Café Talk XXIV

Café talk, Byron Bay edition.

336 comments on “Café Talk XXIV

  1. Australia significantly outperformed other advanced economies over the past five years, and not just because of China. But with lower growth forecast, the challenge has been set for Joe Hockey, writes Greg Jericho.

    Over the past few years Joe Hockey and others in the Liberal Party have been pretty eager to use slings and arrows against the view that the government intervention in the economy is worthwhile.

    But now it seems we’re all Keynesians again, as on Monday it was reported that the Treasurer is contemplating a stimulus to cope with slowing growth of the coming years.

    Despite the belief in fiscal sti..

  2. Pretty much irrelevant at this stage of the electoral cycle, but of interest if WA has to go back to the polls for a new ½ senate election.

    On a two-party preferred basis the L-NP is 50%, down 1.5% since the Morgan Poll of October 19/20, 2013. ALP support is 50%, up 1.5%. If an election were held now the result would be too close to call according to the Morgan Poll. This multi-mode Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted last weekend (November 2/3, 2013) with an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,077 Australian electors aged 18+.

    The L-NP primary vote is 41.5% (down 2%) ahead of the ALP primary vote at 35% (up 0.5%).

  3. What would be of interest in that poll Bacchus is the Liberals primary vote. If the L-NP has gone down 2% and the Libs were already 1.3% behind Labor in the primary vote at the last election I wonder how much of that 2% decline is the Liberals.

  4. ME, well at least his mother taught him manners, and how to dress.

    Can you think of one leader today, that could be interviewed in such a way, and still have much to say. Yes, it was interesting interview. Matters not whether one likes Keating or not. Yes, one does not have to like someone, to say they are a good leader.

    The thought I got, during that interview, was one we seem to forget.

    We try to rationalize politics. The truth is, very little is rational when it comes to politics.

    Politics is made up many different aspects. We make many of our choices, on what we feel, which is generally based on our own prejudices, built up over a life time.

    Some of out great leaders over time, were not liked. Not liked, but often respected and admired.

    We have one now, that is not liked, has no talent, and is wasted space. Now where it the rationality in that?

    What we have is a gutless wonder, that keeps himself and party hidden. Seems to believe parliament sits for one reason, To rubber stamp all he wants to do. Debate is not wanted or needed.

    He will tell us what he wants us to know, when and how he wants. Yes, he knows what is good for all, even the Indonesians it seems.

    Where is the outcrop, to his support of Cardinal Pell yesterday. That inquiry into sexual abuse of children report yesterday was scathing of the man. Yes, Pell was singled out for special treatment. Abbott reply was he was under the belief, Pell was responsible for dealing with the matter. Yes, responsible for setting up a body, to hide the abuse even deeper. That is what the report said.

    What has been revealed today, highlights the seriousness of the matter even more.

    Will be interesting to see the backgrounds of the priests named. This is not history, as the church tries to make out. This is current.

  5. But seriously, Happy Birthday young Michael! I hope you have a good one and get spoiled even more rotten by your good lady wife! 😀

  6. Happy birthday mate.

    Was going to do it through email but as it’s through the forum we met it’s through this medium I’ll wish you all the best.

  7. Another muck up, or could it be, they do not intend to deliver?

    “………..Extra money earmarked for Victorian schools has not arrived in time for principals to plan next year’s budgets, even though the Napthine government signed up in August for $12.2 billion over six years under David Gonski’s Better Schools Plan.
    Principals are increasingly worried they may have to do without funds from the Better Schools Plan next year, although their counterparts in NSW and Tasmania already know how much they will benefit from the new deal.
    Kevin Pope, principal of Meadow Heights Primary School, said his school had hoped to hire two new literacy coaches and an ESL teacher, but could not do so without the crucial equity funding.
    Mr Pope said he was led to believe that funds from Better Schools would start to flow in 2014.
    And yet the indicative budget for Mr Pope’s school, which is in an area of poor families with a considerable migrant population, leaves it worse off by about $200,000 next year.
    Older ”National Partnerships” funding ends shortly, he said, and Better Schools money was expected to bridge the gap, ”but fundamentally our school will be about three teachers worse off”.

    Read more:

    By the way, Pyne was not comparing apples with apples, but with oranges when talking about Independent Schools today.

    Pyne is talking about the whole system being made up of Independent schools. Yes, fund them on the model. If they go wrong, it is the principal fault.

    What occurred under Gillard, recommended by Gonski, and other Labor writers is different.

    They have set up models, where the principal is given more autonomy, on day to day running. This allows schools to respond to local conditions.

    Pyne claims that UK has gone down this track. This is not so, they rejected that Whitter Paper back in 2010.

    What Pyne intends to do, is dump Gonski.

  8. How does removing that alleged toxic tax fix this, the real cause .

    What answers does Abbot. I suspect none, as he does not really care.

    “……….The electricity ‘death spiral’ is raising considerable angst. Residential demand for power appears to be declining. This has led to higher prices to cover fixed network costs. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has highlighted the relationship between embedded generation (such as home solar systems) and network pricing in its Strategic Priorities.

    So what is the ‘death spiral’?

    The idea is simple. The cost of the electricity network – the wires and poles that bring power to our homes and workplaces – is pretty much fixed. It depends on peak demand, not on the everyday electricity load. The network is built to meet a specified level of reliability so that our power doesn’t go out (too often) on exceptionally hot days in the middle of summer when we all turn on our air conditioning. So most of the time the network costs are just a fixed cost of delivering electricity that doesn’t depend on the amount of electricity that consumers buy.


    The Indonesian government have reacted angrily to Abbott’s statement in parliament. Yes, the very good friend seems to be hard to get along with. ABC 24

  9. PHILLIP COOREY Chief political correspondent
    The Abbott government is set to blow a hole in its budget plans by rethinking an election promise to axe 12,000 federal public servants.

    The decision was made after the new government was informed that funding and program cuts implemented by the previous Labor government, which it adopted, will lead to the loss of almost 14,500 public sector jobs over the next four years.

    While “still inclined” to axe another 12,000 positions, the government will put the plan on hold and ask its ­Commission of Audit chairman Tony Shepherd to “review the timing and approach” of the policy.

    Sources said this meant the plan could be slowed down, scaled back or otherwise readjusted to ensure departments are adequately staffed to deliver the Coalition’s policy priorities.

    The setback has budget implications on two fronts. The government must find hundreds of millions of dollars to top up the budgets of departments that will have to pay voluntary redundancies for the 14,500 people who leave over the next four yea………….

    Shit happens when there is no fat to cut.

  10. Even the the three star general says that Indonesia has a sovereign right to how they deal with asylum seekers.

    “……………..Operation Sovereign Borders chief says Australia grateful to Indonesia

    The commander of Operation Sovereign Borders, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, has stressed that Australia is grateful for Indonesia’s help in tackling people smugglers.

    “All cooperation is very much appreciated and as I said earlier, it is about building and maintaining a relationship and looking for opportunities where mutual benefit emerges,” he told Senate Estimates yesterday.

    AUDIO: SBY rejects Abbott’s defence of spying activities (AM)
    He says any help provided by Jakarta is welcome, but he deflected questions about whether people smuggling cooperation will be damaged by the spying row.

    He says it is Indonesia’s “sovereign right” to decide how to handle people smuggling.

    Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young says the Coalition has not struck new formal agreements on border protection since being elected.

    “Aside from the media strategy…”

  11. I wonder how much middle to upper income earners welfare will happen. Probably as much, as the chance of seeing pink pigs flying by.

    Especially as this government has already reverse all the attempts Labor made, in this regard.

    “………A CRACKDOWN on middle class and corporate welfare could slice up to $20 billion a year off the budget bottom line and bring Australia back to surplus before the next election, according to a new analysis.
    As the Coalition embarks on its Commission of Audit review of government spending, the Centre for Independent Studies will today release a “Emergency Budget Repair Kit”.
    It contains a host of radical suggestions to curb government spending, including taking a scalpel to Australia’s $100 billion a year welfare bill.
    Welfare is now the single biggest area of government spending – making up a quarter of all spending – and must not be overlooked in the search for savings, it says.
    “There is only so much money the government can tax, borrow and spend. If governments spend money on people who can afford to look after themselves, there is less available for people who really need it.”
    The government should save $4.5 billion a year by abolishing “middle class welfare” like the family tax benefit part B – which is paid to families on up to $176,390 – and another $1.4 billion by scrapping the Schoolkids bonus, as already announced.
    Curbing automatic increases in all income support payments could save another $1 to $2 billion a year, possibly much more.
    Other recommendations of today’s independent report include:
    *END all corporate welfare, such as industry assistance, to save $8 billion a year.
    *INTRODUCE a small $5 co-payment on Medicare services like GP trips to raise $1.4 billion a year
    *SHUT DOWN the SBS TV service and scale back children’s content on ABC to save $350 million a year
    *ABOLISH the Department of Agriculture to stop duplication with state government to save between $650 million and $1.22 billion a year.
    *SHUTDOWN the Department of Education, which is primarily a state responsibility, to save $130 million a year.
    Treasurer Joe Hockey has previously argued Australia’s “age of entitlement” must end, but would not pre-empt the findings of the governments’ review yesterday…

    Wong asking some difficult questions at the senate hearings about discussions to turn boats back. Once against, no answers.

    Brandis minister involved. Nearly as good, as her duel with Cormann.

  12. They have left themselves nowhere to move, after the questioning by one of their own, into every move Carr made earlier in the day.

  13. A leading climate thinktank has joined the business community in urging the Coalition to reconsider its ban on using international carbon permits to help meet Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

    The Climate Institute is urging the environment minister, Greg Hunt, to set aside an “insurance” buffer in his “Direct Action” climate fund to buy international permits if – as has been predicted by most independent studies – it is insufficient to buy the permits required to meet Australia’s target.

    Last week the Business Council of Australia, which also supports Australia buying international permits, urged the government to get the Productivity Commission to assess how expensive it will be to achieve all Australia’s greenhouse abatement domestically.

    Both organisations were responding to Hunt’s call for submissions to inform an inquiry into the proposed $3.2bn Direct Action Fund, which will run competitive government tenders to buy greenhouse emission reductions from companies and organisations willing to make them.

    Many studies have queried whether the fund contains enough money to buy the necessary emission reductions and have raised even bigger questions about whether it can be “scaled up” to reach the deeper emission reductions that will inevitably be required after 2020 and probably before.

    Two independent modelling exercises conducted recently found Direct Action allocated far too little money to its proposed “reverse auctions” for greenhouse gas abatement to achieve even Australia’s minimum commitment of a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels….

  14. Yes, it appears that Labor ran a tight ship. No lard to be found. No hidden logs either.

    “…………..As Bernard Keane remarked yesterday, “you’d think this would be a pleasant surprise”. The real surprise is that Hockey and Cormann are trying on such a ridiculous argument. Labor’s efficiency dividend was hardly a state secret. It was the former government’s favourite tool of spending restraint, prominently displayed in the budget papers.

    The efficiency dividend regularly led to redundancies throughout the life of the last government. The whole point of the dividend was to squeeze departments and agencies until they reduced their expenditures. In the early years, low-hanging fruit like executive travel and stationery costs were harvested, without too much pain. But as Labor’s budget woes deepened, Wayne Swan and Penny Wong ramped up the dividend. In the end, the only way to make ends meet was to let people go.

    And that’s exactly what’s happened in recent years. The advice given to the government by the Finance Department – funnily enough, this is one piece of public service advice the government is happy to release – shows that Labor’s final budget settings entailed around 14,470 job losses.

    “Labor’s blanket and secret staffing cuts were also largely untargeted,” Hockey and Cormann complained, “making no distinction between higher or lower priority areas of spending and having no regard to the financial health of different parts of government.”

    Well, yes. That’s how the efficiency dividend works. Agencies are giv…”

  15. Can some one tell me, how Dutton is so surprise to find the bad job Labor did in health.

    Seem to recalled he was shadow minister for six years, and did not bother to ask one question during that time.

    Now he is so scathing. A little late, one would think,

  16. The Insiders…

    Michael Stutchbury is still scaring himself witless with imaginings of a budgetary armageddon.

    Is he a shill for neo-liberal ideology, ignorant, or just plain stupid ?

    As a Financial Review journalist he could make more useful contributions to Gardening Australia. Economics certainly doesn’t seem to be his field.

    The damage journos like Stutch do to the broader understanding of these issues is immense.

  17. So was Nikki Savva on the Bolt show. Labor rep they dug up agreed with Bolt on everything.

    Nikki pointed out, that support for same gender marriage and the republic was across all parties, therefor not political.

  18. Cormann on Meet the Press. Budget emergency back on.

    Kathryn Irvine began with some very good questions, then bought into the discussion, the prospect of a meltdown, if they do not get that debt ceiling raised to 500 billion. (hope I have the name right)

    There will be no melt down, no matter what happens. Cannot occur.

    It will only last three days, than revert below what the level is now. The treasury has many options to deal with this. Government bills will get paid. So will the pensions.

    We are not the USA.

    400 billion is ample for this financial year, and probably further into the future,

    These facts were pointed out loudly and clearly by Treasury officials at this weeks Senate hearings.

    Hockey, by his actions in the last 68 days. is responsible for the debt level, and owns the budget.

    When one cuts revenues, as he has done, the deficit grows.

    What is also clear, the waste of the previous government and over staffing are not there for Hockey to cut. They must believe their own spin, to even believe that was so.

    As for that letter, I am sure if the Indonesians are not pleased, we will hear every word.

  19. If one is interested in institutional;a sexual abuse of children, and the Catholic Church in general. This is not to be missed.

    Was repeated yeaterday

    …David Marr’s revelatory Quarterly Essay on (then) PM-in-waiting Tony Abbott made national headlines. Now, he’s turned his merciless eye to Cardinal George Pell, leader of the Catholic Church in Australia and Abbott’s confessor – at a time when the church’s handling of sexual abuse is being closely investigated.

    How did Pell rise to prominence? How has he handled abuse claims in the past? What motivates him, and how deep does his political influence go? Marr answers all that and more with Heather Ewart chairing the conversation……


  20. Just had a thought. Why would Abbptt be supporting the GG’s remarks.

    Simply really. Abbott cannot afford to get her offside.

    He might want her OK for a DD before she goes.

    Support that under the Constitution, she has the power to reject. He has to prove to her, the government is unworkable. History has shown that one bill in not enough.

    He is more likely to be told, to cool his heels until July, and try again.

    Maybe he believes he can sweeten her up. I suspect this woman is to canny for that to work.

  21. So one needs a retired army chief to deliver the letter. What is it with Abbott and the army.

    Maybe he should have delivered it himself.
    It appears that the President is making him wait.

    Just like the school principal does with naughty boys. Lets them sweat outside the door, to dwell on what they have done wrong.

  22. ‘I think we’ve had a lot of talk, a lot of conferences, a lot of reports, a lot of analysis of those reports, we’ve had an election campaign, we’ve had election policies from both sides. It’s time for the government to be allowed to get on with the job and that’s exactly what I intend to do.’’
    Gonski panel member Ms Greiner said she was disappointed that Mr Pyne would not meet the panel, and was concerned that the Coalition would not commit to six years of funding.
    She contradicted Mr Pyne’s characterisation of the socioeconomic status model, which she described as ‘‘very broken’’.
    ‘‘It was opaque, it was not transparent, it was confusing. It was, in fact, a beggar’s muddle,’’ she told ABC radio.
    She said the ‘‘flatter, simpler, fairer’’ structure Mr Pyne said he wanted could not meet the individual needs of students.
    ‘‘It’s much more complicated than that,’’ she said.
    NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli rejected Mr Pyne’s criticism of the Gonski model, which he said was ‘‘fair and transparent’’.
    ‘‘It is a much fairer way of funding schools,’’ he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
    ‘‘People have agreed to it and we don’t want to go through another three-year process of unravelling it all.’’

    Read more:

  23. Cannot even bother to tell the states what his plans are. They only found out from the TV. Strange, considering they will be meeting with the states of Friday.

    The only man in step, it seems. In fact that is true for most in this government from the rotten head down. The only ones in step.

    Yes, one is the only one who knows anything abut education. Yes, he knows it is rubbish, that the child’s environment has anything to do with their learning ability.

    Yes, he wants a flat system, where every child gets the same amount. None of this nonsense, making allowances for special needs.

    Refuses to talk to Kathryn Griener, or anyone from the Gonski Panel.

    Do we fight for our children’s future, or do we allow this idiot to destroy what is a good model. To put back in place, all except Pyne says is broken and inequitable.

    It is not about politics. It is about our country’s future.

    It is not about funding being about schools. It is abut the funding being about the individual child.

    The status of the school does not come into the equation.

    That seems to be what Pyne cannot tolerated.

    It is not even about the individual State.

  24. Given the early walloping the Abbott government has taken in the polls thanks to its ‘stop the votes’ policy, the Coalition is going to have to find some good news to win back voters (Abbott’s plan to ‘stop the votes’ is working, November 21).

    And given that its mandate is, essentially, ‘undo everything Labor did’, it would be wise to dream up a few positive reforms of its own to take to the 2016 election.

    It can’t mail out cheques to voters as John Howard did, or grant hefty tax cuts as Peter Costello did while drunk on the revenue surge of mining boom mark-I.

    In fact, it’ll be

    What is he to do. Demolishing is not a glamorous story to tell. Especially when most want to keep, what Labor achieved.

  25. 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

  26. I noticed today, but cannot recall where that Industry Super Funds are in this governments sights.

    Yes, they want to see them run by the private sector.

    It is my belief, that these are the funds that perform best.

    I can remember back in the days of I think Keating, when compulsory super was introduced.

    I can remember the liberal party spending as much time, trying to prevent unions have any say in super. They believe that to allow this, would give unions too much access to money and power.

    Seems we are back to the same situation. Anything that has union in the name, or connected to unions has to go. Whether it is the university so called union, or super.

