Kill Bill or any distraction vs a fair go

Phil Coorey in the AFR reckons Turnbull has three wishes, all of which must be fulfilled if he is going to get to Christmas with the Government in good shape – he needs a Yes vote on same-sex marriage, he needs a Clean Energy Target that makes some sense, and he needs his three National Party ministers to be given a ‘get out of jail’ pass by the High Court.

It’s no surprise, then, that Turnbull, as Malcolm Farr told Patricia Karvelas, is trying to turn our attention to other matters.

Firstly, he was in full visionary nation-building mode, announcing the feasibility trial for the Snowy Hydro 2.0 pumped storage scheme that had already been announced. Then he called in the electricity retailers again to be wacked around the ears about electricity prices, which is more of the same.

Meanwhile Peter Dutton decided to flush out asylum seekers bludging off the taxpayer, the 100 or so who had been moved here for medical or compassionate reasons, and have somehow hung around.

They will have their $200 a fortnight in income support cut off and have three weeks to move out of government-supported accommodation. Apparently he can’t legally deport them, so best just shove them out onto the street and starve them.

There are a further 300 who may come in for similar treatment.

Lawyers were upset and angry, even more so when Dutton rounded on them, calling them “un-Australian”, albeit with prompting from 2GB’s Alan Jones.

Bill Shorten slammed the move, calling it “Your weakest move yet” and with the Greens will seek to have parliament overturn it. Mark Kenny perhaps got it right in Any deport in a storm: Malcolm Turnbull’s search for a distraction:

    Pure theatre. Beyond its actual cruelty, this shift has more to do with departing votes than any arriving boats.

Last week Matthias took a blunderbuss to Bill Shorten, calling him a socialist of the variety last seen in East Germany, an attack that was indeed threadbare and desperate.

Julie Bishop, we are told, nominated Shorten was the most leftwing ALP leader since Gough Whitlam’s predecessor, Arthur Calwell.

Matthias Cormann helpfully nominated five policies to illustrate the Marxist nature of Shorten’s program.

First, Shorten plans:

    to keep in place the deficit levy that the Coalition itself brought in, making highest tax rate 49.5%, compared to the 49% that was in place under the Abbott government.

Second is the ALP’s policy to limit negative gearing.

Remember, to be a real socialist there should be no private property at all.

Third:

    Cormann mentions “an attack on self-funded retirees with its planned ban on limited recourse borrowing arrangements”. This ALP policy is aimed at preventing self-managed super funds from borrowing in the super fund to buy property.

Greg Jericho, who brought us all this information, reminds us that this was actually a recommendation of the government’s own Murray inquiry into the financial system.

    The inquiry argued that banning this practice would help “prevent the unnecessary build-up of risk in the superannuation system and the financial system more broadly”. It is a recommendation advocated by noted non-communist, Robert Gottliebsen writing in The Australian in May.

    Now it seems Gottliebsen should be practising his singing of The Internationale.

Fourth:

    also mentioned the ALP position on the company tax cut. But rather than talk about the cuts for large businesses, Cormann only mentioned the cut for small business – a cut the ALP has yet to announce whether or not it will reverse.

Fifth:

    Cormann listed the ALP’s policy to tax income from trusts at 30%. This policy is designed to limit income splitting whereby one income earner uses the trust to split income among members of their family and reduce the amount of tax paid.

    Rather than as Professor Robert Deutsch, senior counsel of The Tax Institute told the ABC, the policy will only result in a tax rise for small businesses who use the trusts for income splitting.

    Socialism really did use to be made of sterner stuff.

If you asked Shorten, I’m sure he would include many other policies under a rubric of ‘a fair go’, including a fair go for the planet, support for universities and TAFE, the restoration of funding in places where it has been ripped away, like legal aid and many more. Turnbull told Leigh Sales last night, in an interview where he ran right over the top of her, that he expected to win the next election.

There is little doubt that his primary strategy will be a scare campaign directed against Bill Shorten personally, because people don’t seem to listen when he lists hi many achievments. They gave up on Julia Gillard too despite getting nearly 600 pieces of legislation through a hung parliament. The personal attacks on Shorten are contibual and relentless, in recent times accusing him of treason, plotting with a foreign power to bring out the truth which may reveal that Turnbull’s majority in the house of government may not in fact be legitimate.

Then there was the usual – Bill consorting with capitalists beyond his station to dud the workers, and then as a raving Marxist.

Last election Turnbull chose scare campaigns, eschewing his promise of intelligent, respectful political discourse. It’s clear now that we’ll get more of the same, but with a personal focus.

Last year I took a look at the ‘socialist objective’ in Labor’s constitution, and it contains clauses like this:

    The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields. (Emphasis added)

And:

    maintenance of and support for a competitive non-monopolistic private sector, including small business and farming, controlled and owned by Australians, operating within clear social guidelines and objectives. (Emphasis added)

However, we need to judge Shorten by what he does rather than lofty words written in a document no-one reads. In this he is arguably so centrist, taking small, timid steps towards a fairer society.

Generally speaking, Australians don’t like radical change, though they are not particularly happy about where we are. Being a bit more brave could be welcome, but then I think Labor would need a stronger personality as leader. There is a prejudice in favour of strong ‘Type A’ extrovert leaders, just as there is in favour of taller people, and folk who look attractive generally, according to the norms of the day. But that is another story.

