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Federal

Mar 7, 2012

Eventually reality will hit the opposition's fiscal frolic

The Coalition has serious budget problems and they won't escape the consequences forever. A series of fumbles makes them look totally at sea on fiscal strategy.

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The sporting cliché is you only play as well as your opponent allows you. The alternative is occasionally true, too: sometimes you play as badly as your dud opponents.

With the spotlight on the Labor leadership stoush and the Carr-for-Canberra reverse wedgie (© Andrew Probyn), the pressure, to the extent that they’ve been under any pressure since April 2010, should have been off the Coalition. Instead, there’s been a series of fumbles and unforced errors.

There was Abbott’s “I’ll be prime minister” line, the sort of thing not so much hated by voters as claimed by press to be hated by voters, and covered accordingly. Then there was the reaction to Bob Carr’s appointment, after the Coalition had spent last week basing its entire political attack on the government over his non-appointment; the indefatigable Christopher Pyne was sent onto Lateline on Friday night to perform the alarums and excursions necessary to cover the retreat on that front, only to be forensically dissected by Emma Alberici.

And then there’s the Coalition’s budget problems. The Coalition is in a deep, deep hole on its budget plans, but judging by the noises coming out of the darkness, they’re still digging.

As former Gillard adviser Stephen Koukoulas pointed out this week, Joe Hockey, in committing to have a lower tax:GDP ratio than Labor, casually signed up to finding an extra $80 billion-odd in savings over forward estimates. Even if it’s delayed until the first Hockey budget in May 2014, it’ll cost an extra $24 billion.

Yes, that’s on top of the current $50-70 billion they need to find. If you had some magical combination of Peter Walsh c.1987 as finance minister and Peter Costello c.1996 as treasurer, you’d still be struggling to achieve that level of savings.

Then there’s paid parental leave, Abbott’s totem for his conversion from a 12th to late 20th century view of women. It’s hard to avoid the impression that Andrew Robb, despite subsequent backtracking, let the cat out of the bag on the scheme this week when he said nothing had been finalised. At the very least, it’s a preview of the stoush likely to happen in ERC and budget cabinet in the lead-up to May 2014.

The problem for the Coalition scheme isn’t just its huge cost compared to Labor’s scheme, which is based on the national minimum wage: the minimum wage will be the baseline of the Coalition scheme, but anyone earning above that will receive up to $75,000. It’s that the scheme will grow much faster than Labor’s.

That’s because the national minimum wage grows more slowly than average weekly earnings for women. The minimum wage has grown on average 2.7% per annum since 2008 — although it wasn’t increased at all that year. Full-time adult female earnings grew on average 4.7% per annum over the past five years. In 2007, it grew at 5.4%. The Coalition, correctly indexed the scheme cost at 4.7% on its 2010 costings. On that basis, the scheme will cost $4.7 billion in it first year and total about $20 billion over forward estimates and keep growing rapidly. In years with high jobs growth, faster wages growth will accelerate that growth.

That $20 billion figure is a lot of money to fix Tony Abbott’s problem with women voters. There are image consultants who’d charge a lot less and, judging by Abbott’s current unpopularity with women voters, do a better job.

There remains, too, the problem of the Coalition’s costing of its direct action policies on climate change. This is grossly underfunded in terms of the price per tonne of abatement, if we assume the Coalition is at all serious about achieving a 5% reduction target by 2020, let alone any more ambitious targets. The fact that few in the media other than Lenore Taylor have focused on the profound problems of this policy doesn’t mean a Coalition government won’t have a serious funding problem with the policy. For the moment, however, the opposition’s stance on this revolves sticking its collective fingers in ears and chanting “not listening.”

Joe Hockey is giving an economic speech early this afternoon intended as The Australian Financial Review declared today, to be a “spine stiffener” for the opposition. The real job the Coalition’s economic team needs to do is start giving comfort it’s not totally at sea on its fiscal strategy. Sooner or later reality will hit.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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188 comments

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188 thoughts on “Eventually reality will hit the opposition’s fiscal frolic

  1. Jimmy

    SB – “As was pointed out here a few weeks ago, Labor is proposing a 1% company tax cut and various instant write offs (around $5,000) for assets. Yet they are increasing the Superannuation that small business pay by 3%.”

    As it stands the Liberal party are supporting the increase in super but opposing the tax cuts, under which party will small business be better off?

    And you once again willing misrepresent the fact by neglecting to acknowledge the tax cuts are immediate while the super increase is phased in at 0.5% a year meaning it will be almost 2020 before the full 3% is being levied and who knows how many more tax cuts will be intorduced between now and then.

  2. Suzanne Blake

    @ Liz45

    I don’t speak for any political party, so you will have to ask them.

    As was pointed out here a few weeks ago, Labor is proposing a 1% company tax cut and various instant write offs (around $5,000) for assets. Yet they are increasing the Superannuation that small business pay by 3%.

    So small business regardless of how many employees they have will pay more in super than they save in the 1% tax cut or quicker depreciation instant writeoff.

    We discussed how much a small company makes a few weeks ago, the average small business will save $200 – $300 in tax a year and the super payments will be considerably more.

    yes they are big small business, medium ones and smaller ones and one man bands.

    The more people they employ the worse off they are.

    If you assume the average person earns $50,000 a year, thats an extra super payment of $1500 per annum per employee on top of the $4500 they pay now.

  3. Liz45

    @SB – One question. Why isn’t the Coalition supporting the Govt’s financial support/s for small business? Why do they only get angry when wealthy owners of mining companies make stupid and incorrect statements to the media? Repeating childish and stupid things like ‘class envy’ is just so childish! The response is similar to kids fighting in the playground? Although mind you, I’ve a lot of admiration for the way most kids behave in the playground! Much better than most politicians!

    Could it have something to do with the donations to the Coalition – in the millions???

  4. Jimmy

    The Pav – You are right “SB just blindly, mindlessy follows the Coalition line with a degree of incompetence that only serves to highlight her incapacity for rational thought.” However once the Libs get into power she will quickly move to blindly and mindlessly following the line criticising them as she lacks the capacity to know what she wants from a govt and only ever wants an “end to waste” and all the other things typical of the tea party.

    She ahs never been able to point to a policy she supports from either side, just things she opposes because they a new and different.

  5. The Pav

    Eh Jimmy,

    I be thinking you are flattering dear old SB as to her voting intentions.

    SB just blindly, mindlessy follows the Coalition line with a degree of incompetence that only serves to highlight her incapacity for rational thought.

    My dear old mum has severe dementia yet demonstrates a greater capacity for self awareness than SB.

    I’m thinking if we keep pointing out how pathetic SB is then perhaps with god’s good grace some improvement may occur if SB could just get over her cowardice first

  6. Peter Ormonde

    Hey Crikey,

    Have you noticed how the Bleaks and Troofies et al disappear when you stop sending out new comment notifications … excellent! Quality of the discussion improves considerably… less heat but more light. Too much work for them to keep abreast of articles without being spoon-fed I suspect.

    Don’t bring it back.

    I don’t know why Crikey lets itself be trashed and sabotaged. Easy to fix actually: Let your readers flag obnoxious comments. Won’t take long, I promise.

    As a final note: Sooz, any time you find yourself saying “will”, reach up and feel your head … you’re wearing that alfoil oracle cap again. And don’t forget the pills. Strewth you talk a lot of rubbish. But that’s what it’s all about I guess.

  7. Jimmy

    Pretty good summation ther Pav.

    She also seems to be once again showing she is just a complaining who votes people out without a care for what seh replaces them with and then get’s surprised when she doesn’t like the new govt but is happy because she can complain about them.

  8. Jimmy

    SB – You are making less sense than usual.

    “The green shoots in the US, their equity markets a guage of confidence are above pre GFC highs on one exchange almost almost on the other.” What are you trying to say here, are you agreeing that the US is turning around and if so what impact do you see that having on confidence?

    “The RBA will cut rates” So we are agrred on that but what impact do you see that having on confidence?

    “Thats because of Gillard / Swan’s killing of confidence. No other reason. Forget Europe, its not a high percent of confidence at grass roots.” Where is the evidence for this, as I told you earlier our consumer confidence is the highest in the OECD so what is driving everyone else down? Gillard?

    “The Greens will wedge any policy for different reasons to another party, or do a deal on one think to secure a vote or preferences on another, Thats the way Brown works” But they are only able to block the tax cuts because the libs are voting the same way, why are the greens bad and the libs good on this when they are voting the same way?

    “On your other questions, I will leave it t the partes to fund their policies and announce them. I do’t care as to their timetable. I just want to ride Australia if Gillard and her mess, cause nothing can be worse” But on the policies announced and the expert ana l y sis of them how can you make that statement, what policies of the new govt would be better?

  9. The Pav

    Jimmy,

    Regarding the dishonest, mendacious and incompetent SB’s post this is how I summarise it.

    The ALP does a good thing for small business but this bad because of external perception despite it being far in advance of anything the caolition has offered/done.

    She’s heard the phrase “sovereign risk” so it gets an airing even though it has no significance or relation to small business but het SB heard it and in her diseased mind has to trot it out. When challenged to show relevance SB in here usual cowardly way just throws out another slur.

    SB then complains because Carr shows his competence by being prepared and ready to answer a question. Something beyond the capacity of both SB and heridol Abbott

    SB then moves on to an outrageous and unfounded illogical irrational slur about the Greens.

    She has been challenged to back up this statemnt which of course is imp[ossible so expect further cowardly and dishonest attacks.

    SB is as predictable as she is dishonest hence the attraction she has to Abbott.

    I’ve said it before but will say it again. SB will go past the tap to drink from the toilet. In this an unflushed one

  10. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    The green shoots in the US, their equity markets a guage of confidence are above pre GFC highs on one exchange almost almost on the other.

    The RBA will cut rates, definately in April and it could be higher than 25bp. Thats because of Gillard / Swan’s killing of confidence. No other reason. Forget Europe, its not a high percent of confidence at grass roots.

    The Greens will wedge any policy for different reasons to another party, or do a deal on one think to secure a vote or preferences on another, Thats the way Brown works,

    On your other questions, I will leave it t the partes to fund their policies and announce them. I do’t care as to their timetable. I just want to ride Australia if Gillard and her mess, cause nothing can be worse.

  11. Jimmy

    SB – “Cause the Green’ want to send us back to stone age or middle ages, pre Industrial revolution, and when that is possible, they vote that way.” So by your own words the Libs by voting with the Greens aganst the corporate tax cuts will “send us back to stone age or middle ages, pre Industrial revolution” and yet you still want to vote for them?

    No answers for any of my other questions?

    And given the RBA’s ability to (and the markets general expectation that they will) cuts interest rates (probably by about 0.5% in the next 3-4 months) how do you see that impacting on business and consumer confidence?

    Also should the green shoots of a recovery in the US continue in the next 6 months how do you see that impacting on business and consumer confidence?

  12. drsmithy

    Cause the Green’ want to send us back to stone age or middle ages, pre Industrial revolution, and when that is possible, they vote that way.

    I’m having a bit of trouble finding that Greens policy. Could you quote it for us ?

  13. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    Cause the Green’ want to send us back to stone age or middle ages, pre Industrial revolution, and when that is possible, they vote that way.

    But I was funny to see Sarah HY ask a question on the Tibet, and Carr jump up reading from his answer sheet.

  14. Jimmy

    SB – The greens and the ALP are in an alliance, then why is it the greens and the libs blocking cuts to the corporate tax rates for businesses big enough for which it will actuall y have a positive impact.

