Inside the System

Keating tells Libs to cut ten times harder

Former Labor PM Paul Keating has called on the Liberals to push through massive spending cuts instead of pursuing tax reform. Keating boasted of his own time as Federal Treasurer, saying that in today’s terms he made $90 billion worth of cuts between 1985 and 1990. These are ten times greater than the cuts being proposed by Scott Morrison.

Despite being underwhelmed by the scale of the Liberal attacks on health care and other vital services, Keating was glad that Morrison was at least talking about cuts as a necessary response to falling revenue. “All these things are pushing down on commonwealth revenue and, when it has been so affected, the penny ought to drop that we ought to be cutting spending,” he said.
The truth is Keating’s cuts hit public services and those least able to afford it while the rich got richer. He privatised, slashed welfare and shifted the cost of university education off bosses and onto students via HECS, all while cutting corporate tax.

Immigration bosses hire ‘life coach’

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has hired “life coach” and motivational speaker Andrew Hughes to inspire its senior staff. He will receive $15,000 of taxpayers’ money to speak at a “leadership conference”, to enable department big wigs to benefit from Hughes’ expertise in “human potential and transformational leadership”.

In his 22 page online book Hughes says: “I’m excited to share with you what has worked for me and so many of my clients who are living authentic, fulfilling lives—working in their passion, evolving into their true potential, finding peace, love and also making thousands of dollars by being themselves”.

Hughes says his spiritual journey began with backpacking, a pilgrimage to India and regular meditation. This helped him discover what he calls his “Seven steps to freedom”. Hughes says these steps help clients—in this case the high level heads responsible for running Australia’s notorious refugee prison camps—“eliminate the hidden subconscious fears” that may be preventing them from “being great”.

Australia more corrupt says international body

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index has seen Australia’s score fall six spots from 85 in 2012 down to 79. The Index gives 168 countries a score between 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

In the last few years corruption scandals have rocked major companies like BHP Billiton, AWB and Leighton Holdings, as well as the Reserve Bank.

According to incoming Transparency International Chairman Anthony Whealy the fall was, “the result of inaction from successive governments who have failed to address weaknesses in Australia’s laws and legal processes”.

“The delay in responding to these issues has now made reform critical and a commitment to ramp up efforts to tackle foreign bribery, which has particularly impacted perceptions of Australia, is now urgent”.

NT Intervention brings Close the Gap failure

The latest annual Close the Gap report, delivered by Turnbull in February, showed continued failure to meet targets on indigenous disadvantage. In the NT—the site of the much celebrated Intervention since 2007—things are even worse.

A new report by the Castan Centre for Human Rights at Monash Uni gives the Intervention four out of ten for its general human rights performance. It also failed against seven other human rights measures, including the right to self -determination.

The report also gives a fail mark to every close the Gap Measure bar education, pointing out the, “increasing and inordinate amount of Indigenous Australians being incarcerated”. As the author of the report says, “The Intervention was meant to improve the lives of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, but at this rate the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people may never close in many areas”. According to ABS data incarceration rates are up 41 per cent since the start of the Intervention while there has been a 500 per cent increase in reports of self-harm or suicide by Indigenous children.

Another charge against a CFMEU official collapses

Another flimsy charge against a CFMEU union official has collapsed.

Despite Dyson Heydon’s Trade Union Royal Commission claiming to lay bare the CFMEU’s “corruption” and “thuggery”, charges against Andrew Sutherland have been dropped by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

The charges were in relation to an industrial incident three years ago that had already been dealt with by the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate. No new evidence was presented by the Trade Union Royal Commission cops who laid the charges.

National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan drew comparisons with the charges levelled at ACT CFMEU official Johnny Lomax:

“In both cases, it was obvious from the outset that there were very spurious grounds for the charges laid and little chance of success.”

The charges against Lomax were eventually dropped as well. Noonan said, “These actions seem to be designed to create a storm of negative publicity for the union without amounting to anything. “It should be a concern to the community that the Turnbull Government is directing the police to pursue matters which are nothing but attacks on workers and unions.”

73 per cent say ban Trump from Australia

A Lateline poll of nearly 10,000 people has found 73 per cent support banning Donald Trump from entering Australia. The ultra-racist Republican Presidential candidate has called for a “total and complete shutdown” on all Muslims entering the United States.

Things they say

The politics of doing that would be incredibly hard. You don’t get a politics prize for working that out
Scott Morrison on why the government ditched the plan to increase the GST

There are broader questions to be asked about the efficacy of capitalism
Goldman Sachs bank analysts trying to explain the high profit margins but lack of investment in the world economy

The uneasy equilibrium of recent years—between repeated disappointment in global growth and substantial monetary policy stimulus – is at risk.
Wilhelm Buitere, chief economist Citibank, shares his gloomy outlook on the world capitalism.

I will give you the job, but as you are not an Aussie, I will be paying you a lesser amount
Jeff Herscu, Health Express owner, to a 27-year-old Nepalese student, on why she would only get $12 an hour

Gina is a tall poppy that deserves to be tall.
Julian Malnic, chair of the Sydney Mining Club at a Sydney “gala evening” last December at which billionaire Gina Rinehart was declared “Miner of the Decade”

Continuous conflict. There is no going back to normal.
David Kilcullen, former Australian Army officer and now counter-terrorism consultant, on the Middle East.

An understanding of just how concentrated, brutal and aggressive a handful of businesses operate [in Australia], and the real corporate power where it actually rests in this country
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari on what he has learnt in Canberra

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