Jim Chalmers sets Labor course for doom

From Labor rising star and shadow Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, at the annual Light on the Hill address:

“We need to listen to the message we were sent, and learn from the result.

Clearly, we won’t take an identical set of policies to the next election as we took to the last. We need to look ahead.

We took an ambitious program to the last election and we fought hard for it. But we weren’t able to build a big enough constituency behind that agenda to win. We mostly lost among ­middle-ground voters, not middle-income voters. People in outer suburban communities like mine, around Australia.

To win (voters) back, we need to acknowledge that we won’t beat populism of the right with populism of the left, especially not with warmed-up nostalgia for the 1970s, or even for the 90s for that matter, but with something new and different.”

More at The Australian:

In the speech, Dr Chalmers says that decay in the established “global economic order” has undermined prosperity and stability, and accelerated inequality. The “reactionary right” has benefited by appealing to populism, nationalism and isolationism while the “progressive left” has struggled.

Labor’s mission must be to “find a place for people” during an “inflection point” in politics, economics and society.

“Big transitions are always ­accompanied by big, defining anxieties,” he says. “Perhaps the overarching anxiety is declining faith that our politics and economics work for middle Australia.”

Re-establishing our growth credentials is part of reclaiming Labor’s rightful place as the party of aspiration and opportunity,” Dr Chalmers says.

And the answer is a more fulsome embrace of the very policies that are creating that anxiety as living standards fall? This is the key point. The anxiety is real because the underlying problem is real. It’s not a messaging problem. It’s a problem.

Labor had a pretty good platform for the times at the last election. A push back against the class wars of globalisation was appropriate and consistent with Labor values.

Some of the polices needed nipping and tucking, especially the franking credits and climate, but they weren’t fundamentally flawed. Nor did they lose “middle Australia”.

Labor lost the election in QLD. It did not lose it to the LNP. It lost it to One Nation and Clive Palmer, both nationalist parties that offered solutions, good or bad, to the very real anxieties of globalisation.

So, is the answer to get more globalist then? Only if you want to lose even more QLD seats next time around and guarantee LNP Government.

The answer is to nudge your platform towards the nationalists. The ALP should persist with its push from the left as a redress to globalisation issues but add another string to its bow in the form of tighter border controls, halved immigration and even greater focus on wages growth and productivity reform.

There is one problem with doing this in conjunction with the existing policies. Cutting immigration on top of negative gearing reform will terrify the horses about a house price crash. So dump the latter and go with the former. It’s a judgement call on whether or not to cut the capital gains reform as well. Probably keep it.

The main point is, making yourself into a ScoMo lite isn’t going to work. There’s already a ScoMo heavy. Labor needs to be Labor. It just needs to rediscover workers a little.

Tough, I know.

Houses and Holes
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  1. He completed a PhD in political science and international relations at the Australian National University, all you need to know.
    Also, they don’t need a platform, just sit on your bloody hands and keep your mouths closed for the 8 weeks or whatever, how hard can it be.

  2. I wouldn’t blame it on Jim — Labor look doomed any which way.

    They’re a party the base can no longer relate to or rely on.

    • Rising starJimmy-boy seems to be yet another ideological neoliberal freak show that never listens to voters or understand the urgency of real structural reform. Reenacting Tony Blair type globalist policies in 2019 (wrapped up in new and different dogma) is a backward step and will disconnect voters from Labor towards the minor parties. Does he not understand that its the current global order that has run its course because of its increasing inequality problems and that reinventing it’s failure will further “kill the host”. Labor would benefit more by resurrecting many of Chris Bowen’s policies, rather than rely on the backing of yet another ideological freak show pushing themselves into irrelevancy. Perhaps Labor’s failure at the last election was the marketing of Chris Bowen’s main policies to the electorate.

      • Screw the substance, it’s all about the ‘message’ — the packaging, not the product.

        In other words it’s a reflection of us as a society today: brands, labels, celebrity, wealth-worship, virtue-signalling.

        All of it vacuous crap. Fake people living fake lives and many of them, like Chalmers, doing fake jobs.

      • Perhaps Labor’s failure at the last election was the marketing of Chris Bowen’s main policies to the electorate.

        Fixed it for you.

  3. Jim Chalmers – the apparatchik’s apparatchik and the ALP’s new wonder boy. A bloke who studied politics, who’s never had a job other than inside the bosom of politics, is appealing to the wider electorate with wisdom and pragmatism as leadership material.

    Jim, take a good hard look in the mirror. See that bloke? Well he and others of his ilk are the reason that the ALP is doomed. Take a look at Curtain, Whitlam and Hawke’s CV, then compare it with your own. Notice anything Jim boy?

