Shorten makes his first serious blunder

The press gallery echo chamber is cock-a-whoop at the triumph of Coalition fiscal vandalism, Phil Coorey:

It should not pass undocumented that on Wednesday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, had to tell the Coalition backbench to stop cheering the Prime Minister so loudly.

For the second successive day, Malcolm Turnbull was sticking it to Labor for being anti-aspirational after Bill Shorten vowed to repeal tax cuts for middle- and high-income earners if he won the next election.

And for the second successive day, all bar a handful of hardcore malcontents on the backbench were cheering on the Prime Minister and banging their fists on their desks, creating quite the cacophony.

Mark Kenny:

On the face of it, Labor is the loser.

…There’s a popular story that when Steve Waugh was dropped at mid-wicket on 56 he quipped to the South African Herschelle Gibb’s, “you’ve just dropped the World Cup”.

Waugh went on to score 120 that day and Australia did secure the 1999 World Cup some matches later.

The point of that (apocryphal) story is to show how a single moment might turn a larger contest.

The trick is whether these pivotal moments can really be discerned at the time, or merely in hindsight… like via an election.

Thursday might have been such a day.

Simon Benson:

Malcolm Turnbull secured the most significant tax reform since the GST when the Senate passed $144 billion in personal income tax cuts for 10 million Australians but the Prime Minister faces a new battle in the Senate next week over company tax cuts.

Mr Turnbull will now lead the Coalition into the critical Super Saturday July 28 by-­election battles with the most significant political victory of his leadership under his belt.

More than 160,000 voters in three seats the Coalition will contest — Mayo in South Australia, Longman in Queensland and Braddon in Tasmania — will ­receive tax cuts of up to $530 a year after Pauline Hanson and One Nation colleague Peter Georgiou voted with the government to pass the historic reforms.

“Historic reform”…Christ.

This is neither here nor there for the election. There is no tax cut for a year anyway. Nothing has changed given Labor will repeal the package. The election will still be decided on which tax cuts are better.

No, that’s not the major Shorten blunder, this is, via The Australian:

Pauline Hanson has vowed to do everything she can to keep Bill Shorten out of The Lodge after Labor yesterday accelerated its “Get Pauline” strategy, questioning her understanding of the tax system and launching robo-calls targeting her in the Queensland seat of Longman.

The One Nation leader launched a blistering attack on the Opposition Leader yesterday, declaring, “I think he’d be the worst bloody prime minister we’ve ever had”, and warning him he would have to go through her if he wanted to push legislation through the Senate.

Senator Hanson yesterday fell victim to a robo-call assault ­orchestrated by the opposition in Longman, a key battleground for Mr Shorten in the five Super Saturday by-elections on July 28.

What on earth is the Labor Party doing spearheading a drive to kill One Nation? As repulsive as Pauline Hanson’s views can be, she represents the single greatest threat to Coalition power since Bob Hawke. She is the shining wedge in the conservative base that could keep Labor in power for a decade.

Love her or hate her, Pauline is the symbol of resistance to the number one sleeper issue in Australian politics: the consequences of mass immigration in weak wages, crush-loaded living and the housing bubble. This is a giant unmentionable albatross hanging around the incumbent government’s neck.

And Bill Shorten is doing his best to shift it to himself instead.

Despite Labor’s class war rhetoric, better tax cut package and negative gearing reforms, Labor is already overburdened with pro-immigration extremists and has painted itself into a corner as a China apologist. If you add a war with Pauline Hanson to that, it kind of starts to feel like it is Labor and not the Coalition that is the blood-sucking globalist in this election, seriously undermining the resonance of its fairness platform.

It really doesn’t matter if Pauline is a jelly-backed turncoat and a fat cat in disguise. The one indelible truth about the Pauline brand is that she is anti-immigration and, rightly or wrongly, that comes with the immediate associations of jobs, houses and assets going to foreigners.

With middle-Australia quietly boiling over at being disregarded on population growth, you get on the wrong side of that at your peril.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. Bill getting it wrong is not unusual. What about a bit more coverage about what excessive union influence is likely to do to this country if Bill has the controls.

    • bobalotMEMBER

      David would rather have our country continue to be run by amoral bankers, dodgy real estate barons, tax avoiding big business and financial spivs.

      His mouth foaming ranting about Unions in every thread is becoming tiresome. It’s so predictable and spamlike, you would think he’s getting paid by the post.

      • fitzroyMEMBER

        There are unions and unions. The CFMEU runs the Victorian government for its own benefit. They are in Big Australia as deeply as Peter Scanlon and the Smorgans

      • Just like some of the anti-corporation foaming at the mouth becomes tiresome. There are one-eyed partisans seeming;y everywhere.

