Tag Archives: barnaby joyce

Only NOW Experts Agree: Barnaby Is Right On Debt

28 Mar

It only took 3.5 years.

Public vilification.

And humiliation.

And demotion, losing his Shadow Finance Minister portfolio.

But in the end, the truth will out.

The worm has begun to turn.

And some economic “experts” are beginning to agree.

Barnaby is right, on his most fundamental and politically courageous warning – the steeply rising “trajectory” (trend) of Australian government debt:

CGS_endFeb

From the Herald Sun (my bold emphasis added):

GILLARD Government debt levels are forecast to blow out by 80 per cent to $165 billion in this term alone – equal to more than $14,000 for every working Australian.

Analysis of Budget documents reveals that between the 2010 election and Federal Treasury’s update in October last year, the 2012-13 net debt estimate rose $54 billion to $144 billion.

With Wayne Swan having junked the Government’s commitment to a surplus this financial year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch now forecasts Treasury will raise the estimate by a further $21 billion in the May budget.

“The government is starting to develop some form when it comes to over-estimating the improvement in its budget balance,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake said yesterday…

Mr Swan’s spokesman said the Government had no plans to raise the gross debt limit. Mr Eslake said the increase that had already occurred was “troubling”.

If the trends that look increasingly obvious aren’t addressed at some point we might cross that threshold from safe territory to dangerous territory very, very quickly,” he said.

Monash University Professor of Business and Economics Jakob Madsen said the gross debt rise was “disturbing”.

It’s a dangerous trend and it’s at the wrong time.

Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said spending had grown “out of step” with revenue.

“If that doesn’t change we are going to have serious public debt problem,” Ms Westacott said.

Mr Eslake, Professor Madsen and Ms Westacott all said Australia did not currently have a debt crisis.

But, Ms Westacott said, “we do have a budget management crisis”.

Really?

Shame these “experts” did not notice this problem and speak up earlier. Have we not had to endure 5 years of constantly being told that the ALP government have given us “sound economic management”?

Do not be misled by all those who (still) downplay the importance of Australia’s government debt position.

Do not be misled by all those who prefer to pull the wool over your eyes, by talking about government debt using only the “net” figure rather than the gross, because the “net” figure is lower and does not sound so bad – conveniently ignoring the highly important fact that the $13 – $14 billion per year in interest expenses due are payable on the much larger gross figure:

Budget 2012-13 - Budget Paper No.1, Statement 9, Note 10

Budget 2012-13 – Budget Paper No.1, Statement 9, Note 10

Do not be misled either, by those who – intentionally, or accidentally – distract from and dismiss the importance of ever-rising government debt, when they (quite correctly) point out that an even bigger problem is our world-leading private debt.

As your humble blogger reaffirmed less than a week ago:

“This is the #1 reason why, even though it is true that private debt is much worse than public debt, I believe that Barnaby Is Right in constantly expressing concern over the rapidly rising trajectory of public debt in Australia. Because, regardless of whether or not you agree that our public debt is “low compared to other OECD countries,” the undeniable fact remains that our rapidly rising government debt does represent a weakening of the government’s balance sheet… even before any banking crisis arrives! Foreseeing that our banking system was, just like the rest of the West, our key vulnerability, and that weakening the government balance sheet unnecessarily would only make our future problems far more calamitous, was one of the main reasons why I launched this blog in early 2010. When you hear some distinguished-looking, eminent economic “expert” – or politician – reassuring us that Australia’s public debt is “low”, just keep one word at the front of your mind. Ireland. And remember what happens to the public debt level, when a government with previously “low” public debt suddenly finds itself borrowing to the stratosphere – often from the IMF – in trying to bail out an over-leveraged banking system.”

Australia’s total government debt – using the popular “as a percentage of GDP” measure (which I loathe) – is now worse than where Ireland’s was before their private debt bubble burst. And ours hasn’t. Yet. Note well: the following charts are only current through 2011; our Green-Labor government has piled on an awful lot of additional debt since then –

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 10.35.05 PM

IRELAND – click to enlarge

AUSTRALIA - click to enlarge

AUSTRALIA – click to enlarge

Australians should never forget that, prior to their real estate (private debt) bubbles bursting, Ireland and Spain were considered the “outstanding” economies of the EU.

