Friday, March 22, 2019


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is critical of a proposal to issue "sexless" birth certificates in Tasmania

Forecaster warns that Labor's plan to scrap negative gearing could send house prices plunging by another 15 per cent - while rents are set to soar

Meathead Shorten has just got to look at the last time Labor abolished negative gearing:  Rents rose by over 30%!  How is that good for the poor? As usual, an attempt to hit the rich will hurt the poor most of all.

Labor's plan to scrap negative gearing could cause house prices to plunge by another 15 per cent in Australia's biggest cities and cause a spike in rents, economic modelling predicts.

SQM Research, an independent property analysis firm, has released explosive new predictions less than two months before an election is to be fought over tax breaks for investor landlords.

Were Labor to win the May federal election as expected, house and apartment prices in Sydney could plunge by up to 14 per cent in Sydney and by 16 per cent in Melbourne, between 2020 and 2022.

With Sydney's median house price already down 15 per cent, since peaking in July 2017, that would represent a 29 per cent drop or a massive $300,000 decline in just five years, when SQM Research predictions were combined with CoreLogic data.

That dire scenario is based on the Reserve Bank of Australia keeping interest rates on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent as Labor embarked on a plan to make housing more affordable.

SQM Research predicted the Opposition's plan to scrap negative gearing for future purchases of existing real estate would have devastating consequences for the economy as the construction sector slowed down.

The group's founder and economist Louis Christopher called on Labor to delay its 'ill-timed' plan to wind back negative gearing or phase it in over three years instead changing tax laws in 2020.

'They need to think this through a bit more,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'Sadly, I think Labor are doing it the wrong way.

Source: SQM Research modelling for 2020 to 2022 based on Labor scrapping negative gearing for future purchases of existing properties and the Reserve Bank of Australia leaving interest rates untouched

'Repealing negative gearing during a downturn is going to aggravate the situation so construction will fall further than what otherwise would have happened. 'That is a big negative for the economy at a time when it's pretty patchy.'

Should the Coalition win an unlikely election victory in May, SQM predicted  Sydney and Melbourne property prices would climb by up to 14 per cent between 2020 and 2022.

That prediction is based on the Reserve Bank cutting interest rates twice as negative gearing is left alone by a conservative government.

'There is definitely a key policy differential between Labor and Liberal on housing,' Mr Christopher said. 'Voters definitely have a choice which policy direction they want the country to go down.'

The research also predicted a spike in rents, if Labor wound back negative gearing and halved the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. 'Yields will have to lift because investors will demand some type of compensation for the lack of tax concession,' Mr Christopher said.

It forecast rents rising by up to 20 per cent in Perth and by 22 per cent in Brisbane, between 2020 and 2022.

Sydney rents meanwhile would rise by 10 per cent as Melbourne and Adelaide tenants paid an extra 15 per cent, on the proviso interest rates were unchanged.

To make their point about rents, SQM Research analysed rent increases across Australia, between 1985 and 1987, when another federal Labor government led by Bob Hawke scrapped negative gearing.

An analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics inflation data showed rents surged by 33 per cent in Perth and by 31.4 per cent in Sydney, which were well above the average capital city increase of 20.6 per cent.

The Hawke government reintroduced negative gearing in 1987, following an outcry from the property industry.

In early 2016, however, Labor leader Bill Shorten vowed to wind back the policy, during an era when Sydney and Melbourne house prices were surging by double-digit figures.

Labor has vowed to scrap negative gearing for existing properties, at a yet to be specified date and repeal tax refunds for shareholders who don't pay any income tax.

Its plan to scrap both set of tax concessions is designed to save taxpayers $80billion over the next decade and prevent investors from crowding out first-home buyers from the property market.

An average full-time worker on an $83,500 is already on mortgage stress paying off a $500,000 home loan with a 20 per cent deposit. A median-priced house in Sydney and Melbourne would be out of their reach unless they were in a double-income relationship.


No rock music, no vaping, and no drinking on kayaks: How Sydney is being strangled by a 'shopping list of outrageous little regulations'

The early closing laws do save lives but should a lot of people be restricted just to save a few?  It's an issue not addressed below.  A drunk at 3am in Kings Cross is both dangerous and endangered.  I remember the Cross before the bans and I liked it the way it was.  It had a unique atmosphere

Sydney's long list of 'nanny state' drinking regulations and 'petty' laws has cost the city an estimated $16billion.  

Voters have a chance to overhaul some of the most outrageous rules when they head to the polls for this Saturday's state election.

Some of the more controversial laws include a ban on 49 popular venues playing live music, kayakers being breathalysed and fines for vaping.  

Leading the battle to overturn some of NSW's ridiculous regulations is the Keep Sydney Open party, which formed to fight Sydney's controversial lockout laws that have brought the city's night-time economy to an abrupt standstill in recent years.

 Around 49 venues in NSW are banned from playing 'rock music' according to a 2018 parliamentary inquiry while a Deloitte Access Economics report found Sydney's night-time economy was underdeveloped by $16 billion.

