The wonderful world of economic rationalists

The world of the economic rationalists took hold in politics in the 1980s. Their approach, which was discussed in ‘The rise and fall of a shibboleth’, has moulded the world for the past 30 years. Government decisions regarding national economies have been guided by it. International bodies like the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD have followed its tenets. In Australia the Productivity Commission and the Grants Commission have been influenced by it. 

With that pervasive influence, what has economic rationalism actually achieved?

When it was accepted in the 1980s, it was seen as an answer to ‘stagflation’, which had dominated a large part of the 1970s. ‘Stagflation’ was a period of high inflation despite falling or very slow economic growth; it wasn’t really supposed to happen under the predominant economic models of the time. High inflation was usually thought to be a problem resulting from an economy ‘overheating’ (growing too fast), not from when it wasn’t growing at all.

Economic rationalism may have been the answer to stagflation, but it has not stopped the usual market problems. There was a recession in the late 1980s followed by ‘the jobless recovery’ of the early 1990s; then the ‘tech bubble’ later in the 1990s, which burst in 2000; and there was the GFC in 2007–08. Australia came through the GFC better than most western nations because it briefly abandoned economic rationalism and went back to Keynesian economics, where the government steps in with spending to stimulate the economy when private sector activity has slowed. Franklin D Roosevelt had used the Keynesian approach in America during the Great Depression while, at that time, Australia had followed the Bank of England’s austerity approach. But after surviving the worst of the GFC, Australia has slipped back to economic rationalist approaches, and more so since the election of the Abbott government.

The one success that economic rationalism has had is increasing inequality in the distribution of national income. That ‘success’ has spread around the globe.

On the global scale, Oxfam pointed out before the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January this year that 85 individuals between them had as much wealth as the poorest half (3.5 billion people) of the world’s population. Credit Suisse in its Global Wealth Report for 2011 stated that global wealth had risen from USD 203 trillion in January 2010 to USD 231 trillion in June 2011. It also found that there were then 29.7 million adults with household wealth greater than USD 1 million, making up less than 1% of the global population but owning 38.5% of global wealth.

In the USA, average real income increased 116% between 1945 and 2010. The share of national income going to the top 1% increased from 2.5% in 1945 to 19.8% in 2010 (which was down from 23.5% in 2007, largely as a result of the GFC). In that time, the top 0.1% increased their income by 395%. Between 1979 and 2007, the period of economic rationalism, income increased by 275% percent for the top 1% of households, 65% for the next 19%, just under 40% for the next 60% of households; and in those 28 years the income of the bottom 20% increased by only 18%.

In the UK in 1997, the entire bottom 90% of income earners had an average income of just over £10,500. The top 1% had incomes eighteen times bigger and the top 0.1% sixty times bigger. By 2007 the average income of the bottom 90% was just under £12,500 a year, but the income of the top 0.1% was then ninety-five times larger, averaging well over £1m a year.

In Canada, the real median income has barely moved since the 1980s, although in the 1950s and 1960s it was growing fast enough to double every 20 years. In the same time, the top-earning 1% of Canadians have increased their share of national income from 7.7% to 13.8%. In the 1970s the average CEO was earning about twenty-five times the average worker’s wage and in 2010 that had become almost two hundred and fifty times.

In Australia the top 10% of taxpayers had 34.6% of total national income in 1941 — it has not been as high since, but the top tax rate was also much higher then. It fell to 25% between 1974 and 1985 but has since grown again to 31% in 2010. For the top 1% their share was 10.8% in 1941, fell to about 4.5% between 1976 and 1984 and in 2010 was 9.2% (after reaching a peak of 10.1% in 2006 before the GFC).

Recently the ACTU also commissioned a report using another classical economic means of considering inequality — the difference between the labour and profit shares of national income. In the 1990s there was stability between productivity and wages; both productivity and real wages grew at 2.1% each year:

Wages decoupled from productivity in the 2000s. Between 2000 and 2012, productivity rose by an average 1.3% per year, while real hourly labour income rose by only 0.6% per year on average. This meant that labour’s share of national income fell over the decade, and fell quite sharply. In 2000, the labour share was 65.6% — this had fallen to 59.7% by 2012.

Again, this is a global phenomenon:

In developed countries, the share of labour income declined, falling by 5 percentage points or more between 1980 and 2006-07 — just before the global financial crisis — in Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and by 10 points or more in Austria, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Portugal.

All these measurements are reinforced by the Gini coefficient which has increased in most developed nations since the 1980s. The OECD suggests that France, Belgium and Hungary have managed to maintain their Gini coefficient at about the same level (no increase or decrease in inequality), Turkey and Greece actually managed to reduce inequality, but in all other OECD countries the coefficient has risen, indicating increased income inequality. Out of the 34 nations in the OECD, on a ranking from least to most unequal, Australia ranked twenty-sixth, Canada twenty-fourth, the UK twenty-eighth, and the USA thirty-first. Slovenia ranked highest with the lowest level of inequality, a Gini coefficient of only 0.24, and Chile the worst with 0.49. The US Gini coefficient has risen from 0.39 in 1968 to 0.48 in 2012.

You will see many different Gini coefficient figures because different researchers use differently defined incomes as their starting point — gross, disposable (gross income less taxes) or final income (disposable income plus government transfers). For example, the Productivity Commission found in Australia that, measured by the Gini coefficient, inequality in household income in 2009–10 was 0.426 for gross income, 0.389 for disposable income, and 0.341 for final income. These figures suggest that tax scales and government transfers in Australia do have some impact on inequality, although not stopping it rising over time.

Whichever figures are used, there is little doubt that inequality has increased due primarily to rapid increases in income for the top 1% and, to a lesser extent, the top 10%. The bottom groups have not missed out completely but have been getting a smaller share of the increasing wealth in most nations.

There are other factors, aside from labour income, that contribute to income inequality. A significant one for the top 10%, and particularly the top 1%, has been a large increase in ‘capital and other’ income. The extent of part-time and casual work also has an influence by providing lower labour income. The OECD has suggested that more balanced policy approaches between temporary and permanent employment is one measure to help address inequality.

Another contributing phenomenon in America (and it would be interesting to see if it applies in Australia), has been the loss of middle-ranking jobs, largely due to the automation of routine tasks, not only for manual labour (classified as routine manual work) but by the computerisation of office, sales and administrative work (classified as routine cognitive work). There has been an increase in the number of jobs for non-routine work, both cognitive and manual. The former (cognitive) requires high levels of education and generally commands higher wages, but the latter (manual) involves work such as cleaning, food services, security services, home help, and so on. This is leading to a polarisation of the workforce in America, with more high-paid jobs, more low-paid jobs, and fewer in the middle.

Why are governments, world-wide, still listening to the economic rationalists when it is clear that rising inequality is their greatest achievement?

Government decisions are critical to what happens regarding inequality.

The decisions governments have made, however, since the 1980s, largely at the behest of the economic rationalists, have actually worsened inequality: for example, decisions taken by many western governments to reduce taxes for the wealthy, the argument being that this stimulates growth for the benefit of all. A paper prepared by the US Congressional Research Service, however, found that since 1945 reductions in the top tax rate (from 90% to 35%) in America ‘appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution’. The paper found no correlation between lower top marginal tax rates and saving, investment or productivity. (As an interesting sidenote, this report was initially released in September 2012 but was then withdrawn at the insistence of Senate Republicans before being updated and re-released in 2013 with no substantive changes.)

So despite continuing talk about the need for lower tax rates to encourage economic growth, it appears this is, in Australian parlance, ‘a furphy’. It has achieved nothing other than to increase income inequality.

And, Tom Conley of Griffith University suggests that governments have actually abandoned the goal of greater equality:

Governments could still ameliorate the negative impacts of market outcomes but, in recent years, they seem increasingly less willing to do so, often arguing that such efforts will impede the growth process.

A different approach is taken by economist James Kenneth Galbraith, son of the more well-known, John Kenneth Galbraith. In his work Inequality and Instability Galbraith argues that economic and social instability is not a result of inequality but:

… rather, inequality is a symptom of the shaky and, in the end, unsustainable foundations of an economy lurching from crash to crash as it maintains a reliance on credit-fuelled stock or asset bubbles that provide massive rewards to select few …

Galbraith and others have pointed out that the levels of inequality in America before the GFC were near the levels before the Great Depression, reinforcing the idea that inequality is, indeed, a symptom of a poorly functioning economic system (often about to break under the strain, if those two examples hold good).

Galbraith also contends that too much attention is paid to the statistical analysis of inequality and not enough to broader social support mechanisms, such as health services, schooling, higher education, social security payments, housing programs, and so on. As government support for such programs declines, as it has generally since the rise of economic rationalists in the1980s, people feel less well-off and less secure, and inequality has more impact not only on those at the bottom of the socio-economic tree but also on the middle class.

Inequality has usually been offset by progressive taxation scales and government transfers, although the OECD argues that ‘government transfers and taxes alone would be neither effective nor financially sustainable’. But it does suggest the need for greater investment in on-the-job training and formal education over the working life as a means of maximising participation in the workforce, and thereby incomes.

Between the Galbraith approach and the suggestions of the OECD, there does appear a way forward, a way to reverse this trend towards greater inequality, and governments need to address these issues:

  • the broader social mechanisms that support families and households, including social security payments
  • the impact of casual and part-time work on livelihoods, on equality and poverty
  • the reintroduction of genuinely progressive tax scales
  • measures of well-being (as discussed in a previous post, ‘Bringing Gross National Happiness into play’).
If such measures are adopted, there is more likelihood that greater equality in income distribution will follow.

But, based on the evidence, the one really big step governments can take to reverse rising inequality is to abandon economic rationalism.

What do you think?

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TPS Team

18/05/2014This week, TPS examines the world according to the economic rationalists, and its role in increasing inequality. How did we get here? Ken analyses the reason behind our wholesale adoption of this economic theory, and also paints a sobering picture of the contemporaneous increase in income inequality. By looking at economic systems in several developed countries, we see a disturbing pattern of the widening of the gap between individuals — in January, the World Economic Forum at Davos found that 85 individuals had as much wealth between them as 3.5 billion of the world's population. Ken argues that the squeezing out of 'middle' ranking jobs (those sandwiched between routine, non-cognitive work and higher-paid cognitive work) is another outcome of economic rationalist policies, and another contributor to inequality. Should we be worried about this trend towards increasing inequality? Some economists have argued that it is growing inequality is a feature of some pre-crisis economies, such as the US before the Great Depression. In the context of the Abbott Government's first Budget being handed down this week - how are our current policies exacerbating the issue? How do you think the government should be handling the economy? We look forward to a lively debate.

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18/05/2014Ken You have followed up your previous piece: [i]The rise and fall of a shibboleth[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2014/05/11/The-rise-and-fall-of-a-shibboleth.aspx superbly with a telling set of facts and figures that puts under the microscope the conservatives' case that economic rationalism ought to be the preferred mode for modern Western economies. How can economists argue for a system that we know produces inequality and increases it over time? How can economists support a system that we know clusters wealth and income monstrously at the top end of the scale while those at the bottom languish, sinking deeper into the mire of struggle street, outright poverty, and its extreme manifestation: homelessness and deep despair? [b]Those who support economic rationalism must answer the question: “What sort of society do we want?”[/b] It’s not that economic rationalism doesn’t work – it clearly does. It concentrates wealth at the upper end and it increases inequality. Economic rationalists salve any feelings of injustice they might have about these social effects by invoking the basic tenet of economic rationalism, namely that reducing taxes for the wealthy stimulates growth, which in turn benefits us all by creating jobs. But does it? One can rely on them to trot out this tired but wholly discredited ‘trickle down theory’ of economics, which University of Queensland professor of economics John Quiggin categorizes as a dead idea, but which some economists won’t allow to die. So it walks the earth as a zombie. James Kenneth Galbraith makes a telling social point about inequality. The words of his that you quote are worth repeating: [i]Galbraith also contends that too much attention is paid to the statistical analysis of inequality and not enough to broader social support mechanisms, such as health services, schooling, higher education, social security payments, housing programs, and so on. As government support for such programs declines, as it has generally since the rise of economic rationalists in the1980s, people feel less well-off and less secure, and inequality has more impact not only on those at the bottom of the socio-economic tree but also on the middle class.[/i] How relevant this is to contemporary Federal Budget matters, where our newly elected conservative LNP government threatens to put to the sword health services, disability care, schooling, higher education, social security, and a variety of social and environmental programs. If allowed to do so, they will achieve just what Galbraith contends. Such actions will adversely affect the poor and less well off much more than they will affect those at the other end of the wealth and income scale. Putting it another way, Abbott’s and Hockey’s swingeing cuts will [b]increase[/b] inequality. [b]So what sort of society do we want? Clearly, our conservative Coalition government finds ever-increasing inequality acceptable. They consider that applying budgetary penalties of all sorts to the less wealthy, while allowing the most wealthy to retain their advantages, is not just acceptable, but desirable.[/b] This is not the place to enumerate these top end perks; you know them all. As they are scarcely disguised, we can presume that they are part of the conservative mindset, part of the plan the Coalition’s economic rationalist members and advisers have for this nation. Let’s not pretend any longer that any benign intention to foster equality glows in the bosom of Abbott, Hockey, Cormann and Ciobo, as they hide behind the shield of economic rationalism while heartlessly swinging their budgetary swords, leaving our less advantaged fellow-citizens wounded and bleeding. [b]This is what their application of economic rationalism is doing to our nation – tearing at its social fabric, plunging daggers into the hearts of those who cannot defend themselves, destroying what this country has tried so hard to build for two centuries – a nation where there is an egalitarian way of thinking, where there is opportunity for all, where, to use the common parlance we all know so well – there is a ‘fair go’ for everyone.[/b] If you think these words are too extreme, too flamboyant, too lurid, too biased, too partisan, think again, and be scared – very, very scared.

