Politics,Climate Change and Sundry issues

Politics,Climate Change and Sundry issues
for website listing my blogs : http://winstonclosepolitics.com

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Operation Bleedin’ Obvious. - The AIM Network

Operation Bleedin’ Obvious. - The AIM Network

Operation Bleedin’ Obvious.

I’ll keep this short.

Need money?  Here’s some:

Axe the Paid Parental Leave scheme.  Saving $22.2 billion over the forward estimates.

Axe Direct Action.  Saving $2.55 billion over the forward estimates.

Tax voluntary superannuation contributions at the employee’s marginal
tax rate.  Saving $17.8 billion this financial year and $20.7 billion
by 2016-17.

Axe the 50 per cent discount on capital gains tax.  Saving $5.4 billion, climbing to $7.6 billion by 2016-17.

Stop negative gearing.  Saving $4 billion a year.

Cap defence spending at $20 billion a year.  Saving $40 billion over the forward estimates.

Cancel the extra 58 fighter jets.  Saving $12.4 billion.

Reinstate the reporting obligation for car business use.  Saving $1.8 billion.

Axe the company tax cut.  Saving $4 billion a year.

Keep the mining tax.  Revenue of $3.4 billion over the forward estimates.

Increase the top marginal tax rate from 45 to 47 per cent and apply
it to all earnings over $150,000 rather than the existing threshold of
$180,000.  Revenue of $8.1bn over four years.

Introduce a Financial Transactions Tax.  I don’t have current figures
but if a 0.05% FTT were collected on Australian “over-the-counter” and
exchange traded market transactions between 2005-06 and 2008-09, it
would have raised $48 billion.

Are we there yet?

Get your hands off our kids, our elderly, our unemployed, our sick and disabled.  Threaten me again and I will get REALLY angry.

Monday, 25 August 2014

The world is turning it's back on our coal, so what's Abbott's plan for our future? - » The Australian Independent Media Network

The world is turning it's back on our coal, so what's Abbott's plan for our future? - » The Australian Independent Media Network

The world is turning it’s back on our coal, so what’s Abbott’s plan for our future?

The coalition are right about one thing, coal is one of Australia’s top earners. Coal brought in roughly AU $46 Billion in the 2013 fiscal year,
and is currently our second biggest export; no matter how much we love
renewables no one could argue that a fall off in demand could be very
damaging for our nations bottom line. But that is exactly what is
happening, our 2013 coal revenue, while still quite robust, was actually
down by 3.6% from 2012. And while some may posit that this is just a
statistical anomaly, (the 5 year growth trend was up 16% until 2012),
not everyone is convinced that what we are seeing isn’t just the first
dip on a imminent free fall decline.




Coking coal contract prices that peaked
in 2011 at $US330 per tonne, have now dropped to below $US120 a tonne,
which is threateningly close to the wrong side of a break even price.
So, with demand falling, prices dropping, and mines closing
it’s not totally ridiculous to assume that things could be about to get
worse for those of us heavily invested in the world of coal.


The sign posts are
clearly out there for everyone to see. China has banned the building of
new coal plants and has begun dismantling those that it already has, (in fact Chinese experts expect Beijing’s coal use to shrink to less than 10 per cent by 2017). That’s about two and half years away; which is, Mr Abbott, (in case you missed it), alarmingly close.




Base load renewables have been advancing at a rapid pace and are set to take over. As of 2011 the Gemasolar project,
located in the Spanish province of Andalucia, (the first
fully-operational commercial-scale solar farm in the world) has provided
base load electricity generation – 24 hours a day.  Since then the
technology has been improving, and new installations like the 394MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility are being put on drawing boards across the globe.


The fact is coal is in its death throws,
the only question is how fast will it die? While the Coalition clearly
think it will stagger on long enough to see out their parliamentary
terms (and secure any post parliamentary perks they may be set to
receive from their big mining buddies), trying to hold back the tide of
change is not likely to be in the best interests of the nation going
forward. We will simply be left behind in the wash up.


It is not enough for the government to
scream “budget emergency” and try to cut all of its expenditure on
middle and low income earners. We need a plan for how Australia intends
to earn its living into the future! Coal, no matter how much the
coalition may wish it, is not going to sustain us into the coming
century, (and as things look it may not even sustain us as far as the
next decade).  This is the REAL fiscal emergency, and making pensioners
pay at the doctors, or cutting young folk off the dole is not going to
come even close to addressing this issue.


