Friday Siesta at the Café (Straight from the Rodent’s Mouth edition)

A rat caught in a rat trap

Image via Wikipedia

John Howard’s Statement On East Timor

November 23, 1999

It is clear from these details that the cost of the East Timor deployment presents a particular difficulty in the next financial year commencing on 1 July 2000. At the time of the May budget the underlying cash budget surplus for 2000-01 was projected to be $3.1 billion. That figure has been significantly reduced by a number of developments.

The major additional item was the further cost to the budget of $1.8 billion in 2000-01 for revisions to the tax package that were negotiated with the Australian Democrats to secure its passage through Parliament.

Other necessary policy decisions and adverse variations to the estimates have imposed further costs to the budget. These additional costs, combined with the delay in receipts from the sale of the second tranche of Telstra, have also led to slower debt retirement and higher interest repayments on outstanding debt, costing about $500 million in 2000-01.

In the absence of East Timor, all of these extra costs could properly have been absorbed within the projected budget surplus for 2000-01. The defence expenditure relating to East Timor of about $1.1 billion in 2000-01 falls into a different category altogether.

 Such an extraordinary item of additional expenditure could not reasonably have been expected at budget time.

Therefore a special provision must be made for its impact in the year 2000-01.

The additional expenditure on the East Timor defence effort has a particularly severe impact in 2000-01. By contrast, in the current year and the year subsequent to 2000-01, even after East Timor costs have been allowed for, the budget is expected to remain in healthy surplus.

As a result of the extra costs since last May, and in particular the unexpected defence costs of around $1.1 billion in the 2000-01 financial year on East Timor, it is calculated that, without additional measures, the budget in that year will record an underlying cash deficit of approximately $500 million.

The Government is not willing for this to occur. The days of budget deficits should remain firmly behind us. The economic consequences of high deficits – particularly the pressure they place on interest rates – should be unacceptable to all honourable members.

The Government has decided, therefore, to introduce a temporary Defence – East Timor levy for 2000-01 only. This levy will be applied as an addition to the Medicare levy on the income of taxpayers earning above $50,000 per annum.

The levy will be set at 0.5 per cent for taxpayers with an income of between $50,000 and $100,000 and at 1.0 per cent for taxpayers with incomes above $100,000. There will be appropriate shade-ins to smooth the impact on taxpayers just above $50,000 and $100,000.

The levy will apply only for a 12-month period from 1 July 2000, ending on 30 June 2001. Applying the levy on incomes above $50,000 will protect low and many middle income earners. The levy will begin on the same date that tax cuts begin under the Government’s tax reform. It will reduce only slightly, and then for one year only, the tax cuts that those taxpayers will receive. For example, a single taxpayer with an income of $60,000 would receive a tax cut of nearly $62 per week and the levy would reduce that for one year only by about $6 per week. With this approach, 80 per cent of taxpayers will receive their tax cuts in full from 1 July 2000.

The levy will collect approximately $900 million in 2000-01. That sum will substantially cover the East Timor defence costs arising in 2000-01. After 2000-01, the East Timor defence costs can be absorbed by the budget whilst maintaining strong surpluses. The community, I hope, will support this measure as a fair and reasonable one to help fund the bulk of our defence costs relating to East Timor in 2000-01.

 The only alternative to this special and temporary levy would be further cuts in government spending.

Given the expenditure savings of earlier years, the necessary funds of approximately $1 billion could not have been obtained without paring back in essential areas of social expenditure such as health, education and welfare for the needy. The Government does not believe it would be fair to do this. The levy I have announced is the fair and decent way to deal with this unexpected budget difficulty in the next financial year.


Thought provokin’ eh?

Let’s put the above announcement into context.

PM Gillard has brought up the idea of introducing a ‘flood levy’ to help pay for the damage wrought by this summer’s kooky storms. Sounds like a great idea to me.

However, Mr. Negabore, leader of the Opposition has typically taken a negative stance and aimed his petty arrows at the NBN and government spending again. Yawn. From ABC Radio:

The Prime Minister is clearly softening us up for another new tax . I’m opposed to unnecessary new taxes and that’s what this is.

Apparently Tony Abbott reckons the Government should execute the NBN (or delay it…yes, until his lot get in and torture it before hanging it)…sell off Medibank Private (another great idea from those who brought us the “black hole”)…and redirect stimulus moneys (hmmm…shouldn’t that be goin’ into air-conditioning for every school?).

So, it seems a levy was good enuff for the Coalition back in the days of King John…but now under the knee-jerk leadership of the Mad Monk such a thought sends them into paroxysms of tax fear and negativity. Doesn’t take much these days.

Anyway, TGIF.

Over to you…


92 comments on “Friday Siesta at the Café (Straight from the Rodent’s Mouth edition)

  1. What about the 11c a litre levy on Milk to payout farmers in the disgraced deregulation of the dairy industry forcing thousands off their farms. Which also resulted in massive milk increases and profit to coles and woolies. yet lower and lower gate prices for farmers.

    What about the Ansett levy on all airline travellers to payout the entitlements of employees when a private company runs from its responsibilities.

    Funny how it is a levy under a Coalition government when there is a one off requirement and a tax under Labor.

    Honestly, the Aussie voting public will see through this garbage from Tony Abbott.

  2. I guess paying for the liberation of East Timor was more important than looking after our own?

    Hey! I sound like a Coalition supporter. 🙂


  3. Why do we need a levy.

    I mean, the opposition already have the answer for us, just create an $11 BILLION BLACK HOLE, but call it a Flood Fund!!

    Imagine the outcry from tony (the Gideon) abbot then

  4. “Funny how it is a levy under a Coalition government when there is a one off requirement and a tax under Labor.”

