Doin’ the GST-a-rosy rag


Got a PM, PM we can’t trust
Said a higher GST is a must
Doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag
Told the voters you must pay
If you want to see a surgeon on another day
He was doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag

Been around, and new is old
Catch your cold and blow your gold and spend
Doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag
[Apologies to Arlo Guthrie]

We’ve been around and around and back again, doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag. I am usually not one to say ‘I told you so’ but back in April, in my piece ‘Beware there is a plan’, I suggested that Abbott and Hockey were looking to reduce the commonwealth government’s involvement in health and education and leave those matters to the states. How could they do that? — by increasing the GST, all the revenue of which goes to the states. At the time they ruled out an increase in the GST because it did not have bipartisan support. I did predict, however, that they had managed to put it on the political agenda and that it would raise its head again — I did not expect that it would be so soon.

So in July, what happened? Leading into the ‘leaders’ retreat’ before the formal COAG meeting, NSW Premier Mike Baird raised the prospect of increasing the GST to 15%. His main argument was that it was necessary to meet rising health costs — and, of course, those costs for the states rose dramatically after Abbott and Hockey cut $80 billion from future funding to the states for health and education.

When asked about it at the WestConnex sod turning in Sydney on 20 July, Abbott supported —
… Mike Baird’s willingness to discuss revenue issues because obviously, if there is a problem with revenue, it can’t just be the Commonwealth’s responsibility to solve.
Right? Wrong! Why isn’t it the commonwealth’s responsibility when it is the commonwealth government that collects all income tax and company tax and the states have to come as mendicants to get back some of the tax their citizens have paid? Has Abbott forgotten that income tax was originally levied by the states and they gave it up in a time of war expecting a fair deal afterwards?

The full transcript of Abbott’s words is here but there are some interesting things to note:
  • not once does he admit that he has anything to do with it nor that he has ever suggested it;
  • three times he manages to insert his new mantra of ‘lower, simpler, fairer’ taxes;
  • he constantly refers to it only as a ‘discussion’.
When specifically asked if this was part of the plan, ‘Having turned off the tap of federal health and education funding and forcing the states to come up with their own solutions’, he simply avoided the question and said:
I’m just really pleased that Premier Mike Baird, along with Premier Jay Wetherill, are prepared to have a constructive, responsible discussion. It is a sign that this generation of leaders at both the State and national level are prepared to do what’s necessary to make our country strong …
Still nothing to do with him! It is all about having a ‘discussion’ and luckily for him someone else raised it. (Was there any prodding behind the scenes? We will probably never know but is it merely coincidence that Abbott’s federal electorate takes in Baird’s state electorate?)
I want to see the overall tax burden go down. I want to see lower, simpler, fairer taxes. But at the same time, I do want to see a more rational arrangement of finances and responsibilities between the Commonwealth and the States.
With that last statement, Abbott is certainly pursuing his line that many ‘responsibilities’ should be handed back to the states and the real issue then is how the states will fund them. ‘A more rational arrangement’ could include giving back the right to tax individual incomes and the commonwealth government could totally withdraw from funding schools and hospitals and many other services — but that would be a step too far! The commonwealth government is now reliant on income tax for about 48% of its total revenue or 56% of its revenue if we remove the GST from the calculation (based on the 2015-16 estimates).

Mike Baird claimed that it is primarily to do with rising health spending. He suggested that state and commonwealth deficits in 15 years (in 2030) will total $45 billion of which $35 billion will be health costs. Even at an annual rate of 2% growth, government revenue in 15 years will be 32% higher than currently. Yes, all government costs will also increase in that time but surely there must be room within that increase to absorb some, if not all, of the rising health costs? (Also watch for my pieces on ‘Funding health’ in the next two weeks where I suggest that a key issue is managing economic and wages growth to cover costs, not simply increasing taxes.)

A problem with raising the GST is that it hits everyone the same in dollar terms and eats into proportionally more of the income of those on lower incomes and government benefits — a regressive tax. That is why Baird suggested that families on incomes up to $100,000 should be compensated. Abbott is also talking about lower income and company tax. So are we only paying more GST but getting it back in compensation and lower income tax with no nett benefit to the government? —and the bulk of that compensation would be borne by the commonwealth government while the states get all the revenue, so that doesn’t appear to make sense in solving the commonwealth government’s fiscal problems. So if there is no, or little, nett gain, who benefits?

The states will benefit: they will get the dollars as all the GST revenue is passed on to them. Given that the total deficit in 15 years, as Mike Baird pointed out, is $45 billion across all governments, it seems they do not really need a large increase. Based on the 2015-16 estimate of GST revenue, even the 2% growth in annual revenue I suggested would provide $20 billion extra in 2030. If the GST is increased to 15% and that same 2% real growth is applied, it would actually double the 2015-16 estimate to almost $120 billion in 2030: the additional amount ($60 billion) would give the state governments $25 billion more than Baird says they need for the health part of the deficit and $15 billion more than the total deficit: but Baird included the commonwealth government in his $45 billion estimate of deficits, so does that mean the states pick up extra funding that otherwise could have met commonwealth costs? — perhaps it is a neat trick he is attempting! (Personally I think Baird is smart enough to know that.)

Look also at the benefit for the Abbott government. It is able to make significant reductions in the funding (other than the GST) it provides to the states for health and education. With expenditure thus reduced, it can offer some of the tax cuts it talks about. It leaves the commonwealth government able to argue that it didn’t increase taxes — that was due to the states — and it has kept its promise and lowered taxes.

But does that add up? I do not see how a cut in income tax and company tax is valid as a cut if GST has also been increased. That is just shifting the tax mix (and shifting it between levels of government), not reforming taxes. Does it really lead to a lower overall tax burden as Abbott promised? It may benefit the Abbott government (politically) but not necessarily anyone else. Will an increase of 5% in the GST be enough for the states? Will they abolish stamp duty and payroll tax as was promised when the GST was first introduced? That didn’t happen then and I don’t think the proposed increase will make it happen now: so, effectively when state and commonwealth taxes are put together people are likely to be no better off, possibly even worse off. And if the commonwealth government has reduced taxes to compensate for the increased GST, of which it gets nothing, what nett benefit to the budget bottom line has it achieved? It can only benefit if the tax cuts do not match its reduced expenditure on health and education — but it won’t explain that because people would realise they will lose out in the deal.

Premiers Andrews (Victoria) and Palaszczuk (Queensland) suggested, instead, an increase to the Medicare levy. It has the advantage that it is a progressive tax. In my health pieces I suggest that isn’t necessarily the way to go, but could it work?

All the money raised by the Medicare levy goes into the consolidated revenue of the commonwealth government. The commonwealth government pays out significant amounts in Medicare benefits and the current levy covers about 55% of those costs. The levy does not directly contribute to hospital funding. An increase, however, would mean that the commonwealth does not have to use as much of its other revenue to meet Medicare benefits, theoretically leaving that amount free to be added to hospital funding to the states. The main drawback with that approach is that it leaves the funding entirely in the hands of the commonwealth government which may be okay when Labor is in power but, as we are seeing, not when the Liberals are. Given what Abbott and Hockey have already done to health funding for the states, and their pursuit of less commonwealth involvement in health and education, how could they be trusted to hand the benefit of a higher Medicare levy to the states? While an increase in the levy may provide some benefit, and as a progressive tax is preferable to an increase in the GST, I certainly wouldn’t have any faith in this government to pass on the benefit.

I note, however, that the leaders’ meeting actually raised the idea of extending Medicare into public hospitals which would guarantee the funding rather than relying on commonwealth government beneficence. I doubt the commonwealth would be keen on that approach as it would have little control over the amounts paid as they would be dependent simply on the number of services performed and, with the number of medical services increasing each year, the cost could end up being higher.

As many commentators have pointed out Abbott and Hockey are consistently ignoring, even ruling out, other ways of raising revenue. Changes to negative gearing and superannuation have been ruled out even though they disproportionately benefit those on higher incomes. To use their own words, that approach fails the ‘pub test’ because it will be seen as unfair — but that no longer seems to concern them.

Tax concessions on superannuation will cost the government $170 billion over the forward estimates (to 2018-19). While the current concessions provide a benefit in encouraging retirement savings, there is certainly scope to trim that amount as Labor is proposing but which Abbott is ignoring. Also over the forward estimates, the government will spend $27 billion on the private health insurance rebate and forego just over $7 billion in tax by not taxing that benefit — a notional total of $34 billion which could otherwise go to support health funding (even allowing that there may be an increase in demand at public hospitals if the private insurance rebate is abolished). I mention these only as examples of places the government might look for revenue without raising the GST, if only it wanted to, and if only it was willing to pass on at least some of the increased revenue to the states.

