I try to deal with it. But today I have seen/read two things which I…
The Coalition has some things right. They are right when they say we must invest to create a better future for our children. Unfortunately, they think this means buying your one year old, or your twenty year old, a negatively geared property. They are right when they say we should utilise our untapped resources. Unfortunately,…
When venture capitalist, Larry Marshall, was appointed head of the CSIRO, he promised structural change. In an interview in February last year he said: “What I want to do is help our organisation focus on how we can contribute to the innovation, discovery and growth that Australia has come to expect from its premier research…
In 1991, the government developed the Intra Government Communications Network (ICON) as a temporary fix for the Department of Foreign Affairs linking two of its buildings in the capital. Over time, the system grew to link 88 government agencies and 400 buildings in the Canberra area through 150,000 fibre kilometres. This strategic asset, which provides…
Increasingly this government is seeking to subvert due process and impose their agenda in totalitarian fashion.
Regardless of whether you think the increase in fuel excise is an appropriate measure, the move to introduce it through regulation rather than legislation is specifically designed to bypass parliament. The regulations will need to be backed up with proper legislation by the Senate within 12 months or the money raised will have to be refunded.
As reported in the SMH
“The government believes the ploy will put Labor and Greens senators in a bind at that time forcing them to choose between keeping the escalating revenue stream, or voting it down forcing the government to pay potentially hundreds of millions of dollars collected from motorists back to oil companies.
While the incremental inflation adjustments will raise an expected $167 million from motorists by November next year, little-appreciated new compliance costs for service stations are calculated at $5.06 million according to Treasury estimates.”
So much for cutting red tape to help small businesses. They also ignore the flowon costs to households as businesses pass on increased delivery expenses, and the cumulative effect of twice yearly increases.
And it seems they may be trying to introduce the GP co-payment in the same way.
Initially, on Tuesday Peter Dutton said
“There is no capacity to introduce a $7 co-payment through regulation, the advice from our legal people within the department as well as with attorneys is the $7 co-payment needs substantive legislation to support the co-payment.”
But yesterday he changed that message, refusing to rule out the introduction of the $7 levy by regulation to bypass the need for legislation.
“I am not going to rule things in or out. I am saying that there are options that are available to the Government,” Mr Dutton said.
Finding ways around our parliament and our laws is becoming a habit.
After the High Court ruled in June that the federal government could not directly fund religious chaplains in public schools, Christopher Pyne chose to give the money to the states with the direction that it could not be used for secular welfare workers.
So much for their claim that education decisions should not be dictated by Canberra.
In February, a Senate inquiry paved the way for the Parliament to give Environment Minister Greg Hunt legal immunity against future legal challenges to his decisions on mining projects. It will protect him from being challenged over deliberate or negligent decisions that do not comply with the law.
The Coalition government has now licensed Greg Hunt to avoid compliance with the EPBC Act. The amendment retrospectively validates ministerial decisions – even if they did not comply with the EPBC Act when they were made.
We are also losing our right to appeal development decisions.
The Abbott government’s move to establish a single approval process by passing environmental approval responsibilities onto the states and territories creates a conflict of interest as they raise revenue from land sales and mining royalties.
In early 2014 the Queensland government proposed to confine the objections and notifications process for a mining lease to people owning land within the proposed lease.
The Coordinator-General is fast becoming an almost supremely powerful czar for large projects in Queensland, subject only to the political whims of the state government. He can also prevent any objections to the environmental authority for a coordinated project from being heard by the Land Court. When combined with the severe restrictions on objections to mining leases, very few people can now challenge matters such as impacts on groundwater of large mines that are declared a coordinated project.
Under the federal Coalition’s one-stop shop the Coordinator-General is also proposed to have power to approve projects impacting on matters protected under federal environmental laws.
And that’s not the only avenue for appeal that is being shut down.
Australians could be left with no appeal rights against government secrecy by the end of this year.
The May budget cut $10.2 million funding for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) which handles Freedom of Information appeals. The government wants appeals to be handled by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal instead. This move is being blocked in the Senate so we will be left with effectively no avenue for appeal.
But perhaps the most blatant disregard for the law is being shown by Scott Morrison who, in a Napoleonic gesture, has conferred on himself the power to revoke a person’s citizenship. The new laws provide the Minister with the power to set aside decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) concerning character and identity if it would be in the public interest to do so and confer on the Minister the power to make legislative instruments.
Morrison has condemned innocent people to indefinite incarceration and washed his hands of any responsibility for their welfare. He has ignored warnings that his actions are in breach of human rights and is actively outsourcing our responsibilities under the Refugee Convention at enormous cost to this country. He is now even blocking refugee applications from people coming through official UNHCR channels.
Journalists have been denied access to detention camps. Even the head of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, was denied access to child asylum seekers on Nauru on the grounds that the commission’s jurisdiction did not extend beyond Australia’s borders. The cost of a single-entry media visa to Nauru rose from $200 to $8,000.
