PM threatens double dissolution if his ABCC bill isn’t passed

Prime Minister Turnbull moves budget forward and threatens double dissolution.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is moving forward with a threat of an early election, after setbacks in the Senate seemingly forced his hand to pull the trigger on a double dissolution election on 2 July.

With the PM claiming his Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) legislation is critical for economic reform, he will bring back both houses of Parliament from their extended break for a three-week joint sitting in April to debate the bill. If the Senate doesn’t pass the bill, he will call for an early election.

"The time has come for the Senate to recognise its responsibilities and help advance our economic plans, rather than standing in the way," he said. "The restoration of the ABCC is a critical economic reform. The time for playing games is over."

Mr Turnbull briefed his colleagues on his plans immediately before making the announcement during a snap media conference in Canberra yesterday morning.

In another move seen to pave the way for an early election, regardless of the outcome of the Senate vote, he has also brought forward the budget a week from 10 May to 3 May.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wasted no time criticising the move, saying the PM was acting selfishly, putting his own needs ahead of the country.

"Labor will not get distracted by Mr Turnbull's games," he said. "If he wants Parliament to sit on April 18, we will turn up."

The threat of a double dissolution took some senators by surprise, with Nick Xenophon saying he didn’t see it coming, and Senator David Leyonhjelm describing the PMs move as “an ambush”. Glenn Lazarus views the PMs tactics as a form of blackmail, and Jacquie Lambie also saying that she won’t be bullied into backing the ABCC legislation.

For the ABCC legislation to pass, it needs the support of six of eight crossbench senators – a result that, after his ‘heavy-handed’ pushing through of Senate voting reforms last week, seems most unlikely. These changes to senate voting will, most likely, mean that many independent senators will be out of a job after the next election.

The Liberals are claiming that they’re ready for an election. Labor isn’t afraid of the threat of a double dissolution and the Greens feel they’ll actually win more seats in the next election, so they are particularly looking forward to it. The only losers, it seems, will be the Independents. But, by the looks of things, they intend to go down swinging.

All that’s left now is to see how the voters react to the PM’s political manoeuvring. Only time will tell …

Read more at The Guardian
Read more at www.abc.net.au

Opinion: Here we go again …

Who needs reality TV? Australian politics, in it’s current state, is more like the continuing daytime saga The Bold and the Beautiful – only without the boldness and with a whole lot of ugly…

I mean in the last year alone, we’ve had I’m a Politician, Get Me Out of Here! with the recent ALP mass exodus in Western Australia and Ian MacFarlane leaving the Libs and attempting to join the LNP, as well as the other highly publicised political withdrawals of Andrew Robb and Deputy PM Warren Truss, and Phillip Ruddock possibly on the way out.

We had The Apprentice, with Malcolm Turnbull playing the Donald Trump role and firing Tony Abbott, then last week, we saw Parliamentary Big Brother, which included Nick Xenophon in his pyjamas and a marathon sitting to vote in controversial Senate voting reforms.

Now this week, we have the big kid on the block, Malcolm Turnbull, playing the bully because he’s not getting his own way. Add to that poor old ‘ScoMo (Scott Morrison) seemingly hung out to dry as the unpopular maths geek rolling out a succession of possible tax reforms for the forthcoming budget and sticking to his claims that the budget would be on 10 May, only to have the rug pulled out from under him when his boss announces an early budget.

In the words of Independent Senator Nick Xenophon: "if you thought last week was ugly in the Senate, you ain't seen nothing yet".

In all seriousness though, isn’t it time they stopped playing ‘he said, she said’ and got on with the task at hand? Do we need to remind them that their job is to run the country?

Okay, so the PM wants this ABCC legislation to pass. But who does the bill benefit? If you ask him, he’d say the Australian people, but if you ask Labor and the Greens, it unfairly targets these same people. Some senators, including Greens’ Leader Richard DiNatale and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm would like to see the establishment of a governing body that focuses on corruption across the board and not just in the construction industry and not just the unions. Others are worried that the bill unfairly targets blue collar workers, removing their employment rights and favouring employers over workers. And what about targeting the systemic abuse of power by the big end of town, specifically, the banks?

As Adam Bandt so eloquently states: “When it comes to allegations of wrongdoing, if you've got a blue collar, this Government throws the book at you, but if you've got a white collar, they turn the other way.”

So there’s obviously some ‘murkiness’ to the legislation that needs to be addressed, only the Government appears unwilling to budge on the finer details, employing tactics similar to the ones it is supposedly trying to abolish from the building industry.

So, an early election seems likely, but as with all recent political promises and proposed legislations, it is hardly etched in stone. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next exciting instalment of Parliamentary Pantomime – at least that’s what I’m calling it…

At the very least, Parliament is providing us with some entertainment. But that’s not their job now, is it? I wonder if a double dissolution isn’t the way to go. Maybe it will end these theatrics, so we, as a country, can finally move forward. 

What do you think of the actions of Parliament over the past year? Does it make you confident that we do have the right people in place to help our country evolve? Or are you just as disillusioned (not dissolution!) about the current collective as I am?