    So if one believes in Industry Super Funds, night be time to stand up and say so,

  27. Anyone will to predict what the next lot of polls will bring.

    Between Gonski and the President playing mind games with Abbott. along with the COAG meetings this week, anything could happen.

    …and that is just starters.

  28. The way Pyne pounced off after that PC, one could think by his body language, that he believes he has pulled it off, and all have to fall in behind him. They seem to have no concept of what lying is.

    At least the media gave him a hard time. Did not seem to fuss him, that they were saying he was either stupid or lying. Just went over his head.

    Is he that thick, that he does not see or hear but stumbles on regardless.

  29. LAURA TINGLE Political editor
    Two months after being sworn in, the Abbott government is now at war with conservative states, the Senate and parents across the country. Not only is the politics of education calamitous, the government risks a High Court challenge to any attempt to walk away from education funding agreements with the states, being blocked in the Senate, and has even raised questions of sovereign risk.

    On the political level, Christopher Pyne’s announcement on Tuesday that the government would dump the Gonski education funding model after 2014 is likely to leave voters feeling even more badly done by than they ever did about Julia Gillard and the carbon tax.

    For behind all the well documented pledges about being on a “unity ticket” with Labor on education funding that were being thrown back at the Coalition on Tuesday is a more fundamental political problem for Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

    That is that he promised he would lead a government of “no surprises”, a government that would rebuild faith with voters about politics by honouring its commitments, and remove the uncertainty of the last three years.

    Instead the move on education leaves schools uncertain about their funding beyond next year, and the government on yet another uncertain path in the Senate on a central policy issue.

    No wonder Labor is now repeating, ad nauseum, the line that the Abbott Government “is not the government they said they would be”………..

  30. Maybe someone should tell Leigh, that Gillard on the first day, twitter ti the Indonesia President, that she was sorry for what happened under her watch. She went further in that twitter, if she had known, she would have done something about it.

    Katter now putting the boot into Abbott ABC 7.30

  31. Is this a diversion?

    “…The Australian government has called in China’s ambassador to express concerns at China’s declaration of an air defence zone over much of the East China Sea, including islands that Japan claims as its own territory, in a move that threatens to sour relations ahead of Julie Bishop’s first official visit to China as Foreign Minister.
    China’s announcement has escalated the security instability in North Asia and prompted a stern rebuke from Japan.
    It will require foreign aircraft that fly into the zone to identify themselves or risk military intervention from the Chinese air force.
    In a media statement released Tuesday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop described the action as ‘‘unhelpful in light of current regional tensions’’.
    ‘‘Australia has made clear its opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea,’’ she said.
    Ma Zhaoxu, the Chinese ambassad………..

    Read more:

  32. So Pyne wants to ‘use’ a new model for school funding based on an ‘SES’ (Socio-Economic Status) framework. And who could disagree with that. Certainly Gonski doesn’t. Gonski’s ‘needs’ based funding can easily be traced to its SES roots.

    Anyone who knows anything about the main driver of ‘educational’ success will cite the SES location of the parents. It’s a given. A truism, generally speaking.

    But Pyne, as always, is a slippery cnut and is referring to a particular and peculiar SES model developed by Howard. And we all know his ability to corrupt all that he touched.

    I suspect (know) that in the immediate future Pyne will shift the whole debate from ‘funding’ and how it’s allocated to ‘teacher quality’ and the sad thing the MSM will soon dance to that tune.

    Personally, I blame the Labor government, in particular K Rudd, who knew that significant change to educational funding would be a hard slog but who refused to do it in his first term. Pyne may be bruised in the short term but will win in the immediate.

    And so it goes.

  33. ..The fact is that Howard’s tax cuts, mostly carried on by Labor, used the temporary proceeds of the mining boom to permanently increase the after-tax income of the top 20 per cent. That’s the biggest single cause of the budget problems identified by the Grattan Institute, and the first thing that needs to change if we are to fix those problems..

  34. ……….And from the bunker comes the diktat that we’d better go back to the bad old days.

    As Niki Savva points out today, Abbott needs to get away from his bunker and stop listening to the advice of a select few. She writes in The Australian: “The point I have made consistently is that no one person, no matter how talented, is capable of making all the decisions in a prime minister’s office in a timely and judicious manner. They especially will be guaranteed to get them wrong if they make them in an echo chamber.”

    The ‘echo chamber’ wants to go back to SES funding and has found a pretext to justify the move……………

  35. Things I have learned listening to Senate Comm NBN.
    One of Turnbull’s appointees to the board owns a share in a sailing boat with Turnbull.
    A Telstra exec, in charge of the remedial action on the Telstra pits, was demoted went on extended leave & now has job with NBN in charge of remedial action on the pits. At the same time, the pit work essentially stopped, the media ran articles on the asbestos & Ziggy was having a chat with him about a possible appointment after change of govt.
    The head of UK FTTN, is a friend of Turnbull’s, was flown to Aus to give a talk to the board, a very ‘useful’ talk, and he has not been ruled out of getting job as CEO NBN

    and that is just some of what’s happening

  36. PS. PM, out electioneering again.
    Abbott and Dutton at a hospital. ABC 24.
    Cleaning up Labor’s mess. I hope the next government is able to clean up the mess, he is quickly creating, in this the day 74 old government.
    Talking about breaking commitments. Ha Ha ha
    He is at the Mater, North Sydney
    By the way, Mr. Dutton, during the last six years did not ask one health question in parliament. Why, the concern now.

    Yes, the lies continue.

  37. He is in consequent dialogue with his state colleagues.

    Well those state colleagues must have been lying yesterday, when they said they have been told nothing.

    Now a history lesson, going back to Howard.

  38. Maybe justice will reign in this country, but Isuspect not.

    …………Some bits slipped out: Pyne and Brough’s extracted confessions of their dealings with Ashby, Julie Bishop’s apparent lack of knowledge regarding her staff’s communications with Ashby, Entsch’s call to Abbott a few hours before the Tele story broke at 12.01am on 21 April 2012 — enough for a pretty good flow chart. Several players privy to the workings of this cabal were not elected representatives and, because of this, they made mighty fine messengers.

    If there really is a Flying Spaghetti Monster, we beseech the entity to give the Labor and the Greens the balls to go for a senate enquiry while they can. Those we’d like to see front the enquiry include, at least, the following:

    Brough, Doane and Ashby of course;

    Warren Entsch, Brough’s good mate. He’s the guy who phoned Abbott before the story had broken in the Tele, the guy who called Steve Lewis (specifically) at the Tele before the story broke, the guy who reckons he was told about the upcoming story by a ‘source’;

    his chief of staff, James Newberry, who is married to;
    Suzanne Newberry, Entsch staffer former executive assistant to;
    Brian Loughnane, Federal Liberal Party President, who is married to;
    Peta Credlin, who is chief of staff to …………….,5967

  39. I wonder if we are coming at Sydney’s traffic the wrong way. Maybe instead of taking all traffic into the city centre, we should be moving that centre west. or even South.

    Keep the city centre as a tourist attraction, which could become a world renown tourist mecca.

    This would means, putting all transport and road systems on the drawing board. Would mean big changes in how the rail network operates.

    I suspect this would be much cheaper, that what we are doing now, trying to fit more into a limited space. How many tunnels can we build. If we move the city centre west, how many tunnels would we need. Yes, We would need rail that goes east to west, further out.

    Now we have a system where all roads and rail heads east, to the waters edge. Does not make sense.

    Would make more sense, when that second airport, which is inevitable is built. If the city hub is further from Sydney Harbour, the leas transport infrastructure will it need.

    ABC is repeating a couple of very god maiden speeches this week. One Labor, the other National Party. Maybe there is hope for the future. Heard the member from Mallee make the speech. Was impressed. Did no hear the Labor one.

    Both talked about today and tomorrow. Repeat of interview on Capital Hill.

    ……….Sydney traffic, it seems, can no longer cope when a butterfly flaps its wings.
    The city’s roads are so absurdly inadequate that one ill-timed concert, one electronic glitch in a subterranean control room, one slightly aggressive hit of weather, one foolish truck driver will almost invariably block roads far from where the initial incident took place, spreading delays through the city in long, splintering snarls of frustration and regret.
    Taylor Swift had a concert at Moore Park last Wednesday, which was unfortunately timed for peak hour.
    Perhaps, on their way there, others had traffic accidents and breakdowns in the Harbour Tunnel, Cahill Expressway and Anzac Parade around the same time. The result was that it soon became quicker to walk anywhere near central Sydney than to drive or catch a bus….

    Read more:

  40. Is this really good governance. More likely it is, that he has no trust or respect the ability of anyone in the PS.

    Mr Abbott’s directive on public service travel has already generated a backlash from ministers and bureaucrats.

    Senior government sources said the requirement that department and agency heads personally approve all travel costing up to $20,000 was “simply unworkable”.

    “Does the Prime Minister really expect departmental secretaries to spend half their days signing off routine travel requisitions, even Cabcharge vouchers?” one senior government adviser said. ”Nor do ministers want to decide the composition of overseas delegations. It’s nonsensical.”

    The Australian government spends about $380 million a year on domestic travel and another $170 million on international travel. Tens of thousands of public servants travel domestically or internationally each year.

    Most domestic travel is undertaken by the Defence Department and the Department of Human Services, which includes two of the nation’s largest agencies, Medicare and Centrelink.

    The Defence and the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolios account for the bulk of overseas travel.

    A Foreign Affairs and Trade executive highlighted potential complications for Australian diplomats overseas who travel frequently, often at short notice.

    Mr Abbott’s directive followed the most recent release of parliamentary travel expense reports, which, among other things, showed former Labor foreign affairs minister Bob Carr spent an average of $4220 a day on international trips, domestic flights and chauffeured cars, totalling nearly $777,000 in a six-month period.

    Fairfax Media understands Mr Abbott’s directive was issued without specific consultation with cabinet ministers or departmental and agency heads.

    A spokesman for Mr Abbott said the Prime Minister had “made it very clear from the outset that all travel was to be undertaken at a fair cost”.

    Coalition ministerial staff described the instructions as part of “the controlling tendencies” of the Prime Minister’s office.

    Mr Abbott’s spokesman said there could be “exemptions for essential operational activities to meet government policy objectives. However, careful consideration of number of delegates, travel class and accommodation will also be considered before approval is given.”

    Ads by Google

  41. Yes, good governance is truly lacking. Tight control tell one that the opposite is occurring.

    If one cannot trust senior ministers, who can one trust. Wonder how much more MacFarlane will take.

    ………Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is among those bridling at tight control from Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office, with chief of staff Peta Credlin, on one account, telling him recently: ”We will tell you what you can say and what you can’t say.”
    Reports about the exchange follow public criticism from Coalition Senator Ian Macdonald of a culture of ”obsessive centralised control” exercised by Mr Abbott’s office.
    We will tell you what you can say and what you can’t say. ……….

    Read more:

  42. More.

    ………But it is her vetoing of ministerial staffing appointments that is causing the most anger in government circles. Ms Credlin has quashed or stalled the appointments of people who worked at senior levels in opposition or in high ranking positions during the Howard government.

    ”If Credlin doesn’t like someone, they don’t get the job even though they might be abundantly qualified and obviously the right person,” one minister said.

    On September 8, Ms Credlin was the only other person with the newly-elected prime minister during a briefing from senior departmental secretaries.

    Business leaders too have their frustrations. ”We are not getting the access we should and what has really annoyed some is there have been times when people thought they were getting in to see Tony when in fact Credlin appears and says the meeting is with her,” one said.


    Read more:

  43. I suspect that Pell will be happy when the New Year comes.

    ………As Catholics around Australia are warned to prepare themselves for shock and shame from now until Christmas, one of Sydney's biggest congregations may be better prepared than most.
    It is understood hearings starting in Sydney on Monday into the church's controversial Towards Healing protocol for dealing with victims will explore some of the most harrowing stories yet before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
    A group of parishioners at St Mary Magdalene church in Rose Bay have been meeting since the commission was announced a year ago to share what parish priest Monsignor Tony Doherty describes as their confusion, horror and disgust.
    ''The trust people put in priests, Catholic schools and parishes is deeply bruised. Lots of people say that their churches are empty,'' said Monsignor Doherty, who estimates 700 to 800 people attend his Sunday Mass and who marked 50 years as a priest in August.

    About a year ago, when the NSW government inquiry into the Catholic Church in the Hunter and the royal commission were announced, he realised he could no longer think of child sex abuse in the church as a few isolated cases. He felt ''profound shame'' that something so ''absolutely heinous'' could have happened.

    Read more:

  44. This is what put MacFarlane offside with his cabinet mates. So much so, that they leaked to the media.

    ..he ABC can now reveal an internal brawl was sparked in the early weeks of the new Government, when in an interview with News Corp, Mr Macfarlane flagged “arm wrestling” the Treasurer over more money for the industry.

    “I’ve won a few, I’ve lost a few. Let’s have that arm wrestle, I’m happy to do it. I’m sure Joe (Hockey) will be clean,” he said.

    It outraged Cabinet colleagues who said he had turned the heat off Holden and back on the Government.

    Holden statement to staff and public, December 6

    Most of you will be aware of the media speculation today regarding Holden’s future.

    The ABC’s report is speculative – our discussions with the government and General Motors are ongoing.

    Holden will also appear in the Productivity Commission next Tuesday and is engaged in the process.

    We understand how difficult this constant speculation is for employees. As always, any official developments or decisions will be communicated directly to employees first and foremost.

    Richard Phillips, executive director of manufacturing…..

    My emphasis.

  45. Indonesia appears to be having the same problem with this government as we4 are.

    Their ability to speak opposing positrons at one time. Is it double speak, or double thought?

    Now, we also have Bishop back peddling at the rate of knots, with China. Now saying Australia is not taking sides with the SA or Japan. Just voicing concern that China’s action has raised danger in the region. In that face to face combat that Bishop had with her Chinese counterpart, that was not the message.

    ….Indonesia has expressed confusion at the mixed messages being sent by the Abbott government over future spying activities.
    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s foreign affairs adviser said that they were hearing different accounts from foreign minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Abbott.
    “With two different nuances, it will be less beneficial to help the process of normalisation,” presidential adviser and spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said on Sunday, as quoted by online news organisation
    On Friday, Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said he had taken his meeting with Ms Bishop to mean that there would be “absolutely” no further electronic espionage directed against his country.
    But asked on radio on the same day if Australia would stop collecting intelligence on Indonesia, Mr Abbott said, “No. And they certainly haven’t agreed to stop collecting intelligence on Australia”.
    Mr Natalegawa agreed that countries do collect intelligence, but said “it must be done under a cooperative framework”, and that the “intent” should be good: “No spying. No more bugging. No more tapping”.
    Mr Teuku said on Sunday Indonesia needed to study Mr Abbott’s comments, made to Fairfax Radio, but on the face of it, the words were different from those Ms Bishop expressed to Mr Natalegawa on Thursday. ….

    Read more:

    Sorry for so much cut and paste, but the truth is, there is so much going on, one cannot keep up.. All important in MHO.

  46. No longer a debt limit. Well still has to go through the lower house.

    Another white paper today. Joyce. How many is that?

  47. Nothimg new withthis government.

    ……Tony Abbott is hardly Robinson Crusoe here – self publishing is all the rage in professional politics. It helps politicians land a message cleanly. But it’s probably not best practice to release your visual press release to YouTube pretending this is some kind of press event.

    This takes me back to the good old days of the waterfront dispute in the late 1990s, where the then minister for industrial relations, Peter Reith issued a transcript of a press conference that did not in fact take place. His press secretary posed a couple of questions which Reith answered. My dim memory of the first ‘question’ was “Tell us about the strippers ..” (This concerned dodgy work practices on the docks.)

    Peter Reith has always been a cutting edge sort of playe.

    This is only one of the many gems on this site today.

  48. I believe that the mandate that Abbott claims, is getting little traction in the community.

    Have not seen any outburst from the public, demanding that Shorten, rubber stamp Abbott’s removable of all the CEF bills. None at all.

  49. Cory Bernadi, Capital Hill, sees the answer to the GMH as reducing workers wages and conditions.

    Was pointed out to him, that the workers have already gone down this track.

    Yes, workers, prepare yourself to be sold out.

  50. I believe this government is setting GMH up to be another Patrick. Yes, offer them a deal, they cannot refuse, as long as they take the unions on. Same could be in store for Qantas.

    Faulkner now speaking in the senate.

  51. Why?

    ……..It is still not clear why Tony Abbott seems determined to trash Australia’s hard-won reputation as a good citizen of the world, but there can be no doubt that he no longer cares what our erstwhile friends and neighbours think of us – provided that he can achieve his short term domestic objectives.

    First there was the casual dismissal of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s complaints about the bugging of his and his wife’s personal phones, which led to an unnecessarily severe rift between the countries. Then the there was the contemptuous handling of the climate change conference in Poland which offended just about all the serious players. There has been the ongoing disregard for the United Nations Convention of Refugees, which Australia claims to observe but clearly does not and couldn’t care less about.

    And now we have the deliberate sabotage of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, where Timor Leste has a case attempting to correct a manifestly unjust treaty thrust upon it by Australia shortly after the country gained its independence. Not content with nobbling a key witness, we have done our best to nobble Timor’s lawyer as well.

    Attorney-General George Brandis justifies as a matter of national security the confiscation of the passport of the former ASIS agent who was preparing to give evidence that Australia had bugged the Timorese cabinet room during negotiations; this is barely credible but given the nature of the man’s defection, Brandis can perhaps receive the benefit of the doubt. But when he extends the national security blanket to cover the raids on the Canberra offices of the prominent human rights lawyer Bernard Collaery, there can be only one response: bullshit, Georg.

  52. “Cory Bernadi, Capital Hill, sees the answer to the GMH as reducing workers wages and conditions.”

