Politics,Climate Change and Sundry issues

Politics,Climate Change and Sundry issues
for website listing my blogs : http://winstonclosepolitics.com

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Uncertainty over research funding is corrosive, Mr Pyne. Australia needs scientists | Catriona Jackson

Uncertainty over research funding is corrosive, Mr Pyne. Australia needs scientists | Catriona Jackson

Uncertainty over research funding is corrosive, Mr Pyne. Australia needs scientists

By linking higher education reforms to research funding, Christopher
Pyne risks the closure of some of Australia’s most successful research

christopher pyne

‘Last May, the education minister, Christopher Pyne, again found a
last-minute sum – $150m to fund the facilities for 2015-16. The problem
is that the $150m has not flowed.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAPIMAGE

Driving down a brand new highway in Sicily in my teens, I almost went
over the edge when the road simply stopped; no explanation, no
alternative route.

The road was one of many that had been abruptly terminated when the
cash ran out. There were hopes that funding might flow again, but it
hadn’t happened, so the road remained half-built.

Coming from Australia, I found this hard to understand but comforted myself it could never happen at home.

But it may be about to.

Back in 2004, the Howard government launched the national
collaborative research infrastructure strategy (NCRIS). Announcing it,
the then education minister Julie Bishop said it was “essential to build
our national capacity to generate knowledge and use it to advance our
economic, social and environmental objectives”.

She was right. Over almost a decade since, the now 27 flourishing national research facilities have done just that.

They are used by the nation’s top researchers, from all sectors, to
tackle big challenges and and to address the issues that will determine
how successful we are in the 21st century.

These facilities – supercomputers, fabrications facilities,
ocean-monitoring programs – are the basic tools of modern science. They
hold the key to the progress of a modern nation. Without them, we have
no hope of competing with the rest of the world.

tiny snapshot of recent results from NCRIS programs includes a
nano-patch to deliver vaccines without the need for refrigeration,
making an obvious life-saving difference for remote Australians and the
health of our region; use of marine models and data to search for
Malaysian Airlines flight MH370; and the weather-prediction technology
that picked up the recent Northern Territory and Queensland cyclones.

I could go on, but while the NCRIS facilities may not be household
names, everyone seems to agree they are a good thing: building
capability, providing unique and cutting-edge services to industry,
helping to improve lives, making money and creating jobs.

So why worry?

While the facilities have bedded down and flourished, government
funding for operating them has been a little lumpy, the initial
seven-year commitment followed by less predictable terms and amounts.

But, until now, the funding has always come in the end.

Last May, the education minister, Christopher Pyne,
again found a last-minute sum – $150m to fund the facilities for
2015-16 – while initiating a review to identify long-term funding
options. Scientists were pleased with the move and have been supportive
of the review. The final report, which includes a decent set of
recommendations, will be submitted to the government in the next few

The problem is that the $150m has not flowed, nor has a date been set
when it will. In fact, Pyne has indicated it may not be forthcoming
unless his package of university deregulation reforms are passed. Anyone
who has kept half an eye on politics in recent months knows that that
package may not pass at all and is unlikely to pass quickly.

This is a serious problem: the current NCRIS operations money runs
out on 30 June, less than four months away. Without certainty of
funding, staff are already looking for employment elsewhere, crisis
meetings are being held, and some facilities are measuring their
existence in terms of weeks, not months or years.

Research facilities such as these cannot be shut down quickly, a
phased shut down has to be planned for and implemented before the
funding runs out. Some will be expensive, if not impossible, to reopen.

If the government does not move very quickly to release the funds,
there is the very real possibility that a good number of the 27
facilities will close.

It is hard to believe that the government could allow a highly
successful, 11-year, multi-billion dollar capital investment to fall
over for want of an operating budget.

At a showcase for all 27 NCRIS facilities late last year in the Great
Hall at Parliament House, parliamentary secretary Scott Ryan spoke on
behalf of Pyne. He said:

There is no question about the impact NCRIS has in Australia and
internationally. This is well recognised by universities, research
facilities, state governments and industry, with NCRIS projects
leveraging a total of $1bn from across these groups.

The government will safeguard the future of Australia’s world-class
research and research infrastructure, and help prepare Australia and the
world for the challenges before us. I ask you to continue to work with
us in this endeavour.

