Tag Archives: barnaby joyce

“Gillard’s An Imbecile” – Barnaby

7 May

I do love that rare, near-extinct breed … the Straight-Talkin’ politician:

2GB Chris Smith Afternoon Show Transcript
7 May 2013

Topics: Beef industry crisis, Budget deficit.

Chris Smith: Barnaby, good afternoon.

Barnaby Joyce: Good afternoon Chris. How are you today mate?

Chris Smith: I’m very well. I’ve heard from your team to say that you are in Richmond at a beef industry meeting, but this is not the Richmond near Windsor in Sydney right? You’re in the middle of Queensland.

Barnaby Joyce: This is Richmond in the Gulf. We’re up here because we have a Beef Crisis Meeting. What that means Chris is that last week we had cattle selling for merely $20 a head at Longreach. That’s disastrous. When you think that you’d need 25 head of cattle to pay for the fortnightly groceries. You can’t do that, you’re not going to survive.

What is it caused by? Well, three things. One thing is the drought. There’s not much you can do about that except pray for rain. There are two you can do something about. One is the live cattle trade. When you shut it down; it completely decimated our markets so that people don’t have a market to sell into. Now all those cattle are going south and they’re forcing down the price in other areas.

The Indonesians are happily sitting back saying: “Well you made our life a misery and now we’re making your life a misery”. That’s why we need to be so careful that we never overreact. Sometimes we see these terrible things on television. They’re terrible but we have to fix the problem not stuff the industry.
We have a parliamentary secretary who doesn’t believe in the live cattle trade. This just shows you how incompetent the Labor Government is.

Chris Smith:
It’s so out of whack. Maybe it’s because of all those farming-oriented cabinet members Barnaby?

Barnaby Joyce: They just don’t seem to get it. Why isn’t the Trade Minister Mr Emerson, instead of doing his funny little dances and his OP Ed pieces about et al and sundry, why isn’t he, the actual Trade Minister, over there trying to fix up our trade? Why isn’t he over in Indonesia trying to fix it up?

The other thing is the dollar’s high. The dollar, if you actually want to, you can actually affect it. It’s not written on tablets of stone and presented from Mount Sinai. You can influence the price of the dollar down if there is real motivation and desire to do so. One of the reasons they don’t do it is because they want to be economically pure. The way we’re going at the moment we’re going to be pure in debt, economically dead, so let’s make sure we keep our industry going.

Chris Smith: Let’s give people an idea. You’re saying $20 a head, right? Two years ago, one head of cattle sold for $500. That’s how far the industry has plummeted.

Barnaby Joyce: Yes, obviously they didn’t all sell for $20 a head but that was the bottom of sale. It gives you a sense that what happens then, so your listeners would understand, people won’t sell them at the saleyards; they’ll just shoot them in the paddock because the cost of transport is more than what you’re going to get. More to the point, these people are under the pump. The bank manager’s screaming at them, the values of their place is going down. If you think about it in another way, imagine if you got your pay packet and it was only a fifth of the money or an eighth of the money you usually got in it. You’d be a little bit shocked wouldn’t you?

Chris Smith: Now, the deficit, it seems to get worse by the day. We’ve had Penny Wong this morning on the ABC today confirming the blow out will hit $17 billion.

Penny Wong: What I can confirm is that we are facing a very significant revenue shortfall from what was anticipated. Certainly in the current financial year if you look at what was expected at Budget until now, we’re going to be receiving as a government, about $17 billion less and we do anticipate that we will see revenues hit across the Forward Estimates. So, in that context, given the challenges the Budget faces and the nation faces, the Government has to take responsible decisions, so we have indicated today that we won’t be proceeding with the boost, the additional boost to the Family Tax Benefits that was planned for later this year. That’s a regrettable decision, but one that’s responsible in the economic circumstance.

Chris Smith: Okay, so the Family Tax Benefit is out of the picture because there will be no added bonus associated with that. Another broken promise out the window – but they have to do that. While Penny Wong tells it how it is Barnaby, we have the Prime Minister yesterday with school children, she seems to have school children with her almost every week now, she didn’t think the deficit was such a problem.

Julia Gillard: Now, we’ve got to work our way back to a surplus and obviously pay off the debt, but the scale of the debt is around 10 per cent of GDP. What does that mean? It’s the same as someone who earns $100,000 a year, having a mortgage of $10,000. I think most of you would know, you’re probably living in homes mum and dad are buying, that they have mortgages well in excess of $10,000 and they would happily change places with someone whose mortgage was just 10 per cent of their income. That’s not something that you have to worry about.

Chris Smith: So Barnaby, relax, it’s only a $10,000 mortgage.

Barnaby Joyce: She’s an imbecile. This is incredible, the debt as we speak right now is $271.1 billion gross. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself, AOFM, Australian Office of Financial Management website. On top of that you’re going to have your state debt. Of course if things fall over you’ll be picking up the state debt as well. Between the State and Federal Government debt we would be well in excess of half a trillion dollars. Our GDP of this nation is 1.3 to 1.4 trillion dollars. So if my mathematics are correct, even if you just take the Federal Government debt, it’s getting close to 15 to 20 per cent of our GDP.

Dear reader, this really, REALLY angers me.

The “GDP” fallacy.

GDP is not … NOT … government income!!!!!!!!!!!

The government’s income (ie, from taxing us) for this financial year, was projected in the October MYEFO to be $373 billion.  Finance Minister Penny Wong has now declared that the actual budget outcome will likely be $17 billion less than predicted. So that’s about $356 billion in annual income for the Federal government this year.

The Federal debt is (so far) $271 billion. Meaning that the Federal Government debt-to-income ratio is 76%.

So Ms Gillard … and Barnaby … the correct, honest analogy would be as follows:

“It’s the same as someone who receives $35,600 a year on public welfare, having a personal line-of-credit of $27,100.”

