Happy birthday and many happy returns Michelle. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
Change the Macquarie Dictionary’s definition of “savings” as well, after Wayne Swan’s effort today. Samuel J:
Of course the Government has claimed $16.4 billion of savings measures over four years. Yet fully 78.2 per cent of these savings measures are policy decisions to increase taxes and other revenue! As for the rest, any spending reductions are more than offset by new spending decisions.
Take this year:
The policy decisions taken since the May budget (in underlying cash):- increase taxes and other revenue by $1.821 billion in 2012-13, partly offset by- increase spending by $0.410 billion in 2012-13benefiting the underlying cash balance by $1.411 billion in 2012-13.The parameter variations (again, underlying cash)- reduce taxes and other revenue by $3.242 billion in 2012-13, partly offset by- reduce spending by $1.373 billion in 2012-13worsening the underlying cash balance by $1.869 billion.
After two weeks of Labor vilification of Tony Abbott, Essential Media records no change at all to the two-party preferred vote: 47 per cent for Labor, 53 to the Coalition.
And if we could move on from the seeming to the achieving, we have Labor’s Budget in tatters....
The Gillard Government bungled the mining tax, blew the surplus, destroyed our border laws, ramped up spending and bet the house that record prices for minerals would last a lifetime.
Not surprisingly, it’s now broke - and must turn the promised tax for business into a new job-destroying tax hike:
LABOR will reap $8.3 billion over the next four years by forcing big companies to pay their taxes in monthly instalments.In a $16.4 billion savings drive to preserve its wafer-thin surplus, the government will also wind back the private health insurance rebate, and slash the baby bonus to $3000 for second and subsequent children.Revised budget papers released today show a massive $2.3 billion slump in company tax receipts this year, and a $1.76 billion write-down on receipts from the minerals and petroleum resources rent taxes.
The mid-year economic and fiscal review reveals a $1.2 billion hit on immigration-related programs, due to a surge in unauthorised boat arrivals and the restarting of asylum-seeker processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Wayne Swan said Labor would post a surplus this financial year, but the forecast figure has been revised down from $1.5 billion to $1.1 billion…Under the new company tax arrangements, companies with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion will be forced to pay corporate tax in monthly instalments. The change will apply to companies with a turnover of more than $100 million from January 1, 2015.
The government will also make companies pay their tax in monthly instalments, from quarterly, to “better align tax payments with the way businesses pay GST and making payments closer to when the income is earned, like wage and salary earners.”That change will raise an extra $8.3 billion over the three years ending June 30, 2016. The measures will affect some 350 companies with turnover of $1 billion or more from January 1, 2014. Companies with turnover of more than $100 million are affected 12 months later, followed at the start of 2016 by companies generating more than $20 million.
Swan’s version is a direct money grab because it means money which companies could manage for longer ends up in Government’s hands quicker .
This reduces available corporate cash and boosts Government tax .
Another accounting fiddle but this time with negative practical consequences for business.
Under this mad-spending, billions-wasting government, business has been hit with:
- a carbon tax (they were promised wouldn’t be imposed)- a $8.3 billion charge from changed tax arrangements (instead of the tax cut they were promised)- a rise in the superannuation guarantee levy- increased power prices through the carbon tax and green power programs.- tougher workplace restrictions.
This is an insane way to run an economy.
Some of the waste we’re now being told to pay for, as revealed by last week’s Senate estimates hearings:
Some of the waste we’re now being told to pay for, as revealed by last week’s Senate estimates hearings:
After 3½ years, the NBN Co had signed 6400 households to its network, a rate of five households a day, even though the company has one employee for every 15 customers.Fair Work Australia has spent $1.8 million on outside legal and accounting advice for its investigation into the Health Services Union. This does not include the cost of the department’s legal action against the MP Craig Thomson for his alleged role in the widespread rorting of union funds while he was an official with the HSU.The Home Insulation Program, infamous as the pink batts scheme, has cost $2.15 billion in installation and clean-up costs, a wild blow-out in government forecasts.The Attorney-General’s Department used 19 lawyers and spent $730,000 to settle and pay $50,000 in damages to a former aide to Slipper, all while the Attorney-General was dismissing the case as vexatious.Officials from the Department of Defence confirmed that the $200 billion cost of acquiring the capabilities outlined in the government’s 2009 defence white paper is almost completely unfunded.Spin: the Department of Industry spent $156,000 trying to prevent The Australian Financial Review from publishing details of government subsidies to the union-dominated car industry.More spin: the Department of Broadband prepared articles extolling the benefits of the national broadband network and sent them to 22 “NBN champions” urging them to get the articles published under their own names.The Department of Climate is spending $20.5 million on a fit-out of its new headquarters building in Canberra, including a stainless steel executive wine cabinet and Nespresso machines in all eight staff kitchens.
