Tag Archives: Carbon Tax

News That’s Fit To Punt – 03/Sep/2014

Why? Because Fuck You

Everything this Federal Government does is tainted by a sort of grubby conflict of interest. Of course that’s not confined to the Federal Government, because the greater conflict of interest might actually be Clive Palmer who owns a dirty big mining company, gets to make deals where a tax like the mining tax can get repealed. It’s hard to imagine a more egregious and gratuitous case of helping yourself because you can.

The deal has meant that the government will halt the rise of superannuation. Naturally, with the sensibility of a cheesy movie villain, Tony Abbott tried to sell this as more cash in hand for employees which, frankly made me choke on my lunch. I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Prime Minister, but that’s money that’ll stay in the pockets of companies. Paul Keating has lambasted the government but honestly, if he wanted to still have a meaningful voice, he should’ve stayed on in parliament after 1996.

The repeal of the Mining Tax was of course one of the platforms of the Coalition so we ought not be surprised, but really, it is pretty disgusting how the Coalition are totally happy to sell out Australian citizens in favour of a gaggle of mining billionaires – Clive Palmer among them – and try to sell it as being good for the worker. Can it get any worse?

Yes it can. Here’s how.

An Inconvenient Ruse

The emissions for energy generation jumped the most in eight years, since the end of the carbon tax.

So much for Al Gore coming to lend a hand in fighting the good fight against global warming. Thanks to the repeal, polluters have gone back to a kind of burn-baby-burn mentality and now it’s out of control. Of course the plan by this government is also to smash the renewables industry, and directly pay these polluters to stop polluting.

It’s like government by stupidity. You’d never have guessed thing would get this bad. No sane mind would have guess it would get this bad. But this unrelenting awfulness – “Operation Ongoing Enormous Clusterfuck” according to FDOM – was their platform! Grin and bear it.

Pink Batts Coming Home To Roost

Pleiades swung this one at me today. The best bit of news might be how the Royal Commission into the Pink Batts has yielded interesting results. In as much as it was a blatant witch hunt, it looks like it delivered a result that was assumed by the proponents of the Commission. Here’s something from Crikey which is behind a pay wall:

 

First, Hanger found the training regime and regulations at the time of the first of four fatalities in October 2009 to have been seriously inadequate:
“With the exception of South Australia, which had a licensing regime for insulation installers, there was no insulation-industry specific regulation beyond the generally applicable occupational health and safety regulation.”
But here’s the thing: then-minister for the environment Peter Garrett and his staff had spent most of 2009 tightening regulations and procedures. Hanger listed more than 40 interventions to address safety deficiencies — all completed before October. So if the safety framework was still deficient by then, it must have been woefully, if not criminally, inadequate prior to 2008. Having presided over industry growth to the level of about 200,000 new and existing houses insulated annually, the previous Coalition government cannot escape culpability.

Secondly, Hanger opened wide the door to those wanting compensation for the program’s sudden termination:
“I find as follows:
“… the effect of the losses was to devastate many long-standing businesses … and to cause as well personal financial collapse and severe despair and emotional harm;
“that harm and such circumstances justifies pre-existing businesses being compensated.”
If compensation is won, it will be the Abbott government scrambling to find the funds.
This has a certain rough justice about it, of course. There is an argument that the scheme was not intrinsically dangerous and was not failing, rather that it suffered from extreme misreporting from the outset, by both Coalition MPs and a feral media.

Thirdly, the Commissioner was scathing about Abbott’s staff in the course of the inquiry:
“The Commonwealth did not suggest one witness that ought to be called. It did not generally volunteer documents that were not the subject of a summons to produce. It did not elicit any evidence of its own volition. All of this is despite the fact that it was the repository of the critical documents and the corporate knowledge of what had transpired.”

Not even Peter Garrett copped such a shellacking:
“Furthermore, the Commonwealth hampered the work of those assisting me by the way in which documents were produced … Other than in response to a specific request from the Commission, there seemed no logic in the order in which documents were produced. The Commission asked that documents be produced chronologically, however the Commonwealth did not oblige.”

