Tag Archives: Climate Change

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be Clive Palmer who owns a dirty big mining company, gets to make deals where a tax like the mining tax can get repealed.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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Corruption Is The New Governance

It’s Not “Corruption” If It’s Officially Sanctioned? Wow

Pleiades has been sending me material about Dick Warburton and his report. Naturally, as I pointed out yesterday, it is symptomatic of this government that it would appoint a climate change denier to head up a report on Renewable Energy Target. Predictably the Warburton report has recommended the we simply shut up shop on renewable energy. Of course he was savaged by Fran Kelly and promptly lost what little dignity he might have had in pretending he was somehow impartial.

I’ve been thinking about this a little more and it seems to me there is a much bigger problem than just the appointment of the eminently-wrong-person to review something that does not need to be reviewed, especially in the manner that an eminently-wrong-person may review such things. It’s basically handing out policy to be designed by the lobbyists – which is basically as corrupt an enterprise you can have, running a government. We saw this earlier in the year when they handed out the economic policy thinking to the likes of  Tony Shepherd and Amanda Vanstone. Basically, this government doesn’t have a thinking function, and glommed into government through nay-saying. Having put themselves in government it has dawned on them that they haven’t got any kind of coherent policy so they’ve decided to do the classic corporate thing to do and handed out the thinking to subcontractors who are lobbyists, as a company might subcontract out some tricky bit of business.

The problem is all these lobbyists are the most vested of vested interests and worse still are not accountable to the public in the way the politicians are meant to be accountable. So now, there is no denying that corporate lobbies pay money into parties to get access, and when they get access to the ministerial level, they return favours by saying. “look, you tell us what you want and we’ll just do it.” It genuinely is government by the lobbyists of the lobbyists for the lobbyists. And there’s no shame at all. There’s no need for corrupt little brown envelopes with cash in them because these Liberal Party government office-holders just want to openly do exactly what the lobbyists want and tell them. It’s like that joke: “what do you call a hamster with its own roll of gaffer tape?” – “A slut”. The only reason it’s not called corruption is because there’s nothing subterfuge about it. It’s a bit like how the hamster in the joke might not be considered a prostitute because it doesn’t take money.

It’s a classic case study in what happens when you substitute actual thinking with ideological slogans. It’s staggering, even if we knew this was exactly what we would get if this bunch of traitorous sell-outs got into power. Yet, that’s essentially what we’ve got – a government busily selling out the interests of its people in the name of doing and being open for business. They’re a truly repugnant lot.

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Torpedo Clive

Sinking Abbott’s Boats

If yesterday was eventful and humiliating for the Coalition government, then today must have been a gourmet meal built around a shit sandwich from Clive Palmer. Essentially, the Palmer United Party thwarted the government’s third attempt to repeal the Carbon Tax.

The Pulse during the day made for interesting reading as things went awry for the Abbott Government. Reading the entires it seems really clear that the Coalition promised to word it in a particular way, and then in classic sophist-fashion, welshed on the deal by changing the wording which got the ire of Clive Palmer.

Late in the day Pleiades gave me a heads up about how Clive Palmer was on 702 later in the afternoon, talking to Richard Glover. The interesting thing is that Palmer says he was double-crossed by the Coalition in the wording and so he simply wouldn’t support the Carbon Tax repeal bill that was so important to the Coalition. He then went onto say he won’t support the co-payment to doctors, and h would rather cut the 45billion off the NBN, 20billion off the Paid Parental Leave being proposed, and 37billion dollars ear-marked for Japanese submarines, than have the Co-Payment.

Here’s an interesting article on the day’s proceedings from Tony Wright. Tony Abbott has a huge problem on his hands and he can’t control it. He can now call a double dissolution but his polls are so dire he dare not. What threadbare preposterous notions the Coalition might have had as policy is being torn asunder. It’s well-deserved, but it’s going to cripple his government. He’s not going to be able to game Clive Palmer out of the game quickly.

