Federal Election: Malcolm Turnbull considering election options

Malcolm Turnbull is considering a September election, but an early election is still an option.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull informed his colleagues yesterday to begin campaigning for an election in six months time, or sooner, as a double dissolution election is still a ‘live option’.

In a brief discussion during a closed-door party meeting, Mr Turnbull informed his ministers that he is considering calling a poll in August this year, for an election day in September.

But, according to Mr Turnbull, that’s “not set in stone”, and he has also told his colleagues that a double dissolution election still remains an option – one that he may put into play should two key pieces of legislation he hopes to pass the Senate don’t make it through.

One of the bills in question – a clean energy bill– is already a significant trigger. The other is the re-instatement of the Howard-era Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), which has until March to pass but, if rejected, could be another early-election trigger for the Government.

But some crossbenchers, including Independent Senator John Madigan, will not be swayed by the implied threat of a double dissolution.

“Holding a gun to my head will not change how I vote,” said Senator Madigan. “I vote on the merits of legislation according to its impact on working Australians. I will continue to do this and if the Prime Minister thinks he will change how I vote by threatening a double dissolution, he is wrong.”

According to Phillip Coorey of the Australian Financial Review, an early election isn’t likely, regardless of whether these bills pass or not. Either way, Mr Coorey believes it may already be too late for Mr Turnbull to call an early election.

Regardless of when the election is held, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has implored Coalition MPs to focus on the election “in everything we do from now on”.

The current Newspoll Two-party preferred poll has the Liberal Party with a solid 53–47 lead over Labor. 

Read more at The Australian

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald

Read more at Australian Financial Review

Opinion: A true test of our new leader

As we all prepare for an election year, we can expect an action-packed six months of policy proposals and party politics, as well as the usual backflips and bungles. But if voting were to happen today, it’s difficult to imagine Mr Turnbull not being our supreme leader once the final tallies are made.

It goes without saying though, that as solid as Mr Turnbull’s position as Prime Minister seems, he may still be in for a bumpy ride.

What sort of tax package will he take into the next election? Will the GST be increased? Will he go after the poor to find the funds he needs for a healthy bottom line, or will he target the rich? Will the proposed changes to pension portability or asset test thresholds come into play? Will the Age Pension be fair game for further changes? What about superannuation tax concessions?

These are but some of the questions that need to be answered before the first pencil marks a ballot paper.

Now that a ‘loose’ election date has been announced – and they don’t get much looser than ‘could be May, but most likely between August and October’ – all talk of tax reform, in whatever form it comes, will be under increased scrutiny from politicians and the public alike.

But the real question is, how solid is Malcolm Turnbull’s position as PM? His own party has been split since he took over from Tony Abbott. And the divide over increasing or broadening the GST seems to be widening or narrowing that gap, depending, of course, on the time of day and who you ask.

With Tony Abbott stating unequivocally that the Age Pension and superannuation would be safe during his reign, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison’s forays into changing pension and superannuation policy could prove to be a thorn in the side of their re-election hopes. Or it may end up being the stimulus needed for a healthier, more sustainable system. Who knows?

Mr Turnbull has, so far, enjoyed success as the country’s leader but, as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stated in Parliament yesterday, the PM has already seemingly sold out on his initial stance on same-sex marriage and climate change. Will these backflips work in his favour or against? Only time will tell.

Mr Turnbull currently enjoys a healthy lead in the two-party preferred poll, so if voting took place today – and in light of the fact that there really are no viable alternatives – he would be our leader tomorrow. In the meantime, if he is to have a future as Australia’s Prime Minister, he must first successfully win over his own party.

How would you vote? What policy/policies would be most important to you come election time? Do you think Mr Turnbull should call an early election? Or should the Liberal Party consolidate sound policy prior to the next election?