Finally, the Commissioner made it clear that if the federal government initiated the program, then safety is definitely its problem. Never mind the long history of state responsibility.
“There was much debate about whether workplace health and safety issues were a matter that was of any concern to the Australian Government, or whether it was more properly the concern of the States and Territories. It was said, by a number of federal public servants, that the Australian Government had no regulatory power in the field of workplace health and safety, and therefore that it was not a risk that the Australian Government could control. In my view, this attitude was deplorable.”

That means occupational health and safety is now firmly a problem for the Federal Government. Every time somebody dies in an accident, he article suggests a ministerial head is going to roll. Worse still, the responsibility for the failure didn’t just get sheeted home to the Rudd Government, it also got sheeted home to the Howard Government, and last I checked Tony Abbott was the health minister in the government. This thing is going to boomerang right back at him.

The Housing Bubble That Isn’t But Of Which We Must Be Wary

For months – no make that years! -we’ve been hearing that Australia does not have a housing bubble problem. All the economists who have come and pointed out the great anomalies of housing prices in Australia have been laughed out of the public discourse while the anomalies only get bigger. As late as last month Glenn Stevens of the RBA was talking down any possibility that what we had on our hands was an actual bubble! No, he simply reiterated that sometimes the property market goes down. This month he’s taking a different tack and saying there might be nasty shocks. Included in that link is a bit covering China where he cites a downturn in China might manifest itself as a nasty shock. If that wasn’t enough, David Gonski of the ANZ Bank told the Australian British Chamber of Commerce that booming prices cannot possibly continue forever (now there‘s a brave call).

And lo an behold there’s news that China’s real estate market is going screwy. Some might even say it is crashing like it was a Global Financial Crisis. Speaking of crashing, the commodities market in China is crashing. I wonder if those things combined would form this so-called ‘Nasty Shock’ Glenn Stevens is talking about? Or will Sydney’s housing prices simply just shrug it off and keep climbing?

Stay tuned for more fun!

 

 

 

 

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Where Were These People On Election Day?!

ALP’s Early Comeback

Polls are an awful thing really, because they measure results of what people allegedly think when given thoughts they wouldn’t ordinarily have by themselves on choices they didn’t formulate. If somebody told you the options for managing emissions was a ‘carbon tax’, an Emissions Trading Scheme’, ‘Direct Action’ and nothing at all, you would be led to thinking this was the be-all and end all of all solutions and answer something out of this bunch of bad choices. Not to mention the inherent hostility of the polled person who can then bag out the incumbent for their incumbency and berate the Opposition for their opposition and so on and so forth.

In that light, I can only shrug at the newest poll showing the ALP have surged ahead of the Coalition.

The graphic says it all – less than 3months since the fateful election, the current Government finds itself in a position it would lose the two-party preferred vote. It didn’t take long, and it didn’t take much for the dissatisfaction to set in. If these people had exercise a bit of forethought, they might have  avoided the Abbott government altogether. Doesn’t it make you sick?

The truly interesting thing might be this bit here:

But in a blow to the Prime Minister’s plans, more people like the supposedly ”toxic” carbon tax than his proposed replacement policy.

An Age-Nielsen poll shows little support for Tony Abbott’s proposed carbon tax replacement policy.

Just 12 per cent of voters believe Mr Abbott’s ”direct action” policy of using taxpayer funds to purchase emissions reductions from polluters, and planting trees, is the answer. That amounts to a virtual vote of no-confidence in direct action, which has support 4 percentage points lower than the 16 per cent in favour of keeping a fixed carbon price.

The Age-Nielsen poll of 1400 voters found that Australians overwhelmingly wanted to see Australia meet the nation’s commitment to cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 based on year 2000 levels.

While both sides of politics have committed to the minimum target, the poll shows voters prefer the policy Labor took to the last election – a switch to an internationally linked emissions trading scheme.

