Monday, April 02, 2012

Abbott threatens a double dissolution to get rid of the carbon tax

In a double dissolution all seats in both the lower house and the Senate are up for grabs.  A lot of existing Senators would be likely to shrink from that

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says getting rid of the carbon tax won't be hard to do if he's elected prime minister.

Mr Abbott today  refuted Prime Minister Julia Gillard's claims that his "chest-beating" over plans to unwind the carbon tax would "prove to be incredibly hollow".

"It's not hard to do. You simply repeal the legislation," he told Radio 2SM today.  "I accept that there are various things that the carbon tax is funding that we will have to deal with and that presents some fiscal issues and some political issues.

"But we will deal with that and everyone will know exactly what is going to happen to tax and pensions in good time before the next election."

When asked how his push to repeal the carbon tax was different to Labor's campaign to roll back the GST, Mr Abbott replied: ``It differs because it is different."  "I will get rid of the carbon tax. It'll be gone, lock, stock and barrel," Mr Abbott said. "It's an act of economic self-harm."

He also confirmed the coalition would pursue a double dissolution to secure the end of the carbon tax if Labor decided to "commit suicide twice" by persisting in its support for it.

"If they did, and we couldn't get a repeal through the Senate, yes, we would go to a double dissolution," he said.

"Good governments shouldn't be scared of an election."


Gillard must have a death wish

A large chunk of her vote (what remains of it) comes from middle class people yet she is raiding their pockets!

FAMILIES face further cost-of-living pain as Prime Minister Julia Gillard flags more cuts to "middle class welfare".

In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail, Ms Gillard forecast more means testing to cut taxpayer-funded payments to so-called "high earners", as she pushes to get the Budget in the black.

While Ms Gillard has ruled out means testing for the 50 per cent Child Care Rebate, she left the door open for further cuts to Medicare rebates. She fears a backlash from struggling families.

"We make judgments about how best to make our system of payments and support for families work and get into the hands of people who need those benefits the most," Ms Gillard said.

The Government will be forced to announce unpopular Budget cuts in May to meet its pledge to deliver a surplus next year, despite a significant decline in tax revenue.

Treasurer Wayne Swan last week warned entire government programs could be axed and said "welfare for people who don't need it is dispensable".

Ms Gillard referred to the education tax refund, child care rebates, tax cuts funded by the carbon tax and higher family tax benefit payments for families with teenagers, as evidence she was trying to address cost-of-living pressures for families.

She appeared to confirm the Government was looking at further cuts to the Medicare Safety Net that provides 80 per cent refunds for medical costs over $1198 a year and $598 for low-income families.

She said Mr Abbott introduced the Medicare Safety Net when he was health minister and broke a promise not to cut it after the 2004 election because it was "badly designed".

"We've acted to address a number of those problems with the Medicare Safety Net and we're always going to act to make sure taxpayers get value for money," Ms Gillard said.

The cost of the Medicare Safety Net has risen 20 per cent a year recently and most rebates go to high-income earners.

The Government could place further caps on rebates for medical procedures that already apply in areas including obstetrics and IVF treatment for infertile couples. It could also further means test the rebate.

Ms Gillard also warned Queensland's struggling tourism industry that it may go without new assistance if Labor cannot pass its planned company tax cut and small business tax perks.

The PM defended handouts to the car industry, but ruled out any industry-specific scheme for the tourism sector.

She suggested the Government could tweak visa rules and training programs to help tourism operators attract foreigners and get the workers they need.

"What we are trying to do for the tourism industry, which in tourism centres across Queensland is very much a small business industry ... is get them a tax cut," Ms Gillard said.

"The problem with that is that Tony Abbott believes that tourism operators in places like Cairns who are doing it tough because of the high Aussie dollar don't deserve the tax break."

Ms Gillard rejected criticism that taxpayer funds were being used to prop up a dying car industry in the southern states.

She said the one million manufacturing workers and those in other businesses in Queensland enjoyed flow-on benefits from the car industry.

She flagged measures to offset the soaring cost of living in mining areas in Queensland.

"We've got a turbocharged resources sector and it's got its fantastic strengths," she said. "But it can also mean for people who live in mining communities ... that everything they need to make a life is far more expensive than it's been in the past.

"We've understood those cost-of-living pressures and want to respond to them."


