The Dodgy Brothers???

Urban Wronski has generously given permission to The Pub to republish his latest piece, a good analysis of the most recent of the three bodgie budgets this appalling régime has tried to impose upon the long-suffering people of Australia. Thank you, Urban Wronski, and welcome to our illustrious Guest Author list!

News Corp Australia

Scott Morrison’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s cunning plan not to provide costings for their ten year tax giveaway has blown up in their faces. Whatever they may claim about not wishing to “do Shorten’s homework for him”, their decision to leave costings out of the budget paper is a gross tactical error, a blunder which may well just have handed Labor the election.

Of course, there other possible explanations. Morrison’s excuse that he was merely being mean and tricky may just be a cover up. The junk-yard dog ate his homework. Or he may simply been left out of the loop again by a PM who has every reason not to trust a ruthlessly ambitious cabinet member widely believed to have been the Abbott government’s best leaker.

Yet the PM must have known. And the fiasco has highlighted the Coalition’s predilection for deception. This is a budget of dodgy assumptions and double-dealing.

Take the deceptive way this is billed as Morrison’s first budget. It is no such thing. It is the Coalition’s third attempt and it is vital to read it in the context of all its prior decisions $13 billion of Family tax, maternity leave and PBS cuts which still remain on the books to boost the budget’s bottom line even though they have not been passed by parliament’s upper house.

This is the third in a series of failed tests where the self-styled “better economic managers” have already lost the public’s confidence and are wasting the nation’s time.

Yet Morrison’s inattention to detail or his ploy to get Bill may not be such a bad thing.

On the contrary, the Treasurer may have done voters a service in arousing suspicion. The public will come to see that the budget centrepiece of a ten year tax handout for business is based on the entirely erroneous assumption that cutting tax for business owners and the top quarter of wage and salary earners will stimulate the economy. It’s a budget based on a lie.

The appearance of John Fraser, Abbott’s pick for Secretary to the Treasury at the Senate Estimates Committee on Friday dramatically underscores the element of deception.

Although the Prime Minister had denied that treasury had done any costings of the ten year tax cut to companies, Fraser admits, with excruciating indirection and languid delay, that these amounted to “dollars 46 billion”, a bizarrely jargonised admission that, yes, now that you mention it, Senator Wong, Treasury has done the costings and the cost would blow a $50 billion dollar fleet of submarines out of the water, even if they were still at the conceptual stage.

Fraser hangs Turnbull out to dry on the previous day’s line that the Treasury had not costed the tax cuts. For all his talk about innovation and agility, the PM is hoist by his own petard. Before voters even get an election date officially declared, we are left dwelling on the government’s duplicity; its maladroit strategy of conniving to trick the Labor leader into making a bad guess.

Yet there is an even bigger deception at hand. The budget centrepiece is founded on the fiction that cutting taxes for companies and for the quarter of the workforce who earn more than $80,000 will stimulate economic growth. It won’t. Nor will it do to lie about how many of us earn $80,000.

(Astonishingly the top 25% become ‘average wage-earners’ in the PM’s radio interviews or “middle income earners”. The Australia Institute calculates, however that counting all wage-earners, it may be as few as 18%.) The electorate that will do best out of this budget’s income tax cuts is the PM’s own of Wentworth or net worth as it is has so aptly dubbed. Ordinary Australians are left out in the cold.

Central to the budget’s calculations is that notion that making the rich richer makes all Australians prosper. To this false assumption it adds investment and jobs. Given its record so far, however, these are the last claims this government should be making.

Tax attack dog Morrison whose false accusations that Save the Children workers were coaching refugees to self-harm on Nauru two years ago have resurfaced in a compensation settlement this week has another equally implausible slogan that can only once again draw attention to his government’s lack of achievement.

Morrison chooses to campaign on jobs, investment and growth. Yet after nearly three years, growth is forecast to be well below par at 2.5% for the next two years rising then to a minimal 3%. Unemployment is at least 5.5%. Business investment will be flat-lining at zero growth in 2017-2018.

Job figures, of course, can be fudged in many ways, including absorbing punters into internships, but the growth boast beggars belief at a time when the Reserve Bank is cutting interest rates because growth is feebly declining and inflation is plummeting. As with climate change, marriage equality or safe schools the Coalition is well and truly in denial.

