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Federal

Jan 18, 2012

Welching on Wilkie: Labor plays percentages on pokies

Labor has judged the benefits of welching on its deal with Andrew Wilkie outweight the costs. Will it be proved right?

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From the agreement between the Prime Minister and Andrew Wilkie, September 2, 1010:

The government … further commits to the following additional measures:

a) Implementing a best practice full pre-commitment scheme — that is uniform across all States and Territories and machines — consistent with recommendations and findings of the Productivity Commission. Implementation of pre-commitment arrangements will commence in 2012, with the full pre-commitment scheme commencing in 2014, with States and Territories to achieve this outcome …

If required, the government will support Commonwealth legislation through the Parliament by budget 2012.

Well, that’s not going to happen, despite the government’s “commitment” to Andrew Wilkie. At best it seems he’ll get a trial, in Canberra and Queanbeyan, assuming the ACT’s problem gamblers don’t drive over to Yass or up to Goulburn to throw their money away. Tony Abbott might have a problem with anything not written down, but the government, apparently, can’t even stick to what it has written down.

In policy terms, abandoning a rush into mandatory pre-commitment in favour of a serious trial is actually a good outcome: pre-commitment is an intrusive, unjustified interference with individuals’ rights, so the very least a government can do is test whether it will work before imposing it. And it enables Labor to end the frequently hysterical campaign being run against it by the hospitality industry that would have made the next election even more difficult than it already will be.

It also takes pressure off Wilkie, who no longer has the dilemma of determining whether, as he insisted he would, bring down the government in the event it tried, and failed, to get mandatory pre-commitment through the Parliament and tapped the mat on the issue. Instead, he’s tapped the mat, recognising that Peter Slipper has significantly reduced his bargaining power.

Still, I wouldn’t like to be Labor in the event Craig Thomson, or another MP in a marginal seat, falls under a bus and hands the Coalition an extra number, putting Wilkie’s support back in play. Having welched on its previous deal with him, Labor might find him reluctant to be made a fool of twice. It has now left Wilkie in the difficult position of explaining his own shift. He won’t forget in a hurry, if ever.

And then there’s Julia Gillard’s reputational problem — the perception that promises and commitments don’t matter to her if they get in the way of her political interests. It was a killer in relation to the carbon pricing package and abandoning her deal with Wilkie simply reinforces voters’ perceptions about her lack of trustworthiness — bearing in mind, of course, that at last count two-thirds of voters supported mandatory pre-commitment.

You could call it political ruthlessness, which it is. But it also looks a bit like yet another half-smart political play that this government excels at — moves that at first blush look clever politics, but eventually yield a host of problems. It might be the right political move in the short-term, but there are some serious longer-term risks.

The Gillard government may be lucky if this doesn’t come back and bite it.

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150 thoughts on “Welching on Wilkie: Labor plays percentages on pokies

  1. Edward James

    DAVID Posted some silliness on Sunday, 22 January 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink Dear David (possible troll?). Let Crikey readers see me give you two pointers after your mindless yet offensive and personal imputation. If you use your full birth name David it may help you with your self control and certainly increase the value of what you post for Crikey readers a tiny bit.. Secondly and Crikey readers will have noticed this over years. I often publish my contact links. In fact David they are listed in this very Crikey string Welching on Wilkie by Bernard Keane… twice. I do attack our elected representatives here and elsewhere, but not as a hidden political sniper or sock puppet. I am not ashamed of what Crikey permit me to promulgate here David. That is why I put my name to what I write! Edward James

  2. Liz45

    @SB – I respond against my better judgement! How come you know what’s going on in the ALP? Are you a supporter, worker who is not trustworthy? Do you have a ‘plant’ in Caucus? If “no” how can you make these stupid claims. You deny any of us the right to claim any semblance of logic and/or reason. What’s your real name?

    If those in Opposition won’t support Andrew Wilke, how come that’s Julia Gillard’s fault? It defies any logic. surprise, surprise!!!!

    I wish you’d stop taking the side of the No-alition! It doesn’t provide any room for rational or logical thought, of which you’re exhibiting every time you ‘open your mouth’?

  3. Liz45

    @HUGH – You conveniently omit to take note of the reality, that as I stated, many wealthy individuals either pay no tax or don’t pay all that they should. Too many others also pay accountants (clever?ones) to ‘help’ them ignore their obligations to the country and their compatriots.

    It’s also a fact, that millionaires receive some family allowance payments; there are wealthy retirees who also receive a proportion of the pension. If these people didn’t receive public monies, those who rely on pensions and/or benefits would be able to receive more, and bring their standard of living up a little – not so they’ll be rich, just so they can survive and provide themselves with the necessities of life without all the angst. I find it incredible that anyone who’d probably think they believe in justice, equality or just common fairness disagree.

    Our taxes pay out billions in subsidies etc to the fossil fuel industry. Big companies receive all sorts of lerks and perks when they rake in huge sums in profits.
    We have a Federal Govt who’s extended the defence budget/security etc to record highs. $85 million dollars per day on defence, while people caring for loved ones with disabilities have to beg and plead. Schools have raffles for library books etc? Even the education system is not focused on the betterment of the human person, it’s all geared for providing ‘bums on seats’ or on the assembly line in order to make more money for the rich. I find this repugnant! All citizens should be encouraged to seek learning for its own sake, and it should be paid for by all the community! Gough Whitlam had the right idea! It’s shameful that it was a Labor Govt who introduced HECS! Another example of placing finances etc above all else!

    Our priorities are out of whack! The West priorities are to do with money and those who have it, not with those who make it or who aren’t part of the very small minority who have wealth and power. The people who are left most vulnerable and who suffer most from this attitude are women and their kids. They have about a very small amount of the worlds wealth! That is a fact! I think it unfair and unjust!

    The payment of the GST for all citizens is only fair and just if we all have the same or similar amount of money to spend. If one group has heaps less, it stands to reason that they are always going to struggle, go without, while the rich can buy all they wish – particularly essentials of life – shelter, food and warmth etc. I’m not talking about expensive salmon or caviar, or having rows of expensive alcohol on the shelves of the bar, which is situated in the ‘mcmansion’!

    I’ve already stated that I consider myself more fortunate than many others – but I’d like not to have to experience angst every time I make a choice to buy things or seek comfort(heating/cooling) that others take for granted!

  4. Suzanne Blake

    @ Edward James

    Don’t you love David, the closet rusted on Labor man. When his back is to the wall, he shouts insults.

    He is the last person you want to be in business with. The last person you want in the trenches facing the enemy.

    His Kevin 07 T shirt is looking jaded and a distant memory at the moment.

    He is racking his brain as to whon can save Labor.

  5. david

    E James you must be S Blake in drag, you both spout the same cr-p

  6. Suzanne Blake

    Gillard started 2011 with the Carbon Tax lie that was verbal.

    Gillard starts 2012 with the Wilkie Pokie Reform lie that was in writing.

    Whats next?

    Trust and credibility out the window.

  7. Edward James

    Well it is clear to me, more than half of our elected representatives are comfortable accommodating this political gamesmanship in Federal Parliament. Craig Thomson is still their keeping his mouth shut, and a lying Prime Minister in the Lodge. Edward James

  8. Captain Planet

    We await your apology for your baseless homophobic slur on Wednesday at 2:32 pm, Suzanne.

  9. Suzanne Blake

    What a joke the ACT trial is, they just drive across the boarder to NSW.

    If lyi ng Gillard wanted a real trial she would have picked WA or TAS.

  10. david

    OMG now she has entered the realms of complete fantasy…

    Hang in Blakey, do you good ole boy.

  11. Suzanne Blake

    @ David.

    The Wilkie decision is about TRUST. You can be assured of one thing Gillard won’t call the next election about TRUST.

  12. david

    Blake I have never lowered my standards to be what I am not, as you have, I have never contributed anything that is not truthful…you on the other hand as many many here know are a li-r….that is why your contributions are better off in the gutter, where they belong with your obvious lack of personal esteem and honesty.

  13. Suzanne Blake

    MayneReport Stephen Mayne

    ALP Right told Gillard to sack Carr from Cabinet, ditch Jenkins as speaker and then dud Wilkie. In return they block Rudd challenge

    David_Speers

    Wilkie: “I regard PM to be in breach of the written agreement she signed”

    what part of li ar is this not?

  14. Gavin Moodie

    Personal insults and name-calling insults my intelligence more than the target.

    Crikey’s moderation guidelines asks posters to take responsibility themselves.

  15. Suzanne Blake

    @ david

    Are you the only honest ALPer. Quite an achievement.

  16. david

    Blake I would rather be known as honest, not a proven li-r which you are and anything you say is worthless

  17. Suzanne Blake

    @ Gavin Moodie

    Don’t worry, Andrew Wilkie has picked David’s scab. He is a angry boy today, cause his house of cards is flopping in the wind.

  18. david

    blake I repeat you are a proven li-r…..

    Mr Moodie, get used to it if you wish to participate, there are moderators, or are you not aware of such animals?

  19. Gavin Moodie

    Posters to this thread have insulted fellow posters with a frequency that has become all too depressing and common. But this has gone too far.

    I enjoin Crikey posters to keep their posts civil, for 2 reasons.

    The aim of your post is surely to convince readers of your point of view which you may do by presenting your ideas and arguments. Debate views vigorously if you like, but I am more likely to be convinced by a post that starts with my position and tries to take me to a new position. While personal invective may give the poster some satisfaction, it repels readers.

    Secondly, we want to convince others of our views to improve the world. Part of that improved world respects others. Posts which insult others, and especially other posters, undermines the ultimate goal.