So what are our options? First thing is
to look at what we already do well. Education is our third highest
export earner, (after iron ore and coal), and unlike iron ore or coal
(which we export as raw commodities) the education sector is one in
which we do a high level of value adding. It is a sector into which we
could expand exponentially. We have so many advantages, from being an
English speaking nation, low crime levels, high degree of cultural
diversity, and of course a quality product.


fund our future


But what is the coalitions vision?
Cutting course funding and hiking costs for local students is hardly
likely to raise the quality of our educational institutions or their
international standing. We have Christopher Pyne disingenuously citing
the global league tables for universities, ignoring the fact that the
system of academic ranking is weighted heavily toward research institutions, where as our universities are more geared toward teaching and employment outcomes. (Although that said Melbourne University is still ranked in the top 50).




Infrastructure projects that could bring
in off shore students, increase international partnerships, advance
research outcomes and encourage course sharing, like an effective NBN,
have been scuppered with a heedless disregard for their economic
potential or their necessity. Instead we are building more roads and dredging in the Great Barrier reef.




Which brings me to number six on our list
of top exports (or number two on our list of non-mining earners),
tourism and travel. Has Greg hunt got rocks in his head? Unlock the
pristine Tasmanian wilderness (one of the states greatest tourism
assets), dredge the great barrier reef, for a coal port? What the hell
is thinking? Tourism’s “brand Australia” is not primarily our cities; we
don’t have the museums and galleries full of cultural treasures like
London, New York, Paris or Berlin. We can not compete with the ancient
ruins of Greece or Rome or Egypt, what we have is pristine wilderness.
We have the reef, the rock, the beaches, the forests, kangaroos, kolas
and the outback. So why would we put our wining hand in the
environmental cross hairs? This is utter madness.


Another sector that has a great deal of as yet untapped potential is agriculture,
(when aggregated Australia’s agricultural exports are actually our
third largest earner). Australia is uniquely placed, as an island
continent, to provide high demand heirloom agricultural products, that
are untainted by GMO and GMO pollen drift, (an issue that has seen much of the USA’s agricultural output banned from sale in the EU and other markets across the globe).
It is also an area in which there are huge opportunities for value
adding. And yet what is the government doing? Cashing in on the issuing
licenses for coal seam gas exploration and extraction across swathes of
our best farming land. Recklessly ignoring the issues of ground water
contamination, massive releases of the greenhouse gas methane, and post
extraction land contamination. They are cynically trying to assuage
public opinion by quarantining minute portions of “farmland”, while
actually leaving most of our farms up the proverbial polluted creek.




There are so many things we do well.
Scientific research for example; although we don’t even have a science
minister at the moment, and the government is trying desparately to cut
funding to the CSIRO. Biotech, or retooling the automotive industry
toward the burgeoning renewable sector, Australia has a lot of options,
but the government appears to be ignoring them all in favor of throwing
its support behind the coal and broader mining sectors.


Untitled 2


In spite of Hobbott’s hysterical rhetoric
we don’t have a lot of debt, so is it really prudent to put the brakes
on the broader economy, and pull large amounts of money out of the
system just when are facing seriously declining sales of one of our lead


Granted I am not an economist, (although
they seem to get it wrong often as not), but I am someone who has been
in business, and I know this much, if the market for what you are
selling is falling you need to invest in new product lines, and sooner
rather than later. Selling down what you have, not investing in new
product lines, and keeping your fingers crossed in the vain hope your
customers will return is a sure fire recipe for business failure.


Just as Christopher Pyne keeps telling us
(vis a vis education), those that invest in their future will earn more
in the long run; but for some reason the government seems incapable of
rationally applying this logic to our nations’ current account. Instead
they are trying to convince us the world is not actually moving
forwards, and we Aussies will be happily shipping coal for years to


Maybe they are right, and we will all
ride the wave of coal fired global warming to infinite wealth and
happiness, but just in case that’s does’t work out for us, I for one
would like to know, what’s the plan B? Because simply cutting all
government spending is not going to help us if the bottom suddenly drops
out of the coal market, and we’ve failed to make other plans.

So please, tell us Mr Abbott, where’s the vision, and what is the plan?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The government needs to make the moral case - The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The government needs to make the moral case - The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The government needs to make the moral case


While budget policy recommendations such
as the Medicare copayment might be justified by by dry economic
evidence, the Coalition must also convince the public they are justified
in a moral sense. Maxine Montaigne writes.
It is now more than three months since the Abbott government released its first budget.
Amid the subsequent wrangling over controversial measures such as the
A$7 GP co-payment and re-indexing the fuel excise, most commentators
seem to agree on at least one thing: the Australian people are just not buying it.

economic policy is a difficult job, even for the party that has
historically been considered best at managing the economy - although
this too might be changing.
Part of the reason for this difficulty is that when faced with an
economic policy agenda, the public must be persuaded on two fronts. They
must believe the policy is justified by evidence, but they must also
agree it is justified in the moral sense.