    Shane, obviously when the levy breaks free of Coalition interference, and the government gets its surplus, Tony Abbott will have no place to stay.

    He’ll cry:

    Mean old levy taught me to weep and moan,
    Mean old levy taught me to weep and moan,
    Got what it takes to make an action man leave his throne,
    Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.



  5. Yes, this is all very well, Shane, Nas’ and Tom R, but you obviously don’t have a grasp on reality.

    A levy is um, ah,ah, a er levy; it’s not a tax because it’s got a different name and ah, ah it’s got something to do with the states, so it couldn’t possibly be a tax unless it’s introduced by the Labour Party. Ged it?

    Hope that’s set you straight and you’ll vote for me out of gratitude for ah, ah that rational and coherent explanation.

    PS, any time you want a bit of help in regard to technology, I’m your man. 🙂

    Yours in Archbishop Pell, Tony You Can’t Believe Anything I Say Even If It’s Written On Paper and I’ve Signed It Abbott

  6. Why can’t Treasury find other ways and means of supplying the money, example: bring the troops home from Afghanistan, cut back on the over generous supply of money to private enterprise (schools,health ectra) tax religious organizations, bring in the mining tax, stop selling off our assets to overseas interest, because this will be a loser for the Labor Party if Gillard takes the same path as the Lying Rodent in bringing in new levies(taxes).

  7. Forgot the sugar levy and the gun buyback levy as well. No wonder they had surpluses beyond their wildest dreams. They had a levy for everything.

    The Howard Government was the levy for everything government.

  8. But Shane & Crowey, as I explained above it’s only a tax if the ah Labour Party does it. LIEberal Party levies aren’t ah, ah, taxes, they’re levies.

    I’m upset that you can’t see the er, um obvious difference! I bet they don’t even spell it the same way and even if they do, ours is the best because it’s copperplate.

    Neil and a small party of ah, ah LIEberal thugs officials will be arrive soon in the ex Homeland Security black Suburban to kidnap escort you to one of our Crapaganda Camps a safe place where you can be brainwashed be re-educated we will explain our POV to you.

    I’m sure Neil will be a reassuring presence and that you will both quickly ah, ah succumb come to see things our way.

    Yours (in)sincerely, Smuggles. (I’ve taken a liking to that name; it’s sooo reassuring, don’t you think?)

  9. Just remember to comply with the levy/tax as it goes to a good cause, me… i got to get a new TV and DVD player.

    Lol Nasking, love howards head there in the picture and how it looks like a rat in a box, clever.

    Must not read Janes comment, i now have the urge to vote for Tony. 😉

  10. Hi Nas, I’m only here for 30 seconds and haven’t read the post or the comments, but I must say, as an historian I love talking about John Howard, or any past PM for that matter.

    Good to see the camel here. We need more Scotch.

    Yes, there is a correlation.

  11. “LIEberal’s audacious hypocrisy leaves me speechless.”

    Let’s hope Abbott doesn’t ever become PM ’cause you’ll end up a mute. 🙂


  12. “love howards head there in the picture and how it looks like a rat in a box, clever.”

    G’day Hexx,
    yes, it was a pic of the Rodent the day he lost his seat. Amongst other things. 🙂

    “as an historian I love talking about John Howard, or any past PM for that matter.”

    Indeed…we can always find time for past PMs. I remember Keating’s history was a favourite visiting place for many a right-winger during the Howard years. Every once in awhile we still hear them chirping on about his grand moments. 🙂

    It’s important to return the favour w/ the same flavour.


  13. Abbott was confronted with all the levies bought in by the Howard government including the gun, sugar and Ansett levies mentioned and a few others, there were quite a few, and Abbott’s answer after initially trying to talk around the question?

    The Howard government had surpluses and were great economic managers so could be trusted to be doing the right thing with the levies. The incompetent Gillard Labor government is all about bringing in taxes to cover for their ineptness.

    I shouted at the screen for the interviewer to ask Abbott if they were such great economic managers why did they need to bring in levies, but of course Abbott was yet again allowed to get away with utter bullshit.

  14. It’s only a matter of time, Hexx. Be very alert if you see any large black Suburbans cruising the streets near your house.

    I’ll send you a fridge magnet. It’s powerful magnetic field will protect you and will confuse all the Neils.

  15. Migs, whenever you come on board..I’ve just sent an email. Nothing important just a comment on something previous.

  16. Mobius Ecko, I think Mr. Abbott said it was alright to bring in levy if it was for something worthwhile. It follows that Queenlanders in strife are not.

  17. Miglo, I miss that one too. I thought it was mouse pads for that one, however I do not want any of them. Talk about government waste. Where were these magnets and mouse pads made? I bet it was not in Australia.
    “Floods expose a Prime Minister with promise now dangerously adrift
    “JULIA Gillard insists she is putting it as plainly as she can. There will be spending cutbacks and a special levy will be considered to help pay for the devastation caused by the floods. ……. ……………This does not indicate a person who does not know what she is doing.
    Her nervous colleagues are desperately hoping she can negotiate this treacherous terrain in the face of immediate attacks from Tony Abbott about more unnecessary new taxes. But their confidence, based on the experience of the past six months, is not high, and not only because Abbott has proven so ready to aggressively attack the government’s weaknesses……………………Where is the evidence that her colleagues are nervous? There is nothing new in Mr. Abbott’s ramblings. What she has not solved everything in less than six months?
    “We don’t seem to have anyone in the leadership who can clearly sell a coherent story of what we are doing and what we want to do,” grumbles one Labor MP. “But we also don’t seem to know ourselves.”……………What Labor politician?.
    That’s harder with Abbott relentlessly pointing to other “wasteful”spending – including the national broadband network – that should be reduced or delayed instead. The underlying issue will be whether the Gillard government will use an increase in taxes to avoid making spending cuts it could and should make if it is serious about reform and change……………Mr. Abbott is not saying anything new. After 12 months, his script if becoming a little is boring. Because Mr. Abbott says something, does not make it fact.
    The Australian this morning is firing both barrels at PM Gillard. Puzzles me how they come to the conclusion that she cannot sell the levy after one day. Does a PM now have less than 24 hours now to get policy across, especially when no decision has been made?
    Appears the rest of Labor caucus are nervous at her inability. Those people must have miraculous powers that they can hear and see everything that said by Labor people. I refuse to believe that any Labor members of the present government are talking to a second rate, so called journalist. Most are too experience and not given to do themselves in. There is no mention of the worth of the proposed levy.
    The article criticises the PM for not solving all the problems since the last election. Considering the election was in August, then a month until the poll was declared and the Christmas break, the expectations are unreal.
    I do not know how much clearer she can be after her announcements of the last day or too. PM Gillard has stated very clearly that she was aiming for a surplus in 2012-13. That would involve cuts and that she was not ruling out a levy. PM Gillard has stated clearly that the NBN Co would continue to be rolled out.

