AS WE KEEP SAYIN’ … check the preferences of fringe parties like that of Pauline and Clive with preferences for the LIBS … we don’t want to be back where we started, do we?
With even more of the same X 2 Ham Actors at the helm … ?
NO Party is going to deliver on all that we want … it will be a compromise to get the best we can in the interests of Our Youth, their future prospects for jobs …
WHEN a few boomers refer to Millennials as being jealous … or suggest they do not work so hard … boomers were protected by Award rates of Pay, many gained free University education, with incomes that enabled them to save a home deposit before they were 30!
NOW we have Gen Rent …
Please consider voting for … Housing, Our Environment, Health and well-being of Our Society, Wages Growth! … over the interests of Big Business, foreign buyers, China … The Caymans …
P.S. CLIVE PALMER IS CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THE HUGE CHINESE BUY-UP OF AUSTRALIA … BUT WHO IS FINANCING HIS $30 – $50M CAMPAIGN?
A. HIS ESTRANGED CHINESE BUSINESS PARTNER! (ABC THE DRUM: 24 APRIL 2019)
Clive has spent $30M on his campaign! United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer is on track to deliver perhaps the biggest election upset. Picture: Shae Beplate.Source:News Corp Australia
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has launched an attack against Clive Palmer after polling showed the former MP could be a kingmaker at the next election, warning Australians of the problems with voting for fringe parties.
Mr Albanese also lashed Mr Palmer’s $30 million advertising campaign, which is being funded through his company Minerology, whose headquarters are now in New Zealand.
Asked if he was surprised by Mr Palmer’s rising popularity, as revealed in today’s Newspoll, given the “debacle” of the Palmer United Party in the 44th parliament, Mr Albanese told Sky News:
“It was a debacle and what’s more of course his attitude towards the workers in Townsville (at his Queensland Nickel refinery) was quite outrageous.
“I think people need to be very clear about voting for these fringe parties and be clear that they won’t necessarily get what they think they’re voting for.
We know that with these fringe parties, what has happened is that senators have been elected and then they’ve resigned, become independents, joined other parties, had all sorts of moving chairs in the Senate. It was hard to keep up with who was a member of where during the last term of office I’ve got to say.
“The irony of Clive Palmer and where his money is coming from, to fund this advertising campaign that is speaking about having a concern about foreign investment in Australia is quite frankly breathtaking.”
Mr Albanese could not say if Labor would try and clinch preference deals with Mr Palmer’s United Australia Party.
“That’s above my pay grade. What we’re concerned about is having primary votes for the Labor Party,” he said.
Scott Morrison is on the verge of securing a preference deal with Clive Palmer that would all but guarantee the Queensland billionaire a Senate spot and help ring-fence marginal seats the Coalition must hold to retain government.
Under the deal being finalised, Mr Palmer’s United Australia Party would be placed ahead of One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party on the Liberal and LNP how-to-vote cards for the Senate.
One Nation’s Pauline Hanson has attacked Clive Palmer’s $30 million spend on his campaign. Picture: Tricia WatkinsonSource:News Corp Australia
In return, UAP would preference the Liberals and LNP second on its how-to-vote cards — a move that could be a key factor in determining the outcome in a batch of marginal seats.
The UAP recorded a primary vote of 14 per cent in the Queensland seat Herbert, where its candidate is former State of Origin player Greg Dowling.
The party is sitting on a vote of 8 per cent in Pearce (WA), 7 per cent in Lindsay (NSW) and 5 per cent in Deakin (VIC).
The average of those primary votes, which is about 8 per cent, would put the UAP ahead of One Nation and potentially give it the balance of power in the Senate.
By buying a lot of One Nation votes, Clive Palmer’s “make Australia stupid again (MASA)” campaign is a fillip for the Coalition but it is not a game changer for the result.
With two party preferred polls still sitting at 52-48 favouring Labor, the election would see Labor win the election 82 seats to 63. Even if the preference deal were to shift that by four seats the result is still decisive to Labor.
Where it may end up being more important is in the constitution of the senate. If MASA can gain a few senate spots then it strengthens the hand of the entire cross-bench in the forthcoming negotiations over Labor’s tax reform package. With Centre Alliance, One Nation and MASA all resistant to franking credit and negative gearing reform, large concessions may be necessary to get the package through the senate.
MAKE AUSTRALIA STUPID!
You can’t miss Clive Palmer’s bright yellow billboards.Source:AAP
The largest impact of MASA may be in boosting property market prospects, truly making Australia stupid again.
TAX OFFICE DATA reveals … with Neg Gearing … the highest average losses are occurring in POSTCODES with the BIGGEST INCOMES and that those on higher incomes tend to be the KEENEST USERS of NEGATIVE GEARING …
AND not Teachers, Ambos … those on less than $80K p.a. …
Wealthy Australians the heaviest users of negative gearing
The Grattan Institute’s Danielle Wood says she is not surprised by tax office data regarding negative gearing losses.
