Tag Archives: Clive Palmer

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be Clive Palmer who owns a dirty big mining company, gets to make deals where a tax like the mining tax can get repealed.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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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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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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Unrepresentative Swill

While I’m On A Roll Ranting About The Coalition Government…

Here’s something interesting.

She’s offered it only within the confines of the government, but word is Peta Credlin has some world-weary advice for rookie Labor leader Bill Shorten: if you’re serious about making Labor competitive again in 2016, you best swallow hard, take a deep breath, and turn your back on carbon pricing. And you best do it now.

It’s that simple. Or is it?

That Credlin is Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, is enough to provoke suspicion. Indeed, coming from the respected but highly partisan Credlin, such unsolicited advice is just as likely to make the ALP cling ever more determinedly to its carbon pricing commitments like the proverbial … to a blanket.
But some in Labor are beginning to question the longer-term implications of an automatic assumption of staying the course. Ever so quietly, they are whispering ”hold on, let’s just think about this”.

One of those is thought to be Shorten himself – the man Abbott described this week as ”nothing if not pragmatic”.

Abbott’s super-focused Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, agrees the term ”pragmatic” was a coded appeal to Shorten’s personal exceptionalism – his sense that, more so than his colleagues, he is a realist and will do the political maths pretty dispassionately when needed.

Credlin, of course, knows first hand about the wilderness Shorten has just entered.
As an adviser in the Howard government and then as chief of staff to a succession of leaders – Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, and finally Abbott – she has seen her share of political failure.

Just for the record, Peta Credlin isn’t anywhere near being an elected representative of Australia’s constituency. Yet there she is offering unsolicited advice to the new Opposition Leader in the most patronising of ways. But basically she’s saying, roll over and play dead or you won’t have any shot at winning government. And she says this from her authority of having been chief of staff to Nelson, Turnbull, and Abbott – but hey is that a position you get voted in. Uh, didn’t think so.

It says she thinks the Coalition won government on its policy platform when in all likelihood the electorate rejected the riven and fractured ALP government. What’s worse is that the ALP allowed it self to be so riven and fractured just by having Tony Abbott saying a bunch of ridiculous things over and over again. But the main point is, if Peta Credlin thinks they won on the back of policies, she is so wrong it’s not funny. But this is a good thing because it means they’re willing to go to a Double Dissolution, because they really believe in their own bullshit. This is going to be really interesting if it gets to that point.

The Honorable Clive Palmer, Mouthbreather Patrician

It’s really difficult to watch Clive Palmer giving speeches because he’s such a mouth breather. He sounds like his nose is perpetually blocked, and you start to feel like you’re running out of breath, just listening to him.

Anyway, Clive is saying he won’t pass anything until he and his ragtag bunch of Climate Change Deniers gets treated like a major party. I guess he doesn’t have a problem being described as ‘entitled’. He’s playing brinkmanship with Tony Abbott knowing full well Tony Abbott needs the balancing block to repeal the “Carbon tax”. What’s even stranger is that he wants to be reimbursed the Carbon tax already paid by his company. Otherwise, Abbott won’t get to repeal the Carbon Tax after his Senators take up their positions in the Senate after June next year.

Now, I don’t know about you but this strikes me as a massive conflict of interest. You never saw the Australian democrats make this kind of demand when they had the balance of power – not in the most fey and feckless moments of Cheryl Kernot, or the closet-Liberal moments of Meg Lees, or for that matter the petulant and idiotic moments of Natasha the Stoat-Destrpoyer. Not even Bob Brown made demands like that. Cheryl or Meg or Natasha or Bob never said “I won’t pass this legislation unless I get a tax refund on a previously-legitimate tax that I paid.”

How is this not a massive conflict of interest? Forget for the moment Clive is saying he’s effectively going to block Tony Abbot from governing unless he gets what he wants which is Tea-bagging enough. Forget all those weird-ass expenses MPs have been racking up at the tax payers expense. Clive won’t say yes to anything unless he gets a refund for the Carbon Tax.  He wants a freaking ransom!

Paul Keating was sure right about the Senate being unrepresentative swill. I sure as hell can’t believe how Australia saddled itself with such a crazy Senate.

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Politics Of Weird

When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro

That’s of course according to the late Hunter S. Thompson. Today, billionaire coal magnate Clive Palmer accused the Greens and Greenpeace of being funded by the CIA via the Rockefeller Foundation.

While brandishing a copy of the report this afternoon, Mr Palmer said it was the result of a CIA conspiracy involving the US-based Rockefeller Foundation.
“This is funded by the CIA,” he said.
“You only have to go back and read … the report to the US Congress that sets up the Rockefeller Foundation as a conduit of CIA funding.
“You only have to look at the secret budget which was passed by Congress last year – bigger than our whole national economy – with the CIA to ensure that.
“You only have to read the reports to US Congress where the CIA reported to the president that their role was to ensure the US competitive advantage – that’s how you know it’s funded by the CIA.”

The Greens and Greenpeace both denied these outlandish allegations vigorously. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t credit it all given that it’s coming from Clive Palmer’s paranoid little mind, but they had to defend it because well, Clive’s sort of in politics advising Campbell Newman. One imagines that is a bit like being advised by your paranoid conspiracy theorist super-wealthy uncle. And Queensland is looking like it’s going to elect this Newman-led LNP, so all I can say is good luck with that boys & girls of Queensland!

Yowza.

Just for kicks I googled the document Mr. Palmer was brandishing and got this one.  I guess if one were a coal mining magnate, one would feel fear and loathing with a good dose of fury at reading it, but I just can’t find the bit where it says Rockefeller Foundation. And I sure as heck don’t know how he got the CIA out of the un-mentioned Rockefeller Foundation so colour me sceptical.As far as theories go, there are too many plausible deniability stops along the way.
Still, I found it interesting that Clive Palmer came across as so paranoid and nutty. The more he speaks in public, the more he comes across as sort of unhinged.

 

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