Please, please … get this right!  GDP is not … NOT … government income!!

Chris Smith: She’s fiddling with the numbers mate.

Barnaby Joyce: You see what they do, it’s so annoying, they say, “Oh the net debt, the net debt…” So where are we going to get this magic money Ms Gillard to pay off your gross debt? Where they’re going to get it is the cash reserves in the Future Fund. The Future Fund’s there to pay the public servants’ superannuation because they never put the money aside for. So all you’re doing to taking money from one credit card to pay off the other credit card and both credit cards are overdrawn.

Chris Smith: So there was no real surprise about the Newspoll results today. Labor’s primary vote has fallen to 31. That’s normally shock horror stuff. I just get the feeling that we’ve become desensitised to these numbers now.

Barnaby Joyce: The Australian people have given up on them. The Greens and the independents go with this crowd. They’re also ducking for cover now, pretending they weren’t there. Mr Windsor gave us this government. Mr Oakeshott gave us this government. The reason they’ve done this to our country is because they let them. To this day they are supporting them. They’re all in there together. They all wanted their time in the sun where they ran the show. Well they ran the show and what an absolute and categorical disaster it is, from Richmond in the north where they’re dealing with a cattle industry in crisis to down in the south where we’re running out of money. Left, right and centre and all over the joint, we’ve gone out the back door.

Chris Smith:
I want to put this to listeners this afternoon, Julia Gillard also last night spoke about her desire to see more female Prime Ministers and hoped there would be less focus on makeup, hairstyles and choice of fashion. Now as I remember, a lot of the cartoonists and commentators had a great deal of fun with his glasses and his eyebrows. What about Bob Carr’s glasses, etcetera, etcetera? I don’t think that we’ve been overly critical of Julia Gillard’s state of dress or what she wore or how she looked any more than we mentioned the same with other Prime Ministers. It’s just how good you do the job.

Barnaby Joyce:
We all get caricatures. They’ve had me tangled up in barbed wire fences and hayseeds hanging out of my mouth. It comes with the territory. If you don’t like the heat get out of the kitchen. They probably will have more female Prime Ministers and I hope they do, but by gosh I hope they’re vastly more competent than the current one we’ve got.

Greens “Land Of Little Pink Clouds Of Happiness”

6 May

How remiss of me. Here’s Barnaby’s column last week for the Canberra Times (my bold added):

Political fiasco drawing to an end, but the pain will linger on

It feels like the political show is rolling the credits and the crowd is leaving the cinema on this Green-Labor-independent matinee.

One evening this week, Tony Windsor flagged one evening his inclination for a same-sex marriage referendum; then, the next morning, he said he was not going to raise it with the Prime Minister, nor was he going to vote for it.

This was followed by some incredulous babble about Facebook, social media and all in all translated to utter confusion.

Julia Gillard told us that the economy was going so well that the deficit had blown out to $12 billion. The debt went up by another half a billion and now the earnest scribes who swore black and blue that the debt was not a problem are now looking earnestly at the camera saying it is. Meanwhile, Labor delivered a similarly confused explanation from the Windsor book of high Athenian rhetoric.

But we do have one cost that is proportionally going down and that is unfortunately, our defence spending, which is now at its lowest level since 1937. I find that the most powerful tool to engage the electorate is to suggest what would happen to our nation if we let this Green-Labor-independent political fiasco continue in the job.

At the current Wollomombi Falls trajectory, there would not be much among the rocks at the bottom to pick up.

The Greens want everything ever dreamt of in their Kubla Khan, Xanadu euphoria, otherwise known as party meetings, to be paid for by a mining tax. The fact that they can never nominate a mine they support or wish to expand seems irrelevant in the land of little pink clouds of happiness and chatty tea parties with hesitant girls, tardy rabbits, and mad milliners.

From our side of the political debate, my friend Clive has not been helping out. Clive, please, starting a party is what Bob Katter has made into an art house film. Why join him on the set? It is a little more difficult than what is first anticipated and new parties gather new ideas at about the same rate as they gather self-appointed messianic figures who wish to grace Australia with their unrecognised talent.

Business is sitting back biting their nails. Business wants certainty, sanity and honesty; it sees the government crab walking to a new tax to cover the National Disability Insurance Scheme because they have no money for its promises.

It is a genuinely essential program to look after those severely disabled, but to be genuine in your belief in this, the government must suggest what current plans would be cut to pay for it. Anything recurrent you borrow for is a sign of bad management and temporary in its sustainability.

Taxes are always a drag on economic growth. If you keep putting on a little new tax that won’t hurt you, you will ultimately get to one that, in combination with all the others, economically kills you.

At this juncture my feelings are not excitement at what the polls say is an impending election win; my choice to stand in New England makes my participation in that event a lot less likely. My feelings live somewhere between apprehension and anger.

How did this harlequin political crowd manage to formulate such a financially disastrous voyage? If they had done nothing more than continue on from where the Coalition left off, if they had basically gone on holidays, giving instructions that nothing much should happen beyond the set course of 1997, then our position would be vastly better than it currently is.

I remember very well the excited glee as Labor members went around a barbecue in the Parliament House courtyard at the start of the global, but actually more US and Europe – financial crisis. They proclaimed that government had to “go hard, go early, go household”.

I remember thinking they should have added “go off your head and go broke”. It was like the kid who had just learnt a rude word in a foreign language and was showing all in the school yard how smart they were.

They had no knowledge or desire to genuinely delve into the vast complexities of the financial grammar or even to undertake the sober step backwards, to have a good sleep, cold shower and observe the situation and our very minor global role soberly.

Now, Michael Chaney, chairman of National Australia Bank and Woodside Petroleum, is comparing our financial fate to that of Ireland. I wish him better luck than I had a few years ago.

