Saturday, May 8, 2010

Memo to Kev: What’s the story?

There’s a lot of anger among ALP supporters at the moment. They are greatly annoyed that a Government, still in just its first term, is looking stale. Who to blame? Well Kevin Rudd, unfortunately it’s you. r132569_442428

First off I’m going to say some things which you have not said – the insulation scheme was a winner, it got over 1.1 million houses insulated, and the numbers of house fires per insulation dramatically fell under the scheme making it not only safer than ever before to have your home insulated, but has meant it will be safer than ever to have your home insulated in the future because the scheme introduced national safety standards that never existed before.

The Government should be absolutely proud of the scheme.

Here’s another thing – the Building the Education Revolution is something of which this Government should also be extremely proud. It, together with the stimulus payments, the insulation scheme (yes that) and the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank KEPT AUSTRALIA OUT OF A RECESSION. The BER absolutely without any shadow of doubt kept the building industry in this country on its feet. There is not one economist in the land who would be able to deny this without ignoring the masses of evidence. Such as Exhibit A:

construction work done3

Exhibit B:


Be proud dammit and shout these results from the skies!

And yet… and yet, Kev you’re doing everything in your power to blow it.

Like Charlie Brown you keep trying to kick the football, not realising that Lucy will always take the football away, and you instead should be saying, nope, I’m not going to play that game, I’m going to kick my own football, anyone who wants to play, come with me.

You dumped the ETS. Now I fully understand why you did – there is no way in hell it would have passed this Senate. But you put it off till 2013, and I understand why you did that as well – you were worried that if you said you’ll try again after the election Abbott and the media would run the scare campaign that you would be beholden to the Greens, and that you would wreck the economy. I understand that position, I do, but you’re already facing that criticism over the mining tax, so there’s not much loss. And yes I know the “climate” on climate change has shifted since last year, but it looks like you have shifted.

It could have been so different.

You didn’t need to change anything – you could have still put it off till 2013, all you had to do was come out firing – be proud of your decision to put it off – not leak it out and then sort of give reasons why.

Be proud, even when you are changing your position. When I used to work in a casino as a dealer, the best lesson I ever learned was to be bold. When I dealt Blackjack I called out the cards like I was certain that’s what they added up to. Every player on my table felt sure I knew what I was doing because I was bold and sounded sure. I projected such an aura of assuredness that a player could have 10 and a 5 and I could say it was 16 and the player would believe me. And if I made a mistake, they did not mind because, a) I didn’t make many mistakes, but crucially, b) they thought I was competent even when I made an error because I sounded competent.

You need to get that attitude – when you;re wrong, don’t be a wimp about it – be bold!

You should have explained boldly to the Australia public why you had changed, said you deeply regret not having been able to get the ETS passed, how you realise you needed to explain the ETS to the Australian public better. You needed to explain how there is just no point trying to negotiate a deal at this time – given that Tony Abbott doesn’t believe in climate change, and thus you will have to try again after the election, depending on the make up of the Senate and who is leader of the opposition. You needed to say you will try again after the election, but that we have to be realistic – given the time that business will need to adjust to any ETS, it is unlikely any ETS will be in place till 2013. You should have admitted you could go to a Double Dissolution on the issue, but explain that the ETS Bill is very much timing driven, and the time has passed in which would allow business a proper time to adjust even if it were passed after the election.  You needed to admit as well that the electorate is now more wary of an ETS due to the lack of a result in Copenhagen and thus the desire for an ETS is no longer as strong, and that such a case is your fault as much as anyone’s, and that you will work hard to convince the public that an ETS is the only effective way to combat climate change.

You should have said to the public that you understand this is a great blow. That you understood many will be disappointed, that you know that many in your own Government are bitterly disappointed – and it was not a decision taken lightly. But you needed to say that you asked for patience. Looking down the camera you needed to admit that we have lost this battle, but the war is not lost. We needed you to look at the camera and ask for the people to stick with you and help you as you work to once again get bipartisan agreement on climate change.

Be proud. Admit defeat – but not in a pathetic way; rather in a proud and Churchill-like way – talk about it being a long fight, and go hard, and be sure that we will win the war.

But you can’t now.