There is little doubt that the debate about the GST has arisen from the Abbott government abrogating agreements the Rudd and Gillard governments had reached with the states regarding health and education funding. The obvious intention was to put pressure on the states to request an increase in the GST. The states have few other ways of getting money out of the commonwealth government, especially when it has made clear that it intends retreating from its involvement in health and education. The commonwealth control of the purse strings is, in that regard, a problem but via the GST the states, at least, have more control of the money. The Abbott government wants to redefine the federation and reduce its involvement in areas over which the states have direct responsibility but it won’t hand back the funding to allow them to take responsibility and it won’t hand back the income tax power, leaving the states with few options. It is clearly a political and ideological push by the Abbott government dressed up in fine phrases regarding federation and fiscal reform but it has little to do with either.

The GST is always going to be a political football and so here we go again ‘doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag’.

What do you think?
In the piece above, Ken discusses the ‘opportunity’ given to the Prime Minister to ‘discuss’ taxation. Is increasing the GST a better idea than increasing the Medicare Levy or are there better options? We welcome your views below the line. Who knows, if a political staffer reads your suggestion, it may just become policy!

Next week Ken follows this up by presenting Part 1 of ‘Funding health’ which looks at the data and questions the real extent of the problem.


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Casablanca

9/08/2015THE ABBOTT FACTOR 1. Reform adrift in pointless politics of Abbott government Peter Hartcher. August 7, 2015 - 11:11PM The Abbott government is approaching an existential moment. The existential question: What is the point of the Abbott government? Tony Abbott [recently] issued a warning to some of his ministers. It was not a warning about travel expenses or about any impending disaster. Rather, it was about the absence of disaster: things were going so well for the government, the Prime Minister said, that they needed to guard against the danger of complacency....His ministers were incredulous. Delusion, thy name is Tony. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/peter-hartcher-reform-adrift-in-pointless-politics-of-abbott-government-20150807-giu7mq.html#ixzz3iCLTiR4G 2. Tony Abbott's 'good government' pledge put to the test Peter Munro August 8, 2015 - 5:50PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-good-government-pledge-put-to-the-test-20150808-giumsv.html#ixzz3iEuJ9Fq3 3. Abbott in trouble again as Leadership speculation re-surfaces John Kelly August 6, 2015 It would be fair to say that his performance since his ‘near death experience’ in February has been less than stellar, no doubt exacerbated by the experience itself and the realisation that he is being watched very closely. http://theaimn.com/abbott-in-trouble-again-as-leadership-speculation-re-surfaces/ 4. Hey Tony Abbott, your Spanx are showing Lenore Taylor. 7 August 2015 Political strategy is not supposed to make the headlines. It’s supposed to do for politics what “body-sculpting” undergarments do for fashion – remain out of sight but leave the end result looking smoother and more impressive. But this week the Coalition’s strategy was discussed more than its actual announcements. Morale is low and anger rising again about poor, unilateral, poll-driven decision-making in the prime minister’s office. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/07/hey-tony-abbott-youre-wearing-your-spanx-on-the-outside?CMP=ema_632 5. Entitlements issue turns into cluster bomb Michelle Grattan. August 7, 2015 6.09am AEST What started as a scandal around Bronwyn Bishop has exploded like a cluster bomb. It has harmed Tony Abbott among his colleagues – because of his poor handling of the issue – and with the public, and now all MPs are being tarnished in the fallout.... But fragments keep exploding. For journalists, it’s easy pickings. All the claims are on the public record. It’s “clickbait” for the media because it is incendiary with voters.... A freshly weakened Abbott faces some difficult issues and dangerous flashpoints.... The polls, the byelection, the government’s patchy performance and Abbott’s flaky style make for an always potentially volatile mix. https://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-entitlements-issue-turns-into-cluster-bomb-45777 6. The Abbott government's evidence allergy Judith Ireland. August 7, 2015 Look around the government's wider activities and you see a repeating pattern of either ignorance or ignoring of evidence. .. More broadly over the life of the Abbott government, we've seen the expert views of international lawyers, the Human Rights Commission and the United Nations ignored on Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. Economists who argue the most effective way of addressing climate change is through an emissions trading scheme have also been dismissed.... Then there is the Coalition's move to dismantle expertise at bodies like the Climate Change Authority and CSIRO, get rid of the disability commissioner and cut funding from organisations like the Alcohol and Drug Council, the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and a range of expert community groups, including Homelessness Australia and Blind Citizens Australia....When the Coalition declared the Age of Entitlement was over, did they mean Enlightenment instead? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-abbott-governments-evidence-allergy-20150806-gisp27.html#ixzz3iEHrY7kN 7. Bishop, entitlements and parliament’s Slipper-y people Paul Bongiorno. Aug 8, 2015 Federal parliament in Canberra has often been compared to a great big boarding school. The nation’s elected representatives spend more time away from it than they do sitting in class. Last year their attendance totalled just 76 days. The alumni return this coming week with all their reputations battered by the Bronwyn Bishop saga. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2015/08/08/bishop-entitlements-and-parliaments-slipper-y-people/14389560002208 8. Parliamentary expenses review panel bolstered by new members Michaela Whitbourn August 8, 2015 - 6:37PM Former Labor speaker Harry Jenkins and former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson will join a five-member panel charged with reviewing the parliamentary entitlements framework, led by former Finance Department secretary David Tune and Remuneration Tribunal chief executive John Conde. Businesswoman and company director Linda Nicholls, a former chair of Australia Post and a director of Fairfax Media, was also appointed to the panel on Friday. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/parliamentary-expenses-review-panel-bolstered-by-new-members-20150808-giulv1.html 9. New MPs want to restore faith in politics Michael Gordon. August 8, 2015 What dismayed Clare O'Neil, another member of Labor's class of 2013, was more familiar to regular viewers of televised coverage: the "unbridled aggression and one-upmanship" of players on both sides, prompting the conclusion that here was the Parliament at its worst behaviour and least productive. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/new-mps-want-to-restore-faith-in-politics-20150806-gitn10.html 10. Adani mine: NSW Bar chides Tony Abbott over 'sabotage' comments Nicole Hasham. August 7, 2015 Courts do not exist to further the interests of governments, the NSW Bar has told Prime Minister Tony Abbott, as it delivered him a sharp lesson in the separation of powers. The rebuke came after Mr Abbott on Friday said the overturned approval of Australia's largest coal mine meant courts could be used for "sabotage". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/adani-mine-nsw-bar-chides-tony-abbott-over-sabotage-comments-20150807-giuc8c.html#ixzz3iElZPrYZ 11. Confidence must be rebuilt after PM shoots down Indigenous leaders' plan Paul Kildea , August 7 2015 The push for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suffered a setback this week. Prime Minister Tony Abbott rejected a proposal by some of Australia’s most respected Indigenous leaders to hold Indigenous-only conventions before undertaking further engagement with the general community. https://theconversation.com/confidence-must-be-rebuilt-after-pm-shoots-down-indigenous-leaders-plan-45693 12. Christopher Pyne claimed $5000 expenses for Christmas family trip James Robertson August 8, 2015 Mr Pyne argues a private, apparently one-on-one meeting with Tony Abbott was justification for his family's Christmas trip, as scrutiny of MPs' expenses drags into its fourth week. The Abbott government has not succeeded in stemming the flow of stories about MPs' travel with the promise of a review of the entitlements system and family travel benefits. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-claimed-5000-expenses-for-christmas-family-trip-20150807-giu5k3.html#ixzz3iEn983dF ELECTIONS + POLLING + MESSAGING 13. Is it just a rumour or what? John Lord Anyway, it just seemed rather odd to me that in the past week or so, so many people are talking about when the next election might be. The Prime Minister has said he will go the full term and you have to take him at his word given his trustworthiness. Well you know what I mean. Personally I think it will be late this year or at least before the next budget. That’s reading between the lines, of course. http://theaimn.com/is-it-just-a-rumour-or-what/ 14. The election: hope versus fear Victoria Rollison. August 8, 2015 Abbott is gearing up for an election. First he wants to ensure he will be the leader who takes the Liberal National Coalition to an election, and this is by no means a done deal. And then he is convinced that he can sloganeer away the poll deficit he needs to win a second term. Or rather, his strategists are convinced they can come up with effective slogans to take Abbott to victory, and Abbott is happy to believe them.... So what Labor needs to do is forget about facts and appeal to emotions. http://theaimn.com/the-election-hope-versus-fear/ 15. Voters are 'gaming' pre-election polls leading to wild results, Mark Textor says Lenore Taylor. 6 August 2015 Veteran conservative pollster says voters are now acting strategically to ‘tickle up’ parties in published polls in the UK and the trend may be shifting to Australia http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/06/voters-are-gaming-pre-election-polls-leading-to-wild-results-mark-textor-says 16. I have a bad feeling . . . Kaye Lee. August 7, 2015 Whilst we have all been distracted by Choppergate and passionately discussing Adam Goodes and marriage equality, I have a sinking feeling we have been sold out and not just by the TPP. The tea leaves are telling me that the crossbenchers may have sold out on higher education reform. http://theaimn.com/i-have-a-bad-feeling/ 17. Coalition paying $150,000 to outsource higher education negotiations Daniel Hurst. 7 August 2015 Talks with Senate crossbenchers and universities are being led by Robert Griew of Nous Group, which won contract to assess ‘stakeholder views’ ... Labor’s higher education spokesman, Kim Carr, criticised Pyne’s decision to reach out to consultants, saying the government had already spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars on “a misleading ad campaign”. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/07/coalition-paying-150000-to-outsource-higher-education-negotiations 18. Labor leader Bill Shorten faces new grilling over AWU deals Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders. August 7, 2015 Senior building industry figures are prepared to challenge claims Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made under oath over his involvement in deals that delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to his Australian Workers Union. The executives are expected to testify before the royal commission into union corruption, upping the ante for the Labor leader over his role in a potentially criminal side deal done over the $2.5 billion EastLink project. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/shorten-faces-new-grilling-over-awu-deals-20150807-gitzvk.html#ixzz3iEmc2CDh DOWNDRAFT FROM CHOPPERGATE 19. The departure of Bronwyn Bishop makes for a catastrophic week in the media Annabel Crabb. August 8, 2015 - 9:00PM She is genuine Liberal Party catnip; wherever she goes, branch members will pop on a tie and turn up whatever the weather. Liberal women say "Well, you've got to admire her, don't you?" and Liberal men get all flustered and excited, like schoolboys secretly dreaming of being spanked by Matron. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/annabel-crabb-the-departure-of-bronwyn-bishop-makes-for-a-catastrophic-week-in-the-media-20150807-gity01.html#ixzz3iEF2sXFQ 20. Speculation about Bronwyn Bishop's possible successor in Mackellar reaches fever pitch James Robertson. August 4, 2015 Former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has not announced her retirement from federal parliament but speculation about a replacement for her blue ribbon seat reached fever pitch on Tuesday. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/speculation-about-bronwyn-bishops-possible-successor-in-mackellar-reaches-fever-pitch-20150804-gird5t.html#ixzz3iEu9E0ux 21. Green with envy: twenty years in Bronny's Mackellar Wendy Harmer. August 7, 2015 I moved into Mackellar in '94, same year as Ms. Bishop won it for the feds (haven't been able to purchase a can of VO5 Extra-Hold hairspray in a 15k radius for two decades), and since then she's had the joint in thrall through a well-established power block and indefatigable personal effort. You can't pick up a local paper and not see Bronnie featured in dispatches. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/green-with-envy-twenty-years-in-bronnys-mackellar-20150806-git5ls.html#ixzz3iExiiXFM ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS 22. Coal isn’t good for humanity, but renewables aren’t the only answer to energy poverty Jonathan Symons , August 7, 2015 Given existing technologies, expanding access to electricity almost always increases CO2 emissions. There are real trade-offs between addressing poverty and climate change. https://theconversation.com/coal-isnt-good-for-humanity-but-renewables-arent-the-only-answer-to-energy-poverty-45758 23. Does Gautam Adani really need Galilee Basin coal? Lynette Molyneaux. August 6, 2015 The court decision to halt the Carmichael mine is a setback for Indian billionaire Gautam Adani - but does he really need the coal mine at all? If the Adani group’s high debt levels limit access to finance and restrict Adani’s ambitions, a choice will have to be made between the Galilee Basin project and the development of Indian renewable power technologies. Which is he going to choose? Which would satisfy Modi’s ambitions for world leadership in renewable power generation technologies? https://theconversation.com/does-gautam-adani-really-need-galilee-basin-coal-45759 24. Filthy secrets shroud Aust’s emissions reduction plans Mike Seccombe Aug 8, 2015 Weak regulation is increasing Australia’s carbon emissions and allowing dirty power stations to survive. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/08/filthy-secrets-shroud-austs-emissions-reduction-plans/14389560002225 25. Will US power plan put wind up Abbott? Hamish McDonald. Aug 8, 2015 Discord over TPP dispute provision; Sub smokescreen; PM Key latches on to British royalty https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/world/north-america/2015/08/08/will-us-power-plan-put-wind-abbott/14389560002218