The data reveals that the highest average losses are occurring in postcodes with the highest incomes, with Wood noting that those on higher incomes tend to be the keenest users of negative gearing. From The Australian:
Property investors in some of Australia’s wealthiest suburbs are racking up negative gearing losses that average more than $20,000 a year, new taxation office figures show.
A breakdown of rental income deductions by postcode, released by Treasury under freedom of information laws, reveals the largest average negative gearing losses are in the nation’s highest income postcodes…
“The geographic spread of the losses doesn’t surprise me,” Ms Wood said… “We’ve previously found that 50 per cent of the tax benefits from negative gearing go to the top 10 per cent of income earners — assessed before rental loss deductions”…
Suburbs highlighted by ATO data include Sydney’s Darling Point, part of the Wentworth electorate formerly held by Malcolm Turnbull, and Melbourne’s Higgins, which was until recently held by former financial services minister Kelly O’Dwyer.
So here’s yet more evidence debunking the Coalition’s and property lobby’s incessant lie that negative gearing is used primarily by ‘ordinary mum and dad’ middle-income earners.
Fact check: Do two-thirds of negative gearers have a taxable income under $80,000?
Indeed, ABC Fact Check last year also showed that negative gearing is used primarily by higher income earners:
The graph below shows that people who earn a total income before negative gearing of above $80,000 receive 61.8 per cent of the net rental losses, despite representing only 47.7 per cent of negative gearers.
It also shows that the 52.3 per cent of negative gearers below $80,000 only account for 25.9 per cent of the benefit of reduced tax. The 47.7 per cent above $80,000 account for 74.1 per cent.
Once again, as the thresholds increase, the disparities between the share of negative gearers and the net rental loss and tax benefit increase.
The 9.5 per cent of negative gearers above $180,000account for 19.1 per cent of the net rental losses, and 26.2 per cent of the reduction in tax paid.
And above $245,000, 4.5 per cent of negative gearersaccount for 12.4 per cent of the net rental losses, and 15.8 per cent of the reduction in tax paid…
Experts and academic research have broken down this topic in different ways, showing that negative gearing disproportionately benefits higher-income earners…
Curtin University academics Helen Hodgson, Alan Duncan and Rachel Ong ViforJ, along with Griffith University’s John Minas, calculated earlier this year that the mean or average tax saving due to negative gearing for the highest-earning 25 per cent of negatively geared investors is a figure more than four times that of the lowest-earning 50 per cent.
An Easter weekend in an election campaign might be a bit of a challenge for a pair of leaders who are atheists.
Fortunately for Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten, declared believers, it wasn’t a problem.
Both attended church services during the so-called campaign ceasefire that the main parties had proclaimed for two of the four days.
Mr Morrison on Sunday was pictured in full voice with raised arm at his Horizon Pentacostal church in The Shire, where the media were invited in. On Friday he’d been at a Maronite Catholic service in Sydney.
Sunday morning saw Mr Shorten at an Anglican service in Brisbane, his family including mother-in-law Quentin Bryce, former governor-general.
Neither leader was hiding his light under a bushel.
Church, chocolate and penalty rates
Sunday was an opportunity to wheel out the kids, chasing Easter eggs (Mr Shorten) or on the Rock Star ride at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show (Mr Morrison).
This was campaigning when you’re not (exactly) campaigning.
The minor players weren’t into the pretend game. For them, the relative restraint on the part of the majors presented rare opportunity.
Usually Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick would have little chance of being the feature interview on the ABC’s Insiders.
But while Friday and Sunday were lay days for the major parties, Saturday was not (and Monday won’t be either)
For Labor, Easter has meshed nicely with one of the key planks of its wages policy — restoration of penalty rate cuts by the Fair Work Commission.
Even on Sunday, Mr Shorten pointedly thanked “everyone who’s working this weekend”.
It was the start of Labor’s campaign focus turning from health to wages this week, when it will cast the election as a “referendum on wages”.
Turnbull resurrects the NEG
I see @David_Speers is referring to the National Energy Guarantee as “Malcolm Turnbull’s NEG”. In fact the NEG had the support of the entire Cabinet, including and especially the current PM and Treasurer. It was approved by the Party Room on several occasions.
The weekend standout, however, was the intervention of Malcolm Turnbull, who launched a series of pointed tweets about the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).
Mr Turnbull was set off by a reference from journalist David Speers to “Malcolm Turnbull’s NEG”.
The former prime minister tweeted:
“In fact the NEG had the support of the entire Cabinet, including and especially the current PM and Treasurer. It was approved by the Party Room on several occasions.”
“It had the support of the business community and energy sector in a way that no previous energy policy had. However a right wing minority in the Party Room refused to accept the majority position and threatened to cross the floor and defeat their own government”.
“That is the only reason it has been abandoned by the Government. The consequence is no integration of energy and climate policy, uncertainty continues to discourage investment with the consequence, as I have often warned, of both higher emissions and higher electricity prices.”
“And before anyone suggests the previous tweet is some kind of revelation — all of the economic ministers, including myself, @Scott MorrisonMP, @JoshFrydenberg spent months arguing for the NEG on the basis that it would reduce electricity prices and enable us to lower our emissions.”