Fully 29 per cent nominated an ETS as the preferred mechanism to combat global warming – well ahead of ”some other policy” on 24 per cent and 11 per cent who favoured ”no policy at all”.

In other words, the only reason people want the Carbon Tax removed is so they can go to an ETS. That’s right, the only tangible reason people want the Carbon Tax gone is because they want the ETS So much for that mandate Tony Abbott’s been going on about. Listening to his coded dog-whistling you would have thought Australia’s electorate wants to go the way of the Ostrich in any discussion on trying to mitigate Climate Change.

The Drum on ABC 24 featured some Liberal Party apparatchik last Friday who wanted to tell us that the future lie in adapting to climate change, and not mitigating it. If I were a man in possession of inclinations like Elvis Presley I would have shot my TV set. instead I screamed and turned it off. It’s like some bad joke from the Easter Bloc of old that Tony Abbott got elected.

Delaying The Carbon Repeal

In another one of those election promises that is being broken by the Coalition, we have the Carbon Tax repeal. They’ve got it through the Lower House but there’s enough resistance in the Senate to shoot down the repeal. The Coalition solution is  therefore to hold off taking it to the Senate until the new Senate sits in July.

The Abbott government has scheduled two weeks of sittings, two for the Senate and one for the House of Representatives.

Usually Parliament stops for the winter break at the end of June, returning for the spring session in mid-August.

In the last 15 years federal Parliament has only sat once during July – for a single week in 2011 – which lends weight to the theory that the Abbott government has deliberately arranged this voting period for the carbon tax repeal.

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne released a schedule of sitting dates on Monday, showing the Senate sitting for a fortnight from Monday, July 7.

Mr Pyne said more sittings provided an opportunity for debate and consideration of the important bills that will come before the Parliament in 2014.

The lower house will sit for a week from Monday, July 14.

It seems the Coalition has twigged to possibility they would lose a Double Dissolution election – which is to say they had no mandate at all like they have claimed. The fact that the new poll has blunted their resolve points to the inherently opportunistic, populist and largely spineless nature of this government. Have they no shame? It appears not. Have they no dignity? No. Clearly, that’s why they need the Monarchy to drape them with some (imagined) dignity.

Christopher Pyne has been rather disruptive in other ways.

Mr Pyne told Sky News on Sunday evening that two of the states that had agreed to the Gonski reforms, Victoria and Tasmania, had never signed “final agreements” with the federal Labor government, and neither had the National Catholic Education Commission.

“That isn’t a national model, and it’s very difficult for us to implement the complicated, confused, very dense model that they came up with because of Labor’s predilection for prescription and regulation,” he said.”We want less regulation, less prescription from Canberra, and that’s what I’ll set about trying to put in place when we can do that.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the Coalition of breaking the promise it made before the election that it was on a “unity ticket” with Labor on school funding.

“The weasel words of the government saying before an election they will look after schools and properly fund our children in the future, and … they now dial forward and say all deals are off, there were no deals.”

Well, Bill, the answer is that these people really will do and say anything to get into power, hold power and abuse power. No surprises whatsoever there.

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Here Comes The DLP

The Liberal’s Own Fracture

As a progressive of sorts, I’m sick of bagging out the ALP. I wish they’d do better but they won’t. They won’t because they’re who they are at this minute in history and more’s the shame. It’s been interesting watching the Libs this year doing their best to keep their noses clean and names out of the paper. Even Tony Abbott has been making himself scarce (as if that’s going to convince undecided progressives to vote for him), but occasionally something bursts to the surface.

This week it was leaked that Alex Hawke doesn’t think much of Abbott’s parental leave scheme. This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a sign that the Liberals under Tony Abbott are not a monolithic right. It appears, there’s a sort of spectrum of Wet Malcolm, Soggy-Bottom Joe Hockey, Dry Tony Abbott, Fresh-Wheatbix Julie Bishop, and Bone-Dry Alex Hawke. And we have to remind ourselves that the drier they are the whiter and more private-school they get (unless of course they’re the scion of escaped European Fascists, it won’t matter what their school ties looked like).

