Showing posts with label Abbott Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abbott Government. Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

And so the spotlight hovers over Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and NSW Regional Water Minister Niall Blair......


When both the NSW Coalition Government (2 April 2015) and Federal Coalition Government (21 September 2015) gave a minister dual responsibility for agriculture and water one could almost hear the political train careening wildly in the distance.

Unfortunately two years later the people of Australia woke to discover that handing over responsibility for water in a complex major river system to two National Party MPs meant it was also a social, economic and environmental train wreck as well.

All the audits and investigations in the world will not unmake the disaster that the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has become under Barnaby Joyce and Niall Blair unless the political will is there, however this is a good start.

"The Auditor-General will investigate how Barnaby Joyce's Dept is monitoring use of environmental water by NSW." [@Tony_Burke]

In an effort to wrest back control of the situation Prime Minister Turnbull has reportedly 
ordered the Murray Darling Basin Authority to conduct an allegedly ndependent basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use. The review report will be presented to the December 2017 Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Australian Government guide to when it is extinguishing our traditional freedoms, rights and privileges


In 2015 Australian Attorney-General and Liberal Senator for Queensland George Brandis thoughtfully provided voters with a guide to assist them with analysing whether federal legislation rides roughshod over traditional rights, freedoms and privileges.

This guide can be found in the Australian Law Reform Commission Report 129, Traditional Rights and Freedoms— Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws:

The Terms of Reference, provided by the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, state that laws that encroach on traditional rights, freedoms and privileges should be understood to refer to laws that:

interfere with freedom of speech;
interfere with freedom of religion;
interfere with freedom of association;
interfere with freedom of movement;
interfere with vested property rights;
retrospectively change legal rights and obligations;
create offences with retrospective application;
alter criminal law practices based on the  principle of a fair trial;
reverse or shift the burden of proof;
exclude the right to claim the privilege against self-incrimination;
abrogate client legal privilege;
apply strict or absolute liability to all physical elements of a criminal offence;
permit an appeal from an acquittal;
deny procedural fairness to persons affected by the exercise of public power;
inappropriately delegate legislative power to the executive;
authorise the commission of a tort;
disregard common law protection of personal reputation;
give executive immunities a wide application;
restrict access to the courts; and
interfere with any other similar legal right, freedom or privilege

WARNING: Don’t attempt a drinking game with this list as you may succumb to acute alcohol poisoning before reaching the end.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Is the National Vocational Education and Training System an abject failure?


In 2011 the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act came into being. It is administered by the Dept. of  Education and Training whose current minister is the Liberal Senator for South Australia, Simon Birmingham.


It wasn't too long before government-owned Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges/institutes across Australia began to complain they were being starved of funding and courses in order to feed this new education strategy and private ‘colleges’ began to multiply swiftly.

Every so often one of these dodgy private colleges hits the headlines and commentators tut-tut furiously and futilely.

However, most private VET service providers don’t rate much of a mention in mainstream media so the scale of this system failure is not readily apparent, except perhaps to the many thousands of fee-paying students affected.

This is a short and incomplete list of some of the more recent private-sector failures to provide quality further education and vocational training:

ASA (Australian Sports Academy) Pty Ltd, terminated for providing incorrect information in the application.
Australian Vocational Training Academy Pty Ltd, terminated for: failure to provide compliant Training and Assessment Strategies, non-compliance with record keeping requirements; and failure to provide records and evidence to the Department upon request.
Careers Australia Education Institute Pty Ltd, terminated for: failure to properly train and assess students in accordance with training package requirements, non-compliance with record keeping and failure to provide records and evidence upon request.
Careers Australia Institute of Training Pty Ltd, terminated for: failure to properly train and assess students in accordance with training package requirements, non-compliance with record keeping and failure to provide records and evidence upon request. Careers Australia group now in voluntary administration
Industry Education and Training Services Pty Ltd, terminated for: providing incorrect information in the application.
Seluna Pty Ltd, terminated for: failure to comply with training and assessment requirements of the VET Quality Framework, and submitting training activity and receiving subsidies for learners where there was no evidence of commencement.
Western Institute of Technology Pty Ltd, terminated for: providing incorrect information in the application.
Wise Education Group Pty Ltd, terminated for: failure to meet Standards for RTOs 2015 and non-compliance with record keeping requirements.
Group314 Pty Ltd, terminated for: Termination of S and S due to previous termination of APL; and,
Donna Mere Morrell-Pullin, terminated for: providing incorrect information in the application. [my red annotation]

