Do economics commentators live in fantasy land?

The Henry Review is out and the economics commentators, along with journalists, some of whom have not shown much aptitude for economics, are out there going hell for leather giving us their learned opinions.  How much credence do we give them, even when they seem to be singing in harmony?

This piece was inspired by Grog’s pieces on Grog’s Gamut on Sunday evening: Oh Henry! The Tax Review that's a bit chewy and The Henry Review and Liberal Party Logic in which he summarized the comments that had been made at that time.  Both are good reads.

But let’s first set the background.  These are the same economists and columnists that ‘guided’ us, the great unwashed, through the GFC from its earliest convulsions.  These are the same economists who, for reasons best known to themselves, always predict the next movement in interest rates, only to get it wrong half the time and sometimes not get it right at all.  Tossing a coin would be just as predictive.  These are the same economists who contradicted each other about the usefulness of the economic stimulus measures the Government instituted in response to the GFC, opinions ranging from ‘a profligate waste of money’ to a minority asserting it was ‘a necessary response to a looming economic disaster’.  While most have come round to acknowledging that the stimulus did its intended job, some still argue the toss and want to attribute Australia’s avoidance of recession to other factors.  Even those who have accepted the value of the stimulus have trained their guns on the unintended effects of stimulus in the insulation and BER programs as a way of saying, sotto voce – well, we might have been wrong about the value of stimulus but look at the awful problems stimulus programmes have created. 

Last September, exasperated with their outpourings I penned What value are economists to our society?, and as far back as February 2009 I wrote The problem with economists.  Both are as true today as they were then.

To use a favourite Tony Abbott phrase: ‘how can we trust’ these same economists and columnists to give us valid and reliable opinions on the Government’s response to the Henry Tax Review?  My answer is ‘we can’t’, but that won’t stop them pontificating, despite the deficiencies they are exposed to have had over the last two years, despite their political leanings, despite their lamentable ignorance of the process of governing and the political process which affects everything governments do, despite the fact that they can say what they like and not be held to account, as are politicians.  They seem shameless about their past errors, and only too ready to dish up another dose of ill-informed opinion about this and every new economic issue that arises.  Voltaire put his finger on it when he said: “Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes”.

Let’s add another dimension to the background.  The nation is still emerging from the GFC downturn.  Unemployment is still too high, small business is still recovering, and in some industries still struggling, but the mining boom continues to accelerate and is predicted by Treasury to continue for three decades.  Although the debt resulting from the stimulus that shielded us from recession will be much lower than the $315 billion Labor Debt Bomb touted on the back of a truck by Malcolm Turnbull, it is nonetheless substantial and has to be repaid.  The Government has committed itself to restraining growth in its expenditure as a proportion of GDP to 2% when growth returns to trend as it will soon do, a very stringent constraint that influences every decision it makes, tax or otherwise.

There is another meme running – that Kevin Rudd is a ‘coward’, ‘gutless’, ‘lacking the courage of his convictions’.  This has arisen out of his deferment of the ETS until the end of 1012, and exacerbated by the cancellation of the insulation programme and the pre-school centres building programme, announcements that critics say Rudd should have made himself.  The Coalition is running very hard on this ‘coward’ story as it’s just about all it’s got, so ‘demolish the man Rudd and his Government tumbles with him’.  Possum puts paid to the ETS ‘coward’ story in his piece in Pollytics on Crikey: I’ll see you a coward and raise you an idiot, although Peter Bowe asks on Mumble: Is Kevin Rudd a coward?  You bet he is says Brent.  Read them both and make up your own mind.

Given the background described above and the running meme, as one would expect, Dennis Shanahan was out early on video from the lock-up setting a theme that has been taken up by others, that Kevin Rudd had taken a cautious, limited, election-oriented approached, and to make his point, he waved the thick Henry Report and the thin Government response in each hand to emphasize how limited Rudd and Wayne Swan’s response was.  Tom Dusevic gave a much more balanced account, as did Paul Kelly who called it a cautious election year tax package with two long term structural reforms.  Jennifer Hewett emphasized the long period of implementation gave time for adjustment, but predicted great angst from the miners.

In Grog’s account on Grog’s Gamut in Oh Henry! The Tax Review that's a bit chewy you can read the early reactions.  I won’t repeat them here, except that David Koch, Sunrise Breakfast host, says “How wimpy was that.”  Grog wisely advised him not to give up his day job, and on that page there is a video of the typically flamboyant Terry McCrann who described it extravagantly as ‘a total damp squib’, warned about ‘killing the goose’ that’s laying golden eggs, and ended by saying – ‘tax reform it ain’t’.  That McCrann is often wrong does not deter him from pontificating on anything economic, and giving the impression that only an idiot could disagree with him.

Breakfast Politics gives you a spread of the comment this morning.  You can see from the headings how the journalists regard the Government actions.  Michelle Grattan took a balanced view: “The government has made a pragmatic pitch to attract voters, bolster revenue and modestly burnish its economic reform credentials in its targeted response to the massively ambitious Henry tax review.”  Associated with Grattan’s article is a video of an interview of Ross Gittins by Tim LesterGittins’ view is that ‘it’s not a very brave Government’, and shows ‘very little courage’. I could go on with many more examples, but there is a consistent theme – Rudd and his Government are not courageous – terms range from ‘cowardly’ to ‘cautious yet pragmatic’.  This is the line the anti-Rudd camp has taken up strongly, and even the more neutral ones like Gittins believe Rudd and Swan could, should have done more.

So let’s ask ourselves as ordinary citizens, not burdened by pseudo-knowledge of economics as so many commentators are, mindful of the fact that an election is just months away, and accepting that to do anything at all a political party must be in power, how would we have acted if in the Government’s shoes?

Would we do what so many of our expert commentators hint, go much further, immediately tackle the contentious reforms suggested in Henry, reforms that will disadvantage large sectors of the community?  Why not implement the lot?  After all the Government commissioned the review and is now implementing only part of it. What wimps!  Alan Kohler, who has a calculator, told us that meant the Government has picked up only 1.75 of Henry’s 138 recommendations, or a bit over 1 per cent.  That’s his smart-aleck way of saying the Government has wimped out, as if all recommendations are of equal importance and that you can simply divide the total recommendations by the number adopted to gauge the operational uptake.  He should know better than to pull this trick – he’s supposed to be a serious commentator on economics.

What would these commentators do if their opinions about what to do, if their decisions on tax reform would determine whether or not they kept their job?  How ready would they be to wear flak from large chunks of the population if they endorsed the tricky, the controversial and the dangerous?  How brave, how courageous, would they be?  How willing would they be to introduce all or nearly all the recommendations right away?  You know as well as I do they would be as cautious as Rudd, Swan and the Government is, and would introduce changes at a time and at a pace that the people affected most could easily assimilate.  They would not risk their jobs, their very survival by being ‘brave’ in the way they insist Rudd and Swan should be.  It’s so easy for them to talk the talk, but ask them to walk the walk and see how many are still around. 