“I see the @australian has already described the tweets above as attacking the Coalition. That’s rubbish. I am simply stating the truth: the NEG was designed & demonstrated to reduce electricity prices. So dumping it means prices will be higher than if it had been retained. QED”
“The @australian claims I ‘dropped the NEG’. False. When it was clear a number of LNP MPs were going to cross the floor the Cabinet resolved to not present the Bill at that time but maintain the policy as @Scott MorrisonMP, @JoshFrydenberg& I confirmed on 20 August.”
(Frydenberg, incidentally, has lost out every which way on the NEG. As energy minister he tried his hardest to get it up, only to see it fall over. Now he is subject to a big campaign against him in Kooyong on climate change, including from high-profile candidates and GetUp.)
Did Turnbull leave Morrison with egg on his face?
Mr Turnbull might justify the intervention as just reminding people of the history.
But it is damaging for the Government and an Easter gift for Labor — which is under pressure over how much its ambitious emissions reduction policy would cost the economy.
It also feeds into Labor’s constant referencing of the coup against Mr Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull’s Easter tweets are a reminder:
the Coalition sacrificed a coherent policy on energy and climate for a hotchpotch with adverse consequences for prices;
it dumped that policy simply because of internal bloody-mindedness; and
the now-PM and treasurer were backers of the NEG, which had wide support from business.
And give a golden egg to Shorten?
Mr Shorten has strengthened his commitment on the NEG, indicating on Saturday he’d pursue it in government even without bipartisan support.
“We’ll use some of the Turnbull, Morrison, Frydenberg architecture, and we will work with that structure,” he said.
Given the hole it has left in the Government’s energy policy, pressing Mr Morrison on the economic cost of walking away from the NEG is as legitimate as asking Mr Shorten about the economic impact of his policy.
Michelle Grattan is a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra and chief political correspondent at The Conversation, where this article first appeared.
-job security; having to compete with 1.6 Million Visa Workers
-lowest wages growth since WW2
SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE FOR THE ‘REAL FACTS’
Labor demands Facebook remove ‘fake news’ posts about false death tax plans
Labor has demanded Facebook investigate apparent “fake news” posts claiming the opposition is planning to introduce a “death tax” on inheritances, in the first major test of the social media giant’s promise to crack down on false election material.
The posts and messages shared via Facebook messenger incorrectly claimed Labor had signed a covert deal to bring in a 40 per cent inheritance tax and carried a link to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s website, though the Liberal Party said it was not behind the posts.
“Labor, the Greens and unions have signed an agreement to introduce a 40 percent inheritance tax,” the crudely written message states.
“Everything you own cannot go to your kids or next of kin at death 40 percent goes to the govt. Please share this with all your friends.”
Separately, the Canberra Liberals authorised an advertising truck that has been driving around the nation’s capital that bears the slogan, “Labor will tax you to death” and includes an image of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, although it does not specifically say Labor wants to introduce an inheritance tax.
Labor’s campaign headquarters wrote yesterday to Facebook warning that the rapid proliferation of the posts on Thursday and Friday could taint the federal election.
“I would like to raise serious concerns about a number of apparent fake news posts about ‘Labor’s death tax’ circulating on Facebook very rapidly over the past 12 hours and its possible implications for the Australian federal election,” the letter states.
It said that “multiple, various accounts” were posting the false claim and that there also “seems to be an orchestrated message forwarding campaign about the issue”.
“These claims are false and it is not Labor’s policy to introduce a death or inheritance tax.”
It called on Facebook to investigate and remove the material.
The US-based social media giant has vowed in recent weeks to strengthen countermeasures to stop fake news and advertising, particularly from foreign sources.
The discovery of the inheritance tax posts came as the world digested the 488-page Mueller report into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election through tactics that included fake news.
The posts about the Australian election carry a link to a press release issued by Mr Frydenberg in January that said Labor’s assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh had written an article in 2006 – when he was an academic – favourable to introducing an inheritance tax.
A Coalition campaign spokeswoman said it was not behind the fake posts, adding that all Coalition material was authorised, as required by electoral law.
“The Facebook messages and posts in question have not originated from the Treasurer’s office or the Coalition campaign headquarters,” she said.
The press release from January was “factual”, she said.
Some Facebook users were posting the claim, however, and pointing to Mr Frydenberg’s press release as evidence it was true.
The Canberra Liberals’ advertising truck that says “Labor will tax you to death” was authorised by the party’s Arthur Potter. It states that “Labor will tax your rent, your car, your home, your retirement.”
THE AEC confirmed the various rules and regulations do not cover several aspects of the voting process, and there seems a reluctance to amend, or enact new rules by the current Federal LNP Coalition Government as they see it …
HOW convenient for the Scummo guvmnt with the Commonwealth Electoral Act of ‘1918’ … allowing candidates to send campaign material to voters …
IS it the case theScummo Government …
-won’t change it until a problem emerges that hinders their purposes
-won’t change it until there is a chorus clambering for it, and then it can be used to show what good fellows they are
-won’t change it if any advantage is given to any other party
-won’t change it if there is a possibility it will disadvantage their agenda in the future
Simply put it is a position that they can, and do make use of, and will strive to …
-hose down the significance of it
-won’t acknowledge there is a problem … ‘it’s been like this for years’ …
-where’s the problem?
