The Prime Minister’s comments to world leaders in Brisbane for the G20 summit about domestic policy issues were “weird and graceless”, the Opposition Leader says.
Mr Abbott had told the leaders that his efforts to balance the budget were being frustrated by public opposition to his plans for a Medicare co-payment and deregulation of university fees.
“At best, this was weird and graceless. At worst, it was a disastrous missed opportunity for Australia,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.
“This was Tony Abbott’s moment in front of the most important and influential leaders in the world and he’s whinging that Australians don’t want his GP tax.”
The Prime Minister told the gathering that he had fulfilled his election pledges to axe the carbon tax and stop boats coming to Australia.
But he said his efforts to “get the budget under control” were proving “massively difficult” because of the unpopularity of proposed spending cuts.
“It doesn’t matter what spending program you look at, it doesn’t matter how wasteful that spending program might appear, there are always some people in the community who vote, who love that program very much,” he said.
Mr Abbott singled out the proposal to levy a $7 Medicare co-payment as something that was proving difficult to achieve.
“For a long time, most Australians who went to see a doctor have been seen at no charge and we would like to see a $7 co-payment for people who are going to see the doctor,” he said.
“In most countries this is not unusual … but it is proving to be massively difficult to get this particular reform through the Parliament,” he said.
Mr Abbott also said efforts to deregulate the higher education sector were also being stymied.
“That’s going to mean less central government spending and effectively more fees that students will have to pay,” he said.
“We think that this will free up our universities to be more competitive amongst themselves and more competitive internationally but students never like to pay more.”
Mr Shorten said Mr Abbott had “missed the opportunity to show why Australia should be considered a world leader”.
“Instead he boasted of taking Australia backwards on climate change action, making it harder for Australians to go to university and pricing sick people out of getting the healthcare they need,” he said.
Greens leader Christine Milne said Mr Abbott had been “shown up” by US president Barack Obama, who has pledged $US3 billion to a global climate fund and signed up to ambitious emissions targets in a joint agreement with China.
“Tony Abbott is showing what a small-minded and insignificant player he is by whining about domestic politics instead,” Ms Milne said.
“It beggars belief that Tony Abbott made a fool of himself, boasting about abolishing an emissions trading scheme in front of a room of people who are committed to taking action on global warming.”
Topics: political-parties, federal-government, brisbane-4000
As reported by John Kelly in September, there has been an ongoing investigation into Tony Abbott’s eligibility to enter Parliament as dual citizenship precludes you from running for office.
Tony Magrathea filed a Freedom of Information application to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Peta Credlin rejected his request stating, “The document you have sought is not an official document of a Minister and therefore there is no right of access to the document under the FOI Act.”
Ninemsm also asked for confirmation that the Prime Minister had renounced his British Citizenship. They were advised by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that, “The Prime Minister is an Australian citizen and does not hold citizenship of any other country.”
Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of the Parliamentary and Government Branch, apparently disagrees with Credlin’s stonewalling.
On October 8 he responded to a FOI application lodged by Jan Olsen with the following:
Having regard to my knowledge of where documents potentially relevant to the applicant’s request would be held, if they existed, the following locations were searched:
- The Department’s file management system
- The Department’s current and former ministerial correspondence database
- Computer drives of relevant branches in the Department
- Email accounts of current officers in relevant branches in the Department
As a result of these searches, no relevant documents were found in the Department.
I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to identify documents relevant to the applicant’s request and that no documents relevant to the request are in the possession of the Department.
The British Home Office, following a FOI request, have also been unsuccessful in finding Tony’s RN form which relinquishes British citizenship.
I wonder where Credlin gets her information from and why she is keeping it a secret.
And now another rather ironic possible connection has emerged.
In the Sue vs Hill case, Henry Sue, a voter from Queensland, disputed the election of Hill and filed a petition under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in the High Court of Australia, sitting in its capacity as the Court of Disputed Returns. Sue argued that on the date of Hill’s nomination to the Senate she was still a citizen of the United Kingdom and thus, because of the operation of section 44 of the Australian Constitution, was ineligible to be elected to the Parliament of Australia.
Terry Sharples, a former One Nation candidate who had stood for the Senate in the 1998 election as an independent candidate, made a similar petition. Because both cases involved constitutional questions, and were substantially identical, they were heard together from 11–13 May 1999.
In 1998, Abbott privately agreed to bankroll Terry Sharples, a disaffected One Nation member, to take legal action against Pauline Hanson.
Less than 2 weeks later, he categorically denied to the ABC that he had done so, and 18 months later he repeated the lie, this time to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Deborah Snow. But when she confronted him with his signed personal guarantee, he said that:
‘…misleading the ABC is not quite the same as misleading the Parliament as a political crime’.
