Volume 73 – number 22 – political news

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The Week in Politics

Canberra, Australia – 14 July 2020: Fiona Simson, President, National Farmers’ Federation before she delivered a speech at the National Press Club of Australia titled, ‘Get Australia Growing: Recovery starts in the bush’. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au)

At a press conference on Friday last week the Prime Minister let the gathered media know that he would be spending some time with Jenny and his girls. He also said, “And a reminder everyone, again, to everybody down in Victoria, the whole country is with you. All of the country is with you. The resources of the nation are there to support you at this very, very difficult time, to do what is necessary to get life as closely back to normal as we possibly can in the shortest period of time. 

He was perhaps thinking back to the time when he was heavily criticised for holidaying in Hawaii during the bush fires. The Prime Minister was again criticised when this time he attended the Cronulla Sharks match on Saturday night. 

After working so hard for the country he deserves some time off but a photo that was shared on Twitter by Peter FitzSimons set off the hateful comments.

In an interview on Monday with Ray Hadley it was Hadley that also emphasised the need for Prime Minister Morrison to take some down time. Hadley said to Morrison, “Do us a favour, will you? At some stage, take at least one day off. Turn the phone off and just absolutely relax. I know you went to the footy and there are people, a minority of people are blowing up about that. But I just think that, you know, the same message for the Premiers in Queensland and New South Wales and the Ministers. Everyone needs a break. A circuit breaker, a 24 hour period where you just don’t have to answer any questions or deal with the nonsense we’re dealing with at the moment.”

The Palace letters did show that the Queen was not aware of the decision Governor-General John Kerr would make in sacking Whitlam but still the debate rages.

Speaking at a doorstop interview the Labor leader Anthony Albanese said, “It is, I think, a blight on our character as a nation that a democratically-elected Government was dismissed…

1000 Defence Force personnel will be deployed to Victoria

With the situation worsening in Victoria the Prime Minister released a joint statement with Premier of Victoria Dan Andrews. It announced that a further 1000 Defence Force personnel will be deployed to Victoria to support the coronavirus response.

JobTrainer 

On Thursday the Prime Minister was joined by Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small And Family Business to discuss the latest unemployment figures and to announce JobTrainer. Morrison announced the government will invest $2 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities, as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

Labor Force Figures

The Labor Force figures released on Thursday showed:

Employment increased 210,800 to 12,328,500 people. Full-time employment decreased 38,100 to 8,489,100 people and part-time employment increased 249,000 to 3,839,400 people.

Unemployment increased 69,300 to 992,300 people.

Unemployment rate increased 0.4 pts to 7.4%.

Participation rate increased by 1.3 pts to 64.0%.

Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 64.3 million hours to 1,664.7 million hours.

$400 million incentive to boost jobs for screen industry

On Friday the Prime Minister visited the movie industry locations on the Gold Coast to announce a $400 million incentive to boost jobs for the screen industry. 

National Farmers Federation President wants new IR and more for the bush

Fiona Simson the National Farmers Federation (NFF) President gave a broad ranging speech in which she outlined what the NFF is after for a regional agricultural recovery.

She mentioned her last address to the club in August was about outlining a bold long-term growth for the next 100 billion industry being the farm gate and agriculture.

“If only we’d had a crystal ball to see what was ahead” she said.

From the Archives

The following content is from Inside Canberra Volume 64, No 742
published on July 15, 2011

Abbott wins over the people – for now

Lincoln once observed, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. Tony Abbott has not quite done the impossible, but this week’s Newspoll – taken before the details of the carbon tax were announced – finds that 60% of the people have been fooled by Abbott into resisting the tax. A mere 30% are in favour of the carbon tax. This is an astonishing achievement. He has managed to win a debate by sheer force of assertion and defeated the government which had the considerable advantage of possessing all the facts.

Wealthy Australia cries poor mouth

Abbott was also able to convince householders they would be in dire straits should  a  carbon  tax  arrive.  Despite  the  sympathetic  noises  coming  from the  pollies  about  cost  of  living  pressures,  the  country  is  in  good  shape, unemployment  is  below  5.0  per  cent,  and Australia  has  recently  gone  to the lead as the wealthiest nation (barring some little tax havens) in terms of income per head, exceeding the US for the first time this century. (True, there are soft patches and David Jones has warned of a downturn in retailing. The government should think again about rushing into surplus in 2012/13. The public is not the slightest bit interested in the surplus target and it would be foolish to soften the economy by pulling money out of the private sector). On top of that the carbon tax is supported in near unanimity by climate scientists and economists.