-who is complaining?
THE AEC would have raised it if there is a problem …
YOU can see it now … these issues get the sort of response that is:
-dismissive of criticism
-that no evidence exists that something is wrong … so get over it!
Why are federal election candidates sending you postal vote applications?
Over the next few weeks, you might spot a letter marked “IMPORTANT voting information” for the 2019 Federal Election that looks official, and contains a postal vote application form asking for personal details. But they’re not from the AEC.
The unbranded envelopes have been landing in people’s mailboxes for the past few weeks, and contain a reply-paid envelope along with the form.
“How is it allowed that candidates can send out postal vote forms to return to them, which could be privacy-breached, and not direct to the AEC?”
The simple answer is:
According to the Commonwealth Electoral Act — which sets out all the rules for elections in Australia — political parties are allowed to distribute postal vote applications to electors, along with reply-paid envelopes addressed back to them.
“This is a longstanding provision of the electoral act,” the AEC’s director of media and issues management, Phil Diak, said.
But voters aren’t required to apply or to use the envelope supplied if they do.
Is it legal for parties to check out what’s on the form?
Yep. Mr Diak said there was nothing stopping political parties from “extracting and viewing” your postal vote application, if it’s sent back to them in the envelope they supplied.
That means they could access your:
Date of birth
Contact details (including your email address, mobile phone number and home phone number)
A security question and answer
CAAN Photo: JA envelope retrieved from the bin … Delivery mail address to Liberal backbencher member for Epping NSW; no stamp required
CAAN Photo: John Alexander Postal Vote Application Form
CAAN Photo: Note no Liberal logo on the Postal Vote application form from Liberal MP John Alexander for Bennelong!
ABC Photo: Note the reply paid envelope is addressed to the Melbourne ALP address unlike the LNP Coalition Members individual electorate campaign offices … it would seem for their own Candidature purposes ????
What’s that security question about?
When you apply for a postal vote, the AEC asks you to provide a security question and answer, which it will then use to verify your vote.
“When you receive your postal vote you’ll be asked to write your answer on the envelope containing your ballot papers,” the form states.
A MAILOUT from the SCOMO GOVERNMENT targeting AGE PENSIONERS on the eve of the ELECTION CAMPAIGN … dated 5 April 2019 COST TAXPAYERS $2.1 MILLION and has raised concerns about the timing of the correspondence.
AND another controversial Health Department mailout of 600,000 letters to people approaching the ages of 45 and 65 as part of its Better Ageing programme earlier this year!
WITH a growing“Aged Population” … go figure why they were targeted by the Scummo Guvmnt …
IF the Scummo Guvmnt is returned REMEMBER they can just as swiftly take it all away … like they did with Pension Cuts!
During the regime of the LNP Coalition (2013 – 2019) Young Australians (our Families) have been subject to cuts to TAFE courses, fee hikes, Newstart below the Poverty line, having to compete with 1.6 MILLION Visa Workers currently in Australia, Unis flooded with International Students, lowest wages growth since WW2 …
A mailout from the federal government to age pensioners on the eve of the election campaign cost taxpayers $2.1 million and raised concerns about the timing of the correspondence. By Karen Middleton.
EXCLUSIVE: TAXPAYER MILLIONS SPENT ON COALITION MAILOUT
The federal government spent $2.1 million on a mailout to millions of age pensioners just days before the election was called, despite concern among officials that it amounted to political advertising.
The Department of Human Services sent taxpayer-funded letters to Australia’s 2.88 million age pensioners, alerting them to the new one-off energy assistance payment included in the April 2 federal budget plus other “beneficial changes” to the pension.
The mailout was on behalf of the Department of Social Services, which was responsible for the letter’s content. Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher authorised and signed it.
In response to questions from The Saturday Paper, the Human Services Department said: “The Department of Social Services confirmed prior to distribution that the letter wasn’t considered government campaign advertising.”
DHS said it “did not advise against distribution of the letter, provided it was not required to print or mail the letter during the caretaker period”.
DSS confirmed the two departments had negotiated over the timing.
“The Department of Human Services raised issues about the time frame for producing the letter, in light of the upcoming caretaker period, and potential service delivery impacts,” the DSS statement said. “The [DSS] and [DHS] worked through these matters. The letter was produced and distributed prior to the caretaker period.”
Further, DSS said: “The department does not consider that the letter constitutes an information or advertising campaign as defined by the guidelines.”
Other sources have told The Saturday Paper that some departmental officials remain concerned about both the nature of the letter and its timing, produced on the cusp of an election campaign.
*DHS received $9.2 million in the federal budget this financial year to assist with the administration of the new one-off energy assistance payment.
