Compassion Babble And Bleeding Hearts: A Critique Of The Left

CONSERVATIVES in Australia are often decried as heartless; the do-gooders and chardonnay drunks of the Left insist they have a monopoly on that which they cherish above all else: compassion. But “compassion” is a dirty word, too often abused by its adherents in the name of less honourable agendas.

It’s a short post this morning, although I will be back a little later today; my early morning scan of The Australian has turned up one of the best critiques of “compassion” and progressivism” that I have seen in some time, and I wanted to share it with readers.

Aptly entitled “Leftist Jargon Is Village Idiocy” — and accessible here — News Limited columnist Janet Albrechtsen (herself an eternal target of left-wing bile) takes neat aim at the Left, its tactics, and its perennial hypocrisy.

Sadly, I think this sort of thing is increasingly becoming entrenched in our culture as the new normal; should this judgement ultimately prove correct it would be an amoral victory to the Left in the so-called “culture wars,” and an indictment on the type of executive, institutions and social culture we have permitted governments of the Left to create.

I know many will scream that John Howard spent 12 years in office, rolling back much of the “progress” made in the name of “compassionate, progressive” government.

My answer is simple: since the election of the Whitlam government in 1972, many traditional social standards have, by a creeping socialism and a gradual whitewash of accepted values, been replaced by a cradle-to-grave Leftist mantra that is fed into the moral food chain at every stage.

Such changes, once made, are exceedingly difficult to undo — even by a radical and driven conservative of Howard’s ilk, and by those closest to him.

It is fed to children through school curricula laced with predetermined moral defaults.

It is perpetuated in humanities and liberal arts schools in universities across the country.

It is the starting point for the “national” broadcaster at the ABC, the quality of journalism from which is heavily and disproportionately skewed leftward.

Its consequences are everywhere; a good contemporary example can be found in the steadily increasing tide of community outrage over the lenient sentencing of violent criminals, rapists and paedophiles, and the growing litany of reoffences committed by such creatures upon their premature and apparently ill-considered release from gaol.

And its hypocrisy knows no bounds; Albrechtsen’s handling of the current issue of asylum seekers, for example, is a salutary illustration of the changeable morals of “compassion” from the Left, and why no consequence ever — ever — attaches to their proponents.

I’m posting this short article — and the link to Albrechtsen’s — as a discussion point, and I will be very interested in what readers think.

Those readers of a left-wing persuasion are also welcome to rebut the Albrechtsen case or any of the points I have made, but I would ask that all comments on both sides be kept civil, reasoned and preferably to the point.

And speaking of asylum seekers — I will be posting again a little later today as I suggested at the outset; I’ve had the germs of a very radical idea on a completely different approach to this issue that I will canvass, and on that front too the feedback from readers will be of great interest indeed.

 

ALP Corruption Scandal: Purge Too Late To Merit Voter Reprieve

AS KEVIN RUDD zips around erecting facades around Labor’s worst legacies and dirtiest laundry, the filthy bomb of Labor corruption is set to detonate; to head off damning ICAC findings into the disgraced NSW branch, Rudd is engineering a purge. It is too little, too late to warrant voter sympathy.

I’ve been reading Sydney’s Daily Telegraph this morning between phone calls, and the latest fix to fool voters — and not just in NSW — is about to get underway.

Readers can access the article I’m alluding to here, and I urge everyone to read it — my remarks are going to be fairly brief and very candid, and I’m not going through the background to all of this again from scratch (I’m a bit time-constrained today).

Firstly, the positives.

Anything that clamps down on union control of anything (other than, of course, unions), or weeds faceless thugs out of our political structures, is to be welcomed.

And corruption — especially in, or adjacent to, public life — should never be tolerated, and to this end the stated intention to stamp this scourge out of the NSW ALP is also welcome.

But readers will excuse my cynicism that this is anything other than a convenient ruse to hoodwink voters into thinking Labor under Kevin Rudd is a changed beast.