Scientists want nothing more than to get on with the job of tackling
challenges and grasping opportunities – but they are facing a dead end.
Uncertainty over funding is corrosive, but things are much more serious
that that. If the government does not guarantee the $150m will flow, and
soon, Australia’s research effort will run off the road.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Malcolm Turnbull: Rain man

Malcolm Turnbull: Rain man

7 0

Leader of the Liberal Party wets and heir apparent to the
prime ministership, Malcolm Bligh Turnbull is popular amongst
progressives, however Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones thinks he's a drip.

Malcolm Turnbull is a rolled-gold dickhead.

Bright when he was young. Like his opponent, a Rhodes Scholar. Rich,
successful, pumped. Mr Internet. One half of Australia’s pre-eminent power couple.

But a dickhead.

Rough assessment?

Despite the apparently glorious overarching narrative that is Malcolm’s life, even including his 1999 republic disappointment/failure, two events afford even the most casual observer a glimpse directly through the emperor’s clothes — Raingate and Utegate.

A leader does not make decisions like these.

In the week before the 2007 Ruddslide election, reported the ABC's Matt Hoy, when the Libs knew they were gone big time:

'… Mr Turnbull found the time to announce that the Government,
already in caretaker mode, would bankroll to the tune of $10 million the
investigation of an untried Russian technology that aims to trigger
rainfall from the atmosphere, even when there are no clouds.'

Malcolm had another agenda of course.

Requests for interviews with Mr Turnbull, the head of the Australian
Rain Corporation, the head of the centre contracted to test the device
were declined.

So, $10m as caretaker environnment minister on untested hocus pocus. It seems the bucks were destined for associates.

Matt Hoy again:

Emanating from affluent suburbs like Vaucluse, Rose Bay and
Watson's Bay, Malcolm Turnbull's fundraising group the Wentworth Forum,
includes a long list of generous donors including Frank Lowy, Ros
Packer, John Simons, and Matt Handbury, chairman and part-owner of the
so-called Australian Rain Corporation, beneficiary of the Minister's

Mr Handbury is the wealthy nephew of Rupert Murdoch and chairman
and proprietor of Murdoch Books, which is the headquarters for
Australian Rain Corporation.

The 7.30 Report put to Malcolm Turnbull the following questions:
has Matt Handbury's contribution to your fundraising Wentworth Forum
helped in securing funding for the Australian Rain Corporation?

"There is absolutely no connection," he said "That is an outrageous suggestion".

Secondly, why couldn't the Matt Handbury Swiss consortium pay for its own research?

Response: "The company is contributing funding to the research and trial."

Our final question to the Minister was why should this not be
seen as securing funding for one of your electorate supporters ahead of
an election the Government is tipped to lose?

Mr Turnbull did not directly answer this question ...

Then there was Utegate and Godwin Grech

Poor Godwin. Ended up in care. We can only conclude Malcolm is a poor judge of scam artists.

Make no mistake, Turnbull is as cunning as a shithouse rat. But
he, too, has many barnacles. The Libs would be mad to anoint him.

Here’s hoping.

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Liberal backbencher reveals Abbott government’s $19bn budget gap

Liberal backbencher reveals Abbott government’s $19bn budget gap

Liberal backbencher reveals Abbott government’s $19bn budget gap

Some of the measures in a list of savings worth $19bn over the next
four years are yet to be put to a Senate vote almost a year after the
government’s first budget

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott during question time in the house of representatives on
Monday. The prime minister has been buoyed by the Coalition’s
improvement in the opinion polls. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Savings worth almost $19bn over the next four years – and $112bn over
the next 10 years – have been announced but not legislated by the
Abbott government, parliamentary budget office figures reveal.

The updated budget costings were requested by Queensland Liberal
backbencher Andrew Laming from the independent parliamentary budget
office (PBO) and sent to all MPs and senators.

Some of the measures in the list of savings have been blocked in the
Senate by Labor, the Greens and crossbench senators but others are yet
to be put to a Senate vote, almost a year after the government’s first
budget was brought down.

Laming, who backed last month’s leadership spill motion, said he had
requested the updated costings because he was looking for a summarised
costing of the savings measures not yet passed, and was told the PBO’s
estimates were not up-to-date.

