Tag Archives: senate estimates

Barnaby: “Fitting Farewells To Life In The Senate”

24 Jun

Senator Barnaby Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Valedictory speeches are like writing then delivering your own eulogy. With the Senate changing to the Greens in the next fortnight, the eulogy metaphor in this instance is quite pertinent.

We like to think that the world will stop spinning momentarily on our passing in reverence to the great benevolence of our public office, but the reality is it doesn’t. Former United States president John Fitzgerald Kennedy rarely enters our consciousness, so the meagre contribution that we think will change the world is unlikely to earn the laurels of posterity.

The celebration of vicissitude, from private to public life, that our election brings is a false dawn, a self-indulgent naivety. The reality is that the course of politics generally appears to be guided by an invisible force that will have its way regardless of our singular political efforts or despite them.

If someone asked me to describe politics, the personalities and the legacy they leave, it would be this: thixotropic.

Nick Minchin was the dominant figure throughout his career but the broader public became more engaged with him towards the latter end through his battles with a colourless, odourless gas. He was typecast as mad right so you might have been surprised to hear that he opposed the invasion of Iraq.

My anecdote of Nick is best summed up in this. A man lying on his back, behind his desk, listening to an oratory on CD, as he stood he said to me, ”Yoga for your back, Lord Monckton for your mind.”

Guy Barnett, what does that name mean to you? If I said he was a No1 pro-life advocate, does that make you feel happy, mad, ambivalent or querulous? Judith Troeth was a counterweight to Barnett being a pro-choice advocate. These debates on conscience are by far and away the most heartfelt. The quality of the debate is leagues better than the standard fare. It is amazing how quality improves when your words really do have an effect on your colleagues. I am always bewildered when people say that conscience votes are hard because you have to make up your own mind.

Alan Ferguson was a clear example of the pragmatic farmer who despised flashiness and had the fortitude to stand against the tide on populist issues, a beacon of common sense, even if it required crossing the floor from the chair, a neat trick. He kept to his principles to the end, proposing in his valedictory speech that the farcical event that question time has become should be abolished. I agree with him on this. It’s merely a cathartic experience that delivers neither a question nor an answer. It is not even good theatre. If you want to see a proper question time watch Senate estimates.

If a valedictory speech was to win a prize as a piece of opera then Julian McGauran’s would, right down to the intrepid pauses and the final bow with his hand on his heart. Sections of his career could have been written for Carmen and the close erred towards a scene by Puccini.

Russell Trood met his political execution, an inevitable result of being No4 on a ticket, with exceptionable grace and dignity.

Labor is also losing senators Annette Hurley, Dana Wortley, Steve Hutchins, Michael Forshaw and Kerry O’Brien. Hutchins and Forshaw are the traditional faith, family and the Labor Party senators. I don’t think I would be stretching it too far to say that they have a more authentic concern for the issues of working people than the opportunist, placard-waving Greens. Yet, regrettably the Greens gain the ascendancy.

Some valedictory speeches are sad, some like careers are non-descript, some are never given because of disgrace, pique or death in the job. Most speeches are a retrospective of the deliverer’s career with a final flourish for Hansard as to what they believe they have achieved. On that basis the reality is that the high points that really have changed the course of our nation easily fit into the allotted 20 minutes, with plenty of time left for stumbling gags like the best man’s speech at a country wedding.

Such is life for all of us; small cogs in a big, big wheel in a machine that would probably keep working if the wheel dropped out and rolled down the hill into the lake. Valedictory speeches, the oral graveyard of senators, that intrepid tribe of self-proclaimed indispensable people.

Our New Treasury Secretary Is America’s Mini-Me

5 Jun

America’s Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner – the former IMF bankster who Paul Keating rightly called a “gigantic fool” – now  has his very own Mini-me right here in Australia.

New Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson. Former student of money-printing madman, US Federal Reserve Governor “Helicopter Ben” Bernanke.

What do Tim and Martin share in common?

An insistence on raising our respective nations’ debt ceilings.

The only difference between these two #JAFA lunatics, and the public (taxpayer) debt levels over which they preside … is one of scale.


Recently we have seen the USA run into its $14.3 Trillion debt ceiling. And giga-fool Geithner has been loudly proclaiming the dire consequences if the US Congress refuses to raise it even higher.  In another ominous warning of where Australia too is heading, Geithner has started stealing federal employees pensions to keep the government running until August 2, when America will default on its current massive debt unless the #JAFA’s in their Treasury department can get “permission” to borrow-and-spend the American people even deeper into oblivion.

And in Australia?

On Wednesday in Senate Estimates, our Mini-me Martin Parkinson was challenged by Senator Barnaby Joyce over this utterly incompetent and reckless Labor/Green government’s decision, just before the Budget, to sneak in new legislation to raise our debt ceiling too.  By $50 Billion – a 25% increase. To a new all-time record debt level of $250 Billion.

Just like America. The only difference is the scale.

And what did Mini-me Parkinson have to say?

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce wanted to know what would happen if the government was prevented from lifting its gross debt ceiling by a further $50 billion to $250 billion, as proposed in the budget.

“I couldn’t imagine that parliament would be so foolish,” Parkinson replied.

It would have “serious ramifications” for the operation of government.

It gets worse.

According to Mini-me Parkinson, he is simply not concerned about our ever-rising, all-time record high national debt. And, it seems he would only begin to view our national finances from a position of “concern”, if our national debt level was the highest in the world:

During a budget estimates hearing, Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce asked the Treasury secretary if increasing government debt concerns him.

