Sunday, June 16, 2019

'It's absurd': Childcare is costing parents more than fees for exclusive private schools - with some spending $50,000 a year. It's costing $50,000 a year for full time care, and $30,000 for part time care

We see the fruit of all encompassing regulation.  When I was a kid, parents would send their kids to be minded to the old lady over the road who had already brought up her own family.  She charged pennies so those who only earned pennies could afford it.  And because she was known in the area there were no fears about it. 

That should still be allowed but these days she would be a deep-dyed criminal, in breach of dozens of regulations.  Why not revive the old system by allowing a regulated and an unregulated sector?  We would soon see how much parents valued the regulations which are allegedly "for your own good"

Parents are forking out more for childcare than the cost of the some of the country's most exclusive private schools, with some centres now charging over $200 a day.

In the most extreme cases, daycare costs are setting Sydney families back $50,000 a year for care five days a week, and $30,000 for part time care.

Parents would be paying less to send their children to Cranbrook in Sydney's eastern suburbs, an elite boys' kindergarten to year 12 college, which costs $37,230 per year.

Australian Childcare Alliance NSW chief Chiang Lim told the Saturday Telegraph that Sydney is the hardest hit city in the country when it comes to extreme childcare costs.

'It is absurd that it can be more expensive than some of the elite private schools in Sydney,' he said.

A recent OECD cost of living report found that Australia has some of the highest childcare costs in the world.

On average, Aussie parents are spending 26 per cent of their joint incomes on childcare.

Sending one child to daycare in Mosman, on the north shore, costs an average of $159.56 a day, with one centre charging $210.

Meanwhile, fees in Coogee are slightly less at an average of $150 per day, while Canterbury in Sydney's inner west costs $115 for a day of care. 

'We really need a review of the entire system,' Mr Lim said.

Wealthier families in Sydney's affluent suburbs put their kids on the waiting lists of community pre schools with cost just $40 a day.

Childcare subsidies are paid directly to the centres, but are capped at an hourly rate of $11.77, which doesn't offer big savings for struggling families.

Couples with a combined income of $351,248 per year don't qualify for subsidies, and parents who take in between $186,958 and $351,247 have a capped subsidy of $10,190 per child.

This has lead to parents working less or finding other ways to get their children looked after. 


Audit doubts outcomes of plan to tackle domestic violence

A 67 page report titled: "Coordination and Targeting of Domestic Violence Funding and Actions" has just come out from the  Auditor-General.  There is a useful summary of it below from education journalist Rebecca Urban.

Campaigner Bettina Arndt is very pleased with it.  She has long called out feminist lies on the subject.  She comments:

"Big news this week of damning evidence from the National Audit Office revealing the monstrous waste of public funds on the domestic violence industry which simply demonises men and does nothing to address real problems of family violence.

This is an important report and we all need to get active using this to make the case to MPs and other influential people that this important social issue needs proper attention instead of pandering to feminist propaganda."

Serious doubts have emerged about the effectiveness of Australia’s multi-million-dollar plan to tackle violence against women, with a scathing audit report highlighting a lack of performance tracking, robust data collection and public accountability.

The Australian National Audit Office has reviewed the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, finding that monitoring, evaluation and reporting was “not sufficient to provide assurance that governments are on track to achieve the … overarching target and outcomes”.

The national plan, which was developed in partnership with the states and territories and rolled out by Labor prime minister Julia Gillard in 2011, has been championed by successive governments since and has cost taxpayers more than $700 million so far.

With an overarching vision for Australian women and their children to “live free from violence and in safe communities”, the plan is delivered with several partners, including Australia’s National ­Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, Our Watch and White Ribbon, and funds projects ranging from research into links between gambling and domestic violence, or incidences of violence in diverse communities, through to social media campaigns about men’s behaviour and respectful relationships lessons in schools.

However, as the audit office found, although metrics to assess the performance of the plan were established at the outset, they were limited and did not necessarily align with the targeted outcomes that the plan sought to achieve.