*It has confirmed $2.1 million of that is being spent on the pensioner mailout.
The Saturday Paper understandsthe department engaged its contractor, Fuji Xerox, to print more than two million copies of the letter, working through the weekend of April 6 and 7 to have them printed and posted before the public service caretaker period began.
*DHS did not respond to questions about the letters having been printed on a weekend or whether this incurred extra cost.
It is also not clear whether they were sent standard mail or at a premium to ensure delivery before the caretaker period began on Thursday morning last week.
Instead of a brief informative message on Centrelink letterhead – which was how pensioners were told about a similar one-off energy payment in 2017 – this was a two-page letter bearing the Australian government coat of arms and minister Paul Fletcher’s signature.
“The Australian Government recognises the importance of providing sustainable support to Australian retirees,” Fletcher’s letter began, indicating he wanted to update recipients on “a number of recent beneficial changes”.
DHS confirmed that recipients of other welfare benefits also eligible for the one-off energy payment have not been sent such a letter and will not receive one until well after the May 18 election.
DSS said this was because the pensioners’ letter was not just about the energy assistance payment but “a range of measures related to age pension recipients”.
It said previous Labor ministers had sent out similar letters to carers in 2009 and that Fletcher had also written to 690,000 carers last month at a cost of $460,000.
*The Saturday Paper understands that the pensioner mailout’s timing contributed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision not to call the election on the weekend immediately following the budget.
*Instead, Morrison visited the governor-general four days later, early on the morning of Thursday, April 11, and had the parliament prorogued at 8.29am.
**This meant senate estimates hearings that had been due to begin at 9am that day and to continue the next day and the following week were cancelled.
The Department of Social Services had been set to appear at an estimates hearing at 9am and the Department of Human Services was due to appear that night.
DSS had already appeared before estimates on Friday, April 5 – the same day the emailed version of the letter went out to 880,000 pensioners who receive government communications electronically. This was before the hard copies had been printed and posted. Questions were raised in estimates about the energy payment but not about a mailout.
*DHS told The Saturday Paper its $9.2 million budget allocation for the energy assistance payment covered the technological work required to administer it, customer service to respond to inquiries and “communication activities including letters to recipients”.
Those communication activities accounted for $3.2 million of that, of which $2.1 million was being spent on the pensioner mailout.
Much of the remaining $1.1 million of that communication funding will be spent on sending advisory letters to other welfare recipients eligible for the energy assistance payment.
*But DHS confirmed these other letters would not be mailed out until June, when the payment is actually due.
*Details of the age pensioners’ mailout emerged as the Victorian Liberal–National opposition accused the Victorian state Labor government of inappropriately spending $1 million of taxpayers’ money on advertisements targeting the federal Coalition government.
The Victorian state opposition referred the head of the Victorian public service and three other senior officials to that state’s anti-corruption watchdog this week over the ad campaign.
The advertisements say Victorians deserve “a fair share of funding” from the federal government. They were launched last Sunday, four days into the federal election campaign.
Speaking in Melbourne this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Victorian ads were designed to support Labor and its leader, saying he had “no doubt the state government here will do Bill Shorten’s bidding”.
Victoria’s attorney-general, Jill Hennessy, said the ads were “standing up for Victoria”.
Morrison’s election campaign has targeted pensioners and retirees, whom he argues would be worse off under a Labor government. He singles out those who receive cash rebates on shareholdings, known as franking credits, which a Shorten–Labor government would abolish.
“That’s not what our government will do,” Morrison said on Tuesday. “We will remain committed to supporting Australians as they retire.”
He said that included helping them pay their power bills.
At a February 21 senate estimates committee hearing, Labor senators asked DHS secretary Renée Leon about another controversial mailout, conducted for the Health Department.
Leon confirmed DHS had received $3.16 million in last year’s budget to mail 600,000 Health Department letters to people approaching the ages of 45 and 65 as part of its Better Ageing program. The letters were sent earlier this year.
Leon explained her department is the clearing house for mailouts from other departments, responsible for the printing and distribution of letters, but not for their content.
“We don’t have, and didn’t have, any involvement in the content of the letter,” Leon said of the previous Health Department mailout. “But we did provide the mailing list … The database spits out the letter with each person’s name and address on it and the approved content in it. It’s an electronic process, not a human-aided process, to produce the letters.”
The Health Department letters that were discussed in the February estimates hearing aimed to alert recipients to a website enabling them to undergo checks on their health, employment options and finances and help them stay healthy, active and independent.
They were printed on Australian government letterhead and signed by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who was described on them as “Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party”.
*Labor senators raised concerns about those letters and accused the government of spending taxpayers’ money on what was effectively political advertising, potentially breaching the guidelines for information and advertising campaigns by non-Commonwealth entities.
*Those guidelines say information campaigns “must not mention the party in government by name”.
*“Campaigns must not try to foster a positive impression of a particular political party or promote political interests,” they say.
**Campaigns also “must not be designed to influence public support for a political party, a candidate for election, a minister or a member of parliament”.
