Look At All That Diversity

by on 26 September, 2016

By Justin Campbell

Last night the Australian Greens stood up for Australia’s multicultural diversity by walking out of Senator Hanson’s maiden speech. Naturally, they had a cameraman on hand to record this heroic act. Senator Di Natale gave a touching speech on how his own family had experienced racism 50 years ago.

Looking at this group of heroes, I couldn’t but help notice how diverse they were. I mean when your party’s poster child for diversity is a former surgeon from an Italian-Australian background, you’re really grasping at straws. As he spoke, a bunch of white-middle class faces nodded intently behind him. “Yes, indeed Australia’s multicultural fabric needs to be protected.” They all thought in unison.

So just how diverse are the Greens?

Sarah-Hanson Young: White, Female, University Educated.

Richard Di Natale: White, Male, University Educated.

Larissa Waters: White, Female, University Educated.

Scott Ludlam: White, Male, University Educated. (Born in NZ, that’s worth half a minority point)

Rachel Siewert: White, Female, University Educated.

Peter Stuart Whish-Wilson: White, Male, University Educated/Military.

Lee Rhiannon: White, Female, University Educated (Points for being a crazy old communist though)

Nick McKim: White, Male, Former Prisoner/Environmental Tour Guide

Janet Rice: White, Female, University Educated.

 

That’s a lot of white middle class privilege in one little room. Luckily, white people can understand and interpret the cultural experience of ethnic minorities. Oh wait they can’t.

40% opposition can just lose you an election

by on 12 September, 2016

By Henry Innis

 

Most people support the lockout laws.

Most people support the greyhound ban.

Yet, since these things have come into play, an odd thing has happened. The Baird Government’s support has been tanking in recent polls, down 4% on the election result that won him government.

 

People point to these large polls and seem to think that there must be another issue at play. Is it the federal issues (given Baird bucking the trend with Abbott, the evidence suggests no)? Is it economic troubles?

 

I’d suggest it’s neither. The polls around greyhound bans and lockout laws may tell us more than we think.

On the Question of Political Donations

by on 12 September, 2016

By Rowan Cravey

There are many maligned things in political life. Spending money on ski trips or chartering chopper transportation are two examples, but the most incendiary issue of the now, is the one of donations.

In the majority of the public’s eye, donations essentially equal corruption most foul and should be spat on at the earliest possible convenience. They ‘buy’ politicians as serial narcissistic peacock, Nick Xenophon would allege. They influence policy direction for the benefit of the highest bidder, so to speak.

This is foolish. The Greens and some leftist minor parties have made huge hay out of claiming the higher moral ground and greater righteousness simply because fewer people donate to them. Creating a dichotomy between the donated-to and the not-donated-to is just another way for them to set themselves as different to the major parties, and therefore worth paying attention to.

While political games are the usual for the political class, this fallacy and morphed into what is cast as an utter certainty. Donations at their most basic, are supporters of a political party or individual who wish to see them win government or positions of influence, because they believe in what they stand for. This theoretically leads to policy development that will align with the donators beliefs. The more cynical view of donations, as oft proclaimed by the Greens and others like Xenophon, is that the money is given solely for the purpose of bribing a party to shape policy simply for the benefit of those who donate most. But there is a missing link in all of this.

The missing link is action. Governments must still put into action policy that either reflects the donators interests, or the party’s stated beliefs and principles. If the Government receives cash from a donator, then can simply say thank you for your support, and then move on to policy development, independent from the donators wishes. The causal link of donations to action is simply not there.

1473430500583

The question of political donations looms higher than ever with Senator Dastyari’s recent actions

Indeed, those who are willing to be influenced by donations, such as ‘junior senator’ Sam Dastyari, are a problem, but in the end, garish difference of advocacy and inconsistency between himself and the rest of Labor have led to being outed. While Dastyari’s conduct is deplorable, the presence of mandatory disclosure of donations is a strong force to ensure accountability and transparency. But in the end, donations are simply not the problem, not the root of any problem. Politicians willing to be bought and be puppets for the highest bidder are.

 

Rowan Cravey is currently interning for the Australian Taxpayers’ Aliance

Why free speech matters more than poor taste

by on 12 September, 2016

By Satyajeet Marar

hklA few weeks ago, cartoonist Bill Leak published a now infamous image in The Australian. I’ll spare you the description because you’ve probably already seen it before.