  15. Jimmy

    SB – DO you even know the meaning of “sovereign risk”? There is absolutely no sovereign risk involved in this govt.
    Just look at the capex figures released last month as proof, “Capital expenditure is forecast to rise sharply by 36 per cent to $173bn for 2012-13, but the planned budget of $119.7bn for the mining sector is more than 50 per cent above the corresponding estimate for the current financial year.” Look at the mining sector in particular, given they will face impacts from the MRRT and carbon tax they are still massively investing, does this show they think Australia is a sovereign risk?

    “You were saying in late 2011 and early 2012 that everying was hunky dory and where is the evidence of business and consumer being shredded. I have to say, the evidence is everywhere now. ” Where? If it is everywhere please provide some, and show that it is govt policy and not the global economic environment that is causing it.

    And again if you want this govt out in order to help small business what policies from the incoming govt will assist it? All I see are policies that will hurt it.

  16. Suzanne Blake

    You have to laugh, when you see a Greens Senator ask a question in the Senate and the ALP Minister, jumps up with his / her answer sheet. I know they are a Greens / ALP alliance, but I did not know it was seamless.

  17. Gavin Moodie

    No current Australian government is a sovereign risk and it is irresponsible to suggest it, even in a Crikey post.

    A sovereign risk is the risk of a government becoming unwilling or unable to meet its loan obligations, reneging on loans it guarantees, or nationalising a corporation. No current Australian government is contemplating any such thing and is extremely unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future.

  18. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    I don’t speak for Abbott, other to say he needs to be replaced, yesterday.

    However, I expect that any non Labor government will not be seen as the soveign risk that this one is. So business and consumer confidence will improve.

    That will help small business, who were travelling along just fine before the Gillard train smash.

    You were saying in late 2011 and early 2012 that everying was hunky dory and where is the evidence of business and consumer being shredded. I have to say, the evidence is everywhere now.

    Still we have incompetent Swan waving the surplus flag, which I expect he will do until after Saturday, then we may well see the flag being lowered with a new spin tact.

  19. Jimmy

    SB – What policy (other than dispute resolution powers) will an Abbott govt have that will help small business? Or benefit the economy at all? They will vote against cutes to the corprate tax rate and small business tax breaks while endorsing the increase in the super guarantee.
    Their economic policies simply don’t add up and will lead to either budget deficits or massive cuts to services and will threaten economic growth.

    Abbott currently has a paid parental scheme that both business and parents don’t want or like, an environemental policy that business, economists, environmentalists and scientists don’t like and state won’t work, a asylum seeker policy that the navy, immigration dept and indonesia says is bad and dangerous policy, a business tax policy that business & economists say is flawed and an overall economic strategy that hasn’t worked in other countries and economists say is bad policy here.

  20. Suzanne Blake

    This is the Independants Contractors view on Gillards ‘small business’ initiatives. Hardly a ringing endorsement….again

    After last week’s small business media blitz by the Gillard government, most people in small business must feel they have a sign painted across their forehead screaming ‘come in sucker!’ Am I being excessively politically one-sided? Probably yes! But the assessment is based on facts.

    Two weeks ago Prime Minister Julia Gillard placed the small business minister, Brendan O’Connor in cabinet. That’s potentially a good thing. But it’s only good if the minister then has the grunt and inclination to fearlessly defend the small business space.

    I explained the politics behind this cabinet move at the time of the appointment (Carving out O’Connor’s small business task, March 5). Labor must secure a sizable chunk of the small business vote if they have any chance of winning the next election. That’s their motivation. However in the space of two weeks they’ve blown out of the water any small business credibility they may have created.

    Last week Gillard proudly announced the setting up of a federal Small Business Commissioner, something small business has been calling on for some time. Tony Abbott has long had a policy to do this.

    Following the morning announcement, Gillard rushed into parliament crowing about how brilliant the government is for small business. They had a successful couple of media days doing this. They now have plenty of small business friendly sound bites and images to push into future election advertisements.

    But on the same day they were announcing the commissioner they were, behind the scenes, attacking thousands of small business people. With the help of the Greens they rammed two bills through the senate.

    One bill literally declared any self-employed independent contractor working in the clothing industry to be an employee subject to industrial relations laws. This means that anyone (mostly mums working from home) who wants to earn extra money running a small sewing business, is forced to be an employee by decree of Julia Gillard. It’s the death of the right to be self-employed in the clothing industry.

    The second bill has a similar outcome in the transport sector for owner-drivers. That bill established a new tribunal that will take away the right of owner-drivers to control the prices they charge for their services. It’s institutionalised price fixing of commercial contracts and will result in huge market distortions in the trucking industry.

    It may potentially breach competition laws and effectively outlaw self-employed small business in trucking. If any businessperson cannot control his or her own prices they are not effectively in business.
    These small business destruction bills are part of the extensive roll out of a union anti-self-employed/small business campaign launched in November last year. I debated this with the union boss Ged Kearney when they started the campaign.

    What the Gillard government and the broad Labor movement don’t ‘get’ is that when they seek to kill off self-employment they strike at the heart of entrepreneurship. This damages everyone in Australia. Labor consistently proves that it acts within a ‘corporatist’ framework. It’s big business, big government and big unions doing deals. But if anyone in big business bucks Labor’s deal-making, Labor attacks them too.

    Now enter the Small Business Commissioner undertaking! It’s federal Labor conning again.

    The first Small Business Commissioner was introduced in Victoria in 2003 under the Bracks Labor government. It’s primary task is to assist small business dispute resolution with large business and government departments. It’s been hugely successful but needs some small strengthening of powers.

    Last year Small Business Commissioners were introduced in Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia. South Australia has given their commissioner slightly stronger dispute resolution powers than the Victorian model.

    But Gillard’s Small Business Commissioner seems to have no powers, according to the information released. The Commissioner will simply be a flapping mouth, able to talk to government about small business, and give opinions but do nothing of substance. Labor’s undertaking to small business people is lots of talk about pretending to do something but doing nothing.

    If the position of a federal Small Business Commissioner is to have any meaning it must include powers to resolve disputes between federal government agencies and small business people. We’ve covered several cases where the behaviours of departments is appalling. One case involved the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and another involved a high profile agency (unnamed due to legal action occurring).

    The Abbott opposition has made a firm commitment to a real federal Small Business Commissioner/Ombudsman with dispute resolution powers for small business people in dispute with government departments. The Gillard government has stolen the media pitch but is doing nothing of any real value. Worse, they are engaged in a consistent stealth campaign against small business people.

    Ken Phillips is executive director of Independent Contractors Australia and author of Independence and the Death of Employment.

  21. The Pav

    David,

    I think it curious that anna Bligh was interrogated over whether the PM would be plus or minus in the campaign yet nobody ahs asked Newman the same question of Newman.

    This also begs the question. Where’s Tony ? If he’s such a good thing shouldn’t he be up there campaigning vigourously?

    I suspect the locals don’t want him as they know his mouth will just cause them even more problems.

    On a slightly differenet issue it has always puzzled me that for someone who is so opposed/uncomfortable to/with homosexuality was seemingly quite comfortable to take the money i.e. Rhodes Scolarship.

  22. David Allen

    Yes Peter.

    Campbell Newman, in Queensland, is following the Abbott game plan in making all sorts of promises but not saying how he’ll fund them. He’ll announce that closer to the election.

    Which is in…two weeks!

    I’m not suggesting that the Qld election is a metaphor for a forthcoming federal poll but it is very interesting.

  23. Peter Ormonde

    David,

    Oh well you know … shit happens. I think that stupid insensitive statement just cost us a few billion. Just to show Tony really cares.

    Poor Joe Hockey. Cleaning up after Tony makes the Augean stables look like a sinecure.

  24. David Allen

    West Aus tralian, 10th March

    “Tony Abbott’s pledge to increase military pensions would cost 17 times what the coalition claims and increase Australia’s superannuation debt by more than $6 billion.”

  25. Jimmy

    I have discovered how Abbott is going to sack 12,000 public service sector employee’s without effecting service quality, he is going to exaggerate how many there are to begin with;

    “Firstly, the health department he refers to – the Department of Health and Ageing – has 4200 staff, not 6000,”

    “And staff numbers at the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) were at 4300, not 5000, They are soon losing another 500 staff with current budget cuts,”

  26. klewso

    sorry ….. “beat off the Left”……

  27. klewso

    Abbott’s only goal is to “beat the Left” – which is pretty ironic as he does that now.

  28. Jimmy

    Peter Ormonde – If you are still there you should come onto todays thread about Stephen Simth and see the terrible things our Suzanne is saying about that lovely well dressed man!

  29. Liz45

    I think this is funny. The Tory supporters have ‘lost their voices’? Convenient laryngitis of the ‘fingers’ so to speak!

    Lindsay Tanner’s speech at the National Press Club detailed the enormous increases to the Howard Govt – the biggest government in Australia’s history? As I’ve stated on another post, Boswell’s staff was increased by 9 people – just to help him get re-elected?

    @GEE WIZZ – Re Craig Tomson? The best way to ensure that he avoids a trial (that’s IF he’s charged?) is to speculate and find him guilty in the media. I think he’s already got enough evidence for a Barrister or QC to plead that he wouldn’t receive a fair trial. You’re just helping that cause along. Too stupid by half! You Tories have a collective IQ of definitely below 80!

    I think you should see a doctor about your condition? The inability to see any wrong in the Tories? And the second, thinking that we’re either brain dead or stupid!

    Such a shame that you can’t advocate for someone with ability and aptitude to be Opposition leader. If Abbott’s a Rhodes Scholar, than I’m a super intelligent whiz kid with a photographic mind. He’s petulant, childish and plain stupid – not to mention that he walks like a primate! ( my apologies to much loved primates). Wouldn’t you think someone would take him aside and suggest that he modify it somewhat? Very scary indeed!

    Rhodes Scholar indeed! Bob Hawke, yes, but Abbott? Disagreed with Bob on lots of things, but at least you knew that he was intelligent. He was articulate, well read and not a petulant brat, who does ‘dummy spits’ when found out to be lying! I still have that Lateline footage when Tony Jones made him admit to seeing/conferring/taking ‘orders’ from Pell re funding for private schools. The look on Abbott’s face was a classic – Tony should’ve ‘dropped’ dead on the spot!

    Incidentally, has Abbott written any of his ‘policies’ down? Has he written down his parental leave policy for the rich? He was the one who said he’d say or do anything to get elected! Not me! Unless it’s written down …………..

  30. Jimmy

    Boo – Really well put, Abbott’s objective is to be in power, he does not hold a vision for the country he leads or even any particular economics beliefs, it is all about getting in and then we’ll see after that.

  31. Boo

    Tony has no policies. He is Howard on steroids. An ruthless opportunist who can only see his way to the top job. The reason he looks confused on ‘policies’ is because they are not ‘policies’ as we understand them, they are political strategies aimed at gaining power. They bear little resemblance to policies required to run the country.

    Granted there will always be trade off’s between politics and proper policy, but this blokes really not at all concerned with proper policy. No, its all one big smart alec high school debate. Private high school bully for PM. Yay! Guess its nice to be mugged by somebody who can articulate their wants. I aspire to more tham grunts.

  32. Peter Ormonde

    Yep Jim… and even on this the Libs are rather vulnerable.

    Between 2000 and 2007 the numbers employed in the Commonwealth public sector grew from approximately 112,000 to 157,000. This was one of the fastest rates of growth in Australian history.

    Even when they are being dumb and short-sighted they can’t get it right.

    How can one trust a government that can’t even bugger stuff up successfully?

