Kaye Lee accurately describes what happened to my feelings as an Australian the day Tony Abbott took over the leadership of the Liberal Party and became PM in 2013. It wasn’t that IT”S TIME feeling was it. (ODT)
There have always been incidents of nepotism, rorting, broken promises, moral failures, poor decisions, and even straight out lies, in politics. So why does it feel so bad now?
In the past, despite the shortcomings of the government of the day and the failings of individuals in parliament, there was an overall feeling that progress was being made. Not in all areas at once and certainly not equally across society, but we were generally moving forward.
Until Tony Abbott fell into the leadership of the Liberal party.
From then on in, it has been a constant onslaught of combative negativity, destructive and misleading messaging, and a focus on tearing things down rather than building a better future.
It seems astonishing that, in a country where one in eight adults and more than one in six children are living in poverty, and many of those are living in “deep poverty”, the Coalition’s election focus is on tax concessions and tax cuts for the wealthy – and they seem to be getting away with it.
In 2004-05, the top income tax rate kicked in at a taxable income of $70,000. Four years later, that had risen to $180,000. Meanwhile, the tax free threshold remained at $6000 from 2000-01 until Julia Gillard increased it to $18,200 to compensate for the introduction of carbon pricing in 2012-13.
When Tony Abbott got rid of the mining tax, he also repealed many payments to low income earners, including income support benefits to children of soldiers killed or seriously injured in service.
Broadly speaking, the coming federal election seems to be coalescing around three main issues.
Young people particularly see climate change as the defining issue. They are being joined by angry grandparents concerned about the world we are leaving to our descendants, as well as many of the business and farming community who are realising the economic threat posed by inaction.
It has come to the point where Liberals are openly admitting that certain elements in the party room will not allow any policy progress in this area and apparently the leadership is too weak to override this noisy minority. They are basically telling us that we have to vote the deniers out if we want to protect the environment.
As journalists do their best to try to get Josh Frydenberg to say ‘sorry’ about the government’s opposition to a banking Royal Commission, they should not be surprised to be met with a stupid grin accompanied by a whole heap of “it’s Labor’s fault”. That’s the way these guys roll.
When David Speers asked federal member for Fadden, Stuart Robert, about Scott Morrison’s jobs promise, Robert replied they would be full-time jobs just like the million that Tony created.
This, of course, is rubbish.
When pressed about it, he dithered around finally saying “We’ll see what the economy throws up”.
Exactly. Unless the government starts re-employing some of the multitude of people they have sacked, it will not be them creating jobs.
Perhaps Robert’s slip could be forgiven, except it adds to a very long list which begs the question of why this guy is still in parliament let alone being recently promoted to the position of Assistant Treasurer in the latest iteration of the ATM government.
In October last year, when forced to repay $38,000 he’d billed to taxpayers for home internet charges – $2000 a month, 20 times more than the average claimed by other MPs – Robert told a local radio station that “I probably just wasn’t paying enough attention” as the bills went through.
Didn’t Morrison tell us the banks didn’t need a Royal Commission? It showed just how much they were ripping off retirees and who was supporting them. (ODT)
The same old dog-eared Liberal Party playbook has been dragged out again with Liberal Party federal director Andrew Hirst warning voters about Labor’s “great big new tax on retirement savings”.
ProMo has embraced the talking points, accusing Labor of wanting to “take to hardworking retirees who’ve done nothing more than do the right thing and save for their retirement and try to get ahead”.
Wasn’t it Scott Morrison’s 2016 budget that caused over 330,000 Age Pensioners to have their entitlements cut with at least 100,000 of those losing all pension entitlements?
And didn’t the then Treasurer for Graphs also try to retrospectively introduce a lifetime cap on non-concessional superannuation contributions (NCC) of $500,000?
“The economy” may have been growing for 28 years but, as far too many people are painfully aware, that growth has not been shared. Is Scott unaware that one in eight adults and more than one in six children are living in poverty, and many of those are living in “deep poverty”? They endure daily the cruel lessons of an economy which favours the wealthy.
Every move made by the Coalition is designed to reward investors, clinging to the belief that that will somehow magically translate into bounty for all. But as we have seen, investors get very narky if asked to share any of their gains.