Conwal and Associates Pty Ltd, non-compliant with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework, registration cancelled
Online Courses Australia Pty Ltd, non-compliant with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework. registration cancelled
Australian Vocational Learning Institute, non-compliant with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework. registration cancelled
 Clover Educations trading as Cool Body Institute of Massage, not operated consistently with the applicable requirements of the VET Quality Framework, registration cancelled
AITE Pty Ltd Australian Institute of Technical Education, not operated consistently with the applicable requirements of the VET Quality Framework, registration cancelled
Get Qualified Australia-Adelaide Pty Ltd trading as Get Qualified Australia Trades Academy and Get Qualified Trades Academy, not operated consistently with the applicable requirements of the VET Quality Framework, registration cancelled
Get Qualified Australia-Canberra Pty Ltd trading as Get Qualified Australia College, not operated consistently with the applicable requirements of the VET Quality Framework, registration cancelled
Get Qualified Australia-Brisbane Pty Ltd trading as Get Qualified Australia Institute, not operated consistently with the applicable requirements of the VET Quality Framework, registration cancelled
CTM Training Solutions Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Green Pty Ltd trading as Green Training, VET services registration cancelled
Switch On Learning Pty Ltd trading as Australian Institute of Technology & Trade, VET services registration cancelled
Australian Tertiary Academy Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Equalis Pty Ltd trading as Equalis, VET services registration cancelled
Amana International Training Academy Pty Ltd trading as Zenith Education & Training, VET services registration cancelled
ASCET Institute of Technology, critically and systematically non-compliant with the requirements of the vocational education and training (VET) quality framework, registration cancelled
5 Star Training Institute Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
AJK Image Pty Ltd as trustee for The Nicole Kratzmann Family Trust trading as AKISS (Advanced Knowledge in Skin Science), VET services registration cancelled
Australia-Wide Business Training Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Childs Training Pty Ltd as the trustee for the Childs Family Trust trading as Quality Unlimited, VET services registration cancelled
Clear Fountain Pty Ltd trading as NITE School and Nationwide Instructors, Trainers and Educators, VET services registration cancelled
DJ Howle Pty Ltd trading as Onsite Training Services, VET services registration cancelled
Entertrain Institute of Technology Pty Ltd trading as Entertain Interactive Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Excellent Training Institute Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
June Dally-Watkins Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Master Group (Aust.) Pty Ltd trading as Master Group, VET services registration cancelled
Optimal Progression Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Todd Rutherford trading as Drilling Skills Australia, VET services registration cancelled
Aus-Com Training Services Pty Ltd trading as Aus-Com Training Services, VET services registration cancelled
Ausietech Investments Pty Ltd trading as Australian College of Management & Technology)
Professional Training College Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Nailtech Training Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
Project Management Partners Pty Ltd, VET services registration cancelled
[See latest regulatory decisions of Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

Gurkhas Institute of Technology Pty Ltd, registration cancelled
DIY Training Services Pty Ltd, registration cancelled
Get Qualified Australia-Adelaide Pty Ltd trading as Get Qualified Australia Trades Academy and Get Qualified Trades Academy, registration cancelled
Sage Academy Training Pty Ltd, registration cancelled
Premier Training Institute Pty Ltd, registration cancelled
Safety and First Aid Education Pty Ltd, registration cancelled

Full list of Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) decisions.

And Australia wonders why it has a skills shortage?


Monday, 24 October 2016

Self-published book by discredited political scientist costs Australian taxpayers $4,475 per page


Defunded by the Danish Government in 2012, rejected by the University of Western Australia and then Flinders University in 2015, discredited political scientist  Bjørn Lomborg went on to finally be rejected by the Abbott Government – but not before that federal government had handed Lomborg a cheque for $640,000 taken from the Dept of. Education budget.

