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Dec 20, 2011

The 2011 Crikeys: the government policy hits and misses

2011 was the biggest year in economic policy for a long time - which isn't saying much. What was best and worst?


After years of reform drought, 2011 turned out to be one of the more productive years for economic reform. But only up to a point: each of the big set-piece reforms put in place by the government were flawed and undermined by politics and successful fightbacks by rentseekers and special interests — the states, the mining industry, big carbon emitters. This would have counted as an average year for reform in the 1980s and 1990s.

Still, there’s a context for everything: when the rest of the developed world is seemingly incapable of balancing their own budgets, a government committed even to the bare bones of continuing reform looks good by comparison. Indeed, some of the strongest criticism of the government from non-political sources this year was for its insistence on returning the budget to surplus next year. Strange times we live in when the business sector whinges about a Labor government’s fiscal rigour.

And after 2010, in which the quality of economic debate went significantly backwards (Andrew Robb’s infrastructure bonds proposal honourably excepted), we’ll take what we can get. So who did best, worst and why?

Best policy achievement

The best policy package put together this year is Bill Shorten’s Future of Financial Advice reforms (which Chris Bowen initiated), designed amongst other things to end the long-running rort of commissions for financial advice on superannuation and the conflict of interest of financial planners spruiking in-house products to clients. If implemented, the package will be good for the retirement savings of millions of Australians and good for future budgets. But it remains unpassed, and the gullibility of the independents, who appear to have been swayed by a self-interested campaign by financial planners, and the cynicism of the opposition, which allows financial planners to dictate its position, may yet cruel the hopes of Australians for a better super and wealth management system.

The carbon pricing package therefore gets the gong, despite being deeply flawed. The deep irony of the package is that after as varied a line-up as John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott all supported or promised a carbon price, it was Julia Gillard — who explicitly ruled one out — who delivered it, albeit in a form in which much of the heavy lifting of the long-delayed decarbonisation of the Australian economy will be done by less-efficient direct action measures favoured by the Greens and the opposition. Nonetheless, for a painfully carbon-addicted economy like Australia’s, it is way past time that a structural mechanism for curbing the addiction was put in place. That’s now been done, in however flawed a fashion.

Worst policy failure

No contest: asylum seekers. This was a huge failure politically for Gillard (and Bowen), but more importantly a failure of moral courage by the entire parliament. We’re fortunate in Australia: rare is a public issue in this country for which the cost can be counted in lives. A successful economy is critical; our health system crucial to our quality of life, our education system a vital aspect of civil society and the economy, but our asylum seeker policy –such as it currently is — is prompting people to place their lives at risk to come here, and many are dying. It is in our hands to reduce, if not eliminate, that tragedy, but our parliament does nothing.

Biggest legislative win

One of the few unalloyed successes of this government has been its record of getting legislation through parliament. Its Migration Act changes were atypical: this is a government adept at securing support for its bills. It saved the best until last, securing the passage of its mining tax (profoundly flawed, but anyway) through the House of Representatives with some minor tweaks and some money for the independents. It was a classic piece of legislative horsetrading to give Gillard her “year of decision and delivery”. For all the predictions about instability and uncertainty, this minority government has a legislative record not much shy of standard-issue governments without a Senate majority.

Best public policy report

It’s a rare thing that can achieve bipartisanship these days, but that’s what the Productivity Commission managed with its report on a national disability insurance scheme. Typically hard-headed, the PC nailed the deep flaws of the current hotchpotch of support systems: “The current disability support system is underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports.” It did exactly what the PC and its predecessor bodies are best at: framing the debate and laying the groundwork for major reform by demonstrating the costs of current arrangements and proposing a solution, which will form the basis of the government’s reform efforts on this front in coming years and which will hopefully be picked up by an incoming Coalition government.

Most influential think tank

Public policy is now contested more than ever. No economic issue can creep onto the agenda without special interests commissioning the same handful of economic consultancies — you know who they are — to churn out rubbish modelling designed to suit the interests of those commissioning it. Think tanks have proliferated, first on the Right and then the Left, feeding the media cycle with reports and op-eds. The economic forecasts of private sector firms are treated as Holy Writ by the media. But amongst it all, the Productivity Commission remains one of the most important players in Australian public policy: independent even of government, forthright, and accused of bias only in relation to the vigour of its economic rationalism.