Mark Latham's lament on 'liar' PM Julia Gillard

Mark Latham failed in his bid for power but it might be noted that for most of his time as ALP leader he was polling at roughly twice Gillard's current popularity rate -- so his views deserve some respect

LABOR can't go to an election with Julia Gillard as leader and needs to install a "non-liar" into the post, former leader Mark Latham said yesterday.

Raising talk of leadership change only weeks after Ms Gillard beat a challenge from Kevin Rudd, Mr Latham believes there is no way the party would stick with Ms Gillard.

"Well, the only option for the Labor Party is to bring in a non-liar as prime minister," he told Sky TV's Australian Agenda. "And inevitably, as certain as night follows day, they will change leaders before the next election.

"They can't possibly go to the next poll with Gillard. I mean, there's no way of unscrambling the egg, having broken an important election promise like this."

Mr Latham said that aside from structural problems within the ALP, which led to the Queensland election loss, the party needed to heed lessons about the broken carbon tax promise: "There is absolutely no margin for lying."


Alarm bells sound on registration of Chinese medicine

I am a great believer that all therapeutic claims should be thoroughly investgated on an equal basis but the proposals below are not too bad.  There is no doubt that there is some therapeutic value in Chinese medicine.  I once resorted to it myself with beneficial results.  Where I grew up you went to a doctor when you were sick  -- but if you were REALLY sick you went to a Chinese herbalist

THE federal government's decision to register Chinese medical practitioners in the same way as other health professionals is a potentially dangerous endorsement of unproven treatments, doctors say.

From July 1, it will be mandatory for practitioners and students to be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, which will also manage complaints and disciplinary processes as well as assessing practitioners trained overseas who wish to practice in Australia.

Registered individuals must commit to maintaining and developing their skills and spending at least 20 hours a year in training, according to standards agreed in January. They must also meet a minimum English language requirement and have professional indemnity cover to the value of at least $5 million in liability.

But a respiratory medicine specialist, Hubertus Jersmann, said it risked misleading patients, who were likely to believe that practitioners' registration was comparable to that of doctors.

"Registration gives people legitimacy," said Associate Professor Jersmann, of Royal Adelaide Hospital. "In the eyes of the public they sound exactly like a GP" who had undertaken 11 years of general and specialist training.

Regulation could help to weed out unacceptable practices, said Professor Jersmann, who has co-authored an article on the issue in today's Medical Journal of Australia.

But this had to be balanced against the risk of giving tacit government support to a field that was not supported by scientific evidence gained through rigorously controlled clinical trials.

"If research is conducted that shows it works, we'd welcome that. We're not emotionally opposed to it," said Professor Jersmann, who wrote the article with a neurophysiologist, Marcello Costa.

Chinese medicine practitioners often argue their therapies have the virtue of a long history of accepted use. But, Professor Jersmann said, "the length of time is immaterial. Where is the evidence people haven't died? We want certainty whether it works or not."

The chairman of the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, Charlie Xue, has previously defended the new standards, saying they were set "following extensive consultation with practitioners and other stakeholders". The board has called on practitioners to apply promptly for registration to meet the deadline.

Mandatory registration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, medical radiation practitioners and occupational therapists will also start from July, through boards established under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.


Tim Flannery's like the weather: unreliable

He is a likeable and popular personality but why an expert on  kangaroo fossils  feels qualified to make climate prophecies is not at all clear.  I guess it gives him attention that he would otherwise lack

A QUARTER of Australians say Tim Flannery is an unreliable source of information about climate change, a new survey reveals.

A Galaxy poll for the Institute of Public Affairs found 18 per cent of people regard the country's official climate change spokesman as "somewhat unreliable", while 7 per cent consider him "very unreliable". Less than a third, 31 per cent, found him somewhat or very reliable.

NSW residents are among the most dubious in the nation, with 28 per cent of those polled saying the Climate Commissioner was an unreliable source of information.

"By regularly making predictions that have turned out to be false, Tim Flannery is doing the carbon tax and the Gillard government more harm than good," the Institute's James Paterson said.

Last night, Prof Flannery said [unreliably]: "This issue isn't about opinion. It is about facts. We know climate is changing and if we don't act there is likely to be serious consequences."


1 comment:

Paul said...

Mark Latham is someone I'd love to get in a quiet room with...and find out what really went on behind the scenes where we aren't allowed to look. I reckon he still knows stuff he'd never repeat for fear of what would happen to him.