Casablanca

9/08/2015IT'S THE VIBE 26. Politician entitlements: Former MPs High Court bid to boost allowances August 9, 2015 - 12:15AM Adam Gartrell ...last month, four former lower house MPs – Labor's Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen and Liberal John Moore – issued the court with a writ of summons seeking a boost to their already generous post-parliament payments. The men want to use section 51 of the constitution – made famous in the classic Australian comedy The Castle – to challenge legislative changes the Gillard government made in 2011 and a series of subsequent Remuneration Tribunal decisions that have slightly slowed the growth of their retirement allowances. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/politician-entitlements-former-mps-high-court-bid-to-boost-allowances-20150807-giuc21.html#ixzz3iHR4wHDJ TOXIC TONY 27. Tony Abbott: Poll spells trouble for PM amid new leadership murmurs August 9, 2015 - 9:06AM Adam Gartrell It began with a catastrophic captain's call that turned the government into an object of ridicule, led to a plunge in the polls and culminated in a spill motion that almost brought Tony Abbott's prime ministership to an end. Exactly six months later, the circumstances are eerily similar. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbott-poll-spells-trouble-for-pm-amid-new-leadership-murmurs-20150808-giuknc.html#ixzz3iHPrdY7u 28. Tony Abbott dragged down by expenses scandal as Bill Shorten surges ahead August 9, 2015 - 9:21AM Adam Gartrell A ReachTEL poll conducted exclusively for Fairfax Media ahead of Parliament's return shows almost half of voters are less likely to support Mr Abbott following the expenses scandal that sparked public fury and led to his hand-picked Speaker's downfall. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-dragged-down-by-scandal-as-shorten-surges-ahead-20150807-giuivw.html#ixzz3iHPBMyMx 29. Tony Abbott's do-nothing government August 8, 2015 - 9:00PM Adam Gartrell It's increasingly clear this is a government without an agenda, bereft of ideas or appetite for reform. It has become a do-nothing government that's trying desperately to cling to power but has no discernible plans to use it in a constructive or meaningful way. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-donothing-government-20150806-gitlsd.html#ixzz3iHQHu7uV 30. Sweeping changes from Consumer Directed Care brings confusion, surprise fees and few calls for help Norman Hermant 8 August 2015 an estimated 10,000 in-home care recipients have been told by their care providers that their new packages will not have enough funds to pay for the services they now receive. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-08/sweeping-changes-to-in-home-care-brings-confusion-surprise-fees/6681914?WT.mc_id=newsmail 31. Alchemy, phonics and the future of our children Kaye Lee. August 9, 2015 With a Prime Minister who is a puppet for his donors, an environment minister who measures his success by how many coal mines he can fast track, and an education minister who prefers ‘chalk and talk’, the fate of our children is in the hands of Luddites. http://theaimn.com/alchemy-phonics-and-the-future-of-our-children/ UNEMPLOYMENT 32. Unemployment rises with no plans for growth. John Kelly August 8, 2015 This week’s unemployment figures should have seen the MSM frothing at the mouth. With over 800,000 Australians looking for work…Tony Abbott has developed a new three word slogan for those who can’t think. It’s ‘Jobs and Growth’ but those of us who can think are wondering what he is doing to make it all happen. http://theaimn.com/unemployment-rises-with-no-plans-for-growth/ CLIMATE CHANGE 33. What does the government want from George Pell? Vanessa Kairies. 9 August 2015 What do the Pope, George Pell, George Brandis, Tony Abbott and climate change have in common? Quite a lot... http://theaimn.com/what-does-the-government-want-from-george-pell/