Labor has had success in spinning Sky News with the astonishing claim that a company tax change giving it $8.3 billion more over the next four years isn’t actually going to cost business any more.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s director of economics and industry policy, Greg Evans, said the business sector could not be relied upon to “bail out” the budget every time there was a difficulty.“There’s no free lunch when it comes to these issues. This is going to have a net impact on our competitiveness,” he told reporters in Canberra.Mr Evans said the move to monthly rather than quarterly tax statements for companies was a “significant” burden on business and was effectively a tax increase.
... we will cut taxes for all businesses in this country… I stand for tax cuts, tax benefits, tax relief for every Australian business.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will push ahead with corporate tax cuts funded by the mining tax, despite a new push by the Greens to use the money for health and community services…
“We are committed to cutting the company tax rate through the minerals resource rent tax package of bills that comes to the federal parliament,” she told reporters in Perth.
The Labor leader outlined her priorities for 2012 to build on the “year of decision and delivery” in 2011, saying the federal government was on track to create more than 300,000 extra jobs in the next two years.“In 2012 we will cut taxes, lift family payments and lift the pension ... cut company tax, lift super and build infrastructure,” she said...
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she remains determined to give business a tax cut even though the government scrapped a promise to do so in the budget.
The government had promised to use revenue from its new mining tax to drop the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 29 per cent from July 1.
Instead the money will be used to provide upfront payments to lower income families and create new tax breaks for small business.
I’m very determined to deliver a company tax cut.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says her economic forum has identified cuts to the company tax rate as a priority.The Government announced in the May budget that it was breaking its promise to reduce the rate by 1 percentage point because it could not get enough support from the Greens or the Coalition.
LABOR will reap $8.3 billion over the next four years by forcing big companies to pay their taxes in monthly instalments. ..Under the new company tax arrangements, companies with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion will be forced to pay corporate tax in monthly instalments. The change will apply to companies with a turnover of more than $100 million from January 1, 2015.
Not only will there not be a cut in company tax. There is in fact a savage increase - the very opposite of what was promised.
How the Treasurer of Australia now announces he’s completely stuffed the books and run out of cash:
LABOR will raise $700 million by cutting outlays on the private health insurance rebate as it scrambles to make sufficient budget savings to deliver a $1.1 billion surplus this year.Wayne Swan said the premium to which the 30 per cent rebate applies would be indexed to CPI, rather than health inflation which rises at a faster rate.Changes to baby bonus will reduce payments for second and subsequent children to $3000, down from $5000.
The Treasurer said Labor would post a surplus this financial, but the forecast figure has been revised down from $1.5 billion to $1.1 billion.
Tax receipts have been written down by $22 billion over the forward estimates.
Mr Swan said the government had responded by finding $16.4 billion in new savings.
Sandra Fluke is a heroine to the US Left, and a weapon in the Democrats’ war to make Republicans seem misogynists:
But take her out to the streets where voters live, and you’ll find only a handful interested:
But note how this media report fails to mention what the camera captures. I mean, just 10 people?
For the Liberals a lesson: whenever you can, drag the debate out of the Internet/media/Canberra bubble and into the streets. And talk about your topics, not Labor’s.