For starters, the corruption scandal that has been played out in ICAC hearings had its genesis in activities undertaken by disgraced Labor figures during the period Labor spent in state government in NSW — some of which overlapped with Rudd’s first stint in office.

Moreover, Labor — in NSW and elsewhere — has known for a very long time that the misconduct of the relatively small number of rotten apples in its barrel would stain the party, and bring to it disgrace and shame.

It has had ample time to address these issues, and opted to do nothing.

Indeed, that misconduct was a contributor to the massive electoral defeat Labor suffered in NSW in 2011.

The point, very simply, is that Rudd (and other senior figures) have now had years to do something about Labor corruption, and the fact the measures Rudd has announced come on the eve of a federal election amounts to little more than a stunt.

It is certainly commendable — but by no means exceptional, judged by ordinary decent standards and common expectations — that NSW Labor is to take “a zero tolerance approach to corruption.”

Yet it raises one very salient question.

Why, if the ALP under Rudd is so hellbent on purging itself of institutionalised corruption and weeding the perpetrators from its ranks, are the measures outlined in the report I have linked to not being rolled out across the Labor Party nationally, and in all states?

An ounce of prevention, after all…

Is a “zero tolerance of corruption” only indicated when the whole thing blows up in your face?

Or are such lofty standards and tough talk only wheeled out when confronted with a difficult federal election campaign?

A cleanup — and cleanout — of the NSW ALP is long overdue and well and truly justified, and this column certainly has no quibble on that point.

But these “reforms,” cynically wheeled out in a brazen attempt to mitigate the extreme gravity of an official anti-corruption investigation’s findings and to curry favour with lost Labor voters, should be properly seen for what they are.

Like everything else Rudd has announced in the past 33 days, this is just another stunt.

And the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Labor Party — in seeking to win votes off its own corruption scandal by attempting to be seen as fixing its own festering mess — deserves the electoral kicking such a scandal, in ordinary circumstances, would rightly await whichever party was responsible for it.

 

After A Month Of Rudd, What’s The State Of Play?

IT’S HARD in some ways to believe, but barely a month has passed since Kevin Rudd “resumed” the ALP leadership — and the Prime Ministership — in a desperate roll of the dice by Labor MPs to stave off electoral Armageddon under Julia Gillard. Has the move worked, and will it prove worth it?

A few weeks prior to the leadership coup that deposed the hopeless, hapless Gillard, I wrote an article in this column for a little crystal ball gazing on what would likely ensue if Rudd restored to the job he craves and prizes like nothing else: the Prime Ministership.

The article can be accessed here for those who either haven’t read it, or want to keep score.

I’ve reviewed it as well this morning and I have to say my broad view is that nothing has changed, and that I see very little to revise the calls I made in that opinion piece.

Certainly, the immediate and steep spike in the ALP’s opinion numbers has materialised, bang on cue; I don’t think there is anyone who denies that at this precise moment any federal election held over the coming weekend would be too close to confidently call.

But that’s the point: it won’t be held this weekend.

And I think therein lies perhaps the single greatest mistake Rudd has made thus far, although there have been others that we will come back to.

Shortly after his return, I wrote that Rudd should have had written advice to the Governor-General advising a dissolution of Parliament and a 3 August election with him the day he went to Yarralumla House to be sworn back in as Prime Ministership.

I felt — and I still do — that the longer Rudd left it until polling day, the slimmer his already poor prospects of re-election would be, as the “honeymoon” effect wore off and people began to remember what he was really like by the time he was dumped for Gillard.

The exodus of a bevy of ministers from the government was expected; Rudd handled this well by waiting until the flow of resignations had ended. The calibre of some of the replacements is dubious in the extreme, but I’ve resisted the temptation to start ripping into people either too inexperienced or too inept to perform in high office simply because I don’t expect them to hold those offices — or government — by year’s end.

So in that sense, the quitting ministers probably haven’t hurt Rudd in the way that I thought they might.