17 thoughts on “Kill Bill or any distraction vs a fair go”

  1. Remember, to be a real socialist there should be no private property at all.

    I would argue, independently, todays ” real socialists ” don’t care as much about State ownership of property but rather control and distribution of capital that private property creates.

    Just a personal observation 🙂

  2. Jumpy, you can argue all you want, but you are wrong. There aren’t many “real socialists” left, because practically no-one argues for state ownership of all property.

    So you have to call them something else. Most prefer the moniker “social democrats”. To call these people ‘socialists’ as you are apt to do, is misleading and akin to a term of abuse.

  3. Sean Kelly, talking to Phillip Adams instead of Laura Tingle on the Canberra capers segment, filled in some important detail about Peter Dutton sinking the boot into asylum seekers.

    Firstly, it wasn’t put out there as a distraction, but done quietly so no-one would notice. Someone leaked the story to Fairfax, so now we all know.

    However, I did not realise what the real situation was. Seems these asylum seekers were in fact refugees from either Manus Island or Nauru, with a real fear of returning there after receiving medical treatment in Australia. This fear had been recognised by the courts, with the help of “un-Australian” lawyers, so Dutton could not expel them.

    As for bludging, the terms of their visa prevented them from working. The Daily Tele did some ‘investigative journalism’ and headlined them as scammers exploiting Aussie medical welfare to live rent-free in Sydney.

    Now they are entitled to work, but are effectively on exit visas, which would ensure that they can’t actually build a life here.

    Now nine churches, including the Baptists, Lutherans, Quakers, Anglicans and the Uniting and Catholic churches, to offer them sanctuary.

  4. “sanctuary” eh?

    Used to hear about that in Ancient Roman times, or in medieval Europe.

    I suppose the national equivalent, in the modern era, is for a State to offer refuge to a person fleeing for their life, or fleeing persecution and ill-treatment.

    I suppose you might call such a person an “asylum seeker”.
    And what you did about it would be a test of the character of the polity.

  5. The churches are showing up well on this one, Ambi. Showing genuine compassion and condemning the government.

    On “kill Bill” Phil Coorey in the AFR has confirmed that it is official policy now on the part of the Turnbull government.

    Now they’ve picked up on the fact that some idiot in a focus group called Bill a snake. We’ve now already had multiple serpent references to Bill, wanting to “slither” into power etc etc.

    This mob can’t do much more to debase political discourse, or can they?

  6. Brian

    Pleasant to continue our dialogue.

    A famous person once said, “Focus groups are the last refuge of a scoundrel.

  7. This mob can’t do much more to debase political discourse, or can they?

    I’m confident they’ll find a way.

  8. Me

    I would argue, independently, todays ” real socialists ” don’t care as much about State ownership of property but rather control and distribution of capital that private property creates.

    Brian

    Jumpy, you can argue all you want, but you are wrong. There aren’t many “real socialists” left, because practically no-one argues for state ownership of all property.

    Todays Marxists want all State ownership, other socialists don’t. Are marxists ” real socialists ” and the others not ?
    How did you come to define what type of socialist is ” real ” ?

    So you have to call them something else. Most prefer the moniker “social democrats”. To call these people ‘socialists’ as you are apt to do, is misleading and akin to a term of abuse.

    Seems any innocuous comment is abuse if it’s from right to left.
    Left to right is open slather though….in some circles.

  9. Looks like a focus group has told Bill that everything said on the NO to SSM is hate speech, hurtful and offensive.
    Note that nothing said by the YES to SSM will be called those by Bill.

  10. Here is another interpretation, Mr J.

    There aren’t many real socialists left…..

    could be a purely sociological, numerical observation.

    I would agree with that statement,
    on the basis of Party membership .. tiny,….
    electoral support.. miniature,…
    social influence… very small.

    Not sure where to find hardline socialists or Marxists in Australia or other Anglophone nations these days, perhaps a few in History or Politics or Philosophy or other Humanities university departments, a few authors here and there, a few Trots and Comms, and vanishingly few Maoists.

    Very few.
    Scarcely influential in social policies or community attitudes.

    Unless of course you are going to argue that most of the Greens are watermelons, or that the Left of the ALP actually pursues Socialist policies……

    BTW, I do think Senator Rhiannon has not yet discarded her SPA attitudes or political methods. But I would think Stalinist may be a more accurate description than watermelon.

    Cheerio

  11. Pretty much Brother A.
    Just as tiny a number of Anarcho-capitalists.
    The “real ” ideology resides with the individual in a democracy given everyones experience is unique.

    [ no offence intended to any animal, mineral or vegetable although I accept some will take offence to anything I express 🙂 ]

  12. “Focus groups are the last refuge of a scoundrel.“

    I din’t know that, Ambi, but the whoever it was spoke the truth.

    I can’t imagine why social researchers like Hugh Mackay take them seriously. Get a bunch of people in a room and some loudmouth sound off…

  13. Jumpy, you can murder the language all you like, but I’m going by Andrew Gamble, who said socialism was really born with ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’.

    Private property ownership is a cornerstone issue, because while it exists there can be no égalité. People might claim to be socialists and accept the right to own private property, but they can’t be considered real.

  14. The world is like a grand staircase, some are going up and some are going down.

    and

    Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.

    Two more from the same Dude apparently.

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