“I asked if they could update them,” he said. “It was an innocent
request. I knew the intergenerational report was coming and it was
useful information. I don’t see why this kind of information should be
confidential if it is available for the debate.”

Labor claimed it was the kind of detailed information an MP would request to assist in planning for an alternative budget.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s supporters have requested this information to
help pull together an alternative budget in case they can knock Tony Abbott off before May,” a Labor spokesman claimed.

Abbott was buoyed on Monday by the Coalition’s improvement in the
opinion polls, and remarks for the cameras at the start of a cabinet
meeting where the government’s recent difficulties were high on the
agenda emphasised to ministers that voters did not want to hear about
the party’s internal divisions.

“Every day we are focused on doing the right thing by the people of
Australia and that’s what they expect. They don’t want people in
Canberra worried about themselves – they want people in Canberra worried
about them,” he said.

Putting a positive slant on the long-term figures to be released in
the intergenerational report on Thursday, Abbott said over the weekend
that it would show Australia faced a “big challenge” but also that a
“substantial start” had been made by the Coalition’s first budget.

He said the document would include a comparison of what the budget
would have looked like under the former Labor government’s policies and
how it stands under the current government’s policies – something
previous intergenerational reports have not done.

“The intergenerational report will show where we would have been
under the policies of the former government, where this government is
attempting to go and how far we have already gone,” the prime minister
said on Sunday.

“What the intergenerational report will show is that, yes, we have a
big budgetary challenge – a very big budgetary challenge – but a very
substantial start has been made ... I guess the challenge for all of us
in these times is to show our typical Australian optimism and, yes, we
can look at it and say the glass is half empty, I would always prefer to
look at it and say the glass is half full because I am really pleased
with the very strong start that this government has made to sorting out
the budgetary mess that we were left by our predecessors,” he said.

Among the measures on the list are the government’s higher education
reform package, which the Senate opposes and has set up a committee to
go “back to the drawing board’ to look for alternatives to deregulation
and changes to Medicare that the government has been progressively
abandoning. Cabinet was on Monday night considering a plan to abandon
the proposed $5 cut to the Medicare rebate as well as the
already-abandoned cut to the rebate for short consultations.

Also on the list are plans to freeze eligibility thresholds or rates
of most government payments and the plan for a less generous indexation
rate for the pension and carers payment.

Cartoon by DAVID POPE.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Budget razor gang shelved plan to cut pension payments to wealthy seniors

Budget razor gang shelved plan to cut pension payments to wealthy seniors

Budget razor gang shelved plan to cut pension payments to wealthy seniors

Government instead chose to slash indexation of payments for all
pensioners, according to report, a move which Labor says will make
pensioners $80 a week worse off

The Abbott government’s budget razor gang shelved a secret plan to
kick millionaires off the aged pension in favour of slashing the
indexation of payments for every pensioner in Australia, according to a report.

The razor gang was asked to consider slashing pension payments to
wealthy seniors last year by changing the taper rate, the preferred
option of the former minister for social services, Kevin Andrews,
the Sunday Telegraph reported. This move would have reversed Howard-era
changes that brought more high income seniors into the pension system.

Senior ministers had said they agonised over whether Tony Abbott would be accused of kicking seniors off the pension and breaking an election promise not to cut pensions, the report claims.

Instead, treasury proposed a change to the indexation arrangements
for all pensioners, meaning the rate of increase would effectively be
slowed, from 2017.

The change was announced in the May budget, with welfare groups and
Labor arguing it would cut pensions by $80 a week within 10 years.

The treasurer, Joe Hockey, reportedly preferred treasury’s proposal
because it would create larger structural savings and would not
outwardly breach the government’s promise not to cut pensions. 

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said that Abbott had “lied to pensioners before the election”.

“Now every single pensioner has to pay the price for that lie.”

“It’s ridiculous that while the pension is being cut, some
multinational corporations are paying little to no tax, and
multimillionaires are receiving new tax breaks from the government.’’

Friday, 20 February 2015

Scott Morrison: a kinder, gentler approach to welfare?

Scott Morrison: a kinder, gentler approach to welfare?

255 1

The new social services minister, Scott Morrison, has
been warned that parents are scouring Centrelink’s brochures to get
their school-leaving kids onto welfare. John Maycock investigates then why the minister is spending money researching the efficiency of these brochures.