The delay of an election beyond 3 August, however, is another matter.

Just as the polls have rocketed Labor’s way, in relative terms, they have also now plateaued; a point the difference either way from now onwards will leave the current situation — averaged across the reputable polls as a 51-49 lead to the Coalition after preferences — more or less unchanged.

I think Rudd has been very poorly advised (sorry Bruce); not only is 3 August gone but by the end of the day today so too will be every other available date for an August election.

It makes polling day six weeks away at least.

The problem here is that the longer Rudd is off the leash and out and about, the greater his propensity to hurt himself and — in the process — the ALP generally.

His announcement of changes to the way Labor is to select its federal parliamentary leaders would be laughable under ordinary circumstances; those who know the beast well also know such proposals must first make it through an ALP National Conference (where unions have 50% of the votes) before they are adopted.

An election win makes no guarantee the changes Rudd proposes will ever occur; we will come back to this point a little later on.

The thing is, though, that the Rudd pitch on these matters was aimed squarely at those voters who polls say like Rudd personally but were ready to desert the ALP in historic and record numbers, and who know little or nothing of the ALP and the way its internal machinations work.

(For the record, the next ALP National Conference isn’t due until almost a year after the election, and there is no precedent for holding one in the meantime).

It was an exercise in spin, and — if you like — an enterprise built on the perceived stupidity of voters, whom Rudd and his cabal gambled would have little interest in the functionalities or otherwise of the proposal, let alone the inner workings of their party.

But this paled in comparison to the grandiose announcement that he would “axe” the carbon tax, an initiative that provided the first real glimpse of an unchanged Rudd who has learnt nothing from his failed stint as PM between 2007 and 2010.

Supposedly paid for by a crackdown on the Fringe Benefits Tax treatment of passenger vehicles, the direct consequence of the announcement was to inflict a killer hit on the motor vehicle leasing industry, and one which may yet reverberate in the direction of car manufacturers, driving them out of business and shutting down the industry as a whole.

To this end, Holden will get the $200 million it is seeking to keep it here until 2022; Rudd’s government has no political alternative to paying it in light of the FBT fiasco.

But this should not be in any way interpreted as a guarantee: only last year, Holden extracted $275 million from the government under Gillard as a “guarantee” it would continue to build cars in Australia until 2022 — the same timeframe attached to the latest handout it is seeking for mostly the same reasons.

And on the issue of cheaper energy bills for consumers, Rudd repeatedly proved unable yesterday in an interview with Andrew Bolt to guarantee that if the European carbon price — to which Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme is to be linked — rose steeply, Australian consumers would not be far worse off.

And another, politically riskier, look at the unreconstructed Rudd came ten days ago, when his “PNG Solution” to the perennial problem of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat was released.

This plan already looks like it’s finished before it is even started, with facilities on Manus Island likely to be overrun with greater numbers of asylum seekers than it is planned to cater for in the medium term within days.

Ominously, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has already indicated that few (if any) asylum seekers are likely to be permanently resettled in his country as a result of Rudd’s policy.

So it seems asylum seekers, in the end, will remain Labor’s — and Australia’s — problem.

Of the three issues Rudd deemed he had to “fix” before going to an election, it’s this one that is likeliest to cause the most political grief.

Not only was Rudd PM when the Howard government’s Pacific Solution was abolished in 2008, he was instrumental in seeing it done — and, as viewers will have seen in the Bolt interview, Rudd stands by his government’s actions as the “fulfilment of a 2007 election commitment.”

Quite.

The point is that by making policies on the run, as Rudd has been doing, he’s no different to before; and far from “fixing” anything, he’s actually creating a gargantuan time bomb that will explode in the ALP’s face if enough time is allowed for the fuse to burn out.

So where are we at?

As I have said, the polls have levelled off; some — including Newspoll, historically the bible for Labor of the published polls — have even begun to record small ebbs in ALP support.

