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carbon pricing for Australia
July 1, 2012 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday Australia joined many developed nations in putting a price on carbon pollution (fixed at $23/tonne CO2e for three years) (prev). Despite extensive compensation, this moderate economic reform has proved enormously unpopular ("based on a lie") and is expected to be repealed if/when the Federal Opposition are returned to government.
posted by wilful (106 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Warning: the "based on a lie" link is to Andrew Bolt's blog.
posted by wilful at 8:23 PM on July 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


The compensation makes the entire thing pointless. There's no incentive to make your energy use more efficient and reduce your carbon output, if you're being compensated for it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:26 PM on July 1, 2012


No HTWRT, that's not true at all. Firstly the compensation scheme is sneakily quite progressive so lower income earners will be overcompensated, the rich undercompensated. Secondly if someone charges you $10 more for electricity and then gives you $10, a very rational and expected response is to use less electricity and spend your savings elsewhere, leaving you better off.
posted by wilful at 8:34 PM on July 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is there any compensation for taxpayers who are not citizens?
posted by vidur at 8:39 PM on July 1, 2012


It's known as the 'income effect' and 'substitution effect' in microeconomics
posted by moorooka at 8:39 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The tax-free threshold on income is being tripled for all taxpayers.
posted by moorooka at 8:40 PM on July 1, 2012


ooops I meant to include this link in somehow about repealing the tax and the complexities of that. Compare and contrast with the 'repealed' link.
posted by wilful at 8:44 PM on July 1, 2012


The problem with a post about a topic this big, that is still developing, is that I could have included all sorts of different info. Yet another link I should have included: How big is the great big new tax?
posted by wilful at 8:50 PM on July 1, 2012


Whyalla's still there...
posted by Jimbob at 8:51 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This "economy destroying" tax in perspective.
posted by Jimbob at 8:52 PM on July 1, 2012


>Is there any compensation for taxpayers who are not citizens?

yes, tax cuts.
posted by wilful at 8:52 PM on July 1, 2012


On preview, I kicked Jimbob's arse.
posted by wilful at 8:53 PM on July 1, 2012


Ruslan Kogan is an attention whore of the first order, but I did like his offer to give a 0.7% discount to make up for the carbon tax.
posted by bystander at 9:04 PM on July 1, 2012


Bernard Keane in today's Crikey!:
Amid the torrent of earnest declarations, comments and wisecracks to mark the start of the carbon price yesterday, there was a moment of bright, shining stupidity that captured the entirety of this "debate". Radio entertainer Neil Mitchell lashed out at Wayne Swan on Twitter for noting that Whylla, contra Tony Abbott’s apocalyptic claims, remained in existence.

"Is this stuff from Wayne Swan really the level of political debate we want?" he angrily demanded. "People in Whyalla and Yallourn and similar are actually concerned for their future. This reaction is offensive to them."

It’s apt that we’ve reached the point where the mere assertion of a fact, and one as anodyne as the continued existence of a town, should be deemed by a media figure (albeit one whose job description is to be professionally offended on behalf of his audience) as "offensive". The carbon price has always been a fact-allergic debate. I speak not so much of the senility of the anti-carbon tax protesters with their hilarious signs and deep anger at a world that won't stop changing on them. Nor of the proud leadership of the assertion-based community by News Limited, with its decreasingly trusted newspapers.

It goes back further than that, to the original Kevin Rudd policy which was, let us not forget, a truly wretched concoction the development of which demonstrated all the faults that eventually killed that government.

To cover politics in that period was to hear, ad nauseum, the dulcet tones of Penny Wong averring "can I say, we think we’ve got the balance right" for a policy that in effect delayed any action on decarbonisation until the 2020s courtesy of a series of cave-ins to rentseekers, while Labor devoted itself to the twin, and incompatible, goals of trying to both win Coalition support for the package and split its opponents on the issue. When, finally, the policy was abandoned in the face of a crude but effective campaign by Tony Abbott, and Rudd’s fortunes slumped, it was no more than his government deserved for a deeply cynical approach to an issue it had portrayed as the greatest moral challenge of our time.

That his successor promptly ensnared herself in the same issue (LOL citizens' assembly) and then smashed her credibility to CO2-molecule sized pieces with her post-election reversal was every bit as much just deserts for the women who'd lobbied Rudd hard to dump the issue and run.

As if taking his lead from his opponents, Abbott's approach has been every bit as mendacious and more. Climate action is the issue par excellence on which Abbott has exemplified his political trademark, a tendency not so much (as Gillard is often accused) to believe in nothing as to believe in everything, occupying all possible positions on an issue, leading the Coalition's primary advocate of a carbon tax to become its most dogged opponent. But that reversal was merely the platform for an extended campaign of wild overstatement. Abbott's predictions of the end of Whyalla and other centres and various industries remain unwithdrawn, although some of the metaphors he has deployed have, rather in the manner of Maxwell Smart's "would you believe" in the face of an incredulous villain, been replaced with softer versions as time has gone on.

With such examples from their political leaders, voters have followed suit. Voters are irrationally convinced that what is in effect a modest carbon price will have grotesque impacts on the economy, far beyond those occasioned by, say, the financial crisis. According to Essential Research, more than half of voters believe the carbon price will increase fuel prices "a lot" when it will have no effect at all. Around 40% believe it will increase grocery prices "a lot". Nearly a third think it will increase unemployment a lot; one in five think (contrarily) it will increase interest rates a lot.

We're not talking about the idiot fringe here waving "Bob Brown’s Bitch" placards and likely to die decades before the most serious impacts of climate change are felt. These are real, normal voters, with apparently functioning brains.

