Bill Shorten

Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten headlines Labour Congress

It’s a pretty sad sign that you have to get an Aussie to come be your headline act at your own Congress.

Australia’s Labor Party leader Bill Shorten said he believes further improvements can be made to the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia, but stopped short of making any specific commitments.

Mr Shorten and Labour leader David Cunliffe held talks yesterday after Mr Shorten travelled over to speak at the Labour Party’s election year Congress today.

It is believed to be the first time the leader of Australia’s Labor Party has addressed its New Zealand counterpart’s annual conference.

Mr Shorten said he and Mr Cunliffe had discussed the long-standing issue of New Zealanders being denied benefits such as social security assistance in Australia, while Australians did qualify for those measures here.

“We do believe we could do more work to investigate what further improvements could be made to make the lives of New Zealanders living in Australia, and Australians living in New Zealand easier.

There’s nothing specific in terms of making a commitment today, but I recognise Australia benefits from the contribution of permanent residents born in New Zealand and we should make sure where there are bureaucratic red tape problems that we work together to eliminate them in the best interests of both our people.”

Shorten and Cunliffe make a good pair.  Hot air to fill empty promises are their trademark.  Read more »

Sledge of the Day

I was going to give John Key sledge of the day for his hit on David Cunliffe’s recycling of Rodney Hide’s epithet for the budget…but I’ve found a better sledge.

It was from Christopher Pyne in the Australian parliament against Bill Shorten, and to round it off he called Shorten a c**t .

What a coincidence – we think the same of Russel Norman, but please make Pete and Travis’ day ok by remembering our moderation rules.  Read more »

Abbott to slash $10bn off corporate welfare

The corporate bludgers in Australia are about to get a hair cut…a $10 billion hair cut…as Tony Abbott seeks to shave he corporate welfare budget.

CORPORATE welfare will be slashed in a bid to wean the nation off $10 billion in business aid, as the Abbott government fights off fears it will slap new taxes on ­families without forcing others to shoulder some of the budget ­burden.

Taking a knife to industry assistance, the government will send employers the same message it is sending welfare recipients about the need to curb reliance on benefits.

Joe Hockey told The Weekend Australian that his vow to end the “age of entitlement” meant asking business to give up some of the payments and services Canberra had been giving it for years.

The government approaches Tuesday’s budget in a political fight over a tax hike on petrol and a “deficit tax” that leaves Tony ­Abbott increasingly exposed to charges of breaching his election promises.

Bill Shorten said the plan to lift fuel excise was not only a breach of faith with voters but also a hit to ­ordinary families.

“We know two things about Tony Abbott’s petrol tax: it’s a broken promise, and it’s going to put more pressure on the cost of living of all Australians who have to fill up their car every week,” the Opposition Leader said. Read more »

The Key to defeat

Luke Malpass at The Spectator has an interesting article on how it is that John Key will be defeated…and ironically John Key’s decision to only provide a lacklustre opposition to MMP may bite him.

John Key is the most popular leader in the western world. Not by a little, but a lot. His net approval rating (approvals minus disapprovals) has consistently been around 50+ per cent. That compares with Tony Abbott at 10+ per cent and Bill Shorten at 8+ per cent. Julia Gillard was somewhere down in the -20 territory. Barack Obama and David Cameron are both around -10 per cent. So why on earth will Mr Key and his government struggle to get re-elected on 20 September? The answer is simple: Mixed Member Proportional.

This electoral system, reconfirmed at the 2011 general election, is a blight on New Zealand politics. In the same way the Hare-Clark system in Tasmania delivered the recent Mickey-mouse, tail-wagging-dog government, so MMP does in New Zealand. It entrenches minority government at the expense of stability and introduces obfuscation where accountability should reside.

The left wing is an assortment of average to failing parties of little support, but group them together and the most popular government and PM in modern history may well lose…beaten by a coalition of losers.

In theory, according to its advocates, MMP is great. As it is extremely difficult to get a majority of the primary vote (1950 was the last time it happened) there can be no ‘elective dictatorships’. Because you vote for an electorate and a party, you can split your vote and elect a local candidate you like, without necessarily voting for their party. Party lists allow highly competent people with little political appeal to be elected. Parties have to constructively get along, and no government can get too far ahead of the people.   Read more »

The toxicity of the Greens and lessons from Tasmania for Labour

Labour faces a dilemma.

They can’t win the election without some sort of formal accommodation with the Greens. They also can’t win without Winston Peters.

And thus their dilemma is apparent. The Greens are toxic. David Cunliffe knows it, Shane Jones knows it, Winston Peters knows it.

But the problem is Moira Coatsworth is shrieking at Cunliffe that the attitude tot eh Greens must end, that they are the preferred coalition partner and that Labour needs to be nicer.

Russel Norman is exerting pressure behind the scenes as well.  But the fact remains that the Greens are toxic in any support or coalition deal.