Rudd’s individual numbers are better than Gillard’s, and mostly quite impressive. Newspoll again, however, paints a mixed picture of Rudd’s popularity, suggesting his actual support is far shallower and more brittle than claimed by the man himself and his advocates.

Kevin Rudd does himself no favours; his mien in front of a camera is pompous and lordly, and he wastes no opportunity to insert references to the fact he is Prime Minister of this country into as many such speeches as he can, as often as possible.

Eventually, people will tire of being spoken down to by a lunatic with a God complex.

And the ubiquitous Rudd slogans — typified by the likes of Kevin ’07, the Education Revolution, and all the “Cool Britannia” claptrap that worked for Tony Blair in the UK in 1997 and adapted for Labor here ten years later — are already beginning to resurface.

But slogans are spin, and spin is meaningless.

The big variable is the leadership of the Liberal Party; my position is as it has been throughout: stand firm, don’t panic, and Rudd will do himself a terminal injury.

The Guardian carried an opinion piece on precisely this issue a week or two ago, arguing that Malcolm Turnbull would be no friend as either Liberal leader or Prime Minister to the Lefties who skew his polling numbers.

And even some of the reputable polls are now surveying respondents on their standard questions with Turnbull’s name added into the mix.

Malcolm is a good and decent man — I have to be absolutely emphatic about this and resolute on the sincerity of my comments, not least as I have had good reason to offer criticism privately and publicly in the past — but his values, whilst well-suited to his inner-Sydney electorate of Wentworth, are not reflective of those of the country as a whole.

It is an open secret that the results of polling — showing Malcolm as even more popular than Rudd with voters — are skewed by Lefties saying they would vote for him because they like him, but who in reality would never do so because they would never ultimately vote for the Liberal Party irrespective of who led it.

And Liberal leadership ructions now (in favour of anyone, and not necessarily Turnbull) would probably hand Labor a third term on a plate.

Thus far, there is no indication of any unrest within the Liberal Party over its leadership. But it is a “sleeper” — if it surfaces, and I tend to think it’s a huge “if” indeed.

I still think the most likely outcome is that the Liberal Party will win the imminent federal election.

By how much will rest on how long Rudd takes to call it; remember, he is doing himself no favours, and it’s only a matter of time before the public is onto him.

Polling day must precede that event for Rudd to win, so he’s against the clock.

I think if Rudd goes to Russia to attend the G20 meeting in early September without having first faced the electorate, it will be the final nail in his — and Labor’s — electoral coffin.

And aside from any leadership rumblings at the Liberals, there is an additional sleeper issue on a slow and unpredictable burn.

It is this: there is no guarantee Rudd will be able to reform the leadership election rules of the ALP if he wins the election.

If he loses, the proposed changes will disappear like ice in a desert.

But if he wins, there is a very real prospect he will be overthrown and replaced by Bill Shorten, and anyone who says “they’ll never do that!” should reflect that it’s been done before, it was undone only for reasons of electoral politics, and if done again Labor’s backroom stooges would reason they had three more years before they had to worry about how to win a fourth election.

A lot of what happens from here is, ironically, in the Coalition’s court; prosecute its message properly, and pin Labor’s failures — over six years — on Rudd, and it wins, and probably still wins in a landslide.

Rudd is handing out ammunition to the Liberals on a daily basis. What they do with it will determine the result of this election.

My tip? Abbott by 20 seats.

 

Andrew Bolt vs Kevin Rudd: A Total Refusal To Answer Anything

PRIME MINISTER Kevin Rudd appeared today on Andrew Bolt’s Sunday talk programme, The Bolt Report; it may be surprising that Bolt was fairly easy on Rudd, but what will surprise nobody is the fact the Prime Minister steadfastly refused to meaningfully answer any question of substance Bolt put to him.

I have to say I was disappointed by this effort; the Bolt/Rudd interview has been given a lot of hype on News Limited websites in the past few days, even to the point of being described as “confrontational at times.”

Based on the version broadcast, it was nothing of the sort.

