Election 2019: follies 1

The Grattan Institute found that providing tax cuts in the never-never while reducing government expenditure from 24.9% of GDP in 2018-19 to 23.6% during the next decade will necessitate cutting existing programs by more than A$40 billion a year in 2029-30. That should have been the story of the week, but somehow it wasn’t.

That’s Scott Morrison saying the claim is “absolute complete rubbish”. I’ll come back to that. Worse was to come. By the end of the week Bill Shorten was accusing the Liberal Party of running a “low-rent, American-style fake news” campaign on a “ridiculous death tax scare”.

There has been a story flying around Facebook:

    “Labor, the Greens and Unions also have signed an agreement to introduce a 40% inheritance tax. Everything you own cannot go to your kids or next of kin at death 40% goes to the govt. Please share this with all your friends.”

From what I can make out, way back in march 2017 Richard di Natale was musing in public about a four-day week, death taxes and a ‘people’s bank’, plus other nice things. Thankyou Richard. The story has been bubbling away in the background like this one in July 2018, Pauline Hanson saying “Please explain” and one of her candidates raising it earlier this year. Now it has exploded like a rash on social media. The problem is these things don’t leave fingerprints. We should be in no doubt that the Liberal Party will do whatever they think is necessary to win. This has been the case since the Tampa election in 2001.

However, the inheritance tax incident exemplifies Katharine Murphy’s main point about the conduct of the campaign in How Shorten the Redeemer met Morrison the Disruptor – and decided to fight back.

Brilliant article, apart from thinking Queensland is one homogeneous place.

Murphy says that Shorten has been campaigning on cruise control since the 2016 election. He has a program to take us to the sunlit uplands while protecting the economy from shock and paying off debt. He’d like to tell us about it, calmly and sensibly, even if his style is a little boring.

He was obviously unprepared for ScoMo, coming over the trenches, firing madly in all directions, says Murphy.

Whatever metaphor you prefer, the strategy is clear. Confuse people, and Shorten, with a lot of big numbers, conjured up from anywhere and mostly patently ridiculous, to make Shorten look as though he doesn’t know what he’s doing with money. And if you can’t handle money, you can’t run the government. Say it over and over and over, so that when undecided voters step into the ballot box, they’ll think, things are not too bad, so why risk change?.

Shorten has been forced to engage.

Murphy made two other worthwhile points. She said that while Labor has Penny Wong, Chris Bowen, Kristina Keneally and others (the list is actually quite long) who can play a public support role, ScoMo has no-one.

Secondly, week one is a trial run, because no-one is paying attention. Not sure about that. I think people may have noticed Dutton suggesting Labor’s Ali France was using her disability as an “excuse” for not living in the Dickson electorate.

Michelle Grattan says:

    The take-out from week one of the campaign is that while Shorten was less sure-footed than expected, you’d still rather be in his shoes than Morrison’s.

Below I’ve collected a series of items about the election in the style of Weekly salon.

Will the election polarise the vote?

On the 7.30 Report Laura Tingle told us that 96.8% of eligible voters had enrolled, that’s the highest since Federation and 720,000 more than in 2016. Between the major parties I suspect that is good for Labor, but it will be interesting to see whether the minor parties benefit. It’s a bit hard to read, but Newspoll of 14 April shows the combined primary vote of Labor and the Coalition at 78% (39 each), up 5 from June 2017, mostly at the expense of One Nation, down from 11 to 4, suffering from various scandals. The Greens and Other are flat-tracking at around 9 each.

Certainly the much spoken-about drift away from the majors is not currently in evidence. I’d assume that the influx of new voters is mainly the young, where the Greens are at their strongest. Fairfax-Ipsos usually gives an age breakup, where I have never seen the young Greens vote ahead of Labor. This may not be the case in inner urban seats, however.

Baby Boomers vs Gen X and Gen Y: the great generational divide

John Kehoe in the AFR reports:

    Underlying the election battle between the Prime Minister and Labor Leader over taxes and climate change is an intergenerational fight over income, wealth and the future.

    It’s young against old; workers versus investors and asset owners.

    Labor’s tax crackdowns on negative gearing, capital gains, superannuation, dividend franking credits and family trusts are part of what Shorten argues is ending the “intergenerational bias in our tax system” and stopping the “war on young people”.

