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Thursday, September 30, 2004Am I being a sad bastard or is there a pub in Sydney where a load o' election tragics can go to enjoy the night? Just thought I'd ask. Nothing more to say today as it took me so long to find matching pics of Downer and Queen Latifah.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004I shouldn't read fridaysixpm because now and then Beth points out an article that makes my bloody blood boil. This time its JANET ALBRECHTSEN with a shite article about feminism. Lets get this straight, women have far less choice than men in the workplace, they are discriminated against, and are at the arse end of the labour market. Compare the hysteria over the "masculinity crisis" caused by too many women teachers, with the absolute lack of any coverage over the fact that less than 2% of company directors in Australia are female, to get an idea of how absolutely dominant male thinking is in this country.
Rank Country Score
1 Canada 6.00
2 Poland 5.40
3 Spain 3.74
4 Brazil 3.30
5 Great Britain 3.24
6 Ukraine 2.39
7 France 2.24
8 China 2.24
9 Australia 2.04
10 Belarus 1.93
11 Germany 1.65
12 Japan 1.41
13 Netherlands 1.27
14 Greece 1.25
15 Hungary 1.00
16 United States 0.85
17 Italy 0.58
18 Russia 0.45
19 Cuba 0.41
20 Turkey 0.20
...should realise that this new party has obtained very significant commitments from the Coalition in exchange for its preferences, because it made them earn them. Perhaps central to this is the requirement for all legislation to have a Family Impact Statement. This will ensure that our laws are family friendly and we might assume therefore, largely Christian, although of course there is no guarantee of that in every case.Family impact statement on all legislation? I can see a few "No Impact" rubber stamps being bought in Canberra. This deal has given Howard an excuse to be even more intolerant and extreme in his next term. Also there is a nice "how to vote" summary:
In all other states we believe that Christians are safe voting for either Family First or CDP, as their theology and/or personal preference for how they should engage the political domain dictate. Even where Family First has preferenced Democrats in Qld, they are very unlikely to have to pass on the preferences, as they should out poll them. If in the lower house your preference is to vote for a major party, we strongly recommend that you still record a “1” for either CDP or Family First to indicate the strength of the Christian / Family Values vote. You can then apply the rest of your preferences personally, dependent of the values of the parties or candidates as you see it.If you need any more proof that this party is sinister, read Piers Akerman.
Give old people money.In fact I can't be arsed spending my time going through the policies in detail. It's all bungs for pensioners and they are pretty piss poor. No social program, no vision.
Update: I am now watching his speech and I stand corrected. I fell foul of reading the spending headlines and relying on the media, but the substance of his speech is cracking stuff. At last he is starting to show the Mark Latham that I know from personal experience. A clear ideological difference. Howard is gone. ALP by 18 seats.
Cracking policies include (but not limited to)
- Abolishing full fee paying uni places
- Reversing the HECS increases
- Ratifying Kyoto
- Extra 1.8 billion for public schools
- Restoring funding to the ABC
Tuesday, September 28, 2004I'm a bit tired, and bored of the FFP. But Robert Corr of Kick and Scream brought this article to my attention, so I'll do a post and incur the wrath of yet more bloody loonies. The main points to note are that despite the so called "morals" of this party, they are giving preferences to Ross Cameron in Parramatta. This moral campaigner had an affair while his wife was preganant for fuck sake. How much more of a shitty thing can you do? His kind of behaviour is what brought about the downfall of the Major Government in the UK in 1997. They had a big "Back to Basics" campaign about how you should live your lives, meanwhile they were off knobbing left right and centre. But somehow Cameron's totally base behaviour ranks above people who support gay marriage. Shagging a bit of fluff while your wife is pregnant with your child while crapping on about family values is just a whole different moral ball game to me. Also there are a couple of barnpots in the FFP (read the article) that reckon the world was made in six days because "thats what the bible says". The bible also says, "For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does...". So maybe you didn't sin after all Mr Cameron.
"The Howard Government has turned a blind eye to the illegal underpayment of wages. Last year, about 5,000 employees complained to the Howard Government about illegal underpayments - yet the Government prosecuted only 7 cases. A Latham Labor Government will boost funding to programs that stop illegal wage underpayments with an additional $10 million a years."This policy just enforces the law, surely nothing wrong with that.
Giving long-term, regular casuals a better chance of converting to permanent work. Guarantee the protection of 100% of the entitlements of employees where an employer goes broke, while protecting small business from any additional costs.It is a disgrace that businesses can employ people on a casual basis for over 12 months. It is nothing more than a loophole that needs to be closed. The fund to pay out employee entitlements, paid by big business is a good balance to the fact that on bankruptcy the priority for repayment goes to secured creditors, not employees.
Supporting parents returning from parental leave who want to return to work on a part-time basis. Making sure awards and workplace agreements contain family-friendly provisions.A bit vague, but I am guessing that this is just saying that workplace agreements can now include extra provisions that are not related to wage increases. Happy workers, more productivity.
Abolishing secret individual Australian Workplace Agreements. Existing AWAs will continue until they expire. Helping parties to avoid and resolve disputes, and allowing the Industrial Relations Commission to fix deadlocked disputes. Making sure that employers and unions negotiate in good faith.Again, this is only addressing the inequities that Howard has brought in. So why do people get scared about measures like this? Is it simply because people take more heed of employer groups, than employee groups in the media? The standard employer group response is "this will cost jobs". Whenever I hear that on the news, I know that it's a bloody good policy and jobs are not at risk at all. Four weeks paid holiday a year? That will cost jobs you know. Does it bollocks.