  20. Suzanne Blake

    @ David

    Suggest you have a bex and a lie down. Bad day for this ly ing PM.

  21. david

    Blake for your ignorant info, the reason was the PM cannot get the agreement of the Indies so she has reached a compromise, but you being the ignorant slack brain dead head you are, prefer to go for the headlines of the news Ltd papers, who are as usual not telling the whole story.
    Instead of slopping around on a computer get off and look after your kids, that is if you have any, which I doubt any sane male would contribute to…your history as a li-r means you could be anything, with emphasis on thing.

  22. Suzanne Blake

    Game on LY ING GILLARD, you deserve what you get. What coms around goes around.

    Anti-pokies MP Andrew Wilkie has ripped up his agreement to support the Gillard minority government after he said the prime minister had broken her promise on gambling reforms.

    SMH

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard backed down on her deal with Mr Wilkie to introduce mandatory pre-commitment technology on gaming machines, instead opting for a trial of the gambling restrictions.

    Mr Wilkie said he can no longer guarantee supply and confidence for the government because the prime minister reneged on their deal.

    smh.com.au/national/pm-unveils-compromise-deal-over-pokies-reform-20120121-1qb1m.html

  23. Edward James

    @ CML Posted Thursday, 19 January 2012 at 3:30 P M.
    I missed this earlier comment from you. No I don’t think its OK, that any MP once elected on a know Party platform, should go off on a frolic of their own! as you put it. Why would you think I do? What I know from my own experience, and you CML appear to agree with is, Party politicians are blocked from representing their constituents, unless what those constituents bring to the elected their representative is an issue which asks the MP or councilor for that matter, to exercise their influence in a direction he or she as a party member is already pre determined to go! You wrote. All of them answer to powerful business, financial and/or religious masters FIRST. I believe far too many constituents make up their minds about who to vote for while standing in the line outside the polling booths on polling day. Then cast their vote and forget all about their political entitlements and civic responsibility for another three or four years. We are accommodating a political environment which is dysfunctional. Party politics being offered to us by the two parties not much preferred is perceived by many to be damaged, certainly it is not what it once was. The Parties are not doing anything overt to correct that perception. So the job falls to individual thinking voters. The more we make the effort to exercise our own votes by numbering boxes below the line, directing own own preferences and numbering lazy dead wood politicians last. So they finish out in the street with the unemployed. The sooner we may return to honest open representative government. I am not saying this will happen after one election. In NSW the job is only half done, but we must resolve to vote for change and change again to arrive at what we want. Keep in mind all of our politicians collected together are no more than just another noisy minority, until we give them our votes in trust that they will exercise their interest in our best interest. We can see as you point out they are more interested in doing the bidding of powerful cashed up interest above the proletariat. Edward James

  24. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Liz45, Yeah, I know, some of us are more equal than others. We started on this discussion because you raised the matter of how the GST (and Howard’s introduction of it, and the pensioners etc) was unfair. You said the wealthy don’t pay tax or don’t pay enough but I said, with specific regard to the GST, the wealthy do pay – they pay exactly the same rate as you and me and they can’t get out of it. You still insist that’s not fair although you haven’t gone as far as saying the wealthy should pay a higher rate of GST. How exactly would you like to see the GST adjusted to bring in ‘fairness?
    We haven’t been talking about how ‘the whole tax system’ is unfair – that’s a different topic altogether. I’ve been trying to say that at least everyone pays the GST but you insist that everyone must pay all the taxes (and more if they’re wealthy) and until they do the whole system is completely unfair. Oh well.

  25. Liz45

    @CHARLIE MC – I’m not talking about envying Mc mansions or the car you mention. I’m just talking about equality of a better level than at present. Adele Horin wrote a good article in the SMH some time ago re the small number of millions owed to Centrelink via recipients, and the large number of millions spent on getting those monies back, in stark contrast to the BILLIONS owed via non-payment of taxes owed by the wealthy. I suggest you read it.

    The ‘trickle down’ effect put forward by Republicans in the US and others? is just bs, and many agree. Why should people like me have to live in dire straits, while the filthy rich bludge on ordinary tax payers and live the high life? I find that repugnant!

    I don’t envy wealth, I’m just talking about justice and equality – nothing more. That’s what ‘from each according to their means, and to each according to their needs’ means. Fortescue Mines for example, owned by the 2nd/3rd wealthiest person in Australia didn’t or hasn’t paid tax for several years, yet this person spent millions bellyaching about paying tax on his much increased profits. If you think this is fair or just, then it proves that we’re more than poles apart in our views.

    When we don’t have any people living in an impoverished manner, than you MAY have some validity to your argument, but in the meantime, it’s more than unfair.

  26. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Liz45, the upshot of your proposition that “…those who have lots more should have to pay more than those with almost nothing by comparison”, is that you would require the wealthy to pay more to turn their lights on and have gas to heat their cold places or to buy petrol for their car. I don’t think that is necessary in order to be “fair”. A consumption tax (the GST) exploits the likelihood that the wealthy will buy more stuff (and more expensive stuff at that), will build bigger houses, take expensive holidays etc and that at each step they will pay 10% on top of everything, as they must. In so doing the wealthy actually contribute huge amounts to the tax intake which government cannot get out of them by any other means. The wealthy pay the same percentage as everyone else but their expenditure is so much greater. Of course some people may envy the extra bucks that the wealthy have to spend but basically not everyone in the world has to have a McMansion or two and a Maserati and those who do want all that will have to pay 10% GST for their pleasure, no matter what their wealth. Which is only fair.

  27. Liz45

    @HIGH MC – I guess I also decide to turn my lights on, have gas to heat my cold place in winter and have to pay two lots of tax including GST when I buy petrol. I still assert that it’s not fair, particularly when I know that the Govt is owed BILLIONS from underpaid or no tax paid by the wealthy – companies and individuals.

    I guess we just disagree about a basic principle – that those who have lots more should have to pay more than those with almost nothing by comparison! I have no problem with paying my share. It’s interesting to note, that when it was introduced, those on pensions with heaps of money received hand outs from the Howard Govt – those who didn’t have heaps did not! We received a pittance by comparison to those with investments etc?

    ***************
    To the others who criticise the current PM. Unless she blackmails people or drags them into the Parlt under a threat of ???? she has no choice as people point out!
    Let’s wait and see. I personally think that making all machines no more than $1 per ‘spin’ is the answer, with much smaller jackpots. To think that a person can lose $1200 per half hour or so, perhaps less is appalling!

  28. david

    Edward James the names of Libs Sophia Mirrabella and Mary Jo Fisher blow your absurd rambling comments out of the water…

  29. Edward James

    @ CML a very biased idealist. Well thanks but you would be wrong! I see the Liberal National Coalition as simply the best tool for the job. People who want change need to get rid of as many Labor Party Politicians as possible. Not just out of government power. They must be throw right out of our Parliaments and into the streets without any more easy income. Make room for new independent people who have not had their backbones removed as part of a party process. We the people have always held the power to shake the base of politics. By simply exercising our votes and numbering all the boxes below the line making sure to put Labor last. We can begin to break up the Labor Party Nationally. reducing their voter support will take away a lot of their public funding, removing the money they get for every vote they attract. The Labor Party has proven it is simply incapable of cleaning out the members who are bringing their Party and our Parliamentary process into disrepute. Craig Thomson is the last in a long line with Labor as a Party. It is time for constituents nationally to rise up and reject everything to do with Labor in their States and territories and at the local level of government. Everyone who has been disrespected and lied to for decades. Take matters into your own hands and begin the change you want! When sock puppets tell readers the LNP are just as bad all the other politicians. They are saying don’t please do not act to destroy Labor! Do nothing things will change just wait till after the next election. Well yes they will change if people exercise their votes and break the Labor party apart. Why settle for big swing against Labor which sends a message? When voters may if they choose send a bigger message to political allsorts everywhere serve us honestly openly and effectively or you wont last past one term, no indexed pension for life. It is time to act, to dismantle Labor. Exercise your vote, bring about real change, as the first step in returning to honest open government. We won’t get change without doing something with our votes to bring it about. Right now Labor politicians are blocking change. Edward James

  30. CML

    Edward James you are a very biased idealist! The LNP in Qld are just as bad as all the other politicians of whatever flavour. You lot up there will find that out when your guru Newman (maybe) is elected. The Labor party is the oldest in Australia – its demise has been predicted many times, but it is still here. Just because it is run by a bunch of right wing NSW lunatics at the moment doesn’t mean that it will really happen this time. It will recover when decent true-blue Ozzies reclaim THEIR party. And the Liberal party will recover when they get rid of their ultra right-wing conservatives. I’m afraid there is no hope for the Nationals!

  31. Luke Turner

    “…abandoning a rush into mandatory pre-commitment in favour of a serious trial is actually a good outcome: pre-commitment is an intrusive, unjustified interference with individuals’ rights, so the very least a government can do is test whether it will work before imposing it.”

    Well said. So often the intrusive and paternal nature of these sorts of laws are overlooked in favour of endless debates about how effective they may or may not be in achieving some kind of social end.

    The effectiveness of the law is only one part of the debate – and in fact it may be a very small part of the debate. That the law will be effective is a necessary but not sufficient condition for it’s adoption. If the efficacy of the measure is in doubt then that should be reason enough to baulk at it.