    • Quite right. Which is why when you look at Nigel Farage’s candidates, for instance, they are taxi drivers and teachers and builder as well as business people, all fed up with being told ‘what to do’ by people who’ve never made a real-life decision in their lives.. those people who you write about who have had/have a real job….

      • I don’t disagree with the criticism of Jim, only your’s and Clive’s bases; asserting capability is absent as a product of education and/or lack of particular experience and development of expertise is both asinine and the root of poor political and economic leadership and theory as well as the anti intellectual movements such as anti-vaxers, flat earthers, and lunar landing deniers.
        Whilst admittedly not common in the public sphere, expertise and the ability to empathise and relate are not mutually exclusive qualities.

        • Ummm, if you’ve never had a real job before how can you possibly relate to real world issues? What is the economy if not a whole lot of people doing (real) jobs and consuming / saving the product of their labor? The political classes live off the blood, sweat and tears of these people and are only accountable in theory.

          “I read it in a book” just doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid. Although I admit, there are no shortage of people gullible enough to swallow that sh!t.

        • Are you equating Jim Boy the Apparatchik (JBA) with scientists, clinicians and physicists who have contributed empirical and testable knowledge and insight into such matters? Such people have real jobs that require a proven technical skill and ability to invent, innovate and analyse. They publish their findings in public forums and do science and have taken the hard road that has been built over 400 years. They are about a million light years from the ideological black hole that Jimbo inhabits. He studied politics. Are we to expect a new theory on general political relativity and a vaccination against stupidity any time soon? Don’t think so.

          Now look up what representative government is all about. Where does it say that only those skilled in ideological waffle who have come to us by the apparatchik fast track program are qualified to lead anything other than a dog around Lake Burley Griffin? What is the electorate anyway – a thing to manage or a body politic that drives democratic processes? Or is it an idea that has been steadily corrupted by a party system that sends us people like JBA?

          Because I don’t think Jimbo has much mind to listen to the electorate. He’s drooling at the mouth to jump in and have his turn to drive the party machine and get up in the House and have a truly self-satisfying ‘Question Time’.

          Give me a plumber or a chippy with belief, good will and a brain any day. Especially one with a cause. Unless you think they are all anti-vaxers and flat-earthers? I want people in parliament who have had a job other than this frigging depressing duopoly merry-go-round run by back scratchers and moral limbo dancers.

          • “Now look up what representative government is all about. Where does it say that only those skilled in ideological waffle who have come to us by the apparatchik fast track program are qualified to lead anything other than a dog around Lake Burley Griffin? What is the electorate anyway – a thing to manage or a body politic that drives democratic processes? Or is it an idea that has been steadily corrupted by a party system that sends us people like JBA?”
            I would suggest rather than look up what representative government is all about, as that is simpy what the powers that be want you to think it’s about. Actually think for yourself what representative government truly is. Regarding the electorate, the only “democratic process” it has any involvement in at all is to pick from a small selection of candidates placed before it every few years. That is all. That is all it will ever be. Everything else is marketing and hype.

  4. there is almost no working class in Australia left anymore – years and decades of indoctrination crated this fairy-tale idea that everyone in Australia is middle class of people who thank’s to their extraordinary intuition in property investments will soon make them well off enough to retire early
    among those few remaining working class members it’s clear that Labor is fake left party, neoliberal wolf in sheep skin ready to do anything to please their mates

  5. proofreadersMEMBER

    For those subscribers on MB old enough to remember the US TV show, The Andy Griffith Show, Chalmers reminds me of the country bumpkin, drawling Gomer Pyle (played by Jim Nabors) from that show.

  6. SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

    over educated open borders globalist wanker is the future of ….the labor party …….. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL BHWAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA o deary me

    he’s probably got a poster of Macron on his bedroom wall

    • Think it’s more Tony Blair’s new Labor with the power and centralisation of big business and globalisation….just continue to throw the voters under the mortgage bus…..so wonder Jimmy-boy’s terrified of the 1970’s cause Auz was a savings based productive economy with tariffs, borders….heck we even had a national bank owned by Australians not foreigners. Jimmy-boy wants to continue to sell off the kitchen sink when most of it’s been sold. Yep…. about the last thing Australia needs at the moment is an academic political scientist as treasurer.

  7. proofreadersMEMBER

    “So dump the latter and go with the former.”

    No real need to worry about dumping negative gearing reform, as with interest rates so low, it’s almost becoming a non-event as a tax shelter.

    Moreover, with interest rates heading negative and borrowers being paid to take out mortgages, the question will soon enough become what will the tax treatment of the negative interest be.

    Presumably, the LNP will declare that it is not assessable income, as those borrowers are having a go, so they should get a go.