Update: Bugger it, it took me ages to write this and I see that Mark Bahnisch has said it a whole lot better on Troppo Armadillo. Well I did try.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Tonights headline bout was Beaker v Dr Bunsen. Bunsen won on points. The outright losers were the unfunded $90 billion public sector superannuation debt (I wish I could run a balance sheet while ignoring a whopping liability) and the foreign debt which Howard promised to reduce, not service better.
+ Childcare 30% tax rebate
- Family tax benefit part B
- They are very strong on women staying at home (RE: Howards speech at his campaign launch)
- Income splitting
+ Childcare places
1/2+ Some weird one day free for 3-4 year old policy (one from Crean perhaps)
So a marginal ALP lead at the moment, though by no means decisive. The coalition rebate is easy to understand, the ALP policy is all over the place. Did I say an ALP landslide earlier? I must have been taken out of context.
ROSS PEAKE: On a moral issue, a gay couple - is that a family?What she is really skirting around is that Family First want to give precedence to married couples over de factos (same sex or not). See this document for details.
ANDREA MASON: Well, Family First is extremely concerned and interested in discrimination, in terms of looking at all areas in the community where there is discrimination. We're of the view that more consideration and debate needs to happen in terms of broadening the areas of discrimination to include those in co-dependant relationships as well.
ROSS PEAKE: So, what's the answer? Is the answer "Yes"?
ANDREA MASON: And that would include people in those relationships. We are saying broaden it. Let's just not focus on one area. If we are going to look at changes to the law, let's look at ways of looking at all of those areas in the community where currently there is not recognition, and that would include people in co-dependant relationships.
On the areas of funding and Christian roots she was equally vague. Unfortunately SA does not require donation disclosure so we cannot see who funded the party for the 2002 SA state election. However, let me put one and one together:
Conspiracy Theory 1
I had an interesting mail that pointed out that a Senator continued to fund the DLP just to bugger up the preferences for Labor. Now could it be possible that the following course of action has taken place by the Liberals (whose Greenway candidate is a member of happy clappy Hillsong - led by Brian "By my tape on how to pray - because you can't figure it out yourself" Houston).
To get control of the Senate we must:
fund a party out of nowhere to stand candidates in marginal seats
said party will use House of Reps preference deals to secure more "lucrative" deals in the Senate
said house is full of parties clambering over themselves to do a deal with FF (except the Greens), but said party will not preference Labor
Bingo, balance of power now held by like minded Christian Right party, not boozy Democrats or doped up to the gills Greens. To use an Andoism, the Liberals must be salivating at the prospect of a hung parliament and doing deals with the FFP.
Now this may seem far fetched, but over the course of the weekend, the news broke that the Liberals had cut a deal with FF , based on "some concessions". What exactly are these concessions? Don't people have a right to know exactly what they are voting for. Yet again, apparently not.
Education Stuff Up!
A National Party backbencher (Kay Hull) stuck her head right into a bucket of poo by saying that rich people should pay for government education.
"Why shouldn't they pay fees at government schools? If government schools want to put fees into place, and then they want to resource facilities over and above public funding, then they should be allowed to do so."She then changed her tune after a bollocking: "I've been totally misrepresented. I do not support fees for… parents paying fees for public school students." How is her original statement taken out of context? It seems pretty cut and dried to me. Perhaps she was talking about a parallel universe or something. Taken out of context usually means:
a) "I fucked up, and have had a right bollocking"
b) "I said what I really think, but now my thoughts have been corrected"
c) "Don't tell the punters the real game"
Then Campari Quaffing Kelly (DeAnne) topped it by suggesting a voucher system for parents to choose where their share of funding goes. Again, Kelly used the
Wednesday, September 22, 2004Rene Rivkin will serve the remainder of his sentence (15 days) in one block. He has been acting very strangely recently. I wonder if his stories of madness will somehow form his defence if any more tricky dealings come to light.
And more on how to vote, this time from FF SA Sentate Candidate Andrea Masons (and Guy Sebastians) Church (The Paradise Community Church).
Greetings Paradise Prayer Partners,I am gobsmacked by this list of prayers. I think that this goes a lot way to show that power and money, rather than "salvation", are the real motives of these cult leaders.
blah blah blah....
4/ Pray for Family First Party in our National Elections
a) That F.F.P. would have great favour in the preference arrangements with both the Liberal and the Labor parties.
b) That God would give F.F.P. wisdom in how to handle their media releases.
c) That God would release finances for advertising on T.V. radio and written material.
d) Pray for Andrea Mason and all State candidates.
But the Productivity Commission and RBA, in its submission to the inquiry, said capital gains tax and negative gearing had contributed to the excessive investment in rental housing.The treasurer rejected the inquiries finding to the acclaim of Ms Ballard from the REIA (remember they are just estate agents, they want the highest commission possible this month):
The Treasurer's rejection of an inquiry into tax breaks for property investments was applauded by Real Estate Institute of Australia president Kareena Ballard, who said the sector needed stability, not the uncertainty created by a review of the personal tax regime.Rather than giving investors certainty, negative gearing has increased the long term volatility of the market. When interest rates rise, highly geared investors will be the first to suffer. What these investors failed to comprehend is a basic accounting fact: Getting tax deductions from negative gearing means you are making a loss. If house prices slow and interest rates rise a bit, then in the long run you will probably make a loss. By taking on negative gearing, you are involving yourself in a very high risk activity, your are hoping (if you've thought this far, which you probably haven't) that your capital growth and rent will exceed all other expenses. Negative gearing has allowed idiots who have read "Risk everything, but pay less tax!" to completely fuck up the housing market. Without negative gearing people have to think a bit more about how to make a return on investment from day one.