The AWU scandal involving Julia Gillard’s then boyfriend and client - and a slush fund she helped to create - may have ripped off twice the money widely reported:
A LONG-TIME staunch Labor supporter and former union boss is calling for a public inquiry into a secret slush fund at the heart of a fraud scandal that has dogged Julia Gillard since 1995.Tim Daly, a Labor member for 35 years and head of the Australian Workers Union in Western Australia for a decade until 2008, said the slush fund was unprecedented in its operation, secrecy and the very large amounts of cash it raised......Mr Daly said while most unions have slush funds to pay for elections, the AWU Workplace Reform Association was “highly unusual"-- it was bankrolled by a major employer, Thiess; it was kept secret from the rest of the union and its membership; and it received sums of money that were remarkable for the period.A senior forensic accountant, John Lourens, who is analysing account records and legal documents related to the slush fund, states in a newly released report that ”at a minimum, the AWU financial swindle involves a misappropriation of $880,663”.
Of course, Gillard says she did not know what her boyfriend was up to with the slush fund, and did not herself benefit from it.
But George Brandis has some very serious questions for her:
(Thanks to reader Peter.)
LAST year, Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones said something about global warming that wasn’t accurate - and for which he’s now viciously punished.
No, he didn’t falsely claim “even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems”.
No, he didn’t say “it may be time to stop describing southeastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent”.
That was the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate analysis, David Jones, in 2008, just before this “permanent” drought broke and dams filled.
Nor was it Alan Jones who said “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic”.
That was Gaia guru James Lovelock in 2006, in a prediction he only this year retracted.
Jones also didn’t wrongly claim the seas could rise 100 metres this century (ABC science presenter Robyn Williams), we’ve “seen an increase in the number of cyclones” (Flannery again), the Himalaya glaciers could melt away by 2035 (IPCC), carbon dioxide is actually “carbon” (every government MP) or a thousand other false claims or wild exaggerations peddled in the media without a blush.
What he said was this: Australians produced just “1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air.”
Another female reporter attacked by men in Tahrir Square. One of her rescuers:
“Sexual harassment is a 20-year problem here, but now there’s a feeling of impunity and the knowledge that the police won’t do anything about it, it breeds this culture of lawlessness...”At the height of the uprising against Mubarak, Lara Logan, a correspondent for US network CBS, was sexually assaulted and beaten in Tahrir Square… After being rescued, Logan returned to the US and was treated in a hospital for four days…British journalist Natasha Smith of the Fair Observer also reported being sexually assaulted by a mob near Tahrir Square.
The square has seen a rise in attacks against women since protesters returned this summer for new rallies, including incidents of attackers stripping women - both fellow demonstrators and journalists - of their clothes.
Retraction Watch is kept very busy tracking the scientific papers pulled for being wrong or fraudulent.
The New York Times reports:
Last year the journal Nature reported an alarming increase in the number of retractions of scientific papers — a tenfold rise in the previous decade, to more than 300 a year across the scientific literature…In the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, two scientists and a medical communications consultant analyzed 2,047 retracted papers in the biomedical and life sciences. They found that misconduct was the reason for three-quarters of the retractions for which they could determine the cause…Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx ... and another author, Dr. Ferric C. Fang of the University of Washington, have been outspoken critics of the current culture of science. To them, the rising rate of retractions reflects perverse incentives that drive scientists to make sloppy mistakes or even knowingly publish false data....While the fraudulent papers may be relatively few, [Casadevall] went on, their rapid increase is a sign of a winner-take-all culture in which getting a paper published in a major journal can be the difference between heading a lab and facing unemployment. “Some fraction of people are starting to cheat,” he said.
I wonder which branch of science offers the most incentives to scientists making the wildest claims? Which offers the biggest grants, the greatest government support, the most lavish media coverage....
That seems to overstate the lead, but the Romney surge seems real:
A late surge in support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has put him in a dead heat with President Barack Obama with just over two weeks to go before the election, according to a new nationwide Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday.
Rasmussen says Romney leads 50 per cent to 46 in 11 swing states won by Obama in 2008.
But Russell Crowe sees a beacon for a troubled planet:
Not endorsing a politician. Just recognising a Messiah.