  32. Edward James

    I never intended to become a politician because they are the very thing I despise. I am comfortable addressing crowds now.
    When I do. I do it with a view to talking up and promoting their needs because what I do is about community not self. I would like to see the two parties not much preferred completely dismantled. But right now the Liberal National Party is the best tool for thinking voters to number every box putting labor last to dismantle Labor in Queensland. I hope Queenslander’s do a better job than NSW voters did. Because we have about 21 Labor dead wood politicians still sitting on the opposition benches enjoying taxpayer funded RnR Edward James

  33. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Edward James, unfortunately (or otherwise) you never aimed to channel your connections into an election campaign to become a politician who could therefore practice what they preached ie. holding their caucus in the public view. We are about to have a state election in Queensland and at the end of March, state-wide local government elections. It’s extremely unlikely that any of the hundreds of candidates will appear anywhere ‘on a soapbox’ and if they did they would likely be attended by a tiny audience for the novelty value only. The political public caucus is out of date and probably dead.

  34. Edward James

    @ Hugh (Charlie ) McColl. Years ago I wandered down to that place in the Domain where people used to get on their “soapbox ” and let fly. I went there during the week and discovered a small step ladder set in place with words cast into the steps. I always mean to revisit that place and take some photos. I am in my sixties now but I recall many years ago lamenting to a woman in the foyer of Gosford City Council about how I was fearful of stepping up and speaking out in a public forum. She told me just do it! You will be OK. She was right. I went to Sydney and over the next three years spent well over four hundred days and many nights complaining as the Gosford Foghorn about systemic corruption in my local Gosford City Council accommodated by our State level politicians. During that time I met many people who were worse off than me. Some of them I was able to help or advise. It is interesting to note only after a constituent literally stands up to defend their own interest, are they able to see all the others in their community who are not well represented or able to defend themselves against misgovernance by those whom they have given their votes to in trust. I am fighting now but I do not intend to keep fighting while others look on and suck their thumbs. I will just wander off somewhere and relax enjoy the serenity. Edward James 0243419140

  35. CML

    @ EJ – So you think it is okay if MP’s, once elected on a Labor platform, just go off on a frolic of their own and vote according to their particular bent on any legislation that comes before parliament? And don’t try to tell me that any of them represent their constituants – if that was the case, euthanasia (for example) would have become legal eons ago. All of them answer to powerful business, financial and/or religious masters FIRST, particularly on the conservative side of politics, but increasingly on the so-called left as well. Frustrating, isn’t it?
    Incidentally, expulsion from the Labor party for voting against the platform is nothing new – it has been going on for over 100 years. If you think the tories are any different, then you are living in cloud cuckoo land. They just get rid of any members who do the same thing, just in a different way, usually by not re-endorsing the said member in their seat for the next election, or disendorsing him/her at the time, or forcing them to resign from the Liberal/National party (if the “crime” threatens the government). It is still all about numbers.
    Contrary to popular opinion, the current independent members of parliament are probably the most principled in this regard. They don’t owe allegiance to any party, so vote according to what they see as giving the most benefit to their individual electorates. I would venture to say that most of the opprobrium heaped on these guys is coming from outside their electorates – hence the great need to get rid of them, particularly on the part of the conservatives. They (the Indies) are challenging the “top order” – can’t have that, can we?
    For the record – I do not live in an electorate represented by an Independent member.

  36. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Edward James, interesting idea for politicians to start “holding their caucus in the public view”. But I think you’d agree it’s a long time since the soap box in the park or the back of a truck in the main street was an effective forum, even for a seasoned public speaker. The general public seem to have lost interest in ‘old style’ face-to-face engagement, preferring the anonymity of the internet, ‘txt-the-editor’ or occasionally an actual letter to the editor. I reckon letters to the editor in most newspapers has fallen over a cliff in quality over the years, not because of mediocrity of readers but just lack of engagement. Texting just doesn’t cut it. It seems that neither politicians or their constituents are able to keep up with the demands of each other and are now waiting to see if a new forum will turn up. I don’t really want the forum to be the internet but that’s probably where it will be – lifeless, pseudo-anonymous and impersonal – like modern politics really.

  37. Edward James

    @CML. You appear to have a better than average grasp of how things are meant to function politically. Your use of the words “or risk expulsion from the party” is very descriptive of how what is left of Labor conduct themselves on behalf of their constituents. I wonder if they understand how just how much trouble we the people have with their whole caucus thingy? Perhaps these leftovers from another time when our politicians had their own backbones could start holding their caucus in the public view? Edward James

  38. Edward James

    People pay the same GST on their purchases. 10% someone wrote. The rate of GST is the same for everyone because it is tied to the amount you spend. There is no way someone spending twenty thousand will ever pay the same amount of GST in dollar terms as someone spending three hundred thousand!
    @ Gavin Moodie Some people, too many to support! Are comfortable existing on the dole in housing commission houses. Some people simply work to survive and enjoy self respect. Others work to improve their lifestyle, get a house attract a wife and build a family together. Some of those people who work to improve, may be happy and comfortable locked into a hand to mouth existence like PAYG taxpayers. Not that bad while they were able to plan ahead based on the spending power of their wages, and stable interest rates and life time employment. Others may aspire to something more than that. Get a Trade qualification with their families help, start a business employ people grow and grow some more employ more people. Nothing wrong with that. And they will strive to get what they want in as many different ways as there are people wanting to get on. Trying to argue for people to pay a flat rate of tax on a flat rate of pay was laughed at. I could understand that penalty rates and overtime were just great when workers were lining up for day labor, job and finish. Now we are reading about restaurants who want to ditch penalty rates, we are aware casual hire is the go now. No penalty or holiday loading. It is a mess I do not care to understand it. I will be dead before I need to work again! But consider this a flat rate of pay and tax could be great equalizer for the PAYG taxpayer. Get rid of penalty rates across the board. Right now we have two peak hours when traffic clogs our transport system. This happens because daylight and penalty rates tell employers when they get the most value from their investments in factories. I think it is interesting that so many factories only work one perhaps two shifts. A flat rate of pay would change that. If I owned a factory again I would only be too happy to have it working around the clock employing more people. My and our governments investment in infrastructure would be money well spent. Right now taxpayers have billions of their hard earned money invested in roads, tunnels, trains, ferries and busses which are put to bed around eleven P M so they are not running twenty four seven, they are being wasted for one third of the time. It would go some way to removing the 2 peak hour congestions which cost Australia money. Don’t kid yourself that the clogged roads will get larger and better! There is just not the space time and money to do! What a flat rate of pay and taxes could do for Australia. More importantly young people with energy to spare could work eighty hours instead of forty, earn double the wages and only pay double the tax. While young and fit they could work toward building a happy future perhaps secure in the knowledge. Tax and wages would stabilize and balance out. As I understand it now, if you work double the hours you will pay perhaps three times the tax, removing the incentive to work longer. The so called shortage of jobs would be addressed. Even the amount of paper used to publish the tax act would be reduced. Edward James

  39. CML

    @ BB – I see you don’t understand logic either. (See my post @ 4.05am). If one government member disappeared, for whatever reason, you would still have the same scenario because of the “defection” of Peter Slipper. However, if two ALP members were to go, then unless the Indies continued to support Gillard, there would be a change of government. So, that puts Abbott in power with less than the required 76 votes to have ANY legislation passed. He would be in exactly the same position as Gillard is now – having to negotiate with the non-major party MPs in the lower house. And that is before we get to the Senate, where it is most unlikely the Greens would support the vast majority of Coalition policy. So what would be so great about the Coalition gaining power in the present parliament? Of course, Abbott could always attempt to call an election, but he has to have a half-decent reason to do that, and the Governor General has to aquiese.
    As I attempted to point out before, the business of parliament is ALL ABOUT NUMBERS – if any side doesn’t have them, then it is usual that most legislation is subject to amendment, to accommodate the wishes of various members whose votes are required. That is how democracy works – whether you like it or not!
    At the risk of repeating myself, Abbott like Gillard has ONE vote, and unless he is going to become a dictator (wouldn’t put it past him), has no power to compel any other member in the House to vote as he (Abbott) wants them to. In fact, the Labor party has more control over their members than the Coalition, simply because the former demand majority rule in their caucas. In other words, once the party decides (democratically) on a particular course of action, then all members must follow that decision or risk expulsion from the party. While this practice is often criticised, it does, in fact, protect the voting public to some degree. What you see is what you get. That doesn’t mean it is set in concrete because sometimes things must be altered to deal with changing circumstances, both nationally and internationally, during the three years or so a government is in power. To do otherwise would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the government.
    I do wish people would engage the brain before opening the mouth or utilising the digits. And could everyone stop commenting on the inane nonsense from SB and the other trolls, please?

  40. Schnappi

    @BARBARA BOYLE,
    Had the same wish about abbott being eaten by an Orca,but would settle for pyne,morrison,brandis,hunt,bishops,or any other hasbeen.

  41. Barbara Boyle

    Nice reminder, Bernard,that one ALP government member falling under a bus could fix this.
    ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

  42. Holden Back

    Stop wrestling with those pigs, Gavin: they enjoy it much more than you do, and are impervious to argument.

  43. Gavin Moodie

    I would accept a broadening of the gst if taxes on capital were broadened. A broadening of the gst would affect poor people more but they would be compensated. A broadening of the capital gains tax would affect only wealthy people and they wouldn’t be compensated.

    Australia is one of the lowest taxing of OECD countries, as Crikey writers have pointed out several times.

  44. Bohemian

    So long as people want the government to take care of them from womb to tomb, to decide what is good and bad for them and put up with endless new rules and regulations, then the present system of big taxing – big spending will continue and, just like America, when they can tax no more, borrow the difference i.e. basically printing money.

    This gives rise to the most regressive and punitive tax of all – inflation. This is a tax that hits the people with the least the hardest while the people who get first use of the increased money supply (the insiders and the rich) enjoy all of its benefits before the inflation is felt.