AN article published in the Brisbane Times on 14 February 2015 headlined as 'New Social Services Minister Scott Morrison shows his colours', informed us that:

 ‘Scott Morrison says he is a fixer, not an ideologist, as he flags a kinder, gentler approach to welfare and families policy.

and that he

 ‘declared he is not ‘wedded ideologically’ to the government's
controversial dole and pension budget measures and says he does not want
to be ‘combative’ in his new portfolio, a move that flags a more
pragmatic approach to families and welfare policy for the Coalition.'

The article further suggests that:

 ‘…Mr Morrison [has] stepped back from the tough ‘lifters not leaners’ rhetoric of the Coalition's 2014 budget…

with Morrison declaring:

 ‘I have no need or interest or desire to take this policy area into a combative space.' (emphasis author's).

Now the article could be unpacked to reveal its ideological content, however, I would rather draw your attention to an article published by the Daily Telegraph on 29 January 2015 and the Courier Mail print edition on 30 January 2015 headlined respectively as: 

‘Bludger’s handbook from schoolgate to welfare office’


‘Bludgers shop for welfare not jobs’

Though the following statement is not attributed to anyone, the article initially makes the point that:

‘Parents are using Centrelink brochures as catalogues to find an
income for their children who leave school and want to walk straight
into a welfare centre

My first reaction to this was:

Aren’t those brochures there to inform people of their
entitlements? Weren’t the brochures introduced to streamline services at
the front counter? And, aren’t Centrelink customers encouraged to use
those brochures?

Further, according to the article:

‘Senior government bureaucrats have briefed new social services
minister Scott Morrison on the growing practice of parents taking their
children to Centrelink to find a way of earning a living off welfare

This, too, is not attributed to anyone.

It appears that Morrison is again quoted, stating his desire to introduce a ‘welfare cop’ to apparently

…police potential rorters of welfare and ensure taxpayer money is not being spent on bludgers.

and expressing his concern that:

‘…children [are] going from the school gate to the welfare gate.

Even here though, it is hard to discern what Morrison said and what the article’s author said, but no matter, that is how the MSM operates it seems.

Morrison is then quoted from a 2GB radio session where he said:

One of the things that concerned me most was when I was told
that at the end of school what happens each year is too often we see
parents come in to Centrelink with the Centrelink brochure as if it’s
some sort of catalogue.

and suggested that

The first place people go, for some, is to see what welfare they can get onto.’

When Morrison reminds us that:

 ‘Every benefit we pay and every dollar we pay out has got to be paid by the taxpayer.'

it becomes obvious this narrative is another stereotyping
vilification of people on welfare, driving division in the community via
the “combative space” of public opinion.

However my second, and more important, reaction to this was to ask: 

What information did those bureaucrats have for Morrison? What kind
of research/survey were they working from? And, has Morrison “twisted”
information to suit his own agenda?

The briefing had to be sourced from somewhere, but what type of
research would reveal what Morrison claims is going on? I came to the
conclusion that it would have to have been a survey of the efficiency of
the brochures themselves — do customers make use of the brochures?

I don’t know the answer to this but a hint can be found in a Courier Mail report from the 8 February 2015, ‘Madness’: Federal government spends almost $5 million dollars just on market research’.

This article reveals that one of the research projects was to discover:

…whether welfare recipients are getting good customer service at Centrelink shopfronts.'

 and that

…$560,000 was spent to determine whether Department of Human
Services clients, including welfare recipients, are satisfied with the
customer service they receive.'

This sounds very much like the efficiency of the brochures was canvased, especially considering that in the article:

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann
defended the investment in market research, but said all departmental
expenditure would be monitored and further cuts imposed where

and said that:

 ‘the Coalition had already eliminated wasteful and necessary (this seems like a mistake here – unnecessary?) spending on advertising and public affairs including a $43 million reduction across agencies.’

If this research is where Morrison’s briefing came from and his
agenda is to cut spending, then it stands to reason that he may want to
get rid of the brochures (they probably are a huge cost and almost
unnecessary with all the same information available online).

However, it would appear Morrison did not get the results he was
looking for – that the brochures are a waste of money – but rather, the
brochures are a great help and that people are better informed when they
reach the front counter (I am surmising here).

