Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Tweet of the Week

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Australian Tax Office Excess Franking Credits: “When people next receive their dividend refund cheque from the government, remember the government has had to borrow that money”

The Australian Government's public debt stood at an estimated $541.73 billion and growing on 8 February 2019.

On 8 February 2019 in Sydney economist Stephen Koukoulas made a short three minute statement before the House of Representatives Economics Committee ‘inquiry’ into the Labor Federal Opposition’s policy to eliminate excess franking credits.

Excess franking credits are refundable to a shareholder who receives a dividend but has no tax liability to use those franking credits against. 

It is free money - money for jam - granted to shareholders for the last eighteen years under a Liberal-Nationals federal government tax policy.

By 30 June 2015 these excess franking credit refunds were costing the federal government an est. $2.54 billion annually and, are currently estimated to be costing the Australian Government well in excess of $5.9 billion each year.

Below are the notes Koukoulas used for that oral Statement which boiled down to two issues, the cost to the budget and how the policy is distorting investment decisions from investors and lazy financial planners.


Tax policy is always riddled with trade offs.

No government wants to tax anyone more than it needs to, nor should it impose a tax regime that is unfair if it means cuts to services, a heavy tax impost on others in the community or adds unnecessarily to the budget deficit and government debt.

Labor’s policy on refundable franking credits will impact the budget bottom line by more than $5 billion a year.

Without the change, this $5 billion, or $100 million a week, means less money is available for the government to provide health care, roads, education, disability assistance and defence.

It is disconcerting that every dollar of refundable franking credits is currently borrowed by the government.

When people next receive their dividend refund cheque from the government, remember the government has had to borrow that money:

… every cent of it.

… this adds to government debt that will have to be repaid one day in the future by our children and our grandchildren.

I think this is unfair.

The policy also distorts the way we Australians invest our savings.

Many investors put money into companies that pay high, fully franked dividends regardless of the underlying strength or potential of that business.

Look at Telstra. The banks.

It is blind, uneducated and lazy investing recommended by lazy financial planners.

It is only the dividend, not the underlying strength of the business, that guides the investment decision.

This is one reason why the Australian stock market is still 15 per cent below the 2007 peak, while the US, German and Canadian stock markets are substantially higher.

None of these countries have refundable franking credits.

Investors in those countries provide finance to dynamic growth companies and strong businesses.

In Australia, such companies are often shunned by investors because they pay no or low dividends.

Investors instead place their money with what are average firms that structure their businesses according to tax policy distortions.

Imagine if the ASX was at 10,000 points, not the 6,000 point level prevailing today?

I suspect the concerns about dividend refunds would be trivial.

The Australian tax distortions mean that local entrepreneurial firms have less access to local capital.

The money is instead tied up in dinosaur companies paying high dividends.

It is one reason why so many of the 21st century technology and start up firms in Australia head overseas to pursue their business models.
This costs the Australian economy growth and jobs.

With the policy change on refundable franking credits, there will be a greater incentive to invest in companies and other assets for reasons of growth and entrepreneurial flair…

… which will be a positive for the economy and jobs …

… and it will be good for the long term future of Australia.

Thank you

Monday, 11 February 2019

Liberals taking yet another leaf out of Donald Trump's election campaign play book

During the 2016 US presidential election campaign the Internet was littered with pressure groups which were not who they said they were and whose aims were not those they publicly stated.

Donald Trump and/or his supporters appeared to be behind many of these groups.

It seems the Liberal Party is also forming these faux pressure groups ahead of the 2019 federal election campaign in Australia.......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 February 2019:

A lobby group masquerading as a grassroots organisation of disgruntled retirees is actually a network of professional lobbyists involved in the trucking industry and the Liberal Party, with a history of campaigning against Labor government policies.

Defenders of Self-Funded Retirees says it was formed by "hard-working Australians who reject Labor's proposal to impose double taxation and to demonise us". 

However, the association is managed by Liberal Party member and ACT Senate candidate Robert Gunning, along with a number of Mr Gunning's friends from the trucking lobby.

The network is one of a number of interest groups set up after Labor announced its plan to abolish refundable franking credits, and has contributed heavily to Liberal MP Tim Wilson's controversial parliamentary inquiry into Labor's policy.

It also campaigned against Labor in the Longman byelection and aims to marshal an army of volunteers for the looming federal election, in which the dividend imputation policy is set to be a major battleground.

Company records show Defenders of Self-Funded Retirees Ltd is owned by Canberra-based lobbyist Andrew Higginson, Mr Gunning's Gold Coast friend Robert "Bob" Harrison and a man called John Richard Evans.

Mr Gunning is a lifelong trucking industry lobbyist who headed the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association and the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association. He has said his proudest achievement was the abolition of Labor's Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal…..

Mr Gunning quit the LBCA to contest the 2016 election for the Liberals against Andrew Leigh in the Canberra seat of Fenner, one of the safest Labor electorates in the country. His role in Defenders of Self-Funded Retirees was revealed because his name appears beside the posts on the group's Facebook page.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Chickens coming home to roost for Australian Treasurer and former banker Josh Frydenberg

When a Liberal Treasurer and former banker meets with a royal commissioner whose banking and finance inquiry he (along with the rest of the Turnbull-Morrison Government) tried to nobble.................

The Sydney Morning, 1 February 2019:

It’s known, in the game, as a picture opportunity.

Politician on the make meets constituent/kiddie/moviestar/public figure, hands are grasped, big smiles, cameras whir, flashes pop and the happy little circus moves on.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work so well. The kiddie bursts into tears. Sometimes, it’s a bust. The movie star’s smile is so radiant the politician may as well have stayed in bed.

And then there’s the day the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, met the royal commissioner, Kenneth Hayne.

The very air took on a chill so deep it might have blown in from the Arctic vortex currently turning the northern hemisphere to ice.

"A handshake or something...?" implored a photographer, vainly hoping to open a crack in the glacial atmosphere.

Commissioner Hayne, fresh from months assailed by evidence of the wicked doings of gangsters in suits and giving more than a few of them a doing-over from the bench, wasn’t in a handshaking sort of mood. Or any sort of ice-breaking mood at all.

As Frydenberg, the Treasurer of Australia, sought desperately to maintain a smile that gradually devolved into a hideous rictus, Justice Hayne studied a spot in the air that might have been in a universe far, far away, where he appeared to wish he might be transported.

His hands remained determinedly resting, jiggling slightly, on the Treasurer’s desk. Not a word passed his lips, nor the hint of a smile.

The occasion was the official hand-over of Justice Hayne’s voluminous findings on the behaviour of Australia’s financial sector.

Frydenberg had needed the photo opportunity to go well.

Why, the government he serves had twisted itself in knots trying to avoid calling a royal commission into the banks before being dragged screaming to it. Here was the moment to put that all behind him.

Justice Hayne wasn’t cooperating.

The awkward moment stretched. And stretched. The volumes of the final Hayne report sat as untouched. They might have been hand grenades…..

What the Royal Commissioner found.......

This Final Report seeks to take what has been learned in respect of each part of the financial services industry that has been examined and identify:

• issues;
• causes; and
• responses and recommendations.

1.1 Four observations

Those analyses, taken together, will reveal the importance of four observations about what has been shown by the Commission’s work: the connection between conduct and reward; the asymmetry of power and information between financial services entities and their customers; the effect of conflicts between duty and interest; and holding entities to account.

Each of those observations should be explained.

First, in almost every case, the conduct in issue was driven not only by the relevant entity’s pursuit of profit but also by individuals’ pursuit of gain, whether in the form of remuneration for the individual or profit for the individual’s business. Providing a service to customers was relegated to second place. Sales became all important. Those who dealt with customers became sellers. And the confusion of roles extended well beyond front line service staff. Advisers became sellers and sellers became advisers.

The conduct identified and condemned in this Final Report and in the Interim Report can and should be examined by reference to how the person doing the relevant acts, or failing to do what should have been done, was rewarded for the conduct…..

Second, entities and individuals acted in the ways they did because they could. Entities set the terms on which they would deal, consumers often had little detailed knowledge or understanding of the transaction and consumers had next to no power to negotiate the terms. At most, a consumer could choose from an array of products offered by an entity, or by that entity and others, and the consumer was often not able to make a well-informed choice between them. There was a marked imbalance of power and knowledge between those providing the product or service and those acquiring it.

Third, consumers often dealt with a financial services entity through an intermediary. The client might assume that the person standing between the client and the entity that would provide a financial service or product acted for the client and in the client’s interests. But, in many cases, the intermediary is paid by, and may act in the interests of, the provider of the service or product. Or, if the intermediary does not act for the provider, the intermediary may act only in the interests of the intermediary…..

Fourth, too often, financial services entities that broke the law were not properly held to account. Misconduct will be deterred only if entities believe that misconduct will be detected, denounced and justly punished. Misconduct, especially misconduct that yields profit, is not deterred by requiring those who are found to have done wrong to do no more than pay compensation. And wrongdoing is not denounced by issuing a media release.

The Australian community expects, and is entitled to expect, that if an entity breaks the law and causes damage to customers, it will compensate those affected customers. But the community also expects that financial services entities that break the law will be held to account. The community recognises, and the community expects its regulators to recognise, that these are two different steps: having a wrongdoer compensate those harmed is one thing; holding wrongdoers to account is another…..

1.2 Primary responsibility

There can be no doubt that the primary responsibility for misconduct in the financial services industry lies with the entities concerned and those who managed and controlled those entities: their boards and senior management. Nothing that is said in this Report should be understood as diminishing that responsibility. Everything that is said in this Report is to be understood in the light of that one undeniable fact: it is those who engaged in misconduct who are responsible for what they did and for the consequences that followed. Because it is the entities, their boards and senior executives who bear primary responsibility for what has happened, close attention must be given to their culture, their governance and their remuneration practices.

The Final Report contains 76 recommendations and the Morrison Government states that it will “take action” them all. However the number of parliamentay sitting days Prime Minister Morrison has scheduled for 2019, commencing on 12 February 2019 and thereafter for thirteen days until 30 May, rather rules out the Parliament addressing the issue for much of this year.

Volume 2 of the Final Report holds findings on the Case Studies. These studies involve the National Australia Bank (NAB) and its affiliates, the CBA Group, the AMP Group, IOOF, a subsidiary & associated entities, ANZ Bank, Suncorp, Q Super and Hostplus Superannuation Fund.

The Royal Commissioner made 24 referrals to the regulators ASIC and APRA to take action over misconduct and all but one of the major banks were named in referrals.

On 4 February 2019 when Frydenberg asked by mainstream media why the Coalition Government had not addressed some of these issues sooner he tried to defect blame to Labor not once but twice for not acting when it was last in office.

Unfortunately for the Treasurer this opinion had already appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald on 28 April 2018 reminding voters of the truth:

The Coalition wasn't merely asleep at the wheel when it came to the practices being exposed at the banking royal commission: it pulled out all stops to allow some of them to continue, including attempting to circumvent the will of parliament, in an extraordinary 12-month burst of activity that began within weeks of its election.

It had inherited Labor’s Future of Financial Advice Act, legislated in 2012 but not due to take full effect until mid 2014, 10 months after the election that swept it to power.

The result of a parliamentary inquiry and years of agonising about how to protect consumers in the wake of the collapse of investment schemes including those run by Storm Financial, Timbercorp, Opes Prime, Bridgecorp, Westpoint, Trio and Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited, the law banned secret commissions and, from that point on, required financial advisers to put the interests of their clients ahead of their own.

Actually, it came into effect on July 1, 2013 during the life of the Gillard Labor government, but the Securities and Investments Commission decided to take “a facilitative compliance approach”, meaning it wouldn’t enforce it until July 1, 2014, which turned out to be after the Coalition took office.

The law banned kickbacks and commissions paid to advisers by the makers of the products they were selling, which for the dangerous products had been extraordinarily large. Advisers putting retirees into Storm Financial had been paid 6 to 7 per cent of the amount invested. Advisers putting clients into Timbercorp had been paid 10 per cent plus an ongoing fee for as long as the funds stayed there.

Labor’s law wound back, but did not completely eliminate, the ability of banks to reward their staff for recommending the banks’ own products, and it only applied prospectively. Existing kickbacks could remain but clients would have to be told how much money was being taken out of their investments each year and would have to approve.

Once every year they would be given a statement explicitly telling them how much of their funds was being siphoned off to pay their adviser. Once every two years they would be asked if they wanted it to continue. If they said "no" or said nothing (which would be the case if they were dead, or the adviser had lost contact with them) the outflow would stop.

Clients who felt they were continuing to get good service from their adviser could allow the withdrawals to continue, which might be why it so terrified the (largely bank-owned) advice industry.

Days before Christmas 2013 the Coalition outlined amendments it hoped to get through parliament. Fee disclosure statements were only to be provided to new clients. Old ones could remain in the dark. And there would be no need for clients to opt in to having money removed from their accounts, ever. And there would no longer be an overarching requirement for advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, merely steps they would have to follow, “so that advisers can be certain they have satisfied their obligations”.

As July 1 2014 approached and it looked as if the amendments wouldn’t get through parliament, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann gazetted regulations that purported to have the same effect. Parliament would have been able to disallow them when it next met, but he delayed tabling them until the last possible moment, lengthening the period of time they were in force without being tested. Then Labor trumped him by reading them out aloud in the Senate, which effectively tabled them and forced a vote. Cormann managed to get the Palmer United Party on side and keep the regulations at first, until Jackie Lambie split with Clive Palmer over the issue and left his party and voted them down.

Then, when all had been lost, the banks and financial advisers begged for more time. They have been "thrown into disarray" and wouldn’t have their systems ready. ASIC said it wouldn’t enforce the law until July 1, 2015, two years after it had been due to begin.

ASIC and Cormann had given the financial advice industry an extra two years in which to charge commissions and escape an overarching requirement to put the clients first.

Even now, all this time later, I can’t work out why Cormann tried so hard.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

NSW Chief Scientist's interim report re Independent Review of the Impact of the Bottled Water Industry on Groundwater Resources in the Northern Rivers region was due on 1 February 2019

The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is currently conducting an Independent Review of the Impactof the Bottled Water Industry on Groundwater Resources in the Northern Riversregion of NSW.

As part of the review members of the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer conducted consultation sessions in the area with stakeholders on Sunday 20 and Monday 21 January 2019.

The NSW Coalition Berejiklian Government was scheduled to receive an initial report from the Chief Scientist and Engineer on 1 February 2019.

This date, coming as it did during the period when there is a growing awareness of the ongoing ecological crisis cause by mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin water resources by federal and states governments, may explain why there has been no mention made by the NSW Government of this interim report in the media.

However, concerned communities and residents in the Northern Rivers region deserve to have this report made publicly available as soon as possible. Not conveniently hidden away until after the 23 March state election.


The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer will provide advice on sustainable groundwater extraction limits in the region, as well as advice on whether the current or proposed groundwater monitoring bores are sufficient.

Local councils have been advised to suspend approving any new applications for water mining until the report is complete in mid-2019.

Since 2017, EDO NSW has been providing advice to clients in the Tweed valley who have concerns about the way in which water bottling developments are assessed, approved and enforced.

Water bottling – the extraction, processing and bottling of groundwater for sale - is controversial, as it can compete with other water users and have adverse impacts on groundwater-dependent ecosystems. These operations also generate considerable plastic waste and the water transport tankers can impact the amenity and safety of people living in rural areas.

With bottling looking set to expand in the Tweed valley, our Legal Outreach team conducted a workshop on water regulation and enforcement in the Tweed Valley to help the community understand and participate in the regulation of water bottling operations. We also drafted several letters to the local council on the approval process for bottling facilities in order to clarify the legal standards in the local environmental plan and the scientific studies needed to support a development application for a facility.  

With our assistance, our client produced a detailed report alleging ongoing and systemic breaches of development consent conditions for four local water bottling facilities and setting out the range of enforcement options available to Council. We then met with Council and briefed Councillors on their powers and responsibilities as the regulator under law. We were able to work constructively with Council to ensure the full range of investigation and enforcement options were understood and since then Council has taken decisive steps to ensure water bottling operations in the Tweed are complying with the law.

The Chief Scientist & Engineer is expected to provide his initial report by early February 2019, with a final report to be published in mid-2019.

A Liberal prime minister reduced to begging is a dismal sight

This was the public face of Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison in 2019....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 February 2019:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has boasted of an influx of donations to the Liberal Party as Bill Shorten inches closer to power and says he's unafraid to run a negative election campaign against Labor's tax changes……

I can say quite confidently that we are well ahead on fundraising in this election. We are well ahead of where we were going into the 2016 election and I have seen that from the day I stepped into the job," he said.

"Why? Because [donors] know I'm going to fight and they know I have that record.

And this was Morrison begging behind the scenes..................

Channel 9 News, 31 January 2019:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sent letters to former members of the Liberal Party, pleading for them to rejoin ahead of the federal election.

"I wanted to write personally and encourage you to rejoin the Liberal Party."

"We need everyone who believes in our values to become energised members of our movement," he writes.

A copy of the letter which was sent out by the PM. (Supplied)

The letter was signed by Mr Morrison, who was today on the campaign trail in Brisbane, and authorised by NSW Liberal Party State Director Chris Stone.

It was a captain's pick by the Prime Minister, which sparked the resignation of the dumped locally-endorsed Liberal candidate Grant Schultz, along with a number of disillusioned Liberal Party branch members.

Monday, 4 February 2019

The Morrison Government crossed the line and was caught out

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics was charged by Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on 19 September 2018 with conducting an Inquiry into the implications of removing refundable franking credits.

The Standing Committee is composed of:

Liberal MP for Goldstein Tim Wilson (Chair)
Labor MP for Kingsford Smith Matt Thistlethwaite (Deputy Chair)
Along with committee members
Liberal MP for Brisbane Trevor Evans
Liberal MP for Mackellar Jason Falinski
Liberal MP for Hughes Craig Kelly
Liberal MP for Reid Craig Laundy
Labor MP for Freemantle Josh Wilson
Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt
And supplementary member
Labor MP for Hotham Clare O’Neil.

The Inquiry has received approximately 1,000 submissions and by 8 February 2018 will have held 11 public hearings.

To date no transcripts of those public hearings have been published, just partial lists of those giving 'evidence'.

On 31 January 2019 The Sydney Morning Herald noticed the structure of these public hearings:

With no formal witnesses scheduled for any of the 12 special economics committee hearings to be held across the country before May, Coalition MPs appear set to continue to use the meetings to rally against the Labor policy. At one recent hearing an MP went so far as to hand out Liberal Party membership forms to the audience.

The Standing Committee has issued a total of 5 media releases, 4 of which contained details of where and when Inquiry public hearings would be held.

However, this particular Standing Committee dominated as it is by Liberal Party MPs decided to go one step further.

Its Chairman began to advertise public hearings on social media by directing interested persons towards a privately owned website created in October 2018 which deliberately conceals ownership by using My Private Registration to block full details appearing on its Whois entry.

This is one such invitation on Twitter:

Now a number of people have attempted to take up this irregular invitation to register in order to obtain a seat at a public parliamentary committee hearing and found that registration could only be completed by having their name attached to an anti-removal of funding credits petition.

It should be noted that this privately-owned website carries no visible link to a privacy policy. So users of this site receive no undertakings that any personal information they divulge, such as name, gender, postal address. telephone number and address will be protected from exploitation.

One Twitter user remarking on the situation 0nn2 February 2019:

This petition text reads as follows:

Attention: Tim Wilson MP (Chair) & Committee members,

I want to formally register my opposition to scrap refundable franking credits and the attack on full tax refunds.

This policy will:

- Unfairly target retirees who have worked hard and sacrificed for their retirement.

- Unfairly hit many people on low incomes, including hundreds of thousands of retirees that receive full tax refunds and with 97% of people who receive these refunds having incomes below $87,000.

- Unfairly target retirees on low incomes who will now face double tax, while those on higher incomes will be able to reduce their tax bill by the full value of overpaid tax.

The impact of the retirement tax has not been thought through. It will directly harm my financial security. It should be abandoned.

Right at the bottom of the website’s home page is this alleged authorisation:

The placement of this authorisation appears to authorise both the website and the digital petition and, the individual doing the authorisation is Tim Wilson in his role as Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics Inquiry into the implications of removing refundable franking credits.

Under the leadership of the Member for Goldstein this parliamentary inquiry has lost what little legitimacy its Terms of Reference bestowed and it has been turned into a public manifestation of taxpayer-funded Liberal Party political campaigning against one of the Labor Opposition's current policy positions.

The political dishonesty of the Standing Committee on Economics and this blatant attempt to deceive the general public, stack the hearings with people who support the Liberal Party's position and deny registration to those that didn't, cannot be ignored.

It is my honest opinion the Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics by his actions may be guilty of contempt of parliament, and therefore may be liable to be prosecuted under the provisions of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987.

Wilson may have shrugged off comment by mainstream media, but he reacted to Twitter (and the fact that at least one person appears to have approached the Australian Parliament to express concern over the Standing Committee's actions).

Here he is alleging an error had occurred when setting up the digital petition which supposedly remained undiscovered for about three months:


An IT savvy journalist Richard Chirgwin has tweeted that the stoptheretirementtax domain is registered to BERFAWN PTY LTD, an  ATO Regulated Self-Managed Superannuation Fund first registered by ASIC in 1993. 

This super fund is possibly associated with Lawrence Gerard Mccrossin.

The Conversation, 8 February 2019:

On Monday, a page for the inquiry was added to the Australian Parliament’s website describing itself as the “the official page of the committee”. It states that submissions to the inquiry can be made via the Parliament’s submission system or by email. It also explains that “pre-registration is not required to participate” in the hearings.

The Guardian, 8 February 2019:

The fund manager Geoff Wilson has admitted to part-funding the website through which the Liberal MP Tim Wilson has coordinated opposition to Labor’s franking credit policy, while chairing an inquiry into it.

Late on Friday Geoff Wilson issued a statement clarifying his involvement in, after a growing controversy over whether the pair – who are first cousins once-removed – have inappropriately politicised the parliamentary inquiry.

On Friday Labor asked the Australian federal police to investigate whether Tim Wilson inappropriately shared electoral roll information for commercial purposes while campaigning against the opposition’s franking credit policy.

The referral was based on a Fairfax Media report that a constituent of Wilson’s received material both from the Liberal MP and from Wilson Asset Management, the funds management company chaired by Geoff Wilson, after responding to a robopoll.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Scott Morrison and his cronies want to buy your vote ahead of the May 2019 Australian federal election

Despite there being a growing urgency to invest in the full range of climate change mitigation measures, in the face of evidence that it is going to take billions of dollars to step back from the developing environmental, social and economic disaster developing in the Murray-Darling Basin, regardless of constant cost cutting in the welfare sector leading to a fall in services for older Australians and those with disabilities, while all the while failing to confront a growing public debt which now stands at est. 679.5 billion, the Morrison Lib-Nats Coalition Government intends to try and buy votes ahead of the May 2019 federal election.

Brisbane Times, 28 January 2019:

The Morrison government is now more focused on protecting its electoral chances than the nation's finances with claims it is going on a pre-poll spending spree based on a short-term boost in tax collections.

Deloitte Access Economics said in a quarterly report out on Tuesday that Scott Morrison is looking to buy back disappointed voters, with the government sitting on $9.2 billion worth of tax cuts and handouts that were included in the December mid-year budget update but not announced.

Deloitte Access partner Chris Richardson said the government had promised $16 billion in extra spending and tax cuts in the past six months, the biggest short-term spend by a government since Kevin Rudd in 2009 in the depths of the global financial crisis.

He said with the budget in a reasonable condition on the back of strong global growth and a surge in company tax profits, the Morrison government had made a decision to woo back voters with taxpayers' cash.

"Of late, the government has been busily taking decisions that add to spending and cut taxes, thereby worsening the bottom line rather than repairing it," he said.
"After all, they've got the dollars to do it, they're behind in the polls and the election is just around the corner.

"That powerful combination of motive and opportunity means that the government's focus has shifted to shoring up its electoral standing rather than shoring up the nation's finances.", 24 January 2019;

Pensioners and some families could receive one-off cash payments from the Morrison government in a pre-election sweetener.

Senior advisers are looking at two one-off payments that could be included in the April 2 budget, the Australian Financial Review reported on Thursday.

If the government decides to go ahead with the plan, the payments could be distributed before the federal election, which is due by mid-May.

The first option is a one off handout to age pensioners and the second is a cash injection for families.

It’s believed the single payments would be aimed at luring those who won’t directly benefit from the Coalition’s $144 billion personal income tax cuts being phased in over the next six years.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Scott Morrison's prime ministership and his opportunistic, jingoistic approach to Australia Day have become objects of derision

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is so desperate to create an election issue out of Australia Day and couch his absurd argument in terms of patriotism versus anti-Australian 'activists' that he and his cronies have taken to running tweets like this on social media.

Unfortunately for Morrison the advertising industry and probably the entire country have his measure and, they are laughing in his face.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Is Australian Minister for Immigration. Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs & Liberal MP for Banks David Coleman trying to stir up trouble ahead of Australia Day 2019 in the hope of gaining some nebulous political advantage?

Australian Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs & Liberal MP for Banks David Coleman, a Scott Morrison appointee, appears to want to renew the culture wars ahead of the May 2019 federal general election.

ABC News, 13 January 2013:

The Immigration Minister David Coleman has announced he will update the that governs how citizenship ceremonies are conducted, to force councils to hold them on January 26.

"Some councils say NO to Australia Day. We believe that all councils should say YES to Australia this wonderful, wonderful nation that we are so proud to be a part of."

Citizenship ceremonies will have to take place on January 26 and a dress code will also apply, in a federal government move to protect Australia Day.

The federal government has revised the citizenship code to make it compulsory for all councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, it has been reported.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told the Sunday Telegraph the government will "protect our national day and ensure it is respected".

"We believe all councils who are granted the privilege of conducting citizenship ceremonies should be required to conduct a ceremony on Australia Day," he told the newspaper.

Under changes to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code to be introduced in 2020, councils must hold a second citizenship ceremony on September 17 - Australian Citizenship Day - and new citizens will have to abide by a strict dress code that bans boardshorts and thongs.

Long before Coleman's announcement Welcome to Country had posted notice of these 
events scheduled for Saturday, 26 January 2019:

Narrm (Melbourne) – Invasion Day 2019 #AbolishAustraliaDay (Hosted by Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance WAR & BrisbaneAboriginal-SovereignEmbassy ) – Jan 26  

Sydney – Invasion Day 2019 (Hosted by Fighting In Resistance Equally FIRE) – Jan 26 

Meanjin (Brisbane) – Invasion Day 2019 (Hosted by WAR) – Jan 26 

Perth – Invasion Day Rally (Hosted by local Indigenous activists) – Jan 26 

Adelaide – Invasion Day Protest (Hosted by Occupy Adelaide) – Jan 26  

Note: Under the NSW Public Holidays Act 2010 Australia Day will be officially celebrated on Monday 28th January 2019 and the year after that on Monday 27th January 2020.