*The guidelines define a campaign as “a planned series of communication activities that share common objectives, target the same audience, and have specific timelines and a dedicated budget”.
*Governments may legitimately use public funds to explain government programs and inform people of their entitlements, but they must notbe used for “party political purposes”.
It is this definition that DSS says does not apply to its pensioner mailout.
In the February questions on the Health mailout, Labor senator Murray Watt asked the minister representing the portfolio, Senator David Fawcett, why the government was “rorting taxpayers’ money to run an election campaign”.
“This is a budget measure aimed at providing information to a part of our population which is a growing percentage of our population,” Fawcett said.
Watt asked whether the Liberal Party intended to refund the money. He received no response.
*Last week’s age pensioners’ letter details the pension increase that took effect on March 20 and the dollar values of the special energy payment, the ongoing energy supplement, the work bonus to take effect from July and “another benefit commencing on 1 July” – the expansion of the pension loan scheme.
The government unveiled its planned one-off energy payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples in the lead-up to the budget, saying it would go to those on carers’, parenting, disability, veterans’ and war widows’ payments but not unemployed people on Newstart.
The morning after the budget, Treasurer Frydenberg revealed during a radio interview that the policy had changed overnight and would now be extended to Newstart recipients too.
Frydenberg said later that he, Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann had met late on budget night and decided to extend the payment because they “thought it was appropriate”.
This week, Treasury’s pre-election fiscal outlook confirmed that the extension cost $80 million and had increased the $4.3 billion budget deficit this financial year. A surplus is forecast for next year.
During the April 5 estimates hearing, DSS officials told senators they first heard an extension to Newstart recipients was likely in a phone call from a member of Minister Fletcher’s staff on budget night, Tuesday, April 2, advising them to prepare for “legislative and costing changes”.
Labor senator Jenny McAllister asked when the call came.
DSS deputy secretary Nathan Williamson said: “It was around the time of the budget speech.”
McAllister pressed him.
“My recollection is it was during it,” Williamson said.
He said departmental officials had worked on the changes through that Tuesday night and final policy authority had come “early on Wednesday morning”.
A senior official from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet told a separate estimates hearing she found out about the pending change when she was warned on budget night to expect a letter from DSS. The letter from Minister Fletcher to Prime Minister Morrison arrived later that evening.
TheDSS officials confirmed about five million Australians would be receiving the energy assistance payment.
But it seems only half of them are having it specifically drawn to their attention before May 18.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 20, 2019 as “Exclusive: Taxpayer millions spent on Coalition mailout”. Subscribe here.
ARE you shocked that the LNP Coalition have fudged the numbers by the sell-off of our Assets, cut business taxes at the Big End of Town, and low-and-behold they will end up having to pay for it by cutting welfare and government services for the ‘great unwashed’?
States jam ‘mediscare’ into Scummo’s budget black hole
…there have been a notable absence of savings measures in the past two budgets, other than the now almost obligatory measures to extract more efficiencies from the welfare budget.
Budget consolidation has mainly been a revenue story. Revenues have increased by a full 2 per cent of GDP since 2013-14.
Growth in income tax receipts through bracket creep, commodity price windfalls and Future Fund earnings are the heroes of this story.
*It looks like the record of a government that should take credit for some incremental belt-tightening and (largely) resisting the temptation for cash splashes. But the government wants to lay claim to a bigger legacy. It claims to have set Australia on a path to eliminating net debt by 2030, while giving the largest personal income tax cuts since the Howard government.
This version of the legacy is more fantasy novel than historical account. The government’s steady downward trajectory on debt relies on it achieving ever-growing surpluses building to almost 2 per cent of GDP by 2029-30.
Sounds impressive, especially when you take into account the tax cuts announced in the past two budgets are together worth more than $300 billion over the decade.
That’s because these fantasy surpluses are born on the spending side of the budget – payments as a share of GDP are projected to fall by 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2029-30.
Achieving such a reduction would require significant falls in spending growth across almost every major spending area, during a period when we know that an ageing population will increase pressures on many components of spending. The Parliamentary Budget Office’s best guess is that ageing could wipe $36 billion off the bottom line by 2028-29.
This is the problem with attempting to create a legacy in the medium-term estimates – these aren’t intended to predict what the budget would actually look like under the current government in a decade.
The medium-term estimates assume a world of steady trend growth and no new spending announcements – other than for infrastructure and pharmaceuticals.
To believe these figures you would have to believe the Coalition would contest another three elections without spending an additional dollar.
*Hiding behind the medium-term estimates is not just rhetorical flourish. The government has used these estimates to justify substantially boosting the size of its tax cuts for high-income earners from 2022. Take away the optimistic assumptions and its not at all clear these are affordable.
So the ultimate legacy of this government could well be a budget heading back to structural deficit towards the end of the forward estimates. If only they could have been happy with just average.
If the $40b needed budget cost savings measures are plugged inwe will get a hit to growth in 2030 of…wait for it…1.5% of GDP. Needless to say, the states are not happy, via the AFR today:
The Treasurers of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia the ACT and the Northern Territory have written to federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg calling on him to “confirm that there will be no further funding cuts to hospitals, schools, infrastructure and other essential services that Australians rely on.”
