Thursday, June 24, 2010

A lesson from Canberra [update 6]

In around four hours from now we will know whether or not Australia has a new Prime Minister--and whatever the outcome, John Key will have been delivered an important lesson.

Only last year, K. Rudd was enjoying unprecedented seventy-percent approval ratings, but is now so unpopular that senior Labor party folk consider themselves unelectable with the Krudd at their helm.

The two chief reasons for his unpopularity?  The latest is the usurious tax on mining profits, which threatens to send many of Australia’s biggest mining companies offshore--unpopular not just because it’s an economy-killer, but because the Krudd said he wouldn’t spend taxpayers’ money on advertising such programmes, and he did.

But even that misbegotten behaviour pales into insignificance compared to his backing and filling over Australia’s Emissions Tax Scam, i.e., the very scheme John Key said he’d be following with his own one, not preceding.

And therein, really, lies two lessons for Mr Key. The first is that popularity is not something on which you can bank forever.  It’s here today, and gone tomorrow.  Gone like the dust on the wind. So just because you have the support of a focus group today, don’t expect that same support to be there tomorrow, especially if you go back on your word.

The second lesson is well articulated by Andrew Bolt, and should give Key cause for pause on his own Emissions Tax Scam:

_Quote How strange. Global warming a year ago was seen as the policy supported by everyone of sense, and by all political parties. Since then the leaders of the both [Australia’s] biggest parties have lost their jobs essentially over this issue.

Let that point rattle around the empty crania of the Beehive, and resonate through its corridors. As that sign in Tuesday’s protest suggested ETS (Emissions Tax Scam) could easily mean OTG (One Term Government).

UPDATE 1: Turns out NZ’s Climate Science Coalition was making essentially the same point yesterday in a press release warning “John Key Faces Risk of Rudd-Slinging”:

_QuoteUnless he intervenes to defer implementation of the forthcoming emissions trading scheme (ETS), Prime Minister John Key runs the risk of the same level of sudden electoral backlash that now threatens the re-election prospects of Kevin Rudd’s Labor government in Australia. This today from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, commenting on the description by two Victoria University researchers that New Zealand’s current ETS is “technically obsolete” and “beyond rescue.”

UPDATE 2: Don’t think for a moment that Julia Gillard, Rudd’s likely replacement, will take the country in a different direction, or grasp more firmly the nettle that Rudd refused to. Gillard is simply Helen Clark with lipstick.

Nonetheless, her ascension will allow her to permanently park the Krudd’s Emissions Tax Scam, if she wants to, but abandoning his unpopular Mining Theft Tax will be heck of a lot harder.  It will be harder because Treasurer Wayne Swan was relying on it to pay Australia’s unaffordable and ever-growing welfare bill. That’s the very sharp nettle that any Australian Prime Minister urgently needs to grasp, the scale of which John Humphreys’s now prescient comments from 2005 make clear [hat tip Tim R]:

_QuoteOur top marginal tax rate is higher than the rate in communist (sic) China, our income tax burden is one of the highest in the developed world and Australians are currently suffering from the highest level of tax in our history. An estimated 80,000 people are employed to avoid or enforce taxes, and those taxes result in about $30 billion of lost efficiency every year. The current system of welfare payments is complex, expensive, inefficient and ineffective.  If we distributed the current federal welfare budget directly to the poorest 25% of Australians, each family of four would receive $72,000 per year.11 And welfare spending continues to increase quickly. In three years, we will reach $100 billion federal spending on welfare ($80,000 for each of our poorest 25% of families). And yet, despite this massive level of expenditure, poverty remains and is even entrenched.

Australia’s welfare bill is now $111 billion, making that $88,000 per family, yet this War On Poverty has done nothing to roll back the enemy, it is still entrenched, and as countries from Britain to Greece to Australia are now discovering, it’s a War that becomes more unaffordable every day.

How Gillard seeks to pay that bill, or to reduce its size, will define whatever time she can manage in the job.

UPDATE 3: Via kochie_online, “Final numbers being counted ... Word is 64-70 votes for Gillard... Solid win.”

Andrew Bolt gives a timeline of how it happened.  Apparently, it started with a meeting called over the need to resolve the resource super-profits tax….

UPDATE 4: It’s done. Rudd steps down without a ballot, with no visible blood on the floor to mop up (he really must be wanting that Foreign Affairs job).

And in even better news, ABC news in Australia is reporting that Julia Gillard may take a 'new direction' on the mining tax…

UPDATE 5: Sam Hearne posted this pertinent point at his Facebook page:

_QuoteGillard as PM. Can anyone think of any policy successes that she has had in her portfolios? Can think of a lot of disasters (BER, computers in schools, Medicare Gold, and having responsibility for the training aspect of the home insulation scheme). Additionally, she has been central to every disastrous policy that this government introduced. Same old Labor.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Hubbard said...

Great to see, but a pity his replacement is way more Left than he was. It'll be fascinating to see how Australia takes to her, and what her approach will be to the mining theft tax and ETS (it looks like she was for a more strident ETS than Krudd was).

6/24/2010 10:04:00 am  
Blogger Richard McGrath said...

Julia Gillard's pedigree: Born in Wales in 1961, same year as Obama and Key.

Lawyer by trade - gosh, countries everywhere need more lawyer MPs, don't they?

From wikipedia:

In 1983, Gillard became the second woman to lead the Australian Union of Students.Gillard was also formerly the secretary of the left-wing organisation, Socialist Forum.[10]

From 1996 to 1998, Gillard served as Chief-of-Staff to Victorian Opposition Leader, John Brumby.[5] She was responsible for drafting the affirmative action rules within the Labor Party in Victoria, setting the target of women being preselected in 35 percent of winnable seats within a decade. She also played a role in the foundation of EMILY's List, the fund-raising and support network for Labor women.

So, in brief, we have a leek-eating communist feminazi in charge of the ruling Australian Labour Party.

6/24/2010 11:51:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Helen Clark with sex appeal.

6/24/2010 11:54:00 am  
Blogger Richard McGrath said...

I don't have high hopes that Gillard will have much empathy with mining companies.

From wikipedia:

Born in Wales, in 1961, same year as Obama and Key.

In 1983, Gillard became the second woman to lead the Australian Union of Students. Gillard was also formerly the secretary of the left-wing organisation, Socialist Forum.

From 1996 to 1998, Gillard served as Chief-of-Staff to Victorian Opposition Leader, John Brumby. She was responsible for drafting the affirmative action rules within the Labor Party in Victoria, setting the target of women being preselected in 35 percent of winnable seats within a decade. She also played a role in the foundation of EMILY's List, the fund-raising and support network for Labor women.

So, in summary, the new Aussie PM is a leek-eating communist feminazi. Not sure how that will influence her attitude to and relationship with the Aussie mining companies.

Interesting that the right wing of the Labour Party were her main backers.

6/24/2010 11:56:00 am  
Anonymous Cassanova said...

PC, the difference is that Gillard is kissable & shaggable while Hellen Clark isn't.

6/24/2010 01:42:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Gillard has sex appeal? Australia and NZ aren't that bereft of talent.

I'd rank Mari Kiviniemi of Finland, Doris Leuthard of Switzerland, Cristina Kirchner (despite her appalling politics) of Argentina and Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica as being far more aesthetically pleasing.

Bear in mind Australia's last high profile female politician was Pauline Hanson, who has the sex appeal of a used sock used as an ash tray.

6/24/2010 08:40:00 pm  

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