    “You deserve better than a tax system which deepens inequality and entrenches intergenerational unfairness against Australian young people,” Shorten told the Labor faithful before the Easter break.

The baby Boomers benefitted from the expansion of university education, which was free to the older ones. Many were then promoted to good jobs relatively young, had tenure at universities, and got into the housing market before the prices started hiking. Having collected a good nest egg, some of them are now squealing like stuck pigs because, paying no tax in retirement, Labor wants to deprive them of a handsome annual gift from the taxation office in return for franking credits.

Many Baby Boomers are using self-managed super funds (SMSFs) to harvest franking credits. John Wasiliev in the AFR says that the average SMSF is $652,500, so that makes around $1.3 million for a couple. He reckons they can get 5% pa from that for an income of $53,505. He has a different calculator. Mine says $65,250, but I reckon 4.5% is more realistic, so $58,725 with no tax. Beyond that he says they get an annual gift of $11,745 from the taxation office.

The Centre Alliance have promised to block the franking credit proposal and Labor’s superannuation reforms in the Senate, which is a cynical play to the selfish Baby Boomers older voters.

UNICEF has just published a report identifying Climate change inaction, low trust in politicians, and addressing mental health in a survey of Australian teenagers entering or about to enter voting age. The Coalition has one of their few genuine initiatives in the mental health area, I understand because one of Josh Frydenberg’s staff who had suffered mental health problems and got in his ear. It’s one of the rare cases where Coalition decision-making actually connected with reality and need, rather than political exigency.

However, it is important that the young, who understandably want a planet to live on, can distinguish between the sham offering of the Coalition (see Cheap accounting tricks and sovereign risk: the Morrison government’s climate policy), designed to pretend they are doing something when they are not, and Labor’s I think honest and pragmatic beginnings to addressing the crisis (see Labor’s climate action plan 2019 – a “dog’s breakfast?”.

Containing cancer bills

There is an excellent article in The Saturday Paper by Julie Lambert.

Labor has announced a $2.3 billion pledge to cut out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients. The Coalition response has been to variously claim that many cancer-related Medicare items are currently bulk-billed, implying the funding was not needed, and then health minister Greg Hunt labelled it an “irresponsible hoax” that would blow a $6.8 billion hole in the budget. This is quite deliberate, cynical and designed to discredit and confuse.

Labor never intended to pay all the costs. Grattan’s health economist Stephen Duckett says bulk billing rates are about 20% and Labor’s plan aims to lift that to 80 to 85%. Currently each year medicos are losing a further $40 million of income through the Medicare freeze and inflation.

Currently getting cancer – 145,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year – can make you poor. Seems the Coalition just wants to play politics.

Fairy tale budget promises

So far in the campaign a consideration of policy had been lost in a miasma of large but meaningless numbers, so we need to get a grip on what is going on.

ScoMo and Josh Frydenberg have been telling us that the budget is “back in the black” and that people who work hard will be rewarded with substantial tax cuts, and that the nation’s budget debt, which has doubled under the LNP’s two terms, will disappear during the next decade like the morning mist. The surplus of $7 billion next year sounds like a large number until you match it with spending of $500.9 billion. Then it sounds like a rounding error. This makes it look large:

Now imagine what the graph would look like if it showed the $500 billion it sits on in the y-axis.

The $7 billion actually includes $1.6 billion of NDIS expenditure that will not happen essentially because the government has put a cap on the numbers of staff employed on the program. Then $5 billion is Future Fund dividends, which are a ghost entry, because they must be brought to book but are not available to be spent.

The surplus never reaches 1% of GDP which characterises a ‘fair dinkum’ surplus, around $20 billion in today’s dollars, before it dips in 2022-23 when the first tax cuts turn up. And here’s what the tax cuts look like (from How much you save under Labor and the Coalition’s tax plans at a glance:

Look at who gets the lolly and when it comes.

I expect Labor will have more to say, since Chris Bowen has made it clear that surpluses of 1% of GDP will take priority over tax cuts. If and when tax cuts are possible, priority will be given to income earners of less than $40,000, who, according to Shorten, number 3.4 million.

