Turnbull’s government has degenerated into a circus

The Turnbull Government has degenerated into a circus. It’s somehow actually worse than the Abbott Government. At least the latter had method even if misdirected by troglodyte ideology. The Turnbull Government has no discernible values at all and no method, either!

Witness the progression of policy since Malcolm Turnbull’s rise. He came to power with a very clear vision:

Ultimately, the prime minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs… We need a different style of leadership. We need a style of leadership that… respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out a course of action that we believe we should take… We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people. We need to restore traditional cabinet government [and] put an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls.

We were set up to be treated like adults and have the nation’s challenges explained to us then addressed, the economic challenge of the end of the mining boom being of primary importance.

Prime Minister Turnbull started slowly but OK with the innovation agenda which fitted with this reality but it was small and in now way lived up to its absurd hype of being an “ideas boom”, the ads for which are still rolling out all over at tax-payer’s expense.

GST reform could also have fitted with the structural adjustment theme and it was rolled out next. It was a way to help repair the Federal budget through boosting revenues and productivity via tax efficiency. But, soon afterwards it collapsed after it took heat from lobby groups and internal Treasury modelling showed it would hit growth. Why it was rolled out at all before this modelling was done is a pointed question given one should know one’s research before announcing policy plans.

Associated and afterwards came a narrative about bracket creep and the need for income tax cuts. This was toyed with in public for a few weeks then got suddenly junked as it became obvious (as if it wasn’t already) that there was no money for said cuts.

Then came negative gearing reform. It was also supposed to help address the budget deficit, as well as adding equity to a clearly and grotesquely unfair tax system favouring assets over income, old over young and rich over poor. Treasurer Morrison was wheeled out again to sell it but hardly were the words out of his mouth when Labor countered with a much more comprehensive and considered policy proposal. The Government panicked, flopped around for a week or so, then ‘pulled an Abbott’ and abandoned all reform to negative gearing, leaving Treasurer Morrison high and dry once again, citing spectacularly dubious and widely debunked BIS Shrapnel research as his reason.

Next onto the comical tax conveyor belt was a company tax cut. It was bandied about in public for a few weeks before it too was off to the knackers as it again became clear that there is no money for it and, moreover, that yet more modelling showed that although it would boost growth it would also hit growth.

Throughout this tax schmozzle the Turnbull narrative oscillated wildly between post mining boom fear mongering, placing emphasis on the need to find growth, and half-baked solutions that rose and fell with the regulatory of a metronome. It is absolutely no wonder that polls have sunk throughout.

As they have done so the Prime Minister’s methodological madness has accelerated. Rather than pause and take stock on where he was going and what he was doing, the PM’s gathering maelstrom has in the last few weeks spun off a series hair-brained schemes like some crazy policy Catherine wheel:

  • perhaps spooked by his own failure, the PM engineered a remarkably self-serving and flimsy double dissolution trigger in its Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation (which is good idea) despite having declared consistently that he would run his term thereby immediately trashing his own polls given the severe lack of national interest in the policy;
  • he unilaterally shifted the Budget timetable to accommodate this desperate ploy but failed to tell his Treasurer and thus filled the media with a week of speculation about a failing relationship which, let’s face it, would be no surprise given the number of occasions ScoMo has been hung out to dry;
  • the day before COAG, the PM unilaterally declared that the states ought to be raising their own taxes and that they would get no money unless they did. Despite the idea having merits, the complete lack of a process to implement such an huge Federation reform agenda meant it was treated with the contempt it deserved by state premiers;
  • next the PM threw a high speed ponzi-rail Hail Mary proposal to link eastern cities funded largely via dealing the developers into the resulting land value increases. Just a day later, his own head of the task force, John Alexander, openly confessed that the plan was all about spreading the Sydney and Melbourne property price bubbles into regional areas, the very opposite of improved competitiveness and productivity that is need to address the post-mining boom challenge;
  • Labor then blind-sided the flailing prime minister again when it announced a Royal Commission into banking malfeasance, something that is years overdue, to look into both financial planning and interest rate setting scandals, so the desperate PM (or Treasurer or both) immediately responded by seeking to boost funding to the (ir)responsible regulatory body, ASIC, which pointed out that it was Coalition budget cuts that had gutted its functions in the first place.

The Turnbull Government is now caught between the reality of an increasingly difficult post-mining boom environment that it has acknowledged and having absolutely no plan to address it. Worse, Labor has filled that policy vacuum forcing the Coalition to fight it instead of governing.

As such, the Turnbull Government has no discernible narrative that outlines both the national challenge and the solution, and it has a leader popular for intellect, policy savvy and ideological centrism instead spouting populist fear-mongering, policy vandalism and Right wing garbage. Against his own benchmark of considered process and no “captain’s calls” Turnbull appears ridiculous and he is reliant increasingly on whacky, isolated and transparent PR clap trap as his only re-election strategy.