Ken

18/05/2014Ad Thank you for your comment. You raise many of the issues to which economic rationalism and rising inequality give rise. They put all their faith in the ‘economy’ and ‘society’ is not a word they use. Even under John Howard, in Aboriginal Affairs, we were told not to use the word ‘community’ — his advisers did not believe there was such a thing. It reflects the cry that we have become an ‘economy’, no longer a ‘society’. People are just cogs in an economic machine, no longer members of a community or society — as I said last week, we are ‘human capital’. Yes, Galbraith makes a telling point that it is not just jobs and income that people rely on but all the other support mechanisms that government provides. Galbraith is arguing that the middle class in America feel less well-off not necessarily because their income has fallen behind but because they can no longer rely on government for these other supports — effectively they now have to pay market prices for such support, and we all know the costs of the American health system. As some Left critics have suggested, it appears Abbott and his cohort would be quite happy to see that in Australia. As I indicated in comments-in-reply on the last post, I came to Thomas Picketty’s work after I had written this and the previous piece. As I understand a couple of key points, Picketty, as an economist believes in the ‘incentive’ effect of differing levels of income and wealth. But his key point is that when the rich become obscenely rich, the incentive is lost because people realise they can never aspire to that level of wealth. Abbott and his advisers ignore that and still believe that ‘incentive’ remains. It fits what many say about the ‘aspirational’ voters but that aspiration is dented by the excessive wealth accumulating at the top. It fits with what you have said previously about the conservative ‘strict parent’ model — they will insist that their children should respond to incentives and not be helped up by a parental hand. But what Picketty and others have pointed out is that it is at such times when the masses ignore the incentive, because it has become unrealistic, that revolutions take place.

totaram

18/05/2014"So what sort of society do we want? Clearly, our conservative Coalition government finds ever-increasing inequality acceptable. They consider that applying budgetary penalties of all sorts to the less wealthy, while allowing the most wealthy to retain their advantages, is not just acceptable, but desirable." Exactly. But that is what their puppet-masters want (they don't have a choice because they sold out) - they are just going along as faithful soldiers so they can get some crumbs.

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18/05/2014totaram Thank you for your pertinent comment, and welcome to The Political Sword. Do come again.

Michael

19/05/2014"People hear different things." Tony Abbott obviously doesn't listen. He tried before the line that voters heard differently to what he'd actually said during the election late last year, and was howled down quite quickly. Now he's trying a variation on the same line, pushing back failure of policy comprehension onto us, the voters. Telling us we are stupid, clearly of nowhere near enough caliber to understand plain English. In short, he thinks we're dumb. So dumb he needs to keep telling us how dumb we are. Not a smart move. But so Tony Abbott.

Ken

19/05/2014What I find interesting about the latest polls is that they are in the region of genuine change in voter intention. With changes of 4-6% they exceed the sampling error margin, usually around 2-3%. So there is a "real" change of at least 2-3% that cannot be dismissed, as can often be done when smaller changes are within the margin of error. As Ad said in his comment, the people are now seeing the real Abbott and the "rationalists" and magnates behind him.

Casablanca

19/05/2014 1. [b]How the budget pain is unfairly shared[/b] Peter Whiteford and Daniel Nethery. May 19, 2014 Treasurer Joe Hockey has once again declared the age of entitlement to be over. In his budget speech he said ''it is only fair that everyone make a contribution'' to reduce the deficit... We find that people on benefits do the heaviest lifting....High-income couples could together bring in up to $360,000 a year and not contribute an extra cent....The pain will be greatest for working-age people at the lowest income levels. The Treasurer has asked everyone to contribute, but some are being asked to contribute much more than others. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/how-the-budget-pain-is-unfairly-shared-20140518-zrgbc.html 2. [b]Reshaping welfare: are we entering an age of inequality?[/b] Tom Allard New markers for society have been laid down. A child is no longer deserving of government support after they turn six; but families are expected to support their unemployed children until they are 30. You will be expected to work until 70. A household income of $100,000 is the new well-off, the level at which a family loses benefits. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/reshaping-welfare-are-we-entering-an-age-of-inequality-20140516-38fc9.html 3. [b]'Missing' figures show poor are hit[/b] Peter Martin May 19, 2014 Information withheld from the budget shows high income couples may suffer scarcely at all while low income families on benefits could lose as much as 10 per cent of their incomes. The information, normally included in the budget, calls into question the Treasurer's claim that "everyone is being asked to make a contribution"...Asked why the Treasurer excluded the table from the budget, a spokeswoman for Mr Hockey said the government had been transparent about the changes in the documents that accompanied the budget papers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/missing-figures-show-poor-are-hit-20140518-38i05.html 4. [b]Tony Abbott pays price for broken promises[/b] Mark Kenny May 19, 2014 The harshest and most unpopular federal budget in nearly two decades has slashed support for Tony Abbott's Coalition government before it has even reached its first anniversary, plunging it into a potential poll trough from which it might never recover. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-pays-price-for-broken-promises-20140518-38hzw.html 5. [b]Bill Shorten's WorkChoices moment [/b] Fatima Measham Notwithstanding Kevin Rudd's merit as a candidate, there is no doubt that the unions-led campaign against WorkChoices was pivotal to handing government to Labor. What Bill Shorten has been handed this week in the Federal Budget is several WorkChoices with which to galvanise people. He needed it. His Budget reply offered a glimpse of the sort of Opposition Leader that Australians deserve. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=40425#.U3lUnk5zBZY 6. [b]Budget points to new sectarianism[/b] Michael Mullins. 18 May 2014 When Tony Abbott reintroduced knights and dames back in March, commentators said it was a sign he was 'stuck in the 1950s'. Another characteristic of 1950s Australian society was its sectarianism. The nation was bitterly divided along religious lines, with 'mixed' marriages frowned upon and Protestants often denied employment in Catholic dominated workplaces, and vice-versa. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=40423#.U3lUyU5zBZY 7. [b]Abbott dismisses Howard's criticism of federal budget cuts[/b] Emma Griffiths Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed criticism about budget cuts from Liberal Party luminary and former prime minister John Howard, saying he has made the right decisions for "our time". http://www.news.net/article/1335647?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=outbrainamplify 8. [b]Conservative columnists taxed by political climate change[/b] Annabel Crabb As dawn broke over Australia's new federal budget on Wednesday, it found some interest groups reeling at the new and straitened circumstances under which they will henceforth be obliged to live. Among the hardest hit are firebrand conservative columnists, whose crucial supply of rant fuel has been cut off abruptly by the newly released national fiscal blueprint. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/conservative-columnists-taxed-by-political-climate-change-20140516-zreyq.html 9. [b]Joe Hockey and the ghost of Bob Menzies[/b] Norman Abjorensen WE LEARN a lot from a new government’s first budget... But the thing we learn most from the first Abbott government budget is about the Liberal Party and who owns it.... No government before this one has had such a brazenly tilted approach towards the big end of town... The Liberal Party is keenly aware of who its friends are and who are its enemies, and this is reflected in the budget. Young people, the arts community, environmentalists and university students, not noted for voting Liberal, all take a hit while the well-to-do escape virtually unscathed, save for a temporary levy. http://inside.org.au/joe-hockey-and-the-ghost-of-bob-menzies/#sthash.pArKt6WU.dpuf 10. [b]Australians shouldn't have to choose between growth and fairness [/b] Penny Wong: 19 May, 2014 Equality of opportunity must remain an Australian value. We have to equip people to participate in the economy so they can access the benefits of growth. This budget won't achieve it. In recent months Pope Francis, president Barack Obama, and the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, have all nominated inequality as one of the key challenges of our time. That is an impressive triumvirate, and I think it shows that this is a debate which needs to become more prominent in Australia. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/19/australians-shouldnt-have-to-choose-between-growth-and-fairness

2353`

19/05/2014Another election promise that looks like being broken through lack of understanding on the process involved. The request to remove around 70000 hectares from the World Heritage area has been flatly rejected by the advisory body to the appropriate committee. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/17/tasmanian-forests-coalition-rebuffed-cut-world-heritage-area

Curi-Oz

19/05/2014The ALP are now advertising for a Senior Editor for the "Labor Herald". http://tinyurl.com/ouxvyqz I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at the idea, but at least they are finally getting on the blogging bandwagon with us *sighs*

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19/05/2014Casablanca Thank you for your list of links, all so relevant to today’s political scene. It is fascinating to see how relevant to the Abbott/Hockey budget are the two pieces by Ken. Inequality is becoming a ‘buzz word’, as indeed it ought to be. By virtually all assessments by columnists, the budget exacerbates inequality. Tom Allard spells this out in detail. Joe Hockey asserts, with typical ‘Strict Father’ morality, that ‘the age of entitlement is over’, and what really count are [i]“enterprise, hard work, self-reliance and equality of opportunity”.[/i] Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/reshaping-welfare-are-we-entering-an-age-of-inequality-20140516-38fc9.html#ixzz327zcP3rJ Referring to the Hockey budget, the Allard piece continues: “[i]But Toni Wren, a social policy analyst, says the idea of ''equality of opportunity'' is a furphy. Even as the stick is being applied to spur the young into employment, the programs that help them transition into employment are being slashed. All up, 10 skills and training programs will be slashed for a $1 billion saving over the budget estimates.[/i]” What really counts for Hockey are the classic economic rationalist precepts of enterprise, hard work and self-reliance, with equality of opportunity a principle that can be sacrificed in pursuit of the hallowed ‘budget surplus’. The Coalition has been spectacularly successful in creating the belief that the be all and end all of national economies is a balanced budget, preferably in healthy surplus. ‘Living within our means’ has become a handy catch cry that few dispute. Creating an analogy between the national economy and the family economy has been swallowed as legitimate, notwithstanding the fact that millions of households have mortgage debt, without which only the most affluent could ever acquire property. Business operates on debt, without which expansion would be painfully slow, if not impossible. Until now they have been equally successful if painting the nation’s finances as being in ‘crisis’, a budget ‘emergency’ that needs the Abbott/Hockey savagery. Abbott has over-reached. He not only wanted to correct longstanding structural defects in the budget, many of which were created during the time of the Howard government, he wanted to punish and, if possible, destroy Labor in the process, whom he insisted created this situation. Labor and economists agree that long-term structural changes are needed. They need to be carried out systematically, and to use a favourite Coalition word, methodically, over the decade ahead, not immediately and urgently in the form of Hockey’s extreme slash and burn budget. Today’s poll figures show that not only has the Coalition’s position deteriorated markedly, not only has Abbott’s approval rating literally plummeted, not only has Bill Shorten overtaken him as PPM, the majority of those polled have indicated clearly that the budget is not only bad for them, but also [b]bad for the economy[/b]. In other words, these respondents have not bought the ‘crisis’, the ‘budget emergency’ rhetoric; otherwise they would have rated the budget as bitter but necessary medicine to remedy the emergency. To make matters worse, Abbott is still in full denial, not just about his broken promises, but also about particulars of his budget and the difficulties it has created for individuals and the States, whose concerns he contradicts and plays down. Abbott is a vindictive, vengeful pugilist from way back, who seeks and enjoys a scrap, who will pick a fight with all and sundry, even his own. He likes blood on the floor. This time though, it is his own.

Jason

19/05/2014AD, Came across this piece by Tim Dunlop thought you might be interested. The fraught relationship between politicians and the electorate is distorted by the media sitting in the middle setting the basis for discussion. Often this isn't outright bias, it is simply a by-product of the professional desire to achieve “balance”. So, as frustrating and dangerous as the avowedly biased media can be, it is often the journalists who claim the high middle ground who are distorting the picture even further. It is all part of why our politics is broken. http://www.kingstribune.com/index.php/weekly-email/item/2002-the-ashes-of-egalitarian-australia

totaram

19/05/2014I still worry. While these puppets may be stupid, the real forces behind them cannot be so stupid. Surely they have a plan B. They will manufacture a crisis: children overboard, terrorists, anything to whip up fear and doubt and make the population run for cover into the arms of their saviors - the tough, the strong, the hard-as-nails coalition who know how to take the hard decisions to "save" the country. That is the "framing" which has been manufactured and perpetrated in the Murdoch press. Even the ABC now always has someone from the IPA for "balance". Just see the piece by Tim Dunlop above. Given the evidence of the dirty tricks in the past, I am fearful. We need to be on our guard.

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19/05/2014Jason Thank you for the link to Tim Dunlop's excellent exposition. It is an article we should all bookmark. Its insights are profound. I like your new Gravatar. totaram. I share your apprehension.

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19/05/2014Folks However you rate Joe Hockey's performance tonight on Q&A, almost all the questions reflected the anger that the Abbott/Hockey budget had generated in the community. I wonder to what extent his answers changed the views of the questioners and the audience. I noted that the most penetrating questions evoked the most enthusiastic clapping. I found many of his answers devious, obfuscatory and unconvincing. What about you? He did often look uncomfortable, and Tony Jones hammered him on broken promises and the tax theme, until he finally admitted that one of his budgetary impositions was indeed a tax! Wonders will never cease.

2353`

20/05/2014[quote]Oh man, when Campbell Newman says you’ve sacked too many public servants and cut too many spending programs, you have stepped through the looking glass. When Campbell Newman saddles up and rides hard on your budget because it’s going to hurt people and you need to be stopped, something weird is happening.[/quote] http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/blogs/blunt-instrument/newman-knows-just-how-deep-a-hole-abbott-has-dug-himself-20140519-38k6k.html#ixzz32CNHsnpL

Ken

20/05/2014totaram Yes, it is highly likely they are playing the long game. Another "Tampa", even another war, are, as you say, the type of thing they will be looking for by early 2016. The other approach that worries me is that some economic and financial commentators suggested that the growth forecasts in the budget were 'conservative', which means it is just as likely that the economy and government revenue will grow faster than forecast. Then the government will claim the credit and probably offer tax cuts before the next election. The one advantage Abbott has handed Labor at the moment is his denial that he has broken any promises. The electorate would likely have been more "forgiving" if he had admitted he has broken promises but kept playing the "it was Labor's debt" card. Instead he couldn't bring himself to admit that and has angered the electorate by saying he did not break any promises and that people did not hear what he was actually saying. When a politician tells the electorate it is dumb or stupid, he or she is on very dangerous ground.

