MYEFO reflections

Rather than the much‑touted radical cuts to spending foreshadowed in the lead up to the budget update, the government has instead chosen to further extend its arm down the tax well in a grab for additional cash to present a threadbare budget surplus of $1.5 billion for the next financial year.

This is illustrated by the fact that the government, in accrual accounting terms, has decided to collect $4.90 in revenue for each dollar of reduced recurrent expenditure in the critical surplus delivery year of 2012‑13.

The largest revenue‑raising measure disclosed in the budget update is the $7.7 billion in revenue from carbon dioxide abatement permits in 2012‑13, rising to $9.2 billion by 2014‑15.

This single tax measure not only dwarfs other revenue raising measures announced over the forward estimates, but is well in excess of the foregone revenue of carbon tax compensation to business and households.

On the other hand any expenditure cuts announced in the budget update tend to be piecemeal at best, and miniscule in size, for a government that plans to spend $1.2 trillion over the forward estimates.

via catallaxyfiles.com

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Tell Him He’s Dreaming

Chalk up another success of the Gillard government – Budget Blowouts.

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The Gillard government will slash public sector funding and pare back the baby bonus in an attempt to turn a forecast $37 billion deficit this year into a $1.5 billion surplus by 2012-13.

The government's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, released today, reveals the deficit is expected to come in well above the $22.6 billion forecast at budget time, on the back of a $20 billion revenue write-down over the forward estimates.

  

And Mr. Swan is Euromoney’s world's finance minister of the year!

From a commitment, to an objective and soon it will be all but a dream.

Train wreck

 

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A Slippery Surface

Cory-BernardiSenator Cory Bernardi discusses the Labor's dirty tricks:

It was an extraordinary final parliamentary sitting week for 2011; the greatest shock being the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins.

Being in the other place, I never served ‘under’ Harry but my observance was that he carried out his duties with good grace, humility and a generous dose of humour.

It was apparent that my colleague Christopher Pyne managed to frustrate the Speaker through his unrelenting point scoring against the Labor Party, but it was equally clear that Speaker Jenkins admired and respected Pyne’s tenacity.

This tenacity was on full display as he nominated a long list of Labor lightweights to replace his retired sparring partner – to no avail. The fix was in and Peter Slipper shrugged off his allegiance to his third political party and became an independent MP as Speaker.

To say we were disappointed in a colleague who had received so much personal support over many years is an understatement. I suspect Labor’s short-term political gain may ultimately be a very painful slip-up.

The fix was also in in the Senate. Labor and the Greens combined their numbers to limit debate on dozens of pieces of legislation. The end result was that twenty Bills were passed into law without any debate whatsoever!

And Labor call this open and transparent government.

The action continued in the Senate with Greens leader Bob Brown being referred to the powerful Senate Privileges Committee in respect to a $1.6 million donation and some Greens’ questions related to the business interests of the donor. There is a lot at stake in the outcome of this investigation, not least of all further exposure of the hypocrisy of many within the Australian Greens.

Unfortunately, the Greens are still running the show with a weak and unprincipled Labor Party, led by a weak and unprincipled Prime Minister who refuses to seriously challenge Bob Brown’s authority.

One of the final acts of this parliamentary year was for the Green-Labor government to cancel the three parliamentary sitting days scheduled for this week. These three days would have enabled the Senate to have a full and frank debate about the myriad of legislation forced through without debate by sheer weight of numbers.

Even though these sitting days had been on the calendar for many months, they clashed with the environmental love-in scheduled for Durban in South Africa. We have now learned that the price of democracy is a first class trip to Africa to boast about imposing new taxes (for no environmental effect) on every Australian family. It’s not just the green hierarchy attending though; two football teams of bureaucrats will also be living it up on the taxpayers’ purse.

To what effect we can only guess. We already have a bigger, broader tax on carbon dioxide than any other country. Our tax is scheduled to be enacted just as a history of climate change deception by leading scientists is exposed through damning leaked emails.

Unfortunately, this year’s final parliamentary sitting week has only reinforced the view that under Labor and the Greens, our country is headed in the wrong direction. 

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at http://www.corybernardi.com.

Ten is the New Two

Ten is the new two. We live in a society that insists on infantilizing our children, treating them as helpless babies who can’t do a thing safely or successfully without an adult hovering nearby.