    COMMENTS

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    3rd Feb 2016
    10:09am
    No thanks, Malcolm. Go away.
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    1:27pm
    Yeah ! :-) Where does he think He's going ? :-) :)
    4b2
    3rd Feb 2016
    10:46am
    Turnbull is showing his true form as a leader. Just like his cave in at the Republic forum accepting Howard's package, he also now caved in to the National's on Water rights, not showing support for violence against women (silent on the Dutton e-mail contents), and now suggesting the opposition should vote on a reform based upon a secret finding from another Liberal Muppet. Turnbull is following the advise of the Liberal Party back room boys just like former party leaders. However I do support a discussion on TAX reform but the discussion should be broader than just the GST. I also support a Federal version of a corruption watchdog and eliminating compulsory voting. Compulsory voting only get the electorate the lazy politicians we currently have. Neither Party can say they have democratic grass roots voting for their own candidate selection.
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    11:03am
    Also, caving in on support for the air and ground fight against Isis.
    Gordon
    3rd Feb 2016
    11:09am
    I agree it is very disappointing that he seems to be abandoning his previous stances on a republic, climate change etc. I think the Liberals are not understanding that the swing in the polls happened because people did not like Abbot's vision for Australia and thought that Turnbull was going to change the direction. If it turns out he isn't, then the polls may swing back again.

    I have never understood how increasing the GST is going to fix anything. If they increase it but then give compensation to those that need it and tax cuts to everyone else...how does that help the country's revenue problem!!

    They would be better to try and find a way to make foreign companies pay their fair share of tax, remove some of the unnecessarily generous Superannuation tax concessions and if they are not going to alter the direct action climate change policy then remove the carbon tax compensation
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:21pm
    If your ship is sinking the last thing you want from your captain is to lock himself in the cabin designing a new flag.
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    1:00pm
    Sorry Gordon, it wasn't that people didn't like Abbott's vision, it was because most of the media was running a campaign which can best be described as "anyone but Abbott". In support of this, Turnbull became thei poster boy and even the ABC gave him support.
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    6:44am
    Sorry OldMan. Abbott's vision was a feudal society in which the ''haves'' reaped everything and the ''have nots'' were ground into poverty and servitude. He understood nothing except cut, cut, cut pensions and public services and hands off any benefits to the rich or tax rorts. And he was hated as a result. Nothing to do with the media. The media didn't break every election promise made. Abbott did that, and although the media reported it, he needed no help to be thoroughly obnoxious in the eyes of those who voted for him based on those broken promises.

    Turnbull did become a poster boy, but he's rapidly losing his shine as it becomes apparent that he's just a front for the party and doing their bidding - in fact, sacrificing his own ideals and integrity for power. This latest stunt of bullying to get support for his GST will decrease his popularity. But I guess you'll blame the media for that also?
    Kopernicus
    8th Feb 2016
    12:29pm
    In response to FastEddie's comment - disagree with your comment there.
    I actually regard the refusal to send yet more troops to Iraq as a singular example of Malcom standing up and changing the course for the better interest of Australia. Abbott would have obliged and doubled the numbers as a captain's call, war games was his mucho macho favourite.

    Come to think of it, I also thought his statement on China was less Yankee servile and more independent.

    Agree with the other comments.
    Charlie
    3rd Feb 2016
    11:20am
    An election I think would be a real non event. There's nothing much anyone has done, except stop the boats and after looking at the fiasco in Europe from "tourist refugees" that was a very good move. But we didn't want to stop all alternative energy projects and emission control as well. And we didn't want a lot of coal ships trampling all over our barrier reef at any price. All ahead steady as she goes is ok by me. I don't see we have anybody dynamic enough to tick all the boxes regards leadership.
    tj
    3rd Feb 2016
    11:41am
    Would be an interesting development when Beazley returns from his stint in America and takes back his job as leader of the labor party as his policy was to actually roll back the GST.Before you all laugh at the suggestion look back at whats happened in recent times with our leaders
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:15pm
    I'd love to see Beazley head the Labor Party. I think it would change dynamics drastically.

    3rd Feb 2016
    11:59am
    Turnbull not paying his fair share of taxes sickens me and his actions are evident of a greedy and dishonest character. Bring it on.
    Sceptic
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:50pm
    Please publish your confidential information Jackie, that Mr Turnbull does not pay his fair share of taxes.
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    4:57pm
    It would be most unusual if a sitting Prime Minister did not pay his taxes.
    I am also interested in what information you have Jackie?
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:02pm
    One Certain Treasurer forgot to lodge a Tax return a while back !! :-) :-)
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    6:48am
    Turnbull uses legal but unethical and immoral tax rorts, like most politicians and wealthy people. He doesn't pay his FAIR share of taxes, Sceptic. He pays what he can't legally avoid, which is far, far less than his FAIR share. He does, however, have that in common with most Australians (if not all). It's just that the poorer you are in Australia, the less tax you can legally avoid.