This goes way beyond bad advice, ideological confusion or the difficulties of governing in a down cycle. This is simple ineptitude and it goes straight to the top.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Comments

  1. The ad is ironic, it shows a baby being born.

    So basically their best idea is to have massive population growth.

    And yes the advertising is a colossal waste of money.

    • What a disappointment Turnbull has been! His approach to government reminds me of what Sergeant Derek said in The Thin Blue Line: a lot namby-pamby, artsy-fartsy, shilly-shally, hoity-toity, phony-baloney faffing about!

      ?
      ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Arsehole? That’s far to crass for Mr Turnbull.

        No, St Mal would pay someone in the Caymans to be an arsehole for him.

  2. “Turnbull’s government has degenerated into a circus”

    Was it ever any better?

    (BTW I did state, in these pages, Turnbulls’, and the Liberal Governments’ inabilities when Turnbull replaced Abbot whilst many were claiming that Turnbull was a great policy man and leader. Kudos accepted).

    • Excellent rhetorical question, Obliging One. The headline has no need for the inclusion of “Turnbull”. Substitute any of Abbott, Rudd or Gillard for Turnbull and it would appear that history is repeating itself.
      I am tiring of our MacroRagers going the man instead of the ball. The problem is not Turnbull per se, it is our broken political system that is manifested in careerism, cronyism, corruption, and cowardice.
      We need political reform – not another product of the Party sphincters.

      • DodgydamoMEMBER

        If Turnbull’s incredible lack of performance vs what was promised isn’t enough to convince people to put both Laberal teams last on their voting slips I don’t know what is… It is the only way to truly disrupt this broken duopoly, at worst delivering another 3 years of ineffective policy making (which we seem to get anyway)

      • ++ The party system is dead. Riddled with the disease of neoliberalism and all the symptoms of its failure – nepotism, cronyism, corporatism, profiteering, corruption etc etc.

        The ALP died when Faulkner left, the LNP hasn’t had a pulse for decades. The leech that is the Laberal party duopoly needs to be extricated from the political system.

      • Penny has some abysmal form on national asset and land sales. And really i’ve not seen any comment that breaks with the neoliberal tenet.

        Faulkner looks like he gave up just a bit too soon, but really we needed him, like Sanders and Corbyn to keep to the fight. His time would have been now, none of the young ALP EMT ideologues have any credibility.

    • Same here.
      TurnBullshit was so transparent that it puzzles me as to how some managed to miss to see it at all.

      • I called it too. I also called out for MB for believing Turnbull’s waffle over actual policy detail and received an angry response from the editors of MB.

      • Well I was sucked in, thought Turnbull was going to set Australia on the right path again, how wrong I was. Though I think it really shows how messed up the Liberal Party is these days as much as how Turnbull. Worse still how much external interest groups have taken the reigns …..

      • It was “Anything but Abbott” syndrome.

        After the Mad Monk, Mal looked like the voice of reason and common sense. And quite frankly he is still a better choice.

      • billygoatMEMBER

        For my part I was underwhelmed by Rudd – cant even recall who was having a go before him? Anyone? As for Gillard – our first female Prime Minister – what a charade? Abbott – underwhelmed & laughable? Shiny silver tongued Mr Turnbull – honestly I first heard a colleague wax lyrical about him 6 years ago when he was somehow involved in Eastern suburbs council or something, who knows? Actually she may have been waxing lyrical due to Mals wealth drawing the natural conclusion he would be able to lead Australia – must have been when he was ousted – another political charade? Actors playing their part – same with all the media half wits we have fronting TV programmes & journalist ‘writing’ content for online & printed media – more actors. For example THE PROJECT!!!!!

  3. Funny how time changes our perspective! How eager were most when Turnbull got elected? The same people the same story! Labour will win the next election, but they would regret it, as the recession is slowly but surely creeping along.

  4. I thought Abbott had a tin ear, but Turnbull is proving so incredibly disappointing. Let’s just hope that if the ALP get in that they realise having evidence based policies really can work! I dread to think what we are in for if the LNP win…

    • Turnbull seems to be able to dump rubbish policies a lot quicker than Abbott.

      Abbott held onto his paid parental leave scam for years!

  5. If it wasn’t for the facts, you’d think MacroB was politcally alligned like the msm – who make their own ‘facts’ to support their party of choice. But no the truth is what it is, a clown opera.

  6. ceteris paribus

    Turnbull may be as scattered as last week’s newspapers left out in the wind but the Treasuer remains in methodical Liberal mode. He will eat away at the Government provision of essential public services for all in health, education and income security, he will protect to the death massive upper-class tax expenditures for Liberal voters and he will make the the poor, the battlers and the lower middle pay down the lion share of the fiscal deficit in the event of a compliant Senate.
    No, HnH, it is very much business as usual for the Liberals. After the election, Malcolm will be told to go outside and play “innovation” while the bastards get down to the same old game of dispossession.