Costello is also attempting to go on the ramnpage about a $700 million black hole in the ALP tax policy. He keeps on saying they should get their policy costed by treasury. After all they only fucked up their budget prediction by $3 billion (or $13 billion over four years), plus a GST windfall that no one saw coming, so a tick from them would be really credible.
Howard has followed Labor's lead once more and announce that it will be making some sort of donation to asbestos victims from James Hardie's liberal party donations. He said magnanimously:
"It's an unusual situation to return political donations they're hard to get I've got to say but there is an issue of principle involved here."What principle John? You've been wedgied pal! Once again you've been shown to be morally bankrupt. On the same subject Brown the Bong and Barltett the Bottle went head to head for a pub brawl last night on Lateline.
Just a quick not to the NSW Dept of Transport. Can you get rid of your shitty Murdoch news feed on buses please? A couple of last night's headlines:
Latham will "kill medicare"And some good news, She Sells Sanctuary has the same prediction as me for the election, an ALP landslide, and there is help for people addicted to the election.
Labor airport security lacking
Tuesday, September 21, 2004The Poll Vault has highlighted a very sinister piece of legislation. It regards stripping away the right to vote from prisoners. The loony right wing have found an easy button to push here. Why the hell should a murderer or rapist be allowed to vote? What is at stake here is the principle that citizenship carries with it certain rights. No longer is it a universal right that every Australian can vote, some cannot. What is worse that the ban on voting will now be applied to prisoners serving more than 3 years instead of 5. Will there be a day when any prisoner is stripped of the vote? As soon as the right is not for all, an abitrary line is drawn based on the judgement of the government, in this instance the term of the sentence, not even the crime. In other words, the right to vote is subject to opinion rather than birth or the acceptance of Australian Citizenship. The drafters of the constitution did not have this in mind when they wrote:
"No adult person who has or acquires a right to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of a State shall, while the right continues, be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth."
Yet this is what has happened. Perhaps in the future we can look forward to all ex-prisoners being removed from the electoral roll for a couple of years and an unreliable, unappealable method of "cleansing" the register. That in combination with the growing influence of the Christian Right that love this sort of policy will truly make us the 51st State of America.
"I'm hoping for a very clean win but you've seen polls, it's going to be very tight, 3,500 votes in eight seats could throw us out,"
I couldn't have put it better myself. Magic
""Mr Garrett's salivating at the thought perhaps that Mr Brown will join them in the senate,"
I'm sure that is all the talk in the ALP party room at the moment. "Now Latham, don't try and govern in your own right, drop a bollock here or there and let the Greens get in".
After all it would be unAustralian for a big party to form a coalition with a tiny party just so that they could win government wouldn't it? And even if that did happen, surely the smaller party wouldn't get a disproportionate amount of ministerial posts, let alone the plum Deputy Prime Minister gig. But even then, surely the small party would stick to its principles and not sell out to the major party, and not lose a swag of seats to independants in the fall out?
Monday, September 20, 2004The Government's Medicare safety net is at last coming unstuck. Isn't it completely obvious that having a safety net that requires people to be able to afford either $300 or $700 a year on healthcare is going to favour people with money? So we now have the situation where the biggest claims are made by the richest areas of Australia, surprise, surprise. If the policy was fair then surely the poorer electorates would be the winners, after all can anyone question the proposition that more income equals better health, therefore less need for medical assistance? Not so, the safety net figures show that more income appears to mean worse health in Abbott's Oz. Yet again it is a story of welfare for the rich at the expense of services for all from this despicable regime.
"But as far as I am aware there is no instruction on how Assemblies of God is to vote," Pastor Houston said.
Well one bit of Google later and we have this gentle nudge from the Queensland branch of AOG:
By now you would be aware that Pastor John Lewis will be standing for the Senate at the next Federal election. Furthermore, a number of good Christian people have nominated for Lower House seats. I spoke last week with Brigadier Jim Wallace (from the Australian Christian Lobby) concerning a number of issues and proposed laws currently being prepared for presentation in our Federal Parliament. As ministers of the Gospel, we must have a genuine sense of responsibility as we watch our social fabric deteriorate. We all need to handle political issues wisely, and though we have no right to tell our people how to vote, I urge you to:
1. Call your people to pray leading up to this next election.
2. Be aware of what each candidate stands for. Where necessary, meet with them prior to the election.
3. Encourage your people to vote for men and women who will stand for righteous values – not just play some party line.
So in essence:
1. By the way one of our Pastors is standing for the Senate as an FF candidate
2. We will not mention any other politcal party before we:
a) Point out that while we don't tell you how to vote
b) We will suggest you vote for someone you can meet (at a recital perhaps?)
c) Discourage you from voting for a major party, and tell you to vote for a Chistian.
mmm...I know, I'll vote Family First!
Carry on Beingatwat Alex. Also on his list: It Ain't 'alf Hot Mum's Windsor Davies, Queen Elizabeth Windsor and Windsor Castle.