The Government should be commended for initiating the widely-applauded Henry Review.  It now has a comprehensive set of recommendations, of which the Government considers some are doable now, together with a blueprint for reforms in the years ahead.  Some it considers as not doable anytime.  That should not surprise anyone who looks carefully at them.  It has decided to introduce change gradually, giving plenty of time for adjustment, and to phase other changes in when conditions, including budget circumstances, allow.  That seems to me to eminently sensible and politically rational.

This piece contends that economics commentators and columnists live in a sheltered world where they can opine as the wish about what the Government should do without consequence, without jeopardizing their job and their economic survival.  In fact all they jeopardize is their reputation, but that seems of little concern to them as no matter how often they are wrong they bat on as if they have said and done nothing amiss.

They seem to live in a fantasy land where their musings have no consequences, where they have to make no decisions, where they do not have to live with the upshot of any opinion they offer, where any advice they give has no repercussions for them personally.  So they can just blast away at any target that takes their fancy or the fancy of their groupthink-afflicted colleagues.  It’s great sport, and without risk, yet so destructive to rational public discourse about matters of great importance to this nation.

You may conclude that I’m shooting the messengers; let’s put it this way – take what these messengers say with the large grain of salt their past performance warrants.

What do you think?

 

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Daisey May

3/05/201051-49 on 2pp according to Shanners but this could mean anything in Dennis world.

HS

3/05/2010The sound you can hear is my heart breaking. Mean boys and mean girls have taken control of our country and the minds of 'the mob'.

Bilko

4/05/2010keep an eye on the little marsupial his analysis kept the light burning during the latter half of 2007 when the darkside chucked everything at Kevin. Yes they are even more rabid now like a last fling before we have to put them down.Is it just me or did Turnbull get an early sniff of this poll and that instigated his uturn. I do not believe in such coincidences and having said that where did the missing % voters go who are these "others"?

HS

4/05/2010Bilko, Back from Heartbreak Hotel, and having listened to some 'expert', commentators this am, I have come to the conclusion that the electorate is trying to tell the PM to grow a pair, learn how to fight in the public space for what you believe in, and be like Nick Xenophon(as I don't think that 'Others/Independant' vote surge has anything to do with Faux Liberal Fielding. In other words, they want the small 'l' Liberal with a social conscience that they elected.

lyn

4/05/2010Hi Ad and Everybody [b]GROG TO TELL US ABOUT THE POLLS, WONDERFUL, THANKYOU GROG.[/b] Grog's Gamut: Newspoll ALP 49 – LNP 51 (or wow!) by Grog, Grog's Gamut It also shows that despite complete lunacy in terms of policies from Abbott – eg the no dole for Under 30s – the people are mostly watching and judging the Government. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/05/newspoll-alp-49-lnp-51-or-wow.html

lyn

4/05/2010Hi Ad Abbott takes the lead May 3, 2010 – 10:24 pm, by Possum Comitatus Pollytics In the 494 Newspoll results since the beginning of 1990, on only four previous occasions has the ALP primary vote moved by 8 points or more in either direction – http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/05/03/abbott-takes-the-lead/ Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition, by William Bowe The Poll bludger I don’t think there’s anything dubious about this poll, but it does precisely nothing to shake my conviction that the government will hold its ground at the election. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2010/05/03/newspoll-51-49-to-coalition/

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4/05/2010HS Labor would have anticipated a dip in the poll, but not as much as happened. This is is so extreme that even the CEO of [i]Newspoll[/i] Martin O'Shannessy, is suggesting it might be a rogue poll. He mentions that the Coalition and Tony Abbott has picked up only part of the fall. There's a long way to go to the election so we need to see if this poll is an outlier or whether it represents a trend. Don't be to too heartbroken. No doubt you've looked at Possum. Lyn I'll be away from my computer until mid-afternoon - will post your links when I get back.

Rx

4/05/2010Bilko wrote: [i]Is it just me or did Turnbull get an early sniff of this poll and that instigated his uturn.[/i] It just doesn't make sense to me that Turnbull would jump back into the fray if he thought the Liberals might win. Abbott would be PM, not him. That's not what Turnbull wants at all. Abbott would have the job he wanted, and it would be almost out of the question for Turnbull to challenge him for it. Abbott's position as leader would be all but unassailable for years after any election victory.

bilgedigger

4/05/2010Your commentary regarding the current crop of "economists" and their take on the release of the Government response to the Henry report is more on the money than most of these commentators have been for years. Quite some time ago when I foolishly thought I might get a fair whack of spare time, one of the projects I had in mind was to do ten-year retrospective research of published economic forecasters and the eventual outcome of their weighty prognostications because this was not published, although a few newspapers ran articles around Christmas with a small round-up of how some commentators ended up on the year, which they still do. It was clear to me at the time that there was little, if any, accountability in the way the results of their forecasts were treated. It seems nothing has changed. The links some of the commentators have to particular companies is seldom made clear either. It was Alan Kohler's business activities that forced a change in the ABC in the way his on-air comments were eventually clarified sufficiently for viewers to understand his interest in Business Spectator, but this of course is not really the case with other commentators as far as I have noticed. If I had lots of spare cash at the moment I'd be more than happy to take on some of the mining stock which according to the commentators has "plunged". I can remember during a "plunge" in BHP shareprices during 2001 when the price was $9.21 for lucky buyers. I wouldn't mind some of that now to help through those retirement years.

lyn

4/05/2010Hi Everybody Reb at Gutter Trash says [quote][b]The Australian will be celebrating that this puts teh Coalition in an election winning position, if on the off-chance an election was to be held in the next [u]thirty seconds[/u], [/b][/quote] Newspoll: Rudd’s Loss is not Abbott’s Gain By Reb, Gutter Trash http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/newspoll-rudds-loss-is-not-abbotts-gain/

Colen

4/05/2010I would love to know which small companies the Henry review consulted with. There are a lot of SME's trading as Individuals,Partnerships and Trusts. They are all being taxed at the Marginal tax rates. Individuals trading in Companies that are not Personal Services Entities are having their profits taxed at 30%. I do not see any reason to reduce the company tax rate from 30%. All it has done is create a state of play between companies and individuals. If anything I would have left company rate at 30% and reduced Individual rate on Incomes from $25,000 to $100,000 to 30%. Those above $100,000 tax at 40+%. I would get rid of Medical Levy as it is Income Tax anyway and goes into the General revenue pool. Every government seems to have a review, we had Ralph under Howard, and all these reviews end up on a shelf as book ends. It is too hard to make the big decisions unless the budget is in surplus and you have the excess funds to play around with. All governments use the reviews to increase their tax take. The only decision they all take is to fiddle with the tax rates and not to clean up all the different taxes. They then introduce new complexities to the current system to block loopholes of their own creation.

