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Jul 5, 2012

Coalition's policies? We've got 'em -- well, sort of

Crikey has obtained the Coalition's internal policy bible for backbenchers. And we want readers to start going through it.

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Part handy fact source, part ideological screed, part policy bible, the Coalition’s new set of “Speaker’s Notes” (yeah, we’re not sure if the apostrophe is correct or not) — intended for “preparing electorate material and correspondence, talking points, speeches and handling constituent inquiries” — has come Crikey’s way.

The 137-page document is a core resource for Coalition MPs in preparing their communication, and “should NOT be circulated in [its] raw form”. We’re accordingly circulating it in raw form.

Inside its pages you’ll read the sad history of Labor’s many failures (with the single exception of the Fair Work Act, which “deserves a fair go”) and how the Coalition’s position is in every way superior, even when (such as in the broadband and communications chapter) that position isn’t explained in any way. There are also loads of facts and figures to demonstrate the Coalition’s superior record in government.

“Key economic indicators” from the Coalition “Speaker’s Notes”

For a policy-shy opposition that has risen to a landslide-level polling lead that could deliver it control of both houses, it’s the nearest thing we’ve got to a serious collation of policies across specific issues so far.

So we’re setting a challenge for Crikey readers. If you’re an expert, or even just well-grounded, in one of the 42 different policy areas, ranging from aged care through to youth, discussed in the notes, let’s hear from you. Leave a comment, drop us a line or use the completely anonymous form.

Is there anything new here? Any howling errors? Anything worth digging into? We’re crowdsourcing the analysis of the only real insight into the policies of an Abbott government we’re likely to get until next year.

Over to you. Oh and remember, shhhh, this should not be circulated in raw form.

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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140 thoughts on “Coalition’s policies? We’ve got ’em — well, sort of

  1. Thorn

    I really get sick of this Labor lies business continually trotted out by simple minded people like Suzanne Blake. Their inability to understand even in the most basic terms the way that the Election process works in Australia is most lamentable.

    I hope this helps them:

    During the Election process Politicians make a series of promises based upon their Party’s policies, and if they win the Election they may or may not implement those promises depending on how they feel once they get in office, usually based on what they say the actual economic situation of the country is. The breaking of promises is then mostly blamed on the previous Government.

    The exception to this basic rule is John Howard who broke promises even when he won the elections. He broke so many promises that he had to invent the concept of “core and non-core” promises. Every promise he broke fitted into the non-core catagory, of course.

    When Gillard made the commitment regarding a Carbon Tax she did so believing that Labor would win the Election and that she would be able to honour that commitment, even though Labor was intent on bringing in a Carbon Polution Reduction Scheme in the future.

    Labor did not win that election, and in the negotiations that enabled Gillard to form a Minority Government the prospect of a Carbon Tax was one of the areas that the other parties to the Minority Government wanted to see become reality.

    So to say she lied, as if this was something unusual or singularly terrible is to ignore the common practice of every incoming Government, and especially ignore that of John Howard’s Governments, and to not understand that once Labor lost that election all bets were off.

    I know that this seemingly simple concept is sadly beyond the ability of some people to grasp, but never the less that is the way politics works in Australia.

    If by some incredible misfortune the people of this country do not come to their senses before the end of next year you just watch how many non-core promises Abbott manages to pull out of his hat!

  2. fractious

    @ Jimmy

    “1. We have a comprehensive and costed pol icy to reduce carbon emissions that will not add costs to famil ies or Australian businesses.”

    “2. We will have a 15,000-strong green army to tackle real environmental issues at the local level.”

    “3. The Coal ition will del iver a one-stop-shop environmental approvals process that sets high standards, makes swift decisions and del ivers certain outcomes.”

    “4. The Coal ition has introduced a Private Member’s Bill into Parl iament that requires the Gillard Government to commit to the remaining funding allocated for the Solar Scheme ($64.5 million in 2011-12).”

    So, leaving aside carbon emissions and a Private Member’s Bill they are yet to formulate or put up, and whose legitimacy is at best suspect, their entire environmental policy “platform” revolves around a “green army” (details of which and members of which it doesn’t provide) and a “one-stop shop” for environmental approvals.

