We Hate Them, We Really, Really Do
Peter Hartcher has this article about the state of political leadership in Australia. The gist of it is a list of how many ways the Labor Government has failed us, and also how little Tony Abbott has offered as an alternative. the punchline comes down to this bit:
The key difference is that the voters are more disillusioned with Gillard’s government than they are with Abbott’s opposition.
Both leaders’ approval ratings have gone backwards over three years, but Gillard’s has gone back further.
And Labor has been in a losing position for all 29 of the 29 Nielsen polls in the life of this Parliament.
“That has never happened before” in the 40-year history of the series, Stirton says.
Labor’s remaining hopes, which are vanishingly small, rest almost entirely on a plan for a final, frenzied assault on Abbott as sinister, unhinged and unreliable.
Meanwhile, the Liberals will remind us, at every opportunity, of the depths of Gillard’s deceit.It will be a long 100 days ahead.
Oof. There’s no saving grace there. The electorate isn’t listening to the ALP government because they’ve had enough of the hung parliament, and they’ve certainly had enough of the ALP in NSW to last a generation. For whatever it is worth, I just don’t see NSW going back to the ALP for a decade, if not 15years. The Eddie Obeid business has exposed the ALP and there’s simply no amount of campaigning that’s going to fix what has been uncovered. In NSW, the ALP is the party of excess, sleaze, corruption, and horrible woggy names like Tripodi, Arbib and Obeid. In the current mood of punishing refugees and foreigners, there’s really not much support for the party of the children of immigrants.
On that level, the ALP has really well and truly screwed the pooch. Thus, the ALP has entered the twilight zone of lame duck governments. As such, some members like Joel Fitzgibbon are indulging in a bit of gallows humour. It looks like they’ve given up on shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, they’re going to join the band as the boat goes down. The aftermath of all this is going to be interesting because ALP internal polling shows that in Queensland, Kevin Rudd might be the last man standing. The ALP is facing a landslide the magnitude of losing somewhere around 34 seats from their current 72. That’s a lot of politicians, suddenly able to pull down on their ample superannuation payments. You kind of wish they wouldn’t lose so badly if only to help the budget bottom line of the nation. Maybe after such a monumental defeat, the ALP will be able to do some reform they sorely needed to do after their 1996 defeat.
I can’t begin to tell you of my disgust that Tony Abbott is likely to be our next Prime Minster, but as they say – in a democracy, you get the leaders you deserve. Clearly what e deserve is a gigantic enema.
ASIC’s Tough Day At The Office
You gotta laugh when ASIC are finally called to task on the terrible job they did.
Senator Doug Cameron put the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on notice on more than a dozen questions relating to its conduct in the affair during a Senate Estimates hearing last night, including a demand for an estimate of the amount of money clients had lost because the regulator repeatedly ignored warnings from whistleblowers.
The questions were delivered rapid-fire after Senator Cameron accused ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell of failing to adequately respond to questions delivered earlier in the hearing by Nationals Senator John Williams.
“This is a very serious issue for ASIC, it’s a serious issue for the government and all the senators are concerned about it. So just don’t take me on a waltz around the merry-go-round. Take that on notice.”
The hearing follows a Fairfax Media investigation that found the CBA had concealed improprieties by financial planner Don Nguyen who once controlled about $300 million in retirement savings on behalf of at least 1300 clients. Mr Nguyen, who has been banned by ASIC for seven years, allegedly forged client signatures, created unauthorised investment accounts and overcharged on fees. Some clients lost more than half their life savings, forcing them to seek help from Centrelink as they battled with CBA for compensation.
Senator Cameron demanded to know why Mr Nguyen received only a seven year ban after “engaging in illegal activity”, which meant he could once again act as a financial planner in 2018.
“Give us the details and the arguments that you went through to deliver a seven year ban and why you didn’t seek a ban for life on this individual who was destroying the lives of ordinary Australian citizens,” he said.
Mr Kell defended the regulatory and oversight regime that was in place at the time of the alleged abuses from 2006 to 2009, although he acknowledged that standards at CBA’s financial planning arm were “considerably below what was required”.
They sure get little sympathy from me. ASIC just don’t enough of anything. At about the same time that went to the wires and interwebs, sharing a headline with it was this article:
BusinessDay has contacted many of the borrowers to confirm this. The borrowers, many who are pensioners and small business people, cannot afford a lawyer. Of these complaints, many had Loan Application Forms (LAFs), which they claimed had been tampered with, attached.
“ASIC has close to 100 LAFs from members (of her action group Banking & Finance Consumers Support Association) who say they wrote letters to ASIC and lodged formal complaints and attached the offending LAFs,” said Ms Brailey.
“Others wrote letters (another 60 people or more) that were formal complaints that contained no LAF. Every one of my members says they received an identical form letter from ASIC.”