Now look at this one out to 2030:

The formal budget only covers the area between the dotted lines, up to 2022-3, the so-called “forward-estimates period”. Economist Richard Holden explains the rules in Vital Signs: the ‘ball-tampering’ budget trick they don’t want you to know about:

    During those four years, cuts need to be specified, or economic parameters need to be varied. And with good reason. That way the actual assumptions the government is making, however fanciful they may be, are plain for all to see.

    But beyond the four-year period no such discipline applies. This allows governments of all stripes to make very specific claims about, for example, tax cuts they plan to deliver without having to be at all specific about how they are going to pay for them.

    This is all just a conjuring trick. Politicians try to get us to focus on the tangible, specific thing we want – tax cuts, more money for hospital or schools, free cancer treatment – while obfuscating how they are going to pay for it.

    It’s dirty pool. It’s not cricket. It’s the kind of thing a mob accountant does. Pick your favourite metaphor.

Holden says that’s what Frydenberg and Matthias Cormann did, and Wayne Swan also did it under Labor. He believes that only punishment at the ballot box will cure this bad behaviour.

Holden says that such conjuring is why Grattan can bell the cat in calling a $40 billion pa hole in expenditure forecasts. Paddy Manning at The Monthly in Fiscal wolf in sheep’s clothing: The PM’s tax cuts mean radical austerity says The Grattan Institute’s John Daley told him:

    “Overall the Coalition tax cuts as planned are only affordable if we see spending restraint that we have not seen for the last 50 years.”


    “…the numbers that are built into the forwards assume spending growth materially lower than we have seen at any stage for the last 50 years, at the precise point at which we are expected to see substantial ageing of the population. Let’s just say it looks kind of aggressive.”

Note he said “the numbers that are built into the forwards”, so the cutting appears in the early years, not just in the virtue signalling in years beyond.

On the night after the Budget I heard Peter Martin say that there was line after line in the budget where expenditure tapered unexpectedly over the years. I heard another authoritative commenter interested in demography say that the budget papers actually forecast an increase in immigration, just after the government had formally capped it. Also the fertility of Australian women was forecast at 1.9, increasing without explanation from the present 1.7. It seems fictional numbers were inserted to make those graphs look the way they do.

I can assure you there is more deliberate conning. For example $365 million for preschool is included for 2019-20 only. It has been one year at a time and continues to be so. The result is that it is costed at zero in the following years.

There is another one where large savings in program delivery, from memory in the order of over $2 billion, were included just for changing the computer system and delivery methodology. Unbelievable.

Paul Karp at The Guardian has done an Explainer: is the Coalition planning $40bn of secret spending cuts?

The verdict:

    It is true that the budget shows spending to GDP will shrink from 24.6% to 23.9%, and spending would be $40bn higher if that were not the case.

    The idea that shrinkage can be achieved without major cuts to programs relies on the assumption the government can keep spending growth at 1.3%.

I suspect no sane economist would think that possible.

On Insiders we were told that the Budget assumes that government services will cost less because of wage restraint. Yet income tax receipts, by far the biggest revenue source, are premised on wages increasing faster than inflation. Here is the budget record on predicting wages growth:

Only in 2012-13 (I think Wayne Swan’s last budget) has the actual outcome exceeded the budget forecast. Since then the record of prediction is downright embarrassing. Six years in a row we’ve been seriously misled.

We know that the mid-year MYEFO regularly produces bigger changes than the skinny surplus forecast in Year One. The rest is pure fiction, consciously planned that way to con the electorate.

There is an interesting session on taxation The joy of tax at ABC RN with Peter Martin, Gigi Foster and Bob Breunig, Professor of Economics at the ANU. Apparently in Oz every $100 of tax raised costs us $12 because of complexity requiring hordes of accountants. NZ do it for half the cost, and other countries are going even better.

Breunig also tells why zero company tax makes sense. Companies pay out better dividends and you collect it from the shareholders.

Captain GetUp

GetUp has been politically active, especially in a campaign to stop Peter Dutton, but also Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt and Christian Porter.

Advance Australia is a conservative group formed to counter GetUp. Some bright sparks there invented the idea of Captain GetUp:

Apparently he’s been running around in Warringah, so Junkee asks How Did Captain GetUp Go So Terribly, Horribly Wrong?

