Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A new tax!  Leftism never changes

THE federal government will reportedly announce that it's funding its National Disability Insurance Scheme with a special Medicare-style levy set at 0.5 per cent.

Fairfax reports the government decided to introduce the special tax, which in effect takes the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy to 2.0 per cent, following an expenditure review committee meeting on Tuesday.

The Australian says Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to announce details of the levy as early as Wednesday.

Ms Gillard is also expected also announce a clampdown on the disability support pension scheme when she delivers a speech in Melbourne, the paper says.

The special tax is expected to start next year and raise $3.5 billion a year towards the federal government's major share of the disability insurance scheme.


Public servants fewer in number and made to move where most needed another major shake-up

QUEENSLAND'S public servants will become fewer in number and be made to go where they are most needed under another major shake-up proposed by the Commission of Audit report.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls would not say if more job cuts were on the cards, but said the government was expecting the 200,000-strong public service to reduce by one-third in the next five years due to natural attrition, retirement and "other options being taken up".

"You cannot continue to increase the size of the public sector because that just means more and more of the problems we face now (such as) an unsustainable deficit," Mr Nicholls said.

"Hard actions needed to be taken."

He said recommendations to give the private sector the chance to compete with the public sector for work in a wide range of areas would help make Queensland's public service the best in the country.

"What we see is an opportunity to upskill the public servants to give them the skills necessary to deliver the services that we believe Queenslanders want and need," said Mr Nicholls.

"(At the same time) we're going to be testing the opportunity for delivery of services and the best way to deliver those services."

The Public Service Act will be amended to allow employees to be appointed to a generic level rather than a specific position in the public service and the "reasonable grounds" test for transfers will be removed to allow workers to be sent where they are needed.

Temporary attraction and retention incentives will be offered to "meet specific labour market recruiting pressures" but only in "limited circumstances".

The latest planned overhaul angered Together Queensland state secretary Alex Scott who said it was clear the government could not be taken at face value on the topic of job cuts, following on from 14,000 redundancies in the past year.

"Less than four months ago, the Premier said there'd be no jobs lost as a result of the Audit Commission," said Mr Scott.

"What we know now today is that their election commitment and their statements can never be taken at their word."

He said the push to open up much of the government sector to market competition would lead to "cheaper services, not better services".

"This Government was elected to revitalise frontline services but today's report clearly indicates they will be privatising those services instead," Mr Scott said.

"The privatisation of frontline services will lead to as cheap as possible services, rather than the best possible services and Queenslanders deserve better."

John Battams from the Queensland Council of Unions predicted workers would register their opposition to the Costello report at Sunday's Labour Day March.

"We believe the march on Sunday will be one of the biggest on record," said Mr Battams.

"People are angry and it'll be a march not just by trade unionists but by members of the community who are extremely concerned about the direction in which this government is lurching."


Bureaucratic craziness

Australian Army banned from recruiting New Zealanders

Due to an apparent anomaly in the Defence Instructions, the 648,000 New Zealanders living permanently in Australia are barred from joining either the permanent or reserve defence forces of their adopted country.

Former Kiwi soldier Duncan Sandilands, whose grandfather helped to forge the Anzac legend during a four-month stint in the trenches at Gallipoli, tried to join the Australian Army Reserve in 2007 but was refused.

"I passed all the tests with flying colours and was then told I wasn't eligible," he said.

The super fit mountaineer is now 53 years old and he has launched a campaign with Brisbane-based human rights barrister Mark Plunkett to change the rules so that he and the estimated five Kiwis a week who try and join up can be granted entry.

The Kiwi ban applies despite the fact that Defence is recruiting troops from Britain, South Africa, Canada and the US and is offering fast tracked citizenship in return.

Citizenship is granted to overseas troops after 90 days permanent or six months reserve service.

A 2008 letter from the head of defence force recruiting urged Mr Sandilands to lobby the Department of Immigration for a policy change regarding Kiwi eligibility.