Today The Australian ran a bullshit story that there was a risk assessment done in your Department that concluded that “unsafe or incorrectly installed ceiling batts could lead to "fire/damage, injury or death". Well, hell really??? My goodness. Next they’ll tell me the Department of Transport has a risk assessment that says driving without a seat belt while drunk could lead to car accidents and death.

The important thing is that risk mitigation measures were put in place that minimised the risk as best it could. Here’s a memo to the media: IT WAS NEVER GOING TO GET TO ZERO RISK. So what do we have to read? Crap like this:

The program has also been linked to 120 house fires and widespread allegations of rorting.

Is 120 fires a lot? Well no it isn’t, not when you consider that prior to the scheme about 80 to 85 fires a year occurred due to incorrectly installed insulation (usually placed near dodgy wiring). These 80-85 fires were from about 67,500 installations, whereas 120 fires have come from around 1,100,000 installations. That is the number of fires increased by around 50%, but the number of installations increased by around 1,530%. For the rate of fires per installation to remain consistent there would have needed to be about 1,300 fires in the last year.

But does any of this matter? No. Why – because you and your government didn't think to use these figures until Possum over at Crikey worked them out. You should have been touting them as loud as you could from the first record of any fire, not have to wait for a blogger to come up with them!

As for deaths – well here’s something you won’t read in The Australian's article:

The Queensland Government has laid charges after the death of an insulation installer and the injury of another south of Brisbane last year.

Matthew Fuller, 25, was electrocuted as he installed reflective foil at a Meadowbrook home in October and a 18-year-old female co-worker suffered severe burns. Queensland's Department of Justice and Attorney-General has charged Beenleigh company QHI Installations, its director, and its manager under the Electrical Safety Act.

The Department alleges the business failed to conduct its business or undertaking in a way that was electrically safe.

But it doesn’t matter now because you went on the 7:30 Report and blamed yourself and pretty much agreed the insulation scheme had been bungled. Instead you should have stood up for the program – be proud.

But no, now ALP supporters are supposed to be ashamed of a program that was successful in helping keep Australia out of a recession, insulated 1.1 million houses, and massively – let me say that again – MASSIVELY – reduced the risk of fires. Did you ever say that when you went on Neil Mitchell? No – instead you pointed out that there was a hotline people could ring. You should have said:

“Neil, I have to pull you up right there when you mention Betty who is losing sleep with worry. You should reassure her that homes that have been insulated under this scheme are much, much safer than ever before. Before there were no national standards in place – none! Now there is – brought in purely because of a decision by Peter Garrett – who I must say has done an amazing job under incredibly tight deadlines due to the global financial crisis. 

And yes Neil I know you say there have been a lot of fires, but did you know (and I think your listeners would be interested to know) there were 80-85 fires a year due to insulation before this scheme was introduced – did you know that? 80-85 fires a year. And that was from around only 65,000 installations a year. Now under this scheme we have installed 1.1 million! One point one million! Not 65,000, one point one million. So yes I hear you saying the numbers of fires has gone up 50%, but the numbers of installations increased by 1500%. 1500 percent, Neil.

Now, look Neil, just before you butt in, I do understand some people are worried. Of course I do. And if people are unsure whether the people who installed their insulation were properly competent, or were conforming to the safety standard that were introduced by the Government, they can ring this number 1800 xxx xxx – but I should reassure your listeners Neil – and I think everyone in the media has a duty to do this as well, because I think it is very easy to scare people needlessly, and we should all resist from doing that, because it causes more harm than good…but Neil, I want to reassure your listeners, and this is a point that really needs to be highlighted: if you got your home insulated under the home insulation scheme, the risk of fire has been massively reduced. Massively – the likelihood I am told is about 1 in ten thousand, now look, I know that may sound high, but before this scheme the likelihood was about 1 in 850.  One in eight hundred and fifty. So again, I say you should not, you should not be alarmed, your home is massively more safe if you had the insulation installed under our scheme, because of the safety standard we brought in – but if you do just want to reassure yourself – and that is perfectly reasonable Neil, I think you’d agree – the number to call is…”

But no, instead we had the blather about numbers to call, but none of the defence of the project. And thus Garrett was demoted for no good reason, and now when crap is put in the papers about the scheme you have no defence, because the time for defence was back in January-February, not now. And then you cancelled the follow up program because the risk could not be put down to zero, and so a scheme that worked pretty damn well is gone, all because you were unable to be proud of it, and explain it to the public – explain it, not sell it in a spin kind of way. Explain it – like we are adults. 