These two sides of the
economic policy coin are generally termed "positive" and "normative".
Positive economics refers to economic statements or theories that are
"value-free" or objective. For example, "GDP grew by four per cent last
year" or "inflation is directly proportional to the money supply" are
"positive" economic statements. These statements are not necessarily
true, but they can be debated in an objective way, using evidence and
theory to test their validity.

Normative economics, in contrast,
relies on subjective beliefs about what economic policy should try to
achieve - for instance, keeping unemployment low or economic growth

Whether or not you think economists should have opinions
about morality, it is obvious that policymakers must take into account
both the positive and the normative aspects of a debate. Politicians
then must convince the public that their policy is the right thing to do
(normative) and that it will work (positive).

The Australian
public is just as unlikely to support an economic policy that is morally
justifiable but impossible to achieve - a 100 per cent employment rate,
for example - as one that is valid from a strictly economic view but
unpalatable ethically. Witness the public rejection of Howard's WorkChoices, for instance.

the budget, the government has failed to convincingly address both
sides of the economic debate in a coherent way. As a result its message
has been weak and confused.

As details of the specific policies
have been revealed, this inconsistency has become increasingly glaring.
Last week we saw a particularly good example of this confusion from
treasurer Joe Hockey, who argued that poorer people would not be as badly hit by changes to the fuel excise.

While his comments were not technically incorrect,
Hockey's real mistake was insisting that the change would not be
regressive, for which there is a fairly standard economic definition. By
invoking the Australian Bureau of Statistics data, he had hoped to win
the "positive" debate and prove the changes were fair from an economic
point of view - even if the average Australian did not see it that way.

But in the end, Hockey was left looking worse off in both his understanding of taxation and the lives of poorer Australians. He apologised for the comments days later.

Education minister Christopher Pyne has had similar trouble convincing
crossbenchers and the public of the merits of university fee
deregulation, including changes to loan repayments. Pyne's defence of
this policy rests on what he argues is an obvious economic truth: that a
deregulated market will always lead to higher efficiency, while
increased competition keeps prices low.

Pyne has also made a
normative case for the proposed changes, arguing that the average
Australian taxpayer should not be made to pay for the education of a
select few who go on to earn higher incomes.

However, when confronted with
the fact that the changes to fee indexation would disproportionately
hurt women and lower-income earners, Pyne refused to debate these
objective (positive) facts. He thus lost control of the message and the

While most Australians (and politicians) might think of
economics as a fairly unemotional topic, making a convincing case for
economic policy reform requires both the dry objectivity of "positive"
economics and the moral - even emotional - world of "normative"

A good policy message will contain the right balance of
these two things. An argument based only on data and theory will never
win over the public. One based only on emotion without hard evidence is
little more than "truthiness".

the government wants to win back voters' trust on the economy and get
its budget through, in whole or in part, this is a lesson for which our
leaders might want to revisit those old, worn textbooks from their
student days.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.

Montaigne received a Master of Economics from the Australian National
University and is now working towards a PhD in the History of Economic
Thought at the London School of Economics. View her full profile here.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Q&A and the Palmer method

Q&A and the Palmer method


(Image screenshot YouTube)

On last night’s fine, rare, important ABC Q&A, it became plain why Clive Palmer is the best political TV interviewee presently on our screens.

He understands what the Liberals have long understood — that to win
you must use crime, death, numbers, and love of country in your cause,
and do it plainly and succinctly. That he is more plain and succinct
than any politician now performing is due partly to his training in what
I would suspect is the Dale Carnegie school of public speaking, partly his own rogue affable native talent. But the ingredients of his method are worth noting.

Like the Liberals, he brings death into it. He says the six-month
no-pay punishment of the unemployed will cause youth suicide. There is
no argument against this — just as there is no argument against the
suggestion that drowning at sea is a misfortune we should try to
prevent, a highly successful tory argument Labor got sucked into, for
want of an alternative.

He also uses numbers plainly and plentifully, the way the tories do.