    Inflation is the increase in the money supply chasing the same level of goods – not the increase in prices. That is the outcome of the increase in the money supply. In the last 20 years the West has managed to keep its true inflation levels hidden by exporting jobs to the developing countries and getting them to make goods and more recently services, at far lower prices than we can in the West. Not only have we exported out jobs, but also our pollution to those places and when they develop a middle class, we will move on to the next poor country and make them rich. Long ago the powers that be worked out that it is cheaper to pay everyone the dole than have things made in our countries.

  45. Gavin Moodie

    More progressive taxation does not remove incentives to work, for 2 reasons. First, no tax system, however progressive, ever leaves everyone with the same disposable income. Making a tax system more progressive reduces but does not remove the higher disposable incomes that people with higher pay receive.

    Secondly, people do not work for higher disposable incomes alone. They also work to give meaning to their lives and to earn the respect of their community. High paying jobs also tend to be more enjoyable, prestigious and powerful.

  46. Edward James

    In the Courier Mail 14 of 58. There is another bit of information taxpayers want which would explain why the Bligh Government resolved to pay $140.000 to an alleged victim of rape while under the protection of the Queensland State Government. Information which relates to the Heiner Affair, Shreddergate and how Kevin Rudd fits in.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-opposition-obtains-confidential-briefing-note-warning-health-minister-geoff-wilson-on-releasing-email-written-by-queensland-health-doctor-may-attract-media-attention-due-to-strong-tone/story-e6freoof-1226247786427 Edward James

  47. Schnappi

    although a pensioner pays the same price for food as a billionaire now.I should add,do not see why should fpaymore ,while a billionaire it would not matter

  48. Schnappi

    @GAVIN MOODIE,
    Seems you would have a pensioner pay the same price for food as a billionaire,does not seem much social justice there.

  49. Suzanne Blake

    @ Gavin Moodie

    Then there is no incentive to work. You better move to a commune where all are equal in terms of work and pay.

  50. Edward James

    @ SUZANNE BLAKE I was naive when I first tried to defend my father over ten years ago from what may be identified as the abuse of power and predatory actions of our local council. Somehow I believed if I stood up and exposed the councils actions, in accepting a development application which was misleading in no small way, in both the plan over view and accompanying statement of environmental effect. Published for the consideration of the ratepayers. Because it completely denied the existence of my fathers residential house to any person reading the development application. The house is because of its existing use rights a barrier to the aspirational development proposed on the neighboring property. Those responsible would be pulled into line by the council hierarchy! When that did not work, I went to the State Minister for Local Government Harry Woods who referred it back to my State MP. When that did not work I went to the opposition. And so on up the ladder of complaint, in the process I began reading the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and its regulation. Then the Local Government Act and the Gosford Planning Scheme Ordnance. I am much older and wiser now. There is no statute of limitations on the complained of corrupt conduct. With several political scalps on my belt. Only two councilors remain from the ten who insisted on accommodating the misgovernance of the local council. While they are politicians answerable to a different standard of conduct, they still have always had a civic responsibility pursuant to Section 232 of the Local Government Act to conduct the business of the peoples within the law. I tell you Police and Ministers of the Crown are not as diligent as we would expect them to be. When you take the trouble to read some law books right up front you may be reminded of a loop hole, the Ministerial prerogative which means the Minister may choose not to act on the legislation as he or she sees fit. Edward James http://bit.ly/EJ_PNewsAds

  51. Gavin Moodie

    I think the argument is more about pizzas than Maseratis. Pizzas are less discretionary than Maseratis. Rich and poor alike pay the same gst on their pizza, yet it is a higher proportion of poor peoples’ expenditure.

    While I maintain that consumption taxes are regressive, as an advocate of more progressive taxation I don’t think that cutting the gst is a high priority. Indeed, I’d accept a broadening of the gst to include all food if the dole were increased and if tax on capital were broadened by, for example, removing the discounts and exemptions from the capital gains tax.

  52. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Nevertheless Gavin, if a poor person decides to make it their personal highest priority to buy a Maserati, there’s no reason why they should pay less GST.

  53. Gavin Moodie

    But of course consumption taxes are regressive since they tax a higher proportion of poor peoples’ income than rich peoples’.

    Returning to an even earlier point, I don’t think there would be any risk of rich people leaving Australia if income tax were made more progressive by increasing the tax on high income earners. Nor would they leave if Australia joined the rest of the OECD in having a probate tax. The threat is often made but rarely executed. It is much more likely to increase tax avoidance and perhaps even evasion, with all the problems, extra cost and unpleasantness of increased surveillance and enforcement.

  54. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Liz45, sorry to come back to a matter from hours ago but I think you are confusing the GST with other taxation (such as income tax, company tax etc). GST is a consumption tax – you only pay it if you consume products or services. You ask “How many huge companies haven’t paid tax in the last, say five years?”, and I suggest to you that every single company and every single person that consumed any taxable item paid 10% GST. No one can get out of the GST. That’s the point. GST is not about ‘means’. If you choose to consume a cup of coffee, a professional service (haircut, X-ray, legal advice) or a new Maserati sports car, you pay exactly the same tax component on that service as everyone else. You decide what your means are and what your needs are – no one else can direct your consumption. It’s your choice.
    This is completely separate, both philosophically and fiscally, from personal income or company taxation. And as a matter of interest I don’t think these kind of taxes (“on pensioners”) started with John Howard. Think stamp duty, think wholesale sales tax and other state taxes – which everyone has/had to pay regardless of means.

  55. Oldfootyhead

    Edward James – Could not agree more. For mine the more Independents the better. The charades we endure almost daily from members of both major parties are disgraceful and a blight on the credibility of our pollies, many of whom start with high standards and ambition for the country only to be moulded the party way.
    But the main thing here is pokie reform. Pokies are a cancer. Why not simply phase down the number of machines over a 5 year period. If clubs (more likely well paid club officials) are addicted to the income, then this would allow time to develop alternatives such as improved entertainment and facilities to attract customers to their venues. How is it the rest of the world manage to survive without them yet we are told our world will cave in if we simply put the brakes on?
    Martyc – I also concur, this simply rewards big spending lobbyists who can afford advertising campaigns. For the rest of us, too bad if you dont like a decision. This for mine, deeply corrupts the process of law creation and hence our democracy in favour of wealthy, powerful vested interests.

  56. Suzanne Blake

    @ Edward James

    “Have a look at the matter of Milton the horrible Orkopolous the failed member for Swansea. Wonder at the fact that people, some of them family members of Orkopolous victims were complaining for years about his later proved to be criminal activities, to Police at Charlstown and anyone else who would listen. Some of you will recall Nathan (scurried like a rat) Rees, now enjoying RnR, was the Chief of Staff in that Swansea Office! ”

    You would have thought that the Police would have been ruthless investigated se x crimes against children. Maybe they feared for their jobs / careers investigating a Labor MP / Minister. I wonder is this is happening with our local missing in action Labor member as well with the “HSU” case.

  57. Suzanne Blake

    @ Edwards James

    “The more voters who can be encouraged to follow through on their votes after voting day the quicker we will have more open and effective governance. Going to politicians who must check back with Party Leaders for permission to act independently is getting tired!”

    Sounds good, will never happen….

  58. Edward James

    In Australia party members all the way to local councils are required to vote the party line or face being booted out of the party, unless there is a conscience vote. Voters need to be more pro active, they need to insist their elected reps do the constituents bidding. The more voters who can be encouraged to follow through on their votes after voting day the quicker we will have more open and effective governance. Going to politicians who must check back with Party Leaders for permission to act independently is getting tired! Edward James

  59. CML

    Last time I looked, this country was supposed to be a democracy with an elected government who appoints the PM. Australia is NOT a dictatorship – what do you all want the PM to do? Torture the Independent members of parliament until they vote “the correct way” on the anti pokies legislation? Surely in a democracy, each member of parliament has a free vote. If you don’t like the way your particular representative votes on any issue, then don’t elect them next time. In the current hung parliament, it is not only the government and PM who are responsible for passing or rejecting bills introduced into either house of parliament.
    As I recall, after the last election, PM Gillard agreed to support Wilkie’s move to do something about the terrible problem of gambling addiction. Well she and her party can give him all the support they have – it still isn’t enough to get the legislation passed, so why is it Gillard’s fault? The “numbers” would suggest that putting this interpretation on the current question isn’t even logical. To extend that logic a little further – it wouldn’t matter how many millions Club Australia spends on some crappy advertising campaign, this legislation will not get up in it’s entirety because not enough MHR’s (other than Labor) will vote for it. That is a fact!! So again I ask – how is that the fault of a PM who leads a democratic country? If those of you (including Bernard) want someone to blame, look at the voters who elected the current parliament. Maybe they are not always “right”?
    And it would be really good if a few people remembered that “politics is the art of the possible”. But then again, maybe that is asking too much of some!!