  33. Jimmy

    Yeah the whole “we’ll slash waste” and “cut public servants” is a very small fig leaf when he recommitted this morning to personal tax cutsm company, repealing the MRRT & Carbon Tax and his paid parental leave scheme, surely at some point soemone will start asking questions about the elephant in the room.

    Maybe we need to start bombarding Sunrise and Today with queries about the Libs economic policies as that seems to be the only interviews (for want of a better word) does these days.

  34. Gavin Moodie

    I disagree that it is ok for an opposition not to announce details of its polices until just before an election. The aim should be to persuade the electorate that the new direction the opposition proposes should be supported. This requires time for the electorate to understand and analyse proposals. If some of the opposition’s proposals are implemented by government so much the better: the opposition has achieved some of its program before it wins government.

    As the Indies keep on pointing out, it would have been relatively easy for the current opposition to get legislation passed by the current Parliament, which would have been a nice achievement.

  35. Peter Ormonde

    Don’t know what happened then … something got slipped in by aliens again!

    It was supposed to read “… whatever he announces, someone won’t like it.” There that makes a bit more sense.

    Curse this thin foil!

  36. The Pav

    Jimmy,

    What economic policies?. Remember they only “AA” (Abbott Aspiration) and therefore not to be regarded as such.

    I note in a report that the Coalition claims to have costed 40 of 49 policies. I think its fair enough that they don’t release details too far out from the election but I would like to see evidence that these costings have actually been done right now and if they are by a credible costing agency operating under reasonable terms of reference that will not be misrepresented.

    Anyway your first post set the bar to high. It required a person to have half a brain.

    This is a requirement they fell well short of.

  37. Peter Ormonde

    Jim,

    Did you hear Abbott spruiking his audit plan last night … nervous as a fieldmouse. Not at all comfortable announcing anything at all this fella – he knows he’s making himself a target – from the press, the ratbag right, the liberal left, big business, small business… whatThat’s the real riddle in these figures, and no one can fully explain it he says someone won’t like it. Hence he is reduced to announcing a bit of Cambra bashing … that should be safe enough … except he’s had to exempt his absurd parental leave scheme from scrutiny.

    Abbott isn’t interested in policy – most uncomfortable with the whole idea actually – not too good at explaining stuff – much more comfortable in attack mode. A good Opposition leader. And I suspect he will be keeping the conservatives in Opposition for some years to come.

    This will be an interesting year.

  38. Gavin Moodie

    I suspect they read only material that confirms their prejudices. Wait until the next piece criticising Labor and they will emerge in droves from their burrows.

  39. Jimmy

    Peter – Even they can’t defend Abbott’s economic policies!

  40. Peter Ormonde

    Where have all the trolls gone? All at once. Again.

  41. Liz45

    Hi The Pav – Indeed! Perhaps this article is the beginning of asking tricky questions about Abbott & Co? I wish! Imagine if Abbott/Hockey etc were Labor??The shock jocks would be screaming for ‘blood’?

    The Tory Govt in NSW is introducing Legislation that will take fines for ‘unauthorised’ strikes from about $10,000 per day, to $110,000 per day. Workers voted these bastards in too!
    Tried to warn them, but???

    If NSW think O’Farrell has changed things for the worst, they aint seen nothing yet if Abbott (read Pell?) get into the Lodge!

    Howard and WorstChoices? Nothing compared to what this bloke will do! ‘Women’s issues’? Back to the 50’s?

    If SB is female, how does she justify this lot? By selling out? How can ‘she’ continually support their bs? Beats me!

  42. The Pav

    Hi Liz45

    You should have noted from the previous posts that Gee Wizz only egards misconceptions that support his distorted view as facts whist the actual facts are obviously a left wing plot probably with Muslim Jihadist overtones

    As to dear old deficient SB, maybe she’s had an epiphany. We can live in hope

  43. Liz45

    @GEE WIZZ – I see, that once again you’ve omitted to recall the increases Costello foisted upon us. After promising no added charges or taxes, he then introduced about 30! Another omission by you. As I’ve said before – you treat us as though we’re all suffering from at best, amnesia! I still have the cutting from the SMH re these broken promises!

    Where’s SB? Taken a much needed break?

  44. Mike Flanagan

    Jimmy;
    That what you call ‘passing the buck’ mate. Hanging your hat on someone elses peg!
    From my experience that is what middle management and much of the bureaucracy is about and is the basis of promotion.

  45. Peter Ormonde

    Jim,

    It’s a special gift … a unique product of hard work and self-interest garnished with a sense of frustrated entitlement and a drizzle of disappointment.

    The pungent aroma of charred trailing commissions no doubt permeates your shared space. Damn these socialists!

    There’s a good reason why so many small businesses stay small, Jim.

  46. Jimmy

    Peter – Why is it that it is only Small Business people that can see the light, I share office space with a financial planner who is a big liberal supporter and everytime I discuss politics and economics with him he tells me how I’m not in business so wouldn’t understand and that his businessmen mates would destroy my arguements, while he never refutes my arguments.

  47. Peter Ormonde

    Jimmy…

    You’re doing it again with those sneaky numbers … trying to confuse everyone with facts and statistics.

    But We All Know – yes we do – that the world is going to hell in a handbasket – particularly this bit of it. And these facts that you and your type keep carping on about aren’t going to change that. Not for a minute.

    Economists might be confused – but us practical people – the ones who own successful small businesses that let us pull over $100K a year while chatting away on Crikey here – we just know that numbers are just another word for fibs. Facts aren’t gonna change nuffink.

    See that’s the thing innit – that all this university and school stuff just gets in the way of what we already know. They could see that if they were rick like Troofie and me. The morons!

    See statistics – that’s got most of “State” in it innit – and well participation rates – that’s got all of “part” in it .. so you can see it’s all just wrong wrong wrong.

    Coming in here with facts and research and stuff… go on pull the other one. Facts! As if.

  48. Jimmy

    WTF – ” really wish the number of post on a topic by any one individual would be limited to three. Jimmy has 25 out of 136 posts here – gather most of the time arguing with himself” So you didn’t actually read the posts but still felt you could criticise? Are all 25 posts on the same point?

    And if you think the standard of post is not worthy of reading how has your post improved the quality of debate? What vital point of the article have you furthered with your contribution?

  49. WTF

    If you can’t get your point across in three posts then I can just about guarantee that you don’t actually have one.
    I really wish the number of post on a topic by any one individual would be limited to three. Jimmy has 25 out of 136 posts here – gather most of the time arguing with himself – making these posts simply irrelevant to read!

  50. Jimmy

    Geewizz- The following are particpation rates
    2007 65.20
    2008 65.30
    2009 65.20
    The February 2012 participation rate was 65.2 per cent, compared with an unrevised 65.3 per cent in January2012.

    No real indication that the unemploymetn figures are hiding massive job losses through lack of particpation.

    Still waiting on those answers, and maybe you can add in how Abbott’s “expansionary austerity” economic theory would impact job creation and unemployment levels?

  51. Peter Ormonde

    Wizzie…

    There’s a bit you left out of the SMH story you’ve cited above:

    “That’s the real riddle in these figures, and no one can fully explain it.”

    Ah but you can Troofie … all those silly book-learned economists and whacky statisticians sitting around being confused … and the answer’s a plain as the wart on my nose.

    Pick up the phone Troofie – tell them the answer. The clowns!

  52. Jimmy

    Geewizz – These are the questions I posed to you yesterday, so your oppostion to the parental leave scheme only really touches the surface doesn’t it. Maybe it is you who has the comprehension problem?
    Is it you assertion that contractionary budgetary pol icy (ie running a surplus) would of been the best way to manage the economy during the GFC and subsequent l ingering global uncertainty and if so how would this have impacted Australia’s economic growth?

    Also if why do you exclude the income & corporate tax cuts (both implemented and planned) from you ana l ysis of the ALP govt?

    And why isn’t the L iberals plan to increase the corporate tax rate bad under the same rationale?

    And could you explain how Abbott’s announced and guaranteed pol icies will assist in del ivering budget surpluses?

  53. Jimmy

    Geewizz – These are the questions I posed to you yesterday, so your oppostion to the parental leave scheme only really touches the surface doesn’t it. Maybe it is you who has the comprehension problem?
    Is it you assertion that contractionary budgetary policy (ie running a surplus) would of been the best way to manage the economy during the GFC and subsequent lingering global uncertainty and if so how would this have impacted Australia’s economic growth?

    Also if why do you exclude the income & corporate tax cuts (both implemented and planned) from you analysis of the ALP govt?

    And why isn’t the Liberals plan to increase the corporate tax rate bad under the same rationale?

    And could you explain how Abbott’s announced and guaranteed policies will assist in delivering budget surpluses?

  54. GeeWizz

    100,000 Australians give up looking for work
    www .smh.com.au/business/jobs-riddle-hints-at-weakening-economy-20120308-1um2h.html

    [“But if job growth has virtually stopped, and the potential labour force is growing by more than 200,000 a year, why is the unemployment rate stuck at 5.2 per cent instead of rising into the 6s?

    Because more than 100,000 people who would normally be in the workforce have stopped looking for jobs, and hence don’t count in the figures.”]

    Labors turning working famil ies into unemployed famil ies

  55. GeeWizz

    Jimmy I have already stated I want Abbott to dump the paid paternity plan.

    Are you having issues reading or comprehending?

  56. Jimmy

    Yeah sorry Gavin, how could I really expect the leader of the opposition to make any sense on economic policy this far out from an election, there’s time for all that policy work later!

  57. Gavin Moodie

    @ Jimmy

    I am disappointed that you repeated your attack on Mr Abbott who is doing no more than standing up for a fair go for the aspirationals.

    You know that he doesn’t mean anything unless it is in writing. Hang on, did he put that in writing?

  58. The Pav

    Dear Smiffy and Peter O,

    Given Geewhiz’s incredible ignorance and irrationality he must be auditioning for a role on Fox News

  59. Jimmy

    Yeah Dr Smithy you can’t go throwing around logical responses to back up your figures that are internationally recognised, clearly you don’t live in a marginal seat!

    Getting back to the quote from Abbott I posted earlier today, is anyone else surprised that this complete economic joke has not got a run in the media outside of Lateline?

    Still waiting for those answer Geewizz!!

  60. Peter Ormonde

    Nice try DrSmithy but you won’t go fooling Troofie with your numbers and acronyms and stuff like that. He knows all about relative income and wealth – he had an uncle once who owned a shop.

    So you just give up on this business of being a tool of the UN. They have communists like Russia in there and they don’t have any shop-owning uncles at all.

  61. drsmithy

    measuring how many people are living below 50% of the median income is a measurement of nothing.

    False. It’s a measure of relative income and wealth.

    It doesn’t tell you how poor someone is, is doesn’t tell you how rich a country is all it does is give you some number which means absolutely nothing.

    No, it gives you a measure of that person’s wealth relative to everyone else in the country.

    I mean… if someone in Australia makes $300 a week, that means they are poor using your measure. But if these same people lived in say… Ethopia… they’d be wealthy.

    Congratulations. That’s exactly the point.

    And IF there are a lot of incredibly wealthy people in that country, then you could also be wealthy and using your silly index I would still be considered poor. It’s complete rubbish.

    That’s because it costs more to live in a country full of incredibly wealthy people.

    Being wealthy in an absolute sense does not automatically make you wealthy in a relative sense. A modest-but-comfortable income in America is barely enough to get by in Switzerland.

  62. Peter Ormonde

    Hey Troofie,

    Put Suz Bleak back on … I wanted to explain why I’ve never been a fan of the USSR, or of the Eastern Bloc or of anywhere else for that matter.

