Tag Archives: ALP

Owed To Me – Gillard vs Rudd (Reprise)

21 Mar

A moment or two of deja vu:

Barnaby Defines “Dodgy”

14 Feb

From Senator Joyce’s column today in the Canberra Times:

Dodgy is plural; the repeated unexpected actions that make others uncomfortable. Dodgy floats from town to town on a raft of promises. Dodgy believes that results are a “scratch-it” ticket where the prize is owed to you by innate luck. Dodgy believes that people are fools and statements and facts will never be crosschecked. Dodgy is clothed in mannerisms which mimic the grace of professionalism.

Insightful.

Think about it.

More Dirt On Gillard & Swan’s Dirty Deal

14 Feb

MacroBusiness.com.au reader and commenter “Mav” draws our attention to journalist Paul Cleary’s book, “Too Much Luck”.

In it, we find more dirt on Gillard and Swan’s dirty deal with the multinational miners.  Cleary’s tome sheds new light on the collusion between ALParatchiks such as then ALP national secretary Karl Bitar and BHP Billiton, the foreign-owned miner leading the anti mining tax campaign, in overthrowing a popularly-elected prime minister:

As soon as Rudd sprang the new tax on the industry, the big three companies decided they had to kill this plan – and they decided to play dirty. When London-based Rio Tinto, Melbourne-based and London-listed BHP Billiton and Swiss-based Xstrata put their collective weight together, they are a formidable combination. Their total combined value on global sharemarkets is $450 billion, 86% of which is in foreign hands. The three companies are worth more than the size of Australia’s federal budget, about one-third the size of the entire Australian economy. Together they embarked on a savage lobbying effort to bring down the proposed tax by attacking the government and its prime minister. They began this extraordinary campaign before the proposal had even been put into legislation, and before the parliament had had the opportunity to review it.

BHP led the offensive, establishing a ‘war room’ inside its Melbourne head office. Run by senior financial executive Gerard Bond, along with senior staffers and external consultants, this team worked on the project for about seven weeks. BHP commissioned its own focus-group research, which was used to drive a $22 million TV and print-media blitz and a targeted lobbying campaign that included Geoff Walsh, a former national secretary of the ALP and former staffer to prime ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. BHP spared no expense on the campaign, which reported directly to CEO Marius Kloppers.  External talent included the market-research specialist Tony Mitchelmore and the corporate strategist John Connolly. Mitchelmore had been plucked from obscurity by Labor to work on the Kevin07 campaign and had stayed on doing qualitative research before working for BHP on this campaign. He organised an intensive round of sixteen focus-group sessions, which revealed that many participants believed Rudd’s proposal had come out of left field and was likely to derail the one industry that was keeping Australia’s head above water. Realising that they had a good chance of killing the tax, the miners adopted a ‘whatever it takes’ approach…

The miners’ efforts were spectacularly successful. Seven weeks and four days after unveiling the preliminary plan, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was deposed and so was his tax… Big Dirt, as the three companies were now known, executed regime change two months before the voters exercised their democratic rights at the ballot box. Having subverted a functioning democracy [TBI: aided and abetted by Gillard & Swan], mining executives were celebrating in airport lounges around the country…

Immediately after becoming prime minister on 24 June, Julia Gillard turned her attention to thrashing out a deal with the three multinational miners. Eight days later, she announced a breakthrough that cut the marginal tax rate from 40% to 22.5%, restricted its scope to coal and iron ore, and added some creative accounting concessions for the big miners… A raft of emails released under FOI shows that BHP was very much running the show. Its executives drafted the heads of agreement before emailing it to Wayne Swan’s office for approval.