  18. CU re: more unnecessary new taxes. We all know that Abbott especially when he speaks has the credibility of a flea, but don’t you think that he is beginning to sound a little like a broken record saying the same words ‘big new tax’ over and over in the same stilted voice. Maybe he stands in front of a mirror..practicing 😀

    PS to Hexx. Wonderful to see your camel-ey self on board again.

  19. I find him boring and reading comments on other sites that are usually negative to Labor, there appear to be a swing against him.

    What did he achieve today by tiptoeing through mud in his elasticised boots. His walk through the mud did not give him a better view than the person who stood prudently outside the door.

    His effort a scrubbing a wall for a few seconds and handing the broom back to a elderly woman was disconcerting.

  20. Interesting observation CU. Just a couple of thoughts on this.

    Maybe to the right wingers he was their hero while it seemed that he had a chance of winning the election. Still a hero when he came so close, then through stupid statements such as that the Libs should be ready to form government any tick of the clock.

    However now that the miracle didn’t happen, that he isn’t going to take over any time soon who else to focus on other that the person who promised so much but who failed to deliver.

  21. It saddens me to see Julia Gillard getting sucked into this stupid surplus pissing contest.

    But I also find it hilarious that the business sector, once happy to join the coalition and its compliant media in whipping up fear of deficits is now well and truly hoist on its own partisan rhetoric: Gillard seems determined as ever as deliver a surplus in 2013 and to hell with the consequences.

    To paraphrase Raj Patel (The Value of Nothing), just as Americans learn their geography from warfare, recessions teach us all something of economics.

    Perhaps the business sector is learning that without public sector deficits, there can be no private sector savings.

  22. Now here’s an unusual event. The OO quoting Julia and it’s a positive statement. This is in relation to Ken Henry being Australian of the Year.

    “His now famous advice to the government at the outset of the global financial crisis to ‘go hard, go early, go households’ epitomised his foresight and enabled the government to successfully manage the economy through the crisis.”

    However the OO cannot help themselves, they also just have use this as an opportunity to bring up the subject of pink batts and the BER. This is on the 2nd link below. Maybe the OO wasn’t quite sure how to run the story and so decided to have a bet each way.

  23. Since when has two reports into the BER by an independant financial expert(oh, that’s right, the Gillard government appointed Brad Orgill, so, ipso facto, he must be biased), and a 97.3% satisfaction rating by the recipients, plus the fact that down at heel Public Schools finally got some much-needed new infrastructure, been classified as ‘Waste’?
    Oh, that’s right, since the boosters for the Economic Elites who send their kids to Private Schools at The Oz decided it was.
    You might also be interested in reading this while you are sipping your lattes at the Cafe this morning(persevere to quote 3 in order to get my drift):

    Followed up with some logical Paul Krugman from the NYT:

  24. Mr. Blair has admitted that he was given advice that going into Iraq was not legal. He also admitted that he did not advise Mr. Bush of this fact.

    Mr. Blair did not reveal if he had any conversations with Mr. Howard about legality of the war. Mr. Blair for the first time said that he was sorry for the deaths his action caused. He included all the war dead, not only British soldiers. Mr Blair in spite of his apologies still believes he was right.

    When can we expect to hear the same from Mr, Howard?

  25. When can we expect to hear the same from Mr, Howard?

    Never and never will until it comes out in a book by a third party within the Howard circle.

    Note that of all the CoW leaders Howard is the only one who has not faced any type of enquiry or been told to testify into it in any way.

    Howard is the only one who is yet to say he was wrong about the WMD, that the war was illegal and was still saying in recent times, as was Downer, that they believed Saddam had WMD and the war was legal.

    Howard gets away with this where the other leaders don’t because the media in this country are his and the conservatives mouthpiece, and will not hold them to account for idiotic brain farts let alone conducting illegal wars that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands.

  26. I’m not so sure that it is a surplus pissing contest. Putting additional heat into the economy, now, and taking that heat back out again, then, makes macroeconomic sense; especially if any levy or spending cuts are staged that way, so it all kind of balances out, and perhaps balances out well as that pipeline of investments starts to heat up the macroeconomy with or without a reconstruction-related counterweight.

  27. Bacchus, good one and about time some cartoonist had a go at Abbott about his Great Big New Tax. I had a brief look at the comments and isn’t so very typical Yeah loik handin’ out $900 to dead noncitizens. Spot on topic as always with these Boltesque types.

    It has always had me pondering, maybe this is why Tone always uses the GBNT phrase over and over and over..his cheer squad can’t understand many words over 3 letters long.

  28. Musings,

    By putting additional “heat” into the economy now, I take it you are referring to the stimulus (or what’s left of it).