But Dr Martin Parkinson says it does not.

“If you were to say to me that Australia had the highest level of public debt in the world… if you were to say that to me, then I would start from a position of much greater concern,” he said.


Our nation is held hostage to the “genius” of yet another ivory-towered, disconnected-from-reality,”theory”-obsessed, white-collared, smarmy idiot.


This former head of the Department of Climate Change, no less, is now the new “Sir Frank Gordon” responsible for advising the Goose, Wayne Swan, about how to (mis)use the billions of dollars that this Government is borrowing every week from China, et al:

Given the abundantly clear evidence that America is rapidly swirling its way down the financial toilet bowl, the last thing we need is a Mini-me of Timmy, and a former student of money-printing madman, “Helicopter Ben”.

Another useless #JAFA – just like Senator Joyce’s previous nemesis at the Treasury department, the green cargo-cult member, Ken Henry – one whose towering, commonsenseless intellect insists that the government be permitted to keep borrowing-and-spending our nation into oblivion too.

Martin Mini-me Parkinson.

Remember the name.

So you know who (else) to blame, when we all get flushed down the green-tinted economic toilet bowl.

Barnaby: Keep Your Eye On The Prize

26 May

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Keep your eye on the prize

For all those budding double agents now is your time. Budget Estimates is on and the heads of all the public service departments are making their way through security with their minions, servants and sycophants. Just the thought: you can square the account with merely a call to my office and the appropriate question will be asked, whilst you watch the whole episode on APAC. “So Mr Head of Department Type Person did you on the 1st of the 4th let your government car be driven by your mistress to a family function at Nimbin?”

As a more noble gesture you may have a serious concern about an issue that really does have national implications. Serious problems cause serious expenditure of serious money. If that is the case we will then have to borrow serious money which has to be seriously repaid. Say nothing or speak up?

The management that has given us the debt is reflected in the government’s need to increase by $50 billion the extension on our credit card. Before this budget the Parliament had approved the government to borrow $200 billion. After this budget, the limit will be a quarter of a trillion dollars. That’s what the Treasurer calls ‘back in the black.’

If we do not get on top of the type of management that has given us the debt the so called efficiency dividend will mean permanent and ongoing closure and contraction in vital activities in Canberra.

So this is what the first harbinger of debt looks like to the Nation’s capital; cuts over the forward estimates, that is the next 4 years, of $2.133 million for The National Library, $1.762 million for The National Museum, $1.099 million for The National Film and Sound Archive, $1.373 million to The National Gallery and $1.632 million to The Australian War Memorial. There are others as well but I see most of you have just said well I am right, keep dancing.

Canberra should have an extensive interest in the Australian Office of Financial Management website noting Commonwealth Government Securities outstanding and whether you have a job in the future. Canberra more than anywhere else should be the most diligent in insisting that prudence is the order of the day and debt is to be repaid. The public service is the canary in the coal mine for excessive government debt.

In budget estimates, in the higher elevation of Parliament House, department after department talks about “tight fiscal times”. Maybe you work or own the restaurant that is a service to a city dependent on, in a substantial way, the public service. Maybe you build the house for the person who works in the restaurant that services the clientele for the public service.

Let us not beat around the bush if you live in Canberra you do not have to be convinced of the importance of the income of those who are employed by the taxpayer. It does not require a major leap in understanding that if you borrow a quarter of a trillion you are some day going to have to pay it back. This time of reckoning will have major implications in the way business is conducted in Canberra.

Canberra needs Australia to be a well oiled and profitable income earning entity. Canberra can not afford well meaning but quite foolish ideas such as recalibrating the nation’s economy on a colourless odourless gas tax.

The decision to go on that frolic has to be assessed against our current position. Australia makes money, over half its export dollars, by exporting carbon in the form of coal and gas. Likewise iron ore needs coal to make steel, I know I did not need to tell you that, and cattle produce methane, but white ants in Australia produce far more.

Where is that tax revenue going to come from to keep Canberra in a job noting we have major debts to finance? Wind farms supplying overpriced power to people who can barely afford it, is no substitute for hard currency earned from export dollars. If you look around your room now and realise how many of the items that are fundamental to your standard of living are imported then you have to acknowledge that we need to do all in our power to put product on the boat to pay for it.

Budget Oversight Office Needed For Australia

6 Mar

From Bloomberg:

Obama Budget Underestimates Deficit Over 10 Years, CBO Says

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal would generate bigger deficits than advertised each year for the next decade, with the 10-year shortfall totaling $1.2 trillion more than the administration estimated, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The nonpartisan CBO, in an annual analysis of the White House budget proposal, said today that under Obama’s plan deficits would never shrink below 4 percent of the economy between now and 2020. The cumulative deficits would total $9.76 trillion, and debt held by the public would amount to 90 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product by 2020, the CBO said.

By 2020, the federal debt would grow to $20.3 trillion under Obama’s budget, according to CBO.

Those figures are all higher than the administration estimated last month…

On March 3rd I drew attention to how Rudd Labor has doctored the 2009-10 Budget numbers, to show both a higher GDP, and lower government spending, in the current year and in the forward projections.

It is high time that Australia had an independent, nonpartisan Budget Oversight Office, to forensically examine and then alert the public to the highly dubious accounting practices employed by the government to make itself appear far more fiscally responsible than it actually is.

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