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Abbott has pledged to repeal the carbon tax – but could it be done?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has given Australians a “blood oath” promise that if the Coalition wins power at the next election, he will repeal the carbon tax within his first month in office. But is…

Promises are easy to make, but will Abbott be able to deliver? AAP

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has given Australians a “blood oath” promise that if the Coalition wins power at the next election, he will repeal the carbon tax within his first month in office.

But is this possible? And how would it work? Associate Director of the ANU Centre for Law and Climate Policy, Andrew Macintosh, explains.


Repealing the carbon tax is simple in theory. Assuming the Coalition forms government at the next election, it would introduce a series of bills, or even a single bill, that repeals the legislative scheme. Once the bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament, and the bills received the Royal Assent, the carbon pricing scheme would be a thing of the past.

A number of people have raised the potential – if the legislation was repealed – for there to be an acquisition of property issue under section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution. The argument is that this provision of the Constitution could frustrate a future Coalition government’s attempts to terminate the scheme. This is a furphy.

In order to activate section 51(xxxi), the Commonwealth, or somebody else, has to acquire property of some description, and that’s not going to occur in these circumstances. The proprietary interests associated with carbon units would be extinguished, but extinguishment is different from acquisition.

So the repeal of the carbon pricing scheme is likely to hinge on whether the Coalition can get the numbers in both Houses of Parliament, and the practicalities of unravelling a complex regulatory scheme. Any legal issues are likely to be of secondary concern.

What political scenarios does the Coalition face?

The numbers and the politics could go one of three ways.

First, the Coalition gets control of both the House and Senate at the next election. If this occurs, the Coalition would presumably wait until the new Senate is formed and then commence the legislative process to repeal the scheme. Although this is the cleanest scenario, it would still mean that the carbon pricing scheme would operate until 2014, possibly 2015. By then, a lot of the opposition to the scheme may have dissipated.

The second is that the Coalition wins office but does not take the Senate, and Labor accepts that the new government has a mandate to repeal the scheme. The Gillard government currently maintains that it will not agree to this. However, things could change if Labor experiences a 1975-style defeat at the polls in 2013; a new leader may feel they have no choice but to back down.

The third scenario is the same as the second, only Labor refuses to support the terminating bills in the Senate. This would leave the Coalition with one option if it wanted to completely repeal the scheme: a double dissolution election.

This has rarely been done and history suggests that governments that go to double dissolution elections tend to get punished for it. So it would be a big call for a Coalition government, which has been out of office for six years, to go down this path.

What other options would Abbott have to weaken the carbon tax?

Another option that a new Coalition government would have is to keep the carbon-pricing scheme in place but terminate the “fixed charge period” and remove the price floor.

In the first three years of the carbon-pricing scheme, there’s a fixed price that starts at $23, and after three years it goes to a standard cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme, where the market will determine the price. The only qualification is that over the period 2015 to 2018, there is meant to be a price floor, starting at $15, and a ceiling price set at $20 above the international price.

In order to reduce the financial impact of the scheme on polluters and households, the Coalition could go directly to a flexible price. The attraction here is that the international carbon price is currently very low (around A$5 per tonne) and it’s expected to remain subdued for an extended period. As a result, moving straight to a flexible price with no price floor would mean the impacts would be negligible.

Strictly, Abbott might claim this approach is in keeping with his pledge to axe the tax; after all, he would be getting rid of the tax (the fixed price period) and leaving an emissions trading scheme. While possible – and many people in Canberra believe it is probable – I personally think it is unlikely. Abbott would be setting himself up for the sort of criticism John Howard received when he was Prime Minister, and that Julia Gillard suffered when she did an about face on carbon pricing.

A more likely scenario is that Labor ditches the price floor prior to the election, in an attempt to appease the business lobby.

What would some of the flow-on effects be if Abbott succeeded in repealing the carbon tax?

As we all know, the carbon tax has been accompanied by major changes to the tax system: the tax-free threshold has been raised to A$18,200 and keeps rising after that. There are also increases to pensions and family tax benefits. The Coalition has said – and I’ve heard Joe Hockey say this – that they intend to wind all that back. I’d imagine that’s going to be pretty unpopular.

There’s also quite a lot of monetary compensation going out under the scheme – to coal-fired generators and gassy coal mines. So that would also presumably have to be unwound. Importantly, if contracts have been signed for the provision of any of this money, the Commonwealth will have no way out. It will have to pay the money, even if the scheme is terminated.

How would a repeal of the tax affect big business?

In theory, it’s simple: they stop buying and surrendering carbon units. However, in practice, things are likely to be more difficult. Many businesses will have made arrangements to manage their carbon liabilities, including by establishing compliance systems, signing contracts to hedge their exposures, and commencing offset projects under the Carbon Farming Initiative.

Some businesses may have made investments on the expectation of an ongoing carbon price, for example, in gas-fired generating assets. Unwinding many of these arrangements will be difficult, involving significant costs.

Due to the cost and inconvenience, I would imagine that, in a couple of years, many businesses will be opposed to the repeal of the scheme and the Coalition could face a backlash if it proceeds with its plans.

Join the conversation

154 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. John Passant

    Graduate Teaching Fellow

    Re the just acqusition clause, why is extinguishment not acquistion and then destruction?

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    1. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to John Passant

      A similar argument is being run by the tobacco companies over plain packaging. It could be interpreted thus, but it seems tenuous. A basic historical principle of property law is use. For example, ownership of property is sometimes characterised as the right to exclusive use of the property. But the Commonwealth wouldn't be interested in using the carbon permits (or cigarette logos), so it seems that a basic part of acquisition would be missing.

      Of course the High Court could discard that historical understanding of property, but to do so risks encountering multifarious other difficulties. For example, could the prohibition of using land for lead smelting or for a brothel be considered a partial acquisition of property rights; could the withdrawal of the pink bats subsidy be considered an acquisition and destruction of rights in building insulation?

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    2. John Passant

      Graduate Teaching Fellow

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Thanks Gavin. One of my tax professor mates thinks that the permit system was designed in just such a way - i.e to bring it within the just acquisition clause and so make it difficult for Abbott to repeal it without paying billions in compensation. I'd have to think about it some more. The permit is property in th hands of the polluter/owner. I doubt the application of the just acquisition clause is determined by what it becomes in the hands on the purchaser.

