Weekly salon 28/2

1. The cost of debt

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and PM Scott Morrison have been telling us that we need to contain debt, and that is why those on JobKeeper must return to poverty. Frydenberg in particular has been praising himself for his fiscal bravery, and the size of his COVID-19 rescue package.

Greg Jericho has identified how much the extra debt has cost. The answer is – nothing. See The government is stuck in the fallacy of debt and deficit while ignoring the climate crisis:

    The PBO estimated that in the December quarter last year debt interest repayments were $4.1bn – the same amount it was in December 2016 when total debt was half the current level.

Why?

    In December 2016 the government paid around 2.8% interest on a 10-year bond; right now it is paying around 1.2%.

2. Ross Garnaut’s vision

Last Thursday I managed to buy Ross Garnaut’s new book Reset: Restoring Australia after the Pandemic Recession. His article in The Guardian The prize for Australia’s post-Covid restoration is large. But fairness must be integral is an excerpt from the Introduction.

I’d like to highlight these two paragraphs:

    Restoration will require acceptance of a high degree of income restraint by Australians, who have already endured the longest period of income stagnation in our history, through the dog days and then the Covid-19 recession. This is regrettable, and many Australians will see it as unfair, since the wealthy continued rapidly to increase their wealth and incomes through the dog days, and most also did well in the pandemic recession. Experience has demonstrated that such restraint in the public interest is possible in our Australian democracy if most people accept that the benefits are distributed fairly.

    There will be widespread support for the necessary reforms only if the many people on low incomes and with insecure employment and little wealth – those who were damaged most by the pandemic recession – gain from the change. Fairness is integral to any program to lift productivity, employment and incomes. Fairness has to be achieved by means that do not block the path to higher productivity, employment and incomes. That requires reform in our personal income tax and social security arrangements, built around a guaranteed minimum income: the new Australian income security payment. (Emphasis added)

Garnaut is not a modern monetary theorist. He believes that while the government needs to spend a bit to renovate the economy, fairness is essential if productivity is to be increased.

Garnaut’s new Australian income security payment is in fact a ‘universal basic income’ proposal. Our government will never agree to that because they clearly believe that poverty is necessary to make sure unemployed people are motivated to work.

3. New JobSeeker is a shocker

Here from the New Daily is what JobSeeker will be from April 1:

That’s $50 per fortnight, or $3.57 per day plus CPI compared to pre-COVID.

Those who thought the Government had changed ideology or found a heart have been rudely disabused.

Greg Jericho says The jobseeker increase is pathetic – and so is the spin to justify the paltry amount. He says the previous base rate of $40 per day:

    was completely unfit for purpose – and it was politically untenable to have 800,000 extra people suddenly discover just how unfit.

    Now most of those people have gone back to some form of work and so the government can return to treating the unemployed with the contempt it always has – including increased mutual obligations and employer dob-in call lines just to ensure they feel suitably dehumanised.

The claim is that JobKeeper is now commensurate with what it was during the Howard years. Jericho shows how it declined during the Howard years, and is now only commensurate with the end days of Howard.

Minimum wages have fallen against average wages, and unemployment has fallen against wages:

    When the Howard government came into power in 1996, Newstart was worth 20.6% of the average male full-time weekly earnings; by the end of 2007 it was down to 17.5%; now it is 14.9%.

Jericho says that if Newstart and JobSeeker had risen in line with earnings over the years, it would be at least $100 a week higher.

4. Australia excels at punishing the jobless

Cait Kelly at the New Daily tells of the reaction of some unemployed people in ‘My gut dropped’: Job seekers confused and angry about being left in poverty.

Euan Black finds that Countries with higher unemployment benefits have lower jobless rates. Our replacement rate is less than half the OECD average:

The Australia Institute Study he’s following does not find a causal link, but report author Matt Grudnoff said:

    excessively low unemployment benefits like those found in Australia could actually act as a disincentive to find work.

    “[Having such] punitive payments actually acts a problem for people seeking out jobs,” he said.

    “If you need to travel, if you need to dress appropriately, if you need to be at a certain place at a certain time for a job interview and you don’t have the money to do those things.

Black points out that the new liberal think tank Blueprint Institute have suggested a 70% replacement rate, capped at $35,000 and limited to six months at that rate, funded by a 1% tax levy as a form of income insurance.