Pleiades had an interesting observation. He thinks Clive Palmer probably sees the end of coal fire and fossil fuels around the globe and wants to get into renewables; but to do so, he wants there to be a market for him to function within and that means retaining the outlines for an ETS. From that angle you can begin to understand the how and why of his road to Damascus conversion on an ETS and not removing the emissions target. In any case, things are only going to get more interesting for the Abbott Government. The inability of the Coalition to negotiate anything is starting to look like a major stumbling block in them getting their policies through.

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Give The New Guys A Chance

Surprise! Not Your Villain du Jour

Ricky Muir – he of the Roo-Poo flinging Youtube videos and much media ridicule – entered Parliament House as a new Senator this week. By 10:30am this morning he had made news, first by not letting the Abbott Government have its way by steam-rolling the Carbon tax repeal. In a surprise move, Muir broke ranks with the Palmer United to defeat the government’s motion to force a vote on the the Carbon Price repeal. After lunch, he sided with Palmer United and voted to preserve ARENA, which, surprised most onlookers.

Maybe Mr. Muir was going to surprise everybody any way. The way he had been portrayed by the media made him look like a dimwit yokel, but I felt at the time it was a beat up. By hook or crook, we in the electorate seem to have managed to send a totally ordinary citizen into the Senate. If our chief complaint is professionalised politicians, then surely we have to leave some ground open for rank outsiders to come in and have a look for themselves. While Mr. Muir didn’t look promising going in, partly because of the immense vagueness of his party’s platform, this week so far shows that he may yet turn out to be a reasonable, centrist man to have in the senate to balance views. So far his two major contributions don’t seem to be those of an ideological extremist or a radicalised desperado.

The other surprising tidbit that emerged during the week was how Glenn Lazarus – aka The Brick with Eyes – was instrumental in bringing Clive Palmer to the middle of the debate so that the emissions target would be kept. This was remarkable in as much as it showed the Palmer United Party is not Clive Palmer’s puppet show, and that in turn he was somebody who was going to be persuaded by his new senators.

Again, it’s hard to imagine just what would bring a retired Rugby League great into politics in this way – especially after Mal Meninga made a famously bad attempt at it – but it is clearly evident we can’t be dismissing him on the basis of his previous career or his current party affiliation. The fact of the matter is we don’t know much about the policy position of the Palmer United Party simply because the party is so new and everything seems to be made up on the fly. They can conjure Al Gore from a hat, so who are we to judge what they can accomplish? The PUP Senators represent an open end, rather than a closed, conservative alternative.

The silver lining on the generally angry black storm cloud that is the Abbott Government is that the Senate is so fractured that it’s just going to have to fight out every policy morsel on its merits. This means that it can’t bundle together things hoping for a horse trade. This Senate is fractious enough already that if anything it’s going to be more parsing and demanding than previous Senates. This means that while the Carbon Pricing will likely be repealed, it is going to get replaced with an ETS of some description – even if it is priced to zero until certain conditions are met. It’s quite the circus, but the point is that the Abbott government will find out just how little an endorsement it got from the electorate for it to be able to claim any kind of mandate. Our hopes actually rest with Ricky Muir and Glenn Lazarus being centrist, reasonable people. It’s a far cry from the Democrats but they may well turn out to be more credible and laudable in the history books than Meg Lees and Natasha Stott-Despoja.

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Today’s WTF Moment

The Clive Palmer & Al Gore Double Act (Is-This-Even-Allowed?-Edition)

Man, this is really weird. Al Gore, he of the uncomfortable truth, is in Canberra, standing should to shoulder with none other than windbag millionaire Clive Palmer selling an ETS. Clive Palmer’s pitch is pretty whacked out and boils down to 2 things: PUP will voe to repeal the carbon tax if the energy producers are mandated to return that money to households. PUP will then want an ETS in place to replace the carbon price, and this ETS should be contingent upon other nations namely America and China undertaking a version of their own.

