The Sydney Morning Herald – How Labor booby-trapped Australia’s future

This is a well written summary of why someone like me who once admired both Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and also once thought highly of Kevin Rudd, came to the conclusion that Labor is not to be trusted at all when it comes to fiscal management of the country. Labor thinks the world owes it and its supporters a living.

Paul Sheehan in the SMH today:

When Joe Hockey was growing up and dreaming of becoming prime minister, he would not have imagined that his dream would lead him to joining a bomb disposal unit. Tomorrow, he will unveil the first bomb he must dismantle and it is almost nuclear in its capacity for destruction.

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.

Rudd also authorised the spying on the President of Indonesia and his wife, a booby trap that duly exploded in the face of his Coalition successor. Rudd also poisoned the relationship with China, with his lectures to Beijing, which has also come back to haunt the Coalition government. Then came Gillard, who directed a decisive shift of funding and power to the unions. She exposed the Commonwealth to a massive unfunded financial obligation for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

She provided political cover for the disgraced union official Craig Thomson. And she set up and then stacked the Fair Work Australia bureaucracy with former union officials and Labor lawyers.

Labor booby-trapped the future.

It is also busy booby-trapping the present, putting improvised explosive devices everywhere, with the help of the Greens. Together, they have engaged in scorched-earth, rearguard, morally bankrupt obstructionism as if the 2013 federal election was a meaningless exercise, the will of the people has no moral authority, and the idea of a mandate, delivered by the only poll that matters, is an empty ideal to be ignored. The worst among equals in this cynicism are Labor’s leader, Bill Shorten, his deputy, Tanya Plibersek, and the Minister for Gutter, Anthony Albanese, assisted by the deputy leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt.

Contrast their scorched-earth cynicism with the response of the defeated Coalition government in 2007, when it conceded the public had rejected its Work Choices industrial relations policies and Labor had a mandate to create what would become Fair Work Australia. This was the great issue in 2007 (after the unions spent millions to make it so) just as the carbon tax and curbing people-smuggling were the great issues of 2013.

For the past year the Coalition restricted itself to a small but emphatic range of policies that clearly differentiated it from Labor: repeal the carbon tax, repeal the mining tax, re-introduce temporary protection visas (which closed off asylum status), re-introduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission and end Labor’s deficit spending. This was the message. These policies became the mandate when Labor was thrown out of office in a landslide and the Greens suffered an even more emphatic 28 per cent plunge in their vote and lost the balance of power in the Senate.

And what do we get? Labor and the Greens opposing all four mandates, and everything else, and some of Labor’s booby traps already exploding. Rudd’s authorising of spying on Indonesia’s President and his wife blew up on Tony Abbott, who suffered further damage as he doggedly covered up for Labor. Labor’s multi-billion-dollar expansion into school education, a state issue, also exploded when Education Minister Christopher Pyne ineptly fumbled his attempt to rein in its costs and impositions.

The government must now wait until July 1 next year, when the new Senate is sworn in, and hope the independents and the eccentric Palmer United Party senators are more moral and pragmatic than the Greens, who think 8 per cent is a moral majority and a mandate to obstruct everything. Everything, that is, except removing the debt ceiling, where the Greens sided with the government, but only because they feared if they did not the government would start slashing spending with a chainsaw.

The key figures in dealing with Labor’s booby traps are Hockey and Eric Abetz, the leader of the government in the Senate. Hockey has shown the most ticker in dealing with debt and deficit, and Senator Abetz has carriage of the crucial reform agenda in industrial relations. After Hockey, he has the most bombs to defuse.

Crucially, in addition to restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and tackling the tainted culture of Fair Work Australia, Senator Abetz must navigate the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill into law. This is the bill that will drag the unions out of the 19th century. It establishes an independent watchdog, the Registered Organisations Commission, with powers modelled on those of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, to bring union governance into line with corporate governance.

The bill is designed to create a stronger, cleaner and more transparent union sector.

Labor and the Greens are opposing the bill at every step.

Read more:


Laurie Oakes – The Sage – tips…

Gillard has apparently called for a ballot on Monday. The old sage Laurie Oakes from Channel 9 was commenting on the Today Show this morning, and he said Rudd and his supporters need not respond to that. They could tell Gillard there will be a challenge but it would not to the PM’s timing. The reasons are simple – firstly, there would be no time for campaigning. Secondly, parliament is still sitting and should the ballot result in a change of PM, negotiations with independent MPs would be required and parliament could not simply be suspended for that to happen.

All very sound arguments to a lay person like me.

What was interesting however, was the sense that Laurie Oakes sounded like he was advising the Rudd camp on the appropriate response. Oakes is a known Rudd fan and he doesnt mince his words in showing his disdain for Gillard. Rudd supporters would be all ears when Oakes speaks, Oakes probably knows that.

Whatever the outcome, at least Australian politics is a little bit more interesting. Interesting stuff that the country can do without however… just bring on the elections.