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    COMMENTS

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    Cruisaholic
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:03am
    I think Turnbull has misread public sentiment. Like everyone who has had enough of the Liberals ripping off the poor I will be voting for an independent in the Senate and anybody who is on a pension would have rocks in their head if they don't do likewise.
    tiger
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:27am
    The time for playing games is over. Coming from PM Turnbull that's a laugh as he has been playing games with the Australian public over the last few weeks and not being decisive enough to announce the probability of a double dissolution before now. He is acting like a spoilt rich brat.
    Theo1943
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:57am
    Tiger, he is a spoilt rich brat, why shouldn't he act like one? Has he calculated how many votes he will lose by this action? And that will mostly go to Independents.
    LeonYLC
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:21am
    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if we see way more Aussies vote independent than we have in the past... This tactic could backfire badly for Malcolm. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if this is all a bluff. Why not backflip on an early election? They've shown they can do it to policy and past ideals...
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:21am
    Agree the time for playing games is over and it's about time the Senate realised this. They are not allowing the government to govern the country and the sooner we get rid of the independents the better. Why should a few people determine the outcome of our government?

    All votes for independents in the Senate will now be exhausted votes so voting for an independent unless they are a very high profile one will only help the major parties.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:31am
    What was wrong with Hockey's budget? I thought it was a good budget.
    PlanB
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:34am
    Turnbull and his lot have lost me forever he is carrying on like a Fascist wanting to rule hard over worker but giving the big end of town everything
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:50am
    He is only doing what needs to be done and that's is stop this country from relying too much on welfare.
    Rae
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:46pm
    It is time for so called "blue collar' workers to form a corporation as partners. This way they can control the contracts for labour and also pay corporate tax rates. Legal representatives could also be employed to negotiate. That way they would not be a union but have similar rights as other businesses.

    If enough voters cast their vote for an independent and put the major parties last then independents will be elected. It will take a deliberate action but can be achieved.
    GreyViper
    23rd Mar 2016
    11:53am
    Bonny, votes for an independent doesn't have to be an exhausted vote if you number more than one box above the line. The instructions will be to number at least 6 boxes above the line thereby deciding where you, as the voter, want your preferences to go. You can vote for an independent, give your 2nd, 3rd, etc preferences to independents as well, and then still give your final preference to one of the major parties, Liberal, Labor, National, Greens, etc and so not waste your vote. Also, if we go to a double dissolution, then the quota required to be elected to the senate will be halved to just 7.7% of the total which actually helps the greens and the minor parties and independents get elected but at least no one should get in on 0.51% of the vote like Rickie Muir did in the last election. It will be interesting to see whether Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus can still get through with the new system. I, however, will be voting BELOW the line as I have always done and believe more people should take the trouble to do. Then it is clear where you want your preferences to go!
    I believe that in this next Federal election you will only need to number 6 (although 12 will be encouraged) boxes below the line to make your vote valid. I suggest perhaps numbering a few more than that if you are going to vote for an independent.
    ex PS
    24th Mar 2016
    1:03pm
    OK Bonny, how can we stop the LNP from relying on money from big business to fund their political campaigns. Aren't these donations a form of welfare, or do you class them as payment for services rendered. By your own definition, money given to someone with no strings or responsability attached is welfare.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    8:38am
    Well said, PS. But no, they are not ''welfare''. They are, in fact, payment for services rendered - which means, by definition, that they are evidence of corruption. We don't live in a democracy. We live in a world where payment to pollies buys you favours and those who can't afford to make ''donations'' suffer.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    10:11am
    Bonny, you say ''He is only doing what needs to be done and that's is stop this country from relying too much on welfare''. You couldn't be more wrong! They are making more people reliant on welfare by punishing workers and savers and destroying incentive and capacity.

    The message the LNP is sending is very clear: If you are rich, we will look after your interests and protect you from any obligation to pay your way in the world. If you are very poor, we will give you sustenance - grudgingly. If you work and save and act responsibly, but you are NOT privileged and you struggle to rise above a poor start and only get to somewhere mid-way, we'll trample over you and spit on you and refuse you the little hand-up you desperately need to make it to fully self-sufficient status.

    They are taxing battlers unfairly so they can give tax cuts and concessions to those who have no need of them. They are destroying public health and education systems so battlers have no access to the services they need to enable them to work and earn. They are encouraging the nearly-able-to-self-fund retiree to squander a few hundred grand and be countless thousands p.a. better off, and not have to keep draining their personal savings to live. (When instead a smart government would give the younger nearly-self-funded retiree who demonstrates initiative and responsibility a little more so they can rise to achieve full self-funded status.)

    With poorer social services, an unfair tax system, and an unfairly punishing ''welfare'' system, we will sink further into social disharmony. Health costs will skyrocket. Earnings will fall. Savings will fall. Crime will increase. Consumption and therefore job growth, profit and tax revenue will fall. Welfare costs will go through the roof - unless they risk revolution by abolishing welfare completely!

    You just don't get it, Bonny, do you? You can't keep bleeding stones to overload the already gold-laden coffers of the filthy rich. It never has worked and it can't work. And anyone who pretends to believe in ''trickle down'' is a blind fool! Wealth creation feeds UP when you responsibly reward endeavour and compassionately support the genuinely needy. Look after those who work hard to achieve a position where they can look after themselves. Reward responsible behaviour instead of punishing it. Provide the tools to enable people to elevate their status and the incentives to make them want to, and you drive prosperity.

    As for the debt - there is a simple and quick solution. MAKE THE RICH PAY THEIR WAY. The problem arose because the rich stopped paying their share. It will continue as long as they are allowed to dodge their obligations.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    10:45am
    BTW Bonny - and others who whinge about ''welfare'' costs, ""Australia does not have a welfare crisis. The proportion of GDP spent on social security cash payments peaked at around 9% of GDP in 1996. It also attained this level in 2000 when compensation for the GST was provided. According to the most recent OECD figures, it was around 8.7% of GDP in 2013."