And now we get to the resource rent tax on mining, which for some unknown reason has been rebadged the “Resource Super Profits Tax”. Why did you call it that? It’s like the bloody Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. For crying out loud, call it an Emission Trading Scheme – everyone was calling it an ETS, everyone kept calling it an ETS except you and your Government.

Laura Tingle, easily the best journalist in this country following politics, wrote a brilliant opinion piece in Friday’s Financial Review (it is a great pity the AFR is behind a paywall because her articles deserve to be emailed to everyone everyday – Fairfax should really make her articles free – the political influence of the AFR would increase overnight). She wrote:

Who is out there arguing the case from the first principles of a resources rent tax on behalf of the government? No one.

No one is out there explaining what a resource rent tax is and why it is the most efficient way to tax economic rents (or even what an economic rent is).

Nobody is out there saying a resource rent is like the proceeds from asset sales in a privatisation campaign.

Nobody is saying you wouldn't have sold the Commonwealth Bank at firesale prices and neither should you sell resources this way.

No one is explaining that if you impose a properly structured resource rent tax, you can cut the company income tax across the board, not just because you have the money to do this but because you don’t need to keep the company tax rate up high because it is currently acting as a proxy resource rent tax.

Nobody is out there explaining the Henry reviews rationale for the design of the Resource Super Profits Tax, as opposed to the existing Petroleum Resources Rent tax, and why it should be seen as a superior tax structure for the resources sector.

In other words, Kevin – sell your policy like you are arguing a case to a group of intelligent people. Stop treating the electorate like fools. Don’t be condescending and use big taxation phrases that we don't understand, but don’t be even more condescending by not even trying.

So often this year I’ve been dreaming of how Keating would have argued this case; and the fact is, he would have done it about 1500% better. The reason is not just you, but also Swan. The problem is not that Swan is a bad treasurer – he has been a good one in terms of policy, and I have to say miles better than Costello when it comes to policy – miles! But he is terrible in terms of selling his message – hell the stimulus plan which worked is now seen with some disdain in the electorate as leading Australia into debt – as though that is worse than a recession! Bloody Costello would have put us into recession and 10% unemployment!

The problem is that prior to the election you were spooked by Costello into saying Swan would be your Treasurer – because you were worried about a scare campaign about Julia as treasurer.

We all should have seen the signs then.

You should have been proud of everyone on your front bench, and defended Julia as a future Treasurer – nay leader of this country. Because guess what, she’s been your best asset. Had she or Lindsay Tanner been Treasurer exactly the same policies would have been put in place, but they would have been sold infinitely better. I say this not to denigrate Swan, as a I say he has been a good policy treasurer. But he and you are too much the same – you speak the same language. There needs to be a contrast. Hawke and Keating were opposites; so too Howard and Costello. Swan and Rudd are not. 

I am not like some on the left who have turned on you. I was disappointed by the asylum seeker change of policy – but I understand that it is just a cold hard fact that there are more people in this country who like tough policies on asylum seekers than supposed “soft” ones. You tried – you brought in an excellent policy, but the events in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan moved against you and even Turnbull – that supposed moderate – took the gutter route.

I still think your Government has been good (in fact bloody good), but what is the story you are going to sell to the electorate at the election? And more importantly will they believe you?

Your last chance is the Mining Resource Rent Tax and the Budget. Stay the course – be proud of both, treat us like adults, let Julia and Lindsay do the big selling. Hell get Emmo to write more articles, because the guy is a bloody expert on the thing, and is also pretty funny, so get him talking about it on Insiders etc.

Because here’s the thing Kev, it’s down to you. The media have departed the playing field. They don’t like you Kev. They never really did, they just liked the fact you created a competition with Howard. And so they are letting Abbott in one week get away with saying that:

“We can't be confident that the numbers would stay at the few thousand a year who have arrived since the Rudd government junked most of its predecessor's tough but effective border protection policies,'' he said.