Basically it is a silly idea, as Junkee said in Some Enemies Of GetUp Have Created A Superhero To Take Down GetUp, And Oh Boy:

    After all, nothing says “clear political messaging” than having to start every sentence with a reminder that you are not, in fact, from GetUp, despite having GetUp quite literally written all over you.

    And nothing — nothing — appeals to voters more than the muffled voice of a guy inside a bobble-headed orange spandex suit yelling “I am Captain GetUp the truth crusader!”

    And yet, while Advance Australia clearly hoped Captain GetUp would inspire hearts and minds, so far he’s mostly inspired confusion. If he does not represent GetUp, why is he covered in GetUp logos?

Where will the election be won?

Kevin Bonham has Labor in the lead around 52-48 TPP, which means Labor has its nose in front, but we have a contest. Tim Colebatch in Over the top with Scott looks at betting information as well as region by region and particular seats.

The Guardian looks at the seats Labor and the Coalition have to win.

Since the 2016 election the ACTU has had a long target list of Liberal seats:

    In all, there are 16 ACTU target seats and a total of 28 targeted by unions, including peak bodies in each state and ACTU affiliates.
    Before the 2016 campaign the then ACTU secretary, Dave Oliver, promised it would build a “permanent campaigning capacity”, with organisers employed in marginal seats throughout the term of the 45th parliament.

The Greens are no doubt targeting a limited number of seats.

I think we can write Clive Palmer off. He’s spent a mozza advertising everywhere, but I think he’s passed his use-by date.

Perhaps One Nation has too after the Al Jazeera exposure, but they could surprise in Dawson, based on Mackay, where the ‘member for Manila’ George Christensen could struggle.

Independents could struggle because of the sheer cost of campaigning, but we’ll have Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie for sure. Adam Bandt for The Greens will be there, and if voters are peed off with the two majors we might get 3-5 of them. The Liberals might knock off Labor here and there, such as Herbert in Townsville (won by 37 votes in 2016) and Braddon in Tasmania (1.7% in a by-election last year).

My betting is for a hung parliament, but I have no clue as to who will form government. Australia would be a better place, however, if GetUp get their men, in which case Labor will probably form government.

In the senate, I’m hoping people are done with One Nation, but we’ll certainly have a crossbench beyond the majors and The Greens. The crossbench favours conservatism, and Labor would have a hard time enacting it’s revenue-producing measures.

52 thoughts on “Election 2019: follies 1”

  1. Two little things,
    I hate to say it but don’t write Palmer off just yet. His advertising blitz is unfortunately resonating. If history tells us anything he won’t push for anything he’s saying now.

    And Center Alliance is play the old Xenophon trick of talk moderate and vote radical.
    According to David Leyonhjelm, and he’d know, they vote inline with the greens on every occasion.

  2. Jumpy

    I would write off Clive P in Victoria.
    We heard about his dinosaurs and his Titanic and his smelter. Unfair, perhaps, but most voters here have him in the “shonk” column.

    This would include those Victorians who visited the Coolum golf course or saw it on TV, when it was in more competent hands.


    You say the Govt plans to give “people who work hard ” a substantial income tax cut. Strange to say, I’ve never seen Question 68 “Do you work hard?” on the ATO income tax return form.

    It seems to ask about taxable income, which is quite a different thing.

    Just saying.

  3. Ambi, I think it’s about ‘lifters’ and ‘leaners’. We were advised by a former treasurer that the way into the housing market was to get a ‘good’ job.

    What I didn’t mention was tax offsets, around $1000 sent to those between $45,000 and about $100,000, who will get a cheque in the mail just as soon as ScoMo can get parliament together.

    They are the teachers and nurses, and many honourable souls amongst the middle income earners. There is an economic argument that the economy needs stimulus, so inject cash into consumption, the way Rudd, Swan & co did in 2008. But that would be admitting that the economy is not travelling well, so it’s a downpayment on the tax cut.

    Of course Labor has had to match this election bribe give-away.

    However, those on $100K plus are the real workers, and those on $180K plus the real drivers of the economy, so we must look after them, and not waste money on the bludgers at the bottom of the heap, who are responsible for their own destiny.

  4. Jumpy, I’ll be astonished if Townsville people vote for Palmer in any numbers, and I can assure you he doesn’t look at all attractive from where I sit in SEQ.