    A revamped and capped franking credit “refund” policy is needed, as the taxpayer subsidy to zero taxpayers is only going to climb inexorably (it started at $500m a year in the early 2000s when Howard/Costello created their ultimate “gift that keeps on giving”, now is $6bn a year (more than the Federal education budget), and is expected to be $8bn a year by the mid 2020s).

    • The real issue is the way in which we tax superannuation. The vast majority of OECD countries tax superannuation lightly or not at all in the accumulation phase, and then fully tax withdrawals in the pension phase as normal income. Australia does the exact opposite, so that rich people can build up enormous balances and then enjoy tax-free income in retirement. Labor could have had a policy to switch over, maybe with some tax credits for taxes already paid in the accumulation phase. Alternatively, it could have had a cap on franking credit refunds to avoid hitting pensioners and borderline self-funded retirees. If you want to take $500 off of someone on an income of $30,000 a year, you can expect them to vote against you.

    • it started at $500m a year in the early 2000s

      Absolute rubbish. It started at $1.2 billion for the first year. Refer to Figure 2 in one of the Treasury emails: https://static.treasury.gov.au/uploads/sites/1/2018/07/FOI_2292_-_documents_final_redacted.pdf

      There was a significant boost beginning in 2009 which was soon after unlimited tax-free superannuation and superannuation pensions were introduced. Call me crazy but maybe large amounts of tax-free income is a problem. Labor stupidly doesn’t think this is a problem.

  8. The NSW Nationalists are very prone… everyone of them voted for the most extreme abortion legislation, in direct contradiction to their constituents wishes.

    Point being they are very out of touch, ripe for the picking.

  9. No explanation for why negative gearing reform was not done when they were actually in government from 2007 to 2013.

    Sam Dastyari is now saying “ban political donations” but why did he not ban them when he was actually in government.

    It is such a familiar pattern. Refuse to enact good reform when in power and then claim to want good reform after losing an election.

    Labour would trial universal basic income if elected, John McDonnell says

    Why not put it in when you were actually in government.

    Congress party pledges universal basic income for the poor

    Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi promises ‘final assault on poverty’ if elected in May


  10. Plibersek, Chalmers, Wong, Albanese, the idiot with the lisp and Marles.

    Nothing is changing until these clowns are gone.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      I spotted that idiot with a lisp on the walk to the back of the plane a while ago, and here’s the tool proudly sitting in business class with a big grin, a straight back and ….an acoustic fking guitar in front of him looking like some folk singing celebrity, just about everyone shook their head as they walked past – out of touch has a whole new meaning

  11. matthew hoodMEMBER

    Had a senior education lobbyist say that before the election they believed that the Morrison’s would win and could be PM for 10yrs if Labor didn’t get it’s act together. They position themselves accordingly….you wouldn’t believe how easy it was to get time with the education minister before the election.

  12. they weren’t fundamentally flawed

    What a ludicrous proposition. The fundamentals were spelt out many years ago by the Campbell Inquiry and no-one has changed the fundamentals since. http://fsi.gov.au/files/2014/01/Chpt13-22.pdf Refunds of franking credits for tax pre-paid in excess of tax on taxable income is a fundamental principle of dividend imputation.

    Labor has already paid a price for its fundamentally flawed policy and will continue to pay a heavy price while it continues being fundamentally flawed

    • And if you have a zero taxable income you have dealt yourself out of the game. Or should have except Costello and Howard were myopic duds.

      • zero taxable income

        What are you talking about? I’m talking about franking credits which are taxable income as are the dividends they’re attached to.

    • Labor’s franking credit policy was well thought out and appropriate. It just couldn’t get past the worst media in the world. Imputation was meant to put *taxpayers* on a level playing field to eliminate the tax advantage of investing in debt v equity. It wasn’t introduced to be a gift to non taxpayers. And grossed up dividends in retirement phase below the cap are exempt income so these people are non-taxpayers.
      The one mistake Shorten made was calling it tax policy, when in reality it was a responsible expenditure cut. It should have been sold as a cut in *spending* on wealthy retirees. Then let the debt and deficit clowns try and justify wasteful government spending.

        • Are you a fan of Keating? Murdoch is also a big fan of Keating, believes Hawke-Keating was the best government in modern Australian history. He also spent a lot of time rebadging a cut in wasteful spending as a ‘retiree tax’.
          “Btw, Shorten implied you can’t get a tax credit for ANY purpose including paying your tax on taxable income unless you’ve paid tax”.
          where does he say that?
          In that interview you’ve linked to he is more or less saying the franking credit refunds to non-taxpayers are a government expenditure / welfare payment. Did you watch the interview?
          And that is exactly what I mean by the worst media in the world; that attempt at journalism by Leigh Sales was appalling. Truly awful. She doesn’t understand any of the policies and just repeats Murdoch spin. Worst media in the world.
          That was another mistake Labor made; not identifying the media as a political party and journalists as fair game.
          You do realise companies and individuals are separate tax paying entities?
          Would you call a cut in government paid parental leave a “young parent tax”?