      • Observation suggests there is a “u” shape to the optimum tax rate for a growing and diverse economy. Too little tax and the wheels start to fall off, too much and the wheels grind too slow. When we get too unbalanced, both sides become more intense. So, when your society is over-taxed, tax cuts do produce growth. Using that same approach at the lower end of tax and when there is growing inequality is not the best choice. Expect more ‘foaming’ from here. I’m just not convinced the electorate knows enough to make sensible choices.

      • Usual neo-liberal garbage from David. You’ve had your way for decades, and surprise surprise, the working class has never been worse off.

    • I wonder if Kim Beazley would come back. He was always a voice of reason – even Howard liked him. Full of good idea’s, pull Wong and Carr back in line… everyone, and I mean everyone likes the guy.

      He would be eminently votable.

      • I know Keating is a bit of a China apologist recently, but the guys is full of good ideas!

        I know these ideas are a bit kooky, but why does age have to be an inhibitor? Perception gets better with age I reckon. One knows their limits, but the fear of what others think lessens. So you are more likely to get stuff done, but more wisdom in the execution.

      • Kim Beazley took a wage top up scheme to the 1998 federal election and almost won. Kim actually won the popular vote in 1998.

      • Kim Beazley is now Her Majestys representative in the state of Western Australia. In other news, Mark Kenny is the cousin of Chris Kenny

      • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

        If i recall correctly, he actually wasn’t liked enough to win an election, even with the other side introducing a GST.

        If he is even more likable now, he would lose an election by an even greater margin than last time

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      WTF are you going on about Dave, the Union movement is dying in this country, has been for decades!
      Their Power is insignificant,…minuscule in comparison to Globalised Coporate power, with its lobbying and legislative influence.
      Are you just Ignorant in believing everything you read and hear in the Daily Telegraph and on 2GB…or are you a partisan player, intentionally obfuscating the reality of our National situation, like some kind of Ayn Rand disciple, within the ranks of the Liberal Party.

  2. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Shorten and the Faux left need to be seen to do something about Hanson simply because she is portraying herself as some sort of upholder of the rights of ‘Australian workers’ – which is the ALP’s brand

    I propose that the MacroBusiness cognoscenti run a full campaign in the upcoming election to get ourselves elected as the swing players, running on a platform revolving around (with negotiations) the below…….

    – which would at least offer some sort of genuine left presence in parliament

    Policy Positions


    ·         Enshrine Medicare into Constitution

    ·         Enshrine ABC funding into Constitution

    ·         Enshrine Australian Bureau of Statistics funding into Constitution

    ·         Enshrine political party funding transparency into Constitution

    ·         Enshrine freedom from foreign influence legislation into constitution

    ·         Enshrine requirement for all candidates for every election in Australia to be approved by AEC prior to standing for parliament

    ·         Enshrine a National Crime & Corruption Commission into Constitution and give it investigatory powers.


    ·         End negative gearing

    ·         End capital gains tax dispensation

    ·         End health insurance rebate

    ·         Implement Federal Land tax

    ·         Remove PAYE taxation for those earning under 55K (but retain/create Medicare (4%), Defence (2%), ABS (1%) and ABC (1%) levy

    ·         Inclusion of family home in determination of access to the aged pension where the home is worth more than 500k.

    ·         Development and maintenance of publicly available database on Australian taxpayers [companies & individuals]

    Economic and Monetary Policy

    ·         Reinclusion of employee and community representatives on RBA Board.

    ·         Requirement for RBA to report quarterly to Parliament on monetary policy in relation to wages and housing costs

    ·         Requirement for RBA to report quarterly to Parliament on the effective use of taxpayers funds in relation to support for Australian banks and financial system entities.

    ·         Requirement for RBA, Treasury, and other government agencies (including ABS) to develop standards and monitor quality of life issues being faced by Australians (both on average and by decile) and report on how policies being adopted by them influence a range of demographics

    ·         Mandate the creation of new entity to be called the Australian personal public and corporate debt commission to produce analysis on the debt, indebtitude and debt servicing of Australians and Australian entities This organisation is to have representatives of the RBA, Treasury, State governments, local governments, retail banks and community organisations at a board level.

    ·         Requirement for RBA to report quarterly to Parliament on money creation and the beneficiaries of money creation over the preceding quarter and year, and forecast such into the future.


    ·         Commence federal government building housing

    ·         Implement competitive GST Bonus payable to states which do best on housing affordability and housing creation

    ·         Enshrine right to housing into Constitution

    ·         Enshrine a National Probity and Veracity test for all funds used for housing purchases.


    ·         Mandate real time visibility of politicians allowances and outlays

    ·         Mandate Housing affordability requirement for all politicians to reaffirm whenever they propose legislation

    ·         Audit all payments to or on behalf of politicians

    ·         Mandate funding transparency for all levels of Australian government (Federal State and Local), and a donations and gifts declaration requirement for all persons above a particular level (about SOG C in APS) in all public services of budget funded organisations (including Universities)

    ·         Mandate rate of politicians salary at 2, 3 , or 4 times average full time earnings.