Barnaby: “This Is How Stupid They Are”

30 Apr

Dear reader,

Please enjoy a few minutes of politico-economic sanity:

2GB Chris Smith Afternoon Show Transcript
Tuesday 23 April, 2013

Topics: Chris Smith, Senator Barnaby Joyce
Subjects: Budget black hole

Chris Smith: Senator Barnaby Joyce, good to have you on the program.

Barnaby Joyce: My pleasure, how are you?

Chris Smith: I’m well. Where are you today?

Barnaby Joyce: Well I’m actually making my way to Canberra, but I’m stopping off in Tamworth on the way. The bloke I used to stay with, he and his wife, unfortunately he passed away from cancer so I’m going to the service for that. I was going to go to Rockhampton but changed direction.

Chris Smith: So, you’re heading to, hopefully, a new place. Have you done any polling of late to work out how close you’re going to get to Tony Windsor?

Barnaby Joyce: It’s going to be tough. Mr Windsor will desperately say he wasn’t there, he’s not responsible for this government and he didn’t put them there. I will keep on reminding people that he did. The only reason that we’re $270 billion in debt is because he put them there. The only reason that we’re heading towards another $12 billion deficit is because he put them there. The only reason we have a carbon tax is because he put them there. He’ll be saying it wasn’t me, it was somebody else, I was away that day.

Chris Smith: The Prime Minister’s big budget black hole, estimates now putting the budget deficit anywhere between ten and $20 billion which is not a bad effort considering we were told that less than a year ago that we’d have a surplus of $1.3 billion. How is it possible that $21 billion goes missing Barnaby?

Barnaby Joyce: Bad management, simple as that. What happens is, they’re spending 12 bucks and only bringing in 10 and sure enough you start running out of dough. All of your listeners would understand that the deficit is just like the loss of the government for the year. The real problem of course is the debt that sits behind it. The debt is getting bigger and bigger. They had a good week last week, they only borrowed another half a billion dollars last week. The week before they borrowed another two billion. If you put the price of your house out to $300,000 a pop that’s 6,000 houses that they borrowed for the week a fortnight ago. They borrowed for another thousand or so last week.

Chris Smith: They keep talking about their debt to GDP ratio. “It falls in line with the rest of the world”. The rest of the world is a basket case right now, how dare they compare us with the rest of the world right now.

Barnaby Joyce: Yes Chris, that’s like walking around the graveyard saying: “This person’s more dead than that one”. It’s irrelevant. Once you’re out the backdoor, it’s irrelevant. It becomes an argument in sophistry, an argument in rather large numbers you can’t repay. This is a garbage argument: “Oh, we’re not as bad as Greece. We’re not as bad as Portugal”. I hope not. If we keep going the way we’re going, Ms Gillard, Mr Swan, Mr Windsor and Christine Milne if they keep running the show, don’t worry we’ll get there.

Chris Smith: I had to laugh when I was hearing this long speech of 33 minute duration, off and on through my commercial breaks here yesterday. I was hearing this reference to company tax revenue being down and company tax revenue usually gives us, company tax revenue has hit us and company tax… I thought to myself, no wonder company tax revenue is down, because if they open their damn eyes they would have seen companies close left, right and centre.

Barnaby Joyce: People are doing it tough. I was talking to a manufacturer the other day. He travelled 500km to have dinner with us and amongst the things he wanted to show me was his carbon tax bill: $12.1 million for the year. He said: “What that means to me is that I should go to another country. Why do you guys do this? What is wrong with you people? If I moved to America this is my cost. If I move to Asia here’s my cost but I choose to stay here. Guess who gave me these costs – the government!”

Chris Smith: They change the goalposts so often. The other goalposts they’re about to change if you believe some of the scribes today, is this Medicare levy. We’re going to get to the stage where we’re upping the Medicare levy for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Shouldn’t they be looking at the bank, that is, our bank, the National Bank and say: “Hang on a second we’re in such crisis at the moment, maybe we’ll hold off on that for a while”, like most people do in business, like most people do with their house budgets.

Barnaby Joyce: The first thing they should be getting, as a little old bush accountant, they should be getting their day to day finances under control. Then other good things that you want to happen like the National Disability Insurance Scheme can be paid for. This idea that: “Oh we don’t know where the money is going to come from so what we’re going to do is borrow more money and if we can’t borrow it, we’re just going to tax you”. That’s just a sign that they’re financially out of control. The people with disability are a soft spot for me and I do want to do something to help them. My gosh you get frustrated when you find the money that has been put up against the wall and all these nutty ideas and when a good idea comes up they have no money for it. We’re beyond not having any money for it. We’re getting to the point where we can’t borrow. We won’t be able to extend our credit limit and we won’t be able to borrow more money.

Chris Smith: You said as soon as they get money they spent more, remember they didn’t get a zap from the mining tax and they spent that on handouts remember before they even got anything.

Barnaby Joyce: This is how stupid they are. They basically said” “We’ve got this ticket in the lottery and now we’re going to buy the house and oh gosh, the lottery didn’t come in. That’s a bad plan, that’s bad luck. Let’s put out a media release blaming somebody about that”.

Chris Smith: Yesterday was a shocker and as I said at the beginning of the program, someone who stands there for as long as the Prime Minister did to come up with a series of excuses as to why everything is stuffed, is a person who is more culpable every minute she speaks.

Barnaby Joyce: I don’t think anyone is listening. I had to deal with the same thing in this area, I had Mr Windsor say that he wanted to bring about a referendum on gay marriage, however he wasn’t going to bring it up with the Prime Minister and if it did come up he wasn’t going to vote for it. I was trying to translate that for people and it’s called confusion – mass confusion.

Chris Smith: The race to become Prime Minister doesn’t just involve Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, Clive Palmer’s thrown his hat in the ring. Is the Coalition under threat of having their votes diluted because of Palmer?