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9/08/2015Ken Thank you for your erudite review of the GST and other tax options that would increase Commonwealth revenue. On purely ideological grounds, increasing the Medicare levy seems to me to be a fair way of raising revenue for health because it is, like our income tax, a progressive tax: the more one earns, the more one pays proportionately. I know some don’t like hypothecated taxes, presumably because it is sometimes difficult to apply the revenue generated to the specific area for which it is raised, but in the case of health, that seems less of a problem – we know what are health-related expenses as distinct from what are not. The World Health Organization supports hypothecated taxes for health. Increasing the level of the GST is less fair as it costs the poor as much as it costs the wealthy for the same commodities, even many of the essentials for living. It is a regressive tax. This is why Labor opposes it. Labor also opposes placing GST on fresh food as such food is essential for living and health. Mike Baird proposed compensating lower income earners who would be disproportionately affected by increasing the GST. On the face of it, that seems reasonable. The problem is how such compensation would be implemented. Those on pensions and fixed government benefits could be compensated by raising the level of the pension or benefit proportionate to the GST increase, a simple administrative process, but those on low incomes would need to be compensated proportionate to their income - the lower the income, the more the compensation. That would be administratively more difficult as it would require access to details of everyone’s incomes, which as we know can vary from week to week. A tax that creates a heavy administrative load diminishes the net revenue benefit of the tax as the cost of administration eats into the revenue generated. Could compensation be provided through attenuating the income tax scales so that the lower the income, the greater the reduction in tax paid? For example, could those with a taxable income of between $18,200 and $37,000, instead of paying 19c tax for every dollar over $18,200 as they now do, pay a smaller amount, say, 15c, or whatever amount the actuaries choose to provide adequate compensation in their weekly pay packets? It may not be as simple as that, but surely it is possible to devise a mechanism that is fair, which does not leave those on low incomes worse off were the rate of the GST to be increased. Someone earning a taxable income of less than $18,200, who pays no tax at all, would need some other form of compensation, as he or she would be burdened with the increased GST just like everyone else. Although administratively tricky, a fair compensatory mechanism ought to be able to be devised. If that were so, the range of items to which the GST applied could also be expanded. When the GST was introduced, there was a widespread fear that it would unfairly affect those on low incomes, yet we have had it now for 15 years, and are living with it. Other countries have increased the equivalent of their GST and are living with it. It is not an impossible ask. To me it seems that both increasing the Medicare levy specifically to fund healthcare, for which it was designed, and increasing the level and scope of the GST, are reasonable ways to proceed to cover the revenue deficit we have. The first step in this process is to accept that we have a revenue problem; there is not enough income to fund the services the people want. The Coalition has had to be dragooned into accepting this, but seems almost ready to accept this reality. Next, we need to divorce the process of raising more revenue from politicking. Every time a mechanism is suggested, by whichever side of politics, the other side screams blue murder, and does so more to score political points than to advance thinking on this problematic subject. If it were possible to erase political point-scoring and achieve bipartisanship, if it were possible to advance a cogent argument to the people about how the increased revenue would give them the services they want and need, the revenue problem could be solved overnight. But I suppose with our current crop of self-centered, warring politicians, believing that is possible is as far away as believing in fairies at the end of the garden. [b]The problem with politics is pugilistic politicians. We have so many in our midst that rapprochement seems to be a futile dream. So we go on ‘Doin’ the GST-rosy tag’. How sad![/b]

TalkTurkey

10/08/2015(Tune: Good King Wenceslas) Bronnie was a Golden Goose, Now she's lost 'er lustre! Stuck in closet, no more use Except as Feather Duster!

TalkTurkey

10/08/2015Arlo Guthrie sings The Ring-Around-A-Rosy Rag Whatever it mIght mean! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCcP6vjC9gQ Here's the lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/ringaroundarosy-rag-lyrics-arlo-guthrie.html

Ken

10/08/2015TT I had that link to Arlo hidden under his name in little letters just at the start. If you don't understand the lyrics then you are probably not smoking enough medicinal herb. :-) I liked your Bronnie verse to Good King Wenceslas. Ad I agree that an increase in the Medicare levy is preferrable to an increase or broadening of the GST but I am not yet convinced we need either. Costs are usually covered by growth in GDP and wages which leads to increased government revenue. We are certainly enduring a period of very slow economic growth but if we increase taxes now there is every possibility the government will be rolling in money in five years time. Raising taxes now is almost an admission that we don't expect the economy to improve. Labor's approach of looking at tax expenditures is, I think, a better way to go at least in the short term. If the problem continues then perhaps a reconsideration of raising general taxes may be appropriate.

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10/08/2015Folks What a spectacle it was in parliament this morning. A fresh-faced Tony Smith in the Speaker’s chair assuring the House that he would be even handed and not partisan being welcomed by all who spoke, the partisan warrior Bronwyn Bishop, face creased with thunderous fury sitting on the back bench, and Tony Abbott with anger etched in his craggy face. A new era has begun, one that will suit neither the displaced Speaker nor the Prime Minister, both pugilists who have brought disrepute to the House with their partisan belligerence. Abbott’s fury would have been heightened by today’s [i]Newspoll[/i], which showed the gap between the LNP and Labor widening to eight points, bringing him back to where he was six months ago when his probation started and ‘good government’ was supposed to start. Since then good government has been missing, and Abbott has failed his probation! What do his colleagues think? The only clue is the reported sense of ‘relief’ they had when [i]Newspoll[/i] was not worse than it turned out to be! These people garner comfort even from awful poll results because they could have been worse! Abbott remains in a precarious position. Can he turn around an eight-point poll deficit in this the worst poll since March? He has been behind for the last 28 [i]Newspolls[/i], which stretch back over a year. It is noteworthy that there seems at last to be a dawning among MSM journalists that Abbott is a dud. Several have expressed dismay at this ‘pointless’ man leading ‘a pointless government’. They seem not just disappointed but surprised. Yet writers on this blogsite are not in the least surprised. They predicted Abbott would be a dud even before he became Opposition Leader, and certainly from the moment he was selected by the LNP to lead them. One has only to look back in the archives of [i]The Political Sword[/i] to find the evidence. I did this a couple of days ago and had to go back no further than a piece titled [i]Liberals turn up another dud[/i] written just three days after Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull on the first day in December 2009. [b]As its predictions have turned out to be accurate, I thought you might like to read the piece again. So I have written [i]We told you Abbott would be a dud PM – why are you surprised?[/i] for [i]TPS Extra[/i] You can read it now by going to http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/2015/08/10/we-told-you-abbott-would-be-a-dud-pm-why-are-you-surprised Enjoy[/b]

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10/08/2015Ken, I agree that looking at tax expenditures is an essential element of tax reform, but the LNP is too scared to go near that. I hope Labor will. TT I did enjoy so much the Arlo Guthrie rendition of 'Ring Around-A-Rosy Rag'.

2353

11/08/2015Abbott's coal fuelled economy is failing fast. In the past couple of days the Commonwealth Bank and Standard Chartered Bank have both withdrawin from the Charmichael Mine. This is the mine that Environment Minister Hunt, in the opinion of the Courts, didn't consider all the evidence prior to giving approval; causing Abbott to suggest that the Courts were interfering.

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11/08/2015Hockey's claim that we pay more tax than others is apparently bollocks as well. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/what-joe-hockey-is-not-telling-you-about-your-taxes-20150810-givjmz.html

Ken

11/08/20152353 Ah, the tax debate again. I know from earlier international comparisons of tax structures that another difference that is often missed is the 'social security insurance' in many countries. Technically it is not a tax (although Abbott and Hockey should know, after the 'carbon tax', that it has the same effect as a tax) and so people like Hockey often compare our taxes (which pay for social security) to those of other nations that don't include their social security funding. That is no doubt why Hockey used the income tax as a proportion of total tax as his comparison. It would be interesting to see where our tax levels stand, even in that comparison, if we took our spending on social security out of the equation. The article states that our tax is low when taken as a proportion of GDP which is the data Treasury likes to use because it comes closest to comparing apples with apples. Hockey is using dubious statistics again. Bracket creep is real and may need to be addressed in the future but not by making spurious arguments about our overall level of taxation.

Ken

11/08/2015Just going back to the travel entitlements saga and particularly the Ministers who have put their family on the public purse to accompany them on trips. It is said that is within the rules and justified on the basis that they can be away from their families for long periods. But looking at the parliamentary sitting days for this year, it is noticeable that not once does parliament sit during school holidays - in any state or territory. Okay, ministers are busy at most times, not just when parliament is sitting. But surely if they do not have any parliamentary responsibilities during school holidays they could find at least two or three days to be at home with the family, perhaps even a week.

Ken

11/08/2015Oops, a PS. There was one occasion in July when parliament overlapped with the first week of school holidays but only in the Northern Territory. That affects only four members in total (2 in the House and 2 in the Senate and I don't think any ministers - but someone else can tell me if that is wrong.)