Secondly, it is interesting that the reason they don’t like it is because the architecture of the plan so to speak hinges on taking the 3200 top companies to pay for it, and try as they might some people on the right just can’t stand the thought of another tax. Now, it appears to me that this kind of tax the big companies and pay the people dosh mentation is largely of the old DLP mold, so it surprises me none that Tony Abbott thinks this is the way to go, and for Joe Hockey to concur. (“Do you concur?” “Sorry?” “Do you concur!?”)

The other news from the Liberal side is that not only are they likely to repeal the Carbon Tax, some would want to abandon their ‘Direct Action’ policy – which interestingly enough involved taxing the biggest polluters – which is a bit like the gun lobby wanting to repeal gun laws in Australia:

Two Liberal MPs want Tony Abbott to review or consider abandoning parts of his $3.2 billion plan to combat climate change in light of ”dire economic circumstances”.

Mal Washer and Dennis Jensen made the comments about the Coalition’s Direct Action plan in the same week MPs broke ranks to publicly criticise Mr Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme as economically irresponsible.

Western Australian MP Mal Washer said: ”If we are not going to get a big environmental bang for our buck then we ought not to do it. The policy needs to be reviewed and only the valuable parts need to be retained … in light of dire economic circumstances.” Dr Washer added that he agreed with the tree planting initiatives in the scheme.

I guess the point there is that there  are some pretty crazy people on the right end of the conservative side of politics and it’s a miracle they don’t all jump ship and join Bob Katter or Clive Palmer. (This has already happened on the Left – and let’s be honest, that’s what the Greens are: the political hidey-hole for old time communists and assorted marxists, Lesbian Separatists, piratical whale-huggers, disorderly tree-huggers, illustrated people with socially unacceptable piercings and consciousness-altered hippies and dope fiends… You know, the people who used to make up the ALP Left faction).

The great irony in all of this is that the current carbon pricing policy is something the coalition came up with way back when and Kevin Rudd co-opted it in order to win the election. Now, that was a famous drubbing, but that shouldn’t mean the Carbon Tax should be against the Liberal Party’s ideological framework of free markets unless of course it is even more important for the Liberal Party to be the party of climate change scepticism. Of course, Tony Abbott himself is famously a climate change sceptic which not only robs him of intellectual credibility, it robs him of having a mandate when he wins this September.

But here’s the thing. This model of taxing the biggest companies and handing out the spoils is classic old school Leftist thinking – like, the splittist Democratic Labour Party of old. After all, Tony Abbott cites B.A Santamaria as his political inspiration. It’s exctly the kind of policy style that B.A would have approved. It’s a bit of a miracle the WASP types in the Liberals have tolerated Tony Abbott and his DLP ways until now. And maybe now that they’re so confident they are about to win, they want to re-stack the policy deck.

I guess all this goes to show it is pretty deplorable that the ALP had to be forced to the table by a hung Parliament to put through the Carbon tax by the aforementioned Greens, and then utterly failed to sell it. Now that they are about to lose badly, it’s all going to get undone and the climate sceptics are going to have their day, which is tragic.

Maybe they can take comfort in the fact that their old time brethren/apostates of the DLP have infiltrated the Liberals and are putting in policy on their behalf. You sort of wonder how the old Masons look at all this. I guess it’s no surprise hyper-WASP Malcolm Fraser walked out on the Liberal Party. What kind of Liberal Party is it with a Jesuit at the helm?

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HAP-less In Australia

Household Assistance Package

A few weeks ago I went to a focus group and it turns out it really was the government trying to suss out how to gauge their ads for the Household Assistance Package. I tell you, it was Hilary Hilaroid and the Hilarities; they asked what they thought of various words. When they said ‘packages’, I told them it reminded me of male genitals. After that, they stopped noting my input. I see that somehow they ended up using the word, in spite of my good advice. 🙂

At least they say “Millions of Australians… instead of “Six million Australians…” – That was sensible of them.

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