    Given that we need SOME level of welfare, because no caring society wants to see the sick, old and disabled starving to death, just how much CAN welfare costs be reduced, realistically? And how much good will it do in terms of reducing the deficit? Obviously whatever is costing the remaining 89% of GDP should be a much bigger concern for the Treasurer than the measly little bit of ''welfare'' spending (which is, in fact, wise investment in a healthier society!)
    particolor
    26th Mar 2016
    7:55pm
    Oh OK ! It looks like we can afford another 50 Submarines A Few more trips overseas for Sarah Ha Ha and about a 100 more of those Lead Balloons on order !! :-) The Yanks said they are the Worst Aircraft they've ever Seen ! :-) :-)
    student
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:28am
    If we can only vote for an established party, where has democracy gone?? The smaller and minor partys and independents are there to (in the words of the great Don Chip) 'keep the bastards honest'!! OK so they are being a pest to the government, but they are enacting democrary. It is their job to represent the people. If representing some people involves doing a deal to get what is best for their voters, then they have to compromise. Getting rid of small partys or people not aligned with a major party can lead to a dictatorship, as democracy can lead itself to a dictatorship.

    As for the ABCC .. I am not agreeing with corruption, but why not go after ALL sorts of corruption? Blue collar workers are not the only corrupt people. Believe it or not, politicians are corrupt too!!
    Theo1943
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:05am
    Under the old Senate voting system, every vote counted. Even if your first choice got the least number of votes, your preferences followed on until it was assigned to one of the last two people standing. Not so now. Mal is changing the senate vote to benefit his party and he is doing that for Democracy?
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:25am
    If you vote it is a vote for either the coalition or labor. If you want neither your only option is not to vote.
    GreyViper
    23rd Mar 2016
    12:09pm
    Student, I don't know where you got the idea that "you will only be able to vote for an established party" but I'm very confident that is not the case. As I have stated above, you should number at least 6 boxes above the line and I believe most popular candidates will be represented there in some grouping or other. If your chosen candidate is not represented there then you are able to number at least 6 boxes below the line for your vote to be valid. I believe that 12 will be recommended but I think you will be able to number as many as you deem appropriate.
    Theo, what makes you think that your preferences will not be counted in the new system? Also, it is not "the last TWO people standing" as you've stated but the last 6 people in an half senate election or the last 12 people in the case of a double dissolution. Simply number 6 or more boxes above the line to indicate where you want your preferences to go or a dozen or more below the line and your preferences will be followed. Just remember, they are YOUR preferences and you can allocate them to whoever you want! You DO NOT have to follow a party's how to vote card.
    MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR VOTE!
    ex PS
    24th Mar 2016
    10:27am
    Anyone who says that you can only vote for either Labor or LNP is either misinformed or deliberatley trying to misguide voters. If you don't vote you should not express any opinion on politics as you haven't got the courage of your convictions.
    The so called major partys would like everyone to believe that they rule by devine right and of course they employ their mindless devotees to spread that myth, but any group of free thinking, intelligent people can form a good government.
    Professional politicians are the ones that have created this mess, maybe a group of enthuisiastic amateaurs can start the clean up process.
    particolor
    24th Mar 2016
    11:20am
    I'm Shattered ! :-( Just when I thought they were there for us !
    4b2
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:32am
    Will he or won't he Mal is the great vacillator. He may even have another option tomorrow?
    Whichever way it goes I think the Greens days are numbered.
    More independents in Government makes for stronger government. If you can't negotiate get out. Can we believe the current Prime Minister as he is called by the Treasurer will be the Prime Minister after the election.
    This coalition of NO and confusion must not be returned until they have strong policies without penalising the low paid and Self Funded Retirees.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:24am
    How is the coalition penalising self funded retirees?
    Rae
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:59pm
    The Health Card is so valuable that in future it will benefit self funded retirees to organise their affairs to gain it. The coalition has stripped self funded retirees who were eligible to get it of that right by legislative changes. The penalty is that these 42000 are the only few of millions to have no ability to change anything now and the retrospective legislation slammed them. Fair enough that people should save for themselves but in that case no one should get it especially the really wealthy using trusts which of course were not affected by the new legislation. It was a betrayal and I'm afraid all 42000 will always see it that way and see the government as bastards over it. It wasn't necessary as there was hardly any money involved in it but a great deal of discounts and the ability to be able to rest sure medical needs would not result in poverty.

    So they haven't penalised wealthy self funded or those able to control investments, not even those with allocated pensions just the ex public servants Bonny because they hate the unions beyond rational thought or behaviour.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    2:32pm
    How is the Senior's Health Card valuable?
    Rae
    22nd Mar 2016
    3:43pm
    I gather it allows reduced fees when visiting the doctor. I pay the $36 on top of medicare but my pensioner friend doesn't. She also gets a rebate on rates, electricity etc. and pays no rego.

    I recently checked the cost of a trip on the Indian Pacific. The price was $600 less for a anyone with a pensioner health concession card.

    Medical prescriptions are also much cheaper. I recently paid $132 for a script that would have been much cheaper with the card.

    My accountant mumbled about it being a pity we couldn't get just the $1 pension because the card is worth about $4600 a year.

    I expect you know all this Bonny. There is nothing fair about the government's treatment of savers.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    8:51am
    Bonny asks: ''How is the coalition penalising self funded retirees? How is the Senior's Health Card valuable?''

    What planet does this person live on? Is she so far removed from reality and so blinkered that she doesn't even know what day it is?

    Bonny, hundreds of thousands of self-funded retirees who were battling due to already losing half their income through falling investment returns have now lost up to $12,000 pa in income through grossly UNFAIR pension changes, are effectively paying up to 260% ''tax'' on their measly investment income, and are far worse off now than hundreds of thousands of full pensioners.