Now, leaving aside the tastefulness of the concept and the message, there’s no denying one thing – this cartoon got people talking. A. Lot. And isn’t that the ultimate aim of satirical commentary? They weren’t just talking about a supposedly racist cartoon – they were talking about the real issues of indigenous kids in custody and whether cycles of family violence and neglect endemic in some indigenous communities were being ignored over concerns of political sensitivity.

Despite repeated complaints and outrage at the cartoon’s racial overtone – the Australian Press Council agreed!  “Satire and cartooning should be afforded great latitude in a free and vigorous press’’ said the council’s chairman Professor David Weisbrot. Weisbrot argued that the publication of two opinion pieces in the newspaper, offering contrasting views, had settled the matter.

I’m inclined to agree. I must admit, when I first saw the cartoon I too thought it had crossed the line of good taste. The cartoon’s timing – in the wake of a Four Corners scandal on the abuse of indigenous teenagers in custody, seemed like especially poor form. I could easily empathise with the majority of indigenous parents doing the right thing by their kids, trying to raise them in a world which is, inconvenient truth be told, still plagued by instances racism and prejudice.

But it’s also worth remembering that stories evoking strong emotion can sometimes cause us to forget sides and perspectives which are equally important. In the wake of the twin towers attack, now nearing its 5th anniversary, Oprah Winfrey was the victim of racial and sexist harassment because of her anti-war stance. Today, we have a more nuanced understanding of what happened and know that conflicts in Afghanistan and especially Iraq, could have been handled a lot better and were often conducted in a manner which has left these regions unstable to even more sinister forces in the years since.

There’s no denying the existence of inconvenient questions in the wake of the Four Corners expose – how did these kids get in custody in the first place? Was it even their first offence? Were there factors other than an allegedly oppressive police system responsible for this cycle of behaviour not seen in more stable communities – both indigenous and non-indigenous? It’s no secret that communities facing cycles of crime also often feature broken or dysfunctional family structures with one or more absent parents. This problem intensifies in poor socio-economic conditions, especially those of remote communities which are propped up on taxpayer aid despite a lack of economic opportunities for children forced to grow up there by families unwilling to relocate to where a better albeit less certain future may be.

In a very different situation, the offices of Charlie Hebdo – a magazine known for publishing ‘blasphemous’ images of the Islamic prophet as part of its edgy political and social commentary style, were shot up by terrorists more than a year ago. The incident provoked outcries of support for freedom of speech and solidary with the magazine and those writing for it.

By shutting down or trying to shut down these controversial voices and opinions – are we really any better than the terrorists – lack of firepower, aside? When free speech is held hostage by those inflamed by emotion or missing the bigger picture rather than choosing to engage in the debate – we all stand to lose. Pardon my French, but F&%k that.

Satyajeet Marar is a Macquarie Law student currently interning with the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. 

Public Sector Superannuation Rort: How the fattest fat cats stay fat – and make you pay for it.

by on 9 September, 2016

By Satyajeet Marar

What if I were to tell you that the savings from the government’s superannuation reform which limits your own lifetime earnings is completely offset by the rise in public sector superannuation benefits? 

It’s no secret that Australian public servants, especially those in top roles, are some of the highest paid in the developed world, with the heads of several government departments earning almost double what even the US President earns.

To add insult to injury, they’ve taken things a few steps further. A recent article in The Australian has revealed how the public servants’ salaries have been manipulated through the use of remuneration tribunals and other dubious tactics,  causing astronomical increases of 70% or more since the GFC in 2006 and drastically outstripping private sector wage growth, with some fat cats now pocketing nearly $1 million a year. This really begs the question, how do people as crafty as this still manage to run technologically redundant websites which fail or crash when the public need them the most?

Malcolm Turnbull: Lack of Leadership and Purpose

by on 30 August, 2016

By Rowan Cravey

As someone who doesn’t mind if a Prime Minister isn’t the most charismatic tool in the shed, I expect them to have an agenda and a purpose. I think most people would probably agree with that. In the lead up to attaining the leadership of a major party, no matter the country, one should at least have a clear bedrock of purpose to their tenure.