  7. “no discernible narrative” – that applies to every Australian institution and most Australians. Right now Oz is a slow motion train wreck. As it speeds up, they will have no clue what is happening. Like a confused animal, they won’t know which way to jump and will just flail about bleating ‘whooocoooodanoooide’.

    Popcorn time!

    • Come on.

      More and more Aussies are becoming aware of how corrupt the LNP is. (Not that I ever voted for Howard).

      And a lot of Aussies who were paid $60-80k/year have been replaced by 457 visa workers on $18/hour.

      Aussies who were paid $18/h have been replaced by immigrants on 50c-$10/hour.

      I think with every election, there is a new batch of 18 year olds who believe that wealth trickles down! Thus every decade, the Tories win an election.

      • Ahh.. Skippy might be interested to see the statistics that you linked. No doubt, it will prove that majority of the baby boomers are such selfless c#cks.

      • ErmingtonPlumbing

        Its a fairly small majority guys esp in the 50-65 bracket, still 39- 46% of boomers not voting NLP.
        And a lot of those that do vote for the NLP do so along tribal lines or because they are socially conservative (you know, like Religious morons), not because they have any kind of desire to see young people bent over and fucked.
        A large percentage of them have no idea what so ever the degree to which young people and all working people in general are being ignored by the political process.

        More of your ire should be directed towards the Media, not dopy old [email protected]

        Our real enemys are Private Tyrnies, not the young or old, Refos or white [email protected], Men or Women, dudes who like dudes or dudes who like chicks and dudes etc etc
        The enemy is unchecked power itself.

        Stop this time wasting petty bickering and show some Solidarity people!

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        EP is correct. The media is the enemy. They’re the ones who let the big players get away with murder.

        Make this a daily read.

        http://loonpond.blogspot.com.au/?m=1

        You’ll get to see the best cartoons too. They’re the only ones who have been getting it right.

      • Poor Lawd Duds, still looking at old data – that report was released three years ago on data that was the aberration of the last election. Things have changed since the LNP has hit out at the welfare state ……… “Boomers do not lock step on social policy, nor do they vote as a bloc. They do not, in fact, support the overly generous tax concessions on superannuation, with a solid majority of 66 per cent in a survey taken just before the 2015 Federal Budget, stating removal of these concessions as the number one priority.” https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/retirement/news/boomer-babble?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Volume%2016%20Issue%2049%20Daily%20eNews%20Wednesday&utm_content=Volume%2016%20Issue%2049%20Daily%20eNews%20Wednesday+Version+A+CID_1a8b3a4476076ea1cd14b7e4268374a7&utm_source=campaign%20monitor&utm_term=set%20the%20record%20straight

        Living life in the rear view mirror in the land of the free?

      • The switch of “working” voters to Liberal began with people’s ability to afford a Colour TV.
        When that happened they thought they could join the movers & shakers — it’s been all downhill since 🙂

      • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

        “” large percentage of them have no idea what so ever the degree to which young people and all working people in general are being ignored by the political process.””

        ignorance is not an excuse. Every person in the country has a smart phone, there is no excuse for ignorance.

        the reason for someone being ignorant is because they don’t care to find out.

      • Mav… the statistics in this case only show established voting preferences… too which you project your biases on…

        How many voters just engage in tribalism, eviromental conditioning, group bias, et al, you would have to do a much larger and detailed analysis – before – establishing broad sweeping motives like some can’t help themselves or want too.

        Skippy…. Father in law is a dyed in the wool National 79 years old and no matter what… will never change… even after selling out his property in the mid 80s due to 10 years persistent drought and mini cyclones… and moving into the intercity suburbs…

      • Jacob, the only trickle down that happens is if the young ones are fortunate enough to be born into wealth, because the wealthy arseholes parents don’t spend it, they horde it, but that’s ok apparently it’s the rest of us who are supposed to spend. You know the middle class and equity loans, and savers, spend, spend, spend.

    • ” “no discernible narrative” – that applies to every Australian institution and most Australians. Right now Oz is a slow motion train wreck”.

      I’d only disagree with the expression of ‘right now’ It’s been thus for a long long time.

      As to Turnbull being a ‘disappointment’.?? Nah! He’s exactly what you would expect him to be.

      • I mean, what was he supposed to do? Aus is now a leaderless drifting wreck. Where would he start?
        Firing civil servants from the 900+ federal government departments in Canberra alone? – vote loser – fatal.
        Increasing GST? (it’s nor a fraction of European rates) – vote loser – fatal.
        Reform IR? Currently floundering, mud-bound in a senate where opposition politicians will prevent it in order to advance their personal agendas. .
        Negative Gearing? – vote loser with the 30+’s
        Gay marriage? – that’ll fix the economy
        RC into banking? – ditto
        Manufacturing closing down? Too late – it’s closed.
        Education? – still pathetic , Asia pissing all over us.
        Mining? – wave byebye
        Healthcare? – Just about to founder under the tsunamis of obesity, Ice and the collapse of private health.