Black consulted other economists who find that the ‘dole bludger’ argument doesn’t stack up. After all JobSeeker will only amount to 41.2 per cent of the minimum weekly wage. Chris Richardson said that if the Government went back a quarter of a century they would have handed over $250 a fortnight not $50 a fortnight.

Citing the annual cost as $9 billion makes it sound large, but that is over four years – the annual cost is small change.

We know there are other large areas of need, such as aged care, and housing, but Australia is looking like a country where an effective social safety net does not exist, not because we can’t afford it but as a matter of government choice.

In the budget the government found $98 billion in new measures designed to return the economy to health including tax relief for businesses and low-and-middle-income earners. However, if you are out of work the government does not consider it should provide you food and shelter.

Here’s a graph of JobKeeper in relation to pensions, the poverty line and the minimum wage, courtesy of the AFR:

The Government is actually proud of what it has done, saying it got the balance right.

5. Do extraterrestrials exist?

Probably, says Professor Avi Loeb who has just finished his stint as longest serving Chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy. He says billions of the suns in the Milky Way Galaxy have planets similarly placed in relation to their sun, and similar to Earth in size, so it would be arrogant to think we are alone.

His latest book Extraterrestrial: the first sign of intelligent life beyond earth is based on an object picked up by astronomers at the University of Hawaii in 2017. From the New Scientist:

    In 2017, something strange came hurtling through our cosmic neighbourhood. Astronomers only spotted it once it was already on its way out, so they didn’t get a proper look. But from the few observations we did get, it was clear that the object wasn’t from around here – its trajectory indicated that it came from another star system. It was dubbed ‘Oumuamua, which means “scout” in Hawaiian, and categorised as the first interstellar object we have ever seen in our cosmic neighbourhood.

It was shinier than anything that has shown up before, shiny enough to suggest it might be burnished metal and was just weird:

    Observations suggested it is likely to be either flat or cigar-shaped, tumbling end over end every 7 hours or so and accelerating at a pace seemingly greater than could be accounted for by gravitational forces alone.

Loeb’s bottom line is that we just don’t know, but we should not rule out that it was made by intelligent beings elsewhere.

Unfortunately no-one got a photo of it, so I’d ignore artist versions, which suggest rock. The acceleration, which suggested propulsion, except there was no evidence of such, came as it departed.

Loeb points out that we are actually hurtling in space, so it could be still and we hurtled by.

New Scientist may be pay-walled, so here are some other links:

With the Scientific American, remember authors don’t get to write the article headings. He worries about science when possible solutions are ruled out because they are inconvenient or unsettling.

57 thoughts on “Weekly salon 28/2”

  1. In “WHAT IS WRONG WITH NEWSTART?” http://pragmatusj.blogspot.com/search/label/Welfare I pointed out how the government’s complex systems for harrasing the unemployed and clawing back a significant amount of money earned is a disincentive for taking a job.
    At the time i looked fruit picking was particularly nastily treated. “Seasonal Work Exclusion Waiting Period rules say: “If you or your partner have finished doing seasonal, contract or casual work in the 6 months before you claim, you may need to wait for a period of time before you can receive your payment. The seasonalwork exclusion period will depend on how much you earned from your work and how long you were working for. The duration is based on how long it would take an average wage earner to earn the same amount as a person engaged in contract, seasonal or casual work.”
    Add to that the cost of moving to a fruit picking area and paying for accommodation there.
    UBI gets rid of the bastardry that makes fruit picking so financially unattractive.
    Orchardists should stop complaining and push for a UBI that would make picking fruit worthwhile.

  2. Thanks, John.

    There was an article, I think in the Saturday Paper by someone in Tasmania who went picking raspberries (I think) for a couple of years.

    He said they had to strip the bushes of the waste fruit, which ended up on the ground and were 40% of the work, making it impossible to pick enough good fruit to earn a decent wage being paid by the Kg of good fruit.

    The locals had hourly jobs in the packing sheds, and made fun of the stupid city slickers who busted their gut under the sun.

    So after two years he told them they could stick it.

    Exploitation seems to be endemic in the industry. Foreign students also do it tough.

    This government seems willing to turn a blind eye to routine exploitation of the weak.

  3. Brian: I suspect that the clawback of the government costs fruit pickers more than the poor payment by the orchardists.
    Somehow we need to overcome the exploitation and underpayment of casual workers and get on with introducing a UBI as a simple way of reducing disincentives.