You only have to look at who hates the PC to know it’s on the side of the angels: crass populist and economic xenophobe Barnaby Joyce insists he likes to use its reports as toilet paper. Except, of course, for when he agrees with them. The PC — a creation of the Howard government when it brought togther the Industry Commission, the Bureau of Industry Economics and Economic Planning Advisory Commission — is an ornament to public life in Australia.

Stupidest report

As economic consultants proliferate and their confected numbers about job losses, economic impacts and squandered GDP are sprinkled around like confetti, it’s difficult to single out a single report that more than any other laid on the stupid.

But there is one — from one of the biggest sources of garbage “independent” reports, the copyright industry. Time and again this industry — one of the world’s most powerful cartels, who still make billions from gouging Australians — has vomited into the media cycle absurd claims about the impact of filesharing. In March, the Australian Content Industry Group produced a doozy: a report on filesharing that claimed it cost the Australian economy $900 million a year.

ACIG released excerpts of the report, but not the report itself, to Fairfax for a Sunday paper splash and then sat on the report for over a week. When it was finally released, the reason for ACIG’s reluctance became clear: the report did no work on filesharing levels in Australia but simply applied the conclusions of a wholly discredited European report to our own market. Even by the standards of Big Content, it was a howler.

*Later this week: the Crikeys award the best (and worst) in media, business and culture


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46 thoughts on “The 2011 Crikeys: the government policy hits and misses

  1. Modus Ponens

    The food and grocery council’s ‘report’ on the impacts of the carbon price on food is also a contender for the stupidist report.

    They refused to release their assumptions behind their claims that costs would skyrocket and Media watch gave them a great serve – but all too late. Shock-jocks had used their report to push misinformation into the community….

  2. Wallace Scott

    Yeah, I think on asylum seekers policy the government is held hostage by the ideological left Greens as well as the politicking of the ideological right. It fails to achieve its goal and keep kicking the can down the road instead of showing strong determination to produce effective policy and give the public a clear message.

    The Refugee Convention only requires us to grant refuge or resettle asylum seekers who come here directly from territory where their lives were under threat. Therefore, we have no obligation to process applications of those who did not come here directly from the place of danger. The law is that way so that responsibility can be spread around amongst nations and no nation has to bear the overwhelming burden if everyone decides to go to that particular country to claim asylum, meanwhile it still remains its role of ensuring safety for those who are fleeing present danger and avoid things like what happened to the Jews when they were fleeing during WWII. This does not mean only people from our neighbouring countries are able to get here should they be underthreat, we do grant refuge for people who flew in from far away countries as well as picking up refugees around the world. It is legitimate for us to either make indirect comers who came here via a safe place wait longer or send them overseas as a deterrent measure as long as the living condition is adequately humane. That’s my interpretation of the law anyway, then again I was in different field of legal studies when I attended university.

    Turning the boat around is illegal, it also totally contradicts and destroys the credibility of the argument that we employ such policy because we care about their safety and don’t want them to drown since the boat can become leaky or the weather can be too dangerous at sea. We have to let them in in order to find out where they have come from first to be able to determine whether they are eligible or not. If they are found to be ineligible then we are allowed to transport them safely overseas where conditions are adequate. Swapping with Malaysia with such ratio is increasing intake and responsibility in the region giving more lives a better future although superficially it looks badly opportunistic; it is Nauru which is a bankrupt opportunistic country who provided very poor condition to the refugees while taking a lot of money from us. Waiting time is the real deterrence since people get on the boat to get here in order to speed up the process so they don’t have to wait or keep waiting to be resettled, and this is the major reason why Nauru worked in deterring people. Nevertheless, the refugees sent to Nauru ended up in Australia and NZ anyway because other countries have their own refugee intake programs and they were not interested in our problem, while some Australian church also documented about 11 Afghans got sent home and were killed by the Taliban. These days asylum boats travel as far as Canada, it isn’t hard for them to navigate to Nauru or to enter Australian water so just to be transferred to Nauru by the Australian navy. The increase in the distance only increase the risk of drowning incidents.