From the New York Times, June 2011 (my bold added):

Where Private Borrowing Led To Public Debt

FIVE years ago, a survey of the euro zone would have shown two star countries. They were growing rapidly and running government budget surpluses. Their national debts were low. Other countries sought to emulate their success.

The outstanding countries were Spain and Ireland.

At the time the two economies appeared to be impressive, there was one indication that could have provided a warning. Each country’s private sector was borrowing heavily overseas. Those loans were fueling rapid economic growth that, in turn, produced rising tax collections, allowing national governments to run budget surpluses.

Which is almost exactly the same situation Australia is in.

Minus the government surpluses.

For many years our massive banking sector – now bigger by market cap than all of Europe’s combined – has borrowed heavily overseas to finance our world-leading overpriced housing bubble.

It does not take an “expert” economist to see what the future holds for us.

Just “a little ol’ country accountant”, with the courage to speak up and call it as he sees it.

Barnaby Joyce.

UPDATE: And yet another expert comes out. To say the same thing Barnaby has been warning of, for the last 3.5 years –

The ticking budget debt bomb

ONE of the nation’s top financiers yesterday joined the debate on the country’s rising debt level – describing it as dangerously high.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver also urged the government to stop using economic comparisons to countries in Europe and the US to justify a predicted 80 per cent blowout to $165 billion this term.

“It just shouldn’t be this high,” said Mr Oliver, who said the government hadn’t taken advantage of the decade-long resources boom.

“If you take Ireland for example, it has had a similar level of public debt to Australia in 2007 and only six years later, debt is over 100 per cent of GDP.”

Regional Understanding, From The MP For Marrickville

25 Mar

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 25 March 2013:

Labor ignores regional Australia again

Ms Gillard has decided that the best place to understand regional Australia is from Marrickville.

Anthony Albanese hasn’t got the conviction to stand by his ally Rudd but seemingly will have the conviction to look after the interests of regional Australia. He has gained a very good grasp of it apparently from his electorate office located at 334A Marrickville Road, Marrickville.

Obviously the Member for Page, Capricornia or Lingiari are not competent enough in the Ministry. It is saying something when you get a Minister for Regional Australia from Marrickville.

When you look at it from our point of view in regional Australia, imagine if we had the Minister for Urban Issues with his electorate office in Quilpie. It is a slap in the face of what the term regional means and nobody in regional areas can take this portfolio under Gillard seriously any more.

Five Coalition Shadow Cabinet Ministers are based in regional Australia as opposed to none from Labor. How can this government possibly represent regional Australia when they do not have a single minister based in a regional area?

Mr Albanese held the Regional Development and Local Government ministries from 2007 to 2010 and did nothing to improve the lives of rural and regional Australians.

He managed to strip $1 billion out of regional programmes in the first budget alone and $500 million from the Regional Partnerships and Growing Regions programmes.

Area Consultative Committees were abolished and along with it 500 voluntary committee positions and 150 jobs. After breaking his promise of retaining these programs Mr Albanese even refused to fund projects already approved for funding by the former Government.

Based on Mr Albanese’s track record in Regional Development, why did Prime Minister Gillard reward him with these portfolios? It just proves that Regional Australia is nothing but an afterthought for Ms Gillard and the Labor Party.

Global Debt Accumulation: “You Know How This Ends, Right? This Ends In War”

23 Mar

To those who know, hedge fund manager J. Kyle Bass needs no introduction.

In the following “must watch” keynote lecture delivered in October 2012, in his usual calm, matter-of-fact, pragmatic and incisive style he shared his thoughts on a number of key issues facing the world over the next few years. These include the inevitability of a major war, escalation of social unrest and food riots, and why our governments will never tell us the truth about the nation’s financial situation:

Highlights (with comments from your humble blogger)

 

4:00 – Largest peacetime accumulation of debt in world history … ends through war

“Something that I think is really important to pay attention to; in the last ten years, debts around the world… has grown from $80 Trillion to just over $200 Trillion. So debts have grown, at almost an 11% compound annual growth rate, over the last ten years. We sit today at the largest peacetime accumulation of debt in world history.

One of the things we talked about in the back after the last panel – and very few people are willing to go out there and say this – you know how this ends, right? This ends through war

We don’t have a playbook for the enormity of debt at 340% of global GDP, and that’s why we have such a hard time thinking about how this plays out. But I can tell you that – again, I don’t know who’s going to fight who – but I’m fairly certain that in the next few years you will see wars erupt and not just small ones.”