Consider the schools around the country that no longer allow kids to be dropped off at the bus stop unless there’s a guardian waiting to walk them home—even if home is two doors down.

Or how about all the libraries I’m hearing about that forbid children under age eight or 10 or 12 to be there without an adult—including in the children’s room? God forbid a kid wants to spend the afternoon reading books by herself.

Over in Europe (where I guess they’ve got nothing else to worry about), the EU just ruled that children under age eight should always be supervised when…wait for it… blowing up a balloon. It’s just too darn dangerous. A child could choke! And those little whistle things that uncurl when you blow into them? Those have been classified “unsuitable” for children under age 14. (And somehow they’re suitable for kids above 14?)

The point is: Children are not being allowed to grow up and do the normal things we did as kids, out of the fear that, just maybe, something bad could happen. As if all the good things that happen—from exercise to independence to the joy of blowing up a balloon—don’t matter at all. All that matters is the possibility of risk.

via freerangekids.wordpress.com

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Australia, A Lucky Country

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Stephanie Carter looks at the increasing connection between freedom and ignorance in Australia:

This piece can be seen as both a love letter and a hate letter to Australia. My perspective on Australia has never been one of blind patriotism, but I do have a love and respect for many of the democratic freedoms we have in Australia, that are often underappreciated by those that consider themselves libertarians. Australia is a somewhat unique situation that we have been lucky as a country in that we never had to fight for the freedoms we enjoy today, and never had a war fought on our home soil. This luck has led to an epidemic level of ignorance, on what it means to be free and what it means to be oppressed. I spent my childhood years living in Bangkok, Thailand, where I had the fortune of being able to gain a cultural perspective that just isn’t possible to gain in Australia. I have seen people fight for their right to democratic elections. I have seen a military coup firsthand. Thailand has her own unique set of flaws, but complacency is not one of them. Complacency, I believe, is a harrowing issue facing Australia today. Australians are complacent to the rights we enjoy, despite, or perhaps due to, the fact we as a nation have not sacrificed to get them. The people of Thailand have been subject to religious discrimination and censorship at the hands of their government, and the fight for freedom wages on.

My point isn’t that Australia should be more like Thailand and have a tumultuous political scene. My point is that people should take a break from complaining about speed limits on highways, and take a time to look at the freedoms we are lucky enough to enjoy. There is a current internet trend at the moment called ‘first world problems’, a stereotype portraying people from lucky countries as people who get distraught about trivial problems like being comfortable in bed, but needing to get up to use the bathroom. Of course this trend is nothing but satire, but I think it cuts to the heart of what the truth of what our national identity is. We are not a society of people fighting for our rights, fighting for our freedom. We are not a society that really knows what injustice is. I wish to challenge any readers to rethink the trivial rhetoric that dominates our political scene, and to challenge others to do so as well. Because after all, we are a lucky country, but that does not mean we should be unmindful of our good fortune. Too many libertarians concern themselves with largely first world problems, which fail to address what it means to be free. After all, the school of libertarian philosophy arose from individuals fighting for their rights, developing ideas of liberty based from their societal experience of authoritarian powers abusing the rights of citizens. Australia is only negatively affected by not earning the freedoms we enjoy if we do not appreciate our good fortune that has left us a relatively free country, without shedding blood for that privilege.  

I am not critical of libertarian theory, but of libertarians who might as well finish their posts with #firstworldproblems. Considering that there are people whose freedoms are endangered by more than a proposed carbon tax, I say we must evaluate what it truly means to be free, and just for a change recognize that we aren’t being taxed as much as countries like Belgium and we have democratic elections, unlike a lot of the world’s nations.  

I am not proposing that we just ignore the negative aspects of our government just because other countries have it worse. I propose we have perspective above all, and the ability to see what really matters. Simplistic political rhetoric, rhetoric such as “it’s a great big tax”, “It’s Un-Australian” and “turn the boats around” does nothing to advance society’s understanding of freedom and liberty, but rather portrays our entire political system as ignorant to the realities of global politics. Australia could be in a position to show the world that freedom is not something that needs to be fought for to be achieved, but instead we show the world what it means to be ignorant of good fortune. Ultimately, it is everything that is good about Australia that has led to what is bad about Australia, and that bad quality is ignorance and complacency.