    If he was a true leader, with integrity, he would be pushing for a fairer tax regime - less scope for avoidance and fewer unfair deductions - instead of an increase in a tax that hurts battlers and has minimal impact on the well to do. And he certainly wouldn't be talking about cutting taxes for the priviledged by raising the GST.
    Tom Tank
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:10pm
    Turnbull is playing politics in this but his biggest danger lies from within his own party. The question is can the right wing control themselves or are they still bent on revenge.
    An interesting aspect is that should he call a double dissolution the possibility is that more Independents could be elected to the Senate.
    Not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion given what they saved us from under Nope, Nope Nope.
    Swinging voter
    3rd Feb 2016
    2:06pm
    Nope, nope, nope is what Turnbull is now getting from the Senate that's why the d/d is being considered. And - won't I be eternally grateful that the former PM showed the guts to say nope nope nope to the would-be border busters who had made big inroads on forcing their way into this country uncontrolled and uninvited. As we are seeing from Europe's mess and uncontrolled borders, history will record that Tony Abbott's foresight outshone, outdid and outlived the back-stabbing, born to rule Turnbull who is showing himself to be nothing more than a figure-head. Boasted he would fix the NBN ask any contractor what is going on with it - One Big Mess - signed sealed and delivered by this imposter Turnbull.
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:39pm
    Turnbull couldn't fix a leaking tap! He is just a glossy figurehead, all right. Not too much more than a slick, quick-talking snake oil salesman of a lawyer. No commitment, no follow through (NBN), and no fixed direction. All smoke and mirrors.
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    7:16am
    Turnbull MIGHT fix a leaky tap if he was allowed any power to do so. He's sacrificed any integrity he had for power, and he's playing the party game now to keep power. He doesn't give a damn about what's right or wrong for the country. He just wants to live in the Lodge, at any cost. Like most politicians, sadly. There will NEVER be any significant improvement in this nation while we retain this undemocratic two-party preferred system. We need a parliament composed of independents - entirely. No parties. None!

    Or, at very least, we need a system like in some countries where members vote independently of the party. They do NOT follow party dictates.

    Meanwhile, we need to get rid of this dangerous LNP government and restore some balance. We need a government that has a social conscience and isn't intent on just further lining the pockets of the privileged.

    As for the NBN - it was a joke to begin with; obsolete before it was conceived. But Turnbull made things worse, not better. The problem, though, is that we don't have anyone who in power who knows anything about modern communication technology or who has the ability to learn, and we have a monopolising communications giant (Telstra) that is totally inefficient, inept, and run by fools.
    Mygasheater
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:12pm
    Turnbull is using talk of a double dissolution to threaten the independent Senators, "Do what I say or you'll lose your seats".

    Malcolm Turnbull will promise anything and everything to get back in power. He is no different to Abbott, he just wears a more expensive suit.

    As for reconstituting the building industry commission, I propose that the General Review Expenses Examination Department, (to be known as GREED) be set up to check all parliamentary expense claims. There are expert staff at Centrelink with expertise who could check the claims.
    jeffr
    3rd Feb 2016
    1:36pm
    Talking about parliamentary expense claims I wonder how he is going to get around claiming his Per Diem Övernight Allowance for staying in his wife's house in Camberra now they have moved into the Lodge.
    Mygasheater
    3rd Feb 2016
    4:07pm
    Jeff,

    Copy this web address and you can see the Register of Pecuniary Intrests of MP.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members/Register
    jeffr
    4th Feb 2016
    2:10pm
    Thanks for the register and I have looked. I notice that Mrs Turnbull does not have a house in Camberra, have they sold it or do they have a mortgage on it. If they have a mortgage on it is it an asset which does not need to be declared? If so just another way of taking advantage of the taxpayers money.
    Not a Bludger
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:15pm
    As a retiree, I would say to Mr Turnbull:-

    1. About time you actually did something
    2. Stop not supporting USA
    3. Keep your sticky fingers out of MY super-I earned it
    4. Do not increase my cost of living by increasing the GST rate so that you all in Canberra can waste even more of my taxes
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:25pm
    A change is only good if it improves the situation.
    wally
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:46pm
    Improving the situation is like "beauty in the eye of the beholder." Not everyone would agree on what would be the ideal outcome of change.