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  2. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Bit like unscrambling an egg this isn't it?

    Personally I don't think Abbott has a snowball's chance in hell of winning the next election - Gillard might lose it but that's another question. In fact Tony's entire strategy is based on Gillard losing and continuing to lose popular support.

    Once people see what the Carbon Price does, realise that the world hasn't ended, that Whyalla is still there they will move on leaving Abbott and Joe Hockey railing from the sidelines.

    The real issue for me is asylum seekers and the groundswell of dischord emerging within the conservative parties... I reckon there's a half decent chance of Abbott not leading the Libs into the next election - and Turnbull would be a much more acceptable proposition to the electorate.

    Stranger things have happened.

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  3. David Elson

    logged in via Facebook

    I think this is one of the reasons why Abbott is giving business a lot of warning not to take drastic or permanent steps to adjust to the new carbon pricing regime (and to pre-warn the big four banks not too invest heavily in trading the permits).

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    1. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to David Elson

      Watch what the banks do...

      Being on a low income I find the POLLUTION CHARGE (I really hate the words 'carbon tax' - but know when I am outvoted) as far more equitable and justifiable than the GST was or is.

      To those affronted by the impost of charging companies for their pollution, please suggest how to begin implementation of transitioning to cleaner, sustainable energy sources.

      I really wanna know.

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    2. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Those polluting companies will soon be passing their increased costs onto their customer who will then pass these costs onto you (if they can).

      As long as the "carbon compensation" keeps flowing those less-well-off should be relatively safe, although for the rest of us increased costs, lower employment rates etc.. may eventuate.

      Certainly the big banks interested in trading "carbon permits" will be profiting immensely.

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    3. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Elson

      "...passing their increased costs onto their customer..."
      Are you certain that is how the Carbon Tax works?

      The Europeans are not phased by their CT and variants, neither are all the other countries proposing CT. The issue hardly rates a political ripple outside Australia. We all know why.

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    4. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      If there were to be no financial pain under the carbon tax then it be ineffectual in driving change.

      The European common market is hardly a model for us to aspire to based on their performance for the last few decades. The EUs attempt to expand this scheme to other nations has not met with great success - http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/business/news/iata-warns-trade-war-over-eu-carbon-tax-aviation-934

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    5. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Elson

      What German lenders have done to various economies is a matter for another debate.

      What I said stands, the Europeans and most vocally Germany are not concerned with paying a Carbon Tax it is wholly a marketing exercise by a group of neo-liberals throwing their weight around in the Australian Liberal Party.

      It easy to verify just read what Turnbull had to say on many issues before the coup.

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    6. Christopher Bertoli

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Paul Richards

      @David Elson

      The only reason it caused a stir in Australia is because Gillard lied. If she hadn't not been elected on the basis of "There will be no Carbon Tax", then this would be a null issue. As it is, she's seen as a conniving... Well, conniving. A lier. That's given the CT more push than it merited.

      There is the whole "blanket tax" thing that is annoying. And the circular payments where Gillard gives billions of dollars to people and especially to the top polluters, ensuring that big businesses won't feel the hit for years, and voters will see a net gain till the election. Seems a waste of money tbh. She could have kept the grants and used the money to not cut funding to education.

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Christopher Bertoli

      Did Gillard get elected because of her assurance that she wouldn't introduce a carbon tax? That alone?

      Not how I remember it. It was only she'd negotiated a workable minority government arrangement that this became a significant issue - and then about her "lying" rather than the substance of the Carbon debate.

      First up - it's not a carbon tax Christoper - it is a price signal - very precisely targetted which will become a more traditional cap and trade system in a couple of years. This…

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    8. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      The carbon tax as present in the EU is significantly cheaper than that to be charged in Australia....

      I think it would be a little unfair to blame the EUs decades long economic problems solely on German banks unwisely lending money to their less solvent compatriot nations.

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    9. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Christopher Bertoli

      Christopher Bertoli: "... Gillard lied. ... "There will be no Carbon Tax" ..."
      This has always fascinated me. Where's the lie?
      Gillard made a promise. The election led to a hung parliament. In cobbling together enough support to form a government, Gillard found herself in no position to keep her promise. I don't see a lie there.
      A lie is something we say that we know, at the time we say it, is not true. Where is the evidence that Gillard knew, at the time she made her promise, that she would not be able to keep it? Bearing in mind that Labor's policy at the time was a carbon trading system, not a tax, I reckon the evidence shows that she intended to keep her promise.
      Is the lie Gillard's? Is the lie Abbott's, in pretending that Gillard's broken promise is a lie?

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    10. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Boxall

      "This has always fascinated me. Where's the lie?" - David B

      Good comment and right on the mark, but one of the core issues in propaganda principles is being adhered too. Just those un-evolved amongst us can't see it.

      "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Joseph Goebbels

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    11. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The comments seem to be comments on the character of Tony Abbott, rather than if he could repeal the tax. It would be worth looking at the take up of carbon reduction industries in the period leading up to the next election. Businesses were devastated by Labors cutoff of the insulation programme.It will probably be true that caution will be shown in investments due to Labor`s low polling. If Tony Abbott wants to win the election , all he has to do is project what a carbon tax will be like with a…

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    12. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to trevor prowse

      Trevor - we can hardly blame people focusing on the man when he uses his three second grabs to compete with Yogi Berra's record.

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    13. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Elson

      David Elson: "Saying that she didn't break this promise would fit the bill." I presume you mean that, if someone has said that Gillard didn't break her promise that there'd be no carbon tax under any government she leads, then it would be a lie. Has Gillard said that?

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    14. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Boxall

      Saying that she didn't break her promise, and then repeating it (internet trolls/Canberra love media) would certainly fit the bill of a Goebbels lie by repetition.

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    15. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Elson

      David Elson: "Saying that she didn't break her promise, and then repeating it ... would certainly fit the bill of a Goebbels lie by repetition."
      It might, if she said it. I think you've just invoked Godwin's Law.

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    16. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Haven't - won't - read the Telegraph piece. Not my organ of choice.

      Who do you want running the country - some sort of saint? the pope? someone honest to a fault?

      Grow up you whingers - this is politics we're talking - not priests and altar boys.

      Do you think Tony Abbott is a "man of his word"? That plain talkin' Barnaby Bombastus Joyce couldn't tell a fib if his life depended on it?