        No, the old Titanic is now listing to the point where it can’t be righted in the foreseeable future. What has to happen now is for people’s expectations to be reset. Then we start again.

    • If you need any further evidence of how stupid Aussies are, just consider this: Australia is the last continent to build a large-scale solar thermal power plant: Chile is building them, while Spain, Morocco and the United States all have concentrated solar thermal plants or are in the process of building them. Similarly India and China are also looking at investing in this technology. Not here though, even though we have the best solar insolation in the world! A special kind of stupid, Aussies.

      The increasing number of concentrated solar thermal projects around the world demonstrates that this technology is an accepted power supply option worldwide. The cost of solar thermal is also falling rapidly. And compared with nuclear, which has an average build time of 12 years, solar thermal wins hands down, with build times as low as two years.

      Malcolm Turnbull risks Australia’s economy with inaction on climate change

      • R2M,

        A few months ago I got to see an excellent new web application called Coastal Risk.
        A group of researchers had taken LIDAR of the majority of the Australia’s populated coastline.
        It was quite fun looking in that you got to be the director of a natural catastrophe.
        A slider let you model what raised sea-levels would do to say Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
        It would be like directing your own catastrophe blockbuster.

        I’d been waiting for it to go live for a while, as I was told that it would be up quite soon.
        Well before now.
        Recently I spoke to someone from that research organisation and the release has been delayed until September.
        I commented that it would appear politics is being meddlesome.
        We wouldn’t something like that popping up before an election, would we.
        The person I was speaking to, who is far more optimistic than myself replied,
        “At least Turnbull acknowledges Climate Change.”

        Sad days indeed.

      • 25 years without a recession to clear out the rot has made us some of the laziest dumbest most self entitled people on Earth (Saudi Arabia and a few other outliers are worse). Bring on the correction.

      • Sorry, too busy ploughing money into LNG and coal white elephants (not to mention property bubbles) to invest in developing future technologies.

      • Lordud…

        Am I to understand that you believe recessions are a necessary fact of life – ?????

        Skippy…. sounds like a self flagellation fetish…

    • Your table shows that 31-41% of voters under the age of 24 vote for the LNP!

      That is very high for a party that wanted to deny unemployment payments to voters under the age of 30!

  8. “popular for intellect, policy savvy and ideological centrism”

    Is he any of that? Has he ever been, or is it his smooth voice? I’ve never liked the bloke, from the day I saw his elite smug rantings about becoming a republic. Even back then, I thought “what a thought bubble when there’s so many things need addressing”. The guy’s an elitist, out of touch ditherer.

    • ErmingtonPlumbing

      Yes, the former Goldman Sachs man is one of the high priests of Neoliberalism and as such holds a deep personal conviction that, Governments should have as little influence and controll of the economy as possible, other than to protect elite interests, ans dole out a bit of coporate wealfare.

      The goal of Neoliberalism is to make Government as irrelevant as possible and on this score card he is doing very well,… people were indoctrinated fools to expect any better from him.

      The only reason his own party hate him so much and why the ABC set loved him, is because he is no Social Conservative,…..Not really a reason to vote for him on that alone!
      It would be nice for socially liberal, life long NLP supporters to rember that on election day.

      https://youtu.be/oYO1ZmdH5nw

    • It’s beyond me how people can be so blasé and dismissive about our national identity and, indeed, Australia’s very sovereignty. At this rate, the UK really will become a republic before this convict island does.

    • Xylolfrei

      I was born in Australia as part of the Commonwealth. It’s what I know, and I’m comfortable with it. I have never understood the reasons people want to change.

      We are changing in so many other ways by stealth. I also resent that.

  9. Tassie TomMEMBER

    I agree with everything in this article (mostly because they are facts) except the line “It’s actually somehow worse than the Abbott government.”

    The Abbott government governed on a platform of fear, hate, and racism. The minnows were subtly or not-so-subtly told that their problems were caused by evil minority groups (whoever the minority group of the day was – it was their fault), and that the solution was vengeance.

    Then the Abbott government was putting in place secret-police-like structures and structures to take over the public service, while keeping secrets they were never allowed to keep before and changing the rules so they were no longer accountable. They were giving themselves enormous power.

    There was nothing inherently evil about the average German citizen in the 1920s and 30s, but they still somehow collectively elevated the Nazi party to power. The same was not impossible here.

    The Turnbull government is a circus of bumbling buffoonery, but it is such a relief that the Abbott government is gone.

    • ErmingtonPlumbing

      Turnbull doesn’t have to resort to Fear and racist rants but neither does he denounce his “team” or partisans for doing so.

      Alan Jones on 2GB yesterday was conflating the “high” number of boat arrivals under labor, with the difficulty face by young people in getting a job! due to the boat people taking their jobs!,…I nearly chocked on my coffee, driving into work.