    I don’t think people should be so an*l about Malaysia. Many people like travelling to Malaysia, it is a great place, my friends are proud Malaysian nationals eventhough they are not of Malay stock. Certainly the concern about conditions and rights for refugees in Malaysia is needed but the government has already negotiated conditions for the asylum seekers, then the critics say that it cannot be guaranteed. Can our government guarantee that there will be no more death in custody in Australia, or Aborigines’ conditions will be better, or no more Indian students be bashed or killed? No need for pontification. It is possible for the government to fool proof the deal with Malaysia by requiring the housing location be within adequate services, and possible amendment of the law if necessary to make it legal. If people insist on the country be a signatory to the Human Rights Convention then there is PNG, the unaccompanied minors can be sent there and be under the care of Australian & PNG staff and provided education. PNG is required if overseas housing is the preferred measure because 800 is a small number for the boat organisers to push and break so there will likely be excess of this number. Nevertheless we need to question whether the government will work with PNG to ensure proper living condition for asylum seekers.

    Deterrence is necessary to reduce the risk of people drowning and also to establish a more equitable system unlike the current system where the people with money can take advantage of the loop hole and pay a lot of money to get here on boat while the poorer have to languish in the camps for much longer. It is understandable that desperate people have to do whatever it takes to reach for a better life which we should not judge or demonise them, hell everyone wants to get ahead it is only natural. Most of us would take advantage of a tax loop hole to minimise our tax to benefit ourselves, and sometimes if not often the rich pays less share than the poor. Asylum seekers should not be attacked as non-genuine refugees just because they have money. It is normal for people to carry family heirlooms, gold, jewlery while fleeing persecution and trade them for money when they need it to survive; furthermore with modern finacial system it is very easy for relatives somewhere else in the world to help pay for something or send money. Asylum seekers should also not be blanketly attacked for not having papers, there are people who genuinely don’t have papers as well as those who conveniently don’t have paper; it all depends on each specific case. I didn’t have papers until I travelled overseas and there were times when I have misplaced them and could not find them for many moons, I also have lost my wallet quite a few times so it is not surprising if people don’t have papers when they are fleeing in a hurry and have little or no time to pack especially if they are from a village.

    The majority of Australians already understand the complexity of the situation and want a workable humane and just solution. The government needs to be strong and straight forward, be loud and clear about the reality of the situation to set the agenda to address and improve the situation. But the government must not beat it up as a crisis nor should they link this with border protection. If this is about border protection then our border is and has been majorly violated by those who come through our airports (illegal immigrants, illegal stayers as well as asylum seekers) regardless of whichever party is in government. It’s about time the politicians look at it and tell the situation as it is so everyone can move on otherwise we will be sick to death from the fear propaganda machines.

    Racist people would say they don’t want asylum seekers here because refugees depend on welfare, but the racists still will not be happy even if we allow asylum seekers in on self-dependent ground without providing them welfare. Asylum seekers are often attacked as mere economic opportunists which is unfair. Many people come to Australia for economic opportunities. Many foreigners like the Irish at the moment for example have left their homeland to come to Australia to get work and stay permanently if they could, they get their visa renewed quite easily though. Moreover the work visa and also the skilled visa which many employers want are not all about skills but quite often it is to do with cheaper labour.

    We’ve already granted many foreigners these working visas. It would be better if we reduce these numbers and award them to genuine refugees who’ve been waiting overseas for more than 1 year instead . We could let various employers sponsor them guaranteeing work, allow them to work then possibly after 4 years if feasible the government can grant them permanent residency. These refugees need it more than the better off people from safe countries, and it will relief the bottlenecked refugee situation. We went through the post war influx after WWII and it was good for the nation. It is strange now that on the one hand the government wants population growth and hands out baby bonus, and employers want to import workers but Australian attitude seems to be shunning from taking in people who are refugees on working ground to be part of the immigration, labour and economic policy.