Stephanie Carter was born in Australia and moved overseas as young child, returning to Australia for her senior years of high school. She is currently studying a B.A in public policy.

 

Dr. Patrick Michaels Takes Down The Alarmists

Dr. Patrick Michaels, a Menzies House Contributor, and one of the world's most renown climate scientists, was interviewed by Alan Jones on 2GB Radio earlier today on the carbon tax, and the science behind climate change.

I strongly, strongly urge you to take 10 minutes to listen to his interview with Alan Jones, which you can find here. 

Tim Andrews

UPDATE: Sorry, link fixed

Help Us Stop The Far-Left’s Latest Attempt To Destroy Our Economy

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An urgent call to action from our Managing Editor, Tim Andrews:

The radical extreme left environmental movement has launched an attack on Australia’s economy, seeking to scare off investment, and blackmail/harass/intimidate business into destroying jobs, and no-one in the media has said anything about this.

This is the great sleeper issue, by which the left want to take over our entire retail supply chain, and unless we take action now, they will get away with it.

Some of you may already be aware that reckless activist organisations such as Greenpeace, the WWF, and GetUp! have commenced a long-term campaign to bully and intimidate Australian businesses to succumb to their demands, in particular through programs such as ‘Markets for Change” and the demand for “voluntary” certification. This campaign of harassment centres around threatening a business that if they do not comply demands and participate in the far-left’s “voluntary” certification program, that these organisations shall engage in a concerted campaign to damage the business. If the business does not comply, then the same demands are made of retailers to boycott the business, or face similar negative consequences. As a result, these bodies are generally successful at capturing large sections of the global supply chain. And please note, this type of “greenmail” would be illegal under the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act, if it were not for the specific exemption for “environmental” organisations.

This type of unethical behaviour has already been seen on numerous occasions in New South Wales. Perhaps the most prominent of this was the “noHarveyno” campaign, which targeted the retailer Harvey Norman for sourcing furniture with wood products sourced from Australian timber, processed in China, then re-exported to Australia. These products were in full compliance with both Australian and Chinese law, however the campaign’s demand was that Harvey Norman only source products that it certified. Similarly, retailers such as Woolworths have been targeted by the campaign Wake Up Woolworths to only stock certified paper.

The most recent, and most disturbing, action taken by these groups to damage the New South Wales economy has been their unwarranted attack on Solaris, a leading paper manufacturer in Australia, which I previously wrote about. Essentially, Solaris invested $20million to build a manufacturing plant in Greystanes, creating jobs in an area the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports as having the third-highest unemployment rate in New South Wales. Solaris also expressed its desire to expand the plant in future years. This was a tremendous opportunity for the local economy, as well as for New South Wales residents overall as it supplied consumers with high quality goods at a cheaper price. All timber used is certified by independent auditors as being legal in origin, and Solaris has a biodiversity program in place that far exceeds legal standards.

However, as Solaris has refused to be intimidated into joining ‘certification’ programs, a concerted campaign has been launched to intimidate retailers not to use Solaris’ products, which, as smaller retailers are unwilling to oppose the multi-million environmental machine, has succeeded in ensuring that production at Solaris’ plant has ceased. As a result, there is a brand new manufacturing plant in Western Sydney, capable of significantly boosting the local and regional economy, laying idle.

But Solaris is not the issue here, they are just the latest example. The real issue is the overwhelming evidence of a multi-pronged, long-term strategy by radical environmentalist organisations to capture the global supply chain, with the WWF’s own documents identifying 100 companies affecting around 50% of all production globally that they wish to target. Greenpeace’s Head of Research recently made the staggering admission of the underhand tactics they shall use in colluding to greenmail businesses, saying that Greenpeace “is willing to play the role of  good cop or bad cop in partnership with organisations [to] drive organisations to partner with  groups that seem more middle-of-the-road in orientation”. I further note that in their internal documents, the WWF poses the question as to whether there will be a time when consumers will not have a choice between products that do and do not meet their standards admitting:  ‘Absolutely …”.