Elsewhere: A nice bit of expose on letters in the SMH by Robert Corr, Chris Sheil is as usual upbeat about the death of Howard, Tim Dunlop dissects the coalition pre emptive strike policy, Completely Biased covers all sorts of stuff, including my Chardonnay mate Piers "Most reasonable Australians think (insert bollocks here)" Ackerman. Also people are waking up the very scary Family First party. The Poll Vault asks "Who is Family First?". Answer: "White Married Mad as fuck brainwashed unthinking Christian Couples a la the Flanders with kids First (provided a suitable "offering" comes out of their wallet, or preferably by direct debit); single parents, non-believers, poofs (especially Beelzebub Brown), that agnostic bastard Latham, anyone who has had an abortion, people who have a beer on a Sunday, and everyone else who doesn't read Leviticus and think its supposed to be taken literally, Last".
Update: DineshMathew makes a bloody good point on the Family First party. Where is their funding coming from? If, as we suspect, the majority of the funding is coming from the fundamentalist christian movement, then is it appropriate for a church (and all its tax breaks) to fund a political party?
Sunday, September 19, 2004Here we go again, the old branch stacking chestnut. Does anyone really care how a party chooses its candidates apart from the members themselves? Compare this latest bunk on Latham. He allegedly got someone to conjure up 49 new members for a branch so that a left winger wouldn't get the nod. So what? Is this any different to the "open" contest that went on in Wentworth between King and Turnbull? All the libs will be rubbing their hands with glee but it makes no difference to the electorate whatsoever.
SENATOR KAY PATTERSON: "Maxine, what we have is a reduction in overpayments.
We have I think about now 297 families that still have outstanding debts for the last three financial years.
It is nothing like the figure Mr Swan has given, and this information from the department indicates as always that what Mr Swan says and between what he says and reality is a huge chasm, a huge gap.
He's been caught out lying to the Australian public."
So her best guess was 297 families. Today she is claiming victory :
Labor's claim that 1.4 million Australians had a family tax benefit debt and 1.8 million families would not know they had a debt until after the October 9 election could not be substantiated, she said.
Departmental advice on Friday showed that an estimated 600,000 families, based on the previous year's trends, could be expected to incur a debt.
"I'm happy to fight on the issues but not when Australians are being misled," Senator Patterson said.
So Patterson is claiming the daggy laurel wreath on account of only 600,000 families being in debt. She has completely ballsed up her position on 3 counts:
1) She has in fact proved that Wayne Swan was in the right ballpark (especially if he meant 1.4 million individuals rather than families - he does get a bit confused)
2) She has shown herself to be a bullshitter with her "297 families" claim.
3) She thinks that only 600,000 families being in debt is something to crow about
Now add to this the debate about the $600 Harvey Norman vouchers - is it real or unreal. Labor claim that it is not real becuase it gets absorbed by the debt to Centrelink. The Libs claim it is real. What is the purpose of the "gift"? Patterson said it all on Friday:
MAXINE MCKEW: Sorry Senator, you're not answering the question.
What are you doing in this portfolio to redesign the system so that people are not in this position of having to predict their future income over a year.
How many people can do that effectively?
SENATOR KAY PATTERSON: Well, what we've done is give people $600 per child.
So in effect if Labor remove the debt AND remove the $600 then people are no worse off. As the Minister in charge of this stuff clearly said, the purpose of the money was to pay off the debt.
A frontrunner for the Wilson Tuckey Deadwood Award for 2004.
Peter Harris Party Chairman: Adelaide businessman and prominent member of the Paradise Community Church.
Chris Baker Treasurer: Prolifer. Read some thoughts on a fellow thinker here
Andrea Mason Board Member: Also a prominent member of the PCC.
Also read the Festival of Light's easy guide to the 2004 election to fill in the gaps.
So what is the problem with this? Even though these are people who have no distinction between church and state, they have joined the grasp for power by hiding their roots. They are not your normal garden variety Christian (you know turn the other cheek, let he who is without sin cast the first stone sort etc). Not only do they believe that they are right, but anyone who does not agree with them or their teachings, will burn in hell for eternity. This is not a good start for open and intelligent debate. Like all religions gone bad, they are totally blinkered to any point of view that disagrees with their own. They want to make you live the way they think you should live. There is no compromise. Is it really any wonder that Howard has passed preferences to FF rather than his GST buddy Lees?
I just called FF with an offer to hand out their leaflets at my local Mosque (I'm really atheist). They said they don't need help in that area and hung up.
If you are under any doubt as to whether the current funding arrangements are fair, look at this article. Once you add the amount of tax deductable donations to the government funding figures, the result is that the tax payers are being obscenely shafted.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004In England a group of pro fox hunting protesters invaded the House of Commons. Previously 10,000 protesters clashed with police in a violent demonstration. When I left the sunny shores of Blighty many moons ago it was the feral animal liberationists that were the radicals, now it seems that the chinless wonders have taken their cue and gone in for a bit of biffo. Police would probably have a hard time identifying the perpetrators as their restricted gene pool makes them look kind of the same. What were they taunting the police with, "I want to kill foxes with a load of dogs you bastards"? Not that I'm a big fan of foxes, but a nice bit of lead between their eyes seems a bit more efficient than a once in a while 30 dog, 15 horse, 1 dead fox affair. They say hunting helps the farmers, but the real reason they do it is for the sport, the thrill of the kill. Why else would they import foxes to Tasmania? To piss the farmers off, then help them?
Of course, the bill will be halted again at that great democratic institution The House of Lords (we all know how that bunch of inbred fossils love farmers) before being rammed through the upper house regardless. So think yourself lucky to live in a country with an elected Senate that can never be bypassed. Otherwise media cross ownership laws would have been scrapped, various shaft the workers industrial reforms would have been enacted, and we would be well on the way to reducing the Australian migration zone to the wicket at the MCG. And don't even think of using the "mandate" word.