    ·         Mandate access to politicians super is only accessible by vote of the seat which politician represented each 5 years at rate of 25% 50% 75% or 100% of standard politician rate.

    Industrial Relations

    ·         Reintroduction of the Australian Industrial relations Commission with powers to intervene in cases of Award and Agreement transgression – whether brought before it by parties or now.

    ·         Additional role for revived AIRC will be to oversee employee superannuation payments, their payment by employers, and the effective deployment of these funds as regards to the interests of employees (and with a view to minimising longer term budget and pension impacts on government outlays).

    ·         Additional role for revived AIRC to oversee use of contractors, contracting arrangements, and corporate entities to ensure employees are appropriately addressed for entitlements.


    ·         Mandate gas reservation policy to ensure globally cheap electricity and gas.

    ·         Mandate solar panels and hot water on all new dwelling construction

    ·         Mandate tax deductability of residential and corporate solar battery investment


    ·         Enshrine right to lifetime medical care for all Australians who have served in the military more than 7 years

    ·         Mandate immigration rights (for individuals and families) for those foreign nationals agreeing to serve 10 years in ADF

    ·         Mandate that no deployment of more than 200 ADF personnel to any particular offshore location or theatre of operations can occur without debate and vote in joint sitting of parliament.


    ·         Remove student visas from right to residence and housing purchase

    ·         Remove student fees from first degree in science, mathematics, finance, medicine

    ·         Increase training of medical practitioners and access to medical degrees

    ·         Remove all public funding for non government schools


    ·         Mandate economic diversity criteria

    ·         Enshrine 70k NOM per annum as Immigration base, with priority to refugees and families

    ·         Allow NOM above 70k per year only where economic diversity, debt, education, housing affordability, intergenerational quality of life and employment conditions are being met.

    ·         Allow temporary visas in circumstances (eg academic world, some science) where globalised workforce would expect it.

    ·         End temporary work visas unless companies can demonstrate they have made attempt to develop their own skills in their own workplaces, or made genuine attempt to source skills within Australia.

    ·         End Special Investor Visas (except where entity is contributing to export or import competing business in Australia employing more than 10 Australian employees)

    Free Trade Agreements

    ·         Mandate audit of all Free Trade Agreements entered into prior to signature and ratification by Australian parliament

    ·         Have productivity commission audit all extant FTAs Australia is signatory to

    Public Service

    ·         Commence regionalisation policy for major APS agencies

    ·         National audit of all APS outsourcing since 2000

    ·         Mandate that no company identified to shift profits offshore can receive government contract (onus is on company to prove and gain certification from ATO)

    ·         Mandate that all contracted services in Australian public sector are audited and re[ported on to parliament for effective use of public monies, and with all transition costs (including relocations and redundancies) included in that consideration.

    Social Welfare

    ·         Make unemployment the same as study assistance

    ·         Mandate requirement for all calls to all social welfare services be monitored, and answered within 10 minutes

    • Mate, that is well though out and I agree with much of it.

      …but don’t we need Three Word Slogans to actually have a chance of getting elected?

    • “Make unemployment the same as study assistance”

      What do you mean?

      “made genuine attempt to source skills within Australia.”

      Dude, of course Aussies and Kiwis can work as accountants and truck drivers. The reason bosses prefer to import staff from the 3rd world is because they agree to work for illegal wages.

      How do Norway, Japan, South Korea get by when they are less than 12% foreign born?

    • Wow! You really love your big government, but I’d support anything which fixes the political process and anything which removes big government distortions (i.e. negative gearing, CGT discount).

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Ok so I will pencil it Senators Haroldus and Astrolin on the NSW ticket……..

      • Eventually Incitatus can be a senator too.

        if Reusa gets a seat in the upper house and a pony, he might call it Infini-coitus.

      • I’m happy to make up numbers on the backbench, or the senate equivalent of the backbench. I’m definitely a numbers guy.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Well actually @Footsore

        On the basis of your regular reasonability

        I have you slotted for Speaker (either house)

      • To gavel the rabble when they start to babble. What a delightful task. “I would again like to remind Mr. Plumbing that we are not in The House of Lords and that Tony Benn has no relevancy to the current topic under discussion. And could the Member for Dubbo stop bringing his garbage in with him. I understand that there is a budget emergency and you are worried about Mr. Morrison taking it from you, but you may lock it in your office.”

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Hey!,… hands of the Great man Tony Benn, he renounced his upperclass membership of the peerage so he could sit in the house of Commons and Got the laws changed so he could do so!
        No greater honary member of the working class exists!