It’s creepy because  Clive Palmer is essentially using Al Gore’s post-VP star to cast his repealing in a climate-friendly direction. It’s very odd because I can’t imagine the flipside scenario where say, Paul Keating would stand shoulder to shoulder with Nancy Pelosi in the US Congress, talking about things in the US polity. Doesn’t this sort of break a bunch of diplomatic protocols? How do we know the CIA isn’t trying to influence Clive (or that they already haven’t) who we know is given to conspiracy theories that feature the CIA? You also sort of wonder where Al Gore’s head is at, making this appearance. Since when is he a friend of the crackpot wing of Australian politics?

Pardon me while I try to wrap my head around this bizarre spectacle.

The PUP leader said the government’s Direct Action policy was “a waste of money, at a time when families, pensioners, young Australians, stay at home mums and single parents and indigenous communities are facing unfair measures in the budget, to increase excise and indexation is not the answer”.

Climate change was a global problem, he said, and Australia had to play its part.

He said the Palmer United senators would move, while supporting the repeal of the carbon tax, to establish an emissions trading scheme.

The scheme would only come into effect when Australia’s major trading partners established similar schemes.

“This measure cannot be defined as a financial measure, it will have a carbon price [of] zero,” he said.

A price on carbon would then be introduced down the track.

Mr Gore said Mr Palmer’s announcement was an “extraordinary moment in which Australia, the US and the rest of the world is finally beginning to confront the climate crisis in a meaningful way”.

He cited President Barack Obama’s recent moves to reduce emissions in the US and pilot programs of cap and trade schemes in China as evidence the world was moving to tackle climate change.

“All of these developments add up to the world moving to solve the climate crisis and that is why it is so significant that Clive Palmer has announced that his party will support the continuation of the renewable energy target, and the continuation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation,” he said.

“While I will be disappointed if the immediate price on carbon is removed because it is a policy which I believe to be ultimately critical to solving the climate crisis, I am extremely hopeful that Australia will continue to play a global leadership role on this most pressing issue.”

The event comes ahead of Mr Palmer’s meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday morning.

Well, that’s pretty nutty, but a good kind of nutty. Like a Marvel comic book movie moment when two unlikely characters turn to one another and work for the common good. The villain in all this is now Tony Abbott, he of the abysmal popular support. He can’t possibly be enjoying this turn of events. 1st of July is going to bring in a bunch of people who are going to toe this Palmer United Party line, endorsed by Al Gore. If Tony Abbott’s going to get to keep his promise of ‘repealing the Carbon Tax’ (just typing that makes my eyes hurt), it’s going to cost him a pound of flesh from inside his skull. He can no longer count on the conspiracy-nut Palmer to play along with the climate change sceptic script. It turns out Palmer is a conservative nutbar, but clearly not the same brand of conservative nutbar as those in the Coalition government.

What worries me is how the SMH editor (yes, that fool) is busily talking up the Palmer United position. It can’t be that good if it impresses that little mind.

These Guys Can’t Do Diplomacy Either

That sucking, gurgler sound you’re hearing from Canberra, that would be the Abbott government just sucking up the joint.

A few weeks ago, The Abbott government started disputing the terminology ‘occupied’ in reference to East Jerusalem. It’s hard to fathom why the Australian Government would want to break ranks with the rest of the world and come down hard in favour of Israel and against the Palestinians, but that’s what they did. And the world heard about it – especially the Arab speaking world – and took notice.

Pleiades gave me a heads up and it seems Bob Ellis seems to think that the jailing of the Australian Journalist Peter Greste was a reprisal for this moving of the terms by Australia. No wonder our pleas to have Greste released ave fallen on deaf ears- and our government is too stupid to understand just what has happened.

What’s amazing is that just as with the budget, this government has kicked an own goal in the diplomacy stakes; and the joke is on us because they weren’t even asked to offer up an opinion. They just blurted out something that has ended up boomeranging right back.