Barnaby Joyce: Clive’s a mate but a lot of things he’s doing of late things are getting out there. Clive’s a good bloke. I don’t know why we’ve got this distraction here. It doesn’t quite work like that. As you know to set up a political party you’ve got to have members, branches, policies, people willing to give up their jobs and go campaigning for you. It costs a lot of money and I know he has a lot of money but it takes a lot of money to run a campaign.

Chris Smith: I’ve got to tell you that Clive Palmer may be one of your mates but he doesn’t count Tony Abbot as one of his mates. This is what he told me yesterday when he was in the studio.

Chris Smith: Tony Abbott has never been Prime Minister.

Clive Palmer: Thank God for that.

Chris Smith: His party has never been in the position of running the country, is there a sense of vengeance?

Clive Palmer: Not really. My number one criticism is that all sides of politics wherever they’re from, have lobbyists who are not elected, who advise them. If you go to Parliament House, there’s a box in Parliament House, on the floor of Parliament where the advisers sit. Tony Abbott goes over and gets advice from his advisor and someone else gets advice from theirs. Those advisers have direct links, were or are or will become in the future, employed by lobbyist companies. If you go to those companies, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Liberal or a Labor Government who you want to influence policy, they’ll assist you for a fee. I think that’s subrogating the Australian rights.

Chris Smith: Thank God Tony Abbott has never become Prime Minister he said.

Barnaby Joyce: That’s not helpful. The thing is, if Clive’s got a problem with advisers and lobbyists, that’s great, let’s deal with that problem. What are we going to do? Leave the Labor Party there and the Greens and the independents to run the show for another three years? What do you think is going to be left of this country if they stay there for another three years? You won’t have to worry about me campaigning there for another three years because honestly I would be lying to you if I said I’d know how to fix it.

Chris Smith: This is all about vengeance isn’t it?

Barnaby Joyce: Vengeance is a bad thing. Vengeance eats you up and gets you nowhere. You have to learn to park grief and move on. If you start carrying around a bucketful of bile no one cares about it, it just eats you up.

Chris Smith: What’s your message to Clive?

Barnaby Joyce: Clive help us get the country back on the rails. We don’t need any more instability. I’ve got to give up my job, an easy-paying job to have a crack at a seat where the bloke has 71 per cent of the two-party preferred vote. Why? Because our nation has got to get back on the rails. We all have to put our shoulder in to get the show back on the rails, not try and sink the boat. If we sink the boat we all go down with it.

– ENDS –

Barnaby On ANZAC Day

25 Apr

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Freedoms a monument to those who put lives on the line

The focus at the centre of our major capitals is the sacred remembrance of those who offered so much for us all.

Those who walk past or make it the venue of their early morning run see the cenotaph and maybe think of why it is that we can enjoy the freedoms we do – liberty of expression, freedom of religion, rights of ownership, the benefactions of a compassionate state.

I believe that the vast majority of Australians associate the uniform of our serving members as a mark of honour.

Honour because they represent so many others who sacrifice alternate careers and place their life on the line for us and our nation.

In a time where the horrors of war are brought basically unsanitised to our living room on the nightly news there is little glamour that previous generations could weave about the engagement in active service in a foreign conflict.

The stark reality of the risk taken by our servicemen and women has of recent years made Australians more respectful of a job many would be uncomfortable, terrified or totally unable to do. It is for this reason getting up for the dawn service or going to the march is the very least we can do.

More salient is the memory of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. People who walked the same streets, saw the same hills, loved with a similar heart and yet met a fate that they were prepared for, yet devastated those who at home waited for their return. They did it because they loved their country.

Another crucial piece in our nation’s psychic riddle, a part that is a slight mystery to the foreigner who is generally engaged with the open book, friendly- look Australia, is the small-town war memorial where no battle has ever been fought and sometimes the marble monument where there is no town at all: the obelisk opposite the Walcha Road Hotel, the covered area on the side of the hill in Stanthorpe, the honour board at Woolbrook Public School.

The nation for a day is a memorial to the memory of those who have served and tragically met a fate that they knew was present.

The monument to other’s sacrifice is the court, the hospital, the parliament and the vote you have to select it, our way of life, our Australian culture.
It is not the natural course that we have the life we have in Australia – it has been paid for with the greatest price of our servicemen and women and the allies who have stood beside us.

In St George, the Pilots’ Memorial is dedicated to Flight Sergeant Leonard Waters, the first Aboriginal fighter pilot and Squadron Leader John Jackson, who, another nation named its international airport after. In Benalla, Edward “Weary” Dunlop, was an epitome of accomplishment. He led an exemplary life which he offered to our nation, a life challenged by the savagery and privations of the appalling conditions of being a prisoner of war.

Every town, district and suburb has their story which today is our memory and our identity. There is the iconography of the emu plumes in the slouch hat of Australian Light Horse and the Hunter River Lancers who have served Australia since the Boer War with a detachment mustered from the towns around Tamworth.

We, as a nation, are blessed that there is no fascination of the historical turmoils of a civil war, as we have remained with a peace within our shores which is a peculiarity to only a few countries and no other continents.

Families, though, treasure the knowledge of forebears who served where the requirement was to seek out and close with the enemy.

For me, my thoughts on this day naturally rest with those of my family who have served and for those on my paternal grandmother’s side who have passed away.

Specifically I will also think of Corporal Scott Smith and Sapper James Martin. I will remember Private Robert Poate, Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald, Private Nathanel Galagher and Sergeant Blaine Diddams.

I will think of their families their partners, wives and children. I will feel a sense of guilt that they have lost but I have benefited because I stayed at home with my wife and kids.

Australian Government Will Never Get Out Of Debt

23 Apr

You may recall the days of late 2009, and early 2010.