If you have not already done so, I would strongly urge you to read the stunning expose Naked extortion? Environmental NGOs imposing [in]voluntary regulations on consumers and business” released in September by the Institute of Public Affairs, which demonstrates step-by-step the unethical intimidating and harassment campaign planned by these bodies against job-creators in Australia. This is a must read, which details step-by-step just what these radicals are trying to do, and shows what will happen if we let them get away with it.

Although all of Australia is affected by this campaign, NSW seems to be the central target at the moment, so, I ask you all to write to the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, to ask him to take the following actions. Because if he does not, then investment in New South Wales shall be significantly limited, residents will no longer have access to low-priced products, and consumers will be denied the right to select for themselves what products they choose to buy.

Premier O’Farrell’s details are:

Mr Barry O'Farrell, MP
Level 40 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Please write to Barry O’Farrell TODAY, and ask him as a matter of urgency that:

1)That the NSW Government institute an urgent review of the actions of Greenpeace and the organisation “Markets for Change” to access their impact on:

a) Lost job opportunities at the Solaris plant in Greystanes
b)Investment in New South Wales
c)Jobs and Economic growth in New South
d)Possible breaches of any legislation due to blackmail, harassment, and intimidation
e)The affect they have on the capacity of legally-constituted businesses to trade.

2)That the NSW Government raise the issue of Greenpeace’s charitable status with the Federal Government, noting that both Canada and New Zealand recently revoked Greenpeace’s deductable-gift-recipient status on the basis that it is a political organisation, not a charity (and it would seem obvious that threats to business to cease certain sorts of trading is political, not charitable)

The current NSW Government was elected with a strong mandate to stand up to special interest groups, and bring in real change for New South Wales and reinvigorate the local economy. We need to hold them to this promise, and taking action on this matter is critical to achieving these objections.

Make no mistake: if we let the radical left get away with it in this case, then they will increase their campaign to all industries, and all of us will suffer.

It is time to draw the line in the sand

It is time to take action NOW!

image from andysrant.typepad.com

Tim Andrews is the Managing Editor of Menzies House. 

UPDATE: Councillor Ross Grove, from Holroyd City Council (which covers the Greystanes area where the Solaris plant is located) has put up a statement on his webpage. An extract:

Holroyd Councillor Ross Grove is calling on Greenpeace to immediately end their unreasonable vendetta against Greystanes-based paper-manufacturer Solaris after a research report from the Institute of Public Affairs exposed the organisation’s hardline approach to intimidating the corporate sector in order to make them sign up to their agenda.

Update 2: Here is a copy of my letter to Premier O'Farrell

Update 3: Please join our facebook page against Environmental Blackmail to express your opposition to these gutter tactics by the left! 

Update 4: Andrew Rohan MP, Member for Smithfield, has raised this as a Notice of Motion in the NSW Parliament. Read here (at #796)

Update 5: Make sure you read the IPA's expose of the whole scam here

In Home Hospital Care A Real Option – Giving Back Flexibility To Those In Need & How Are Your Teeth?

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Scott Lynn calls for the implemntation of home hospital care as a way to improve our healthcare system:

At a time when there are long waiting lists, over burdensome red tape, financial waste in the public health system, I believe it is worth considering implementing home hospital care as a pivotal and integral part, by taking pressure off the public system in terms of freeing up more beds and being more cost effective. I point to FINE (Friend in Need Emergency) initiative, started in WA in 2010 by the Liberal-National state government. It is an initiative in the early stages, which if proven to be rather effective, as it appears to be, will be even better when it is expanded further into the community. Those who are sick and ill, who are able and want to stay in the comfort of their home, while receiving treatment, will have peace of mind (they are less stressed and those who have greater debilitating ailments, actually get a bed in a more timely fashion). We need to cut the financial waste in hospitals, without cutting corners, otherwise, we will have the potential for greater cost blowouts. 

To do this, changes would need to be built in to the Medicare benefits scheme, permitting Doctors to administer care in the home, but changes need to be made. Research by Deloitte Access Economics discovered that being cared for in the home could be as much as 32% less expensive, in comparison to being cared for in the public hospital system as the report indicated that patients were more content with being treated at home, resulting in patients having less time spent in hospital.