      Now one of the things about Gillard is that she has a reputation for being straight... if she says…

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    17. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      It's a wonder that anybody reads the telly, it's a junk rag even in the eyes of the industry. It's the worst of sensationalist, BS journalism. Citing anything from that makes me question your objectivity Philip.

      I certainly don't think Gillard is the bees knees but spare me the sanctimonious crap about Gillard breaking promises, it's a fact of political life and all politicians do it. I don't believe you are so naive as to think it's never happened prior to Gillard's term.

      Of course you can't accuse Abbot of breaking any promises because at one time or another, he's held every position on the compass on just about every matter you care to mention.

      The difference between Gillard and Abbott is that she will say what she thinks whereas the mad Monk only says what he thinks other people want to hear.

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    18. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I do expect Prime Ministers to know rge difference between the Prime Minister and President of East Timor.
      I do expect a Prime Minister to be literate. Hyperbole Tenet ???

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    19. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair,
      When it comes to the media. I tend to be an omnivore.
      Good luck with your judgemental self-censorship.

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    20. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Elson

      As far as I have been able to find out, in relation to Gillard's "there will be no carbon tax" promise, Abbott is responsible for all the lies. Nobody's shown me any lies on that subject which can't be traced back to him.

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    21. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Boxall

      See above this was invoked previously.

      As for the record Gillard did indeed state that she wouldn't introduce a carbon under a government she led (although it's debatable on whether or not she does indeed control the current government).

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  4. Bruce Waddell

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Thank you for your quiet response. The airways are full of illogical noise and in that noise polsters poll. Is it any wonder busy people living their lives cannot reason a position of their own but prefer to follow the mob? However there is no excuse for MPs to not exercise whatever intelligence they have and vote with reason occasionally instead of voting lockstep with their party. Few things are either black or white. All I can be sure of it promises to be a long 18 months to the next election. In that time this reader hopes that some of your content is aired in a wider forum so that voters can assess the illogicality of catch phrases and use logic instead of emotion when they do vote.

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    1. Christopher Bertoli

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Bruce Waddell

      You don't seem to be very familiar with politics. Which is a compliment really.

      In politics, loyalty is the main currency. Well, loyalty and favours. Probably more but this could rapidly devolve into a Python sketch so I'll stick with those two. If someone crosses the floor, they won't be kept in the loop. The next time a party thinks they'll cross the floor, that politician won't receive word that there's a vote on until after its finished. There's been many cases in Aus of crucial votes happening…

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  5. Blair Donaldson

    logged in via Facebook

    “Repealing the carbon tax is simple in theory"

    Much like Tony Abbott. Anything complex is beyond him so he opts for simplistic solutions, simplistic messages and short-term actions for purely selfish reasons. Let him hang himself with his own words. As people realise the carbon tax is no great threat to society and won't cause the end of civilisation as we know it, maybe, just maybe the infantile and breathless reporting from some of the better known journalists may change and people will start asking Abbott to explain himself.

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  6. Bruce Moon

    Bystander!

    Andrew

    Thanks for the overview.

    One aspect I'd like to hear about is whether, if elected and successful at repealing or amending the legislation, the propensity to require those who have upped their prices to reflect the carbon tax to reduce same.

    In economic parlance, prices are sticky. It seems to me that even if there was a wind-back, we would still be paying prices in the retail sector as if there were a carbon tax.

    My view is that Gillard should be focussing on whether Abbott would address this, or enable it to be a 'freebie' to business.

    Cheers

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  7. Gavin R. Putland

    logged in via Twitter

    There are now four reverse tariffs in the Australian tax-transfer system: income tax, which takes about $200 billion per year; the super guarantee, which takes about $54 billion per year; payroll tax, which takes about $18 billion per year; and the carbon tax, which takes about $8 billion per year.

    So obviously the carbon tax is the cause of all our economic ills and must be repealed ASAP. Obviously.

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  8. Paul Richards

    integral operating system

    "Coalition could face a backlash if it proceeds with its plans." How true, Andrew.

    One thing is certain when it comes to the leader of the opposition, he is quick at changing his course and direction.

    It is easy to forget when he was questioned on the Labour parties proposed Emissions Trading Scheme, he said;
    "If you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax?

    Tony Abbott defended this comment he made in 2009 on Sky News when he apparently advocated a carbon…

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  9. George Naumovski

    Online Political Activist

    If elected, Abbott will not abolish the carbon tax as all he will do for the next 4 years is just blame the previous ALP for every problem the Libs will face/cause, he is fake and just tells people what they want to hear but does not have any real plans/policies apart from blaming!

    He said that the LNP will stop & get rid of the NBN but now he said the LNP will continue it and eventually same thing with the mining tax as they will want it.

    Tony Abbott/LNP know that they have no real policies or how they are going to fund anything they announce. Policies/reforms such as pricing carbon/clean energy future, the NBN, the mining tax are all from the Australian Labor party and the LNP are just angry they did not think of it.

    To have a man such as Tony Abbott as PM will just wreck Australia as we will just go backwards!

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    1. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to George Naumovski

      George,

      The NBN will be completed as to the wishes of Fairfax and News...it's their future!

      What comes out of Abbott and "No" to everything is pointing to "as you say" policy void!

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  10. Philip Dowling

    IT teacher

    If Tony Abbott wins the next election with a substantial majority as current polls seem to indicate, then it can be taken for granted that both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd will not be leaders of the Labor Party.
    A new leader of what may well be a rather small opposition traditionally jettisons all of the party's policies that are identified as having led to this loss, so that he/she can claim to be a "new broom". In particular, policies associated with its de facto coalition with The Greens will…

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    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Well said, Phillip. Given you are in an industry automating jobs out of existence, we all will take it for the comment it is.

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    2. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Surely unproductive labor is better allocated elsewhere?

      Is there much dignity in tasks that can be easily automated?

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    3. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Philip Dowling: "I suspect that minor parties and independents will receive a much smaller vote than at the last election."
      I suspect that the electorate will see the major parties for what they are and hang the next parliament higher than the current one. Neither of the majors has demonstrated that it deserves to govern in its own right.

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    4. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Elson

      Where have you been for the last 30 years David, we are not talking about a guy hammering at a forge.

      The jobs that are automated are jobs occupied by people who did answer phones, bank staff, office customer relations and hundreds of others. Like it lost to automation in the corporate world. Jobs that will never to surface again. People are being replaced everywhere, just open up the iPhone and count how many jobs have been replaced by apps.