    But taking the “heat” back out again only makes sense if demand starts to put strains on the productive capacity of our economy. So far there are no signs of that. Ask the unemployed.

    At no time have I ever heard Gillard or Swan (or Hockey for that matter) refer to the forthcoming surplus in terms of demand management. That’s the job of the RBA (they believe).

    In the absence of any clear reason to run a surplus, it has to be a pissing contest.

  29. Blair booed and heckled on the second day of his questioning, and those who were the loudest were the relatives of soldiers who had died in Iraq.

    Blair just doesn’t get it as he lashed out when it was revealed from the very start and at every turn that what he was doing was illegal. His reply was that it just couldn’t be so he supported the US in the invasion anyway.

    What he doesn’t get is not the fact that he thought the illegality a crock but that he did not tell the people about the illegality at any time, in fact worse, he and his cohorts vehemently attacked anyone who stated the war was illegal all the while knowing he had reams of advice saying it was illegal.

    That is the point Blair doesn’t get and why he is so wrong in everything he did during that time. If he so passionately believed in it as he keeps stating over and again, and he absolutely believes it was the right thing to do, as he also stated over and again, then why wasn’t he open with the people, and the question of legality would have been a good place to start. That he wasn’t open with the people and the fact he blatantly lied, obfuscated and attacked anybody who was actually telling the truth on this shows he knows it was wrong and he was wrong, but he will never admit that until as a Christian he faces his maker and is told sorry you screwed up.

    In the meantime Howard doesn’t get to face any form of questioning as to why he lied and obfuscated about the reasons for invading Iraq and then continuing those lies to this day still attacking those who tell the truth and ask him to tell the truth for once.

  30. In the meantime Howard doesn’t get to face any form of questioning as to why he lied and obfuscated about the reasons for invading Iraq and then continuing those lies to this day still attacking those who tell the truth and ask him to tell the truth for once.

    Because the media love him. And I doubt whether there would be any Murdoch papers anywhere on the planet that found anything wrong with the actions and lies from the Coalition of the Willing.

  31. I also forgot the Stevedoring Levy. A levy introduced on an ideology basis during the maritime industry dispute.

    The Howard ( Levy for Everything ) Government sure knew how to manipulate the word Levy.

  32. Tony Abbott is shouting from the roof tops about the proposal to introduce a flood levy as he claims we do not need to as our economy is strong and we can save the money in other ways. He claims there is no need to inflict the public with another levy.

    I would like to point out the hypocrisy of these kneejerk comments in comparison to the levy for everything government he was a member of between 1996 and 2007.

    In 1997 our budget DEFICIT was 5.4 billion and a gun buyback levy was imposed as a result of the tragic massarce in Tasmania. While this was a tragedy and the removal of guns fully supported by myself, there was no natural disaster or infrastructure decimation. The levy imposed simply bought back guns people owned. The Levy went from Oct 1996 to Sep 1997. We were in deficit so OK we needed a levy for a one off event.

    In 1999 our budget SURPLUS was 4.3 billion and a Stevedoring Levy was introduced out of ideological determination to break the MUA and Industrial Reform. This levy lasted from 1999 to May 2006. We were in surplus so under Abbotts rulings this levy should not have been introduced as we had enough money collected as taxes already.

    In 2000 our budget SURPLUS was 13 billion and an 11c a litre levy was introduced as a result of ideological determination to deregulate the dairy industry which forced thousand of famers off the properties to pay them an exit grant. This was supposed to reduce milk prices to the public. It simply reduced milk prices to the farmers sending thousands of them to the wall. This levy was in existance from 2000 until it was abolished by the Rudd Government in 2009. This was an exremely expensive levy placed on the public as milk is a staple. We were in surplus so under Abbotts rulings this levy should not have been introduced as we had enough money collected as taxes already.

    In 2000 we also had the East Timor Levyevy at a time when our budget was in surplus by 13 billion dollars. We were in surplus so under Abbotts rulings this levy should not have been introduced as we had enough money collected as taxes already.

    In 2001 Our budget SURPLUS was 5.9 billion and a levy of $10 per return flight ticket was introduced to compansate workers who lost their entitlements due to the collapse of a prviately owned business who did not provide allowance for employee benefits. This levy lasted from Sep 2001 to June 2003. In addition $100 million of the funds raised was used for airport security and nothin to do with ansett employees. We were in surplus so under Abbotts rulings this levy should not have been introduced as we had enough money collected as taxes already.

    In 2003 our budget was in SURPLUS by 7.4 billion dollars and a 3c per kilo levy on sugar was introduced as a result of ideological determination by the government to deregulate and reform the sugar industry. This levy ran from Jan 2003 to November 2006. Once again a savage levy on the general public. We were in surplus so under Abbotts rulings this levy should not have been introduced as we had enough money collected as taxes already.

    So while the levy for everything government has massive surpluses they slugged us via levies with a summary as follows.

    1996- Gun Levy
    1997- Gun Levy
    1998- No Levies
    1999- Stevedoring Levy
    2000- Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-East Timor Levy
    2001 – Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-Ansett Levy
    2002- Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-Ansett Levy
    2003- Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-Ansett Levy-Sugar Levy
    2004-Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-Sugar Levy
    2005- Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-Sugar Levy
    2006- Stevedoring Levy-Milk Levy-Sugar Levy
    2007- Milk Levy

    In addition other than the gun buyback and ansett levy the other levies were politicial ideology deregulation levies. Not one levy was as a result of a natural disaster effecting thousands of poeple but rather ideology busting.

    Now Tony please re convince me of your argument that this government does not need to introduce a levy.

  33. We were in surplus so under Abbotts rulings this levy should not have been introduced as we had enough money collected as taxes already.