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11/08/201534. Why we're right to maintain the entitlements rage Jeff Sparrow Port workers can be sacked by text message and yet Bronwyn Bishop was "felled in the most unfair circumstances"? That's not right. There is a widening gulf between politicians and ordinary people that can no longer be ignored. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-11/sparrow-why-were-right-to-maintain-the-entitlements-rage/6687292

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12/08/2015TRICKY TONY 35. Same-sex marriage: Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster's 'emotional roller coaster' Lisa Cox. August 11, 2015 - 7:21PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/samesex-marriage-tony-abbotts-sister-christine-forsters-emotional-roller-coaster-20150811-giwvi8.html#ixzz3iUzFBqMs 36. Abbott government rocked by gay marriage fight Phil Coorey & Laura Tingle http://www.afr.com/news/politics/abbott-government-rocked-by-gay-marriage-fight-20150811-giwhe0?stb=twt 37. There's only one science Tony Abbott trusts - political science Peter Hartcher August 11, 2015 - 11:02AM If the carbon emissions target that the federal government is about to announce is connected to climate science, it's by coincidence. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/theres-only-one-science-tony-abbott-trusts--political-science-20150810-givu74.html#ixzz3iWfMkat9 38. The PM moves another step closer to crisis Sean Kelly On Friday I wrote that the PM was now one or two disasters away from low-level leadership chatter rising to a clamour. Yesterday’s Newspoll, in which the Coalition went backwards for the third straight poll, was perhaps half a disaster. Today brought another half-disaster – perhaps even a whole one. Events are moving quickly... Still stewing over being refused a captain’s call on yesterday’s election of a new Speaker, the prime minister got his revenge by sneakily announcing another, of sorts. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/14f1b9564c62aea0 39. Tony Abbott: A man out of his times, but is he also man out of time? Peter Hartcher August 11, 2015 - 7:51PM Tony Abbott privately told supporters two weeks ago that he would not allow Parliament a free vote on gay marriage, and was prepared to use "tricky processes" to get his way. It's a desperate measure to hold back history On Tuesday we saw the "tricky processes" he had in mind. The Prime Minister did not consult his cabinet. Nor did he consult his own party. He took the matter first to a joint meeting of the Liberals together with their coalition partner, the Nationals. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbott-a-man-out-of-his-times-but-is-he-also-man-out-of-time-20150811-giwvye.html 40. Abbott walks in the footsteps of his political godfather Anne Summers 06 June 2015 The similarities between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s efforts to counter terrorism and those of his predecessor in the 1950s, Robert Menzies, to ban the Communist Party. The parallels between Tony Abbott’s bid to strip dual-nationality alleged terrorists of their Australian citizenship and those of his political godfather, Robert Menzies, 55 years ago to ban the Communist Party of Australia are almost unnerving. http://www.annesummers.com.au/2015/06/abbott-walks-in-the-footsteps-of-his-political-godfather/ 41. Tony Abbott: is the cur taking a whipping? Jennifer Wilson This could well be wishful thinking on my part, however… Yesterday, as I watched the anointing of the new Speaker of…Bishop was Abbott’s Captain’s pick for the prestigious position of Speaker. This time Abbott was just another party member, and it is rumoured that he isn’t too chuffed about his party’s choice, Tony Smith. This must be a bitter pill for the authoritarian PM to swallow, after all, this is the second time in six months he’s been forcibly reminded that he isn’t a party of one supported by a few potentially duplicitous but for the time being supportive henchmen and women. http://theaimn.com/tony-abbott-is-the-cur-taking-a-whipping/ 42. Let's be honest, Question Time makes everyone look stupid Chris Berg No doubt Speaker Tony Smith will be a great improvement on his predecessor, but Bronwyn Bishop didn't wreck Question Time. It's long been an empty ritual which adds nothing and costs a great deal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-10/berg-lets-be-honest-question-time-makes-everyone-look-stupid/6686138 43. Tony Abbott's attempt to build majorities out of ships just expedient posturing Nicholas Stuart August 10, 2015 - 5:56PM http://www.theage.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-attempt-to-build-majorities-out-of-ships-just-expedient-posturing-20150810-giveq0.html#ixzz3iQVKtT2N 44. The politics of fear have trumped the politics of courage – more’s the pity Peter Ellerton August 11, 2015 6.12am AEST The voter as an individual umpire and decision-maker has made way for a new model of voters as a mob to be manipulated and herded. There is now a clean break between the two main functions of Australia’s political parties: to get elected and to govern. https://theconversation.com/the-politics-of-fear-have-trumped-the-politics-of-courage-mores-the-pity-44925 CLIMATE CHANGE 45. Dishonesty is the worst policy Nick Feik “What are the chances now of this government taking genuine action on climate change? About as high as Tony Abbott standing up in front of the media and owning up to the fact that everything he said and done on the issue in the past five years is, to paraphrase, absolute crap.” https://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/nick-feik/2015/11/2015/1439259109/dishonesty-worst-policy?utm_source=Today&utm_campaign=00375ac3a3-Today_11_August_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-00375ac3a3-302949185 46. Abbott's love of coal is holding us back on emissions targets Warwick Smith A larger emissions reduction target would have come at very little additional cost to GDP, but it would have involved the loss of jobs in the high emissions industries that our Prime Minister champions http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-11/smith-abbotts-love-of-coal-is-holding-us-back-on-climate-action/6689112 47. Climate change: CSIRO axes annual attitudes survey, delays 2014 results Peter Hannam. August 11, 2015 - 4:01PM The CSIRO has cancelled its annual survey of Australians' attitudes to climate change and won't release the results of its 2014 study until late this year. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-change-csiro-axes-annual-attitudes-survey-delays-2014-results-20150810-giw6i1.html#ixzz3iV1MbfkQ 48. FactCheck: Would Labor’s renewable energy plan cost consumers $60 billion? July 30, 2015 4.31pm AEST Verdict: Tony Abbott’s statement that consumers will pay A$60 billion or more for Labor’s 2030 50% renewables pledge is misleading. https://theconversation.com/factcheck-would-labors-renewable-energy-plan-cost-consumers-60-billion-45288 MURDOCH SAYS JUMP.... 49. Corporatism in action: How Murdoch used the Tories to stitch up the BBC Peter Jukes 11 August 2015, 6:00pm In Britain, just like in Australia, Rupert Murdoch has pushed a conservative Government to gut the public broadcaster. It will all end in tears https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/how-rupert-murdoch-used-the-tories-to-stitch-up-the-bbc,8045 50. Tony Abbott can brush off 'crises' like Cameron did, says Lynton Crosby Bridie Jabour Veteran election strategist says voters respond more to a clear message and competence than media furores about short-term stories...Voters do not care about Tony Abbott’s alleged crises such as the Speaker resigning over the expenses row, according to Lynton Crosby, one of the advisers credited with helping David Cameron win the British election. Crosby also reiterated his belief polls should be banned during election campaigns and that people, particularly journalists, put too much emphasis on them.

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13/08/2015http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/jacqui-lambie-revelation-as-a-powerless-parent-was-a-lesson-in-being-real-20150812-gixwoj.html Jacqui Lambie teaches the political class a lesson in being believable.

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13/08/2015Bronwyn Bishop's Arrested Development moment Garry Maddox. August 10, 2015 After weeks of revelations over the expenses saga, ABC editor Huw Parkinson has wittily sent up the former speaker by inserting her into the comedy series about a particularly dysfunctional family as matriarch Lucille Bluth​, who's signature catch cry is "I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/bronwyn-bishops-arrested-development-moment-20150810-giv90n.html#ixzz3ie6NPumJ

TalkTurkey

13/08/2015Bill Shorten's looking GOOD! Abbort's done his dash! Morriscum can't help 'em none- LNP will CRASH!