    Given we already have the Green Corps (mind you they’ve only been around for 20 years so Tiny and Sloppy Joe prolly haven’t noticed) and they number at least 20,000 at any time, that means the Noalition’s entire environment platform is promising to set up a fast-track process for approving projects which will substantially affect environmental assets (MNES or Matters of National Environmental Significance).

    On the positive side, at least environment is one portfolio they decided to not embarrass themselves any further on.

  3. s adam

    Well they were hell bent on killing the NBN, but now they realise that it does have a lot of support, so they are trying to down grade it.

    I note that they speak of the cost, but dont mention that much of that funding is from renting out network capacity to those who would use it – most is not from the tax payers pocket.


    “What is NBN Co’s source of funding?
    The NBN is being funded initially by equity funding from the Commonwealth. As outlined in the Corporate Plan, the projected Government equity requirement for the project is $27.5 billion. It is intended that the remaining funds needed to build the network and fund the company will come from NBN Co’s own revenues and, at an appropriate time, the private debt markets.”

    They call it a government monopoly, but I would call it publically owned. Telstra (telecom) was better when it was publically owned, and the copper network deteriorated significantly after it was sold off to private interests by Howard.

    They complain about the lack of a cost benifit study, but such a study now would look negative. Its clear that the bandwidth available will have its uses now, but the infrastructure will exist for a very long time, and as bandwidth is available it will be used for future applications that have not been invented yet that a cost/benifit study can not currently justify. But we must have it. The bandwidth of networks across the whole world is increaseing at great speed, as an Australian I dont want to be left behind and end up with the half assed network that the Liberals want to downgrade it too! If the entire network is not upgraded, the network as a whole will not be able to provide the customer base to support large investment in to projects which would require it (and could be sold off shore).

    So long as the Liberals want to significantly downgrade or destroy the NBN I can not vote for them or for anyone else who will preference them.

  4. Liz45

    @SB – Your comment re Craig Emmerson was a corker? Who, only last week did a double somersault with pike? and then went into a trailer load of foam ‘balls’? Truly! What a stunt that was! He does about one a day – trying to look as though he’s been or is a worker????

    All I can advise Craig is – don’t give up your day job! Singer you aint! I don’t think he intended to be – it was a bit of fun! Lighten up! It gave me a laugh, and made the point. Why here we are, 5 days later, and the sky hasn’t fallen in!

    As for Mirabella – Funny how Greg showed more concern for Simon from three people away, mid sentence, and then continued to show concern. His ‘oh dear’ (about three times) showed his concern re Simon’s distress. I was concerned for him too. I wondered whether he’d had a seizure or even a stroke – it happens sometimes with young people! (an unknown brain issue – tumour etc).

    Says a lot about you too! And none of it good! What a heartless, cold and revolting person you are. No wonder you support almost lethal ‘solutions’ to the asylum seeker issue – Howard’s ‘Pacific Solution’ had a sinister component – too much like the horrific ‘Final Solution’ of 60 odd years ago!

    I wonder how much time Tony takes at his weekly confessional? I reckon both he and Pell would have to book in a whole afternoon? Too many lies and awful ‘thoughts’ and ‘deeds’? Their ‘penance’ should keep them on their knees for the next week? ???lol

  5. Edward James

    GOCOMSYS Posted Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink What I wrote, reproduced below, is self explanatory what you selected from it makes no sense. Labor have been on the nose for years now, after the next Federal election people will no doubt start complaining about the Liberal National Coalition that is the way it has been for decades. Why would thinking taxpayers continue to wander from one to the other of the two parties not much preferred who take turns pissing on our backs and telling us it is raining? There has been lots of change but not much effective change that I can see. How do you make the leap from what I wrote to writing
    “Great idea. We do not need a parliament and democracy is useless. ” I certainly did not write that. Would you explain why you needed to distort what I wrote?
    I want honest representative government I do not see that happening until we start sacking dead wood politicians, putting them in the street where they can earn a living, instead of putting then on the opposition benches. There are some 150 seats in our Federal Parliament. There is no law which says the only politicians who may control the “democratic process” are either Labor or Liberal National Coalition. Labor need to be dismantled so they have time to learn the people rule in a democracy, we give the mandate and most of us are sick of being lied too. Edward James