    It is increasing the number of intake that will help to make more lives better, it’s not the preference that all of those who arrive here should be resttled quickly while the intake number does not increase and additionally enticing people to to make the dangerous journey. This is only shifting the number around, while one get speed up another is punished and have to wait longer overseas. If a couple of people in need of help knock on our door, one of them we’ve made previous pledge to help and the other we didn’t. We would help the one we had a pledge to help first and should be able to tell the other to have a seat and wait, you are safe now and it is not as urgent because we have many people overseas in desperate situation for years who have asked us for help and we’ve planned to help them before you’ve turned up here.

    That’s my tuppence worth, going to the country away from the same old political noise, hope them pollies won’t give us the same boring stuff next year. Auld lang syne.

  3. GeeWizz

    [“It was a classic piece of legislative horsetrading to give Gillard her “year of decision and delivery”. For all the predictions about instability and uncertainty, this minority government has a legislative record not much shy of standard-issue governments without a Senate majority.”]

    Yes Bernard, but I wouldn’t say Gillard is a great negotiator, rather a great capitulator.

    She has backflipped on everything Labor stands for to keep the Greens in check. No Carbon Tax under the government I lead, then introducing a Carbon Tax. We’ll only send boaties to a UN Refugee Signatory Country, then she tries sending them off to be caned in Malaysia a non-signatory.

    Labor doesn’t stand for anything anymore, all they stand for is themselves and keeping themselves in power for as long as possible… and the punters know it.

  4. Edward James

    Australian taxpayers who paid to put our constantly failing medical infrastructure in place, also put their lives at risk attending these run down and understaffed hospitals. That growing problem is an on going policy failure which is owned by both sides of successive governments, a problem for so long it is becoming generational. Edward James

  5. GocomSys

    Just couldn’t care less what Keane has to say! Time to commence his job with Limited News!

  6. Schnappi

    Shadow Ministers are paid heaps,but seems all they do is parrot abbotts NO,with no input from their own portfolios,abbott could reduce the shadow ministries and stop the waste.
    The reason abbott will not reshuffle or reduce ministries is he would be finished now ,instead of later,at least the PM had the guts to reshuffle,abbott has no guts at all,just a wimpy opportunist.

  7. shepherdmarilyn

    Why do you call them boaties? They only take the boat because they have no choice other than stay in jail in INdonesia or get home.

    They are asylum seekers, people who are looking for and not getting international protection under the refugee convention.

  8. GeeWizz

    [“Why do you call them boaties? They only take the boat because they have no choice other than stay in jail in INdonesia or get home.”]

    How did they get to Indonesia Marilyn?

    Come on… give us some facts girlie

  9. Thorn

    Boaties or whatever you want to call them are asylum seekers. They have a pefect legal right to arrive in this country by any means they can and ask the Australian Government for asylum.

    This constant referral of them as illegal by Abbott and the right wing media is a further attempt to vilify these people, just as Howard did in the Tampa days.

    Australia does not have the right to turn these people away, it has a duty to care for them until their status is determined, and to resttle as many as it can once they are determined to be refugees.

    I agree that their getting on boats and sailing here is dangerous and should be discouraged, but there is no way that Nauru will ever be more than a Pacific Island stopover on the way to Australia in the future, and Malaysia (althoug it would be a genuine deterrent) does seem to need a bit more work before it is a reasonable solution.

    In the meantime, why can’t we just look after these people?

  10. Thorn

    Oh and Politics is the art of the possible, and under the particular circumstances that Gillard has faced as PM she has done a remarkable job. Minority Government is about compromise, without doing this she would have not been able to impliment many, if any, of the policies mentioned above.

    Credit where it is due please.

  11. GocomSys

    Thorn makes sense, others are struggling as usual!

  12. the man on the clapham omnibus

    For 2012, whenever I see a reply by SB, Truthy or the various other incarnations I’ll have the Monty Python song playing in my head …

    ‘Let’s hope that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space cause there’s bugger all down here on earth..’

  13. GeeWizz

    [“Boaties or whatever you want to call them are asylum seekers. They have a pefect legal right to arrive in this country by any means they can and ask the Australian Government for asylum. “]

    Actually no, the UN Refugee Convention states very clearly they must come directly from the country of persecution. That would therefore rule out anyone coming by boat from Indonesia.

    [“This constant referral of them as illegal by Abbott and the right wing media is a further attempt to vilify these people, just as Howard did in the Tampa days. “]

    But alas… they are illegal under both U.N refugee conventions AND Australian immigration law.