And if any of us report on the machinations of this government, our fate is in the hands of Attorney-General George Brandis who has the individual power to determine if we should face a possible ten year jail sentence.
So much for free speech, transparency and accountability.
“Trust me,” they say. Not friggin’ likely.
I will govern for all Australians.
I want to lift everyone’s standard of living.
I want to see wages and benefits rise in line with a growing economy.
I want to see our hospitals and schools improving as we invest the proceeds of a well-run economy into the things that really count.
I won’t let you down.
This is my pledge to you.
-Tony Abbott campaign launch speech, August 25 2013
Nice words but let’s face it – the Abbott government doesn’t give a shit about you. The evidence is overwhelming.
With one in seven Australians living in poverty, we have a Prime Minister who spends hundreds of billions on defence, security, and buying armaments. We have a Prime Minister who is so stage-managed he refuses to face the electorate on Q&A.
Our Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs has overseen the slashing of funding and the abolition of many successful initiatives that were working towards supporting our Indigenous people and closing the gap. But we have truancy officers aplenty, even if most of them are working for the dole.
We have a treasurer who feels those on welfare, the ‘leaners’, should be the ones to clear the country of debt. His justification for this is that he must cut spending and poor families get more money from the government than the rich, whilst steadfastly refusing to consider raising revenue by cracking down on tax avoidance.
He tells the world that our economy is in good shape while whipping up hysteria here about a non-existent emergency.
After coming to power on the promise of reducing the debt, Hockey has been borrowing so fast the net debt has increased from $178.10 billion when he took over to $217.55 billion at the end of August. PEFO numbers had net debt peaking at $219bn (12.7% of GDP) in 2015/16. The gross debt has risen from $290 billion to $345.035 billion – that’s extra borrowing of about one billion a week.
We have an education minister who has reneged on funding reform for schools, wants to make tertiary courses unaffordable, has closed down trades training centres, has insulted teachers, wasted money on a pointless review, and wants to rewrite history as a Christian crusade.
We have a health minister who is busily unwinding universal healthcare and preventative health agencies and who wants to discourage the poor from seeing a doctor.
On one hand we are warned about the alarming increase in obesity and diabetes, on the other we have the assistant minister for health, at the behest of her junk food lobbyist chief of staff, taking down a healthy food website.
Senator Nash insisted the health star site be pulled down a day after it was published in Febuary on the grounds it was published in error, despite freedom of information documents showing the minister was warned it would be published, and the states committing to spend $11 million on it.
In June, a watered down version of the site was reinstated, with the voluntary introduction period extended to five years from two and companies allowed to use the star ratings in conjunction with the industry’s daily intake guide. They also decided to continue voluntary pregnancy warning labels on alcohol, despite poor uptake by mixed drinks and so-called alcopops. Michael Thorn, the chief executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education, said it was “disgraceful” and put “booze before babies”.
“The alcohol industry will be celebrating that they have been able to successfully avoid introducing a warning label on their products for almost two decades,” he said.
One of the first steps of the minister for social services, Kevin Andrews, was to wind back gambling reform laws despite recommendations made by the Productivity Commission in its 2010 report into Australia’s gambling industry and the Victorian coroner’s report linking 128 suicides in that state directly to gambling..
This is the man who, along with our employment minister (he of breast cancer/abortion link fame), wants to see young unemployed without any income for 6 months of the year, and for the disabled to get out there and get one of those thousands of jobs that are just waiting for them if only they weren’t such bludgers. He also wants to lower the indexation rate of pensions which will cause the gap in standard of living to widen. All this while cutting $44 million from the capital works program of the National Partnership on Homelessness.
We have an environment minister who wants to cut down Tasmanian old growth forests and expand coal ports and dump sediment on the reef. He has wound back environmental protection laws and the right to appeal and gone on a spree of approving record amounts of fossil fuel production. At the same time, he has overseen the destruction of the renewable energy industry. They don’t even send him to world conferences on climate change because, after all, what could he say other than sorry.
Not content with these overt attacks on the environment, the government has quietly initiated a low key, unscheduled review into Australia’s national appliance energy efficiency standards. The only formal explanation offered to date is in the Energy “Anti-” Green Paper, which refers to “opportunities to reduce the red-tape burden on businesses”.
At least they were honest when our communications minister was appointed to “destroy the NBN” and he has done a damn fine job of it. Despite Tony Abbott’s election speech claim that within 100 days “the NBN will have a new business plan to ensure that every household gains five times current broadband speeds – within three years and without digging up almost every street in Australia – for $60 billion less than Labor,” the truth has emerged.
We will be left with a sub-optimal network, a mishmash of technologies, at a time when the world is increasingly going fibre. It will end up taking nearly as long and costing nearly as much as the all-fibre network it is replacing. The industry – and many around Turnbull – is increasingly realising this. But Turnbull will not budge.
Australia is the loser – all because of one man’s pride.