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Quick Shots 01/Jan/2014

Hey, First Post Of the Year From Me

I’ve been busy watching a few silly movies on FetchTV in between the seasonal obligations. It’s pretty cool watching on FetchTV because it saves the on the trip to the video store if nothing else and it sure beats buying more media. I’ve been stuck in the bad habit of buying stuff because I still have the carry-over from the ear when DVDs were actually worth something. It was ever so brief, but they were important for a good half a decade there until Blu-Ray came along and scotched that little bubble.

My New Years resolution last year was that I shouldn’t just buy more media, but a) sometimes it is easier to just buy the box set and b) sometimes it’s better to own than rent and c) it’s impossible to stick to arbitrary rules meant that I bought my fair share of stuff. It’s a bit of a worry if you can’t remember if you’ve bought something or simply watched it on a rented bit of media, but if I think I’m going to go, “you have to watch this scene!?” or “you just have to hear this guitar solo!” then it’s better to own this stuff.

Still, it’s weird having a pile of this media that grew to be irrelevant so quickly. At least with LPs and CDs, there’s an argument to be made that mp3s are a their best worse than either LPs or CDs, and that moving on to just data on hard disks isn’t really an improvement in your listening pleasure. Besides which, you can squeeze a hello of a lot more out of LPs and CDs by having better speakers and amplifiers. Video is different.

With 4k TV looming in the not too distant future, even the marvelous Blu-Ray 1080p format is going to look pretty outdated in the next few years. I’m sure there’s 8k and 16k TVs beyond that, and without an NBN pumping at last 50mbps it’s going to be difficult to run the IPTV services on 4k and up download services, so maybe buying media won’t become totally extinct. Let me just say, 4k is gorgeous. You’re going to want this much more than the time you went from SD PAL or NTSC to HDTV. (That being said, I do seriously  wonder if there’s any joy in seeing 4k TV footage of Kanye West or Miley Cyrus twerking.)

Getting Bad Advice

The news this week that’s been most grating has been this business of Maurice Newman proclaiming that climate science on global warming is delusional.

In an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, Maurice Newman, the Prime Minister’s pick as head of his Business Advisory Council, claimed high energy costs caused by the carbon tax and the renewable energy target, introduced by the Howard government, had eroded Australia’s competitiveness. Under Labor and the Greens, Australia had been taken ”hostage” by ”climate change madness”, Mr Newman wrote.

“Newman!!”

It’s really no big deal except for the fact that it’s wrong and willfully wrong, and that he is slated to offer up advice to the Prime Minister based on this kind of idiotic denialism. If nothing else, it shows Tony Abbott still thinks the science on this is ‘complete crap’. What’s even weirder is that because the first 100days of Tony Abbott’s time in office was ‘complete crap’, we’re not surprised in the least bit find that his business advisor is a highly motivated climate change denialist.

Can We Please Stop With The Government Debt Hysteria?

This one came in from Skarp last week but I’ve been a bit preoccupied. Paul Sheehan – he of the rather squeaky voice and reflexively right-leaning views – wrote this rather tawdry column.

At 12.30 on Tuesday, Hockey, who has also been the stand-out thespian of the new federal parliament, will unveil the real horror, dysfunction and narcissism of Kevin Rudd’s contribution to Australian political history, disably assisted by Julia Gillard. Hockey will release the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, known in the trade as MYEFO, which will show a budget deficit much worse than Labor led us to believe, probably close to $50 billion, debt obligations much higher than Labor led us to believe, and unfunded liabilities that are so irresponsibly crushing the government will have to walk away from many of them. The most monumental folly is the National Broadband Network, whose economic rationale was worked out on a piece of paper by Rudd. The scheme subsequently created by former communications minister Stephen Conroy would cost more than $70 billion and never recover its cost of capital. The Abbott government will have to start again.