    A person who arrives without a valid visa and passport is an unlawful non-citizen who must be detained. This is all in the legislation that the lefties should get around reading sometime.

    [“Australia does not have the right to turn these people away, it has a duty to care for them until their status is determined, and to resttle as many as it can once they are determined to be refugees.”]

    Sure we do for the reasons stated above. It’s the illegals job to try and sneak in through the back door, it’s Australia’s job to stop them.

    [“I agree that their getting on boats and sailing here is dangerous and should be discouraged, but there is no way that Nauru will ever be more than a Pacific Island stopover on the way to Australia in the future”]

    Well heres Dillards chance to prove Tony Abbott wrong, she can simply reintroduce the Pacific Solution, reintroduce turning back the boats and reintroduce TPV’s and if they don’t work then she can say Tony Abbotts policy was a failure.

    She won’t though because it worked in the past, it will work again.

  14. Suzanne Blake

    Labor has failed in just about everything in the last 4 years and Australia is paying.

    ECONOMIC GROWTH: LABOR 1.4% to July 2011, Coalition 3.6% annual average in its last 10 years in office.

    INFLATION RATE: LABOR 3.5% in last quarter, Coalition 2.5% annual average in last 10 years in office

    BUDGET SURPLUS: LABOR -$48 billion 2010/11, Coalition +$20billion in 07/08

    GOVERTMNT DEBT: LABOR $107 billion 2011/12, Coalition $0 2007/2008

    STRIKES: LABOR 159,800 working days lost in year to July 2011, Coalition 88,400 days lost in year to July 2007

    YEARLY INTEREST ON DEBT: LABOR $5.5 billion in 2011/12, Coalition $0 2007/2008

    ILLEGAL ENTRANTS: LABOR 89 boats / 4949 people 2010/2011, Coalition 3 boats, 25 people 2007/2008

    EASE OF STARTING A BUSINESS: LABOR 15 World Bank Doing Business Rank, Coalition 10 in last year of office

    YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: LABOR 24.3% Sept 2011, Coalition 16.9% Sept 2007

    UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: LABOR 5.2% Oct 2011, Coalition 4.2% Sept 2007

    Lyi ng Gillard and incompetent Swan have a lot of answer for.

  15. outside left

    A neocon fudging figures {$11 billion black hole,lol} who’d of thunk it? Inflation under libs 2.75% average, 3.1% labor. Unemployment : libs Average 5% , labor 5.1%. Nothing exciting so far . World bank ratings have us at no.2 for ease of starting a business, but these same people rank no.53 when it comes to paying taxes. Illegal entrants incomplete, you did not include the ones who flew in. The lying rodent and his mates have even more to answer for!

  16. Jesus García


    Suppose it’s true that last quarter inflation was 3.5% but you compared it with a 10y annual average. Are you inherently dishonest or just plain stupid?

    This year inflation was 2.5% considering it was lifted up by natural disaster, oil supply fear in the Middle East and Quantitative Easy by Britain and the Feds. not to mention strong demand from China.

    Your figures forgot to mention the GFC and world economic environment.

    Miss Patriotic you should be in the front line in Afghanistan stopping the Taliban from sending them refugees to our shores.

  17. Jesus García

    Quantitative Easing

  18. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jesus

    We had Asian Financial Crisis in region in the 90’s and SARS .

    Strong demand from China has been there for a decade or more.

    Recent inflation is rampant wasteful Swan spending / failed “green” schemes pushing up power prices. The Queensland flood / cyclone is a blimp in one State and there is a lag as well.

    QE by UK and Feds have zip to do with our inflation rate.

    GFC etc would push inflation down, not up??

    Taliban has next to no impact on refugees in Afghanistan anymore.

  19. shepherdmarilyn

    OK Boyee, it is none of our frigging business who or how people get anywhere but here.

    Border command made that very clear.

    L&C 122 Senate Monday, 8 February 2010
    which you sighted this boat but surely you are able to tell me at what point you believed, or
    you were given direction, that it was not your responsibility anymore.
    Mr Carmody—It is a bit hard to talk about responsibility. Ultimately Border Protection
    Command can only intercept vessels on the contiguous zone around Australia, which is about
    20 nautical miles around Australian territory.”