    Give me this Australian experiment in social democracy anytime…. socialism without ideology, Lenin called it. A nice tolerant place where a “fair go” actually has some resonance. I quite like the place actually. Unlike your “patriotic” flag-waving fantasists who obviously like somewhere or sometime else altogether… but hate this place and the people in it.

  63. Jimmy

    Peter – Yeah they can join the scientists who know nothing about science and the economists who know nothing about economics. All we really need are small business people like troothie & SB.

    Troothie – Still no answers, I was sure you would leap at the chance to display the vast knowledge of the economy that made you so successful in you small business world!

  64. Peter Ormonde

    Wizzie/Troofie …

    I have noted your incisive critique of the index and will forward it off to the UN pronto. I’m sure they’ll be heaps embarrassed. The fools!

    Excellent job on the apostrophe by the way.

  65. GeeWizz

    Dr Smithy,

    measuring how many people are living below 50% of the median income is a measurement of nothing.

    It doesn’t tell you how poor someone is, is doesn’t tell you how rich a country is all it does is give you some number which means absolutely nothing.

    I mean… if someone in Australia makes $300 a week, that means they are poor using your measure. But if these same people lived in say… Ethopia… they’d be wealthy. So the number doesn’t actually mean anything. And IF there are a lot of incredibly wealthy people in that country, then you could also be wealthy and using your silly index I would still be considered poor. It’s complete rubbish.

  66. GeeWizz

    [“Otherwise I hope Fair Work Australia takes out defamation action.”]

    Fair Work isn’t a company or a person dumbar5e, how are they going to sue for libel?

    Sometimes I think you Labor supporters try way too hard.

    FWA is open to criticism because is a public department working for the people of Australia. As a citizen and taxpayer I would like to know why the investigation into Craig Thomson is taking so long and whether individuals inside the organisation are dragging their feet.

  67. Jimmy

    Geewizz – You are back – Still no answers to my questions? Or admission that you were “wrong, wrong, wrong” on the MRRT impact on small business?

  68. drsmithy

    This is a rubbish measurement.

    Actually, it’s the most important one.

    It’s like saying Rupert Murdoch is poor if he lives in the same street as Bill Gates.

    No, it’s not.

  69. GeeWizz

    [“The interesting thing about this measure is that it also records the proportion of the population living below 50% of the median income”]

    This is a rubbish measurement.

    It’s like saying Rupert Murdoch is poor if he lives in the same street as Bill Gates.

    Dumb dumb dumb.

  70. Gavin Moodie

    @ Peter Ormonde

    Held up in moderation again, I infer.

    I think it is worth distinguishing between wealth – assets – and income.

    I also thought the initial discussion was not level of assets or income but level of inequality in the distribution of wealth or income within a country. For this the gini index is well accepted as a measure, and Australia’s gini index for the distribution of family income still isn’t too bad, tho is is becoming less equal.

  71. The Pav

    Gav,

    If its not an Opposition talking point then we can hardly expect “Our ABC” to act , can we?

  72. guytaur

    @Gavin Moodie

    For that change look to who is appointed to replace Mark Scott.

    An example of a good possible candidate would be Monica Attard. If she was willing to forgo the new online venture Global Media.
    She has CE O Skills. Would be supported by staff. Has a working knowledge of how the place workd. Is prepared to take riskks to support and promote qualty journalism. Sadly I do not think Ms Ttard is ready to move again.
    We have to hope they find someone of like qualities.

  73. Jimmy

    See Abbott has sadi the parental leave scheme will be a “signature Policy” and a “defining moment in his leadership” – Sounds about right, unfunded, ill conceived and unwanted by both business, womens groups and the parents it seeks to woo!

    Guytaur – “Otherwise for decades you have an Independent Government Body tainted with a reputation of being corrupt.” That’s part of Abbott’s game, make out that FWA is corrupt which will give him the reason fro dismantling it and going back to workchoices.

  74. Gavin Moodie

    @ The Pav

    I agree. But what about ‘our’ ABC? It seems to allow much of this rubbish to go unchallenged, if not provide platforms for its dissemination.

    Hopefully the new ABC chair will in time encourage the corporation to be more critical.

  75. The Pav

    Gavin & Guytaur,

    They’re on a hiding to nothing. If they don’t act then people can say
    See they are corrupt because they didn’t sue” If they do act then it will be a case of political interference.

    Of course if we had an active and independant emdia who held all politicians to account then that would tyake care of it. People like Abbott know they can get away with it because of the News Ltd bias and so they cast aspertions on a carefree basis.

    Once again democracy & public debate is illserved by a media that is cowed by the antics of Abbott and vested interests.

    That Gillard has endured such ongoing villification with grace and fortitude is a testament to her character. Nobody on either side should be subject to the carry that she has had to endure

  76. guytaur

    @Gavin Moodie

    I agree. So why is it the press has not challenged those Coalition assertions?

  77. Gavin Moodie

    Ok, I agree that it would be good politics to clear officers of Fair Work Australia of any suggestion of malfeasance. As may be inferred, I was preoccupied with politics in the short term (like 1 or 2 others, but no defence!).

    The Coalition has also been attacking Fair Work Australia for being stacked with former union officials and thus for being biased in favour of employees. That also has to be challenged.

  78. guytaur

    @Gavin Moodie

    Being good politics is not something Fair Work has shown an interest in. To their credit.

  79. guytaur

    @Gavin Moodie

    Yes it is good politics. Otherwise for decades you have an Independent Government Body tainted with a reputation of being corrupt.

  80. guytaur

    Going on what we have seen it looks like Mr Abbott will have another budget reply that is about everything but the budget. Even the Canberra Press Gallery has to take note of successive non budget, budget replies at the least when covering election campaigns and party records on costings. B

  81. Gavin Moodie

    It’s not my definition of defamation, but that of Australia’s Uniform Defamation Law which provides that corporations with 10 or more employees cannot sue. So any individual working on the Thomson case may have a cause of action.

    Even if they have an arguable case at law, would it be good politics to sue? It would draw attention to a delay which seems rather long, it would give Abbott another platform for his criticisms and it would expose the plaintiff(s) to criticism that they are seeking to censor political speech.

  82. guytaur

    Yes even defamatory by your definition. Identifies the team within Fair Work, working on Thompnson case.

  83. Gavin Moodie

    Corporations can’t sue for defamation. Unless it is clear that Abbott was referring to a few people who could be identified tho not named, he can’t be sued.

  84. guytaur

    ABC24 has hust shown a Abbott presser.
    His comments on Fair Work Australia are it seems to me amount to allegations of corruption. A case of put up with evidence of refusal to cooperate with criminal investigation. Otherwise I hope Fair Work Australia takes out defamation action. Mr Abbott said this without Parliamentary privilege protecting him.

  85. Jimmy

    JMNO – Not disagreeing adding to the ridiculousness.

    As for your other point yeah I don’t quite get the maths here either, apparently the 1% cut in in corporate tax rate in 2013/14 will cost the govt $2b a year according to the Oz, Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme is tipped to cost around $3b a year (and growing into the future as discussed above) but will be funded by a “levy” on just 3000 businesses of 1.5%? And those business will apparently get a “a modest compensating tax cut”

  86. JMNO

    Responding belatedly to Jimmy’s reply of yesterday afternoon to my comment about paid parental leave. You are right, of course, that it is for both parents but I don’t understand whether you are objecting to the rest of what I said.

    Another point about the paid parental leave scheme that doesn’t seem to get raised is which employers will it cover? Is the tax on large businesses going to cover the paid parental leave responsibilities of all sectors of the economy – public and private companies, self-employed contractors, small businesses, partnerships, NGOs, not to mention local, state and federal goverment, etc. Has this ever been spelled out? If it will fund the responsiblities of all employers, what taxation principle does it follow?

    I am in favour of paid parental leave but Abbott’s scheme is very flawed. Prue Goward argued just after Abbott mentioned it that it would work if Australia introduced a national insurance scheme to pay for it as in Britain.

  87. Karen

    @ Wizzie/Troofie -Gee, with all that money rolling in your doors, spilling over your computer keyboard, one would think you would be a bit more of a cheerful git, rather than the bitter, crusty one you portray yourself to be. I think you have been aspiring for far too long to be a Gina Rinehart in the making.

    Anyway, the ALP does not hate business or for that matter high net worth individuals (as you’ve suggested), on the contrary. The intended delivery of tax cuts to corporations through the MRRT, the tax benefits and subsidies to business (of all size) as they currently stand, the superannuation structure as it currently stands which, in my view, unfairly benefits HNW individuals, the massive stimulus funding that has ultimately found its way back to business, and now Gillard’s latest statements to reduce ‘red tape’ for small business don’t equate with an ‘unfriendly to business’ regime.

    The issue here Troofie, has always been, ‘how much is enough’? If you’re Gina, it would appear there are no limits to greed, you will stuff yourself to death and, from what I see of this woman’s morbid obesity and dysfunctional family life, be miserable in the process. Don’t go down that path.

  88. Lord Barry Bonkton

    Come on guys , stop picking on Geewizz/Troffie. He is a small business man getting paid 2 cents a blog, on top of his dole payments. This is all Howard’s fault when he opened the gates of the Funny Farm. Looks like S.B is still at the RSL playing the pokies or with a client ?

  89. Peter Ormonde

    Scott,

    The GINI index is a measure of inequality within a country rather than absolute wealth. It has some value but the statistical methods underlying it tend to obscure the actual living conditions (wealth if you like) between countries. It is also largely restricted to those countries for which statistics are actually available.

    A far more sophisticated analysis comes from the UN’s Human Poverty Index which takes living standards as the criteria for comparison.

    On this scale the following “league table” emerges:

    1 Sweden
    2 Norway
    3 Netherlands
    4 Finland
    5 Denmark
    6 Germany
    7 Switzerland
    8 Canada
    9 Luxemburg
    10 Austria
    11 France
    12 Japan
    13 Australia
    14 Belgium
    15 Spain
    16 UK
    17 USA
    18 Ireland
    19 Italy

    The interesting thing about this measure is that it also records the proportion of the population living below 50% of the median income. That ranges from 5.4% of the Finnish population to 17% of the population of the USA.

    The other measure you could look at is the Human Development Index. Adjusted for inequality, Australia comes at no 2 the USA at 23, once again following all the Scandinavian high-taxing, big government nanny state countries. China comes in at 22!!!

    Unfortunately longitudinal studies are not particularly reliable due to inconsistent data collections year on year.

    But on every available measure the bastions of free enterprise and small government produce far less desirable social and economic outcomes. Worth a google folks.

  90. Jimmy

    Hands up who thinks this Statement makes sense;

    ““I’m not going to apologise to the big businesses of our country for asking them to pay this modest levy given that they are receiving, they will receive a modest compensating tax cut.”

  91. Scott

    @Peter o
    “As for the “decentralisation” of wealth and the “millions of rich people” you see on Desperate Housewives, this is a serious delusion. Send us some numbers – the slightest bit of evidence at all for this fantasy. Not true – except maybe in China.”

    While I hate to get inbetween the combatants, there is something called the Wealth Gini Index (similar to the income Gini). That will tell you what you want to know (and it’s pretty good for Australia in comparison to the rest of the world…a lot better than most of those Scandanavian countries (i.e Denmark, Sweden) that have high taxes that redistribute income, but leave investment assets in the hands of the few).

    BTW, China is better than us, but Japan is the best. Could be because of the favouarable Japanese tax rates in regards to Capital Gains? (20% for property, 10% for shares)

  92. Durham Red

    Asked if the Coalition had all of its policies costed and its aspirations ready to present to voters, Mr Abbott replied “we do”. February 23, 2012.