NAURU has utterly failed - and even a Tony Abbott government will battle to make it work to stop the boats.
The Gillard Government announced on August 13 it would finally reopen the Nauru detention centre Labor foolishly closed.
At the corner of Bourke and Swanston, Sunday shoppers voiced their displeasure. ‘’It’s a democracy, sir,’’ a protester said. ‘’Yeah, it’s a democracy,’’ the man shot back, ‘’so stop blocking our bloody tram’’.
If the Occupiers really are the 99 per cent we should lock up our daughters:
OCCUPY Melbourne was marred by sexism, harassment, internal discord and ‘’frankly, ugly personal conflicts’’, according to a new warts-and-all essay collection released to coincide with the first anniversary of the group’s eviction from City Square.
The compilation, Occupy Reflects, was published online last week… Graduate student Helen Cox, 27, ... said she never occupied overnight.
‘’I never felt safe enough,’’ she wrote. ‘’From those women who did occupy overnight, I heard endless stories of how they experienced harassment.’’
Ms Cox wrote of ‘’long-winded spiels of self-gratifying expert men’’, playing out ‘’fantasies of heroic leadership’’ of a ‘’revolutionary’’ movement through unrelenting domination of political space.
Those weren’t the only fantasies being played out by people who cannot be trusted with state power, given what they do with what power they have already.
Here’s one cut the Gillard Government could make - but won’t:
THE commonwealth bureaucracy should be slashed in the interests of prosperity and efficiency, according to an Institute of Public Affairs report…The report, called Razor Cuts, Not Paper Cuts, calls for privatisation of the ABC, SBS, Australia Post and Medibank Private, cutting more than 44,000 jobs from the public sector...Over the past decade, the commonwealth public service had grown 3.4 per cent a year on average, bringing the total to about 250,000 people…The commonwealth’s “fetish” for micromanaging areas of state responsibilities—mainly health and education—had created huge opportunities for sensible cuts, [author Julie Novak] said, suggesting abolition of the federal departments of Health and Education, with a combined headcount above 8000.“In any event, the commonwealth government plays a comparatively minor role in delivering direct services to the public,” she added, suggesting agencies such as the Department of Innovation, AusAID, the Australia Council and the Australian Sports Commission had no sensible purpose. Ms Novak said planned cuts by Labor and Liberal were designed to create the illusion of toughness, “but they barely scratch the surface: Labor’s planned reduction of just over 3000 this year and the Coalition’s pledge to reduce the service by 12,000 over two years are dwarfed by the annual level of resignations, deaths or retirements, which totalled around 8400 in 2011”.
The Government spent madly, believing the revenue would come roaring back. It hasn’t - and won’t:
MORE than $20 billion in budget savings to be announced today will not be enough to guarantee a long-term return to surplus, with Treasury’s calculations blown off-course by the China downturn.Wayne Swan warned yesterday that the public should brace for “significant” savings in today’s mid-year budget update…“Tax receipts are down by tens of billions of dollars every year compared to where we expected them to be before the global financial crisis struck,” the Treasurer said.The savings will offset the latest revenue writedowns, but will not include further provision for long-term reforms announced in the past few months, including the Gonski education funding package and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
$20 billion adds up to one Building the Education Revolution, one pink batts giveaway andfive separate carbon tax propaganda drives. Or half an NBN.
Judith Sloan on why Wayne Swan is handing down today’s MYEFO a month early:
By inducing a premature birth of the 2012-13 MYEFO today, the suspicion arises that the revenue side of the budget is deteriorating and that it is better to close off the MYEFO books sooner rather than later.The fact that the government does not intend to reveal the quantum of the first instalment of the minerals resource rent tax receipts until early December, even though the figures are known to it, creates even more doubts that the revenue projections for the full year will be met.We know that the petroleum resource rent tax receipts fell off a cliff in the last quarter of last financial year.
Professor Sinclair Davidson:
The biggest problem the Rudd-Gillard government have had in balancing budgets is their excessive spending. Rather than cut spending they have chosen to rely on dodgy revenue forecasting, various tax increases, new taxes, and cutting proposed spending (but not actual spending) to achieve a rather modest forecast budget surplus.The vultures are coming home to roost ...