But (if what I suggest is so) here’s the rub. When Morrison didn’t
get the results he wanted, allowing him to declare the brochures a waste
of money in order to dump them, he chose to turn the findings into a
negative, vilifying those who use the brochures and tying them directly
to the welfare bludger
meme, which, in a public domain afflicted with generalising, affects
everybody on welfare. Morrison has to know this is the case and he has
to have known that he was entering “combative space” .

The question becomes

Can Morrison have changed his ideology in two weeks, or is he taking a softer approach for other reasons?”

And the answer may be found in the background to the article first quoted, ‘New Social Services Minister Scott Morrison shows his colours’, where we learn that:

…despite his "tough guy" public image, several welfare and
community groups have said Mr Morrison has been surprisingly easy to
deal with. They have talked about his openness to new ideas and
enthusiasm for the portfolio

Here, however, Morrison was dealing with people who know what they
are talking about, people who deal with welfare at the coalface, people
who deal with welfare on the logistical side, and people who understand
government and policy — people who possess empathy and a belief in
social justice.

The discourse Morrison has been injecting into the “combative space” of public opinion since he took over Social Services would not have cut it with these people and he surely knows that.

Morrison may have changed his rhetorical colours when dealing with
people who know better than he, but should that be taken as an
ideological change? Doubtful!

Indeed, just as using the brochures has come back to bite welfare
recipients, these welfare/community groups may find their polite
conversation with Morrison comes back to bite them — the context twisted
to suit Morrison’s ideology and injected into that “combative space”.

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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell - Series 5 Episodes 1

Published on 11 Feb 2015
1978. A young man with the wind in his hair, also nits, dreams of a
better life by winning a dusco duncing competution. CAST: Shaun Micallef

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Foreign multinationals circle Medicare

Foreign multinationals circle Medicare 

Reporter for The Canberra Times

 Foreign multinationals are jostling to take over the payment of tens
of billions of dollars in Medicare and other Australian government

Companies from the US, Germany, Japan and Britain have
approached the Commonwealth, interested in taking over the Medicare,
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Veterans Affairs payments in an
outsourcing deal.

Only three home-grown players, Eftpos, Australia
Post and Telstra offshoot Stellar, are in the hunt to secure the
massive contract if the Abbott government decided to go ahead with the


But British  services giant Serco, Japanese-US outfit Fuji-Xerox,
German software behemoth SAP as well as American outsourcing powerhouse
Accenture are all circling too, according to well-placed sources in the
local "business process outsourcing" industry.

The news comes as
Prime Minister Tony Abbott moves to place limits on purchases of
Australian agricultural land by foreign entities.  

The Health
Department called in August 2014 for expressions of interest from
private players interested in taking over the payment of $29 billion
each year in health and pharmaceutical benefits currently managed by the
Human Services.

Human Services Minister Marise Payne says much
of the Department of Human Services IT infrastructure used to process
the payments was ageing and needed to be replaced and the private sector
might be able to supply cheaper solutions.

Do you know more? Send confidential tips to ps@canberratimes.com.au

government has insisted that the expressions of interest process is a
"market testing" exercise but has been coy about those companies
expressing an interest, merely conceding that some of them have had an
"international presence".

Outsourcing industry players have
complained recently that the process has been in a "holding pattern"
with little news trickling out of government.

Senator Payne's office referred questions to the Health Department which said in a statement that progress was being made.

potential to have health service claims and payments provided by
commercial providers has been tested through an initial expression of
Interest process," a spokeswoman said.

"The evaluation of the responses and consideration of options is still in progress."

spokeswoman for Australia Post confirmed on Thursday that the service
was keen to get its hands on the payments contract as part of its
broader expansion plans.

"Australia Post is committed to growing the range of trusted services that we provide our customers," the spokeswoman said.

believe we are uniquely positioned with our extensive distribution
reach and proven trusted services capabilities to deliver more

Oracle, Fuji-Xerox, SAP, Accenture, Serco, Eftpos and
Stellar were all also contacted for comment and only Fuji-Xerox
responded, saying it would not comment.

The Labor opposition,
public sector unions and most recently the Australian Medical
Association have all come out against any move to outsource the payment
with the AMA criticising the idea in its submission to a Parliamentary
committee on health policy.