Holden Back

4/05/2010What to call what these people do now? Something like infomercial or edutainment- opinalysis, aninion (better because sillier), or just bloviation? Except that they are taken seriously by some they don't deserve the energy they take to read and usually, refute.

Sir Ian Crisp

4/05/2010Relax people. It’s just one of many polls. So, Rudd is about as popular as a pigskin wallet in a synagogue; it’s not the end of the world. Depending on the issue/s polls rise and fall for parties and individuals.

HS

4/05/2010Sir Ian Crisp, So sanguine. Only someone speaking from the comfort of their side's good poll could say that!

Austin 3:16

4/05/2010For every economist there is an equal an opposite economist

You must be kidding

4/05/2010I'm not sure how anyone could be across the Henry Report within three days so I suspect there will be increasing commentary as commentators begin to analyse the Report. What is interesting though is that the Government which had the report since last year expects everyone to be across the detail and thus expect the punters to accept what they say as being correct. If these so called Reforms are right, why did we get Henry to do a review so that we could 'root and branch" reform the tax system, then reject the recommendations? I don't understand why we would talk up tax reform and then not do any. Perhaps some of the correspondents could explain that one. or are we to have a continuous release of reform issues leading up to the election which I suspect is a cynical perspective. The superannuation payment by 2020 is not tax reform, rather it is a payrise. The fat cat tax on mining is but one of the reform's Henry recommended. And that's about it ... oh hang on, company tax is reducing 2% to help pay for the 3% on super I suspect. So if this is reform ... and as Wayne Swan said the other day, the biggest change in the tax system since he can remember ... I guess he has short term memory loss as I recall the GST was failry significant which was ten years ago ... then it is well short. I suspect the promised tax reductions he will be announcing next week is also fairly significant, so I am unsure whether this Henry response is a huge tax reform. Perhaps the media specialist among you could explain it to me because it seems all the commentators are critical of the announcements. The issue I have about all of this is simply this ... why speak big and then deliver little? Why tell us a signifcant tax reform is under way ... which the system sadly needs, and then do little other than accept 10 of Henry's 130 recommedations ... if it was this small why did they wait until a week before the budget? Hmmm maybe some media flake is advising them. The media today is expecting an election early based on the newspoll. kevin isn't poll driven so he will stay the course which will mean an October election, the 9th or 16th. As I have said before, Labor will win and a new Prime Minister will be before us within 18 months, the question becomes who ... I vote for Simon Crean. This site is supposed to be the Political Sword, not the Media Angst ... so why not write some articles on politics rather than worrying about what other commentators are saying ... politics does not bow to the fourth estate and nor should your correspondents.

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4/05/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx Lyn I've posted the four links you provided. Have I missed any others?

lyn

4/05/2010TODAY'S LINKS No brownie points for Kevin's climate cave-in,By Jonathan Green, The Drum Tony Abbott lunge walks three laps in celebration. The Murdoch press runs out with a towel and water bottle. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/04/2889587.htm?site=thedrum#comments LIBERAL LEAD IN NEWSPOLL ON 2PP:51-49 By kim, Larvatus Prodeo. In any case, I don’t think any new new media narrative about the wonders of Abbott will be sustainable., http://larvatusprodeo.net/ Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition Monday, May 3, 2010 – 10:18 pm, by William Bowe The Poll Bludger I don’t think there’s anything dubious about this poll, but it does precisely nothing to shake my conviction that the government will hold its ground at the election. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2010/05/03/newspoll-51-49-to-coalition/ Newspoll: Rudd’s Loss is not Abbott’s Gain By Reb, Gutter Trash The Australian will be celebrating that this puts teh Coalition in an election winning position, if on the off-chance an election was to be held in the next thirty seconds, http://guttertrash.wordpress.com:80/2010/05/04/newspoll-rudds-loss-is-not-abbotts-gain Coalition punishes Labor to take poll lead By Sabra Lane, staff It's possible that we have a rogue poll, although, funnily enough, while there's a chance of one in 20 that we get one over a certain percentage, the chance that we get one of such magnitude declines as well. http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/stories/2010/05/03/2889312.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail Climate shifting against Kevin Rudd: Newspoll, The Australian Business Journal The Prime Minister’s personal satisfaction rating has dropped the most in the shortest time in the 20-year history of Newspoll surveys, http://www.australianbusinessjournal.com.au/climate-shifting-against-kevin-rudd-newspoll/ Libs claim poll lead as Kevin Rudd plummets with ETS bungle By David Olsen ,Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannassey told the ABC the result could be a rogue poll, reflecting voter backlash at the ETS. http://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au/articles/articles-news/liberal-party-newspoll-rudd-ets-1449.html Rudd in Deep Trouble - Gutless Label Sticks, by Baron, Climate Common Sense. The Prime Minister's personal satisfaction rating has dropped the most in the shortest time in the 20-year history of Newspoll surveys, http://www.ozclimatesense.com/2010/05/rudd-in-deep-trouble-gutless-label.html "Wack": Newspoll says 49 to 51, Peter Brent Mumble Start heaving more stuff overboard Mr Rudd! Send out more press releases http://mumble.com.au/ Frustrating Australian politics , by Harry Clark The difficulty for me is that I cannot get very excited about the Liberal Party’s improvements in the polls since Tony Abbott has worse policies on climate change than Labor. http://www.harryrclarke.com/2010/05/04/frustrating-australian-politics/ RUDD'S ACHIEVEMENTS, by Fred Argy, CLUB TROPPO it seems to me the Opposition theme – that Rudd is “a lot of talk but no action”: he just “promises but fails to deliver” – is a mighty exaggeration. http://clubtroppo.com.au/ Manning the barricades along Abbott's Battlelines by Derek Barry, Woolly days As leader in the 2010 election that no-one expects him to win apart from his cheer squad inThe Australian,Abbott can afford to treat it as an opportunity to inflict maximum damage. http://nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/2010/05/manning-barricades-along-abbotts.html Rudd defends new mining tax BY DAVID MCLENNAN AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra Times Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has raised the spectre of whether the Coalition would consider voting against supply in the Senate in response to the government's proposed reforms. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/rudd-defends-new-mining-tax/1818947.aspx Mayne: Mining slug mainly hits multinationals, so who cares? by Stephen Mayne Crikey a very good initiative by the Rudd government and Tony Abbott should show some consistency with his anti-immigration policies by supporting a move that slugs huge foreign companies but benefits little Aussie battlers. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/03/mining-slug-mainly-hits-multinationals-so-who-cares

