Vale Kelvin Thomson

Cross-posted from The Idiot Tax:

Don’t worry, Kelvin if you’re reading this you’re not dead. I’m just offering the vales for your political passing. And full blown respect for that mo.

One, among many confusing messages this dung heap of a blog telegraphs, is a distaste for politicians. There can’t be any lower form of life. For as long as I can remember I’ve held politicians in contempt. As you may guess, by the title and picture above, Kelvin Thomson is not held in contempt here. Despite the backbench relegation and lack of attention, we should mourn his political passing, but we likely won’t. Unlike a parasite, such as Sloppy Joe Hockey, who had columns dedicated to his slob like resignation and time served, notice of Thomson’s departure will mostly be coloured by who, out of a cavalcade of Labor hacks, will fill his seat, before touching on the time he once wrote a reference for one Antonios Mokbel. Nice work, media.

Lie, cheat, steal. Lobby and push through, or block legislation on behalf of rent seekers and you’ll go far. Write a pro forma reference for a tubby drug dealer to open a bar and you’ll spend the rest of your days on the back bench.

Comparing Thomson’s resignation to Hockey again highlights the difference in the straight shooter and the chameleon. Thomson has spent considerable time repeating a consistent message on population growth and housing, that none of his colleagues would consider uttering. In his final speech to parliament we shouldn’t expect a backflip that demands we ramp up the population ponzi. Sloppy Joe told easily refutable lies on housing and negative gearing throughout his time a treasurer. Only to concede that housing speculation was a problem and negative gearing should be aimed at new builds the moment he got the arse.

Tellingly, heartless Hockey pulled the pin to force a by-election, lest his stomach staples don’t hold up, while Thomson will see out his term after a recent heart attack and double by-pass.

I don’t need to specifically highlight Thomson’s ongoing contributions on the problems with population growth, the environment, urban sprawl, 457 visas, housing, China free trade, the trans-pacific partnership, infrastructure or bans on developer donations. The guy has done more serious thinking and offered more contributions than nearly every other sack of shit in Labor, Liberal or the Greens combined. If you’re interested in Thomson’s thoughts, they’re easily found. Importantly, Thomson, was prepared to link population and carbon emissions. Admitting the second was unable to be dealt with unless the first was addressed somehow.

Finally, back to me. I’ve only twice contacted politicians in my life. One was Kelvin Thomson, the other Kevin Andrews. In my naive days, back in 2010, I emailed both to ask and offer some suggestions around housing and population. Knowing Thomson had little platform available, it was more questions. The following is an excerpt from Thomson’s response.

Thank you for your emails. My thoughts are as follows – the establishment of a Minister for Population is a step in the right direction because it carries with it the promise of a population policy. That is a good thing – so far we have not had a population policy, we have had default outcomes, which are basically as rapid a population growth as is possible. I want that to change.

The property development industry has a lot of influence in the political process courtesy of campaign donations. It would be better if they had less influence. I don’t support rising house prices and have said so in speeches. Housing is a necessity, like food, water, electricity, clothing, petrol. No-one cheers when the price of food, water, clothing, electricity, petrol etc goes up. Why should we cheer when the price of houses goes up?

Pretty basic stuff, but at least Kelvin had the decency to reply. Unlike the shadow housing minister at the time, Kevin Andrews. It was around this time Andrews was trying to humanize himself and his shake off his undertaker image. Kevin’s people attempted to prove warm blood pumped through Andrews’ veins, so they had him begin writing about cycling, in addition to his usual paint by numbers politics rot, for the now defunct News Corp website, The Punch.

When Kevin wasn’t offering up pictures of his lily-whites in lycra, he was back to belting Labor. Given he relished that opportunity and he was meant to be shadow housing minister, I attempted to get the old vampire fired up to go after my most hated politician at the time, housing minister, Tanya Plibersek. A rambling email was compiled and fired off to Kevin

Two particular paragraphs of note.