He then created a slush fund he called Australians for Honest Politics and raised $100,000 for it from 12 people he declined to name. The fund began bankrolling more court actions against Hanson and her party.
Could Tony’s slush fund have financed the Sharples vs Hill case?
I wonder if Geoffrey Robertson might be interested in taking on a crowd-funded People vs Abbott case?
Tony Abbott has declared he will make the case for changing the tax system and the federation, but said the outcome will depend on community acceptance.
Again striking a cautious note as he tries to pave the way for big reforms, Abbott told a Business Council of Australia dinner:
“As a conservative, I’m not inclined to force reforms on an unwilling people – rather I’m inviting our people to discuss how we can grow and be our best selves”.
The Prime Minister this week has pressed the need for a broad overhaul of the federation, while also indicating it might in the end prove too hard. He’s also opened the prospect of changing the GST, but told the Coalition parties today that would only happen if all states agreed.
He said tonight: “The white paper on the reform of Australia’s tax system is not about extracting more revenue and the white paper on the reform of the federation is not about more power to Canberra.
“Instead, reform aims at a simpler and fairer tax system with more incentive for all Australians to follow their dreams. Reform aims at a simpler and more efficient system of government where people know who does what and know who to blame when things go wrong.”
He said the lesson of history showed that serious reform took time. “That’s why it must start now if it is to come to fruition within the next five years.”
He invited the Labor Party “to join Team Australia and think of our country and not the next election”.
But Labor this week has homed in on Abbott raising the GST as foreshadowing another broken promise. Before the election he promised no change in the GST “full stop”.
Abbott said the last time Australia had big tax reform, the BCA “was leading the charge”, and asked what it would do now to make tax reform and reform of federalism happen.
“We will only get change if the people who do believe in it are prepared to fight for it.”
Introducing Abbott, BCA president Catherine Livingstone said tax reform and reform of the federation were a “critical complement” to other initiatives the government had underway.
“The Business Council will continue to do all that we can to facilitate well-informed national discussion and the identification of common ground that makes change possible,” she said.
“The next five years will be crucial to the Australian economy making a successful transition – to having the sustainable capacity to generate the jobs of the future.”
In parliament, Treasurer Joe Hockey said he had tried to obtain from Treasury modelling on changing the GST and the household impact after it had been in the media. But Treasury had told him it was done for the former government and he could not have it.
Candy for the BCA what BS
Despite the angry bluster from Abbott, Hockey and the mining industry, the ANU’s decision to divest from fossil fuels is not only ethical, but make makes sound economic sense. Lachlan Barker reports.
John Hewson and Malcolm Fraser blast Liberals over ANU divestment…
The decision by the Australian National University (ANU) to divest $16 million of its billion dollar plus portfolio out of fossil fuels has attracted volleys of abuse from the Federal Government, the mining industry and the conservative press.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the decision “stupid”, Treasurer Joe Hockey accused the university of being “removed from the reality” of what drives the economy and creates jobs.
Sandfire Resources, one of the companies whose stocks the ANU divested, threatened legal action.
It’s been a hell of a storm for the ANU and things aren’t over yet.
Indeed, ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young provided the university with an out, saying early last week:
‘Our consultants stand by their assessments, which we have found persuasive, but should new information come to hand, or flaws become evident in the methodology involved, we would naturally reconsider the assessments.’
But as you will see below, the players who provided the advice to the ANU have no doubts.
And unfortunately for carbon fans, it has put divestment on the front page, with other universities now coming under the spotlight to see if they too will divest.
The ANU then made their decision to make a tiny divestment — less than two per cent of its portfolio. At that, the floodgates of abuse were opened.
Among the vehement outpourings was a story in the Australian Financial Review, headlined ‘Consultant to Rewrite ‘Flawed’ ANU Report’, by Ben Potter.
Well CAER wasn’t having that, and they released a statement in response:
The Centre for Australian Ethical Research (CAER) completely rejects today’s article by Ben Potter in the Australian Financial Review.
CAER categorically stands by the research it supplied to the Australian National University.
The AFR article is factually incorrect and Mr Potter was aware of this prior to publication, but has chosen to publish anyway. CAER will be seeking a retraction from the AFR.
I contacted the AFR and asked if they will be printing a retraction, but have had no response.
Then EIRIS (Empowering Responsible Investment) weighed in.
The current controversy regarding the Australian National University’s (ANU) decision to divest from seven stocks in their investment portfolio has involved some serious misrepresentation of the role of their research provider, CAER.
EIRIS, as a global leader in the provision of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research, stands by CAER, EIRIS’s Australian research partner, and the methodology it has used to provide research to the ANU.