It goes without saying that this pre-taped interview needed to be edited to fit the available airtime allocated to it on Bolt’s show, and I accept that.

But even so, there are things to be taken from Rudd’s performance.

The unruly mess (and significant loss of life) emanating from Labor’s various regimes on asylum seekers since 2008 was the result of Labor honouring a 2007 election commitment to abolish the Howard government’s Pacific Solution.

This is the facile defence Rudd used to deflect any responsibility on the ALP’s part.

He is sticking, obliquely, to his contention that Coalition policy on asylum seekers and “turning back the boats” could start a war with Indonesia.

On climate change, Rudd refuses to give any specific answer to any question mandating a response to scientific propositions Bolt put to him, or — significantly — to explain his own position on climate change when he disagreed outright with the material Bolt presented.

The Global Financial Crisis is repeatedly trotted out to hide behind whenever Bolt attempts to pin Rudd down on the ALP’s shocking record on debts.

Readers can access the full 19-minute interview here.

I really didn’t think I would find myself saying this, but Rudd clearly bested Bolt today.

Perhaps Bolt was trying too hard to keep the tone of the discussion light, or perhaps it was simply the case that there was too much ground to be covered in a relatively short time.

Either way, I expected Bolt to rip Rudd to shreds, and I suspect so too did most viewers.

He didn’t.

But it provides a very stark illustration of the type of election campaign we seem destined to endure from the ALP; lots of open and empty statements and generalisations, no detail, no admissions of error, and absolutely no accountability whatsoever.

And that’s the point.

Rudd, however much he seeks to run from it, is not only responsible for the entire six-year record of Labor in government, but must be held accountable for it.

Many of the problems caused by this government, that are now clear, originated on Rudd’s watch as Prime Minister the first time.

And rolled by Gillard he may have been, the simple truth is that Rudd voted for every decision taken and every measure implemented by Gillard — good, bad or shocking — during her Prime Ministership.

The fact the ALP is still in office at all, given the finely balanced parliamentary numbers, is sufficient to puncture any denials on Rudd’s part, direct or implied, of his explicit support for Gillard, her government, and the decisions it undertook.

Even if stories of subterranean white-anting activities, undertaken concurrently, are right.

I wasn’t looking for Bolt to tear Rudd to shreds just for the look of it; such a notion is grotesque, and doesn’t serve any purpose in terms of meaningful journalistic scrutiny.

That said, however, I expected better.

Labor generally and Rudd specifically have an awful lot to answer for, and if this is the best effort a ferociously anti-ALP identity can mount, then the coming election campaign may very well be the updated version of “Kevin ’07” most of us on the conservative side expect.

Kevin Rudd: A “Complete And Utter Fraud,” Or Just A Cretin?

WITH INCREASINGLY clear indications the honeymoon is now over for Kevin Rudd, the resurrected Prime Minister is attracting a lot of scrutiny and criticism — most of it completely justified. Is he, as The Spectator Australia rhetorically asks, a “complete and utter fraud,” or is he, simply, just a cretin?

The Spectator Australia this week carries an opinion piece on Kevin Rudd that, in my view, is very, very near the mark; it profiles beautifully the entire modus operandi of our Prime Minister, both in abstract terms and through illustration with examples of Rudd’s own behaviour in the years he has been active in public life.

I’m including this for readers tonight (ahead, hopefully, of a little more time to post this weekend) because I just wonder if the central point might be a little less obtuse than even this article makes it.

Granted, the Spectator Australia article is not a sympathetic piece; but that publication — whilst a good read of good quality journalism — is nowhere near as conservative as its influential British namesake and forbear, and could hardly be accused of anti-ALP bias.

It has become fashionable in recent years to talk about former Liberal Prime Minister Sir William McMahon; indeed, The Red And The Blue has been guilty of doing just that.

Bill McMahon isn’t anyone’s idea of a political role model, idol or an example to follow; even whilst in office he was pilloried as Australia’s most ridiculous Prime Minister (among other less flattering epithets) and his government — if summarised in a word — was mediocre.