          • “where does he say that?”

            I guess I should expect dumb questions. Shorten said: “When you get an income tax credit when you haven’t paid income tax, it’s a gift from the Government.”

            Shorten and Labor have no problem whatsoever allowing franking tax credits to shareholders who use those tax credits to pay their tax bill. So he obviously thinks THOSE tax credits are NOT a gift from the government so must think those shareholders have paid tax for them.

            You do realise companies and individuals are separate tax paying entities?

            You obviously don’t realize you’re wrong. Legal separation is not the same thing as taxation separation. The Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 says:

            The imputation system partially integrates the income tax liabilities of an Australian corporate tax entity and its members..

          • Oh dear. No individuals and companies are separate tax paying entities. Did I say legal entities. You are clearly out of your depth.
            This for tax distinguishes a company from a partnership / Trust where tax is payable in the hands of the partner/ beneficiary not the holding entity provided there is entitlement to income. Tax is payable at the *company* level. So saying the non-taxpayers receiving refunds are taxpayers is just wrong.
            Which gets back to my question you won’t answer. Would you call a cut government paid parental leave a “young parent tax”?

          • Sweeper, why are you being deliberately dense? I gave you the citation to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 that points out that shareholders and their companies are partly integrated tax entities. I could say read it and weep but clearly you are not even capable of reading.

            INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT ACT 1997 – SECT 200.5

            The imputation system
            The imputation system partially integrates the income tax liabilities of an Australian corporate tax entity and its members by:

            (a) allowing the entity, when distributing profits to its members, to pass to those members credit for income tax paid by the entity on those profits; and

            (b) allowing the entity’s Australian members to claim a tax offset for that credit; and

            (c) allowing the entity’s Australian members to claim a refund if they are unable to fully utilise the tax offset in reducing their income tax.

          • I’m well aware of the purpose and effect of dividend imputation. I am also not easily distracted.
            Are you saying a company is not a taxpayer in its own right same as a partnership or Trust?
            Can you also confirm if a cut in government paid parental leave is a “young parent tax”.

          • Sweeper you still haven’t explained why you are being deliberately dense. This is not about what I’m saying, this is about what the INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT ACT 1997 – SECT 200.5 is saying. You are not even capable of reading and understanding it. Since you are not even capable of understanding that this is about The Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, it is a waste of time trying to explain it to you.

          • I take it from that avoidance of 2 simple questions that you concede:
            1. A company is a taxpayer in its own right – taxable entity liable to pay income tax.
            2. a cut in government paid parental leave would not be a “young parent tax” it is a cut in government spending just like a cut in wasteful non means tested welfare paid to wealthy retiree shareholders as sensibly proposed by Shorten.
            Glad we reached agreement.

      • Chriso, no use arguing with the brain washed. This policy was the single cause of the swing amongst the working class retirees AND their entire families, who viewed this as an unfair tax on them. It would have been soo much easier to gradually lower the tax free pension threshold from infinity, to the current $1.6M, to say 800k thereby eliminating the larger (bulk) of the refunds.
        Tax free status of pension earnings are the problem; ‘fixing’ it with denying franking refunds is a distortion of our tax system. But hey go on trying to explain that to someone blinded by their ideology!

          • That’s not what he said. If anything he implied working class retirees had less than 800k. But I’m already aware you have a serious reading deficiency.

          • Exactly Chriso. Sweeper generally love your contributions and closely follow your sparring sessions with 007; i would be out of my depth arguing on those topics. However, on something so basic as refundable tax credits (like PAYG tax), dont know why this blog doesnt get franking credits.

            Attack the tax free nature of pension earnings. Put a cap on it, lower than the current 1.6M. Also remember that a lot of the (mega) refunds would already have stopped due to the 15% tax on earnings for balances above 1.6M. Wait until you see the 2018-19 figures for refunded franking credits.

            Lower this threshold and you will capture all the big refunds, effectively and efficiently fixing the system. Without having to resort to distortions, like current pensioners exempt, etc. The distortions proposed would again seek to grandfather yet another benefit for the BBs while ensuring future pensioners/generations do not benefit.

  13. Labor lost the election in QLD. It did not lose it to the LNP. It lost it to One Nation and Clive Palmer

    Amazes me how few Labor people get this point.

    1990s left wing politics wouldn’t be a bad place to start