For example, for the stated outcome “communities are safe and free from violence”, the single ­related measure of success was limited to “increased intolerance of violence” and did not consider actual levels of violence or broader community safety. For the outcome “relationships are respectful”, the single measure of success was limited to young people and the available data allowed for an assessment of “knowledge or awareness of violence against women” but was unable to assess whether young people were demonstrating “improved skills and behaviour”.

According to the audit office report, this is not the first time that concerns have been raised, with stakeholders previously flagging to the federal Department of ­Social Service, which oversees the plan, a need for improvements to the measures of success and data sources.

They noted “significant concern around the lack of performance indicators”, “concern about the consistency and completeness of the data used”, and that “current indicators do not adequately account for all cohorts of women at risk of violence or adequately account for all forms of violence that women and their children could be exposed to”.


Labor leader's extraordinary blunder: Powerful union bosses slam Labor leader as an 'IDIOT' for attempting to fire innocent union leader

Not a good start for Albo.  Still, I suppose it makes him a good Leftist to spring into action without knowing the full facts

Union bosses have branded Labor leader Anthony Albanese an 'idiot' after prematurely calling for the sacking of union heavy weight John Setka on dodgy information.

Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union boss John Setka was laying low of Friday after calls for his scalp were splashed across papers around the country.

A relaxed Mr Setka was spotted enjoying a soda water with an acquaintance at a North Melbourne cafe on Friday. He declined to comment when approached by Daily Mail Australia and said he was 'allowing the dust to settle' after a week of controversy.

Behind closed union doors, his powerful allies are livid at an extraordinary attempt by Mr Albanese to have him removed over supposed comments about anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty Mr Setka made at a union event.

The claims were later revealed to be false, but Mr Albanese refuses to back down. 

Sources have told Daily Mail Australia how union bosses are branding the Labor Leader's comments 'idiotic', and that Mr Setka's haters are continue to push for his scalp.

'They're now going after him because they reckon he swears too much,' a source said. 'Can you believe that. Of course he swears too much. But who cares!?' 

In a tough week for the 'love him or loathe him' union boss, ACTU secretary Sally McManus acknowledged Mr Setka did not denigrate Rosie Batty. 'He never said anything to denigrate Rosie Batty,' she said. 'He didn't in any way say laws are worse for men. It's just been reported in a way that's not correct.'

The ACTU secretary had earlier called for Mr Setka's scalp if he was found guilty of harassing another woman

That matter is currently weaving its way through the Melbourne Magistrates' Court and involves claims Mr Setka bombarded a woman with unwanted texts and phone calls.

On Tuesday, Mr Albanese, said he would move to expel Mr Setka from the Labor party over the supposed Batty sledge.

At a press conference with his wife Emma Walters a day later, Mr Setka said there was no reason for him to resign.

Ms Walters claimed her husband had been the victim of a 'get-John Setka campaign'.

Maritime Union national president Christy Cain backed Mr Setka, telling the ABC plans to expel him because of 'false' and 'rubbish' claims that he had denigrated Ms Batty would be disgraceful.

He claimed he was in the room last week when Mr Setka was meant to have made the comments, and that Mr Albanese was foolish to have accepted the veracity of the retelling.

Mr Cain further suggested it should be Mr Albanese — not Mr Setka — who should resign.


The straight-talking senator teaching universities a thing or two

Every time a conservative woman of promise emerges from the blancmange of politics, some hope for the next Margaret Thatcher. Amanda Stoker doesn’t ride on the coat-tails of history or gender, so can we please look at her free from comparisons?

The 37-year-old senator is going places on her own terms. For starters, Stoker is Queensland through and through. By choice, not by birth. Stoker was born and raised in Sydney’s west; her father was a plumber and her mother did the books. Stoker moved to Brisbane as a young lawyer 12 years ago and hasn’t left.