  4. Brian. “Greg Jericho has identified how much the extra debt has cost. The answer is – nothing. See The government is stuck in the fallacy of debt and deficit while ignoring the climate crisis” among a wide range of things.
    Problem is many governments have convinced themselves that government is best run the way you would run a business. It ain’t necessarily so.

  5. “US Republicans Are Trying to Kill What’s Left of the Voting Rights Act” https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/03/republicans-are-trying-to-kill-whats-left-of-the-voting-rights-act/?utm_source=mj-newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter-03-01-2021
    One would have hoped that what happened in the Trump years would have spurred a push to defend democracy in the US. However, what is happening now in some Republican controlled states is a push to make it even harder for voters of colour to vote.

  6. Thanks, zoot, but to be fair I think it was an experiment in a decent standard of welfare to alleviate poverty rather than a UBI.

  7. Looked like a UBI to me, but I concede it wasn’t ‘universal’ 🙂
    If it was they couldn’t have had a control group.

  8. zoot, I was going by this:

      Using donated funds, the industrial city on the edge of the Bay Area tech economy launched a small demonstration program, sending payments of $500 a month to 125 randomly selected individuals living in neighborhoods with average incomes lower than the city median of $46,000 a year.

    With UBI, because they give it to everyone, rich or not, it usually ends up being a small amount.

    TBH, while UBI may sound attractive in principle, the high cost usually means those relying solely on UBI don’t get enough to escape poverty.

    I guess $500 per month is a small amount, so in that sense it shows that even a small amount makes a difference.

  9. Brian: We have a tax free threshold which is an “almost UBI” for better off people who earn enough to benefit.
    We have a welfare system where there are point where the government claws back 60 cents for every extra dollar earned. (The rich claim that they will lose all incentive if their marginal tax rate goes anywhere near 60%.)
    A UBI is an incentive to work because very poor people get to keep the money they have earned instead of losing a lot of it to clawback while having to comply to complex reporting rules.
    We listen to endless whingeing from the Ag sector who can’t get workers. A UBI would help ag because it makes picking fruit worth the effort.

  10. How much John ?
    Our Dole pays more than every UBI that I’ve seen tried and fail.

    You’re going to have to let go of some of these stupid ideas.

  11. Our Dole pays more than every UBI that I’ve seen tried

    And what were the UBI schemes that you looked at?
    Don’t be shy, there’s not been many.

  12. And what were the UBI schemes that you looked at?

    Supplementary question: In what way did they fail?

  13. Jumpy: “Our Dole pays more than every UBI that I’ve seen tried and fail.” A UBI as low as that is likely to have problems because it is not high enough to support someone who cannot find work.
    My concept of an Australian UBI is that it is a payment that may vary with age but would not vary with income, assets or marital status. A payment that might replace jobseeker, old age pension, child allowances, education living loans and part, but not all, of invalid pensions.
    The big attractions are:
    1. Massive reductions in the cost of administering our welfare system.
    2. Removes all the disincentives to work that are a consequence of our complicated clawback system.
    3. Removes the need for the superannuation related tax cuts that mean that tax cuts+pension actually costs more per rich person than for poor and middle income earners. (Middle income costs the least.)
    4. Raises the possibility of having a flat tax for most Australians with the UBI keeping combined welfare+tax progressive.

  14. Jumpy, WHICH UBI’s AND HOW DID THEY FAIL?

    You’ve ignored questions like that on multiple occasions.

  15. Jumpy: “John, HOW MUCH ?”
    I would say AT LEAST the following with INDEXATION:
    Old age pensioners – Current single old age pension
    Working age adults – Current jobkeeper.
    Invalid pensioners. Get additional allowances appropriate to their condition in addition to base UBI payment for age.
    Minors – Combined childcare allowances – Relevant share paid to relevant parents or guardians.
    Things like rental subsidies might be added to UBI payments. However, for the sake of simplicity make payment to all adults and avoid the need for a costly admin system.

  16. That seem a vast bureaucracy to administer much like it is now.

    Either a UBI is universal or call it something different.

    Still dodging the numbers I see.

    Give it up Mate, it’s a non starter.

  17. Whatever you want to call it (and its instigator is a proponent of UBI) during the Stockton experiment employment increased among its recipients while unemployment increased in the control group.
    Apparently giving money to poor people isn’t necessarily throwing it away.

