Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Australia keeps plunging further into debt
Everything the writer below says is correct. The big spending years of Rudd and Gillard have left a legacy of obligations that can not be paid for out of taxation. All the new public servants in all the new agencies and departments have to be paid, for instance. So the coalition has had to borrow to meet Federal obligations. Tony Abbott tried to cut the spending back but was blocked in the Senate. Will Turnbull bite the bullet? Not until after the 2016 election, probably
The moment Turnbull took over as Prime Minister, I wrote that his biggest challenge was getting the budget back in order, particularly in respect of the serious spending problem that we have.
So far, the talk has been about increasing the GST and increasing taxes on super for anyone earning more than $36,000. Hmm.
To cut a long story short, there is already enough revenue – it’s been increasing every year for the last six years and is projected to continue increasing at a healthy rate (although it looks like this year’s increase won’t be quite as healthy as predicted):
The problem is that there is nowhere near enough revenue to meet the wasteful and unproductive spending we have in the budget (if you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading my three part special on where the money went).
In summary, the 2015-16 budget has expected income of about $398 billion and spending of about $434 billion (i.e. a $36 billion deficit). On the spending side, the big ticket items are:
Welfare – $154 billion
Health – $69 billion
Education – $32 billion
Defence – $26 billion
Interest on debt – $15.6 billion
These items account for around 68% of all spending.
Spending is the key. Spending is completely out of control.
Unless the situation is brought back into line, our taxes will continue to be wasted on paying interest on debt and our economy and lifestyles will continue to struggle (put your hand up if your salary has been frozen for the last year or two or not increased by enough to counter inflation).
The answer isn’t to try and grab more tax. It won’t raise enough money and will only discourage people from taking business risk – for the obvious reason that there is not enough reward at the end of the tunnel. If people refuse to take any business risk, then that’s less jobs and income for everyone else.
Increasing the GST makes some sense as a separate conversation topic. However, it can’t and won’t fix the budget. While it’s claimed that it would bring in around $20-25 billion in revenue, that’s before you factor in the corresponding income tax compensation to low income earners and the amount that the States would grab out of the pie (which could end up eating up almost the entire amount).
As for increasing tax on super contributions, this has to be one of the most idiotic suggestions yet. The whole point of super is to decrease people’s reliance on aged welfare (which currently amounts to $60.7 billion of spending annually – 1 in every 7 dollars spent by the government). The more you tax super, the more people will rely on welfare in their retirement. Given that our population is ageing and that around 80% of retirees receive a part or full pension, this is something we can ill afford.
Turnbull needs to pull his finger out and make some real budget decisions. Unfortunately, it’s obvious that he has no immediate intention of doing so (particularly as the final deficit is likely end up worse than the $36 billion budgeted for). In fact, his only strategy appears to be riding his honeymoon wave as long as possible. Given this, I’d be very surprised if he got to the next budget in May 2016 without having called an early election beforehand.
Warmists are holding us to mad ‘greenmail’
AS predicted, the great Paris global warming conference has turned to custard.
China, which is home to more billionaires than any other nation, and India, second only to China in terms of population, along with a gaggle of other opportunistic nations are demanding hundreds of billions of dollars from the developed world to meet the unproven challenge of man-made climate change.
With breathtaking arrogance, the clamorous pseuds gathered in the French capital without care for their massive carbon footprint claim to have the power to control the temperature of Earth — given enough of your money. This is such a preposterous notion that no one at the conference will even state the obvious — its impossibility.
Instead, we have self-anointed, self-righteous, self-important lackeys of the UN claiming that global warming is responsible for extreme weather (despite zero evidence), poverty (hardly), drought and floods (that’s tricky), family violence (what about the TV remote), Middle Eastern violence (where’s that in the Koran), prostitution and alcoholism (they would, wouldn’t they).
The more than 4000 delegates and assorted hangers-on are actually perpetuating the greatest fraud since we were warned that the Y2K bug would send aircraft into tailspins, freeze elevators, close bank accounts and crash the internet (warmist Al Gore’s claimed invention).
The mere fact that these junketeers have gathered when, according to satellite data, there has been no warming for more than 18 years, should have been enough to warn politicians off but no, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has paraded his moral vanity (and a warm overcoat) at the conference and there is no shortage of others eager to be associated with the delusionists.
The demand by developing nations that the developed nations hand over cash should have been met with a Western walkout. It’s nothing but greenmail.
Led by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC) the G77 countries (there were originally 77 developing nations in this bloc when it formed in 1963; now there are 134) are demanding more than $US100 billion a year to help them meet any targets set in Paris. This seems to be their prerequisite just for turning up.
The UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the 2005 Kyoto Protocol. Initially 27 developed nations pledged $10.2 billion to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system” — as meaningless a piece of rhetoric as the UN ever presented — but Figueres determined that wouldn’t be enough.