The Labor plan -- or more correctly the Gillard plan -- is that in the face of evidence that the carbon price has lifted unemployment or interest rates or the price of bananas, such voters will abandon their prejudice and look anew and sympathetically at the government. In aid of such a magical transformation, the government is running a campaign at almost election-level intensity, with the Prime Minister's press staff spending the last 48 hours churning out media alert after media alert. The government will also be aided by a likely further fall in inflationery pressures that will see CPI remain almost flat, while fuel prices may even fall further.

But voters won't change their minds at all, and certainly not in the time between now and the next election. For one thing, this sort of change, if it occurs, takes a long time: despite the fact that the GST is now firmly embedded in the Australian economy, 30% of voters still think it was a bad idea. That's after more than a decade.

But, worse, the Labor fantasy is based -- irrationally -- on the idea of a rational voter. This is less than ever a plausible view of democratic Australia. We're decreasingly willing to let facts influence our views of public policy. We regard the economy through a lens of our partisan beliefs, so that Liberal voters see only economic misery and financial hardship. We think we're doing it tough financially even as we travel overseas. We're convinced many multiples of asylum seekers are arriving than ever set foot here. We refuse to accept the copious evidence that our incomes have risen far more quickly than prices in recent years. We filter information out that doesn't accord with our views. If that leaves us with no information at all, that's no problem.

The cliche that you're entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts thus appears decreasingly relevant. Indeed, not merely are you entitled to your own facts, it’s right to be offended, Neil Mitchell-style, at anyone offering contrary information. To be contradicted by someone is damn near an attack on your freedom of speech. The irrational anger that motivates some climate denialists to make threats of death and injury to scientists is only an extreme example of the fact that many of us now feel entitled to our own facts.

Perhaps it's why everyone is so "offended" now. Offence is an entirely subjective state, one unable to be contradicted by any smart-aleck quoting evidence.

Labor's plan to turn its fortunes around is a fantasy, a fact-based fantasy when the real world relies on make-believe. We'll spend the next couple of months establishing that. Then it'll be back to square one. Back to where Labor was in February.
posted by wilful at 9:10 PM on July 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some other great links:

Peter Martin on the broader, interlinked, tax reform - which is in the main excellent reform.

Tim Colebatch puts the tax into perspective - spoiler: We spend more on beer and ciggies this year, Australians are a pack of whingers who have no idea what a real tax burden looks like.

More broadly: I had to turn the teevs off this morning after losing my shit about three times. ABC News which - we know isn't but - should be better was content running with soundbites from respective politicians (for "balance" no doubt), arguably the least qualified and most biased people to talk about it. Of course, they also cut to Joe and Jane Publics several times.

God forbid, they should I don't know a) ask some fucking experts about it - there's enough of em, b) show what other countries are doing and how it stacks up c) have the knowledge and or balls to ask the MPs some real questions instead of parroting their opposite number's talking points back at them.

I switched off when Greg Hunt was going on about the millions of dollars the government pissed away gave to the steel industry as assistance as a proof point why the carbon tax is bad. Firstly, that happened before the tax was introduced; truly, the Marty McFly of taxes. Secondly, a frigging drover's dog knows the steel industry is in the shitter because China has its own now and we are an incompetent rip-off by comparison - nothing to do with a carbon tax (and fyi, China is buying all our coal to make that steel, a convenient elision).

I'm pissed off that people at putting circa $10 a week over the welfare of the planet; ropeable that even the ABC is reduced to reporting opinion as fact and functions as nothing but a glory hole for rent-seeking and MP opinion; furious that people feel the government has a duty to subsidise their lifestyles whilst utterly blind to the tremendous amount of welfare they receive; and sad that Abbott will likely get in and if not repeal, do his very best to fuck it right up.
posted by smoke at 9:10 PM on July 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


The worst thing is Labor couldn't organise an orgy in a brothel, their talking points are shit and they seem to be under the assumption that people will vote for them just because they aren't Abbott - a fatal assumption we will all have cause to rue.

There are so many talking points about the carbon tax and Abbot, not least of which is the fact that his denialist dog-whistling is a perfect wedge waiting to happen.
posted by smoke at 9:11 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Secondly if someone charges you $10 more for electricity and then gives you $10, a very rational and expected response is to use less electricity and spend your savings elsewhere, leaving you better off.

My $10 is going on firewood (the most carbon-friendly heating source around) so the tax is already working!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:21 PM on July 1, 2012


(although if i keep finding super heavy pallets out in the street, I might just pocket the $10...they don't seem to be treated...pallets burn clean, don't they....?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:23 PM on July 1, 2012


I don't always agree with Keane but he sums up the shitshow that this whole thing has become so accurately. Abbott in particular, but both parties are willing to destroy the village in order to save it.

Abbott believes the result of his partisan attacks on parliament, democracy and MPs will dissappear once natural order is restored with him on the throne - but he's an idiot. This issue, more than any other, cried out for bipartisan, evidence-based support.

Once the smoke clears and - if - he's left standing, he will see that voters continue to despise the institutions he's run down since assuming leadership, and their representatives. A volatile, permanently angry citizenship, stoked by misinformation by special interests and an increasingly pliant, inward-looking, tribal media will vote with huge angry swings that leave politicians scrabbling to meet incomprehensible and mutually exclusive demands.

I feel - especially after the QLD election result - we are starting to see the dissolution of incumbency advantage and may in fact end up with the opposite. Whether it will be enough to spur electoral reform is another question. I doubt it; Labor seem committed to following through the electoral hara-kiri they began when Rudd gave up in Copenhagen and they knifed him.
posted by smoke at 9:23 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ubu, those pallets are probably e-grade hardwood sawlogs that just made the cut (excuse the pun) and avoided being pulped. In other words, burning them is probably the best you could do. Nails and paint are the issues, not treatment.