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20/05/20142353 John Birmingham hits the nail on the head. Smokin’ Joe and Toned Abs’ are suitable monikers for these latter day economic rationalists as the sit on high surveying the damage they have done in Struggle Street.

DMW

20/05/2014Hey Ken you keep prodding the 'ol grey matter' into churning - keep at it & thanks A couple of references apropos a recent discussion on incentives and 'small gifts' or bribes. [b]Do Loan Officers’ Incentives Lead to Lax Lending Standards?[/b] Sumit Agarwal & Itzhak Ben-David [i]... we study a controlled field experiment conducted by a large bank. In the experiment, the incentive structure of a subset of small business loan officers was altered from fixed salary to volume-based pay. We use a diff- in-diff design to show that while the characteristics of loan applications did not change, incentive-paid loan officers book 19% loans with dollar amounts larger by 19%.[/i] http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/behfin/2012-04-11/Agarwal_Ben-David.pdf [b]You Owe Me[/b] Ulrike Malmendier & Klaus M. Schmidt [i]In many cultures and industries gift giving is a common practice to influence behavior, often at the expense of a third party. Examples include business gifts given by suppliers to procurement managers, by pharmaceutical companies to physicians or by lobbyists to politicians. In an experimental study we isolate the reciprocal effect of small gifts that are given unconditionally in one-shot interactions and have no informational content. We show that gift giving strongly affects the recipient’s decisions in favor of the gift giver even if this comes at the expense of a third party. Subjects are well aware that the gift is given to influence their behavior but reciprocate nevertheless. [/i] http://www.iae.csic.es/investigatorsMaterial/a1216210161265256.pdf

Casablanca

20/05/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE Tuesday 20 May 2014. 38 Items[/b] POLLING + PUGILISM 1. Abbott Government polling collapses Houses and Holes. 19 May, 2014 It was always going to be hard to outdo the previous government’s self-destruction but Team Abbott is giving it a damn good shot. Newspoll has collapsed for the Government with two-party preferred now at 45-55 against and Tony Abbott copping the blame dropping 10 points and Bill Shorten up 10 points as preferred PM: Neilsen [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-zuydhk-dtyueir-jt/ 2. Double dissolution speculation misguided By Antony Green Double dissolution speculation is getting the better of a number of online commentators lately. Antony Green explains this mechanism, unique to the Commonwealth constitution, and the political options available to the government. The tedious topic of a double dissolution seems to be doing the rounds again. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/green-double-dissolution-speculation-misguided/5462592 3. An own goal but the game is far from over Peter Hartcher May 19, 2014 Abbott was already a uniquely unpopular new prime minister in the early months of his term. But that was based largely on voters' fears and suspicions. His first budget has confirmed the fears and validated the suspicions. The poll shows that the strongest objections to the budget are twofold: that people expect it will make them worse off personally, and that it is unfair. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/an-own-goal-but-the-game-is-far-from-over-20140518-38hzy.html 4. Budget quake puts PM on shaky ground Laura Tingle It is not even that Tony Abbott's barefaced refusal to confront the fact he is breaking promises has enraged voters in a way that makes his position with them unrecoverable. It is the fact that this poll suggests Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey will have little choice but to go back and rethink the entire political and economic strategy on which this budget is built... What is most damaged is Tony Abbott – both his political authority and the dominance of his pugilistic approach. http://www.afr.com/p/national/budget_quake_puts_pm_on_shaky_ground_d4GjE8ENauOsEguKGxqOlO 5. Voters prefer mining, carbon taxes to raising GST Phillip Coorey More voters back keeping the carbon and mining taxes than support an increase to petrol excise or raising the GST, the latest poll has found. But while a clear majority opposes increasing the GST, support for the move has increased to 30 per cent, from 12 per cent, over the past two years. http://www.afr.com/p/national/voters_prefer_mining_carbon_taxes_LlzCRbwtLXuo6Yz1wh3XAK FEDERALISM WARS 6. Gulf widens between Abbott and state and territory leaders James Massola. May 20, 2014 Relations between the states and the federal Coalition have soured further, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to meet premiers and chief ministers and insisted state services could be delivered more efficiently. The message from Mr Abbott's office in response to calls for an ''emergency'' summit to discuss the $80 billion funding shortfall to states was ''see you in September'', the date for the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gulf-widens-between-abbott-and-state-and-territory-leaders-20140519-38k87.html 7. Newman knows just how deep a hole Abbott has dug himself John Birmingham. May 20, 2014 Oh man, when Campbell Newman says you’ve sacked too many public servants and cut too many spending programs, you have stepped through the looking glass. When Campbell Newman saddles up and rides hard on your budget because it’s going to hurt people and you need to be stopped, something weird is happening. Newman’s insurgency, the open revolt he’s leading against Hockey and Abbott’s mad, bad and dangerous budget has to be more worrying to the feds than any sudden reanimation of the ALP’s zombie vote, because of the long-term implications. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/blogs/blunt-instrument/newman-knows-just-how-deep-a-hole-abbott-has-dug-himself-20140519-38k6k.html#ixzz32DqQqxAu 8. Liberal and Labor premiers vow to fight $80bn cuts to health and education Lenore Taylor "Liberal and Labor premiers pleading with the nation to rise up in resistance against cutbacks that will result in thousands fewer teachers and hospital beds. The premiers accused the prime minister, Tony Abbott, of getting his facts completely wrong." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/18/liberal-and-labor-premiers-vow-to-fight-80bn-cuts-to-health-and-education 9. ACT Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson tells PM: Not happy, Tony Phillip Thomson May 16, 2014 ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson has lashed out against his Liberal colleague and Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Mr Hanson said the nation's leader should urgently reconsider his government's unjustifiable decision to move 600 federal public service jobs to the NSW central coast city of Gosford. His call comes months after the ACT Liberals were described as being seen as "Abbott's foot soldiers" by the party's former territory senator, Gary Humphries. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/act-liberal-leader-jeremy-hanson-tells-pm-not-happy-tony-20140518-zrese.html 10. The budget's big hit: how the states will lose billions in Federal Government funding Emma Griffiths State and territory leaders are furious over Treasurer Joe Hockey's plans to strip more than $80 billion in federal cash from health, education, and national partnership budgets over the next 10 years. The cuts will begin to bite in July, just four months before Victoria's state election, and with the Coalition governments in Queensland and New South Wales due to go to the polls in the first half of 2015. Here's how some of the cuts will begin to take effect. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/how-billions-in-budget-cuts-will-begin-to-hit-states/5462290?WT.mc_id=newsmail 11. Philosophical blueprint takes us back to 1901 Laura Tingle Tony Shepherd has observed that in looking for guidance on how to overhaul government spending, his National Commission of Audit had gone back to the Constitution. He could have equally said the commission wants to take us back to 1901 and the original envisioning of how the federation would work. http://www.afr.com/p/national/philosophical_blueprint_takes_us_3d29tYNTQ1TYDTDdRYUKMM THE ECONOMY 12. Five reasons to fear Australian recession Houses and Holes. 19 May, 2014 The Australian economy is ploughing into rising swells. There are five waves headed our way that might be rideable in isolation but if they converge would represent a perfect storm. Consider. The structural backdrop for the economy is the mining investment cliff. Although it began two quarters ago, it is not until the second half of [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-zuydhk-dtyueir-jy/ 13. World Vision head backs GST reform Leith van Onselen. 19 May, 2014 Over the weekend, World Vision CEO, Reverend Tim Costello, backed broadening the base of the GST to food, education and utilities, arguing that some of the additional $15 billion raised could be used to compensate the poor, overcoming concerns about regressivity. From The Guardian: Costello said a “mature” discussion was needed [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-zuydhk-dtyueir-jd/ 14. Keen backs Palmer on Budget Houses and Holes. 19 May, 2014 Steve Keen continues his recent good use of sectoral balances analysis today to make sense of Clive Palmer after the latter noted that: …Our debt at the moment is probably around about $300 billion so that’s… about two months of our activity. Is your personal debt less than two months of your activity? That’s what [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-zuydhk-dtyueir-jk/ ECONOMIC RATIONALISM Vs LONG-TERM ECONOMIC PROSPECTS 15. Budget fairness goes up in (cigar) smoke By Mungo MacCallum This whole triumphalist Budget is built around the proposition that there is a sucker born every minute. Didn't the Coalition prove that last September? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/maccallum-budget-fairness-goes-up-in-cigar-smoke/5461390 16. Joe Hockey admits co-payment is a new tax - or a rabbit Heath Aston. May 20, 2014 Treasurer Joe Hockey has conceded the $7 Medicare co-payment introduced in the budget amounts to a new tax - but denied the Abbott government had lied to Australians that it would not introduce any new taxes. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-admits-copayment-is-a-new-tax--or-a-rabbit-20140519-38kh5.html 17. Coalition ridiculed over 'bad policies' Gareth Hutchens. May 20, 2014 Three measures in the Abbott government's budget have been described as ''crude'' and ''too harsh'' by public policy experts, with one measure in particular being ridiculed for having a ''bush economists' logic''. The chief executive of the Grattan Institute, John Daley, said on Monday that the Abbott government's controversial $7 medical co-payment plan, its decision to introduce uncapped fees in the university sector, and its work for the dole scheme were bad policies that would not help to fix the structural budget deficit. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/coalition-ridiculed-over-bad-policies-20140519-38k7y.html 18. Abbott's attack on youth: The birth of a lost generation Kellie Tranter 19 May 2014, 7 The misguided policies of the Abbott Government will turn young people who need a little help from a long term asset into a current liability. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbotts-attack-on-youth-the-birth-of-a-lost-generation,6498 19. Beer and ciggies? More like 'Let them eat cake' from Joe Hockey atop his tower Rebecca Douglas. May 19, 2014 We’ll never know, but I do know that my experience of being on welfare was vastly different from the “beer and cigarettes” stereotype the Coalition is pushing. As for Marie Antoinette aka Mr Hockey? He can shut his cake hole. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/beer-and-ciggies-more-like-let-them-eat-cake-from-joe-hockey-atop-his-tower-20140519-zrh3z.html#ixzz32DxN55Wr 20. Joe Hockey foreshadows rise to superannuation 'preservation age' Heath Aston. May 20, 2014 Treasurer Joe Hockey has foreshadowed a rise in the age at which Australians can access their superannuation savings. Appearing on ABC’s Q&A program, Mr Hockey confirmed that a change to the "preservation age" - currently 60 for people born after 1964, and 55 for those older than that - will be altered in the current term of government. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-foreshadows-rise-to-superannuation-preservation-age-20140520-38kjj.html SMALL GOVERNMENT + SMALL MINDS 21. The conservatives are back in charge, @DrCraigEmerson comments on brutal #budget2014 Craig Emerson If ever there were any doubts about the difference in values between conservative and progressive Australian governments they were laid to rest by the Abbott Government’s first Budget. It was the pernicious embodiment of conservative philosophy: treat the poor and vulnerable as malingerers while going easy on wealthy backers; and, in order to maintain http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=aa7167bd9e0cf68cd60d0daaab214fb8&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 22. Tony Abbott has morphed into Bob Santamaria Nicholas Stuart. May 19, 2014 It took a long time, but Bob Santamaria’s finally done it - we’ve got our first ever DLP Prime Minister. There’s no other way to describe someone who rips the guts out of education yet finds money for a school chaplaincy program; for a person who eviscerates payments to single mothers but still has a few bucks left over for family planning. This Budget marks a waypoint on a long march to possess the soul of the Liberal party. It’s intellectually incoherent: cutting services to all listening to a special interest group. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-has-morphed-into-bob-santamaria-20140519-zrh4g.html#ixzz32Dqu55NQ 23. The Budget: All cruelty springs from weakness By Jennifer Wilson on May 19, 2014 ‘This budget is devastating for the vulnerable, and pays no mind to their survival’...It says much about the character of this government. It can’t be denied any longer, conservatives really do believe they have no responsibility… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/19/the-budget-all-cruelty-springs-from-weakness/ 24. I have a mandate By Kaye Lee on May 19, 2014 In 1963, when Martin Luther King articulated his dream for the future of his children, he touched the hearts and minds of people around the world. He spoke of a world of equal opportunity for all, a world where children… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/19/i-have-a-mandate/ 25. What has government ever given us? By Joff Lelliott From protecting the vulnerable through to creating the "free" markets that allow businesses to thrive, governments have a role to play in almost every aspect of society....In Monty Python's film The Life of Brian, an anti-Roman revolutionary played by John Cleese asks rhetorically about the Romans, "What have they ever given us?" http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/lelliott-the-role-of-government/5461944?WT.mc_id=newsmail 26. Score-settling budget looks after mates Peter Martin. May 20, 2014 The Coalition is playing favourites, punishing critics and rewarding supporters. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/scoresettling-budget-looks-after-mates-20140519-zrhbg.html#ixzz32DrPnV4m 27. Budget panto goes wrong Piping Shrike. 19 May 2014 If there is one thing that sums up the contradiction in the government’s position that is behind what is turning into a political disaster, is that a few weeks before the Budget came out, the Commission of Audit proposed one of the most radical overhauls of the Australian economy in fifty years – to one of the weakest governments capable of implementing it. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2014/05/budget-panto-goes-wrong.html 28. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world By Kaye Lee on May 19, 2014 In the months leading up to the last election, the mainstream media lost the respect of many people. Murdoch headlines became stories within themselves. All news seemed to be about Labor’s leadership tension and polls. Scrutiny such as we are http://theaimn.com/2014/05/19/its-a-mad-mad-mad-mad-world/ 29. Zombie Workchoices, The Second Coming: you cannot kill the undead By turnleft2016 on May 19, 2014 Given that we are enduring an illusion of “budget emergency” that requires real-world solutions of austerity, tax rises, job loses, services slashed and the obliteration of the middle class, how long before we see a resurrection of Work Choices to http://theaimn.com/2014/05/19/zombie-workchoices-the-second-coming-you-cannot-kill-the-undead/ 30. The Mouth that Roared By johnlord2013 on May 19, 2014 The problem with having a big mouth is that it continually gets you into trouble. Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard recognised this with Christopher Pyne and never considered him for a senior position in the Parliament.... The events prior to and after Bill Shorten’s Budget in Reply speech aptly confirms his capacity for foul-mouthed venomous invective. http://theaimn.com/2014/05/19/the-mouth-that-roared/ 31. Friends Of One Tony Abbott Secret Society By turnleft2016 on May 20, 2014 FOOTASS for short. Unlike most secret societies which try to keep details away from prying eyes, this one is the opposite, they do all they can to drum up interest, yet no one wants to publicly admit they are friends… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/20/friends-of-one-tony-abbott-secret-society/ LABOR & THE BUDGET 32. Labor's choice: Chaos or kudos Paul Matthewson "In the post-Budget wash-up Labor must decide what is the right style of opposition to adopt: Tony Abbott's grinding negativity or the Howard/Rudd model of selective differentiation." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/matthewson-labors-choice-chaos-or-kudos/5460988 33. The ideology driving the Abbott government's first budget Wayne Swan. The Saturday Paper. "I feel ill every time our blueblood treasurer calls our social security system a ‘cargo net’, as if our low-income families and pensioners have somehow grabbed the controls and swung our luxury liner towards an iceberg." http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/topic/politics/2014/05/17/the-ideology-driving-the-abbott-governments-first-budget/1400248800#.U3lgofmSzT8 34. Shorten's rhetorical rampage fails to convince By Neil James Bill Shorten's budget reply was soft on argument but full of extreme adjectives. If he can tone down the rhetoric he may truly find a voice worthy of applause at the ballot box http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-20/james-shortens-rhetorical-rampage-fails-to-convince/5463684 COMMISSIONS + OMISSIONS 35. Submission to Pink Batts Royal Commission (Part Two): The critical need for speed Alan Austin Following his reports on economic stimulus in Independent Australia and elsewhere, Alan Austin was requested to present a sworn statement of evidence to the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP), now underway. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/submission-to-pink-batts-royal-commission-part-two-the-critical-need-for-speed,6494 36. ICAC: Hartcher, Watson and the shovel Ross Jones Chris Hartcher was in ICAC yesterday and so was Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones, who considers where it all will lead. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/icac-hartcher-watson-and-the-shovel,6499 37. “The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.” By Kaye Lee on May 20, 2014 The Charter of Budget Honesty was introduced to stop incoming governments from claiming the previous government lied about the true state of the nation’s finances. The heads of the Treasury and the Finance Department are required to put out their… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/20/the-visionary-lies-to-himself-the-liar-only-to-others/ 38. Looking across the border, the #qldpol weekly wrap: @Qldaah David Marler Sex offences almost double over the last year in Brisbane’s inner-western suburbs. Cash for LNP access. Funding cut: Campbell Newman’s Mother’s Day gift to dying women from breast cancer. Assistant Health Minister Dr Chris Davis sacked. Newman Govt ignored environmental concerns for Galilee Basin coal mine. Kids and coal: We are in the coal business. http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=bfeadb993ed23af1593b27268b80ad99&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Curi-Oz