She probably won't get in but you never know. Having this fruitcake look after the balance of power would bugger things right up, but the coalition would be jumping over themselves to do a deal with her. Labor (and Peter Costello for that matter) have always been open in its dislike of Hanson, and they have announced that she will be placed last on their how to vote card. The coalition (apart from Peter Costello) have always shirked this point. Openly they do not slam her (because they like the votes of "people like that") but on the other they form secretive trusts to get her banged up.
As usual Howard has gone against parliamentary conventions for his own benefit. This is a more serious issue than the media is making out. It is nothing less than an abuse of power, and he has a track record for this kind of shenanigans. For those of you not in the know, the idea is that because the government is not subject to the usual level of scrutiny they should consult the opposition on major decisions. I would say the decision to send in the boys is as major as it gets. Costello is not above chicanery himself, with the medicare policy somehow being costed by Treasury before the election was called, but no one was told until it was game on. From AM:
MARK COLVIN: You're essentially accusing him of conjuring figures out of nowhere, but then just in the last 24, 36 hours, we've found that there's $1.8 billion that nobody really seems to know about. Where did that come from?
PETER COSTELLO: Well that was costed by the Treasury, and that is in the figures that the Treasury will release, but lookâ¦
MARK COLVIN: I mean, you still have the huge advantage, don't you, of having Treasury on your side.
PETER COSTELLO: No, no, I'm sorry, no. The Government is in a caretaker period.
MARK COLVIN: So how did you manage to get it costed by the Treasury?
PETER COSTELLO: And this was a decision that was taken before the election was called.
MARK COLVIN: Why didn't we know about it before?
PETER COSTELLO: This was a decision which was taken before the election was called, and is in the budget bottom line, but â¦
And this is the guy that wants the ALP to get their tax policy costed by his stooges in Treasury.
So the standard line of the Howard government is, "we took the decision before the election was called". Not good enough.
Labor Schools Policy
Bloody excellent. About time a bit of equity came back into the system. However I would like to see a lot more funding for the public schools. Nelson says it is about choice and helping the battlers who have taken out a second mortgage to help their kiddies (we'd better hope that interest rates don't go up then). I'd say it was about giving money to schools based on their needs. Then there is always his spurious argument of "everytime someone gets sent to a private school the government saves money". Then surely by cutting funding, the government saves even more!
Iraq Invasion Illegal
Howard has responded to Kofi Annan's assertion that the invasion of Iraq was illegal with a load of guff. The interesting thing to note is that once again he is using "advice" as his get out clause. He said that he had legal advice that the war was not illegal. Have we ever had the circumstance where Howard's advice has not been correct? Does this guy ever take responsibility for his decisions? The resolution to invade was not submitted to the UN Security Council because the French threatened to veto it on the grounds that UN weapons inspectors should be given more time. It's not often I agree with the frogs, but they were spot in that time.
Sunday, September 12, 2004Well its only fair isn't it? If bleeding foreigners can pay to go to uni why can't we? Because my friends, we pay taxes, therefore our places are already paid for and should be awarded on merit. If rich dumb people want to go to uni let them pay for a degree outside Australia, and not devalue our domestic education system. I am expecting nothing less from the ALP's education policy than the abolition of full fee paying places for Australians. Abolishing HECS would be a great next step. Brendan Nelson of course disagrees. He believes that there should be loans for people to pay for full fee places. If you want to be a doctor, bear in mind that if and when you qualify (and you will if you're paying) you will have to charge people an awful lot of money to be able to pay your $120k plus loan back. If you use a doctor, prepare for dumber practitioners, lower bulk billing rates and higher fees in the future. Nelson summed it up as such:
"I've been thinking about it for some months now, Barrie. I've spoken to the vice-chancellors about it and they strongly believe that the level of the $50,000 loan for these extra full-fee-paying opportunities ought to be raised for that very small number of courses which have those sort of costs above $50,000. And what this basically means, Barrie, is that for the first time in Australia, whether you are rich or poor, if you work your tail off and you get a very high tertiary entrance score, you miss out on a HECS-funded place which you've got your heart set on doing - if you want to you'll have the choice of taking up the fee-paying opportunity and the Australian Government will lend you the money to do it on a HECS-style basis."
So please, if you miss out on the entrance score (by a whisker or you didn't turn up because you couldn't tell the little hand from the big hand) try again and if you miss out and you get your newly devalued dumbfuck donewiththeaidofgoogle medical degree because unis are too shit scared to fail full fee paying students, display a sign saying, "Dr Fuckwit, Bachelor of Medicine (Second Class)". In fact that's not a bad idea, a two tier system! People who get their degree through brains and hard work get a first class degree, rich dumb chinless wonders get a Second Class (sponsored by Sorbent) one.
"I mean, there are people who would adopt or adapt the philosophies of something like Jemaah Islamiah and you don't necessarily know about them. It's not as if you're a card carrying member of JI. It's more of a philosophy and an embracement of that philosophy."
Don't think that this means Keelty is soft on terrorists, rather that he understands probably more than anyone we can vote for the motivations and modus operandii of the people who perpetrate such atrocities. When questioned on the likelihood of another attack, Keelty quite calmly said:
"Well, unfortunately it is whilst ever Azahari and Noordin Bin Top are still at large."
No fuss, no votes, just a man doing his job.