    But then the act against the law by having refugees arrested and jailed in Indonesia where we know very well they will not be protected.

    So boyoh, it’s none of your business or mine who or how people get from a – b.

  20. shepherdmarilyn

    Psssssst Suzanne troll? Have you heard of the GFC that is now troubling most of Europe just a trifle.

  21. Suzanne Blake

    @ shepherdmarilyn

    Psst Marilyn Left Wing Dyke, yes I have. It lowers inflation, not increases it. That was my point

  22. Jesus García


    Everything is interconnected. GFC did push inflation down back then. But in the past year the demand for our mineral (record price) and other commodities from China push prices up and then we import back from them the finished products as well as services from them or other nations that’s been going through high inflation. QE was designed to push stock prices up so export inflation to the world as well.

    My point about GFC was the overall performance, you are comparing an economy going through a bubble growth with the whole world to an economy going through a GFC. Can’t compare apple to pea, and you can’t compare the mild dot.com crisis to the GFC; Europe, Japan & US have been in recession we do have exposure to them as well as indirect exposure because if they slow down that means China also will slow down; that is why China has been internally stimulating its economy.

    Our troops are still in Afghanistan. There is still war there and part of Pakistan.


  23. Jesus García

    2.5% inflation that is core inflation which RBA use to determine policy if I am confusing anyone. l8r

  24. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jesus

    Europe is 4% of our exports, no big deal, what we export there are staples anyway, like Japan, except for the coal.

    Australia did not go into recession during GFC anyway.

  25. Edward James

    Is GFC the Global Financial Crisis? These global issues are too complicated for a PAYG taxpayer like me! Who is being damaged by my Governments malfeasance. I am willing to bet there are a few party members or as I identify you guys in my on line comments here and in newspaper articles in the Peninsula News “political all sorts” reading Crikey.com.au I have no doubt those two identifying themselves as SUZANNE BLAKE & SHEPHERDMARILYN are tight with the rest of the losers in the two parties not much preferred! Unfortunately for tax payers and rate payers like me it is offensive the way party members on both sides of government insist on accommodating shonky activity by the peoples elected representatives. ! Edward James 0243419140

  26. Suzanne Blake

    @ Edward James

    I am tight with no party, never been a member, nor have I ever attended a political event or rally.

    I too am sick and tired of the incompetent, inept and wasteful Federal Government.

    I live close to you, in the same electorate, so we have the worst MP, who has gone missing since the investigation into him started.

  27. Jesus García


    Either you are being paid for spreading bs propaganda or you are being brain washed.

    FROM DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, our trading partners make up:

    China 13.2%, Japan 12.2%, US 10.3%, EU 17.1%.

    See Suzanne we are exposed to those economies, see Japan, US & EU add up equal 39.6% exposure. Smart people would do research and not listening to the peddling lies that China carries our economy the whole way.

    Yeah I was in hurry, did not going into details about QE cause inflation. While the policy push up stock prices, there were also a lot of excess liquidity that found it way around the world going to unwanted places, people use it in high return investments pushing commodities prices and furthermore most trading contracts around the world are in USD, the excess money cause inflation. UK & US been going through high inflation.

    With the exception Japan, which has adopted low interest for years to stimulate its economy. Because their prices are too high already they experience mild deflation. The liquidity go overseas, people would borrow money from Japan due to low interest rate then convert to GBP to do investment in Britain hence value of GBP/JPY rose significantly over the years. Like wise watch AUD/JPY often whenever it rises Aussie200 also rises because Japanese buy Australian currency to invest in Aussie stocks.

  28. Jesus García

    Aahh moderation, just short then. No Suzanne our trading partners China 13.2%, Japan 12.2%, US 10.3%, EU 17.1%. We are exposed 39.6% to the latter three in total compared to China’s 13.2%

  29. Jesus García

    That was top ten export goods and services from department of foreign affairs and trade.

  30. shepherdmarilyn

    I am not in any political party, the last time I joined one was the Democrats in 1987 because I worked for a Democrat senator.

