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Tuesday, 12 January


Tony Abbott makes a joke North Coast Voices

This has to be former prime minister Tony Abbott displaying a sense of humour or him well on the way to becoming the butt of another joke.

The politician who could never enunciate a genuine plan to “repair the budget” is now giving advice to the current prime minister. *cue laughter*


Liverpool Plains community getting the "Wrong Mine, Wrong Place" message out to China North Coast Voices

The people of the Liverpool Plains in NSW Australia have a message for the Shenhua Group in China, who want to build a massive coal mine in the middle of their farmland.

The LPP community have spent $750,000 fighting this madness so far! There are more battles to come before we can save our water and precious Ag land – for more information on how you can add your support, visit: 
http://www.friendsoftheliverpoolplain... and help us win this fight....

Monday, 11 January


Ashes to ashes: David Bowie, the man of a thousand faces, plays his last song Independent Australia

Ashes to ashes: David Bowie, the man of a thousand faces, plays his last songLegendary artist and rock god David Bowie has died, at age 69, following an 18-month battle with cancer. read now...


Did Clarence Valley Council attempt to pull the wool over Iluka residents' eyes? North Coast Voices

Recently I received a ‘phone call from an Iluka resident which began along the lines of: I met you once at the bus stop in Maclean and I wonder if you know…

What this very concerned person from the opposite side of the Clarence River then told me was that Clarence Valley Council chose to advertise an approx. 19ha 162 lot low density residential subdivision with 10 new roads within Lot 99 in DP 823635 Hickey Street, Iluka on 24 December 2015 – Christmas Eve – and also to start a 28 day exhibition period from Boxing Day, 26 December. [Clarence Valley Council, block_ad_

From my experience, local government only acts in this manner if both it and the developer of record do not want informed community scrutiny of a ‘favoured’ development application (DA).



Please give me a job, Mr Treasurer Catallaxy Files

imagesI guess if you are feeling a bit desperate you might go public about your desire to keep your job. Here’s the public call from Rod Sims, Chairman of the ACCC:

Please, Mr Treasurer, give me a second term.  I’ve achieved so much but there is so much more to achieve.


  • I guess we all feel much better that Uncle Toby’s has been rapped over the knuckles for claiming rolled oats contains protein – a very important issue;
  • He has also sorted out the meaning of fresh bread and fined Coles and Woolies – phew;
  • And the fat content of chips and dry biscuits – another vital topic;
  • The ACCC needs to get onto the behaviour of those dodgy vocational colleges after the damage has been done;
  • Oh and the ACCC has the Boral secondary boycott matter in hand having sat on our hands for over 12 months, citing “not enough evidence” notwithstanding the ACCC’s army of staff to gather evidence.
  • Oh and interferring publicly in policy matters such as making it clear what his views are about changing the governance of the ACCC – no way – to changing section 46 to an effects test (yes, more power for the ACCC).
  • Clearing the agreement between Toll Holdings and the TWU because who cares that the TWU was instructed to spy on Toll’s competitors and report back – nothing wrong with that.

Here’s the soft PR piece as transcribed by a Fin journalist:

Rod Sims has a long list of things to do in the New Year: dealing with food manufacturers who make...


World politics as a spaghetti western (Part 2) Independent Australia

World politics as a spaghetti western (Part 2)Dr Evan Jones continues his insights into the simplistic coverage of foreign affairs by mainstream media and declares Clint Eastwood the unspoken guru. read now...


How much is your house worth? Catallaxy Files

Following on from Judith’s The Fin goes CRAZY piece earlier today, I went and had a look at the Australia Institute’s “research“. I was quite intrigued by this:

The government could raise revenue in an equitable way by limiting the CGT
exemption to houses worth less than $2 million. This would mean that houses worth
less than $2 million would still be exempt from CGT while houses worth $2 million or
more would be subject to CGT.

Limiting the tax break to houses worth less than $2 million would raise almost $12
billion over 4 years. 56% of the additional tax revenue would come from the top 10%
of income earners.

Presumably, of course, the other 44% would come from individuals outside of the top 10 per cent of income earners. But we don’t even have to go that far.

According to the latest ATO data on total income individuals in the 90th percentile earn, on average, $133,000. Yet that person might live in a $2 million house?


Believing in believing: oh please Catallaxy Files

Now I normally think that Professor Richard Holden of UNSW writes sensible things, but when it comes to this truly weird piece in today’s The Australian, I think I may need to change my opinion.

His argument seems to be in two parts:

  • There is too much saving chasing too few investment opportunities and governments need to do something about this;
  • If the government believes in something (using loan guarantees to promote northern Australia), then everyone else will come on board and success will follow.