The immediate cause of the latest downgrade is a much larger fall in commodity prices than had been forecast by Treasury. Although it was expecting commodity prices to soften, there has been a bigger fall in the past three months than Treasury was expecting over the next three years.Treasury had thought that commodity prices would average a 3.25 per cent gain in 2011-12, followed by a 5.5 per cent fall this year. Instead, there was no gain in 2011-12, and this year looks like being down about 7.2 per cent, on estimates by Deloitte Access Economics.However, there is a longer-term problem: the economy is not generating profits in the way that it did before the global financial crisis. Capital gains taxes, which peaked at $27bn before the crisis, will not make a third of that amount this year.
Before anyone buys the Government’s spin that it’s been clobbered by falling commodity prices a reality check:
What has really hurt the Government is stupidly thinking the record prices it’s enjoyed would last forever. It spent much more than it should, racking up huge deficits when windfall revenue was pouring in. Its fantasy is what’s now popped.
Chris Richardson of Access Economics tells the ABC the real shortfall is probably more like $6 billion this year alone.
THE verdict is in. Julia Gillard’s ‘’I will not be lectured by this man’’ speech has transformed the contest between two unpopular leaders, with almost one in every two female voters in today’s Age/Nielsen poll considering the Liberal leader to be sexist.
It won’t change a vote at the next election, which voters still expect the Coalition to win, but it has shifted the dynamics of the contest, .... with 45 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men (and 42 per cent overall) agreeing that Abbott is sexist, and Gillard’s approval ratings improving across the board, but most strikingly (and surprisingly) among the over 55s.
The actual vote:
A LABOR MP has described the partner of a Coalition backbencher as resembling a “retired B-grade porn star” in an ugly slur which has reignited the misogyny row.Opposition Whip and former Legislative Council President Amanda Fazio [above] pulled out her Blackberry at a parliamentary event on Thursday to post “deplorable” comments about the partner of Nationals MP for Tweed Geoff Provest on Facebook.“At the NSW Parliament Spring Ball. Excellent singers from Bankstown Talent Program. Geoff Provest has a date that looks like a retired B-grade porn star,” Ms Fazio posted to her 135 Facebook friends…Mr Provest said yesterday he was shocked by the posts and government sources said he was distressed when he had to call his partner of four years, Gold Coast businesswoman Elizabeth Hamilton, to inform her of Ms Fazio’s remarks.
Kevin Rudd could be Tony Abbott’s real problem, and unions which commission such polls could be Gillard’s:
RESTORING Kevin Rudd to the Labor leadership would boost the government’s primary vote by 11 percentage points and put it on track for victory at a federal election, according to leaked polling for the union movement.The polling, conducted by Galaxy Research from October 12-15 for a major [unnamed] left-wing union and obtained by The Australian, shows Labor would be transformed from a losing position in three key marginal seats under Julia Gillard’s leadership to victories in all of them if Mr Rudd were restored to the prime ministership.Mr Rudd - who cast Tony Abbott in the shade yesterday when he received a rapturous welcome at a Chinese festival in Sydney, with dancers chanting “Kev-in, Kev-in” - would send Labor’s vote up from 49 per cent two-party-preferred support to 57 per cent in the marginal seats of Blair and Moreton in Queensland, Greenway in NSW and Deakin in Victoria if he replaced the Prime Minister, the poll shows.
SOLDIERS injured and exhausted, traumatised by war reveal the real face of World War II as they are merged with modern-day street views.
Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse was at a flea maket in 2007 when she found some battered old negatives. The harrowing images depicted a war-ravaged Europe and invited Teeuwisse to learn more about them.
The historical expert took the box of around 300 negatives home and set about trying to find their original locations. Traveling around she managed to locate the scenes of the gruesome episodes of war that each picture depicts.
She then compiled the old negatives with new images, taken in the same spots, to bring to life these harrowing tales.
By blending the old with the new, Teeuwisse manages to bring a degree of realism to the series that would not otherwise be possible.