Malcolm Turnbull lacks this.

So let’s go through the context of the now to see how Turnbull is failing to provide ample reason why he should remain the Prime Minister and lacks purpose.

Context number 1: At the beginning of 2015, the Liberal Party had a leadership spill. The only problem was that there was no candidate. Or wasn’t there? While Turnbull did not put his hand up for the challenge, the spill paved the way for him to eventually claim the leadership of the Liberal Party. Tony Abbott attempted to win back the party room’s favour over the next few months, but ultimately failed to do so.

During this time of several months, if he had not been doing so before, Turnbull should have been thinking about what he would do as Prime Minister. I find it difficult to believe that he would have had no time set aside to formulate what his leadership would be. From what can be observed over the past twelve months, it would seem that he did not do this.

Context number 2: After winning the leadership in September 2015, he continued governing for a few months. During this time, little happened. Even after providing one of the reasons for his successful challenge to Abbott as “providing the economic leadership Australia needs”, there was very little talk of taxation reform. Even when the interesting and potentially important idea of a state income tax came up, it evaporated away in less than forty-eight hours after it was raised. There wasn’t much talk of serious welfare reform during this time, and social issues like freedom of speech and the advocating of Western values took a back seat.

So from the time Turnbull became Prime Minister to May of 2016, he had not offered a bedrock of what he wanted to achieve in the long term, and only piecemeal changes to budgetary settings, none of which would have adequately dealt with the debt or deficit.

Context number 3: The election campaign to now. Over the course of the campaign from May to July, the Liberals basically boiled down to the failed ‘Innovation and Agility’ mantra, a company tax cut over the course of ten years and maybe two mentions of the ABCC and Registered Organisations legislation that the entire double dissolution was predicated upon. Again, very little talk of serious taxation reform, welfare reform or anything that would attack the debt. Not to mention the passing up of attacks against Labor when they arrived (i.e. their history on immigration for example).

So here we are. Going on a year of Turnbull’s Prime Ministership, and quite frankly, little to show for it. There has been no economic advocacy of any note, save for the lip service of needing to lower the debt, ignoring the fact that the Treasurer has taken that mantle up.

But perhaps I’m being unfair. Perhaps there have been many reasons to explain this ongoing lethargy of leadership. Let’s go back to English class and compare and contrast another new Prime Minister. Theresa May of Great Britain.

Since rising to the leadership of the Conservative Party, May has upended a ban on grammar schools, has committed to leave the EU without going to a parliamentary vote, where Labour and the House of Lords would spit in the face of the people and force Britain to remain in the EU, has ordered public servants to get on with their job for Brexit and all this in under a year of being Britain’s Prime Minister. May had and has purpose and a will to implement what she believes in.

This decisiveness and taking the reins as Prime Minister is in stark contrast to Turnbull’s time thus far.

This brings me to the final part to my opinion: what to do about it? What does the phrase ‘It’s Time’ refer to?

There are two options. The first answer is to change leaders again. Yes, this would be very risky and could send the Liberals back even further in what the stand for and the direction of which they live by, but if Turnbull is incapable of actually changing the current situation and providing a leadership of purpose, then someone else must fill those shoes more fittingly.

The second is for Turnbull to seriously re-evaluate what he must do as leader of the Liberal Party and as Prime Minister. A reawakening of both Classical Liberal/Libertarian and Conservative advocacy is a necessity. Being a Moderate only resigns one to being rudderless and without purpose. Turnbull should have a movie night and watch the Matrix series (third one isn’t so good, but one doesn’t not finish a story), and listen to Agent Smith. For as evil as he might be, he has a point. According to him, it is:

 “…purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us; it is purpose that defines, purpose that binds us.”

If Turnbull takes this to heart, he should find the direction his government must take to remain in office, but more importantly, to govern Australia for its prosperity and success.

Victoria To Introduce World’s Largest Ridesharing Tax

by on 23 August, 2016

Via The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance:

Media Release: Victoria To Introduce World’s Largest Ridesharing Tax

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance today condemned the Victorian Government for introducing the world’s largest tax on ridesharing consumers to fund hundreds of millions of dollars to bailout the taxi industry – and help balance their own budget on the sly.