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13/08/2015Folks I have posted a long comment on the contemporary political scene on TPS Extra: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/2015/08/10/we-told-you-abbott-would-be-a-dud-pm-why-are-you-surprised#comment Have you seen the poll results from an online survey of 50,415 in the [i]SMH[/i] that closed today? http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/they-want-his-scalp-tony-abbotts-samesex-victory-puts-heat-on-malcolm-turnbull-20150812-gix96a.html It asked: [i]Has the Coalition's decision on same-sex marriage changed your vote? The result was: Yes, I did vote Coalition, but now I won't: 24% No, I will still vote Coalition: 12% Yes, I didn't vote Coalition but will now: 3% No, I wouldn't vote Coalition either way: 61%[/i] Nearly a quarter (24%) of the 50,514 said that this issue would turn them away from the Coalition; only 3% said it would draw them to the Coalition. 61% said they would not vote for the Coalition anyway; only 12% said they would. [b]In summary, only 15% said this issue would NOT deter them from voting for the Coalition; an overwhelming 85% said it WOULD deter them from voting Coalition. These results will put the wind up Coalition supporters and Abbott’s colleagues, but will Abbott nonchalantly brush them off? I expect so.[/b]

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14/08/2015Rats! The gremelins struck yesterday. I posted the following 16 articles late Thursday morning and lo and behold they were not there when I checked a few moments ago. ACTUALLY, IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU TONY 1. Now’s Not The Time To Start Using Our Conscience, Abbott Warns The Shovel, August 12, 2015 Forming policy with the assistance of a conscience could derail the Government’s entire policy platform, the Prime Minister has told party colleagues. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/12/nows-not-the-time-to-start-using-our-conscience-abbott-warns/ 2. Marriage equality: playing into Abbott's hands Michael Bradley Marriage equality supporters are tying themselves into knots while arguing for change, with ideas like a plebiscite, a conscience vote or perhaps a binding vote. The situation is a mess and simply gives opponents an easy path to obstruction... The only people who are pleased with this situation are Abbott himself and his hard right conservative supporters. It's an absolute mess, which suits them completely. However, everyone needs to take a breath and realise that they are playing into Abbott's hands. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-13/bradley-playing-into-abbotts-hands/6693390 3. With no Coalition free vote, where to now on the road to same-sex marriage? Paula Gerber Tony Abbott raised several possibilities on Australia's road to achieving same-sex marriage. But the only way Australia will get there is through parliament. https://theconversation.com/with-no-coalition-free-vote-where-to-now-on-the-road-to-same-sex-marriage-46009 4. This is a win for Abbott on same-sex marriage, but at what cost? Karen Middleton The Prime Minister says he doesn't want to "dud" those who voted for him when it comes to same-sex marriage. But that should apply as much to his own colleagues as to those in the electorate... In May, Tony Abbott said this issue should not be the preserve of any one party, but the whole Parliament - designed to ensure Labor did not get all the credit nor the Coalition all the blame. Now, that has shifted again. "Why not let the people rather than the Parliament decide this?" Mr Abbott asked rhetorically today. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-12/middleton-this-is-a-win-for-abbott-but-at-what-cost/6691206 5. Matthew Guy accuses Tony Abbott of 'poisoning the well of good will' on same-sex marriage Josh Gordon August 12, 2015 - 3:04PM In an explosive spray aimed squarely at his federal colleagues, Mr Guy has effectively accused the Prime Minister of failing to show leadership and betraying a core premise on which the Liberal Party was founded. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/matthew-guy-accuses-tony-abbott-of-poisoning-the-well-of-good-will-on-samesex-marriage-20150812-gixgzm.html#ixzz3icApMNGs 6. 'They want his scalp': Tony Abbott's same-sex 'victory' puts heat on Malcolm Turnbull Michael Gordon August 12, 2015 - 2:05PM The Prime Minister is weakened because the debate highlighted fractures in the government, again exposes his poor political judgment and raises doubts about whether he means what he says...But Turnbull is under pressure because his enemies saw the debate as an opportunity to wedge the Coalition's most viable leadership alternative and even to extract his scalp. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/they-want-his-scalp-tony-abbotts-samesex-victory-puts-heat-on-malcolm-turnbull-20150812-gix96a.html#ixzz3icBKOVjT 7. Voters face three polls in four years Lisa Cox Australians would be forced to go to the polls three times in the next four years if Tony Abbott gets his way. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3icBoqGte 8. The Government must regain control of the narrative Dale Hughes Last night's party room decision on same-sex marriage is yet another disappointment for voters who are increasingly frustrated by the Abbott Government's lack of willingness for reform. Here's how the Coalition can turn things around http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-12/hughes-regain-control-of-the-entitlement-narrative/6688874 9. Religious and ethnic analysis of marginal seats used in same-sex marriage debate Karen Middleton A senior Liberal opposed to legalising same-sex marriage is using an analysis of the religious and ethnic makeup of key marginal seats to warn colleagues against change. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-12/middleton-relgious-and-ethnic-analysis-used-in-marriage-debate/6692530 ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 10. Forget the politics, here's the most cost-effective way to achieve emissions reductions August 11, 2015 - 6:18PM Gareth Hutchens. August 11, 2015 - 6:18PM Forget the past few years of corrosive debate about the reality of climate change. What is the most cost-effective way to achieve emissions reductions?...BT Financial's Dr Chris Caton said that any economist who did not opt for emissions trading "should hand his degree back". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/forget-the-politics-heres-the-most-costeffective-way-to-achieve-emissions-reductions-20150811-giwd7i.html#ixzz3iWkyolnt 11. Fact check: Does the China Free Trade Agreement threaten Australian jobs? The Abbott Government has claimed the free trade agreement Australia signed with China in June as a landmark deal that will underpin Australia's future prosperity: The verdict: The agreement allows the Immigration Department to decide that jobs should be offered to local workers before it issues visas to overseas workers, but it does not require this to happen. The ACTU's claim checks out. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-12/china-free-trade-agreement-cost-australian-jobs-fact-check/6653214 12. What does ChAFTA really mean for Aussie jobs? Mel Mac. August 10, 2015 According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade the Chinese-Australia fair trade agreement will “provide greater flexibilities for companies to respond to unique economic and labour market challenges”. But what does this mean for Australian jobs, asks http://theaimn.com/what-does-chafta-really-mean-for-aussie-jobs/ 13. Hockey's tax pitch favours simplicity over fairness Greg Jericho Joe Hockey may like to spout a few motherhood statements about wanting "lower, simpler and fairer taxes", but thus far his attention would appear to be on taxes being lower and simpler, rather than fairer http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-12/jericho-hockeys-tax-pitch-favours-simplicity-over-fairness/6688266 14. Wage growth remains at record low Michael Roddan. 12 Aug 2015 Australian wage growth remains at its slowest annual rate since the government started issuing the data, nearly two decades ago, with private sector wage growth hitting a new record low. Official figures show wages rose by 0.6 per cent in the June quarter, while the annual pace of growth held steady at the record low of 2.3 per cent. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2015/8/12/australian-news/wage-growth-remains-record-low?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1514767&utm_campaign=pm&modapt= 15. Is Hockey right when he says we are over-reliant on personal income tax? Ian McAuley Treasurer Joe Hockey is right when he says Australia's taxation level is the second highest among OECD countries. But when it is compared to GDP, it's a different story. https://theconversation.com/is-hockey-right-when-he-says-we-are-over-reliant-on-personal-income-tax-45888 16. Tax or trade, the war on carbon pricing has been raging for decades Marc Hudson Carbon tax debates have been happening ever since the late 1980s, when policy-makers first started taking the "greenhouse effect" seriously. https://theconversation.com/tax-or-trade-the-war-on-carbon-pricing-has-been-raging-for-decades-46008