The way that paragraph is written, you’d think that the sky was going to cave in. Fortunately, professor Steve Keen had this article as a retort:

I’m not going to debate (or defend) Kevin Rudd’s personality, but getting this hysterical over a $50 billion deficit in a $1.5 trillion economy? Oh come on: that is slightly less than 3 per cent of GDP (the precise GDP figure is $1.525 trillion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics). Comparable figures for some of our trading partners are 5.5 per cent for the USA, 6 per cent for the UK, and 10 per cent for Japan. Australia’s deficit for 2013 is almost 50 per cent below the expected average for the OECD of 4.8 per cent of GDP.

Of course, finding that out doesn’t require a trip overseas: all you have to do is search the web. But what a trip overseas might alert Sheehan to is the economic performance of the rest of the planet – and especially of those parts of it that, as he does, make the size of the government deficit the only stick by which economic performance is measured.

The rest of the article is Keen dismantling Sheehan’s stated position that all this debt is somehow crippling and wrong.Austerity i a terrible thing; not to mention the fact that it doesn’t work.

You sort of wonder how people like Paul Sheehan keep jobs as columnists. It’s like he gets paid not for his thinking and critical faculties – which on the whole seem faulty anyway – but for how hard his blowhard entries blow. And they really blow. Sheehan’s symptomatic of what’s making the media market worse in this era. You just can’t trust what any of these sloppy commentators write.  but somehow they’re up there with a public soapbox on the SMH masthead spreading his kind of nonsense. I mean really! Why do they have to give ‘equal time’ to stupidity and misinformation?

But back to Keen’s take home message about Government debt:

I would far rather see governments acknowledging the problem of private debt, and doing something concrete to reduce it – since the financial sector should never have been allowed to create much of that debt in the first place. But as a second best policy, government spending should buffer the impact of the decline in private sector deleveraging. To do otherwise is to turn a serious recession into a genuine Depression – as Europe has done.

Behind the veneer of apparent fiscal prudence, that is what hysterical articles like Sheehan’s are encouraging – in utter denial both of the actual cause of the crisis and, more importantly for a journalist, in ignorance of what even casual empiricism shows has been the actual impact of austerity.

That, just about sums it all up.

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A Pack Of Liars

No, Really, Won’t They Stick To Their Lousy Script?

The worst thing about the 2013 Federal election – apart from the obvious that the idiots won – might be that the Coalition ran on statements that really have no bearing to what they are actually doing, now that they are in government. It’s hard to say who the worst offender is because they’re all doing dodgy things on the public purse and Tony Abbott is the leader amongst this group of perk partiers. I’m sure when they called their party the Liberal Party, they didn’t mean their attitude to the public purse for private concerns.

Tony Abbott in fact has been amazingly incapable of living out his own script where he would rush off to Jakarta in his first week (he didn’t) and he sure as hell isn’t going to reel in the deficit any faster than the ALP would have. Now we find Joe Hockey has gone and given a pile of money to the RBA – because they asked nicely – but this money is going to blowout the deficit this year.

The Hockey of ”budget crisis” fame, the government debt warrior, the dry who never met a deficit he didn’t hate, has turned into the half-trillion dollar man, spent all the $7.1 billion in policy savings he was trumpeting just five days ago and blown out this year’s deficit by $7 billion beyond Labor’s best efforts. And the financial year is young.

Overshadowed by the commission of audit announcement and boosting the debt ceiling from $300 billion to the magic half-trillion is the former fiscal Scrooge playing Santa Claus down at the Reserve Bank. Will Joe Hockey raid the RBA for a dividend with which to shave the deficit? What a foolish and wrong-headed question I posed here on Monday – Joe is giving the RBA $8.8 billion, which, obviously, blows out the deficit by the same amount.

Not content with that Joe Hockey is scrapping the Mining Tax

‘‘The minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) is a complex and unnecessary tax which struggled to raise the substantial revenue predicted by the former government,’’ Treasurer Joe Hockey said in a statement. ‘‘This failed tax imposed significant compliance costs on one of our most important industries, while damaging business confidence which is critical to future investment and jobs.’’

