Friday, June 21, 2019

CFACT at the Friedman Conference, 2019, Sydney Australia

Tax and climate at issue

From Friday May 24th to Sunday May 26th a CFACT team was there in Sydney for the dual Friedman Conference and the World Taxpayers Associations 17th Biennial Conference. It was the largest liberty event in Australia with over 500 people sharing in gala dinners, and almost one hundred presentations on tax battles, free speech issues and campaign strategies.

It was great timing, held just one week after the unexpected win of the conservative coalition government so people were very keen to talk about parallels between US and Australian politics.

A team of three including Jo Nova, Jim Simpson and Jeff Grimshaw helped spread the word about the many achievements of CFACT, especially in the climate debate, at UN events and moments like Marc Morano’s meeting with Al Gore in Melbourne. We signed people up to the newsletter, selling copies of Climate Hustle and talking about the ways people can get involved.

One participant was so keen she ordered copies of Climate Hustle for all her local libraries, promising to donate them so the people of Eurobodalla shire would be able to watch them. Another group of students were very excited to get a copy and planned to watch the DVD together as a finale party event at the close of the conference.

This was also the 100 year birthday of Tax & Super Australia. So many reasons to celebrate!

Jo Nova spoke about the rise of pagan temples in the Australian electricity grid (how many solar panels does it take to stop a storm?) She discussed the problems with re-taskiing industrial power stations as global weather controllers.

The mood was energized!


‘Advocate doctors are calling the shots’: Peter Dutton responds to medivac ruling

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has declared “advocate doctors” are dictating which asylum-seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru should come to Australia for medical treatment, after a controversial Federal Court ruling.

Two doctors applying for a person’s medical transfer under the Medivac bill now only have to review a person’s medical file and do not necessarily need to speak directly to them following yesterday’s judgment.

Mr Dutton said he had also been advised that a patient did not necessarily have to provide consent to doctors to put forward his or her case for a medical transfer.

“I am worried by this most recent court decision and I’m awaiting advice at the moment in relation to our appeal prospects,” Mr Dutton said.

“It’s inconceivable that a sovereign government doesn’t have the right to say who is going to come to our country and don’t have the right for those people to turn back once medical assistance has been provided.

“Not only does a doctor or the two doctors, not only do they not have to see the patient themselves, the patient doesn’t even need to provide consent … If you’ve got a situation where people aren’t even asking for their case to be considered, that is, for them to come to Australia, then it is a deeply flawed process.”

The government is ramping up pressure on Labor to support a repeal of the Labor-Greens-crossbench Medivac bill, which only applies to the current cohort of people in offshore processing, when parliament returns in July in the wake of the Federal Court judgment.

There are 512 people still on Manus Island, including 393 refugees and 119 non-refugees, and 332 on Nauru, including 242 refugees and 80 non-refugees.

“The Labor Party has created a massive mess here. This is Labor’s law and Labor should support the government to move in the Senate to revoke this bad law because it sends a bad signal when you have a country like ours being dictated to by doctors who can say that people must come here, regardless of their background,” Mr Dutton said.

“If you look at the advocacy record of some of the doctors involved in putting these cases forward I do think that’s problematic.”

Mr Dutton repeated “fears” the court ruling “opens the floodgates” and said if a significant number of people were transferred from Manus Island and Nauru it would create a “pull factor” for other asylum-seekers and the people-smuggling trade.

“Mr Albanese needs to provide support to us in the Senate to see this bad law repealed because otherwise the next arrival will be on Albanese’s shoulders,” he said.


Albanese in a bind as he faces policy consequences

The coalition could hang a new rash of boat people around his neck, which would be a big loser for the ALP

Anthony Albanese faces two critical tests when the new parliament convenes in the first week of July.

Both will challenge the new Labor leader’s claims to be a centrist leader determined to steer the party back from the fringes and into the living rooms of mainstream Australians.

The first is on tax. The second is now on boats.