Smoke, I too yelled at the ABC this morning. Rather than reflecting and amplifying fears and misconceptions, could they perhaps stop for a second and just frigging report and inform? Celine Foenander (ABC Gippsland) makes me want to commit violence.
posted by wilful at 9:30 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crowbar violence on pallets is indicated in these circumstances. I was definitely thinking hardwood - I'd estimate over 100kg of wood in 3 of these monsters, not the light kindling I retrieve from discarded furniture.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:42 PM on July 1, 2012


Serious question; why do you even bother to watch ABC news anymore? Vain hope of a sudden return to respectibility and normality? Not gonna happen while the likes of Chris Uhlmann still have a pulse.

Maybe I've just reached peak cynicism. My initial, gut reaction to the Fairfax cuts was "serves the bastards right".
posted by Jimbob at 9:44 PM on July 1, 2012


>Is there any compensation for taxpayers who are not citizens?

yes, tax cuts


I don't know if you meant it ironically or not, but I'm getting a 404 on that page!
posted by vidur at 9:50 PM on July 1, 2012


My initial, gut reaction to the Fairfax cuts was "serves the bastards right".

Mine was "Fuck, I have to find another job, and fat fucking chance of that when News have got the axes singing too!"
posted by Wolof at 9:51 PM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ubu, now for some possibly bad news on firewood. This is only one study, one author, so it's not the last word, but even so... Australian wood heaters currently increase global warming and health costs, Atmospheric Pollution Research 2 (2011) 267‐274
posted by wilful at 9:52 PM on July 1, 2012


Got a letter in the mail from my electricity retailer today helpfully telling me that my bill is going to go up because of the carbon tax and equally helpfully not telling me by how much.

The media climate in this country is such that it's almost impossible for people who don't already know something about climate and energy policy to adopt anything vaguely resembling a rational position on either.

I'm just doing my best to go this way.
posted by flabdablet at 9:55 PM on July 1, 2012


Well thank god they deregulated the electric grid. It's all about choice for the consumer, people.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:01 PM on July 1, 2012


After seeing Channel Seven's "Sunrise" (Australian morning show) follow up an interview with the PM of this country with a news story titled "Buxom Bandit" focussing on the size of the "assets" of a service station robber, I have one thing to say; I GIVE UP. If you want me, I will be watching cartoons.
posted by lrobertjones at 10:13 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe I've just reached peak cynicism.

time to start drawing down the strategic cynicism reserve...
posted by russm at 10:28 PM on July 1, 2012


Ubu, now for some possibly bad news on firewood.

Meh, they decided that whereas modern Swedish designs had much lower
methane and particle emissions [...] new wood heaters installed in Australian homes have similar emissions to the older–style Swedish models
, based on a 2008 study of 21 wood heaters in Launceston, 13 of which were the same brand, presumably the one sold by the local Launceston BBQs Galore outlet.

This is witchcraft. Commonsense will tell you it's rubbish.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:29 PM on July 1, 2012


The carbon tax has, however, prompted a pretty great parody video...
posted by yellowcandy at 10:32 PM on July 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


You heard it here first:

2013 - Abbot sweeps the lower house kicking out every QLD Labor MP. They'll also cause three Greens members to enter parliament on the back of outprimarying in Fremantle, Perth and Brand and then losing woefully on Labor preferences being routed to Greens.

1st July 2014 - New senators take their seats. The coalition only managed to score 37 seats, despite picking up an unprecedented 5 seats in QLD, on the back of the Greens taking another 3 seats on the back of their 12% primary and the left going all-in on the Greens.

2nd July 2014 - Tony Abbott introduces the Carbon Tax Repeal Bill. Sends it through debate at warp speed straight through to the Senate who promptly vote it down.

3rd July 2014 - Tony Abbott starts railing against the Labor/Greens coalition as job killing bastards who want to see this country's economy burn at the expense of a few trees.

2nd October 2014 - Tony Abbott reintroduces the Carbon Tax Repeat Bill. Sends it through debate again at warp speed. Senate promptly votes it down once more.

3rd October 2014 - Tony Abbott visits the GG and triggers double dissolution.

4th October 2014 - Tony Abbott, in concert with Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch, orchestrates the biggest media disinformation blitz in Australian history which carries on relentlessly on the six week march to the election.

18th November 2014 - Tony Abbott comes back with both houses decimating the last of Labor's 2010 elected senators. Greens form a formidable block with 13 senators but have no way to stop the coalition juggernaut.

19th November 2014 - Tony Abbott parties like it's 1959. Immediately repeals carbon tax, outlaws all abortions along with Plan B and brings back Workchoices. Howard, snuck back into parliament in Queensland, is restored to the throne.
posted by Talez at 10:44 PM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


[A couple of comments deleted; please don't pull in former members to the discussion.]
posted by taz at 11:08 PM on July 1, 2012


Well, if we are talking firewood, I recommend old fence palings. Freecycle and gumtree classifieds have been a good source (so is asking around) or if you spot the stack of new palings delivered on the footpath. How disgusting that the new ones are all treated pine, and will be so much landfill when they are to be replaced.
I shudder for the future of this country.
posted by bystander at 11:09 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Craig Emerson breaks into song, reassuring Australia there will be 'no Whyalla wipe-out, there on my TV' as a result of the carbon tax.
posted by wilful at 11:17 PM on July 1, 2012


So this is what a friend of mine (from Melbourne) had to say:
My biggest problem with the carbon tax is the fact that Labor makes a big song and dance about over compensation. What a waste. I think people would be far more willing to accept the carbon tax if the money collected was put to some use they could understand. How about using a big chuck of the money to invest in rail upgrades and new lines in the major cities* - won't getting people out of slow moving cars on freeways and into trains help the problem? Even if it doesn't it still improves something we all want improved. Sure people need some compensation to help out, especially since prices for utilities seem to be rising for a number of other reasons, but I get the feeling too much of the money is being pissed away for nothing.
YOU MEAN LIKE THE REGIONAL RAIL LINK THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GENEROUSLY DUMPED $3.2B INTO?