      No mention of work related visas.

      • I’m still embarrassed. Does not matter who they appoint as clown in chief. They are now over in China bending over without thinking through how they should engage with China.

  10. notsofastMEMBER

    I for one am OK with Malcolm’s leadership so far. Things I like about his leadership are:
    * he doesn’t use a three word slogan to either announce a policy or to then describe (in totality) the policy details
    * he (though others in his government/party might) doesn’t pick on people who are least able to defend themselves, like refugees, the poor etc, etc
    * there is at least some sensible debate now going on about the serious financial, social and structural issues that confront Australia rather than the almost total denial there was in the past.

    Unfortunately I think low expectations from our leaders is a function of the world we now live in, where their are people waiting poised ready to exploit every position or action taken by a government or a country.

    • Also, for most of the past 30+ years the Coalition has been led by hard-nosed conservatives. There is an inevitable period of adjustment and ugliness when putting in a completely different type of leader. I bet internally the Greens are having some issues adjusting to their new leader style too.

      That said, I suspect at some point the Coalition will return to the loon pond for its leadership. I’m sure it will be like putting on a comfy old pair of slippers for them.

    • SupernovaMEMBER

      Agree with Notsofast: We may very well be facing serious financial and social construction issues that should have never been enacted, and their unscrambling will leave (they will be unscrambled) many touching reality for the first time in their lives. GST increase was canned because the financial compensatory benefits to the current & increasing pampered-pouches were too great….wasn’t worth it! The ALP’s policy on NG props up the existing rich…politically clever trying to increase your voter base, but it will be changed when (heaven forbid) they return to office due to the political outrage. ACCC is an excellent move so is the introduction of State taxes to fund our pampered-pouch healthcare system…..kind of a backdoor way of land tax introduction. I’m also in agreement with Turnbott’s small business policy (which this site failed to mention).

    • Sounds like a royal PITA to live on those Island’s. If you forgot something down the shops you’re screwed. 🙂

  11. Imagine reading Battlelines and then when it came time for the author to take the top gig he didn’t stick to script. That didn’t happen of course, in fact he certainly did and the public found it unpalatable.

    With MT it is obvious from his past writings he has vast and good knowledge of economic reform, tax policy, asset bubbles etc. But you don’t see a shred of it in the policies. He is horrifically hamstrung by the loons and the eyes on him start all the way at the top with Wormtongue as Treasurer making sure the Property Council has there way. I don’t know why he bothers, clearly just a figurehead used to deliver the Abbott plan in a shinier way.

    When he gave that Courtyard speech about the message it needed to be taken literally. It was only the sales pitch changing, not the underlying policy (that many expected).

    • “a hodgepodge of half-baked thoughts and determinedly unresolved contradictions”. So not just Tony’s book then !

  12. Things were so much better when we had Rudd, Gillard and Abbott. I suppose I can look forward to Shorten.

  13. “does not respects the people’s intelligence” that’s not true – it reflects it!

      • If Shorten gets in, I’ll do the same as I did with Turnbull, and even Abbott.
        I’ll give him 6 months.
        Even if someone gives me the creeps I wait to see the actions and then form judgement.

  14. Im still not entirely convinced on Shorten and Labor. My concern is that they may be on a roll to possibly winning government because Turnbull is abismal but I fear they too will backflip on their policies once the recession/depression hits Oz …. I think id rather try the Greens this time round.

    • Reclon we’ll have a hung parliment. A hung parliment as we slide into recession, wouldn’t that be a hoot!

  15. Thanks for the article. I forced myself to read it. Most of the time they’re all so loony I can’t bear to watch.

  16. Does anything of it really matter anymore. Tax is discussed, reform discussed, infrastructure discussed………. but ultimately never is there any real progress or change on anything……… its more like a radio talk back show these days, governments talk on issues, public calls in, says their thoughts, then we move onto next topic………….

    • Yep, the corporates and the 1% own the LNP and the ALP (the Laberal duopoly) and they own the reform process and it proceeds on their whim and for their benefit.

      Look at tax haven reform, and profit shifting reform, the parties cannot touch it – it doesn’t matter who says what, it is off the table.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      The new way for every thing is that “we have to have a conversation” on issues ……..no taking of decisions …..everyone,all “stakeholders” have to be involved ……….so everyone talks at once in the “conversation” ……….and nothing gets done …………Churchill never had “conversations” when he needed to show leadership …….he led ………..and the nation followed and loved him for it ……

  17. In coming…

    Neoliberalism’s World of Corruption
    Phil Hearse

    “The Panama Papers’ revelations about the rich and powerful hiding untold billions in ‘offshore’ tax havens may be shocking, but it’s hardly a surprise to anyone who knows the first thing about the way that big business works. We are living through a blitzstorm of allegations and controversy about corruption. In the few years alone we’ve had:

    Demonstrators called for David Cameron’s resignation outside Downing Street, London.