Repeating her ‘moving forward’ mantra, Gillard announced the compromise like this: ‘It moves things forward whether you’re a coal miner in the Bowen basin, a contractor in Karratha, an opal miner in Coober Pedy or a young worker in Sydney’. In fact, the MRRT deal made life worse for smaller Australian-based miners by removing the resource exploration rebate and by awarding big miners a significantly lower tax rate. For iron-ore miners with mature projects, which means the big companies, their projects would be taxed at 36.4 per cent – close to or even below current levels – whereas small or medium-sized projects would pay an average rate of 48.9 per cent, according to modelling produced by Treasury and released under FOI. The big miners benefited from a concession that allows them to calculate deductions for tax purposes using the market value rather than the purchase price (or ‘book value’) of their assets, providing huge depreciation allowances. The small and medium Australian players were not represented in the negotiating room, and the new deal actually reversed the central and laudable aim of the RSPT – that is, reducing the tax burden on start-up operations, which are penalised by the state royalties because the impost is paid when production starts, rather than after the company actually begins to make a profit. The success of the multinational miners in securing these concessions, and in beating voters to the punch, reveals the perverse world order in which we live: an advanced country can possess enormous riches but lack the capacity to do what is clearly in its own long-term interest…

Not only did the miners change the prime minister and change government policy, they went on to brag about how their coup had stopped similar schemes from spreading around the world…

Exactly one week after Gillard announced the compromise, Rio Tinto’s American chief executive, Tom Albanese, told a group of mining executives in London that the Australian experience should send a salutary message to governments around the world. Governments should ‘learn a lesson’ from the episode, he declared. A few months later, Xstrata’s chief executive, Peter Freyberg, was still bragging…

BHP’s executives managed to avoid bragging, although this company did more than any other to bring down the tax and Kevin Rudd. The total cost of the campaign was $22 million. The Minerals Council of Australia, which is largely funded by the big three companies, spent $17.2 million, while BHP spent $4.2 million on its own and Rio $537,000. Cabinet ministers in the Gillard government say that Geoff Walsh delivered the Mitchelmore research directly to the then ALP national secretary, Karl Bitar. These claims are strenuously denied by Walsh. But the BHP research is understood to have panicked the Labor heavyweights, prompting them to move against Rudd even though he still had a commanding 4 percentage point lead in the national newspoll.

If it is true that former ALP national secretary Karl Bitar, in cahoots with Gillard and Swan, acted to overthrow a prime minister on the basis of private research data provided directly to him by BHP, a foreign-owned company demonstrably seeking to change government policy, then this is more evidence of treason on the part of key figures in the ALP.

Gillard, Swan, and Bitar should be in jail.

UPDATE:

Peter Martin has more, in the Age today:

Gathered on one side of the cabinet table were the newly-installed Prime Minister Julia Gillard, her Treasurer Wayne Swan and her Resources Minister Martin Ferguson. On the other were the heads of Australia’s three big mining companies: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata.

Absent were the key people from the Treasury – the ones who really understood the tax being discussed.

As the then Treasury head Ken Henry later told a Senate committee: “We were not involved in the negotiations, other than in respect of crunching the numbers if you like and in providing due diligence on design parameters that the mining companies themselves came up with.”

Gillard and Swan consciously chose not only to exclude the locally-owned miners from the negotiations. They also chose to exclude Treasury officials – folks who just might have more of a clue than a dodgy lawyer and a career political hack with an arts degree – as well.

Conclusion? Gillard and Swan did not want any intelligent outside scrutiny of the BHP-drafted deal.

Hence their persistent “commercial-in-confidence” response cited ever since, in attempted justification of their refusal to let the details come out.

Real Honest Journalism For Times Like These

18 Mar

Bravo Des Houghton!

Election seen through smudged lens

SO WE have endured an election campaign with plenty of mud-slinging.

The conservative protagonist and former Brisbane lord mayor has even been depicted as a spider and his wife vilified.

In the spirit of this campaign, today I would like to borrow from the Labor strategist’s play book:

Queensland’s Labor Government is worm-eaten, inept, rancid, pernicious, dirty, exhausted, dishonest, incompetent and lazy, not to mention mendaciously mud-slinging, ignorant, rotten, flagitious, disreputable, deceitful, unsavoury, unworthy, unsound, unwholesome, unscrupulous, untrustworthy, untruthful, corrupt, insincere and misleading.