Hi statsfans, I'm the ABC's numbers man Anthony Green. I can safely predict a Howard government will be returned on October 9th. Including Howard, there have been an astronomical 4 Leo prime ministers. On Latham's side there have been only 2 Pisces leaders. Therefore John Howard has double the chance of winning. If you want to make 100% certain that your child will be the head honcho one day, then try to conceive at the end of the year as a fantastic 5 prime ministers have been Virgos. Given that there have been only 25 leaders since federation, Virgos have had too much representation to be mere luck. It can be proved statistically that the probability of this happening by luck is less than .005 which in the wacky world of statistics means its a fact. Kim Beazley was a Sagittarius and that's why he lost. Although there have been 4 Saggy PMs (the same as Leos), in the world of astrology, like top trumps, a draw is no good, you need to win. It is worth noting that there have been no Aquarius, Taurus or Scorpio PMs and only one Gemini (Macolm Fraser who has done much since losing office to prove that Geminis are two faced schizos). So if you feel like voting for Latham, stay at home, pay the fine, and save yourself the effort, as the heavens, and statistics, are overwhelmingly against him. Now Stats Amazing!
Thursday, September 09, 2004The only valid question in a poll is, "If there is a general election today, who would you vote for?". What is the point of these approval and trust ratings? We always get these crappy "John Howards approval rating is at 65%" and then "But the Libs primary vote is at 39%" type bollocky stories. Ooh, only 30% of people approve of Mark Latham, but 43% would vote ALP. Don't the telesurveyors ever say, "Hang on a mo dickhead, you just said you think Howard is doing a better job than Latham but you'll vote ALP. Are you pulling my twang?". Numbers in the boxes mate, numbers in the boxes. That's all that counts.
By the way one easy way to incur the wrath of the right is to do a Troppo Armadillo. I wonder if Ken's critics were so strident when George Brandis accused Bob Brown of being a Nazi? Surely a much more henious comparison, but then as with all right wingers they can put on the biggest face of absolute indignation when the mud they usually throw is for once returned.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004Its a tragedy, that's a given. How long will it be before Howard makes hay out of it? Perhaps he will send one of his demidemons in such as Philip "The Mummy" Ruddock. He probably won't go in as hard as Cheney's, "Vote for us or die", line - but the unsaid conclusion will be there. As Rob Sich mentioned last night on The Panel, you approximate two sentences and let people draw the link. For example "We are in a war against terror" and "We must protect our borders" is a ripper. In that black art there is no better conjurer than Ruddock.
Before any clear details or evidence is clear, Downer says:
"Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has told reporters the blast was "clearly a terrorist attack". He added: "It was outside the Australian embassy, you would have to conclude that it was directed towards Australia."
Downer says he suspects Jemaah Islamiah was responsible for the blast. (via The Poll Vault)
And so Tampa II has begun.
Federal funding to private schools provided they do not expel "difficult" children
Raise corporate taxes to 33%
Spend the money on healthcare
Put reconciliation back on the agenda
The thing that draws me to the greens at times is that they stick to their principles no matter what. They have bugger all power, no chance of getting more seats in the House of Reps but they don't sell out. Whether you agree with their principles is another matter, but the ALP turmoil that Tampa caused stuffed them in 2001 and ever since. I don't believe for a second that they would have won if they would have spoken out against the government, but they would not have lost sight of their diminishing core value of equality. Now all I see is a desperation to get into government, so desperate that they no longer believe that a differing ideological standpoint to the Liberals can win. Everyone is now talking the language of deficits and interest rates. Extreme capitalism and small government has somehow won. SCTTW points out some issues that seem to have disappeared in this campaign, but the ALP seem to be playing a bit of a small target campaign.
If a government has only economic and not social policies then what the hell are we paying them for? The sodding stock market can do that.
Come on Latham, get the whip cracking old son. Also see Lord Sedgwicks blockbuster offerings.
"Unfortunately, though, Labor didn't just leave it at that. Instead it undermined the equity of its policy through the reappearance of Family Tax Benefit Part B in another guise - an increase in the tax-free threshold to $12,000 for families with at least one child under 18 years."
But then goes on to say:
"But the policy document shows that family payments do differ according to the division of paid labour between workers. However, unlike the Coalition's family tax package in which maximum financial rewards accrue to families in which paid work is divided most unevenly, Labor's policy provides the highest benefit to families in which paid work is shared evenly."
Which I'll have to check on (this will take me some time as despite what people may think, I am by no means an economist). If true, Brandy may make it's way back to Latham, however, the income split will become an immovable plank and will only grow.
But then we have the sting in the tail:
"However, women with young children face numerous challenges and do not need government standing over them with a stick that rewards paid work over non-paid caring work. Particularly when quality and affordable child care is neither easily available nor part of Labor's package - someone has to care for the children."
For people who don't have kids, childcare (if you can get it) costs at least $50 per day or $1000ish dollars per month per child. So for the average of about 2 children you are looking at $24,000 per year. This is the real problem with women going back to work, it is just not viable in many cases.
If you would like an equally stunning wrap of your broadcasting or publishing empire, please link to The Daily Flute.
Dr Bunsen is getting a fair amount of air time today (and where, oh where is Simon Crean?) He says:
"These people don't live in segments, they say 'this is me in the tax package' and 'this is me a different person in public housing' and 'this is me a different person trying to go to the doctor' and 'this is me a different person worried about my kids going to school',"
Do people also get one vote for each "me"?