“This is an outrageous and economically damaging tax slug by a government that is clearly more interested in bailing out mates than the taxpayers of Victoria” said Tim Andrews, Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. “There is no economic justification to bailout a dying industry because it has failed to keep up with technology as Victorians have voted with their feet. To use hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to pay off cabbies is simply morally repugnant. This craven cash grab means Victorian will be slugged with the world’s highest tax on ridesharing. In the United States, only one state (Massachusetts) has instituted such a tax – and it was five cents!”

“The economic case against this tax is overwhelming. The Grattan Institute in a landmark report detailing the benefits of ridesharing to Victoria found that “Victoria is not legally obliged to offer compensation” and that “licence holders have made good returns on their licences”. Professor Richard Holden from the University of NSW found “the economic case for compensating existing license holders is not strong…” and that “there is a lack of publicly accessible evidence to support the argument that compensation should be paid” and that if any limited compensation was payable, it should be done out of consolidated revenue and not a great new tax.

“Make no mistake: This is a tax that will benefit multi-million dollar corporations like Cabcharge, who have been previously fined millions of dollars in the Federal Court for ripping off consumers, while reports of an epidemic of sexual assaults by Victorian cab drivers have gone unaddressed, with perpetrators protected by the industry, while ordinary drivers won’t see a cent.  Is this really who Premier Dan Andrews wishes to reword with our taxes?

“To make matters worse, this tax is set to keep slugging consumers long after the bailouts have been paid. With no sunset clause, and over 35 million taxi trips taken in Victoria a year, once hire cars and uber are counted, this tax will close to a staggering billion dollars over the next decade. This is revenue raising – pure and simple. Victorians are taxed enough already and don’t need another great new tax. If the government wants to keep the budget in the black, it should start by cutting overspending, and not slugging Victorians with another great new tax.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Tim Andrews, Executive Director, Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance
(m) 0434064934 (e) tandrews@taxpayers.org.au (w) www.taxpayers.org.au

 

Get Up’s Real Agenda

by on 23 August, 2016

“Look! A squirrel!”

That’s what GetUp! does every time you point out their BS. They claim on their website that they aren’t partisan, nor do they support any particular political party. This is said BS.

GetUp!’s chairwoman Sarah Maddison campaigned for the Greens in the 2016 double dissolution election, and revelations that another board member, Sara Saleh publicly supports the BDS Movement.

Getup! has always been anti-Israel, but their paranoia and hatred for it continues to rise to new heights each day. In March this year, Saleh claimed that all the Western media was indoctrinated to such a degree, that they were blind to Israeli soldiers being ordered to have no phones with them as they did unspeakable things to dead Palestinians, saying that Western media simply fabricated news to support Israel. The evidence of which would prove such damning allegations is of course nowhere to be found.

Liberty at Risk: Book Review

by on 23 August, 2016

By Ahmed Suliman

As the Australian public comes to terms with the results of a federal election that promises more deadlock, politicking, and media games than ever before, it is a fitting time to keep sight of the issues and solutions that truly make a difference to the lives of voting public in their millions.

Liberty at Risk: Tackling Today’s Political Problems valiantly attempts to do so in a concise and direct manner. The book is Peter Fenwick’s second foray in book writing, after The Fragility of Freedom: Why Subsidiarity Matters (2014). Fenwick is the founder and chairman of successful consulting company, Fenwick Software, and a civil engineering and philosophy graduate.

Hugh McDermott MP Must Apologise for False Allegation

by on 22 August, 2016

By Rowan Cravey

Bertrand Russel encapsulated precisely what the problem is with the Left with his immortal quip:

“Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.”

Now we can take a look at Mr. Hugh McDermott, State Labor MP for Prospect. This is a screenshot of a Facebook post by the ‘good gentleman’.

boredI draw your attention to the lower right accusation against Premier Mike Baird. It is in relation to the recent tragedy where a baby was hooked up to what was thought to have been oxygen (O2), but was instead nitrous oxide (NO2). This was an immense mistake by the staff of the hospital, yet Mr. McDermott seems to think that Baird is guilty of one of the horrific crimes that the Nazis committed. The gassing of people.

No more needs to be said.

Hugh McDermott must apologise for such a horrific allegation, Labor leader Luke Foley must repudiate McDermott and condemn his office for such a reprehensible accusation.