And perhaps I should throw in reprehensible, weaseling, miscreant, nefarious, tarnished, ill-mannered, snivelling, expendable, foul, abominable, soiled, shifty, discreditable, improper, obscene, hateful, impure, degraded, grubby, pitiful, dilapidated, shabby, grovelling, flea-ridden, discredited, disgraced, degenerate, depraved, nefarious, toe-curling, perverse, putrid, rotten, unhealthy, faulty, opprobrious and empty.

Not to mention peccant, tergiversating, vituperative and insalubrious.

Hyperbole for dramatic effect, to be sure, but the campaign needs a bit of humour.

Labor should have been kicked out of office at the last election in March 2009.

That would have spared us further misery. And now, thanks to Labor’s campaign of misinformation, we have been hoodwinked again.

I have a horrible feeling we are going to the polls not knowing as much as we should about how an incoming government will handle new challenges such as the soaring cost of living, the collapse of tourism, the failure to protect the choicest cropping land and the terrifying state debt.

We don’t know fully how the parties intend to respond to these challenges.

Perhaps this is how Premier Anna Bligh and her political strategists planned it.

The print, electronic and social media was hit by an asteroid shower of misinformation. Mudslinging smudged the lens through which we view policy.

The good folk of Ashgrove have been forced into hiding from candidates and pollsters.

Some media was so besieged by charges of impropriety against Campbell and Lisa Newman there has been little air time left to truly examine Bligh’s record, much of it studded with spectacular failures.

And little time to fully examine LNP policy, for that matter.

The integrity row was a diversion that left little media time to explain how Labor gouged the workers and mismanaged the economy and how it failed in crucial areas of health, education and transport.

Bligh is at the centre of Labor’s long decline.

She joined the Cabinet in 1998 and has served as minister for families, youth, community care, disabilities, education, arts, trades and innovation.

She has been minister for finance and state development and she served as treasurer and deputy premier.

She has been the premier of Queensland since September 2007.

She was treasurer when the state debt began to balloon.

She was education minister when standards began to plunge.

Bligh must accept some of the condemnation for Queensland’s poor numeracy and literacy rates.

And she must accept blame for the childcare crisis, the debt blow-out and the lack of skilled tradesmen and women.

But perhaps her biggest mistake was failing to hold any of her ministers accountable for serious blunders and rorts in health and infrastructure.

There was a failure, too, to contain the public service, which is hemorrhaging your money.

Then there was Labor’s seemingly relentless attack on local government, first with forced council amalgamations then with the botched takeover of council water assets.

Bligh became unaccountable by not holding her ministers accountable and presiding over a government many now see as inept.

During the Beattie-Bligh era, Labor MPs went to jail for blackmail, rape, perjury and bribery, and Bligh’s own integrity was called into question.

She used government aircraft like a personal taxi .

Bligh broke promises on the fuel subsidy, asset sales and on power prices.

Car rego fees have soared 30 per cent since 2008.

Under Treasurer Andrew Fraser, Queensland has lost its AAA credit rating in a mining boom, racking up a debt of $85 billion.

Bligh’s Labor wasted $220 million on a health payroll system that denied doctors and nurses their pay at the same time as the department was being defrauded by a fake Tahitian prince.

When there were mistakes, Bligh’s Labor lied and attempted to cover them up, as in the Commonwealth Games cost over-runs.

Bligh’s Labor is politically obsolete.

Great survivor that she is, she will need a miracle to come back from here.

From Cairns to Coolangatta, Labor heads will roll.

And if Newman’s daredevil bid for power comes off, he, too, will have a lot of explaining to do.

Please feel free to have your say.

And remember that even as Labor heads for political oblivion, there is a place for a little humour.

Well Des, I’d not call your article an act of borrowing “from the Labor strategist’s playbook”.

Nor would I call it “hyperbole for dramatic effect”.

I’d call it what it is.

Real honest journalism.

Owed To Me: Gillard vs Rudd

24 Feb

My thoughts on the Labor Party’s leadership contest. Sing along now:

UPDATE:

Thank you to all who have shared this little video, which has now (midnight Saturday) provided amusement over 10,000 times both here and on YouTube since posting late on Friday afternoon.