    They seem to have skipped the “present to voters” part, but we can take Abbott’s word for it, right?

  93. Jimmy

    Geewhizz – ““Perhaps some have forgotten that Labor’s Minerals Resource Rent Tax will pay for a tax cut for small businesses. “Wrong Wrong Wrong.The Mining Tax is going to pay for a mediocre cut in CORPORATION Tax.”

    Once again you clearly don’t understand the policy, yes there will be a 1% cut in corporation tax, initially for small business in 2012/13 then for all corporations in 2013/14 (And I believe small business will get another 1% cut in 2013/14 with all other corporations the following year) but there is also going to be other tax breaks for small businesses such as immediate write offs for assets under $5k.

    By the way I am still waiting for answers to my questions from yesterday!

  94. GeeWizz

    Looks like Wayne Swans budget surplus has gone up in smoke. Can’t wait for another round of tax increases on the wary Aussie taxpayer.

    BTW, I wish that Abbott would dump the coalitions dumb Paid Paternity Leave Scheme… it’s an answer to a question no one asked.

  95. klewso

    Sure Emma Alberici gave Pyne a bit of a grilling, but why (if you weren’t going to get a member of one party on the show) would you go ahead with questions of an opposition member about the internal machinations of the party he wasn’t a member of – it smacked of free-kicks. And wouldn’t you have loved to seen her use some of that incredulous attitude and sardonic invective on Pyne that she seemed to have saved up to use on Swan, on Monday?

    [Then there was last week’s interview with Pasi Sahlberg (Finnish Education Director) – after he told her of his attitude to these league tables so beloved of media and governments (how he thought they were not helpful, because of the unhealthy competition they generate – and the down side for the loosing side) why did she go back to that topic, twice, later in the interview? He looked like he’d been trapped on the set for a remake of “Groundhog Day”]

  96. klewso

    After the way the so much of the media was all over Labor, like a cheap polyester suit, for the last couple of weeks about “leadership”, I’m looking forward to the (rash?) way they’re going to cover this recent outbreak of “Abbonomyx-amitosis” re how he and the rest of “Waterdown Ship” are going to fund his “Paid Parental Leave Scheme” – after giving business company tax cuts and then hitting them with a tax to pay for this gem of his? Which “should cancel each other”?
    Who’s going to pay for the shortfall caused by a drop in revenue from the loss of those company taxes, he says he’ll cut? “Us”?

    Or will we have to look under that carpet of theirs (where they will sweep such a thing again, with all their other “cover-ups”)?

  97. Schnappi

    Anyone see that hunt spouting abbotts rubbish deliberately lied not once but twice today,why is it not news,anyone on labor side would have taken up all my screen for hours.

  98. Recalcitrant.Rick

    Thanks Peter (Ormonde) pills and foil cracked me up!

  99. drsmithy

    Labor like you seem to be stuck in the 60’s… those big rich corporations own everything, the top management getting paid with wheelbarrows of money while the poor blighters down the bottom get peanuts.

    The ’60s ? Sounds like the 21st century to me.

    It’s just not reality anymore… this is the 21st Century, you don’t need a lifetime job by a big company throwing a few pennies your way, these days anyone can go out on their own and make their own fortune. Wealth has been decentralised like never before, even if those who are rich are richer than ever before, there are millions more rich people.

    You appear to be living in Libertarian fantasy land. Too much Murdoch media, I’m guessing.

    Here in the real world, class mobility is reducing, inequality is rising, wage gaps are increasing and wealth is becoming more and more concentrated amongst a smaller and smaller group of people. We’re not back at the gilded age yet, but America is raucously leading the way there and Australia is following with great enthusiasm (even under Labor, albeit with a few more scraps thrown to the poor).

  100. fredex

    I hate to quote the polls cos they partly function as self fulfilling verification of media spin but … plug in the current state of play, say 53/4 [COAL] to 47/6 [ALP/Greens] and do a rough [cos nothing else is possible at this stage] count of the Senate after the next election assuming [and its a big assumption] that the population votes as polls suggest and the Senate is a wee bit more complex than the other house.

    You will find that its not a given absolute that the Senate would be hostile to a COALition government.
    It could be a hung Senate or even a pro-COALition one .
    Note I’m giving Xenophon to the COALition, after he extracts a pound of flesh, and similarly I wouldn’t be surprised to see a DLP [again] or Family First senator – or 2 or even more.

    In 2010 the rightists got 36 senators [inc X and DLP], the Greens got a couple in by the thinnest of margins. If there is a popular swing to the COALition, compared to 2010, of a couple of %, or more, then a couple of Greens can be excluded, with their place being taken by the religious fanatics and the ALP could decrease by 1 or 2.
    That could give the COALition, and allies, a majority overall.
    Its possible, I would suggest we don’t automatically discount such.
    Its a scary scenario.

  101. Peter Ormonde

    Troofie,

    “Wealth has been decentralised like never before, even if those who are rich are richer than ever before, there are millions more rich people.”

    And all this while struggling under the yoke of the nanny Gillard state with its unfair industrial laws, taxes and the flood of “illegal” immigrants etc etc etc.

    You cannot even spell “aspirations” let alone would you know what they mean to real people.

    And fortunately most working people aspire to much more than accumulating more stuff… more money… more toys. That is what the Harvey Norman ads tell you, I know, but people lead much more complicated lives than that. They aspire to have happy, healthy kids who love them who work at school and will get a few opportunities that they might not have had themselves. They want to be happy and satisfied. They do not want to end up like Gina Rinehart – hated by her children, living a life overwhelmed by greed and an insatiable hunger for more.

    It’s not about envy Troofie … it’s about fairness and what we actually want out of life… about what is really important. You seem to think this is all about money. It’s not. We want much, much more than that.

    As for the “decentralisation” of wealth and the “millions of rich people” you see on Desperate Housewives, this is a serious delusion. Send us some numbers – the slightest bit of evidence at all for this fantasy. Not true – except maybe in China.

    How do you think Clive Palmer makes his money? Digging up rocks? A printing press? Or Gina? The sweat of a hard day’s labour? No, they get it from someone else. And so on down a long line. And at the bottom of that heap, the source of all that wealth are people who work, who sweat, who make things.

    You really need to read a bit Troofie … not just the newspapers or the Menzies House crib sheets …. books…. one’s without pictures.

    See Troofie, at the moment you are making all this stuff up. It is a fantasy world you are lioving in – part wishful thinking, part delusion. I suspect, given the nature of your views, that you never leave the house ‘cept to get more pills and foil. I reckon you have no friends (outside of us here on Crikey) and even your fleas hate you.

  102. Schnappi

    When the moderator approves a post ,could it be moved to a current post ,and not way back if he /she takes all damn day to approve it.

  103. Mike Flanagan

    Gavin Moodie
    I would like to add that there has been a massive investment in school infrastucture and a concerted effort to remedy the deficiencies in our hospitals not to mention a reinvestment in our tertiary institutes. Along with other investments in the nations infrastructure that were either ignored or cravenly avoided by Costello and Howard in order to offer three yearly bribes to the electorate and produce paper surpluses.
    All of this infrastructure investment will pay massive dividends for many years into the future for the nation.

  104. GeeWizz

    Ironically I would think one of the biggest payers of the Corporations Tax would be… wait for it… Miners!

    Small business gets shafted again however

  105. GeeWizz

    [“You’re not trying to suggest that as well as working dawn to dusk down the mine you’re actually allowed to employ people in this “successful” small business of yours are you?”]

    Comrade Petes,

    I never claimed any of that, you are reading into what you want.

    What I said was that people who work hard jobs, long hours are hit with all Labors new taxes, just as much as some paper shuffler in Canberra getting paid some ridiculous amount to do very little in air conditioned comfort.

    When Labor talks about the “rich” they never mention a lot of these “rich” people work their ar5es off, put their own money on the line to get where they are and not all have james bond lifestyles. Heck some of them work jobs you couldn’t have nightmares about. Labor like you seem to be stuck in the 60’s… those big rich corporations own everything, the top management getting paid with wheelbarrows of money while the poor blighters down the bottom get peanuts.

    It’s just not reality anymore… this is the 21st Century, you don’t need a lifetime job by a big company throwing a few pennies your way, these days anyone can go out on their own and make their own fortune. Wealth has been decentralised like never before, even if those who are rich are richer than ever before, there are millions more rich people.

    Labor just doesn’t understand this. Australia’s “working class” are no longer an underclass. A lot of them are rich. A lot of them want to become rich. They do not look up with envy, they look up with asperations to achieve the same goals.

    I see a lot of “rich” trades people, small business owners, etc etc. Should I be angry at them for working hard, working long hours and putting everything at risk to get where they are?

  106. Gavin Moodie

    @ Mike Flanagan

    My heartfelt sympathies at being caught by Crikey’s moderator. I believe Crikey should elaborate its process in its moderation guidelines and give an undertaking to meet specified standards, such as moderating within 30 minutes during office hours. Actually, if Crikey contracted our friends in Hyderabad to do some moderating it could moderate round the clock.

    You might take Crikey up on its moderation guidelines –

    ‘If you wish to complain about our comment moderation, please don’t do it in the comments. You’re welcome to email us with any feedback.’

  107. Gavin Moodie

    Ok, so Labor is cutting tax for small businesses that are incorporated. It is still false to claim that Labor has done nothing to help small businesses: it is giving a tax break to substantial numbers of small businesses.

    People who choose to operate their business thru a non corporate structure, presumably to minimise tax, may incorporate to take advantage of the tax break.

  108. Gavin Moodie

    @ Mike Flanagan

    My heartfelt sympathies at being caught by Crikey’s moderator. I believe Crikey should elaborate its process in its moderation guidelines and give an undertaking to meet specified standards, such as moderating within 30 minutes during office hours. Actually, if Crikey contracted our friends in Hyderabad to do some moderating it could moderate round the clock.

    You might take Crikey up on its moderation guidelines –

    ‘If you wish to complain about our comment moderation, please don’t do it in the comments. You’re welcome to email us with any feedback.’

    The address is the familiar boss at crikey dot com.

  109. Peter Ormonde

    Troffie/wizz…

    You’re not trying to suggest that as well as working dawn to dusk down the mine you’re actually allowed to employ people in this “successful” small business of yours are you?

    I’m really not sure that making stuff up counts as a business Troofie.

  110. GeeWizz

    [“Perhaps some have forgotten that Labor’s Minerals Resource Rent Tax will pay for a tax cut for small businesses. “]

    Wrong Wrong Wrong.

    The Mining Tax is going to pay for a mediocre cut in CORPORATION Tax.

    Most small businesses don’t pay the corporation tax, so they will get no tax cut at all. Small business DOES however have to pay superannuation for employees, which means their costs are about to go up under Labor when they bring in 12% superannuation which Labor keeps pretending the government pays for but doesn’t pay a cent.

    These are yet more cost rises for small business, yet Labor keeps saying they want to “share the mining wealth around”. Doesn’t look like much sharing going on, just another grubby government tax grab.

  111. Gavin Moodie

    Perhaps some have forgotten that Labor’s Minerals Resource Rent Tax will pay for a tax cut for small businesses.

    The Clean Energy Act cuts personal income tax for those earning less than $80,000 a year. Labor is not saying that people earning >$80k are rich but just that they can afford to pay the $6 extra week the carbon tax will cost them.