Denial is the bedrock of the Coalition’s latest budget attempt. At massive expense to ordinary tax payers, the Abbott-Turnbull government’s main budget strategy is based entirely on the superstition that wealth will trickle down, or that cutting company tax will boost productivity, a notion which is now so well-disproved that even economist Arthur Laffer, its guru, no longer believes his own theory.

A big taxing, big spending government, the Coalition has produced in it its third budget an Enterprise centrepiece – an ill-judged, expensive and unnecessary handout to those who run businesses or who earn over $80,000 on the pretext that this will kick-start a halting economy. Turnbull’s “innovative” prime ministership has a plan which relies on nothing more than the old, discredited disgraced trickle-down theory and a bit of dodgy supply-side economics,

Putting aside its need to please the self-interested urgings of the Business Council of Australia, the IPA and others for a moment, company tax cuts are completely counterproductive, illogical and damaging to economic recovery.

Company tax cuts do not cause economic growth. Even Treasury can tell the government this. Cutting company tax has never stimulated any economy – not in Australia or anywhere else. Nor will cuts cause prosperity for all in the future.

When Treasury modelled a one per cent cut in 2014, the benefits flowed in the short to medium term solely to the business or company.

Companies simply pocket the difference in higher profits. Some of these profits do ultimately return to the economy as dividends. Multinational corporations, however, including the Coalition’s newest chum, submarine builder DCNS can just take the money off shore.

In the long run, cutting company income tax leads to a tiny increase to GDP of 0.15-0.2% – if and when an increased influx of foreign capital rushes to fund projects that wouldn’t be viable under the higher tax rate.

Treasury finds no case for company tax cuts. Yet not only is the Coalition prepared to risk an estimated $60 billion to defy its own Treasury modelling and ignore the lessons of history it is prepared to defy the laws of economics while cutting government spending to “live within our means”.

Turnbull is prepared to throw public money away in a bizarre gamble against the odds. Renowned economists. Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, have argued repeatedly that cutting spending while the economy is slowing results in increased unemployment. Yet they are mere Nobel laureates. What would they know?

Both argue that reducing inequality not to increasing it will boost productivity. And both point to the key role of education.

What these experts would tell the government is that education is the key. Economists the world over hold that the best way to increase productivity, labour-force participation and GDP growth is to invest in education. Yet the Coalition’s 2016 budget cuts Gonski funding by a quarter. New strings are attached.

Morrison’s budget does not replace the cuts made by Abbott Joe Hockey to schools and in tertiary education. It even adds a big new cut. Despite backing down on university fee deregulation, the Turnbull government wants to cut university funding by $1.5 billion. Vice Chancellors will have every reason to feel betrayed.

So, too will teachers feel betrayed to discover that only $1.2 million or a quarter of full Gonski funding for schools survives in this budget. Hollow if not hypocritical is Morrison’s boast in the budget preamble of making provision for future generations.

In brief, the government is prepared to defy all evidence, abandon all pretence at fairness, even do a bit of cheating with its figures in order to satisfy its appetite for the trickle-down theory.

Another explanation is that the Coalition is hell-bent on appeasing its powerful business backers and the majority of Australians can just go hang. 2 July will see what ordinary Australians make of that assumption.

Mohawk Nation News

778 thoughts on “The Dodgy Brothers???

  1. I just read this article here. And I realized that before now I have not seen much of Chloe Shorten. I hope to see her more in this election campaign because she seems like an absolutely delightful person.

    I also note the poll at the bottom of this article. Hopefully Fairfax picks up that most of its readers are from the left and won’t appreciate efforts to assist the Liberals by trying to scuttle Labor’s campaign with trash journalism like it did in Julia Gillard’s time.

    (With 20,000 votes registered, votes appear to be 25% Liberal, 44% Labor, 15% Greens, 6% Other, 10% undecided)

    • Funny – those percentages have not changed since last night, when there where just over 6000 votes.

  2. Mike Baird’s council sackings –

    Baird had local councils give a great deal of input into proposed amalgamations, spent a lot of money on that, and then, when it was all done, completely ignored that input and did what he wanted to do.