You know how it is. What has the government done for me lately? Like this second lately. Fuck these people. They don't deserve a fine first world liberal democracy like Australia.
posted by Talez at 11:24 PM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


What an appalling job the govt are doing about selling this - listening to Combet (who should be PM in my opinion) actually communicating this morning on the radio was heatening - so the can communicate.

Oh, so you funding the lowering of the tax free threshold - well no one fucking knows that.

then Abbot came on with his usual slogans

T H I S I S A B A D T A X B Y A B A D G O V E R N M E N T S O L D B Y A L I E

God I'm waiting for Tony Abbot to hit someone. His whole demeanor, his stance everything about him just, just exudes aggression.
posted by mattoxic at 11:35 PM on July 1, 2012


Oh, so you funding the lowering of the tax free threshold - well no one fucking knows that.

Didn't they raise the tax free threshold?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:39 PM on July 1, 2012


Matt, you've seen this I assume. Scary/hilarious/sad.
posted by wilful at 11:39 PM on July 1, 2012


Yes Will, I remember that and it's scary. We're going to get this creep as PM next year through Gillard's, Swan's Albanese's Emerson's, Bowen's utterly utterly utterly painfully shitful performances. I think I've given up caring.
posted by mattoxic at 11:54 PM on July 1, 2012


Yeah I've given up caring. The entirity of my "media" intake is now The Conversation, and random independent outlets like Crikey, Tasmanian Times, Independent Australia when someone trustworthy links them on Twitter. Abbott wins next election, Greens dig themselves in in the senate, and we have total shitstorm political ossification. With Workchoices 2.0. I barely give a shit, anymore. Bob Brown has gotten the hell out of dodge to enjoy the wilderness while it still exists. Rudd is degraded to the point of showing off his sick cat on Twitter. Thanks, all who brought us to this point.
posted by Jimbob at 12:17 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


jimbob, I'm afraid that's pretty much where we've ended up. I'm with you there I'm afraid.
posted by wilful at 12:19 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


No love for Radio National?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:22 AM on July 2, 2012


Swan's

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa and WHOA.

Let's not say something we're going to regret here. Swanny is quite possibly the only person left in the sitting government who gives a shit about things like the common good, the middle class or social democracy.

He's been the best treasurer we've had in a long time.
posted by Talez at 12:24 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two words Ubu, Frank fucking Kelly.

OK so that's three.
posted by wilful at 12:24 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Radio National.
Because I sure as fuck don't want to deal with Sunrise, Today or ABC 24 in the morning.

(My coffee was $3.40 today. Same as Monday. I guess my local lunchbar are not charging me the share of $23/t needed to heat the water... but it'll happen if the BCA survey today that 40% of business will jack up prices is accurate).
posted by Mezentian at 12:30 AM on July 2, 2012


Radio National? Phillip Adams gets a pass. Barely.
posted by Jimbob at 12:30 AM on July 2, 2012


Meanwhile, the sanest voice behind a megaphone on refugees belongs to Clive Palmer. Strange days indeed.
posted by flabdablet at 1:01 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I have 100% GreenChoice energy, does this mean I'm paying twice? Happy to pay to offset my carbon - just not twice.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:27 AM on July 2, 2012


If everything were working as it should, the carbon tax's contribution to electricity price rises would not apply at all to 100% Green customers, thus making 100% Green a relatively more attractive option than it is now. But electricity billers being the slack-arse pack of opportunist rent-seekers they are, you will probably have to press them.
posted by flabdablet at 1:43 AM on July 2, 2012


Oh my god, that statement from Clive is stunningly sane. Never imagined saying that.
posted by jcm at 1:56 AM on July 2, 2012


Yeah I'm going to avoid trying to get my head around the allegedly logical reasoning behind proposing that for asylum seekers, calling the internal organisation of his own Liberal party "Stalinist", and regarding Bob Brown as a CIA plant, because I just want to know at what point did we start giving a shit what Clive Palmer has to say about anything?
posted by Jimbob at 2:04 AM on July 2, 2012


Near as I can tell, it's when he started appearing as a regular on Q&A; another victory for "balance" at Mark Scott's ABC.
posted by flabdablet at 2:23 AM on July 2, 2012


at what point did we start giving a shit what Clive Palmer has to say about anything?

We aren't.
They are.

There is no way Palmer's policy is kinder, or gentler. It's a distraction bomb. It helps labor look even more inept, humanises him without him having to so anything, and helps ensure Labor's fighting on another asylum front.
posted by Mezentian at 2:24 AM on July 2, 2012


In a recent discussion with an old friend about asylum seeker policy, I put the view that all this fartarsing about with "offshore processing" was bullshit, and that the right way to undermine the "business model" of people smugglers was simply to outcompete and undercut them. If the Australian Government devoted a fraction of what it currently spends on detention centres and other outrageous security theatre on actually helping people get here who want to get here, then people would stop drowning on unseaworthy boats.