  112. Mike Flanagan

    I am at loss to understand how Crikey’s moderator works. Over the past week or more I have anything longer than ten words held by their censors. My previous post (under moderation) was sent at 5.22 some 18 post before this one. It would be instructive to know Crikey’s moderation policy apart from the obvious defamatory and libel protections. Then we maybe assured that moderators are being moderators, rather than censors

  113. Peter Ormonde

    Tovarich Troofie?

    Are you putting yourself in the same paddock as someone who actually works up a sweat for living? You know that’s not true … you’re always on here for one thing.

    People who actually work for a living – who struggle to put food on the table for the kids and pay the bills – do not share your frustrated sense of entitlement. They do not sit about seething about how unfair life is, how the government won’t help them, how they have never had a chance in life. They get on with it.

    And quite a lot of them can spell. Still if you’ve been able to make $100K a year in the few spare hours you have off here and can do it without reading or writing – that’s really excellent. I hope it’s legal. Just shows you what a great country Labor has given us, yes?

    “It makes it easy for me to sleep at night to know I make a lot more money than you could dream of making in your lifetime.”

    As with everything else you “know” Troofie, you’re wrong again. I just think a worthwhile life involves a lot more than making money. Been there, done that and didn’t want to end up like Gina Rinehart.

  114. Schnappi

    Only found one article about hunt lying,in fact hunt told two lies in the interview,had it been someone from labor,there would have been ten minute updates 24/7

  115. GeeWizz

    [“There are some very good reasons why some businesses are small. Mostly because they are piss-poor ideas, undercapitalised and lazy.”]

    Comrade Pete,

    It makes it easy for me to sleep at night to know I make a lot more money than you could dream of making in your lifetime.

    I don’t wish for a “big business” because that means more stress, more problems, more headaches. I like my low stress lifestyle… love it in fact. Why work a job if you don’t enjoy it? The reality is that I don’t want my business to get any larger, not yet anyway.

    The great thing about this country is that anyone can start their own business… even a communist like you Pete. You aren’t told what your job and destiny is in life, you get to choose your own. One thing I have noticed of this government we have in charge in the moment is that they hate successful people… they hate people who work hard… they hate people who took risks and their own money to get where they are. When was the last time you heard of this government doing something to help small business owners? NEVER. They hate us.They want everyone unionised, everyone in some government department and anyone else taxed to the eyeballs. Success must be shunned… and those who are successful punished.

    I will give you an example. Under Labor anyone who makes over $50K a year has to pay the carbon tax without getting any compensation. According to Labor anyone over $50K is “rich”.

    But what if that person is a concretor who starts work at 6am and finishes at 6pm every day in the hot sun, in a backbreaking job which they may only be able to do for 10-20 Years? Are these people “rich”? Should they continue to be punished by Labors class warfare for working too hard?

  116. The Pav

    Geewhiz

    I’m glad you have a succesful small business and long may it prosper.

    You miss the point, either intionally or because you’re stupid but here goes.

    The number of taxes is irrelevent it’s the total tax take that’s the issue when you falsely accuse the ALP of being high taxing .

    On most of the other tests the ALP also compare favourably but again that was n’t the origianl issue you kicked off with, it was the tax falsity,. Sure its not a 100% win accross the board but a marginal increase in unemployement and rates is acceptable give the extraordinary economic circumstances that we are facing in given the GFC and its aftermath.

    I haven’t offered you financial advice and neither has Stephen Koukoulas so I don’t know why you made that statement other than to confuse the issue either deliberately or accidentally. Perhaps you have trouble maintianing a coherrent train of thought?.

    Calling me a lightweight is neither here nor there but it doesn’t change what is for you an inconvenient truth. I would suggest calling Stephen Koukoulas a lightweight ( I assume you are not referring to a physical measure) would surprise many if not all knowledgable business people. I suggest you follwo your own advice & Google.

  117. B.C.

    [ GeeWizz Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Those “facts” are complete wanks.

    For example why does it ask this:
    What has been the lowest cash rate ever recorded under either the Howard or Fraser governments*?
    * Prior to 1990, using 90 day bank bill.

    Why exclude data after 1990? What is this idiot playing at? So he includes “Howard Government” in his question, but then rules out a Howard Government by saying prior to 1990. The Howard Government only got into power in 1996, is this bloke completely stupid? ]

    He isn’t excluding data after 1990. Prior to 1990 he’s using the 90 day bank bill rate as a proxy for interest rates. In 1990 the RBA introduced the cash rate – that’s the rate everyone now talks about when the RBA changes interest rates. See The Implementation of Monetary Policy: Domestic Market Operations:

    First, since 1990, the Reserve Bank has announced the desired stance of monetary policy in Australia in terms of a target for the interest rate on overnight funds borrowed and lent in the money market; this interest rate is known as the cash rate. It is the interest rate the Reserve Bank’s domestic market operations directly affect. When changing monetary policy, the Bank announces a new target level for the cash rate.

    Generally speaking the 90 bank bill rate tracks pretty closely to the cash rate. So it’s not a bad proxy for the cash rate and really the best figure to use when comparing current official interest rates to what we had prior to 1990.

    Note also that the only reason why mortgage rates weren’t higher when Howard was Treasurer was because bank mortgage rates were capped at 13.5%. Financial deregulation, an important and necessary reform of the Australian economy removed that cap.

  118. Peter Ormonde

    There are some very good reasons why some businesses are small. Mostly because they are piss-poor ideas, undercapitalised and lazy.

    But every “successful” small business operator I know really wants to be a successful big business operator. A “successful” small business is an oxymoron.

    Last time this Troofie/wizz was making excuses for not putting up a bet was that he made more than $500 before lunch every day in his dealings on the forex boards and day trading.

    The only income this fella’s got is the DSP and the dough he gets from Menzies House for astroturfing.

  119. GeeWizz

    The PAv I run my own successful small business, I don’t need financial advice from some lightweight off the internet.

    The reality is that mortgage rates are higher now than the average under Howard. FACT

    The reality is that Labor have lifted 22 new taxes. FACT

    The reality is that Labor haven’t posted a budget surplus since 1989. FACT

    The reality is that unemployment was lower under Howard(4% when he left government). FACT

    These are all facts that are easy to find out with a simple 5 minute search of google.

  120. B.C.

    [ Gavin Moodie Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I agree with Scott and Steve777.

    I add that the Coalition will claim in its first budget that it is scrapping the NBN to save $ … billions (insert the sum needed to balance the budget). Only later will it transpire that the Coalition’s attempted hobbling of the NBN will save a small amount of government expenditure at the country’s cost of much higher internet prices, less convenience and lost productivity improvements. ]

    Actually, the NBN is not treated as expenditure in the budget. So axing it will not improve the budget bottom line.

    See http://vox-occident.blogspot.com.au/search/label/NBN, especially the second article.

  121. The Pav

    Dear Matt,

    You tried but the delusional Geewhiz just won’t listen.There are none so deaf etc……

    He makes a false assertion about tax rates then when proven wrong doesn’t respond to the proof provided but starts banging on about rates. That wasn’t the argument you moron Geewhiz!

    Even then he’s wrong.

    I am sure that the business world will be amazed if not astounded to hear that Stephen Koukoulas described as a “lefty” or lacking in integrity.

  122. The Pav

    Holden,

    Abbott…Policy Free Zone

    Geewhiz……Fact Free Zone.

    I’m hoping against hope for Geewhiz to come back and say..Oops I’m wrong.I’msorry” a sort of Road to Damascus type thing. The only thing that would stop him from doing it would be that would be an inability to accept reality and grasp facts.

    Hmmm. I won’t hold my breath

  123. GeeWizz

    [“Taxes are lower under Labor, Geewhiz. Please check your facts.”]

    Those “facts” are complete wanks.

    For example why does it ask this:
    What has been the lowest cash rate ever recorded under either the Howard or Fraser governments*?
    * Prior to 1990, using 90 day bank bill.

    Why exclude data after 1990? What is this idiot playing at? So he includes “Howard Government” in his question, but then rules out a Howard Government by saying prior to 1990. The Howard Government only got into power in 1996, is this bloke completely stupid?

    Why can’t lefties ever tell the truth?

    BTW… Bank mortgage lending rates ARE HIGHER now than they were under Howard. Not the cash rates… lending rates. The banks think Swan is a lightweight and have been jacking up their profit margins because they know he can’t do anything about it

  124. Holden Back

    Phew, I was worried sick until Geewizz turned up.

  125. The Pav

    Great link Matt but unfortunately with Geewhiz it will be a case of “pearls before swine”

    Fiscal reality may well hit the opposition but not Geewhiz.

  126. Filth Dimension

    The Coalition voters I know are rusted on and are well aware that their leaders have no intention of following through on said promises. They joke about it. The promises are bait for the goldfish (swinging voters). All politicians are hypocrites but the coalition are particularly smarmy about it. I say don’t encourage any of them, politicians that is. If ~ 20% of the electorate cast informal votes no one could claim a mandate.

  127. The Pav

    Another teory is that the electprate doesn’t both the states and the commonwealth to be the same brand. I think the prevalence of ALP state govt’s helped Howard until he had the vison splendid of WorkChoices. An own goal if ever there was one.

    This also in part accounts for the senate always having a balance of power party, DLP, Dems , Fielding, the Tassie bloke & now the Greens. When Howard won control of the Senate it was an aberration. There miust be some Greek mythlogy that covers the instance of winning like this.

    Anyway if there are heaps of Liberal State govts then it helps the ALP federally.

  128. Gavin Moodie

    Again, I don’t find State politics a useful guide for the feds. Queensland has been very difficult for the tories since the Bjelke-Petersen gerrymander was ended (he having replaced Labor’s gerrymander).

    The Qld election result will reflect most on the LNP Coalition which is still not solid, Newman trying to lead the Coalition without a seat and the public’s loss of confidence in Bligh.

  129. Jimmy

    The Pav – Good point – The ALP doesn’t have to do very well in Qld to be better than expected.

    Peter – Interesting that Hockey today is committing to surpluses in every year of the Libs first term and I think he used the term “sizeable” and they won’t be offering stimulous packages if a recession looms. Who cares if our growth is suddenly negative, we have a surplus!!!

  130. guytaur

    Sorry South Australia and Tasmania.
    Do not think Labor has attained statehood yet. Lol.

  131. James K

    The party that was in power when the world fell into a global financial crisis, and saw us through it virtually unscathed, better than any other modern trading nation in the world – gets accused of being poor economic managers.

    The party that has the most ridiculous economic policies and promises, that clearly contradict and are impossible to all happen – is seen as the competent economic managers.

    Wow : Amazing how easy it is for people to act like idiots – or at least, be easily deceived – or, maybe simply believe what they were told to believe by their parents because it must be true!

  132. guytaur

    @The Pav.

    Labor and Tasmania will be only states remaining unless Cambell snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
    People will see more and more of Gillard working with the States. Just like Howard did. We saw this today ith the launch of the Clean Energy Iniative. Gillard and O Farrell together. Media tried to get a carbon tax comment out of O Farrell. Total failure. The worm is starting to turn.