    However, in Qld senate voting there may be some that are disillusioned with Pauline H, but then there is competition from the Katters and Fraser Anning as well as Palmer. I think there will be 2 Lab, 2 LNP, 1 Green and one up for grabs. My betting is that the tiddlers will splinter so much that it will stay with the LNP.

  5. I’ve changed the first sentence of the post, so that now it reads like a sentence:

    The Grattan Institute found that providing tax cuts in the never-never while reducing government expenditure from 24.9% of GDP in 2018-19 to 23.6% during the next decade will necessitate cutting existing programs by more than A$40 billion a year in 2029-30.

  6. There is an economic argument that the economy needs stimulus, so inject cash into consumption, the way Rudd, Swan & co did in 2008.

    Funnily enough a majority of voters would be agreeable to a bludger-led recovery.

  7. That’s a stunning poll result, zoot.

    Those in favour of a solid rise in the Newstart payment rate:
    81% amongst Labor voters, 66% amongst Liberal voters.

    A poll of 1000 voters, so an inherent sampling error of just above 3%. Easily a majority view.

    Is it too late to register a Bludger Party with the AEC?

  8. Thanks for your reminder about the Treasurer’s thoughts on buying a house, Brian.

    I understand the gentleman is no longer Treasurer.

    I have two questions:

    Was he the Treasurer who brought down one of the most despised Budgets since, oh, 1974?

    After he left Parliament, did he have the sense to follow his own advice and “get a good job”?

    PS the comedian won the Ukraine Presidency.
    In one sense, “that is the only poll that counts”.

  9. Is it too late to register a Bludger Party with the AEC?

    Not if you get it done by C.O.B. tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd).

  10. zoot, if you give more money to the bludgers, they spend it in Australia. Those franking credits are the Baby Boomers favourite way of financing overseas holidays.

    Ambi the language is more subtle, but the attitudes of Joe Hockey live on. See Katharine Murphy on the meaning of Morrison’s mantra about getting a fair go – some categories of people are inherently more deserving than others, and if you find yourself on the bottom rung of the ladder, it’s your fault, not the government’s.

    So it’s morphed into makers and takers. If you are fair dinkum and are having a go, you are making a contribution, rather than being lazy and just taking. So you will be rewarded and encouraged by ScoMo’s government. Otherwise you are just lead in the saddlebag.

  11. It has just occurred to me what a dreadful place Australia must have been between 1930 and 1939. It was chock full of bludgers – all those unemployed people who didn’t have the moral fibre to get a job; leaners instead of lifters and takers instead of makers!

  12. Good thing the government has made it clear that teachers, police people and health workers are bludgers because they clearly do not earn anything like the money required to get the tax cut that goes to the real makers.

  13. John, whoever said that we live in a classless society, or that class didn’t matter in Oz was ignorant or lying.

  14. That being the case, zoot, how did we ever get through the Second Global Unpleasantness between 1939 and 1945? You know, when Mr H and Emperor H wanted to annex our fair land?

    Them bludgers must ‘ave turned out to be a tough sort of breed, including the lady bludgers.

    On class : time to remind voters of the differences between flat taxes and progressive tax scales.

  15. … how did we ever get through the Second Global Unpleasantness between 1939 and 1945?

    Excellent question Ambigulous.
    John at 11:27pm April 22: I can’t find the quote, but years ago Hazel Henderson pointed out that what our society values can be seen from the wages we pay nurses and police compared to the guy who writes dog food commercials and hence drives a Ferrari.

  16. Zoot: In the mining industry the truck driver who spends her day sitting in a air conditioned cabin guiding a truck tends to be paid more that the skilled tradesman who works in the heat, dust and grime keeping the truck going. My theory was that the judges that determined relative wages spent their days sitting around in the air conditioning just like truck drivers. How could they not pay truck drivers less than mechanics who do none of the things judges do.
    What do you think should be considered when setting wages?

  17. Brian: And you wonder why I am backing the Greens when Renew Economy had this to say:

    in Australia, the Coalition appears committed to coal, and while Labor is equivocating on projects like Adani’s, on Tuesday it outlined a major plant to unlock gas reserves in the Galilee Basin and elsewhere.
    “This announcement demonstrates a political system fully in the thrall of the fossil fuels industry,” said Dan Gocher, from the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility. “The LNP have their coal patrons, the ALP have their gas patrons. Corporate capture is the tragedy of Australian politics. Sadly, voters are now presented with an awful dilemma – coal or gas.”