If all I had to do, as an asylum seeker, was obtain an asylum seeker's visa for my passport - or, failing possession of a passport, a specific asylum seeker's entry permit - from an Australian Government outreach office, and then get myself along to Qantas for a ticket, why the hell would I even contemplate paying $10k+ to the Dodgey Brothers to go tuna class?

My friend said that the Government just couldn't do it that way, because given the political and media climate created by Tony Abbott and his assorted minions, to do so would amount to political suicide.

I said that what the Labor Party needed to do was accept that the next election was a lost cause, and go full steam ahead implementing principled refugee policy and doing their damndest to make it hard to unwind. After all, that's what it appears to have done with the carbon tax.

He said that the Labor Party is by no means certain to lose the next election, and that acting as if they were was completely unsound politics.

He made the point that there are two kinds of useless yachtsmen: the first kind just puts his nose in the air and sniffs the breezes, then goes whichever way they blow. The second kind points his boat directly upwind and says "we're going THAT way". And he suggested that the Greens, and me along with them, appeared to be acting like the second kind of useless yachtsman.

What I wish I'd had the wit to say at the time is that when the roaring head wind consists solely of hot air spewed out by a dickhead in red budgie smugglers on a jet ski in the middle of the course, the right thing to do was just ram the bastard.
posted by flabdablet at 2:48 AM on July 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


No love for Radio National?
Yup, Fran Fucking Kelly. I can't stand it any more. But my alternative in Red Symonds, so what choice? Can they get a new pundit? Grattan has reached her useby date. Grattan clearly hates Gillard
posted by mattoxic at 2:51 AM on July 2, 2012


Palmer is playing to preselection in a labor electorate. Beating up the management plays well.
posted by mattoxic at 2:54 AM on July 2, 2012


Grattan hates Gillard and Crabbe loves Abbott. My heart is breaking for Australian Media. At least we'll always have the Malcolms.
posted by taff at 2:56 AM on July 2, 2012


The Malcolm really excelled over Godwin Gretch and Utegate
posted by mattoxic at 3:00 AM on July 2, 2012


If the Australian Government devoted a fraction of what it currently spends on detention centres and other outrageous security theatre on actually helping people get here who want to get here, then people would stop drowning on unseaworthy boats.

But the aim of the refugee policy is to act as a disincentive for people to come here at all.

I expect that if all you needed was a $2,000 Qantas ticket you would easily see a quadrupling of asylum seekers. So, you'd have to build much larger facilities for processing, and then find somewhere in the community to look after them, and then activate support services, living allowances....

And that would see you easily outspending the current border budget very quickly, and it would probably start picking at the fabric of Australian society.

I just cant see how that would work considering in some areas the structure and infrastructure of communities is already creaking.

And imagine what all those extra bodies would do to out carbon emissions!
posted by Mezentian at 3:20 AM on July 2, 2012


I said that what the Labor Party needed to do was accept that the next election was a lost cause, and go full steam ahead implementing principled...

Heh, it remains a vivid fantasy, but when has a political party ever actually tried that? The weaker the upcoming election result looks, the more you curl into the foetal position, suck that thumb, and send out the PR flacks.

and it would probably start picking at the fabric of Australian society.

I just cant see how that would work considering in some areas the structure and infrastructure of communities is already creaking.


Once upon a time, the United States had a very liberal attitude towards accepting migrants - I believe there's a plaque on the Statue of Liberty to that effect; that's a fundamental part of what made it the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet. I mean, I don't mean to recall the arguments of [dare not speak his name], and I accept that we have much more severe limits to potential population density, but it's about time we got over fearing the asian hoards.
posted by Jimbob at 3:30 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the Australian Government devoted a fraction of what it currently spends on detention centres and other outrageous security theatre on actually helping people get here who want to get here, then people would stop drowning on unseaworthy boats.

That's never going to work. There are over 10 Million refugees of concern to the UNHCR, of whom only around 100,000 are submitted for around 80,000 resettlement slots worldwide. Boat people come from the 9.92 Million people in need who miss out.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:46 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yup, Fran Fucking Kelly. I can't stand it any more.

I find that it's more or less tolerable between 7am and 7.30, when they play the news then AM. The only real problem is Kelly's recorded voice saying "Radio National... your world... unfolding" between the news and AM, which pisses me off but is over quickly enough that I'm willing to put up with it.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:58 AM on July 2, 2012


--I've given up caring--

Me too: since Rudd was ousted actually. I see/read next to nothing these days. Maybe a little ABC/SBS & I follow Annabel Crabb & Leigh Sales on the twatterfon so a teenytiny bit seeps in. Rather than be informed, as I always used to pride myself on, these days I simply adopt as my default position the 180 of Abbott. It's not a bad measure actually.
"Abbott's for it you say?"
"Well then I'm against it!"
posted by peacay at 3:59 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


All the "floodgates" arguments are basically nonsense.

I expect that if all you needed was a $2,000 Qantas ticket you would easily see a quadrupling of asylum seekers.

Given that refugees currently make up less than 10% of Australia's immigrants each year, and given that most refugees already arrive by air rather than by boat, such a quadrupling could easily be offset by reducing the numbers in other migration classes. If anybody put me in charge of immigration policy, refugees would have priority, then family reunions; other reasons for immigration would come a distant third, and I would set it at a level consistent with a coherent and well-thought-through population policy.

Given wider responsibilities, I'd also abolish baby bonuses and other incentives to reproduce.

So sure, there's a certain element of the second useless yachtsman in my attitude. But at least I know which way I think the boat needs to go.

Boat people come from the 9.92 Million people in need who miss out.