  18. Jumpy: I gave you the numbers and held out the possibility of a flat tax for most people but you are still whinge whinge whinge.you are still whingeing.
    Think about how much smaller government will be if complex welfare and tax systems are replaced by something as simple as a UBI.
    Professionally I had a reputation as a simplifier. To me something as complex as our welfare and tax systems is lousy policy.

  19. C’mon JohnD. The tax system is dead simple …….. for 90% of the population. Where the complexity comes in is for those people who insist on attempting to not pay any tax at all, desperately looking for wiggle room. Because a small wiggle on a million dollar income amounts years of income for normal people.

    Back in the fifties in Life magazine I read the quote “the future will require great complexifiers, not great simplifiers”.

    In a normal world where common sense prevails, simplifying is the way things should be where every word in a conversation carries an understood complexity of meaning and deep discussion can be engaged quickly for efficient results.

    That works right up to where some one says “why??”, or “I don’t want it to be that way, so I believe…..”, and of course,…. greed … “I deserve more than you”.

    When you think about it entropically, simplicity is in the past, complexity is our future, particularly where denying reality has become normal.

  20. I’m not a great UBI proponent, not because i don’t believe there is a need, there certainly is, but because the groundwork to achieve it has not been done. There is no great understanding of the need, there is no (to use Monbiot’s understanding) great narrative to justify it.

    This is a battle between the oligarchs who have used artificial commerce to capture government and create an impenetrable wall around their positions, very much as monarchies have done in the past. And these people are completely uncompromising in their “take” of the world.

    The reality of this though, it is a battle of numbers over perceptions. This is about 0.01% of people trampling the lives of 99.99% of the people in many developed nations, and their determination to expand that control.

    One person understands the the situation plainly

    https://youtu.be/q2gO4DKVpa8

    The problem is that his clear vision is not shared by 99.9% of his fellow Plutocrats. Stalemate, …. they hope!

    But, the reality is seeping through, we understand the need …

    https://youtu.be/u4R8gA8a4cQ

    ….They don’t. This reality will not change until they feel the pain they are inflicting on the world at large. There needs to be both a narrative, ……. and pitchforks. IMHO.

  21. Can’t say I disagree with the Nick Hanauer – Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming .

    Will it happen?

    This year I’m more pessimistic than I was last year.

  22. Bilb: “Back in the fifties in Life magazine I read the quote “the future will require great complexifiers, not great simplifiers”.
    You need both. In some cases I have saved millions by simplifying in a way that either reduces operating costs and/or reduces capital cost by reducing the footprint of a plant. In other cases I have used more sophisticated control systems to produce a more robust outcome that might allow capacity or recovery to be improved for minimal cost.
    In some some cases not much is gained by partial simplification. For example, partial flattening of the tax system doesn’t remove the need for a tax avoidance industry. But when you go to full flat tax the need disappears. The same is true for going all the way in replacing some forms of welfare with the UBI I have described.
    You might want to complain that UBI’s and flat taxes are not progressive but when you think about it the combination is progressive.
    Back to the Life magazine quote. Think of the GFC and you can see the sort of damage complexifiers can do.

  23. Brian: “Can’t say I disagree with the Nick Hanauer – Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming .”
    Coming in the form of the Trump movement? The response to the damage caused to people’s lives by the free markets and balanced budgets supported by the Democrats?

  24. Don’t know, John.

    In most years the most important event turns out to be something no-one foresaw.

  25. I think you’ve been in the desert too long JohnD! Why would you think that Republicans are a danger to Plutocrats. And, the USA, free markets, and balanced budgets are all as far apart as Republicans are from reality.

    So you didn’t watch the Hanauer TED talk.

    Then there is the notion that a UBI and a flat tax are somehow compatible.

    The US’s problems are so many and so deep. Back when people talked about policy one of the issues was the greying of local legislation. An area would go through the standard life cycle of bare land to young families to offspring going to college and moving away leaving a largely older population and the local council legislation would follow the concerns of that older population to where you could no longer run. In parks, or make loud noise, etc.

    But that is exactly what has happened to US Federal legislation on taxation. There was a time when taxation was progressive and those who had benefitted most from the society it depended on put back from their excess excess and the community maintained a modicum of economic fairness. Then came the Milton Friedman with his “user pays” and flat tax BS taken up by Reagan, followed by trickle down neoliberalism and all fairness was scrubbed out. Fo those who profited from the export of US jobs to China and elsewhere, the last thing they wanted was to have their gains reduced by social welfare supporting the growing unemployed so they bought the politicians and the media to ensure their dominance over financial and social policy.