  133. Mike Flanagan

    If Abbott wishes to balance some of his budget figures with the cancellation of the NBN I suggest he is in for a rude shock.
    It is interesting to note that the American Taxpayer is funding private enterprise to the tune of $32 Billion dollars for them to get a fast broadband internet to most of their major population centres. Our NBN will be completed throughout the country before theirs.
    Furthermore with a cancellation I would suggest there will have to be a pay off and compensation for the various actors in this infrastructure.
    Many climate scientists and economists have pointed to the inadequacies of Abbotts Carbon Abatement Policy, they will neither reach the targets he has committed to nor do they add up.
    Todays statement by Menedue (retired head of Immigration) questions the policy enunciated by Abbott’s front bench in relation to “boat people’ It is xenophobic and doesn’t add up.
    The coalitions history at the last election, of having the family accountant add their figures up as an “audit” is yet to be addressed by the media.
    At least the above is the beginning of some analysis of this mans inadequacy for leadership of his party or the nation.
    Pejoratives, personal assasination and lycra will not suffice to win the next election. And it is going to require a political acrobat to get out of the hole Abbott dug for himself with the aid of the Murdoch broadsheet and others

  134. Peter Ormonde

    Course it is Jim … it’s easy: Surplus good – deficits bad. Always and all ways. See – nuffin to this ecomonics stuff after all is there? Everyone knows that. Everyone. It’s just “commonsence” innit?

    Why are there these strange gaps in your otherwise lucid contributions? What are you trying to hide?

  135. guytaur

    I guess the economic credibility session has finished at Menzies House.

  136. The Pav

    Abbott is facing a real threat with regard to the Qld election

    If the ALP do better than expected, and given CanDo gaffes thus far it is quite possible , then it will in part be considered an indictment of Abbott’s tactics.

    If Cando doesn’t win his seat ( & I admire him for having a crack at it rather than just taking a safe seat) then the LNP will have its own leadership ruckus.

    There is a real risk that the Qld electorate will not fall for the LNP line of policies will be released/costed in due course.

    If it does fail then the pressure will b on the coalition to start moving to a more plocy/cost based process. As we all know this is Abbott’s greatest weakness and once he starets to squirm there the sharks will taste the blood in the water.

    Interesting days

  137. Jimmy

    Geewizz – Took you a while today but you obviousl y didn’t put that extra time into thinking about what you would write.

    Is it you assertion that contractionary budgetary pol icy (ie running a surplus) would of been the best way to manage the economy during the GFC and subsequent l ingering global uncertainty and if so how would this have impacted Australia’s economic growth?

    Also if why do you exclude the income & corporate tax cuts (both implemented and planned) from your ana l ysis of the ALP govt?

    And why isn’t the L iberals plan to increase the corporate tax rate bad under the same rationale?

    And could you explain how Abbott’s announced and guaranteed pol icies will assist in del ivering budget surpluses?

  138. Jimmy

    Geewizz – Took you a while today but you obviously didn’t put that extra time into thinking about what you would write.

    Is it you assertion that contractionary budgetary policy (ie running a surplus) would of been the best way to manage the economy during the GFC and subsequent lingering global uncertainty and if so how would this have iompacted Australia’s economic growth?

    Also if why do you exclude the income & corporate tax cuts (both implemented and planned) from you analysis of the ALP govt?

    And why isn’t the Liberals plan to increase the corporate tax rate bad under the same rationale?

    And could you explain how Abbott’s announced and guaranteed policies will assist in delivering budget surpluses?

  139. The Pav

    Reality check here GeeWhiz.

    If the current govt taxed at the same rate as Howard there would have been a surplus. It’s just that they are a lower & more equitable taxing govt plus have taken a longer view of things in face of the GFC that we have a deficit.

    I call this good management and far better than anything Abbott/Costello/Howard achieved in the easy economic conditions that prevailed for the vast majority of their tenure.

    I think you should use your full nom de plume, namely

    “Geewhiz aren’t I stupid and brainwashed by Abbott and co”

  140. James K

    It is simple: the Opposition, if they win the next election, will simply forget all their ridiculous promises that they have made to help them win the election. They wont be talked about again.

    The conservative media will not hold them to account.

    And if anyone actually does asks -then they will blame labor for “fudging the figures” and “more cut backs are needed” because of them. “it their fault!”

    And a lot of coalition voters will just accept that as gospel truth from their religious abbott. After all, he is a good relisious man. He would never lie.

    Boringly depressing really.

  141. Peter Ormonde

    Actually Troofie, Labor’s secret plan is to impose incredibly harsh and punitive taxes on anyone wot doesn’t know what an apostrophe is… we will drive out ignorance, like the moneylenders from the temple.

  142. Merve

    The Liberal party wants to have an election tomorrow, it will release it’s policies at the appropriate time.

  143. GeeWizz

    Labors economic plan is to tax Australians into prosperity…. well thats the claim by Labor anyway.

    22 New taxes and counting under this incompetent Labor government, yet not a single budget surplus to be seen.

  144. Michael de Angelos

    Abbot and the Coalition play a dangerous game with their constant ability to avoid talk of policies combined with endless negativity and come an election you will see the polls dramatically change.

    If the Libs leave it to the last minute enough voters may choose to stay with the devil thy know given Gillard & Co will have had 3 years to demonstrate whatever internal Labor ructions, they can at least steer a steady ship.

    Abbott and his media fellow travelers might just cry ‘wolf’ too many times and the electorate only has to be reminded of his work choices’ fiasco. The media has written off Labor too many times and they simply will not look at the history of the party and it’s ability to re-group and attack again. The first Howard wipe-out and the dramatic claw-back by Labor withing 3 years should have taught the Coalition (and media) something, but it hasn’t.

  145. Jimmy

    Gavin Moodie – I agree on Ballieu, he never expected to win and so promised the earth thinking he would never have to deliver. And while his promises were silly they were generally in the communities best interest, ie more cops, more pay for cops, teachers & nurses. They still should of been properly costed though.

    Abbott is is completely different.

  146. Gavin Moodie

    True, but most expect the polls to tighten in the lead up to the election.

  147. fredex

    Moderated.
    Basically what I said is that if we look at the 2010 Senate results, extrapolate from a current poll situation of COALition 54% 2PP then a Senate that is COALition friendly after the next election is possible.

  148. Gavin Moodie

    I don’t think Baillieu is a good guide to Abbott:

    1 he wasn’t expected to win;

    2 he’s moderate;

    3 he made some silly promises, but not as many as Abbott.

    And I think Baillieu is implementing more of his promises: he increased pay for the cops (while strenuously resisting increased pay for nurses), he increase police numbers, and he is puting those faux security people on the trains (guards and conductors, anyone?).

  149. Jimmy

    Scott – “Of course Abbott will be branded as deceptive…all politicians are. Goes with the territory. But it will be “Phoney” Abbott, instead of “JuL I A R” Gillard.” Os Why is a lot more made of Gillard’s dishonesty than Abbotts?

    “I agree that the coalition’s policies have a slight wiff of populism to them. But let’s be honest…there are a lot more “thought balloons” than actual economic policies coming from the coalition at the moment. You don’t have to pay for an idea.” Slight whiff, try pungent odour, and the paid parental leave was guaranteed again today, the opposition to the MRRT & Carbon tax is set in stone and so is retaining the compensation and super increases, and Abbott has also guaranteed further tax cuts in the first term, these are more than thought bubbles and do need to be paid for.

    The polls aren’t hurting them because the focus has been elsewhere, but the closer the election comes the greater the focus.

    And even if they do win the election is that the govt you want?

  150. fredex

    I hate to quote the polls cos they partly function as self fulfilling verification of media spin but … plug in the current state of play, say 53/4 [COAL] to 47/6 [ALP/Greens] and do a rough [cos nothing else is possible at this stage] count of the Senate after the next election assuming [and its a big assumption] that the population votes as polls suggest and the Senate is a wee bit more complex than the other house.

    You will find that its not a given absolute that the Senate would be hostile to a COALition government.
    It could be a hung Senate or even a pro-COALition one .
    Note I’m giving Xenophon to the COALition, after he extracts a pound of flesh, and similarly I wouldn’t be surprised to see a DLP [again] or Family First senator – or 2 or even more.

    In 2010 the rightists got 36 senators [inc X and DLP], the Greens got a couple in by the thinnest of margins. If there is a popular swing to the COALition, compared to 2010, of a couple of %, or more, then a couple of Greens can be excluded, with their place being taken by the religious fanatics and the ALP could decrease by 1 or 2.
    That could give the COALition, and allies, a majority overall.
    Its possible, I would suggest we don’t automatically discount such.
    Its a scary scenario.

  151. Microseris

    Non core worked for Baillieu in Vicco. Just about the only promise he honoured was to put the cows back into the Alpine national park.

    A gesture of appreciation to his brother in law who was ED for the Mountain Cattleman’s Assoc, who he then put on the board of VicForests so the plunder of our state owned asset can continue for the benefit of vested interests.

    Sorry folks bit off topic, got carried away..

  152. Jimmy

    SBH – Don’t poke the bear, it has been great to follow this thread without the inane rantings of the great unhinged one.

    Guytaur – “This Parliament has had a massive legislative accomplishment in one session. Last seen in Whitlam days. There is going to be much more legislation passed before election time. Labor is goint to have a small book to point to and say “What you going to undo MR Abbott”. We know the nasties have happened. The good is to come.” You are correct and it is also an example of where Gillard has performed better than Rudd, get the unpopular decisions out of the way as soon as possible and then you are able to go into the election focusing on education and health.

  153. guytaur

    Another example of Coalition problems with economic credibility. Today Wayne Swan said “I have a message for the world. We are in good nik nnand we are”
    I did not hear one journalist contradict this statement.

  154. guytaur

    @SBH

    Maybe at Menzies House trying to work out credible economic policy for the right.

  155. Gavin Moodie

    I prolly have to concede that the Coalition won’t proceed with its promise to ‘scrap’ the NBN.

    It’s just that I suspect that part of the Coalition dries’ opposition to the NBN is that it would be another public asset, like Medicare, which demonstrates the value of government action but which they’re stuck with because it is so successful. So I fear that the Coalition will try to hobble the NBN before it proves its worth.

  156. SBH

    wheres a forensic auditor when you need one?

  157. Harry1951

    I doubt that the coalition’s budget proposals ( if one can dignify the incoherent mess that it is with the term) will never be implemented. It seems predicated on the warranted assumption that the main stream media (Herald Sun and probably other outlets of Murdoch) will not closely scrutinise them.

  158. guytaur

    The Coalition do not have long to regain the lost mantle of better economic managers. For all the reasons above.
    I believe they will not. This beause the party is split down the middle between moderate and extreme factions.
    All the while with a leader who thinks he is a member of the American Republican Party. A party famous for its small government claims when it comes to social policies. However, one that believes in largesse with government money when it comes to the well off.
    As for Mr Bbotts Parentel Leave Scheme women are not buying. They know it is not practical. They understand it is not a change towards woman by Abbott. They know it is a expensive vote buying exercise.
    A pattern following Mr Howard. People remember. All this with no Industrial relations policy because thespectre of “Workchoices” persists due to refusal to rule out the very things that got the Coalition turfed out last tme.
    This Parliament has had a massive legislative accomplishment in one session. Last seen in Whitlam days. There is going to be much more legislation passed before election time. Labor is goint to have a small book to point to and say “What you going to undo MR Abbott”. We know the nasties have happened. The good is to come.

  159. Jimmy

    Gavin – The other issue for the Libs on the NBN is that the ALP’s spending is on the acquisition of a income generating asset so “off budget”, if the Libs scrap it and bring in their policy which is simply infrastructure spending (similar to roads) which doesn’t return income it will be “on budget” making their black hole even bigger.

  160. Gavin Moodie

    I agree that the Senate is likely to block the Coalition’s most destructive Bills, which would provide some cover for the Coalition. But that doesn’t cover it for the budget, where of course the Coalition is weakest and its potential damage is greatest.

    I hope a lot of the NBN is locked into contracts, but it would be a very prescient government which managed to provide for all of a new project’s contingencies in its contracts. A Coalition Government could decline to consider the adjustments needed to make a contract workable, thus hobbling that part of the network.