She is no-nonsense, straight talking, her positions firmly premised on commonsense principles. Stoker is making her mark fast, after entering parliament in March last year. To understand her story, her spunk and her political convictions, you need to understand why she is a natural fit in Queensland and how the Sunshine State has played a pivotal role in federal politics.

John Howard has recalled election night, December 1949. He had been at the cinema with his parents and they returned home to find his eldest brother, Wal, sitting on the floor in the dining room listening to the large radio. “Menzies is in,” Wal told his family. “The biggest swing has been in Queensland.”

In fact, Menzies had won 83 per cent of the Queensland seats. Last month, Scott Morrison won 76 per cent of seats in the Sunshine State, 23 seats to Labor’s six.

In the 1961 election, which Menzies nearly lost, the Coalition won seven to Labor’s 11 seats in Queensland. When Kevin Rudd was elected in 2007 by pretending to be an economic conservative, Labor won 15 Queensland seats, to the Coalition’s 13. In other words, those who understand Queensland have a shot at government.

Stoker understands the concerns of quiet Australians. This week, the mother of three girls under five hit a nerve at Sydney’s sandstone university. In comments to The Sydney Morning Herald, University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence said this of Stoker’s line of questioning at a Senate estimates hearing in October last year: “Have you ever heard a more shocking waste of public funds than that?”

Spence was reportedly “galled” that the senator had prised from federal education bureaucrats a new-found focus on holding Australian universities accountable for obligations they have to be places of free intellectual inquiry.

Stoker was questioning Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency chief commissioner Nick Saunders about specific provisions under federal laws that require universities to embrace academic freedom.

Academic freedom ought to be in their DNA, not our laws. Nonetheless, this is where we are today. Understanding what is at stake, Stoker raised a number of concerns with Saunders, including many university policies that prohibit “offensive” comments.

Saunders said he was uncomfortable with Stoker’s examples. “They certainly do not fit with the concept of a university being a place where ideas are contested and debated,” he said, agreeing to examine policies that undermine the legal obligations of universities to uphold academic freedom.

What seems to have gotten up Spence’s nose is that Stoker also mentioned an address last September at the University of Sydney by Bettina Arndt, who challenges claims of a “rape crisis” on campuses. Feel free to agree or disagree with Arndt. But not at Sydney University. Security had to call in a riot squad when protesters became violent and abusive towards students who wanted to listen to Arndt’s views.

Saunders agreed the behaviour of protesters breached the university’s code of conduct, and appropriate action was needed. That hasn’t happened. Instead, Spence told the SMH there is no problem with free speech on campus. He has accused those on the left and right as being as bad as each other.

This is a most disingenuous assertion. The world is a polarised place, to be sure. But where is the evidence of right-wing protesters trying to shut down events of political opponents on campus? Spence’s claim of both sides being as bad as each other was rendered comic when, in the same SMH article, feminist Eva Cox suggested we might need “short-term bans”, including at universities, to stop discussion of particular issues.

Way to shut down free speech. Way to make a martyr, too. Drive lunatics underground into dark places where dopey ideas are not open to challenge.

Stoker wrote to Spence on Monday: “I hope you intend to provide evidence of your assertion that ‘the conservatives are as bad as the progressives’ when it comes to campus misbehaviour. My research has found only evidence of the ‘left’ shutting down the ‘right’s’ right to speak.”

The Queensland LNP senator also challenged Spence’s claims her Senate estimates questions were a “shocking waste of public funds”. “The idea those government departments and agencies that oversee the spending of public money — such as the $17.5 billion provided to universities last year — should not be subject to public scrutiny runs contrary to our system of democracy and accountability.”

She assured Spence she would continue to hold Sydney University, and the country’s other universities, to their academic freedom obligations.

“He’s a sook,” she says of Spence, who has not responded to her letter.

Earlier this year, our grandest universities sidelined a report into academic freedom by former High Court chief justice Robert French, who drew up a model code of academic freedom. University leaders and sections of the media picked out one line, where French says there is no free speech crisis, as reason to do nothing.