…It notes the forecast $40 billion cut in spending “is more than the Commonwealth’s entire annual contribution to the states and territories for health ($22.8 billion) or education ($21.5 billion) in 2019-20”.
“The Abbott government promised that there would be ‘no cuts to education’ and ‘no cuts to health’ and then in its first budget proposed cuts of $80 billion from school and hospital funding.
This appears to be taking on the dimensions of an election defining issue.
Perhaps politicising the Treasury was not such a good idea after all.
The world’s most boring election continues. Via The Australian comes the cost carbon mitigation:
Australian businesses could be forced to spend more than $25 billion on international carbon credits to meet Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction targets by 2030, jeopardising one of Bill Shorten’s fundamental election pillars, which he declared would have no cost to the economy.
…A day after refusing to answer questions on the cost to the economy of Labor’s climate policy, Mr Shorten yesterday declared a 2015 report by economist Warwick McKibbin showed “our 45 per cent reduction, including international offsets, has the same economic impact as the Liberals’ 26 per cent”.
Correct in theory. Fake Greens aren’t happy, at Domain:
Greens climate change spokesman Adam Bandt expressed concern at the open-ended commitment from Mr Shorten to allow the use of international permits, suggesting there would be no cap on the purchases.
“It’s like paying someone else to go on a diet for you while you keep eating burgers and chips,” Mr Bandt said.
“Passing the buck is not a credible policy. International offsets will delay the push to renewable energy at home.”
No killer blow there for anybody.
The tax yawn goes on with Domain unhappy that its customers won’t see more cuts to spend on realty:
Labor has decided to sacrifice further tax cuts for more than 1.5 million workers in favour of promising bigger budget surpluses than the Coalition, in a fresh bid to win a crucial pre-election contest over economic management.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age can reveal Labor has completed its internal deliberations over whether to propose a last-minute tax reform package for Australians earning between $90,000 and $120,000, and has opted to instead funnel the billions of dollars the cuts would have cost into improving the budget bottom line.
High-income earners will receive at least $77bn from the Coalition’s 10-year income tax package, shrinking the proportion of the overall tax burden shouldered by the rich, according to a new analysis.
The Australia Institute modelling, released on Thursday, furthers the progressive thinktank’s argument that the Coalition’s flat tax policy is a “radical attack on Australia’s progressive tax system”, as its senior economist, Matt Grudnoff, summarised.
Labor and the Coalition largely agree on tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners in the short term, but the opposition has rejected the government’s plan to extend more generous income tax cuts to middle- and high-income earners from 2022.
Under the plan in the 2019 budget, those earning more than $41,000 will receive a tax cut in 2022 and by 2024 everyone earning between $40,000 to $200,000 will pay a marginal rate of 30%.
According to Treasury documents, flattening tax brackets will result in a total tax cut of $1,205 a year for a person earning $50,000, $1,955 for someone earning $80,000, $3,040 for a person earning $100,000 increasing to $11,640 for those earning $200,000 or more.
Based on the government’s figures that the Coalition’s plan will cost $230bn more than Labor’s, the Australia Institute analysis finds those earning more than $180,000 will get at least $77bn in tax cuts over the next 10 years. Most of that benefit ($64bn) will flow to those earning more than $200,000, it says.
The entire tax flattening plan is a regressive disgrace and should be dumped. Not to mention that by 2022 there won’t be any surpluses to give away as China slows and commodities fall. Then there is the $40bn black hole which needs to be filled to pay for the tax cuts even if by some miracle commodities do hold up, also at The Guardian:
The Grattan Institute analysis used projections about GDP growth from the 2019 budget and assumed 4.5% growth per year for the rest of the decade.
Danielle Wood, the budget policy program director at Grattan, told Guardian Australia that projecting growth higher than 4.5% would be a “non-standard assumption”. “Are the Coalition seriously saying they can boost GDP growth beyond that?”
Wood also disputes the claim the Coalition has limited spending growth to 1.9%, explaining this is based on:
Using 2013-14 as the baseline and blaming Labor for that year – even though the Coalition were in charge for three quarters of the year, during which they gave a cash injection to the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Including the next four years, when spending is projected to be limited to 1.3% growth.
Wood calculates that since the Coalition was elected government spending has increased by 2.6%.
And they will slash and burn spending as the economy falls apart ahead? I think not. Scummo is losing the tax debate.
Then there are the apparatchiks both doing a poor job, at Domain:
GetUp has been forced to amend its instruction guide for volunteers after the activist group’s boss was caught in an embarrassing interview in which he was unable to justify claims that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was “part of the coup” against Malcolm Turnbull.
National director Paul Oosting had defended a GetUp instruction manual that suggested volunteers tell voters Mr Frydenberg was “part of the coup that removed Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister”, even if he might be “a nice person”.
But that gaff pales versus non-Get-up, also at Domain:
The conservative lobby group Advance Australia has made a complaint to Queensland police about a reported death threat made to its “satirical superhero” Captain GetUp.