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    5. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Elson

      David, currently highly paid train drivers in the north-west of the country are being replaced by less well paid drivers operating remotely from Perth and other areas. I know a couple of train drivers and they love the work for a variety of reasons.

      Where is the dignity in sitting in front of a screen all day pushing buttons to move the train somewhere well to the North of the operators position? I think the majority of train drivers would strongly disagree that there isn't much dignity in tasks that can be easily automated.

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    6. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      True. But to stand against progress is hardly a realistic solution.

      Surely this will only accelerate the trend for business to move overseas if we outlaw such advances here? Whether iphone apps or automated trains/manufacturing.

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    7. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Well said Blair, to those aware the automation issue is huge and is looming large.

      For instance our mining industry in the Pilbara was able to automate crushing, stacking train dumpers and the trains themselves in the seventies. However the industry chose to employ people and provide jobs, this is know to all electrical engineers.

      Since neo-liberal politics has raised it's head in this country we have seen all jobs dwindle, many industries we least expect will follow as we move toward singularity. Now more than ever we need leaders who understand this, want to build community and take advantage of this opportunity for the country. Not just assist to make profit for a future client as a consultant.

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    8. Rob Crowther

      Architectural Draftsman

      In reply to David Boxall

      I agree with you.

      The greens have held to their policy platform despite many commentators saying at the outset that now they a position of power they will need to bastardize their position. I think that would look good in a greens voters eyes. I would expect their vote to continue on its upward trend.

      If you are not rusted on then the independents have performed very well. On personal note I cannot stand Bob Katter. I think his ideology is a bit ‘out there’. That aside, I would love to have him as my local member. My local bloke has an AO for services to the Labor party. He is pretty much useless as a local member. Katter on the other hand is the exact opposite.

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Phillip,

      We do not have - and I'm fairly sure we have never had - anything resembling neo-liberal policies in Australia. We have neo-liberal rhetoric but when it comes to the crunch, when the fat lady sings, when the elephant gathers its moss, they all go to water... bankrolling failed industries, handing our subsidies and propping up jobs.

      In practical policy terms we have a curious sort of state socialism in which the private sector is the agency of redistribution, the recipient of government…

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    10. James Walker

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Employing people in unproductive jobs is just hiding unemployment. You aren't generating any extra goods/services, so you aren't actually 'working' - the payslip is a glorified dole check.

      We've been streamlining workplaces for a thousand years now. Yes, it's incredibly painful. But would you really want to undo the land enclosures and go back to subsistence agriculture? Or join the Luddites in returning handlooms? Or even go back to sweeping the streets by hand (something that had to be done in living memory).
      Jobs will continue to become obsolete - and be replaced by new jobs.

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    11. Gavin R. Putland

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      The leading destroyers of jobs are the taxes that cause the cost of hiring a worker to be greater than the workers' take-home pay. When Howard controlled both houses of Parliament, he could have got rid of those taxes and replaced the revenue (as far as necessary) from other taxes that don't stand between employers and employees (cf. http://is.gd/draftbudget ). Instead, he used his double majority to attack workers' wages and conditions while leaving all the offending taxes in place.

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    12. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Elson

      David - your assumption my values are that of Canute The Great over the development issue is wrong.

      My life studies are in foresight and simply pointed out the dramatic shift we are experiencing. The world as 'conservative' thinkers is changing. The principles of adhering to the 'clan' truisms is proving worthless, the days of allegiance to political parties like football teams is past.

      The new paradigm is marked by the chaotic shift in values and the transfer of vast sums of wealth from…

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    13. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Gavin R. Putland

      Gavin,

      Taxes - particularly direct taxes on employment which are essentially run by the accursed States - stop small businesses hiring people and cause the business to perform less well and even fail. But that is not actually what kills jobs. It kills businesses. And businesses are not screaming about this?

      But jobs get destroyed all the time. Street-sweepers are swept aside; ploughmen are sodded off; the fate of printers is hand-set in type....

      It's what we shallow and superficial…

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    14. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - just one example.

      How do you reconcile the subsidies to the motor vehicle industry. Australian taxpayers have spent billions on the so called "Australian Motor Industry" since the 1950s?

      In case you missed their names they are global multinationals GM, FORD and recently TOYOTA.

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    15. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to James Walker

      James - the Luddite tag is a way off the mark.

      As a student of foresight, my feelings about technology are advanced not regressive. However it is understandable my value system is hard to read, if mine was similar to yours my conclusions could be similar.
      FYI;
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futures_studies

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    16. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Rob Crowther

      I reckon Katter would make a really interesting Speaker. Anyone who tried to stab him in the back (like they're trying with Slipper) would probably lose an arm.

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    17. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Yep, precisely... There seems to be this notion about that subsidising multinationals is a cheap way to create employment ... but to be honest I can't see how that would stack up given the profit raking and lack of investment in training etc. Guess this is compenated for by the export revenues they generate for a while. All seems a zero-sum game to me. Be nice to see some numbers wouldn't it?

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    18. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Phillip - master automater.
      What makes you certain that greedy self serving union leaders are not neo-liberal in values?

      China is not worried about the cost of labour, the regime is worried the populace will become aware of what is going on and tip the system up.

      Chinese Government tread a fine line and are very jealous of controlling information that will inform the masses. The primary concern is controlling, as Chinese history shows repeatedly what happens to the governing power when they…

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    19. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - after fifty years of recorded rhetoric this one example of neo-liberal values leave you guessing about the rise of neo-liberals in Australian politics.

      Seriously, we could choke the server here with examples, if it would lift the vail from your eyes. Look it up you are suffering a very human condition, and the reason universities try to teach critical thinking, with limited success.
      http://goo.gl/xCXrw

      It is a fight for me daily, you are not alone.

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    20. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Paul Richards

      These subsidies essentially pay to keep a large number of feather-bedded unionists in a job.
      Otherwise a government would subsidise only one company.
      Incidentally there are very small profits generated by these subsidiaries because of atrocious work practices.

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    21. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Seeing the Chinese government as neo-liberal is a very individual viewpoint.
      The cost of labor in China is an issue. The cost of labor varies widely within China. In addition, other countries are always being considered as cheaper sources of labour e.g. Vietnam and Pakistan for certain industries.
      In the last forty years labor cost has been a major factor in locating or relocating manufacturing.