Sharing is caring.

An Average Aussie Unloads On The Average Labor Pollie

30 Dec

Reader “Tomorrow’s Serf” has a thoughtful word or many for modern Labor:

And so this is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over……

We been forced to watch as our fantastic country has been poured down the toilet towards economic disaster by a bunch of, at best, incompetent, and at worst, treasonous fools and morons.

We have housing going down, retailing going down, mining slowing down, shares and stocks going down, (and up a bit and then down some more) economic activity everywhere going down, employment going down, happiness going down.

And interest rates, they’re going down……but not for long. And when they too start going up, that’s when the S will really H the F!!

Well something’s got to be going up! That’s right, government debt levels (last check, it was $228 billion??), unemployment, mortgage stress, senior executive salaries, politicians salaries (did Craig Thompson get a 40 percent pay rise too for his contributions to the sex industry?). Food prices, fuel prices, electricity prices. Then there’s the increasing number of useless bureaucrats, increasing taxes and surchages, fees and tariffs. Fines and penalties too. Yep, there’s lots of things going up.

I sit here in chilly old Bremen, Northern Germany, suffering from catastrophic global warming (BRRRRR!! NOT), enjoying my front-row seat watching first hand the implosion of that brilliant piece of social and economic engineering, the european union, implode in real time. Who designed this mess? Probably a politician, a bureaucrat or a banker. Probably a mix of all three!! And to think that the silly old Greeks jiggled their books, with the help of our old friends from Goldman Sachs (Hi Mal, we’re watching you) to be allowed in. I wonder if, now that the european credit card has been thoroughly maxed out, and the bill is now due, whether they think, with the benefit of hindsight, that it was such a good idea to join. Anyone for an Austerity Riot??

Which makes me wonder about the wisdom of we Aussies allowing ourselves to be dragged into the next great social and economic experiment, APEC. The Asia Pacific Economic Council. But Julia seems to think it makes good sense. She was recently running around the Pacific somewhere, minding someone else’s business, as she does, bleating about Free Trade, and closer ties. You know, all the usual stuff.

But this is the same woman/politician who thinks other things are good ideas too. Things like NBN’s, Pink Batts, BER’s, MRRT’s (just as the mining boom busts), MDBA’s (because you can’t let farmers have water to irrigate – hell, they might grow some food), Carbon Taxes (sorry, make that a Bankster generated, Carbon Dioxide Derivative Trading Platform), shutting down the live cattle trade in the NT, shutting down the coal mining industry, stopping logging activities in Tassy, flip-flopping on flogging uranium to India, blowing out the Federal Budget to around $230 billion in 4 years, giving cash handouts to support Asian electronics industries, encouraging people smuggling, and appointing a global corporation like Serco (who the hell is Serco, anyway??) to run our Gulags for us, again at considerable cost to the long-suffering taxpayer.

If you wanted to destroy the economic structure and fabric of a nation, you couldn’t make a better choice than appointing the current Labor government.

Not that I think this is really a “Labor” government. Labor was the party of the working man. The guy who rolled his sleeves up and worked hard, played hard, drank hard. You know who I mean. The bloke you couldn’t help but admire. So he voted for his political team, like my tradie mates still do. Fair enough. But they mis-spelt “Labor”. They are being conned by the modern Labor politician. Today’s Labor pollie has never handled a shovel, can’t wire up a house, couldn’t fix an engine, can’t change a washer or a light bulb, and has certainly never milked a cow or driven a tractor.

What he/she can do is think up smarmy one-liners to insult his constituents, he can stare straight into a TV camera and lie with conviction about giving a rats arse about the average punter. Today’s Labor politician is adept at explaining unusual official Credit Card activity at brothels and restaurants (Craig), is not above threatening staff members at hospitality venues with the loss of their jobs if a table isn’t immediately made available for them (eh Belinda), is a master of the “late night meeting” with “business associates” hoping to secure “NO BID” mining leases all over the country side. He is a whizz at lining his own pocket at the expense of the citizen. He/she are charlatans.