  60. Edward James

    @ SUZANNE BLAKE. I like to call them the two parties not much preferred. This noisy minority scattered throughout the Australian population even fewer making up a collective of representative politicians at Federal, State and Local government have lost track of what it is they are supposed to be doing for their constituents, those people who right or wrong always pay! Unless a constituent brings a problem to their elected rep, which that rep is already predisposed to do something about. The constituent will find them selves being dealt with by staffers and often be given email contacts for staff not the MP. Most constituents complaining about systemic corruption not being addressed by their councilors at local government levels will get nowhere. Because the Premier or Local Government Minister they go to as part of the political, not legal process. For example Labor Barbara Perry before the State election, now Liberal Don Page will be a member of a party which has party members on the dodgy council. A change of government in NSW has not altered one bit the clear conflict of interest between a Local Government Minister and that politicians fellow party members on problem local councils. Last NSW State election Labor deservedly came close to being broken apart and destroyed as a party in NSW, that job is still to be finished! There are still Labor Party Members doing their Labor Party thing while taking RnR at our expense. Consider MP Robert Furolo till recently he was also the Mayor of Canterbury Council which came to the attention of the NSW State Ombudsman in the matter of Malone v Canterbury City Council. Reported in the Ombudsman’s report 2009 2010. While the council was exposed as the reason a legal fight cost two property owners hundreds of thousands of dollars. The best the council could come up with after having their arse kicked for years of malfeasance was a piss weak “sorry”. There is no doubt Labor Party members like the Minister for Local Government Barbara Perry was ever going to name the member for Lakemba, Robert Furolo on the floor of State Parliament as a political sinner. Politicians are first and foremost team players. They have a history of uniting across party boundaries to combat anyone who threatens their position on the taxpayer funded gravy train. Have a look at the matter of Milton the horrible Orkopolous the failed member for Swansea. Wonder at the fact that people, some of them family members of Orkopolous victims were complaining for years about his later proved to be criminal activities, to Police at Charlstown and anyone else who would listen. Some of you will recall Nathan (scurried like a rat) Rees, now enjoying RnR, was the Chief of Staff in that Swansea Office! Edward James

  61. Captain Planet

    Does anyone else find it intriguing that the hard right astroturfing trolls now resort to manufactured slurs alleging homosexuality, in this latest appalling incarnation of misogynism?

    Even if it were true, (which it is not), so what?

    Even Alan Jones was recently on the record pointing out that a mature society wouldn’t give two figs about such matters.

    Obviously he has a vested interest in this matter, but nonetheless the truth of his observation is unimpaired.

    Lift the calibre of your mudslinging, far right loonies. Simply making stuff up to appeal to the baser instincts of the prejudiced troglodytes amongst us, demeans us all.

  62. Bohemian

    Common! I dare you to choose who you want to lead this place Andrew Wilkie:

    Julia “the dagger” Fabiano
    Vatican Tony
    Malcolm Goldman Sachs
    Kevin Incorporated
    The double agents and foreign shills resting in the shadows
    One of the endless lawyers and union officials now in Canberra who made their names dealing with big government and only want it bigger; who see the govt. as one big trade union bank account.
    The Big Brother fascists (on both sides – cluster in areas of government which involve inconveniencing and humiliating the public)
    Three bleeding hearts
    The One World Govt faction (may be included elsewhere) who actually buy that tripe.
    A couple of surviving farmers who still have rights to grow things on their land and are not corporations.
    The Dills (more than you could guess and may incorporate other categories above)
    A few divine right of kings supporters and
    the last of the Trotsky warhorses.

    Sorry if I have missed someone!

  63. Suzanne Blake

    @ Liz45

    As I have said here many times, we are poorly represented on BOTH sides of politics. Our political process attracts politicians (people who can spin, slide, knife, lie and slide). There are very few smart people on either side that can manage anything.

    I have gone on record here saying that the only Labor person i would vote for was Stephen Smith. The lefties shot me down on him. On the LNP side I suppose its Turnbull. At least you know he is NOT in it for the money, and does not need the ‘work’ He is in it for power and ego I suppose.

    I have always said Abbott is not PM material.

    Rudd had conviction, Gillard has nothing and Swan is very incompetent, like Garrett and Phlibasek and Conroy. On the other side, they too have a bunch of losers.

  64. Liz45

    @SB – Very cute. The thing is that you’ll probably vote for the Liberal candidate in the next election which may result in him being PM. The whole point that you so conveniently persist in dodging, is that he has quite openly come out and stated that he wants to win, and he’d have to stop and think about selling his a**e to do it! He also admitted to telling porkies!

    My point being, that you conveniently omit to even address anything that is negative of those who aspire to Govt. Abbott is putting himself and his mates forward as an alternative govt. You’d do your credibility cause some good if you were honest enough to address that – while you pour heaps of rubbish on Gillard and an outcome of which none of us know!

    As AR points out, the majority of Australians want action. Julia should just take the Clubs on and denounce their lies, and then have the guts to do the proper thing for the betterment of those whose lives are destroyed by gambling on these revolting machines.

    Then they could take on the online gambling outlets. I want to be able to watch the tennis without someone from channel 7 talking up the odds on whoever? Nauseating!

  65. Schnappi

    Although nothing has been announced as yet,the murdoch press and other ning nongs have decided all is lost.Have not read any media or sub standard journos giving any concern to problem gamblers ,just as the media writes supposition for for headlines to sell their rags,not one has mentioned the plight of people going broke or suiciding,and abbott cares even less,agree with LIZ45 abbott is a pathetic joke.

  66. AR

    It’s so much quicker reading these comments when one skips SB (and its ilk) and anyone dumb enough to reply.
    Putrid, pusillanimous, political pragmatism is bad enough BUT, BUT!!, polls (those loathsome carbuncles on the body politic) show that fully TWO THIRDS, 66%, 2/3 of those responding WANT/DEMAND/EXPECT pokie reform and still this pathetic excuse for a government fails.
    Makes Krudd’s gutlessness over MRRT, EPRS, 20/20, etc ad nauseam look courageous, or the Rodent look principled.

  67. Suzanne Blake

    @ Liz

    Abbott is not PM. As I have said here 20 times, dont like nor support Abbott. He is not PM material, neither is ly ing Gillard as we have all seen

  68. Suzanne Blake

    @ Geewizz

    Nick Xenophon who was on 730 tonight and who is closest to Wilkie on this told the program what hs happened:

    1. Gillard getting smashed by Clubs campaign, especially in NSW and QLD

    2. Slipper change, meant she does not need Wilkie vote, so she can back away and water it down to save face.

    Greens support Wilkie.

    Looks like Gillard has played Wilkie for a foll and won. Smart chess Gillard

    delay, smile, nod, knife, smile, spin, win

  69. Scott Grant

    There may not have been an official announcement yet, but it sounds pretty clear that there has been a back down within Labor. To quote the Sydney Morning Herald: “Sources close to Mr Wilkie told the Herald Ms Gillard revealed the backdown in a meeting on Sunday.”.

    Oh well. The only politician I can think of that I have never heard lying is Malcolm Turnbull. Pity about the company he keeps.

    I find it sad that the supposed lie that Julia Gillard is pilloried for by the flat-earth brigade was not, in my opinion, a lie. Silly, yes. Stupid, yes. But not a lie. She did not want and has not implemented a tax on carbon dioxide production. More’s the pity. I think a simple tax would probably have been more effective, and less easy to rort, than a trading scheme.

    But this. This IS a broken promise. Oh well. A lying politician is a tautology.

    I thought she was a hopeless minister for education, and her spineless back down to the mining lobby was unforgivable. But I had hopes that, with the discipline of minority government, she might yet rise to become a good prime minister. The government achieved a lot in 2011, including putting a price on carbon dioxide pollution – a small attempt at making the polluter pay for the cost of the pollution.

    But she is, in the end, a creature of the Labor party, whose relevance must now be coming to an end. Its attempts at internal reform have come to nothing and so, more and more, they represent nobody. The best they can manage is that they may not be quite as bad as the other lot. Yet this week’s events leave even that proposition as doubtful.

  70. Filth Dimension

    @Leone – Most intelligent thing said on here all day and extra points for staying on topic.

  71. Liz45

    @HIGH Because my income is heaps less that’s why?I believe in ‘to each according to their NEEDS, from each according to their MEANS’? Pretty big difference between Packer and myself – or anyone else in the country for that matter. How many huge companies haven’t paid tax in the last, say five years?

    . It’s also relevant to SB’s comments about the Govt etc. I can’t afford to even think about engaging in the services that you mention(except for the odd coffee and a sandwich) nor can a person on centrelink payments of any kind. I’ve already said that I’m in a better position than a lot of others on low incomes – such as the homeless or those with a mental illness, like an addiction to gambling for instance?

    No other govt did this to people on low incomes, many who, unlike me have kids to raise; disabilities etc that require them spending more of their pittance of an income on some essentials, not luxuries. Then I have to read the comments that $75, 000 is not the luxury of the rich? Please!

    @LEONE – Valid points. We don’t know the outcome of discussions as you say! I agree with you! I’ll wait too!

  72. PatriciaWA

    I thought a subscription to Crikey and having my news come to me by email late morning would give me something more up to date and different from the spin of newspapers. How foolish of me! Crikey comes out at mid-day with even staler news and views after Bernard Keane has had a chance to read the dailies. He writes just as much rubbish as the print commentariat, and often worse.

    This is typical.

  73. leone

    What a load of bulldust. Sorry, but I really couldn’t be bothered reading it all properly. a quick skim after I got to ‘Well that’s not going to happen’ was enough.

    No-one has anounced anything, no-one knows what the PM and Wilkie discussed except the two people who were present. Yet somehow Bernard and the rest of the media pack say they know everything.

    It’s all a load of spin with nothing to back it up. Come back when Gillard and Wilkie have announced their policy and I’ll take notice of what you have to say. Until then why should I waste time reading crap that is just speculation.

  74. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Liz45, I’m not sure what the GST has to do with gambling but I’m surprised, in fact disappointed, that you differentiate yourself from anybody else in our society when it comes to payment of a consumption tax (GST). Remember, fresh food (vegetables, whole milk, meat etc) is not subject to GST so everyone is on a level playing field in that regard. If you get someone around to mow the lawn or clear the leaves out of the gutter, or if you buy a couple of litres of petrol for your lawn mower or scooter, or if you indulge yourself with a sandwich and a cup of coffee when you’re down at the shopping centre, why should you pay any less tax than anyone else?