    The sackings are not necessary, just Baird being a dictator. He will, of course, install chosen minions as administrators.

    A couple of decades ago the local council here amalgamated with the one next door. There was no sacking, no appointed administrator, just a change-over when it came to election time.

    Baird also has a political agenda going. The amalgamation of three councils in Bananaby’s electorate has been postponed, it is ‘pending’ until a future date, after the election, of course. The people up there are extremely against amalgamation and it could be a real vote loser for Bananaby. Baird is protecting some Coalition areas – others are on the ‘pending’ list – and attacking Labor-help areas like Wollongong.

    But here’s the weird part. Lots of Liberal areas are now dealing with sacked councils, including Baird’s own northern beaches, where it is rumoured he is going to install Bronnie as administrator. Maybe he thinks she will be a vote winner for that area, maybe he’s just trying to cause havoc.

    I can’t figure out why he chose to sack councils and appoint administrators for terms of more than a year, instead of just waiting until council elections to bring on the change. NSW will hold council elections this year, on 4 September. Why pull this stunt weeks before the election?

    Alan Jones is very anti-amalgamation and is whipping up a lot of anger, which can’t be good for Baird, and certainly won’t be good for Turnbull. Ill-informed people who are angry about an issue don’t bother to work out which level of government is responsible, they just lash out at the first chance they get, and that will be on July 2.

    Baird will soon have control of a lot of NSW councils, and his developer buddies are going to have a field day. That’s probably what’s behind all this – lots of dodgy development approved by Liberal mates for Liberal mates. A whole new ICAC investigation in the making, and NSW is stuck with this insane, tinpot dictator until March 2019.

  3. Peta Credlin’s comment about Turnbull being “Mr Harbourside Mansion” was funny.

    Combine that with Ray Hadley’s pet peeve – that Malcolm Turnbull turns up the collars of his polo shirts – and Western Sydney will be lighting torches, sharpening pitchforks and storming Rooty Hill tonight.

    But seriously folks… if Turnbull really believes that tonight’s Town Hall meeting will go well for him, he’s an even worse politician that I thought.

    It wouldn’t matter if he delivered an oration worthy of Cicero. Hadley and Bolt (and the like) will go after him with chain saws. The slightest slip-up will be amplified out of all proportion into “Harbourside silvertail snubs Western Sydney battlers” headlines.

    One smirk; one little instance of majestic insouciance; one display of panache, or elan; the mere hint of a Cartier watch or a Faberge egg, will see Turnbull dispatched to the parking lot via an agricultural hoik over square leg by any padded-up shock-jock, nutjob or Abbott Lover worthy of the name.

    By contrast, Bill is used to dealing with workers, tradies and battlers. They have been his stock in trade for decades. He could talk to these people for sixty seconds (much less an hour or two) and have them eating out of his hand, as he has done many, many times in the past.

    Questions that will be out of order (if Turnbull has any sense) will include anything at all to do with the RGR imbroglio and Shortens involvement in it. Turnbull has a few questions to answer on that score –vis a vis his own stiletto skills during the Abbott Back-Stabbing incident – himself.

    As to Teh Unions… if Shorten can survive a Royal Commission designed to set him up to fail, he can survive a probing from the peanut gallery by a Western Sydney tradie, or a truckie from Mt Druitt (as long as his name isn’t Duncan Storrer!).

    Parenthetically… I wonder whether Sky would be so cheeky as to get Duncan up from Geelong to attend tonight’s festivities? The mind boggles at the prospect.

    Turnbull’s only there because Bill said he’d attend, Malcolm or no Malcolm. So Malcolm’s at a disadvantage, having already snubbed The Battlers once this week. He may well rue the day he accepted tonight’s invitation.

  4. Yes-yes, I know I’m a bit cynical about TV talent and reality shows, but this lady is the product of one (the X-Factor, I think), and is truly in a class of her own (but very down-to-Earth about her success):

    Drawing more applause than any other competitor in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, Australian contestant Dami Im conquered pre-stage jitters and the hearts and minds of Europe with a stunning performance.