This is a position that Tasmanian’s saw only too well and punished both Labor and the Greens over in their state elections last weekend.

Labor and the Greens have blamed each other for the loss of votes in Saturday’s Tasmanian state election, while the South Australian Liberals insisted electoral boundaries prevented them from claiming a “deserved” outright win.

The simultaneous state elections resulted in a decisive Liberal win in Tasmania and a likely hung parliament in South Australia, where the focus is now turning to negotiations with two independents.

The Liberals have raised questions over the South Australian electoral system given the party could miss out on forming government despite securing about 53% of the two-party vote.  Read more »

Australians don’t like bludging car making ratbags

The latest polls in Australia deliver bad news for the unions and for Labour.

It is clear that Australians don’t like bludging car making ratbags.

”The government has started taking some big decisions, some hard decisions, that people notice,” notably to refuse public subsidies to SPC Ardmona and the car manufacturers. ”There’s just more of a consistency to what they are doing and saying and that’s coming from the Treasurer, which he pithily summarised as ‘the end of the age of entitlement’.”

A poll by Essential Media last week found that only 36 per cent of voters approved of continuing government subsidies to the car sector, with 47 per cent opposed.

So it may be that Joe Hockey is the one winning kudos for the government.  Read more »

Aussie union ratbags cost Labor a lot of votes

The stench of corruption in Australian left-wing politics and union is so overpowering it is now costing Labor significant votes.

The Abbott government has regained the lead in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll for the first time in two months, helped by a sharp drop in support for Bill Shorten’s performance and a Labor primary vote lurching back into the low 30s.

The result has all but restored the balance that saw the Coalition easily elected last September.

After several weeks in which the Coalition government has successfully linked industrial relations reform, union power, and corruption allegations in the building industry in national debate, Mr Shorten’s personal approval has slumped by an unusually decisive 11 points.

The deterioration comes after a week in which Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the terms of reference for a wide-ranging and potentially open ended royal commission into union corruption, naming five unions specifically – one of which was the AWU, the union giant formerly run by the Labor leader.  Read more »

Toyota bails, car industry now dead across the Tasman, killed by unions

Toyota has finally jacked it in, announcing they are closing their plant in Australia, joining Ford and Holden in halting manufacturing of cars in Australia.

The end of car manufacturing in Australia – confirmed with Toyota’s announcement that it would shut local production in 2017, taking thousands of jobs with it – could tip Victoria and South Australia into recession, industry experts and economists have warned.

The automotive giant’s global boss, Akio Toyoda, travelled to the Altona plant and told 2500 workers their jobs would go in three years. The decision is a massive blow for the Victorian economy in particular, where more than 25,000 jobs are likely to go across the car and automotive components industries. Unions claim 50,000 skilled jobs may be lost nationally. Toyota will follow Ford and Holden out of the country, with all three car makers announcing in the last year that they would cease manufacturing by 2017. All three brands will now import all their vehicles.

Those jobs weren’t real anyway…heavily subsidised, loans, grants and tax breaks for the companies. The unions can hardly complain with the workers heavily unionised and paid far above their actual worth or productivity justified.

That isn’t stopping them from blaming everyone but themselves.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten blamed Toyota’s demise on the Abbott government. ‘‘It’s an unmitigated disaster,’’ he said.

‘‘The car industry has died under the Abbott government. It’s a disgrace.’’   Read more »

Union corruption so out of hand Abbott convenes a Royal Commission

As the months drag by and more and more revelations of union corruption surface in investigations by the Independent Commissions Against Corruption pressure has been building to have a more fuller Federal inquiry.

Tony Abbott has now convened a Royal Commission to look at union corruption.

Five of the nation’s most powerful unions linked to the ALP have been named as targets of a wide-ranging royal commission on union corruption – in which former prime minister Julia Gillard and other MPs and union officials are expected to give evidence.

The announcement came as Fairfax Media learnt Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had referred to police a secret dossier compiled by a whistleblower that made explosive corruption allegations that centre on the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

Other unions are also set to be dragged in and the government says construction firms accused of paying kickbacks to union officials to curry peace or win contracts will also be in the gun.

The CFMEU is one of the five unions named in the terms of reference, along with the Electrical Trades Union, the Transport Workers Union, the Australian Workers’ Union, and the Health Services Union.    Read more »

Union man speaks out, describes Labor as a ‘sick organisation’

I am sure the same allegations could be levelled against Labour here, but in Australia it seems that there are still real problems between the unions and the ALP.

LABOR is a “sick organisation” that shouldn’t rush to get back to power, a leading union figure says.

Tony Sheldon, who heads the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and is also vice president of the ALP, says he welcomes the reforms that saw Bill Shorten elected Labor leader but says more needs to be done.

“Our party is currently a sick organisation,” he said in a speech at the University of Technology Sydney on Friday.   Read more »