    BTW the boss lady and I went to the Mullumbimby Adani rally. Interesting experience.

  18. Brian: Some time ago Larissa Waters pointed out to me that Qld coal used in an ultracritcal Chinese power generator had a smaller emissions footprint than a gas fired power station using Qld LNG. The problem with LNG is that it takes about 25% of the contained energy to get it on to a LNG tanker. (Liquification is very energy intensive.) Not sure what assumptions her figure was based on.

  19. What do you think should be considered when setting wages?

    I think value to the community should be high on the list. But if this were the only criterion garbage collectors would be paid more than garbage producers (such as advertising executives) 🙂

  20. BTW John, if my informant is correct a lot of those Pilbara trucks are now “driven” by people sitting in a Perth building. I have no idea of their pay rate and even less knowledge of what happens on site when the network goes down.

  21. On the value of wages, we should be paying teachers in schools at least twice what they get now, and early childhood teachers the most. That whole area is fraught.

    John, I saw the story about Labor’s gas plans. If they say Labor is in thrall to the fossil fuel industry I wish they would be more specific.

    I do know that in 2012 Gillard was preparing about 4 or 5 big nation-building projects. One was gas, where the word was that Australia had enough to keep the world going for 600 years.

    At the time, gas was seen as relatively benign, and an interim technology. Seems at a minimum they haven’t got the message that we are goiung to have to skip the gas phase.

    Back in Gillard’s day there were actual climate deniers in senior positions like Martin Ferguson. The ones we knew about have all gone now, so if there is indeed ‘corporate capture’ I’d like to know who has been captured, and how.

  22. Zoot:

    I think value to the community should be high on the list. But if this were the only criterion garbage collectors would be paid more than garbage producers (such as advertising executives.

    Nah: If we took away the garbage collectors people would be far more careful about buying things that produced garbage. for example, they would buy bulk milk using their own containers like we used to do. (No more plastic milk bottles to be collected by garbage men.)
    Nah again: Our economy would collapse without advertising. Who would buy all the crap we buy without advertising. And what would happen to unemployment if we stopped buying the crap that depends on on advertising for its market?
    Me I think i should have been paid lots of money to go bushwalking. Bushwalking time was where the million dollar ideas came from.
    You could do very well if you were paid for pissing off Jumpy.

  23. There are a series of podcasts at the Australia21.or.au Survival Matters webpage. Podcast titles include:

    Episode 1: Anthropocentrism and our culture
    Episode 2: The ten threats to human survival
    Episode 3: Young people and climate change
    Episode 4: The impact of consumption on health
    Episode 5: The need for urgent political action

    There’s also a discussion document to raise some questions with friends.

  24. One of Bill’s key policies is to do something about employers not paying their employee’s entitlements.
    Scott’s decision to do a preference deal with one of our most public non-payer of entitlements suggests he has no sympathy with employees who are being ripped off. Or am I being unfair?

  25. In case anyone who is looking here does not know, there is a leaders debate on Channel 72 starting 7pm EST.

  26. I gave up.
    Dull as ditch water.*

    *when I were a lad, ditch water weren’t dull, twas only water we ‘ad, some days. Drink oop yer ditch water, me Mum said, yer never know when there’ll be more. She were thrifty. Aye but we were ‘appy. Ditch overflowed, us kids played all kinda games in it. Chase the tadpole. Drown the March fly – tough little boogers they were. Then bloody Council oop and filled in ditch, no warnin’ like, that were a shame. We all said so. Damn shame. No ditch, what were we to do? So we ‘ad to go scroungin’ and find some potholes. Weren’t the same, no.

  27. Over in ON land, Steve Dickson has become a Dead Man Standing.

    Booted out of ON.

    Still on the ballot paper under ON, cannot be removed.

    Apparently playing footsie with the NRA is just fine, but misbehaving towards women including strippers and Filippinas is not.

    Jumpy, you don’t speak for ON, but are you quietly chuffed that the Riflemen’s connection turned out not to be a hanging offence?

    Where do they get these candidates from?