    The revelations in the Panama Papers that hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals, including 72(!) present or former heads of state, hid their fortunes offshore. The names so far revealed include associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin and numerous members of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

    The ‘Lux leaks’ revelations about the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg conspiring with big business to launder profits through tax-minimal Luxemburg and how major companies like Amazon and Starbucks shift their British profits to Luxemburg and pay little or no tax.

    Revelations that bankers in Britain conspired to fix the ‘Libor’ rate – the inter-bank lending rate – so their banks could profit from trades by giving the impression they were worth more than they actually were.

    Repeated allegations of corruption in sport – including athletics, tennis and cricket – either in terms of result-fixing or unfairly influencing results through drug use.

    Accusations that prominent politicians, including South African President Jacob Zuma and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, used vast amounts of public money to build huge residences.

    British bank HSBC was discovered in 2012 to have received at least $880-billion in investments from the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel.

    A lot more could be added to this list. The world seems to be awash with corruption. So what is it really all about?

    The highly sanitized versions on the BBC would give you the impression that there’s a few bad apples out there who are giving the international business and finance communities a bad name. Nothing could be further from the truth. Corruption is endemic in neoliberal capitalism. It is fundamental to the whole way the system works, and it is the method by which trillions are stolen from the poor and given to the rich. Here’s why and how.
    Effects of Neoliberalism: Kleptocracy

    Corruption has always existed in capitalism. But neoliberalism, the ‘free market’ system that started in the 1980s, promoted it on a vast scale for two reasons:

    Neoliberal deregulation and privatization promoted the dominance of financial capital at the expense of industry and the state. Financialization and low capital gains taxes turned big companies and utilities into virtual banks with huge wealth that seek to maximize the interest on their money and minimize their tax. Finance capital is, after all, basically about swindling. In the middle ages they called it ‘usury’.
    The shift to the right crashed ‘socialist’ command economies and undermined nationalist governments in the third world, replacing both with corrupt and usually highly authoritarian neoliberal regimes. Getting hold of the state apparatus has become a royal road to mega-wealth for dozens of dictators and their cronies through simple theft.

    The core of it is the banking system. European and American banks receive (read: launder) billions of dollars every year from international mafias, and in particular from drug dealers. Sometimes by accident some of this comes to light. In 2006, Mexican soldiers intercepted a drug shipment in Ciudad del Carmen and found a cache of documents showing the Sinaloa drug cartel had made payments of $378-billion to the American bank Wachovia, a subsidiary of the financial giant Welles Fargo.

    Roberto Saviano, the author of the best-selling Gomorrah which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organization Camorra, claims that London is the center of money laundering for Latin American drug money. Even the British National Crime Agency says:

    “We assess that hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”

    Saviano says that Mexico is the ‘heart’ of the drugs trade and London its ‘head’. Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Crime and Drugs Agency, says drug dealers invested $352-billion in Western banks in 2008, and this was key in keeping some major banks from collapse.

    So corruption – receiving money from crime and drug cartels – is deeply ingrained in the culture of U.S. and European banks. And this is not going to stop, given the vast profits involved.” – snip

    http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1245.php#continue

    Additional sub paras – Controlling the State – and Looting its Assets – Influencing the State – Legalized Corruption? – Corruption in Sport.

    The crazzypants part is before the GFC when pointing out corruption or corporatist capture of democratic institutions and public domain…. one would be branded a Stalin, freedom stealing communist, liberty – market killing socialist…. now those same wing nuts want to say it all the governments fault….

    Skippy…. file under when demons fly out of pigs into humans and back into humans or anything but… those that created the whole mess in the first place….

    • “now those same wing nuts want to say it all the governments fault….”

      Neoliberals have to blame someone for their “free market” dystopia. They’re not going to take responsibility, and they can’t admit that minimal deregulation allowed corruption and various other shenanigans to flourish. Who is left to blame other than the poor and so-called socialism?

    • It’s hilarious in a dark sort of way isn’t it?

      Underlying it all is psychopathy. Have you ever investigated the work of Ayn Rand, her psychology and her influence upon the “Captains” of neoliberalism? She was a textbook female psychopath, you couldn’t get a more clear-cut case, and her entire philosophy of Objectivism (a complete misnomer given how subjective it is) attempts to morally justify psychopathic behaviour.

      One of the many antisocial traits of a psychopath is that they never, ever accept any responsibility for error. It’s ALWAYS the fault of someone else. Those that leave victims in their wake blame the victims for their fate.

      If you oppose them, you’re the bad guy. If you fail to oppose them and they stomp on everyone, you’re the bad guy.

    • Money laundering by these banks is just another means of fleecing unstable countries. Corrupt govts. or individuals in total control plunder their country and the Western capitalist system accepts the responsibility of laundering it – for a nice fee of course, then will have the balls to call out these same people and govts. for “corruption.”