Apparently unable to find a reputable publisher after 2010 Lomborg self-published this little 143-page tome with Australian taxpayer’s money – costing the nation $4,475 per page in a year where the budget deficit stood at $35.1 billion.

Published by Copenhagen Consensus Center USA, Inc.
Paperback Edition only – April 20, 2015, price $65.99   
New Paperback Edition – November 1, 2015, price $11.99

This is what Lomborg says of his book…..


Nobel Laureates Guide to Smarter Global Targets to 2030

Copenhagen Consensus Center has published 100+ peer-reviewed analyses from 82 of the world’s top economists and 44 sector experts along with many UN agencies and NGOs. These have established how effective 100+ targets would be in terms of value-for-money. These analyses take into account not just the economic, but also health, social and environmental benefits to the world.

An Expert Panel including two Nobel Laureates has reviewed this research and identified 19 targets that represent the best value-for-money in development over the period 2016 to 2030, offering social good worth more than $15 back on every dollar invested.

Reaching these global targets by 2030 will do more than $15 of good for every dollar spent.

In a Hurry and interested in the 19 most bang-for-the-buck post-2015 sustainable development targets? Download our project overview PDF here.

This is what the Senate thought……

The Australian, 21 October 2016:

Taxpayers contributed $640,000 to a book edited, written and published by Bjorn Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus Centre which was ridiculed in Senate Estimates on Thursday as “vanity publishing”.

The book, The Nobel Laureates Guide to the Smartest Targets in the World, also came under attack for receiving special purpose funding without having to undergo normal peer review processes of Australian researchers….

Bureaucrat Virginia Hart initially told Senator O’Neill the money had been used to support “extensive consultations through youth forums, media discussions, meeting with world leaders, including interactions with Australian dignitaries and officials, a number of papers that were commissioned from academics in areas that were relevant to the millennial development goals”.

But it was unclear which academics contributed to the book — none appear to be attributed — or what they produced. It is also unclear about the other activities under the funding…..

Senate Estimates also heard that the $640,000 was a contribution to the book with the rest coming from the CCC, but the Education Department did not know the total cost of the project.

Senator O’Neill also asked Senator Birmingham why the project received money under special purpose funding.

“The purpose was that the then Prime Minister and Mr Pyne had initiated a process that sought to establish an Australian Copenhagen Consensus Centre and bring its approach and methodology to Australia. Certain works were commenced while the discussions commenced as to how and where such a centre may be housed. In the end, the government made the decision not to proceed,” Senator Birmingham replied…..

While Senate Estimates was told the book was freely available on the internet, it appears it is only available for purchase. Amazon lists the book at $US11.99.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

STATE OF PLAY: Gun importation regulations in Australia and why we are all still vulnerable to the decisions of week-kneed politicians

On 18 October 2016 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Parliament and the nation that:

Under the current national firearms agreement, lever action shotguns are category A. There has been a move on the COAG committee of justice ministers to have those guns reclassified, which we have supported. Because agreement has not been reached, we put in place an import ban, which expired in August this year, so we have renewed it and we have renewed it indefinitely. What that means, of course, is that—…..

It is not a temporary ban. It is permanent. It is set in stone. It can be amended, but it is there—like any import ban. If the honourable member is seriously interested in the safety of Australians, as I trust we all are, let me explain. Firearms are classified under the national firearms agreement as category A, B, C or D. Category A guns are relatively readily able to be acquired. For category B you need to nominate a specific purpose, like primary production. Firearms in categories C and D are very, very difficult to obtain, and appropriately so. So the debate that is being conducted and has not yet been agreed between the state jurisdictions, who of course have the regulation of firearms, is whether and how the Adler seven-shot lever action gun should be classified. What my government has done is to ensure that no Adler lever action guns with more than five rounds can be imported in any category. They cannot be imported at all….

What we have done is put a stop on it. The fact is that we stand by the national firearms agreement. We want to see it stronger. We are supporting that with an import ban. We are proud of the achievements of John Howard. The action of the opposition in trying to use this as a distraction is a disgrace…..