    As for the Senior's Health Care Card, of course it's valuable - attracting significant discounts on a range of pharmaceuticals and bulk billing by many medical service providers. But it's not worth anywhere near as much as the pension card - which is now denied to hundreds of thousands who have incomes of far, far less than pensioners!

    Clearly Bonny is rich enough to not be hurt by Hockey's cruel, grossly unfair, and economically and socially damaging changes, or she wouldn't be making the idiotic claim that it was ''a good budget''.

    You are so right, Rae. There is nothing ''fair'' about anything this government has done. No reduction of income or entitlements for the richest retirees. No reduction of obscene tax concessions on super. No attempt to fix tax dodging by multi-national corporates.

    Just attack health, education, pensions for those who DO need them (and lie about benefiting the genuinely needy - who in fact didn't gain a cent and haven't yet figured out how a 3-year freeze will disadvantage them), destroy incentives and rewards that might help the nation out of the mire, stamp on anyone who tries to be independent but can't quite make the grade due to economic downturn, and let the rich keep partying.

    And now they attack claimed blue-collar corruption, but let the much more prevalent and damaging white-collar corruption continue unchecked.
    Crazy Horse
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:48am
    This is just right wing ideological claptrap. Whenever the Liberals get into electoral trouble they try to whip up anti- union hysteria. If he was genuine Mr Turnbull would set up a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption to catch anyone engaging in corrupt behaviour.

    So let's ignore that and concentrate on the "achievements" of the Turnbull Government. Oh that's right there aren't any.
    Crazy Horse
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:22am
    Stand by for a phoney "National Security" frenzy closer to the election.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:27am
    Senate wouldn't let them have any achievements.
    Rae
    22nd Mar 2016
    2:06pm
    What did they try to achieve that wasn't simply an attack on the poor?

    They did manage to stop any knowledge of boats, undo the carbon tax and bribe the States to sell the infrastructure and ports.

    They signed all those free trade agreements so Andrew Robb has completed the task he was elected to do and can go back to investment banking.

    They also showed that corruption exists on construction sites and bosses bribe unions with cash payments. Such a secret!!!

    They also stripped millions out of the pockets of hard working Australian savers who no longer work so are considered fair game.

    Real nice guys Bonny.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    2:36pm
    I can't see how they have stripped millions out of the pockets of Australian savers who no longer work. I certainly haven't had that done to me.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2016
    5:23pm
    Sory Crazy Horse, I don't think Turnbull is whipping up anti union hysteria, I believe that the Heydon Royal Commission has done a good job of that. There are more than 100 union leaders who have faced or are yet to face various courts of law to answer charges of embezzlement, bullying, actual bodily harm or intimidation of government officials.

    According to Labor there are 2,000,000 union members in Australia and if each was to pay $10 pw to their union, that means that $20 million pw is available to unions with no governance on how those funds are spent. To ask for some sort of regulation on where the money held in trust for union members is spent is only fair.

    To Rae, you are right to point out that bosses pay unions with cash payments. According to the Haydon Royal Commission this is correct but the money was paid because of industrial blackmail, not offered as bribes. Unions threatened to halt work and cost building companies $millions unless cash payments were made.
    ex PS
    22nd Mar 2016
    5:34pm
    Old Man, can you tell me how many business men or women are facing charges of corruption for paying bribes to Union officials? Untill we see this being done I can only assume that this is a purely political exercise to discredit unions and the Labor Party. and we paid for it big time.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2016
    5:57pm
    ex PS, maybe it is like the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Did business men offer bribes or did unions demand blackmail. Both are crimes but if the latter is the case then paying blackmail is not as serious as offering a bribe.
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:09pm
    Old Man, each is illegal to the same extent, many a bribe is offered without encouragement by the person being bribed. As far as trying to make out bribery is blackmail, they are two entirely different crimes in that to blackmail someone you have to have something on them that they are ashamed to have revealled to the public. So what did the Unions have on business that they were willing to pay to keep out of peoples view?
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    10:18am
    Old Man, business men offering bribes - and using blackmail - came first. That's why unions were formed in the first place - to defend workers and their families against abuse by more powerful employers. If unions have resorted to the same tactics as business and government used for centuries to persecute their members, that's a real shame. But let's not discriminate in trying to address this crime. Let's make the same laws apply to all criminals.

    A healthy beginning would be to ban political ''donations'', which are, in fact, nothing more than massive bribes to buy policies that deliver benefit to the donor and disadvantage groups that can't afford to make large donations.
    hope
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:08am
    I will independent in my state, the Turnbull gov are a joke.
    Glen48
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:08am
    After 50yrs of hearing the same story from both parties I am going to try the Australian Liberty Alliance ..they are the only ones worried about the Muslims.,,,and I haven't voted for 10yrs.
    Idontforget
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:16am
    Yes, Glen48 I also will be voting for the ALA. Whilst voting for independents might seem a noble ideal, can you just imagine a parliament full of independents. Without the discipline of a party, Parliament would become a real pantomime, not just the rehearsals of one as it is now.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:26am
    It's Muslims today, Christians yesterday and who tomorrow?
    ex PS
    24th Mar 2016
    10:01am
    A panto would be a good change from the tradegy we are seeing now.
    ex PS
    24th Mar 2016
    10:01am
    A panto would be a good change from the tradegy we are seeing now.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    10:28am
    Bonny, anyone not worried about Muslims is a blind fool. I have Muslim friends and they are lovely people, but they are as opposed as I am to introducing Halal and Sharia Law and wearing face coverings in Australia. They recognize those things are part of another culture that doesn't fit here, and they agree immigrants must assimilate. They can bring the good elements of their culture to enrich ours, but if they want to change our way of life, they are NOT welcome and should be sent home. If Halal and Sharia law and wearing a burkha are good, go where that way of life prevails. When we go there, we'll respect your ways. When you come here, respect ours.