I prefer to call this rent-seeking meets The Secret (you know that weird book with the message that believing that something good will happen to you means that something good does happen.  I use that trick when trying to get a carpark when the FULL sign is flashing.  It doesn’t seem to work.)

Oh and the development of northern Australia has gone so well thus far.  The Ord River Scheme, all phases, has been a financial disaster with all the government provided capital written off and irrigators only charged variable costs.

And what could go wrong with government guarantees.  Hmmm … think WA Inc, VEDC, financial disasters in South Australia.  No rent seeking there.

(Oh, I’m not sure Holden should be bragging about writing an article with George Akerlof – his latest book (reviewed by Sinc) was positively loopy.)

Here’s the piece:

The Turnbull government has announced plans to boost growth and development across northern Australia, including the possible use of commonwealth loan guarantees for infrastructure projects.

As soon as this was hinted it was decried in certain corners as yet another example of misguided “industry assistance” — just an attempt by government to pick winners. I have been as critical as anyone about the perils of government winner-picking. It’s a fool’s errand at best, and a colossal waste o...


A pre-budget election would be an insult to our intelligence Drag0nista's Blog

Putting aside all the electoral complications, an unseemly rush to the ballot box without an adequate explanation of Malcolm Turnbull's plans for economic repair would seriously test the public's trust.


EPA confirms activists' longtime claims: Neonicotinoid pesticide threatens honeybees Independent Australia

EPA confirms activists' longtime claims: Neonicotinoid pesticide threatens honeybeesMike Ludwig from Truthout reports on the United States EPA's admission that neonicotinoid pesticides (widely used in the U.S. and Australia) pose a threat to bees. In the face of worldwide bee decline and a continent-wide ban in Europe, environmentalists hope this will lead to further restrictions on its use. read now...


Government waste and the economics profession Catallaxy Files

Government waste is the greatest scourge every economy must face. The Chinese economy is trying to reverse the effects of its Keynesian stimulus, whose diabolical effects can no longer be denied. The projects of 2009-10 are showing up dead and the debts created cannot be repaid. Fixing what has gone wrong first requires you to understand what has gone wrong. The following “analysis” is mesmerising for its inanity:

China’s economic and financial market management credentials are drawing international criticism after a weak inflation result raised the prospect Beijing will be forced to slash interest rates to boost growth. . . .

Beijing reported at the weekend that China’s consumer price index rose by just 1.4 per cent over the year compared to the 3 per cent objective the government had put in place for the economy in order for it to achieve its annual growth target.

It’s real growth we are looking for, right? The inflation rate is just the difference between the nominal growth rate and the real growth rate. How inflation is supposed to give an economy faster real growth is the great conundrum. Perhaps they mean that higher inflation would be a sign of higher demand. But if that is the way it is being thought about, Keynesian economics has reached even lower depths than I had thought possible.

Still, that’s not all there is on the economic inanity front. There is also this: Turnbull needs community of believers for northern growth which begins as follows.

The Turnbull government has announced plans to boost growth...


Big Business + Big Labour = Small Punter Ripoff Catallaxy Files

In the OZ today, David Crowe writes about the Coalition Government moving to give superannuation choice back to workers and away from unions and big business.

And the gloves are already off suggesting that such a move would be ideologically driven.  Hell yes it is ideological to give people say where their money goes, money that being forcibly taken from them to be “invested”.  Much as it is ideological to take away superannuation choice from (usually) low paid workers because it is in the interest of unions and big business.

About time.

Here is the start of the article.

Choice of super back on agenda as Coalition targets union deals

David Crowe

A new clash is looming over rules that can ban millions of workers from choosing their own retirement fund as the government tries to increase choice in the $2 trillion superannuation industry.

Despite fears it will be accused of running an “ideological” campaign against funds that are backed by unions, the Coalition will move to scrap a key part of the industrial relations regime that gives unions and employers the right to limit fund choice for up to 4.7 million workers.

The push sets up a new fight in the Senate after parliament resumes within weeks, but armed with a warning from trade union royal commissioner Dyson Heydon against the “tyranny of the majority” being allowed to dictate where workers put their retirement savings, the government will insist that the choice of fund cannot remain a bargaining chip in workplace deals.


The Fin goes CRAZY Part 2 Catallaxy Files

What the f… is the CSIRO doing undertaking research on the spending and saving patterns of retirees?  This surely makes the case for the outfit being overfunded.  This is something that should not concern an organisation that is, by law, committed to undertaking research on scientific and industrial research.

And when the research is so clearly political and partisan, it makes you wonder what the CEO and board of CSIRO are up to.