How it is pitched

On the latest political polls… whereas Fairfax and News Limited are saying Labor is polling 26% down from its previous record low of 27%, 774 ABC piped that Julia Gillard has an approval rating of 35%, up from 34%. In that 10 minute window that was my drive to work, nothing was said about the record low Labor is polling.

So why isn’t the ABC made subject to the media inquiry being bandied about, if examples of bias occur so easily?

Thomson and Friends – More Gillard Woes

Craig Thomson was exonerated by the NSW Police. Or was he? The police investigation simply found that there was no evidence to suggest the credit card in question was used illegally. Craig Thomson had earlier suggested it wasn’t him who used the card to pay for prostitutes, implying the card was used by someone else. This was where the illegality could have resided – it could have been a credit card fraud offence. The fact that there was no suggestion that the card was fraudulently used simply confirmed Craig Thomson did use the card to pay for prostitutes, contrary to his denial. So in a funny way, the “exoneration” actually implicated Craig Thomson – not for any criminal conduct for in relation to using union money for an improper purpose.

Craig Thomson said he would provide a full statement to the parliament, but did not say when.

HSU members should no doubt be up in arms that union officials can be allowed to use their hard earned money for personal benefits and for despicable peccadilloes no less. The likes of Thomson continue to tar the image of unions and its officials.

The more recent story of Michael Williamson being accorded favours by Gilleland and his printing business surely does the image of unions and its officers absolutely no favours. The “Health Standard” must be one of the most glossy union newsletters around and “Communigraphix” probably need to maintain the gloss to continue operating out of the northern beaches of Sydney.  The continuing silence of these union mob can be telling. I often dislike the saying “there is no smoke without fire”, as it can be easy to create smoke in order to create the impression of a fire, but in this case, I have a feeling most would that saying its usual meaning and unless Thomson and Williamson both responded vigorously, they will do themselves, and the Labor Party absolutely no good whatsoever.


Faith in union official repaired

I was just listening to Neil Mitchell on 3AW and Kathy Jackson, the Health Services Union Secretary, was responding to his questions in a refreshingly straight and honest manner. What a change – a breath of fresh air. She was also on ABC’s “Lateline” last night and here’s the transcript.

Kathy Jackson said she and the union formed a view that there was misuse and misappropriation of funds, and she and the union formed a view as to who the perpetrator was. She said however that as the matter was being investigated, she would not name the person. Neil Mitchell concluded the interview by telling his listeners that the person was obviously Craig Thomson.

Kathy Jackson also urged (in the Lateline interview) Fairwork Australia or the police to provide feedback quickly. It is disgraceful for Fairwork Australia – stacked by Labor Party appointees, according to Michael Smith of 2UE in the Paul Murray Live program on Sky News last night – to have taken ages (a couple of years now) to investigate this allegation when a first year police officer would have concluded it in weeks, if not days.

My mistrust and dislike for union people has been abated by the likes of Kathy Jackson. Those workers of menial jobs in hospitals and related services appear to have someone genuinely concerned with protecting their interests.

Lucky Country, Mr Thomson?

The Health Services Union and the NSW Police, have at long last, decided to act and take the next step to formally investigate Craig Thomson for possible criminal breaches. Madame Prime Minister is unlikely to sleep well now. Who knows, Craig Thomson may well be the one to bring an end to the carbon tax stupidity. Talk about serendipity and Australia being the lucky country.

Taking after a recent tendency amongst some of my dearest beloved to romanise the Hokkien dialect – “Gong Gong Chia Ti Kong”. Translated loosely, it means (I think) that the heavens show mercy on the simple-minded, or the perhaps literally, “fools are fed by the heavens”.

Craig Thomson could well turn out to be the saviour of Australia.

Gillard Labor Minority Government … Ever So UMNOesque

If the allegations are true, Craig Thomson would be very much at home in Malaysia. Unfortunately I have in my past life, been in situations and circumstances which landed me in places I didn’t really want to be. Senior politicians of the ruling parties would often be found in these places, accompanied by unsavoury business identities who almost certainly paid for whatever services sought or were made available.

The difference now of course is that Craig Thomson was apparently alone when he allowed his pecadilloes to go untamed. What’s worse, if the allegations are true, he stands to be charged for misappropriating funds. He sounds like a really tragic man. He could however, be the saviour of Australia at this point in time.

He appears to be a politican close to the likes of Mark Arbib and Karl Bitar – those pollies who somehow managed to build reputations of themselves as oily manipulative men who wouldn’t baulk at doing questionable deeds. If one takes a straw poll, those two men would probably be among the most mistrusted characters in the country. That they were the ones who brokered the deal within NSW Labor to avoid banruptcy for Craig Thomson and the catastrophic consequences that would bring for Julia Gillard and her government would only further tar this present government. One would have thought that would be hard to do but there you go.