Barnaby Joyce had been appointed Opposition Finance spokesman. He was taking flak from all sides over his public warnings regarding Australia’s rapidly rising government debt trajectory. Ever the “little ‘ol country accountant”, Barnaby had quickly calculated the basic numbers:

Let’s talk about the abundance of faith exhibited by Labor when it tells us of the eight consecutive $19bn surpluses that are required to bring the budget back into orbit when the continued stresses on the international economy are clear and evident, especially in Europe.

Within the first two days of launching this blog in February 2010, I stated that “No, We Cannot Pay Our Debt”:


This country has never seen anything like eight consecutive years of $19 Billion surpluses. In fact, the Howard Government achieved it just 3 times… in 12 years… during an unprecedented mining boom.

A day later I posed the question, “Can We Even Pay The Interest?”


Click to enlarge

As you can see, Ken Henry’s projected Interest on debt alone is greater than many of the 12 years of Howard Government surpluses. And they came during an unprecedented mining boom…

Paying back the projected Interest-only will obviously be a big challenge. So try to imagine how we are ever going to pay back the principal too…

It is easy to see why Barnaby is so concerned about our ever-rising debt under Rudd Labor.

Because quite simply, we can not pay it back.

Since the days of February 2010, Barnaby has been demoted, and the trajectory of ALP’s borrow-and-spend-a-thon has streaked ever higher – see the masthead of this site.

Those Interest-on-debt projections have, of course, continued to extend further and further into the future:

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 6.35.12 PM

Budget 2012-13, MYEFO, Appendix B, Note 10

Yesterday came the news that not only is there not going to be a return to budget surplus this year – quelle surprise! – but that an “expert” think-tank (ie, lobby group for vested interests) is now predicting a further decade of budget deficits:

Structural changes in the economy are likely to leave Governments across Australia facing budget deficits of around 4% of GDP for at least the next decade, according to research released today.

The Grattan Institute paper, Budget Pressures on Australian Governments, suggests it could be a long time before Australian governments post a collective surplus.

Fairfax papers reported (note the $40 billion error in the opening line; contrast the final paragraph):

Australia faces a decade of budget deficits with the annual total set to pass $60 billion in 2023 unless governments take tough action to “share the pain”, an expert panel has warned.

The Grattan Institute’s assessment comes as Treasurer Wayne Swan confirms the budget has taken a $7.5 billion hit since the midyear update in October…

The institute says that while notionally on track to surplus now, the combined state and federal budget deficits should reach 4 per cent of gross domestic product by 2023, which is about $60 billion in today’s dollars and would be about $100 billion in 10 years’ time.

I fear this estimate may well err to the conservative. A $100 billion combined budget deficit in 2023? No problem … Fed Labor achieved $55 billion in 2009-10:

Source: Catallaxy Files

Source: Catallaxy Files

One can only imagine just how big the TOTAL of Australian government debt – and the Interest bill – will be if the Grattan Institute’s prediction for another decade of annual budget deficits is realised.

Meanwhile, over the weekend the Australian Financial Review reported that the Liberal Party has backed away from its own commitments to achieving a budget surplus (h/t MacroBusiness):

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has declared “all bets are off” on whether the Coalition will deliver a surplus in what could be its first year in office, prompting warnings from a prominent economist that the budget may not be balanced for years…

Asked at a public meeting in Melbourne when the Coalition would deliver its surplus, Mr Abbott said he had previously been confident about the timing based on government figures as they stood just before Christmas. He indicated he had changed position because the government wouldn’t reveal the budget’s true state.

And fair enough too.

Clearly though, none of the “expert” economists, commentators, and certainly none of our politicians – with the exception of Barnaby Joyce – will take any notice of this paragraph in the Grattan Institute’s report (emphasis added):

Balanced budgets over the economic cycle make a big difference. Persistent large government deficits incur interest costs. They lead to large government debt that can limit future borrowings. Some argue that high debt reduces economic growth. On any view, persistent large deficits can unfairly shift costs between generations, and reduce flexibility in a crisis.

As many developed countries have rediscovered in recent years, high government debt coupled with low economic growth creates a terrible economic dilemma. If government increases spending, the debt gets worse, markets charge higher interest rates, and borrowing more becomes impossible. If government tries to reduce its deficit, GDP slows further, and government debt can rise as a proportion of GDP, making the problems worse. Their successors and financial institutions can then find it difficult to borrow at reasonable costs, and economic growth is often slow for a long time.

How to respond to the trap of low growth and high government debt remains contentious. Far better to avoid the trap in the first place – which means running balanced budgets over the economic cycle.

Although the true state of the budget may be unclear, as the months and years pass by, there is one thing that becomes ever more clear.

Everyone should have heeded the warnings of our “little ol’ bush accountant”, the sacked Opposition Finance spokesman.

Barnaby was right:

“If you do not manage debt, debt manages you.”

– February 2010

“Ready To Jump Off A Cliff For Principles” – Barnaby

19 Apr

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Life in politics is punctuated with major challenges that throw into question the authenticity of your political mettle if you avoid them, but if you accept could cost you your political career if you fail.

The unfortunate circumstances that surround Richard Torbay have placed me in a position in which I take the risk against the Green-Labor-independent alliance member in New England, Tony Windsor.

This is a risk that, if it comes off the rails, will be curtains for me. Mr Windsor has 71 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, has been in politics for over 20 years in the district and no one in the history of our nation has ever successfully gone from the Senate in one state to a lower-house seat in another. It will be a risk that many may call excessive, including my children and staff.

At least I do not have to argue over the underdog status. This is a risk that should be taken, however, if as a Coalition we truly believe that this Labor-Green-independent anarchy standing in proxy for a government is beyond just bad, and is dangerous to the future of our nation.

It is beyond bad when our defence spending is as low as it has been as a percentage of GDP since 1938. It is beyond bad when our debt is now bigger than all the deficits in our nation’s history, before this government came to power, added one on top of the other. It is beyond bad when we have brought in a broad-based consumption tax on power so that many cannot afford heating this winter whilst the Government palms it off as an environmental “carbon tax”. It is beyond bad when overnight we go to our largest neighbour, Indonesia, and basically accuse them of barbarism as we shut down the live cattle trade, forcing down the price of one of our largest agricultural exports in the process.