Boat people are those who have both the pressing need and the gumption to find their way here independent of help from us or the UNHCR, and the money to pay smugglers to help them do so. Most of the 9.92 million want to go home, not come here.
posted by flabdablet at 4:02 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


--baby bonuses and other incentives to reproduce--

This is something of a slogan on legs that I believe is marched out on occasion as a kind of go-to double whipping toy. Wasting money AND encouraging the unprotected sexy sex!!

It'd be nice if people who like to pad out arguments with this specious logic (to my way of thinking it is anyway*) to pad out the padding with some bona fide statistics to back it up.
*it's up to those who make assertions to back them up with evidence of course

To the extent that it appears that I'm picking on you personally flabdablet, I'm sorry. I'm really only trying to pick on this particular argument/tactic/logic/trope and not you.
posted by peacay at 4:22 AM on July 2, 2012


I expect that if all you needed was a $2,000 Qantas ticket you would easily see a quadrupling of asylum seekers.


Labor keeps walking into the right hook. Who is advising them?

The Malaysia swap was flawed and since the high Court shot it down was dead and should have stayed that way. Labor is on a hiding to nowhere with this. They can't save face because they are trapped between two options - those of the greens and the conservatives. Perhaps give into Nauru and put some sort of humanitarian governance over it. THEN started to work from that.

Sheesh.

Gay marriage too - SO EASY TO DO AND SHOWS THAT YOU HAVE SOME SPINE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE IT WONT VOTE FOR YOU ANYWAY d'huh fucking d'huh!!

Let Abbott try to repeal it when he gets in.

Labor is criminally stupid - I blame them for Abbott - not Abbott - he's just doing what an opportunistic little shithead does.

Same with the ETS - She should have told the greens no - that it would be electoral suicide - like they were going to form a government with Abbott, Andrews, Bishop and Mirabella? She could have had her forum - then introduced it as a platform for 2014.

Fuck they are dumb. I won't vote for them again.
posted by mattoxic at 4:24 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do hope and trust that you won't vote for Dumber instead.
posted by flabdablet at 4:36 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Guy asylum seeker derail is totes infuriating, but I would rather focus my ire on the idiotic treatment of the carbon tax in the media, parliament and broader society - for this thread, at least.

Maybe it's just me, but since LP shut down, I feel like there's a lot of disaffected lefties looking for some kind of agora-like space to kvetch.

On another note, in a fit of masochism I went to catallaxy today to see how outraged they could get. Reader, I was not disappointed; a glimpse - just caught - of an horrific parallel universe.

Of course the gag reflex kicked in before I could actually read any particular entry, but just the front page tells you so much about the world a depressingly large number of Australians inhabit.
posted by smoke at 4:46 AM on July 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just by the by: @senatorwong & pennywong.com.au started today. Wow, she's been in the senate for TEN years as of yesterday.
posted by peacay at 4:49 AM on July 2, 2012


I'm really only trying to pick on this particular argument/tactic/logic/trope and not you

No offence taken.

The reason I'd abolish the baby bonus is because its introduction was absolutely an attempt to persuade proper Aussies to have more babies (remember Peter "have one for the country" Costello?) and apparently reflected the Howard Government's attempt to reconcile its populate-or-perish mindset with its 2GB voting base's desire to keep out all these fucken queue jumpen baby drownen illegals. The Baby Bonus is just not a policy worth spending public money on, in my view; far better to spend it on bringing dental care under the Medicare umbrella.
posted by flabdablet at 4:57 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


"despite compensation"


When the government promises that they will compensate you for a new tax, they are usually lying. At least to the amount of compensation. They usually also lie about the amount of increased costs.
posted by 2manyusernames at 4:57 AM on July 2, 2012


Here's the thing I don't get.

We all had a hard-on for Kevin "greatest moral challenge" Rudd, and we elected him largely on the basis that he'd actually do something on climate change, and his popularity sank like a rock right after he dumped the emissions trading scheme (on advice from Gillard, it seems). And when Gillard promised to set up her "citizens' assembly" on climate change to get everybody onside, we rightly saw this as some kind of attempt to continue to weasel out of having to actually do something about climate change.

But Gillard having had her arm twisted enough to put up an interim carbon tax - whose aims and main effects and side effects are identical to those of a trading scheme, but with less administrative complexity and less uncertainty than a trading scheme so that it actually does less economic damage for any given level of emission abatement - then she's a liar, and the compensation is clearly bullshit, and we'll all be rooooooooooooooooooned, and climate change was always crap cos Tony says so, and by the way Great Big New Tax, Great Big New Tax, Great Big New Tax, Class Warfare, Class Warfare, Class Warfare.

For fuck's sake, Australia, what do you want?
posted by flabdablet at 5:11 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well the babby bonus may have an unfortunate history and name, but I'm always going to support targetting public $$ to human circumstances that are undeniably difficult and costly. I don't know to what extent (if at all) it's means tested, but I agree if it is or would support a change in that direction. It's one of the most useful ways of progressive doling out of public funds. I cannot, though, believe that there's a single woman or couple out there who have gone "let's get preggers so we can syphon down the govt $$". Same as I"d support means testing a lot more stuff. My brother-in-law is rich-as and just about rubs his hands together with glee because he got a transport card at age 60. I want to clip wankers like him.
posted by peacay at 5:25 AM on July 2, 2012


For fuck's sake, Australia, what do you want?

low interest rates
posted by mattoxic at 5:28 AM on July 2, 2012


Got em. What else?
posted by flabdablet at 5:38 AM on July 2, 2012


They may not want it but they need to be bombarded with facts by people who can get the message across. Labor is completely incapable of selling its policies and lefties just clam the fuck up or resort to 'you suck if you believe that and you're dumb' instead of refuting the outright lies that have completely taken over political debate in not just this country (Australia) but lots of others, by the sounds of it.