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    22. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Phillip - "I'm fairly sure we have never had - anything resembling neo-liberal policies in Australia"

      But here you are citing an example of the contradiction in labels. With support demonstrated for neo-liberal entities by unionists. Of course the true nature of neo-liberal values is not in plain sight, if your values do not allow for them to exist how can you possibly see them?

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    23. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      List some Philip... these appalling working arrangements....some of the feather-bedding... or you just makin' stuff up?.... sharing your feelings?.... splashing the received rhetoric about?

      If you want to see the neo-liberal model at work - low tax, small state, minimal intervention in the economy - check out Somalia. A state so small one can hardly tell it's there at all.

      I note you describe yourself as an IT teacher ... trust this is out there in the cut and thrust of the private sector…

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    24. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Oooh no Paul ... one must distinguish between the self-interested demands of what passes for a capitalist class in this country and what they really want in practice. Between the rhetoric and the reality.

      Subsidies for ailing industries are not part of the neo-liberal agenda - not in theory. Let the market rip. Less tax. Smaller Government. Get your hands out of our pockets. Get out of the economy. These are neo-liberal slogans and beliefs.

      The US Tea Party (Tea = Taxed Enough Already…

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    25. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      What is really so different between political groupings such as democrats and republicans? Aside from their similar beliefs in using the power of the state (particularly taxation/expenditure) to pursue their own divergent social engineering goals...

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    26. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Elson

      How is that featherbedding - that's a pay rise - and a damned fine one too.

      Are you just opposed to pay rises in general or was there something about this one in particular you didn't like?.... explain how your own income does not have a hint of feather or blanket about it... 10 shillings a week and all the gravel you can eat I guess.

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    27. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Philip, it's Gina Rinehart's and her fellow flat earthers who want to turn Australia's mining region into the new Bangladesh where people work for subsistence wages. It's not unions killing jobs although they haven't helped their cause at times, it's the likes of James Hardie, BHP, Qantas and others who want to move operations offshore so profits can be enhanced.

      One of the few union owned companies, Pacific Hydro is actively investing in Australia, in Australian jobs and Australian Manufacturing.

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    28. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The company was supposedly at the point of collapse unless it received a government handout....

      A hand out which it then handed over to its workforce; a pay rise not linked to productivity/restructuring or any other improvement at the firm.

      Perhaps the government could just shift them onto the payroll and bring them into the APS.

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    29. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Countries within the Asian region are flourishing with their taxes and imposts on business many times less than ours.

      And they are not without government nor sunken to a living standard level with Somalia.

      Clearly the HK/Shanghai/Taiwan model is one worth copying here.

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    30. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter this is where our values and mine digress as I see no historical evidence of the capitalist model used for a short time in the US before taxing anywhere.

      Where you see capitalism, I see corporatism, as written about by JR Saul'Pardon me for quoting this disdained source;
      "Capitalism is an economic system that is based on "private ownership" of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit. Competitive markets, wage labor, capital accumulation, voluntary exchange…

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    31. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, Somalia is bigger than metropolitan France, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe, ...

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    32. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to David Elson

      It certainly is.
      There are so many taxes, levies, etc.... all being administered by different state and federal departments, which are then redistributed by more state and federal departments.
      All these taxes have compliance costs, that also act as a handbrake and a hindrance on productivity.

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    33. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Are you suggesting that the stock market which groups together individual wealth through institutional and direct ownership is not "private"? Or are you saying that only individual ownership is private? I can't quite follow your point.

      But heck no - don't charge me with supporting corporatism or capitalism ... I'm not supporting nothing. No way! Not my system. Either of them.

      And of course the sort of pollies we get of late go off and supplement their retirements in the arms of private and corporate "activity" ... usually based on their phone books and lunch mates than on any skill or ability. They just have no self-respect.

      I just am enjoying watching this stuff all teetering on the brink actually... all runs like 1928 to me. One way or another.

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    34. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Elson

      Yep ... States are a really dumb idea... colonial relics bolted onto obsolete taxation regimes like royalties and land speculation. I'd be all for smashing them up into nice regional arrangements for delivering services to national standards. No argument from me about States at all.

      But I must caution against too much enthusiasm for the SE Asian model ... tough work for your budding capitalists there folks ... no gentle guidance from governments there, no regional assistance, no subsidies, gotta find and train your own workforce, no TAFE, no depreciation allowances, no fuel subsidies... and no one - NO ONE cares if you fail or go under.... there is no market for excuses - anyone who fails can at least make them.

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    35. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - your ignorance tells volumes. Since it is corporatism you are under the illusion is capitalism I will go the the font of all knowledge and use a US site for the definition. Not that it differs from Australian Law.

      Definition of 'Private Company'
      "A company whose ownership is private. As a result, it does not need to meet the strict Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements of public companies."

      So in answer to your inane question;
      Are you suggesting that the stock market which groups together individual wealth through institutional and direct ownership is not "private"?

      "Yes" definitely.

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    36. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Elson

      No not really David - well it is sufficient reason if you read the Orstrayan I guess. The actual real live reason is that we are a small place at the far end of everywhere and we don't buy enough stuff here to be bothered setting up a plant to be making it - far more sense to do what everyone else is doing and go and make it in China where they really know how to run a capitalist economy.

      Does the Orstrayan actually reckon Australia is having some sort of sovereign risk problem? They really are saying that? I don't know cause I won't pay to read such silliness. What a hoot!

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    37. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Gee thanks for the insults and superiority there Mr Richards... most gratuitous of you. I I had a forelock I'd be tugging it for you.

      So according to your view of capitalism - the stock market, the idea of tradeable shares, public offerings, and joint ownership is inherently anti-capitalist - that right? 600 or so years of getting it all wrong. So Microsoft, Google, Apple - all these - are some sort of non-capitalist corporatist enclave? The capitalist enterprise by your definition has to be individually owned or family owned or somesuch?

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    38. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Gee thanks" that's ok.
      I must admit I give back twice, so the insult;
      "Are you suggesting that the stock market which groups together individual wealth through institutional and direct ownership is not "private"?

      Was countered and paid in full.

      Recommend you do your home work on real world economics and not be condescending until you have. I once had you value system and understand your dismay at my suggesting an alternate reality.