8:00 – Deficit spending going into a war

“If you think about what’s happened in the past; if you study history, you see that when sovereign nations get to 250% total credit market debt to GDP, they’re both deficit spending going into a war. And at the conclusion to the victor go the spoils and to the loser go defeat and default. That’s the playbook that we’re actually familiar with.”

9:00 – Central banks have created $10 Trillion out of thin air

“Central bank balance sheet expansions are really important. We talk about money printing; today… the four largest central banks in the world have $13 Trillion on balance sheet. From the beginning of the [GFC] crisis to today, they’ve expanded by $10 Trillion. Ten trillion dollars has been created out of thin air. How are we supposed to think about that? Well I know we are all worried about it… You are starting to see the first signs of what happens when you expand central bank balance sheets limitlessly.”

13:00 – More worried about the sovereign balance sheet

“I went and met with (Kenneth) Rogoff in February of 2009 and delivered our work here to him, and I said to him: “I’m looking at this and it’s really, really worrying me” – and if you remember, in February 2009 we (financiers, traders) were mostly focused on which bank is going under, and who was going to bail this bank out and that bank out and how the financial system is going to stay together, but I was more worried about what was going on on the sovereign balance sheet – when your banking system gets to ten times your GDP, and you lose 3% of your banking system, you’re finished. And that’s what’s happened; Iceland, it’s what happened to Ireland, it’s really what happened in a number of different nations…

So at the top of what’s going wrong with the world, no one was paying attention to how large these systems were getting. You know, in February of 2009 when Rogoff looked at this he said to me: ‘I can hardly believe it’s this bad,’ and I was thinking: ‘Oh shit, who’s paying attention to the size of those countries’ banking systems, because if you, the father of sovereign balance sheet analysis isn’t, then I know who isn’t’.”

This observation serves as solid justification for the concerns that Senator Barnaby Joyce has, for some years now, been expressing (to much derision by “experts”) about ever rising sovereign debt – the “trajectory”, as he calls it – in the USA, Europe, and in turn, here in Australia.

Moreover, Bass’ observations about the dangers of an expanding financial sector ring out like the tolling of funeral bells when one considers the size of ours. In late August 2012, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) issued a warning about the size of Australia’s banking sector:

Finance has grown too big around the world and cross-border lending too large, according to BIS chief economist Stephen Cecchetti.

Experience shows that a growing financial system is great for a while — until it isn’t,” he told the BIS annual conference in Switzerland, arguing there is an optimal size beyond which the financial industry drags down the rest of the economy…

In Australia, the finance sector accounts for 11.5 per cent of all industry value added, having doubled its share of the economy since the mid-1980s.

This compares with the 2008 peak of 7.7 per cent in the US and 10.4 per cent in Ireland…

The extraordinary dimensions of Australia’s banking sector were highlighted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch research last week showing that Australia has the second-largest banking system in the world by market capitalisation, surpassing those of the eurozone, Japan, Britain and China.

It is absurd for a nation of 22 million to have a banking sector that represents more than 8 per cent of the world banking industry by market value. Banking now represents just under half Australia’s listed market.

Back to Kyle Bass:

12:00 – GDP is a homogenizing denominator, we use government tax revenue as a better denominator

“When we think about private sector leverage becoming a public sector problem, back in 2008 when we were trying to understand this transference of risk from the private balance sheets to the public balance sheets, very few people – in fact, I couldn’t find it when I went out looking for it – had done the work to try to understand On Balance Sheet debts, and then the acuity of the banking system problem. So when I was thinking about how to get my arms around how this is going to go forward, we were saying, ok let’s forget about contingent liabilities, let’s forget about social welfare, let’s forget about promises that had been made to various people in various nations; let’s just look at On Balance Sheet obligations. Let’s just look at how big banking sectors are in relation to GDP – and actually, GDP is a pretty good homogenizing denominator; we tend to use central government tax revenue as a better denominator, because certain countries are much more productive than others, in our opinion…”

There are two important observations here that I wish to highlight.

