Thursday, March 28, 2013

Libs to fix asylum seeker problem

The opposition says it will use the full resources of the navy and customs fleets to stem the flood of asylum seeker boats.  Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said Australia had a significant fleet of navy and customs vessels and a coalition government would be deploying those assets necessary to get the job done.

But he would not explain just how that would be done.  "I am not about to give the people smugglers a heads-up about those sorts of operational matters," Mr Morrison told ABC radio on Thursday.

"What they can be assured of is they can expect an Abbott-led coalition government to put an end to this madness and we will deploy the assets that are necessary to get the job done and the resolve that is needed to get the job done."

The opposition says 600 asylum seeker boats have reached Australian waters under Labor since 2007, with a surge in recent weeks. More than 3300 asylum seekers have arrived by boat this year, more than double the arrivals in the same period in 2012.

Mr Morrison said the coalition had been very clear about its policy of turning back asylum seeker boats where it is safe to do so.

Indonesia opposes the controversial plan and Labor and the defence force say people smugglers and asylum seekers will respond by sabotaging vessels to ensure they can't be returned, endangering passengers and defence personnel.

Mr Morrison said he was confident the Australian Defence Force, and particularly the navy, were quite capable of carrying out the policies of the government of the day.

"Our officers and our naval personnel are trained in these areas and we know that they have the capacity to get the job done, just like they do over in the (Persian) Gulf where they intercepted about 1000 vessels and many of those vessels had armed weapons pointing at them when they did so," he said.


Gillard Government to grab retirement savings

Australia as the new Cyprus?

HIGH income earners could have their retirement nest eggs slashed by $80,000 as a result of tax hikes being considered by the Gillard Government to buttress the budget bottom line.

Exclusive modelling by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling for News Limited reveals a 50 year old earning $180,000 today, and with a typical nest egg for that age and income of $250,000, could expect to watch it grow to $914,000 by aged 67 under current arrangements, assuming they made no additional contributions beyond the compulsory rate.

This would be reduced to $835,000  or $79,000 less - if Labor were to increase the tax rate on super contributions to 30 cents in the dollar, up from 15 cents currently, for people earning above $180,000.

The Gillard Government has already increased the tax rate on super contributions to 30 cents for people earning over $300,000.

There is speculation Labor will extend this measure in the May budget as a key budget savings measure.Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, yesterday failed to rule out a raid on the super of high income earners to boost the tax revenue base as the population ages.

Asked directly if the contributions and earnings of the superannuation funds of high-income earners would be used to pull the budget out of its debt hole, Ms Gillard yesterday would not give a clear answer.

"Any decisions we make will be about the long term interest of the superannuation system," Ms Gillard said yesterday.  "I can assure people superannuation is a Labor creature and we will always nurture it well."

Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson last year urged the government to cut superannuation tax concessions in the May 14 budget in order to secure its revenue base as the population ages.

However, a key cabinet minister, Craig Emerson, yesterday indicated any tax grab would be directed at very high income earners.

The trade minister said Labor was "not interested in increasing taxation on the everyday working men and women of Australia."

However, "if there is any capacity for, at the very high end, in different areas . . . I'm not saying we could never even look at something like that".

A research fellow at NATSEM, Dr Marcia Keegan, said tax increases on the super of high income earners would be felt hardest by those nearing retirement who had planned to make additional voluntary contributions.

"For some households, an increase in the contributions tax may be the difference between full independence from the age pension at retirement and drawing a small part age pension.

"However, according to Dr Keegan, high income individuals would still have an incentive to salary sacrifice into super, as the 30 per cent tax rate would still be lower than their marginal tax rate of 45 per cent.

Furthermore: "The households affected by these increases are a small minority of high wealth households, and even with a higher contributions tax rate, most would still have enough for a comfortable retirement according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's standards."


School Lets Children Make Supervised Risks

IT'S the childhood we'd all like to remember. At Petrie Terrace State School, in Brisbane's inner city, cubby houses are tucked away and children are swinging from tyres roped to trees.

Other students are running through a tyre obstacle course fixed to the ground and teachers watch children sometimes stumble, pick themselves up and run on.

It is a far cry from the school bans on cartwheels, tiggy [tag] and red rover amid what principals have dubbed "the litigious age".

School principal Eunice Webb said she thought the fear of being sued had been behind an increase in playground crackdowns, but it was getting in the way of learning.

"What I am more afraid of is children who don't know how to take a risk, that to me is a bigger fear," she said.

She said tight supervision was paramount and this was always in place.

Parents are also behind the move, helping to build the playground.

Queensland Association of State School Principals president Hilary Backus said schools had come under pressure from parents and some children were so protected they no longer knew how to solve problems and were afraid to take risks.

"I would certainly commend Ms Webb for creating the environment where children can take risks safely with support," Mrs Backus said.


Average incomes up 38% since 1989: report

INCREASES in average incomes over the past 20 years have been shared by all, but high wage earners have benefited most, a new report shows.

The Productivity Commission study of income trends in Australia has found average incomes rose from about $800 to $1100 a week in the two decades to 2009-10, expressed as 2011-12 dollars.

On average the increase was 38 per cent since 1988-89.

But the commission said while the gains of the past 20 years had flowed to both high and low income groups, "income has grown faster among high earners than lower earners".

According to the report, pay for the top tier of workers increased by almost 70 per cent from just under $2000 to around $3200 a week (in 2011-12 dollars).

The inequality was attributed partly to differences between the average earnings of full-time, part-time and self-employed workers, and the faster growth in numbers of part-time workers over the 20-year period.

"The increase in population share of this 'low income' group in total workers moderated the growth of labour income when all employees are considered," the report said.

Over the two decades the number of part-time workers increased by 136 per cent to 3.1 million, while full time workers grew by 43 per cent to 6.6 million, the report said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

I regard "asylum seeker" boats in these numbers as now akin to an invading force. "Safe to do so" should not be such a consideration anymore.