Using figures from the UN’s now discredited computer climate models, she claimed that amount wouldn’t be sufficient to prevent global temperatures from increasing by 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
But Figueres has also admitted that the real goal of the gathered eco-freaks should be to destroy capitalism which she sees as the real enemy of the planet despite obvious evidence that it has been the only economic model to deliver real development and uplift billions from poverty in history.
Earlier this year, she outlined her thoughts for the Paris conference saying: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.
“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
According to an 86-page draft proposal prepared for the conference, the developed countries have the greatest responsibility to cut carbon emissions “without conditions”.
Australia just cannot afford to be a signatory to such lunacy.
“Developed countries shall provide financial resources to developing country parties for the full and enhanced implementation of the (Climate Change) Convention,” according to the draft. "The GCF (Green Climate Fund) shall be the main financial entity under the new agreement,” it added.
The GCF is merely a mechanism to redistribute wealth from developed countries to poorer nations in order “to promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways”.
The draft calls for developed countries to provide “at least 1 per cent of gross domestic product per year from 2020 and additional funds during the pre-2020 period to the GCF,” which would act as the “main operating entity of the Financial Mechanism” under the new treaty, according to the draft.
Forget it. Taxpayers should demand that Turnbull call Paris and tell the Australian delegation to get out to Charles de Gaulle airport tout suite and fly home. Unfortunately, he has yet to show any spine when it comes to confronting the Left. It is not in his nature.
Disappointingly, his wife, Lucy, the newly appointed chairman of the Greater Sydney Commission, is also displaying the same tendencies. She is on the board of the Leftist think tank the Grattan Institute.
Little wonder that Liberals are concerned about the direction their party is taking under Turnbull’s leadership.
Union blackmail charges: CFMEU officials John Setka, Shaun Reardon charged by Victoria Police
CONTROVERSIAL union leader John Setka and his right-hand man Shaun Reardon have been charged over the alleged $20 million blackmail of concrete company Boral, in a case that has plunged the State Government into turmoil.
The hardline union figures will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, each on a charge of blackmail over the union’s organised boycott of the concrete company.
Police from Taskforce Heracles, set up to investigate criminal allegations raised in the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption, arrested the men early yesterday.
The dispute with Boral was part of the union’s “war” with its enemy Grocon.
Mr Setka, 51, and Mr Reardon, 47, have been accused of getting builders to stop using Boral concrete when the company refused to cave in to union demands.
The men have been charged under Section 87 of the Crimes Act, which states it is a crime to make demands with “menace” in order to gain an advantage.
Despite being charged yesterday, Mr Setka was today at the Building Unions Picnic at Caulfield Racecourse talking with family and union members.
Mr Sekta told the Herald Sun he stood by his conduct during industrial disputes with Boral and Grocon, saying the companies had “unsafe work practices”.
When asked whether he denied the allegations against him, he said: “I’ll leave that up to the courts.”
The charging of two prominent members of Labor’s Socialist Left faction has sent shock waves through the Labor Party and the State Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews has refused to comment other than to say it is a “serious matter” that is now before the courts.
“To run a commentary, to trample all over these matters, as I have been invited to do, that doesn’t serve anyone’s interests, least of all anyone who is proven to have done the wrong thing getting a punishment they deserve,” he said.
Mr Andrews also refused to comment when he was asked whether the CFMEU, which is a member of the same Socialist Left Labor faction as the premier, had his support.
“These matters are before the courts, and I’m not going to get dragged into the word games, back and forth, into effectively running a commentary on two people who have been charged with serious matters and who will face the justice system and account for their conduct, as they should, in a court,” he said.
One minister told the Herald Sun the issue would distract from the government’s agenda in this year’s last week of Parliament.
Allies of the CFMEU officials hit the phones yesterday to hold talks on the fresh crisis.
CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said police should have made the arrests at the union’s Swanston St office rather than in front of the men’s’ families.
“The CFMEU has co-operated with every request from the Royal Commission
and the police could have conducted their business at the office during working hours,” he said.
“The arrests were conducted in front of both families and reek of overkill. The community can only hope that the rest of the case against the men is made as public as these arrests.
“The community expects more of the police. We should be able to trust that our police are not doing the grunt work of a Government desperate to mount an attack on the working rights of people in this country.”
He said the pair would plead not guilty.
The pair allegedly wanted Boral to stop supplying concrete to Grocon to cripple the company’s building projects.
The union has already agreed to pay up to $9 million to settle a court claim from Boral, which had argued it lost up to $20 million worth of business during the two-year long dispute.
Boral accepted the lesser amount as part of deal that included a ban on the union harassing or blockading the company.
Mr Kane claimed in the Royal Commission that Mr Setka told Boral that they would be punished for their relationship with Grocon.