lyn

4/05/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS PART 2[/b] All about politics and not tax reform, by Fran Kelly , The Drum Can he accuse Kevin Rudd of over-promising and under-delivering, but then criticise where he has delivered. Of lacking political and reform courage even as Kevin Rudd fronts up to the miners? http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/stories/2010/05/03/2889045.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail Which Henry recommendations would the Coalition implement? Anymous lefty The thing about resources is that those jobs can’t “disappear overseas” because the resources in question ARE ACTUALLY HERE. In the ground. Digging them out and taking them overseas is the entire industry http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/which-henry-recommendations-would-the-coalition-implement/#comments I'll put my hand up, by Tobias Ziegler, Pure Poison But this sort of smear approach is a win-win for pundits like Bolt http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/05/03/ill-put-my-hand-up-4/#more-5935 How many recommendations are enough?,by Dave Gaukroger, Pure poison, Crikey which of these ignored or rejected suggestions are the commentariat demanding be implemented? http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/05/03/how-many-recommendations-are-enough/#more-5944 Australian mining tax may boost PM Rudd's appeal,by James Grubel,Reuters With a healthy lead in opinion polls, and an election due by late 2010, analysts said Rudd's plan was likely to be well-received by voters http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSGE64205Q20100503?type=marketsNews Is the Rudd Government's ETS legislation a Double Dissolution trigger?, by Antony Green, ABC After the legislation's second passage through the House, it was returned to the Senate and was never returned for the House to consider amendments. http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2010/05/is-the-rudd-governments-ets-legislation-a-double-dissolution-trigger.html Coalition staring at an electoral abyss as its voter base ages , by John Watson, National Times It is hard to see how the Opposition Leader hopes to win government by saddling up Howard-era values and out-to-pasture warhorses such as Bronwyn Bishop and Philip Ruddock http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/coalition-staring-at-an-electoral-abyss-as-its-voter-base-ages-20100428-tsao.html Our sick government ignores Ken Henry, Crikey Conveniently Bernard’s two egos seemed to agree that the Leader of the Opposition is a brainless,, Henry Tax Review: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/04/our-sick-government-ignores-ken-henry/ The far far far right and an upstart, by Roger Wegener And you will remember Brandis as the Queensland upstart who tagged little Johnny as that "lying little rodent". He got that part right but not much else since http://roger-wegener.blogspot.com/2010/05/far-far-far-right-and-upstart.html Gerard Henderson, Big Mal, big Julie and the wretched latte sipping idealistic press gallery. by Dorothy parker, Loon Pond This week, it seems the lefties in the press have done a turn, and that's why Chairman Rudd's poll numbers are down. http://loonpond.blogspot.com/ DOING THE HUGO: Rudd and Abbott unite in slugging the successful to fund their dreams By VEXNEWS ⋅ , Rudd has been a good Prime Minister in many ways and Abbott has breathed life into the Coalition http://www.vexnews.com/news/9154/doing-the-hugo-rudd-taxes-mining-superprofits-abbott-hits-companies-earning-more-than-5m/

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4/05/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx Thanks Lyn for a very comprehensive list of links.

lyn

4/05/2010Hi Ad A pleasure, for our mission.

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4/05/2010Bilko The MSM has thrown everything it could at Kevin Rudd, and may now be thinking it has achieved its aim. But it may be asking if it’s gone too far because an outcome could be an Abbott Government, and an incompetent Coalition Government might not be to its liking. Let’s see if it backs off. I sensed today that the ABC commentary was less extravagant, more muted. Time will tell. Rx I agree. Who knows what motivated Malcolm’s return – to which there has been a mixed reaction. Certainly, I can’t imagine him wanting to play second fiddle to Prime Minister Abbott. So he is/was not expecting Tony to win. bilgedigger Thank you for your kind remarks. I do remember that assessment of the outcome of economists’ predictions, and they didn’t look great. It would be an interesting project to keep a record of their predictions – I remember the occasion when not one got the interest rate prediction right. My guess is that the fall in mining stock prices is an opportunistic move by large traders to push the price down on the back of the mining lobby scare campaign by selling, then buying the stock back at the lower price, forcing the price up, and making a killing. Let’s watch it.

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4/05/2010Colen, YMBK Do you believe that of all the Henry Tax Review recommendations, the Government proposes to implement only those announced on Sunday? That is not my impression, although some commentators snidely suggest that this is so. Let’s commend the Government for initiating this ‘root and branch’ review, an outcome of the much-maligned 2020 Summit, and now has in its hands what balanced observers are acknowledging as an extremely valuable blueprint for future reforms. To castigate the Government for not implementing more right now is to ignore the budgetary circumstances post-GFC that demand a careful approach. This is a cautious Government. You can be certain that more and more recommendations will be taken up as circumstances permit. Don’t be surprised if some appear in next week’s budget, and in the election campaign. This Government has a habit of announcing changes gradually rather than in one king hit, which the media and some of the people would prefer. I suspect some further tax rate changes will trickle out in successive budgets. You may not approve of this gradual approach, but before jumping to judgement, condemning the Government for not going further, wait a while and reserve judgement. Politics is the art of the possible, and it might know best what’s possible and when.

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4/05/2010YMBK You chide me for writing about the media. Might I remind you of the stated purpose of this blog (under ‘about this blog’): [i]“The Political Sword puts to the sword politicians and the media in Australia.”[/i] In fact as time goes by I find more material in the media to put to the sword than is generated by politicians. So there will be more pieces aimed at the media, which itself has taken aim at the political scene, often in a disingenuous manner. [i]TPS[/i] is not pretending to be another [i]Media Watch[/i], but it is interested in calling the media to account in the very modest way that is available to small-time blog sites such as ours.

lyn

4/05/2010Hi Bushfire Bill Would you put the same excellent, comment on The Political Sword, you put on Grog's Newspoll column. Our readers would be very interseted , 650,000 voters changing their vote.

Agnes Mack

4/05/2010Grog's up! Spirits- restoring Newspoll analysis at http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/05/newspoll-alp-49-lnp-51-or-voters-bring.html