"The call for expressions of interest
appears to have been made without any analysis of the cost savings and
efficiencies already provided by medical practices," the submission

Shadow minister for Human Services Senator Doug Cameron said
the idea of outsourcing the payments to the private sector was purely

Multinational Medicare:

Oracle (US)

SAP (Germany)

Fuji-Xerox (Japan-US)

Accenture (US)

Serco (Britain)

Eftpos (Australia)

Stellar (Telstra, Australia)

Australia Post (Australia)

Friday, 13 February 2015

Change the entitlements of Australian politicians

Change the entitlements of Australian politicians


I absolutely agree, if a pension isn’t an entitlement, neither
is theirs. They keep telling us that paying us an aged pension isn’t

Paying politicians all the perks they get is even less sustainable!

Proposals to make politicians shoulder their share of the weight now that the Age of Entitlement is over:

1. Scrap political pensions. Politicians can purchase their own
retirement plan, just as most other working Australians are expected to

2. Retired politicians (past, present and future) participate in
Centrelink. A politician collects a substantial salary while in office
but should receive no salary when they’re out of office. Terminated
politicians under 70 can go get a job or apply for Centrelink
unemployment benefits like ordinary Australians. Terminated politicians
under 70 can negotiate with Centrelink like the rest of the Australian

3. Funds already allocated to the politicians’ retirement fund be
returned immediately to Consolidated Revenue. This money is to be used
to pay down debt they created which they expect us and our grandchildren
to repay for them.

4. Politicians will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Politicians pay will rise by the lower of, either the CPI or 3 per cent.

5. Politicians lose their privileged health care system and
participate in the same health care system as ordinary Australian
people, i.e. politicians either pay for private cover from their own
funds or accept ordinary Medicare.

6. Politicians must equally abide by all laws they impose on the Australian people.

7. All contracts with past and present politicians men/women are void ASAP.

The Australian people did not agree to provide perks to politicians,
that burden was thrust upon them. Politicians devised all these
contracts to benefit themselves. Serving in parliament is an honour not a

The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so our politicians
should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

This is how you fix parliament and help bring fairness back into this country!

If you wonder why the above individuals are asking for your help, look at the figures below.


Date of Effect: 1 July 2014

Specified Statutory Office

Base Salary (per annum)

Total Remuneration for office (per annum)

Chief of the Defence Force > $535,100 – $764,420

Commissioner of Taxation > $518,000 – $740,000

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service > $483,840 – $691,200

Auditor-General for Australia > $469,150 – $670,210

Australian Statistician > $469,150 – $670,210

So if I press all the right buttons, the TOTAL annual wages for the 150 seats in the Parliament are:

Prime Minister – $507,338

Deputy Prime Minister – $400,016

Treasurer – $365,868

Leader of the Opposition – $360,990

House of Reps Speaker – $341,477

Leader of the House – $341,477

Minister in Cabinet – $336,599

Parliamentary secretary – $243,912

Other ministers* – $307,329 x 71 = A$21,820,359

Shadow ministers* – $243,912 x 71 = A$17,317,752

The TOTAL ANNUAL SALARIES (for 150 seats) = $41,694,311 – PER YEAR! And that’s just the Federal Politicians, no one else!

For the Œlifetime payment example (below) I used the scenario that:

1. They are paid Œlifetime salaries the same as their last working year and

2. After retiring, the average pollie’s life expectancy is an additional 20 years (which is not unreasonable).

It’s worth remembering that this is EXCLUDING all their other perks!

So, for a 20 years’ Œlifetime payment (excluding wages paid while a parliamentarian):

Prime Minister @ $507,338 = A$10,146,760

Deputy Prime Minister @ $400,016 = A$8,000,320

Treasurer @ $365,868 = A$7,317,360

Leader of the Opposition @ $360,990 = A$7,219,800

House of Reps Speaker @ $341,477 = A$6,829,540

Leader of the House @ $341,477 = A$6,829,540

Minister in Cabinet @ $336,599 = A$6,731,980

Parliamentary Secretary @ $243,912 = A$4,782,240

Other ministers** @ $307,329 = A$6,146,580 x 71 = A$436,407,180

Shadow ministers** @ $243,912 = A$4,878,240 x 71 = A$346,355,040


TOTAL Œlife time (20 year) payments (excluding wages paid while in parliament) = A$833,886,220 ­OVER $833 MILLION

Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Paul Keating, Malcolm Fraser,
Bob Hawke, et al, add nauseum, are receiving $10 MILLION + EXTRA at
taxpayer expense.