    I would not waste the ink for an application form or the cash required to join one in my non-dyke old age but why Suzanne has to call me a dyke is beyond me.

    Homophobic as well as racist hey SB.

  31. Peter Ormonde

    What a pity Mr Wizz – Troofie if you prefer – and Mrs Blake (probably the same individual) aren’t just elevated onto the High Court by popular demand. They’d sort out these silly decisions about illegal peoples sneaking into our coillapsing economy by boat … and have it sorted by lunch I’d reckon. How? Cos they just know – that’s all it takes innit? Just knowing that the law says this is what it is and the High Court has got it so badly badly wrong.

    Talk about delusions of grandeur. Talk about pretending and just not really unnerstannin’ nuffink. They’ve both slid even further to the right than Tony Abbott lately – anyone noticed? Tony risks losing the pig iggerunt racist vote.

    More foil in 2012 kids…. yep the thick alcan stuff with the diamond pattern…. no one will notice under the horsehair wigs will they?

  32. Jesus García

    Hey Suz, the figures I gave you before were from the two way tade partner table. There’s one I found on top merchandise export destination. 26.4 China, 19.1 Japan, 9.2 RoKorea can’t find aggregate for EU27. Sorry I’m on mobile celebrating new year no time to read them thoroughly, but i let you know don’t want to cheat you. You should try to do research yourself and learn to be objective. There’s a lot of lies and manipulation out there, politic is dirty.

  33. Jesus García

    I think I understand what confuse people now. When people use goods export figure, China looks like
    a very big partner but when include both goods and services it is not that huge.

  34. Edward James

    Someone once said think globally but act locally. That has always made some sense to me. When I started writing comments in the paper, I was under the mistaken impression there would be hundreds if not thousands of other readers who shared a desire to become involved in the public pursuit of honest open elected representation. Over the years I have learnt first hand those sorts of people are very few and far between. Perhaps because so many people can see the futility of making a public fuss over an issue of abuse of power, misgovernance or systemic corruption. They know it means becoming a target, the amount of fuss you make influences the size target you become. While I believe naming people like John Robertson, John Hatzistergos, Craig Thomson, Barry O’Farrell attracts the attention of mobs like Media Monitors, I had always thought my political attacks on them would attract others who are like me raging against the corrupted political machine. Today I read where Malcolm TurnBull has opened his mouth about Clover Moore wearing two political hats. If Federal Liberal front bencher Malcolm Turnbull has time to comment on matters party political at the State level of our government, let him publish his personal position on the obvious non pecuniary conflict which exist now between The Liberal National Coalition, Minister for Local Government Don Page and his fellow party members, currently sitting on local councils in NSW which are publicly accused of corruption. The exact same issue which existed when the Labor Party Minister for Local Government Barbara Perry was conflicted with complaints about Gosford and Canterbury City Councils among others. Selective spin like this from Federal Member Turnbull is annoying to the people who are paying for his time, and concerned because they perceive so many politicians like him are insistently blind and certainly refusing to act to get rid of those responsible for accommodating the corruption identified in published allegations presented to so many politicians at Federal, State and Local government levels! Corruption and the accommodation of such corruption among politicians is a political issue which with luck may find its way from here in the peoples court of public opinion into another place too expensive for most of us called the law courts! Edward James

  35. Suzanne Blake

    Happy New Year Edward and other Crickey readers

  36. Edward James

    Thank you Suzanne and yes happy new year to Crikey readers and staff! Edward James

  37. Suzanne Blake

    Fancy that.

    Another corrupt Labor Politician died today. Rex “Buckets” Jackson, who was nabbed and served a jail sentence, for releasing prisioners early from jail for money.

    RIP Rex Jackson

  38. outside left

    How low are you going to go SB ? Don’t you have any idea of the corruption and adultery of your own ilk? Rot in hell you lowlife

  39. outside left

    Dancing on a grave, you really are a piece of work.As for the needless arrest in Bali, travel out to Lake Macquarie ,ask about , and hear an interesting tale.And if SM is aleftie dyke, then your desciption is unprintable

  40. Suzanne Blake

    Adultery? you mean Gillard and Emerson?

    Tell me about the corruption in both sides of politics, lets have that discussion.