lyn

5/05/2010TODAY'S LINKS Newspoll ALP 49-LNP 51 (or, the voters bring back the biff), by Grog, Grog's Gamut. In other words, the voters might be having a massive lover’s tiff with Rudd, but they aren’t about to go off and have an affair with Abbott. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/05/newspoll-alp-49-lnp-51-or-voters-bring.html No Revival, just decay - FEDERAL EDITION, The Piping Shrike . Turnbull’s decision to leave politics was a realistic assessment of the state of play in the Australian political scene, then his decision to return shows he is as oblivious as ever. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2010/05/no-revival-just-decay-federal-edition.html If you actually Watch, there’s a lot less Ideology,by Tobias Ziegler,Pure Poison, Crikey The only person who really displayed an us-vs-them mentality was Nick Minchin – whose opinions are,coincidentally, the closest in line with Bolt’s. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/05/04/if-you-actually-watch-theres-a-lot-less-ideology/#more-5948 On Policy and Politics ,by David Havyatt,Anything Goes , I've been intrigued by commentary like this on the Henry Tax Review that labels the response to it "politics". Worse has been the accusation that Rudd's response has been with "an eye to the election". http://davidhavyatt.blogspot.com/ Q+A-Could Australia's Rudd lose office? What if he did? , by James Grubel, ALTERNET While Rudd has picked a fight with the powerful mining sector, analysts expect the tax changes will be popular with voters. That has yet to flow through to published polls. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SGE64309A.htm Possum Comitatus tweet on the 3 May NEWSPOLL 7 full poll results,by clarencegirl , North Coast voices Just food for thought before the ALP folks commit suicide or the Libs go out and order cases of Moet...... If anyone thinks that the ALP vote is 35% - Simon Crean territory - they're smoking crack. Newspoll - rogue..... http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/ Digging through the mining industry’s lies by Bernard Keane most of the media uncritically recirculate their lies, either because journalists aren’t sceptical and informed enough to subject their claims to analysis, or because they complement the smear campaigns run by the right-wing media. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/04/how-can-you-tell-the-mining-industry-is-lying-its-issued-a-press-release/ Company scraps mining work over tax plans ABC NEWS Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says she is not surprised by Cape Lambert's decision. She told Sky News Mr Rudd was demonising mining companies. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/04/2890119.htm Wide unease about Resources Super Tax on Profits,Proactive investors Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has hinted at the possibility of the coalition opposing supply in the Senate, as it infamously did in 1975. http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/6906/wide-unease-about-resources-super-tax-on-profits-6906.html Lunch with punch,Gold Coast News, by peter Cameron FORMER prime minister John Howard is brewing a special LNP pineapple punch, soothing fears of a coup against John-Paul Langbroek tomorrow. http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2010/05/04/214345_peter-cameron-opinion.html An interview with Malcolm Turnbull, by Menios Constantinou, Wentworth Courier. Kevin’s performance on the ETS is one of the most gutless efforts I’ve ever seen in Australian politics.I cannot think of a more gutless one. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/an-interview-with-malcolm-turnbull1/

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5/05/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

HS

5/05/2010I think the Labor Party should raise the Liberal's 'gutless' with a 'clueless' in return. :)

You must be kidding

5/05/2010I would have thought tax reform as many within the community would prefer the government, no matter who is in government would attempt. Yet we have the Prime Minister confirm that there will be no more "tax reform" until after 2013. Not sure why he would do that. But if we were to get stuck into tax why didn't they address the state taxes, the entire welfare system and how tax benefits affect some families and not others, whilst single Australians are continued to be discriminated against. Perhaps the indirect taxes we all pay needed to be addressed as to the tax rates affecting PAYE. If we look at the announcements then this is tax increases not reform. That being the case the question then must be why? Why are we raising taxes? And we aren't we reforming taxes? AA claims this is a cautious government ... no evidence of that I am afraid.

HS

5/05/2010Does anyone else see the irony in Tony Abbott fanning the flames of nativism when speaking to Yuko Narishima, who must be, or whose parents must have been, immigrants themselves? Also that the public may be cooling on immigration because Mr Abbott is doing all he can to help that along? http://www.smh.com.au/national/abbott-public-cooling-on-immigration-20100504-u75z.html

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5/05/2010YMBK Could you please give me a reference to where Kevin Rudd said there would be no more Tax Reform until 2013. I missed that. If that were so, it would seem to support my contention that this is a cautious Government. As I understand it, all the reforms you mention are in the Henry Report for implementation when the time is right.

HS

5/05/2010You Must Be Kidding, Bit premature in your assessment aren't you, considering that the Budget is yet to be handed down, the Election campaign has yet to be announced, and the Rudd government is yet to be re-elected to continue with the tax reform agenda? Especially considering the amount of time, a quarter of a century I think it was, it took for all the recommendations of the Asprey Report to be implemented, by Labor and Coalition governments alike. You know what really amuses me about the hysterical responses from the Right, such as yours, with their implicit demands that the Rudd government should do more, quicker? It's the absolute hypocrisy that such squawkers exhibit when you compare the number of initiatives the Rudd government has taken in 2 and a half years and compared with the reform torpor of the Howard government over 12 years.

Bushfire Bill

5/05/2010[i]You know what really amuses me about the hysterical responses from the Right, such as yours, with their implicit demands that the Rudd government should do more, quicker? It's the absolute hypocrisy that such squawkers exhibit when you compare the number of initiatives the Rudd government has taken in 2 and a half years and compared with the reform torpor of the Howard government over 12 years.[/i] Any other government would be given at least a week to commence reforms :). Rudd's hasn't been given even 24 hours (with some condemnations coming within minutes of the Henry Report's release) before being called "gutless", "cowardly" and the like. The auditor General's report came out today. I read it. It makes no recommendations either way. "No recommendations" means "nothing too serious that needs fixing". In short, it says things could have been done better here and there, but readily acknowledges speed was of the essence, or there would have been no point doing anything at all. It acknowledges that there has been a low rate of complaints. It acknowledges that many of the administrative problems werepromptly identified, addressed and rectified, and that in any case these problems were insufficiently serious to call the program into question, or criticism. It specifically does not deal with unrest, or upset among school principals and P&C committees, but does note that complaints have been small in number, whatever the source and for whatever reason. In short, a well-run program given that it had to be got up and running in a hurry, with no major administrative problems requiring intervention or drastic rectification. Report link here: http://www.anao.gov.au/uploads/documents/2009-10_Audit_Report_33.pdf

Steve1

5/05/2010Economists are moral philosophers, not scientist. They along with, scientists can present possibilities and probabilities, but not certainties. Scientists try and present information without bias based on the outcome of repeatable experiments. Economists present information based on templates they create to help explain the world. These templates and models are philosophically biased. An economist's opinion is not amoral. It is always wrapped in the prejudices of the person. Economists do provide insight into world. If you understand the prejucies of the Economist, you will also gain insights into their insights.

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5/05/2010Folks The Australian National Audit Office report on the BER of 201 pages is now public at http://www.anao.gov.au/uploads/documents/2009-10_Audit_Report_33.pdf Possum has a good summary in his [i]Pollytics[/i] piece [i]The BER Audit Report[/i]. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/05/05/the-ber-audit-report/ You will have difficulty reconciling the findings of the report with the media reports to date: [i]Audit slams Rudd's primary school building program[/i] by Dan Harrison in the [i]SMH[/i], http://www.smh.com.au/national/audit-slams-rudds-primary-school-building-program-20100505-u98l.html [i]BER audit finds problem but 'value for money' of individual projects outside scope[/i] in [i]The Oz[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/schools-watch/ber-auditor-finds-some-progress-on-jobs/story-fn56ulhe-1225862452369 and [i]Auditor-general criticises Govt reporting procedures[/i] on [i]ABC News[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/05/2890897.htm It is classic media misrepresentation through cherry picking the findings that seem to support a predetermined position, typically antagonistic to the BER. One article has no positive content, and in the other two the only positive comments are those quoted from Julia Gillard. The journalists have likely not read the report properly, and seem determined to give the BER no positive acknowledgement despite the positive feedback from a survey of schools principals. Judge for yourself by going to the report itself where, although the problems encountered in implementing such a complex programme very quickly are documented, so is the overwhelming acceptance and success of the programme. Nowhere does the report ‘slam’ the Government. The Overall Conclusion begins on page 14 and runs through page 18 and beyond. To me the most revealing information was in the survey of school principals that begins on page 184 and runs to page 193. The section ‘Progress and Outcomes’, starting on page 191 is revealing and the last two questions particularly so. When I read that 95.3% agree, most strongly agree, with the statement “I am confident BER P21 program funding will provide an improvement to my school, which will be of ongoing value to my school and school community” and only 1.7% disagree, despite any problems that arose during implementation, I am prepared to give the BER a very big tick. What do you say?