  75. Liz45

    @BOHEMIAN – You make a good argument for taxing profits on our resources? As someone else said, there’s a big difference between necessities and life styles? How many people pay 25% of their incomes on mortgages? As a pensioner, with only my pension as income, without any assets even home ownership, I pay 25% of my income on rent. And, I’m one of the lucky people who are in state housing in NSW! I recall hearing leading up to the ’10 Election, that those who pay a mortgage pay 18% and those paying rent 20% of their incomes!

    The Howard govt was the first in our history to tax pensioners via the unfair GST, which means that I have to pay the same GST on goods as James Packer does. How is that fair?

    Getting back to this topic, it’s been proven that those people who spend the most on poker machines are people from low income areas like western Sydney etc. This is a horrific human problem with awful repercussions. Sadly, I’m not surprised by the Gillard Govt’s attitude to the need to introduce some changes, as there isn’t any difference between them and the outlook of Abbott and Co.? Shame on all of them!

  76. GeeWizz

    Sounds like Wilkie got Rudded(Swiftly and stealthily stabbed in the back by Gillard when he least expects it after being told he has her full support).

    However having said that Wilkie isn’t a man of his convictions, he says one thing… then changes his mind when it’s in his own personal interest.

    Like the mining tax… he was saying how the miners must pay… but then he wanted concessions for the local Tin Mine in his electorate. So everyones gotta pay the Great Big Mining Tax except.. HIS mine. Wotta wanker.

  77. Bohemian

    According to ATO and ABS sourced data I have, the top 15% of incomes pay 56% of personal income tax. The top 20% pay around 67%. The next 20% (fourth quintile) pay 14% of all personal income tax, the third 9%, the second 6% and the bottom (mainly welfare and pensioner) quintile accounts for 4%.

    The mean household income according to the ABS Household Expenditure Survey (2009-2010) released last September, is $1688 gross per week and the mean income in the middle or third quintile is $1327 before tax.

    Looking at disposable income by these quintiles, at the end of every week under their present rates of expenditure the bottom two and the middle income quintile are under water every week. Without cutbacks they will continue to go minus each week.

    The fourth quintile has about a cafe meal for four left over every week and it is only the top 20% of households which have any disposable income. Without substantive cuts in current levels of expenditure all other quintiles are whistling Dixie.

    As the top 20% already pay the bulk of the personal income tax, I am wondering how much further any Govt would be prepared to go without fearing that a proportion of them would leave the country. Maybe we will just have to keep printing money and allow the inflation tax to make up the difference.

  78. Liz45

    @STEVE777- So true. The problem with the electorate choosing Abbott and Co, is that the rest of us will have to cop him too! I’m not looking forward to that for the reasons you describe.

    @SB – Have you? so tell us about it. You’re still ignoring any comment about Abbott and his broken promises etc.

  79. SimsonMc

    SB – you are confusing cost of living pressures with cost of lifestyle pressures.

  80. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    SB-“Its you are a single income no kids then under $80,000 is comfortable.” Hence removing the health insurance rebate, if you have kids the threshold doubles.

    You seen the legislation?

  81. rummel

    Gillard is making in roads in places i would not have thought. Who would have guessed that JWH would be the most honest PM of the last three we have had, what a remarkable PM Gilards is to pull that rat out of the bag.

  82. Suzanne Blake

    @ Liz45

    I have been to homes in the US and UK that are huge. The home in the UK are largely 100 years old or longer, same in the USA.

    Home in the USA are cheap, you can grab one in Vegas for $20k. The ABC New 24 ran a story on that a few months ago.

    Its all relative. You can state your views on single income earners, but you cant ignore families, which make up the bulk of family units in Australia.

  83. Steve777

    Money wins again. If wealthy and powerful interests don’t like a policy, it has been demonstrated again that they can get rid of it. All they have to do is fund a shrill disinformation / scare campaing, they’ll have the Murdoch media and shock jocks on their side providing lots of free support and the Government eventually caves.

    The Gillard government is heading for a very bad fall. This is partly due to its incompetence in matters of implementation and in getting its message across, but also largely because of the very powerful interests that it is running up against – to name just a few the mining industry, the clubs, News Limited and the fossil fuel industry.

    From next year or earlier we will enter a decade or more of rule by the conservative parties. Fair enough if that’s how people vote. But the lesson that many will take from the Rudd/Gillard years will be that no one in Australia can take on any moneyed interest (i.e. one that can mobilise tens of millions of dollars to its support) and hope to prevail. This won’t be a big problem for the conservatives who will be mostly onside. And those battlers now wailing about the carbon tax or a licence to punt had better hope their interests do in fact coincide with ‘big money’ – business leaders calling for ‘reform’ (read lower wages & conditions, less job security) for example; a windback of things big money doesn’t want want to pay for (Medicare and public education, for example).

  84. outside left

    Credibility!lol

  85. Liz45

    @SB – But you forget about choices. The homes in this country are larger than both England and the US. Years ago people raised two or three kids in modest homes – small by today’s standards. If people choose mc mansions, and private schools, should those whose incomes are lower, such as $50 or $60,00o subsidise their huge homes with appropriate mortgages? How is that fair?It’s not a case of envy, it’s the recognition that there’s only so much money in govt coffers to spend? No doubt, next week you’ll be picking on some govt expenditure to a less privileged group in our society.

    Funny how you just ignore what you don’t want to engage in? How do you still maintain credibility by doing that?

  86. Jimmy

    SB-“Its you are a single income no kids then under $80,000 is comfortable.” Hence removing the health insurance rebate, if you have kids the threshold doubles.

  87. Gavin Moodie

    It is absurd to claim that people on incomes 1.5 the average of one of the richest countries in the world are not rich, let alone ‘comfortable’. Having high expenditure and thus little ‘spare’ money doesn’t make them any less rich, it just means that their high incomes are matched by equally high expenditure.

  88. Suzanne Blake

    @ Gavin Moodie

    Exactly. Its you are a single income no kids then under $80,000 is comfortable.

  89. Suzanne Blake

    @ Liz45

    How do you define “middle class” and the other “classes”

    I work as a volunteer with disabled children and adults, as I have said here before, so I have an acute knowledge of their plight, especially autistic kids and how much it costs to send them to school limited hours a day

  90. Gavin Moodie

    This is making a common mistake, observed by Keane in Crikey several times, of confusing income level with a feeling of a lot of money to spare. People with high expenditure such as many children, private school fees, paying of a mortgage, paying off a car, holidays, etc, feel that they are not very rich despite having a high income.

  91. Liz45

    @SB – No doubt then, that you have no problem with sole parents being paid while they stay at home with their kids until the age of 6 or is it 9?(Howard’s legislation?)
    You obviously agree with middle class welfare? Next you’ll be whining about some govt payment to people in need – people with a disability or a carer? Perhaps someone with a work related injury?

    You speak with a forked tongue, and do an Abbott all the time? You assume that none of us can recall what you said yesterday, or last week, let alone last year – 2004? no way.

    Address Abbott’s about turn on this issue in ’04, or Howard’s after that election re Work Choices and unfair dismissal laws. Prior to that election he stated that it would only affect people in workplaces of 20 employees. After that election he changed it to 100 people! That just about included every working person in the country? Big change, big lie!

  92. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    LOL “Its not high when you have lots of kids” How many is “lots” a dozen?

    No not that fortunate.

  93. Whistleblower

    Julia Gillard would sleep with the devil to stay in power, and rolling over for the AHA and its associated gambling beneficiaries at Woolworths is not far off the mark.
    Poker machines are a massive tax on febrile problem gamblers, and governments as much of the AHA and Woolworths are dependent on this cash cow. However expecting anything more rational from the Coalition would be even more problematic because of their business affiliations and lack of concern for social justice.

    Because of the dirty deal with Peter Slipper, Wilkie has nowlost a significant chunk of his influence; Gillard now has his “balls” in a jar. So to appease sectional interests, Gillard’s undertakings on Wilkie’s reforms will be trashed on the altar of political expediency like the the undertaking of no carbon tax in the life of the current government. This is the dirty reality of politics. None of the “bastards” can be trusted

  94. Jimmy

    SB – “Over $75k a year is NOT rich or double as couple” It is more than enough to be able to afford to pay all your Health insurance.

    “Its not high when you have lots of kids” How many is “lots” a dozen?

  95. Jimmy

    SB – “Shame that you don’t get balance.” Why, I read the newspapers, watch the news, Q&A, Lateline, look at various internet news sources and am outnumbered by those with a different opinion so I am forced to listen to the other side of the argument. As with everything it is the quality of the point of view not the quantity.

    “Wilkie with his limited resources is shell shocked I am sure” I doubt it, he should of seen for a long imte this bill wouldn’t pass and now should be trying to negotiate the best he can.

  96. Filth Dimension

    Please have less kids SB.

  97. Suzanne Blake

    Its not high when you have lots of kids

  98. Gavin Moodie

    The Australian median income was $44,222 in in 2008-09., so at 1.5 times the median $75,000 is quite a high income.

  99. Ilona

    Keane opposes mandatory pre-commitment. In fact, one of his previous columns on the topic implied that he opposed any (further) regulation of pokies at all (because, you know, those impoverished addicts can just fend for themselves against the best exploitation technology money can buy). How, then, can he assert that a trial is a “good outcome”? Surely you don’t throw money at bad policy in any form?