Casablanca

14/08/2015ANOTHER CAPTAIN'S PICKLE 1. This scandal exposes the Liberal Party, not Dyson Heydon Julian Burnside I do not think Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon knew he had been booked to speak at a political fundraiser. But if that's the case, it raises serious questions about the Liberal Party's NSW division http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-13/burnside-this-exposes-the-liberal-party-not-dyson-heydon/6695198 2. Difficult to see how Dyson Heydon can continue Michael Bradley No doubt Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon didn't realise the Liberal Party function was a fundraiser, but he is badly compromised now. Nothing he says or does from here on will be viewed other than through the lens of apprehended bias http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-13/bradley-difficult-to-see-how-dyson-heydon-can-continue/6695500 3. Heydon Dyson: Abbott's Attack Dog Tactic Turns Around To Bite Him Ben Eltham Having bullied members of public office and used a royal commission for political ends, the PM is about to reap what he sowed, writes Ben Eltham. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=6825153444&e=0a1e2bdeb8 4. Don’t write off Tony Abbott yet Nick Dyrenfurth “Abbott-bashing, fun as it is, is a dangerous pastime. It is doubtful in the extreme that his government will collapse over the marriage equality issue, or that he faces an inexorable challenge to his leadership. Indeed, underestimate Abbott at your peril.” http://themonthly.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=04a8a28afded33a63164e316f&id=0e22bf891a&e=ca60273192 ABBOTT: THE HOMOPHOBE 5. Abbott says SSM is a deeply personal issue . .… Jennifer Wilson Two notable outcomes resulted from the Coalition’s six and a half hour joint party room meeting called to debate the… http://theaimn.com/abbott-says-ssm-is-a-deeply-personal-issue-but-you-cant-have-a-free-vote-what/ 6. Warren Entsch warns PM not to 'play silly buggers' on same-sex marriage vote Lenore Taylor and Shalailah Medhora Liberal backbencher says opponents of same-sex marriage should not use procedural tactics to delay or ensure the defeat of a potential plebiscite http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/13/warren-entsch-warns-pm-not-to-play-silly-buggers-on-same-sex-marriage-vote?CMP=ema_632 7. Abbott: The homophobe. Eva Cripps Let us call it how it is. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a homophobe. Homophobe, as defined by the Merriam-Webster online… http://theaimn.com/abbott-the-homophobe/ 8. Vote for Tony Kaye Lee By opposing same sex marriage, Tony Abbott has reinforced the notion that homosexuality is “queer” – that members of the… http://theaimn.com/vote-for-tony/ 9. Cabinet ministers brawl over same-sex marriage popular vote Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Ministerial divisions have broken spectacularly into the open over whether Tony Abbott's proposed popular vote on same-sex marriage should be a plebiscite or a constitutional referendum. https://theconversation.com/cabinet-ministers-brawl-over-same-sex-marriage-popular-vote-46086 10. Ten Laughable Arguments Being Used To Stall Marriage Equality In Australia Lucy Watson MPs are resorting to increasingly wild arguments to defend their positions in the face of overwhelming public support for change http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=746426de86&e=0a1e2bdeb8 11. Would A Plebiscite On Marriage Equality Do Anything? Adam Webster Even if passed, a plebiscite would not ensure anything about marriage changes in Australia... http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=8507090bce&e=0a1e2bdeb8 12. The Delay Of Marriage Equality Is An Act Of Indulgence Thom Mitchell Realising they have long lost public support, MPs opposed to same-sex marriage are left buckling down against the inevitable so that they may enjoy a few extra years of the status quo, writes Thom Mitchell. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=8dfd6a4f21&e=0a1e2bdeb8 13. What really lies behind conservative opposition to same-sex marriage? Timothy W. Jones. Prominent arguments against same-sex marriage have been based on history, tradition, human rights, and social scientific research into health and welfare. The role of religion has been less explicit. https://theconversation.com/what-really-lies-behind-conservative-opposition-to-same-sex-marriage-46011 ABBOTT THE DENIER 14. Abbott Announces New Rebate Scheme For Rooftop Coal-Fired Power Stations The Shovel Australians who install coal-fired power stations on their roof at home will soon be eligible for a Government-funded rebate, under new plans unveiled today. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/13/abbott-announces-new-rebate-scheme-for-rooftop-coal-fired-power-stations/ 15. Bugger the science: Abbott aims for last place on emissions cuts Sophie Vorrath Shifting the baseline to 2005 can't fudge the fact that Abbott's target is a mere 20 per cent below 1990 levels (used by UN) or a paltry 8 [...] https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/bugger-the-science-abbott-aims-for-last-place-on-emissions-cuts,8047 16. What does Australia’s new 2030 climate target mean for the local coal industry? Liz Minchin Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said his government's 2030 climate target will be good for the environment and jobs – and good for protecting the nation's coal industry. https://theconversation.com/what-does-australias-new-2030-climate-target-mean-for-the-local-coal-industry-45945 17. Why Tony Abbott's climate 'strategy' is several different kinds of stupid Lenore Taylor Most of the Coalition’s planned emission cuts to meet its new 2030 target come from yet to be detailed measures – any serious assessment is impossible in this policy void http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/13/why-tony-abbotts-climate-strategy-wont-neutralise-the-environmental-argument?CMP=ema_632 WORKCHOICES: DEAD, BURIED, CREMATED & RESURRECTED 18. Workplace reforms would hit workers outside unions hardest David Peetz The Productivity Commission's proposed industrial relations reform goes after unions, but will generally affect the non-unionised workforce most. https://theconversation.com/workplace-reforms-would-hit-workers-outside-unions-hardest-45772

TalkTurkey

14/08/2015Ken I can only agree with your Ring-Around-Rosie musings, I have never been able to see any justice in placing an even more disproportionate tax burden on the poorest by increasing the GST, nor any sense at all in first doing so and then giving the same people compensation for the losses they have incurred. Anyway in the absence of anything useful to say myself, I'll tell a story about the first attempt to impose the GST when John Hewson ran against Paul Keating in 1990. It was of course THE big issue in that election, and it was looking like a winner for Labor,but the situation was still tight. In those days my brother Gordon Bilney was Member for Kingston, having held it since 1983 when Hawke first came to power. Gordon was (I think) the first politician in Australia to use Corflute signs, having had a batch made in 1983 at his own expense, in the now-familiar portrait-shaped Corflutes, with a large photo of the candidate and the Party writ large too. By 1990 everybody was using them, and the Labor Party was providing them to all the candidates. Gordon got a stack of them which we workers then climbed trees and hung upside down from overpass bridges placing them in the best places we could find. But the Labor Party in its wisdom had also supplied us with a stack of foolscap-shaped corflutes, to be displayed in landscape orientation. They had red text on them but no photos. Gordon's ones looked like this: GORDON BILNEY FOR KINGSTON Gordon didn't like them, they weren't easy to find places for, and we didn't use many. But I did find a way to use one. A few bits of white tape and the sign now read: GORDON BILNEY OR GST CLEVER Huh?! I emplaced it on the median strip right in front of Gordon's office on Main South Road (where 3 million cars a day go past) and even Gordon liked it. And he took a lot to please. So Gordon won Kingston again, and Keating won the election. So - there. And I tell you Folks, we will now win the next one too. Abbort is on the run, the Heydon/ICAC affair is the final straw for him. Be of good cheer Comrades. VENCEREMOS 2016!

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14/08/2015Folks Do take a look at Ken Wolff's delightful piece just posted on [i]TPS Extra: I come to praise Ceasar not to bury him[/i]: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/2015/08/14/i-come-to-praise-caesar-not-to-bury-him

Casablanca

14/08/201519. Six months of Labor: popular Palaszczuk keeps Queensland show on the road Joshua Robertson. 14 August 2015 From Tim Carmody and librarians to upstaging Greg Hunt – six talking points from six months of Labor government in the sunshine state. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/14/six-months-of-labor-popular-palaszczuk-keeps-queensland-show-on-the-road?CMP=ema_632 20. Coalition is losing its advantage across the board Barrie Cassidy From the Dyson Heydon game changer, to same-sex marriage and economic and national security policy - the Coalition is losing the edge on a number of key issues that will decide the next election Abbott is a world class battologist: that is, he has a predilection to "wearisomely repeat words". But it seems the closer we get to an election, the fewer are the words worth repeating. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-14/cassidy-the-coalition-is-losing-its-advantage-across-the-board/6695110 21. It's the end of politics as we know it, and I feel fine Tim Dunlop How much longer are we going to go on imagining things will get better if only Labor or the Coalition could get their acts together or find the right leader? Folks, it's over. We need to reinvent the way we do politics http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-14/dunlop-its-the-end-of-politics-as-we-know-it-and-i-feel-fine/6694488