The party has a lengthy list of proposed policies on its website, many of which aim to unlock Sydney's night-time economy and return to being a 24 hour city.

'But this is about more than just the lockouts, this is about creating the kind of city we want to live in, and one we are proud to show to the world,' the party states on its Facebook page.

Keep Sydney Open also vows to 'tear up the nanny state and restore civil liberties' by allowing cyclists to ride helmet-free and putting a stop on police resources being used to slap fines on jaywalkers and to breathalyse kayakers on the water going for a leisurely paddle.

'Refocus police to educating people,' the party's website states.

Keep Sydney Open party founder Tyson Koh described the climate of control in NSW as more extreme than any other state. 'There is a shopping list of outrageous little rules and regulations that simply don't need to exist,' he told

'Visitors soak up the beauty but in many cases they don't return because they are being watched by Big Brother all the time'.

Former federal senator and NSW upper house candidate David Leyonhjelm was also critical of some of the most severe smoking and cycling regulations, describing them as absurd and insulting to a community that consisted of adults.

He wants the $500 fine for vaping (use of electronic cigarettes) in public places and a smoking ban in Sydney’s Martin Place overturned.

'Restrictions are based on people not wanting to smell smoke or a general disapproval of smoking. And disapproval is now a common justification for red tape and nanny state rules,' Mr Leyonhjelm told

A parliamentary inquiry hearing into the music and arts economy in NSW 12 months ago heard that Sydney's cultural and night-time economy had sunk so low that dancing, DJs, disco balls and and even ukuleles been banned by the fun police.

The 2018 inquiry attracted almost 400 written submissions.

'Sydney sparkles by day, and yet we have lost our ability to sparkle by night,' Solotel Group's submission stated. 'We have come to define night by curfews – midnight, 1.30am deadlines or 3am closures. This is in stark contrast to the truly global cities we call our peers – Melbourne, London, New York, Berlin and Paris, all of whom have night time economies that truly reflect the ecosystem of their city.'

The lock-out laws changed the way the iconic Oxford Art Factory in Darlinghurst operates.

'The lock out has dramatically affected areas like Kings Cross and Oxford Street that were previously highly populated on Friday and Saturday nights,' the venue's submission stated.

'This has created spaces like the OAF to become a destination venue rather than a place that would trade efficiently till late on weekends without draw-card international acts or high cost DJ's. The knock on effect of this limited foot traffic is the shutdown of complementary establishments like cafes, shops and restaurants that would extend the time that people would be visiting the precinct.'


Department waters down animal welfare conditions to allow live exports to resume

Live exports to the Middle East are set to resume in the hottest months of the year after the Department of Agriculture weakened new animal welfare conditions following representations from the exporters' industry group.

The department, which acts as the independent regulator of the industry, is proposing to allow live exports to resume in May this year, backing down on draft heat stress test recommendations released in December which called for shipments to be banned in the northern hemisphere's summer months.

But the department said following consultations it would consider extending the period for exporters permits during September and October while imposing a ban between June and August.

Draft advice released in December last year recommended what is known as the wet bulb temperature on board ships should not exceed 28 degrees, a restriction which would have all but ended the entire live sheep trade.

Independent observer records of voyages last May show temperatures reaching 34 degrees.

The observer said although there were "no dramatic signs of heat stress" among animals there was an "increase in panting and open mouth breathing". They suggested sheep had a choice about whether to pant or not, describing cases of sheep using "voluntary open mouth breathing" when the wet bulb temperature reached 32 degrees.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud commissioned Dr Michael McCarthy to review animal welfare standards on board ships last year in response to footage of a heat stress event in 2017 that resulted in the death of 2,400 sheep. In the footage, sheep can be seen visibly panting as they suffer the effects of heat stress.

In its submission to the department, the Australian Livestock Exporters Council said it opposed the introduction of a 28 degree wet bulb temperature cap saying most farms in Australia would not meet that criteria which, if applied, would wipe out the trade.

"The ... draft recommendations in terms of imposing a condition on the trade for standard sheep that there must be less than a two per cent chance that the maximum WBT temperature encountered during a voyage will exceed 28°C will close the trade for almost all the year," the exporters' council's submission said.

The council has instead proposed measuring animal welfare standards by how often a sheep is witnessed panting, rather than the temperature on board.

A spokesman for the department said the cap of 28 degrees was "not an absolute number" and said there was "little evidence" of sheep suffering last May, citing independent observer reports.

"Similar conditions were applied during the previous northern summer and there was little evidence of significant animal welfare issues from the reports of independent observers on these voyages," the spokesperson said.

"The duration of exposure to hot conditions is an important consideration. The IO [Independent Observer] reports for voyages for May 2018 indicate limited open mouth panting was observed in some sheep in the afternoon."

The department's watered down proposals make no mention of a limit on the wet bulb temperature and instead recommend logging temperatures on board.

The RSPCA's Jed Goodfellow condemned the department. "Minister David Littleproud has repeatedly told the Australian public he will be acting on the scientific evidence to stop animal suffering, but it is clear his department is not getting the memo," he said.