The money we are spending is a billion dollars a month on the
interest of what we owe and this is too much, they argue. Clive says we
are spending 12 per cent of our national income dealing with debt and
the OECD average is 73 per cent, so we aren’t in any trouble, and this
is even more powerful.

He alone, I suspect, is the reason why we as a nation no longer feel we’re in any sort of crisis, that the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ Abbott babbles about is a libellous untruth.

He says, correctly, we are criminals in our dealings with children,
on Nauru and Christmas Island, the which, in these post-Rolf Harris days
of regret and  apology, is not a good look. And he uses the phrase, "what’s best for all Australians", a lot when asked what’s in it for him. He uses plainly, as Howard did, the patriot card — and he seems to do it sincerely.

He uses, too, his variant on the Keynes Defence:

"When I find my opinion is wrong, I change it. What, sir, do you do?"

He asked, wonderfully, last night, why host Tony Jones had been, for so many years, so rigid in his beliefs.

Clive's greatest features are a nice voice and an ability to get to
the point – and through it – eleven syllables before you expect him to.

His defence of his Chinese dealings:

"I’m telling you that was a lie, and I’m suing them for it,
they’re mongrels, they’re Communists, they shoot their own people, they
have no justice system and they’re trying to steal Australia’s

or words to that effect, was thrilling in its danger and brevity.

It was a tremendous contrast to the somnolent parsonical method of Warren Truss,
which was not so much spin, you might say, as tailspin, and his
word-wasteful protests that things may not be as they seem, there may be
exceptions, like to the 40-job-applications-a-month rule in country

It is worth noting that only Truss, Bishop, Abbott, Hunt and Dutton
are visible now. Hockey, Abetz, Andrews, Brandis and Morrison have gone to ground, and the waspish gremlin Pyne appears infrequently.

Is this a Government on its last legs? There is a sacrificial moment coming, surely, soon.

After three ghastly Question Times, Hockey may go, or be pushed.
Bishop may then move against Abbott and somebody dull like Dutton or
Hunt come through the middle.

What seems slightly more likely, I think, is that Palmer, who has
everything to gain, will reject 95 per cent of the Budget and advise an
election. He can actually argue persuasively that he is the decisive man
in this parliament and the GG, therefore, must heed him. Not even a
rejection of Supply, or the threat of it, may be needed. And the GG may
comply, as Kerr did on Fraser’s advice in 1975.

It will be an interesting historic moment, after which the result is
known. The Coalition left with 10 seats, Palmer with 20, the Greens 5,
and Labor 115.

I will write more in these Propaganda Studies of the use of death and
numbers — what we used to call ‘blood and treasure’ in political

Going to war, as Howard did in 2001, brings success. "There will
never be a Labor Budget surplus, never ever" did too — a sly use of grim
numbers implied and stretching into a faraway bankrupt future.

Palmer pointed out that the U.S. has had 15 Budget surpluses in 60
years, yet it drives the world economy. That too is successfully using

Maybe Labor will get around to these classic tactics eventually. They’re not too hard to learn.

And, after that, as Palmer shows, winning will be a doddle.

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A plea to the left: push back harder - The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A plea to the left: push back harder - The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A plea to the left: push back harder

The Drum

Hundreds of people take to the streets of Brisbane for the Bust the Budget protest march.

Hundreds take part in a Bust the Budget protest march in Brisbane on July 6.
Audience submitted: Navin Sam

The undying budget backlash suggests that there are
limits to what a reactionary government can do when the people push
back, writes Tim Dunlop.

Normally you have to wait
for a government to reach its third or fourth term to see it fall into
the sort of disarray that the Abbott Government is currently

But less than a year into its first term,
the Coalition is looking like a tired, out-of-ideas bunch of third-term
incompetents heading for either defeat or a leadership change.

I'm not predicting either, but the vibe is unmistakable.

the walls come tumbling down, the schadenfreude on the left is
palpable. Having seen the Rudd/Gillard governments fall victim to the
excesses of the right-wing media in full anti-Labor, misogynist mode, it
is hardly surprising that some are feeling a little bit vindicated.

The man the media christened the "best opposition leader ever" has turned out to have feet of tofu and can't stand up for falling down.

Putting particular schaden into the left's freude is the matter of honesty and election promises.

the fuss Tony Abbott made over Julia Gillard's alleged lie about a
price on carbon, and the extraordinary lengths to which he went to
assure the public that he would - to paraphrase King Lear - never, never, never, never, never
wilfully mislead them, it is hardly surprising that his political
opponents are rubbing his supporters noses in the fact that, when it
comes to breaking promises, this prime minister makes the last one look
like an amateur.

Still, it is worth noting that as understandable as the left's glee is, schadenfreude will only get you so far.

It's not as if Labor wasn't the architect of many of its own problems. They actually did
change leaders in their first term of government, and then spent their
second term flaying each other via leaks to a complicit media.

it's not as if the Shorten-led Labor Party is stepping into the breach
created by the current Abbott misery with anything like a positive,
nation-rallying agenda that makes victory in 2016 inevitable.

mightn't be in favour of the sort of capitalism-without-a-safety-net
that the Coalition is trying to install, but to most people, Bill
Shorten looks pretty much like Tweedledee to Abbott's Tweedledum.

And this is where the real problem starts.

elite consensus around matters such as privatisation, trade
liberalisation and the various programs of deregulation may have
delivered increased national wealth, but they have also stripped
governments of key aspects of their sovereignty as well as upsetting
social relations in ways that fracture hopes and expectations of a
decent, fulfilling life.

Throw in the rising inequality that seems
to be part and parcel of the current economic dispensation, and it is
not hard to understand people's concerns.

In other words, for all
of our good fortune as a nation, we are suffering through a period of
massive dislocation and ill ease that goes beyond the ability of a
merely successful economy to even touch, let alone heal.

Thus we see popular disquiet reflected in various opinion polls, including a recent survey by the ANU.
They found that our faith in democracy as a form of government has
declined from 86 per cent in 2007 to 72 per cent now, and that only 43
per cent people thought it made a difference as to which party was in

A similar poll by Lowy Institute
found only 60 per cent of people think democracy is the best form of
government, and that figure drops to 42 per cent for those aged between
18 and 29.

More telling are actual voting figures. As was reported on Lateline on Monday night:

20 per cent of eligible voters effectively opted out of last year's
election. That's about three million Australians who either didn't enrol
to vote, didn't show up to vote or voted informally.
lack of authority within the political mainstream has real
consequences, not the least of which is the tendency of incumbents to
try and assert relevance by attacking the most vulnerable in the
community and by attempting to rally national unity in the face of
enemies real or concocted.

Tony Abbott's pathetic evocation of "Team Australia"
in regard to data retention is a classic case, but others are easy to
find: the whole disgusting cruelness of our asylum seeker policy; the
near-abusive treatment of the unemployed mooted in the budget; the
unseemly grasping of the destruction of flight MH17 as a national
rallying point; the income management being imposed on Aborigines in the
Northern Territory, a system that some want to extend to all welfare
recipients  - all of these are symptoms of a political class who mistake
authoritarianism for authority.

Still, despite all this, reaction to the budget has been instructive, and maybe we can claim it as a glimmer of hope.

The difficulties the budget is having don't arise, as leading voices in the media suggest, from an "unruly, populist Senate"; nor are they caused by the "decline of mass media" which "weakens the ability of leaders to carry opinion".

It certainly has nothing to do with the business community failing to cheer hard enough in support of it, as the Treasurer has complained. I mean, good heavens, Joe, how much more onside could business be?

the real problem the budget faces is that it violates the unwritten
rules of fairness that are as close to the essence of a national
identity as we have. (As I've said before, it feels like WorkChoices for

In so doing, it has reminded people that we live in a
society, not an economy, and that it is simply not enough for a
government to screech "balanced budget" ad infinitum as a cover for what
amounts to an attempt to dismantle social programs people consider part
and parcel of a civilised nation.

Don't get me wrong, there is a
long way to go. The neoliberal consensus still rules, and certain elites
still have way too much sway over government policy. But the budget
backlash suggests that there are limits to what a reactionary government
can do when the people push back.

The lesson we should learn is simple: push harder.

Tim Dunlop is the author of The New Front Page: New Media and the Rise of the Audience. He writes regularly for The Drum and a number of other publications. You can follow him on Twitter. View his full profile here.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

All In The Family – The Liberal Party ideology, driving us all backwards in cars we can’t afford | Wixxyleaks

All In The Family – The Liberal Party ideology, driving us all backwards in cars we can’t afford | Wixxyleaks

All In The Family – The Liberal Party ideology, driving us all backwards in cars we can’t afford

As Bill Shorten launched his
campaign “One Year of Abbott Lies” to expose Tony Abbott’s broken
promises within the Coalition there is a lot of anger, denial, and
back-downs, many in the Coalition were hitting panic buttons.