This mob is not the Real McCoy. It’s a wolf in sheeps’ clothing. It’s a cobbled-together mish mash of self interested “Save the Worlders” with a bunch of political opportunists with economics and law degrees and stints at the UN (like Craig Emerson our Trade Minister) Anthony Albanese (remember him with his smarmy side swipe at “the Convoy of NO Confidence” calling it instead “the Convoy of No Consequence”.)

It’s a mob trading on the fond memory of probably well meaning and patriotic Labor politicians of days gone by. Chifley, Curtin. Those guys. They’d roll over in their graves if they could see this current lot.

No, I’m afraid this lot aren’t there for us. Nobody could be THIS bad by accident. And if it’s not accidental, then it’s deliberate. And if it’s deliberate, then it’s treason.

And that’s a hanging offense (or should be).

We’ve asked for an election. We’ve demanded an election, and they laughed at us and gave us a Carbon Tax. They’ve lied, cheated, given themselves a 40 percent pay rise whilst battlers who voted for them (and those of us who didn’t) struggle.

Maybe we just have to occupy Federal Parliament and have them arrested!!

It’s time to call a spade a Bloody Shovel. Yes indeed, it’s long past time.

I feel better having gotten that off my chest…

Funding For Policy Scandal – Australia Is A Kleptocracy

26 Jul

Do you want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes?

h/t to Twitterer @Kmorefive for bringing the following to my attention.

From Business Spectator (emphasis added) –

An ALP funding horror

Robert Gottliebsen

If an election is held in the next few months, Australian banks will play a big role in the outcome. And unless there is a dramatic change in the fortunes of the parties, the banks will still be key players if (as is likely) the next election is two years away.

Australia has rarely seen such a banking/election event in its history and it certainly did not occur in recent elections. The looming role of the banks could force the ALP into a pre-election leadership change and in extreme situations force it to modify its carbon tax.

To understand the pivotal role of Australian banks in the funding of political parties requires a deep knowledge of how the system works.

For the most part, in the vicinity of three quarters of a major party’s funding in most elections comes from the public purse. The ‘public purse’ amounts are allocated to parties after the election in accordance with the proportion of the votes that are achieved.

But there is no forward allocation of money. The distribution of ‘public purse’ money is strictly governed by the proportion of the votes actually achieved.

ALP organisers are not looking forward to meeting with their bankers as the election nears. They are deeply apprehensive that as a result of current opinion polls, their bankers will slash the amount of election funding available to the ALP and lock it into a low vote.

Conversely, Liberal and National Party organisers believe that as a result of their opinion polling they will receive a huge increase in support from their bankers to fund unprecedented amounts of advertising and promotion.

If, theoretically, an election was to be held in a few months’ time, ALP organisers would go to their bankers and negotiate to borrow the money required to fund the campaign expecting to pay it back when they receive their ‘public purse’ money after the election. This might be the conversation:

Banker: What proportion of the votes do the opinion polls suggest you will gain?

ALP organiser: The current Nielson poll suggests we would gain 26 per cent of the primary vote but we know we will do better.

Banker: Maybe you will, but if I lend you money that represents the amount you will receive from the ‘public purse’ if you attained, say, 40 per cent of the vote, I might bankrupt the ALP if you only receive 26 per cent because you could not pay me back. That would not only give my bank a bad debt but it would be disastrous for Australian democracy.

ALP organiser: But it will be disastrous for Australian democracy if we are decimated at the polls because we have only meagre advertising money.

Banker: I am sorry but I have shareholders and I need a safety margin. I will fund your advertising on the basis that you receive 20 per cent of the votes. You will need to be much more skilled in using non-advertising promotions.

The Coalition conversations with their bankers would be the exact reverse of this.

The ALP organisers fear that the party is going to be much more dependent on union contributions than it has been in recent times. This may tend to spin the party to the left, although many unions are opposed to the carbon tax. Those unions opposed to the carbon tax may require modification before they inject ‘rescue’ money. However, if they see Tony Abbott moving to water down industrial relations legislation they may be tempted to dig deep.