    Major Parties have many candidates drawn from the Bar….
    Could it be that the tiny Parties misunderstood the word Bar and headed straight for the bar? Get on the sauce, mate, you can be a candidate no worries at all. Beautiful! Too easy!!

  28. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 30, 2019 AT 7:43 AM)

    Over in ON land, Steve Dickson has become a Dead Man Standing.

    Booted out of ON.

    At The Guardian is an article today headlined One Nation’s Steve Dickson resigns over strip club footage. It reports a remorseful Dickson:

    “I found the footage difficult to watch as my words and actions under intoxication and in that environment, are not a true reflection of myself,” he said in a statement.

    Ah… but doesn’t intoxication disinhibit? Doesn’t it show the real character?

    Dickson was also caught saying, “I’ve done more Asian than I know what to do with,” and that strip clubs were better in the Philippines because women danced on top of the bars and “then take everything off”, on the footage recorded by al-Jazeera during an undercover investigation.

    Is he just bragging or is there some truth to this? Either way, IMO this is not a good look for a candidate reportedly campaigning on ‘family values’.

    I wonder whether there’s other compromising ‘footage’ that is still hidden of the Dickson/Ashby US trip. Are there more revelations still to come?

    Where do they get these candidates from?

    Good question. I think it also applies to the AUP candidates.

  29. GM – on candidate selection…..

    One theory is, that a small Party opens up its doors just before an election, and says “Welcome, stranger!” to any adult who is on the electoral roll and breathing.

    I’ve heard that one Party actually overcharged candidates for ‘their’ election campaign printing… nice little earner for Head Office. In effect, charging a fee to anyone silly enough willing to stand.

    Electoral reform? Who needs it??

  30. Where do they get these candidates from?

    From the LNP as it turns out.

    Steve Dickson:

    Steven Lance Dickson (born 24 June 1962) is an Australian politician. He was a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly beginning in 2006, representing the electorates of Kawana (2006–2009) and Buderim (2009–2017). First elected for the Liberal Party, he joined the Liberal National Party in the 2008 merger, but switched to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in January 2017. He subsequently lost his seat to the LNP candidate at the 2017 election. Dickson served as Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing in the Campbell Newman government from 2012 to 2015.[1]

    Yes, he was a minister of the crown in “Can do” Campbell’s Qld government.

    Also Pauline Hanson started in politics as a Liberal Party candidate.

  31. zoot, IMHO Palmer won’t win any lower house seats. Best chabce is possibly Herbert, where Greg Dowling, ex rugby league prop forward, older than Glenn Lazarus is running, but he’s only an outside chance, like maybe 20 to one.

    The preference deal with the Libs has given him an excellent chance in the senate, but I’ll be surprised if he gets up in other states.

    Clive is ex-National Party:

    Palmer was instrumental in the split of the South Australian conservatives in the 1970s, and was active in the Liberal Movement headed by former Premier of South Australia, Steele Hall.[53] Palmer joined the Queensland division of the Nationals in 1974, having been influenced by the policies of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Premier of Queensland at the time.[54] From the early 1980s, he was involved in state politics, serving as the National Party’s campaign director during the 1983 state election and as media spokesman during its 1986 election campaign, both of which were successful.[55]

    Another gift to the nation from conservative politics in Qld.

  32. Here’s What sex industry workers think of One Nation’s Steve Dickson ‘strip club scandal’ by Gla Vanting.

    I think she’s an actual sex worker, strippers are entertainers:

    Strip clubs are workplaces. The workers in strip clubs — whether they identify as entertainers, dancers, or sex workers — have rights to safety and fair treatment at work, including in their one-to-one interactions with customers.

    Mr Dickson’s words and actions reveal how little regard he has for those rights, or the people who hold them.

    She also says:

    If the roaring trade sex workers do during Parliament’s sitting weeks in Canberra is any evidence, the political world’s contact with the sex industry is nothing to write home about.

    The kind of behaviour displayed by Dickson is all too common, she says.

    Dancers deal with this sort of behaviour enough to do it skilfully — policing the limits of the interaction while maintaining rapport with the client, savvily dodging inappropriate advances without losing the job.

    Crowd control and boundary assertion are some of the core skills built in sex-work spaces, which often remain unacknowledged in the misconception that sex work is unskilled labour or “not real work”.