I tell you that ban will remain in place until such time as there is a satisfactory reclassification of these guns by the COAG committee. That was the purpose of the ban when we first put it in place; that was the purpose when we renewed it. We stand by our commitment for the public safety of Australians.

On 8 August 2016 the Turnbull Government had given effect to the latest version of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

These regulations state in part:

Note:       The public interest test under item 8A of Part 1 and the national interest test under item 8B of Part 1 apply in relation to the importation of all the articles to which this Part applies (see subregulation 4F(1A))….

15
Detachable firearm magazine, having a capacity of more than 5 rounds, for:
(a) semi‑automatic shotguns; or
(b) pump‑action shotguns; or
(c)  fully automatic shotguns;
whether or not attached to a firearm.
The importation must comply with at least 1 of the following tests:
(a) the official purposes test;
(b) the specified person test;
(c) the specified purposes test;
(d) the returned goods test;
(e) the dealer test.

Despite Prime Minister Turnbull's assertion that the Adler A110 shotgun cannot be imported, it appears that there is no longer an absolute ban in place provided any specific application to import this lever action shotgun can meet at least two of seven tests.

Rather alarmingly under the public and national interest tests in the regulations Turnbull refers to, Attorney-General George Brandis may give written permission to import these lethal weapons (which fire a bullet per second) based on his interpretation of public and national interests and the weapon being properly registered/authorized and safely secured once in the country.

Additionally he may certify in writing that in his or her opinion it is in the public interest that responsibility for a permission or a refusal of a permission specified in the certificate should reside solely with the Attorney‑General and should not be reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Mr. Turnbull was careful to avoid the question of how easily the Adler shotgun with less than a five round magazine can be legally converted after importation into an 11 round lever action shotgun. Something which has reportedly been occurring since the Abbott Government first allowed importation of the 4-round version of this shotgun.

Today the NSW Baird Government will consider reclassifying both four and seven-round Adler shotguns to make them more available to shooters, who as a lobby group appear to harbour the strange notion that firearm ownership in this country should be covered by Amendment II of The Constitution of the United States.

Tomorrow 21 October 2016 the eight state and territory police and justice ministers are expected to consider the ban at a scheduled meeting.

Given the lack of spine displayed by politicians these days I am not expecting that public safety will receive more than lip service in any decision they make on the day.

BACKGROUND

The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 October 2016:

Tony Abbott has publicly criticised Malcolm Turnbull's failure to rule out trading away elements of Australia's gun laws in exchange for crossbench support for its key industrial relations legislation.

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm said on Tuesday the government had reneged on a deal to end the ban on importing the controversial Adler lever-action shotgun into Australia. 

Senator Leyonhjelm warned he wouldn't vote to reinstate the government's construction industry watchdog unless Mr Turnbull agreed to allow the gun to be imported into Australia.

Labor moved to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives, emboldened by comments from Mr Abbott over the Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation.

"Disturbing to see reports of horse-trading on gun laws. ABCC should be supported on its merits," Mr Abbott wrote.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the Liberal Party of entertaining "grubby deals" on gun laws and said reforms championed by former Liberal prime minister John Howard in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre shouldn't be watered down.

The Abbott government had previously agreed to allow the importation of the gun later in 2016, in exchange for Senator Leyonhjelm's support on migration issues.

A deal to introduce a sunset clause came as a review of technical elements of the National Firearms Agreement was under way.

But a temporary ban on the gun was extended before expiring in July.

In August 2015, Senator Leyonhjelm bragged to the Senate about blackmailing the government into adding the 12-month sunset clause to the Adler ban, claiming bureaucrats advising Justice Minister Michael Keenan were incompetent and too closely aligned to an anti-guns agenda. 

The man behind plans to import the Turkish-made gun is Robert Nioa, the son-in-law of Queensland independent MP Bob Katter. 


@CroweDM @ljayes, 18 October 2016
Click on images to enlarge




In 2013-14 115,827 modern guns were imported into Australia, by 2014-15 109,994 modern guns were recorded as coming into the country and in 2015-16 the figure was 104,000 firearms imported.