While many of the measures linked to the tax will also be scrapped, the coalition government will keep the increase in compulsory superannuation from 9 per cent to 12 per cent, currently paused for two years.

Mr Hockey said the government was still considering the issue of the ‘‘onshore administration’’ of the petroleum resource rent tax.

The draft laws repeal a range of Labor policies including the SchoolKids Bonus, the business loss carry-back, accelerated depreciation for motor vehicles, geothermal exploration provisions, the low income superannuation contribution and the income support bonus.

The bill also gets rid of the reduction in the small business instant asset write-off threshold.

So if you’re a small business owner and voted Liberal (because you’re a self-interest-driven knob), this is the bit where you should be complaining that the Liberal Party is looking after the big end of town again, and selling you down the river all the while claiming to represent you in government.

Walk-off HBP sent in this link where Penny Wong explains just how mendacious this Coalition lot have been.

Details about asylum seeker arrivals are being withheld – apparently the entire nation imagined the Coalition’s announced tow back the boats policy. Despite promising severe regulation of foreign investment, the government is now proposing to rush through free trade agreements. Now Joe Hockey has announced the details of their commission of audit, a well-used Liberal tactic to make drastic and punitive cuts to services, kept secret before the election.

Not only is this a government that isn’t doing what it said it would do; it doesn’t want to tell Australians what it’s really doing.

Over the last few years, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey were unrelenting in their scaremongering over the state of the nation’s finances; Australians were told that “there is now a budget emergency”, and, worse, that Labor was “drowning the nation in debt”.

But, now in government, the Liberals tout some debt as “good” and the “budget emergency” appears to have disappeared. So much so, under the Coalition, the nation can now apparently afford a $500bn debt ceiling. So much for the “budget emergency”.

Just pause for a moment and imagine the extent of Hockey’s hyperventilation had a Labor treasurer proposed such an increase.

The new treasurer has flagged higher infrastructure spending funded by government borrowing – that is, by debt – and the assistant infrastructure minister, Jamie Briggs, blithely suggests thinking “more broadly” about using the Commonwealth balance sheet.

Of course, when Labor borrowed to invest, Abbott and Hockey declared a “debt crisis”, but now they are finally being honest that some borrowing can be smart.

Well, yes Ms Wong, they lied. And they still won. It makes for much misery.

How Does Greg Hunt Live With Himself?

It’s a mystery how party politics can change a man’s convictions so he is willing to argue white is black for the sake of party unity. As we all know by now, Greg Hunt is entirely willing to do or say anything for the sake of holding power.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has hosed down suggestions of a link between climate change and increased bushfire intensity, saying he had ”looked up what Wikipedia” said and it was clear that bushfires in Australia were frequent events that had occurred during hotter months since before European settlement.

Yes, the Minster for the Environment gets his facts from Wikipedia, and not from the scientists in his own department. Of course, given that this is an administration without a Minister for Science, it is entirely believable that he had nowhere to go but Wikipedia given his lack of faith in such things as facts.

The epistemological problems of quoting Wikipedia seems to have escaped the minister as his own entry descended into a farce.

“He [Hunt] is notorious for using Wikipedia to conduct research on environmental issues on Wikipedia despite having access to a vast bureaucracy staffed by some of the finest and most dedicated minds in the nation, like some total turd. Critics concede that his 1990 Honours thesis on the necessity of a carbon tax was probably more academically rigorous than the manner in which he comports himself as one of the most powerful people in the country, but others defend their characterisation of the Environment Minister as an utter weiner.”

I know I quote Machiavelli a lot here but it has to be said that Niccolo Machiavelli made the important point that contempt is the greatest enemy of the Prince, and here we have a politician held deeply in contempt. At this point you wonder if the Coalition has anything positive to enact or do to help the environment. It looks pretty unlikely based on the last 6 weeks since the election.

The Abbott Government has been a bus crash and they haven’t even sat in Parliament properly yet.

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