And it’s become fashionable to talk about him now because until recently, it seemed McMahon’s title as “most ridiculous” was under threat from Julia Gillard, whose administration, politically, was a shocker; it was of course also marked by fundamental dishonesty with, and a complete disconnect from, the majority of mainstream voters it purported to represent.

But McMahon also had a reputation as a liar, a cheat, a fraud and a rogue; it was accepted that he simply couldn’t be trusted, and stories of his wheeling and dealing abound from those of his contemporaries who still survive, and in various archives in the case of those who do not.

And I must say the link in this article to a diary note by Paul Hasluck (one-time Liberal minister, future Governor-General and sworn McMahon enemy) provides an amusing yet deadly accurate parallel between McMahon and the man of the moment, Kevin Rudd.

I hope readers will click through to the Spectator article, and I would be interested in people’s thoughts.

But for all of the excellent logic and soundness of argument presented by the Speccie, I just wonder if the bottom line is simpler even than its contention Rudd is an “utter fraud.”

At the end of the day, is the Prime Minister simply an imbecile?

You have to wonder.

Yes, Kevin, Let’s Talk About “The Facts On Debt”

KEVIN RUDD and his ceaseless sideshow of senseless spin continues to roll merrily along; fresh from his dubious success on asylum seekers, Kevin and the ALP are turning their focus to debts and deficit. The Labor story may be correct in a literal sense, but in reality its dishonesty is breathtaking.

Labor last night launched a new 30 second TVC, entitled “The Facts On Debt,” which — as ever — I am more than happy to share. Readers can access this masterpiece here.

First, the facts — as Rudd presents them.

Is Australia’s debt, per capita, one of the lowest in the developed world? Yes.

Is Australia one of only eight countries in the world with a AAA credit rating? Yes.

Does Australia rate a stable outlook from the three major credit agencies? Yes.

Kevin’s facts are 100% accurate — if taken strictly at face value.

So why, in Rudd’s words, are we hearing a lot from the opposition about Australia’s debt?

And moreover, why is this an issue that resonates strongly with people?

Firstly, ordinary Australians (unlike ALP politicians trying to gloss over their own incompetence) are concerned with what happens in Australia, not in “the rest of the developed world.”

Such comparisons are meaningless to people living in this country; they don’t simultaneously live somewhere else.

Secondly,with Australia’s government debt running at about 25% of GDP (or about $260 billion), the figure is low by world standards, but it’s also 30% of GDP higher than it was when Labor took office in 2007.

In other words, the ALP has reversed Australia’s debt position by about $300 billion in six years: and remember, “Labor’s Black Hole” that was inherited by John Howard and Peter Costello from the Keating government in 1996 was just one-third of that amount.

And third, debt levels might be “low” enough to keep ratings agencies docile — for now — but the trend of the country’s debt is clear, continuous, and headed in one direction: up.

People are legitimately concerned about this government pissing borrowed money up against a post; the collapse of Greece, Cyprus, and the ongoing wobbles in places like Spain and Italy serve prescient notice on Australians of what will happen if it doesn’t stop.

Labor has — as I said — racked up a $260 billion debt in just six years; to achieve this, it first had to also spend $40 billion in banked surpluses accrued by Howard and Costello just to reach the point of zero.

Were the ALP to be re-elected — and were the rate of borrowings to continue at the same rate they have thus far in its term of office — far from being situated near the bottom of the pretty graph Rudd presents, Australia would sit near the top.

(That graph, incidentally, has been circulated in social media for most of the past year — especially by former Treasurer Wayne Swan — whenever it has felt the need to defend its sorry record on economic management and/or its addiction to borrowing money overseas).

A lot of people are frightened of what might happen if another $150 billion is added to the debt pile at the end of a further three years of Labor government.

Rudd (and Swan, for that matter) have traded on the Global Financial Crisis for five years now as a justification for the debt problem they have created.