According to The Conversation on 28 April 2016 there are now an additional 1,026,000 firearms in private hands since the government gun recall after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre and, the total number of registered guns in Australia are in the hands of only est. 6.2 per cent of all households.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Medicare: what a difference two years, two unpopular budgets and a close run federal election make to ministerial attitudes


THEN it was a bad, bad thing….

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 2014:

Health Minister Peter Dutton has predicted an overhaul of Medicare, saying spiralling costs will make the system ''unmanageable'' without change.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Dutton gave the strongest signal yet that the Abbott government may adopt a politically explosive proposal to charge a $6 fee to visit the doctor…..
Annual spending on Medicare climbed from $8.1 billion in 2002-03 to $17.8 billion, an increase of 120 per cent. Growth in Medicare spending was faster than growth in the total health budget of 104 per cent over the decade, and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule spending, which rose 79 per cent over the same period.

News.com,au, 18 March 2015:

A NEW report has found 880,000 Australians see their GP more than 20 times a year and account for 17.1 per cent or $2.8 billion of the nation’s non hospital Medicare spend.
These people receive more than $3,200 a year each in non hospital Medicare payments and nearly half of them were also admitted to hospital, the National Health Performance Authority says.
There are 2.3 million Australians who see their doctor more than 12 times a year and they are eating up forty one per cent (16 billion) of the Medicare budget.
These patients received on average $1,850 in non hospital Medicare payments.

NOW it is something to celebrate….

Liberal MP for Farrer and Australian Minister for Health and Aging, Sussan Ley, media release, 28 August 2016:

An extra 17 million GP services were bulk billed under the Coalition last year compared with Labor following another year of record Medicare investment by the Turnbull Government, as Bill Shorten’s Mediscare lies “crumble around him” and leave the credibility of his leadership in tatters.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley today revealed a record 123 million out of 145 million GP services were fully-funded by the Turnbull Government at no cost to patients through Medicare during 2015-16.
This saw GP bulk billing hit a historic high of 85.1 per cent under the Turnbull Government – up from 84.3 per cent in 2014-15 – and follows the Coalition’s record $7.1 billion investment in general practice via Medicare last year.
The number of Australians accessing Medicare-funded GP services was also up by nearly half-a-million to 20.9 million last year, while the average number of services and spend per GP patient grew to 6.9 and $344 respectively…..
Overall, the number of Medicare services increased to 384 million in 2015-16 – more than one million per day – at a total cost of $21,107,750,246 – an increase of nearly $1 billion on 2014-15 – with the overall Medicare bulk billing rate also increasing to 78.2 per cent in 2015-16 from 77.6 per cent the year before.

I suspect that  a number of government MPs will be making appointments with their local chiropractor after repeating this spectacular backflip.

Monday, 11 July 2016

CSIRO implements Abbott-Turnbull Government's climate change denial agenda?


The latest CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall (with the organisation since January 2015) clearly states in this podcast that the type of scientific investigation to be conducted in the future will be dictated by the federal government ("the customer") and implies that the Abbott-Turnbull Government is unbiased when it comes to climate change.......



Meanwhile, as Marshall trashes the international reputation of the CSIRO, a newly resurgent One Nation is all set to strengthen the hand of  climate change denialists' in Coalition ranks.....

Independent Australia, 7 July 2016:

Hanson, who leads her own One Nation party, has won election to Australia’s Senate and, as counting continues, she could bring more candidates with her.

But as well as pushing xenophobia and division, the Queensland politician will also take a most extreme brand of climate science denial with her into the Senate.
As I wrote on The Guardian, Hanson’s party has been taking cues on climate science from one of the country’s most enthusiastic and relentless pushers of climate science denial, former coal miner Malcolm Roberts.

Roberts is the volunteer project leader of the Galileo Movement, a Queensland-based project launched in 2011 to fight laws to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
Roberts is also standing as a Senate candidate for One Nation and still has an outside chance of being elected, although Hanson is more enthusiastic about his chances than some analysts. The “wacky world view” of Roberts has since been reported by the Courier-Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald.

If you hang around the climate change issue for long enough, then at some point you’ll likely come across the extreme end of science denial and the conspiracy theories that Roberts represents.

It goes a bit like this. Humans are not causing climate change. Government-paid climate scientists and their agencies are corrupt. The United Nations is in league with international bankers to defraud the world. It’s all about control. 

That sort of stuff.

The Galileo Movement was founded in 2011 by Queensland retirees Case Smit and John Smeed.

A year earlier, the pair had organised a speaking tour for British climate science denialist Lord Christopher Monckton — a tour that attracted sponsorship from mining billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Roberts became the project manager. The group pulled together an “advisory council” that includes the likes of Fred Singer, Monckton, Pat Michaels and Richard Lindzen

The advisory group once included influential political blogger Andrew Bolt, until the News Ltd writer claimed Roberts had been spreading anti-Jewish conspiracy theories — a charge the Galileo Movement denied.

Those policies include calls for investigations into the “corruption of climate science” and the teaching of climate “scepticism” in schools.
After gaining enough votes to secure her own seat, Hanson told The Saturday Paper:
“This whole climate change is not based on empirical evidence and we are being hoodwinked. Climate change is not due to humans.”

Elsewhere, One Nation also reflects Roberts’ paranoia over United Nation’s policies to support environmentally sustainable development — known as Agenda 21. In the eyes of One Nation, Agenda 21 morphs into a sinister control program leaving “no person outside of its reach.”

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Former Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey's 'gift' to all property owners across the nation



The Australian, 19 May 2016:
The current mess was created when former treasurer Joe Hockey caved into pressures to curb Chinese investment in Australian residential property in 2015. In the process, the treasurer was convinced by the Australian Taxation Office to widen the net to cover local residents.
Parliament was being bombarded with tax legislation at the time and the Canberra politicians did not pick up what the ATO had done.
So, fasten your seats belts for a horror commentary.
I was alerted to the position by one of Australia’s top commercial/tax barristers, John Fickling of WA. I am using many of Fickling’s words in describing what is about to happen.
If you purchase a property worth $2m or more on or after July 1 2016, you will be required to withhold 10 per cent of the purchase price and remit it to the ATO UNLESS the vendor is able to provide a special purpose tax resident’s “clearance certificate” from the ATO. It does not matter if the vendors were born in Australia and have lived all their lives in Australia — unless they have that clearance certificate, they are classed as a foreigner and the buyer must send 10 per cent of the purchase price to the tax office.
In case you think I’m kidding, read the ATO’s exact words: “A vendor who sells the following assets is also a relevant foreign resident, even if they are an Australian resident for other tax purposes.
The definition of property is very wide and includes leaseholds but does not include stock exchange investments. A purchaser who does not receive a “clearance certificate” from the vendor and does not send 10 per cent of the purchase price off to the ATO will still be liable to pay that 10 per cent to the ATO plus, almost certainly, will have to pay severe additional penalties and interest. The economics of buying the property will be severely damaged.
Fickling says all real estate agents selling $2m plus properties should be considering how this new regime will impact on their business and what will be the contractual consequences under the different scenarios that could play out.
For example, banks and other financiers may be affected where their secured debt exceeds 90 per cent of the value of the selling price. In a situation where the owner is being forced to sell, the banks will be better to take possession and sell themselves rather than being caught in the “tax clearance” delays.
To be fair, in the vast majority of cases local resident vendors will have no problem obtaining a “clearance certificate”.
However, for locals it might increase their risk of a tax audit and there are clear hazards for property sellers who:
Have not filed tax returns for many years;
Have filed tax returns, which would indicate they could not afford such a property;
Are selling their residential house at the same time as their neighbours to a single developer, which may give rise to a profit making scheme (such that the principal residence capital gains tax exemption may not apply to the value uplift generated by selling the properties together); or
Where the ATO has gathered information that indicates the vendor is in the business of developing property, which means that the principal residence capital gains tax exemption may not apply.
Fickling says in extreme cases action could potentially be taken by the ATO prior to the sale, to freeze the transaction.
Those who see any of the above as dangers might consider selling in a hurry (before July 1), so there might be some property bargains for buyers in coming weeks.
It’s also important to note that the $2m is “hard-coded” into the legislation, so, as property prices increase, more vendors will be caught. Over time, the ATO may shift their audit target identification processes to $2m-plus property vendors and away from other areas.
Additionally, if the vendor has a tax debt, the application for a “clearance certificate” may in some circumstances involve the ATO seeking to recover some or all of that tax debt from the purchaser by way of a garnishee notice.
At this point, it is worth noting that we are giving the Australian Taxation Office another weapon to recover tax legitimately owed and that is a good thing for society.
The great danger is the complexity created and that currently the tax office is badly run and is operating outside the law in key small business areas. It knows it can’t be challenged because of the cost of court cases.
Meanwhile, the legislation is yet another blow being aimed at Chinese and other Asian investors in property. These blows have come separately and each one has had reasonable motivations. But, in combination, they could inflict severe damage to the apartment and other parts of the residential property market.
Chinese and other Asian investors face a Hobson’s choice. They will not enjoy getting a tax clearance but nor will they appreciate the buyer of their property taking 10 per cent off the purchase price.
And if the tax office treats locals illegally, what might they do to foreigners?
Australia desperately needs greater independent supervision of the tax office.

In case readers imagine that high property prices are confined to large metropolitan areas a quick look at realestate.com.au will dispel that view – within the NSW Northern Rivers there are currently 7 properties in Yamba and environs with a sale value of $2 million and over, 4 in the Grafton area, 6 in Kyogle, 9 in the Lismore region, 35 in the Ballina district, 78 in the Byron Bay greater region and 46 in the Tweed local government area.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Federal Election 2016: Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and housing affordability


On 4 May 2016 this on-air exchange occurred between ABC 774 Radio presenter Jon Faine and Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull:

JON FAINE" Yeh but my question was specifically about the intergenerational aspects of it. It’s  [negative gearing] creating conflict with effectively the kids of your and my generation, who can't get into the market and they're saying oh for goodness sake you baby boomers, you just want everything and you're locking us out.”

MALCOLM TURNBULL"Are your kids locked out of the housing market?"

JON FAINE"Yes"

MALCOLM TRUNBULL"Well you should shell out for them, you should support them, a wealthy man like you"

JON FAINE"That's what they say" [laughing]

MALCOLM TURNBULL"Exactly. There you go. See you've got the solution in your own hands”

JON FAINE: “That’s hardly national policy”

MALCOLM TURNBULLYou can provide a bit of inter-generational equity in the Faine family"

There is a reason why Turnbull can be so casually dismissive of concerns about home ownership and housing affordability and, it can be found in his privileged background.


Title records show that Mr Turnbull was a law student at Sydney University when he spent $17,000 on a worker’s semi on Newtown’s Wells Street. At the time he was far from a struggling student kicking around the backstreets of the inner west. He was already a Point Piper resident, with corporate records showing he lived in the Longworth Avenue apartment owned by his late father, hotel broker Bruce Turnbull.
That Newtown investment property was likely Mr Turnbull’s first windfall from the Sydney property market. He sold it in 1981 for $68,000, quadrupling in value over the three years.
The year after his Newtown purchase title records show the Rhodes scholar (or “student” according to the property transfer) bought a terrace on Redfern’s Great
Long before Malcolm Turnbull ascended to the highest political office in the country and took the keys to his official Sydney residence Kirribilli House, he had already amassed a fortune – much of it from Sydney’s property market.
The 29th prime minister has come a long way from his 1978 first-home purchase in Newtown, to his $50 million-plus trophy waterfront home in Point Piper.

Privately educated Malcolm Turnbull was 23 or 24 years old, son of a successful property speculator and a recent university graduate, when he purchased his first property in 1978.

By the end of 1982 this now married practicing lawyer was a member of the Liberal Party, had inherited an est. $2 million in assets, become a grazier and acquired a second investment property – all the while residing in a Point Piper flat owned by his father.

Five years later he was an investment banker at Whitlam Turnbull & Co. Ltd.

By the time he entered parliament as the Member for Wentworth in 2004 he was reputedly worth $133 million.

Turnbull’s fortune continues to grow.

This is a man who has never known Struggle Street.