“This is a criminal conspiracy to interfere in the marketplace, its blackmail by any other definition I have heard of and it’s been effective,” he said. “As we sit here today in the Melbourne CBD it’s in full force and effect.”
Robert Clark, Liberal opposition spokesman for Industrial Relations, said Mr Andrews should “expel” Mr Setka and the union from the Labor Party.
“For far too long Daniel Andrews has stood by John Setka and the CFMEU; it’s now time for him to stop taking their money and support and expel them from the Labor Party.
“Now it’s not just Boral or the Royal Commission talking about criminal charges over what was done to Boral, but Victoria Police as well.”
Victoria Police said in a statement yesterday: “Taskforce Heracles detectives have charged two people today in relation to an alleged blackmail.
“A 51-year-old man from West Footscray and a 47-year-old man from Ocean Grove have both been charged with one count of blackmail. “The charges follow a lengthy investigation by the Taskforce.”
The Royal Commission had recommended in its interim report last year that the director of Public Prosecutions of Victoria file criminal charges of blackmail against Mr Setka and Mr Reardon.
Student union test a Fail for Turnbull
THE Malcolm Turnbull-led Liberal Party failed a significant test on Thursday that has gone largely unremarked in the media but certainly not across the wider party.
The test on Thursday went to the core of Liberal values. It was over a vote on voluntary student unionism. This should have had the antennae of almost all Liberal MPs and senators twitching as many of them cut their teeth in student politics fighting those on the left, those who have the most to lose should they have their funding cut off.
As it stands, the bullies and thugs from the compulsory union lobby stand over those who don’t wish to join their union, those who choose not to participate in any of their activities or access any benefits of union membership. They even threaten to prevent graduates from picking up their degrees, denying them their right to graduate.
It must be noted that every state and territory division of the Liberal Party and the federal council of the party has voted to support voluntary student unionism and an end to the compulsion that exists.
The thuggishness of the student unionists was challenged by a motion placed before the Senate by independent Bob Day that would have given the more than one million tertiary students a greater degree of control over the expenditure of the compulsorily levied funds.
It called on the government to amend the Higher Education Support Act so that the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) could only be levied with the support of the majority of students at each university campus in a mandatory annual ballot.
On Wednesday night, however, the government leader in the Senate, Queensland Liberal George Brandis, instructed Liberal senators that the party’s official position was to oppose this motion and vote it down in concert with Greens and Labor senators.
Notionally, the leadership didn’t wish to upset some National Party members who fear that regional institutions may suffer a lack of funds if students are permitted to control their own destinies.
Tellingly, and in an extraordinary rebuke to Turnbull’s leadership team, not one Liberal senator followed the Liberal leadership’s instruction. With two honourable exceptions, they all abstained from voting, some hiding behind screens and others speedily exiting the Senate chamber when they realised the vote was being called.
Only two demonstrated not only courage but support for the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and association embodied in Day’s motion and crossed the floor to vote for it and support the position adopted by Liberals across Australia.
Those principled Liberals were senators Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi, often pilloried by the bien pensants in the left-wing media for stating honestly the principles they believe in.
Senator Bernardi later said it was telling that not one Liberal voted against the motion as instructed. “I voted in accordance with longstanding Liberal principle and philosophy,” he told me. “The fact that not one Liberal voted on the other side indicates I did the right thing.”
Senator Abetz said the struggle against compulsory student unionism had first inspired him to enter politics. “The SSAF is unfair, unpopular, undemocratic and used as a political plaything by political activists. There are numerous examples of inappropriate use of these fees for rorts, rackets and rip-offs.
“What is worse is that students are denied their results or enrolment if they refuse to pay the fee to the union. The right to a tertiary education should never be predicated on joining a union.”
Abetz said he firmly believed in full abolition of the SSAF and that the proposal put before the Senate by the crossbench calling for a vote of students before the fee being levied was just a small step in the right direction.
He said polling by Liberal students showed 70 per cent of students supported greater accountability and transparency of the administration of the fee and would be supportive of a democratic vote.
Alex Dore, the president of the NSW Young Liberals, said the federal parliamentary party under former prime minister John Howard had attempted to tackle compulsory student unionism in the tougher political climate of the ‘90s and had some successes which were overturned by prime minister Julia Gillard with the support of the Greens.
“We now have universities dominated by extremely loud anti-government voices which receive tens and twenties of thousands in stipends from student taxes, and all of those voices support Labor and Green positions,” he said.
“They are about crowding out opposition voices and students are being forced to fund them. The services students are compelled to pay for are being appropriated for this ideological campaign.”
Students will suffer from this defeat but the real losers are the grassroots Liberal Party members who hoped that the men and women they selected in the Senate to champion their party’s ideals of freedom would remain true to their principles.