    If we want respect from our elected representatives. More voters should consider finishing the job by voting Labor party members and their supporters right out of the Parliament and into the street, rather than let them wander over to the opposition benches for a taxpayer funded rest. It has always been up to voters to do to Labor what it refused to do for itself. It is long over due to get rid of the garbage politicians and influence peddlers from government! I do not believe voters have done enough damage to the Labor Party yet! Edward James

  6. umbria

    Broadband and NBN p 47:
    This entire section still doesn’t answer the questions about the coalition policy asked by Senator Conroy on 5 June 2012:

    The Speaker’s (sic) Notes begin:
    “Everybody agrees that all Australians should have access to fast and affordable broadband.
    But Labor never bothered to investigate how to reach that laudable objective most efficiently and quickly. Instead, we’ve seen a series of false starts, repeated cost and schedule blowouts and a complete inability to deliver the National Broadband Network. In fact after four years and billions of dollars of spending, Labor has only delivered fibre to 4000 Australian households. The Rudd and Gillard Governments have talked an impressive game on broadband, but their record in office is shameful.”

    In fact, since 2004 when John Howard first tried to deal with stagnant regional services on Telstra’s copper monopoly (of his creation) by proposing a universal broadband impreative, we had most recently seen a $6 bill OPEL (Optus-Elders) proposal which turned out to be incapable of delivering the target bandwidth for double the budget. Kevin Rudd’s $4.7 billion FTTN proposal turned out to cost $11 billion but also needed $15 billion compo to regain access to the copper to premises, for a total cost of $26 billion for the terrestrial broadband in NBN Mark I. (Telstra also planned to spend the $15 billion overbuilding its copper with a private fibre network to premises, as we later learned on Four Corners.)

    At this point, vastly superior long-term FTTP became the obvious solution now, because it alone could deliver the bandwidth everywhere, including support for ubiquitous Wi-Fi to decongest mobile data networks, did not need the copper tails to premises, and was probably going to be cheaper than FTTN anyway.

    After the Tasmanian fibre pilot in 2011, the mainstream rollout should have begun in early 2012, but MT’s costly, wasteful parliamentary delays to the legislation meant a Telstra shareholder vote didn’t happen until October, the ACCC forced NBNCo to redesign its network from 14 Points of Interconnection to 121, favouring four big fibre owners, then the ACCC’s main June 2011 deliverable finally appeared on 28 February 2012. And parliament also added Greenfield builder of last resort to NBN’s area of responsibility. The mainstream fibre rollout began on 7 March 2012, after a series of local agreements had had to be used to deploy fibre to mainland first release sites.

    We already now see cheaper, faster interim satellite broadband for the bush, fast wireless services already in use in Armidale, Tamworth and elsewhere, and the clarity to telcos of a 3-year NBNCo plan so they can make ROI on ADSL upgrades in areas not immediately getting fibre.

    The biggest coalition failure is to acknowledge its role in delaying the start date.

    And we still don’t know what the wireless/HFC/ADSL/FTTX and satellite alterantive of the coalition looks like, let alone how many times more than the NBN it will cost, before we even upgrade it to FTTP.

    The coalition is risking many regional seats again in 2013, and a potential repeat of the 2010 crossbench-heavy result that could deliver another Green Labor minority government. It should simply adopt the NBN and its excellent funding model and will romp home.

  7. Liz45

    @SB – Craig Emmerson not intelligent? He’s got a PhD doesn’t he? I thought it was funny, and trust you to only mention the ‘foam balls’, what about every other night on the TV – Abbott makes an idiot of himself every night. I try and think what line of business he’ll choose for his CHILDISH stunts the next night? An idiot, trying to look as though manual labour is a ‘comfort fit’?

    Abbott still believes that manual labour is a Mexican boxer! He wouldn’t work in an iron lung!