Before the last election, Tanya Plibersek, pushing housing affordability, was often quoted as saying “average house prices had risen to 7 times the average wage under the Howard government”. The average house price has now risen to 9-10 times the average wage (depending on figures) since the Rudd government has been in power; this has to considered be a massive failure, yet the opposition has never taken Plibersek to task.

Tanya Plibersek has been caught backflipping over the First Home Owner’s Grant – her words ” There won’t be an increase in the First Home Buyers Grant, because we’ve seen from experience what happens when you provide a grant like that — or increase it — is that it goes straight into the pocket of the seller.” Not long after the, Rudd government doubled the grant and prices spiked.

Kevin, nor any of his staffers bothered responding. All my hard word down the toobz, I thought. Less than a month later and I’m cruising through “Australia’s best conversation” and there’s a story on real estate written by Kevin Andrews.

Two paragraphs caught my eye.

Prior to the 2007 election, Tanya Plibersek, claimed that “average prices had risen to seven times the average wage under the Howard government.” They are now nine to ten times the average wage. Labor’s policies have made housing less affordable for home buyers, whether they are wishing to purchase a house or pay off the mortgage.

In 2007, Tanya Plibersek asserted that “there won’t be an increase in the First Home Buyers Grant, because we have seen from experience what happens when you provide a grant like that – or increase it – is that it goes straight into the pocket of the seller.” Subsequently the Rudd government doubled the grant and house prices spiked.

I’d always hoped to get ripped off by someone good. Sadly we all have to settle.

And again, thanks to Kelvin Thomson. Go and read some of his work.

Leith van Onselen


  1. Damn thats a shame.
    One of the few current ALP members i have respect for.

    Seat of Wills will be hot on The Greens radar now. Especially as it looks like the Libs are giving their branches free reign over preference direction next time around.

  2. “The property development industry has a lot of influence in the political process courtesy of campaign donations. It would be better if they had less influence”.
    Very true.

  3. rob barrattMEMBER

    He really has to go.
    What’s the point in my repeating a million times that they’re ALL a bunch of shits when I’m embarrassed to find there might be one or even two that aren’t. We need some uniformity, something we can be certain about. Get rid of them I say.

    • +1 Makes it easier when we have to shoot them all come the revolution. Don’t want to be sorting through them all to find the good one. Sarc incase anyone missed it – shooting politicians is a waste of good ammo

    • Brilliant political analysis rob, the lack of consistency is one of the great failings of our political system. LOL
      John, that’s why you use sustainable, re-usable technologies like rope made from natural fibres. /sarc off

  4. The two worst politicians in the Australian parliament unfortunately happen to be “hyper-feminists”:
    (1) Penny Wong
    (11) Tanya Plibersek

    • You MUST be kidding? If not, that says more about your view on women, I think.

      Morrison, Hunt, Dutton, Abetz etc, etc.

      You couldn’t have looked very hard.

  5. Plibersek is as feeble as it comes on most things outside social justice issues, On finance, there are 8 year olds with more comprehension. She spouts words she has no understanding of. On housing she was quite a hypocrite.

    • It was the Rudd Government’s blatant housing hypocrisy that made me fume. Treasury never recommended boosting the FHB grant as part of the stimulus measures, it was an executive decision made by Cabinet.

      The under 30’s delivered Kevin07 an astonishing election win and he responded by screwing them over with higher house prices and larger HECS debts. Despite coming off as a totally with it PM ready to propel Generation Y into the 21st Century limelight Rudd and Co. did much to entrench the Howard/Costello debt slavery of younger Australians and hand the Boomers a free pass with some equity maaaaaate thrown in.

      • You forgot to mention the relaxation of rules relating to foreign investment in housing. I believe he was/is also a specufestor.

  6. We need more people like Kelvin in Parliament. Kelvin has done his bit and now it is time for others to step up…

  7. What was that all about?
    I’m not crying crocodile tears for him! He & Hockey can play fiddle sticks together.
    Both useless.