Yet economic stimulus measures introduced by the duo in 2008 were slated to amount to $43 billion at the time. What is the excuse for the other quarter of a trillion dollars?

We have of course heard the cracked record about “deteriorating government receipts” countless times; Swan in particular was fond of stating how little money was rolling in.

Even the various taxes the ALP introduced — designed to reap tens of billions of dollars, but in reality unable to raise a sweat let alone money in any reasonable quantity — were no fix.

(Many of us never thought the day would arrive when the “tax and spend” party couldn’t even tax something competently, but that day is now…)

But none of this has stopped Labor from throwing $10 billion at its own policy inferno that is asylum seekers, or attempting to blackmail Liberal state governments into signing on to receive billions of dollars in new recurrent education funding, or wasting tens of billions of dollars on useless school buildings, pink batts, and all the other misdirected programs that chew up borrowed Chinese cash with nary a skerrick of value for money in sight.

And that’s before we even get to routine waste, inefficiency and general mismanagement and/or incompetence: all attributes that are bywords for every Labor government that has held office since World War II.

We are “hearing a lot from the opposition about Australia’s debt” as Rudd puts it, because a) the Liberal Party was left to carry the can in 1996 and fix the mess Labor left behind; and b) the mess is even larger and smellier and more rancid this time around, and will take longer — and require tougher measures — to fix it.

The end consequence of a Labor government these days seems to be to leave behind a state of virtual sovereign bankruptcy for the Liberal Party to fix.

Once the Liberals have done so, ALP campaign techniques essentially boil down to calling the conservatives a bunch of nasty, heartless arseholes for fixing what Labor should never have broken in the first place, and eventually the ALP reclaims office.

And the whole cycle starts anew.

Australians are fortunate that the country isn’t at the point of near-bankruptcy, or anywhere close to it. At least, not yet.

But if Rudd, Swan and Gillard can chew through $300 billion they didn’t have in just six years, people shudder to think what they might be capable of if permitted a further three years to continue their debt spree unabated.

This is why we are hearing a lot from the opposition about Australia’s debt.

And it’s why Rudd — with his too-clever-by-half truisms, which omit the half of the story that tells of an appalling record of profligate mismanagement by his government — can talk about “the facts on debt” until the cows come home, but will have no credibility at all.

Wrong again, Mr Rudd.

 

Calling The Greens Out: Is It Hypocrisy, Or Just Incompetence?

THE GREENS — that sanctimonious, pious bastion of hard socialism and the far Left, clad in a tattered facade of “principled” rhetoric — have been caught out again; masquerading as the friend of families with a “policy” on paid maternity leave, their hypocritical cant is damned by the devil in the detail.

I read with great interest today an uncritical article on The Guardian‘s Australian website which trumpeted the announcement of the Communist Party’s Greens’ paid parental leave scheme, with the immediate thought that anybody inclined to take “the news” at face value could almost be forgiven for being sucked into such an obvious fraud.

The Guardian is entirely correct in pointing out that the scheme announced by Greens leader Christine Milne and the repellent (and electorally doomed) Senator Sarah Hanson-Young appears to be broadly similar to that of the Coalition.

Indeed, based on what is reported, a bottle of white-out and the amendment of a few figures could virtually change the Coalition policy into the Greens’ one.

But it is the omissions from the announcement and the coverage — and the haughtily holier-than-thou proclamations from the Greens accompanying them — that tell the story.

It isn’t so long ago that the Greens — with Milne and Hanson-Young at the forefront of the attack — pilloried the Abbott scheme, which provides for new mothers to be paid the equivalent of six months’ salary at their normal rate, up to an income cap of $150,000 per annum, and which could be taken over twelve months if desired by the new parent.

Now, the Greens are all for such a scheme: hardly a surprise when reputable polling indicates they are likely to lose two and possibly three Senate spots at the coming election, including the regrettable Hanson-Young’s, and seem ready to abandon their “principles” to chase votes with a barrel of pork.