  100. Suzanne Blake

    @ Liz 45

    Over $75k a year is NOT rich or double as couple

  101. Liz45

    @SB – So, you’re also in favour of rich people getting a rebate on their health insurance payments? Next you’ll be whining about pension increases and young women being encouraged to continue with education etc after having a baby?Of course, there’s no mention of irresponsible young? men! Now, why doesn’t that surprise me!

    I’ve never voted for the Conservatives. My arm would fall off if I did! Abbott will do and say anything to get into the Lodge. Why don’t you address that? He’s the greatest fraud in the Fed Parlt – he’s admitted to it! It’s probably on the website at the ABC 7.30? You should take a look or at least read the transcript. But first, you’ll have to remove your rose coloured specs!

  102. Liamj

    Re S.Blake’s use of ‘renigged’ (sic), i suspect her kiwi tendencies, and the gauche flag waving and omniscence don’t help.

  103. Mark from Melbourne

    Re-nigged – are you even allowed to say that these days?

  104. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    Shame that you don’t get balance.

    I started out at young and stupid voting Labor, Democrat and Independant. Learnt fast, so I did an about face in 2010.

    Wilkie with his limited resources is shell shocked I am sure, running around trying to get other independant support.

    Doesn’t matter, they have his vote for carbon tax, so he is expendable.

    He interesting to see how he votes on cutting the private health insurance rebate.

    I think Windsor and or Oaksheott are against it, so it may fall flat now, which is why it has not been mentioned for months

  105. Jimmy

    SB – “She is waiting until the media assessors guage the reaction, before announcing their slant on it” How do you now this, are you secretly working for the ALP? What is stopping Wilkie from making an announcement then?

    “As regards to Wannan, I understand that is a safe seat. You should visit some ultra marginals and get a feel for the mood. May come as a shock.” So somehow people are more passionate about politics just because the live in a marginal seat? And I will get a better idea of the negative feeling towards the govt if I go to a seat where more people vote for the ALP?

    Believe me living in an area wherepeople are rusted on 4th generational libs gives you plenty of opportunity to here what is wrong with the ALP, very similar arguments to yours actually lacking fact, illogical and ill informed,

  106. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    She is waiting until the media assessors guage the reaction, before announcing their slant on it

    As regards to Wannan, I understand that is a safe seat. You should visit some ultra marginals and get a feel for the mood. May come as a shock.

    I use to be in a safe seat. I feel sorry for people in ultra safe seats. Its sleepy hollow. I am sure that is true for both ends of the spectrum.

  107. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Ms Blake, if you don’t know what a word means, please don’t use it.

  108. Jimmy

    SB – “Then she should come out and say I have renigged on the deal cause of X,Y,Z” So the way she did with the Carbon tax then?

    And given an announcement hasn’t been made regarding the change in policy maybe we should wait until that happens before condemning her for not explaining her reasons for the change.

  109. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    Then she should come out and say I have renigged on the deal cause of X,Y,Z.

  110. MartyC

    Dolfan – “keep in mind that this isn’t a backwards step but just a forwards step not taken”. True. But it basically guarantees that no forward steps will ever be attempted in the forseeable future. They’ll erect a great big signpost on that particular footpath warning all future politicians not to tread any further for fear of being mauled by the pokie lobby rottweiler.

  111. Jimmy

    Dolfan – “this isn’t a backwards step but just a forwards step not taken.” I thnk this is probably going to be a smaller step forwards, but we should really wait to see what is announced before we get to carried away.

    SB – “I know that is a bad outcome for Australia, but that is what she agreed to, as repeatly said by Wilkie for the last 15 months.” There is that great thinker we all no and love, who cares about doing what is best for the country, who cares about adapting as circumstances change around you, you have to stick to your word. By the way how far back does this go, if I wanted to be an astronaut when I was 5 should I quit my job as an accountant now?

  112. Liz45

    @OSCAR JONES – Thank you. Perhaps you could put in a good word for me. A wage would be great – better than the pension, although I’m grateful for the increases, Kevin and Julia!

    @SB – What happened to the adult concept of communicating, listening to the other person, accepting what’s possible and what’s impossible, and then reaching an ADULT compromise that will obtain POSITIVE outcomes? As opposed to denying reality; absorbing community responses(even those lies told by vested interests)hurling insulting comments at those who oppose you, and engaging in brattish behaviour in the media? I have an aversion to Abbott’s foot stamping behaviour when he doesn’t get his own way. When he puts on his sulky face it reminds me of my kids when they were under school age? Their was an excuse for them – but, he’s supposed to be a grown up!

    The present make up of the Parliament is a reality because 13+ million of us voted for it. It’s childish and churlish to carry on now. You are as much responsible for it as I am. Grow up and live with the reality. In fact, if our system of voting in the House of Reps was just and fair, there’d be more Greens people in Parliament – not just one! One in 6 people voted for the Greens, and yet they only got one Seat? Perhaps that could be your next challenge – fairness in the democratic system of elections!

    Abbott promised Wilke over ONE BILLION dollars to set him up in The Lodge? Have you, along with many others forgotten that little bit of reality. Would he have lived up to that promise? Probably not! He’d plead that he didn’t know the state of the funds blah blah! Like he did over that broken promise re Health Insurance rebate of 2004?

    From what I’ve read and listened to, the $1 poker machines sounds like a good approach, and it would appear the cheapest in the long run. I understand that this was the FIRST proposal put forward by Andrew Wilke – Julia Gillard and her colleagues should’ve done some homework on this proposal before this!

    The Clubs? They don’t want any change. They’re as hooked on the monies as the State Govts are. They need assistance too, via a good ‘psychiatrist’ so to speak! A sense of decency would be good in the interim. They can’t have it both ways. They deny the reality of how they get their profits(40% by problem gamblers) and yet complain that they’ll be ‘rooned’ if these people cease their destructive habit? It doesn’t make sense – it’s illogical and stupid, and too many of their ‘followers’ believe this nonsense – and too many in msm drum up more lies to support them. How can people be so stupid as to believe them?

  113. david

    SB comments ‘you’ make are yours unless supported with evidence and links…you insult others intelligence with your consistent accusations and fail to respond time and again when challenged.
    To toss in…”please refer to Student Council / Union bio, that been circulating. Her words not mine.”..means nothing.

  114. Dolfan

    This is disappointing. I believe it was a step in the direction of making it a better country. Still, for all the haters out there, keep in mind that this isn’t a backwards step but just a forwards step not taken.

    IMHO the government has just taken the option of a trial as a way to back out with announcing a full dumping of the policy. I can’t see them having the backbone to take it any further whatever the outcome from the trial. I hope to be proved wrong in 4+ years time.

  115. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    It was up to Gillard to leverage the independants in the Wilkie deal (carrot and stick).

    I know that is a bad outcome for Australia, but that is what she agreed to, as repeatly said by Wilkie for the last 15 months.

    Gillard was prepare dro do this, but when Slipper changed camps, she was let off.

  116. Jimmy

    Karen – I am sure the MSM will take the SB line and run with it but again this is better policy and I will take that over good politics any day of the week.

  117. joe2

    Bernard is running a similar but more sophisticated line to Truss, who said…

    [“Julia Gillard has betrayed Andrew Wilkie just as she betrayed the Australian people before the last election.” ]

    It’s just tripe dressed up as political analysis. The government and Wilkie would have supported legislation but it appears are unable to do so because the numbers are not there without the independents.

    Methinks, Mr Keane is hoping for role at Newslimited like his predecessor Christian Kerr. His ramblings are becoming quite similar.

  118. Mark from Melbourne

    “if they get in the way of her political interests. It was a killer in relation to the carbon pricing package” seems some what contradictory in that her political interests would have been to sat on carbon pricing issue but instead she agreed to pursue it to achieve a minority government despite the damage it did her.

    Not sure you get to argue it both ways.

    Personally I hope that the Government very quickly puts through the $1 cap, gets that agreed and in bed whilst we wait for the outcome of the mandatory pre-commitment trial. Get something that many reasonable and rational people agree on done.

    Let’s keep moving forward guys.

  119. Karen

    Agree Geomac, although it appears Wilkie has come back from that hard-line position somewhat with his overtures of continuing discussions with Julia, although that may, of course, be because of the ‘Slipper’ effect.

    Jimmy, you may have a point with the govt’s commitment to the PC recommendations, which talk of a mandatory trial prior to implementation in 2016 (should it prove to be successful), however, the govt is going to have ‘cut through’ with this message to the MSM, as the line that is being run even as of today in the SMH, for example, is that it has ‘reneged’ on Wilkie, and has engaged in no better than a Howard “non-core promise”, as others have posted above. Truss has already excoriated Julia over it and it won’t be hard to see how the battle lines will form over that issue.

    The only other comment I’d make from a policy perspective is that the “voluntary” pre-commitment model hasn’t really worked all that well or at least has been controversial in Nova Scotia, for example, even where it has been found that a large number of addicts have wanted to try and “commit” to that model. In dealing with gambling addicts, though, I think it will have to be mandatory or bust.

  120. Jimmy

    SB – “Gillards commitment (written mind you) was that she would negotiate the pokie refirm through BOTH houses of Parliament with the indepandants. You will recall, Wilkie has been quite specicic on that for 15 months now.” That still isn’t an answer to the questions I asked but given the independents don’t want to support it what would you have her do, bribe them silly until they can’t say “no” or seek an alternative that they will accept or just introduce the policy and watch it fail.

    Also if I was to say I would meet you at your RSL for dinner at 8pm and then got unavoidably detined and didn’t make it until 8.30pm would I be a li ar?

    Oscar Jones – Well put.