Should an elected PM serve 4 years and then decide to retire, each
year (of the 4 years) will have cost taxpayers an EXTRA two and a half
million bucks a year! $2,536,690 to be precise.

A 2-year retirement payment cut-off will SAVE our Oz bottom line A$792,201,909 … NEARLY $800 MILLION.

There are 150 seats in House, minus the 8 above = 142 seats, divided
equally for example = 71 each for both shadow and elected ministers.

This example excludes all wages paid while a parliamentarian AND all
perks on top of that – travel, hotels, Secretarial staff, speech
writers, restaurants, offices, chauffeured limos, security, etc. etc.

150 seats, 20-year payment of A$833,886,220 less annual salary x 2 years of A$83,388,622. [$41,694,311 x 2]


ACTION: Push for a MAX 2 year post-retirement payment (give Œ’em time to get a real job).

Spread it far and wide folks. People should know.

Dr. Dale Kerwin

School of Education

Griffith University

Thank you to the community member who sent this to us.
What do you think of all of this information? Should the post-retirement
payment be cut?

This article was written by Starts at Sixty Writers

Starts at Sixty Writers The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them specially for you.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Should the Senate Block Supply? - The AIM Network

Should the Senate Block Supply? - The AIM Network

Should the Senate Block Supply?

Was this week’s performance in and out of parliament what PM Tony Abbott meant when he told us “good government starts today”? How did it go?

Well, there are no changes in the PM’s office and he regards any questions about it as ‘impertinent’.

The government’s handling of the submarine policy
was an utter shambles with Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews and others
displaying confusion all over what is a tender, what is an evaluation,
was there a promise for a vote, or wasn’t there.

Embattled Treasurer Joe Hockey looking defeated as he faced questions about the budget and the latest unemployment figures.

hcrThen the report on children in detention about which Tony Abbott “feels no shame”.

Instead, he lets loose with a tongue lashing that barely hides
his anger toward Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission who he
said should be ashamed of themselves; a classic case of attacking the
messenger to avoid the message.

The Age newspaper editorial today says, “No, Mr Abbott – it is you and your government that should be ashamed.”

Then came the admission of failure by the PM concerning the Close the Gap report on their Aboriginal Affairs policy. Amy McQuire from New Matilda describes it thus, “blackfellas
across the nation, particularly in remote areas, are preparing to
suffer the devastating consequences of his government’s assimilationist,
paternalistic agenda.”

On top of that the latest unemployment figures, the worst for twelve years, clearly demonstrated the government’s austerity policy was the cause, not the solution.

I can’t remember a week when the media was as critical on such a variety of issues as this week.

There is no previous example by which we can compare how bad this
government is. They have set a new standard for all future
administrations on incompetence, ineptitude, policy failure and public
relations. They are the new benchmark.

Should the senate consider block supply and forcing a new election?
Labor has previously said they would never do this. Yet they, more than
anyone, hold the high moral ground on this issue. The treatment of the
Whitlam government was a travesty of moral justice in 1975.

circumstances surrounding the dismissal by the Governor General Sir
John Kerr were more a conspiracy of power than any genuine concern for
the future of the country.

But what we have today is a concern for the future. At a time when
the economy needs real vision with real policies, real solutions, real
job creation programs, we have a robotic, ideological mindset in control
of the country’s future, a mindset that believes they are heading in
the right direction.

That claim alone tells us they are incompetent. How many people out
of work will it take for them to see the folly of their ways?

The senate has the numbers. How much self-interest will they display
before the reality sets in? Only Labor knows how to arrest a failing
economy. With a workforce underutilisation rate heading toward 16% and a
disaster in youth unemployment, only Labor knows how to respond to an
economic crisis.

In the words of Professor Bill Mitchell, the pre-eminent economist in the country, “They
(the Government) are so obsessed with cutting fiscal deficits that they
cannot see the future damage they are causing as a result of the
appalling state of the youth labour market.”

Michelle Grattan, writing in The Conversation this week says that in what will be a difficult economic year, “the instability within the government will just further harm business confidence.”

Surely we are justified in saying, it’s time.