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Monday, 22 December 2014

Three not so wise men - The AIM Network

Three not so wise men - The AIM Network

Three not so wise men

Firstly, Tony Abbott. As if he had not
embarrassed himself enough during this year, the latest but not
necessarily the last effort was his astonishing suggestion that removing
the carbon tax was his greatest achievement in 2014.

“Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households,” Abbott said. “As
many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget
and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the
average family.”

What a comment bereft of inspiration!

Then, when questioned about the number of women in cabinet he said, “The
challenge for all of us is to get more women into public life, more
women into the parliament, once we have got more women in the parliament
we will have more women in the ministry and more women in the cabinet.”

is it a challenge? Does he mean that there is no one of sufficient
competence or that the challenge is for him to overcome his own
difficulties relating to women? One would think that there are plenty to
pick from already; many of whom would clearly outshine some of the male
deadwood he has there now. So, do we conclude that he is the problem,
not the women?  Or should we just let Anthony Albanese have the last
word? “There is no issue too big for Tony Abbott to show how small he is as a thinker,” Mr Albanese told Fairfax Media.

Now let’s look at Joe Hockey. If ever we needed
proof that his budget measures and his actions since were creating a
defence line for his elite, excessively wealthy neo liberal support
base, we have it with what we read on page 117 of his MYEFO statement.

In short, his broken promise to impose new tax avoidance rules to stop multinational companies from loading debt on their Australian subsidiaries, says it all.

It was the Gillard government that planned legislation to abolish
section 25/90 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 that enabled tax
minimisation deductions for global corporations.

November 2013, Joe Hockey announced that the government would not
proceed with the package but instead would introduce a targeted
anti-avoidance option after consultation with the participants involved.

In this month’s MYEFO statement we find hidden way back on page 117 the following announcement: “The
government will not proceed with a targeted anti-avoidance provision to
address certain conduit arrangements involving foreign multinational
enterprises, first announced in the 2013-14 MYEFO.”

The reason? That it would cause, “unreasonable compliance costs on Australian companies” with subsidiaries offshore. “That means more revenue flowing out the door to multinationals, which means worse services and higher taxes for Australians,” according to Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer.

What a pathetic cop-out by Hockey. How hard would it be to exempt Australian owned companies from the legislation?

On his Facebook page, Wayne Swan says, “This decision leaves open
a huge loophole that will bleed our tax revenue for years and is yet
another example of how this Government is reneging on essential
structural reforms required to make our budget sustainable.”

Swan concludes by saying, “Joe Hockey’s deceptive rhetoric about
all Australians needing to pay their fair share is yet again exposed by
this decision to give further tax breaks to large multinational

Then there is Scott Morrison whose actions as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection betray his self-professed Christian principles
of standing up for the truth, standing up for justice, standing on the
side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked.

Contrast this with the circumstances on Manus Island that led to the
death of Reza Berati, with the recent transfer of Sri Lankans at sea,
with blackmailing the Senate cross benches promising to release children
in detention on Christmas Island in return for the reintroduction of
Temporary Protection Visas.

politicians cloak themselves with so-called Christian principles when
describing themselves publicly, so in that sense Morrison is not alone.
And it is easy to recall such obvious contradictions in one’s words with
one’s actions as we can with most of them. So we should not be
surprised when so-called Christian principles employed to win votes are
quickly dispensed with in favour of pragmatism.

Now he had been given the Social Services Ministry as a reward for
stopping the boats, as if stopping the boats was an achievement; as if
engaging a nation’s Navy to stop a handful of desperate people trying to
find a safe haven was considered clever.

However, he may well find treating Australian citizens similarly is a
different kettle of fish. We shall see if his belief in standing up for
the truth, standing up for justice, standing on the side of the poor
and the hungry, the homeless and the naked continue to conflict with
pragmatism. If it does, he might well find himself and his government in
a different kind of struggle.

So, what is left to say about 2014 that hasn’t been said? The ongoing
incompetence and absurdity of the Abbott government has provided a rich
canvas for political commentators. We can only hope they keep providing
us with similar material in 2015. I certainly expect they will.

constant harping on about removal of the carbon tax, the mining tax and
stopping the boats only serves to highlight the absence of any vision
for the future. They represent an ideas vacuum; a government that won by
default, that was never prepared for what lay ahead and doesn’t know
how to move forward.

Meanwhile the world will face some pretty ominous challenges in 2015
and there’s not a lot of confidence that those who lead us will manage
those challenges well.

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