With the estimated slush fund of $5bn dollars (startling picture of Dr Bunsen there by the way) due to be delivered by treasury tomorrow we can expect to see trinkets and baubles galore. Surely that amount of "free" money sloshing around in peoples pockets would not be good for the economy and would force interest rates up (unlike budget balances, there is a link between growth and rates). Howard was as desperate as buggery to force home the interest rate message yesterday (Brissenden's report should appear here soon). Meanwhile Latham actually started looking like a leader with a solid performance. He nicely bagged the Costello "how come there's no $600 in the weekly tables" by showing that the governments own weekly tables do not include the Harvey Norman vouchers. But at the end of the day, how many people will look at these tables? They are not ususally for the faint hearted and so thankfully the Daily Telegraph ran a nice goose piece under the banner of "$92 per family". This is one of those tabloids that limits economic anaysis to a great big picture of a beer and a packet of smokes with an arrow "Up 10c" next to it, so it was nice to see them venture into new territory. However I saw over the shoulder (of the dickhead that kamikazed into the train this morning) that good old Piers Akerman has done a piece on "Shaming the Sons of Islam". I stopped there but I could guess that the headline should have been "Muslims have Terror Gene". While I'm on the subject the biggest "war on terror" I endured was during the troubles in Northern Ireland where mad bunches of Catholics and Protestants would maim and slaughter willy nilly. Not a Mohamed in sight.
Update: I have now added the sinister Family First party to the right of even Sophie P.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004The inimitable Chris of BP has asked me to spell out the argument against income splitting. Here are my main objections:
1) It make the lesser earner in a relationship more dependant on the other (usually the woman)
2) It is an incentive for a lower female participation rate in the workforce
3) It prejudices against single income earners (including single parents - mainly women)
4) The money could have been spend better elsewhere
5) It favours higher income earners who can afford to split.
Australia still has a long way to go to reach equality for women, this policy is a huge step in the wrong direction. For further information on the rationale behind such bold statements please refer to the following links.
Taxing Times for Women: Feminism Confronts Tax Policy - Claire Young
Election 2004: Taxing times for working families - Patricia Apps
That'll do for starters. Then you have the laughable situation of providing childcare while people are training (good idea), but what about when they go to work? The more I read this policy the more it looks like a Coalition paper. They had better come up trumps on education.
Here is my spurious attempt at further explanation. Let us assume that income splitting is in, rather than a more equitable way of returning money to the people. Let us take the case of Bob and Doris and some made up tax rates. The tax free threshold is $6000 per person. The next rate is 30%. Bob earns $20K which becuase of income splitting means he pays 30% on $8K (ie $6000). Now Doris wants to get back to work. This being Australia and her being a woman means she can only get a crappy part time job at $6000. But guess what, as a family unit they are already using her tax free dowry, so in the eyes of her hubby Bob anything she earns will be taxed at 30%. This is a huge disincentive to get back into work. Now add to this that the Better Family payment (though not quite as insidious as FTB - part B) is assessed on joint income. This will effectively increase her tax at an even higher rate. Now add the fact that child care assistance is bugger all and you have a picture where because of the loss in benefit, the perceived increase in tax on Doris' wages and the cost of working means that it isn't worth it after all.
I hope something happens to change my mind on this I really do. Why did you have do go and do a dumb Howardesque move like that Mark? Once its in it will never be gone, and it will just get worse and worse. Today just the tax free threshold, tomorrow complete income splitting. Sophie must be jumping for joy. Such a shame as the rest of the policy doesn't look too shabby.
Monday, September 06, 2004That strange beastie Indi Sophie has come out with a cracker (via VM). This is the true user pays philosophy of the Liberals. I often wonder if some people at the ABC have got a large collection of Sophie-falling-over out-takes as she walks infront of all things Stralian on her regular Insider adjournment debates. Again it's the old Medicare saftey-net being touted, this time comparing a haircut to being fixed up when one is crook. Whereas most people have some kind of inkling that kind of maybe they don't mind their taxes going to healthcare for all, I don't think that Federally funded hairdressing (a hair-net?) would cut the mustard. This has to be her most outstanding blunder since her comments on Insiders in debate with Pru Goward, which I won't quote here, but it's well worth a read as Pru nearly lost her rag with the waffle that Soph was coming out with.
There are also changes to the family tax benefit thingo which may be good.....
The splurges are generally good, childcare and training for people without work (very good idea), mucking around with super tax - not too bad, but what is this arse "pool part of their incomes and pay less tax, delivering benefits of up to $20 a week per family" stuff? I suppose it balances out the means testing for the FTB but the idea of income pooling does not sit right with me as it tends to get wimmin out of the workplace. I guess the "masculinity crisis" in schools doesn't stretch to the workplace, where it's back to nudie calendars (not like this one) and lunch at the "Gentlemens Rub" for some exotic entertainment.
The revenue raising is good, money on fags and visa applications go up for companies. All in all, not a bad pitch, it should get some votes back, but there is a treasury surplus report looming on Friday and methinks the Liberals will give $8.25 back to all earners.
"I am waiting for a journo to point out that 17% interest rates were when Keating had a rather large surplus, bigger than any of howards, and that rates fell quite dramatically when the deficit shot up.
bush has a deficit of 6 1/2 % of GDP which converts roughly to about $30 Billion here which surely means double digit rates yet US rates are lower than ours."
What exactly is the argument for deficits pushing up interest rates? Here is a graph over the last 30 years (John Howard's favourite timescale) comparing interest rates (the cash rate as determined by the market) against budget balance. The interest rate line shown differs slightly to the one shown below as they have been averaged for each annual period.