A Federal Court ruling yesterday on the medivac laws has set up a fight on border protection probably earlier than Albanese would have liked.

But it is a blue he has to have and just like the argument over whether to support the government’s entire personal income tax package, the decisions he makes now may well define his leadership over the course of this term.

Already Albanese has signalled that he is not for turning on the medivac laws that Labor rammed through the lower house earlier this year with the crossbench in its rush to deliver a defeat to the government on the floor of parliament.

The consequences of such a decision for Labor in opposition was never a consideration because no one believed it would be in opposition.

Albanese has ruled out any prospect of Labor supporting the Coalition in repealing laws it so vigorously fought for. There is no appetite within the Labor caucus or shadow cabinet for such a move.

Nor is there a conceivable justification for the new leader to overturn what every one of the Labor frontbenchers claimed at the time was the right decision.

The Federal Court ruling changes nothing for Labor’s position. There are no grounds for a volte-face. But then there are political realities.

Having been forced to defend the legislation, he becomes a rich target for the government on an issue that very few Labor MPs want to talk about.

The fact is that there are consequences for many of the decisions taken by Labor over the past six years and this is just one of the many that Albanese now has to contend with.


Cormann clear on no tax plan deal with crossbenchers

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has ruled-out striking a deal with crossbenchers on the Coalition’s flagship income tax cut plan.

Speaking on Sky News this afternoon, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said Mr Cormann had made it clear he wouldn’t negotiate with her or other crossbenchers over the controversial three-stage deal.

Meanwhile, Jacqui Lambie is “very open” to backing the Coalition’s full suite of tax cuts and changes to asylum medevac legislation but is set to demand more funding for Tasmania in return.

“I spoke to Mathias Cormann this morning,” Ms Hanson said. “He gave me a phone call and he said ‘I’m not negotiating with crossbenchers on this at all’. [He] also said, ‘you know we have our three stages and we’re going to pass that no matter what’ …

“They’re not prepared to actually look at it, listen to reasoning over this whole thing. I just don’t think it’s the best way to go.”

Senator Lambie said today she was willing to “do a deal for Tasmania” with the Morrison government, potentially including the last tranche of its tax cuts and the medevac changes. “I’m very open on all that,” she told ABC local radio.

“Obviously, I still need to get into those department heads and speak to them. I also need to speak to the ministers. “But everything is open. Nothing has been shut off. It’s like ‘well, what have you got? This is the deal I’m looking for, what can we do here’?”

Senator Lambie said she wanted the Coalition to provide further funding to address the “big disaster” of Tasmania’s health system, as well as homelessness and TAFE.

Other crossbench senators were likely to make their own demands, she suggested. “They’ll be deals going on, left, right and centre,” she said.

She had made no decisions but was speaking to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann about the reform agenda, including the third tranche of tax cuts, to take the rate to 30 per cent for all incomes between $45,000 and $200,000.

“He (Senator Cormann) is doing everything he can to move meetings to make sure I can get to what I need to as soon as I get up there (in Canberra),” she said.

Returning to the Senate 18 months after resigning over a dual citizenship, Senator Lambie said Tasmanians were “confused” about the tax cuts but might be relaxed about her backing them. “I think they understand that those last tranches of the tax cuts won’t be … until 2024-25,” she said. “There’ll be another election in there.

“Those ones that are a little bit more switched on are saying ‘well, you know, you could probably do the deal and look at putting that stage three through because it may never eventuate’.”

She appeared to endorse Centre Alliance suggestions the last tranche of tax cuts could be conditional on certain economic indicators. “Is there a way that you can measure it against something in the economy, so if it drops this far, that’s it, the deal is all over?” Senator Lambie said.

“So it’s (a case of) looking at all that. But I need to see experts into all that. I think Tasmanians are a bit like me: they’re watching which way it is, whether or not I will do a deal for Tasmanians if they support that stage three … All that’s up in the air.”