The caped conservative crusader, who is confusingly named after progressive activist group GetUp, is a superhero-style character created to drum up publicity for Advance Australia causes, and to highlight what it says is GetUp’s agenda “to change Australia’s way of life”.
The character has been unleashed on electorates around Australia where GetUp is actively campaigning to get rid of conservative candidates, notably Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah and Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson.
So, AA produced a bunch of blow-up dolls to promote the Get-up brand nationwide. That’s a new low in stupid.
The only thing worth reading, and it’s hardly new either, is John Kehoe at the AFR:
Underlying the election battle between the Prime Minister and Labor Leader over taxes and climate change is an intergenerational fight over income, wealth and the future.
Labor’s tax crackdowns on negative gearing, capital gains, superannuation, dividend franking credits and family trusts are part of what Shorten argues is ending the “intergenerational bias in our tax system” and stopping the “war on young people”.
…In sharp contrast, Morrison was playing lawn bowls this past week with retirees near Geelong in Victoria, pledging no superannuation tax rises.
True enough. But even that is a fake of omission. So long as the Quantitative Peopling growth model is pursued uncritically by both sides of politics then the war on youth continues unabated in higher house prices, lower wages, crush loaded services and environment. Labor is playing around on the margins trying to limit the damage not make life better, while the Coalition wants to make it much worse.
One can’t help wondering where the Coalition sees itself in a decade as its Boomer cohort dies off like flies and it is left surrounded by enemies.
THE Chisholm Electorate has a choice between electing a candidate with a reputation of abhorrent conduct on WeChat or the other Jennifer Yang who has served this community as a local Councillor and Mayor.
Ms Gladys Liu having earnt notoriety through an abhorrent, hateful WeChat campaign in 2016 during the previous Federal Election campaign! Is this pattern of conduct continuing?
Jennifer Yang wants to make it clear: if she wins, she’ll represent all the voters in Chisholm, not just the Chinese community.
View the following reports or Search CAAN Website to find more!
LIBERAL CHISHOLM CANDIDATE GLADYS LIU CAUGHT DISPARAGING LGBTI ISSUES, BLAMES CHINESE COMMUNITY
Controversy surrounds WeChat and the 2016 election
Both candidates know one thing well: the suburbs of Chisholm might be sedate, but the seat is politically volatile.
In 2016, Ms Liu helped then-Liberal candidate Julia Banks defy a national swing towards Labor and take the seat off the ALP — the victory was crucial to former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s slender majority in Parliament.
Last year, Ms Banks sensationally quit the Liberal Party for the crossbench, accusing male colleagues of bullying.
That controversy has hurt the Liberals in Chisholm, and Labor remains the heavy favourite to win back the seat this year.
The Prime Minister had to field questions about whether his star candidate was a homophobe, and Ms Banks weighed in to accuse Ms Liu of “abhorrent” behaviour.
Gladys Liu “explained that she was passing on what she heard from the community… that’s not what she thinks, she believes in equality. That was a rookie error… we need to be continually out there seeking to bring people together,” @A_Sinodinos tells @PatsKarvelas#auspol
*While the battle for Chisholm is local, global geopolitics also loom over the contest.
*The head of Australia’s domestic spy agency has warned that foreign interference poses an “unprecedented threat” to the nation, and Parliament has passed sweeping new laws to crack down on it — officials have made it clear in private that the Chinese Government is the worst culprit.
The Unconventional Economist pulls the SQM Report apart:
‘As we all know, Labor’s policy will redirect negative gearing tax benefits into newly constructed dwellings, which would make new dwellings relatively more attractive to would-be investors, thereby helping to increase construction and lower rents (other things equal).’
SQM CRASHES AND BURNS IN LABOR NEGATIVE GEARING ATTACK
People and money continue to pour into the electorate, particularly from mainland China — for example, a massive new 36 story tower block reaches into the sky at Box Hill with the words Golden Age emblazoned on its side.
But housing price falls have also hit parts of Chisholm hard, and Ms Yang says she has to dispel false rumours Labor wants to drive them down further by scrapping negative gearing entirely.
“That’s not right, we’re doing negative gearing reforms,” Ms Yang says.
“We will keep it fully grandfathered for existing negative gearing properties and investments.”
Ms Yang argues many younger locals are still struggling to afford homes near their parents, and Labor’s policy will restore fairness to the market.
Keith Lam, who runs a wireless internet business in Box Hill, says many voters in the area are highly leveraged, and feel exposed when house prices go down.
“As we can see there is a downfall in the economy at the moment, particularly in housing prices,” he said. “That’s a major concern in our Asian community.”
Back in his supermarket, Vincent Liu takes a longer view. He’s lived in the area for 30 years and is accustomed to heavyweights from both sides of politics dropping in to say hello and pitch for his vote.
He won’t make a prediction about who will win, but says one thing is certain: the race for Chisholm will once again be close.
“I think maybe [the vote is divided] half and half — half and half,” he says.