And nowhere is it more true than in a country that would sacrifice the Great Barrier Reef for profits for foreign coal companies. A country that would endanger its water resources for the profits of foreign agribusinesses and mining companies. A country that would hold traumatised children hostage to deter others from asking for our help. A country that ignores a Statement from the Heart of its Indigenous people inviting us to move forward together towards a life of dignity for all. A country whose elderly languish in inadequately staffed nursing homes.
We must do better.
The Coalition’s Monash Forum has called for us to pull out of the Paris Agreement. We have reneged on our commitment to contribute to the UN Green Energy Fund. We have earned the Colossal Fossil Award for obstructing progress at climate change talks. Unlike other countries, we are using carryover credits in an accounting trick to make it look like we are meeting targets when we are not.
Professor Leo Dobes, a retired senior public servant and associate professor at the Australian National University, told the ABC that there are not enough skilled economists left in the public service, describing “a woeful lack of ability and knowledge in that area.”
Outsourcing has been sold as a more efficient way to do things. And hasn’t that gone well – NOT!
The cost of Government IT has spiralled from $5.9 billion in 2012-13 to nearly $10 billion a year, with 24 per cent of that going to Boeing, IBM and Telstra.
That was more than they spent on Newstart.
The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission’s final report will be provided to the South Australian Governor by 1 February 2019. That has the potential to embarrass both the NSW government and Barnaby Joyce right before elections.
February 1st is also the deadline for the banking Royal Commission to deliver its final report to the Governor-General. We have already heard enough to know that it will be damning which only underlines the government’s poor judgement in characterising it as a “political stunt” by Labor.
February is also the month when the Federal Court is due to hear the case regarding the media tip-off from Michaelia Cash’s office about the raids on AWU offices, providing she hasn’t succeeded in having the subpoenas set aside as she has said she would.
The case against Kathy Jackson, that ‘lion of the union movement’, may take a little longer. It is due for court mention in January but a tentative trial date of April 29 has been set because “she’s yet to secure funding for her legal representation.”
In the few sitting days available, the government will have to deal with a crossbench determined to facilitate medical evacuations from Manus and Nauru.
And there will still be the question about what to do with all those pesky gay teachers.
When pressed to give examples of religious discrimination today, Scott floundered until Christian helpfully stepped in recounting how a person who had expressed opposition to marriage equality on Facebook got sacked and had to sue for unfair dismissal. Which was kind of ironic as he was announcing the government’s support for religious schools to sack teachers if they express support for marriage equality.
Scott then remembered that someone had been blocked from entering a meeting somewhere because of their religion…then remembered they want to enshrine the right of religious groups to stop people from entering their premises so kind of mumbled something about exemptions.
As I read the principles and recommendations from the ASX, the thing that struck me most forcibly is that there are no similar expectations or accountability for government and parliamentarians.
Does Kelly follow Bolt or Bolt Follow Kelly? (ODT)
Kelly is engaged in an intense campaign of deliberate misinformation about climate change. Amongst articles from very dubious sources and lots more about weather at specific locations (as opposed to climate), he occasionally links to genuine research from credible organisations.
Invariably, when he does so, he will cherry pick one piece of data, or a sentence or two, and completely ignore the context, other results, and the actual conclusions from the research.
Craig declares in Trump-like capitals, ANOTHER PROPHECY BITES THE DUST : MORE SNOW, NOT LESS, and links to the following graph of Winter Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, a well-respected source.
Aside from not understanding the difference between weather and climate, the stuff Kelly posts at times is doctored. Take the following graphic:
Continually fighting against things has drained both the government and the people. We need leaders who can explain why we should do things, not why we shouldn’t.
A few days before he was rolled from the top job, Malcolm Turnbull said “We will not hesitate to use a big stick, as we did with gas, to make sure the big companies do the right thing by you, their customers.”
Well the latest quarterly update from the AEMO shows just how effective that “big stick” was with the gas companies.
Wholesale gas prices increased across all markets compared to Q3 2017 despite a year-on-year reduction in demand (largely due to reduced gas-powered generation (GPG) demand). Average quarterly gas prices in the Declared Wholesale Gas Market (DWGM) in Victoria and Brisbane’s Short-Term Trading Market (STTM) were the second highest on record.