    As for the post election PM, I would hold my nose and vote LNP as I think that although Turnbull hasn't done much, he is still leading a government far better than anything Labor has to offer.
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    2:12pm
    we don't want Labor or Greens ! They have their hand on the Flood Gate Lever again ! :-(
    And please state what Vast Improvements You are Expecting from Master Malcolm ?? Cant wait for "there will be Bla ! Bla !! Bla !!!" :-(
    Swinging voter
    3rd Feb 2016
    2:14pm
    I totally agree with your comment. That's why the former PM he slunk around waiting to knife (no better than Rudd and Gillard) should stay in parliament and look out for those of us who don't like his style or his sneaky Green socialism of convenience. As an aside, they used to complain about Abbott's verbal delivery (um and ah) well Turnbull is no different with his um and ah except what comes after it imo has no substance whatsoever.
    ex PS
    4th Feb 2016
    11:41am
    Maybe, a change could be good if it just stops things getting worse. It is always good to correct a mistake that has been made if get t6he oppertunity.
    Anonymous
    7th Feb 2016
    11:53am
    A change would improve the situation. ANY change would improve the current situation. Heaven help us if these greedy, self-serving, corrupt mongrels who are destroying the fabric of Australian society to indulge the rich get another term.

    We are never going to get anyone's ''ideal'', but we need a government with a social conscience and a focus on the national good, not on over-indulging the filthy rich by destroying the lifestyles of battlers and the confidence, hope and trust of the nation.
    Fredklaus
    3rd Feb 2016
    12:31pm
    when pensioners wake up and realise how they will be affected next year,it will be too LATE.
    How will this effect the economy?They will spend even less,unfortunately we don't know how long we have left.
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    2:15pm
    Remember "Rising Fast the Race Horse" :-)
    Yeah, well we are "Sinking Fast" The Pensioners ! :-(
    Greg
    3rd Feb 2016
    6:25pm
    Yes that was clever date they picked to start the pension cuts - made sure it was after the election. Sneaky bast....
    wally
    4th Feb 2016
    11:23am
    Many posters in this forum want to close off the tax loopholes of large overseas corporations and the "obscenely" rich of Australia before raising the GST. That is OK for as far as it goes.

    Since we get in to the "how long is a piece of string" part of the discussion, can anyone tell us how much money will be raised by tightening the tax screws on the wealthy? How accurate would these predictions prove to be? How long would it take to get parliament to agree to make the necessary changes before any money becomes available as a result of these changes? What happens to Australia's account deficit between now and then?

    This is why an increase in the GST rate looks likely. Certainly a 50% increase from 10% to 15% would disadvantage too many voters and would be electoral suicide for the current government. I would expect that the more gradual increase in the GST of 10% to an 11% rate would be acceptable. With a timetable of GST rises to 15% over 10 years (for example) would be a more realistic approach to Australia's revenue problems.
    particolor
    4th Feb 2016
    3:14pm
    Only way to do it Johnny Style ! :-) Sneak in on a "There will be No GST " And then, once in, Hit Them With It :-) .. So all Mal has to do is
    "There will be No GST Increase" Worked a Treat in the past ! :-) :-)
    And for Frank.. The Gil & Rudd Show.. " There will be No Carbon Tax on My watch" :-) :-)
    PS... :-) :-) Suckers ! :-)
    wally
    5th Feb 2016
    11:27am
    Hi parti. I remember Julia did that with "There will be no Carbon Tax under a government I lead" in 2010. We all know what happened after that election, and what her subsequent fate ( and the fate of the Labor government she led ) turned out to be.

    3rd Feb 2016
    12:50pm
    Shades of "Utegate". Turnbull showed his lack of political experience when he attacked Swan and Rudd in the Gordon Grech fiasco. He is now showing more inexperience in the way he is trying to bully the independent Senators over the Union Bill. It is thought that it might be wise to have an election before the budget is announced and a double dissolution is one way of getting around the promise to run the full term.