    Boiler-plate conservative stupidity. Learned nothing, forgotten nothing.

  53. The government has refused the Senate access to the secret text of the trade deal it is negotiating in Singapore, saying it will only be made public after it has been signed.

    As the final round of ministerial talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership resumed on Sunday, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote to each of the 12 participating nations warning that the deal and the secrecy surrounding it presented ”grave risks”.
    Australia’s delegate, Trade Minister Andrew Robb, has told Fairfax Media he is prepared to agree to so-called ”investor-state dispute settlement provisions” in return for access to markets including those of the US, Japan and Canada.
    The provisions, rejected by the previous Labor government, allow foreign corporations to sue sovereign governments.
    Tobacco company Philip Morris is suing the Australian government over its plain-packaging legislation using the ISDS provisions of an obscure Hong Kong investment treaty. The company is pursuing the suit even though it lost in the Australian High Court………..

  54. Should one be scared?

    …………….Remember Tony Abbott’s pledge to adopt a calm and methodical approach to government? That all major decisions, barring instances of national emergency, would be run through cabinet with a 10-day process of prior departmental scrutiny and ministerial discussion?

    The business and corporate community is not just scratching its head at what, from the outside, its senior denizens are openly describing as a shambolic approach by the new government.

    So, too, are many inside the Liberal Party, be it over Holden, Qantas, GrainCorp or education funding.

    A manufacturing industry figure and traditional Liberal supporter sent this column a text message on Friday following the latest confusion over Holden’s future.

    “What a sh-t govt for business and multinationals.’’

    Simultaneously, a senior government member texted after Abbott confirmed on Melbourne radio that Holden would receive no extra money and that it should clarify exactly what it wants.

    Note of confusion

    “I’m rather confused,’’ the text began.

    “Until today, we were asking Holden to wait until the Productivity Commission report was done until they decided on their future. Now, we need them to clarify their intentions immediately and are pre-empting the [Productivity Commission] report by saying absolutely no more money.

    “This is as erratic, if not more so, as the education funding stuff.’’

    If key Liberals are struggling with the optics of their own government’s actions, spare a thought for the punter. It is not the policy positions being espoused, as such, but the approaches and the conflicting messages being sent.

    Last week, after days of telling everybody else they were wrong, Abbott and his leadership team moved swiftly to shut down the school funding shambles by finding in a hurry the $1.2 billion extra they had planned to withhold.

    The decision was announced before cabinet discussed it. There is a strong feeling that the government, too, wants Qantas and Holden settled before Christmas. Fairly or unfairly, the government is now seen to be controlling the destiny of two national icons. In recent days, Abbott and his senior team have adopted a hard-line, free-market approach to both.

    An ap…

  55. Could this be why the government is so cocky today.

    …..Victoria’s chief magistrate has ordered that fraud police be given access to legal documents relating to Julia Gillard’s ex-boyfriend Bruce Wilson.

    In a court order released to the media, the former Australian Workers Union (AWU) secretary has been accused of taking part in a fraud or other offence over a so-called slush fund that was set up in the 1990s.

    Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen says Mr Wilson, who was romantically involved with Ms Gillard at the time, had deceived the Theiss company.

    He said the company believed it was paying for a service, but that the association involving Mr Wilson had bought a home with some of the Theiss payments.

    “Only he knows what happened to the rest,” Mr Lauristen said in the judgment.

    The order says that police are investigating Mr Wilson because of matters relating to four types of offence.

    He is accused of obtaining property by deception, receiving secret commissions, making and using false documents, and conspiracy to cheat and defraud.

    Ms Gillard provided legal advice to Mr Wilson in her then role as a solicitor for lawyers Slater and Gordon.

    She has consistently denied any wrongdoing over the matter, saying she was under the impression the fund would be used for legitimate purposes to re-elect union officials.


  56. Well this is no surprise to any of us here, including the right wingers, who know these are the facts but will go to great lengths to deny it to obfuscate for the inept government they support.

    Morrison has claimed Sovereign Borders has led to an 80% drop in boat arrivals, but Fact Check and data obtained show this to be blatantly untrue. Let us not forget ÆRCHIES ARCHIVE who is tracking boats from various sources and also shows Morrison and this government are lying.

    A graph shown on the news this morning clearly shows that it is Rudd’s abhorrent policy that is the direct cause of the drop in asylum seekers and indeed the current number of arrivals has been trending flat to the level it was in the weeks before the election.

    Sovereign Borders, which has seen two boats get in undetected, has not done anything to stop the boats, Rudd’s terrible offshore detention along with denying any legitimate asylum seeker Australian residency ever is the reason the boats are now a trickle.

    The facts, the thing the right wingers hate more than anything, clearly show that.

  57. From an essay in The Guardian that had me thinking about Cory Bernadi’s prescription for our future…

    And one of the things that capital would want unequivocally and for certain is the diminishment of labour. They would want labour to be diminished because labour’s a cost. And if labour is diminished, let’s translate that: in human terms, it means human beings are worth less.

    There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show

  58. No one seems to want Abbott, this fine sunny day. Seems to lack in every department.

    ..Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s much-touted “first 100 days of action” for his “no surprises, no excuses” government will run out on Boxing Day. As a result the Coalition has its work cut out in the run-up to Christmas. In the 84 days since Abbott and his cabinet were sworn in, they have struggled to find a positive vision for the nation, let alone explain it.

    When decisions have been made, many have been underwhelming, confusing or embarrassing. For all the rhetoric about the dire state of the federal budget and the evils of debt, Australia now has no debt ceiling thanks to a deal between Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Greens. It was the correct decision but getting there betrayed an air of hypocrisy.

    The same can be said about the 11th-hour reconversion to a stripped-back, unclear version of the Gonski reforms. At least they were decisions.

    On other pressing problems there has been a worrying tendency towards misplaced masterful inaction. Prevarication is dogging the necessary decision to keep Qantas in local hands. If Abbott accepts that the national carrier is a special case requiring support, as the Herald does, he must say so now. If not, he must have the courage to explain why and manage the consequences.

    Similarly, the government is split over General Motors’ exit from Australia. For too long head office in Detroit has held Australian taxpayers to ransom with demands for more untied funding for Holden. Abbott has said he will await recommendations from the Productivity Commission before ruling on more handouts. But if GM has decided, Abbott must come clean and take the political pain. Moreover, he must outline a package of measures to manage the transition for workers and businesses into more sustainable activity.

    Politically timidity also marked the foreign takeover bid for GrainCorp, which was rushed through to preserve Coalition unity and avert a farmer backlash. While the Herald believes the decision was in the national interest, the government has struggled to explain it to voters and foreign investors.

    Abbott has also made missteps on MPs’ perks, repeatedly baulking at reforming a rorted system. On Indonesia, his refusal to offer a quick, diplomatic apology for spying leaves Australia struggling to restore relations and its “stop the boats” policy under a cloud. Faced with the sort of grilling he dished out when in opposition, his government has resorted to secrecy on asylum seekers.

    What is more, myriad areas of policy development have been outsourced to scores of inquiries as a means of delaying unpopular decisions on economic and budgetary reform, many of which have already been made. So often when pressed about economic matters – Qantas, the car industry, manufacturing and even sugar – the government’s stock answer is “repeal the carbon tax”.

    The Herald believes Abbott has a mandate to scrap the tax but doing so will have virtually no impact on Australia’s economic future and leave it with an untested alternative. It is a symptom of a larger problem.

    Abbott was a successful opposition leader, adept at knocking down but not rebuilding; criticising but not explaining. Now he is struggling to find – let alone create – a core vision for the nation beyond dispensing with Labor’s legacy.

    Making matters worse, Abbott’s strategy before the election was to defuse contentious policy challenges by promising them away or pledging to seek a mandate first.

    “No surprises” has become Abbott’s albatross on Work Choices, cuts to public services, raising the GST and many more issues.

    Economic and productivity-enhancing reforms require urgent attention. Implementation will take time but the starting point must be the courage to make the hard decisions, no matter the political blowback.

    Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has warned Australians of hubris about “this myth of 22 years’ uninterrupted growth” and demanded a return to the 1980s-’90s reform agenda of the Hawke-Keating era. Keating, whose government Abbott invokes as a reform benchmark, has bemoaned a “singular lack of urgency” towards economic reform.

    Abbott’s promise was for a slow, steady, methodical, purposeful government. The suspicion is that his government has yet to find its purpose..

    Read more:–or-his-purpose-20131209-2z1kw.html#ixzz2n1FEmpav

  59. ME. the evidence points to the fact that the PNG scheme, with Indonesian taking steps, not allowing those without appropriate visas into the country, is the reason for the boats not coming.

    Has one noticed, that press releases of boats coming, and those sinking, are that they are very small WOODEN boats.

    Could this be deliberate, making it easy to avoid our patrol boats in the area, but putting those on them in greater risk.

    The polls seems to indicate what one picks up, reading comments on all sites, including MSM, that Abbott is on the nose.

    The people complaining most, seem to be business, big and small.

    Only Premier willing to stand beside him appears to be Cando.

    Hunt is once again threatening to make the Senate sit, even over the Christmas break, to pass his 11 bills to get rid of the CEF suite of bills, that deal with man made climate change and carbon emissions. m Trouble is, Hunt does not have the power to do this.

    The Senate is still debating the first of those bills, the one that deals with CEFC, something that is needed no matter whether it is CEF or DA. Something that does not add to the budget bottom line, costs the taxpayers nil.

  60. The parliament is also busy, rescinding bills that give rebates to industry, especially small ones.. The reason that they have to go, seem to be only one. They were introduced by Labor.

  61. Yes, Tony;s answer is carbon tax. Cory’s, reduction of wages and conditions.

    The latter seems to be the ones driving those, who are now undermining Macfarlane.

    They all are saying, Qantas and GMH have to get their houses in order.

    Code for, reduce wages. I can see any help that comes from this government, having that as a condition.

    I can see us looking back to Patrick and the wharves, as kids play, when comparing what is coming.

    GM are standing up for workers and unions at the hearing in Melbourne.

  62. No Mr. Reith, Labor is not saying no, because they think that is his just desserts. Mr. Reith, Tony is getting his just desserts. He is doing it all on his own, with no help from Labor.

    …Labor has form on negative tactics in opposition, and kids itself that it is simply giving Abbott his own medicine, writes Peter Reith.

    As we head to the Christmas break, there is a whirlwind of decisions and outcomes blowing through the corridors of power in Canberra. Some have been initiated by the incoming government but some are the consequence of the decisions of the previous government and even earlier. The cumulative forces at play may be a better indication of where the government is heading than any individual issue..

  63. Kate Ellis. Amazing announcement from government. Childcare workers will get their rise, but will be asked to return the money back to the government,

    Not sure what it is about.


  64. The Abbott government is asking childcare providers to “do the right thing” and hand back $62.5 million given to them to improve wages in the poorly paid sector, in a move slammed by Labor as a broken election promise.
    The contracts were signed with the previous government, with the money to be spent in 1100 childcare centres to bolster the $19-an-hour wages of certificate III childcare workers by $3 an hour and the pay of early-childhood teachers by $6 an hour.
    Asked whether it was cruel to be asking low-paid childcare workers to return money promised to them, Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said: “Of course I feel for workers who might have expected a pay rise, but who led them to expect that pay rise?”
    At a media conference in Canberra on Tuesday, Labor’s child care spokeswoman Kate Ellis said the government had led child care workers to expect that pay rise when it promised to honour agreements.
    Ms Ellis said the government’s process was ”shambolic” and ”cruel” to child care workers before Christmas.

    Read more:

  65. I wonder what camp the Honourable Tony Abbott fits into. I was surprise to read, Abbott is only thee second Australian PM to visit South Africa. The other was Howard.

    ……..Many of the world dignitaries heading to the village Qunua to join South African people for the funeral of funerals have dubious track records on the anti-apartheid struggle.

    As a 23-year-old, while Mandela languished in prison, David Cameron, now British Prime Minister, accepted an all-expenses paid trip from a company lobbying against economic sanctions on the apartheid government.

    It took Cameron until 2006, but he finally distanced himself from the Conservative Party’s support for the apartheid regime, criticising Margaret Thatcher for having labelled Mandela a “terrorist”.

    Former US President Bill Clinton calls Mandela a “true friend,” and undoubtedly shared a bond with the South African icon. But he still failed to have Mandela and the African National Congress Party removed from the US terrorism list on which Ronald Regan had placed them.

    Mandela, unsurprisingly, differed with the Bush administration over the War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq. Vice president Dick Cheney had been the senator who had presented the terrorist motion in 1987. It was, nonetheless, George W Bush who finally removed the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from the terrorist list.

    That wasn’t until in 2008, at the tail end of his presidency.

    Hypocritical and revisionist, perhaps. In an entirely different category, however, is the apparent indifference demonstrated by the New Zealand prime minister, who refuses to even discuss with the media his stance on apartheid at the time of Mandela’s imprisonment.

    Prime Minister John Key of the conservative National Party will be attending the funeral as the leader of the NZ delegation. Yet Key is irritated by the fact that media continues to ask him about the issue.

    “I’m not going to bother going into it,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast, a morning news show, after being pressed on Monday once again about his attitude towards apartheid in the early 1980s.

    “I was about 20 years of age, I had a whole lot of other things to do at the time.”

    When he took over the National Party in 2006, Key was asked for the first time about whether he had been for or against the notorious 1981 Springbok rugby tour of NZ. He replied simply that he couldn’t remember..

  66. A few facts doe go a long way.

    What a wonderful precedent that Abbott is putting place, for those that come after him.

    ………..Ministers and contractors
    WHICH BRINGS us to the issue of where ministerial responsibility fits into this mix of public funding and private delivery of services. The term “the contract state” was coined about forty years ago to describe the increasing number of services and products that are neither wholly in the domain of private enterprise nor performed by a government bureaucracy financed from consolidated revenue. They are services undertaken by private contractors at the behest of government, or made possible by government subsidy. Ranging from private schools and private hospitals to private electricity providers and private prisons, these have been increasing over the years.
    The Westminster doctrine of ministerial responsibility, already problematic and inconsistently enforced, has not kept pace with this blurring of the lines between the public and private sectors. In the contemporary world, ministers are sometimes held responsible for their own actions. Very rarely are they held to account for the actions of their department, where there are typically debates over what a minister could have reasonably known or controlled. Ministerial responsibility for contracted government services is an even greyer area.
    Under the Howard government, despite the Labor opposition’s best efforts, no official sanction was ever administered for any outsourced activities or the effects of the direct or indirect public subsidies to corporate entities. Thus the immigration minister was not required to resign after the suicides and other great human suffering that occurred in the privately run immigration detention centres implementing the government’s asylum seeker policies. The foreign affairs minister was not required to resign because of the way the corporate monopoly entity AWB (formerly the Australian Wheat Board) was dealing illegally with Saddam Hussein’s regime. When the Howard government’s policy of financially supporting child care through tax rebates for parents allowed that sector to become very corporatised, culminating in the collapse of the biggest corporate entity, ABC Learning Centres, no minister was held responsible.
    In the home insulation case the Coalition was able to impose a definition of ministerial responsibility far more rigorous than anything previously associated with the Westminster system. Now ministers are not only responsible for their own actions, and those of their departments, but for private employers whose actions are subsidised by the government. As Bernard Keane wrote, “The crazy logic of the pursuit of Garrett is that he must take responsibility for the actions of everyone who has received government funding, no matter how irresponsible they are in their own actions.” Peter Garrett is probably the first minister to suffer a demotion because of activities by private contractors drawing on public money.
    In the pursuit of the issue, Tony Abbott, Peter Costello and former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull presented characteristically contrasting styles. Abbott went straight for the jugular with the claim that Garrett could be charged with industrial homicide. This could have easily rebounded on him if a more critical media had branded the comment as outrageous and irresponsible. Instead it worked for him, raising the political temperature and dramatically putting the public focus on the government’s culpability. Equally characteristically, Costello was smugly dismissive of the whole insulation scheme, recalling in the Age that Turnbull had wanted to undertake a similar program in government, “dressed up as a climate change policy.” “I was against it. I couldn’t see why those taxpayers who had paid to insulate their own homes should subsidise insulation for those who hadn’t. The subsidy would only [emphasis added] increase the value of a private asset – the private home.” Costello says he saved Turnbull from what would have been a disaster, and “the voters saved $2.5 billion.” Under Rudd it was “rebadged as a stimulus policy” (actually it was titled “The Energy Efficient Homes Package”) and, inevitably, says Costello, it became a mess. Finally, and predictably, Turnbull mounted the most forensically (if not politically) effective attack. He said that the scheme showed again that Rudd is not a cautious, process-obsessed bureaucrat but rather a free-wheeling spin merchant, and criticised the lack of planning and preparation before launching the program. He also argued, quite plausibly, that if the rebate covers the whole cost of installation, then the householder has less interest in seeing it is done properly.
    It is interesting that conservative critics studiously avoid acknowledging any difference between the actions of government bureaucracies and those of businesses receiving public money. Costello extended his critique of the home insulation program by proceeding to criticise “the idea that the Commonwealth should take over and run [emphasis added] public hospitals,” while the IPA’s Roskam attributed the problems with the home insulation program to “Canberra taking control.” In fact it is meant to be one of the virtues of the contract state that the public outsourcing of activities achieves market disciplines and efficiencies in contrast to government bureaucracies undertaking them.
    – See more at:

  67. More

    ……….The benefits of home insulation have not been questioned by any of the program’s critics. The Department of Environment estimated that insulation would cut the normal household’s energy bills by around $200 a year. According to one estimate during the controversy, putting ceiling insulation in 2.2 million homes would save as much energy as taking a million cars off the road; a more conservative estimate said that 1.1 million insulated homes was the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road. Another estimate said that ceiling insulation cuts household energy use by up to 45 per cent, while the Total Environment Centre said it would cut it by 25 per cent in centrally heated homes and 18 per cent in space-heated homes. Whatever the actual figures, the environmental benefits are clearly substantial.
    When the program began, home insulation had few special regulations, although it was, of course, subject to normal work and safety provisions and employers’ duty of care. No certification was needed to enter the field, and indeed insulation was frequently installed by householders themselves. The lack of licensing and training in the area allowed sub-standard work to be completed and sub-standard occupational safety procedures to be followed. Although the numbers and proportions of each almost certainly increased as a result of the stimulus, the lack of existing safeguards also meant that an unknown number of instances of both shortcomings probably occurred in the past but had passed beneath the public radar.
    Both licensing and training have been dramatically improved as a result of the program. As the increased scale and perhaps the decline in the quality of some work exposed more problems, the department mounted a national training and audit program, largely filling the regulatory vacuum that had permitted the previous abuses and problems. At best there is a grey area here. On the one hand it can be argued that it would be unreasonable for the department to anticipate all of these issues, and it can be argued that it acted fairly quickly once problems became apparent. On the other, should it have anticipated that such an expansion of funding would attract problematic operators and practices, and therefore acted pre-emptively?
    “Every new fire and its front page headline will remind voters of the Rudd government’s recklessness and ineptitude,” the Australian’s columnist Janet Albrechtsen has written. Politically, she is surely correct, but that will happen largely because of the media’s innumeracy and lack of historical perspective. Under the program, the number of installations rose from 67,000 a year to 1.1 million; the number of fires rose from around eighty to 120. In other words, as Crikey’s psephological blog Pollytics has demonstrated convincingly, there is no statistical evidence that the existing problem of fires became worse with the program. Rather, because fires from insulation were now newsworthy and previously hadn’t been, this was seen as a new problem, one caused by the new policy, whereas in fact the number of insulation-related fires increased only slightly in absolute terms, and there was a decrease from previous patterns in proportional terms.
    The most tragic aspect of the current controversy was the death of four young workers. Although the coronial inquiries are not yet complete, one apparently died from heat exhaustion on his first day in the job and two others from cutting through live electrical wires. We have no figures on deaths from home insulation before the program began, as the published figures have not been disaggregated from overall fatalities in the construction industry. But we do know that each year there are around 50 fatalities from construction work in Australia, and overall in Australia around 300 work-related fatalities. As Bernard Keane reported in Crikey, this number actually increased somewhat after the Howard government’s changes to the building code in 2004 – from 3.14 deaths per 100,000 in 2004 to 5.6 in 2006 and 4.48 in 2007.
    Every one of the 300 work-related deaths that occur each year in Australia is a tragedy, not only the four associated with home insulation. Every one of them should be an occasion for examining existing policies and practices, and many of them should have received more media and political attention than they have. Few if any of them, though, should result in charges of industrial homicide against cabinet ministers.
    Three of the deaths involved foil insulation. Foil seems to have particular safety problems in proximity to live electricity currents, both during installation and later, as conditions in ceilings change and some areas potentially become electrified. Foil has been used for decades and problems appear to have existed, unacknowledged, for a long time. Now, thankfully and at last, these have come into public focus. I do not recall seeing any warnings about the dangers of foil insulation when the program started.
    Insulation proved to be a much more problematic industry than anyone anticipated when the government’s program began. Questions can be raised about the speed and adequacy of the government’s responses as problems came to light, but here even a harsh critic must concede that on several issues it acted fairly promptly and properly, although there is certainly legitimate scope for divergent judgements about this. Nevertheless this is a much more limited and partial sense of responsibility than could justify the general claims of recklessness and industrial homicide that became standard fare during the controversy.
    THE HOME insulation saga has been indelibly defined as a fiasco. It will be used relentlessly against the government as incontrovertible evidence of incompetence. At the National Press Club debate on health this week, for instance, Tony Abbott said three times that a government that was incapable of rolling out pink batts couldn’t be trusted to run hospitals.
    But what was most striking about the political controversy was the stultifying and misleading narrowness of the news agenda. It was depressing testimony to how seldom a complex or rounded picture emerges in political reporting. The trade-offs in policy – between speed and size on the one hand, and careful preparation and targeting on the other – never emerged in the news. The home insulation program had considerable flaws, but in news reports these all but completely eclipsed its virtues. The economic and environmental achievements of the program never came into focus.

  68. “Re: Tony Abbott’s controversial speeches wiped off Liberal Parties Online Presence
    Post by Ben_Reilly on Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:57 pm
    .Politicians really don’t get it, do they? I can’t wait for a generation of them that has grown up with the Internet and knows they can’t whitewash their records.”

  69. “Thank you, best wishes and goodbye — for now
    Thanks for all your support and feedback over this remarkable year of three prime ministers.
    Thanks for your suggestions, criticism, and passionate arguments for and against our rulings.
    Most of all, thanks for caring about Australian politics, and about our work.
    With your help, PolitiFact Australia has proved there’s a demand and need for fact-checking politicians and candidates.
    Sadly, we have yet to prove there’s a private funding model outside of the election cycle. We are working on it.”

  70. Latest Newspoll shows support for the Abbott government in WA, a Liberal stronghold, has nose dived, which doesn’t bode well for the Senate for Abbott as it looks like he could lose at least three seats there on the current polling if WA goes to a reelection.

    If that happens then he won’t be in a strong position come the Senate change in 2014. Unlike Gillard, Abbott is already having lots of trouble negotiating with the Senate, though negotiating is the wrong term, he’s trying to steamroll them and failing.

  71. Where is the right wingers outrage. More Liberal rorting revealed, this time more by Bishop the younger.

    If this was Labor doing one rort for a $1 the hypocrite right wingers would be flooding this blog with outrage and calling for sackings, but rort after rort from Abbott down is ignored by them. They have lost any skerrick of credibility they might of have over their deliberate disregard on this and always trying to bring up Labor as a diversion.

  72. Haha, as Hockey lamely attempts to defend Abbott abandoning the country for a 5 Star luxury resort in France in the midst of a supposed budget emergency, when in the past Hockey attacked Gillard for visiting her widowed mum during a debt crisis in her government, it has taken the Indonesian 5th Estate to report on Abbott’s running away (yet again).

    Australian PM Abandons Country For Christmas Celebration – Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott has abandoned his Country in his first year of office in 2013 during the Western World’s important Christmas celebrations and holidays.

    Hockey is badly weathering a storm over Twitter in his bad attempts to defend Abbott running away at this time, it’s fun to watch him flounder.

  73. I see that SPC has got the message from this government, as to what they have to do to get assistance.

    Something, I believe the car industry was unwilling to do.

    It could be that contracts are to replace individual workers agreements.

    ………….FOOD producer SPC Ardmona is under fire for telling 73 unionised workers they will be replaced next year with contract labour, as the company struggles to modernise its operations, rein in costs and boost productivity.

    Unions accused the company of sacking its maintenance workforce as “sacrificial lambs” to appease Coalition demands to get its house in order, as SPC pleads for $50 million in taxpayer assistance from the federal and Victorian governments…..

    I wonder how much fo the labor now employed in any industry, is contract or casual labor. Labor from hire firms.

  74. There are many ways to undermine FWA without bringing WorkChoices back.

    In Howard’s days, in an effort to force employers to use WC, they made every contract with the government, included clauses that Individual agreements had to be made with staff.

    Even advance this to the likes of Universities and other bodies within their grants.

  75. “OUR Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank, Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who seems to think the environment is that inconvenient stuff that interferes between the coal under the ground and dollars, says the Coalition’s direct action plan will easily reach the target of a 5 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

    This is because they have another emerging plan that will achieve this goal.

    See your ad here

    It is their direct inaction plan. He partially revealed this last Friday, when he said: “It’s going to be easier to achieve that figure (5 per cent reduction) now, because of changes (the closure of Holden) in Australian manufacturing.”

  76. More red tape for those on benefits, especially disability from this man.

    Open go for anyone that pays tax or seeks rebates.

    If one is unemployed, single parent, sick or disabled, one assumes they are out to cheat.

    If one is powerful and wealthy, they are always honest.

    Another worthwhile Gillard initative for the chop.

    ……..Kevin Andrews, the minister responsible for the not-for-profit sector, has confirmed that the government will abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) that began operation just 12 months ago.

    One of the main functions of the ACNC is to regulate charities claiming tax concessions which include income tax exemption, gift deductibility, FBT and GST concessions, which Treasury has estimated costs A$5 billion in foregone revenue.

    The coalition government wants to return the ACNC’s regulatory functions back to the Australian Taxation Office and replace it with a “Centre of Excellence”, which will have a mandate of supporting the not-for-profit sector, rather than regulating it.

    But how much evidence has there been that the ACNC has been a tyrannical bureaucrat? And will its abolition weaken the regulation of those who seek to exploit the system?

    Red tape and the ACNC

    Andrews has cited excessive red tape as one of the reasons for the Commission’s abolition:.

  77. With contractors now to undertake the work of the previously employed maintenance workers at SPC Ardmona keep a sharp eye out for mouse droppings in your canned pears.

    The sacking of these wages workers and replacement with contractors is supposed to be all about productivity, but labour productivity has been going gangbusters.

    It’s capital productivity where Australian industry has problems. If their canneries were more up to date, perhaps maintenance wouldn’t be such a big item in the cost of production.

    The ATO has some precise definitions of just what a contractor is. Turning up for work with your own pair of stilsons just might not cut it.

    This is just a backdoor way to cut wages. Wages however have been falling behind productivity increases for at least the last 10 years.

  78. I cannot see how diverting more of the wealth from worker to employer can fix anything,

    That has been occurring for the last two decades at least.

    Productivity problems lie with the employer, not the worker.

    They need to, that is the employer, bring their efforts up to scratch.

    The workers are not their enemies.

  79. Cu, ” The workers are not their enemies.” …… NO,… it’s them lazy unemployed ppl……or it’s thems lazy sick and disabled ppl…..or it’s them ” corrupt” Unions that keep fighting for thems dirty workers rights ( bloody old bastards 😉 ) ..or it’s thems “illegals” ppl……or it’s thems ‘do gooderers’ ppl …..or, mayhap, it’s thems ” commies are coming, the commies are coming” ppl… or it’s ….
    Well !! .. gee … when you Think About It…. it’s….. Abbortt…. Gawd.. 🙄 it all makes sense Now…. the problem with productivity in this country at this present time is Mr One Million Jobs Abborttium, you know… the builder…. the great creator…. Mr infuckstructure … Mr Such a Great Neighbour…..The Minister for Wimmen’ of Calibre… 😛
    … the greatest threat to productivity for ALL Australians is Mr ‘not my pm’ abbortt, (Mr DLP/SDA/LNP/MSM/IPA/HoleSonger/ Mr ‘I went down on B.A.’), Abbortium Maximus….. just sayin … 😀
    He’s just gunna *uck things like howard did…… 😈
    ( three years wasted on these twerps.. 🙄 )

  80. I went down on B.A.

    An interesting point of view Lovo (haha)

    Your stream of thoughts sums things up beautifully.

    This productivity/wages ‘decoupling’ (to use the technical term) is interesting.

    The more capital can divert a greater share of the nation’s economic pie away from workers, the less incentive there is for them to lift the productivity of capital. In the long run it’s not sustainable but with less than 20% of the workforce unionised these days, it’s probably where we’re headed.

    In economies where wages and labour productivity are closely linked you get innovation which lifts the living standards of everyone.

    Upper management and capital has always been the weak link in the generation of Australia’s national income. If it hadn’t been for the public financing of the nation’s vital infrastructure we’d be living BA’s wet dream as a nation of yeoman farmers.

    Maybe if Holden had promised to sack its unionised workforce it might’ve got some help from this disgusting government. That’s not to say on-going support is the answer long term, but now is definitely not the time for gratuitous shocks to the economy if they can be avoided.

    But, hey, they’re only bloody “unionists” and commies (who probably don’t vote LNP) so they can get stuffed.

  81. “Maybe if Holden had promised to sack its unionised workforce it might’ve got some help from this disgusting government.”

    MJ, I suspect you can take that one as fact. That is all that one heard from Hockey and Co.

    Yes, wages had to come down. The company has to get ought with workers. Same message given to our last remaining car industry.

    SPC has been given the same message. Suspect Qantas has as well.

    They will, believe, be looking for another wharfie like dispute.

    .Corrigan is best known for the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute, in which he attempted to sack the heavily unionised workforce and replace it with strikebreakers, eventually leading to reform and restructuring of dockyard labour practices. In the 2007 miniseries Bastard Boys about the dispute, Corrigan was played by Geoff Morrell.

    In 2007, Cor.

  82. With the level of industrial disputes at record lows Abbott must be chafing at the bit to wind up another Patricks.

    He could sure use the diversion. The media would love it.

  83. “…army of union activists were everywhere and unstoppable. The Government was swept from power and a Prime Minister had lost his seat.
    More devastating than the election result would have been seeing 25 years of work by the HR Nicholls Society pulled apart, ridiculed, reviled and comprehensively rejected…”
    The joke that still gives…… ‘howard LOST his seat’ ……..oh it so makes me laugh…STILL 😀 .. and the besteristism thingy… it will give forever more 🙂 … indeedy it t’will. 😆

  84. Homage… 😉
    “I love that the world can play with your sounds and existing words to create new ones that, used enough, can be added to your dictionaries each year. This year we saw the evolution of such lovelies as ‘clunker’, ‘defriend’, ‘gangling’ and ‘whip-smart’.

    And there are other brilliant, lesser known combinations you afford us, like ‘wamblecropped’ (overcome with indigestion) or ‘gongoozle’ (to stare idly at water). In my writing I relish a bit of made-uppery and feel a certain satisfaction in knowingly disregarding those wiggly red lines beneath my word inventions, knowing that you don’t mind.”

  85. Is this Abbott’s great big toxic tax.

    ………..Abbott and co didn’t mention a great big new tax on going to the doctor before the election in September. They did mention cutting the cost pressures on families. Adding $5 to a visit to the doctor, and approving a 6.2% increase in health insurance premiums last week, the biggest in a decade, do the exact opposite.

    The Abbott Opposition did also sprout 3 word slogans about axing the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which fall in their legal incidence on big companies.

    If they manage to abolish those two taxes then they’ll have a great big revenue black hole of billions. Making ‘savings’ by attacking poor people going to the doctor instead of taxing the rich and powerful is their idea of economic efficiency….

    I seem to recall that Health was among the identities that this government said would not be touched.

    Yes, they said they would move expenditure about within Health, but overall spending would be maintained. Did not say anything about making the tax payer, contribute more.

    Is it another of Abbott’s doing what he said he promised, not what others though he meant.

    It seems they cannot wait for their audits to reveal what they intend to do.

  86. We do know now, if they do manage to abolish the two big toxic taxes, as promise, there will be a great big black hole left in revenues.

    This is Abbott;’s dilemma. If he wins, we lose.

    ……The Abbott Opposition did also sprout 3 word slogans about axing the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which fall in their legal incidence on big companies.

    If they manage to abolish those two taxes then they’ll have a great big revenue black hole of billions. Making ‘savings’ by attacking poor people going to the doctor instead of taxing the rich and powerful is their idea of economic efficiency.

    Even if they can’t abolish these two taxes someone has to pay for the Government transferring $8 billion to the Reserve Bank that it didn’t need.

    Capitalism is such a sick system today that it cannot provide free or even adequate health care to all those who need it.

    Under capitalism the human need for health care is rationed. One way of rationing is through price signals which just means poor and many poorly paid working class people receive less and less care as the price goes up. Another way of rationing is through queues. Australia does both.

    Introducing a co-payment won’t stetting sick. It will just see more of them presenting at hospitals. This of course is much more expensive than the $36 cost of bulk billed ten minute or so consultations. So my guess is the market ‘rationalists’ might extend the doctors’ tax to hospital visits…………

    PS. Ministers have informed their department heads, that sick leave has to be cut. I take it, their belief is, that most take sick leave fraudulently. If not, the only other belief must be, that the government cannot afford to employ people who have health problems. That only the extreme healthy are welcome.

  87. .These medical advances are delivering popular new treatments but they are also very expensive. The combination of a growing band of elderly patients wanting more expensive treatments means permanent upward pressure on health costs..

    Read more:

    We hear how much modern medicine cost and it’s drag on the economy.

    What we do not hear, is what the modern technology in medicine saves the economy, over the lifetime of it’s people.

    Yes, it heals people, allowing many to return to a productive economic life. Why do we not look at what we spend on health, as being an investment in the future well being of the nation.

    Yes, the aged are growing in numbers. They are also healthier and more active than those that preceded them.

    There is no evidence, in fact the opposite could be true, that this aging population suffers from better health than in the past. That are active for most of their extended life.

    Why do we not see, money spent on health, education and creating a civil and just society, as an investment in the future, not as a debt, as some mistakingly believe a debt around the necks of those who come after us.

  88. Also Fu Abbott has closed down all preventative health departments and programs, thus ensuring his tax will get more income down the track, especially when he increases it.

  89. “….Tony Abbott had been insisting WorkChoices was dead and buried.

    TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: I have an election to win. It’s the 2010 election, and as I said, WorkChoices is dead, it’s buried, it’s cremated.

    WAYNE SWAN, TREASURER: Only this morning, Tony Abbott let the cat out of the bag on WorkChoices on morning television. When he was asked whether he would bring it back, he said he had an election to win.

    RADIO COMPARE (3AW): The whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    TONY ABBOTT: Dead, buried, cremated.

    RADIO COMPARE: Written down?

    TONY ABBOTT: Give me a bit of paper, I’ll sign it here: dead, buried cremated. Dead, buried cremated.

    RADIO COMPARE: This is the first contract of the election campaign and it’s an awful gimmick.