    The performance, which won a standing ovation at the Ericsson Global stadium in Stockholm, Sweden, secured Im a position in the final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest, which will be staged this weekend.
    The 27-year-old Queenslander broke down and wept after she walked off stage.

    Read more:

  5. Regarding fonts, when I was printing real estate sales reports I settled on News Gothic as the body font, very clear even at 8 point, faxed very well. Suburb names printed at the head of the sales in that suburb I printed in Nofret bold italic, real contract to the News Gothic. I could print a lot of info at 8 point, competitors used 6 point to print less information.

  6. Just on an hour ago I nearly vomited when I heard Miss Georgie Downer supporting the Government Gazette/HeraldSun attack on Duncan Storrer with wwte “they have a perfect right to probe into a person’s past”.

    I am sure she would be equally supportive of a NewsCorpse “probe” into the private life of her late paternal grandfather.

    • She sounds as empty-headed as her old man, Fiona.

      On the subject of the News Ltd smears of Duncan Storer, there has been some buzz on Twitter at Jon Faine’s serving it up to the HUN’s editor this morning, but I could not find a link to the broadcast. Does anyone here have one?

  7. I just finished watching the new SBS series “Follow the Money”. The Danes are really turning out some great dramas.

  8. Something that gets overlooked – Bill Shorten, thanks to his years dealing with union members and their bosses, is an excellent negotiator. He mentioned this himself, a couple of weeks ago, but no-one noticed.

    Turnbull, on the other hand, has no negotiation skills. From what I’ve read of his character (and there is plenty put there, if you care to search) he has a foul temper and flies into a rage if he doesn’t get his own way. He is always right – even when he’s not, he insists he’s right.

    He also has a legendary foul temper.

    Tim Costello, who worked with Turnbull on the republic campaign,
    once said this –

    But he’s impatient – he’d hardly been in parliament for five minutes before he was irritating Costello with his own blueprint for tax reform. He’s a bully – fellow republican campaigner Tim Costello recalls: “When you’re on the wrong end of Malcolm it’s terrifying, the thunder in the face and … the tongue lashing.”

    And this –

    Unfortunately I think it was a sense that he had bought the franchise for the republic and the rest of us were interlopers, so that meant when we were trying to say, look we don’t think the Australian public are going to buy a Parliamentary appointment of a president, there was irritation, there was annoyance, there was if you just shut up and listen to me you’ll understand why I’m right and you’re completely wrong

    That’s pretty mild stuff compared to other eye-witness accounts I’ve read.

    Turnbull was a bully when he was a prefect at Sydney Grammar and he has been a bully ever since.

    This extract from his unauthorised biography, “Born to Rule”, is very interesting.,+efficiency+and+speed&source=bl&ots=T2_mOcapMD&sig=Fe5fkWyKoIwFLT_yXcX0j3rYAOs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAGoVChMI79GQwpLkyAIVJIimCh2K3AP5#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%89In%20this%20computer%20age%20one%20becomes%20accustomed%20to%20seeing%20traditional%20standards%20fall%20away%20before%20the%20sacred%20cows%20of%20progress%2C%20efficiency%20and%20speed&f=false

    It wouldn’t take much to push Turnbull into a melt-down. He’s already showing signs of not coping with the rigors of an election campaign where he has to mingle with the common folk. The spur-of-the-minute decision to abandon the Penrith meet and greet, the eye-rolling when he had to talk to a single mum who managed to get past his minders, the posh lunch at the Athenaeum, to recover from the shock of having to talk to a commoner – and it’s only the first week.

    If Turnbull does’n’t blow a fuse in tonight’s debate he will, eventually. It’s inevitable. Let’s see how his MSM excuse-makers report that, when it happens.

    • Leone,

      Could you please tell me which particular page was of interest, and I will try a screen shot.

  9. An old friend of mine knew stumbles very very well, and always asserted that to know stumbles was to loathe him.

  10. I wonder whether credlin’s “harbourside millionaire” was her own invention or whether she should have given its proper attribution?