While Bill Shorten may have created a
colossal job for himself given that Tony Abbott seems to be breaking
promises almost daily, the Coalition are stumbling all over themselves
on a number of issues.

Joe Hockey in particular has come out with his angry pants on regarding Fairfax uncovering Treasury documents
that show that Joe Hockey was aware that those who are on the lower end
of the socio-economic scale would be hardest hit by the budget.

Joes defence so far has been to attack
Fairfax for exposing these documents, if this had happened to a Labor
Government via News Ltd I am sure he would have praised News Ltd for
enlightening the public. Shooting the messenger is not only desperate,
it is just plain stupid. Does Joe Hockey really think he is beyond

No matter what Sloppy Joe, Phoney
Abbott, and those in the Coalition and right-wing media might have you
believe, the problems facing the country are not born of economics, nor
are they about the ability to govern.

The issues now confronting Australia are all about Party ideology.

Think of Eric Abetz and the ridiculous
abortion linked with breast cancer interview regarding his planned
attendance at an event held by the “World Congress Of Families” a
right-wing religious group that has more in common with Westboro
Baptists than any credible medical agency.

But still if you thought Eric Abetz
made a goose of himself aligning himself with these freaks, how bad does
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews look?

Kevin Andrews is an international ambassador for the World Congress Of Families.

The World Congress Of Families are not just your average bunch of fruitcakes, they are the extra nutty type.

It is not just their strange and
scientifically disproven views on breast cancer and abortion either.
Although if one ever wanted to know what type of organisation would try
to milk a disease that kills thousands of women each year to their own
advantage and misconstrue it to suit their political agenda, one needs
look no further than the World Congress Of Families.

The World Congress Of Families
are anti-divorce, anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti the womans
right to choose, and anti-most of the things that women have fought for
decades to achieve.

They are also extremely opposed to
homosexuality, and radically opposed to anything that may see same-sex
couples less discriminated against.

However what I find most alarming is
how much this group is opposed to single mothers and how they believe
that single mothers are one of societies biggest drain on resources as
well as damaging to societies moral fabric. They are portrayed by this
group as nothing more than a scourge on society at large.

I find this alarming as the groups
Australian ambassador Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, is the
Minister that controls the welfare payments for single parents and
family payments.

I don’t think I would be alone in
finding it entirely inappropriate that we would have a Minister in
charge of the living standards of citizens he promotes hate speech

This would be along the lines of having a misogynist as Minister for Women.  Oh, hang on…

Kevin Andrews - Thought the Stepford Wives was a documentary?
Kevin Andrews – Thought the Stepford Wives was a documentary?

We all know about the proposed changes
to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. The changes that were
being pushed by Attorney General George Brandis because he thought that
every Australian had the right to be a bigot, especially Andrew Bolt.

Although the rug was eventually pulled out
from under him on this matter, it is clear from his comments that his
changes were based on ideology rather than any real need for change.

Perhaps one of the best examples that
shows how decisions are being made based on ideology rather than advice
or logic is the Coalitions answer to the unemployment rate.

Recently the unemployment rate was shown to have skyrocketed to 6.4%. That is up approximately 28% from when Labor was running the country and the real adults were in charge.

So what is the plan that is going to see one million jobs created as Abbott promised during his election campaign?

Employment Minister Eric Abetz has a plan, and that is working for the dole.
To his credit Abetz has been consistent in ignoring every piece of
professional advice offered by experts on the subject. Mr Abetz has
instead taken the view based on his ideology that punishing the
unemployed into employment will work better than creating jobs.

In fact, so confident is Abetz that it
doesn’t seem to matter that every job being done by a welfare recipient
is one job less for a hopeful employee or small business.

Yet another example of this ideological approach to policy is the utter gall of Joe Hockey.

His callous disregard for those
families who are struggling with the cost of living by forcing them do
the heavy lifting while the rich get off lightly was recently exposed.
Joes answer to this was to lash out at the media for daring to question
him. Remember this is a government that were elected for claiming they
would lower the cost of living, so far the cost of living has only risen
along with unemployment levels.

With the cost of living already rising,
we need to be paying more for petrol like we need a gammy leg. However
that won’t stop Mr Hockey as he seeks to increase the fuel excise.

But that doesn’t matter, poor people either don’t have cars or don’t drive far according to Sloppy Joe.

Although as the picture below tells us,
they certainly drive to the doctor out west, luckilly Joe plans to slug
them with a sick tax.