The first is Bass’ concern over private sector (ie, banking system) “leveraging” (ie, mega-debt) being transferred on to the public (taxpayer) sector, in a banking system crisis. This is the #1 reason why, even though it is true that private debt is much worse than public debt, I believe that Barnaby Is Right in constantly expressing concern over the rapidly rising trajectory of public debt in Australia. Because, regardless of whether or not you agree that our public debt is “low compared to other OECD countries,” the undeniable fact remains that our rapidly rising government debt does represent a weakening of the government’s balance sheet… even before any banking crisis arrives! Foreseeing that our banking system was, just like the rest of the West, our key vulnerability, and that weakening the government balance sheet unnecessarily would only make our future problems far more calamitous, was one of the main reasons why I launched this blog in early 2010. When you hear some distinguished-looking, eminent economic “expert” – or politician – reassuring us that Australia’s public debt is “low”, just keep one word at the front of your mind. Ireland. And remember what happens to the public debt level, when a government with previously “low” public debt suddenly finds itself borrowing to the stratosphere – often from the IMF – in trying to bail out an over-leveraged banking system.

The second important observation – on GDP as a “homogenizing denominator” – is one that thrilled your humble blogger, and made him feel a lot smarter than he actually is. How so?

For years I have argued that using “GDP” as a measuring stick is bogus, and deliberately misleading, because:

(a) “Gross Domestic Product” (GDP) is really just a blunt measure of total volume x notional “value” of transactions in the economy… irrespective of whether those transactions were actually a result of “productive” activities or not; as such
(b) it only serves the purpose of helping politicians and bureaucrats to obscure the truth about the economy, and the government’s financial management; and so
(c) governments should be required to report key budget figures like government spending, and public debt, as a percentage of government tax revenue instead.

Bass is both subtle and brilliant, in describing GDP as a “pretty good homogenizing denominator”. One definition of that word is: “to form by blending unlike elements”.

That’s exactly what the GDP figure does – it blends unlike elements. It is a meaningless quantitative measurement, that simplistically blends together every transaction in the economy in one huge number (all the better for making things like government spending or debt “as a percentage of GDP” sound like a small number). In so doing, it obscures any qualitative measurement of activity in the economy. That is, unlike “GDP”, a qualitative measurement would distinguish between the volume x value of transactions resulting from real, productive activities, versus that which resulted only from (eg) non-productive money-shuffling between financial institutions. In theory, an economy could boast a China-like level of annual GDP “growth”, while actually producing nothing. All it takes to achieve that, is a sufficient increase in the volume x notional “value” of electronic digits that are transacted each year. “GDP” as a measurement is utterly ridiculous, once you see it for what it is.

This blogger can greatly appreciate the wisdom of Kyle Bass and his hedge fund team, in choosing to assess economies based on a recognition that “certain countries are much more productive than others”, and that GDP as a measurement does not help to identify which countries have quality (ie, productive) activity, and which do not.

15:00 – We think inflation causes default 90% of the time

“When your debts get to be 20, 25 times your central government tax revenue, a non-linearity develops between your revenues and your expenses. So if you try to inflate your way out of this problem which – again, the academics, the central bankers of the world believe that when you get to this proverbial fork in the road, that fork is either inflate or default, and those two roads are mutually exclusive of one another – we tend to think that 90% of the time one causes the other. And when you develop this non-linearity… when your debts are 20 times your revenues and you try to inflate your way out of this through revenue, it moves your swaps curves or your debt costs, ok? Your expenses grow exponentially while your revenues grow in a linear fashion … it just makes sense, this is logic.

So when you think about Japan, they’ve got 24 times their central government tax revenue in debt. If Japan ever moves to an inflationary bias, they’re finished.”

Oh dear. Remember, this talk was given in October last year. As of March this year, the government of Japan has moved to an inflation bias, after 15 years of deflation. They have set the central Bank of Japan a 2% target for inflation, to be achieved within two years.

19:00 – More social unrest

“You’re going to see more social unrest. You saw huge riots in Greece and you’re seeing huge riots in other parts of the world over food, and lack of food, and those are actually tertiary and secondary derivatives of the financial problems, in my opinion, that we’re exporting inflation to some other nations. So going forward it’s going to be a problem.”