    Turnbull should have let others more experienced in negotiations such as Morrison deal with the Senators. Morrison seems to be able to get their attention without threats and bullying. Turnbull should also show some leadership on the GST crap as he seems to be letting state Premiers do the running when it is, after all, purely and simply a Federal matter.
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    1:32pm
    Old Man, if Turnbull's job was to have premiers asking for a GST increase, then it's fair to say, he is not lacking in leadership or negotiating skills. Especially considering the starting point.
    mangomick
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:24pm
    I always thought that without all the Premiers agreeing to a rise in the GST rate then the Federal Government didn't have the power to change it. But in effect ,even though the wording of the agreement says,
    "After the introduction of the GST, a proposal to vary the 10 per cent rate of the GST will require:
    the unanimous support of the State and Territory Governments;
    the endorsement by the Commonwealth Government of the day; and
    the passage of relevant legislation by both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament."
    In reality the Federal Government doesn't need all the States to agree and the States knew this when they agreed to it. Politicians have been pulling the wool over everyone's eyes by saying they do.
    In reality though ,for any Federal Government to raise the GST without first closing many of the tax loopholes and subsidies that exist, would be committing Electoral Suicide. No Government has ever taxed itself into prosperity. If you want people to spend more money in the hope of increasing jobs and manufacturing, you don't increase the prices of goods by an extra 5% or more.
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    4:52pm
    mango, I would just like to zero in on your last sentence.
    Based on that thought, if the GST was reduced to 5% do you think people would be shopping like there's no tomorrow? Problem solved? Game over?
    I don't think so ?
    If the GST is raised by 5% it would increase prices by 4.5%.
    Do you think workers are going to worry about a 4.5% price increase when everything except labour is on special? Especially if they get an extra say $500 in their pay packets via reduced income tax?
    We should have had the guts and foresight to do this towards the end of the resources boom around 2012.
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:23pm
    Frank, if someone's cost of living is $30,000 pa (a conservative estimate), then a 4.5% increase will be $1350. A large group of retirees are losing around $14,000 in income and up to $5000 in benefits p.a. in Jan 2017, and will likely have incomes of less than $25,000 pa. with none of the freebies and discounts pensioners receive. They have already had their incomes halved by falling investment returns. These people SHOULD have retired on around $70,000 per year. Many worked overtime, multiple jobs, weekends, and went without holidays, restaurant dinners, nice clothes, new cars, new furniture, etc. to acquire savings to deliver that expected income.

    Do you think THEY won't be bothered by having to find another $1350 a year? (And by the way, the increase will NOT be 4.5% for battlers. It will AVERAGE 4.5%, but battlers will be much harder hit percentage-wise - especially if food, rent, education and/or health care are taxed!)

    The only folk who won't suffer terribly are the selfish privileged. But obviously you are okay - and you don't give a damn about anyone who isn't.

    No, we SHOULD NOT have done this in 2012, and we shouldn't be doing it now. We SHOULD be addressing tax evasion and the obscene rorts that are enjoyed almost exclusively by the wealthy,
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:39pm
    Gee mangomick, I'm having some difficulty with your post. You say that the legislation to introduce the GST states, inter alia, "a proposal to vary the 10 per cent rate of the GST will require: "the unanimous support of the State and Territory Governments" yet you then say; "In reality the Federal Government doesn't need all the States to agree........"

    I'm not very smart (but I can lift heavy fings) but I feel that what you have said is diametrically opposed. Can you please clarify?
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:48pm
    So now I'm a "selfish privileged." and am obviously okay - and don't give a damn about anyone who isn't.?????
    Is it,
    Because I have a differing opinion?
    Because I love my country?
    Or because I don't whinge?
    Or maybe it's because I don't want labor and the unions to have another crack at destroying the future of my children and their families?
    Which is it Rainey?
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:50pm
    Rainey, I agree with most of what you have said. The multinations are not evading tax because that is against the law, they are avoiding tax which is legal. The laws need to change to close those loopholes where they can avoid paying tax. Interestingly, when the Coalition brought forward legislation to try and reduce tax avoidance and bring Australia into line with other western countries having the same problem, Labor and the Greens in the Upper House blocked the legislation.

    Unfortunately, any law change will disadvantage a group of people regardless of how careful a government is. The best any government can do is to disadvantage as few people as possible. Self funded retirees may eventually be placed in a position where thay have spent enough of their funds to attract a part pension and health card which will mean eligibility for GST adjustment.
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:51pm
    Old Man, mango is just having a conflict with himself.
    Rae
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:55pm
    Frank we did. Workers have had several income tax cuts in the last little while. What they haven't had is much in the way of wage rises.

