Why Shorten shouldn’t be believed

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. ‘The more voters get to know Shorten, the less they like him” (yesterday).  Two key problems from Federal Labor in 2013, led by “Comrades” Macklin and Shorten which remain unanswered. First the failure to increase the value of Newstart payments. No real increase in value for 20 years prior to Labor’s term in office and of course during the ALP’s six year term. This opened the way for the proposed Coalition’s vicious Newstart rules in the 2014 Budget and again in the 2015 Budget. Bill’s claim that in 2013 that they had to make expenditure choices is a nonsense. The dole hadn’t been increased for 20 years. Bill’s first choice was, of course, a 35% MP salary and allowance increase in 2013. This put an ordinary backbencher in the top 2-3% of income earners in Australia. Secondly, if the ALP had closed off many tax loop holes from day one in office (2007) they would have had the funds to increase the dole. Additionally Bill wanted to show “the market” how hairy chested they were when it came to dealing with the unemployed and expenditure.

Secondly, the off-loading of sole parents from the sole parent pension, onto the much, much, lower paying Newstart allowance when their child turns eight, by the ALP. Bill Shorten, who moved the bill, was told by his employment department that many single mothers were already working part time and that their part time earnings allowed them to continue to receive all or most of the pension, still ploughed on and removed them from the pension when their child turned eight. Bill’s view was that he wanted to get them into the very workforce they were already in! His former close friend, Nicola Roxon, also voted for the bill but she retired on a pension of $143,000 pa, fully indexed. Her stated reason for retiring was that she wanted to spend more time with her eight year old daughter. The Newstart payment pays around $13,000 p.a. or $37 a day. In 2015, 870,000 Australians live on Newstart/Youth allowance or $37 a day because of Bill. This is Bill’s “New Class” Labor in action! Frozen between real socialism and raw capitalism has resulted in Bill being all over the shop like a dog’s breakfast. All the above whilst Bill knew that the REAL unemployment figures showed that we had a re unemployment figure of one vacancy for every 20 unemployed.

In this context “new class” refers to those who became active in ALP politics largely did so in order to become millionaires via the superannuation scheme, dodgy travel allowance claims, dodgy libel claims which are a mechanism or money from the ‘top end of town’ to buy MPs off, backhanders and jobs working for the “top end of town” or the public sector on leaving public office. Many of the Labor MPs in 2013 who voted against increasing the dole etc will receive $6 million plus from the defined benefits super scheme when they retire. Greed unlimited!

Chris Davis writes: Jumping on the blame Labor bandwagon too huh? That’s not a very independent thing to do as all other mainstream media outlets are doing that. Are you part of the agenda now?

On Mayne and industry super

Andrew Whiley writes: Re. “Mayne: Keane is wrong, independent directors are needed on industry fund boards” (yesterday). Stephen Mayne’s flustered piece contains many unfounded assertions and errors. To address but a few amongst the many:

Mayne claims that no one on an industry fund board represents those members who are not in a union or employers that do not belong to an association. Putting aside the well established and long standing legal and fiduciary obligations in a trust fund for trustees/directors to act in all fund members’ interests, since the establishment of industry funds in the late 1980s/early 1990s there have been hundreds of thousands of fund members and employers from the very first day who were not members of a union or an employer association. This artificial division only exists in the mind of conservative politicians and their ideological soul brothers. In 30+ years of operation they have yet to forward any examples on this alleged “non representation” or any disadvantage suffered by said “non represented” fund member or employer. Use of emotive terms like “gerrymander” just doesn’t cut it.

Mayne also posits that the higher returns of industry funds is purely due to a “no fee or low fee model’. The out-performance of industry funds over some decades is now an accepted feature of Australia’s funds management landscape. Fees are only one part of the success story — and no industry fund charges “no fees” but let’s not have that spoil the party. Industry fund critics in trying to explain away the consistency of higher returns advance various  (mostly wrong) reasons for it. But they are always in furious agreement that the existing model  of board membership and governance structures are not, not, in any way a relevant factor to be considered in analysing why industry funds remain clustered at the top of the league ladder season after season.

If we accept this proposition that boards are irrelevant to performance then why is Minister Frydenberg justifying his proposed changes by repeatedly claiming (as late as his last interview on ABC 730) that changing board composition will inevitably lead to better returns for industry fund members? You can’t have it both ways.

Time does not allow me to address other aspects of the Mayne piece, particularly the core definitions of independence, sufficed to say his view that union nominees are not by definition ”independent” does not accord with practice in a multitude of well governed, competitive multi-billion $ pension and retirement funds across the UK, EU and US.

Investigate Bronnie

Luca Biason writes: Re. “Rundle: Liberals hate Q&A because it is, well, liberal” (June 25). I was thoroughly disappointed by ABC’s immediate reaction to undue pressure and biased comments from this catastrophic government. No apology was required, and by genuflecting so quickly they have provided the mud-making machine known as News Corp with all they needed to further destabilise them. However!

At the very end of the televised ‘Magna Carta’ Q&A debate, Bronwyn Bishop made an astonishing Freudian slip of her tongue when she said something along the lines of “I won’t be told what to think by ordinary people”. THAT was truly extraordinary and she is the one who should have been making headlines across the country and nailed to the floor by that. Does it mean, by logical extension, that only function of a Liberal electorate is to buy the “arguments” put forward in a candidate’s campaign, secure them a spot and then the agenda being followed is a different one as the voice of the grassroots electorate is worthless? Which mindset is the biggest threat to democracy, as we interpret it?

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