      I can recommend starting with grasping "fractional banking", if your attention span permits, try this video linked below, it is the clearest of hundreds of videos and books on the subject.
      As well as white papers from the worlds Federal Reserves.
      Fractional Banking
      http://youtu.be/lu_VqX6J93k

      Wishing you well.

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    39. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Philip, congratulations on your missing the point, again. I didn't say Pacific Hydro don't invest overseas, I did say they are investing in Australia. Keep up please.

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    40. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Elson

      David, if the end is nigh, can you please explain why Rinehart and company are investing billions in the north-west of Oz?

      If you think a link to some propaganda from the Liberal party media wing is objective, you are dreaming. But let's play the game for a minute and pretend it's an authoritative article penned by a journalist as pure as the driven snow.

      Where are his criticisms of the failures of John Howard to invest in industries and new technologies when he was in power? I don't for a minute believe the current mob are the epitome of good government but if you seriously think Abbott and Hockey (who doesn't even believe his own statements) will lead us to a gilt-edged future, you need to up your medication.

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    41. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Aw heck that explains it ... G Edward Griffin - the cancer cure man - laetrile or something like that ... and a certified financial planner ... heck it must be just So True.

      Anyone who's looking to get an insight into the deeper end of the pondlife of the US libertarian right and its intellectual depth ... have a look at the video posted above. A serious hoot! A unique worldview - totally.

      Conversation is concluded.

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    42. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Gina's fortunes are intractably linked to mining in Australia, she doesn't have the network that some of the bigger multi-national miners have.

      They on the other hand have plenty of other places they can go for raw materials. We're not the only quarry on this earth.

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    43. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      As for Hockey and Howard, it's not the role of the government to pick winners and losers in a free society :P

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    44. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      While China has some mineral exploration and mining it's largely monopolized by state owned enterprises...

      So it's very unlikely that BHP, Rio Tinto etc... will outsource their business to there...

      However and sadly the quality of Chinese manufacturing is starting to approach and surpass that of many western nations (see the cost and quality of the latest Jeep Patriot vs Great Wall Motors).

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    45. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Elson

      You mean it's not (supposed) to be the role of (pro free market) government to pick winners but of course it never stopped Howard propping up the auto industry or Costello handing out baby bonuses in exchange for votes. Ah yes, the good old free-market, a capital idea except when things don't go in favour of the free market and it needs a little propping up via subsidies, quotas, import taxes etc etc.

      Let's not forget it was Menzies and McEwan who made an art form out of propping up the free market…

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    46. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Throwing bad money after good is not much of an excuse.

      I for one am surprised that you would use the fact that Howard and Costello used public funds in this way to justify similar (in fact hugely increased) misspending of money now.

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    47. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Elson

      David, simply providing an historical perspective.

      With any luck much of this discussion will be rendered meaningless over the next 18 months judging by the following article:
      http://goo.gl/UVRUh (from climate spectator)

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    48. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Closing down coal plants is one thing, providing replacement alternative baseline power at a competitive cost is another....

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    49. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      “Competitive cost…" in comparison to what? Dirty subsidise coal or clean subsidised renewables? Sadly very few things are perfect in life but it's well past time when the true costs of coal were acknowledged.

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  11. David Leigh

    logged in via Facebook

    What is it they say about time and politics? Eighteen months is a very long period indeed. And with the majority of Australians benefiting from the newly created jobs in renewables, not losing out financially from carbon tax and even saving money, by not having to but a steel umbrella, votes might be a little thin on the ground for Mr Abbott. His own party, once acquainted with the facts, may start to see the political gains from supporting such policies. We could see a leadership change, as suggested by Peter Ormonde above and possibly a new era, as recommended by Rob Oakshot. Politicians may start to vote on policy and not team politics for a change. They may even decide to support what is good the general electorate and not personal gain. (Snoooort! Low flying pig). Thank you for that informative article Andrew; it certainly shows the stupidity in deciding to repeal what is essentially a good policy and with good financial and ecological outcomes.

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    1. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Leigh

      I would suggest that the apparent zeal that Tony Abbott displays toward repealing the Carbon Tax would encourage business not to factor in this tax existing for long.

      Indeed it would be very sensible for them to hold back any significant investment until after the next election. - When it becomes more clear as to whether this tax will endure into the future.

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  12. Tony P Grant

    Neo-Mort

    An Englishman..."blood oath"?

    His father and grandfather didn't fight the "good fight" and left England at her "time of need"...Abbott family...cowards and the "mad monk" a bully!

    It is about time the "facts" are known about Abbott and his "opportunist family" I dare readers to do a 30 minute search on this man and his family; I did and find him a "disgrace" to be leader of any party in this country!

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    1. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tony P Grant

      Tony P Grant: "His father and grandfather didn't fight the "good fight" and left England at her "time of need"...Abbott family...cowards and the "mad monk" a bully!"
      Evidence, please.

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  13. Seán McNally

    Market and Social Researcher at eris strategy

    I think Tony is onto a winner. If he can't repeal due to procedural reasons he can continue his vitriolic attack. If he is denied the needed legislation by the senate he can also continue his vitriolic attack. If he can repeal but it is too expensive, he can continue his vitriolic attack. If does repeal and it causes a nightmare, well he can further continue his vitriolic attack.

    Only those who are for the tax, or are not supporters of his position, will dismiss his argument, but if Gina Rinehart is controlling Fairfax then we won’t hear any of that.

    No need for policy when hate is your alley.

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  14. Tony P Grant

    Neo-Mort

    David B...prove me a liar?

    I have spent the time reviewing all of Abbott's history...I stand by my comments...he's your messiah?

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    1. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to David Elson

      Yes, his life has all been about "community service" as a opening to his community (getting known).

      As part of his "team duties" you expect to be apart of a team that actually is called to duty on occasions...he is not alone in serving in this area...this was for an entrance into the seat of Warringah... opportunism 100%.

      You have read of the two "charges" yes money can buy you a "get out of jail card" if you daddy is a wealthy local? Duffy wrote and was directed...or else to publish...legal?

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tony P Grant

      Tony P Grant: "David B...prove me a liar?"
      Provide evidence. I'm not even asking for proof. Just evidence.
      Tony P Grant: "I have spent the time reviewing all of Abbott's history..."
      So you'll have the evidence.
      Tony P Grant: "... I stand by my comments...he's your messiah?"
      I regard Abbott as a vicious thug; a psychopath, who shouldn't be allowed out in public without at least two burly white-garbed keepers, a firmly-secured straight-jacket and a muzzle. So no, not my messiah. I just want the information.