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5/05/2010Steve1 If this is your first visit to [i]TPS[/i], welcome; please return. I agree with you that the opinion of economists are “..always wrapped in the prejudices of the person.” and said so in a piece I wrote in February 2009 [i]The problem with economists[/i]. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2009/02/18/The-problem-with-economists.aspx You may be right when you say “Economists do provide insight into world. If you understand the prejudices of the economist, you will also gain insights into their insights.”, but when reading their opinions it is often difficult to determine what their prejudices and operating models are. If they were upfront about that, we would all understand them better.

You must be kidding

5/05/2010Hillbilly I'm sorry? The Rudd government has provided more reform in 2.5 years than the Howard government did in 12years? Say what? I know you have a list of Rudd Government reforms ready to paste so please do. Please roll out the reforms we have seen so I can at least get an appreciation of how the country has progressed under the current Government. What reforms are you specifically refering to? Mind you I would suggest that reform means progression so fill me in on the news. AA to note:- The reference for no further tax reform is Treasurer Swan who has said the Henry recommendations are a ten year plan and the joint statement from Rudd/Swan on Sunday stated that the entire second term tax agenda of the Rudd Government was that which was presented on Sunday plus modest changes to tax simplification. So this would indicate a slow approach to real reform as opposed to a tax take, which you class as cautious ... yet on the other hand the Hillbilly states that Rudd is the reformer and even more so than the previous 12 years of the previous government. Looking forward to some meat on your skeleton of an argument Hillbilly.

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5/05/2010Folks I wonder are you getting as tired as I am of the incessant repetition by TV interviewers and radio commentators of Kevin Rudd’s assessment of global warming “as the greatest economic and moral challenge of our time” in order to place his deferment of the ETS in a bad light? Last night on [i]Lateline[/i] in her interview of Lindsay Tanner, Leigh Sales used the term ‘great moral challenge’ three times trying to nudge Tanner into agreement that Rudd’s deferment of the ETS until the end of 2012 represented a repudiation of Rudd’s sacredly held belief. Among many other things, Tanner eventually said: [i]“Why people are presenting this as some giant back-flip is beyond me. Yes, it's a change, but we remain committed to the core of the proposition.”[/i] Exactly. What is there about deferment of the ETS that makes global warming less of an economic and moral challenge? Nothing. The moral imperative remains, and Rudd and his Government acknowledge it. All deferment is doing is postponing action until the time is likely to be more propitious and the local and international environment more conducive to a successful outcome, which it certainly is not now. Leigh Sales is an intelligent and well educated person, as indeed are other ABC presenters such as Chris Uhlmann who make the same invalid argument, but seemingly unaware of the illogic of the proposition that deferment equals abandonment of a moral challenge. When I was at school there was a subject called ‘clear thinking’, a mental exercise to identify faulty logic or reasoning. I wonder do schools still teach it. If so, Leigh and Chris should take a refresher course. Unless of course they are well aware they are pedalling a furphy, but prepared to do so to ‘make a good story’. That would be even more reprehensible. Incidentally, I though Lindsay Tanner’s responses to Leigh’s long interview was about the best I have seen. In my view he is the Government’s best advocate during such interviews, better even than Julia Gillard. His replies are always well structured, logical, comprehensive, informative and eminently plausible. And he doesn’t cop the crap some interviewers dish up. He refutes outlandish claims and insinuations with forensic ease. If only the others were as good. If you missed it the transcript and video is at http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s2890374.htm

You must be kidding

5/05/2010There is only one problem with your position AA regarding moral challenges. Sure the government can defer programs if they like BUT ... if I recall the Prime Minister said the words we should not speak "great moral challenge" and also said we MUST act now for the sake of our children and grand children. And he also said that if he does not get his way ... remember prior to Copenhagen ... that he would force a double dissolution and put it to the people. So if the PM was wanting action without knowing the world's position back then some 6 months ago and if he thought that action should be now rather than wait for the sake of our children and grand children ... and he was prepared to call a double dissolution to ensure we act ... what has changed? The point is ... we either cannot wait as action now is vital ... or we can wait and thus action now is not that vital. I agree with you that governments can change their mind ... but it was either important back then or it wasn't. If it was important then why no action? If it is not so important why all the scary rhetoric last year? The point is the PM was either right or wrong in his rhetoric ... he can't be right and right.

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5/05/2010YMBK At 9.43 am you said: [i]” Yet we have the Prime Minister confirm that there will be no more ‘tax reform’ until after 2013.” [/i]. In your 3.13 pm post you said: [i]“The reference for no further tax reform is Treasurer Swan who has said the Henry recommendations are a ten year plan and the joint statement from Rudd/Swan on Sunday stated that the entire second term tax agenda of the Rudd Government was that which was presented on Sunday plus modest changes to tax simplification.”[/i] On the ALP website under the heading [i]Stronger, Fairer, Simpler: A Tax Plan for our Future[/i] posted on May 2, the day the Henry Review was launched, it states near the end: [i]"Today we have announced that the first wave of our agenda is to reform resource, company and small business taxes and superannuation. In the coming months we will have more to say on a number of other areas considered by the review, especially making tax time simpler for everyday Australians, improving incentives to save and improving the governance and transparency of the tax system. This would represent a full second term agenda."[/i] I read this as meaning that further tax changes would be made during the second term, which begins after the election, probably in late 2010. The link is http://www.alp.org.au/news/stronger-fairer-simpler-tax-plan-our-future I can see how you have interpreted that statement differently, but to me it means the Government means to get on with the tax changes in the context of the budget and election campaign, and during its second term, if Labor is re-elected.

Colen

5/05/2010AA, There is clear thinking and then there is hypocrisy. Whether of the left or right. If Abbott changes his mind it's because he is muddled if Rudd changes his mind he is a clear thinker??????

macca

5/05/2010Abbott changes his mind because nature abhors the vacuum between his ears.

lyn

5/05/2010Hi Macca Exactly right.