''If global conditions worsened, millions might be at least tempted to swap their current existence for the opportunities of a new life in Australia if they thought the perils of the boat trip would win them permanent residency.''

Yes from a few thousand to millions. Any other person would have to spend years working hard to be able to come up with a statement more stupid than that. And yet the media let it go through to the keeper. He then said:

QUESTION: Does the situation in Greece suggest that perhaps the stimulus package should be kept in place until we see what exactly [inaudible]?

TONY ABBOTT: The situation in Greece shows that you cannot get away with wasting public money. What we have seen in countries like Greece is out of control public spending that’s got them into a diabolical mess and what we have seen from the Rudd Government is the greatest spendathon in Australia’s history. The longer it lasts the more fragile Australia’s position becomes.

Yep, comparing Australia to Greece. Comparing our debt which is around 15% of GDP to Greece's which is at 115%, and forgetting that our projected debt has actually DECREASED in the last 12 months, not increased.

He is a complete fool, and yet the media are letting him get away with it – you can’t.

And then the biggest consequence of your ETS change, Abbott yesterday said this:

TONY Abbott has urged primary school students to be sceptical about man-made climate change, saying it was warmer during the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus than it is now.

The Opposition Leader, wrapping up a two-day visit to South Australia yesterday, told Year 5 and 6 students that climate change had always happened and, historically, humans had not been responsible.

Mr Abbott asked the students if they knew about the Ice Age and if it "was caused by human beings".

"OK, so the climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now," Mr Abbott said.

"And then during what they called the Dark Ages it was colder. Then there was the medieval warm period. Climate change happens all the time and it is not man that drives those climate changes back in history.

"It is an open question how much the climate changes today and what role man plays."

This is quite possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever heard him say. It is so monumentally dangerous, and yet he is getting away with it, because you have been seen to dump “the greatest moral issue of out time”. He wouldn’t have said this even a month ago. But now you’ve shelved the ETS he can.

You better get your act together Kev, because it’s getting bloody serious. The media don’t care that Abbott is an idiot (heck some of them might not even realise it), they just want a contest. You will have to do it yourself.

And here’s a first step. Walk into Bob Brown’s office and say:

Bob, we have a dangerous fool opposing us. We both know if he wins it’s curtains for anything environmentally. I know I should have sought you out more over the ETS, but the fact is I couldn’t see any Lib Senator crossing the floor – and you have to acknowledge had Turnbull kept his numbers it would have passed. But forget that, I need you as much as you need me – that is if you want anything done on climate change in the next 10 years. So tell me, what have you got? Give me something that you can stand next to me and announce. But before you get too excited, here’s the thing, we need business on board. What can you cope with that will also have Heather Ridout saying it is economically beneficial and responsible? Don’t worry about the numbers in the Senate, we’ll introduce it now, we’ll run with it now and at worst pledge to put it in after the election. So tell me, what have you got for me?

kevin-rudd-new-leadershipI don’t know Kev, maybe it’s too late. Maybe you’ve burned too many bridges. I hope not (and I’ve been wrong in the past). The Budget next week and Question Time might help you get back on the front foot. But here’s the thing, when I say front foot I don’t mean coming up with new lines to throw at the opposition. Forget them. Forget the media. Remember the people. Get them on board with intelligence and honesty. Tell them you are prepared to lose an election over the resource rent tax – and explain why – explain why it is vital for Australia's economy. Defend your Government with the facts – don’t admit defeat, unless you’re admitting defeat in attack. If you have to admit something, admit that you had been too cautious. You should still win the election – you have a good story to tell on the economy, and Tony Abbott is a massive risk that will only become more obvious as his lack of policy nous is revealed (heck even the media won’t be able to ignore it in time). 

But you have to learn from the last 6 months, and the lesson is not to be more cautious. It is to be more bold. Forget about trying to win the election to become the Prime Minister, you are the Prime Minister! Lead dammit!


Anonymous said...

Well said. If only Kevin could take your advice.

I agree that this has been a very good first term for this government and the only major policy that I disagree with is that suspending applications from Afghani and Sri Lankan asylum seekers. I saw that as only a knee jerk reaction to bad polling.