24:00 – They’re not going to tell you when this happens… Their job is to promote confidence, it’s not to tell you the truth

“They’re not going to tell you when this happens, you’re going to have to see it for yourself. How many of you remember Mexico in ’94 when we had the ‘Tequila Crisis’? The government gave affirmative determinations that they would not devalue, they would not default, almost daily. And the day after they said we won’t devalue, they devalued 60%. The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen. (Greece’s) Yunker, when asked in 2010 if there was a secret meeting to discuss restructuring Greece, he said: ‘Oh no, there’s no meeting’. And then they talked to two other Finance ministers the next day, and they said: ‘Oh yes, we had a meeting and Yunker was in there’. And so the press went back to him and said: ‘You told us there wasn’t a meeting’, and he said: ‘Look, when it becomes serious, you have to lie’.

You have to realise that these guys are never going to tell you the truth, because they can’t tell you the truth. Their job is to promote confidence, it’s not to tell you the truth.”

26:00 – There is no chance the Japanese can ever repay their debts

“We all know Japan’s On Balance Sheet situation is now 240% debt to GDP, 25 times central government tax revenue; they have over a quadrillion Yen of debt, On Balance Sheet. That’s a one with fifteen zeros after it. If you were to try to count to a quadrillion, and if every number only took you one second to get there, how long do you think it would take you to get to a quadrillion? Thirty-one million years. There is no chance the Japanese can ever repay their debts. Plain and simple. And they will have a crisis. They will have a bond crisis in the next two or three years, in our opinion. It will be a big one.”

Japan is our second largest trading partner, last time I looked.

42:00 – Global sovereign restructurings … people are going to lose a lot of money

“What this means, is that the globe is about to enter into a period of sovereign restructurings. And what does that mean to you?  Well, to me it means people are going to lose a lot of money.”

54:00 – Gold is not the panacea that people think… Currency system should be linked to population growth

“It (gold) is not the panacea that people think… Having our entire currency system tethered to something that’s either convertible into a fixed asset or – I think something that’s better, maybe, tied to population growth – makes a little bit more sense. But limitless credit creation is probably a bad idea.”

This too, impressed me. And made me feel smarter than I am. How so?

Fundamental to my own alternate currency system idea, is the view that gold (or any other ‘commodity’ whose stocks, supply, or public reporting of reserves can be manipulated) should not be used as the basis for a future currency system. And – per Kyle Bass – my idea ties currency issuance directly to population size.

See The People’s NWO: Every Man His Own Central Banker.

Watch the whole talk, on Youtube. Highly recommended.

Chaos Stood And Was Re-elected Unanimously: Barnaby

22 Mar

Media Release, Senator Barnaby Joyce, 22 March 2013:

Regional Development and Local Government left unrepresented

Yesterday the Labor party caucus called a ballot. Chaos stood and was re-elected unanimously.

Former Labor party leader, Simon Findlay Crean, Member for Hotham, said things had to come to a head and instead he lost his.

The problem we have now is that I am Shadow to a person that does not exist. There is no Minister for Regional Development. And this toxic amalgam of Green, Labor party and Independents, far from looking after regional areas, has left them completely and utterly disenfranchised.

The person who said he was going to drive through constitutional recognition of local government is now gone. The Labor party has sat on the Spigelman review, which recommended a referendum on constitutional recognition of local government at the 2013 election, for over a year. Now less than six months from an election we have no response, no legislation and no Minister.

Is this the sort of stability that the Member for New England, Mr Windsor, and the Member for Lyne, Mr Oakeshott, was requesting when they decided to support the Green-Labor-Independent government?

Who is now representing Regional Australia? Who is now representing Local Government? For that matter, who is now running the country? Who is preparing the budget?

It has taken me exactly ten minutes after walking down the street this morning to find out what the Australian people think of all this. They are appalled, they want it all to be resolved and soon.

“Free Beer Tomorrow”: Labor’s Budget Strategy

7 Mar

Senator Joyce continues to make good on his pledge to keep warning about rising government debt (excerpt from the Canberra Times, link to come):

As a nation we are only $35 billion away until we max out the nation’s credit card again. Wayne Swan promised that we would not get close to our $300 billion debt limit. Indeed, he said that at the end of each year we would be below $250 billion. We now know he won’t keep that promise, just like he has not kept many others.

Prior to the $300 billion limit, we had a $250 billion limit that we were never going to exceed. Before that, our debt was not going to go beyond the “temporary limit” for the “GFC” of $200 billion. That level was an increase from the initial limit of $75 billion set by the Treasurer of The Millennia, Wayne Swan.