    It is blatantly obvious now after this last psychopathic presidency that the US government is hopelessly corrupted and it will take pitchforks for there to be any hope for the future of the young generations in America. Flat tax? I call BS!

    The pitchforks will be the young people for whom there is no hope of a decent life, being an ordinary person doing ordinary things that people do in healthy communties.

  26. Bilb: “Flat tax? I call BS!” Can’t get your mind around a very simple progressive union of flat tax and UBI.
    I agree with your progression concept. For a large part of my life the progression has tracked the needs of the baby boomers.

  27. Greg Hunt is in hospital.

    Morrison’s ministers are falling like flies.

    It’s only a “suspected infection” and nothing to do with the COVID jab, so be not alarmed!

  28. Pembroke’s Qld Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine approved despite department’s concerns about waterways.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-10/pembroke-olive-downs-coal-mine-approved-despite-water-concerns/13226368
    A massive coal mine that was a key platform in Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s election campaign gained approvals despite the environmental regulator raising serious concerns behind the scenes about lasting impacts on surrounding waterways, ABC Investigations can reveal.

    Key points:
    Queensland’s Environment Department detailed concerns about the voids that will be left on the floodplain after the mine has closed
    The state’s coordinator-general recommended environmental approval for the mine despite the concerns
    The mining company was a client of Labor powerbroker Cameron Milner’s lobbying firm
    Pembroke Resources has received approval for a coking coal mine south-west of Moranbah in central Queensland that will straddle the Isaac River and impact on almost 4,000 hectares of floodplain.

    The Olive Downs mine will be the third largest in the state, producing up to 15 million tonnes a year and employing 1,500 people.

    Pembroke wants more than 1,000 hectares of Paul Harris’s grazing property, Old Bombandy, for the mine.

    Mr Harris owns a prime Wagyu beef operation that runs more than 7,000 head of cattle on the farm.

    “It’s going to reduce greatly the supply of water in the river,” said Mr Harris, who uses water from the Isaac River for his stock.

    “Landholders don’t matter. If they can run roughshod over landholders, they will and they are, but not here.”

  29. John, on the information provided, this is regrettable, to say the least.

    It highlights the lack of a truly independent EPA, a role that is said to be performed by the Environment Department.

    There is also a question of stranded assets.

    ‘Approval’ of the mine was originally announced before the Federal election – Pembroke Resources Olive Downs mine approval may impact koala habitat the size of Sydney Harbour and was in the news again before the Qld election last year, see Coal mine to destroy animal habitat, but no conservation group objects.

  30. Hasn’t QLD ALP been in charge, without a Senate to stop them, for 27 of the last 30 years ?

    Isn’t every speck of coal transported on State owned rail ?

    Didn’t ALP approve the majority of coal mines that operate ?

    Haven’t ALP bigwigs cut all the ribbons of coal port expansions at Abbot Point, Hay Point and Dallriple Bay ?

    Doesn’t QLD ALP just love coal but say they don’t ?

  31. Jumpy, you have five questions there, I’ll do my best.

    It’s probably a “yes” to nos. 1, 3 and 4.

    On 2, don’t you remember that Anna Bligh’s government sold off the profitable parts of Qld Rail? And thus incurred the wrath of electors, who inflicted Campbell Newman upon themselves.

    On Doesn’t QLD ALP just love coal but say they don’t ?

    I’ve met quite a few in the ALP, but not one who loves coal. Not a single one.

    I’ve heard that some state pollies on the Right think they have to say they love coal, or people in the regions won’t vote for them. I can’t recall any Federal ALP pollie saying that, but then we don’t have too many of those.

  32. Jumpy: My recollection is that Joh the diehard Labor supporter was in charge when coal mining in Central Qld surged. What impressed me was that he played himself as the champion of coal while screwing the coal industry for all he could.
    One of the things that impressed me was his charges for coal railing using the equipment coal miners had to give him for free. When I switched from iron ore to coal I estimated that the iron ore industry would have shut down if it had faced railing charges like those Joh, the friend of the miners, charged.
    BTW the iron ore miners built and operated their rail and port systems.

  33. John, my memory is that back then the main state income from mining was through the rail system rather than royalties. I didn’t know that the miners had to give us the equipt.

    On the ALP and coal, today’s CM carries a story that Chris Bowen is about to visit coal mines in Central Qld. He has pointed out, once again, the 70% of our coal experts go to countries which have a zero emissions by 2050 policy, so coal has a limited future.