Abbott is out of control and I could not believe what he said to those children regarding climate change. More importantly, his statements relating the situation in Greece with the situation in Australia are downright dangerous and capable of having a detrimental affect on the market.

Anonymous said...


A truly outstanding piece of work you have written. You should be employed in the PMC.

Kevvy only needs to go out there and explain things backed up with the data. As Tingle puts it, nobody has gone out there to explain the RRT. It is first year economics. Basic stuff but nobody is doing it. Same with the ETS, even if you do not believe in climate change, you cannot doubt that human civilisation has created pollution. For most of us less pollution is desirable, so one way of minimising this is to have tax on carbom emissions to bring pollution levels back down. The environment is a public good (no property rights) and everyone exploits it and that is why it is damaged. As Stern put it...this is the greatest market failure of all time!

thanks again for a wonderful piece and I hope your comments get to the ears of big Kev and his advisors. Time to smack Abbott down and the MSM.

Anonymous said...


Old Hack

HillbillySkeleton said...

Just e-mail the damn blog to Lachlan Harris, and give it the header, 'Nice Guys Finish Last'.

Dave said...

The following quote was printed in the Weekend Australian's [url=]Inquirer section[/url].

[quote]"I voted for Kevin Rudd because I thought he would be better than John Howard. But Howard should jump back in. Rudd promised to keep interest rates low and he hasn't delivered. As Prime Minister he has to take the rap."[/quote]

That was the same John Howard that after running a scare campaign on interest rates saw them rise to 6.50% a few months out of the 2007 election? The same John Howard that oversaw the highest interest rates since 1997? Perhaps this gentleman hasn't had his head above the sand for the past year as he seems not to recognise that throughout Kevin Rudd's term there have been historically low levels of interest rates (3%, which they couldn't possibly remain at indefinitely or monetary policy would lose its efficiency), and the RBA is now announcing that interest rates are 'back to normal', meaning there won't be any more consecutive rises unless there are strong inflationary pressures. That's right, under John Howard interest rates rose up to 6.50%, while under Kevin Rudd they have risen to 4.50%, a full 2% lower, yet John Howard is the one who is meant to jump back into the fray to start lowering interest rates. Don't expect the media (especially the Australian) to highlight this fact anytime soon. Hopefully the Labor strategists will remember this little fact as the technically official election campaign starts up. That should take some of the wind out of Hockey and Abbott when they start mouthing off about 'reckless spending'. It's a shame to see there is so much spin in this government when they could be highlighting how well they are actually doing compared to how it was under Howard and the Liberals.

lilit said...

I agree that this piece should be forwarded to Kevin Rudd's advisors, but I'd also like to suggest that it be circulated to all Government Ministers and backbenchers. It is exactly what is required at this stage. I'd also suggest that a good old "Address to the Nation" via a paid television spot to cover all this points should be considered.

Keith said...

I agree with every thing you have said, yet have one nagging doubt. This guy, Rudd, took out a PM in his own seat, his government with it. That's gotta count for something.

All this uproar, all this negative...

Did he really not see it coming?

Fuck I hope not

Agnes Mack said...

Hillbilly Skeleton. I agree. Have sent the following tweet

@KevinRuddPM Pls read these views shared by many anxious supporters

Anonymous said...

Definitely an Address to the Nation, but in power point form with visuals-the charts, the graphs- to really get the message across (not just a "talking head")to cover the different learning styles.
He's been fighting with one hand tied behind his back since the election.Circumventing the MSM filter is crucial. Printouts not effective. Still leaves question of reaching the Ipod generation.

Grog said...

Keith, I have no doubt Rudd is a brilliant politician - hell if he had done the things I wanted him to do in 2007, he would hav elost th eelection! But I doubt he saw a 50% dissatisfaction rating coming.

Rudd was an absolutely brilliant Leader of the Opposition - he took down Howard; did him slowy and messed with his mind.

And I still think he'll win the eleciton - but mostly because the economy is strong and Abbott is a nutter.