HS

5/05/2010YMBK, As you have stipulated that I am unable to 'paste' a reply in answer to your request, I regret to inform you that I am unable to comply. :)

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5/05/2010YMBK Yes, Rudd can be right and right. Since Rudd insisted global warming was urgent, and must not be delayed, the world has changed, radically. First, the Coalition after rejecting the CPRS, then agreeing with an ETS plan similar to that of John Howard courtesy of Malcolm Turnbull and Ian Macfarlane’s negations with Penny Wong, then welched on the deal and left the Government with nowhere to go. Then there was no commitment to an ETS at Copenhagen, although a number of other important agreements were made. So that left the Government with no support for its ETS internationally. Your argument that deferment means Rudd is indicating that it’s not as urgent as he said it was previously, doesn’t wash. It gets more urgent with time, but is there any benefit in Rudd hitting his head against a brick wall with no possibility of success. You ask why he doesn’t go to a DD. Read what Antony Green says about the possibility of a DD resolving the impasse. Even if the Greens won balance of power, would that help? They have opposed the ETS on every occasion as ‘it would lock in failure’ unto 2020! Politics is the art of the possible – every which way Rudd turns he sees that getting an ETS is impossible. So he’s decided to wait until conditions increase the likelihood of success. To me that seems eminently sensible, but I know you will not agree. Let’s leave it at that.

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5/05/2010Colen I think you've got it.

HS

5/05/2010I can't believe it! I have just seen Tony Abbott on the 7pm ABC News stating that the ANAO Report on the BER has given the government an 'F' for Fail.!!! That is just a flat-out lie! Now, where in the ABC Charter does it say that you have to broadcast unquestioningly, whatever the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, says as gospel?

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5/05/2010HS To Abbott in full combative mode, truth is irrelevant. All he wants to do is to create in the public's mind the perception of 'Fail'; and the media, including 'Our ABC', by going along with him, shares his culpability.

gusface

5/05/2010Cuppla things SuperTax defined: The govt explained it in simple terms, profits above the long-term bond rate, presently 6.7%, get taxed at the higher rate. Sarah palin had one in 2007 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008103325_alaskatax07.html "wont someone rid me of this tiresome media"

Colen

5/05/2010<SuperTax defined: The govt explained it in simple terms, profits above the long-term bond rate, presently 6.7%, get taxed at the higher rate.> 6.7% of what? Shareholders equity. Market capitalisation. Government Debt. Fixed Assets including revalued mining assets. Total assets. Pleez the P.M. and his Treasury don't know what they are doing. As for those commentators saying that the Foreign shareholders are benefitting from our mines. The multinationals are repatriating profits from the sale of ore extracted from foreign mines and dividends earned from these mines are paid to Aussie shareholders. A lot of shortsighted idiots in this Asylum.

Colen

5/05/2010Just another point when the dividends are paid out to those weathly individuals that there is all that screaming and shhouting about, they are taxed can be taxed at 46.5%. So what is he talking about. 40%. It is just a tax grab to try to look effective.

Bushfire Bill

6/05/2010AA wrote: [i]To me the most revealing information was in the survey of school principals that begins on page 184 and runs to page 193. The section ‘Progress and Outcomes’, starting on page 191 is revealing and the last two questions particularly so. When I read that 95.3% agree, most strongly agree, with the statement “I am confident BER P21 program funding will provide an improvement to my school, which will be of ongoing value to my school and school community” and only 1.7% disagree, despite any problems that arose during implementation, I am prepared to give the BER a very big tick.[/i] WRONG, SILLY! Read this ABC on line article. It'll put you right about that survey in the Auditor's report. It starts out: [i][b]Principals doubt value of school building scheme[/b] By Anne Connolly - ABC News Online Investigative Unit Updated 4 hours 1 minute ago The statistics come from a survey of more than 620 school principals. Almost 30 per cent of principals surveyed by the auditor-general believe they are not getting value for money from the controversial $16.2 billion school building program. And a third of schools have complained about the scheme, contradicting claims by the Federal Government that less than 1 per cent of schools are dissatisfied. The statistics come from a survey of more than 620 school principals which is contained at the end of auditor-general Ian McPhee's report released today...[/i] and goes downhill from there. One of the interesting things about this Report is the almost completely opposing ways in which it is being reported in today's media.

Bushfire Bill

6/05/2010P.S. almost as good as this one, also on the ABC web site: [i][b]Acropolis stormed as mining tax hits global markets[/b] The Federal Government's plans to impose a new tax on Australian miners have hit global share markets and the local dollar. London's FTSE 100 closed 2.6 per cent lower in its first trading session since the Rudd Government announced its tax plans. ... In Greece, demonstrators stormed the Acropolis in Athens ahead of a general strike against austerity cuts, as the euro plunged and stock markets tumbled on concerns the rescue package for Greece will not be sufficient.[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/05/2890397.htm

Rx

6/05/2010Hillbilly wrote: [i]I can't believe it! I have just seen Tony Abbott on the 7pm ABC News... [/i] Abbott, and his shadow Ministers, are on the ABC News so often that it's about time the ABC renamed the program "Liberal Views". It's just gone completely over the top lately, the surfeit of Liberal press releases, Liberal quotes, Liberal talking points and Liberal talking heads given unquestioning prominence on their ABC news and current affairs shows. I've never seen an Opposition get this much exposure or this many free kicks.

Rx

6/05/2010Macca: [i]Abbott changes his mind because nature abhors the vacuum between his ears.[/i] I reckon Nature might be having second thoughts ABOUT the ears ...

Steve of Adelaide

6/05/2010Completely off topic, but I thought you would all be as heartbroken by this as I was. I recently moved to Cyprus for business and saw this article in one of the English newspapers (sorry I don't know how to post it as a link): http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/asylum-seeker-begs-let-me-die/20100505 I was absolutely appalled at the shocking treatment of this asylum seeker. As I read the article I couldn't help but think of the disgusting way that the Opposition and the media use the desperate plight of these poor people to pursue a political agenda. Makes me mad. Steve

Steve of Adelaide

6/05/2010oh... link worked.

HS

6/05/2010Why am I not surprised that our wrecker of an Opposition Leader is lining up, shoulder to shoulder, with the Mining Fat Cats in their grubby little enterprise to use the workers as pawns in their sleazy campaign against the government seeking a fair share of the supersized profits that they are making from digging up OUR resources? Of course the Mining Industry doesn't want to pay more tax to the government, it will eat into their ability to rip us all off and live large off the fat of the land.

HS

6/05/2010Rx, 'Unquestioning' sure is the word. I can only remember ABC 'journalists' acting as facilitators for the Opposition recently to get their Talking Points out. Also everytime one of them does try to cut to the chase with the Opposition the Coalition then spend day after day after the interview squealing like stuck pigs about it, and they start calling the ABC a biased, Left Wing organisation; which appears to effectively cow the ABC journalists all over again. It's a successful formula, to be sure, but it is one which is corrupting the Public Broadcaster. Another problem, as I perceive it with the ABC, is that its journalists are no longer 'lean and hungry', or, to my eyes, from other than comfortably well-off, Middle Class, Private School backgrounds, such as Tony Jones, who went to Newington in Sydney. Hence, they are inculcated from an early age with the ethos of the true elites in this country, and seem unable to properly question therefore, the moral turpitude of the Coalition's philosophical underpinnings, because they are subscribers to it also in the main. Even if you do have a few scrubbers, like Barrie Cassidy, that have worked their way up off the streets, it seems they can't wait to hop on board the elitist caravan that supports the basic conservative tenets of the Coalition, and sign up to their agenda unquestioningly. They also appear to be afraid to bite the hand that may feed them again, when and if the Coalition get back into power, because they well remember how ruthless those bastards can be when they are in power. Anyway, I'll be waiting to see if any of them have the guts to stand up to the entrenched interests of the Opposition and the Mining companies, and argue the case for the little guys, who work in the sandwich shops et al of this land, to get a fair share of the money that is earned from selling off OUR resources. Or will they roll over like spineless jellybacks?