    HEATHER EWART: Gimmicks, political spin and slogans will all feature prominently in this campaign, as will each side’s intense monitoring of each other’s interviews. Tony Abbott’s version of dead and buried was later qualified with this comment and quickly seized upon by his opponents.

    TONY ABBOTT (on 3AW): Obviously, I can’t give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations legislation, but WorkChoices is gone, now and forever.

    JULIA GILLARD: It’s abundantly clear that if Mr Abbott became Prime Minister, the worst aspects of WorkChoices would be back.”
    ‘What ever the name. Never again.’
    The WorkChoices agenda boils down to five things:
    1.Getting rid of the idea of minimum rights and the safety-net contained in Awards and reducing the minimum wage
    2.Abolishing collective bargaining via individual contracts or at least make collective bargaining as hard as possible
    3.Giving employers free rein to sack people whenever they want by abolishing unfair dismissal laws.
    4.Destroying the independent umpire (the Commission) so employers need not be accountable to outsiders
    5.De-unionising the workforce by any means necessary and reducing the power of unions

  90. LOVO, this mob goes one step further. They have worked pout, unions can be got rid of, by demolishing the jobs of those in unions. Re. The car industry for starters.

  91. Fed up
    Hi there!
    Thanks for linking that Inside stuff about the insulation program on the 26th. I hadn’t seen that site before, it looks pretty good.
    Merry New Year!
    That goes to anybody else reading this post unless you vote coalition in which case you can clear off.

  92. By the way, I completely agree that we’re seeing an orchestrated campaign to get rid of unions. Federal funding looks like it will be dependent on industries getting rid of unionised workforces.
    But this can’t be classed as a surprise I’m afraid.

  93. BSA, I think that Royal Commission, that cannot find a judge, and short time frame might just backfire. Cannot see the unions not presenting evidence that cannot be ignored.

    It was aimed at 2 million roofs, with capped money. When abandoned, was on track with 1.25 roofs insulated, and on budget.

    Abbott might just find himself with a big payout, to installers that were left stranded with big war houses of batts.

  94. BSA, I had family doing the installation. In fact was baby sitting my young granddaughter, staying in the home. I have seen the emails and text messages, plus letters that were sent out every day by Garrett, warning them of the dangers. Seen the courses that they did.

    It was not true, they ignored the warnings. Garrett, that is.

  95. We must remember to keep a eye on what the states are doing as well. Unions and workers’ rights are under siege from all Coalition government. Along with protection for the environment.

    …..Thousands of injured workers set to lose their medical benefits on Wednesday were given only four days to take advantage of a government lifeline, announced just before Christmas.
    New compensation laws, to start on January 1, exclude most workers from claiming ongoing medical expenses following a workplace injury.
    But changes passed on December 20 allowed them to continue claiming provided they had approval from their insurers.
    WorkCover Independent Review Officer Kim Garling said most of the affected workers would be unaware of the last minute lifeline and doubted many would have time to gain approval for treatment from their insurers over the Christmas break.
    ”It’s very unfair,” he said. ”Not a lot of injured workers hang on the Government Gazette and that’s the only way you’d know about it.”
    Unions NSW estimates thousands of the 60,000 workers who are set to lose their benefits could have taken advantage of the extension but will now miss out..

    Read more:

  96. “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” – John Maynard Keynes, British economist.

  97. Tony Abbott has replaced Silvio Berlusconi as the Western world’s most derided and contemptible figure.

    I can’t believe how much one PM can fuck up in such a short time.

    I was once mocked for saying within a month Abbott was the worst PM ever, but now a couple of more months down the track not only do most Australians agree with that so does a good chunk of the rest of the world.

    Australians got rid of Gillard, who was and still is much respected on the world stage and spoken of glowingly, for this much despised dunderhead.

  98. “Labour is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.It was the Labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the Union label.” by Abraham Obama 😯 😉

  99. “David Farrell Look out Tony, you took the wrong job. Your Mum said you could be Pope or PM. At least the Pope is an honest guy ,not a sociopathic ,lying piece of crap. I’m allowed to call you that now. If you don’t think so call Timmy Wilson, Commissioner for Free Speech.

  100. Happy New Year to all the Whisperers and other good people in the world, and a special Happy New Year to Julia Gillard.

    Here’s hoping Abbott can make an effort to change in 2014 and grow some balls like Gillard so he can throw off the shackles of those who are pulling his strings and doing all the talking through him.

  101. We’ve just arrived back from the USA, and what a world to arrive back to. Without having had the opportunity to read everything, I was shaking my head thinking: what’s the real story? We have the biggest increase in private health insurance in close to a decade, wanting to start charging for a gap fee in bulk billing (right-o, it’s only $6.00 but next year?) and charging for emergency hospital outpatient care. Ok, I’ve got that one, up the $s for private insurance so that people start dropping out, so counter-balance this by charing for bulk billing in the somewhat forlorn hope that people will retain their private insurance. Nope..can’t see that one working.

    But apparently the whole thing is a ploy to up the ante for the inevitable sale of Medibank, up the charges, up the asking price. Mind you, it’s bugger the public and their health care needs, which are only of minimal consideration in comparison to the the government’s needs to grab more $$s for itself.

  102. Maybe we should start saying, we are celebrating New Years Eve, and tomorrow be seen as a federation, or even Australia Day.

    That is the day, we became a nation, not years later at Galliope.

    Galliope is important for other reasons. That day should be set aside, to rember all that died in the name of this nation.

    Just a thought.

    January 26th celebrates the coming of the white man, and setting up a penal colony that laid the roots for the great country we are today,.

  103. Abbott’s New Year message once again appears to have been recorded by his band of amateurs.

    The indigenous nation seems to be his divergence tactic today.

    Warren Mundine, out today, to carry his flag.

    Are the changes to the Constitution re indigenous people going to be Abbott’s or will it be bipartnership.

    The former, I guess, as Abbott is generally the only one in step. I believe the younger Bishop was out, on the same topic.

    When is he going to visit them. Maybe this week. After all he needs a back drop for his usual bull shit. Sorry, when it comes to Abbott, I have little compassion, even if it is News Years Day. By the way, the day is also the day that represents the birth if our nation. Should also be known as Federation Day..

  104. Fu, Today is also the 99th anniversary of ‘The Battle for Broken Hill’

    . “By late 1914, World War One had gripped many nations in its bloody teeth, among them Turkey and Australia.
    Until New Year’s Day 1915, these two adversaries had not exchanged shots in anger; the state of war between them appearing a mere formality.
    But on that day, in the remote mining town of Broken Hill, all Australians were shocked into an awareness of the war.
    Three months before the ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli…..”

  105. LOVO, did you see Abbott today, building up our collection to mother England. Yes. and Galliope as well.

    The ABC is now blowing up Abbott’s diversion today, of the Constitution and Indigenous people. I suspect we will see him in the NOrth tomorrow, giving up some of his holidays.

  106. Fu, It is interesting that today is Federation Day and that most Aussies have not been made aware of that fact. It is also well documented that many Australians are unaware that we even have an constitution and/or why n’ wot it means.
    That ‘our’ constitution needs change and/or will be changed in the near future is a dead cert…… like Australia Day, Federation Day carries to much baggage for IT to be considered as a representative ‘day’ for ALL Australians…. and thus I espouse Wattle Day as a true ‘folk day’ ( a day that has come via ‘the people’, rather than Govt. ).
    Meanwhile Tones will continue to search for ‘look over there’s’ in his perpetual search for the perfect three word slogan. Every time he raise’s head on any subject I think ‘look over there’, WTF is he up to now 🙄 … like now, though the issue needs raising.. ” Why Now” ??? ……. mayhap Malconnect has got his ear… or a damning photo 🙂
    Anyhoo, some interesting links :-
    ….. plus this most interesting link :- ” A 1987 survey conducted for the Australian Constitution Commission found that 47 per cent of Australians were unaware that Australia has a written Constitution” …+… ” was the only representative of the Labour movement at the Convention. As in 1891, there were no female or Aboriginal delegates; ‘[i]t was for the most part the big men of the established political and economic order, the men of property or their trusted allies, who moulded the federal Constitution Bill’ …… ”

  107. LOVO, it is amazing when one thinks of it. Yes, they make a big thing of Gallup, This began in the days of Howard.

    Not that the day is not important, but it is not the day we became a nation. The same goes for the holiday we have later this month. That was about setting a a British penal colony.

    There is only one day, and it is today.

    I use to love Wattle DAy as a kid. We also had Empire Day, which was big. In fact, Empire Day in NSW was cracker day.

    It is time most took half an hour or so, to read the Constitution. Does not take much longer. One thing would not get any of the silly comments that many make.

  108. LOVO, you solve a mystery for me. I always thought Wattle Day, and the horses birthday was on the same day. Seems I was right,. Do not recall that it was changed.

  109. ……The Sydney Morning Herald has an editorial praising the expenditure cuts introduced by the Hawke-Keating government in 1986 and 1987, and suggesting that Abbott should copy this example. Apparently, according to the Oz, Hawke and Keating themselves have endorsed this view (I haven’t gone behind the paywall for the full article).

    This argument carries a great deal of force, because, as we know, the Hawke-Keating cuts restored the budget to surplus, leading to Keating’s famous declaration that the 1988-89 Budget was “the one that brings home the bacon”. Leading scholars like Alesina and Ardagna have pointed to this exercise as one of the great success stories of “expansionary austerity”.

    What’s that you say? The economy fell in a heap in 1989, leading to a decade of deficits and fifteen years of high unemployment? To quote another Keating aphorism, that was “the recession we had to have”. I guess we are about due for another..

  110. Comment from above article. The circumstances are much different today. We do not face high inflation as Keatrng did.

    January 2nd, 2014 at 04:12 | #2 Reply | Quote
    From memory Keatings recession was mostly due to runaway inflation and soaring interest rates and an RBA that acted too slowly when needed. There were other things happening too, like floating the AUD, which had an impact.
    Today we have low inflation low interest rates and a steadier AUD, with nett govt debt/gdp low why volunteer for austerity?

  111. Thanks for that link to John Quiggin, FU.

    I haven’t read Quiggin’s blog since he dismissed MMT without bothering to even read the basic literature. That was maybe 3 years ago. So it was timely.

    For a so-called Left economist, he can be very orthodox.

    Quiggin’s reference to Alesina and Ardagna as “leading scholars” however caught me quite off balance as I know their work in promoting the myth of expansionary austerity had been rubbished by others, including the IMF. And the more recent course of events in the EU and UK have since killed off what lingering doubts may have remained.

    But if you clicked on the Alesina hyperlink, it took you to a Quiggin post on “Crooked Timber” that was equally condemning. Phew! For a bit, I thought Quiggin had “turned” or lost it.

    You seemed to like the comment of “rog”. I preferred that of “Ikonoclast”.

    The fact that so many are parroting the neo-conservative call for fiscal austerity (a position based on falsehoods and macroeconomic ignorance) and so few are looking into the possible arguments for a different kind of austerity based on resource limits and environmental limits, shows the paucity of realistic thinking in our society.

    “Ikonoclast” sometimes comments on Bill Mitchell’s blog. He’s certainly got a good grasp of Modern Monetary Theory. His principle concerns are to do with environmental sustainability, concerns that are easily accommodated within the MMT framework because it is, at heart, ethical.

  112. MJ, no matter the ideology or theories, , one cannot compare what Keating did, with what is needed today.

    The economy, both national and global are entirely different. We do not have high inflation and high unemployment.

    We have a floating dollar and close to no tariffs. Even I with my limited knowledge is aware of this.

    Mr. Abbott, back then, oppose the floating of the dollar. Not if that should surprise one. I believe Abbott opposes everything, just as a matter of habit.

    I seem to recall, back when Rudd launched the stimulus,that Keating said his one regret was that he did not go in hard and fast, as Rudd did.

    It is becoming very clear, Abbott; s cuts are nothing about the economy. It is about cutting welfare and assistance back to those on the bottom of the pile, while giving more assistance to those on top. Nothing about any economic theory.

  113. MJ, no matter the ideology or theories, , one cannot compare what Keating did, with what is needed today.

    Surpluses, any time you’re running a current account deficit, are dumb.

    In those circumstances surpluses always cause recessions. Keating’s recession was no exception.

    That, I think, was the point of Professor Quiggin’s article:

    To quote another Keating aphorism, that was “the recession we had to have”. I guess we are about due for another.

    Having said that, I’m a great admirer of Paul Keating. I’ll also cut him a bit of slack because in those days Treasury was still probably trying to come to terms with Nixon’s abandonment of Bretton Woods. Forty years later they still haven’t worked it out, but I’ll bet Keating has.

    When he uttered those words “this was the recession we had to have” he probably had in mind Paul Volker’s experiment with monetarism in the US which triggered a recession about as severe as Keating’s but did seem to knock inflation on the head.

    It was the ultimate in “positive reframing”

    No question that Abbott’s cuts are not supported by any credible economic theory, but it’s the theory that all conservatives accept as gospel, and most on the Left as well.

    : (

  114. Mr. Pyne, please take time to read the extensive Gonski report. You might just learn something. This took ten years to compile, has the support of all education authorities in this country.

    ANZAC day and the wars are already a part of the curriculum. Yes a Labor PM was mentioned in the history of the fall of Singapore.

    Pyne believes the curriculum is part of a Hugh conspiracy of left wing bias.

    Mr. Abbott, you are not at war with people smugglers. You are at war with those refugees seeking a safe haven for themselves and for their families.

  115. Mr. Pyne, maybe Labor leaders are mentioned more in the curriculum, is because they have achieved more that Liberal leaders did.

    Mr.Pyne, you are the only one that seems to be criticising the curriculum.

    Most education authorities seem happy with the present situation.

  116. The term used itself is interesting.

    ……..Judeo-Christian is a term used since the 1950s to stress the common ethical standards of Christianity and Judaism, such as the Ten Commandments. It has become part of American civil religion and is often used to promote inter-religious cooperation. Efforts in recent years have been made to include Islam, under the rubric of “Abrahamic religions.”[1]
    The term is also used by scholars to refer to the connections between the precursors of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism in the Second Temple period……..

    Another site.

    It is why those who today most identify with the Judeo-Christian essence of America are more likely to believe in the moral worthiness of dying to liberate countries — not only Europe, but Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. That is why America stands alone in protecting two little countries threatened with extinction, Israel and Taiwan. That is why conservative Americans are more likely to believe in American exceptionalism — in not seeking, as President Bush put it, a “permission slip” from the United Nations, let alone from Europe.
    The second meaning of Judeo-Christian is a belief in the biblical G-d of Israel, in His Ten Commandments and His biblical moral laws. It is a belief in universal, not relative, morality. It is a belief that America must answer morally to this G-d, not to the mortal, usually venal, governments of the world.
    That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values lead the fight against redefining marriage. We believe that a pillar of Judeo-Christian values is to encourage the man-woman sexual and marital ideal, and to provide children with the opportunity to benefit from the unique gifts that a man and a woman give a child, gifts that are never replicable by two men alone or two women.

    Not much different that some Muslims seem to have in the Koran. Saying our laws originate from the Bible. Well, that is what I think it means.

    It is clear the term is used in relation to the USV, and not Europe.
    Why are we taking it on board.

  117. Another big worry from this government. Consultation with big business, none with anyone else.

    Yes, we are indeed going to be open for business. There will be no restraints on what they can do. Will not matter whether we sign that TPP or not. Abbott is removing all.

    Doing it as a bulk lot. 8000 pieces of legislation. In one go, across all fields a and departments.

    I wonder how much affect IR laws?

    …………THE Coalition will seek to abolish more than 8000 redundant federal laws with its first “repeal day”, scheduled for the final parliamentary sitting week in March as part of its plan to slash red and green tape by $1 billion a year.

    Tony Abbott is expected to make a special statement to the House of Representatives on March 19 outlining the government’s progress in reducing red and green tape after writing to all cabinet ministers just before Christmas giving them a six-week deadline to submit proposed regulatory reductions for policy approval and drafting.

    On the same day, parliament will be presented with the Omnibus Red Tape Repeal Bill and a series of specific bills proposing the repeal of burdensome regulations. Two other bills – the Statute Law Revision Bill and the Amending Acts 1901-1969 Bill – will propose slashing 8000 redundant legislative instruments going back to the turn of the 20th century. The government says the bills, which will be debated the following week, represent the biggest single reduction in federal laws ever put before the commonwealth parliament.

    “This is an ..

  118. Michael, how can one jettison so many, with little or no scutinary. Most are those brought in by Gillard.

  119. Come to think of it, he did the same thing with all the government advisory committees that were set up to assist the government. All went in one clean swipe.

  120. This is what a troll looks like.

    .A SENIOR member of the Gold Coast LNP has admitted to having troll accounts to attack political opponents anonymously online.

    LNP Currumbin branch chairman Tim Gear recently boasted on his Facebook page: “We all have troll accounts”.

    Mr Gear’s post about trolls was followed by a satirical, but not offensive, comment involving Labor’s Burleigh candidate Gail Hislop.

    Another member of the Young LNP claimed he had been blocked from Ms Hislop’s state campaign Facebook page and that he intended to set up troll accounts closer to the election.

    Mr Gear could not be reached for comment.

    Gail Hislop.
    Gail Hislop. Source: News Limited
    Political expert Professor Stephen Stockwell said outing yourself as a troll was unwise, particularly for those who had future political aspirations.

  121. I cannot say it enough. One needs to learn what Pyne and Co say, when they are talking about traditional families and our culture based on Judeo-Christin values. Not really exist.

    ……..onald Reagan, amongst others, as Moral Majority, the Cold War Christian rhetoric against the (godless) Soviets. After a 1990s hiatus, the Judeo-Christian tradition was more recently given the kiss of life by the US religious right as anti-Islamist sloganeering. Borrowed willy-nilly from these US sources, where it is code for Christians against Islam, the phrase has now become constant theme in Australian neoconservative rhetoric, but it is a theme with at least two massive issues for many Jews, as well as for knowledgeable Christians.