In the case of the Coalition, the parties will depend less on contributions from party members and corporate supporters, assuming they maintain the current lead in the polls.

In reality, if the current opinion poll levels are maintained then it will make it very difficult for the ALP to gain the election funding to change its fortunes at the polls.

As the horror of this outcome becomes apparent to party members, they may seek to replace the prime minister with someone who might either lift the party’s ratings in the polls or who will attract more union rescue money. The ALP has its back to the wall.

There you have it.

The banksters do have a powerful, direct influence over the direction this nation goes.

Now we understand even more clearly, why a Banksters’ Glee Club comprising a clear majority bank-employed “leading” economists has been publicly barracking for the government’s carbon pricing scheme scam.

Mr Gottliebsen’s revelations on how electoral funding really works in practice are seriously troubling, in their implications for what amounts to a clear opening for the perversion of the democratic process.

And yet, I think he is (perhaps naively?) completely misunderstanding what those implications are, in terms of the most controversial public policy right now.

Quite simply, he’s reading the implications backwards.

Because I suspect that the ALP will not have much difficulty in getting the loans they want/need for their election campaign. Especially whilstever they cling to the bankster-driven “pricing carbon” policy.

And in terms of the Liberal Party, in light of the constant appeals for donations that seemingly appear in all of their public communications collateral (emails, newsletters etc), I suspect that the anti-carbon tax Abbott-led Coalition is not sitting as prettily with their bankers as Mr Gottliebsen seems to believe.

Now, to an interesting and directly related front.

If our basic contention – as implied by Mr Gottliebsen’s article – is that our political parties’ policies can be and ultimately are determined by their financial backers’ willingness to loan (or donate) to their election campaign funding, then we only see further supporting evidence for that somewhat chilling reality check in this news story about another of Green-Labor’s proposed policies (emphasis added) –

About 1800 cement industry jobs are at risk from Labor’s carbon tax and proposed new shipping rules, the federal opposition says.

Nationals leader Warren Truss says the $2 billion a year industry is facing a double whammy under the Gillard government.

He says domestic cement manufacturers could be killed off by “dirtier” imports, made cheaper under the carbon tax.

“The paradox is Australian cement production is a leader in low emission technology and any shift to imports will force global CO2 emissions to rise,” Mr Truss said in a statement.

Mr Truss said Australian cement had the world’s second lowest greenhouse gas emissions behind Japan.

“But the carbon tax will price Australia’s cleaner cement out of the market, giving the green light to our international competitors to boost their higher CO2-emitting production and flood Australia with dirty cement,” he said.

“… the Australian cement industry will be crushed by competitors who will not be paying a carbon tax.”

Mr Truss said Labor was also rewriting the Navigation Act to force businesses that ship products around Australia to use local, union-dominated vessels.

He said “unionised shipping” costs significantly more than current market rates, which would be another blow to the industry.

“Right now it costs about the same to ship cement from China to Australia as it does to ship it from Adelaide to Port Kembla,” he said.

Under the Gillard government’s sop to the maritime union, our biggest competitors in cement – China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand – will dramatically undercut Australian suppliers on shipping costs alone.”

He said a large section of the cement manufacturing sector would not be compensated under the carbon tax plan.

The compensation package only applied to processing clinker, the first stage of making cement, he said.

“The second milling stage to make what we know as cement receives no compensation,” Mr Truss said.

So, the real reason why the Green-Labor Government has been slowly re-regulating (ie, re-unionising) the Australian economy … is because they need their money to finance their election campaign.

The lesson we must learn?

When it comes to the all-important consideration of why a politician or party really adopts the policy/s that they do, the Golden Rule always applies.

Follow The Money.

The following of which will always lead you down the rabbit hole … into the wonderland of global finance.

More honestly and accurately called, “bankstering”.

Ladies and gentlemen … we are not living in a democracy.

We are living in a kleptocracy.

What are you going to do about that?

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