    Do you think it fair that young people with years of income ahead of them get more money at the expense of retirees living on fixed or falling incomes? The Australian share market continued it's wealth destructive fall again today and the Reserve bank is muttering about more interest rate cuts.

    Perhaps if the GST is increased all retirees could receive an annual payment equivalent to the tax savings paid to those on the median wage. That would be fair.
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    9:32pm
    Rae, the way I see it the Turnbull government will not push for an increase to the GST unless workers get a tax cut.
    I have no idea what compensation will be available to self funded retirees but pensions should increase in line with CPI which will be pushed up by the GST.
    Any drop the RBA makes now will probably not make much difference now.
    It looks like the banks are determined to maintain their margins as indicated by increases in some lending products recently.
    I think the RBA would do better to sit on their hands now and not send a message confirming that we are in a spot of bother. Seems strange that low oil prices can cause so much destruction. Also, stranger that we are still paying a relatively high price at the pump?
    Where's the bottom Rae?
    It worries me that we have novices, like most of our Independents, when now is the time we need some experience and sound judgement.
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    9:39pm
    Just left another site and Petrol in America is........... Wait for it !! $1 A GALLON !!
    Now who's being Played with ??? :-(
    Adrianus
    3rd Feb 2016
    10:49pm
    The US are pretty much self sufficient with oil now, a goal they had following the Iraq war. So they are doing well on a couple of fronts by having the price so low. The Arabs are pumping faster because the price is so low. Usually they will slow down production and collude to keep the price high? Could the cartel be out of synch?
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    6:56am
    Oldman, that is why the pension cut was the most absurd and economically irresponsible move a government could make. What sort of IDIOT suggests it's going to SAVE money to force self-funded retirees into poverty and onto the pension? How dumb and destructive can you get?

    Pensions in twenty years time will likely be more than double what they are now, and there will be hundreds of thousands of people who might have been substantially self-supporting if they hadn't been forced into hardship in 2017 drawing full pensions. Meanwhile, the young are getting a strong message ''DO NOT SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. IT DOESN'T PAY''. Unless they can see themselves accumulating more than $1.5 million (indexed to inflation), they will be worse off self-funded than on a pension, so why bother.

    It's completely idiotic, and I don't understand how people can be so short-sighted as to support a government that is so irresponsible and dishonest. (And BTW. I've been an LNP supporter all my life - until this government)
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    7:02am
    Frank, if you ''gave a damn'' about your country, you wouldn't be supporting a government that is grinding people who tried to save to be self-sufficient in retirement and have been devastated by falling investment returns into poverty, and totally destroying all incentives to save for the future.

    To now support pushing up their cost of living without compensation (and there never is any for self-funded retirees because they don't pay tax or get pensions) is unbelievably selfish and certainly not beneficial for the nation. It's a change that will give more to the haves at the expense of the have-nots, and in a world where the major social and economic problem is now recognized as being grossly excessive inequality, there's not much you can do that will be more damaging.

    Labor and the unions don't destroy the future. They restore some balance. I don't personally like Labor and I hate unions, but right now we need Labor's social conscience. The LNP IS destroying this nation and our children's future.
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    7:08am
    Oldman, it may be true that any change disadvantages some, but the LNP's changes have been made irresponsibly. Their pension change benefited NOBODY, except that it gave a few who did not need it a small increase. It didn't give anything to the needy. It gave to those with a few hundred thousand in savings, and it did so by crippling those who saved a little more, destroying all incentive for the young to save for retirement, encouraging recent retirees or the about-to-retire to blow large sums quickly, and pushing the medium and long-term cost of pensions through the roof.

    Morrison is so stupid that he couldn't even figure out that those who lose the pension because of the change will, in almost 100% of cases, still qualify for a Commonwealth Health Care Card, but it will NOT give them any substantial benefit because most medical specialist only bulk bill pensioners - not CHC Card holders - and NONE of the state benefits for pensioners are open to CHC card holders.

    He tells lies about saving money and fools believe him and think it's okay that some people are stripped of everything they worked and saved for over a lifetime because it's for ''the country's benefit''. No. It isn't. It will drive pension costs UP UP UP UP UP. You don't make a country better off by driving those who worked and saved hardest for retirement, and were approaching self-sufficiency, into hardship.
    Rae
    4th Feb 2016
    7:24pm
    .Frank I suspect we are nowhere near the bottom. There will be a massive wealth transfer before that happens.
    As to experienced people in Treasury I do believe the LNP retrenched anyone that wasn't completely dedicated to their ideological beliefs.