I have flipped the budget balance figures around so that in theory, if it is true that deficits = high interest rates then the pink and blue lines should enjoy some sort of entwined waltz of harmony. But they don't do they? There is nothing at all, when you look at the raw data, to suggest any relationship at all. Somehow, this government has managed to peddle the following myth:
"Budget surpluses are good, amongst other things, they keep interest rates down".
What they mean is:
"We don't want to spend money on services as we believe in small government, market forces and user pays. The only way you will swallow this is if we make you believe that is bad economically for the government to spend money. We will link it to an idea that high interest rates are always bad, and low interest rates are always good"
And the media, and the Australian public have swallowed it.
By the way, I know people are reading this garbage, so feel free to leave comments.
So all in all a tinker from both sides, though not as shite as the dodgy $600 (redeemable only at Harvey Norman) one off payments that "customers" are about to receive.
This morning on AM John Howard was questioned on the soon to be announced ALP tax policy and the family tax benefit reform. His reaction was to scrutinise for potential "discrimination" against women who "choose" to work at home while their children are young. What he didn't mention is the overall pressure his government has put on taking that choice away. No big spending on child care and a family tax benefit scheme that is tantamount to income splitting, clearly signals what he wants. Keep the Sheila's at home. No if only he hadn't buggered up housing affordability (first time buyers grant) maybe his dream would come true.
What will the ALP tax policy be? Ooh, the excitement. One thing to bear in mind however, is that when the brackets are changed for the lower marginal rates, the rich also benefit.
Looking at my referrals list makes the site look like a subsidiary to John Quiggin Enterprises. In order to show that this site still maintains editorial independence, I will take my proprietor to task over his Welfare Reform posting. I'm not quite sure what his argument is so here is mine. Welfare is a band aid solution to flaws in social policy. However it is necessary, and while it is there some people will take advantage of it. I would rather it be in place and be generous as it reduces the chance of someone nicking my TV. I can put up with a few bludgers, knowing that if hard times hit people will be assisted. The main answer to this problem is education, education, education.
Elsewhere: Back Pages features a natty poll graph which makes voting look like a particle accelerator, SCTTW nicely takes apart Downer and his sudden Road to Mayo voting booths revelation on Hicks, Lord Sedgewick has a cracker of a cartoon depicting what someone will do with their $600 Harvey Norman vouchers.
Sunday, September 05, 2004Here it is!
1) If you earn over 50K and you don't have private health cover, we'll up your Medicare levy.
2) We will lock you in by a freezing of rates at your current age. Hurry up, you don't want to have to get insurance when you're 75 and are riddled with diseases, you won't be able to afford it!
3) We will give you a rebate of 30% on your premiums.
What could provide better economies of scale than one monolithic universal health system? Nothing! So why have the government systematically taken money out of the public health system and given it straight to the coffers of the private sector, where to be used less efficiently? The answer is that Howard and the Liberals are ideologically against the public health system. Under him, it is now referred to as "the safety net". Howard likes to trawl up the past when it suits him on matters that the government have little control over (interest rates). But this is the man who almost single handedly privatised Medicare's forerunner Medibank because "it cost too much". It was completely within his control. Let me repeat that, he has once already scrapped a public health system in Australia. And now he is doing it again. This is real form, but everyone seems to have forgotten it. Now the debate has shifted to, "why shouldn't private health be more affordable for everyone?" from "how come public health is is crisis?". The "user pays" system is at its worst in the context of healthcare as it puts a price on human suffering. I hope Julia Gillard comes out with a cracking health policy today, but you can bet that the rebate will unfortunately stay.
Saturday, September 04, 2004Just a quick post today, seeing as it's the day I'm supposed to do bugger all. I think my daughter must have put some "special herbs" in my fathers day special breakfast. The blueberries tasted normal but I could have sworn that Andrew "Crimson Jihad" Bolt was almost civil on The Insiders this morning. He picked holes in the government and hardly a cross word was said to Barrie. As the herbs wore off I heard Bolt come out with his usual "Mohameds under the bed" line in connection with the Beslan tragedy, but another mouthful of happy pancakes and the love in was back on.
Friday, September 03, 2004The RBA have just release the Persian Carpet index figures, showing that despite all the feeble efforts of the government, the shops are still closing at an alarming rate.
My own anecdotal evidence to support these poor figures is a Persian rug shop near me that has opened and closed several times, has suffered the odd fire and still cannot be sustained despite a string of separate owners.
Thursday, September 02, 2004VM linked to an article in The Age which I've just bothered to read. Why do the media give so much space to groups such as the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA)? Isn't it bloody obvious what their agenda is? They always want people to sell their property and the more inflated the price the better for the oily tick's commission. And so surprise,surprise we have the following quote from the REIA president Kareena Ballard.
"Indexing the first home owner's grant to median house prices would be a positive move in assisting young people to enter the housing market,"
Doesn't this make someone sit up and think, wait a momento - if the REIA like the first home owner's grant then surely it must be not so good for housing affordability? Does it bollocks, the REIA get far too much uncritiqued airtime and column inches. They are treated like impartial property gurus instead of the subhuman price hiking lying scum they represent. They bullshit, have a stronghold on real estate advertising in local papers and will not stop at anything to get the gavel banged. No other industry group is treated with as much undeserved respect.
1) Raise taxes. This cuts the amount of private spending and saving, no impulse for growth there.
2) Cut spending. So just when people need a hand, government money is taken from them. Again less spending and saving, no impulse for growth there.
So sound economic management means that in hard times, the government incurs defecits in order to drag the economy back to the black. In good times, budget surpluses pay this debt off.