The market begs to differ as well, as it looks like the investors are, at least at the moment, moving out of fossil fuels and mining in general.
Further support for the ANU’s decision to get out of fossil fuels would appear to be the languishing price of thermal coal.
From a recent peak of US$140 in December 2010, the price of this energy generation source has since dropped steadily such that, in July this year, Australia began officially mining thermal coal at a loss.
Production costs for thermal coal in Australia are presently US$74 a tonne. In July 2014 the price dipped below that mark to US$73.66, in August it held steady at $73.86, before September came and the price dropped 4.35% to US$70.65.
Hardly a good investment Tony
Foreign Aid inducement plus costs will abrogate responsibility.
It will be a silenent “operational matter”
Cambodia is a refuge for political expediency
September 27, 2014
The Abbott government’s squalid deal with one of Asia’s poorest and most corrupt nations reflects badly on Australia, harms our regional ambition to be seen as a friendly neighbour and abdicates our moral responsibility to the vulnerable.
‘Their standards are not our standards – and it is very wrong of Australia to send people who have come into our care, however briefly, to a country whose standards are so different from ours.”
How two faced can you get? This was Tony Abbott’s withering critique, from opposition in 2011, of Labor’s ill-judged people-swap with Malaysia. The Coalition at the time refused to support the Malaysian deal, arguing – as did The Age – that the rights of asylum seekers could not be protected. Those very same doubts apply in at least equal measure to Cambodia.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, having initially refused to acknowledge the negotiations with Cambodia with his regrettable contempt for public information, has now made a risible attempt to dress up this deal as a sign of that country’s progress. But, politically, the country is moribund. Prime Minister Hun Sen has preserved his grip on power for more than two decades by intimidation and repression.
Australia to strike a deal that promises Cambodia an additional $40 million in aid over four years, to accept refugees whom Australia itself has refused to accept, smacks of exploitation.
Offshore processing of refugee applicants in Nauru and Papua New Guinea is an attempt to evade Australia’s international obligations; now, by paying to send refugees to Cambodia, the government is similarly attempting to buy its way out of the responsibility to resettle people found to be fleeing persecution.
It is extraordinary that, beyond the additional $40 million in aid, the government has entered into this deal with an apparent blank cheque, to pay for the costs of providing for refugees in Cambodia. Mr Morrison has conceded the cost is unknown.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/cambodia-is-a-refuge-for-political-expediency-20140926-3gqby.html#ixzz3ETRZiuU3
There is no economic argument for what Morrison is doing. If 20,000 adult refugees were settled to become tax payers of this country at the lowest level $10-15k it would bring the government approx $300 mill or over $2 billion income over the next 5 years and that’s only one group of 20,000. What’s our reputation as a global citizen worth. Nothing it would appear to this government. Immigration,Climate,Security,Welfare,Education have become the most regressive policies in the Western World.
Overwhelmingly they are negative. Only Rupert Murdoch’s paid liars and Michelle Grattan have a kind word, it seems. Catalogue of failures: broken promises, outright lies, excruciating gaffes, internal policy disputes, damaged relations with regional neighbours, inability to frame a fair budget, shifting wealth and income from the poor to the rich, climate vandalism, posturing in distant conflicts and inept attempts at jingoistic nationalism.
Let’s not be too cynical the Government has certainly stopped news of the boats and has ended reports of drownings. Some have hailed Abbott’s diplomatic ‘victories’ abroad. True, these generate positive press at home. But overseas?
More than 35 issues in the last year have generated news stories abroad ridiculing Abbott and Australia. Examples include:
Far more scathing assessments have appeared in other languages elsewhere. This journal has linked to about 65 media reports in more than 30 countries scoffing at Australia in recent months.
Surely it was obvious that Abbott in Opposition was dispensing slogans, negativism, half-truths and blatant untruths, but had no actual plan for government. This was openly admitted in June, when Abbott announced he would start looking at reforms to the tax system, with a white paper due at the end of 2015. He is attempting to run a government by media. Murdoch Media and that’s the lazy way which has come back to bite him.
‘’Everyone knows that our Prime Minister is a liar. He might even be the worst amongst the world leaders. He is certainly the worst this nation has ever seen. Many of our most respected journalists and media commentators have said so. He has even admitted he is a liar himself. The evidence is so abundant, so overwhelmingly copious that it is beyond contradiction. It is fair to say that in general the populace accepts his lying as a fact. I and many others have listed them, quoted them, itemised, analysed them and exposed them in crystal clarity. Even members of his own party have accepted that he is a liar of nefarious intent. And his sheer indifference to the fact that he lies together with his lack of conscience about it I find sickening. The list is as long as a toilet roll. Only people like Jones and Bolt seek to convince people otherwise.’’