I think with each passing week, the Julia Gillard minority Labor Government inches ever closer to the status of the UMNO Government of Malaysia, which is saying something. The convoy of no confidence wasn’t in Canberra today – it has circled all over Australia for months now. For the umpteenth time, bring on the elections – please….

Global Warming and the Carbon Tax … Nuts.

Want to know what a recent expert study on climate change says? See the following excerpts, and you’d think the whole thing is uncertain enough to avoid implementing the carbon tax scheme, but then again we’re dealing with Gaia land maniacs here.

The report: Dr Robert Lindzen and YS Choi, as published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences

The excerpts:

  • Doubling of CO2 will only result in a 1 deg increase in warming (as opposed to at least 1.5 – 5.0 deg in other reports);
  • Simple regression methods used by several existing papers generally exaggerate positive feedbacks and even show positive feedbacks when actual feedbacks are negative;
  • The foregoing imply that the existing models are exaggerating climate sensitivity;
  • The current models have serious coupling issues, where warming may have been wrongly associated with other factors; and
  • The study was a follow-up on a previous one, addressing some feedback and criticisms on its previous approach.

It’s a serious, normal scientific endeavour, which shows if nothing else, climate change is a an issue on which the jury is still well and truly out. Given this uncertainty, why is the Gillard Government and her mob especially Bob Brown, Christine Milne and the Greens in general so hell bent on wrecking our economy, especially since even if the science is a settled issue, what Australia does in addressing emission will ever only have a totally negligible effect? Whatever Australia does, if it does it alone, will not change anything one bit.

In a way, this Labor Government is very similar to the UMNO government in Malaysia. Sick.

Nicole McKechnie: I Shot The Sheriff…

Eric Clapton - Swing Auditorium, San Bernardin...
Image via Wikipedia

I first heard “I shot the Sherriff” from Eric Clapton. I dont think I ever heard the Bob Marley original version. I think Nicole McKechnie the ex Media Advisor for Victoria Police, just did. Shot the Sherriff.

The news that Simon Overland has resigned as Chief Commissioner has long been coming. The discrepancy between his statement and that of his Media Chief is probably the last straw and given that one of them must have been lying and given the swathe of others in dispute with him in recent weeks, it was untenable for him.

Simon Overland has long come across as being too close to the Labor Government. His dodgy crime statistics to make the Brumby Government look better, was always a stink which would come home to roost. I dont think it is just the police. The judiciary, long massaged by Labor to be left leaning and dishing out nanny like molly coddling decisions, is another black mark.

Federally, the Garnaut Report and the likes of Tim Flannery and the Treasury under Ken Henry has come across as too political. They are meant to be independent experts but their left leaning tendencies are all too clear and they are only too happy to be aiding an unprincipled and mangled federal Labor Government.

If only Simon Overland is just  the first of these public servants to go for doing other than objective and independent work.

Andrew Wilkie, Tara Moriarty (and Karl Bitar)

Andrew Wilkie is an independent federal MP from Tasmania. His pet concern is problem gambling. He wants to make it compulsory to have gambling machines fitted with technology which makes gamblers decide upfront, the upper loss limit.

Problem gambling can destroy lives and families. I know.  On the other hand, we have someone like Tara Moriarty. Tara sits on the ALP national executive and is a vice-president of the NSW branch of the party. She is the secretary of the NSW liquor and hospitality workers union called United Voice. Tara thinks fitting gambling machines with the sort of technology Andrew Wilkie wants will endanger thousands of jobs. Unemployment can destroy lives and families too.

Leave aside Tara’s nexus with Karl Bitar. Karl Bitar may appear to be just someone who used the unions and the ALP as a stepping board to enrich himself. Having climbed the echelon of the ALP on the back of unions (and killed Kevin Rudd when he got there), he now becomes a corporate fat cat with Crown Casino, leveraging off his insider knowledge of government policies, including on problem gambling. No doubt no one should trust this opportunist mercenary but leaving that aside and assuming Tara is fair dinkum about protecting jobs, what should be the community’s priority?

Should the community protect jobs by allowing gambling machines to be unprotected? Or should it protect problem gamblers by capping their losses? I’m sure there are studies out there to consider how much of the gambling industry’s revenue is made up of problem gambling – if indeed the gambling industry is dependent on problem gambling proceeds, whether the industry should be shut down altogether? Surely society shouldn’t be protecting jobs which are dependent on making money from feeding this destructive addiction?

On the other hand, would sacrificing these jobs reduce the problem of problem gambling? Would these gamblers simply resort to other forms of betting? There is nothing to stop the problem gamblers from switching from a poker machine to the counter on the TAB outlet, is there? If fitting these technologies on machines would not go very far in reducing these addicts’ problems, sacrificing jobs would have been for nothing.

Andrew Wilkie and Tara Moriarty probably need to sit down together and exchange notes to take this one further. Karl Bitar may also be interested.