At many times of any life we are challenged to make a statement of commitment to an ethos over security in our current position. While politics is not the hardest venue to deal with this dilemma, the consequences of failure are dire nonetheless.

New England is a good reflection of the nation with a commercial hub in Tamworth, education in Armidale and an agricultural hinterland providing the economic underpinning of the area. The issues cover law and order in the city to a fair return at the farm gate on the land. The people of this area, like most Australians, also carry a strong sense of national purpose and are concerned about the debt, defence, and ownership of our sovereign asset, our land.

They have me very aware of one issue in this political contest; they do not want a personal catfight. They are over the pointless name-calling of previous national and local campaigns; it leaves them with a bad taste in their mouth, mimics the insults that they encounter on the streets and shows no vision of where the area is going. So, talk to the philosophy of your beliefs, explain the policies that encompass those beliefs, flesh out any inconsistencies in your opponent, but do not impugn the character of your opponent.

The greatest issue for my opponent appears to be the obvious. When he supported the Greens and Labor in a new tripartite government with the independents, he inherently stopped being independent. They felt as if he had driven them past their political church and was forcing them to worship at a different religion. Philosophy runs deeper than one may think but is sometimes only recognised when confronted.

The current polling would suggest that the Coalition is very likely going to win the next election, though certainty and politics are precarious bedfellows. If the Coalition does win, a Green-Labor- independent member of the opposition will be a lonely old job. Trying to be properly heard for the protection of funding streams and services in the New England will require real diplomacy but Mr Windsor has made certain personal comments, such as those about his negotiations with Mr Abbott, which will not assist in this process.

Anyway, the electorate of New England is alive to all these issues and the media is salivating at the prospect of a class one political stoush. Democracy is a wonderful right and if nothing else the theatre of the political contest will be memorable.

Barnaby: The Man Who Made His Name By Voting With His Conscience

13 Apr

Cross-posted from The Australian today:


WITH wife Natalie by his side, Barnaby Joyce will take a deep breath today and leap off the political cliff that is their New England.

It will complete his audacious journey from outsider to contender for the leadership of the Nationals and the second-most powerful job in the land.

Barring an upset of epic proportions, the man who made his name by crossing the floor of the Senate* to vote with his conscience, who swore that the trappings of high office would never be for him, will be preselected to run for the lower house of parliament, in a new state, against the MP who was instrumental in forging the “new paradigm” of minority government with the Labor Party. This is all or bust for Senator Joyce, 45, the opposition spokesman on regional development, local government and water, and leader of the Nationals in the Senate.

Assuming he is preselected, he will resign from the Senate by the time writs are issued for the September 14 election, midway through his six-year term.

If he goes on to win the seat of New England for the Nationals, and the Coalition comes up trumps in the general poll, Barnaby Joyce MP will be a mover and shaker in Tony Abbott’s new government, a leader in waiting for his party and potential deputy prime minister.

Yes, it’s a lot to get the head around. But so is the progress of the once-maverick Senator Joyce, as his life and career turn full circle to where it all began for him, on the northern tablelands of NSW. He was born in New England, was schooled there, played rugby for the district and wooed his wife, believing that his future lay in farming the land, not running the country.

It’s the place he left in 1994 to start over in Queensland after his parents demanded that he make the impossible choice between them and the woman he loved.

And it’s where his anticipated struggle with the powerfully entrenched independent Tony Windsor, buttressed by what should be an impregnable margin of 21 per cent, will be one of the most keenly watched match-ups when Australians go to the polls next spring.

“This is where I’m from,” Senator Joyce says, as he noses through the evening traffic in Tamworth in his dusty Land Cruiser, with Natalie and their 13-year-old daughter, Caroline, in the back fiddling with an iPod.

“I was born in the hospital here, Nat was born in the hospital here, Caroline was born in the hospital here and our three other girls were born here. Our parents live in the electorate. What more can I say?”

If he is labouring the point, it is because it’s sensitive. The battle lines have already been drawn in his anticipated head-to-head against Mr Windsor, with the four-term federal MP branding the Nationals man as “second-choice Joyce”, a dig at his past interest in the bush seat of Maranoa in southwest Queensland, as well as the sacking by the Nationals of their original candidate for New England, Richard Torbay.

Senator Joyce is acutely aware that his local connections are under scrutiny. But if Mr Windsor was trying to suggest he was some sort of “blow-in”, then, Senator Joyce retorted, he had better explain why he “sold out” his conservative-leaning electorate and backed Julia Gillard to retain power after the inconclusive 2010 election.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be a walk in the park – I’m not naive,” Senator Joyce said of the challenge of winning back what was once a crown jewel for the Nationals. “This is going to be incredibly hard and I think if Tony hadn’t supported … the Green-Labor Party-independents alliance then it would be a suicide mission.

“But he did … every day he has been there, he has kept them there, in power. Every decision of this government he must stand behind because it is a government he is part of.”

Despite a personal approach from The Weekend Australian and follow-up calls to his office, Mr Windsor did not make himself available to be interviewed. He crossed paths fleetingly with Senator Joyce on Wednesday, in full campaign mode, at a regional development forum in Armidale. They shook hands and exchanged a brief, seemingly cordial word.

First order of business for Senator Joyce is today’s preselection at West Tamworth Leagues Club, in the heart of the state seat Mr Windsor represented before jumping to federal parliament in 2001 at the expense of the Nationals.

Up to 150 branch members are expected to vote. The only other candidate, software entrepreneur David Gregory, 34, said he would like to think the result would be close “but, seriously, I’ve got no idea what the numbers are”.