Labor appears to strongly support the dependence of the state, with high taxes, government waste, broken promises, with the result of such inept governance becoming overtly accelerated contributing to increases in cost of living pressures, which is becoming a hideous trend and all too common with the current government. Labor intends to scrap (throw in the bin) the much needed Medicare Chronic Dental Scheme, which makes $4,250 available with due foresight, by trying to assist in preventing further dental (health) concerns of people with chronic and complicated oral health problems. Such a move by the Federal Government would be against the good dental care policy in Western Australia, which provides free basic dental care to those in the pre-primary years all the way up to year 11 in populated areas such as Perth and nearby suburbs and all the way through to year 12 in more remote areas of WA.

Approximately 70% of Australians access oral healthcare on a fairly consistent basis, which means 30% find it hard to access much needed preventative measures to look after their teeth and gums (dental care). Financial barriers and geographic circumstance (remote areas) provide the biggest hurdle to the remaining 30% of individuals, so cutting red tape so these individuals are not dogged by teeth and gum disease (confidence and general health complications), we should work out a path to more easily address these problems as suggested by the Australian Dental Association (ADA). ADA have put forward that we could implement an initiative named Dental Access, with the goal of focusing on providing solutions for avoidable dental problems, which cuts personal and governmental costs down the line. Direct action of this kind is very worthy, in terms of being pursued to help the 30% that can’t get access to dental healthcare, which aims to have positive long term effective dental treatment being providing, instead of the idea of a universal scheme which would give limited, patchy and rather temporary assistance, just like using a Band-Aid.  

The Labor/Green attempt to scrap the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate, will add pressure to a public health system not in the best shape partly due to, way too much red tape (zealous government regulation), government and departmental waste, creating a disconnect between patients, those in the medical profession (including doctors and nurses of course) and the general public at large. We now see that the sooner Labor is thrown out of office at a Federal Level, the easier it will be to get back on the right track for measured and responsible government.

Scott Lynn is a 28 year old who has completed sport & recreation Admin, trained and worked in Aged Care, and is presently completing a BA in Media & Communications. 

Monash University’s Muslim Handbook

Unless you have an iPad (which I don’t) then you would have missed this excellent story by Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine that should be read in full:

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Monash University prides itself on its "multicultural learning environment" and yet it produces a handbook for one certain class of students, and not for others.

Salaam Monash is the title of the glossy 50-page "handbook for Muslim students".

"At Monash we understand that Muslim students have specific social, religious and cultural needs," writes Professor Stephanie Fahey, deputy vice-chancellor, in a foreword to the handbook.

The booklet lists Islamic banking and financial institutions, Muslim publications, women's groups and schools. It also lists Muslim medical and dental practitioners, which splits up doctors into male and female groups…

…But there is no similar handbook for other religious or ethnic groups, not for Buddhists, Taoists, Germans, Greeks, Sikhs, Mormons or vegans.

Why encourage one group of people to maintain an identity separate from other Australians?

Good question, Miranda. Why indeed the need for Muslim only handbook.

 

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Only Liberty Should be Mandatory

Andys RantThe problem with progressivism, it is infectious.

Today we have Deputy Liberal leader and shadow Foreign Affairs minister, Julie Bishop, declare that an Asian language should be mandatory for Australian schoolchildren.

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"I believe that we should have a much greater focus on a second language," she told Sky News today.

"In fact my view is it should be mandatory.

"It should be an Asian language. I wouldn't necessarily say it has to be Mandarin. Japanese, Indonesian – there are a number of Asian languages that would be important."

It really sends a shiver up my spine when I hear anyone from the Liberal Party utter the word “Mandatory”. It’s a word normally exclusively used by progressives, namely the ALP and Greens.

Let me be clear I am not against anyone, particularly schoolchildren, learning a second language. In fact I say go for it if you want to learn a second language.

My issue is with the word “Mandatory”. Forcing people, let alone schoolchildren, is authoritarian and regressive.

We should have the freedom that includes the freedom not to learn a second language, or study music, or play sport.

From the Liberal Website – We Believe…

In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative.

In short, we simply believe in individual freedom and free enterprise; and if you share this belief, then ours is the Party for you.

Unless of course you happen to be a little “l” liberal like Julie Bishop who thinks learning an Asian language should be mandatory for Australian schoolchildren.

 

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