    And Hockey’s comment that the electorate want INTELLIGENT people in Parlt! Well, why doesn’t he resign? At least the ABC showed that image of him dressed up like an idiot!

    I heard Abbott on the news this morning re same sex unions as proposed by Turnbull, and Abbott’s response was to the effect, ‘we don’t say one thing before an election and do something else after’? I looked at the radio in stunned, open mouthed shocked silence?My thoughts immediately went to work choices, education, cost of medical degrees going to over $100,000 per student, and plenty more! Oh yes, trying to water down Medicare – yet again! It was “safe” also! There’s heaps more!

    Oh yes, Costello’s 30 odd increases in taxes and charges or introducing new ones. The list goes on! None of them taken to an election, but now we have to listen to bs about how up front and non-taxing, breaking promises, telling bare faced lies, core and non-core promises?

    Perhaps someone can steer him towards Howard’s 32 lies website, and even remind him of his promise prior to ’04 re private health insurance rebates. He waited about ?? weeks or months and then said, It was etched in stone or concrete as I recall?

    Perhaps MSM could remind him of this, and also ask, why did they go to the last election, and the one before with a promised plan for a price on carbon (either CPRS or perhaps a price on carbon first) and then did the opposite after several months of co-operating with the then Rudd Govt? Or even Abbott’s own words to the effect, ‘if we’re going to do something about climate change the sensible/best? way to go about it is with a CARBON TAX’? Truly, I kid you not!

    As usual, you’re very selective, regardless of what the topic is? You along with your masters think that at best we have a bad memory, or that we’re all suffering from some form of Alzheimer’s? You’re offensive in your demeaning attitude to us. I’m probably older than you are – I voted in the 1967 Referendum, I was appalled by the Whitlam sacking etc. I remember heaps of past history re Coalition lies and deceit and just plain dirty playing, and that’s why I can’t stand them, don’t believe them and will never even consider voting for any of the bastards! I can’t wait for the whole story that hopefully will come out re the Slipper affair? I had a ‘gut’ reaction from the outset – too convenient, and too ‘damning’ to one’s reputation if true. I don’t believe Brough – only due to his past behaviour/s? His own fault!

    I agree with others who’ve said that Eric Abetz should’ve been sacked or expelled after the last half hearted attempt by the Opposition to get rid of a Labor Minister via the Treasury or Tax dept. Turnbull should’ve been kicked out too! He sits in the Parlt with closed mouth, supporting the Coalition re a price on carbon that is the exact opposite of his views and past behaviours. What a gutless whimp! Same as Hunt! He was heavily involved in the same discussions with Rudd etc. What they’ll do to get power – lie and remain closed mouth! Sickening!

  8. Edward James

    @ OWEN GARY Posted Friday, 6 July 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink Too many voters for far too long have been comfortable accepting politicians lies as part of our democratic political process! That is a big part of the reason our democratic system has become so dysfunctional. For example we here in the Gosford Local Government Area have ten candidates on a Labor ticket for the the often identified as corrupt Gosford City Council. I point this out because none of those candidates nor any other Labor Party members or supporters have put their names to anything I am aware of which refutes in public the often published allegations. Weak journalist will set themselves up as judges by claiming these allegations published for years and canvased in open council meetings and hinted at on front pages of news limited papers are defamatory. Pretty gutless really when there is no danger in asking why the allegations can be often published, people named and identified as liars, yet nothing comes of it. I think it is important to remind other activist there are often published questions canvasing the perception the State Coroner was misled during his inquiry into the deaths of five people at Piles Creek Somersby. This is a political issue something which may make its way to another place in time. Currently Labor is getting a deserved flogging at ballot boxes around Australia, we voters need to take Labor apart because it has been clear for about twenty years, the Labor Party won’t clean out the political garbage the Party is saddling the county with! My public position, writing Liberal are the best tool to sweep Labor from our parliaments and NSW Local Government. Makes it easy for voters whose memory dose not take into account what i have done during the last twelve years, to identify me as a Liberal supporter! The two parties not much preferred do are not my friends! Because I discourage the sort of party political loyalty which results in politicians and their supporters turning a blind eye to obvious political sins committed against the peoples in the name of greater political good / expediency. There must be any number of Crikey readers who have worked out for themselves complaining to the State government about their local councils misgovernance or malfeasance is a dead end, because shonky politicians sitting on the council are members of those parties sitting in the State assembly! Try it sometime do the political thing, identify a politician and question their personal values in front of their fellow party members in public and see how that goes! Edward James

  9. Owen Gary

    @Edward James

    So I take it someone snubbed you at a local level to avoid accountability & your state rep then played the ignorance card??