Unabashed, Senator Joyce insisted the endorsement was in the bag. “I think faux modesty is conceit, so I’m not going to say it’s going to be tight,” he said. “I will win the preselection.”

The circumstances in which he and Natalie left New England all those years ago are a poignant but little-known counterpoint to the high-stakes politics. The couple met at university in Armidale, the other population centre in the electorate. She was studying arts while up-for-a-beer Joycie fitted his accountancy course around rugby commitments. First impressions didn’t work for her.

When he asked her out by the fountain outside the Armidale Ex-Services Club, where they pitched up together on Wednesday, she thought she would give him a chance. “I’ve been following him around for years and there is no point stopping now,” Natalie, now 43, explained.

Her family lived near the town of Manilla, north of Tamworth. Young Barnaby hailed from Danglemah, on the range east of the town. For him, university was a “last hurrah” before he settled down to working full-time on his parents’ property. When they realised that marriage was on the cards, they gave him an ultimatum: it was the farm or Natalie.

(In 2005, the newly elected Senator Joyce told this reporter that his parents were worried about what would happen if the couple divorced and carved up the property.)

It didn’t take him long to make the decision, estranging him from his parents. In 1994, he landed a job with the then Queensland Industry Development Corporation to run its branch in St George, which became the couple’s new home, 550km west of Brisbane.

The arrival of their four girls eventually thawed relations, but it took years. The subject is still touchy for the reunited family. Natalie politely closed down the discussion, saying: “We are way past that … things are good.”

Her husband agreed. “Things are better, and that’s where you like to live.”

Defeating Mr Windsor – assuming he recontests the seat, which, as local journalists point out, he is yet to confirm – will be the biggest challenge of Senator Joyce’s career.

In 2010, Mr Windsor increased his base vote by five percentage points, gaining 62 per cent of the primary count and an astonishing 71.5 per cent after preferences.

But his unwavering support for the Prime Minister has hit his local standing. An automated poll by ReachTEL last August had Mr Windsor badly trailing Mr Torbay, the former state independent MP and mayor of Armidale, who is now under investigation by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, amid reports that he accepted $50,000 from the Obeid family, a claim this week rejected by patriarch and former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.

Internal polling conducted by the Nationals before Mr Torbay’s stunning exit last month also put him ahead of Mr Windsor, but by a margin of less than five points, The Weekend Australian understands.

Armidale Mayor Jim Maher, a former lecturer in politics at the University of New England, believes the uproar over Mr Torbay will favour Mr Windsor. Dr Maher tipped Mr Windsor to take the seat in 2001, and believes he will hold out against Senator Joyce’s star power. The non-aligned Mayor of Tamworth, Col Murray, agrees.

Senator Joyce accepts that he is taking a heavy risk in taking on Mr Windsor, 62. There is no plan B if he loses; the Queensland Liberal National Party would have already filled the casual Senate vacancy, and there was no question that he could or would be reinstated.

“I think I will be in a world of trouble if I don’t get up here,” Senator Joyce said.

Typically, he professed to have no second thoughts about the move. Staying in the Senate was not an option.

“One would presume on the current polling that the Coalition will win the election, in which case I can see very quickly that if I stayed in the Senate I would get pushed into a position where I have … to cross the floor, because that’s what a senator’s supposed to do,” he said.

If he does win New England, restoring to the Nationals a seat that was held by one-time party leader and Fraser government minister Ian Sinclair for 35 years, Senator Joyce has pledged he will never challenge his leader, Warren Truss, despite Mr Truss’s relatively low public profile.

“I’ve had these discussions with Warren and what I’ve said to Warren, I’ll say to you: as long as he is there, I will back him,” Senator Joyce said.

“He’s a good bloke doing a good job and I understand when people say they see more of me in the media, and that’s fine, but that’s not what blows Warren’s hair back.”

He would not be drawn on speculation that Mr Truss, 64, would be prepared to stand aside for him after a term as deputy prime minister if the Coalition won the election.

For my part, the Big Question is this.

Has nearly eight years spent swimming in the steaming, fetid cesspool of Australian politics seared Barnaby’s conscience … or will he again vote according to the supreme sovereignty of Conscience, in the CFZ of the lower house of Parliament?

* Barnaby crossed the floor 19 times from July 2005 through to the end of the Howard government era in 2007.

UPDATE: Barnaby wins preselection to contest the seat of New England –

Senator Joyce acknowledged running for New England would be a risk for his political career.

“Why do I take a risk of my career in New England?” Senator Joyce said.

“Because we’ve got to do something about this.

“We all know that the country just cannot go on like this – it’s got to turn around.”

Barnaby: Learned Oracles Coming To A Belated Epiphany

11 Apr

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

A nightmare for us all, as random spirits haunt Labor

When Labor is basically all out of the country, they work a great deal better: they should get away more often from their independent and Green partners.

I must say they are two Australian assets that I would be quite happy to get a price for if anyone in China is interested.

Back home, the white ants continue their merry way through the finances in Treasury, where the debt is now just short of $270 billion gross. No doubt they are now drafting up the next extension on your credit card rather than working out that eventually the structure will collapse if they do not fix their spending problem.

I now see the learned oracles that pilloried my warnings about the debt trajectory years ago coming to a rather belated epiphany.

Labor has desperately been looking around trying to work out what silverware can be whisked out of the house to meet the payments at the hock shop.

What they have come across is your savings in superannuation. They say it is only for the “fabulously rich”, but if that “rich” does not collect enough money then they will just get the Macquarie Dictionary to change the definition of “rich” to something more appropriate for Treasury’s dire requirements.

The mining tax collected $126 million in its first six months and none of the major miners expect to pay much in the near future. That one was a complete fizzer.

The problem is you cannot tax business into prosperity; they actually have to get the overheads down and the product moving if we are going to level this debt trajectory out. You also cannot get business moving if you sell off too much of the capital base. This is not necessarily the case at present, but saying that any deal from any entity is a good deal is slightly naive, to say the least, when it comes to foreign ownership in Australia.