    First, as a theological term it is based on what is called the supersessionist or replacement view of Judaism and Christianity. By this I mean that Christianity is regarded as a religion that has superseded its (outmoded and irrelevant) precursor, and consequently, a redundant Judaism is regarded, in condescending fashion, as a religious anachronism.

    Second, both scholar and major US Jewish theologian Arthur A Cohen, in his 1969 The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition and US Rabbi and author Jacob Neusner in his 2001 Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition have pointed out at great length that the idea of historic Judeo-Christian harmony ignores, amongst other matters, a 2000-year narrative of theological antipathy and a millennium long narrative of violent persecution of Jews in the name of Christianity.

    Bearing in mind that there have been undeniably significant, but theologically disparate, Christian and Jewish influences during the course of modern Australian history and remembering that there exist today genuine (and apolitical) interfaith initiatives amongst Christian and Jewish communities, the term “Judeo-Christian tradition” remains very problematic. Indeed, Cohen comments as follows:

    I regard all attempts to define a Judeo-Christian tradition as essentially barren and meaningless … at the end point of the consensus when the good will is exhausted, and the rhetoric has billowed away, there remains an incontestable opposition.

    As such, it would actually make much more sense from an Australian cultural and institutional point of view to talk about the centrality of its Greek, Roman and Christian origins, together with contributions from other religions and cultures – not that the blithe neoconservative advocates of the “Judeo-Christian tradition” seem to be at all aware of these very sensitive issues. Or if they are, they are keeping quiet.

    It is this example of blundering cluelessness and partiality that does not fill me with confidence about the outcome of the Pyne-instigated review of the Australian curriculum.

    As for academic Ken ..

    Yes, one should be alert.

  122. “In the vaulted pantheon of hard-right pigfucker chauvinists, John Howard surely figures quite lowly. His limp-wristed economic ‘rationalism’ barely dented our proud welfare state, and his stuttering dweebery fell miles short of the macho swagger of Bush, Putin or – hell – Berlusconi, even. ………..He left a thoroughly detestable sociopolitical stain of racial paranoia and boozy rants on Melbourne trams.

    The myriad violences of the Cronulla riots in 2005 are Howard’s true legacy – not the generation of fiscal surplus in an era of unprecedented tax receipts. He was charismatic only inasmuch as he pulled simmering racial hatreds to the surface and rendered them as not only acceptable but good and praiseworthy.”

  123. Does this mean, Abbott got it wrong, especially from the taxation department?

    ……….Federal politics: full coverage
    Government departments have been quietly given the green light to recruit or keep some of their temporary and casual workers, despite the Abbott government’s hiring freeze.
    The Public Service’s workplace authority has confirmed that bosses of eight agencies and departments have pleaded for the jobs of the casuals and temps and that some of them have been given permission to hire.
    There were fears for the public service’s 14,000 temporary workers – many of whom are women, low-paid or junior employees – when the freeze on renewing their jobs was announced in November.
    The Australian Public Service Commission would not say which departments were hiring, but Fairfax Media understands the Taxation Office, which relies heavily on temps, has led the rush for approval for new workers. The Tax Office refused to give details of its situation, but the Commonwealth Public Service Union said the latest development proved departments could not cope with the cuts expected by the Abbott government.
    Under the ”interim arrangements” for public serv….

    Read more:

  124. ………Former Liberal MP and medical doctor Mal Washer has argued against allowing private health insurers to pay gap fees for GP visits, warning it would encourage doctors to raise their fees and for privately insured patients to overuse services.
    Health Minister Peter Dutton on Friday opened the door to lifting the longstanding ban on private health insurers paying for GP services, declaring he would not rule out any changes.
    The nation’s largest health insurer, Medibank Private, has been pushing for several months for the change, arguing that treating medical conditions at an earlier stage would reduce the need for more expensive hospital treatment later.
    But the proposal has sparked concerns from consumer advocates and health economists that such a change could accelerate a shift to a two-tiered health system, where those who can afford private cover receive better care than those who don’t have insurance.
    In November, Medibank Private began a trial with medical centre manager IPN in which six of its Brisbane medical centres will provide Medibank members with a range of enhanced GP services – including a guaranteed appointment within 24 hours and after-hours home visits – for no out-of-pocket costs. Medibank is not paying IPN for the services directly but is contributing to the “administrative and management costs” of the trial.
    Dr Washer, who retired at last year’s election after 15 years in politics, said he thought allowing insurers to pay gap fees for GP services was “a bad idea,” because doctors could increase their fees knowing their patient would not have to pay, and there would be no price signal to patients to deter them from visiting the doctor unnecessarily.
    But Dr Washer said t….

    Read more:

    A lone voice of reason from the right. It is a shame he supports the six dollars.

  125. A view from a Liberal.

    ..In this conversation, Fraser explores a range of subjects from his earliest political experiences to his most recent interventions in public life:

    Why Tony Abbott is a “dangerous” politician

    How the Liberals are now an “extreme right” party

    Australia’s record on refugees and asylum seekers

    Why Australia has lost its way in foreign affairs

    The need to reform the public service

    Australia’s media and the Murdoch dominance

    We hope you enjoy it..

  126. Could we have missed the fact, that we voted for a dictatorship. A government that has no obligation to tell us anything. A government that lives in the dungeon, away from idle curiosity and prying eyes of the voter.

    ..Immigration FOI requests refused as Scott Morrison takes tougher line
    A previous identical application for a list of ministerial briefings was approved by the Labor government..

  127. “Today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. ”

  128. “Over the past three years negotiations on a trade treaty called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been going on in complete secrecy.

    There’s a lot at stake across many key issues facing Australian consumers today. Reports have suggested that the TPP could allow overseas corporations to sue our government for making laws on behalf of the Australian people.

    This could prevent its ability to make decisions on food labelling, public health, energy, copyright and more! But because the text of the agreement won’t be public until the treaty is signed, consumer groups and the public are being shut out of the process.

    Sign our petition calling on the government to bring consumers to the table and release the text before an agreement is signed. Don’t let Australia trade consumer rights away.”

  129. If this is true, why the need for two repeal days a year. Why the need to repeal 8000 regulations on their first attempt.

    Could they be giving us false excuses for what they want to do on an ideological basis.

    Could it have nothing to do with what is needed for the economy, Are we being conned.

    …….Australia ranked one of the three best countries to do business in – “The Heritage Foundation, a conservative US think tank, has once again named Australia as third freest nation in which to do business, putting us behind Hong Kong and Singapore, and above New Zealand and Taiwan in fourth and fifth place. ”With an economy that benefits from sound fundamentals including monetary stability, low public debt, and a vibrant employment market, Australia has weathered the global economic uncertainty well,” the Foundation said.” – Fairfax paper.

  130. “….spinning winds typically trap this cold air in the Arctic. But the problem comes when the polar vortex weakens or splits apart, essentially flinging these cold wind patterns out of the Arctic and into our backyards. NOAA scientists have suggested that warming temperatures in the Arctic may be responsible for the weakening of the polar vortex. When the vortex weakens, it’s more likely to break apart and become a factor in our winter weather.”

    “AMY GOODMAN: Well, but talk about this, because all over Fox and other places, you have this mocking and the derision: “See, global warming can’t possibly be related to what’s happening.” So explain how it can. How can the Earth getting hotter relate to such cold weather?

  131. Don’t “Look over there” at boat people… or you might become one 😦
    There is an abundance of opposition ‘out there’ to the Trans Pacific Partnership….. gee I wonder why 😕 😕

    ….and this Aussie site…

  132. “This government is only four months old, and already its level of secrecy, deception, misdirection, and irresponsibility on climate policy is staggering. Tony Abbott says “happy is the country which is more interested in sport than in politics.” But the game our future depends on is being playing out in Canberra, as far from a public audience as Tony Abbott can get”
    …or go to longer version here:-

  133. Kevin Andrews on the ABC talking about the “unsustainable” situation with welfare payments:

    ” I don’t have a particular figure and I don’t have a fixed view about how we address these issues, but what I do know and what I think most Australians realise is that with the population ageing at the rate that it is, we’ve got to ensure in the future that we’re able to sustain the welfare system, otherwise we’ll find ourselves in 10 or 15 years time in the situation that some of the countries in Europe are in.”

    Dead wrong on 2 counts:

    (1) The government can always afford to pay for any good or service that is available to be purchased. There is no financial constraint. The constraint is a physical one: infrastructure and skilled labour, bottlenecks which can be overcome by government spending, not cutting back.

    (2) The conflation of Australia with Europe betrays an abysmal understanding of the differences in the monetary arrangements between the 2 jurisdictions.

    The only reason Andrews can get away with this bullshit is because 99% of the population thinks he’s probably right.

  134. Abbott an embarrassment and moron on the world stage, though you wouldn’t know it from the media who mostly praised his woeful inexpert effort at Davos.

    Only one bulletin I heard mentioned the fact that Abbott’s keynote address as host for the next G20, and thus supposedly important, had a small number attending and they were nearly all from business getting told what they wanted to hear.

    In a speech littered with a long string of slogans, which Abbott seems totally incapable of bypassing, and raising the free trade meme that has been raised by every keynote speaker since the first WEF, all Abbott did was push the business line of less taxes, less regulation and the unfettering of government control as a way to global economic prosperity.

    It was an obsequious farce, going as far as to aver that the entire GFC was the fault of government with business being the innocent victim and stymied savior of the planet.

    So after the joke of his stammering keynote speech, for which one ABC commentator stated proved Abbott was a competent leader on the world stage and versed on global economic matters, Abbott must have redeemed himself by meeting the leaders of the global economic powerhouses like the US. Well no.

    Apart from business leaders, mostly Australian, Abbott briefly met the failing Cameron and Israel’s Netanyahu.

    All in all another woeful showing on the world stage by this government that continues to blunder from one farce to the next on it, and is being lambasted or shunned because of it.

  135. Shorten and Albanese in full flight. Letting us know about Abbott’s effort. ABC 24. Shame that they cut the MC off while questions were still been answered.

  136. Scores of the country’s wealthiest people have been caught up in a huge government blitz that has recouped more than $430 million in unpaid taxes and fines last year.

    High-profile figures recently caught up in the crackdown include racing identity Sean Buckley, art dealer John Ioannou and entrepreneurs Bob Jane and Geoffrey Edelsten, who together have received bills totalling more than $21 million.

    And therefore as a result, Tony Abbott’s action is…

    But the blitz also comes as the ATO plans to lay off 900 employees and cut costs by allowing big companies greater scope to self-report tax obligations without active oversight.

    Well of course one cannot have the wealthy having to *gasp* pay their fair share of taxes..Tony to the rescue…

  137. Yes, the first thing Abbott did, was order the ATO to lay off. Second was to cancel the 500 workers that Labor was hired to go after them.

    Then I think they are now in the process of doing away with they call red and black tape and regulations.

    Labor’s crime was not that they were inefficient and chaotic. No, they were too efficient. Caught too many,

  138. It’s a funny thing ain’t it, Fu, … these ‘Gotta make your own wayers’s” are big on not paying their way….. well ain’t that the right wing for ya. 🙄 ..true but, ay… no, really 😉
    The reality is that ‘many’ an Australian makes their ‘own’ way in spite of the “tones opposition” that are presently(sic) in Govt…… and that’s because the unions make us strong….. well they will after 12mths of these corrupt incompetents… is funny, though, how Tony is rebuilding the Union Movement…. bet H.R.Nickers to U and the I.P.A. are proud…… NO, REALLY……. 😛

  139. More concerns for the wellbeing of our kids in state schools. Is this what most parents want?

    ……Kevin Donnelly, chosen to review the national school curriculum, says many parents believe the sexual practices of gays, lesbians and transgender individuals are ”decidedly unnatural” and has questioned whether students ought to learn about such relationships at school.
    In a book he wrote in 2004, Mr Donnelly also seems to suggest that only heterosexual teachers have a right to teach students about sex.
    The book, called Why Our Schools Are Failing, was commissioned by the Liberal Party-aligned Menzies Research Centre. Malcolm Turnbull, who was chairman of the centre at the time, wrote the foreword.
    Mr Donnelly uses the book to criticise aspects of state curriculum he believes have contributed to declining standards in literacy and numeracy in Australian schools. He lays much of the blame on ”political correctness” and the ”left-wing academics, teacher unions and sympathetic governments” that have conspired to infuse state curriculums with politically correct materi…………

    Read more:

  140. In an interview with ABC rural radio, federal MP Sharman Stone accuses the Prime Minister of lying in saying that SPC’s union pay deals are the reason they’re in trouble.
    Autoplay OFFONVideo feedbackVideo settings
    Federal politics: full coverage
    Abbott has ‘blackened’ SPC workers’ characters: Lib MP
    Within minutes of Treasurer Joe Hockey declaring an end to ”the age of entitlement” on Monday Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs stood on a highway on the outskirts of Hobart and announced a grant of $3.5 million to a Tasmanian seafood processor, Huon Aquaculture.
    It would help ”provide the equipment to process fresh fish, as well as smokehouses and other machinery,” he said.
    Jamie Briggs.
    Jamie Briggs. Photo: Rob Homer
    The Tasmanian government was kicking in $1.5 million, the Commonwealth $3.5 million and Huon Aquaculture $7 million.
    As it ha

    Read more:

  141. Let’s be clear. This government is using assistance to industry as a means to undermine unions and workers’ wages only hire, using individual contracts..

    Howard demanded of dept. and NGO that they only hire under contracts.

  142. “Let’s be clear. This government is using assistance to industry as a means to undermine unions and workers’ wages only hire, using individual contr”

    Just watching news 24 on this issue. I have never heard such blatant bias in all my life. Some soft cock, some wanker, some piece of nose drippings, has just given 3 minutes of absolute diatribe, defending the actions of the Abbott government. Not only that, analysing what the governments intentions are going to be, before it happens.

    Until Labor gets its own electronic media outlet we have got no chance.

  143. “The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”: André Gide

    “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people”: Spencer Johnson

    “Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society”: Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime”: Ernest Hemingway

  144. It appears Dr. Stone is demanding her fellow MP’s stand and be counted. Demanding they support her in bringing the SPC matter back to cabinet.

    Why have none condemned what she is saying?

  145. Let’s have a look at what this government is planning to waste, that is foist on ordinary Australians in costs as Hockey rants on about the end of the age of entitlement whilst handing out huge entitlements to the wealthy and selected business.

    “Hockey has reinstated the rort, at a cost to the rest of us of $1.4 billion over four years.”

    “Sinodinos’ changes may cost financial planning clients, i.e. ordinary consumers, $130 billion in lost retirement savings, which the age pension system of the future will have to help make up. It puts all other handouts by government in the shade.”

    “At the same time, the government has also scrapped Labor’s plan to tax superannuation earnings over $100,000 a year for high-income retirees (i.e. Liberal voters) at 15% — while dumping assistance for low-income earners to increase their super contributions (i.e. Labor voters).”

    There has never ever been a government as destructive or bad as this one in any area or by any measure. They are evil to the core at the behest of their wealthy masters.

  146. Fu, with all the recent talk of dissent in the liars and National Parties this may be the straw that breaks strawman tony’s back.
    …. and as more and more QLDers understand that $5 billion and 800 companies involved with GBR tourism are to be impacted by dredging, one would think that this may be another straw that breaks the back of this most pathetic of PM’s.

  147. “Shut Up! Be Happy! – Silencing of Dissent in Australia”

    Interesting read, but most of us already know what’s going on.

    The biggest laugh is accusing the ABC of being left wing. Two of the most important current affairs programs after the news on the ABC the 7.30 report and Lateline have become so pro the Abbott government, it is a joke. Leigh Sales greets all the Abbott government representatives in every interview, like they are long lost relatives. It is a wonder when some of them appear in her studio, she doesn’t get up and hug them. I should imagine they would be exchanging Xmas cards, it is obnoxious. Lateline is not much better. I refuse to watch them anymore it turns my stomach.

    The trouble is, the ABC still reaches an audience in some country areas, admittedly getting less then commercial stations, and this is probably factored in. To say the ABC is left wing is a laugh, and Abbott keeps a straight face when telling us.

  148. And as Costello was the laziest, rightly called by Keating, and second worst Treasurer after Howard,”

    I actually cannot understand this level of hate and dishonesty. It must come straight from hell.

    I do remember Keatings 30 months of double digit unemployment since i was unemployed during this time. Nothing like it since the great depression and much higher than comparable countries. I don’t think during this time the US had a single month of DD unemployment. But Keating had an election during this time and still won. I must admit blogs are a real eye opener to how Labor people think.

    So for a lot of people facts are irrelevant.

  149. “And as Costello was the laziest, rightly called by Keating, and second worst Treasurer after Howard,”

    I actually cannot understand this level of hate and dishonesty. It must come straight from hell.

    Just like Howard and Costello themselves, Neil. 😉


    Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics

    Australia does not have a government debt or deficit problem.

    According to Treasury numbers published by Treasurer Mr Hockey in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in December, over the last 43 years of budget outcomes (the full data set), there have been 19 budget surpluses and 24 budget deficits.

    Up until 2007-08, just prior to the collapse of the global financial system and the onset of the deepest recession in the industrialised world since the 1930s Great Depression, surpluses were a little ahead of deficits, 19 to 18. This suggests that the recent move to budget deficit is almost certainly nothing more than the long-run business cycle impacting on government finances.

    With the financial crisis slowly but surely passing and the global economy now on a track to record a sustained expansion, there seems little doubt that the mix between surpluses and deficits in Australia will again equal out as we participate in this expansion phase and revenue starts to flow back to the government.

    And this is how it should be Reinforcing the strength of ……….

  151. Neil, magic words. ‘when needed’ was clear, from more than one witness, now is not the time to cut.

    ……Going into budget deficit when needed, staying in deficit when needed, returning to surplus when needed and holding on to surpluses when needed are all part of the policy framework that has helped make Australia one of the richest countries in the world.