I add my mite when I can. I'm not very good at it but I'll speak up if someone is spouting untruths about climate change or refugees, and that it's the responsibility of everyone to start thinking that it's the carbon that's being produced which is the problem and trying to find ways to reduce that is up to all of us (although in my naiive little heart I'd love for the companies making the billions of dollar profits and who are the ones actually being carbon-taxed to not be allowed to pass this on but to take a (gasp!) actual cut in profits).

It is dreadful that there are so few effective leftie voices out there in the media. Lefties need to get louder and start making people listen to the facts!
posted by h00py at 5:40 AM on July 2, 2012


Yeah, I think there's such a loss of credibility that Labor's basically lost a generation. It's a bit like NSW Labor. I mean, I'm not going to vote for Abbott given 20 lifetimes, but pulling the proverbial lever for Gillard and her team of lightweights is gonna be hard. I don't think it really matter how eloquent any lefty voices might be, people aren't going to believe them. I just can't get past the idea that the electorate will demand to see that punishment - at the poll - is meted out, before they realise they've made one of the worst mistakes of their lives. It's going to be the "abbott we had to have".
posted by peacay at 5:51 AM on July 2, 2012


Got em. What else?

lower interest rates

Seriously - that's really anyone gives a shit about these days. Every BBQ I go to - Property prices, and what cunts the banks are. That's all anyone talks about. We're obsessed with either housing being too expensive, property prices falling and interest rates.
posted by mattoxic at 5:55 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just can't get past the idea that the electorate will demand to see that punishment - at the poll - is meted out, before they realise they've made one of the worst mistakes of their lives. It's going to be the "abbott we had to have".

Let's just hope enough of the left survives in the senate to prevent a repeat of 2004-2007.

How come Labor can lose people for a generation for doing the right thing while the coalition gets 6 years for ripping up hard fought and won labour rights?
posted by Talez at 7:02 AM on July 2, 2012


To be fair, the banks are wankers and Australian interest rates are high internationally.

And because we've never got over our cultural cringe/inferiority thing (expect for sporting matches and the odd moment of national insanity on Anzac or Australia days), we compare, contrast and whine.

Because we (broadly) have it so good it's the small things that we get riled over.

Like my bus fair going up 20c per trip as of yesterday.
*shakes fist at Carbon Tax*
posted by Mezentian at 7:15 AM on July 2, 2012


Like my bus fair going up 20c per trip as of yesterday.
*shakes fist at Carbon Tax*


Fuel isn't included in the carbon tax.
posted by Talez at 7:18 AM on July 2, 2012


Fuel isn't included in the carbon tax.

To be fair, there may be an element of satire at work here.

That or the pub just shut.
posted by Wolof at 7:36 AM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stay classy, Sophie Mirabella.
posted by Talez at 9:28 AM on July 2, 2012


I haven't followed too closely, but this is actually the first I'd heard of the increased income tax threshold. Back of the envelope calculations say that if you were living on Youth Allowance/any welfare payment, that should now be entirely tax-free, which is great and makes a lot of sense.
posted by jacalata at 12:53 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The individual income tax rates are here. The page includes rates for the previous year.
posted by vidur at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2012


lower interest rates

Seriously - that's really anyone gives a shit about these days.


To be fair, they may have a point. It is one significantly out-of-step aspect of the Australian economy. I've never had anyone explain to me, adequately, why our interest rates are always 3-4% higher at least, than the US, UK, Canada...before the GFC, and after. And then you have successive governments encouraging negative gearing, the dodgy relationship between state governments and property developers to manipulate housing availability and maintain artificially high prices, and our very anti-tenant rental laws...

Shit, I'm sounding like someone at a BBQ now...
posted by Jimbob at 2:00 PM on July 2, 2012


I've never had anyone explain to me, adequately, why our interest rates are always 3-4% higher at least, than the US, UK, Canada...

Have a read of jeb's excellent comment here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


jacalata, the change in tax free threshold is good news, as it removes the need for lots of people to even submit a tax return, but it doesn't make a huge difference to dollars in the pocket tas they have scaled back the low income offset and upped tax rates a smidgen for everyone else.
So it is a very welcome change for the lowest income group, but not much to sell newspapers - hence it didn't get a lot of talk.
posted by bystander at 3:08 PM on July 2, 2012


Gillard and her team of lightweights

If it's any contrast, compare the lightweights with their opposite number on the coalition.

Joe Hockey vs Wayne Swan
Julie Bishop vs Dr Craig Emerson
Greg Hunt vs Penny Wong & Greg Combet
David Johnstone vs Stephen Smith
George Branids vs Nicola Roxon

Other randoms: Andrew Robb, Bronwyn Bishop, Cory Bernardi, Matthias Corman, Scott Morrison, Kevin Andrews, Barnaby Joyce, ronwyn Bishop vs Jason Clare, Chris Evans, Kate Lundy, Anthony Albanese, Kate Ellis, Tanya Plibersek.

No, sure, you've still got you Martin Fergusons and your Peter Garrets, but if you want to talk about lightweights - I'm the last person to be defending Labor about anything, but I think the names up there speak for themselves.
posted by smoke at 4:33 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


it doesn't make a huge difference to dollars in the pocket tas they have scaled back the low income offset and upped tax rates a smidgen for everyone else.