But here we go: evidently retirees save too much and die with assets.  So says some ‘great man’ – Dr Reeson.

But here’s the bit I really love – if the government were to force a higher withdrawal rate on retired superannuants, it would just mean that more would be reliant on the age pension. That would be a good outcome – NOT.

Here’s the thing:

  • It is perfectly reasonable for people to be cautious;
  • It is perfectly reasonable for people to want to leave something for the kids if they can;
  • A component of superannuation assets bequeathed to children etc are taxed at 15 per cent;
  • Bequests are not lost but can be used by the beneficiaries to buy homes, start businesses and the like – ie. they save the government money.

And is it passing strange that only last week the OECD told us that Australia’s retirees are very badly off compared with retirees in other developed countries?  But this week, we are being told that they are living high on the hog and must be forced to use their vast assets.

Here’s the piece:

A reluctance to spend superannuation savings means many Australians die richer than the day they retire, according to ground-breaking (??????) CSIRO research that may help build support...


The Fin goes CRAZY Catallaxy Files

Simon McKeon, who chairs the board of AMP, said he had always been perplexed by the "sacred cow" status of the primary residence in Australia's tax and pension system.Let’s face it, the Financial Review has been bonkers for some time – its campaign to fleece those who have worked hard, taken risk and succeeded is nothing short of extraordinary.

But to give prominence to a completely wacky proposal from the Australia Institute, that socialist think-take aligned with the Greens, on page one of today’s paper is nothing short of breathtaking. (Maybe Stutch is away.)

And the idea: to impose capital gains tax on residential real estate sales of $2 million or more, which according to some loopy calculation would net some $12 billion over four years.

(Here’s a tip: if you want to impose a capital gains tax on an asset, you then need to allow the owner to deduct the costs of investing in that asset from their tax.  Oops – suddenly the $12 billion is not $12 billion.)

But don’t you just love bringing in extremely rich, socialistic businessmen into the story; in this case Simon McKeon, chairman of AMP and former Australian of the Year.  He thinks that it is a pretty good idea.

But the bit of the story I really love is the photo of McKeon attending the incredibly exclusive KPMG event involving the sailing of restored couta boats (very expensive thing to do) held each year at the incredibly exclusive Sorrento Yacht Club.

Maybe McKeon should suggest to KPMG that they invite a few recently arrived refugees and some single mothers from Sunshine next year.

(And by the way, Tony Shepherd – shut up.  You know nothing.  Taxing capital gains at marginal tax rates – you must also be cr...


In which the pond contemplates the Menzies' tradition ... vote for the DLP and confirm your feminist credentials by calling women frightbats ... or, another day in the weird and wonderful world of the House of Murdoch ... loon pond

It's always good to start the week with a Rowe or a Pope, or if in luck both, and the pond particularly liked this portrait of a sweaty Barners slouching towards Canberra ... and as always, more properly formatted Rowe here ...

For the first time in awhile, the pond also picked this morning as the right moment to drop in on Paul Sheehan, waxing, and frothing and foaming about conspiracist ideation, using The Revenant as a soft way into Distorted universities need a reality check ... (with forced video).

The pond is always delighted when the man who swallowed magic water whole gets agitated about science, and especially when the magic water man makes mention of climate science ...

Back in the day, Sheehan was a card-carrying Monckton man, before the lordly Lord veered off the rails into the Danny Nalliah Catch the Fire ministry camp of the almighty barking mad ... which is why a mere mention of Sheehan's name always sends the pond scurrying back to Facts conveniently brushed over by the global warming fanatics .....


Corporate-style regulation of unions won’t defeat corruption Independent Australia

Corporate-style regulation of unions won’t defeat corruptionDraconian recommendations from the Trade Union Royal Commission will erode basic democratic rights without affecting corruption and may cost the Coalition another election, writes Macquarie University's Eugene Schofield-Georgeson. read now...


North Coast Voices looks back on this day for the last three years...... North Coast Voices

On this day last year North Coast Voices was commenting on…….

*  the fact that the Liberal Party rank and file were beginning to detest Tony Abbott:

Letter to the Editor in The Sydney Morning Herald on 24 December 2014:

Tony Abbott will never learn. His harsh and inhumane policies on refugees, young people, the unemployed and so on have already (and deservedly) earned him acute unpopularity. Now he appoints his henchman Morrison to apply his blowtorch to all social welfare recipients.


Keep Calm & Carrying On Making The Tea! North Coast Voices

Oh dear, this man may yet be Australia’s next Deputy-Prime Minister.

Former accountant and current Nationals MP for New England and 
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources 
Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce

What could possibly go wrong?...

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