Casablanca

15/08/2015ABBOTT THE BATTOLOGIST 1. Australia needs a new prime minister Jack Waterford August 14, 2015 - 11:45PM It's not at all clear what he thinks he is in power for, because he will go with no legacies, no monuments, no policy or program likely always to be attached to his name. His record of achievement is inferior to Billy McMahon's.... there is intense politics but hardly any routine business of government. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/australia-needs-a-new-prime-minister-20150813-giyxlz.html#ixzz3inz8rigG 2. Desperate times call for delaying tactics Mark Kenny August 14, 2015 - 8:13AM But not Australia. The famed social laboratory of the 19th and 20th centuries has become the laggard of the 21st. Scared, meek, backward-looking, gripped by polarisation and lumbered with a class of political leaders cowering against change. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/desperate-times-call-for-delaying-tactics-20150813-giyd2v.html#ixzz3ilquXBUU 3. Abbott, the Great Battologist. John Kelly Reading Barry Cassidy's article in 'The Drum' this week, I learnt a new word: Battologist, which means ‘wearisome repetition of words in speaking or writing’. http://theaimn.com/abbott-the-great-battologist/ 4. View from the Street: So, how are those Captain's Calls working out, Tony? Andrew P Street. August 14, 2015 - 12:57PM And does Greg Hunt even own a passport? Your news of the day, reduced to a snarky rant. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-so-how-are-those-captains-calls-working-out-tony-20150813-giyjif.html#ixzz3ilsuqo2W 5. Tony Abbott: determined to lead the Whitlam government of our time? Laura Tingle It has been a noisy, out-of-control week in Canberra: the Liberal Party has imploded over same-sex marriage, the government has announced a farcical climate change policy, the credibility of its trade union royal commission has been shredded. But in the hallowed space of the cabinet room, and even in the Parliament, it's been much quieter. http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/laura-tingle/tony-abbott-determined-to-lead-the-whitlam-government-of-our-time-20150813-giy574#ixzz3intE5LDh 6. It's every man for himself on Tony Abbott's sinking governmental ship Phillip Coorey Abbott told his party room this week that the government flourished when it talked about jobs and growth. One wit noted afterwards that was ironic coming from somebody "who spent three weeks talking about a TV show", a reference to the PM's pathological obsession with the ABC and the Q&A program.... It is a rare politician who is willing to go to the gallows out of personal or policy loyalty http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/its-every-man-for-himself-on-tony-abbotts-sinking-governmental-ship-20150813-giywhk?eid=cpc:nnn-14omn2224-optim-nnn 7. Good government needn't be a punchline, Tony Abbott Peter Hartcher. August 14, 2015 - 9:29PM The Australian Prime Minister's office is a crucible of crisis, waging a full-time operation just to keep Abbott in his job for even a single term. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/good-government-neednt-be-a-punchline-tony-abbott-20150814-gizeg8.html#ixzz3inucEXtD 8. Why the 'Tony Credlin Show' will not be renewed for… Paul G Dellit How many of you remember Candice Bergen in the role of Murphy Brown? Yep. Most of you,… http://theaimn.com/why-the-tony-credlin-show-will-not-be-renewed-for-a-second-season/ 9. How Alan Jones guides Tony Abbott Chris Masters Alan Jones is again dictating government policy. And in Tony Abbott he has not just a deferential politician, he has a sycophant... Early in his radio career Alan Jones revealed an ambition to become prime minister. Along the way his loyal audience has regularly encouraged the notion, but these days I doubt Jones would accept the demotion. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/15/how-alan-jones-guides-tony-abbott/14395608002251 10. The political caste playing student politics in Canberra Guy Rundle Tony Abbott cut his teeth and punched near women’s heads in the cockpit of Sydney University’s late Cold War politics in the 1970s. Bill Shorten rose through the ranks of the Melbourne student Labor Right in the 1980s... Our inherited political caste is utterly incapable of dealing with the emerging challenges we face. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2015/08/15/the-political-caste-playing-student-politics-canberra/14395608002248 11. Liberty the loser in the modern-day Liberal Party Sophie Morris Liberalism and the Liberal Party are becoming mutually exclusive, as Tony Abbott digs in over same-sex marriage and climate policy.... “We support the individual and the primacy of the individual,” says Hewson, who led the party in opposition from 1990 to 1994, “as long as it doesn’t conflict with our short-term political strategy.” https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/15/liberty-the-loser-the-modern-day-liberal-party/14395608002249 TRAVELLING CATTLE CLASS 12. Bronwyn Bishop photographed travelling in economy class August 14, 2015 - 11:13PM Kate Aubusson Economy class is how "the people" travel, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said recently....A fellow passenger appears to have taken the photograph of the Federal member for McKellar as she bent over an economy seat, wearing a red blazer that could be mistaken for a Qantas cabin crew uniform. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-photographed-travelling-in-economy-class-20150814-gizj5l.html#ixzz3invCXnCo THE HEYDON ABBOTT ROAD SHOW 13. Royal Commissioner finds it is not just witnesses that can have a credibility problem Michelle Grattan Bill Shorten must have been born under some particularly fortunate star. In yet another week when “good government” was holidaying, the Coalition prolonged its agony over same-sex marriage, and royal commissioner Dyson Heydon helpfully handed Labor ammunition for its well-established campaign against his inquiry into trade union corruption. http://theconversation.cmail1.com/t/r-l-fyudlil-trhltityg-h/ 14. Would Dyson Heydon have skewered his own conduct had a unionist done it? Paul Karp The analogy between union leaders running fundraisers for slush funds and a supposedly impartial Royal Commissioner attending a Liberal Party fundraiser is imprecise, but the short shrift Dyson Heydon gave unionists' excuses is instructive... There's more than enough to argue apprehension of bias on Heydon's part, and it's the reason why his toughest examination may be the one he has to conduct of himself. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-14/karp-would-heydon-have-skewered-his-own-conduct-at-the-rc/6698044 15. Heydon hangs on as pressure builds and questions mount over political links Anna Patty, Mark Kenny, Latika Bourke, Peter Hartcher . August 14, 2015 - 11:42PM Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to take action against royal commissioner Dyson Heydon over a planned address to a Liberal Party fundraiser, as the union movement prepares for a High Court legal battle to remove him.... ACTU president Ged Kearney wrote to Mr Abbott on Friday calling on him to sack Mr Heydon because his position as royal commissioner was no longer tenable. "It is untenable for Justice Dyson Heydon, who you appointed personally to oversee the royal commission, to continue in his role," the letter said. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/heydon-hangs-on-as-pressure-builds-and-questions-mount-over-political-links-20150814-gizbys.html#ixzz3invqhVMQ 16. Cases that could make or break commissioner Dyson Heydon Jane Lee. August 14, 2015 - 6:16PM None of the public law experts this reporter asked could think of another, let alone a similar case to this one in modern legal history. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cases-that-could-make-or-break-commissioner-dyson-heydon-20150814-gizgte.html#ixzz3inxtllPh 17. Public servants 'make up' red tape, says Finance's Jane Halton Noel Towell. August 14, 2015 - 6:33PM Spruiking the Abbott government's public service reform agenda on Friday, Ms Halton said much of the red tape that stifles decision-making in the Commonwealth government is dreamt up by bureaucrats rather than imposed upon them. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/public-servants-make-up-red-tape-says-finances-jane-halton-20150814-giz3sa.html#ixzz3inylVByH 18. Dyson Heydon and the MSM David Donovan IA's managing editor, Dave Donovan, calls out the MSM over its failure to demand the resignation of Judge Dyson Heydon with TURC now seen as a complete turkey. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/dyson-heydon-and-the-msm,8054

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15/08/2015Casablanca What a feast your have given us this morning. I could not find one article about Abbott and his government that was not condemnatory. I wonder how the Murdoch press is avoiding confronting the disaster Abbott is, and the disaster he leaves in his wake every day. What are they saying? What can they say? Have they simply fell silent? On the Dyson Heydon issue there seems to be little written in his defence. What do Murdoch's stooges say? If one can judge from an online poll of 37,171 in the [i]SMH[/i] titled 'Should Dyson Heydon stand aside from the royal commission into union corruption?', 33% said: Yes, the appearance of his impartiality has been damaged and he should make way for another royal commissioner. 8% said: No, his scheduled appearance at the fundraiser is no reason for the former High Court judge to quit his role. 55% said: Yes, and the royal commission should immediately be scrapped. 4% were not sure. In summary, of the 96% who expressed an opinion, only 8% said he should continue, and over a half said the whole commission should be scrapped. This is public opinion, and even if exaggerated, how can Abbott and Heydon himself ignore it?

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15/08/2015Casablanca Your Cache saves us so much time. You condense what's worth reading into an ordered collection. It would take us ten times longer to glean the rich harvest you give us day after day than it takes us to read it. I'm sure all readers here admire the very high quality of your work and thank you for all the time and effort you put into assembling your Cache for us all.

DoodlePoodle

15/08/2015One more about bad government http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/comment-good-government-neednt-be-a-punchline-tony-abbott/ar-BBlJPAo?ocid=mailsignout

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15/08/2015Doodle Poodle I doubt if Abbott is capable of understanding that three word slogans cannot work in government as a substitute for well reasoned and lucidly explained policy. I was impressed by the reference to political architecture of which Abbott has no knowledge, let alone understanding. Next to the absence of a policy narrative, absence of architecture is perhaps the most glaring deficiency of the Abbott apology for a government.

Unrmployed

17/08/2015Professor Bill Mitchell writes, ' "… given (1) control of a central banking system and (2) an inconvertible currency, a sovereign national government is finally free of money worries and need no longer levy taxes for the purpose of providing itself with revenue. All taxation, therefore should be regarded from the point of view of social and economic consequences." B Ruml 'The first responsibility of the government (since nobody else can undertake the responsibility) is to keep the total rate of spending in the country on goods and services neither greater nor less than that rate which at the current prices would buy all the goods that it is possible to produce. If total spending is allowed to go above this there will be inflation, and if it is allowed to go below this there will be unemployment. 'So the government might impose taxes: 1. To control inflation. 2. To redistribute purchasing power from the rich to the poor (high income to low income). 3. To alter the allocation of resources away from undesirable ends – such as tobacco taxes. 4. To provide some hypothecated public transparency for major projects/programs. From a functional finance perspective, taxation must be designed to advance these purposes and the public discussion must be about the idea of public purpose and never about raising revenue.' http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=31604
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?