And it doesn’t look like getting better any time soon.
So many important discussions this nation must have are being hijacked by sensationalist scaremongering and the caterwauling from the extreme right.
In true Trump fashion, racial profiling is on the rise. Muslims, Africans and asylum seekers are vilified in a frenzy of xenophobia. Aboriginal disadvantage is due to laziness and giving them too many free handouts.
We can’t even fix the tragic plight of the refugees on Manus and Nauru. They are “quietly” bringing people here they tell us in media reports that are supposed to satisfy the growing calls for immediate action whilst saying “shhhhhhh don’t tell anyone”. At the same time, to satisfy the indignant right, they continue to fight tooth and nail in court to stop these people being freed.
Any discussion about migration quickly simplifies to they are taking our jobs, making housing unaffordable, and clogging our cities.
Meanwhile the IPA is doing business as usual. The Falnski complaint is rather a Falski one (ODT)
“When was the last time we had a business leader come out on tax issues, or regulation issues, or industrial relations issues?”
Apparently, Mr Falnski has missed every business leader, every time they speak publicly, calling for lower taxes and less regulation. Perhaps he is unaware that business lobby groups make submissions to the Fair Work Commission on all industrial relations matters.
Member for Hughes and chairman of the Coalition backbench environment and energy committee, Craig Kelly, seems to split his time between appearing on Sky After Dark and 2GB, and posting clickbait headlines on his facebook page.
But the most cursory investigation shows Craig is either deliberately misrepresenting the articles he links to by cherry-picking a sentence or two, or he is a gullible fool who doesn’t bother reading the stuff he is being fed by others. Considering the volume of links he posts, I would suggest the latter.
Governments must be honest with us about these threats. They must provide us with the most up-to-date information. They must allow us to take part in the decision-making about priorities.
The consequences of their obfuscation and inaction and downright lies are becoming graver by the minute.
Forgetting the noise and arguments, the marketing and campaigning – a government’s job (and the job of us all) is to make the world a better place.
You don’t do that by worshipping wealth above well-being.
You don’t do that by supporting the fossil fuel industry and looking to join the world’s top ten arms manufacturers.
You don’t do that by engaging in rampant land-clearing to make way for livestock, inappropriate crops, or urban sprawls.
You don’t do that by habitat destruction of endangered species.
The experiment of government and business being hand-in-glove has failed.
In the relentless pursuit of profit, businesses have reneged on their part of the social contract.
In the pursuit of endless growth, and pandering to big money donors, government has ignored its duty to act in the best interests of the people.
In order to give some substance to his claim that the Coalition are for lower taxes, Scott Morrison has chosen to bring forward by five years tax cuts already legislated for small and medium businesses. To use his oft-repeated phrase, these are nothing new, they are ‘existing’ legislation, just fast-tracked for an election sweetener as Coalition governments always do.
According to ProMo, this will allow tradies and hairdressers and family businesses to hire more people and give wage rises to their staff and invest more in their businesses.
Sounds good…until you actually examine the real implications of this announcement and which businesses it will affect.
Whoever wins the next election is going to face a monumental task to reduce our emissions in order to tackle the existential threat posed by climate change.
In one way, it would serve Scott Morrison right to have to face the consequences of his lies. But the country cannot afford someone who thinks prayer is the answer to the drought.
Our Prime Minister, the man charged with making the decisions on how to keep us safe, is a bald-faced liar.
Scott Morrison has nothing to say about the criminal behaviour of the banks. He has nothing to say about real problems like stagnant wages, sham contracting, or the death toll in the construction industry. And now he wants to leave construction workers with no representation.”
And they pretend we have an egalitarian society.
In his interim report into the banking Royal Commission, Commissioner Hayne pointed out that “Over the 10 years to 1 June 2018, ASIC’s infringement notices to the major banks have amounted to less than $1.3 million.”
Meanwhile, the other “tough cop on the beat”, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), has imposed fines totalling over $15 million against the CFMEU since 2005, with around 80 officials still facing courts on some 44 matters.