  161. Jimmy

    Wombat – “What scares me is the horror policies the Coalition will have to invent AFTER winning the election to distract voters from their complete inability to deliver on any promises”

    We just have to hope, pray and do as much as we can to ensure Abbott doesn’t win the next election!!!

    I still have hope that the electorate will eventually focus on policies and see the massive risk in voting Liberal.

  162. jeff holland

    Maybe Julia will try honesty/

    We’ve been pretty rubbish, but the other mob are not just going to be worse, but they are going to scrap all the policies the people actually like just to cover their arse.

  163. Wombat

    I agree with most of the comments here, but I think we need to keep political and contract realities in mind. Namely, that the Coalition will find it very, very difficult to abolish the Carbon Tax given the Lab-Grn block in the Senate (even with a DD election). Also, a lot of the NBN will be locked in by contracts, which the Coalition won’t be able to break.

    I doubt that they’ll try to privatise the ABC – I think the voters would be incredibly hostile to that after the Telstra debacle.

    Which leaves them with basically just the post-election budget black hole claim (inevitable, regardless of real circumstances). What scares me is the horror policies the Coalition will have to invent AFTER winning the election to distract voters from their complete inability to deliver on any promises.

  164. fredex

    If the Media-Abbott-COALition coalition gains government at the next election it will last longer than one term.
    The COALition’s incompetence will be ignored by the media, excuses and distractions will be found, their [non] performance will be spun as ‘masterly’ [Bernard has already said that sort of thing about Abbott here] the ALP and the Greens will continue to be denigrated mindlessly.
    People will suffer and the victims will be blamed.

  165. Peter Ormonde

    Jim,

    It’s not that this astroturfer is pro-liberal – he is anti-labor. They can’t defend Joe Hockey or Abbott. They don’t know about any of that sort of thing like budghets and numbers or facts.

    All “they” know is we pay too much tax, guvvermint is stealing our Constitutional freedoms, that Rudd was a defender of democracy and that Juliar Hussein Gillard was born in Pakistan and works for al Quaeda.

    Poor old Joe – the best thing he can do for the next 18 months is spend a lot of time with his family and with the mobile switched off. Trying to explain or defend these whims is embarrassing and rather pointless. And, of course, as others have so cynically pointed out, it’s not like they’ll actually be implementing any of it – not when that vast enormous huge black hole opens up … all bets are off. Core promises, non-core promises and outright fibs.

    But underneath it all is a deep and thorough contempt for Australian voters.

  166. Jimmy

    JMNO – The other issue isthat it isn’t maternity leave, it is parental leave, meaning that the higher income earner can take the 6 months.

    Gavin – The other thing the that Abbott might be hoping for is that as the senate will still have the greens in the balance of power (more than likel y) they will block all his ridiculous policies, he can sya he tried and blame the greens and then move on.

  167. Gavin Moodie

    I suspect you’re right Jimmy. But I expect the Coalition thinks it can still get away with this tired and predictable move. It will fail, as you suggest, and that with its other disfunctions and the growing realization of the Gillard government’s achievements will result in the Abbott government lasting only 1 term and making its return from opposition that much harder next time.

  168. tinman_au

    jimmy said “I also wonder that given the “core” nature of some of those “non core” promises whether Abbott would be branded a L i a r?”

    “Phoney Tony” more likely, folks like catchy sound bites!

  169. JMNO

    What no-one seems to talk about with Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme is its massive inequity. In a non-contributory scheme why should some women get more than others from the taxpayers’ purse? In schemes overseas, women get paid a proportion of their salary because they have made a contribution through their national insurance payments. Here it is not proposed that women pay anything, apart from their taxes, yet get more if they earn more. Another massive Abbott transfer to the better off.

  170. Joyce Parkes

    Thanks Bernard Keane for yet another insightful analysis.

  171. The Pav

    When Menzies won power after the war he did it on a high spending platform

    It was the incumbent Labour govt that continued to prosecute austerity programs.

    The Howard govt was the highest spending/taxing govt in our history. If they had been investing in needed infrastructure then that would have been OK but mainly they invested in things like paying FTB to the wives of high income earners, Heath Insurance rebates for the wealthy that didn;t actually help the health funds, &0% of the education budget on 30% of the students. Many at the wealthy schools and so on.

    Selling off things like the airports which went frrom being accountable govt monopolies to unaccountable private monopolies , The stuff up of the Telstra sale

    Appalling waste and mismanagement

    Hockey , Abbott etc were senior members of that.

    Waste and incompetence are in their DNA yet they countinue to shout the lie they have any degree of economic competence and a compliant, spineles andwitless gallery lets them escape without serious examination.

    Hockey can’t even add up for gawd’s sake. He should have been laughed out of public life but no he hasn’t and this can only be because of the failure of Australia’s jopurnalists to make a true contribution to our democracy and instead focus on the ego enriching games of insider speculation

  172. Jimmy

    Gavin, Scott & Steve777 – While I agree that this is probably what the Libs will attempt to do given they can’t actually pay for any of their policies it isn’t as easy as it once was given the tightening of the rules and the advent of the PBO.

    And if they did try this how many treasury officers would leak against them?

    Also it is strangely quiet on here today, is ti that not even the most die hard Liberal can defend their economic policies?

  173. Gavin Moodie

    I agree with Scott and Steve777.

    I add that the Coalition will claim in its first budget that it is scrapping the NBN to save $ . . . billions (insert the sum needed to balance the budget). Only later will it transpire that the Coalition’s attempted hobbling of the NBN will save a small amount of government expenditure at the country’s cost of much higher internet prices, less convenience and lost productivity improvements.

  174. Dan Gulberry

    Jimmy
    [Anyone with half a brain can see the coalitions economic policies are a poularist shambles that will be seriously damaging to this country]
    Sorry to correct you Jimmy, but anyobne with half a brain can see that the LNP will NEVER implement any of their brainfart policies. Even if they are elected 😉

  175. Jimmy

    Simsonmc – My money is on whichever one Suzanne Blake works for!!

  176. David Allen

    Have I come to the right place? If there’s more policy analysis I might have to fork out for another subscription. 3 months to make my mind up.

    Thanks for the “Politically Homeless’ link Fredex.

    Have the trolls got the day off?

  177. SimsonMc

    I can’t wait to see which Accounting Firm will be stupid enough to *Audit* their costings.

  178. Scott

    Of course Abbott will be branded as deceptive…all politicians are. Goes with the territory. But it will be “Phoney” Abbott, instead of “JuLIAR” Gillard.

    I agree that the coalition’s policies have a slight wiff of populism to them. But let’s be honest…there are a lot more “thought balloons” than actual economic policies coming from the coalition at the moment. You don’t have to pay for an idea.

    But it is working in the polls, so I don’t see them stopping any time soon. Especially when the public have stopped listening to Labor.

    The real action will be in the election year.

  179. Steve777

    I don’t believe the Coalition actually intends to implement most of its policies. When it takes office next year, we’ll hear the cry “Oh woe is us! The Labor black hole is even bigger than we feared. We’ll have to ‘postpone’ some of our policies”, including the parental leave scheme. And given that most Coalition members don’t believe that we should be taking action on climate change, the 5% reduction target for emissions will be quietly ignored. I don’t believe that ‘Direct Action’ was ever a serious policy. All we’ll see will be a few token hand-outs to buy votes here and there. It was only ever a fig leaf dreamed up when the Coalition thought they needed a Climate Change policy to keep on side with its constituency.

    And most of the mainstream media will allow them to get away from it. Either I’m right or the Coalition really are a bunch of economic illiterates. And they accuse Julia Gillard of being ‘economical with the truth’.

    What we will get is: a return of Workchoices under a different name; a gradual winding back of Medicare; a reduction in funds for Tertiary eduction and Social Welfare; privatisation of the ABC and anything else the Government still owns; and pretty much open slather for moneyed interests.

  180. Jimmy

    Holden – Give them time, they are still trying to figure out which irrelevant distraction to go with today – Anyone want to have a stab at it, maybe Craig Thompson and the corrupt unions, Mark Arbib and the faceless men, the ever popular julia l i ed or maybe Carr for PM or Ruddy to challenge before June 30 for tax purposes, basically anything to get off the topic of coalition economic policy.

    Oh and stand by for the “the coalition doesn’t need to have costed polices” line.

  181. Jimmy

    Scott – I am sure that is what Abbott & Hockey are hoping for, I just hope the voting public aren’t stupid enough to fall for it.

    Whichever way you look at though Scott the Libs economic polices are rubbish.

    Good to see though old Sloppy Joe saying the Libs will slash all sorts of govt subsidies for business, apparently if you business is threatened by the carbon tax that is terrible but if your business goes under because the govt pulled it’s assistance the that’s good policy.

    I also wonder that given the “core” nature of some of those “non core” promises whether Abbott would be branded a L i a r?

  182. Holden Back

    Where are the spambots?

  183. Scott

    Come on Jimmy, you know how it will work.

    The week after the election, Treasurer Hockey will state that the budget is in a worse state than even he had imagined. There a “budget black hole (TM)!!!” Thus the Coalition will not be able to pay for all it’s promises as it had previously stated.

    Because of this, Hockey et al have had to make some tough decisions. To keep the MRRT (but remove the company tax cut), remove the Carbon Tax Scheme (and it’s assistance) and sell off Medibank Private and the ABC. Abbott’s Parental leave will be capped at $50,000 instead of $75,000 and the Environmental Direct Action plan will be shelved (which is basically what it was designed for).

    All new governments get one opportunity in it’s early years to blame the previous ones for “non-core” promise breaking. That is why the coalition is not worried about the finances at this stage.

  184. fredex

    Gidday, Jimmy.
    For a person by person comparative evaluation of the government team versus the Opposition media mouth pieces of the COALition its worth checking out Andrew Elder’s blog “Politically Homeless’.

  185. Jimmy

    Fredex – I wasa amazed to, just goes to show what can happen when people stop focusing on Rudd V Gillard!!

    BK did still assume the Libs will win the next election though.

  186. fredex

    Hang on, what’s going on here?
    Am I in the right place?
    Am I actually reading an article at Crikey that is daring to criticise the parliamentary Opposition, that is stating, finally, belatedly, the bleeding obvious?
    Actually putting a modicum of pressure, shining a murky spotlight on the shambles that is the COALition, drawing some minimal attention to its many levels of incompetence?
    Yikes!
    What next – an admission that they have no sensible policies, that there are deep rifts within their self described ‘unity'[sic], that they are ethically challenged? That they are not an alternative to the existing government?
    Perhaps just hinting, softly of course, no screaming rants, that the COALition is plain wrong on just about very major issue relevant to Australians.
    Nah. Won’t happen.
    We’ll be back to the standard Gillard/ALP bashing soon.

  187. Jimmy

    Anyone with half a brain can see the coalitions economic policies are a poularist shambles that will be seriously damaging to this country and if the debate stays on economic grounds the govt will be much more of a threat in the next election than many expect.

    The concept that their policies on the carbon tax & MRRT of keeping all the compensation while cutting the revenue (and in the case on the carbon tax then spending billions more of their own policies) don’t add up will be grasped by even the most economically illiterate voter as they don’t pass the commmon sense test. Raising the company tax rate to pay for their parental leave scheme is hated by business and most of the liberal party itself and the massive amount they will have to cut from govt spending to achieve a budget surplus will salm the breaks on economic growth.

    Add to that today’s pronouncement from Barnaby that the Nationals will support the parental leave scheme if Abbott commits to zonal taxation (I assume code for tax cuts in marginal National party seats) and you really do have an absoulte mess.

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