    IMO a surplus is evidence that people are paying too much tax.

  34. At long last, somebody in the MSM can see through Tony Abbott as Mike Carlton has in his article A flood of opportunities for point scoring. Carlton writes:

    HE JUST cannot help himself. With half of eastern Australia a quagmire of endless heartbreak, with bodies still to be found, mourned and buried, there is Tony Abbott playing cheap politics yet again.

    The government should abandon the $36 billion national broadband network and spend the money on reconstruction, he said on Tuesday. The network was “a luxury that Australia cannot now afford. The one thing you don’t do is redo your bathroom when your roof has just been blown off.”

    Actually, the one thing you don’t do at times like this is expect any decent restraint or sensitivity from Abbott. He doesn’t know the meaning of the words. Wielding the flood disaster as yet another stick to bash the government and the national broadband network is crass opportunism.

    Further in the article we are reminded of what a complete too Bananabe Joyce is:

    His water spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, is already at it. ”A lot of the time the argument about dams is driven by a religious fervour about anything that interferes with nature,” he blathered as the waters rose in Rockhampton and Toowoomba. This was “an argument against civilisation”.

    That would be the same Barnaby Joyce who, two years ago, called the plans for the Traveston Crossing Dam north of Brisbane “a multi-billion dollar debacle” and hailed Peter Garrett’s eventual decision not to build it. Consistency is not his strong point.

  35. That should be splashed across the media Shane but I bet it won’t be. I tweeted it anyway not that I have a huge following.

  36. Look and you will find there were dozens of levies introduced by the Howard government.

    This one in 2001, the PSO Levy:

    Product Stewardship Arrangements for Waste Oil (PSO)

    Read down a bit.

    Seems the Howard government buried levies into just about every policy they bought out, which is why they were tagged as the biggest taxing government in our history. This is even more galling at a time they were raking in such massive surpluses they couldn’t keep track from one month to the next.

    C’mon MSM, this only took me two minutes to find, so why aren’t you holding Abbott to account for his levy statements and you allow him to obfuscate with an utter crap answer the one time you did ask him about just one of Howard’s levies?

  37. And I linked it to my Facebook page and within 5 minutes I had three comments about it, so people are dropping in to read it. A couple of people have also posted the link to their own Facebook page, indicating that Shane’s great comment has grown some legs.

  38. Migs, I just spotted your link to Shane’s very excellent post on Facebook.

    And agreed. A relief to see someone in the MSM stop treating Abbott as if he was a combination of Princess Mary and Justin Beiber and realizing that this Nightmare of a man is Australia’s alternative prime minister.

  39. I just cross-posted Shane’s excellent contribution here re the Howard government’s many levies over at The Political Sword, where I have another blog up btw! 🙂

  40. The hypocrisy has amazed me and the medias silence is now truly starting to show the bias that exists.

    The levy for everything government seemed to be much ahhper in handing budget surpluses back as tax cuts to the rich while imposing a regressive GST and levies on the rest of us.

  41. Mobius, and while almost simultaneously crying crocodile tears over the pwoor widdle mega miners paying their fair share part of which would have gone to cutting company tax.

    Ah yes ‘a levy’ to fund a parental scheme where the cream would have gone to the wealthy. And of course as it was ‘just a levy’ it would have been very easy to tweek it.

  42. I’m reviewing an OECD report which contains a chapter about maternity leave programs throughout the OECD countries.

    Yes, it is boring, apart from one statistic:

    The longer a woman takes maternity leave, the less likely she is of winning a promotion once she is back in the workforce. As it is, just by taking maternity leave her opportunities are 10% lower.

  43. Migs, that wouldn’t suprise me a bit and also a good reason why women of childbearing age aren’t promoted as quickly as men. Just the fact that they have the potential to fall pregnant at all is enough to put doubts in some employers minds as to whether to ‘bother’ to promote them at all.

    And of course have 1 baby then a woman is likely to have more.

  44. “The hypocrisy has amazed me and the medias silence is now truly starting to show the bias that exists.”

    Indeed Shane. Tho, nothing surprises me when it comes to the Australian media these days.

    More scrutiny on the Australian cricket team than Coalition hypocisy & their record when it comes to levies.
    Tells ya somethin’.

    Good work on yer part.

    “had to chuckle at Leahy’s cartoon today”

    Bacchus…LOL. I wonder if Abbott counts sheep jumping over fences w/ “Great Big New Tax” painted on their sides?

    The slogan sure puts me & sanqween to sleep.


  45. And FINALLY and not before time in my opinion, Garrett is going to conduct a review into funding of private schools.

    The Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, says a review of school funding will examine whether the current funding system is equitable.

    Education unions have called for a new funding regime after it was revealed elite schools are charging annual fees of up to $28,000.

    Unions say some private schools made $14 million profits last year but they are still receiving Government money.

    Mr Garrett says the current system was set up by previous governments and it is now time to examine how it is working.

    “It is critical that we have a system which is effective, which is sustainable, which is transparent and which is fair,” he said.

  46. “Seems the Howard government buried levies into just about every policy they bought out, which is why they were tagged as the biggest taxing government in our history.”

    how soon some forget eh? And tax cuts that amounted to a sandwich & a milkshake.

    Devious lot. But they had some pretty useful media minions out there spinning it for them.


  47. Thanks for sharing the link with TPS Feral. And I’ll be over there later tonight to read what will no doubt be another worthy piece by your good self.

  48. Migs @ January 23, 2011 at 11:48 am…from yer quote:

    That would be the same Barnaby Joyce who, two years ago, called the plans for the Traveston Crossing Dam north of Brisbane “a multi-billion dollar debacle” and hailed Peter Garrett’s eventual decision not to build it. Consistency is not his strong point.

    I would say “consistency” is not a strong point of this entire Coalition under Abbott. They come across like a bullshittin’ rabble.

    Like the US Tea Party dressed up as shonky second-hand car salespersons & investment sharks stuck in an elevator w/ each other for a weekend.


  49. Migs I hope some others read my comments wherever you have posted them.

    You all know I am prepared to put the boot into both sides of politics and I think that is healthy in a democracy.

    It seems our media is no longer a healthy critic of both sides of politics, but rather a fairly biased conglomeration that reports on news items in a way to dengrate one side of politics for exactly the same things it remained silent about when committed by the other side.

  50. “And FINALLY and not before time in my opinion, Garrett is going to conduct a review into funding of private schools.”

    Min, couldn’t agree more.

    Put some of the privileged types feet on the hot plate…where the underprivileged, pensioners, public servants etc have had their feet roasted the past few years.

    See how they stand up to scrutiny… and “accountability” demands.


  51. Migs

    While a surplus may indicate we are paying too much tax, a surplus can also be held for things such as natural disasters, so we do not need to have levies.

    Rather we can actually prepare for these circumstances, rather than provide tax cuts to the rich as soon as a surplus presents itself.

    While conservative voters expect their government to operate as a business, they forget one part of business that is essential. Private companies make a profit and then determine how much to pay as a dividend and how much to keep for development and infrastructure. During tough times a company reduces its dividend, it does not return more to its shareholders.

    As for myself I believe government should operate as a government for the benefit of all. Not as a publicly listed company.

  52. I was educated at a private school, however I believe they should not be funded by taxpayers.

    If you want an education outside the mainstream, then you pay for it without taxpayer subsidisation.

    Or if you insist on it being subsidised it is absolutely no more than the average for children attending a public school per child. And it is to be means tested because taxpayer funds should only go to those who really need it.

  53. The USA is rightfully questioning China on a number of issues. However one of these issues I find very interesting.

    The USA is pushing China on losing jobs from the states to China as a result of cheap labour.

    Forgive me, but should they not be looking at the policies of the likes of WalMart and CostCo, who have demanded such low prices from manufacturers, that the manufacturers were left with no choice, than to move their manufacturing to China if they wanted their product sold in WalMart or CostCo to meet the price these monoliths were prepared to pay.

  54. I agree Shane. The same as private health insurance, if you want an upgrade then don’t expect people who cannot afford to pay for what YOU can afford to pay for it.

    Private health insurers boast: Don’t be put on a waiting list….you too can have a colonic irrigation therapy courtesy of a taxpayer funded rebate.

    Same thing for education, here is our new parquetry floor thank you so much Mr/Ms Taxpayer.

  55. It seems to have worked, Shane. I’ve noticed quite a bit of traffic coming from Facebook today. The more eyeballs that see your brilliant comment, the better it will be.

  56. Been out of the loop for the last two days, but it looks like a lot has been happening.

    Shane, great work. And shame on the MSM for not doing even the most basic research and holding the Smuggles Set accountable for their lies and hypocrisy, with the exception of Mike Carlton.

    It’s pretty disgusting when people like Shane, Min, FS et al-you know who you are-have to do all the MSM’s work for them and publish it!

    I might see if I can get a letter published in the OO re Ratty’s levies at a time the budget was in surplus. We all know the levies were handed back to the privileged in the form, of tax cuts, but it’s high time people are reminded of that fact and of the Smuggles Set’s arrant hypocrisy!.

    Good to see Peter Garrett ready to give the private school funding a good going over, as well!

  57. Jane, be sure to let the Café know if you do get published. We’ll be keeping fingers crossed that you do.

    On a different subject for a moment, that of a regional asylum centre. I think that East Timorese Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres has a very valid concern, and “fears it could become a target destination for people smugglers’ boats.”

    Australia clearly has to work harder to address these concerns eg by assuring the East Timorese that it will provide the $$s and the personnel to help protect East Timor against the people smugglers who otherwise would be aiming for Australia.

  58. Good to see Peter Garrett ready to give the private school funding a good going over, as well!

    Yes, but this is one of the main things that bought down Latham, and all he did was suggest that Howard’s convolution of the SES formula be bought back to the original more equitable one.

    On the weekend I saw a news bulletin show the current fees by state and by school types, and the wealthy private schools are getting away with robbing the taxpayers to the tune of tens of millions each year, especially NSW schools. Whilst they are charging fees well over $20,000pa (NSW wealthiest schools $28,000) and getting millions from the taxpayers, some of these schools are making considerable profits.

    As much as I laud any government that addresses this blatant inequity and waste of public funds with little accountability, it will be a brave government that takes it on and they will lose.

  59. Yes indeed Mobius the infamous ‘politics of envy’ during the era of Greed Is Good.

    The way that Howard went about it was to suggest that this effects YOU, because YOU are an aspirational and one day you too could be able to send your kids to a super expensive private school.

    However this is now 2011 and I think that the vast majority of the Greed is Good generation have woken up that it’s never going to happen to them. This was proven by the success of the anti-WorkChoices campaign.

    I personally think that these overpaid elite schools are well and truly outnumbered by the people who know that they can never afford or who by ethnics refuse to support elite education – public and private.

  60. There’s gonna be alot of natural disasters in this country if climate change is as bad as many scientists are warning…and the nation needs to start preparing appropriately…personally, I’ve had my fill w/ the denialists…as I imagine Windsor has:

    The Armidale Expess

    Windsor says levy needed for disasters

    24 Jan, 2011 08:58 AM

    MEMBER for New England, Tony Windsor has recommitted his support to a Natural Distaster Levy in the wake of the tragic and widespread flooding around the country this month.
    Mr Windsor has long been an advocate for such a levy, first signalling it as a key election platform in 2001 and continuing to raise the matter in parliament in the decade since.

    “A National Natural Disaster Levy would literally set money aside for a rainy day, or bushfires, or mudslides or hailstorms or earthquakes or cyclones that create so much havoc for communities,” he said.

    “At a dollar a week from each person we would raise approximately $1 billion per year.


  61. Tony Abbott justifies the Howard government’s “East Timor Levy” (introduced in 1999) by stating that the Coalition were responsible economic managers.

    In 1999 John Howard told Kerry O’Brien during a 7:30 Report interview:

    Now, I don’t like it.

    I’m sorry about it, but we had an alternative.

    You had three options — you go into deficit, you have this special levy, or you cut further into spending.

    Now frankly, there’s a point you reach with spending cuts, where if you cut any further you’re taking away essential services.

    Now, we’ve been tough on Government spending.

    More here:

    From 2001 (wikipedia):

    By June, government spending on media promotion and advertising of government programs was $20 million a month.

    How’s that for responsible spending?

    Responsible economic managers my arse.

    And as for not wanting to cut into essential services…I think we know how full of crap Howard was. What happened to that billion dollars needed for healthcare when Abbott was Minister?

    Always seemed to have lots of tax payers money for wars tho.

    This from 2007:

    THE cost of the Iraq war to Australian taxpayers is approaching $3 billion and is rising at a faster pace as the conflict has reached its fourth anniversary, a Herald analysis reveals.

    Give me a useful communication network (NBN) that will save lives, increase business & project opportunities & empower the citizenry over a damned war anyday.


  62. Min, from yer useful link to Phil Coorey at the SMH:

    However, the previous levies were only necessary to protect a budget surplus, nothing else, which is exactly what Gillard is thinking. It could be argued that restoring roads and rail infrastructure, so vital to productivity and economic growth, not to mention the convenience of daily lives, is more compelling than any of the reasons the Coalition implemented levies, especially the looking after vested political interests in rural seats.

    Phil Coorey gets it. I find he’s a far more balanced journo than some out there…he also gives the government a kick over their inability to sell a policy.

    I felt the Howard government did a helluva lot of spending to buy votes, whereas, I see the ALP led government as trying their darndest to provide opportunities for all…and fixing some of the funding & infrastructure problems caused Coalition neglect & their obsession w/ propping up chosen private industries/businesses…and buying those votes.

    Imagine what it’s cost this country because one childcare company (ABC Centres) was basically subsidised by rebates…then it collapsed…and emergency plans had to be put into place.

    Just a small, but expensive, example of the type of rampant capitalism that led to the GFC.

    Again, “responsible economic managers” my arse.


  63. Off topic: Sky has just announced that the report into the Christmas Island tragedy is about to be released.

  64. “Imagine what it’s cost this country because one childcare company (ABC Centres) was basically subsidised by rebates…then it collapsed…and emergency plans had to be put into place.

    Which in some ways was a blessing in disguise? After the present PM Gillard, the minister then responsible sorted out the mess, there was no need for the Labor government to keep its promise of providing more affordable childcare places. It led to many of these commercial centres being returned to community based centres, which the parents have, some control.
    Mr. Howard’s childcare policies led to the demise of many community and council centres, which not having to make a profit, provide higher quality care.
    At the other end of life, this government is faced with reforming the aged care system, which in spite of Mr. Howard’s massive changes does not meet the needs of the aged. Aged people in spite of 12 years of Howard’s government still languish in public hospital beds, because of the lack of aged care beds.

  65. “Responsible economic managers my arse. ”

    I am interested in creating a list, similar to the one on Coalition levees. What I would like to investigate how many of our institutions such as health, childcare, education, welfare, age pensions and many others that were better when Mr. Howard left office than when he became PM. Maybe some on this site can assist me. I am not interested in deficits or surpluses but outcomes for the money spent.

  66. Very good points CU, all very idealogically driven by Howard being User Pays and those who can’t afford it get nagged about needing to work harder.

  67. Jane I do not know how but I missed out on a fridge magnet.

    The magnet’s in the mail, CU. Be alert for black Suburbans, and you’ll probably have to give it a spot of Mr Sheen to remove the fly spots and greasy dust. Janette’s had them on the shelf above the stove for the last 10 years.

    Perhaps you’d like to distribute a few to you friends; we’ve got plenty and to be honest, Janette’s starting to whinge about them.

    Some stuck to the shelf and took the paint off when we shifted them to clean it and she’s been giving me hell ever since. I told Costello not to order so many, but would he listen?

    He said he got a job lot from Dubya. I can tell you it was a real pain painting the Aussie flag over the stars and stripes and bunging my eyebrows on the picture of Dubya, but I don’t reckon anyone would have noticed, they’d have been rivetted by the Deputy Sherrif badge Dubya gave me.

    Janette reckoned it made me look ultra-cool; Tony and Bananabe were very impressed and took some beaut photos. Pies and A Dolt were blown away, too, as were the rest of those fine upstanding News Ltd chaps and chappettes.

    I sent a photo to Rupert to put on his mantlepiece and had a very nice auto prompted thank you note from him.

    Well, must fly. Janette wants the curtains vacuuming.

    Yours very (in)sincerely, John Winston Howard.

  68. Jane thanks for the laugh.

    It follows that Mr. Howard’s effort to protect us from the bad wolves from overseas was very wasteful. There are all those mouse mats that have to be disposed of as well. I wonder if Janette found another use for them.

  69. jane,
    Do you have a link for Peter Garrett’s decision to give the Private Schools the forensic going over they have needed for many a moon?
    I am thinking about the delicious irony of the Gillard government introducing these sort of financial cutbacks but framing it within the context of paying for flood reconstruction. If the Coalition squeals too loud about it they’ll alienate their Queensland base! 🙂

  70. Remind you of anyone?

    Around a year ago O’Farrell said that privatisation was not on the agenda and not part of Liberal party core policy.