Scott Morrison, our immigration minister, is about as welcoming as a firing squad. He is like Hymie from Get Smart in his robotic determination to stop the boats at any cost. That goal apparently absolves him from any form of scrutiny, criticism, or human decency. He has a blank cheque and not one cent of it will be used to help refugees.
Despite our growing unemployment, he is also front and centre in providing Gina with her 457 visa workers – no rights, no entitlements, and if they complain they get deported.
Our minister for trade is working in secret, getting signatures on free trade agreements at any cost – it’s the announcement before the end of the year that’s important, not pesky details about tariffs and the fact that we no longer have the right to make our own laws without getting sued by global corporations.
Our attorney-general, the highest legal appointment in the land, thinks defending bigots is a priority. When faced with illegal actions by the government, steal the evidence, threaten journalists with gaol time and funding cuts, and introduce laws which remove official accountability. And while you’re at it, let’s bug the entire nation and make people prove themselves innocent. Even if they haven’t done anything wrong I am sure they have had evil thoughts.
Barnaby was last seen trying to hasten the demise of a few endangered species that are standing in the way of his dams.
Warren Truss is run off his feet planning roads, roads and more roads. Luckily they dumped that idea about releasing cost benefit analyses for any expenditure over $100 million. Thank god we got rid of that pesky head of Infrastructure Australia so we could get someone who understands our idea of what ‘independent body’ means. If the people want public transport they can build it themselves.
And how’s our girl doing? She’s looking tired to me. Making a case for a seat on the Human Rights Council whilst torturing refugees, or being sent in to bat at the world leaders’ conference on climate changed armed with nothing other than a rain forest conference, must shake even asbestos Julie’s steely resolve. The Armani suits and death stare can only get you so far. When in doubt, flirt.
I know you would like a mention Jamie Briggs but for the life of me, the only thing that comes to mind is your fawning introductions for our ‘Infrastructure Prime Minister’….
”To introduce our Tony, is what I’m here to do, and it really makes me happy to introduce to you…the indescribable, the incompatible, the unadorable….. Prrrriiiiimmme Minister!”
In the USA, the last 30 years has seen a reduction from 70% to 64% of GDP taken by Labour Meanwhile Norway and Sweden, held up as models of “responsible” capitalism, have seen Labour’s share fall from 64% to 55% of GDP and 74% to 65% of GDP respectively since the 1980s.The result is that economic power has shifted in favour of capital, and away from labour.
Bosses, desperate to drive down wages to make bigger profits, turn to cheaper and less regulated labour in the developing world as a method for raking in higher profits and putting pressure on workers in developed countries to accept a lower wage. As Gina warns we beer drinking, cigarette smoking bludgers, Africans are happy to work for $2 a day in the mines. That’s Globalization for you.
The problem is that wages also make up the demand which keeps businesses afloat. With less money in the pockets of wage-earners, fewer commodities can be purchased and so less profit can be made.
The short-sightedness of capitalists trying to make as much money as possible out of each investment with no thought for the future is a fundamental feature of the system. If one business passes up an opportunity to make loads of money through greater exploitation of workers or the environment, another would seize the chance to make the profit and put its competitor out of business. This is the nature of capitalist competition – they cannot afford a long-term perspective.
Coalition governments are advocates of increased privatisation of public services. It’s true that privatisation often brings profit to the new private owners and those rich enough to afford shares in the business, but it is also true that privatisation brings worse wages and conditions for the employees of the newly privatised business. The reason why private ownership of businesses increases profit is because these owners curtail services and force down the wages of all the workers in order to pay the handful of people at the top obscene salaries and bonuses.
Developments in technology and innovation have automated huge numbers of jobs thus cut costs. If businesses were to spend on education and training of highly-skilled workers they would be able to increase productivity, design new products and machinery and boost productive capacity overall. This, after all, is the point of any investment in a business. Instead we see sackings, closures and restructuring as business tries to produce less in order to maintain their profits.
Over 160 years ago, Karl Marx said that the “bourgeoisie is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him.“
Capitalism has developed to a point where technology and globalisation, phenomena that have the potential to improve the lives of all people hundreds of times over, are actually making the lives of wage-earners worse. It has reached a stage where we have the capacity to educate and train people, produce and build everything we need, and give everyone a decent standard of living. But we’re not able to realise this potential because of the unrelenting pursuit of profit.
The impoverishment of the masses and the concentration of wealth and capital in the hands of a small minority is a growing problem and as long as the right of private ownership to the means of production exists, and governments move further away from regulation, this process will prevail.
Tony Abbott’s entire approach to governing is textbook Capitalism, from his attack on penalty rates, the minimum wage, and unemployment benefits, his refusal to give industry assistance (unless you are a fossil fuel producer), privatisation of public assets, deregulation and removal of “green tape” (aka environmental protections) – every aspect is a short term grab for cash dictated and ruled by the “market”.
Oh for a government that had the courage to protect its people with a long term plan for general prosperity and well-being instead of a smash and grab raid for your rich friends.