The independents, and now quite a few of Labor’s own members, are trying the great political illusionist trick of: “It was not me, I was not there. I did not really agree, please still vote for me.”

On the Northern Rivers the Labor members for Page and Richmond are fighting against coal seam gas. This is a neat trick since it was under the governance of the Australian Labor Party, at a state level, that most of the exploration licences were sold.

Tony Windsor, the independent member for New England, did one better, selling his whole property, at a very good price indeed, to a coal mining company before becoming a champion for the farmers down the road in their struggle with coal mining.

The Greens did the famous “marriage is over” news conference, but the relationship seems to be going along strong without any discernible change in allegiance in any crucial vote. It is the new art form in the politics of the sham divorce.

If Janelle Saffin, Member for Page and Justine Elliot, Member for Richmond, really oppose coal seam gas then they should resign from the Labor Party, or at least have the gumption to cross the floor. None of these participants ever do, so every day of government, and every action of the government, is one they supported, or at the very least refused to stop.

The Next Budget Nightmare, NBN, has now become the Ninety Billion Nightmare with this debacle set to cost the Australian taxpayer $94 billion, $45 billion over budget and four years over schedule. This is telling of this government’s incompetence and flippant disregard for managing the government’s coffers.

This train wreck is not a Labor government; it would be wrong to suggest that a Labor government would be this bad. This train wreck is a Green-Labor-independent alliance and they are all jointly liable for every fiasco that stands in proxy for responsible government.

The wiser heads, and they do exist, in the Labor Party will be making sure that after this comes to an end, and it will, that they never ever get themselves into this position again.

A position where they are held to ransom by random spirits who had neither the ethos nor the capacity to govern but instead foisted their peculiar desires into what should have been responsible, nation-based, strategic plans.


See also Only NOW Experts Agree: Barnaby Is Right On Debt


Usury In Christ’s Kingdom?

9 Apr


Our modern day Aussie crusader against the dangers of government debt, Senator Barnaby Joyce, makes no apology for his Catholic Christian upbringing and professed belief system.

As does Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction Andrew Robb, and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Mathias Cormann.

That’s the entire front line economic team of what looks likely to be Australia’s next Federal Government.

All self-professed Christians.

And yet, need any of us be left in wonder, even for a moment, just how each of them would respond to the following video, and to the question posed above.

For if ever there were a shining example of a CFZ – Conscience-Free Zone – then politics is it.

(h/t reader Kevin Moore)

See also:

Barnaby: Australia Has Some Of The Highest TOTAL Debt Levels In The World

4 Apr

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis added):

No saving graces as Labor alliance targets our savings

I always believed a net debt figure that assumed using public servants’ superannuation savings to pay off public debt was an absurdity. Well, now the Labor-Green-independent alliance is proposing that super be used to pay off debt.

When you tax more of something you end up with less of it. Why then does the Labor government want to raise taxes on superannuation? Do we really need a lower savings rate, and therefore more consumption in Australia?

Australia has some of the highest total debt levels in the world. In net terms, from the public and private sectors, we owe more than $700 billion to overseas countries. In terms of our GDP this is the eighth highest level of debt in the world, behind countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Our debt is partly a consequence of a mining boom, where billions has been invested in our mining industry. Private companies need to take on debt to build these assets and we can’t fund all of these investments from domestic savings. But that is no reason to unnecessarily reduce domestic savings even further, and increase our reliance on foreign debt even more. We should be doing the opposite. We should be making it easier and more attractive for Australians to save. Our tax system barely does that now, however.

Let’s say you get a $1000 bonus from your boss. You have two basic choices: you can spend the money, or you can save the money. If you spend the money you will pay about 30 per cent in income tax and a 10 per cent GST. This leaves you with around $600 to spend on say a flat-screen TV. You pay no more taxes after that.

If you save the money by, say, putting it into bank account, you will pay the income tax up front, and then get taxed every year on the interest you get paid in that bank account, including on the part of the interest that just compensates you for inflation.

On that basis, the “double taxation” of savings is a raw deal. That’s one of the reasons why we offer a lower tax rate on superannuation: to encourage people to save not spend; to encourage individuals to make provision for their own retirement, rather than all of us having to fund pensions for everyone.

With an ageing population, that problem is only going to become worse and we should be looking to encourage more Australians to save rather than raise yet more taxes on superannuation. That’s exactly what the Coalition has proposed. We have proposed a 10 cents in the dollar tax concession for those that put money into super funds that invest in nation-building infrastructure. It’s a two- birds-with-one-stone approach. We encourage more people to save and have more funds available to invest in the roads, rail and water infrastructure a growing nation desperately needs.

The reality is Labor know all this. They know that we should encourage savings not spending. There is only one reason that they are looking to raise taxes on our savings. They have run out of money and need more of your savings to pay for their debts.

Any government looking to raise taxes on you should be required to get their own spending in order first. Our government is not spending our money wisely enough to be deserving of us giving it more. The Green-Labor-independent alliance spent years promising that our debt is not a problem. If our debt is not a problem, why do they need to raise taxes on our savings?

Cleaning up after this fiasco will be an infuriating task. They create a fiasco selling mining licences without the appropriate oversight and in inappropriate area. Somehow the Coalition is left explaining what we will do to rectify their problem.

They shut down trade with major trading partners in Indonesia and decimated the northern cattle industry and we are asked how we will fix it up.

One of the key reasons that I believe that I have a duty to stand against a key player in this Green-Labor-independent alliance, in Tony Windsor, is that you cannot possibly fix anything from Opposition. That means my job is to help win seats off the government wherever they are standing. Tony Windsor is a key member of that government and it is his job to defend the record of waste, mismanagement and higher taxes of the government he chose.

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