Some of Sydney’s poorest areas with
some of the most struggling families living in what is close to poverty,
or some beyond it, these areas must be attractive to the rich folk. I
can only come to this conclusion as whenever I drive through one of
these areas there seem to be a lot of cars about. By Sloppy Joes logic
these must be rich folk going there to have a look around, perhaps
stopping by for a picnic or something, as in these areas residents
certainly wouldn’t own a car, or drive it as far as the shops.

Unbeknownst to Mr Hockey, the fact is
most of us do drive, while those in the lower socio-economic areas tend
to drive further because they are in outer suburbs and have less access
to public transport.

Joe may not be aware of it, but there
is an entire industry surrounding poor people and car ownership. It is
the repossession industry and thanks to a new Federal government, rising
unemployment, and the rising cost of living and cost of doing business,
it is boom time in this industry.

Maybe that’s Abbott’s one million jobs plan, one million new repo men?

You peasants will never have one of these....
You peasants will never have one of these….
Joe also forgets that people in the
poorer suburbs still eat, and buy groceries that have the cost of
freight built into their pricing. Increasing freight costs by raising
the fuel excises impacts on grocery prices.

With State elections fast approaching
in both NSW and Victoria it is worth reminding ourselves of the Liberal
Party ideology so that we can decide for ourselves who has our best
interests in mind and who is trying to lead us up the garden path.

Victoria I’m sure has similar regions to some of those that I will be talking about in NSW.

We hear an awful lot about Sydney’s Western Suburbs every time there is an Election be it state or federal.

In the upcoming NSW election there will
be two areas of the state that receive a lot of special attention, one
is the Newcastle/Hunter region and the other is of course Western

Both of these regions on low on the
socio-economic scale, both are full of struggling families, both
struggle with high unemployment particularly youth unemployment, and
both have recently felt the sting of Liberal controlled councils on top
of a Liberal State Government.

In the Newcastle region we have seen the railway no longer going all the way into Newcastle,
as the last two stations are to be closed so the land can be sold off
to developers, and we have those in the outer regions of the Hunter area
scared to death from the threat of Coal Seam Gas Miners
as they sniff at farmers gates. The now conservative controlled region
has also seen little or nothing done to curb the youth unemployment
crisis that has hit the area.

What they have seen is two of their Liberal Party State MP’s resign from parliament after evidence of corruption
aired against them at ICAC which will force a bi-election in the coming
weeks in two seats. They have also heard evidence of the Newcastle’s
City Mayor handing out bags of cash to these corrupt politicians which
is alleged to have come via developers. All of this while public
services such as the railway are being taken from the community and
handed over to developers.

Welcome to Conservative Newcastle.

In Sydney’s West we also face a skyrocketing youth unemployment crisis.

For those wealthy enough to afford a
car, or to be able to drive further than around the block, we not only
face Sloppy Joes increased fuel tax, but we are also told that the
Liberals want to reintroduce the toll onto the M4,
which will drastically increase the cost of transport for some, and
further assist in efforts to make Parramatta Rd even more of a congested

We have seen the contempt that the
Liberals have for those of us that live in the area by the way Liberal
controlled councils have treated their citizens.

In Blacktown for example the council are kicking residents out of their homes, they have attempted to close down child care centres, they have closed down one public pool and seek to close another,
they have jacked up the council rates for pensioners by scrapping the
pensioner discount, and they are currently seeking to strip 30 parks
from the public. One Liberal councilor even made disgusting derogatory
comments in council that I won’t repeat about aged pensioners and those
with disabilities, these comments led to a walkout by Labor councilors
forcing the meeting to be shut down due to not having enough councilors
present to form a quorum.

Closing parks, pools, and child care
centres and opening them up to developers may seem extreme to some, but
not when you have a Mayor like Liberal Len Robinson with a
strata-management background.

Sign of the times...
Sign of the times… Selling parks to pay for parks? Liberal logic at it’s best
It would seem that these Liberals have
an ideological desire to treat those who are struggling as pawns in
their chess game of life. Just things to be shuffled about and
sacrificed to protect the King, which of course is the almighty dollar,
or on occasion some sort of perverted religious or discriminatory

People however have wised up since the last time we voted.

People have seen the attitudes of those
in charge in Canberra, and people have smelt the stench of corruption
on a massive scale from Liberal Party headquarters in NSW.

I think the upcoming bi-elections in
Newcastle and Charlestown we be a telling litmus test and will give a
great indication of just how duped Australia feels.

Bring it on.