    On the ALP side in local, state and federal, the list is pages in the past few year. Then how many are in jail now or in the last 20 years.

  41. Suzanne Blake

    @ Outside Left

    Look how your left wing newspaper wrote up former Labor Minister Jackson today.

    “Time runs out for disgraced prisons minister

    DEATH has claimed Rex ”Buckets” Jackson so his shabby story has to be told one last time. He was the minister for corrective services who ended up serving three years behind bars for taking bribes. At least it was a learning experience. “The NSW prison system is a disgrace,” he raged after his release. “There are people in charge who are animals.”

    Many thought the same of Jackson in his long, slow climb from Illawarra kid, pug boxer, Labor member for Bulli and finally minister in the government of Neville Wran. He had neither brains nor political convictions. Somewhere in there was a soft heart, but his colleagues knew him as the toughest bully in Parliament – and a hopeless gambler.

    Six months after becoming minister in charge of NSW jails, Jackson set up a scheme for the early release of prisoners. He alone picked the candidates. As they began streaming out of the state’s prisons, federal police wiretapping underworld figure Fayez (Frank) Hakim heard a series of conversations with Jackson selling the release of three marijuana growers from Broken Hill jail on April 14, 1983.
    Advertisement: Story continues below
    Former NSW Corrective Services Minister Rex Jackson.

    Jackson being led into court in handcuffs in 1987.

    The wiretaps were legitimate; the police watched intermediaries deliver fat envelopes to Jackson’s office; they recorded the minister afterwards saying “we could do plenty between now and August”; and this material was swiftly laid before the authorities. But it proved astonishingly difficult to get the Wran government to act.

    Jackson was absolutely broke. His fibro house in Helensburgh was mortgaged to the hilt. He was bouncing cheques on his bookmakers. It would later emerge he invested much of the proceeds of this crime on a horse called Trench Digger in the last race at Rosehill. It lost.

    After five months of stonewalling, Jackson was compelled to resign after highly detailed questions were put to him by Marian Wilkinson of The National Times. The questions were based on the transcripts of the wiretaps, transcripts which had been available to the NSW government all those months.

    Jackson went to prison in September 1987 for conspiring to accept bribes but his conduct of the early release scheme was never investigated. This was despite protests from judges and police about many of the 1000 or so men and women Jackson had set free. Labor managed to corral the corruption issue to this one case of the marijuana harvesters of Broken Hill.

    The clocks Jackson made in Berrima prison were bought by tourists. On his release in late 1990, he ran a hot dog van on Stanwell Tops. His wife had died. There were no kids. He was, as always, broke. “I’m leading a decent, clean life,” he told nosey journalists. “I see no reason to have my privacy invaded.”

    The Jackson name never went unmentioned in reports about the corruption and the collapse of Labor in the Illawarra. Lately, he had just been hanging about Wollongong, an old man with not much to do. He died on New Year’s Eve. His name survives on the Rex Jackson Park at Helensburgh”

    There is a great shot of him in handcuffs here smh.com.au/nsw/time-runs-out-for-disgraced-prisons-minister-20120101-1ph9s.html

  42. Edward James

    Not a lot has changed since Labor Parties Rex Jackson betrayed our public trust by selling get out of goal free tickets to crims. Our NSW Parliament still has no real political will to get rid of shonky politicians or expose the political sins which they commit or accommodate. The inmates sold early releases would have been co conspirators with Jackson. Why is it they have not been pursued? Same old shonks on both sides of government stone walling taxpayers. Edward James

  43. Suzanne Blake

    @ Edward James

    Yes. There is even a photo of jailed paed ophile Labor Minister Orkorpolous outside the Speakers office on the wall. He is smiling.

  44. Edward James

    It is long over due for someone to take and provide some photos of Milton the horrible Orkopolous and get them out into the general public. A long shot identifying the location next to the Treasurers office and a close shot. I don’t have the energy to go to that house of ill repute nowadays. I lost interest shortly after after the oldest Parliament in this country shut the main gates (in the name of security) making it hard for lone activist to door stop our politicians. Edward James

  45. GocomSys

    A brand New Year and the same negative sentiments.
    Interesting to see how the online sphere develops in 2012. Starting with http://theconversation.edu.au/

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