But the Greens’ policy is different and, of course, it’s superior to and “fairer” than the corresponding policies of both Labor and the Coalition.

(Those Greens are legendary in their pursuit of fairness for families; just witness their rabid determination to ramp up cost of living expenses for households as far as possible).

The Greens’ policy sets the threshold $50,000 lower than the Coalition policy does; it is their prerogative to do so, although the bombastic barb from Milne that “Labor’s (18 week, $622 per week) scheme scrapes together the bare minimum without superannuation whilst Tony Abbott’s plan is inequitable” seems rich coming from a group that would throw the country’s borders open to anyone and everyone at taxpayers’ expense, whilst seeking to make it impossible for those same taxpayers to afford to live here in the first place.

Like the Coalition policy, the Greens propose to impose a 1.5% levy on companies with taxable income of over $5 million per annum to pay for the plan.

Unlike the Coalition, the Greens’ policy also calls for “government contributions” of $1.9 billion over four years to help fund it.

Milne and Hanson-Young were clearly on form during their press conference.

“Paid parental leave is too important to be treated like a welfare handout. Australia needs to follow…other countries and link it to a person’s actual pay,” Hanson-Young thundered, apparently innocent of the fact the Liberal proposal aspires to do just that, and obviously seeking to sound a dog whistle nobody has ever heard from her on the culture of welfare.

Milne echoed the macho-style sentiment, declaring that paid parental leave was a workplace right, not a welfare payment.

Abbott — whom Greens have previously lambasted over paid maternity leave as entrenching class and income disparities, and favouring the rich over the poor, is now simply described as “too generous” whilst the ALP scheme, rather paradoxically, “doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.”

It seems convenient to have flexible principles, given the disparity between the party’s past rhetoric on this issue and what the two Senators have now announced.

But then again, those Greens, in touch with everyone, are merely adopting the principled middle path between two nasty and unpalatable alternatives. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Now let’s look at the mathematics of the policy — an area of questionable competence at the best of times when it comes to the Greens.

Their policy promises to pay out far less money than that of the Coalition, cutting out for those on annual incomes above $100,000 rather than the higher $150,000 level pledged by the Liberal Party.

Their policy pledges a levy on business profits at exactly the same rate and threshold as the Liberal Party policy does.

And there is an additional $1.9 billion to be thrown into the mix, under the Greens, from “government contributions” to which no revenue source is attributed.

The simple fact, in round terms, is that the Greens are pledging to spend roughly double the amount of money delivering far less in terms of their policy’s return to families.

A generous interpretation is that they simply can’t add up, which is one reason their policy is unlikely to ever be implemented: when it comes to economic credibility, the Greens are not noted for their expertise.

A more cynical (and probably more accurate) interpretation suggests that under the auspices of being seen to do something for families with small children, the Greens’ policy in fact is cover to inflict a significant tax hike by stealth on the business community it so obviously and clearly detests: few, if any, of the Greens’ policies could be described as even remotely friendly to business.

Where would this illicit extra money go, if (God forbid) it was ever collected?

My guess would be into foreign aid, the United Nations, welfare and housing expenses for illegal immigrants, and the eternal raft of crackpot Greens policies that are anti-families, anti-business, anti-car — in fact, just about anti-everything that comprises a reasonable standard of civilised living by the international standards of a first-world country.

And to use this measure to provide feelgood media time for Hanson-Young — a Senator whose absence when she loses her seat will do Australia and its governance no harm at all — is a flagrant abuse of the families constituency that has been hit hard by the very Greens’ policies rammed through Parliament as the price for their support of Labor in government.

Make no mistake, I have no quarrel with The Guardian or its article; the paper was simply reporting what was said.

The Greens, however, have form for this sort of duplicity, and once again have shown that whatever the snake oil they peddle and no matter how high-minded the sales pitch, the only commodity they really trade in is hypocrisy.