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The strange tale of Joe Hockey's encounter with 'a lady at the lights at Cammeray'

The strange tale of Joe Hockey's encounter with 'a lady at the lights at Cammeray'

The strange tale of Joe Hockey’s encounter with ‘a lady at the lights at Cammeray’

Treasurer Joe Hockey has had to eat that silly remark in relation to fuel excise indexation.
AAP/Nikki Short

On the third day, Joe Hockey laid on the mea culpa with a trowel.
Appearing on Sydney radio to try to clean up after his disastrous
Wednesday line about the poor and petrol, Hockey declared: “I am sorry
about the words”.

“All of my life I have fought for and tried to help the most
disadvantaged people in the community.” His comment had been “obviously

There was much more to the same effect, just to ram the message home.
He didn’t have “evil in my heart” towards the disadvantaged. And he
claimed to have been influenced in some way by “a lady at the lights at
Cammeray [who] had a chat to me when I was crossing the road”; she said,
“you have got to be true to yourself” (apparently intimating he’d
stuffed up).

A few things may be observed about this performance. It was a
political exercise so extravagant in nature and so late in coming that
it invited cynicism. A (toned down) version should have been delivered
on Wednesday, or Thursday. But it is good to see the Treasurer has had
to eat that silly remark in relation to fuel excise indexation, when he
said: “The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive
very far in many cases”.

Tony Abbott earlier on Friday had given Hockey a public clip over the
ear. “Well, plainly, I wouldn’t say that,” the PM told a questioner.
The Treasurer, known for a thin skin, could not miss that cruel word
“plainly”. Abbott might as well have declared “Joe is so stupid”.

Some politicians turn the admission of error into a professional
tool, but in Hockey’s case, it was the last line of defence, deployed by
an amateur. Mind you, so many in this government are making big
mistakes that if they owned up to them all they’d need an official
confession box.

It is seriously difficult to understand how the government has come
to be as bad as it is. Yes, it is hugely tribal, its ministers are
convinced they know better than anyone else, and it has a faith in
“spin” that has dramatically underestimated the public’s ability to
judge for themselves.

Even taking all that into account, Hockey’s Wednesday blunder is hard to explain.

Why – leaving aside such provocative language – did he think he could
get away with just talking about absolute amounts people spend on
petrol, ignoring the relative impact on income groups?

Does he really believe the rest of the world – including (John
Howard’s) “battlers” with lived experience of petrol prices, as well as
economists who love quintiles and the like – wouldn’t be onto him in a

Some are blaming weakness in Hockey’s office for what happened – he’s
a couple down on senior staff – or even saying it’s about time for a
ministerial reshuffle.

Staff are crucial, but they can’t be made an excuse. Hockey has
plenty of ministerial experience, and Treasury to advise him. He only
had to ask for all the relevant numbers, and think about the questions
he’d get. Not complicated.

But while we’re on the subject of advisers, it is about time the PM
announced who’ll be next head of Treasury. Abbott, with advice from his
office, sacked Martin Parkinson nearly a year ago, and he departs in
December. Treasury is undergoing a substantial downsizing. It requires
certainty at a bureaucratic level. And Hockey needs a smooth transition
in terms of departmental advice.

As for ministerial reshuffling: well, there would have to be quite a
few demotions if performance were the yardstick. A reshuffle after a
year and when things are so messy would be a sign of panic, create bad
blood and instability, and not necessarily improve the situation. The
idea of moving Hockey would be inconceivable, however poorly he’s

There is no one transforming solution to the muddle across the
government. It just has to be worked at, minister by minister, issue by
issue, driven by better leadership from the top.

And what about the top?

Abbott himself has had a strange week, looking like a commander-in-chief in search of a military role for the nation.

On returning from abroad he repaired on Friday to the Joint
Operations Command centre near Canberra. “As you know, I’ve spent most
of the last week overseas in connection with various operations,” he
said. He referred to thanking, while in the Netherlands, Australians
deployed for Operation Bring Them Home, his briefings in London on the
threats posed by the Middle Eastern developments, and his stopover Al
Minhad Airbase, from where Australia’s humanitarian airdrops for those
at Mount Sinjar departed.

He continues to look for a further role for Australia. “While I
certainly don’t envisage Australian combat troops in Iraq, we are
consulting with our allies and partners on what Australia can usefully
contribute to try to ensure that the situation in the Middle East
improves rather than deteriorates,” he said.

This weekend Abbott will be on the Pollie Pedal, a familiar and
comforting excursion. He gives the impression of a leader for whom the
core task of governing and delivering has become very hard.