But this is about Rudd being a strong Prime Minister. He is still in Leader of the Opposition mode. He needs to leave that behind. I actually don't even have many problems with the Govt's policy decisions (apart from the dumping of the insulation scheme). But it is the way they have dumped them - they dumped them like they were embarrassed about doing it. Instead they should have been bold and bitter - especially with the ETS, Rudd should have come out angry that Abbott as Lib leader had killed any chance of an ETS.

The childcare centres is another example. The Govt should have brought out Julia with Kate Ellis and said we have commissioned a study which has found it is not in the interests of the child care industry or parents to build the 260 centres. They should have said we do realise this is not what we intended to do, but it would be grossly negligent of the Govt to ignore this advice - advice which suggests building so many childcare centres could lead to other centres closing. Now we understand many in the community will be disappointed with this decison, and so we shall work with the industry and family groups to find away to reach a better outcome. But the plain fact is the child care industry has massively changed since ABC went under, and this report advises that the only course of action avaliable to the Govt is to shelve our plans.

Now maybe they did say that in a roundabout sort of way. But they did it via a nondescipt media release that looked like they were getting rid of something diseased.

Julia should have announced - and done it boldly.

Be bold. Be angry if you need to be. But also give the public as many details as you can to explain why you are doing what you are doing.

You have to play the politics different when you are in Govt than when you are trying to win Govt.

This article
by Rodney Tiffen makes a similar point.

Grog said...

Yes Lilit and Anon - Rudd should make an address to the nation on the Resources Rent Tax. Yes such a thing will give Abbott the right of reply, but so what. Get in first, speak calmly, address the myths and give people the facts and reasons.

He has to take the public with him. He can't expect the media to explain the pros of the tax.

Anonymous said...

You're right Grog. You certainly cannot expect the media to do a thorough analysis or to be honest anymore. They are becoming worse than politicians.

Grog said...

Anon you're right - the media won't explain the pros of the tax, but they'll sure as hell print any statement by some mining ceo stating the cons of the tax (from their point of view that is).

Even if - as The Oz found out on Thursday - it is actually bullshit.

Even more reason for Kev to get on the front foot with this.

Agnes Mack said...

Fred Argy has begun a list of Rudd government's achievements here:

Sadly,I know you are right in your summation, Grog, but I do think that it is very hard for Labor to sell anything in a hostile media, and that includes the ABC.I've heard some great well-argued fighting words in parliament that never get reported because they do not fit that day's media narrative which is usually determined by the headlines in the Australian.

Agnes Mack said...

Also Labor is at a self imposed disadvantage, since it has disavowed the Howard taxpayer funded advertising campaigns which although blatantly political, were nonetheless potent, particularly in agenda setting.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me (please) what tax rate the mining industry pays? I assume it is the standard 30% company tax rate plus State royalties. So does this amount come close to the 40% Super tax (I assume if they earn above the threshold they pay 40% instead of the proposed 28%)? Thanks in a advance.

Grog said...

This is the pdf file explaining the RSPT
. It shows that:

The RSPT will replace the crude oil excise, and operate in parallel with State and Territory royalty regimes.
Projects within the scope of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) will have the option of opting into the RSPT or staying in the PRRT. The election into the RSPT will be irrevocable.
• Under the RSPT a refundable credit for royalties paid to State and Territory Governments will be
• The refundable credit will eliminate investment distortions associated with the state royalty systems and ensure there is no ‘double taxation’ of resource profits.

So it seems all that bull you read in The Oz about miners having to pay the state's taxes as well is to be honest, bull. Yeah they pay it, but it is refunded.

Also the Govt needs to say more about this:
The Australian Government will introduce a new resource exploration rebate (RER), within the company income tax system, from 1 July 2011, delivering on its 2007 election commitment to promote resources exploration. The RER is estimated to cost $1.1 billion in the two years commencing 2012-13.

Yep the Govt will put in $1.1b over 2 years to encourage exploration.

All that talk about miners not going to go ahead with exploration is also hooey. They'll do it. You know they will, they just don't want to pay the 40%.

Sorry guys, but they are our minerals, and you've been getting them too cheap.

Time to pay up.

Anonymous said...

I think you're underestimating the Prime Minister and the Govt.