In one case alone in September last year, the CFMEU were fined a record $2.4 million over an “unlawful blockade” at Lendlease’s Barangaroo site. This ruling is currently under appeal.
In June, the CFMEU and an official were fined $51,300 for abusing and threatening construction workers on the Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia. The ABCC took legal action against the union and official Brad Upton after a 2015 incident during which he abused workers for not being members of the union, calling them “f—–g dog c—s”.
“This is a f—–g union site, we have other union sites starting up next year and if you’re not in the union, you can f–k off too, you are not welcome.”
Federal Court of Australia Justice Michael Barker said the official’s behaviour and conduct at the meeting of employees on December 2015 was “appalling”.
It shows that “Australia’s emissions for the year to March 2018 were 1.9 per cent below emissions in 2000.” That is a long way from the 5% reduction we committed to.
It also shows that “Emissions for the year to March 2018 increased 1.3 per cent” continuing the rising trend ever since they dumped carbon pricing.
Scott Morrison has recently assured us that Australia would meet its 26-percent emissions reduction target by 2030 “in a canter“. He is offering absolutely no proof of how and no policy to achieve it. Apparently, it will just happen of its own accord due to “improved technology.”
On the release of the interim report from the banking Royal Commission, Josh Frydenberg has hit the airwaves to slam ASIC. He must think we have very short memories.
When Tony Abbott cut $120 million from the ASIC budget in 2014, ASIC Chairman, Mr Greg Medcraft, issued a statement saying staffing levels would have to be cut by over 200 and that “our proactive surveillance will substantially reduce across the sectors we regulate, and in some cases stop.”
In 2016, Scott Morrison announced reforms to shift the regulator to a “user-pays” funding model – in which the institutions it regulates are forced to pay for the ongoing cost of their regulation – so taxpayers no longer have to fund its operations.
The user-pays model was slated to begin operation at the start of the 2017-18 financial year, but little detail has been provided by the government to explain how it will work.
Morrison said if the regulator required any extra money in the future, it could claim more money from Australia’s banks.
Then, in May this year, Morrison cut another $26 million from ASIC.
Australia Day should not be a day for drunken white yobbos with Southern Cross tattoos and flag capes to terrorise anyone who doesn’t look like them, as happened in Scott’s own electorate in 2005.
Why should we celebrate a foreign state invading and claiming this country to use as a penal colony? I am fairly certain my ancestors who were transported here as convicts would not have been celebrating either.
Let’s get real here. The date is nothing to celebrate. Being Australian is. Surely, as a civilised society, we can consider others’ feelings and avoid deliberate hurt.
Can we cast off the shackles of a colonial past and move forward together in respect and understanding? Or are we to bow to the Anglophiles and sink into the hatred and division fostered by the ugly Hansonites?
Yesterday we were subjected to a disgusting abuse of parliamentary privilege by a man who feels his actions should be beyond scrutiny.
Peter Dutton, outraged at what he calls a “personal smear campaign” against him, stood up in parliament and had what could only be described as a hissy fit, launching a cowardly and very personal attack on witnesses providing evidence to a Senate committee.
He also carried with him, every time he stood up, two large folders very obviously labelled with the names Chris Bowen and Tony Burke – the implication being ‘come for me and I will go for you’.
Asked to explain the rationale behind granting some people visas whilst rejecting others, his role in securing jobs for mates, and a possible conflict of interest regarding his businesses, he went into head-kicking mode.
All of the questions asked of Mr Dutton related to his actions as a Minister and his eligibility to sit in parliament. None of those are personal smears. They are legitimate questions.
Unfortunately, our Minister for Home Affairs does not think he should be held accountable and views any questioning as a personal affront. If he has done nothing untoward, why is he so angry? Why does he feel the need to impugn others?
When Tony Abbott first put his hand up for the Liberal Party leadership back in 2007 (withdrawing before the ballot), Paul Keating called him the “young fogey” – an apt description of an anachronistic man whose personal beliefs are out of touch with those of the majority of Australians.
Scott Morrison assures us that he has installed a “new generation” of leaders but it is increasingly apparent that what we now have is a government full of young fogies.