All promises are not worth the paper, or digital transmission device they are written on if you cannot pay for them.

So now that we are no longer going to have a surplus, even though Swan tried every clumsy accounting trick to fudge one, is our next little necessity a further extension of our nation’s credit card limit?

If this is not infuriating enough it always comes adorned with the embracing platitudes, whispering to each that “the GFC made us do it” and “this is not as bad as it looks”. Make no mistake though the kid is going to be sent to the taxpayer to bring up.

We are racking up debt without building anything, just supporting well meaning but in reality totally naïve frolics. Heaven help us if circumstance forces a nation threatening expense on us. In the meantime necessary infrastructure is designed, promised, but not built, filing cabinets full of great ideas all just waiting for a little money miracle.

No doubt, come May there will be a new budget with new promises of a surplus very similar to the previous ones they never kept.

The Nindigully Pub, located between St George and Mungindi, has a permanent sign out the front saying “Free Beer Tomorrow”. Swan could use them in his economic team.

Modelling released by the firm Macroeconomics last week projected another $50 billion in deficits over the next five years. But this hides the high price that others are paying for our exports. If we instead correct to more normal economic conditions, our deficits over the next five years could amount to more than $100 billion.

What if we correct to sub-normal economic conditions?!?

So instead of being in Canberra to fix this budget bungle of their making, the Prime Minister has decided to camp out in Rooty Hill for a week to explain how she really can be trusted now…

A word to the many well-intentioned folk who habitually rush to criticise the good Senator, by pointing out that Australia’s PRIVATE debt level is the real problem.

Yes indeed, that is true. Very true.

However, your humble blogger would respond by pointing to the dire state of nations abroad – such as Ireland – who were once, not so long ago, very much like us.

“Low” public debt. Huge private debt.

What happened when the bankers’ private debt Ponzi collapsed?

A huge chunk of the private debt problem – the bankers problems – was transferred over to the public balance sheet.

Too Big To Fail.

The bankers privatised the profits. Then socialised their losses.

My point is this.

The more our public debt rises unnecessarily – and wasteful, inefficient, non-productive, debt-financed government spending is precisely what Barnaby highlights – the greater the danger overall.

If (when) the government socialises the (inevitable and looming) losses of the collapse of our own private sector debt Ponzi, the public balance sheet will only be the less capable of doing so if more and more public debt has been racked up beforehand.

Wastefully. Non-productively. And unnecessarily.

That is the point.

If, in pressing your quite valid concerns over private debt, you are happy for the government to rack up more and more inefficient, wasteful, non-productive, unnecessary public debt, then you are simply inviting far more trouble overall, than the level of private debt alone implies.

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.

Barnaby Absolutely Nails It. As Usual

13 Feb

“Well, they’re trying to work out how to pay it back [$260b Federal debt]. So they devised the mining tax; the trouble is, of course, the people who came to help them out with that were the major mining companies, and they devised a mining tax where they don’t actually pay any tax. They said we’d have a mining tax, [BHP’s] Marius Kloppers said ‘You certainly will’, and then Marius Kloppers whipped out a pen and a paper and he gave them one. And it’s working very well for BHP. It’s working very well for Xstrata. And good luck to them, I mean, if a fool invites you to their office and opens the chequebook then you just start writing out your own cheques…

… So they’ve come to this conclusion: they have no money. They have to go finding money. So, first thing they do when they try to look for money is set up a class war. Or, things have to start with a moral prerogative, ‘We must find evil people'”…

They’re going to go and – obviously – just flog the money out of people’s super. Simple as that…

It’s so sneaky.” – Senator Joyce

Alas, I have long neglected to catch up on Senator Joyce’s YouTube channel.

It is the best place for you to enjoy catching up with, and hearing the latest from, one of the few politicians left in this country who might, just might, actually have a genuine devotion to interests other than his own.

Like his constituents, for example.

And the Australian people and nation as a whole.

About a week ago there were a bunch of new videos uploaded to Barnaby’s YouTube feed. The following one is particularly topical, in light of the recent media and political focus on superannuation, and the mining tax. Note in particular from the 1 minute mark, after Barnaby’s delightfully authentic, unpolished and rambling preamble:

Note independent Senator Nick Xenophon’s helpful correction towards the end. And see my recent post Your Super Screwed By The Laboral Party.