While the response to the vitriol and screeching by the MSM and their lackeys,(the opposition) has been less than heartening, perhaps we should stand back, settle down and consider other scenarios.

Your attacked by a coward,(Murdoch), egged on by sycophants{ABC<Fairfax,FTA tv channels}, legislation is blocked or held up by a senate more interested in it's own personal agendas than the governance of the country. Now what would you do?

Play the game according to the rules? Well that's been tried. Didn"t work! Mea Culpa?

You're faced with a pack of rabid, mongrel dogs who want to tear your arse off. So what can you do?

You prod them and poke them till they lose all reason. Give them the hint off blood. Work them into an absolute frenzy and let them go.

The reason for doing this? Simple.

A pack, deprived of a kill,will, sooner, more than later, turn on itself.

That's what I reckon anyway.

Country Kid said...

I'm no economist but it seems there are good reasons why the stimulus package worked in Australia. The $900 to employed adults kept the retail industry ticking over. Then the really smart thing about the BER is that it bypassed states and local council redtape that would have wasted time 'approving' the BER projects.

So BER funds were deployed quickly right across the country - so that stimulus kept people in jobs, kept manufacturing and mining going to produce the building products.

I reckon the BER will go down in history as one of the most successfull government interventions ever - seems thee best one that I have ever seen

Country Kid said...

I'm no economist but it seems there are good reasons why the stimulus worked.

The quick action to get $900 to employed adults kept the retail industry ticking over (and all the industries that feed into retail - mining, manufacturing, transport, marketing and advertising).

Then the BER was really smart - because it mostly bypassed state and local government redtape because it wasn't needed to get building projects going in schools.

The BER was (and still is) of incredible benefit to the economy because it was distributed across the whole country and helped not just the building industry but also mining, manufacturing and transportation - that is a large slice of the ecomony and workforce.

I reckon the BER has been the best intervention by a government that I have ever seen.

I also reckon the BER will stand up very well in history and already liberals are worried about that - hence their attempts to trivialise it.

imacca said...

Well said Grog. I think there is much to win for the Govt this year, and also much to lose. Hopefully they will springboard off next week and begin to crush the Ooposition like the bugs they are.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

Hi Grog,

That is a seriously good piece of writing. I found myself agreeing with everything you said, and I don't often agree so wholeheartedly with Crows

Are you going to send your article to Mr Rudd's office (and the rest of Cabinet)? You really should, and maybe even send it in to Crikey to see if they'll publish it. I feel that if the Government were to sell themselves better they'd romp in the next election. I find that I often have to do the selling for them to family and friends because many of them buy into the crap that the MSM are peddling. It's so frustrating!

Johnny Button said...


Thanks for the info about the RSPT and the royalty rebates. This is our point before, no one is explaining this clearly to the public.

As for The Oz deliberately not telling the public about the rebate well that is scandalous.

BTW, did anyone notice Rudd's interview on Friday in WA where the banks were mentioned a few times? It got me thinking they may cop something on Budget night...Bank Super Tax anyone?

I had to laugh on Saturday when I read Peter Hartcher in the SMH who said something similar.

How will Abbott, The Australian and the MSM react to that? You could almost guarantee that the Banks will pass it on to us.

Johnny Button said...

Apologies, it was IAN VERRENDER not Peter Hartcher who made the claim about the Budget night hit on banks.

Grog said...

Cheers Johnny.

I certainly hope the Govt does not bring in a super tax on banks. For a start banks don't use an nonrenewable resource. They use our money - we can change banks if we want. A bank can decide to leave and our money is still here. Mining companines can't plant a carbon atom and hope it'll grow into a big lot of coal.

It's why the term "super tx" is bad - it makes people think other industries should be taxed at that rate. The RSPT is a resources rent tax - it is purely about putting a price on the minerals in the ground - in effect saying these minerals are owned by the Australian public, if you want to dig them up you can, but it'll cost you 40% once you make a certain level of profit (oh and by the way to compensate, we'll give you a rebate on other royalties and we'll also massively boost infrastructure to help you keep digging stuff out of the ground).

vote1maxine said...

Hi Grog

Outstanding article!! I was so impressed and agreed so heartily with it's contents that I emailed the article to my local Fed Member, John Murphy. Ihope he reads it and passes it on to his Caucus colleagues.