    Only the economically ignorant would hanker for a budget surplus on all occasions. No credible economist I am aware of would advocate unending surpluses and no government debt in perpetuity. Nor would they argue for a budget deficit on all occasions with forever rising level of debt.

    It is not that complex, even though, as we have seen, surpluses or deficits can persist for many years.

    These economic achievements over many years have helped propel Australia to the fifth richest nation in per capita GDP terms, according to the International Monetary Fund, behind only Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway and Switzerland……

  152. Yeah and Koukoulis said this

    “Reinforcing the strength of public finances in Australia at the moment, Treasury data published in MYEFO shows that the level of net government debt stands at 10.0 per cent of GDP, a miniscule level. For the OECD, the average is around 100 per cent of GDP.


    We are a Federation and some European countries are not Federations. Our govt debt is comprised of Federal, State and local govt. Koukoulis is only talking about Federal debt. You cannot compare our Federal debt with say France which is not a Federation.

    Our total govt debt (Federal, State, Local) is about 35% of GDP and could easily double.

    At the Federal level we most probably have the highest rate of increase in the Western world thanks to Wayne Swan and Labor voters.

  153. Should we include private debt as well? After all, we are all invested in this country, just as our country is invested in us.

  154. “At the Federal level we most probably have the highest rate of increase in the Western world thanks to Wayne Swan and Labor voters.”

    The national conversation is about the Federal Government’s debt.

    You really have crept into the twilight zone if you’re trying to conflate Federal and State finances to make a political point.

    Why don’t you add in household debt at 150% of GDP just for good measure. That’s what real “unsustainability” looks like, and ironically, it’s only Federal budget deficits that will help get it down.

    The difference between State and Federal debt is that the Feds can redeem bonds and pay dividends by rolling over the so-called debt with more issuance until hell freezes over because they cannot be held to ransom by the bond vigilantes (despite what Joe, Barnaby etc say to try to frighten us). It’s a game.

    Not so with the States however. They need their AAA ratings.

    And even if all government debt was consolidated at your figure of 35%, so what. It would still be low. And if it was doubled, it still wouldn’t be a problem. But do you seriously think that’s likely ?

    But thanks for bringing it up.

  155. “The national conversation is about the Federal Government’s debt.”

    Yes but Koukoulis is an evil man. He knows he can try and convince Labor voters that our debt is not a problem by only talking about Federal debt but not saying it is only Federal debt.

  156. Yes but Koukoulis is an evil man.

    Your logically presented argument and valid points have one me over

    You had me at EVIL 😉

  157. I stand by my comments on Koukoulis. I would not trust a single thing he says.

    According to Treasury numbers published by Treasurer Mr Hockey in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in December, over the last 43 years of budget outcomes (the full data set), there have been 19 budget surpluses and 24 budget deficits

    Why not use the actual dollar amounts rather than the number of surpluses vs deficits??

    Koukoulis makes my skin crawl. He is totally suited to the ALP

  158. Since a certain wingnut poster here goes on so much about debt, as long as it’s only Labor debt because that’s bad, Liberal debt is always good, and he’s been doing it for a long long time now regurgitating the same utter crap no matter how many times his distortions, falsehoods and outright ignorance have been highlighted an corrected, which is why I don’t read any of his posts, here is something on right wing debt and lies (evilness) that applies just as equally to Abbott and the State Liberals who are racking up debt.

    A conservative leader’s major election promise was to pay down debt and that leader has been saying that’s what has been happening since being elected. A blatant lie, just like all of Abbott’s lies on debt and deficit will be lies and deceptions, nothing surer.

    Since this other conservative leader won office on promising to pay down debt that country’s national debt has risen from 811.3bn, or 55.3 per cent of GDP in 2010, to 1,111.4bn, or 70.7 per cent of GDP.

    As that conservative leader faces and election in 2015 he has now made it difficult to obtain any reliable estimates of how bad the debt will be, however a decent ballpark estimate could be 1.4 – 1.5 trillion, or 80% – 90% of GDP.

    Also just like Abbott this leader has a huge problem with understanding the difference between debt and deficit yet that has been explained to him by a senior figure in Treasury. This is something that many conservatives and their supporters have struggled with, none more so than our gormless reiterative poster here, they constantly jumble debt and deficit. The way to explain it is that a debt and a deficit in economics are analogous to speed and acceleration in physics. The debt is the actual value of the thing and the deficit is the rate of change in the value of the thing.

    But don’t ever expect right wingers, but especially the gormless one here, to ever understand debt and deficit, nor understand why it’s not a problem, and indeed a good thing in the context of a national economy at stages within its cycles.

    Because the worst Treasurer in Australia’s history, Howard, many years later used debt as a blunt instrument to win an election, and it wasn’t even national debt he used at the time but the trade deficit, in which he went on to rack up record after record amount, the mindless automaton right wing supporters go on to ape the falsehood of Labor’s black hole for eternity. Of course when the Liberals rack up debt, as all the State Liberals are, even ones that were handed surpluses, then that’s Labor fault as well or it’s OK because it’s “good debt”, whilst never explaining just what “good” or “bad” debt is.

    Abbott, just as the leader I mentioned above is doing, will go on to rack up increasing debt, he’s already moved the goal posts on that twice proving that contention, yet you won’t hear the right wingers but especially the gormless poster here ever criticise it, instead they will forever and a day go on about “bad Labor debt”, the destroyer of all that is good and right in the country.

  159. “One can only shake one’s head in sorrow.

    Why, Koukoulis is a fraud. Actually he gave an answer to a question i was always interested in. Koukoulis said this.

    Indeed, Fitch upgraded the rating of Australia to triple-A late in 2011 after it observed the prudent use of fiscal deficits to maintain economic growth and to cap the unemployment rate.

    I always wondered why S&P’s and Moody’s gave us a AAA i think back in 2006 but Fitch waited until 2011. We had no Federal govt debt in 2007 but Fitch would not give us a AAA. Why????

    Koukouslis gave us an answer. However I don’t trust Koukoulis. I suspect he is just giving us his own personal view rather than the view of Fitch. But i will admit i could be wrong. I would like to read an official comment from Fitch.

    But i still don’t get it. Fitch did not give us a AAA when Federal debt was zero.

    PS. Adrian you should heed your own advice. DON’T READ MY POSTS. You may have a heart attack.

  160. Neil, there are many that agree that debt is not a problem.

    In fact a great number sat to cut at this time, will send the economy into free fall.

    Now Neil, I know you are obsessed with the past.

    I am more concerned with the now and here.

  161. But i still don’t get it. Fitch did not give us a AAA when Federal debt was zero.

    Has it occurred to you that a credit rating might not be all about having zero debt, but more about the actual capacity to pay a debt, and the policies put forward to support that capacity?

  162. O.K. but surely S&P’s and Moody’s took that into account. Fitch waited another 5 years before giving us a AAA.

    You may be right but i do find it a little strange that Fitch waited so long. But i would like to see an official statement from Fitch. I suspect that Koukoulis is giving his own personal opinion.

  163. Fitch waited another 5 years before giving us a AAA.

    Maybe their measurements are just a little more cautious?

  164. I saw this one online Neil

    “Australia’s ‘AAA’ Foreign-Currency IDR reflects its fundamental credit strengths, including its high value-added economy, strong political, civil and social institutions and its flexible policy framework,” said Art Woo, Director in Fitch’s Asia Sovereign Ratings group.

    “The combination of low public debt, a freely floating exchange rate, a credible inflation target framework, and liberal trade and labour markets provides Australian authorities the flexibility to run strong counter-cyclical fiscal and monetary policies during both economic downturns and upturns. These factors have helped Australia weather a number of externally-driven shocks over the past two decades,” added Mr. Woo.

    So, it could have been they wanted to wait until they saw just how our economy reacted to the GFC? Or it could be that they were unsettled about the Howard Governments approach to IR?

  165. Neil,

    I feel you are on the cusp of learning something of real value.

    There is an identity (a mathematical equation that by definition is always true) that underpins the national accounts.

    In English it says that you cannot sustain a budget surplus while you’ve got an external deficit. The reason is very simple: a budget surplus is a “drain” on the economy and so is an external deficit. If these 2 legs of the economy are a drain simultaneously, then you need the 3rd leg, the private sector to be going the opposite way, to provide the “injection”.

    The private sector can do this for a while by running down savings or borrowing but that’s not sustainable over the longer run.

    You’ll notice that household debt went through the roof during the period when Costello racked up all those surpluses.

    If households had instead decided to save, and not borrow and spend, the economy would’ve tanked. Households have since reverted to traditional behavior and are saving 10% of disposable income, and the economy is flat-lining.

    This is not a political statement Neil. I have no time for the economic policies of any of the parties in Fed politics.

    But back to the point. Fitch obviously understood what was happening in 2009-2010 whereas the other rating agencies didn’t. I didn’t know Fitch had done that actually. I don’t have much time for any of them because of their role in the GFC. But if Fitch gave us a AAA in 2011, it was a good call.

    I don’t have much time for Koukoulas either. He’s just another mainstream/orthodox economist who probably thinks that “deficits are bad” or “the budget should be balanced over the cycle”, which when you understand the sectoral balances of the national accounts, is nonsensical. I’m happy to quote “the Kouk” when he says something sensible, but that’s not very often. He’s no more evil than the rest of them, just misguided.

  166. That is unbelievable. Hockey had the gall to have a go at the Labor government for sending money overseas even though they had cut the benefit period for mainly wealthy families who were getting Australian government benefits whilst on extended abscenses overseas.

    That is a MYEFO entry by Hockey that now extends that rort that overwhelmingly benefits wealthy families and will increase significantly with PPL.

    This is the lying arsehole Treasurer who say the time of entitlement is over. I guess it is if you are destitute and need them to live. But if you are wealthy and have more money than you can count he’s going to give you more tax payer funded entitlements to rort.

  167. ” Rising Sea Levels, Rising Insurance Rates
    The imminence of this threat is not lost on insurance companies, and they aren’t waiting to see whose sea level estimate proves most accurate. They are already jacking up their home and project insurance rates—sometimes by a factor of 10—or are simply exiting the Florida market. “Allstate Insurance hasn’t written a new homeowner’s policy in this state since Hurricane Wilma in 2006,” Allstate agent Deborah Dixon told WhoWhatWhy. – ”

  168. ““The Arctic Ocean, in the northern region of the Arctic Circle, is changing from a solid expanse of inaccessible ice fields into a growing navigable sea, attracting increased human activity and unlocking access to vast economic potential and energy resources. In the 35 years since I first saw Kotzebue, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea as a junior officer, the sea ice has receded from the coast so much that when I returned last year the coastal area was ice-free. ” Recognizing the truth of Admiral Papp’s statement, the Navy is gearing up for an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer months as soon as 2016—84 years ahead of conventional model projections. This estimate is the result of an ongoing US Department of Energy-backed research project led by a US Navy scientist at the US Naval Postgraduate School‘s Department of Oceanography, Professor Wieslaw Maslowsky – ”

  169. Thanks for those, umm, “interesting” links Lovo.

    If I wasn’t nearly 70, reading the following might’ve pushed me into a state of clinical depression.

    “The recent NASA study highlights the discovery of active and growing methane vents up to 150 kilometers across. A scientist on a research ship in the area described this as a bubbling as far as the eye can see in which the seawater looks like a vast pool of seltzer. Between the summers of 2010 and 2011, in fact, scientists found that in the course of a year methane vents only 30 centimeters across had grown a kilometer wide, a 3,333 percent increase and an example of the non-linear rapidity with which parts of the planet are responding to climate disruption.”

    I always wondered as a child what it would feel like to be a mud-crab, being boiled alive in the copper. With longevity in my genes, I might live to find out.

    For the time being I’ll just rest in a state of morbid fascination.

  170. “The debt is the actual value of the thing and the deficit is the rate of change in the value of the thing.”

    I like your metaphor ME.

    I’ve given myself a headache however trying to add to it in a way that captures the more important truth that the debt doesn’t even really exist

    The issuing of bonds is a hangover from the old days when our currency was tied to gold through the US dollar.

    But the government continues to issue bonds because bond traders need the fees to send their kids to private schools.

    When Hockey rails against “debt” I roll around the floor laughing because the LNP’s benefactors live on the proceeds, and the last time the flow of “debt” dried up, they squealed like stuck pigs and Costello had to make a special issue to calm them down.

  171. Too true MJ. But as debt is the only bashing point the right wing have, even when they themselves ramp it up like the State Liberals are doing and Hockey is planning to, then it’s something they and their gormless economic illiterate followers will harp on about forever and a day, as long of course it’s Labor debt.

    Strangely Liberal debt is never bad or it’s treated as though it doesn’t exist. like the right are doing with the State Liberals racking it up.

    Double standards, much. Rank hypocrisy, certainly. Ignorance, that’s a given.

  172. “Strangely Liberal debt is never bad or it’s treated as though it doesn’t exist. like the right are doing with the State Liberals racking it up.”

    No my understanding is that they are trying to do something about it. The mess ALP govts leave may be incapable of cleaning up.

  173. Police taskforce could monitor unions
    THE Coalition could launch a joint law enforcement taskforce targeting corrupt unions, in addition to its mooted royal commission, says George Brandis.


  174. MJ@10.06am I so get the ‘umm’ 😀 😉
    Methane burps are a worry, probably the worlds number one worry 😦 ….but the really scary thing for us as Australians is a complete lack of an Science Minister or an government body to advise us about Australia’s role, going forward… 🙄 Mayhap we could ‘go’ with some of Tones “old idea’s” on the subject… even though what he said wasn’t what we think he said…even though what he didn’t say was heard wrong and It’s the hearers fault anyway… 😮 .. as in the following :-

  175. Mr. Abbott’s behavior and conduct during his condolence motion on behalf of the previous senator, Mr. Grietsal. The behavior of those sitting behind him was little better. It appears this is not the first time he has used such motions, for political swipes.

  176. Abbott has been out my way showing all and sundry what a totally incompetent fuckwit dumb-arsed lickspittle he most certainly IS…… he needs a ‘clip’ around the ears boy, ‘clip’.. ‘clip’ .. ‘clip’…. he IS so-o-o looking for his own grassy knoll… or so-o-o it would seem…

    Heard this today on the radio.
    ” MARK COLVIN: “There have always been tough times and lush times”, said the Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday when asked about drought and climate change.

    But the Bureau of Meteorology says 2013 was Australia’s hottest year on record. And few scientists now doubt that that is the result of man-made climate change.

    That includes some former sceptics in the scientific community who formerly doubted whether climate modelling could be trusted to forecast warming.

    Among them is one of Australia’s most respected agricultural scientists, Melbourne University’s Professor Snow Barlow.

    I asked him if it was fair to call him a former climate change sceptic? ”

  177. A slightly dated account of the view from outside Australia wrt to the impacts and experiences of AGW, and well worth a read.
    The end of Australia

    I have come to Australia to see what a global-warming future holds for this most vulnerable of nations, and Mother Nature has been happy to oblige: Over the course of just a few weeks, the continent has been hit by a record heat wave, a crippling drought, bush fires, floods that swamped an area the size of France and Germany combined, even a plague of locusts.

    A discomfiting read, but provides a perspective (from 2011/’12) largely unreported in our media, ( i.e. reality :evil:), by adopting a continent-wide approach to the issues raised.

  178. My comment prompted by the idiotic notion I heard abbott spruiking recently, that the farmers/graziers currently squealing for assistance are facing a “natural disaster”. and are thus “entitled” to govt. assistance.
    Given that the real disasters they face are rooted in (and predicted by) AGW, and will only continue, affected landowners should be financed to bail out of failing enterprises through the sale of their land back to the Crown. Those wishing to remain in such areas for lifestyle reasons could be paid and assisted in the ongoing rehabilitation of the landscape, and returning unproductive areas to native vegetation.

  179. The good people at Ya Think? are running a survey to compare real broadband speeds with Malcolm’s claimed speeds from his ‘My Broadband’ site.

    I’m sure they would appreciate all the help they can get in getting a reasonable number of responses to this survey – more data => better analysis.

    Survey here:,106

  180. ” Plenty of scientists have been moved by their research findings to take action in the streets. Physicists, astronomers, medical doctors and biologists have been at the forefront of movements against nuclear weapons, nuclear power, war, chemical contamination and creationism. And in November 2012, Nature published a commentary by the financier and environmental philanthropist Jeremy Grantham urging scientists to join this tradition and “be arrested if necessary”, because climate change “is not only the crisis of your lives – it is also the crisis of our species’ existence”.

    Some scientists need no convincing. The godfather of modern climate science, James Hansen, is a formidable activist, having been arrested some half-dozen times for resisting mountain-top removal coal mining and tar sands pipelines (he even left his job at NASA this year in part to have more time for campaigning). Two years ago, when I was arrested outside the White House at a mass action against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, one of the 166 people in cuffs that day was a glaciologist named Jason Box, a world-renowned expert on Greenland’s melting ice sheet.

    “I couldn’t maintain my self-respect if I didn’t go,” Box said at the time, adding that “just voting doesn’t seem to be enough in this case. I need to be a citizen also.”

  181. This man cannot help himself.

    Abbott excludes SA premier from event
    Updated: 16:59, Thursday March 13, 2014
    Abbott excludes SA premier from event

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended a decision to exclude South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill from an announcement that the state is set to be the base for a squadron of high-tech surveillance aircraft.

    The project, which is expected to provide a $100 million boost to the South Australian economy, was announced on Thursday, just days ahead of Saturday’s state election, inside a hangar at the Edinburgh RAAF base in front of military personnel, as well state opposition leader Steven Marshall.

    However, Mr Weatherill was not invited despite Mr Abbott conceding after making his announcement that both the premier and opposition leader would normally be invited to such an event.