    My Muslim friends are hard working taxpayers who deeply resent the abuse of our welfare system by vast numbers of Muslim immigrants and by people who falsely claim '''refugee'' status when they are not at all. (Some European countries are now paying refugees to go back, and they are happily accepting the offer. Would someone go back to where they were subjected to persecution? Really?)

    Okay, Muslims aren't the only ones abusing our welfare system, and non-Muslims who do it are just as contemptible. But there appears to be evidence of substantial deliberate and organized welfare fraud in Muslim communities, and the attitude that reflects is a genuine concern. Let's be sensible about this ''racist'' argument. It's not racist to want to protect your way of life. We can't stamp out welfare fraud completely, but we CAN address the areas where it is blatantly apparent and growth is avoidable.
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2016
    10:57am
    Rainey, I have had much the same experience.
    PlanB
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:37am
    Turnbull will not be doing anything UNLESS it benefits HIS party so if you can't vote Independent -- and I HATE to waste a vote but it is tempting not to vote at all
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:54am
    No sense in voting anyway. Our voting system is not democratic in that candidates that toe the party line are selected by party and then it's matter of them both spending millions on advertising trying to get over the line. Democracy in this country is just an illusion.
    PlanB
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:15pm
    Yes Bonny democracy is dying fast Fascism has taken over, time for the people to stand up for what THEY believe in!
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:23pm
    Now too expensive in NSW to protest.
    PlanB
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:31pm
    Yes I forgot that fine and jail time Bonny -- truly now a Fascist ruling and it is getting worse bit by bit but faster nad faster these days
    Lescol
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:11pm
    Bring it on is all I can say - I shall vote first for some of the micro parties and then vote the current government last as I've grown tired of their seniors bashing.

    I cannot imagine anyone could release the budget we're told is needed and then go to an election.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:21pm
    They might surprise you with their budget.
    ex PS
    22nd Mar 2016
    5:25pm
    Yes they will surprise me if they start looking at their backers to pay their share of tax and ease off on seniors.
    particolor
    24th Mar 2016
    11:27am
    The only way they will Surprize Me is if they all Voluntarily Resign ! :-) :-)
    KSS
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:25pm
    Why all the snippy comments? If the Independent are confident they have represented their electorate and served the Country well, they should be confident of being re-elected and with a greater margin (than say.... oh I don't know... 13 votes). They will then be returned to their jobs in the Senate and continue blocking every single thing that comes across their desk for no other reason than they can.

    I will acknowledge one thing, Ms Lambie said she would never support the incumbent Government regardless of any merit and to her credit that is exactly what she has done.

    Those who proudly confess to not voting (some for more than a decade), in my opinion, lose the right to criticise. People can still vote for an Independent it just means that more people must do so for them to 'win' on their own merits and not relying on all the other single issue candidates' votes to filter down to them. I see nothing wrong in that. Nor in making the passing on of votes more transparent.

    Mick et al have been exhorting people on this site to vote Independent for months on end. Well now's your chance.
    jackyd
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:06pm
    Never support the incumbent government regardless of any merit....
    What sort of responsibility is that... one of a total Twat!
    Bring on the Senate reform and get rid of these dills and get the budget deficit back on track to surplus.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    8:55am
    Heaven help us if we get a Senate that allows the LNP to have it's way, jackyd. We won't get back to surplus! The debt will continue to blow out, but the country will go to hell in a basket with no health services, education for the elite only, massive poverty, no incentives to work and save, growing crime and social discontent... on and on it goes.

    If we can't ''keep the bastards honest'' we are doomed!
    PlanB
    26th Mar 2016
    9:01am
    Darm right Rainey you can be sure if Turnbull wants a change it will be for his own advantage
    Hairy
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:27pm
    I am voting independent.i have lost my faith in the shit 3.Pauline has gone up 100% in my view compared to these puppets of the rich. They are not performing properly in their fole as leaders of this magnificent country so hence they should be sacked and given a below poverty line pension just like the rest of us.
    particolor
    24th Mar 2016
    11:31am
    Very nasty ! Wishing this Sinking Feeling upon them ! :-(
    Auction Girl
    22nd Mar 2016
    12:32pm
    For the first time in all my years of voting the LNP will be displacing the ALP in the LAST position on my ballot paper, then it's SPA and independents for me. Sick of the big end of town (LNP and their rich mates and ALP and their union thugs) getting away with stuffing up this country. We need DICK SMITH to put his hand up at least he has the country at heart.
    Incognito
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:33pm
    Dick Smith would be great, he will at least support Australian industry, and stop importing food from China when our farmers struggle to sell at a reasonable price.
    KSS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:19am
    Dick Smith has already said he will run against Bronwyn Bishop if she retains pre-selection.
    Johno
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:00pm
    Our system is well and truly broken!
    Rodent
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:27pm
    These comments are especially for Bonny, and other interested people, who have commented about Welfare payments

    Bonny you love to talk about Welfare, but before you continue your views perhaps you might like to read this link
    http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1516/WelfareSpend

    I would be interested if after reading this you still have the same, or a different understanding of welfare.
    Later I will publish a detailed document about the upcoming Pension changes on 1 Jan 2017. This will spell out in full detail ALL the Social Security income support payments and allowances by their specific groupings or Categories.
    Minister Porter said that there were more than 3.7Mil People to receive the latest 20 March Age Pension Increase, he is wrong, the Actual number is 4.98Mil people with payments that will be effected by the Jan 2017 Asset Test Threshold and Taper rate changes. May be an election issue, who knows, haven"t seen a Labor Party policy re this yet?
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    2:23pm
    Read that before and it doesn't change my opinion on welfare.

