Thursday, April 24, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is pleased that we seem to have a responsible government at last

Treasurer Joe Hockey outlines areas facing cuts in May 13 budget

JOE Hockey has stepped up his argument for urgent cuts to major spending programs in the May 13 federal budget, declaring that all Australians will carry the burden of reform.

Revealing key findings from the Commission of Audit into federal finances, the Treasurer has warned that deep cuts will be essential to balance the budget.

Mr Hockey used a speech in Sydney tonight to outline some of the audit findings as well as his ambition to scale back the deficit and post a surplus by at least 2024.

Seeking to manage expectations when he releases the four-volume Commission of Audit report next week, Mr Hockey said some of the 86 recommendations would be rejected outright and others given “further consideration” over time.

The report would be a “useful framework” rather than a “quick fix” to be adopted in full, the Treasurer said.

“There will be difficult decisions, but all Australians must help to do the heavy lifting,” Mr Hockey told a forum hosted by The Spectator magazine in Sydney.  “It will not be acceptable for a few to make the major sacrifices on behalf of the rest of us.

“The fiscal consolidation program that we reveal in the budget will establish a clear path back to a surplus of 1 per cent of GDP by 2024.  “But I want to emphasise that the May budget will not be the end of our efforts, it will only be the start.

“There will be numerous cases where our policy principles can only be implemented over time. Not every decision crucial for budget repair will be made on budget night. However, we will make a significant start.”

One key finding in the Commission of Audit is the scale of government spending, which has risen over 40 years from around $6000 per person to over $15,000 per person when adjusted for inflation, Mr Hockey said.

Mr Hockey said the Commission of Audit report would be released on May 1.

The Treasurer argued for major spending cuts on the basis that outlays will spiral out of control without hard action now.  On current trends, assuming no cap on spending, outlays will swell to 26.5 per cent of GDP by 2024.

Much of this would come from the 15 largest spending programs, which are also the fastest growing.  These include the age pension, the disability support pension, the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, aged care, education, hospitals, foreign aid and the national disability insurance scheme.

“To put it simply – our biggest costs are also our fastest growing,” Mr Hockey said.

Tax receipts will not grow fast enough to make up for spending burden, according to a “business as usual” scenario that forecasts big deficits in every year to 2024 and possibly beyond.

“It is a recipe for disaster to never even get to surplus despite having a foundation of 32 years of continuous economic growth, which would arguably be the longest continuous period of growth anywhere in the world since the Second World War,” Mr Hockey said.

The Treasurer’s message came with new figures on the likely load on taxpayers who will gradually move into higher tax brackets as inflation increases their salaries but the government is unable to afford any tax cuts.

An extra 3 million taxpayers will have taxable income above the $80,000 threshold in ten years from now according to the audit commission scenario, lifting their marginal tax rates from 37 to 45 cents in the dollar.

Turning his sights on individual spending programs, the Treasurer named the age pension and aged care as key concerns as the population grows older and young workers have to bear the burden of large welfare programs.

Mr Hockey appeared to question the value of the tax concessions offered to superannuation – worth more than $30bn last year – by noting that most retirees fall back on the pension anyway.

“Despite spending billions of dollars in taxation benefits for superannuation, by 2050 the ratio of Australians receiving a full or part pension will still be around four out of five,” he said.

“On top of this, aged care is now the eighth largest category of spending. We spend more on aged care than we do on higher education or child care.

“And the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is the tenth largest category of spending. Nearly 80 per cent of the Scheme’s expenditure is attributable to concessional recipients.”

Mr Hockey made it clear each of these would be tackled in the budget because of the looming impact of the ageing population.

“So the policies must be changed, either now or more dramatically in the future.”


Bob Hawke and Paul Keating’s brutal verdict on the Rudd-Gillard years

BOB Hawke and Paul Keating have given a blistering assessment of Labor in power under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and warned that retrograde policies, ineffective communication, divisive class warfare and a lack of conviction will keep the party out of office if not urgently addressed.

The two former Labor prime ministers have urged the party to undertake radical reform to ­reduce the power of unions and factions, steer policy back to the centre ground and heed the ­lessons of the often chaotic and dys­functional Rudd-Gillard gov­­ern­ments. They argue that Labor must undertake structural reform to curtail union influence over policy, candidates and the party organisation.

For the first time, the two Labor elders say the party must slash the 50 per cent weighting given to unions at state confer­ences — a reform Bill Shorten this week ignored. “The reality is that the unions are now only a small percentage of workers,” Mr Hawke said. “They should still have a right to be affiliated with the party but they should not have an undue influence.”

He wants the 50 per cent quota for union delegations to conferences reduced. “I think that’s an undue weighting in the world in which we live today,” he said.

Mr Keating said: “I’ve always been in favour of a much more representative Labor conference structure, reflecting the participation by earnest people truly interested in the Labor Party rather than the blocs of people at conferences representing union members. As the level of unionisation has dropped in the workplace, so too should the representation at conferences drop.”