One has to understand
Abbott leads a men’s club who can be divided into four groups: the religious right; the corporatist deal-makers; those who resemble the American Tea Party; and the technological luddites who deny science. They are a ministry of aging men with little practical work life experience and obscure views often deep-seated in neoconservative principles. Conservative men who can speak at will about what they oppose but have difficulty articulating what it is they believe in, or when they do it is clouded in the hue of feral, often hysterical, extremist privileged morality.
Prime ministerial lies, about-faces and broken promises are as follows:
Tony Abb0tt 32 so far and it’s his first year
Gough Whitlam: 7
Malcolm Fraser: 52
Bob Hawke: 4
Paul Keating: 3
John Howard: 41
Tony Abbott (as minister): 17
Kevin Rudd: 4
Julia Gillard: 6
1. Does not spend his first week as Prime Minister with an Aboriginal community – 14 September 2013. This promise was made in front of indigenous elders and participants at the Garma Festival on 10 August 2013, this is a live recording.
2. Fails to “stop the boats” – 23 September 2013. This promise was repeated so many times I can’t count. Here’s Abbott’s 2013 campaign launch speech.
3. Breaks his promise to support Gonski – 25 November 2013 and 13 May 2014. Fails to commit to future funding or to require States to match the Commonwealth funding commitment. See paragraph two from Christopher Pyne on 29 August 2013
4. Breaks its NBN election promise of giving all Australians access to 25 megabits per second download speeds by 2016 – 12 December 2013 This was the Coalition’s policy they took to the election first announced 9 April 2013.
5. Breaks his election promise of no cuts to education by cutting funding for trade training centres in schools on 17 December 2013. He made this promise at the National Press Club on 2 September 2013 and in writing on 5 September 2013 as part of their policy commitments.
6. Breaks a promise to make no cuts to health. He made this promise at the National Press Club on 2 September 2013 and in writing on 5 September 2013 as part of their policy commitments. This promise was first broken on 27 November 2013 when they cut funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council
7. Breaks a promise to make no cuts to health on 17 December 2013 when they cut $150 million from hospitals and health services.
8. Fails to provide the promised customs vessel to monitor whaling operations in the Southern Ocean – 23 December 2013 Promise made by Greg Hunt –
9 April 20139. Breaks a promise to provide fibre-to-the-premises for all Tasmanians for the National Broadband Network. This promise was confirmed my Malcolm Turnbull on 17 August 2013 and confirmed as broken by the NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski on 13 February 2014.
10. Breaks a promise to introduce the paid parental leave scheme he took to the election on 30 April 2014 by reducing the promised benefit for those earning above $100 000.
11. Breaks promise of “no cuts to the ABC or SBS” by cutting $43.5 million from the ABC and SBS.
12. Breaks a promise of “no new taxes” by introducing a deficit tax rise of two percentage points for people earning more than $180,000 a year.
13. Announced to sacking of 16,500 public sector workers as whole Departments are abolished despite promising only 12,000 job losses and through natural attrition.
14. Breaks a promise of “no new taxes” by introducing a fuel levy.
15. Reduction in foreign aid budget of $7.9 billion over five years despite promise to not exceed $4.5 billion and cut via indexation.
16. Increases the pension age to 70 from 2035 after promising no changes to pensions
17. Cuts to old age pension by indexing to CPI, while it was promised there would be no changes.
18. Scraps The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which was set up to support new and emerging renewable technologies and in doing so breaks an election promise.
19. Tears up Federal Government’s agreement with states and territories to help fund increasing health costs despite promise of no cuts to health.
20. Breaks a promise to make no cuts to health with a $368 million cut from preventative health measures.
21. Reduces the Medicare benefit for optometry services and allows optometrists to charge more, despite promise to not cut health budget.
22. Axes the Charles Sturt University’s dental and oral health clinics, despite promise to not cut health budget.
23. Abolishes Medicare locals, despite promise to not cut health budget.
24. Breaks a promise to spend $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund by committing less than half this amount in the budget.
25. Breaks a promise to have one million more solar roofs across Australia and at least solar towns.
26. Breaks a promise not to cuts funding to health by dramatically cutting hospital funding.
27. Breaks election promise and slashes funding to Landcare
28. Breaks promise that no public servants will be forced into redundancy after revelations that two public servants in the Department of Industry have been made involuntarily redundant since September.
29. Breaks promise that no public servants will be forced into redundancy as it is revealed that at least 30 staff in Treasury will be made involuntarily redundant.
30. Breaks a promise not to grant permanent residency to people arriving by boat by granting a visa to a least one refugee
31. Breaks a promise to amend the race hate laws