Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Oct 29, 2014

Cormann reaches for his pen and his phone

Cartoon: By Bill Leak  
President Obama has been accused of ruling by decree in our language or to use the US term, by executive orders.  
Under this system a king, emperor, dictator, autocrat, or sundry despot picks up the phone and orders that his will be done.
It seems now that the minister for finance, Mathias Cormann has caught the bug and is using his pen and his phone, (to use the President’s own term) to increase fuel excise without senate approval: 
MOTORISTS are set to pay a $4 billion increase in fuel tax over the next four years despite the Senate’s objections to the controversial budget measure as the Abbott government uses administrative powers to impose the change. 
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann declared the government would adjust the indexation in the belief the change would be legislated in due course, ensuring the revenue could be raised while the Senate argues over the bill. 
The change will take effect from 10 November when the fuel tax will rise from 38.143 cents per litre to 38.6 cents per litre. 
The national average price for unleaded petrol was about 1.52 a litre last week according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum. …
The Liberals and Nationals are playing a dangerous game here if they are relying on Green support to pass this legislation.  While the Greens would welcome any legislation that raised the cost of fuel out of the reach of the poor, they will be in the box seat to move their agenda forward.
They will undoubtedly aim to eliminate the fuel rebate to non-road users, something they have always had in mind.  The fuel tax was originally designed as a user pays system of financing highway construction, although only a small portion goes toward that purpose.  The rest is pissed against the wall and the Greens are smart enough to understand that the LNP are desperate enough to sacrifice the mining and agricultural industries if it is needed to buy votes.
The Liberals have come up with some Gillardesque spin in attempting to blame Shorten in advance for any attempt to block this effort.  They are claiming that if it is not passed, the revenue raised will go back to ‘big oil’ and it will be all his fault.  There is a slight element of truth in this as the tax raised will be paid by oil companies and passed on to consumers.  If it fails to pass, the revenue will go back to those companies, not to the consumers.
It is however, completely dishonest to blame the opposition for a circumstance created by a unilateral decision by the government to start taxing now and waiting for the umpires verdict.
It is worth noting that from the figures above, about 25% of the cost of a tank of fuel goes to the government and they want more.

Oct 3, 2014

Senate ‘Q&A’ style panel to investigate Qld government

Or: Beware of Greens bearing gifts

Cartoon: By Paul Zanetti 
About the only thing that inspires any confidence that the Newman government is doing anything right is that crony capitalist and white shoe brigade wannabe, Clive Palmer has an obsessive hatred of it.
After years of being in bed with the LNP and a major donor to it, Clive has spat the dummy after receiving unfavourable decisions on some of his projects. 

While most ex-mistresses settle for writing tell-all books or at least a series of well-paid television interviews, Clive has instead used his diminishing wealth to establish his own political party, which he uses to obstruct the federal government’s agenda and use as a stalking horse against the Newman government.
He has now done a deal with Labor and the Greens to set up an inquiry into the Queensland government: 
... Clive Palmer has been engaged in a bitter and long-running personal feud with Premier Campbell Newman and has now been given a significant weapon to use against him.  It is a loss for the Federal Government which had successfully seen off a previous attempt to establish the inquiry, arguing it was without legal precedent and overrides parliamentary convention. 
Over the next six months the committee will examine Queensland's use of Commonwealth funds, the administration of the state's judicial system, and questions around development and environmental approvals. 
The select committee, which will consist of five members but only one from the Coalition, has a reporting date on or before March 27 next year, very close to the date of the next Queensland election. 
Mr Newman is on holidays but issued a statement calling the inquiry a stunt. His federal counterparts said the inquiry would abuse an established principle that federal and state parliaments stay out of each other's business. 
Senator Eric Abetz, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, said it was part of Mr Palmer's vendetta against Mr Newman. "Basically it's a bitch session about Queensland," Senator Abetz said. …
The composition of the inquiry is very reminiscent of the ABC’s Q&A show in which one member of the right is confronted by three or four lefties plus the moderator.  In this case, the Liberals who have 33 senators have a single representative, Labor (25) have two, the Greens (10) have one, and PUP (3) also have one.
The inquiry was scuttled on an earlier attempt to set it up when the Liberals moved to include the Bligh Labor government’s activities as well.  This one was supposed to avoid such scrutiny.
In further developments, Labor and PUP have found they have been duded by the Greens
The backing of the Greens was crucial to the Palmer United Party’s third attempt to secure a Senate investi­gation into all ­aspects of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s Liberal Nat­ional Party government. 
Greens senator for Queensland Larissa Waters denied her party had been caught up in what the Abbott government has dubbed Mr Palmer’s “personal vendetta’’ against Mr Newman. 
“The terms of reference that we’ve had included will ensure that we can look at not just the Newman government’s environmental track record but the dodgy coal-seam gas approvals under the Bligh (Labor) government, and also Mr Palmer’s own activities with his mega mines in the Galilee and his Yabulu refinery on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef,’’ Senator Waters said. 
Yabula is Australia’s highest emitting nickel refinery.  
The Newman government is taking legal advice on the inquiry, and is expected to turn the tables on PUP and use the Senate probe to retaliate and dump on Mr Palmer and Labor. ...
Palmer and Labor would do well to remember the old adage; beware of Greens bearing gifts.