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    3. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to David Boxall

      David

      I also oppose Abbott vehemently, but I suggest you are demeaning opposition to him by resorting to personal invective which is highly defamatory and for which you have provided no evidence.

      Comments like these also undermine the Conversation's moderation policy, which currently is commendably liberal. But if the subjects of such attacks complain sufficiently the Conversation would have to moderate its comments, which I suggest would be most regrettable.

      For these reasons I am reporting your most recent comment to the Conversation for abuse.

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    4. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      I agree David B is a little harsh and T Abbott is due the respect of office.

      ".... a psychopath, who shouldn't be allowed out in public without at least two burly white-garbed keepers..." David Boxall

      But given the information circling the globe and recent corporate history of lack of empathy. He may well a point even though it was put bluntly.

      Fishead the movie definition of a psychopath Prof Hare
      http://youtu.be/xiDhVdCjaok

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    5. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to David Boxall

      David, do the numbers on Abbott's family from 1940?

      Abbott's father came here in 1940 with his grandfather..both were to be available for service to crown and country but left England within that "window of opportunity... patriots"? Richard Abbott was in his 17th year!

      How many thousands of 17 to 21 years died in the second world war? How many 30 to 50 years old?

      Then arrive here with the war behind them...little did they count on Churchill blah!

      Richard finishes school and university…

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    6. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Tony P Grant

      Tony - very interesting.
      Can you give us the source of this information. Our family has an innate wariness of POMs and would benefit learning more.

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    7. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Wikipedia/The Monthly Feb 2010.

      Add to this basic assumptions and bias...Abbott himself (I mean minders) use the same logic except they don't get challenged?

      If I can find some of this material...imagine a research team spending a week on this topic?

      Good Hunting!

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    8. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Just remember..."shit happens' with one of our diggers when he was in Afghanistan and beyond..."piss off" to Nicola Roxon press club...Marg Whitlam death "I didn't like the Whitlam's...blah!

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    9. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Tony P Grant

      Appreciate the heads up, it never occurred my gut feeling when he shafted Turnball was based on many known values of this group.

      But it goes to the heart of the matter, I get this uneasy feeling about J Gillard as well. We are reallin dire need of leadership that is certain.

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    10. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Time plus policy should be enough to get Gillard another term, just about every scribe has persisted with the destruction of her character...she's a good decent person with far more substance than Rudd.

      Did readers watch 4 Corners (Catholic Clergy Sex Abusers)?

      Pell has had charges (sex) against him "defended"?

      Pell is Abbott's "spiritual adviser" cold and calculated...sociopathy has been mentioned about Abbott on this blog...deeper than we may hope for?

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    11. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Gavin Moodie: "... I suggest you are demeaning opposition to him by resorting to personal invective which is highly defamatory and for which you have provided no evidence."
      The relevant paragraph begins: "I regard Abbott as a vicious thug ...". You want evidence that I regard him so? You'd have a hard time finding a lawyer silly enough to attempt a defamation case on the basis of my post.
      To be clear, I've been unfortunate enough to deal with a couple of psychopaths and fortunate enough to have…

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    12. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to David Boxall

      Apologies David...

      I'm doing a "copy and paste"...you have nailed DSMV from what I can remember on psychopathology!

      I have argued that those seeking our "highest office" should be fully examined including MRI an qEEG's...there is a growing number of people in this category, approx 0.7% to somewhere approaching 2% from the early 90's to now... and that is scary!

      Success and power is the overwhelming agenda, you only have to look at his mentor "George Pell" ?

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    13. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tony P Grant

      Tony, I have an old page on Abbott (http://david.boxall.id.au/abbott.html). It's aimed at some highly religious acquaintances who seem to regard Abbott as a saint because of his Jesuit background, so it might seem a bit quaint to the secular. If you have verifiable information, I'd be pleased to add it or link to it. Contact e-mail address is in the footer of that page.

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    14. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Boxall

      David - The worlds formost expert in this field is Prof Hare has been interviewed in "Fishead" the movie and we the audience are left in no doubt who qualify.

      There is a clear distinction between sociopath and psychopath. I am sad to say you may very well be right in your comment, but make up your own mind on current information.

      Freely available;
      http://www.fisheadmovie.com/
      - How psychopaths and antidepressants influence our society
      a provocative snapshot of the world we live in.
      Length: 80 min.
      Released: Sep 11 2011

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    15. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Paul Richards

      It's always good to see a bit of racism injected into an intellectual discussion, n'est-ce pas?

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    16. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to David Boxall

      Thank you for this link. It illustrates your thought processes very precisely.

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    17. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Gavin,
      I concur precisely with your comments.
      I have no problem with people's actions or comments being ciritized vigourously. However to resort to crude personal abuse and especially using poorly understood psychological terms demeans the site, and its purpose, and those who choose to publish articles on the site.

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    18. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Thanks Phillip,

      As I said, the target audience is highly religious. Religion is not a natural perspective for me. I had difficulty getting my head into that space and reckon it shows. The arguments are not as coherent or logical as I'd like, but seem to have been effective.

      It was while writing that page that it dawned on me what really creeps me out about Abbott. That's why it was tacked on at the end.

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    19. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Boxall

      David - Looking back I am glad to have survived as well as I did, ignorance and instinct probably saved me. Not to mention focus on another victim.
      That corporate executive in 'Fishead' on the podium saying; "I would like to reach out and rip your heart right out." Chilling stuff. A real glimpse of the thought process.

      That ABC Catalyst story started my journey of awareness, thanks for the link 'great reference', on my list now.

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  15. Doug Green

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    I hate to be pessimistic but I think the most likely scenario is that Tony Abbott, barring a major brain snap, will be the next PM of Australia. There will be no move against him in the Liberal Party while such buoyant polling continues. Nobody much likes or trusts him, and his 30 years in public life provide many fine reasons not to, but the Gillard Labor government is electoral poison.

    It really doesn't matter what the carbon tax does or does not. The real questions are whether prices in general…

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    1. Christopher Bertoli

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Doug Green

      Scientists tortured at the stack is a bit much. He's always said that Catholicism does not override logic. If you really wanted to talk about the death of knowledge, you'd refer to education cuts by Gillard.