One lesson we should all take from the Royal Commission into Insititutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is the horrific ongoing damage caused by the veil of secrecy drawn by the Catholic Church, and others, over the crimes that were being perpetrated on innocent children in their care. That enabled the abusers to continue.
That same veil of secrecy has been drawn by the government over the plight of people who came to us seeking asylum. Instead of offering sanctuary, we incarcerated them indefinitely causing irreparable damage to children and their families once again.
When their meaning is represented by their style (ODT)
“They’d been sobbing in shock and disgust at the threats and intimidation they’d been subjected to by the goons and knuckledraggers trying to gather the signatures on Dutton’s behalf.
“One of them purports to be a conservative family man of traditional Christian values. To those women now, he is just a pig.”
Dumped Minister for Small and Family Business, Craig Laundy, also spoke of the intimidation used by Dutton’s camp in an interview with 2GB.
“Some of the behaviour this week… I’ve had one female senator and two female members of the house, when it came to the letter – the petition, that were physically stood over to sign it, and they refused. That sort of intimidation and bullying is something you can actually file a claim against.”
When Abbott went into the mode that I recognised so well from our uni days – the personal attacks, the bullying, the need for an audience, the misogyny, the homophobia – I got worried and figured I needed to do my bit to show the real Abbott because it seemed others couldn’t see it.
But it wasn’t Abbott I should have been focusing on. The Labor Party imploded and handed this inadequate man the reins of the country.
This whole debacle can be sheeted directly to Tony Abbott.
Then the wrecker won in 2013 and threw out any certainty the industry thought they had. Investment in new generation ground to a halt. No-one was going to invest in coal and the rest of the world were more than happy to accept their investment in renewables.
Emissions started rising again for the first time in a decade and energy prices continued to rise astronomically, much higher than any increases due to the carbon price.
But Tony couldn’t care less about that as his tweet this weekend showed.
“To have a chance of winning the next election, the Coalition must create a policy contest on energy, not a consensus.”
Tony Abbott is a narcissistic anachronism who seethes with anger and resentment at being dumped by his own party less than two years into the gig he felt he was destined for.
Any idea that he gives the slightest shit about energy prices, or anything other than himself and his all-consuming desire for revenge, is laughable.
Christian Porter and Zed Seselja added a joint message.
This statement recognises that cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths; one that equips us to build a future where everyone belongs and has the chance to live a great life. It upholds the centrality of our democratic institutions and the rule of law, it highlights the importance of citizenship in our national identity, and it makes clear the responsibility we all have to respect our fellow Australians.
The above information comes from the Department of Home Affairs webpage.
I thought I’d share it before Prime Minister Dutton has it erased.
Tony Abbott is being widely dismissed in the media as having little influence in the Liberal Party today but I beg to differ.
Abbott is, in fact, very much the architect of today’s Liberal Party strategy.
Malcolm had a go at telling us there was never a more exciting time to be us and that innovation would solve all our problems.
But he failed dismally to excite the nation. Talk of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and innovation hubs meant nothing to an electorate struggling to get by with stagnant wages, insecure employment and inadequate welfare.
So Malcolm ripped up the science playbook and adopted the well-honed Abbott strategy of going for character assassination instead, with a fishing expedition hoping to find some mud that would stick.
Markson won the Kennedy award for breaking a story that been said she didn’t break(ODT)
According to the Liberal letterbox, Sharri Markson, “The Turnbull government will underwrite multi-billion dollar investments to build new coal-fired power stations…The Daily Telegraph understands Mr Turnbull will announce his support for the ACCC recommendation at [today’s] party room meeting.”
Except the ACCC didn’t recommend that at all Sharri.
Here is what they actually said:
It is easy to lie and cheat and steal and exploit. But infinitely more rewarding to know that you have done the right thing by others. We have to set our own standards. We have to honour our obligations, not because of fear of punishment, but because it is the right thing to do.
When you shake someone’s hand, whether physically or metaphorically, it should mean something.
Annual government expenditure is over $450 billion per year making it, by far, the biggest business in the country.
They decide what percentage of our income they will take and how they will spend it. They have total control over our common wealth and the ability to sell our assets as they please.
They make our laws. They can send us to war. They can choose to ignore existential threats like climate change.