Treasury modelling shows GST did not hurt economy

An interesting chart from Treasury shows how little changes in taxes makes to longer term prosperity. It modelled GDP out to 2050, with and without the GST operating. At 2050 GDP was modelled as exactly the same without the GST. A clear mistake the government made was to delay the introduction of the carbon tax to July next year. This gives Abbott another year to do his Mandrake the Magician act in persuading the people there are terrors before them which don’t exist. It would have been far better to have started the scheme, say at $10 a tonne, in July this year.

Abbott’s difficulty with carbon comp

The Government has immeasurably added to Abbott’s difficulties once the carbon tax is operating by its generous assistance measures, including tax cuts. Abbott must now go to the next election promising to cut all the benefits the Gillard government gave for compensation for price changes caused by the carbon tax. To claw back money from pensioners on the grounds there will not be a carbon tax under an Abbott government will be a very hard sell.

Turnbull attacks Abbott

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in the debate in a manner which can only hurt Abbott. In an interview with ABC New England, Turnbull on Wednesday said Abbott had twice changed his position on a carbon tax. Turnbull says Abbott moved from supporting a carbon tax, to supporting a market based emissions trading scheme, and then opposing both policies outright. And he says having done that, Abbott resigned from shadow cabinet in 2009 to challenge him for the leadership. But Turnbull says he has given Abbott the “consistency and loyalty” that he, himself, did not enjoy as leader. “He [Abbott] had been in support of a carbon tax at one point, he supported an emissions trading scheme,” Turnbull said. He added, “Then – and I’m not suggesting that he did so other than what were for good reasons – he changed his position and resigned from the shadow cabinet and challenged me for the leadership and was successful. I have given Tony Abbott a consistency and loyalty that I didn’t receive consistently from my colleagues when I was leader. He said the Coalition supported an emissions trading scheme under John Howard and went to the 2007 election ‘with that as our policy’. After Tony Abbott took over from me as leader of the Liberal Party the policy was changed to one of absolute opposition to any emissions trading scheme.” Turnbull has said he still personally supports a market-based emissions trading scheme and has described the Opposition’s “direct action” plan as expensive and easy to dump. But when asked if the Government’s carbon price plan has merit, he was more circumspect. “Look, I think the best thing I can say is not express a personal view and just simply say that the Coalition’s policy is to be opposed to it,” he said

Sad views on climate

Most disheartening, for those of us who are thinking about the future of our grandchildren, is the latest Lowy poll showing combating climate change has continued to drop among issues ranked as priorities by Australians – with only 46 per cent seeing it as “important” compared with 75 per cent in 2007. The number of people willing to pay an extra $10 each month for energy fell to 19 per cent – down from 25 per cent last year. Does Tony Abbott ever think of what the history books will say about him? He has succeeded in persuading a majority of Australians that global warming is not a threat, or if it is, little needs to be done about it now. All of this is a devastating comment on the failure of Julia Gillard, who despite all the advantages and prestige of her office cannot match Abbott. But she is at least prepared to be questioned about her policies. Abbott on the other hand has rejected many offers of an appearance on Meet the Press and the 7.30 Report. He knows that if an experienced interviewer had five minutes with him, he would have trouble explaining whether his top priority is to become PM or to see to it that Australia does its bit to avert a climate change catastrophe.

UN endorses same sex marriage

The debate on same sex marriage at the ALP National Conference in December will be a test for Gillard. The left delegates at the conference will be pushing for same sex marriage to be part of the ALP platform. Gillard, although from the left herself, is unwilling to endorse it because she fears widespread community opposition. It has nothing at all to do with her beliefs. But she is reading the politics the wrong way. Those who have a strong aversion to same sex marriage, enough to change their vote at an election, would be small in number. Australians are not highly religious and less than nine per cent attend church regularly. Those who are most against same sex marriage would in the majority be non-Labor voters anyway. Those arguing at the conference for acceptance of same sex marriage have recently acquired an ally of some significance – the United Nations. The ABC has reported the UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution seeking equal rights for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, marking progress for gay rights despite strong Arab and African opposition. The resolution was passed narrowly with 23 votes in favour, 19 against and three abstentions, after an emotional debate that saw African states accusing South Africa of breaking ranks with the region and siding with the West after it introduced the issue.

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