I maintain the view sent to Senator Joyce some months back.

The Nationals … and if not the Nationals in toto, then he himself … should split from their ‘senior’ Coalition partners, and go independent.

As a matter of principle, and integrity.

And participate in forming a new government with whomever they wish, according to their own principles and the views of their constituents.

Not those of the Liberal Party’s machine men.

IMO, the Liberals are no better than Labor.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

The Laboral Party.

“If You Love It, Live With Me In It. If You Don’t, Leave Me Alone.”

19 Apr

Enjoy Barnaby Joyce’s speech to the Rural Press Club today (excerpt + link to full speech below):

The Australian people’s unencumbered attachment to the land is the ultimate reflection of our people’s wealth, of our people’s freedom.

Every time there has been a moral cause, a reason is given to divest the individual of ownership and transfer it to the state. This clash between bureaucracy and the rights of ownership was ably demonstrated in this part of the world at the Eureka Stockade at Ballarat.

The sympathy we showed for those small, independent miners seems to have been lost. A jury acquitted Peter Lalor even though the Eureka rebellion led to perhaps 35 deaths, including the deaths of 5 soldiers. However, over the past 100 years not much loyalty has been shown to landholders and their rights as they have been taken piece by piece.

Where was the sympathy for farmers when their vegetation rights were stolen off them by government? Or the sympathy to the farmer who has been held back by a plethora of green tape. After rights have been taken off the farmer, such as coal, oil and gas, which happened as recently in 1981 in New South Wales, have they been left in a better position to deal with issues such as coal seam gas?

In most states I am deemed a criminal if I knock down trees on land that I own yet nobody bought the asset from me, prior to it becoming an asset of the state.

The community may see it as their right to restrict the removal of trees by farmers but the community has not been prepared to pay for that right. It wants to steal them. If I were to steal property that I wanted but could not afford I would go to jail. I might have a very righteous reason to steal a car, perhaps I want to take elderly people to bingo night, I would still go to jail.

But apparently governments can steal. And once they have stolen a right they then protect that stolen right through new green regulation.

The time has come for us to starting cutting back the green tape lantana that is choking regional Australia. Green tape has become a weed that starves economic activity and takes away our basic property rights.

For the future of regional Australia that has got to change.

For me environmentalism is spraying the blackberries, shooting the rabbits, feral cats and pigs; throwing the carp high up the bank; having that favourite part of wilderness on the place that has been there before me, my family, white settlement, aboriginal Australia.

I do not need a PhD from the University of Google to usurp my connection, belittle my views and steal my rights bought and paid for over generations.

If you love it, live with me in it. If you don’t leave me alone.

Oh SNAP!

That closing line goes to the heart of the dysfunction in our political system.

One where laws directly impacting on the people in the country, are determined by a vocal minority of people living in the inner-city and suburbia.

Hero Barnaby, Lone Defender Of Your Property Rights

19 Apr

*Sound of loud sustained applause*

There is always hope remaining when a brave politician points out the obvious – that a government overriding your individual property rights is an act of theft.

From Farm Weekly today (emphasis added):

QLD Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has condemned the rising amount of “green tape” holding back Australian farmers.

Senator Joyce will raise the issue during an address to the Rural Press Club of Victoria today.

He also plans to tell the gathering that rural Australia will never warm to the Greens as its new leader plans to stamp her leadership by trying to recover lost ground in rural electorates.

“Our side of politics believes that property rights actually mean something,” Senator Joyce told Fairfax Agricultural Media.

“If someone wants an asset I own they can offer me a price.

If they can’t afford it then they should not be allowed to just steal it.

“The community may see it as their right to restrict the removal of trees but the community has not been prepared to pay for that right.

“If I were to steal property that I wanted but could not afford I would go to jail.

“I might have a very righteous reason to steal a car, perhaps I wanted to take elderly people to bingo night but I would still go to jail.

Apparently governments can steal.

“And this can be done through a straight transfer of that asset to the government or via regulation that effectively divests you of that asset. “

Senator Joyce said regional Australia would never warm to the Greens because they have been the key drivers of a revolution in regulation via environmental laws over the past two decades.