  18. Turnbull is not proven to be worse than Abbott in most areas.
    He hasn’t been as big a liar.
    He hasn’t given us so many dud “captain’s picks”
    He can continue talking to an interviewer – remember Abbott’s minutes silence in response to a reporter?
    He has not (yet) brought down a grossly unfair budget.
    But it has been a bit shambolic.

    • Turnbull is not proven to be worse than Abbott in most areas.
      He hasn’t been as big a liar. PLZ, HE’S NON-STOP LIED ON NEGATIVE GEARING
      He hasn’t given us so many dud “captain’s picks” WHAT DO YOU CALL THE POLICY CATHERINE WHEEL ABOVE?
      He can continue talking to an interviewer – remember Abbott’s minutes silence in response to a reporter? HE TALKS NICELY, YES, AND DOES THE OPPOSITE.
      He has not (yet) brought down a grossly unfair budget. HE’S BACKED MOST OF ABBOTT’S BUDGET AND IS ABOUT TO DO IT AGAIN.
      But it has been a bit shambolic. VERY.

      • I guess we will both be in a much better position to make a final decision on Turnbull when he commits to the budget.
        A budget is a thing of beauty irrespective of what it does for one primary reason. It shows the true priorities of a government over the next 3 or 4 years.
        A post election budget is even more beautiful as we see then what lies were told and what the real values and comitments are.
        Maybe we won’t really know until the 2017 budget is brought down, but then it might not be Turnbull’s values and commitments we are seeing! (although I think it will be).

      • “PLZ, HE’S NON-STOP LIED ON NEGATIVE GEARING”

        True. The difference (for me) is Abbott differentiated himself from Labor by claiming his would be an honest government. He used it as a selling point. It’s like when a politician runs on family values and then cheats on his or her partner. You can probably forgive the lie or transgression, but that level of blatant hypocrisy is just too much to bear.

      • Turnbull hasn’t physically threatened the leader of a foreign military power, ie saying he would shirt front Putin. I was surprised Putin didn’t nuke us for that.
        He has improved Australia’s relationship with Indonesia.
        He hasn’t disrespected women in a massive way ie holding the international women’s day lunch at the Tattersall club in Brisbane (an all male club which prohibits entry to women)
        He hasn’t gone on a mad military spending spree, despite saying we are in budget crisis (ie Joint strike fighters)
        He hasn’t tried to down grade a Prince by making him a knight.

        Turnbull may not have done anything but waste time but at least the place isn’t the rolling cluster it was under Abbott. When reading the news with Tony in power, I would wonder “what way is he going to embarrass Australia today.”

        Turnbull may not be much but at least he’s not Abbott.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Mal did stop the militarisation of Oz creeping any further. That was a dark road we were heading down.

      Although, he didn’t pull any of it back. On this one I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  19. What strikes me as appalling is not one word comes ouit of the mouths of this Government about the perilous unemployment numbers or the income recession in the country. All we get from that Cash sheila is frothing about what a difficult job they have and that Simon fella is a jibbering fool. Thankfully the Kelly broad has been kept quiet, but MT is almost as embarrassing as Abbott.

    Why don’t we have a discussion about employment, other than discussing hacking away at the benefits of workers? This tax discussion is misplaced and ill timed. Full employment, not this wonky NAIRU equivalent full employment blather based on ridiculous ABS numberwanging, but employment for young and old whomever wants a job. Surely that is how we should measure our politicians. Why aren’t we demanding we have a “discussion” about full employment ?

    • ErmingtonPlumbing

      Morrison this morning on ABC radio was instant that Shortens call to remove the Negative gearing tax concession was a tax increase, even with much prompting that it was not, by the interviewer, he could not be drawn of the script.

      • I missed that Erm, but it doesn’t surprise me.
        I’m disillusioned with both parties, although more so with the LNP. I guess at least the ALP are talking about fixing the distortions which will help eventually, but the real issue is under-unemployment and the incomes recession now. People are suffering and want some statesmanship from the politik, and not the platitudes tossed about the place as if they mean anything. Why do governments do this to their citizens?

  20. When I was young I sided with my mum and aligned myself with Labor and voted for Keating.

    My dad did not approve.

    After Keating’s demise I always voted Liberal. My dad was happy once more.

    Now I’ve come to realise that my liberal ideology cannot flourish in such a corrupt and inept political, social and economic system.

    In light of this – I’ll probably vote Labor this year. Although they may tax me more. … they will:

    1) try to placate the needy with
    a) hand outs
    b) employ more people in education
    c) employ more people in STEM

    Thereby reducing the chance of riots by hungry mobs (see Chicago).

    2) run deficits to increase inflation of assets (houses, shares (therefore our super)) until it all falls down when debt to gdp hits 60%++

    I feel that as a nation and as an economy were gonna blow this place up – for ME it’s better to vote for the team that will give me a chance of making money on my assets before exiting.