    Rainey is right when he argues they should have realised the SF retiree was already being hit with massive falls in income due to market influences and just left them alone.

    I think they have destroyed the superannuation system. Who in their right mind would save into it unless able to guarantee 1.5 million and a 5% yield.

    In fact the old way of buying your home and a holiday home to retire to and renting out the first place actually seems very sensible. Much better than superannuation which only makes money for the funds and managers playing with other people's money.

    I voted for the LNP too without realising they were owned by the 1%. Why screw self funded savers for a piddling amount of money when billions are squandered on less deserving. It makes no sense.
    Adrianus
    4th Feb 2016
    7:45pm
    Rae, you and Rainey are not happy because you need to share in the burden. I'm not happy either but I knew it was coming about 5 years ago. I am just happy that the fallout has finally arrived. Because I've been suffering for a few years now.
    Like it or not, we all must pay!!
    It's our problem.
    It does not belong to someone else.
    One way or another we will ALL pay the price.
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    8:35pm
    Frank, let's go back to your baseless claim that the GST increase will only add 4.5% to the cost of living, shall we? No doubt that's the figure the LNP is touting and that's what any welfare increase will be predicated on.

    Take someone getting $600 per week, paying $250 per week rent and spending $120 on GST-free food and $20 per week on education costs, and $210 per week on other expenses that incur GST. Give them a 4.5% increase, they now have $627 per week. But their costs have gone up a massive 12% because their rent and GST-free food and education costs increased 15%, not 5%. Their cost of living is $669 per week. Costs went up $42 more than the increase.

    Now compare with someone earning $1550 per week and spending $500 on home loan repayments, $150 on GST-free food, $100 on education costs, and $400 per week on other expenses, and saving $400 per week. Their costs rise by only 3.7%, or $57.50. If compensated to the tune of 4.5%, they end up $12.25 per week better off.

    Do you see what's wrong with your logic, Frank? And the government works on the same flawed logic - assuming averages apply to everyone, when, in fact, averages only apply to the average earner. Those earning less will always end up far, far worse off and those earning more will gain more.
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    8:40pm
    And get your facts straight, Frank. I'm NOT unhappy ''because I have to share the burden''. I'm unhappy because battlers have to carry the entire burden alone. The wealthy are NOT sharing the burden. This government is cruel and brutally unfair and is grinding tens of thousands into poverty to line the pockets of their rich mates. There are simple, fair solutions to the problem, but they won't adopt them because they would reduce income to the greedy, self-serving rich.

    My example above may be a little simplistic, but it highlights the logic behind a GST increase. And please don't insult me by telling me those on good wages will enjoy a 3% increase in net earnings while those on welfare get the needed 12%+ rise. Anyone who believed that would have rocks in their head.
    mangomick
    4th Feb 2016
    9:52pm
    Just for OldMan and Frank. When the original Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations was drawn up it stated that; "After the introduction of the GST, a proposal to vary the 10 per cent rate of the GST will require:
    the unanimous support of the State and Territory Governments;
    the endorsement by the Commonwealth Government of the day; and
    the passage of relevant legislation by both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament."
    A recent legal opinion was sought and the decision from many various Legal eagles stated that the Federal Government doesn't need all the States to be in agreement. (A fact the States knew when they signed it). Legally there is nothing stopping the Federal government from changing the legislation. It would only be morally wrong. All this theatrical BS around needing the States to agree before raising the GST is because it would be political suicide to increase it and the Federal government would prefer to put the blame on the State governments rather than themselves.
    If Frank and OldMan have trouble understanding maybe try ,http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-02/fact-check3a-do-the-states-and-territories-need-to-agree-to-ch/6359212
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    11:30am
    All your GST calculations are bound to be incorrect because we may not have a change to the GST. I have no idea where you are getting your information? You must have some inside info not available to the rest of us general public? Anyway you can call it a 50% increase in tax or a 4.5% increase in prices, both are accurate, but I think one is more accurate than the other. :)
    Anonymous
    7th Feb 2016
    12:01pm
    No,Frank. A 4.5% increase is NOT correct, because it's based on the ASSUMED earnings and expenditure of some mythical ''average'' creature (and there's no such thing!)