The exclusive interviews with the two former Labor prime ministers, Mr Hawke (1983-91) and Mr Keating (1991-96), are included in a new book, Rudd, Gillard and Beyond, published next week. Mr Keating said the party’s membership had become so “limited” and “confected” that it was unrepresentative of the community. As the authority of members has diminished, he said the power of party officials had increased. This had been “brutally bad” for Labor.

He said party officials have “an unerring sense of what they believe is right” and “lord it over the parliamentary party” to get their way. “The rot had set in to the federal organisation of the Labor Party when the state party secretaries raised their reasonably ugly heads” in the 1990s.

Mr Keating said the last Labor government struggled to define its purpose in a compelling narrative and failed to balance the political and policy work needed for successful long-term governments. “Kevin’s government was doing reasonably badly reasonably quickly,” Mr Keating said.

He argued that the global ­financial crisis “gave the government purpose” and it responded appropriately.  “After the crisis, or the immediacy of the crisis, it started fraying again.

“There was a sense of urgency which guided the big reform agenda in the 1980s and ‘90s. We knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to create a modern, efficient, outward-looking economy. You have to conceptualise the big reform ideas into a framework.”

Mr Keating said he told Mr Rudd in July last year, after he returned to the prime ministership, that Labor had to reclaim the model of governance that he and Mr Hawke had pioneered in the 80s and 90s.

“That was a model which ­fostered economic growth, which put a high premium on social ­equity and justice, which fathomed a way of us, as Australians, tying ourselves competitively to the East Asian economic renaissance,” he said. “What happened is that the public had fallen out of love with the Labor Party organisationally and as a government, Rudd’s demise being part of that, but they hadn’t fallen out of love with the model.”

Mr Hawke is critical of Labor for promulgating class warfare for political gain and criticised the development of the mining tax. “That sort of class-warfare rhetoric never resonates with me,” he said. “The simple truth about good government is that you need to have good relations with both sides of an industry, workers and business, not just one side.”

Mr Keating also spoke about the need for party leaders to win support from voters and work with business and unions to implement a reform agenda that was in the national interest. “We had to be able to garner the authority of the caucus and the wider Labor Party and trade union movement to make these kind of changes,” he said.

The problem Labor often had, Mr Keating said, was a lack of belief. “Leaders proselytising policies without deep inner belief in the end fail. Policies can’t be picked up like pretty boxes at a gift shop. They have to come from the innards of the politics.”

Both former prime ministers said the party was failing to recruit candidates with a diversity of life experience. “The organis­ational leadership has always got to look around for the people who are different and who have talent, spot it and help them through the party,” Mr Keating said.

Assessing the Rudd-Gillard legacy, Mr Hawke said the party needed to be “brutal” in its assessment and acknowledge that they “didn’t deserve to win” the September election. “They just distracted themselves with internecine strife.”

Mr Hawke said it was inevitable Mr Rudd would be toppled by Ms Gillard in 2010 “because he just wanted to run so much of things single-handedly” and a reaction against that was inevitable.

Both said that despite the many problems, there were policies that Labor could be proud of after six years in government. While Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard “deserved to lose”, Mr Hawke said, they “achieved a lot of good Labor things”.

But Mr Keating said it was wrong for Ms Gillard to challenge Mr Rudd for the leadership.

“I don’t think Kevin Rudd should have been replaced in 2010,” he said. “Leaders often have low to mid-points in a term. The party, I think, should have stuck with him through that.”


What a load of Brit: UK-born killer Barry Whiteoak wins ‘racist’ compensation case

A CONVICTED murderer and rapist has won damages after a tribunal found he was racially discriminated against in jail — because he is British.

Taxpayers funded the six-year marathon which cost up to $100,000 and prompted a NSW Legal Aid review of similar foreign-born cases that are pending.

Barry Whiteoak’s victory after he was stripped of prison perks like opportunities for day release for being a British “lawful non-citizen” won him $500 in compensation which will go straight to the Victims Support Fund for victims of crime.

Whiteoak, 66, has been ­behind bars since 1983 when he stabbed and strangled nurse Noreen Hannon in September 1983of that year.

At the time he forced himself into the 25-year-old nurse’s flat he was already on parole for a 1980 rape, a crime he committed while on parole for indecently assaulting a woman at knifepoint in 1978, seven years after he arrived from the UK.

Ms Hannon’s then-boyfriend, Michael Maher, said yesterday “the whole thing is crazy”.

“It is an absolute disgrace when people who have genuine cases can’t get Legal Aid but these guys can,” Mr Maher said.

“He is a serial rapist and murderer who should have no rights in prison, never mind the right to bring this case and we have had to pay for it.”

NSW Legal Aid boss Bill Grant said: yesterday pledged to review similar cases on his books. “We will be reviewing the utility of cases like this to see if they are appropriate ways of spending scarce Legal Aid resources.” CEO Mr Grant said.