    When people will do anything to get on the pension so that they can join that social class something is very wrong. It's like if you are not on the pension you are an outcast in some circles. It is getting like if you are not on the pension then you are some sort of mug for not arranging your affairs so you are. This is absolutely stupid behaviour and not good for the future of our country.

    I agree with the changes to the asset test I 2017 and that further changes are also necessary. The house needs to be added to the assets test as that is the most inequitable art of the pension system.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    9:01am
    Bonny, the issue is that under our stupid destructive system of unfair tests many people CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO BE ON THE PENSION. They will be anyway, in a very short time, if they don't manipulate to get on it. They will be forced to drain their savings paying for things pensioners get for free, and then they'll have so little left that they will qualify for the pension.

    What idiot would support a policy that says ''manipulate to get on it faster and you can benefit from your work and saving, or be honest and give ALL the benefit of your hard work and sacrifice to people who have no right to it?''

    The whole system actually needs throwing out and rebuilding from scratch. But definitely the assets test change was WRONG. Taking up to 260% of someone's income just because they committed the ''crime'' (apparently it is!) of saving but only reached an intermediate, not high, level is the height of arrogance and TOTAL STUPIDITY, and it is going to have devastating economic impact for the nation.
    PlanB
    26th Mar 2016
    9:14am
    Rodent are these the tests you are speaking of?

    https://thesmartmoney.com.au/changes-to-pension-assets-test/
    Anonymous
    28th Mar 2016
    9:11am
    Yes PlanB. And notice that nearly all the options listed for reducing assets are available ONLY to those not yet 65 - some only to those at least 5 years from retirement age. So those who should reasonably expect the changes to be grandfathered suffer massive discrimination and have no recourse.
    Frank
    22nd Mar 2016
    1:31pm
    In a second lead article to this farce, as Adam Bandt so eloquently states: “When it comes to allegations of wrongdoing, if you've got a blue collar, this Government throws the book at you, but if you've got a white collar, they turn the other way."
    It could also be said when it comes to those who migrated to Australia and have less than 35 yrs working life residency, the Government is intent of changing the portability provisions and they will see substantial cuts to their aged pension entitlements if they travel and remain outside the country for more than 6 weeks from 1 January 2017. Throwing the book, if you prefer, but a downright, mean and discriminatory targeting of aged pensioners.
    Rae
    22nd Mar 2016
    2:14pm
    You could have been born here and worked 50 years and if you saved you still don't get anything.
    LiveItUp
    22nd Mar 2016
    2:44pm
    I agree with the proposal that if you don't have 35 years working life residency then your pension is cut after being overseas six weeks. It is simply wrong for people to come here and get the pension only to live overseas.
    particolor
    26th Mar 2016
    8:22pm
    Sailing Sailing over the Bounty Main !
    I'm gunna get Me Pension :-)
    Whether I go or Remain ! :-) :-)

    22nd Mar 2016
    2:54pm
    The (lack of) talent to be chosen in the next federal election is similar to our Noosa Shire election last Saturday with three mayoral candidates to choose from - Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest! It would have been a joke if it wasn't so pathetic, and had to do with ratepayers' money. Federally, again, it's a choice of the least of the worst. God help us!
    Alexia_x
    22nd Mar 2016
    3:30pm
    I had enough of all of them! Hopefully so has everyone else.
    I think we need a new breed of politicians who know what it is to govern a country and has some idea of political science and economic procedures to make a country prosperous rather than fill their own pockets and and feed their stupid egos.
    We have a series of politicos that know nothing of political science or governing, their practice should go back to learning and stop their presumptuous silly posturing. Go back to school!
    Rae
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:06am
    I don't know about that. With modern global trade who knows where these politicians come from or where they might go to. Andrew Robb is a fine example. Wherever he ends up may indicate just who was pulling strings to get all those trade agreements signed and delivered.

    The day of the specialised, political agent has obviously arrived.
    pfbnug
    22nd Mar 2016
    3:44pm
    Irrespective of your politics, I cannot believe that anyone with a modicum of sense is satisfied with the performance of any side of our current Political Parties. All they are interested in is feathering their own nests. Soon they will be trotting out their tired old Political Manifestos, read C.V's for another "job" feeding at the trough.Throw the lot away and vote independent for the Senate and A.L.A. for the Representatives (representatives? for whom?)
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:46am
    Totally agree, most politicians have lost the plot that they exisit to serve the people of Australia. We need to keep independents in the Senate to keep the bastards at least partly honest.
    particolor
    28th Mar 2016
    12:08pm
    Honest has a New Meaning= OINK ! :-)

    22nd Mar 2016
    5:01pm
    Whatever kind of budget Mal(evolvent) Turnaround and Co. hand down you can bet it will be a punitive one to the average income family, retirees, and pensioners, with only those on high incomes being the winners. This is the way this selfish, dispassionate, greedy government operates.
    Lescol
    22nd Mar 2016
    5:27pm
    For at least a year we've been told a draconian budget is needed. If now, due to the election that doesn't happen then it will convince more of the need to change the current government!

    Bring on the early double dissolution is all I could say.
    PlanB
    23rd Mar 2016
    10:02am
    If Turnbull gets in he will bring in a horror as he will say he has the mandate to do what ever he likes and it will not be at all nice for the average bloke
    ex PS
    22nd Mar 2016
    5:20pm
    The only thing we need to remember about politicians is that if their lips are moving they are probably telling lies.
    The sooner we get rid of the soon to be Abbot government the better, they are no friends of seniors.
    motaleon
    22nd Mar 2016
    6:35pm
    The last Labor government under either PM was hamstrung by the cross bench. The same thing has happened to the LNP.It is ridiculous to field 32 alternatives (when most are NOT alternatives) like The Cyclist Party, and 'The Sex Party', and most of the others. They have no chance of declaring a Foreign Policy, a Defence Policy, and all the other arms of government. They only can, and do, confer/conspire to frustrate whichever of the major parties that happens to be in power. There are on,ly 3 possible candidates that can govern, so give them a fair go.
    ex PS
    22nd Mar 2016
    7:51pm
    Labor wasn't hamstrung because it was intellligent enough to negotiate, something this government is not capable of.
    KSS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:26am
    Always easy to be popular when you are throwing money about like confetti exPS with the clear understanding that you will be out of office when the time comes to account for it.
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:02pm
    KSS,I agree much like Howard did with his tax cuts just before elections, both partys are tarred with the same brush.
    Frank
    22nd Mar 2016
    6:51pm
    Bonnie. You claim it is only right that a citizen with less than 35 yrs AWLR should be penalized if that person remains outside the country after 6 weeks on the basis, you say, they should not be living overseas if drawing the Australian aged pension.
    Let me put this to you because I believe your argument is not only flawed but unfair.
    A former migrant, from say the UK, or another European country, say France or Italy, receives news that his or her mother is gravely ill and admitted to hospital. He or she flies off to see the mother and needs to spend time at the hospital, or in the worst case situation the mother dies and burial arrangements have to been arranged, followed by attending to property affairs or probate matters. The involvement with such personal matters delays the individuals return beyond 6 weeks but he or she is then penalized with a cut in pension on returning to Australia.
    Such a person is not living overseas but merely having left country for urgent family business, a situation I'm confident happens regularly with migrants who retain family links overseas.
    To better accommodate such possibilities and prevent a cut in pension entitlements the Senate should review the proposed legislative changes to the portability rules carefully and be mindful that 40 per cent of aged pensioners, former migrants, do not have the requisite 35 yrs AWLR. A compromise should be made, surely, to scrap the idea of the 6 weeks ruling and allow for an absence of 16 weeks or 12 weeks minimum if the 26 weeks current provisions are abandoned.
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:23am
    Wrong Frank if a pensioner can afford to fly overseas they are getting to much pension, they should be cut from day one for once pay your own way and not bludge on the system
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:41am
    What you don't realise Robbo is that pensioners may scrimp and save for the airfare over considerable time or the lucky ones paid by family overseas and even when overseas expenses still need to be paid in Australia, eg service charges for phone, gas, elect etc. The aged pension is far from generous
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:57am
    Most pensioners I know are living quite well and travel all over the place on the welfare they receive without any problems Trood


    All those service charges you mention are discounted because of the welfare system and therefore quite cheap for such people.
    Don"t worry the welfare pensioners receive is very generous.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    9:56am
    As they should, Robbo. Frank is a mean, selfish elitist to suggest a pensioner shouldn't be able to fly abroad to visit sick parents (or their children who moved abroad, or a sibling they haven't seen for decades).

    People who work for decades and pay taxes have EARNED a comfortable retirement. If they were not privileged enough to earn high incomes and acquire wealth, that, by definition, almost certainly means they worked for far less than they produced so that their bosses could profit from hiring them.

    Now, if someone works for far less than they are producing, so that others can benefit, then of course they are ENTITLED to be properly supported when they can't support themselves. Only the greedy and extremely selfish would suggest that workers should lose out at all points on the cycle - work for less than they produce, pay higher proportional tax than the rich, and suffer poverty when sick or in old age. Sadly, that's precisely what most of the selfish elitists in this nation today propose should be. It's a disgusting reflection on their greed and arrogance.
    particolor
    22nd Mar 2016
    7:45pm
    Hullo Mal ! :-) That's a Nice Size Trout your telling us about in the Picture ! I hope you Enjoy it ! :-) :-)
    PS....But I think your Lying it was only 6.90 mm long ! :-( :-(
    particolor
    22nd Mar 2016
    7:47pm
    Your a Very Naughty Boy Particolor !! :-) :-)
    Priscilla
    22nd Mar 2016
    8:49pm
    BRING IT ON!! I have always voted Liberal but NOT THIS TIME! The Liberal government has brought Australia to it's knees by selling off key assets to the Chinese and private companies. They have mismanaged the budget and are now making low income Australians pay for it's incompetence.
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:15pm
    Priscila, totally agree, they can't get any more mileage from blaming the previous government as people are seeing this for what it is, a feeble attempt to misdirect people away from their own less than average performance.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2016
    9:05am
    Me too, Priscilla and PS. Always an LNP voter. Never again!
    Jurassicgeek
    22nd Mar 2016
    8:59pm
    I will be voting for ALA ..I am tired of major parties and their dirty games..without these minor parties and independents Abbott would have starved pensioners and a whole lot of other nasty things would have got through...
    particolor
    22nd Mar 2016
    9:15pm
    yes ! He adored Howards Methods ! :-( :-(
    Lescol
    22nd Mar 2016
    9:17pm
    The problem we senior citizens face; there are basically two parties. In the lower house one has shown their 'colors' and so it becomes a non issue. For the upper house which should be a place of review/sanity, it becomes harder. However, this election will be easy - complete removal of the current government! Simple.
    particolor
    22nd Mar 2016
    9:20pm
    Grief ! :-( The Opposition doesn't look like a Cool solution either !!:-(
    Well all be Rooned ! :-(
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:17pm
    particolor, it comes down to the lessor of two weasels.
    FM
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:20pm
    I agree Cruisaholic. It is time for the parties to stop playing games. As far as seniors are concerned, no party has shown any concern for seniors or reported any policy other than to take money from them to reduce the taxes of business.
    We should all contact them and ask them what their policies are. This will surely be the year of the Independents. Everyone I know will give No. 1 to an Independent and in many cases vote for no one else. If whoever gets in cannot work with Independents instead of playing games and brazenly feathering their own nests they will have to actually get some policies together and go back to the people.
    FM
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:40pm
    Yes Bonny Hockey's budgets were brilliant budgets. As soon as he got in he said he was paying too much tax and set about reducing that over three budgets by cutting the incomes of young people, pensioners and self funded retirees to pay for his planned tax cut. He had planned to increase taxes on retirees in this budget so that his top tax threshold could be lowered. He was all set up to look after poor old Joe. Perhaps Mr Moron will complete the job, we just have to wait and see.
    As for the welfare I am sure you have accepted your education, medical care and the amenities of roads and rail and everything that we collectively contribute for. Can you say you have worked harder than anyone else or made more of a social contribution that you deserve to live comfortably while grudging others their basic needs.
    If you are a retired self funded retiree and you do not know what changes have been made that affect self funded retirees you must have been out of touch for the past year. You will find out as time goes by if you need aged care.
    FM
    22nd Mar 2016
    10:49pm
    I think the present Independents are the only politicians in the present parliament who have not shown complete self interest and have shown a modicum of social principle and common sense.
    They can be reelected not only to keep diversity in the system but on their merits.
    Frank
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:09pm
    This is directed to the Editor of this influential magazine.
    I'm sure the publication is meant to be a-political and so it should, but I do hope the politicians and would be politicians, as well as social welfare organizations, especially those with an eye to pensioner concerns, read what replies are received by way of commentary to your various articles because it seems to me that the fate of current politicians is rather threatened by the negativity of the views being aired and one can only hope that the genuine concerns of the elderly pensioners will be taken on board and they (the politicians)become mindful that each voter has a free choice at the ballot box.
    Lescol
    22nd Mar 2016
    11:17pm
    Frank, I agree completely and I shall vote to remove the present government. I shall urge friends (also seniors) to remove the present government.Seniors are a power and only they can change their situation.

    cheers
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2016
    8:01am
    Lescol who are you going to vote for Billy and his merry band of union thieves and losers, give me a break seniors are not a power especially the pensioner side of things who mostly struggle to fill out the how to vote form properly
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:23pm
    robbo, think again, we may not be a power yet, but if we get organised and rethink our outdatd traditional voting habits we can be.
    Stop thinking about who we can vote in and start thinking about who we can vote out so that we can send a message to the so called major partys that we have more influence than they think we have.
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:07pm
    Lescol, I think you are on the right track, it's much easier to vote a party out than to vote one in. It does not matter who seniors vote for as long as they put the LNP candidate last.
    particolor
    23rd Mar 2016
    9:18pm
    Sadly I don't think it matters any longer who you vote for:-( they are not there for Your Health Seniors ! ! And they don't care what You did or didn't do for the Country in the past !! :-( :-(
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2016
    10:17pm
    particolor, you are correct, we have to pandor to politicians bassest intstincts. Fear of beinig voted out of office will help them find some compasion.
    particolor
    27th Mar 2016
    10:28pm
    Pre Election :-) And then :-(
    SKRAPI
    23rd Mar 2016
    11:24am
    to stop the bludgers in Welfre & corruption is 1 thing { sorry 2 things things } but how about those Multimillion Dollar businesses not paying any tax in Aus. reported on TV. this morning to be 90 odd . That is wicked , I don't care if it's officially legal It's totally morally wrong & the rules should be changed to never allow this evil to continue for whatever reason . Obviously the present rules need to be changed It's fine to generate work but R they using Australian workers or shipping workers in & out from overseas. ?? Fed up with ALL politicians .
    PlanB
    23rd Mar 2016
    12:01pm
    Trouble is SKRAPI, it is these NON paying tax scum that rule the pollies and the pollies do THEIR bidding so thats why they are favoured
    ex PS
    23rd Mar 2016
    7:27pm
    We should be pointing out to all politicians that their mates may have a lot of money, but they only get one vote, and at the end of the day that is what really matters.

    26th Mar 2016
    8:35am
    Adam Bandt is so right! We need to throw the entire lot of politicians out and restructure the entire system on a different basis. It's a disaster! And no matter what the result of Turnbull's manoeuvring, it will remain a disaster. Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and it's happening again!
    particolor
    26th Mar 2016
    8:06pm
    :-) Heems and Frank will be along shortly to sort You out Badmouthing their Pollies ! They sorted Me and Simmo out ! :-) :-)
    I want to know what brand of Super Glue they used to Adhere to their Party like that ? You could Stick a Destroyer to the Wharf with it ! :-) :-)
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2016
    11:04am
    I don't think they use super glue, but I am quite sure that what they do use would stick to a blanket quite well.


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