Grog said...

This page
is an excellent note by Wayne Swan which explains the RSPT. It nicely sets out the argument for the RSPT, and how the tax will change the amounts companies will pay. I hope the Govt keeps using this type of approach - it is wonderfully intelligent.

I hope the media use it as well.

zoomster said...

You should have explained boldly to the Australia public why you had changed, said you deeply regret not having been able to get the ETS passed, how you realise you needed to explain the ETS to the Australian public better. You needed to explain how there is just no point trying to negotiate a deal at this time – given that Tony Abbott doesn’t believe in climate change, and thus you will have to try again after the election, depending on the make up of the Senate and who is leader of the opposition. You needed to say you will try again after the election, but that we have to be realistic – given the time that business will need to adjust to any ETS, it is unlikely any ETS will be in place till 2013. You should have admitted you could go to a Double Dissolution on the issue, but explain that the ETS Bill is very much timing driven, and the time has passed in which would allow business a proper time to adjust even if it were passed after the election. You needed to admit as well that the electorate is now more wary of an ETS due to the lack of a result in Copenhagen and thus the desire for an ETS is no longer as strong, and that such a case is your fault as much as anyone’s, and that you will work hard to convince the public that an ETS is the only effective way to combat climate change.

And herein lies our problem, folks – because Rudd did say all of those things, as I showed on the day by posting extracts from his press release.

I’ve said it before: it doesn’t matter how often you say it, if the media doesn’t report it.

“Rudd abandons ETS” is a far better headline than “ETS delayed until it can pass the Senate” – which was self evident, any way, rather than being news.

This whole ETS thing was a total and complete beat up.

1. The delay of the ETS being implemented was inevitable once it failed to pass the Senate.

2. Even with a DD, as Antony’s figures show, an ETS could not go to a joint sitting until early next year, thus meaning there would be little difference in implementation timelines regardless of which electoral option the government chooses.

3. The government did not time this announcement. The media story took them by surprise (look at the transcript of Martin Ferguson’s interveiw the morning the story broke; he had no been briefed on the issue and there’s no way he’d have been let out to do an interview without a briefing if the government had timed the announcement), partly because it wasn’t news. Really, all Rudd did was confirm something that anyone with a piece of paper, a pen and some understanding of the way things work could have worked out back in February.

4. Rudd responded in the early afternoon, after the ’story’ having burst on the scene in the morning. He was caught on the hop. However, in the presser, he did say all the things Grog says he should have said. He went further, indicating that the government was still open to negotiation on the issue – which suggests that they’d happily take it to the Senate tomorrow if they had the numbers to pass it.

My criticism on this one for the government would be that, as some stage, they should have expected the question of what happened to the ETS would be raised. However, we don’t know what’s been happening behind the scenes, and the Greens have been very quiet on the issue. It is possible that there have been furious negotiations going on and no one wanted to say anything publically in case they were imperilled.

Anonymous said...

Hi Grog

Copied Zoomster's comment from Poll Bludger this morning.
Posted Monday, May 10, 2010 at 7:06 am | Permalink
Commenting on grog’s post here, as I can’t find out how to comment there

Grog, I found it difficult as well, post a comment on Grog's Gamut for a long time , until I worked out I could use anomyous, the other option askes for a Google account to be opened.

Excellent work Grog very enjoyable column.

Cheers Lyn

Agnes Mack said...


You just have to click the Name/URL button , you'll find the URL is optional.

Lyn said...

Hi Agnes Mack

Thanks you are wonderful.

I didn't want to use Anonymous.


Johnny Button said...

Hi Grog,

Good find wrt to Treaury's note on the RRT. Most of the public will not understand it, so Rudd and Swan have to explain it more simpler terms and hopefully it will start to sink in.

Couldn't get over Joe Hockey saying that mining companies would have to pay state royalties as well. How does he get away with it unchallenged?

BTW, can anyone tell me why I would be having difficulties registering with Poll Bludger? Tried a few times but have had no reply. Is there some quoto all am I just a bd boy?

PS> I cannot get over the bile that is directed at Rudd and crew on most readers comments with the MSM. Our things that bad out there?