        If Howard is allowed to wank on endlessly about Bradman,…why shouldn’t I be allowed to so all over Tony.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      Enshrine a Bill of Rights to protect us from such horrors as the Fixated Persons legislation, which you will see more of in upcoming 4 Corners .

  3. Hanson “wants” immigration to be cut for cultural reasons only.

    I want it cut for financial reasons.

    She supports Sunday penalty rate cuts, she just gave a handout to the tiny minority that has an income over $200k/year, and she will probably give corporate tax cuts to foreigners.

    She is a useful idiot.

    • Well – that’s a little cryptic, don’t you think?

      What happened to you, Reusa? – your usual morning are ever so well eloquent and well reasoned, this morning… nothing?

      Did the little guy refused to stand up to be counted? Did he quit mid-job? or did he clock out before clocking in? Come on, tell us, it’ll be our secret. I promise.

  4. Going after Pauline is a way to get those voters thinking of voting for the Greens onside. It might also get a few PHON voters onside who aren’t liking Pauline’s support of tax cuts. Especially since she isn’t getting anything in the return.

  5. If the Liberals would have her back, Pauline would jump ship in a jiffy. She’s always been a Liberal, she eats and breathes Liberal doctrine…..just it’s a little old fashioned. Her behaviour in every election since Hason 2.0 is evidence of this. Hanson is only saying things that Howard said in the 1980’s.

      • Nigel Farage was on LBC radio recently and said “raising the minimum wage is not the way to increase wages. Cut immigration and the wages will go up”.

        The benefit of cutting immigration is not just wage growth for those who have a job but it also makes it easier for Britons to get a job in the first place!

        To boot, infrastructure finally has a chance to catch up.

  6. A further illustration of how divorced the Canberra bubble is from the political reality of the streets. This won’t change either the polls or the election.

  7. The other day you wrote a good piece questioning Labors left wing credentials and said the next election was being set up as a case of right and righter. I agree with that. In the absence of anything but timid left social democratic policies, certainly to the right of Corbyns democratic socialism, the ALP attack on Hanson is a case of defining itself by its enemies. I have some sympathy, the joint is perhaps booby trapped for radical left wing initiatives, and Australian Labor is different to Corbyn as his ascension occurred after the joint was wrecked in 2008 and two election defeats for Labour with a social democratic manifesto. Attacking Hanson could serve the purpose for the rank and file of making Labor appear more left wing than it actually is

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Shorten is a political operative rather than a politician. Being head of the ALP is more important to him than the ALP winning the election. This is why the attack on Hanson makes perfect sense even if it diminishes the chance of winning the next election.

      I mean, who would want to win the next election anyway? It’ll be smack in the middle of an economic disaster.

  8. Australians traditionally aspire to a fair go. What are we aspiring to now? It seems to be a key driver so it would help if someone could define, yes?

    Do we all aspire to ‘get ahead’? As a group that would seem to be a little self defeating right? Maybe the never ending treadmill with no definitive destination is exactly the kind of amorphous concept that political classes like to use to mask their self interested chicanery?

    • Will you *STOP!* saying “aspire” – for F’s sake! Whatever the f*ck those thinktanks brain-stormed as “le mot du jour”, just STOP using it!

      It’s like those knobs on the Voice(*) “blah-blah-blah you have to connect… blah connecting… blah-blah connect” AIEEEEE!!

      (*) – Watching it, not by choice… but to be polite!

      • Kinda my point. Labor need a counter to “aspiration”. It owned by the Liberals and it is smashing them. Has no modern Labor pollie got the wit to take this term back? The term will definitely not be going away.

      • haroldusMEMBER

        Slightly alternative, yet mainstream enough to get to #1 on the first single, on the back of the record company saturation marketing/TV synergy.

        Followed by years of declining relevancy, ending up with an epiphany while playing a shopping centre forecourt for a christmas special.

        A shipping container full of TShirts and unsold merch.

        A comeback for the 20th anniversary of the release of the single – “We Both Know”

      • The problem is that the ‘aspire’ term is used with respect to the individual but if we used it with respect to our nation then that would be fantastic.

  9. Jumping jack flash


    You can count on one thing that the only lever left for the government to pull on – tax reform – will surely not give them the effect they expect it will.

    Fighting over scraps and trying to make themselves look like they can do stuff while the big issues affecting the population are untouchable and have no solutions – at least none that the government can enforce.

    Immigration and welfare are probably the other levers they can pull on, but if they touch immigration their masters will not be happy, and if they fiddle with welfare everyone will think they’re either monsters or profligate.

  10. Bill is a complete moron! no chance in hell Labor is going to repeal anything, they will never win a federal election after yesterday’s victory for “aspirational Australian workers” !! LNP will govern out to 2023 without doubt – lets just hope Pauline starts demanding immigration cuts in return for her votes… I think she could have just about halved our NOM intake in return for her votes yesterday, but she didn’t push for this…I cannot imagine why …?