    Hugh McColl – Unfortunately Townsville is not alone, and generally the poorer the demographic the higher the losses.

  121. Oscar Jones

    LIZ42-Labor should hire you as media adviser immediately. Spot on.

  122. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Today we learnt that Townsville punters lost $86 million on pokies last year. The huge figure, obtained from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, is almost $7 million more than locals lost during 2010. Staggering isn’t it, for a town of 150,000 people?

  123. Oscar Jones

    So sick of political commentators hurling blame at politicians who are captive to the complicated situation handed to them by the electorate and that includes the SBs of the world who prattle on as though the Coalition could somehow do if differently.

    Gillard has to walk a tricky tight rope but so would Abbott if he had been able to a deal with the Independents.

    There are so many hints of chauvinism the attacks upon Gillard-she must work twice as hard as a man would and still she is the worst of the worst despite Howard sending us into an 2 illegal wars that is still under way. Warmongers always walk free when they are on the winning side.

  124. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    Gillards commitment (written mind you) was that she would negotiate the pokie refirm through BOTH houses of Parliament with the indepandants. You will recall, Wilkie has been quite specicic on that for 15 months now.

    David – please refer to Student Council / Union bio, that been circulating. Her words not mine.

  125. Jimmy

    Simonmc – Very well said, in a hung parliament especially if people were to stick dogmatically to their position nothing would be achieved. People need to realise that, to quote the rolling stones, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need”

  126. Jimmy

    SB – Yes I am in a safe seat, Wannon, held by the libs for ever and one of the biggest margins in the country.

    And I know what the headline is but as I pointed out in my original post BK refers to the delay and trial as a “a good outcome” policy wise, so instead of ranting, raving, abusing and slurring why don’t you answer the questions I have put to you rationally.

    1) would you prefer Gillard “honoured her word” to Wilkie and introduced a bill to have mandatory pre commitment by 2014 and watch it fail on the floor of the house or “break” her word introduce a trial with the full roll out in 2016 (as per the PC) and have the bill pass?

    2) Also if the ALP went with $1 limits (as favoured by the independents and Greens) and Wilkie supported that as an achievable bill would she still be breaking her word?

    David – No evidence or retraction time to go to the editor.

  127. SimsonMc

    It is interesting how people perceive this as some sort of backdown or in the case of SB and the other great unwashed – lying. Yet when Howard did the same thing with the Democrats in relation to the GST, apparently they seem to think that the GST was one of Howard’s greatest achievements and gloss over the fact that he had too had to compromise and change is position to get an outcome. Now I agree with the statement that it was one of Howard’s better moments and that the GST was a good outcome. Could it be better? Certainly, I would love to see it on everything, no exemptions to close loop holes and adjust income tax accordingly. Was it a backdown? No. Howard worked with the cards he was dealt and as he put it, (paraphrasing) getting most of the GST was better than not implementing anything. People seem to forget that politics is a fluid concept which compromising is a main component.

    I think certain people are too quick to judge. Let’s see how this pans out first. We don’t know what will transpire so everything else is just speculation dressed up as insight.

  128. Meski

    This thread made it to the gutter in record time.

    Remember what GBS said –

    “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

  129. geomac

    Wilke played his ace card too hard so whatever happens to his plan I have no sympathy for him . On the other hand we know that the pokie industry is out of control and something needs to be done . Going for a counter lunch can be enjoyable but it depends if the noise of the machines is out of earshot .
    Wilke saying that he would withdraw support if Labor failed to achieve his aims despite its best efforts lacked logic . Thats like saying to a sprinter that if you come second no silver medal .

  130. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    Even the headline on this website says “Welshing on Wilkie”

    This PM is an out and out li ar, and not even you can defend that. Go out there and ask in marginal seats.

    You sit there with blinkers on in a safe seat no douby, getting the ALP spin sheet sent to you, so you can comment on Cri key about this and that

  131. david

    Blake yu better back up that disgraceful slur on the PM or it goes to the editor

  132. Edward James

    I hope Julia Gillard to be finished as Prime Minister and perhaps long gone by 2016. Wilkie has been chewed up by smart politicians. Sh.t happens. Edward James

  133. Jimmy

    SB – That is really taking the level of debate to a higher level, a homophobic slur. And from my recollection it was not the PM who offered to sell her ar.se.

    I think it is time you actually decided whether you want to have a grown up discussion about policy and answer the questions put to you and support your statements with facts or move to a Ne ws L t d website.

  134. Janus

    Bohemian – very droll! Just once you wished there was something in between

  135. Jimmy

    Marty C – Completely agree but I suppose my query is does delaying by 2 years and having a trial that mihgt actually show the thing works amount to “watering it down”.

    And as I asked SB how is sticking to the original agreement and having the bill defeated a better outcome than delaying and getting a result.

    I would also say I saw a quote from clubs Australia today saying that if the trial showed the action reduced problem gambling it would be pretty hard to argue against it.

  136. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    You know as well as I do that ly ing Gillard will say whatever to stay in control / power. Next you will believ in fairies or that Tim is the partner and not a decoy.

  137. Bohemian

    What’s it to be? Big brother or Our Father?

  138. SimsonMc

    @ Andybob – I think it might be called core and non-core committment

  139. Janus

    It is a very tacky but ruthlessly expedient play by Gillard but it is Wilkie who now looks totally emasculated. He promised to support this Govt (ie the government in this term of the parliament) on the basis that they legislate the pre-commitment. This Govt has jsust told him they won’t, at least not in this parliament, but will have a trial should they win the next election. Wilkie had said previously he would withdraw his support – now it seems he won’t – imagine that, a politician sayng one thing and doing another? Wilkie was portrayed by the media as almost a single issue candidate and he was happy to ride on that whilst it, and the fact the Govt needed his vote, lasted. Unless the Thomson issue explodes or someone dies I think Mr Wilkie, and his legislation, is now consigned to the dustbin.

  140. MartyC

    Jimmy – If they start watering it down now, by the time legislation comes about it will be soggier than an Italian cruise ship (too soon?). We’ve seen this before with the MRRT and prior to that Rudd’s ETS. I’m all for being pragmatic but this was a pretty modest and generally popular plan to begin with, it won’t be a good look if they start backpedaling now.

  141. Jimmy

    SB – As david states “Has the PM said the Govt will not stick to the agreement with Wilkie? No? I didn’t think so” and would you prefer Gillard “honoured her word” to Wilkie and introduced a bill to have mandatory pre commitment by 2014 and watch it fail on the floor of the house or “break” her word introduce a trial with the full roll out in 2016 (as per the PC) and have the bill pass.

    I am sure Wilkie would prefer a 2 year delay than having no action taken.

    Also if the ALP went with $1 limits (as favoured by the independents and Greens) and Wilkie supported that as an achievable bill would she still be breaking her word?

  142. Gavin Moodie

    I’m surprised by Wilkie’s apparent change. Maybe he couldn’t get enough cross benchers to support mandatory pre commitment yet and so he is now trying for what he believes is the next best thing, a trial of pre commitment. But he hasn’t explained that yet and so far it looks as if he plans to break his initial undertaking.

  143. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    You would back ly ing Gillard even if she exploded a device in your local CBD… just amazing, she can do no wrong.

    She has li ed again, and you spin and yarn.

    Just amazing.

    Wilkie is a fool for believing her li es

  144. david

    Has the PM said the Govt will not stick to the agreement with Wilkie? No? I didn’t think so….

  145. Jimmy

    Marty C – I agree with your sentiment but what constitutes backing down, is a trial followed by implementation2 years later in 2016 (in line with the PC report) backing down? And given the coalition and ket independents won’t support Wilkies original request is it better to achieve something rather than nothing?

  146. Liz45

    On the midday news, ABC radio, I heard Abbott assert, that Julia Gillard will say anything to get elected etc and I nearly fell off my chair laughing. This is the same Tony Abbott that admitted to the same activities on 7.30 Report with Kerry O’Brien. He also said that unless it’s in writing, we shouldn’t believe anything he says. Talk about the pot and the kettle!

    I have a feeling that this is another instance of the Govt not doing its PR adequately. Why is the concept of ‘taking the first step’ or ‘challenging all lies and other fabrications – publicly’ so hard for the Gillard Govt to grasp? The mind boggles. What are the advisers doing? Using pen names and trolling on web sites – along with their coalition colleagues!

    I reckon that I could do a better job at putting paid to Abbott’s lies, because he doesn’t research anything, he just engages in one or two sentence nonsense comments that are repeated for the whole day. I swear by the 7 pm news this evening, he’s still uttering the same bs!

  147. MartyC

    A Pandora’s Box was opened when the Big Miners discovered that all they needed to do in order to defeat a policy they didn’t like was to throw some loose change at the problem in the form of a shrill PR campaign, and hey presto, no more RSPT (no more Kevin Rudd for that matter). Labor has the chance to close the box and sit on it, by following through on it’s pokies reform commitment and demonstrating to Clubs Australia that it’s own shrill scare campaign is a waste of money. If they decide to back down, Clubs Australia, and everyone else for that matter, will conclude that not only was the campaign worth the cost, but at only a few million, it was bloody good value. When that happens Andrew Wilkie will be the least of their concerns.

  148. Andybob

    This would be an optional pre-committment then ?

  149. Jimmy

    So despite this reported (and I stress only reported becuase nothing has actually been announced) being “a good outcome” policy wise, and despite the fact that even if it wanted to the govt couldn’t keep it’s promise to Wilkie as even though the majority of the population support the agreement the majority of the lower house don’t BK still finds reasons to criticise the govt for bad politics?

    Give me good policy over good politics any day!

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