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Archives for November 2011

Tony Abbott Responds To Mid-Year Budget Update

Tony Abbott has described the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook as a “crisis mini-budget.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb, Abbott claimed there is now no buffer against international economic problems because of the incompetence of the government. [Read more…]

Swan Releases MYEFO: Budget Surplus Shaved

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). It forecasts an increased budget deficit for 2011-12 and a small surplus in 2012-13.

Key points from MYEFO:

  • 2011-12 budget deficit has increased to $37 billion from the budget forecast of $23 billion.
  • The budget surplus for 2012-13 has been downgraded from $3.5 billion to $1.5 billion.
  • Deteriorating economic conditions have cut $20 billion from revenue over the four-year forward estimates.
  • Additional savings of $11.5 billion over four years have been announced.
  • The baby bonus has been cut from $5400 to $5000.
  • A 2.5% efficiency dividend, on top of an existing 1.5%, will produce savings across government departments of $1.5 billion.
  • The federal and High Courts, and cultural institutions such as the Australian War Memorial have been been protected from cuts.
  • There will be a crackdown on living away from home tax concessions, an increase in the eligibility age for the dependent spouse offset.
  • Gross Domestic Product is now forecast to grow by 3.25%, down from 4.25%.
  • Unemployment is expected to be 5.5% in 2011-12 and 2012-13, slightly up on budget forecasts.

[Read more…]

After Four Years, Labor Is Still Buying Time

The Labor Government celebrated four years in office on Thursday with a manoeuvre that all but guaranteed it will serve a full term.

AnniversaryAs it embarks on its fifth year in office, Peter Slipper’s defection has enabled Julia Gillard to fulfil one of the most important goals of a prime minister: to insulate her government against sudden threats and extend its longevity.

The means may make some pall but the ends are delightful for a government living on the edge.

But not much else has changed. Only the madly optimistic believe Labor will make it to a sixth birthday.

Of all Australia’s federal governments since World War I, only those led by Scullin (1929-32) and Whitlam (1972-75) failed to make it to four years, although death and party-room coups meant the prime ministerial baton was often snatched from one leader and deposited with another. Only Scullin, Whitlam, Fraser and Howard led their parties to victory and then back into opposition. [Read more…]

Tony Abbott Speech on the Economy to The Sydney Institute

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has delivered a speech on the economy to The Sydney Institute.

Whilst containing no new policy initiatives, the speech attempts to broaden Abbott’s campaign against the government into the prevailing discussion about China and the economic crisis in Europe.

Abbott reiterated his proposals for budget cuts, improved economic growth, productivity reform and workforce participation.

AUDIO of the speech will be posted here once it becomes available.

Official transcript of Tony Abbott’s speech to The Sydney Institute.

Almost 50 years ago, an influential book described Australia as the “lucky country”.

Author Donald Horne meant that we’d relied on our luck rather than on our insights or on our hard work to get where we are but the irony was largely missed.

As if to prove his point, the tag passed into popular use and ever since has helped to reinforce the complacent expectation that something would always turn up to keep us safe and prosperous.

There is a complacent assumption from people who should know better that Australia is largely immune to the economic turmoil threatening Europe because China’s growth guarantees our future prosperity.

There’s no doubt that the China boom has sustained Australia’s economic success over the past decade.

There should equally be no doubt that the boom will one day end. Otherwise, it would be the first never-ending boom in human history. [Read more…]

Liberal Party Launches New Attack On Labor’s 4th Anniversary

Ahead of the fourth anniversary of Labor’s 2007 election victory, the Liberal Party has launched a new attack on the Rudd and Gillard governments.

The campaign includes an advertisement and a “briefing note” on “Labor’s four years of failure”.

Meet The Press: Defence Minister Stephen Smith

Scott Morrison Promises To Protect The “Borders Of Our Values”

Scott Morrison, the Opposition spokesman on Immigration, has delivered a major speech in which he argues that Australia “must protect the borders of our values”.

Speaking to the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia conference, Morrison said: “In our nation, we must never compromise our values, by agreeing with those who suggest that even their definition is an instrument of exclusion. We must protect the borders of our values.”

“In our nation we celebrate the values that have defined us as a nation and lived and added to by each new generation and each new wave of arrivals, making their own contribution.

“In our nation we must uphold freedom of religion, speech and thought, while ensuring our laws are never altered to provide special concessions for any one group by virtue of their religion, race, ethnicity, language or birthplace.

“In our nation we must ensure that English remains our one and only language and encourage its adoption in all corners of our community, by all ages, ethnicities and nationalities.”

Transcript of Scott Morrison’s Address to the 2011 Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia conference.

“Our Nation”

A liberal perspective on immigration and social cohesion in modern Australia [Read more…]

Abbott Says No To Superannuation Levy Increase But Won’t Repeal In Government

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the coalition will not support increases to the superannuation levy but nor will it repeal them in government.

Tony Abbott addresses the Financial Services Council

The Gillard government is proposing to increase the compulsory superannuation levy from 9% to 12% over eight years.

Speaking to the Financial Services Council today, Abbott said his party’s instinct “is to provide incentives, not to coerce people. Nevertheless, once these things are there we don’t add to them but we don’t roll them back and that is the approach that we will take to the current legislation. We aren’t going to support it in the Parliament but if it goes through we will not try to rescind it. We do accept that it is very important that people have adequate retirement incomes, particularly with an ageing population.”

  • Listen to Tony Abbott’s speech (18m)
  • Listen to Tony Abbott’s media doorstop (3m)

Transcript of Tony Abbott’s speech to the Financial Services Council.

Well, Craig, thank you so much. John, thank you very much for the invitation to be here. It is good to be amongst so many people who are so important to the retirement savings of our nation. It’s great to have the Shadow Minister for Seniors, Bronwyn Bishop here. It’s also good to have my colleague from Bradfield, Paul Fletcher here.

I really do want to say at the outset just how important you are to all of us. As John pointed out earlier this morning, you have $1.8 trillion of our money in your hands and that’s a heavy responsibility. We want our nest egg to grow and it will grow because of the intelligent decisions that you make. So, you are very important to our people, very important to our country and it gives me great confidence to be here today and to see how obviously enthusiastic you are about the work you do and how extraordinarily conscientious you are about the work you do. [Read more…]

The Hamster Wheel: The Julia Song

Courtesy of The Hamster Wheel last night, this devastating compilation of shock-jock attitudes to Julia Gillard.

Obama Gives It A Burl At Parliamentary Reception

President Obama has been welcomed to Australia, ahead of his address both houses of the parliament tomorrow morning.

At a reception in the Great Hall, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott spoke warmly of the US-Australian relationship. Obama responded with a humorous speech about language differences between the two countries. Giving it a burl, he said the relationship is in top nick. [Read more…]