    I have pursued many a cause through the (so called channels & outside) in the same way you have with some ongoing, & yes have been left vehermently angered through the corrupt nepitism and unaccountability that exists particularly within local & state government.

    Corruption is a human trait that is part of our DNA, so no matter whether they be Labor or Liberal that will never change.
    However I fail to see the Liberal Party sweeping into office as being the “White Knight” to your cause as the Liberals have always given corporates a free ride at the expense of the average woman & man (Part of their DNA).
    However I would love to see a 3rd party take office and really bring us close to something that resembles a democracy (if only for a fleeting glimpse). Do you not think that both the major parties really make sure that they are the only game in town via unofficial collusion?? Think about it, Slipper conveniently crossing the floor to head off “pokies reform” does that not strike you as a setup??

    It’s really a gangster type set up as the two party system exists worldwide, and is controlled by multi national interests with the spoils of war filtering right down to their corrupt mates at a state & local level. If you want change don’t vote either and convince others of this choice but don’t try and persuade others to commit suicide by voting an ideology that should have died with the dinasoaurs.

    You know as well as I, we don’t have democracy just the illusion of it, I moved away from Labor 19 yrs ago as I watched them move from the heart of the people to the “Extreme Corporate Right” it is this very reason I could never vote for the Coalition who are leading us to a barron corporate wasteland just like America. It is also for this reason Labor have lost a lot of their core voters

    You must first decipher who the real master is before you go shooting the messengers!!

    On a final note, I applaud your vigor in attacking Councilors & our so called state reps, you will find as I have that you will need a team that is organised well to unify a local electorate & cause some real damage, get your tactics right by playing dirty just like the pollies, and you just never know???

  10. Liz45

    Anyone seen or heard from SB? Could it be something I said? No, surely not!

    @OWEN GARY – I recall after Gough was sacked reading, that Westinghouse in the US, with major interests in nuclear power was taken to Court due to their failure to comply with their commitment of providing uranium. Their legal person was quoted as saying, ‘if we can kick the Labor Govt out, we’ll have all the uranium we need’? That was 6 WEEKS before the dismissal, and after Fraser was elected the uranium industry went gangbusters (so to speak?). Makes you wonder doesn’t it? Gough was going to tell the Yanks to piss off re Pine Gap? Another reason why he had to go!

    It’s interesting, that these days I’m ‘closer’ to Malcolm Fraser on many issues than I am with Labor? Who’d have thought? But unlike Malcolm Turnbull, Fraser had the guts to cease being a member of the Liberal Party. A couple of weeks ago, one Sunday morning after Background Briefing on Radio National he was interviewed – he said that all the present politicians (Labor & Coalition) who are engaging in such hateful political behaviours should be towed out to sea and someone pull the plug! I found myself cheering him on! Interesting isn’t it? It might be on line, I should have a look. And, it’s not just because he’s now older, because he did these things in the 80’s?

    It’s funny that I only realised how compassionate he was to Vietnamese asylum seekers several years ago. I’m the first to acknowledge what he’s done these days – he should be applauded, and clearly shows, that the disgusting and hateful policies of the major parties are just that – disgusting and hateful. In fact, some days I just think twice before I turn the radio on – it’s too depressing! How many times do I have to say, ‘there’s a better way’? Very sad!

    I thought I would go to my grave despising that man? Perhaps despise is a bit strong! One of his daughters used to work with one of the major charities, like World Vision etc. A lovely young woman!

  11. Liz45


    Anyone who’s interested. Here’s the interview with Malcolm Fraser on Sunday morning, July 1.

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