    People starting out in working life and or those with nothing will probably vote Labor – for them there isn’t much of an alternative.

    • I wrote this some time ago – I stand by it still

      Clowns

      Every few years we get the chance,
      stroll down the road,
      tick another box or two,
      decide which toad
      will screw us over for the next few,

      break promises so easily made,
      take junkets too,
      raid our wallets with glee,
      those well-dressed few
      who spew smug platitudes and see

      no shame in cat-calls, insults, petty
      parliamentary
      games – he said, she said. Lice!
      You disgust me,
      you clowns for whom we pay the price.

      • Well, Sir George, if there was a vote for our next Poet Laureate, you would have mine.

      • Well thanks Auld Kodger – including your vote and mine- that makes two. I will start a campaign immediately

        and JC – unfortunately I think there is a never ending supply of shit to shovel and that isn’t going to change in a hurry, more’s the pity.

  21. Jumping jack flash

    Yes, this is pretty much what happens to any PM when they’re pulled hither, tither, and yon by various competing lobby groups. Its sad, but it happened to Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, and now Turnbull.
    I’m a little too young to know whether it happened to Hawke and Keating, but I suspect they chose their lobby’s a bit more carefully, plus their governments provided more, so they could affect more.

    The damn things should be banned, but that’d make us a dictatorship.
    We could use a good dictator…

    but I digress.

    “the plan was all about spreading the Sydney and Melbourne property price bubbles into regional areas, the very opposite of improved competitiveness and productivity that is need to address the post-mining boom challenge;”

    I disagree. Increasing land value, and then the subsequent debt injections because of those increased values is the only thing we have left to generate growth. If we “spread the love” from the capital cities then think of how much more growth we’ll get.

    For instance. The small country town I live in is right on the track that the HSR would’ve passed on. Houses are only a steal here at 260K average. Maybe 300K for a big one “out of town”. At the height of the boom houses were selling in town for over 400K, but it didn’t take long for people to ask why, and then it was all over.

    The main problem is finding a job, and if you do, one that pays over 45K. The main profession here is single mothers. The next biggest is packing meat into boxes for export to China. Neither professions pay very well. Arguably, it’s more lucrative to be a single mother…

    But if values were to grow to 600K average because of the lightning fast train, then that’s 100% growth! Just think of the GDP! Think!
    All that glorious debt that could be (potentially) taken on and spent. It’d usher in the next boom.

    Everyone would be driving around town in rocket cars rather than HSV utes, and living in solid gold houses!

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      While each of the PM have their problems, the ‘policy on the fly’ started with Rudd. While all PM are prone to making decisions at the spur of the moment, (e.g. Bob Hawke announcing on TV that Chinese overseas student can stay in Australia after Tiannamen Square), most policies will go to the cabinet and the government departments for costing and evaluation before being announced.
      Rudd started off saying he’ll consult everyone : got all these experts into brainstorming session in the first 100 days, and then totally ignored it. The NBN for instance is an idea that was brought up as a threat to Telstra, then developed a life of its own when polling show voters liked the idea. Like in the TV show Utopia by Rob Stitich : policies are now announced to the media first before government departments can develop it. Abbott took this to another level when his own Cabinet will learn of their policy from Murdoch’s paper. MT is suppose to be a return to ‘normal’, however he turned out to be just as bad.
      Is there some kind of brain eating parasite in the water that makes the PM deranged?

  22. The failure of this $200m Prima donna has been an absolute delight to watch. He can come back, but it’s great he’s where he is today; a failure. He would have been better remembered as “the PM that never was” than actually getting there and being so bad.

    He was always going to be utterly out of touch with the electorate. How anyone thought otherwise astounded me.

    • Yep, I thought Turdshit was a breath of fresh air til it became apparent he’s just a cunt.

  23. I’m still trying to work out where the Liberals got this “we are better economic managers” image from.

    In the 1980’s Howard had interest rates over 21% the highest under any government. They have only ever had one good policy (banning automatic weapons after the Port Arthur massacre)

    I can’t think of anything else positve the Liberals have done. They just tell us how good they are without actually doing anything and the public seems to suck it up.

    Why we expect anything from them surprises me.

    • You’ve got to admit, they stopped the boats, and I meant that. It’s a priority for most of Australians.

      • Have they stopped the boats or have they just stopped talking about it for, you know, operational reasons.

        On a personal note, affordable housing, education, health, infrastructure and a sustainable future are a far higher priority for me than a people arriving in refo boats.

      • “On a personal note, affordable housing, education, health, infrastructure and a sustainable future are a far higher priority for me than a people arriving in refo boats.” Me too.

      • Hill Billy 55MEMBER

        The reality is they never stopped the boats. They are just going in a different direction. Thereby, they are not on the 6 o’clock news any more. This is the key policy initiative of the Abbott government. As said above, a total shambles and lies from start to finish!