Under the terms of the Special Category Visa (SCV) that applies to New Zealanders living in Australia they are prevented from applying for permanent residency and citizenship as required by Defence.

Mr Sandilands has lived, worked and paid taxes in Australia since 2004, but he can't serve his adopted country.

"Australia is now my home and I want to give something back to the country," Mr Sandilands said.  "I have a right to defend this country that is now my home.

"I will win this, I have got right on my side," he said.

Mr Sandilands said he had spent $100,000 on the fight so far and he was determined to see it through.

60,000 Kiwis came to Australia last year and more than 78 per cent of all New Zealanders living here are in full-time work compared with 60 per cent of Australians.

Mr Plunkett has written to the government seeking a ministerial direction to exempt Kiwis living here on an SCV from the requirements of the Defence Directive.

"With the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli soon to be upon us it is propitious to lift this apartheid-like ban on Australian New Zealanders living permanently in Australia from being disqualified from ADF recruitment," Mr Plunkett said.


Fred Nile calls for clear choice on homosexuals

As same-sex marriage advocates voiced their fears about a divisive referendum, Mr Nile joined the Australian Christian Lobby in calling for the matter to be settled by the public on election day.

He said his Christian Democratic Party had been "pipped at the post" by the independent Tony Windsor in calling for a question on gay marriage to be added to a referendum, expected to be announced soon, on constitutional recognition for local government.

Marriage equality activists are concerned that what they describe as "cashed-up" church groups would bring on a pre-referendum battle that would polarise society and "demonise" gay and lesbian people. Mr Nile and Australian Christian Lobby spokesman Lyle Shelton confirmed significant resources would be thrown behind any "no" campaign.

"This is something that people are very passionate about," Mr Shelton said.

Before Labor's 2011 national conference, the group collected more than 100,000 signatures against gay marriage and Mr Shelton predicted a referendum would fail.

"I would think that if the arguments were presented in a balanced way without the accusations of homophobia or bigotry that are often put towards those who support marriage, I think there would be every chance that people would stick with what has been the status quo for millennia," he said.

The stance of the Christian groups exposed divisions in the gay marriage lobby. Fairfax Media understands that Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who has portfolio responsibility for marriage equality, lobbied leader Christine Milne to reverse her support for a referendum.

In comments that confirmed she had been forced into a U-turn, Senator Milne said a referendum would be a "distraction" and the issue should be settled by Parliament. "The only impediment is that the Coalition won't provide a conscience vote," she said.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome said: "We fear cashed-up opponents of marriage equality would exploit a referendum to polarise the electorate and demonise gay and lesbian people in a way that will impact badly, particularly on young gay people."



Paul said...

They should indeed have a referendum on Gay Marriage. There's lots of things where our say as citizens is reduced to a vote every three years for a Party who hopefully won't do quite as much of the things we hate as the other Party. That or join a political Party and spend your days battling thieves and sociopaths.

Stefan v said...

Let's have a referendum to settle the issue of the invalid Constitution of 1900. It should have been held in 1920. Government is slow, I know. And another referendum to have the Commonwealth of Australia taken off the list of corporations at the SEC in Washington. And one more...a referendum to quit TPP and the UN. We have the resources and the land, no good reason why we can't be independent and self-sufficient, and free. Otherwise, we can skip al the above, and simply amend the National Anthem: "Australians all let us lament, for we were young and free, we'd golden soil and wealth for toil, our home was girt by sea; Our land abounds in God's great gifts, of beauty rich and rare, in history's (revised) page let every stage, Advance Australia Bare; (Second Stanza too British, redacted); Beneath our rampant gov-ern-ment, we toil with heart and hands, to make this "common-wealth" of theirs, export to all the lands, for those who'd come across the seas, we've grounded planes to share, with comrades let us all commune, to advance Australia bare, in woeful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Bare!; Should foreign foe e'er sight the coast, or dare more feet to land, we'll cry to Uncle Sam right quick, to guard his puppet land, Britannia then shall surely know, though oceans rise between, her sons in bare Australia's land, shall keep their climate green, in woeful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Bare!"