It was a veiled reference to new Greens leader Senator Christine Milne’s plans to conduct a listening tour of regional Australia.

Senator Joyce said previously the environment was important and it had to be traded off against economic and social factors: “There was a triple-bottom line.”

But now the term environment has transformed into something that invokes omnipotence, “which you must not question”.

He said that was seen in many “ludicrous” examples of green tape now like farmers not being able to farm their own freehold land.

The ownership of trees has been taken off them without compensation and absurd requirements for vicarious environmental issues such as when the constructor of a dam had to fund $1.5 million in shark research to get their project approved, he said.

“It feels like you are living in a Kafka novel,” he said.

Senator Joyce said the productivity growth in agriculture had reversed over the past decade from being one of the strongest performing sectors to one of the poorest.

“A large part of that must be due to the encroachment of green tape which stops farmers from innovating to grow more at a cheaper cost,” he said.

“If we keep on the path we are going we will lose the opportunity to be Asia’s foodbowl.”

Barnaby Explains “Baby-Bonus Brouhaha”

19 Apr

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Baby-bonus brouhaha became a brain-teaser

It became quite apparent that the journalist was trying to contact me. There had been two phone calls, and a text message, rather Alice-in-Wonderland-like, saying ”please call me”.

So, in respect of the public’s right to know, down the rabbit hole we went. She asked the question, ”Do you support your party’s baby bonus policy?” I will confess, I didn’t know what our baby bonus policy was or, rather more pointedly, didn’t know we had one. Ah, here lies the trap, I thought, there will be an article written about me: ”Barnaby unaware of Nationals baby bonus policy.”

I tried the usual political evasiveness. I told her that babies are wonderful, that they are our ”most important resource”, that the Nationals support, indeed have always supported, babies and, in particular, support those most inclined to have babies, women.

She then went on to tell me that our policy was to double the baby bonus.

That took me back a step, because the reality is that the original baby bonus, which was paid as a lump sum, was a ridiculous policy that caused immense damage.

Sending $5000, in a lump sum, to a household experiencing problems, such as alcohol or drug addiction, was not a solution but a disaster.

Last week, I visited areas where these social problems are quite apparent by the green cans adorned with two initials on the front lawns of indigenous housing in one of our most remote areas. No doubt the same problems exists in the non-indigenous areas of some of our urban centres.

The journalist accused me of mumbling and I was.

I was desperately, with the phone to my ear, trying to think where and when this policy came about.

Anyway, she had me. I was girding my loins for the inevitable banner.

However, the next day the banner didn’t decry my ignorance; in fact, it proclaimed my effusive endorsement with the headline: ”The big push for $10,000 baby bonus by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.”

The article went on to say that I had been pushing Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to double the baby bonus. I must admit this was news, especially to me.

Not at any time, sober or otherwise, have I ever broached the topic of doubling the baby bonus with Abbott, and there was certainly nothing that I had said to the journalist that could possibly be interpreted that I personally was pushing for it.

Editorials were written, it was time for me to be ”put back in a box”, which, on this topic, I had never crawled out of.

While I was sleeping, a poor Treasury clerk had been jerked out of the Holy Grail and sent to work to open Microsoft Excel and cost my policy, to which I remained happily oblivious.

Then, on the back of my presumed maternal benevolence, came a retinue of forthright condemnation by a whole bevy of media commentators, government ministers and colleagues of an idea that I never had. I was tempted to join the conga line myself: ”Barnaby condemns Joyce.” Later in the day, I did.

After putting out a statement denying that I had ever lobbied Abbott on doubling of the baby bonus, some emails from constituents who perhaps paid more attention to Insiders than to my media statement asked whether I had lost my marbles and why did I now advocate a doubling of the baby bonus.

The next day, despite my attempts to douse the flames created by my friendly incendiary scribe, I had to deal with the headlines that ”Joyce backflips on baby bonus position”, with a sneering incredulity on the subject of whether I had in fact lobbied Abbott to double the baby bonus.

Two days later, it was my ”apparent” position. Where did this story come from? I know the journalist is competent, so she would not have just made it up. It is highly unlikely she would have believed the Labor Party if it said I had been lobbying Abbott. So where did this credible source come from?

I have had curt exchanges via email with the journalist concerned, and even though we still ”adore” one another, we have decided not to talk to each other for a little while.

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