“The idea of a free speech crisis was never the basis of the referral (to French),” says Stoker. “It was more than nuanced than that. We received an intelligent, nuanced answer from French that gives us a prescription for the way forward.

“If universities are not serious about this, then we should get serious about setting some KPIs, ­defining very clearly what intellectual freedom looks like, and if they’re not met we should be prepared to pull funding.”

Last week’s exchange goes to the core of Stoker’s values and the reason she left the Bar to enter politics. She tells Inquirer she was a child during “the recession we had to have” and saw how normal, not especially privileged, families suffer when governments don’t get policy right. “That led me to read and try to educate myself about politics and policy, and why it matters, and what works and what doesn’t,” she says.

Stoker joined the Liberal Party at university. By the time she sought preselection last year, she had grown frustrated that not enough people in politics understood and valued freedoms and understood the corrosive role of big government.

“I looked around for someone who would do something and I didn’t see them. So, when you have children to provide for and protect, when something has to be done, you just do it,” she says.

In February, Stoker gave an address at the Centre for Independent Studies exploring the reasons for our declining trust in institutions, especially parliament. “There is a failure to fully appreciate the role between the individual and the government and the relationship between freedom and responsibility,” she tells Inquirer.

She marks down identity politics and its focus on victimhood, which infantilises people as well as breeding resentment. She mentions the decline of mutual responsibility, the idea our many rights come with responsibilities.

Stoker lists academic scorn towards teaching the full story of Western civilisation and attacks on the traditional family as other corrosive influences on society. “If you undermine all of those things … society becomes so broken that we cannot flourish, not in a personal sense, not in a private experience, not in an economic way either,” Stoker says. “Our side cannot permanently shy away from dealing with these things on the basis that intellectual freedom never got someone a job when actually it did, it really, really did.”

This is perhaps a gentle swipe at Scott Morrison who, as treasurer in 2017, said that defending free speech “doesn’t create one job, doesn’t open one business”.

“It might be a few steps removed but it does make a difference to people’s prospects of getting a job, their prospects of having a good economic future,” says Stoker, who wants the Liberal Party to refocus on its principles to settle on policies. “That way we can serve the people for the long time. That’s what principled leadership will do for us.”

Stoker’s words will be felt in Canberra. Her common sense is very Queensland.

Asked about life as a politician and a family woman, Stoker says there have been many more families who have done a lot more with a lot less. “I am not going to bleat or complain,” she says.

A couple of months ago, Stoker returned to her home in Bardon, in Brisbane’s western suburbs, after a long sitting week in Canberra. Her husband pointed to the corner of the room where their three daughters, Mary, Jane and Emma, were playing. They had arranged a bunch of chairs into a semicircle, two stools at the head, and they were taking turns giving speeches about the things they thought were important. It was a game they invented called Senate.

“How cool is that,” says Stoker. “My kids are just fine.”

Stoker’s daughters have every reason to want to mimic their mum’s work. The Queensland senator is fast becoming the voice for Morrison’s quiet Australians.


The Labor party's magic pudding proved a political mirage

It’s said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. But in the case of Labor’s unexpected electoral defeat, there are quite a few parents to blame, including Bowen.

Let’s think about Bowen’s contribution to Labor’s election defeat. By amassing a dizzying array of additional sources of tax revenue, he was able to predict, in theory at least, that Labor would deliver higher spending and bigger budget surpluses. He honestly thought he had found an economic magic pudding that would secure electoral success.

The basic idea was that he could impose higher taxes on mainly non-Labor voters while handing out more free stuff to Labor’s faithful constituency while reeling in some extra voters. There would be no need for those pesky questions about how Labor could afford to increase spending on health, education, childcare and other pet projects.