    ‘Well, we are in an election campaign and in an election campaign the caretaker conventions dictate that the premier and the alternative premier are of equal status,’ Mr Abbott said.

    ‘But there is one of the two who wants to work constructively with the commonwealth, the other of the two wants to fight with the commonwealth.’

    The prime minister rejected suggestions that it was, in fact, him that was picking a fight, insisting that he wanted to work constructively with all premiers and chief ministers regardless of their political persuasion.

    ‘The incumbent premier thinks that his role is to fight with the commonwealth,’ Mr Abbott said.

    ‘I think the South Australian people want better than that. They expect their leaders, their state leader and the national leader, to work constructively together like adults.’

    Mr Weatherill said he was not surprised to be excluded from the event, adding that ‘it’s what you’d expect from Tony Abbott’.

    ‘Usual protocols would dictate that I would be invited to such a thing but it’s a bit of petty politics,’ Mr Weatherill said.

    Mr Weatherill said his government had already done a lot of work in terms of securing the drone project.

    ‘This is the work that is being done through Defence SA led by General Cosgrove and now Air Vice Marshall Houston. Defence SA has been working on this for some time,’ Mr Weatherill said.

    He said there was a clear choice for voters in Saturday’s election, which the latest polls suggest will see Labor’s 12-year rule come to an end.

    ‘You can have Steven Marshall working hand in hand with Tony Abbott him on his cuts to penalty rates, on his cuts to Medicare and his cuts to education, and we’ll stand up to for South Australia against all of that,’ Mr Weatherill said.

    In addition to the $100 million boost expected to come from the drone project, the federal government has said it would add another $20 million in economic spin-offs.

    It is …

    Nastiness is the name of the game.

  182. I heard this on the radio a couple of days ago, some very good points made about Abbot Point and why it should not go ahead. I have included a link to the broadcast, if your interested in this worrying issue, please have a listen to this very informative story, you will be glad ya did 😉
    “On the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, Abbot Point is set to become one of the world’s biggest coal ports. However the yet-to-be-developed coal mines it’s supposed to service look increasingly unviable and the environmental risks are enormous. Jess Hill investigates. ”

  183. This is big story. Sir William Slim named as a child sexual abuser in the up coming Fairbridge case involving child migrants from Britain.

    Cannot think of a bigger name. Have been granted permission to go ahead with a class action.

    More big names would not surprise one

    William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Field Marshal The Right Honourable
    The Viscount Slim
    William Slim, 1950.jpg
    William Slim in 1950
    13th Governor-General of Australia
    In office
    8 May 1953 – 2 February 1960
    Monarch Elizabeth II
    Preceded by Sir William McKell
    Succeeded by The Viscount Dunrossil
    Personal details
    Born 6 August 1891
    Bishopston, United Kingdom
    Died 14 December 1970 (aged 79)
    London, United Kingdom
    Relations John Slim, 2nd Viscount Slim
    Military service
    Nickname(s) Uncle Bill
    Allegiance British Empire
    Service/branch British Army
    British Indian Army
    Years of service 1914–1948
    Rank Field Marshal
    Commands Chief of the Imperial General Staff
    Commandant of the Imperial Defence College
    Allied Land Forces South East Asia
    Fourteenth Army
    XV Corps
    Burma Corps
    10th Indian Infantry Division
    10th Indian Infantry Brigade
    2nd Bn 7th Gurkha Rifles
    Battles/wars First World War

    Gallipoli Campaign
    Mesopotamian Campaign

    Second World War

    Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre
    East African Campaign
    Anglo-Iraqi War
    Syria-Lebanon campaign
    Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran
    Burma Campaign
    Battle of Kohima
    Battle of Imphal

    Awards Knight of the Garter
    Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
    Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
    Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
    Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
    Distinguished Service Order
    Military Cross
    Knight of the Order of St John
    Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)

    Field Marshal William Joseph “Bill” Slim, 1st Viscount Slim[1] KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC, KStJ (6 August 1891 – 14 December 1970) was a British military commander and the 13th Governor-General of Australia. He has more recently been accused of being a paedophile who abused at least three children from the Fairbridge Farm school.[2]

    He fought in both the First and Second world wars and was wounded in action thrice. During World War II he led the 14th Army, the so-called “forgotten army” in the Burma campaign. From 1953 to 1959 he was Governor-General of Australia, regarded by many Australians as an authentic war hero who had fought with the Anzacs at Gallipoli.[3],_1st_Viscount_Slim

  184. I can still remember being carted off ion high school by train, to line up, to see him. Wasted day, I even thought then. One of the last from the old country, I think.

  185. – How Australian Coal is Causing Global Damage –
    False Profits
    “…….to say the obvious out loud: Australia’s massive deposits of hydrocarbons were a menace to the planet, and would have to be left in the ground if the world had any hope of avoiding catastrophic global warming. Maybe this was news to people in the Australian government. If so, no wonder they were shrieking. ”

  186. The more one watches senator Abetz, the more he grates on ones nerves. Has to be one of the nastiest and arrogant MP in this fine land of ours.

    He definitely does not fit in what those who marched today, were asking for.

    Yes, a more compassion, caring and dignified society and political system.


  187. Why was not Dutton asked a question on this.

    ..Countries that rely strongly on private insurance to fund healthcare have more expensive health systems, the federal government’s Commission of Audit has been told.

    In an analysis of the health expenditure by OECD countries submitted to the commission, researchers from the Centre for Policy Development say competing private health insurers were unable to keep costs down.

    The federal government has hinted at cuts to health spending ahead of the budget, warning that private funding needs to play a bigger role in containing rising healthcare costs. It has appointed the commission to examine all federal spending and recommend budget cuts.

    But the analysis finds the more private insurance is used to fund healthcare, the more expensive the health system for the same or lower quality of care.

    ”It’s to do with market failure. Private health insurance is a bloody expensive way to fund healthcare. The only case where it’s not is when it’s a monopoly,” said report co-author Ian McAuley, who is also a public policy researcher at the University of Canberra. A monopoly in this case means a single private or public insurer………….

    Read more:

  188. Cardinal; Pell presenting as being very subdue. Has he develop some conscience or humility, or is it passive aggression that we are seeing.

    I suspect the latter.

    It appears that he could have, along with others already appeared in close hearings.

    His body language is entirely different from when he appeared on the ;last day of the Victorian investigations into the same matter.

    He was jeered when he turned up at court.

    He does not seem comfortable at all. Evidence so far seems to indicate, that he was directing the church attitude to the victims of abuse., not someone on the sidelines, as he has tried to claim in the past.

  189. Is it correct that many pensioners are facing up to $40 per fortnight increase in private medical insurance, such as the HCF?

    A increase by the way, allowed by Health Minister Dutton with no challenge.

    Cardinal now talking about enemies of the church. Wonder who he has in mind. It appears, the Naz’s anf communists.

    Why is Truss still acting PM today. Did not Abbott arrive back i the country yesterday. Has he taken thew day off, to support his great mate, Pell.

    I wonder if he still sees many enemies of the church around him.

  190. And the Liberals failing in the NT, where they won the bush vote on a bunch of promises they aren’t keeping. What they expected a Liberal politician to be honest?

  191. “A Case Study: The Side Effects of a Coal Plant

    A 500 megawatt coal plant produces 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power a city of about 140,000 people. It burns 1,430,000 tons of coal, uses 2.2 billion gallons of water and 146,000 tons of limestone.

    It also puts out, each year:
    10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide (SOx) is the main cause of acid rain, which damages forests, lakes and buildings.
    10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a major cause of smog, and also a cause of acid rain.
    3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, and is the leading cause of global warming. There are no regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.
    500 tons of small particles. Small particulates are a health hazard, causing lung damage. Particulates smaller than 10 microns are not regulated, but may be soon.
    220 tons of hydrocarbons. Fossil fuels are made of hydrocarbons; when they don’t burn completely, they are released into the air. They are a cause of smog.
    720 tons of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas and contributor to global warming.
    125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge from the smokestack scrubber. A scrubber uses powdered limestone and water to remove pollution from the plant’s exhaust. Instead of going into the air, the pollution goes into a landfill or into products like concrete and drywall. This ash and sludge consists of coal ash, limestone, and many pollutants, such as toxic metals like lead and mercury.
    225 pounds of arsenic, 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, and many other toxic heavy metals. Mercury emissions from coal plants are suspected of contaminating lakes and rivers in northern and northeast states and Canada. In Wisconsin alone, more than 200 lakes and rivers are contaminated with mercury. Health officials warn against eating fish caught in these waters, since mercury can cause birth defects, brain damage and other ailments. Acid rain also causes mercury poisoning by leaching mercury from rocks and making it available in a form that can be taken up by organisms.
    Trace elements of uranium. All but 16 of the 92 naturally occurring elements have been detected in coal, mostly as trace elements below 0.1 percent (1,000 parts per million, or ppm). A study by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Lab found that radioactive emissions from coal combustion are greater than those from nuclear power production.
    The 2.2 billion gallons of water it uses for cooling is raised 16 degrees F on average before being discharged into a lake or river. By warming the water year-round it changes the habitat of that body of water. ”

  192. The production of coal over couple of decades has produced numerous deaths. Destroyed many communities.

    The same people who want coal, are the same ones that claim wind produced clean energy is injurious to health. Makes one wonder.

    The same people if they cannot have coal, want nuclear power houses.

    Cannot understand the thinking.

    It appears that the speech Parkinson gave, and the written one differs. That has been pointed out by Shadow Treasurer, as well as some journalist.

  193. Will someone point out to Hockey, along with Abbott, that Medicare is not welfare. Never has claimed to be . It is a universal medical insurance scheme.
    A scheme that has produced the lowest cost and efficient medical outcomes in the world.

    It is not the norm, for all surgeries to bulk bill for all. Mr. Hockey should be thankful that he has access to such surgery, many do not.

    If Mr. Hockey is serious about making wealthier people pay more, it is a simple thing to do, just put up the levy. Take away the rebate they now get to take out private medical insurance, which does not add much to the health cost, and is inefficient.

    Yes, under that levy, one pays according to their ability to pay.

    By the way, Medicare is not free for most.

    No, it is not free and not welfare.

  194. You can tell Sinodinos worked with and for Howard. He can’t remember when he was on the board of a company under investigation.

    Howard and his staffers also had massive memory lapses when under investigation or when there were questions to answer.

  195. OK right wingers, let’s see your outrage. New FOI docs show that the AG department is attempting to bring ISPs and Telcos under stricter control of the government.

    When the Labor government, wrongly, attempted mild controls the MSM and right wingers were up in arms about suppression of freedom, so I’m waiting for the outrage from them as this government is actually undermining our freedoms, including just today pursuing laws to take away the freedom to protest.

  196. Oh the hypocrisy. It turns out Brandis is moving quickly to not only extend the control of Telcos and ISPs but bring in reforms along the lines Nicola Roxon attempted to implement but the Abbott opposition attacked.

    Come on right wingers where’s you outrage at this hypocrisy?

  197. Did not the historical concept of free speech arise out of the right of people to protest?

    If not, what is the value of free speech?

  198. We have a government that seems to support the right of the Murdoch and right wing media to say as they like, including lying.

    At the same time, they are attempting to curtail the outlets, that allow the ordinary person to have the same rights.

    Yes, the internet is a place, that one can use, to spread one word. Why should any government believe their rights should be curtailed.

    We had this government, while in opposition, attack Conroy, for suggesting that attempts should be made, to stop child poronograpy on the same internet.

    Fought against requiring ISPs being required to filter out such data.

    They seem to be very selective when it comes to their version of free speech.

  199. Of course I’m not going to see any outrage at the latest hypocrisy from this government and the MSM, that would be too much to ask from these hypocrites.

    When Gillard proposed the Malaysian solution, the Abbott opposition and MSM went into a frenzied attack on how terrible this was because of Malaysia’s human rights abuses. The attack was so acute and sustained this valid and viable policy was scrapped and a more horrendous one put in its place, one this government has made even worse and is about to go to even greater depths of moral bankruptcy and degradation of human decency.

    First Bishop visited Cambodia and from the Cambodian authorities she canvassed them taking Australian asylum seekers. Something by the way she refused to confirm and has been caught out in a lie over. Nothing new for her there.

    Before I go on I want to note that Cambodia has far greater human rights abuses, that are still ongoing, than Malaysia. And if Gillard had suggested Cambodia instead of Malaysia the outcry and uproar from Abbott and the MSM at the time would have been deafening and vicious.

    Yet now we hear the news of Morrison making a secret visit to Cambodia for the purpose of setting up a gulag type camp in that country and dumping our refugees there.

    So right wingers, here’s your challenge to be honest and true just for once. Show us your outcry at this terrible move by the government, at least an outcry to the degree you attacked Gillard over her Malaysian solution.

    Crickets… and that’s what I’m getting across the places I’ve stated this elsewhere.

  200. This morning I caught most of the Intelligence Squared debate on ABC24 (“Big Ideas”) on whether faith-based religious studies have a place in public schools. One of the speakers for the negative was the Rev. Tim Costello, who astounded me, and I’m sure much of the audience, with his proclamation that the popular acceptance of climate change was a type of religious belief. Costello declared his own belief that climate change was not happening based on the Biblical dictum that “the Earth is the Lord’s.” It beggars belief that this sort of lunacy should have be given a microphone in this day and age, and it also beggars belief that Costello’s silliness went unchallenged by the other panellists.

  201. Ah Queensland…. beautiful one day, a hole the next 😦
    “Did you know: The 2009-2010 Queensland Budget has allocated $1,758 million to coal subsidies and expansions compared to $74 million for climate change initiatives and renewables.
    Did you know: The coal industry in Queensland only employs about 19,200 people – about 4,000 less than the number of people who work at Target department stores in Australia
    Did you know: 85% of Queensland’s coal production is exported, which means that the greenhouse gas emissions from this coal are not counted as Australian emissions
    Did you know: The Queensland Government has plans to more than double our coal exports by 2030 Did you know: In 2008, the state’s 54 coal mines produced a record 188 million tonnes of coal
    Did you know: Recent expansion of Dalrymple Bay makes Mackay home to the largest coal port on Earth
    Did you know: 23.8% of Queensland’s land area is covered with exploration permits.
    Did you know: We are the largest coal exporting state in the largest coal exporting country in the world
    Did you know: That the annual greenhouse gas reduction from changing 20 million 60- watt incandescent light bulbs to energy saving fluorescents is completely negated by the Queensland coal industry in 32 hours
    Did you know: The Queensland Government has committed $15.6 billion of taxpayers’ money in a slush fund to meet the infrastructure needs of the Queensland coal industry over the next 20 years
    Did you know: Australia emits 28.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person, the highest per capita level in the developed world and five times more per person than China
    Did you know: The coal port currently under construction at Wiggins Island will make Gladstone the 2nd largest coal port in the world
    Did you know: The Queensland Government’s 2008-2009 budget commits $700 million to expanding the coal industry, but only $35 million investment in renewable energy and only $30 million for all of the government’s climate change initiatives ”

  202. The motto of the lnp must be, Show me the money. and screw the planet and everyone on it.

  203. Anyone interested in Democracy in this land of ours. and what rights we have, need to ensure they watch this week’s NPC address by Gillian Trigg, president of the Human Rights Commission.

    I not know why it was not more reported in the general arena.

  204. Does this man have an original thought? Who was the other PM that said he was here to help?

    Talk about a crawling effort, this PM is putting up. Suspect we need China much more than they need us.

    ………..Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared “Team Australia” is in China to “help build the Asian century” in his address to the Boao Forum.

    The gathering, on the island of Hainan, rivals Europe’s Davos forum in showcasing the Asia-Pacific region.

    Mr Abbott told the gathering he was being accompanied on his trip to China by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Trade Minister Andrew Robb, five of Australia’s state premiers, and 30 of the country’s senior business executives.

    “It’s one of the most important delegations ever to leave Australia,” the Prime Minister said.

    He said Australia’s resources had played a part in lifting Chinese living standards

  205. Do we have to fear about what we comment on in cyber space?

    It appears we should.

    This morning ABC radio Local reported that the SMH reported that departments of immigration, CSIRO and at least one other, are using sophistic equipment to probe into what is being said on social media and blogs. Yes what and who.

    We know that immigration is alleged to have hired up to 90 media advisers alone. Many more are found across this government’s department. Now we have equipment being used as well.

    We know a woman in WA was ordered to take down a photo of a sign, that said not in my name, because i6t offended someone.

    Is not this evidence that this government is setting up it’s own gestapo?

    Since when has political comment been illegal.

    Does one have to fear, if they seek a job with this government, what they say in cyber space will be held against them. It not, why are they going to so much trouble and expense, to track down what is being said, and by whom.

    Is this not a tactic, that Hitler used to great effect. Yews, the gestapo is being reborn,

    The question I ask, is why?

    This from a government that5 puts so much emphasises on the right to free speech.

  206. Fed up, Things from my personal records from centrelink have been mentioned here on cafe whispers… By the don, summo, & oq… all the same person of course.. Yes we are being watched !

  207. Remember the old saying, that those who listen into others conversation, never hear good of themselves. We at least know, they are listening to what we are saying.

    Listening, but I bet, not heeding.

    Seems today, it is the pension that is on the line.

  208. That has me worried…. pity politicians don’t lead by example and cut their own wages and pensions !

  209. Blain by-election in the NT.

    Massive swing against the CLP.
    Good swings for the ALP, Greens and Independents.

    And the decline of the Liberals continues. Once they get into government they always reveal themselves to be the terrible stewards they are.

    They can only ever gain and keep power by underhanded and dishonest means aided and abetted by the wealthy who are their masters. Abbott is undermining democracy being aided by the MSM to keep power and hide his many failures and broken promises so far. Over 20 major commitments gone at last count, the most in the shortest time for any Federal government. Only Newman beats him.

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