As reported on Monday, the veteran consumer rights campaigner has made public 2500 private emails and bank documents to expose what she describes as ”Australia’s subprime crisis”.
Ms Brailey claims that lenders and mortgage brokers tampered with documents to provide more credit for borrowers with ”low-doc” loans.
She says she is making private documents public after years of trying to get corporate regulators to investigate the banks and other lenders over what she alleges is ”systemic fraud” in the ”low-doc” market.
Low-documentation loans are made to borrowers such as business owners who can’t prove a regular income, but the borrower signs a declaration as to estimated income. The loans usually carry a higher interest rate than other loans, as they are seen as more risky.
Of the borrowers who have asked for help from Ms Brailey’s action group, Banking & Finance Consumers Support Association, 1170 of them claim their loan application forms (LAFs) have been tampered with. In most cases, the income figure has been increased to justify more credit. “There is not one clean ‘LAF’ among them,” said Ms Brailey.
The banks and the corporate regulators reject Ms Brailey’s claims. They say fraud in the low-doc loan market is the fault of ”rogue” mortgage brokers.
In his repudiation this week of the Brailey claims, Mr Kell said ASIC had recently banned seven mortgage brokers for fraud or misconduct relating to loan applications.
Somehow I don’t think that would wash with Doug Cameron, do you?
Sport Nut News Day
Today’s gush of news that’s worth kicking around is dominated by sporting news. First cab off the rank is the news that Energy Australia have pulled out of their sponsorship program, a mere 12months into their contract.
It is another body blow to SA, which is trying to rebuild after Australia’s disappointing London Olympic performance tainted by the Stilnox controversy.
“This is a difficult time for Swimming Australia and we recognise there are no easy solutions,” SA CEO Mark Anderson said in a statement.
“This is obviously disappointing but we respect the decision.”
Before Energy Australia’s bombshell, SA were also coping with the Australian Sports Commission’s decision in April that it would cut swimming funding by $500,000 for 2013.
It marked the first time it had been cut since the 1980s.
“Financial support from sponsors is important to the success of Australian swimming, but ultimate success in the pool is built upon hard work and a strong and stable supporting organisation,” said Anderson, who is a month into his new job.
“During this rebuilding phase, Swimming Australia is committed to ensuring that swimming returns quickly to where it belongs at its rightful place as Australia’s No.1 Olympic sport.”
The SA board gathered in Sydney on Wednesday before confirming the sponsorship deal was dead in the water.
That’s some straight up ugly consequences from last year’s debacle at the London Olympics. The line the press is running with this is that Energy Australia have had enough of the scandals coming out of Swimming Australia. It’s sort of surprising it has taken this long in some ways, but there is certainly a whiff of inevitability about this sponsorship deal breakdown. It’s certainly hard to believe all this talk about changes in governance and culture after the CEO is forced to resign for making inappropriate comments. I sort of let the racism debate coming out of AFL last week slide, and the subsequent brouhaha with Eddie Maguire just slide with it, but it has to be said Australian sports administration is stuck in some kind of time warp.
The other interesting sports news is how the Parramatta Eels have announced mid-season that they’ll be moving 12 of their players out of the club.
After years of underperformance – including “winning” the wooden spoon last year – the club has decided to act. In a letter to Eels fans and members, chief executive Ken Edwards declared it was time for the playing group to be “accountable” for the woeful results.
“In Rugby League, we are judged on the field by our performance and ultimately results,” Edwards wrote.
“In recent times the Parramatta Eels have not fared well in either category. Our Members, Fans and Sponsors deserve and demand more than what we have achieved and today the Eels declare that enough is enough.
That’s a big call. What’s interesting about this is how they’re making the call midway through the season; as well as announcing to the rest of the world they’re giving up on the current club as they blow it all up and attempt a rebuild. Not only are they punting these players, they’re punting the season away. Certainly, if you know you’re not going to be counting on these 12 players, what possible purpose could there be in running them out each week. If this is a rebuild, you would expect they’d be immediately benched and you would start playing the younger, upcoming players. It seems brave to decide the rebuild starts now, but also incredibly foolhardy to announce it to the rest of the world. This is a really weird move.
Meanwhile over in America, there’ s news that twenty players may be suspended for 100games. The headliners on the list of players is of course A-Rod, Ryan Braun, and Melky Cabrera. The sound you’re hearing is a million fantasy baseball players clicking their mice, dropping A-Rod from their squads. The timing of the news is interesting because only two days ago, Hal Steinbrenner did a doorstop where he said the Yankees were disappointed at times with A-Rod. Why would he be saying that right now? Was he tipped off that this stuff was going down? If it happens and then A-Rod is suspended for 100games, would this void his contract? As the boys at BTF used to say a long while ago, “Is that even legal?”