    So the Olive Downs mine, with an estimated mine life of 79 years, should be closed with more than half the coal still in the ground.

  34. Seems Greg Hunt has cellulitis.

    I’ve had it about four times. It can start with a small pin, prick break in the skin; my first was from an insect bite.

    Then a bright red spot appeared, which grows larger.

    I was told that if left untreated it, you could end up in hospital on a drip, and if that didn’t work and the thing went gangrenous, they would start lopping off the infected leg/arm.

    Seems Hunt is in hospital on a drip, so I hope that works for him.

    I never got that far, but the last time I had it, about 10 years ago, I was off work for five weeks, tried about four different antibiotics, the last of which was administered at double the normal dose.

  35. Brian: The area around the Olive Downs mine produces very good metallurgical coal. In some cases byproduct thermal coal is not produced. So it may be a mine that is a preferred source to the end.
    I have often said that CCS may make sense when it is combined with blast furnaces rather than power generation. It may all depend on how long it takes to commercialize large scale renewable steel production.
    My real concern is the tendency of governments to overrule the decisions of statutory environmental bodies.

  36. John, I’m concerned too about governments overruling the decisions of statutory environmental bodies. I’m doubly concerned when Labor does it.

    In Qld’s case it is state government policy not to have an independent EPA. The function is meant to be performed by the Department of Environment. There is a problem if the Co-ordinator General can over-rule the Dept of Environment in terms of substance and accountability.

    I’m concerned too that someone should be pointing out that the world needs to get to zero emissions by 2035 and working the economics of new mines within that space. If not the Greens then who?

    I take the point about CCS and blast furnaces. There is a tendency at RenewEconomy just to dismiss CCS.

  37. Brian: “Vital Signs: timing of Yallourn’s closure shows it’s high time for a carbon price.” It was never time for a carbon price and, despite the rabbiting on of market and economic tragics it still isn’t the logical way to drive the end of fossil carbon based industries.
    What it has got to be about is a logical engineering plan. A plan that is informed by things like:
    1. How long will it take for existing fossil fuel consuming to reach the end of their reliable plant/feed life?
    2. What renewable options are a logical part of a zero carbon future?
    3. What changes might be made to the way consumers work that will help minimize the cost of conversion.
    4. What new products and processes may be able to take advantage of the nature of renewable energy generation.
    5. And????
    All for a carbon tax that is about providing an efficient raising revenue or avoiding allowing other countries to benefit from a tax on imports from Aus or Aus export industries to be damaged by import duties on dirty aus products.
    But we need a plan and a government that at least understands the concept of a plan.
    And we don’t need more dribble about putting a price on carbon.

  38. John

    And we don’t need more dribble about putting a price on carbon.

    Is that now greens policy is it ?
    Not according to your website.

    ( little tip, the invisible hand wipes its arse with communists. Always has, always will )

  39. Brian, the fossil fuel resources are not controlled by the Feds, Morrison can’t do anything.

    It’s State Premiers like Palacechook that can.

    Why won’t she ?
    My guess is she doesn’t want to be Democratically turfed out on her fat arse.

    But of course John and yourself would like unelected bureaucrats to overrule elected representatives, thus revelling your thinly veiled contempt for democracy.

    • Brian, the fossil fuel resources are not controlled by the Feds, Morrison can’t do anything.

    Jumpy, don’t be ridiculous. Tariffs are a Federal matter.

    Moreover, by virtue of signing up to the Paris Agreement the Federal government, through its foreign affairs powers, undertakes an obligation to reduce emissions. Certainly they need to do this in co-operation with the states, who can do certain things in their own right.

  40. Morrison can’t do anything.

    Just as Trump was completely powerless in the face of the pandemic. You need a new schtick, this one is threadbare.

  41. Jumpy: “Is that now greens policy is it ?
    Not according to your website.”
    I differ from Greens policy from time to time. What we agree about is that emissions need to be driven down faster than the major parties support.

  42. I just heard that in WA the opposition will be left with a handful of seats, I think half a phone box full.

    It looks like 2 Libs and 4 Nats out of 59. Leader Zak Kirkup lost his seat on a 15.4% swing.

    I’m told ha made a speech thanking people for the excellent job they did on the campaign. Not excellent enough!

  43. To reduce your respect, perchance, I think this is too general to be true:

      Both big coal lovers and liars.

    As stated it’s misleading, and hence not true.

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