HS

6/05/2010Steve of Adelaide, Thank you for the link! I hope you return later today when I have a blog ready to go about just that topic.

gusface

6/05/2010Ta colen for your update of Fib HQ and its disinformation campaign Glad you support welfare to the rich Lil johnnie would Be so proud

Rx

6/05/2010Hillbilly Skeleton, Good post, and very interesting, HS. In particular the theory (well, I guess it is not very moot) about the private school elitists with their innate conservatism who flesh out the ranks of the media, predictably going about their journalistic duties seeing and therefore presenting current affairs through a conservative lens. I do not give John Howard credit for very much. But I do acknowledge that he was a most cunning and pernicious little rodent. He massively increased funding to private schools for the precise purpose of enculturating generations of right wing robots, who, upon being educated largely on our purse, go into the world and wreak their stuff onto society at large. On a similar note I found the following article quite enlightening. It explains another of the related reasons for his undermining of public education (and health) - that being to damage the non-Coalition side of politics. It's quite disturbing, the degree of cynical and far-reaching social engineering this little fellow and his cohorts engaged in while being paid by the very country they sought to revolutionise. We are right now seeing, across a range of areas of life and politics, the acrid fruits of his Machiavellian manipulations, and I fear, will continue to do so for decades to come. What's worse is that the rodent-like culture warriors, forever gnawing away at the fabric of society to remake same in their own philosophical image, have not departed the scene with the demise of Howard electorally. Without the shadow of a doubt the miserable Abbott and Co carry on the same self-serving agenda with a zeal that only the truly ideologically-driven could muster. http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/pm-of-ulterior-motives/2007/09/29/1190486626917.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

Sir Ian Crisp

6/05/2010Steve of Adelaide, a peaceful life in neighbouring Jordan awaits Palestinians who seek it. AMMAN, Dec 21, 2009 (IPS) - Music enlivens the yellow taxi as it traverses the Jordanian capital. A small Palestinian flag hangs from the rearview mirror. Jihad, the cab driver, says his father fled here from the Palestinian West Bank in 1948. "Thank God almighty, life is good for me here and I can offer my family a decent life," he says. "While my father was Palestinian, I feel today Jordanian and I hold the Jordanian nationality. No distinction is made in this country between Jordanian nationals and those of Palestinian descent." According to the records of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Jordan is home to 1.9 million displaced Palestinians. "Jordan hosts about 42 percent of the total refugee population," says Mattar Sakr, director of public relations for UNRWA in Jordan. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49765

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6/05/2010BB Re your 12.41 am post, the report by the ABC you mention [i]Principals doubt value of school building scheme[/i], by Anne Connolly - ABC News Online Investigative Unit, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/05/2891384.htm has been made by a journalist who has either not bothered to read the report fully and has therefore only partially reported it, or who has set out with the intent to portray only that part of the report that suited the reporter’s pre-determined narrative or intent. The article reported responses to the question: [i]” The use of BER P21 money for my school represents value for money. (n = 610)”[/i]. 48.4% agreed, 28.9% disagreed, the rest either didn’t know (5.8%) or neither agreed or disagreed (16.8%). So the ABC statement [i]” Almost 30 per cent of principals surveyed by the auditor-general believe they are not getting value for money...”[/i] is correct, but why did the journalist add to that sentence: [i]”... from the controversial $16.2 billion school building program.”[/i]? Right next door is a question [i]”I am confident BER P21 program funding will help children, families and communities participate in activities that will support achievement, develop learning potential and bring communities together. (n = 612)[/i] The response was 86.2% agreed, 3.6% disagreed, 9.1% neither agreed nor disagreed and 1.2% didn’t know. Why was that good news story not reported? The sentence: [i]”And a third of schools have complained about the scheme, contradicting claims by the Federal Government that less than 1 per cent of schools are dissatisfied.”[/i] comes from the question [i]” Have you, or anyone in your school community communicated a concern or complaint about the BER P21 program? (n = 609)[/i] 33.4% said yes, 66.6% no. The question does not specify to whom the complaint was communicated – was it to the principal or the parents group or someone else? We don’t know. Two questions down there is one worded [i]”If you are aware of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations' role in resolving implementation issues with the BER P21 program, have you or anyone in your school community taken any concern or complaint to the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations about the BER P21 program?”[/i] (n = 223, the number who were aware). 96.4% said no, 3.6% yes. 3.6% of 233 is 8 complaints, yes 8 complaints. Why was that survey result not published? Was the sample of 233 representative of the whole? If so, there would have been 3.6% of complaints among the 24,000 projects, higher than the Government reports. While the survey statisticians made every effort to sample representatively, we have no way of being certain about whether the sample was representative of the whole. So comparison of survey results with actual complaints to the Commonwealth Department of Education is problematic, and no one with even minimal statistical understanding would fail to make that point. What that ABC report highlights is the serious problem of cherry-picking results to match a pre-determined narrative. Failing to report all the relevant data, particularly that which does not suit the set agenda, amounts to dishonesty. This is what we a having dished up by “Our ABC’. We are right to be outraged.

Colen

6/05/2010Gusface, Who do you think pays for all your social security benefit's. It sure as hell doesn't come from all those black marketeers and cleaners working for cash. The social security for the rich come's from the balance left over from paying their fair share of tax. Oh we are back to that old argument of how much should an entrepreneur be rewarded for his efforts. Monopolistic practices etc.

gusface

6/05/2010Onya Colen poor bugger the rich man eh God the fibs lack of economics 101 send shivers down me spine. Hows your family/discretionary/kids trust going eh what- 6c in the $ tax old chap champagne champagne champagne

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6/05/2010Folks A second piece by HillbillySkeleton [i]Tony Abbott is really ‘P’ing me off[/i] has just been posted. It picks up on the theme of her first piece: that we are witnessing a world-wide conservative party line that moves in step, this time her piece is about immigration and population issues. It is at http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/05/06/Tony-Abbott-is-really-e28098Pe28099ing-me-off.aspx

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6/05/2010Lyn When you're ready to post your links, I suggest you post them on HillbillySkeleton's new post.

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6/05/2010Folks Since we seem to be getting only spam on this post, I'm closing comments.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?