  11. They are really pushing the fairytaleabout Waffles’ humble origins today.

    ScoMo was at it this morning –

    The thing about Malcolm Turnbull is he’s someone who started out in a flat with his single parent dad and over the course of his life he’s been a great success he’s worked hard for the success he’s had … his story is one that I frankly find inspirational

    I’m pretty sure it’s all prep for tonight, painting the Harbourside Millionaire as really just on of us plebs, a bit of appeal to western Sydney. Plus trying to kill Peta Credlin’s use of the term.

    They have it wrong. A flat in Sydney’s posh eastern suburbs, even back when Waffles was a kid and the area was a lot less Anglo-Saxon and a lot more cosmopolitan than it is now, has never been cheap housing. If Waffles Senior was really doing it tough he would have rented a flat in, say, Mount Druitt, or in the then-seedy and cheap inner city. But no, it was Vaucluse, and a flat with harbour views, too. Later, after Mrs Waffles Senior left, father and son had to move into a smaller flat at Double Bay. Still not exactly an area full of struggling battlers.

    Waffles Senior went into real estate and did very, very nicely. His second wife (bet you didn’t know about HER) joined him in the family business and by 1970 all three Turnbulls were living in a very nice home Waffles Senior had bought at Point Piper. It had ‘spectacular’ views of the Harbour Bridge.

    The link I posted earlier to the Turnbull biography will get you all the details.

    So spare me all the heart-rending tales of the young Waffles enduring dire poverty in rented flats as a child. It’s all bullshit.

  12. I notice that Judith Turnbull and Bruce Turnbull both died on the same day. What was the story? Were they in a traffic accident or something similar?

  13. Gay Alcorn on the Politics Live thread has a link to the Faine interview mentioned.

    I listened to it. He did get stuck into the HUN editor Damon Johnson. It was pretty good in focusing (without calling it that) on the downward bullying of the powerless. I was first alerted through Jaeger’s links here to Anthony B, (@swearyanthony), well worth following up on. I was probably suitably angry after following them.

    If anything, I thought Jon let him off lightly compared with how I felt. He has to do that as a public broadcaster and journalist.

    Sometimes I think the aim of Murdoch smearing is to provoke the disgust of us soft-core do-gooders. I’ll be very glad when his poisonous influence is gone.

  14. The mystery of Judith Turnbull –

    It’s quite possible the date and/or year of her death in the Geni link is wrong. I’ve been doing quite a bit of family research, some of it with Geni, and I’ve found plenty of mistakes posted by others. People do not always use documented sources for their information, and sometimes they make big mistakes when entering knowen facts. Family tree sites are to be used with caution.

    I’ve done a quick search in the NSW register of births, deaths and marriages, and there is no record of a death for Judith Turnbull. or Womersley. They will only allow you to search up to 1986.

    It’s possible the woman divorced and married again.

  15. Is it just my imagination, or has young georgy porgy been getting stuck into a tad too much pie recently?

    • He’s going to need a much wider brim on his hat if he wants some shade on his body.

    • Looks like he’s eaten the contents of an entire pie shop, every day. For quite some time too.

    • I see Abbott is still wearing shirts that are two sizes too small. And Mark Latham had the hide to make remarks about Shorten’s ‘man boobs’! Tony looks like he has had surgical enhancement in the boob area.

    • George “Bubbles” Christensen, a man as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside

      (Bubbles referring to the character on Trailer Park Boys)

  16. From that Faine interview –

    “If you’re going to be on the national stage in the middle of an election campaign, it’s equally legitimate to have your own past looked at, and that’s what we’ve done.”

    So that means it’s open slather on the shady past and the personality defects of the Earl of Wentworth.

  17. Fiona –

    Sorry, just saw your comment about a screen shot.

    It’s hard to pick out just a page.

    My recommendation would be to read the whole thing. It’s not that long.

    However, if you want a nice quote about Waffles’ temper the last page of the extract has a beauty. (The page ends with a line about a white Mercedes).

  18. It’s worth noting that Storrar has never made any claims about his character, nor asked for people to fundraise for him. All he did was ask a pointed question of a government minister on Q&A — which is enough, apparently, to become the target of a coordinated media attack campaign.

    As has become pretty standard whenever a front page like this hits stands, reaction has been swift, and overwhelmingly negative. On Melbourne’s 774 ABC Melbourne today, host Jon Faine rounded on Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston over the front page, accusing him of “bullying vulnerable individuals such as Duncan Storrar”.