    These skills aren’t ones we should have to sharpen so intensely. We have a right to feel safe at work. We have a right not to be harassed. We have a right to say “no” and for that to be respected.

    Al Jazeera filmed strippers without their consent. To be fair, the footage was leaked, Al Jazeera did not authorise broadcasting it.

    Gala Vanting is the president of the Scarlet Alliance, the Australian sex workers association.

  33. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 30, 2019 AT 5:29 PM)

    One theory is, that a small Party opens up its doors just before an election, and says “Welcome, stranger!” to any adult who is on the electoral roll and breathing.

    You might say so but I couldn’t possibly comment.

    I’ve heard that one Party actually overcharged candidates for ‘their’ election campaign printing… nice little earner for Head Office.

    Are you referring to this?

    PETER MCCUTCHEON: The opportunity was the upcoming Queensland election and the overcharging of candidates for electoral materials such as banners and posters, which could be claimed back through the Australian Electoral Commission.

    JAMES ASHBY: I will deny I ever said this but what stops us from getting a middle man or gracing, I’m happy to grace in cash double the price of whatever it is.

    Ah yes… deny everything.

  34. A Mr Killin is standing for the Victorian seat of Wills.
    He opines that the Liberal Party should not have preselected “that notorious homosexual” Tim Wilson, MHR for Goldstein.
    Mr Killin is of course free to express his views.

    Unfortunately, however, he is standing as a Liberal Party candidate.

    Unlikely to win.
    Some previous Membees include Gordon Bryant, Bob Hawke, and an Independent.

    He’s Killin them.

  35. Love to see the footage of Rudds NY strip club visit.

    Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has admitted visiting a New York strip club during a drunken night while representing Australia at the United Nations.

    Mr Rudd issued a statement yesterday to News Limited papers, confirming he went to the club but could not recall the events of the evening because he “had too much to drink”.

    “If my behaviour caused any offence to anybody whatsoever that evening I, of course, wholeheartedly apologise,” he said.

    PM in 6 months time in a landslide.

    Funny the way things work out.

  36. Struth!!
    I’ve no skill at all with the linky format thing.
    Sorry Brian for the mess.

  37. Love to see the footage of Rudds NY strip club visit.

    So would I. But you failed to include in your quote

    “Yes, it was at a gentleman’s club and he (Mr Rudd) behaved like a perfect gentleman,” Mr Allan said.

    In vino veritas.

  38. Jumpy, I’ve fixed it the at the end was missing, so after the blockquote it just ran on.

  39. Mr Shorten has made the standard no-coalition-with-Greens proclamation. Ever since a Tasmanian Labor/Green govt limped to defeat, this has been de rigeur.

    Is Richard di Natale sounding somewhat worried?

  40. Headline in Guardian Aust online:
    Palmer candidates required to pay $400,000 if they win and then leave the Party

    Another nice little earner.

    Mr Palmer has certainly been a financial innovator.

    Is Queensland an incubator for such daring?

  41. It appears Australia draws its political candidates from the shallow end of the gene pool and as a result this election is turning into a slow motion train wreck. Must get more popcorn.

  42. Yes

    But what if we had a large assembly of citizens chosen partly at random?

    Would we be noticing similar problems?
    Is the fault with us, The People??

  43. Mr A

    But what if we had a large assembly of citizens chosen partly at random?

    At least in the Senate I’d back that. We’d still get a collection of faulty humans but the motivation for decisions are not likely to be career, financial or power.

    Let’s face it, almost all would be found wanting by “ community standards “ in the media.

    More and more the media portrayals of “ community standards “ is further removed from the reality of the community.

    Be a good method to force them to recalibrate too.

    I’m seeing more pros than cons with Sortition for the Senate.

    I can’t see it working for the Reps.

  44. Posted earlier today at the SMH is an article by Cole Latimer headlined LNG prices tipped to double by 2020. It begins with:

    The competition watchdog expects liquefied natural gas prices to almost double over the coming months as Australia continues to grapple with a potential east-coast gas shortage.

    A rise would be welcome news for energy companies that have seen the LNG price slide by around a third, in line with the global oil price, over the last three months but concerning for the gas-intensive manufacturing industry already struggling with domestic supply.

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