The opposition has promised to phase out the trade if it wins government later this year.


Australia Aboriginals win right to sue for "spiritual" land loss

The  High Court of Australia has handed down the biggest "native title" ruling affecting Aboriginal ownership of the land in decades, amid claims that billions of dollars in compensation will need to be paid by governments to indigenous groups.

"Native title" refers to the rights of Australia's indigenous people to their traditional land and water recognised by Australian common law.

Lawyers, including those representing mining companies, said the ruling in favour of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Aboriginal groups - from a remote part of the Northern Territory - paved the way for billions of dollars in compensation nationally.

"The High Court's decision will likely to trigger compensation applications from many of the hundreds of native title holder groups around Australia," said Tony Denholder, in the wake of a case that a federal court ruled on in 2016 - before the High Court became involved.

The Native Title Act came about after the landmark "Mabo" decision in 1993 overturned the British claim that Australia was "terra nullius" - nobody's land. It found that Aboriginal rights to some, but by no means all land, survived colonisation and were not "extinguished".

Since then, Aboriginal groups have been able to file native title claims over large parts of the country.

Now, the High Court has handed down another landmark ruling on the matter of paying compensation for the loss of those rights - the loss of economic income related to the land and the loss of a spiritual connection to the land. Or in other words, putting a financial price on the severing of cultural ties.

In 2016, the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Aboriginal groups awarded $2.3m in damages because the federal court found that their native title rights were "extinguished" by the Northern Territory government when it built roads and infrastructure through their country near Timber Creek in the 1980s and 90s.

About $1m of that was for "spiritual harm", which the Northern Territory and Federal governments argued was excessive. But the High Court this week disagreed.

Megan Brayne, a native title lawyer and director of the Comhar Group, told Al Jazeera it was the most important native title ruling in more than 20 years.

"This is a very important case because it is the first time the High Court has set out the principles for compensation. State lawyers will be particularly interested in analysing their compensation liabilities," she said.

"Where companies are operating on land post-1975 there will be lawyers looking at this."

Racial discrimination act

That 1975 date is key because it is the year Australia brought in the Racial Discrimination Act - 18 years before the Native Title Act, but just as important.

"Only then did governments have to treat the property rights of Aboriginal Australians the same as other Australians," explained James Walkley, a native title lawyer with Chalk and Behrendt.

"Since the first colonisation of Australia, Aboriginal people have been dispossessed of property and culture, [but] only since 1975 has the loss of native title become compensable."

Unwittingly, state and territory governments, or mining and pastoral companies working with the blessing of the government, continued to "extinguish" native title by their activities, right up until that landmark Mabo ruling and the Native Title Act in 1993.

The Ngaliwurru and Nungali groups were assisted in their fight for compensation by the Northern Land Council - the major Aboriginal representative group on land matters in the Northern Territory - which took the case to court.

Interim CEO Jak Ah Kit confirmed other groups were in the works waiting to take advantage of the ruling. "Already I've been notified of other groups," he told Al Jazeera.

"This is a ruling that brings a different light on native title and the cultural and spiritual loss, let alone the inability to take any economic opportunities [from the land]. We need to revisit those cases where they were unjustly compulsorily acquired by governments, and we'll then need to take instructions from them," he said.

"The whole board game changes."

Brayne said while the ruling provides "significant guidance" in looming court cases, there were still many matters left open by the case, not least how to determine the appropriate amounts of compensation.

She remained hopeful agreements could be found before the more costly path of litigation.

"If not, we can expect there'll be more matters before the courts," said Brayne.


No new Coles or Woolworths stores, a ban on wood heaters and a move to cut LAWNMOWER emissions: The bizarre policies major parties may be forced to support to form government in NSW

No new supermarkets, deregulate paintball guns and move Sydney airport are strange policies that major parties could be forced to support to form government.

Minor parties could use the policies as political bargaining chips to trade for their support in the case of a stalemate result between Labor and the Coalition.

The Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party wants to remove paintball guns from the Firearms Act, expand bow hunting and four wheel driving on beaches.

They also want to allow pests like birds, mammals and lizards to be 'hunted' in public areas by ordinary citizens. 

The NSW Greens want to relocate Kingsford Smith Airport away from the Sydney basin, allow exercise breaks at work and and stop new supermarket developments, pending review.

The party's other policies include reducing emissions from lawnmowers and wood-fire heaters and banning advertisements that promote 'excessive' consumption.

Former Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, who is now running as an independent, said the party is divided because of the 'extreme Stalinist' views of party leaders.

 'If ending capitalism is your first step to fighting climate change, you've got it all wrong,' he said to the Daily Telegraph.

'There's no way they'd be able to form a minority government deal because their list of demands are too unrealistic.'

 'The fact is, that as an organisation, the NSW Greens are corrupt and rotten,' said a Labor advertisement quoting Mr Buckingham.

Labor launched billboards, posters and online videos highlighting disunity in the NSW Greens in key progressive seats such as Ballina, Tweed and Lismore.

Greens councillor Edwina Clifton also left the party because she felt environmentalists were 'not welcome' last month.


 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

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