    “You go back more than 15 years to expose [Storrar’s] criminal record, bully and vilify him. What are you doing?” Faine asked Johnston. “What is your motivation, other than to whack someone who dares question your preferred party?”

    Johnston defended his paper’s line of reporting, arguing that “if you’re going to be on the national stage in the middle of an election campaign…I think you’re entitled to be subject to a bit of scrutiny. It was all part of legitimate public debate.”

    “I query your paper’s values system. It’s as blunt and as profound as that,” Faine replied. “Twice this week, you’ve taken people with obvious mental health issues…people who dare question people in power and positions of authority, and they get ground into the dirt. Is that the way you want to run your paper? What a way to conduct yourselves.”

  19. So Turnbull actually managed to visit a shopping centre – that must be a new experience for him.

    Any word on where he lunched afterwards? Are there any posh boys’only clubs in Adelaide? Or did he fly back to Sydney in time for a snack at the Australian Club?

    • l2

      So Turnbull actually managed to visit a shopping centre

      I’m quite sure that when Truffles and Lucy were in Canberra before he became PM you could regularly spot them at the fruit and vegies market.

      After all Emmo was a regular at the Belco one.

    • Yes, but was that anything like Colesworths and your average suburban shopping centre for the peasants, or is it more your trendy farmers’ market/artisan bread/hand-reared strawberries sort of thing?

      i just can’t imagine Waffles pushing a trolley around a supermarket. DJ’s foodhall maybe, but not his local Woolies.

    • l2

      I was joking about Truffles. I’d bet the only shop he’s ever been in here would be an ultra trendy bottle shop in Manuka.

      Emmo, I not joking about. He had an ex-govie house in Evatt and seeing him hunting for a new cistern or the like at Mitre10 after doing the markets was a regular sort of thing.

  20. Leone

    If the above tweet is correct, you are excused from reporting tonight, that is of course unless you still want to. I like to read your reaction to events and this would be no different.

    • Your timing is wonderful, I was just about to say I would not be giving a running commentary tonight.

      I’ll be watching, if everything goes to plan tonight, I might have something to say afterwards, but it’s too distracting to try to comment while things are in progress. Unless, of course, there’s some sort of drama.

      It’s good there will be a live stream everyone can watch.

  21. From Gorgeous Dunny’s Rundle link:

    News International has elevated nihilism to the status of a guiding principle, and that has become not merely a moral but an operational disaster for them — making it possible that the decision to allow it to take a controlling interest in BSkyB may be re-examined and rescinded, and losing them the Australia Network contract.

    Murdoch’s pursuit of power without content, as a way to plug a hole in the world, has spread to every part of his organisation, and to its leading players. The sort of people attracted to, and staying with Murdoch, come from the ranks of, to quote a dead Russian “the sort of journalists who do not need to be bribed because they are sycophantic by nature.”

    They live off his dark energy in the way that small electrical appliances can be powered at a distance, by a Tesla coil. In Australia, this reverse morality has turned the national broadsheet into a variant of the Baader-Meinhof gang — it spends so much of its energy trying to regain captured comrades and settling scores that that becomes its whole project.

    Such vengefulness has become, of late, in Australia, truly vicious — its most recent campaign against a public figure it disagreed with was an attempt to not merely finish her politically, but to destroy her psychologically. It was an unmistakeable sign of degeneration at the highest level, and by many of the people at mid-level corrupted by the vacuity of those at the top.

    They should take a look at some of the figures involved in the UK hacking scandal — burnt-out, used-up sleazebags, dumped and deserted, with Rebekah Brooks about to join the pile. That is their retirement plan. They’ll disappear, no fanfare, and no picture in the paper. That’s their problem. Ours is that an organisation which fosters genuine evil wants to run our international broadcast network.

  22. St Malcolm of Panama –

    (I hope this works)

    Students Desperately Want To Know What The Government Is Doing With Uni Fees

    The PM visited a university this morning, but didn’t have any information for students.
    Mechanical engineering students told BuzzFeed News today that they were confused as to why the prime minister would come to Flinders Uni and not make any higher education policy announcements

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