While the Coalition has previously played down striking a deal with crossbenchers to get its legislation through, Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick met Mr Cormann in Perth on Monday to discuss energy policy.

Senator Patrick has demanded action to reduce gas prices to give long-term assistance to pensioners in exchange for his support on the personal income tax cuts that deliver short-term relief for average workers.

The government’s refusal to negotiate comes as Labor divides on the issue, with some members such as inner-city Melbourne MP Peter Khalil urging his party to back the Morrison government’s full tax agenda.

The Coalition has previously ruled out splitting up the package, arguing the later stage will bring much-needed structural reform.

If it fails to secure Labor’s backing, the government will need the support of four crossbenchers in order to get the legislation through the Senate when parliament resumes.

But Ms Hanson is standing firm and has refused to support the plan, saying it “wouldn’t benefit people on pensions or welfare payments” with rising electricity prices. “It’s not the sensible thing to do, we’re talking about $158 billion in tax cuts, and I’ll go on about this again, it is that far down the track how do we know what the economy is going to be like at that time.”


Arrow warns of $1b wound from gas royalty hike by Queensland government

A major coal-seam gas operation predicts that the Queensland government’s shock move to lift royalties will cost it at least $1 billion more over the lifetime of a project.

The initial modelling from Arrow Energy, which is proposing a 27-year project, comes amid acrimonious debate about whether the gas sector should be paying more to Queenslanders.

Arrow is proposing a project based in the Surat Basin in southern Queensland that it estimates would employ 1000 people, churn out 5 trillion cubic feet of gas and require $10 billion in capital expenditure.

It is so symbolic that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the project as a “vote of confidence in Queensland as a resources investment destination”.

While it was not threatening to cancel the work because of the rise, Arrow pointed out that its shareholders Shell and PetroChina were yet to make the final investment decision on going ahead.


Radio star Derryn Hinch and a Victorian Labor senator have officially lost out on Senate spots as the final results from the federal election come in

The Coalition has won three senate seats in total in Victoria, a state they were widely expected to perform badly in before the federal election. St Kilda-based Liberal David Van has joined re-elected senators James Patterson and recently promoted assistant minister Jane Hume.

“It’s an honour to be elected to represent Victoria in the Senate for the next six years,” Mr Van said today.

“I’m looking to bring the interests of the quiet Australians to our Parliament. Regardless of your background, religion or where you live in our great state, the values of Robert Menzies and the Liberal Party have universal application.

“I want to listen to the concerns of those quiet Australians, and ensure that we continue to engage with their communities as we return to Parliament in July.”

Sitting ALP senator Gavin Marshall has been pipped to a senate spot by Mr Van and re-elected Greens senator Janet Rice.

The Opposition had aimed to win up to eight lower house MPs and three senators at the federal election, off the back of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’s landslide state election win in November.

But the party only managed to gain two seats — Corangamite and Dunkley — which were already notionally Labor due to a redistribution of federal boundaries, while the Liberals increased their margins in key target seats like Casey and Deakin.

Labor’s Jess Walsh will enter parliament alongside re-elected Victorian ALP senator Raff Ciccone.

Senator Hinch has missed out on returning to the Senate but The Australian’s Media Diary has reported he could be set to return to Sky News in a leading role. His Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party won several upper house seats in the last Victorian state election.

The Victorian senate results mean all seats up for grabs at last month’s federal election are now confirmed and the writs could return as early as Friday.

Yesterday, Labor recorded its worst Senate result since 1949 in the battleground state of Queensland, securing just one seat after One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts and the Greens’ Larissa Waters managed to win the fourth and sixth spots.

Outgoing Labor senator Chris Ketter, who was given the usually winnable second spot on the party’s Queensland Senate ticket behind Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union organiser Nita Green, has lost his seat in a major blow to the ALP.

The failure to win two upper house seats in the Sunshine State reflects Labor’s poor showing in the House of Representatives, where the party took just six of 30 Queensland electorates — a net loss of two.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: