Just When You Thought It Could Not Get Worse

I would like to acknowledge the traditional idiots that cause me to write, the Political People of the Canberra Parliament Nation, and the profligates past and present who will lead us to serfdom.

I would especially like to acknowledge the Hon Christoper Pyne today as the leading proponent of the Labor Party and Labor policies in Australia.

Just when you thought it could not get worse, out comes Commonwealth Treasurer in waiting, the Hon. Chris Bowen giving a speech on The Case For Gender Equality.

The way the political class bang on, you would think there is actual evidence of gender inequality in the work force. You would think that if they had more than anecdotes and misleading numbers, it would be presented every day and every where.

Let’s just review the case here. Apparently, it is claimed that women earn less than men. But this claim is based on data that does not account for what the actual jobs are or whether the jobs are part time or full time.  Total male income divided by the number of males and total female income divided by the number of females.

By the way, where are alleged statistics on pay disparities for transgender and intersex workers relative to male and female? Should there be a strategy for that?  Come on gender social justice warriors.  Check your privilege!

But assuming that pickle away, should a female school teacher earn the same as a male doctor? Perhaps in the Soviet Union or in an Rhiannonesque nirvana. But at the moment, our “free-ish” society has deemed otherwise.  Is that fair? I will leave it others to make such assessments.  But please provide prior notice if this is to be corrected so that we can sell up and move.

As “evidence”, Mr Bowen presents the Workplace Gender Equality Agency scorecard which apparently shows that:

full time working women earn around $27,000 less per annum than the average full time male, with the salary difference rising to $94,000 at the top levels of management.

But this is not evidence.  There is no evidence that a male doctor with 10 years experience earns 23% more than a female doctor with 10 years experience. No data. Nil. Nada.

There is similarly no evidence that a male school teacher with 10 years experience earns more than a female teacher with 10 years experience. When males and females are compared on a like for like basis, you know like in Labor folklore where an equal day’s work get’s an equal day’s pay, there is negligible difference in pay.  Adjust for qualification, experience, continuity of services and hours worked and there is no story.

Do you know how I know this. It’s not because I have data to support me, but rather those advocating for policies, have failed to produce such data suggesting it does not exist.  And data presented is silent on these important nuances. Usually, it is those advocating for a change who need to present their case for change and there seems to have been no case made.

The Treasurer in waiting (thanks Pyney), has stated that:

… that progress in closing the gender pay gap in Australia is far too slow.

The gender pay gap not only robs women of a reasonable reward for effort, but compounds through life leaving women without adequate retirement income.

Perhaps he is right. Perhaps he is wrong. But you think he would offer something to support his cased rather than anecdotal dogma and misleading numbers.  But hey. This is government in Australia. Who needs facts, who needs evidence. We need fairness or the perception of fairness (thanks also Tax-Me-ScoMo).

Labor policy seems to be that to ensure that wages are no longer linked to productivity or performance but rather to sub-waste line anatomy.

Round of applause please everyone.

But not satisfied in mismanaging themselves and the national economy, these people (pointing to you also Queensland-George) want to tell private business how to govern themselves.

When referring to ASX Listed Companies, the Treasurer in waiting said:

If not enough progress is made in the next couple of years to get more suitably qualified women on boards, quotas should be considered by the Federal Government.

There you go. Apparently shareholders and investor are too stupid to work out their governance arrangements themselves. It requires the wisdom and judgement of Canberra to right the ship.  The people who brought you pink bats, school halls, French subs and $900 cheques want to tell private business how best to organise and manage.

Is there anything or anywhere left that is safe from these people? Is there any corner of our lives that these people are not prepared to meddle?  Is it not enough to tax us to death.  Do you really have to destroy our potential to earn livelihoods also?

On behalf of grateful nation, I move to thank the Liberal Party of Australia (current edition) for creating the conditions to permit what will be the most radical and leftward government this country will have seen. Forget Rudd and Gillard. What is to come will be the cherry on top.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Never interfere

Napoleon Bonaparte was known to have said:

Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Napoleon was considered a great leader and tactician, but the modern day user of his strategy, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, seems neither.

Why should the Labor party announce policy or be held to account for its folly when you have the Liberal Party of Australia; a collection of people more interested in folly and self aggrandisement than governing.

The Minister for Profligacy and Policy Failure, the Hon. Christopher Maurice Pyne MP is the gift that just keeps on giving. This is the man who said in 2013 before the election:

You can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school.

Damned right! It was as if he knew that Liberal Party policy will replicate Labor Party policy.  Allow me to paraphrase him from his recent speech at Star City:

You can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same policies.

Well why go for the home brand when the authentic Labor branded item comes at the same price with high debt, big government and high taxes.

Well Mr Fix-it Pyne, election winning machine man that you are, congratulations. Not only have let the opposition off the political hook, again, you have managed to also displace the imploding greens from the news.  Take a bow.  You’ve fixed in now.

Mr Pyne represents all that is wrong with current politics in Australia. He entered parliament in 1993 at the ripe age of 25 having been a staffer for The Hon Amanda Vanstone and after, spending perhaps 2 years as a solicitor. He has been in political office for nearly half his life and a politician (elected and staffer) for more than half his life.

What has he achieved in his 24 years of political office? This is not a rhetorical question. Does anyone know?  Please post a comment.

And looking at his Wikipedia page, which is probably maintained by a staffer, his photo shows him not with an Australian flag, but with a US flag in the background. He clearly has his priorities right.

But don’t fret.  When he and his cohorts lead the Coalition government over the electoral cliff, he’ll be fine.  Off into the sunset with his pre-2005 defined benefit pension and still in his early 50s.  Hey maybe even an ambassadorship somewhere in addition.

Posted in Uncategorized | 41 Comments

The beginning of the end

Churchill famously said during a lunch (what else?) at Mansion House on 10 November 1942

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

For the Coalition Government it is almost certainly the beginning of the end. When a party adopts the policies of the Opposition and (as shown in the clip from Christopher Pyne) there is celebration about victory over other members of the same political party the duration of the Government can be measured in months not years.

Pyne is acting as some crazed person finding a room full of jewels and gold in a desert but with a dwindling supply of water.

What is the use of power if one cannot or will not exercise it?

Expect Prime Minister Shorten – and all that means – by Christmas 2017.

We have the triumph of the mediocre. The more we have paid our politicians, public servants and staff, the worse they have been for the country. The argument that one pays peanuts and gets monkeys is false. Australian politicians are amongst the highest paid in the world – most enjoy by far the highest remuneration in their careers. This has created a class of professional politician who might be more highly qualified (in formal university degrees) but have less wisdom, intelligence and wit then their ancestors. The same seems to apply in the public service generally – as they mouth meaningless platitudes, get all worked about the latest fashion but have forget about the serving the public part of the job description. Yes, all highly qualified (mainly arts degrees, but others like international relations, journalism, gender studies, etc) but absolutely lacking any common sense and without any interest in the values which have defined the west for centuries.

I like Adam Creighton’s idea: pay those on the Government payroll a fixed multiple of net (after tax) average wages. That would better align the incentives of those governing with those who fund government. A backbencher could get 1.1 times the average wage, a minister 1.5 times the average wage and so on.

They would then concentrate on policies which increase productivity (and hence wages) while reducing the size of government and the amount of taxation.

Posted in Uncategorized | 90 Comments

Q&A Forum: June 26, 2017

Posted in Open Forum | 245 Comments

The problem with Cory

Andrew Bolt had a very good interview with Cory Bernardi tonight. It reminded me that I had intended to share some thoughts on his recent appearance at the Friedman conference.

Bernardi is a professional politician and he speaks well. He is thoughtful and has well developed views, and can justify the positions he takes. I more or less agreed with all his comments on economic policy. As it was a classical liberal conference he didn’t talk much about social policy until he was asked.

Before he got to that stage, however, he made the point (several times) that he thinks that people can and should work together in those areas where they agree but not in those areas where they don’t agree. Okay – that is fine and all good.

The problem comes in when we get to talk about those areas where we don’t just not agree, but actively disagree. Those areas are in social policy. For example, he is opposed to gay marriage. For many people, this isn’t an issue of indifference that can be ignored while we fight the good fight on other fronts. Another example is his crusade (dare I say jihad?) against halal certification. This obsession with how other people choose to live their lives is a problem that cannot be swept away under the ‘we’re not going to agree on every issue so let’s just work together where we do agree’ carpet.

So yes – there is much to like about Cory, there is also lots to dislike.

Posted in Politics | 216 Comments

Henry, tell us what you really think about the Finkel Report

Chase up Henry Ergas in The Australian today. He seems to have a bee in his bonnet about something.

At the same time, the report seems to assume, in stark contrast to reality, that the technology of coal-fired generation is at a standstill, so compounding the flaws in its assessment.

The unsurprising result is that the modelling produces estimates that verge on being incomprehensible. In particular, when the review’s preferred option is implemented, costs rise but prices fall. The most likely explanation is that the subsidies built into the clean energy target distort generators’ bidding behaviour, undermining the market’s long-run viability; but the report does not even attempt to explain those outcomes or assess their implications….

Life, said Kierkegaard, is lived forward but understood backward. Once the dust settles, it will be clear that we are doing to electricity what was done to telecommunications: destroying the market and making renationalisation inevitable. The only question left is when and at what cost.

UPDATE. And there is more, especially for people who love regulator and governments which support them.

There is, however, one finding the report gets right: it is ill-considered political interventions that have caused Australia’s energy crisis.
That makes it all the more ¬unfortunate that the government, as part of the energy package it ¬released last week, announced that it has unilaterally decided to abolish merits review of decisions by the energy regulator.

The government’s announcement is extraordinary: by claiming that the courts, when they overturned the regulator, repeatedly “ruled against consumers”, it is accusing Federal Court judges of breaching the law, as the statute under which the appeals were heard specifically prohibits any decision contrary to consumer interests.

It is made even more extraordinary by the fact that the government is simply walking away from an agreement it reached merely two months ago with the states, establishing a joint process to determine the future of merits review.
And by setting regulators above the law, the abolition of merits review flouts every principle the Liberal Party stands for. There are, after all, good reasons the courts overturned regulators’ decisions: those decisions were incorrect. But instead of addressing the causes of poor regulatory decision-making, the government has chosen to give the regulators carte blanche.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy | 15 Comments

See Climate Hustle and dine

With the Five Dock Climate Realists.

July 18- Sydney
Club Five Dock
Doors open at 7:00 PM

See the documentary, Climate Hustle, followed by a Q and A session with the director Craig Rucker and film host and publisher of ClimateDepot.com Marc Morano.

The film features interviews and comments from scientists and experts including several who were former global warming believers or came from the political Left but were compelled to speak out after re-examining the evidence.

These include Dr. Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack of the University of Pennsylvania; Former Greenpeace co-founder and ecologist Patrick Moore; UN IPCC lead author and economist Dr. Richard Tol of the Netherlands; and the late Dr. Bob Carter of James Cook University.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy | 10 Comments

Monday Forum: June 26, 2017

Posted in Open Forum | 1,546 Comments

What ScoMo stands for: higher taxes

In yet more evidence that ScoMo has lost the plot, he has announced the imposition of GST on low value items bought from overseas even though the bureaucrats can’t figure out how this will work and the start date is 1 JULY 2018.  That’s right, over twelve months away.  My advice would be stay quiet on this until the details are worked out.

As Sinc has pointed out, this is just a tax grab with no merit.  After all, the overseas suppliers are unable to access any input credits and so this tax is just 10 per cent retail tax.

The Productivity Commission had warned against its imposition, citing in part the high transactions costs of collecting the tax. Australia Post is unwilling as are other carriers.

But why waste an opportunity when ScoMo can do the party’s base in the eye yet again.

Delivering a fairer playing field for Australian businesses

Turnbull Government (sic) laws will level the playing field for Australian businesses by applying the GST to goods costing $1,000 or less supplied from overshore to Australian consumers from 1 July 2018, following passage of legislation in the Parliament today.

The Australian Government (sic) has delivered a win for Australian retailers, by removing the unfair advantage foreign businesses had with respect to GST. A level playing field will help Australian businesses grow and create more jobs and opportunities.

Using a vendor collection model, the law will require overseas suppliers and online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay with an Australian GST turnover of $75,000 or more to account for GST on sales of low value goods to consumers in Australia.

This start date strikes a balance between giving additional time for industry participants to make the system changes to implement the measure, and not prolong the current uneven GST treatment faced by domestic retailers.

Removing a distortionary tax advantage to foreign businesses will restore integrity to Australia’s tax system to close down loopholes and prevent tax avoidance.

The legislation complements other tax integrity measure of the Turnbull Government to ensure foreign businesses pay the right amount of Australian tax such as the Diverted Profits Tax and applying GST to digital goods and services purchased from offshore websites.

The GST collected from this measure will go to States and Territories to fund essential services.  The States and Territories have been strong supporters of this measure (no kidding), and unanimously approved the vendor collection model in this Bill.

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that Australia’s taxes are working as intended and individuals and companies pay their fair share of tax.

Posted in Uncategorized | 76 Comments

Draining the sewer

This is such a frightening story and what may be the most frightening part is that almost no one is going to be frightened by it. From The New York Post. Remember the repulsive story about Trump in Russia that was supposedly “leaked” by a British agent? Turns out the entire story was concocted by a Democrat Party research firm but partly funded by the FBI.

The FBI received a copy of the Democrat-funded dossier in August, during the heat of the campaign, and is said to have contracted in October to pay Steele $50,000 to help corroborate the dirt on Trump — a relationship that “raises substantial questions about the independence” of the bureau in investigating Trump, warned Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

“Raises substantial questions” is so understating the issue that you can see the fear about the nature of American governance if it is true, and there is every reason to believe it is. Everything you think about our way of life and our political leaders and our personal freedoms would have to be re-written from the ground up. Draining the sewer becomes more formidable every day.

Posted in American politics, Politics | 24 Comments