It is understood that Legal Aid initially funded the case ­because it involved “a fundamental legal principle” but the loophole had been closed even before the case got into a tribunal.

Whiteoak ’s life sentence for murdering Ms Hannon was redetermined to a minimum of 15 years in 1994. He had been refused bail a number of times until in August, 2008, the Department of Immigration cancelled his permanent residency visa, ­ensuring his deportation back to his native Yorkshire.

Whiteoak launched his ­racial discrimination case in December, 2008, after Corrective Services imposed a blanket ban on lawful non-citizens like himself being classified a C3, which allows them to apply for day and work release and other perks.

“It is discrimination because the policy decisions are treating me differently to what an Australian citizen is treated,’’ Whiteoak told the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

He argued the decision to cancel his permanent residency was “based solely on the fact I am a British subject in jail and not my offensive behaviour’’.

The convicted killer asked the tribunal to “use all the powers available ... to persuade and or force the Corrective Services to change (my) classification back.’’

After a number of hearings, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which now incorporates the ADT, ruled this month that Corrective Services had racially discriminated against him under the Anti-Discrimination Act.

EVERY time Yorkshireman Barry Whiteoak has been freed from an Australian jail he has claimed a new victim.  He arrived as a 20-year-old and, by the age of 27, was behind bars for an indecent assault at knifepoint in which he told his victim: “It would be easy to carve you up.”


New NSW Premier criticised for not agreeing with the left's social agenda

The left media has jumped to the conclusion new NSW Premier Mike Baird is unusual because he married young and doesn’t agree with their pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, anti-Christian agenda.

Baird is the son of former Howard era Liberal MP Bruce Baird who was previously a NSW Government minister.

But don't let the surname fool you. They are quite different men.

Have a read of a few of the profile pieces published on Baird in the last few days and notice the common theme.

The Guardian’s Bridie Jabour:

He voted against allowing same-sex couples to adopt in 2010, opposed a stem cell research bill and was one of the members of the legislative assembly to vote in favour of “Zoe’s law”, which opponents have seen as a threat to abortion laws in NSW.

..his opposition to same-sex marriage is on the record. .. he said: "I don't in any way see that as a degradation or a reduction in rights for those who are choosing to live a homosexual lifestyle. But for me, marriage [is] a man and a woman and I think that preserving that, and the legacy and history of that, is important."

A Fairfax got the same dot points:

…another potential minefield for Baird as Premier - his conservative social values.

Asked if he ''still believed that homosexuality is a lifestyle decision'' Baird was left visibly stunned. The question served as a reminder that attention will be drawn to Baird's conservative position on issues such as same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

Phillipa McDonald of the ABC has similar concerns:

While he says little of his conservative views, the new premier is on the record as being against same sex-marriage, and he has voted against against embryonic stem cell research.

How his religious views will play out in practise in the state's top job will be watched closely by many.

Mr Baird says he lives by a mantra of integrity, passion and results. Among those he looks up to are William Wilberforce, who was a driving force for the abolition of slavery; Martin Luther King Jnr; and the former and longest-serving NSW governor, Sir Roden Cutler, who was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery.

Conservative or even Christian values might not sit well with some – but they still are shared by a majority of people in this country – just maybe not in the majority of newsrooms.


Urban war zones Fairfax won't cover...

If you buy that Left wing rag they call The Age (Fairfax) don’t expect to read about stuff they don’t want you to read about. Particularly if it’s to do with Islamic “refugees”. Riots are happening right outside The Age’s front door, but still no reporters available. Have they an allergy to anything Islamic? 

From a regular reader:

Hi Larry.  Just wanting to know if anyone else witnessed and experienced the mayhem on Sydney Rd Brunswick on Easter Saturday. We were out celebrating for Easter when it we decided it was time to head home so weren't so tired for Sunday mass. The 4 of us just left the restaurant and were heading down Sydney Rd towards COBURG when we passed through Albion St and noticed red & blue lights and thought may have been a booze bus or minor accident.

The closer we came we noticed a big gathering of over 180-200 if not more Black Africans angry as hell armed with weapons such as broken glass bottles batons baseball bats and  metal bars and a machete. We just saw packs of 70 and more chasing each other of equal numbers, was quite frightening for my fellow passengers thinking this was in Africa or some Arab land.

We did see quite a few Lebanese Muslim youths running away. Well over 200 and more Black Africans on the side we were on so we decided to do a u turn because the car was going to get damaged. Why wasn't this reported on media? Is it just to cover up how really bad the problem is in Melbourne and with Muslim African Arabs.

From another reader: Hi Larry,  I keep wondering who has gagged our media and government to such an extent that they won’t report Islamic immigrants doing the most heinous of crimes because it will put them in a bad light. I don't know what’s going on with the Sudanese people but even the cops in QLD are worried as their numbers are growing and they have absolutely no respect or fear of our laws. Again this was blocked from being reported on New Year’s Eve.

But Fairfax and the ABC are all over any story where an Islamist is attacked!


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