20/05/2014Having watched the shinanigans over the last week, I have decided that Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey are actually "economic irrationalists". I also have to re-find the article about the mathematical mistakes that underlays the 'trickle down' theories that are involved in the myth that is Economic Rationalism. In addition to the recent 'Capitalism in the 21st Century', the impression increases that this budget is the irrational, childish desire for things to be the way these indulged individuals want. And when selfish children bring the house down, it's never them that gets the stick ...

Casablanca

20/05/2014CASABLANCA'S CACHE Tuesday 20 May 2014. 42 items. [b]Abbott: a man's man? More like a liar's liar[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-05-13.aspx

Casablanca

20/05/2014Additional Cache items GST reform a golden opportunity, soon to be missed by the states By Alan Fenna, Curtin University This past Tuesday was another bad day for Australian federalism: the Abbott government’s first budget announced the axing of the COAG Reform Council and the withdrawal of a promised A$80 billion from health… http://theconversation.com/gst-reform-a-golden-opportunity-soon-to-be-missed-by-the-states-26748 In government, a mantra is not enough to control the narrative By Annabelle Lukin The annual federal budget speech is the one required speech of the Australian political calendar. And it goes all the way back to Federation. It’s Australia’s equivalent of the State of the Union address… http://theconversation.com/in-government-a-mantra-is-not-enough-to-control-the-narrative-26827 Another broken promise: budget switches Landcare for Green Army By Ian Rutherfurd and Andrew Campbell Among the environmental fallout of the federal budget, Australia’s Landcare program has taken a hit, losing A$484 million. In return, the government’s environmental centrepiece, the Green Army, receives… http://theconversation.com/another-broken-promise-budget-switches-landcare-for-green-army-26818 Pink batts and union inquiries revive a tradition of political retribution By Geoffrey Robinson It would be a fair observation that the Abbott government hopes that the result of the two royal commissions it has established since taking office will be damaging to the Labor Party. The royal commissions… http://theconversation.com/pink-batts-and-union-inquiries-revive-a-tradition-of-political-retribution-26592 $7 co-payment proposal – how it will work AMA 15/05/2014 Based on early advice from the Department of Health, this is a summary of how the AMA understands the $7 co-payment will be implemented by the Government. The co-payment will be introduced from 1 July 2015 and will apply to A1, A2, A11, A22 and A23 GP consultation items. It will not be applied to Chronic Disease Management items, health assessments and mental health items. Other key features of the co-payment proposal are: https://ama.com.au/gpnn/7-co-payment-proposal-how-it-will-work Disabled people likely to face $7 co-payments Lenore Taylor Doctors say the patient who confronted treasurer on Q&A was right to say he will be out of pocket http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/20/joe-hockeys-qa-interrogator-right-co-payments

Ken

20/05/2014DMW Thank you and hope I can continue to keep the grey matter going - yours and mine. As an anthropologist I know all about gift-giving and reciprocity, a common technique in many societies, including egalitarian societies. In many cases it carries reciprocity in terms of returning the gift when you have 'plenty'and the original gift-giver does not. In our modern context, I would hazard a guess that there is an evolutionary hangover which makes us feel obligated to reciprocate. And I would suggest that a small gift can be more effective because it appears more personal, and especially if it is delivered in person. Once a personal rapport is established it can operate unconsciously. I have been in that position myself. It was only with hindsight that I could see that getting to know the people involved influenced my decisions later (luckily not in any bad way). We are human after all and we respond to personal contact. The problem is there are so many bastards out there now who know that and deliberately play on it.

Ad astra

20/05/2014Casablanca Thank you for yet another set of informative links. Lying comes across as a dominant theme in many pieces. While it may be tempting to label Abbott a pathological liar, this would be a misnomer, as it would tend to relieve him of culpability. It seems to me that some of his lies are calculated, deliberately intending to deceive. It seems that he often believes he can get away with his lies, and maybe with a section of the electorate, he does. Maybe he calculates that if his supporters believe him, since they were in the majority at the last election, they are all he has to convince to stay in power. Some lies do seem stupid though, such as insisting that the $80 billion of cuts to State budgets will not take effect until 2017. Premiers have disabused him of this belief and according to Premier Napthine, Abbott has confirmed via a letter that he was wrong, and that the cuts will begin on July 1. Was this a lie, and having been caught out, Abbott has changed his story? Or was it simply a lack of understanding of his own budget? Put another way, was he lying or was he simply incompetent, or just careless? After the polls turned sour, Abbott stated that Howard’s horror budget at the beginning of his reign evoked a much worse reaction in the polls than his budget has this time. Journalists were quick to point out that he was wrong. The Howard/Costello budget did not evoke a reaction nearly as extreme as his budget has produced. So was Abbott lying, or misinformed, or simply attempting to deceive in the belief that many would take his statement at face value? Long ago Abbott conceded that sometimes he does lie, and that his words can be taken as valid only if carefully scripted. It is difficult to know when his lies are deliberate and calculated to deceive, and when they are the product of not having his facts right. [b]Deliberate liar, just incompetent, or hazardously careless, that is the question?[/b]

Ken

20/05/2014Ad I think the answer is all three at different times.

Ken

20/05/2014Curi-oz As I said near the end of my previous piece, economic rationalists they may be but not necessarily rational. (I think it was John Quiggin who first said words to that effect.)

Casablanca

21/05/2014 [b]Cranky Christians against asylum seeker cruelty[/b] By Chris Bedding Christians have had enough of the detention of asylum seeker children. They aren't going to burn down politician offices, but they will sit in them and pray. Three Pastors will...face court on May 28 for participating in the Perth #LoveMakesAWay nonviolent sit-in at the electorate office of Julie Bishop MP. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-20/bedding-love-makes-a-way/5465300

Pappinbarra Fox

21/05/2014I think the answer is all 3 at the same time The thing is he has no commitment to honesty and just says what comes to mind at moment.

2353`

21/05/2014A touchign personal account of what $7 really means to some people. http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/life-style/family-finances/when-every-cent-counts-a-mums-story-of-spending-her-last-7-20140519-38j9s.html#utm_source=FD&utm_medium=lifeandstylepuff&utm_campaign=$7

Michael

21/05/2014Abbott frightened of losing a shoe? Abbott cancels a visit to face the voters when he bails out of going to Deakin University. It makes him look weak, cowardly. Was he frightened that if he visited the campus on schedule that news footage would show him being bundled away from demonstrators to the Prime Ministerial car and losing a shoe as Julia Gillard did in the process? He wanted to avoid any record of anything but tough guy imagery? I believe so. But now he's put out another message - the guy not tough enough to even approach the lion's den, let alone call out the lion. It speaks of a bunker mentality, of a leader too scared to step out from behind his Praetorian guards, too spooked to attend anywhere but where his favoured few congregate. Wussy. Those aren't red budgie smugglers, they're mite smugglers.

Casablanca

21/05/2014[b]Our wuss of a PM.[/b] Abbott and Pyne cancel Deakin University visit as students plan protests. Tony Abbott has cancelled a planned trip to Victoria's Deakin University due to security concerns as students prepare for a day of nationwide protests. Mr Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne had been scheduled to attend the official opening of a carbon fibre research facility at the university in Geelong today, but the trip was cancelled late yesterday. The National Union of Students has called for a day of protest action today over federal budget cuts and rising student fees. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-20/prime-minister-cancels-geelong-uni-visit-student-protests/5466026

Casablanca

21/05/2014 [b]Don't flock to New Zealand just yet[/b] By Greg Jericho Despite the headlines about how good New Zealand's budget was last week compared to ours, I wouldn't rush to cross the ditch just yet. NZ growth is due for a slump in the not-too-distant future. But the two economies are vastly different - not least because NZ is enjoying record terms of trade. Meanwhile, even the best crystal ball shows their growth is due to wind right back in a few years and slump to below its 30-year average. So it might not be sweet as, bro. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-21/jericho-dont-flock-to-new-zealand-just-yet/5464432 [b] What's inside Joe Hockey's head?[/b] Ross Gittins The catch is this: you may hate paying tax, but don’t be too sure Hockey’s efforts to avoid tax increases and eventually make room for income-tax cuts will leave you ahead on the deal. Why not? Because to avoid increasing taxes - and avoid cutting the big tax breaks some people enjoy - Hockey has concentrated on cutting back all manner of government spending. And most people - maybe all families bar the top 10 per cent or so - have more to lose from cuts to government spending made, than they have to gain from tax increases avoided. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/whats-inside-joe-hockeys-head-20140520-zri5f.html#ixzz32J1R32hd [b]Abbott out of step on climate change, says Professor Jeffrey Sachs[/b] Tom Arup Australia's reversal on climate change action will ultimately not stick because the rest of the world will make clear that it is unacceptable, globally renowned economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs says. Speaking to Fairfax Media, Professor Sachs said the extreme shocks and pain of climate change were now being felt across the planet and governments acting in an ''anti-scientific perspective or an extraordinarily short-term perspective'' will be surprised by the response from other countries. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-out-of-step-on-climate-change-says-professor-jeffrey-sachs-20140520-38mmn.html [b]Joe Hockey sues Fairfax Media[/b] Matthew Knott Treasurer Joe Hockey has launched defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media over front-page articles headlined "Treasurer For Sale". Mr Hockey's lawyers filed an application on Tuesday afternoon against The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times with the NSW registry of the Federal Court. The case will be first mentioned in court on June 12. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-sues-fairfax-media-20140520-38mhf.html

Michael

21/05/2014More evidence that Prime Rorter Tony Abbott will happily take freebies wherever he can get them, even as clothes on his back or free tertiary education for his children. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/21/tony-abbotts-daughter-did-not-have-to-pay-for-60000-design-degree The man is this country's Number One Trough-Diver, his hand always out, his wallet locked-down cemented into his pocket, never to be taken out to spend a dollar he can't sponge, a cent he can't finagle. He's a disgrace, to every cell of his being.

Casablanca

21/05/2014Fairfax Poll [b]Which budget measure would you most like to see the government back away from?[/b] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/lying-and-fearmongering-tony-abbott-cops-a-grilling-on-talkback-20140521-38ngf.html#poll

Michael

21/05/2014Re the Canberra Times article above... All of them, and NOW! And shut the door behind them when they go.