      She's doing more damage to science than Abbott has. And given how freely he acknowledges he's a Catholic, he's held to a much higher standard than Gillard. Which may sound silly, but he's the best person for the job _because_ he's a Catholic. If someone said they were an atheist then no-one would bother commenting and they would get away with murder.

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    2. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Labor under Gillard has corrupted science by appointing leaders of peak science bodies more for their political correctness than for their ability. Research grants also seem to favour a similarly correct bias.
      It reminds me of the science policy of the Stalinist era, where science was merely a tool of government policy.

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    3. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Doug Green

      So, Doug, you provide an interesting analysis.
      Given that there is a Liberal Party in power in WA, Victoria and NSW, and a Liberal National Party in Queensland, how many people have been burned at the stake to date?

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    4. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      So, no Labor cut to education or science funding as initially asserted.

      You have to give evidence to substantiate wild claims of biased appointments to peak science bodies and allocations of research grants.

      I suppose one may leave to you your recollection of the Stalinist era, but as far as I know Labor hasn't (yet) imprisoned anyone for their science.

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    5. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Phillip - thankfully those who inherit this world have value systems that encompass yours, understand and are exceed them. Able to put your Baby Boomer 'fear' of 'reds under the bed' and 'yellow peril' in historical context as we rapidly advance toward singularity.

      Stange as it may seem, they are widely read on the implications of this time of great change, the death of the agrian era, the rise of new technology and the implications of automation. Most importantly, are young enough to walk forward, not backward into the future with no fear and hold a torch on key issues confidently.

      There is a reason the older generations passing is a highly successful part of human evolution. The current gen x and y may save us all, they will play a huge part in our course and direction as the last election proved .

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    6. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Paul Richards

      The ability to consistently write non-sequiturs is a skill that you have complete mastery in. Nobody else comes close to you in this ability. keep up the good effort. Congratulations.

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    7. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Philip, give it a break, do some homework and exercise what remains of your brain and you'll find it's your buddies, the Conservatives like Alan Jones and Barnaby Joyce who want to create a new Inquisition and try anybody who doesn't think as they do. You should be overjoyed given it looks like the dark world you long for will soon be upon us once Abbott gets elected.

      I like the way you conveniently ignored all the jobs stacking John Howard conducted during his time at the helm. Maybe you should acquaint yourself with the scientific method and what's really involved to produce good science. Despite your prejudices, good scientists don't let their personal prejudices form their conclusions. You should give the go sometime.

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    8. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      We don't need to wait until a change of government for the "new inquisition"....

      How about Conroy's Great Firewall? or the government attempts to direct media opinion via the proposed media council?

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-12-15/critics-blast-great-firewall-of-australia/1179546

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/libs-reject-finkelstein-proposal-for-media-council-public-interest-test/story-fn59niix-1226413098639

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    9. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Are you saying you are gen x - or y and my comments don't apply because they are fallacious?

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    10. Doug Green

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Ahh Philip, I was speaking metaphorically when I was talking about scientists being tied to a stake and tortured under a Tony Abbott-led government. I was simply referring to Abbott's lack of respect for economics and science in general. His lack of scientific knowledge is stunning, but, to his credit, he (and many of his followers) doesn't let it prevent him from pronouncing on it. In fact I think he has held every possible position on climate change/policy at one time or another!

      I remember…

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    11. Tony P Grant

      Neo-Mort

      In reply to Doug Green

      Doug, agree 100%!

      Here's the "kicker" anybody watching Australian politics from outside the country would believe that "
      Abbott is unreal...moronic...and he is the "people's choice"?

      The judgement is on Australians not Abbott...are "you people honestly thinking he (Abbott) is leadership material?

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    12. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Doug Green

      Doug - " .....And it's certainly not 'weightless'."

      Thank you for that it was missed here. 'Absolutely priceless'.
      Reminiscent of Yogi Berra quotes. Ah .... what political leadership we have.

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  16. Guy Cox

    logged in via email @guycox.com

    Tony Abbott purports to be a devout Catholic. Christianity regards 'wise stewardship of the planet' as fundamental, so he would seem to be in a bit of a contradiction here. So far as I can find, Christianity does not regard 'helping big business' as part of its remit - rather the reverse. As a Catholic, Abbott is required to go to confession on a regular basis. I cannot see how any priest could give him absolution with a clear conscience.

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    1. David Elson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Guy Cox

      Environmentalism has the religious element of conversation covered, not sure I want to see mainstream religions harping on about it as well.

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    2. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Elson

      David - well that is noble of you.

      We must be be thankful we have the freedom to "change the channel" as we were told as kids. In our case click away from "The Conversation."

      Our system it is after all, rapidly coming under the control of 'x' an 'y' generation with the Baby Boomer becoming redundant.

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    3. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Guy Cox

      Being the personal friend of Cardinal Pell, there will be plenty of clergy to hear his confession/s with a clear conscience.
      As an after thought, I wonder if his recent attendance at a Liberal Party meeting in Melbourne has anything to do with the inquiry into abuse during his personal friend's timeline, called for by courageous Premier Mr Baillieu.

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  17. Lynne Newington

    Researcher

    He's such an exhibitionist, "blood oath" for goodness sake.
    The nuns that taught him at junior level, must cringe when he opens his mouth.
    Imagine his hell and damnation sermons if he'd become a priest!

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    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      I can't help but wonder how many Canberra journalists will conveniently ignore Abbott's “blood oath" should it transpire that removing the carbon tax and associated compensation will cause more hardship then it will save. I suspect they'll fall over themselves to find excuses for his pre-election lies after he fails to deliver post-election.

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    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Leigh

      David - T Abbott's integrity is very subjective. Agreed?

      If he fits your value system his integrity is intact. If you have evolved a different set of values it is evident where he comes from, people are literally limited in scope and so their scans of politics are as well. Nothing you say here will assit them to evolve, all we can do is verify our thought for those with evolved value systems. Abbott supporters are red - blue - orange - SD.
      From my reading of comments made, you are green or higher.

      [Clare Graves Spiral Dynamics http://pialogue.info/definitions/spiral_dynamics_aqal_BIG.jpg]

      SD makes no reference to personality, just value systems.

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  18. Peter Sommerville

    Scientist & Technologist

    Personally I think articles like this are irrelevant. I am happy to wait and see.

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