What Bowen (and other Labor leaders) failed to appreciate is that the impact of the tax changes that he proposed was not confined to the big end of town. Take the abolition of negative gearing save for new residential real estate. The information on negative gearing is very clear: many investors are on modest incomes and most of them hold only one property. This wasn’t the top end of town, more like aspirational mums and dads.

Then there was Bowen’s fatal plan to eliminate cash refunds for franking credits which, according to some sources, was initially recommended to him by one of the large accounting firms. Mind you, it is never a good idea to take advice from private sector economists with no expertise in policy development and no ear for the politics of a plan.

There was so much misinformation being put out by Labor in relation to this plan, including the fanciful notion that cash refunds were unjustified gifts to people who had paid no tax. That the tax had already been paid by the companies was a point that escaped both Bowen and Shorten.

The real story was about dividend imputation and how double taxation was avoided as a result of its operation. In point of fact, close to $50 billion in franking credits is distributed each year. Some of these credits cannot be used because they accrue to foreign shareholders and companies. But of the $24bn odd eligible for refunds, about $6bn take the form of cash refunds and the rest is used to reduce tax liabilities. In terms of the budget bottom line, there is no difference between a cash refund and a reduced tax liability, another point Bowen and Shorten seemed incapable of understanding.

And here’s the rub: the people who use franking credits to reduce the tax they pay are generally much better off than those who receive cash refunds.

Had Bowen suggested that the system of dividend imputation be reviewed with a view to reducing the cost to the budget, he might have been on firm ground. However, by advising that cash refunds would be eliminated for some shareholders (some pensioners and those with superannuation in taxpaying funds were to be spared) he laid the ground for a fully justified counter campaign pointing out that many retirees on modest incomes were about to lose out.

And for many of those people who would have been hit, Labor’s plan was not just about the dollars, although this was important. It was also an implicit attack on their longstanding aspirations to provide for their own retirement ­according to settled rules.

To underscore Labor’s witlessness on this point, former deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek had previously declared that “this ­aspiration term mystifies me”.

But misjudging the mood of the electorate was only part of Labor’s problem.

Many of the policy proposals, including ones that Bowen had initiated, were simply half-baked. Instead of releasing the costings undertaken by the Parliamentary Budget Office, Bowen opted to keep the reports confidential. Details of the assumptions that formed the basis of these costings were never disclosed.

He was tripped up by this strategy several times, including in relation to the proportion of real estate investment, which takes the form of new properties. Bowen cited a very low figure — 7 per cent — quoting the Australian Bureau of Statistics as the source even though the ABS does not collect these figures. He was forced into witness protection for several days during the campaign.

Then there was the idea, out of blue, to top up the pay of childcare workers — some childcare workers, at least — by 20 per cent, courtesy of the taxpayer.

There were serious question marks about this proposal, including the cost, the disruption to ­accepted wage-fixing principles ­involving the Fair Work Commission and whether other workers also would have their pay topped up. None of these issues was ever satisfactorily dealt with during the campaign.

Voters were never really given a full explanation of the benefits of the additional free stuff that Labor was offering. More money for schools — what would that yield? More money for hospitals and free cancer care — how would that work? Free dental care for pensioners — was that even possible?

As Bowen, now the opposition health spokesman, gets his head around the health portfolio and is pitched against an experienced and competent minister, he can look back on his time as Treasury spokesman and repent at leisure.

Had he been more modest — restricting negative gearing to one or two properties, putting a cap on cash refunds for franking credits or cutting the capital gains tax discount by 10 percentage points rather than 25 are three examples — the election result might have been different. But his advice to voters that if they didn’t like Labor’s policies, they were “entitled to vote against us” was at least honest. Sadly for Labor, many voters took up his suggestion.


 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


Paul said...

"Tanya Plibersek had previously declared that “this ­aspiration term mystifies me”."

Labor's "deplorables" moment?

Paul said...

Setka needs to be gone from public life, but this isn't the way to do it. It has the opposite effect of making him kind of an anti-PC hero.