Casablanca

21/05/2014[b]The Abbott Government singles out yet more Australians for gratuitous insults. [/b] [b]Defence minister labels public servants 'fat and happy'[/b] Phillip Thomson A union director has called on Defence Minister David Johnston to apologise to the ranks of civilian public servants he is about to sack after labelling them "fat and happy" in a radio interview. “We are talking about intelligence analysts, engineers, scientists and defence specialists – these people play an essential role in Defence. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/defence-minister-labels-public-servants-fat-and-happy-20140521-zrjsw.html [b]Tony Abbott's wink over sex worker call: a grubby response or a beat-up?[/b] Matthew Knott It's the wink that sparked a thousand tweets. Appearing on ABC Radio this morning, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was confronted by something not even the canniest spin doctor could have predicted: a call from a pissed-off pensioner who works on an adult sex line. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-wink-over-sex-worker-call-a-grubby-response-or-a-beatup-20140521-38o87.html

Casablanca

21/05/2014 [b]Tony Abbott's daughter was given scholarship for $60,000 design degree[/b] Paul Farrell, Oliver Laughland Exclusive: Frances Abbott was awarded a chairman's scholarship for bachelors degree at prestigious Sydney institute where a donor to her father sits as chair of board of governors. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/21/tony-abbotts-daughter-did-not-have-to-pay-for-60000-design-degree [b]'Lying and fear-mongering': Abbott cops a grilling on talkback Matthew Knott [/b] Prime Minister Tony Abbott has conceded a new deficit levy on high-income earners is a tax in heated exchanges with talkback radio callers in Melbourne who accused him of lying, fearmongering and endangering the health of pensioners... "What do you suggest I cut out Mr Abbott? Food, electricity, firewood, Christmas and birthday presents to my grandchildren? Or should I just die and get out of your way?"... Mr Abbott was also confronted by a caller named Chantelle, who said she faced the end of her contract as a home and community care worker."We don't know what is going to happen after that three years," she said. Mr Abbott responded that he also had a three-year contract and "I don't know what is going to happen after three years". "We all have to live with uncertainty and it's not nice and sometimes you've got a sick feeing in the pit of your stomach when you contemplate the future," he said. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/lying-and-fearmongering-tony-abbott-cops-a-grilling-on-talkback-20140521-38ngf.html#ixzz32KAOIjJP

Ad astra

21/05/2014Casablanca Thanks for the additional links that show what a scumbag Abbott is. His interview with Jon Faine this morning was among his worst ever, and 'the wink' showed yet again Abbott's misanthropic attitude towards women. This 'man' is our PM!

Ken

21/05/2014Politicians already rate along with car salesmen. Abbott makes car salesmen look like Mother Theresa. He is a total embarassment as a PM. He demeans the position. A liar. A moron - does not seem to have a thought unless someone feeds it to him. A pug - and he continues to walk like one (perhaps a little 'punch drunk'). An utter, utter hypocrite as the 'scholarship' for his daughter shows - it's okay to cut support for the less well-off because he can still access support from the big-end of town. I just get angry and frustrated beyond words that such a man can be elected (but, I suppose America did have George W - perhaps we are just following America and catching up years later as we usually do!!) I started stating how low politicians rate with the public and Abbott is doing his best to ensure that they drop lower. Shorten has to be careful not to get caught up in the game. While being critical of Abbott and his stupid ideas, Shorten does have to retain a semblance of dignity and try to restore some trust in politicians.

Ad astra

21/05/2014Ken I agree with your assessment.

DMW

21/05/2014Ken, Ad sure Shorten does have to be careful but with a bit of strategic positioning he could help move Labor above the fray. At some appropriate point over the next few weeks he could announce that voluntarily all Labor Shadow Ministers will publish their diaries online on, say, a monthly basis. In a similar vein Labor as a whole could announce that all donations of $1,000 & above will be published online not only for the party but also for all associated entities. While moving towards the long and slow process of party reform he needs to register some 'wins' very soon on some things that show Labor will not tolerate any 'graft' etc. Also he needs to do a few things that will 'mess with the PM's head' like pointing out how the $7 co-payment is a red tape burden on small businesses. There a number of possible 'head messers' in this budget that have the potential to sink the Liberal brand from here to eternity - well for a little while anyway.

Casablanca

21/05/2014[b]Inaugural Jean Blackburn oration[/b] David Gonski Businessman David Gonski, AC, the architect of the former Gillard government’s blueprint for education funding reform, gave the inaugural Jean Blackburn oration at the University of Melbourne tonight. Jean Blackburn was an economist and educationalist who, 41 years ago, was a major contributor to the last report into schools funding. This is an edited extract of his speech. https://austcolled.com.au/event/2014-jean-blackburn-oration http://www.businessinsider.com.au/here-is-david-gonskis-speech-on-the-fallout-from-the-school-funding-review-he-wrote-2014-5 See also: https://austcolled.com.au/event/2014-jean-blackburn-oration [b]David Gonski slams Abbott reversal on school funding[/b] Heath Aston and Benjamin Preiss David Gonski has urged the Abbott government to reverse its decision to scrap the school funding reforms associated with his name, claiming "the concept of aspiration ends in 2017". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/david-gonski-slams-abbott-reversal-on-school-funding-20140521-38ot1.html

Casablanca

21/05/2014 [b]In the studio with Lord Adair Turner[/b] Ticky Fullerton. ABC Video (8min 46sec) How do you fuel growth in developed economies without resorting to credit and debt? That is the big question occupying Lord Adair Turner and he speaks to Ticky Fullerton. Lord Turner is Senior Fellow, Institute for New Economic Thinking. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-20/in-the-studio-with-lord-adair-turner/5466416 See also: http://ineteconomics.org/people/adair-turner

Casablanca

21/05/2014 [b]Leaked Documents Cast Doubt On Abbott's $60k Scholarship Claims[/b] By Chris Graham and Max Chalmers Prime Minister Tony Abbott is tonight under fire over a $60,000 education scholarship awarded to his daughter Frances....And in breaking developments, the Australian Parliament’s Registrar of Members' Interests has tonight also contradicted the Prime Minister over an explanation he provided earlier today about why he did not publicly disclose his daughter received the scholarship. https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/21/leaked-documents-cast-doubt-abbotts-60k-scholarship-claims

Casablanca

21/05/2014 [b]Julia Gillard on her new global education role: I know what it's like trying to get more money into schools[/b] Mary Riddell. Telegraph, London Julia Gillard, Australia's first woman prime minister, was pilloried for being female, unmarried and childless. Here, she gives her first British interview since being ousted http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julia-gillard-on-her-new-global-education-role-i-know-what-its-like-trying-to-get-more-money-into-schools-20140521-38o6t.html

TalkTurkey

22/05/2014Hi-Ho Swordsfolks Sorry to have been seen so seldom lately, My computer has been on Dial-Up Twitter has been eating my homework And J**** & I have been getting ready to go to Tasmania for a Holiday! we go on Friday,back around beginning of June, but I should be able to stay in touch. I'm including a letter I just wrote to my Tessellation-artist friend Seth in Hawaii, he has sent me a hilarious piece of his (non-tess) graphic art, depicting a real yobbo Aussie couple Shazza and Waz .. but I have told him over time about *J*U*L*I*A* and the PiG~THiNG, and I thought a letter updating him would bring a different kind of perspective to the situation. Seth has spent years in Phuket, so he is no stranger to REAL political turmoil of a kind unknown here. And that is what I fear might become a reality anytime soon. I did half-predict this sort of outcome - Abbott sleeping with the police and cosying up to the armed services always scared me, and now more than ever. Before we know it we might have as in Thailand a military coup. Or a general strike. Or both. Hope I'm wrong, but you heard it first here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hi Seth, G'day Cobber owyergoinmateorright? Give yer mate Brian a cooee fer me 'n' the missus yeah? I need a bit more background on Shazza & Waz, but I blanch at the stereotype! It's worse than true unfortunately. Shazza and Waz at least look like yobbo fun. What's happening here is far from it. You may have read of Australia's new Government under Tony Abbott. He is further right and dumber and essentially dishonester and nastier than a bastard child by George Gubya out of Palin. I told you Seth, I spent three years mostly writing on blogs and Twitter to try to prevent this happening. Well under Murdoch's unwavering battering *J*U*L*I*A* Gillard's wonderful Labor Government fell, now we've got this mob of yahoos loose on the country. Now, suddenly, too late, the People realise they've been had. Here come the riots and the police, dogs and all, don't say I didn't tell you but Seth I only told you as an onlooker - to and with the locals I fought so hard by my words - all the influence I have! - to the relative few who follow political blogs, warning that this would happen. It's classical Animal Farm come starkly real and it's Big Trouble now. We told 'em , the Fighting 5th Estate did, we told the People this would happen; now it's too late they have HUGE regrets. Already, in 8 months, we have had two MAJOR Australia-widerallies, another one that will be ENORMOUS already set for August, and today the students all over Australia demonstrated their disgust over imminent increased fees (THE issue that REALLY gets 'em going! Money...) That is true, it only really comes home when it hits Number One's personal circs, but it also true that those students, along with workers and age pensioners and Aboriginal people and Disabled, and ALL the 99%, are livid about many things this crazy Government has set about destroying, and some of the issues are very much of the principled sort. Unions are under pressure and with their backs to the wall, but that's actually good, good old wall serves as spine when the original has gone soft. The Labor Party is suddenly 'way back in front in the polls - especially in the last week or so! The 3 polling organisations are running Labor v "Liberal" (read RW-reactionary) at 55%/45%, 56%/44%, and 57.5%/42.5% respectively in the Two Party Preferred vote. (In Australia, 51% in a general election will usually deliver Government - not always, because it goes on numbers of seats won by each side, but 55% would be a thumper of a win.) I think that Abbott's Government cannot win the next election now, but it's 2 years and 4 months away, and they have already done so much damage to the People and to our overseas reputation too in just 8 months one wonders what will be salvageable by then. Like, Ancient Tasmanian forests will be gone that were protected. Just as a taste of the vandals that now have Australia in a RW grip. So now the whole country is angry because Abbott has broken virtually every promise he made before the election, and these are nation-changing changes. The social turmoil is all confected by the LNP and the Murdoch-dominated Media, they want Americanised education and Americanised health and welfare, it's madness, we have had all-up enlightened and excellent social systems in Australia hitherto. So now Teachers and Nurses and Carers are organising huge marches and demos all over Australia, and there is a growing unease everywhere. This NEVER happened under Labor, and didn't need to happen here. As I write no-one but me has mentioned it until now - but I think we might be heading for a General Strike! And then it's on for young and old. Literally. I am going to suggest it on Twitter and see what results! The 5th Estate might be small compared to Murdoch's might but we can draw massive numbers into the streets, and concerted action, as his evil empire never can. And we have exponentially more power, in an inverse relationship with Murdoch's - he hates social media but we will use it and we will prevail. Anyway Aloha for now my friend, on Friday J**** & I are going to Tasmania for a *H*O*L*I*D*A*Y*!, driving around and rubbernecking and taking 3D photos! We'll be back early in June. Meantime we have Mobile Broadband and should still be able to send and receive some of the time. Cheers folks. B & J

Casablanca

22/05/2014 [b]Abbott Adult Government Bedtime stories: Once upon a time there was a little Budget that wanted to be a Fire Brigade and a little tax that thought he was a rabbit.... [/b] Budget like a fire brigade knocking down fences as it fights fiscal blaze, says PM Tony Abbott Emma Griffiths http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-21/tony-abbott-describes-budget-as-fire-brigade/5467546 Joe Hockey admits co-payment is a new tax - or a rabbit Heath Aston Treasurer Joe Hockey has conceded the $7 Medicare co-payment introduced in the budget amounts to a new tax - but denied the Abbott government had lied to Australians that it would not introduce any new taxes. But the Treasurer accepted under questioning that the co-payment was a new tax..."It's a payment. You can call it a tax," he said. "It comes out of a pocket. It comes out of someone's pocket. A taxpayer's pocket. You want to call it a tax, you can call it anything you want, you can call it a rabbit." http://www.theland.com.au/news/metro/national/general/joe-hockey-admits-copayment-is-a-new-tax-or-a-rabbit/2698907.aspx

2353`

22/05/2014TT - (in the tone of Wassa and Saz) noice summation of recent events.

2353`

22/05/2014https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t1.0-9/10308303_10203109777418042_593164483060430828_n.jpg

TalkTurkey

22/05/2014Retweeted by Susan Mackay Van Badham is sure making waves! Many fans, I'm one. Jessica Reed ‏@GuardianJessica · 3m The beast unleashed on students is the one that will return to bite us all. By @vanbadham http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/22/the-beast-unleashed-on-students-is-the-one-that-will-return-to-bite-us-all?view=desktop … Did anyone see PUP Senator Jacquie Lambie interviewed t'other night? I thought she killed it! Clive will be happy with her, she didn't mince words, stayed focused, even seemed to have some idea of her ground. Then there's [i]Abborrrtt[/i] ... and the wink! Ha ha. I think now Aussies have pretty well made up their minds about what sort of Thing he is. Be brave and staunch Comrades. This too will pass and we will be a party to its passing. Like the Phoenix we must now endure the fire but we will be renewed in the process. [i]Venceremos![/i]

Ad astra

22/05/2014Folks It is sometimes instructive to reflect on past predictions. On 25 August last year, not long before the election, I wrote [b][i]Say no, no, no to Tony Abbott[/b][/i]. In the introduction were these words: “[i]It takes little serious reflection to conclude that this nation does not deserve to have Abbott inflicted on it. Let me elaborate on why we ought to say no, no, no to Tony Abbott. Contemplate an Abbott prime ministership, an Abbott government. [b]In my opinion, we can confidently expect Abbott to exhibit seemingly conflicting attributes: vengefulness and weakness.”[/b][/i] Later on came the elaboration: [i]We would expect him to enjoy wreaking vengeance by repealing the carbon tax, the mining tax, and other Labor bills. Smashing what Labor has done is his pugilistic intent; demolition gives him satisfaction. If he were to win, the bigger the majority the more intense and personal his vengeance would be. Voters need to know that vengeance is in his DNA. It would override any tendency to munificence that might emerge after a substantial victory. Remember his instruction to Malcolm Turnbull: “demolish the NBN”, an instruction Turnbull found a way to partly ignore. Demolition is Abbott’s preference.[/i] This is precisely what has happened. He has initiated Royal Commissions into the union movement and the Home Insulation Program, the so-called ‘Pink Batts’ scheme. His prime purpose is vengeance; his hope is further destruction of Labor, a process he started in Opposition. His first budget heavily favours his natural constituency, business and the wealthy, who get new tax breaks, retain those it has for superannuation and capital gains, and is viciously punitive against those who are not Abbott’s people: the poor, the disabled, the unemployed young, the struggling family and the aged pensioner – it is vengeance writ large. The piece goes on to describe what to expect from an Abbott government regarding tax changes, industrial relations, school and health funding, global warming, the NBN and asylum seeker policy. Read, and see how accurate the predictions were. Turning to Abbott’s weakness, the piece continues: [i]What is more disconcerting though than Abbott’s vengefulness is his weakness, weakness that would render him unable to resist the requests, the demands of his wealthy and influential sponsors…The ones who would call the shots, who would shout the orders to which Abbott would jump, are Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart. Look at how obsequious Abbott is in the presence of these wealthy moguls…Perhaps even more sinisterly, Abbott would be subject to the pressure of his mentor, Cardinal George Pell.[/i] The piece concludes: [b][i]Should he become PM, this weakness of character would be even more detrimental to good governance, more dangerous to equity and fairness than the vengefulness that he would parade against the weak, against those who have no defence. The wealthy and powerful would prevail. Abbott, the weak man, would not resist. Be afraid of an Abbott prime ministership, very afraid. Say no, no, no to Tony Abbott.[/b][/i] It did not take a genius to make such predictions. They were perfectly obvious to any keen observer of Abbott over the years. A quick browse of the piece should show how obvious it was that what is now happening since he came to power was quite predictable. Yet the people voted him and the Coalition in, or perhaps more accurately voted Rudd and Labor out. They ought to have known what they would get. Alas! http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2013/08/25/Say-no-no-no-to-Tony-Abbott.aspx

Pappinbarra Fox

22/05/2014Ad, The problem is that not everyone reads the political Sword. Those who do not have been swimming in blissful ignorance prior to the election, have been learning since then and now are graduating as a result of the budget. I do not think the swing in the polls is finished yet.

Casablanca

22/05/2014[b]Trust me, Abbott is a PM without power[/b] By Tim Dunlop John Howard had a reputation for being a "safe pair of hands" before he started trashing his promises. Tony Abbott didn't have that clout, so the backlash was swift... Tony Abbott remains in office but he is no longer in power. I don't think I'm exaggerating in saying that. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-22/dunlop-trust-me-abbott-is-a-pm-without-power/5470764

Ken

22/05/2014First, DMW @ 8:54 last night. You are right. Abbott's "policies" are littered with inconsistency. The $7 tax to visit a GP will add to the admin mosts of surgeries. Not only do they have to collect the money, they have to split it up and keep $2 and send $5 to the government. One aim of bulk billing was that it reduced the paperwork for doctors' surgeries. Yes, Labor could take that up and promote Medicare as a way of reducing red tape. second, Ad and Pappinbarra Fox I think the polls showed that the electorate was always wary of Abbott (he had low personal ratings) but could take no more of Rudd and Labor and so were willing to take Abbott at face value - read, "suspend disbelief" for the sake of being able to vote for someone other than Palmer. Abbott has simply managed to reinforce the concerns people suspended before the election. I think there is one bright side. Yes, there is! Hockey will never become LNP leader after being the author of this budget - he would be an electoral liability. (There are some possible qualifications to that outlook but I won't go on about them now.)

2353

22/05/2014DMW - I got an text message from a local 'long hours' bulk billing GP clinic yesterday telling me there was no co-pament required at that practice. Have they found a loophole or have they made a business decision to 'wear' the fee because it is administratively too hard to collect it?

TalkTurkey

22/05/2014Ad I well remember Your NO NO NO to Abborrrtt and your Yes Yes Yes to Labor ... Your vision was always crystal-clear and you know I shared the sentiment in every line. Pappinbarra Fox got it right: If everyone had read TPS there'd be no problem. But they have their minds bent out of shape on the job all day listening to shock jock rants and simplistic nonsense. That's why *J*U*L*I*A* was and is so emphatic about education: not to educate people is to condemn them to a lesser horizons in every way. Ad when occasionally I do look back at last year's effort on our part - TPS contributors all - [i]I am really proud[/i], we did our best, wrote our hearts out, believing all the time in the ability of *J*U*L*I*A* to punch Abborrrtt out in the end - only to be maggotted by Rudd and his sycophants in Parliament and running dogs in the Murdoch Media. But we write contemporary history, and influence it in ways, small ways indeed but ways which now have found huge resonance in the resentful multitudes who didn't have the nous, the education or the available information to read the writing on the wall. (The wall that Abborrrtt punched!) Speaking of walls, in my last post I said Unions are under pressure and with their backs to the wall, but that's actually good, good old wall serves as spine when the original has gone soft. Seth, my tessellator friend in Hawaii I mentioned, has got back to me already saying I really, really like that metaphor about backs, walls, and spines. Is it an original that you made up here-and-now? And Turkey that I am, I [i]preened[/i] of course, because it is original afa I know and I thought it was a pretty neat metaphor myself! :) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I keep saying and I mean it, Yes it may be a disaster but it serves Australian society right and from it we must rebuild a fairer more honest society, a socialistic one. Where no 'born-to-rules' dare ever again to rear their hateful heads. Bit o' lame doggerel. Best I can do. (To [i]Click Go the Shears[/i]) Draw forth your swords Folks! Fend! Parry! THRUST! Fight with a will Comrades, fight we must! The Pen is our sword, and The Sword is our pen - When [i]all[/i] the Comrades use it, Foes will never rise again! Tonight - student demos against lying C*** Pyne, (made out to be riots - and hopefully not far short of it! -and used as an opportunity for Police to bare their tusks against the People at last.) I have long hinted at the threat of this sort of outcome - Abbott sleeping with the police and cosying up to the armed services always scared me, and now more than ever. Before we know it we might have as in Thailand a military coup. Or a general strike. Or both. Hope I'm wrong about the first bit, but you heard it here first. None of us has ever seen a General Strike in Australia. It would be a game changer. I reckon we should do it. Van Badham? Jacquie Lambie? Labor? Unions? Greens? Hey what a fun prospect. Whaddya reckon?

Janet (j4gypsy)

22/05/2014A wave, and this from the ever inestimable Elder. _______________________________ [b] Looking for a second chance[/b] [i]Working on newspapers, you're writing to a certain length, often very brief pieces. You tend to look for easy forms of humor - women can't drive, things like that. That's about the level of a lot of newspaper humor. It becomes a form of laziness. - Tom Wolfe[/i] Before last year's election Tony Abbott not only had the gall to not only make promises for this term of parliament but the next, or what he called "our second term". He assumed he would win government because the press gallery waved him through, and also polls. He assumed his government would get a second term because every government since Scullin has, and because there has traditionally been a residual loyalty to political parties that has limited the size of swings against them. It was an article of faith at this blog that Abbott was so hopelessly contradictory that he'd never get into office at all, and never mind the polls. Having been mugged by reality it should surprise no-one that I'm death-riding Abbott but it is only fair that this blog continues to treat polls outside the last week of an election campaign as a waste of time. I wanted to believe this article by Waleed Aly but he has come to (almost) the right conclusion in the wrong way. [i]For now the popular focus is on whether or not Abbott can recover; whether this will be the fortnight that ultimately relegates him to a single term.[/i] Now the popular focus is on how we got ourselves done over by this dickhead whom the media said wouldn't be this bad. Now the popular focus is on how we reverse the doing-over; there are opportunities here for Labor and for Clive Palmer, but not Bob Katter nor Malcolm Turnbull nor even Christine Milne. Whether Tony Abbott lives or dies is of no importance but to the press gallery, whose assurances gave Abbott's the weight they would have otherwise lacked. [i]But in truth there are bigger questions here, and the Coalition faces a conundrum far tougher than merely figuring out how to win the next election. And it’s a conundrum created well before last Tuesday.[/i] Promising. Given Aly's well-received and earnest disquisition on the nature of conservatism you'd think he would go into the reasons why Abbott's government is starting to implode. He kind of does, but not really. [i]The reason the government broke so many promises in this budget is simple: the promises they made from Opposition were wildly contradictory ... A platform like that was always going to have its day of reckoning. [/i] Quite so. It's a real pity that the press gallery, and other journalists covering public affairs, didn't pick up on this. To do so might have returned a government that was policy-capable but personally and factionally riven, and where it and the press gallery were daily reinforced in their mutual disdain. Aly too could have explored this before last September, but he didn't. [i]The tragedy is that Abbott didn’t need to do it.[/i] Oh but he did. The only alternative was some sort of drawn-out examination of what it means to be conservative (or even liberal) in 21st century Australia, which would not necessarily have seen Tony Abbott as leader. He staked everything on shutting down debate and publicity-seeking stunts, and damn it if it didn't work. [i] He is the Prime Minister today because Labor had descended into an unelectable mess. [/i] This is to confuse cause and effect. Labor did introduce policies that were not only popular but well-considered. They did what conventional wisdom would hope from a political party in government, consulting with stakeholders, making decisions and then selling, selling, selling. Abbott did not engage with those policies as policies, he rejected even the most basic premises necessary for a public debate. What Abbott did was throw policy babies out with Labor bathwater, pooh-poohing them on the basis of fiscal cost and Labor credibility. Labor couldn't win a game where the rules of consultation and evidence-based policy counted for nothing, or only ever counted against them, which explains why they didn't. This is what Bruce Hawker never understood, looking for a new form of words when the old ones counted for nothing. In this, Abbott was assisted by journalists who were (and are) ill-equipped to deal with policy issues. Their experience of policy was (and is) long, earnest and dull tomes written by public servants. They have no training or interest in policy issues, and do not engage with stakeholders except to extract "grabs" (quotations), which they do not examine but which acts as filler for their output. What press gallery journalists understand is "message discipline" (where politicians use the same phrases and positions in interviews, press releases, parliamentary statements, and other forms of political communication) and its absence (e.g. the backgrounding that undermined Julia Gillard in favour of Kevin Rudd, or outbursts by Coalition 'mavericks' like Senator Ian Macdonald or Dennis Jensen). Waleed Aly thinks that Abbott is departing from some high point of principle in order to wallow in contradictory and self-defeating policy; the fact is that contradictory and self-defeating policy is all there ever was, or is, to this government. [i] Abbott had the freedom not to promise a set of contradictions. He had the freedom to keep his options open and perhaps even to tell us some budgetary truth.[/i] Rubbish. The Coalition took a decade to develop a consistent response to Hawke and Keating, and that included being stuck with Medicare. In terms of "budgetary truth", Ross Gittins shows why neither Hockey nor Abbott could go there. What you are seeing in the Abbott government is the sort of thing that happens to all jerry-rigged constructs; it looked fine so long as experienced people didn't look too closely, but was bound to collapse on the poor buggers who trusted (and who wanted to trust) the experts. [i]He told us budgetary fantasy as though he hadn’t given a moment’s thought to what would happen after the election.[/i] He hadn't. What he managed to do was convince members of the Coalition that he and his team would be clever enough to work it out once they got into government. He also convinced many members of the press gallery of this ability, who have all seen more than a few budgets and governments come and go, yet chose not to scrutinise Abbott's jerry-rigged construct too closely. They can only cover up their wilful blindness by pretending the government's stumbles were not obvious before the election, or (as Aly does) that it's all down to unfortunate choices on Abbott's part. For new readers of this blog: I knew Abbott was bullshit and said so at the time. This is why I call bullshit on the press gallery and political commentators now, and why anyone who objects to such effrontery can and should piss off. [i]The result is that he brought the Coalition to government with a mandate for almost nothing. Repealing the carbon and mining taxes, sure. Stopping the boats by whatever militant means he could conceive, yes. Paid parental leave, arguably.[/i] Aly is right here ... [i] But what else? Nothing on education, nothing on middle class welfare and especially nothing on industrial relations. In short, nothing that might help repair a budget in “crisis”, real or imagined.[/i] ... but wrong here: * Abbott and Pyne promised to match Labor on education, which is one of those pre-election facts that excuse-makers for the Australian media need to and do overlook. *In terms of middle-class welfare, there was a whole campaign by Abbott and the Murdoch press to persuade us that people on over $150k were doing it tough. *On industrial relations - there was plenty on "productivity", and given the disdain for ICT and education as means to boost this, "industrial relations reform" is pretty much the only scope for action left. You'll note that Labor people who attempted to question Coalition policy in this area at the time were simply accused of "scaremongering", and that such accusations kyboshed further investigation by the traditional media. You've gotta do what you can, I suppose. [i]But with this budget, the government was behaving as though it had the most monstrous of mandates.[/i] Waleed Aly has been lectured, and delivered lectures, on politics at uni. He knows that a government with 90 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives has a mandate all right, and that governments do things that may have escaped attention before the election. This is why you don't elect a government with "message discipline"; they're hiding something, and because the press gallery generally lacks investigative skills it can't tell us what they might be. Aly's earlier definition of what this government's mandate is/isn't was less than adequate, and is out of line with the government's own definition. Abbott got where he is by being bold, yet here his boldness put him at a disadvantage rather than the advantage to which he is accustomed. Aly can't explain why this situation is different if he sticks to his line that Abbott had options, that he could have done better. Abbott's jerry-rigged, hang-the-consequences approach to the budget are the same as his approach to everything else in public life (heads up: they'll be his same approach to next year's budget). [i]The reason the government’s reckoning has been so brutal is not merely that the public clearly thinks the budget zeroes in mercilessly on the most vulnerable. It is that it seemed to come from nowhere, without the government even bothering to convince us of the virtues of this approach first.[/i] There are four core conservative beliefs which are coming to the fore in the way that Abbott and Hockey sell this budget. It is a shame that Waleed Aly, of all people, skates past them and treats them as somehow puzzling. First, that people somehow know they have overindulged themselves, and accept that the day of reckoning must come. The Coalition believe that all their scaremongering about Labor debt and irresponsibility, every day for years and years, has made this case. They are surprised that it hasn't been made, and that the debate can move on. This failure gives rise to deep questions about the utility of "message discipline", and of the operating models for the press gallery and the Australian media more broadly. Second, that people somehow accept the authority of Big Daddy to come in and set things right. If you dismiss the credibility of the previous government it follows that the credibility of its opposition must be higher than is healthy for any group of politicians; the Coalition basked in the credibility radiating from the press gallery and came to believe it, and can't quite believe it's gone. Abbott still tries his folksy homilies and winky refusal to get caught up in other people's dramas, but though Aly notes it doesn't work he can't really explain why. This failure gives rise to deep questions about abuse of trust, not only for politicians but also for the co-dependent media. Third, conservatives can't tell the difference between a fad and a fundamental shift. They assure themselves that all will be well when they don't really understand what's going on. The idea of the "dole bludger" is a 1970s idea, arising from times of full employment which are long since past. Chances are you know someone who's unemployed and/or who's likely to become so, and they are probably not out surfing or smoking dope. As far as Kevin Andrews is concerned, people wouldn't know about dole bludgers unless Alan Jones and Neil Mitchell told them (see authority, above). In the 1970s nobody was taking money from dole bludgers to give to Lang Hancock, no matter how much he bellyached; today his daughter plays a lesser public role, but the flow of money has been successfully reversed. Fourth, Waleed Aly has written extensively about multiculturalism and different voices defining what it is to be Australian. It's traditional for the Finance Minister to do the media rounds in selling the Budget - certainly Penny Wong, Nick Minchin and Peter Walsh were lifters-not-leaners in this regard. Yet, though he was active in pre-budget media, less has been heard from Senator Matthias Cormann than one might expect. Nobody, apart from Abbott and Hockey, is more across the Budget, yet Cormann is relegated to wonky interviews out of prime time where he appears in the media at all. Always be suspicious when a media tart goes to ground. Why is the Finance Minister so conspicuously absent in the wake of the Budget? Cormann has used his leaden Belgian accent to denounce opponents as "economic girly-men" in the manner of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Canberra Times cartoonist David Pope draws Cormann with a red light where his right eye should be, like the eponymous character from Terminator. A tough-guy persona is usually no disadvantage in politics and it works for Cormann among WA Liberals. However, a Budget is all about the values and priorities for Australia; Australians resent foreigners messing in such debates, and even the Royals tiptoe gingerly around them. Cormann is Australian, by law and in spirit, but not in the accent of his speech. The government is not using Cormann to full effect because they feel his accent would detract from the message they are trying to get across. Joe Hockey, a man who just wants to be loved, is obviously gutted by the hatred for a work that has gone out under his name. By contrast Abbott cares too little: suck it up bitches, I'm king of the castle. They need someone who knows this budget inside out, who's not a softie but who's not completely insensitive. They need someone like Labor's John Faulkner. Maybe Kelly O'Dwyer or Little Jimmy Briggs might step up in future years, but none are ready now. What they've got is Cormann. They're not using him because that relentless, carefully cultivated Terminator persona is the exact opposite of what this government needs right now. Again, what looked like a strength is now a weakness for this government, and again Waleed Aly (nor any other commentator, to be fair) isn't explaining why. [i] The political calculation here is obvious. This was the tough, axe-wielding budget you get out of the way early in your first term, banking you will have plenty of time to win people back.[/i] Again, there comes a point where the oft-used gambit fails, and we are clearly at the point where the axe-wielding budget has joined the ranks of dead tactics. The other thing about this is that it assumes a political environment where there are only two dimensions to go, where a swing away from the Coalition can only be a swing toward Labor, and that support swinging back is as easy and natural as it was in swinging away. With the rise of independents, Clive Palmer and others, a decline in support for the government is less a swing than a shattering of something brittle and irreplaceable. Abbott is by nature an oppositional figure, an iconoclast; how will such a man win back support for an incumbent government? Culture-war wittering simply isn't working, but it's all Abbott has. [i] So it’s not that the Coalition cannot be re-elected in 2016. It’s that now it can only be re-elected via a parade of sweeteners. Precisely what these could be is unclear. For John Howard it took the form of family benefits and tax cuts. Abbott has already trashed the former, and might find the latter difficult in the short term if he really cares at all about the budget. Whatever Abbott finds, it will go against the course he has charted so far. [/i] He's trashed his credibility. Admit it, he's buggered. Let us have no more jibber-jabber of second terms, 2016 and all that. Abbott's a tough guy or he's nothing. The Senate looks set to maul the budget, ripping out the savings while leaving the costs in place, leaving the government looking dithery. Abbott won't look dithery. Cormann won't look dithery. It will be Hockey who looks dithery, especially in the face of unexpected events like a Chinese downturn or comatose consumer confidence. This is what John Howard's budgets were like in the 1970s. Howard could only salvage his reputation by broadly supporting the reforms of the Labor government which saw him replaced as Treasurer, but because he made harsh reforms bipartisan Labor went easy on Howard until his silly comments on race meant they couldn't save him. Hockey is not the next Prime Minister, but does that mean he's finished? [i]... Abbott might already have brought his government’s reform phase to an end. What industrial relations policy, for instance, could he possibly risk taking to the next election? How well placed is he to hold a mature debate on raising GST revenue? ... Abbott simply has no political capital to spend on these things. [/i] Abbott doesn't do drawn-out consultation. Abbott does high-intensity, short-term, pig-in-a-poke stuff. State governments will lose $80b starting in five weeks unless GST is jacked up fast; 'mature debate' my arse. It was silly to pretend he would be different just because other politicians are. [i]Labor need only rail against Medicare co-payments and petrol prices, now. [/i] Everyone and no-one is in favour of lower petrol prices, but Labor are pretty reliable when it comes to a public health system. They should have implemented it in the late 1940s (and Menzies would have left it in place if they had), but twice since then they came out of opposition and built a national public health system. Chances are they will do so again if they have to. Labor should frame the $7 co-payment as a red-tape imposition on small business. This would mess with Liberal heads and only their rusted-on supporters would laugh at it. GPs are not renowned for Labor sympathies but a focus on their corner of the medical profession is long overdue from a policy perspective, and would give that party a grass-roots focus it currently lacks. [i]Abbott’s conduct in Opposition meant he came into government with little mandate. His conduct in government ensures next time around, he won’t be able to seek one.[/i] The Liberal Party as an organisation should have thought of that. The whole idea of modifying the leader's stances is not to bring him down a peg for its own sake, but to give a government longevity through flexibility. This is the job for which people like Brian Loughnane get paid. The prospect of contributing to this once enticed hundreds of thousands of Australians to join the party. This is the sort of thing that Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull could once have been relied upon to do as a matter of course, but those guns are silent. This leaves Cory Bernardi and Frydenberg puddling up the shallow end of the political gene pool, but it's taken many choices over many years to lead the Liberals to this bereft, infertile place. The press gallery won't wave Abbott through, but given that they can't distinguish policy gold from policy mud they will only focus on personality and stale ideas (blaming you and me and the pollies for the low standard of debate, never themselves). The residual loyalty that has limited the size of swings has almost gone; as with floods and bushfires, extreme political events are becoming more regular (but still shockingly unexpected, apparently). For the Liberal Party, Abbott has done his job; like one of those creatures that lives only to reproduce, having won his election and with no real policy commitment Abbott may now be discarded. They had a challenge to develop post-Abbott (or meta-Abbott) flexibility - but the win was enough, so stuff them as they try to reap the whirlwind. This doesn't inversely mean that Shorten is assured of becoming PM, but his negotiation skills are streets ahead of Abbott's. Shorten is better suited to the current and anticipated political environment than Abbott. It is becoming clearer why the Federal ALP caucus voted against their membership to install Shorten. As hung parliaments become the norm (and the decline of the major parties leads to no other conclusion), the accumulated knowledge of those journalists and pundits who know only huge majorities will quickly become redundant. Waleed Aly should see the predicament the Coalition is in and call it, rather than letting the headline do it for him. It is not true that Abbott had other courses to take the nation or his party in other than the one he took. The traditional media have no right to be surprised by the intellectual and moral poverty of this government, having observed it up close and being complicit in its current predicament. That said, I have no doubt the surprise is genuine, but to be honest it induces contempt rather than sympathy. This sort of thinking arises from a discredited media insisting that the public give it more credit than it is due, and a government which is doing likewise. Aly's pulled punches and unconvincing excuses are symptomatic of too much time in the declining media - no good can come from that. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/looking-for-second-chance.html __________________________________________

Bacchus

22/05/20142353, This may explain the co-payment confusion... http://mobile.news.com.au/finance/economy/desperate-doctors-text-patients-about-7-medicare-copayment-introduced-in-the-federal-budget-2014/story-fn84fgcm-1226927165342 IFit gets through the senate, it only starts in July 2015...

Ad astra

23/05/2014TT Thank you for your complimentary remarks and your encouraging comments, always an inspiration for us to fight on.  We see now how weak and ideologically driven the Abbott government is.  It is vulnerable.  It has a lot to do to counter the lack of trust that now infects the  electorate, which has got what it voted for and is bitterly disappointed.  The Sword has plenty of opportunity to continue what it started five years ago. Janet (j4gypsy) Thank you for posting the piece from the always-insightful Andrew Elder.  I wonder how Waleed Aly feels about Andrew's analysis of his article.

Ad astra

23/05/2014Bacchus Abbott and Hockey are probably pleased at the fall off in GP appointments, as this was their objective in introducing co-payments. They were interested only in reducing costs, not remotely interested in health care. Nor do they have any notion of the cost-saving benefit of comprehensive and continuing primary care delivered by well trained family doctors, with their focus on preventive care that keeps people well and out of hospital. There is a mountain of evidence that preventive care saves money, so why curtail it with a co-payment? That is economic and ideologically stupid.

Ken

23/05/2014Ad Agree about the short-sightedness of the Abbott/Hockey approach to health care. The same can be said of education and higher education. Almost every expert (and the OECD) suggests that improved educational levels lead to improved productivity - which, in turn, leads to higher government revenues. Plusm he ispending his infrastructure money on roads at a time when he is increasing petrol prices and they will rise in the future. That is one area I agree with the Greens - a larger portion of that money should be going to public transport. I think it would be possible to go through every change they have made and show how it actually damages government revenues for the longer term future.

Casablanca

23/05/2014 1. Trust me, Abbott is a PM without power By Tim Dunlop John Howard had a reputation for being a "safe pair of hands" before he started trashing his promises. Tony Abbott didn't have that clout, so the backlash was swift... Tony Abbott remains in office but he is no longer in power. I don't think I'm exaggerating in saying that. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-22/dunlop-trust-me-abbott-is-a-pm-without-power/5470764 2. Sending All The Wrong Signals By Ben Eltham In allowing costs for education and healthcare to rise the Coalition is acting with glaring hypocrisy. Don't be fooled by the 'price signal' talking points https://newmatilda.com//2014/05/22/sending-all-wrong-signals 3. No Time: How did we get so busy? by Elizabeth Kolbert According to Keynes, the nineteenth century had unleashed such a torrent of technological innovation—“electricity, petrol, steel, rubber, cotton, the chemical industries, automatic machinery and the methods of mass production”—that further growth was inevitable. The size of the global economy, he forecast, would increase sevenfold in the following century, and this, in concert with ever greater “technical improvements,” would usher in the fifteen-hour week.... Now we’re busy complaining about being busier than ever. Also, “There’s a real ‘busier than thou’ attitude,”... It is, to say the least, disappointing that things haven’t turned out that way—that inequality has grown, that leisure is scarce, that even the rich complain of being overwhelmed. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2014/05/26/140526crbo_books_kolbert 4. Mr Gonski and the social contract Dean Ashenden Neither Labor nor the Coalition is rising to the challenge posed by Gonski... The “Gonski” review was launched by the Rudd/Gillard governments at the point of intersection of three of the most enduring conflicts of Australian political life: between federal and state governments, between left and right, and between the free, secular government school sector and religion-based, fee-charging non-government schools. All ride on the tectonic plates of class and class relations, slow-moving but fundamental. http://inside.org.au/mr-gonski-and-the-social-contract/#sthash.Adpc1ZHr.dpuf 5. No way Tony Abbott can now budget for a second term Waleed Aly Tony Abbott was clearly deflecting this week when he declared his job “is not to win a popularity contest”. It’s the kind of thing no democratic politician really believes, but which you must say in the face of catastrophic polling of the order presently dogging his government. For now the popular focus is on whether or not Abbott can recover; whether this will be the fortnight that ultimately relegates him to a single term. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/no-way-tony-abbott-can-now-budget-for-a-second-term-20140521-zrjie.html#ixzz32Ud9t2Bg 6. Looking for a second chance Andrew Elder. Before last year's election Tony Abbott not only had the gall to not only make promises for this term of parliament but the next, or what he called "our second term". He assumed he would win government because the press gallery waved him through, and also polls. He assumed his government would get a second term because every government since Scullin has, and because there has traditionally been a residual loyalty to political parties that has limited the size of swings against them. andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/.../...ond-chance.html 7. Where Gillard copped it sweet, Abbott fights on By Annabel Crabb Tony Abbott refuses to concede that he broke any promises with his first budget. Will this approach prove more successful than Julia Gillard's ill-fated acquiescence on the carbon tax? ...When you are accused of breaking a promise, there are two options. The first is to cop it sweet, in an attempt to kill the argument so that everyone will move on. The second is to have the argument, in the hope that everyone at some point will get sick of arguing. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. Julia Gillard chose the first, and Tony Abbott seems at this stage to have plumped for the second. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-22/crabb-where-gillard-copped-it-sweet-abbott-fights-on/5468174 8. When Gough Whitlam helped out with the woodchopping Paul Rodan Poorly judged preselections are a problem for both major parties and the electoral implications are becoming clearer http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=MUngk&m=J.CHoyuv14hdzG&b=xnYwlxVHrIjKbehH5EaTDA 9. Grattan on Friday: Budget blues as government reels under the blows Michelle Grattan How bad has this budget been for the government? You only had to listen Nine’s Today program on Thursday morning to get the answer. “Will you make it to the next election as leader?” Abbott was asked by Karl Stefanovic. “I expect so,” the Prime Minister replied. “I think the Australian people are sick of governments which change their leaders mid-term.” http://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-budget-blues-as-government-reels-under-the-blows-27081 10. Resist efforts to water down FOFA, to protect all Australians By Deborah Ralston, Australian Centre for Financial Studies As public hearings into the Future of Financial Advice’s Senate inquiry begin on Thursday, it’s probably not overstating the case to say the financial planning industry is at a crossroads. With the F0FA… http://theconversation.com/resist-efforts-to-water-down-fofa-to-protect-all-australians-26822 11. Why the federal budget should get a ‘fail’ from the G20 By Fabrizio Carmignani, Griffith University Everybody would agree that growth, defined as a steady increase in gross domestic product, is a necessary condition for economic development. There is simply no country that has reduced poverty and improved… http://theconversation.com/why-the-federal-budget-should-get-a-fail-from-the-g20-26523 12. Uncapping education fees and unleashing the unscrupulous By John Rice, Griffith University The federal budget proposal to uncap university fees could be taken as a blank chequebook for both universities and self-accrediting colleges offering higher education services. On the ABC’s 7.30 program… http://theconversation.com/uncapping-education-fees-and-unleashing-the-unscrupulous-26810 13. The Prime Minister’s strange tale of meeting a bloke on a bike Michelle Grattan Late last week some Coalition backbenchers thought the government had got its budget story together, but it’s clear it hasn’t. The measures have gone too far; the narrative of Labor’s “debt and deficit disaster” is not prevailing over the assessment that the budget is unfair in how it distributes its burdens. http://theconversation.com/the-prime-ministers-strange-tale-of-meeting-a-bloke-on-a-bike-27043 14. Media turns on Budget “whingers” Leith van Onselen The media today is chockablock full of articles claiming that Australian’s response to the Federal Budget is not justified, and suggesting that we should just stop complaining. The Australian has gone full-out in what appears to be a synchronised attack on Australian’s sense of entitlement and blindness on the very real [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-zukfk-dtyueir-jd/ 15. It Was Class Warfare. And it Sucks. By johnlord2013 Many pages have been written about the budget and as one bled into the next one thing became abundantly clear: It was about class warfare. It was about who should pay in the long-term for the necessary corrections to budget… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/23/it-was-class-warfare-and-it-sucks-5/ 16. Invisible ink By Kaye Lee If you are looking for Tony’s signature PPL policy in the budget you will need “a scanning electron microscope” according to John Daly of the Grattan Institute. It only appears in one paragraph. We are told that the government will… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/23/invisible-ink/ 17. Fool me once! Tony Abbott's litany of lies and broken Budget promises Peter Wicks Abbott promised lower taxes and a better standard of living, but he's now taxing us into poverty so he can promise the same lies in his next election campaign [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/fool-me-once-abbotts-litany-of-lies-and-broken-budget-promises,6505 18. Bad budget and bad polls make Tony a winker Bob Ellis With a budget rejected by the public, backbenchers skittish about dismal poll numbers and uni students revolting, what does Tony Abbott do when an old-age [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/bad-budget-and-bad-polls-make-tony-a-winker,6502 19. An Open Letter to Frances Abbott By Victoria Rollison Dear Frances, First off, I want to say that I feel really sorry for you this week since the news broke about your $60,000 scholarship to study at Whitehouse Institute of Design. As your passion was to study design, you… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/22/an-open-letter-to-frances-abbott/ 20. Frances Abbott's classmates angry that they could not apply for scholarship Oliver Laughland, Paul Farrell, The Guardian "Four students – two of whom were classmates of Frances Abbott’s – all said they did not know that the $60,000 scholarship existed and raised questions over its fairness. Frances was only the second student to receive the award in its 25 year history." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/22/former-classmates-angry-scholarship-abbotts-daughter 21. Who will get the scholarships in the new, expensive world of higher education? By John Rice, Griffith University The budget proposed that 20% of additional revenues universities receive from fee increases should be made available to low socio-economic status student scholarships. This sounds like a good idea, but… http://theconversation.cmail1.com/t/r-l-xikthtl-trhltityg-k/

Casablanca

23/05/201422. Tony Abbott says he was not lobbied on reforms by scholarship institute Paul Farrell and Oliver Laughland Tony Abbott has said he was not lobbied by the Whitehouse institute of design, where his daughter Frances was given an undisclosed scholarship of $60,0000, over higher education reform that would benefit private institutes. The Abbott government announced in the budget it would extend Commonwealth Grant Scheme subsidies to courses provided by non-university providers. The institute is a member of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (Acpet), which strongly advocated extending the funding scheme to private institutes. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/23/tony-abbott-denies-being-lobbied-on-reforms-by-scholarship-institute 23. Classmates express fury over Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances being awarded $60,000 scholarship to Whitehouse Institute of Design “Having studied in the same classes alongside Tony Abbott’s daughter … I can assure you that there were no scholarships awarded to any other students in our cohort, and I can definitely say that I studied with some extremely talented people who were more deserving of a $60,000 scholarship,” Mr Mason said. “I’m a bit shocked because there were definitely other students who possessed a great deal of talent who were worse off than myself and who were worse off than Frances — but the college didn’t reach out and offer to help them,” Mr Mason said. http://www.news.com.au/national/classmates-express-fury-over-tony-abbotts-daughter-frances-being-awarded-60000-scholarship-to-whitehouse-institute-of-design/story-fncynjr2-1226926934506?pg=1#comments 24. DFAT anger over Louise Abbott's foreign affairs job Phillip Thomson and Noel Towell Some Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff are annoyed Tony Abbott's daughter Louise is working at Australia's embassy in Geneva, which is headed by former Coalition staffer Peter Woolcott. Mr Woolcott was chief of staff to foreign minister Alexander Downer from 2002 to 2004... There was internal disquiet at DFAT in Canberra about...how Ms Abbott came to be doing high-level work, such as delivering a public statement on disarmament, when there were up to 14 policy specialist attached to the mission. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dfat-anger-over-louise-abbotts-foreign-affairs-job-20140523-zrloo.html 25. How Australia’s winking Tony Abbott became one of the world’s most unpopular prime minister By Terrence McCoy Finally, the madness has taken its name: Winkgate. The gate opened when Australia’s prime minister, who has recently bungled his way from one scandal to the next, took a call from a listener on a radio show that was filmed. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/05/22/how-australias-winking-tony-abbott-became-one-of-the-worlds-most-unpopular-prime-ministers/?hpid=z4 26. Australia's George Bush Tom Burns In mid-May, the recently elected conservative government in Australia proposed its federal budget. Although Australia enjoys one of the most resilient economies in the developed world, and was left relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed massive spending cuts and new taxes. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/australia-george-bush-2014521131043210644.html 27. Tony Abbott Caught On Camera In 'Creepy' Wink As Sex-Line Grandma Talks The Huffington Post UK Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been branded a "total creep" for giving an oh-so-seductive wink and nod as he responded to a radio call from a distressed pensioner who said she had to resort to phone sex work to make ends meet. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/05/21/tony-abbott-australian-prime-minister-wink-sex-line_n_5363084.html

Casablanca

23/05/201428. The party's over: The hollowing of western democracy Jan-Werner Müller "If political elites are either inaccessible or impotent, why put up with them?" The word ‘party’ – as in ‘political party’ – is in bad odour across the West, though for different reasons in different places... there’s a problem when parties have distinct ideologies, and there’s a problem when they don’t. What, then, do we really want from them? Peter Mair’s Ruling the Void offers some disturbing answers to this question. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n10/jan-werner-muller/the-partys-over

Casablanca

23/05/2014Retweeted by Andrew W. Elder Daniel Burt ‏@trubnad 35m If you put your head down, work hard and make sacrifices, maybe you too can one day be Tony Abbott's daughter. Retweeted by Lord Con Psalios Tim Senior ‏@timsenior 3h Here's an idea for next year's budget. The government could give every student a famous dad.

Ken

23/05/2014Casablanca Thank you for some wonderful links. I have printed a fe off for future use in writing pieces. Also fascinated that reference has also been made to Abbott being our own George Dubya which is a point I made in my commment @ May 21.2014 06:34 PM

TalkTurkey

23/05/2014Greetings Comrades Here's J**** & me in Hadspen, a dozen on so Km out of Launceston, just for tonight. Nice little cabin. Bloody cold outside, and the glorious Southern Cross and Pointers (Crux and Alpha-&-Beta Centauri) surprisingly almost directly overhead in a clear sky, beautiful, the most spectacular area of Earth's entire sky. By the time we reach Hobart, a fair bit further South again, they should be directly overhead at this time of year and night. We have mobile broadband (Telstra); it seems to work fine here. Casablanca I've only skimmed a few of your links so far today, not much time of course after 2 flights from Adelaide and the effort of getting selves together, but your preciseses are ideal, I love that because it allows us lazies to cherrypick (though I think Ad picks every cherry!) Thank you so very much. Jan, I did read Andrew Elder's article, and it's quite good I guess too, but the thing is, WE on TPS (and the best of the Fighting 5th Estate) NEVER DIDN'T say all that stuff over and over untl we were sick of saying it ourselves, all through those fraught 3+ years ... We harangued the MSM, begged them to scrutinise Abborrrtt & his gang, abused and cajoled and ridiculed them for their failure to do so, meanwhile they absolutely ignored and pooh-poohed us and suckholed Abborrrtt ceaselessly. Now, they are surprised, and most have pulled their heads in somewhat, but they have never been known to admit that they personally were party to what jaycee has described as treachery. (I do too!) Actually of all more-or-less mainstream media identities I think Waleed Aly is the very least guilty of the wall-to-wall groupstink. We here have never regarded self-proclaimed political homelessness as a particularly helpful nor even honourable position. Swordsters are nearly unanimous and steadfast in overall support for the ALP, while never having regarded it as even close to perfect and often criticising it for some of its stances. I've said all this to Andrew Elder in times past too, but I think he's too perfect for Labor.

TalkTurkey

23/05/2014Cor'! Abborrrrtt sure is Father of the Century. What a man will do for his daughters eh! https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/23/whitehouse-denies-lobbying-pm-cant-recall-and-400-people-saw-it

Michael

24/05/2014Does it strike you as strange for even a passing moment that someone sitting in the audience listening to Joe Hockey failing to accurately explicate portions of the Federal Budget might say "It's like he hasn't read his own Budget"? Nope. This is Joe Hockey, after all, sloppy and IPA'd as ever. The source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/meet-the-real-joe-hockey-20140523-38u7f.html The quote: Similarly, Hockey seemed poorly briefed on Wednesday when confronted with questions about changed arrangements for single parents and on government cuts to programs that help transition school dropouts into training courses. ''It's like he hasn't read his own budget'' muttered the head of a non-government organisation, sitting at a table alongside several journalists.

Catching up

24/05/2014I wonder what tomorrow will reveal from the hidden depths of the budget. I yearn for the time, when one peruse pages of graphs the next morning, telling each group what the budget would cost them What goodies if any. Ten days later, we are still attempting to work out what we gain and lose.

TalkTurkey

25/05/2014Greetings from Deloraine, Tasmania, where it's so GREEEEEEN! So green that to a Crowie it's almost oppressive(but beautiful!) MANY roadkilled creatures - Wallabies, Possums, a Wombat - that's what comes of having NO FOXES! Not much time atm - gotta pack hire-car and hit the road for CRADLE MOUNTAIN today! J**** is doing all the work so that's good. :) Catch you later on. Have a happy Sunday Folks!

Michael

25/05/2014Jacqueline Maley looked and sounded like a stunned mullet on Insiders this morning, trying to defend the 'fiscal strategy' (supposed) underpinning of Abbott and Hockey's hatchet-job budget. Malcolm Farr said the only word that actually applies to the hatcheteers 'selling' of the budget - "incompetent". There is no other word for the Abbott gumnint, nor a word that better sums up The Abbott Error. Except perhaps, "goodbye".

Ken

25/05/2014Abbott and Hockey's worst mistake is trying to insist that they haven't broken any promises. Maybe that is what Marr is referring to when he says the "selling" of the budget has been incompetent.(I didn't see the program.) As I suggested in an earlier comment, that is a stupid way of trying to sell the budget and particularly when one adds into it that the people 'didn't hear' what was actually being said. But Abbott (with Credlin's help) painted himself into this corner. After hammering Gillard for three years about a 'broken promise' which all hinged on an interpretation of the words, he can hardly come out and admit that he has broken a promise (actually almost every promise). It's quite gratifying to see 'the chickens coming home to roost' - or to adopt a slightly more recent expression 'what goes around comes around'.

Michael

25/05/2014Better even than seeing the chickens come home to roost, Ken, is seeing them poop all over Abbott and Hockey!

Ad astra

25/05/2014Folks [b]The list of Members of the Federal House of Representatives and the Senate has been updated.[/b] The Senate list will be updated again after July 1. [b]You can now use TPS M@IL as before.[/b] If you find any errors or omissions, please let me know.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?