This is incorrect. No one's actual income taxation rate has increased. Nominal rates have increased, but this is offset by the removal of the Low Income Tax Offset clawback. Previously, if you were earning more than $37,001, while your income tax rate was nominally 30 per cent, the actual rate you experienced was 32.5 per cent due to the LITO clawback. See the table on page three of this .pdf.
posted by kithrater at 5:46 PM on July 2, 2012


Well the tax cuts are costing $7bn, and that is all going to lower income earners, so it's not nothing. It may not seem like a lot in the pocket, but the main point is, it's still more than the cost of carbon pricing.
posted by wilful at 5:55 PM on July 2, 2012


Gay marriage too - SO EASY TO DO AND SHOWS THAT YOU HAVE SOME SPINE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE IT WONT VOTE FOR YOU ANYWAY d'huh fucking d'huh!!

I wish that was true. It probably is in the big cities

But here in regional Australia, I have had a lot of soul crushing conversations with swing voters who WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A GAY LOVING BUNCH OF CUNTS LIKE THAT

Usually, it's people who 'have no problem with gays, but worry about them getting custody of adopted kids!' - really, I've heard this HEAPS.

Sad but true. At least it's progress - 20 years ago these same people would have been advocating a good bashing to sort out LBGT members of society.
posted by Sedition at 6:16 PM on July 2, 2012


Speaking personally about emissions and carbon price impacts, it really is the easiest thing in the world (if you're clued in/educated and have some disposable income) to substantially cut your household emissions to almost zero in just a few years.

We have a not particularly large PV installation that cost $3400 (interest free over five years), that means our net electricity bill for the last twelve months is a big fat zero. We do not pay anything for electricity at all. Our total emissions (family of 4) are 4 tonnes p.a.

We offset our cars at a cost of $57 each. That's 17 trees apparently.

All that really leaves is consumption (food and clothes). If we gave up dairy foods we'd cut that by a lot.
posted by wilful at 6:30 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well the tax cuts are costing $7bn, and that is all going to lower income earners, so it's not nothing. It may not seem like a lot in the pocket, but the main point is, it's still more than the cost of carbon pricing.

Well, the tax-cuts predominatley assist middle-income earners (the average individual income is only ~$55k, and household income ~$85k) rather than low-income earners (if you already earned less than ~$16k, you get nothing from the tax cuts except no longer having to submit a tax return).

Given the CPI impact is predicted to be only 0.7 per cent, even the $303 most people will get from the tax cuts will almost entirely offset any price increases. Once you factor in the additional amounts for FTB-A and FTB-B, most people will definitely be better off.
posted by kithrater at 6:40 PM on July 2, 2012


We have a not particularly large PV installation that cost $3400 (interest free over five years), that means our net electricity bill for the last twelve months is a big fat zero. We do not pay anything for electricity at all. Our total emissions (family of 4) are 4 tonnes p.a.

In NSW, the horse bolted on that one on 28th April 2011 - if you weren't registered to join the solar bonus scheme by then, and if you didn't get your installation in by 30th June this year, then no tariff for feeding electricity into the grid for you! People who got in late were entitled to a piddly 20c/Kwh, meaning a very low chance of ever repaying the capital investment before the scheme winds up in 2016.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:18 PM on July 2, 2012


Ubu, we got our first PV installation in two weeks before they means tested it. We thought we were lucky - and didn't everyone bitch! But then of course the scheme exploded in popularity and prices dropped massively and about five families I know got panels on. On our second installation we're grandfathered in at 66c/kwh. This is shocking policy, totally unsupportable from a social justice perspective. But we're laughing.
posted by wilful at 7:41 PM on July 2, 2012


--I think the names up there speak for themselves--

Yeah, smoke, they do. We're fucked everywhichway.
posted by peacay at 8:19 PM on July 2, 2012


Oh and thanks for posting that vid talez. JeebusKswampbucket Mirabella is positively creepy. I couldn't help imagining her just poking the body with a stick "ewww, what is it? Take it awaaaay!". It's like someone just put down a plate of turd next to her. In the antonyms dictionary, under empathy, there will be a picture of her with that scowly upturned condescending nose. Children across the land will forever have complete understanding of the concept.
posted by peacay at 8:24 PM on July 2, 2012


Stay classy, Sophie Mirabella

I had to turn off Q and A last night because the climate change nonsense from both sides was so stomach churning I couldn't bear it, even with my customary dose of Q and A single malt scotch (helps soothe the rage).

I see now that I made the right decision. If her words hadn't already revealed that Mirabella is scum, this surely did.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:03 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


See, Q&A, Insiders? For the life of me I can't figure out why people punish themselves with that stuff. I read people taking the piss out of those shown on Twitter so I don't ever have to watch the real thing. Too bloody depressing.
posted by Jimbob at 1:12 AM on July 3, 2012


Nominal rates have increased, but this is offset by the removal of the Low Income Tax Offset clawback.
Yeah, my error. I was confusing the two in my memory.
posted by bystander at 1:25 AM on July 3, 2012


I can't watch Q&A. I can't stand the twitter feed, Tony Jones and 99.9% of the guests. SBS's Insight does it so much better.
posted by mattoxic at 2:36 PM on July 3, 2012


To be fair, Q&A was a good idea well executed and worth watching in the beginning. Now, there's just a tired backbone of semi-regular panellists and it's lost its innovational sway.
posted by peacay at 2:53 PM on July 3, 2012


Also, most government payments will increase.
posted by kjs4 at 11:16 PM on July 3, 2012


SBS's Insight does it so much better.

I don't know - Insight did a show on my subject matter area last year, and it was so inane that I went through half a bottle of scotch. Stupid, poorly chosen guest, deeply ignorant host.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:07 AM on July 4, 2012


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