    At the enquiry yesterday when it was revealed the state Liberals had engaged Rothschild to find all the public assets that could be sold off and their value, O’Farrell said there was a place for the private sector in the public arena.

    Apparently the Liberals are planning to fire sale every public asset they can the moment they get into power.

    Can’t complain too much because Queensland Labor has been doing something similar.

  71. The first item for my list. It appears the outcome for The Extended Medicare Safety Net belongs in the Waste and Failure column.

    Medicare Safety Net helps those that don’t need it
    The Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) was introduced in 2004 to address the increasingly high out-of-pocket costs many people face when accessing medical care…………….
    The EMSN was introduced in 2004 to address this issue by subsidising 80 per cent of all out-of-pocket costs (once a threshold had been reached). This policy was so poorly designed that it not only failed to reduce out-of-pocket costs for many in the target group but actually caused an overall increase in specialists’ fees resulting in higher costs for all consumers……………
    In fact, a 2009 review of the Safety Net found that in some specialty areas 78 per cent of total funding for the program had gone into doctors’ pockets in the form of fee increases with consumers receiving only 22 per cent of benefits. Because the Safety Net provided an uncapped rebate based on the size of the medical bill, doctors worked out they could raise their fees without their patients incurring significant additional costs. The Howard government may as well have handed medical specialists a chequebook and asked them to write themselves a pay rise………….

  72. State governments are in an invidious position of being left with inefficient tax regimes which are also ultimately unsustainable (think health, which is slated to bankrupt the abilities of State governments to function across any and all of their responsibilities by the 2030s, without significant reform to funding and delivery models); it’s little wonder, then, that they’re ‘fire-saleing’ anything and everything they can just to keep up. There’s also some little merit in the idea of on-selling a farm to purchase a new one, and not just retaining it for sentimentality’s sake; but, that’s not what is happening, usually, and the funds generated from asset sales are going into running costs. Perhaps Ken Henry or Tony Bourke have some ideas on how to save Australian Federation from itself in the 21st Century.

  73. Excellent point RTTB and something that hasn’t entered the public forum for some time…that state governments were forced due to withdrawl of funding to have no option but to have a ‘fire sale’.

  74. FS, you’ll find the link in Min’s comment of 23/1 @6.17pm.

    There are all those mouse mats that have to be disposed of as well. I wonder if Janette found another use for them.

    CU, I believe she makes them into non-slip bath mats and is making a killing doing the rounds of all the craft markets.

    I think she’s also exploring the possibilities in the place mat market. However, she’s hopeful that she’ll be able to place them in upmarket department stores; it will save her having to take the chauffeur-driven Roller to craft markets where some very spiteful and unruly types coined the side panels.

  75. “The Howard government may as well have handed medical specialists a chequebook and asked them to write themselves a pay rise”

    Wasn’t that an unexpected development? 🙂

    Thnx for the info CU.


  76. “He said he got a job lot from Dubya. I can tell you it was a real pain painting the Aussie flag over the stars and stripes and bunging my eyebrows on the picture of Dubya, but I don’t reckon anyone would have noticed, they’d have been rivetted by the Deputy Sherrif badge Dubya gave me.”

    LOL jane.

    I imagine Howard would roll in his bed w/ the words of Bush the oil boy pinging around in his brain…gettin’ all mixed up like:

    “You’re either with us or against us when it comes to turning the workers into an obedient low paid bunch of ants who will never question the authoritar of the oil & coal boys…nor ask why we failed to catch the tall bearded guy when we had him surrounded all them years ago”.


  77. CU, about time things like the EMSN were dusted off and aired as a fine example of the LIEberals economic (mis)management credentials!

    RTTB & Min, well said. In our haste to give state governments a boot in the backside, we overlook the the feds role in starving the states of funds.

    …….nor ask why we failed to catch the tall bearded guy when we had him surrounded all them years ago”.

    I blame Julia Gillard.

  78. Tony Abbott just stated on sunrise that the levies introduced by the “levy for everything government” were introduced in their early years while they had defecits.

    The figures I provided show this to be completely untrue. Of 12 years there was only 1 year where there was not a levy for something. And of the 12 years they were in government they had 10 surpluses.

    Here is the reality. Based on 12 years being 100% of the governments term.

    The Gun Ley was intoroduced at approx 8% of the term and lasted until 32% of the term.

    The Stevedoring Levy was introduced at at approx 33% of the term and lasted until the 92% of the term.

    The Milk Levy was introduced at approx 40% of the term and lasted until 100% of the term.

    The East Timor Levy was introdcued at approx 50% of the term and lasted until 50% of the term.

    The Ansett Levy was introduced at approx 50% of the term and lasted until 64% of the term.

    The Sugar Levy was introduced at approx 64% of the term and lasted until 92% of the term.

    At 20% of the term we had 1 levy in existence
    At 40% of the term we had 3 levies in existence
    At 60% of the term we had 4 levies in existence
    At 80% of the term we had 3 levies in existence
    At 100% of the term we had 1 levy still in existence.

  79. But as I have shown Shane there were other levies introduced by Howard hidden in things like excise, most were minor but some were significant.

    For Howard making up for the waste by not spending on infrastructure but throwing away $394 billion on pork, advertising and electioneering, yet to still maintain bragging rights by having surpluses was done in part by putting levies on many things, many hidden in other revenue measures. His other measure was to not spend what he budgeted for or promised on any program or for any promise but still count the full amount promises as being spent.

  80. Shane,
    you & Mobius should email each other and put together a post on this.

    Abbott should not be allowed to get away w/ this kind of BS.

    Excellent work on both yer parts.



Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s