    A 50% increase in the tax is what was proposed - along with extension of the tax to cover a range of essential item that are currently not GST-taxed.

    The result of that would inevitably be devastating for low income earners, because they spend MOST of their money on GST-free items (rent, food, water rates, education costs, etc). A GST-increase will ALWAYS take a higher percentage from a low-income individual than of a high-income individual. That's irrefutable (except by selfish fools who insist on using theoretical ''averages'' that don't exist!)

    You cannot get away from the fact that if you expand GST at 15% to food and rent, a low-income-earner who spends 50% of their income on food and rent will suffer a huge increase in their tax burden, while a high-income home owner will pay very little more. And you cannot escape the fact that a pension increase or a tax cut for someone who pays very little tax will NEVER compensate for a huge increase in the cost of living.
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    1:29pm
    He thinks He's off to visit Hillary The Appeaser in America !!
    The End of the World as we knew it ! :-(
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:00pm
    Here's something Spicy I just heard !
    Just when You wondered what was Possibly left to sell?
    Looks like Suburban Rail is next ?
    We need an Auctioneer or a CEO not a Premier !! :-(
    Vote Librule ! :-(

    That's only a Rumour I just heard :-)
    mIKER
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:03pm
    Though Treasurer Morrison tells us we have a spending problem, increasing the GST appears to be the only item of tax reform on this Government’s agenda. Obviously Treasurer Morrison wouldn’t know a great big new revenue tax if he fell over one!
    However, with compensation for the less privileged in the community a rise in the GST isn’t all bad. What is being entirely overlooked is that an increased GST would fund health, education and another big ticket item usually ignored in condemning the GST is infrastructure. Spent wisely the increase in GST could help transform Australia, directing more dollars to the States and freeing up Federal budgets to tackle the growing national debt, which will cripple us if not fixed.
    However if the Government wants to convince us that it is for Australians it needs do a lot more than increase the GST to get the budget back into kilter and there are lots of ways to do it.
    Let’s start with getting the multi-nationals to pay their fair share of tax. Despite Assistant Treasurer O’Dwyer telling the Press Club today that only the LNP was serious about ensuring that profit shifting and the like would be arrested by their legislation I’ll believe it when someone goes to prison for robbing Australia of our taxes. Anyway Minister O’Dwyer here are a few more measures for you to consider:
    • Scrap Carbon Tax compensation, there’s no carbon tax under the nope dope
    • Scrap negative Gearing for more than one property and limit the value to $1 million
    • Scrap the 50% discount on CGT, it only rewards those who have already profited.
    • Scrap the Fuel Tax rebate for miners, leave the farmers alone.
    • Scrap Trusts and Super rorts for the really wealthy
    There’s many more ways to balance the budget without making the average person pay more tax or suffer from reduced services, so how about a real discussion on taxation, not political point scoring saga that drives the average aussie mad, because nothing gets done!
    Anonymous
    3rd Feb 2016
    8:13pm
    mlKER, I agree with much of what you say, except your comment on the GST rise. It IS all bad. Compensation will NOT go to many very needy people who will be very hard hit but don't qualify for welfare. It will NOT be adequate to cover the increased cost of living, and it will almost certainly not rise incrementally to cover rising costs. Aside from that, though, is the question of how much money it will raise for health, education etc. Firstly, the government has shown a lack of conscience and concern for funding these areas. They are NOT a priority with the LNP. Secondly, they are saying they will give tax cuts to companies and individuals, and compensation to pensioners etc. How much will be left for health and education? Not much if the compensation is to be reasonably adequate and the income tax cuts are to be worth tolerating a huge cost of living increase for.

    The bottom line is that prices will go up, and that means less spending power in the community so less consumption, reduced business sales, reduced profits, reduced employment. It's been tried elsewhere with poor results. The economy suffers.

    The other key point is that the GST increase ISN'T NECESSARY. We have abundant options for balancing the budget without cutting services or welfare and without increasing taxes (other than eliminating unfair and excessively generous tax exemptions).

    It's time to tackle tax evasion seriously. It's time to address the issue of negative gearing, CGT, Trusts, and superannuation tax rebates for the very wealthy. If we do this, there is no need for politically unpopular measures that hurt battlers.
    mIKER
    4th Feb 2016
    1:11pm
    @Rainey, whilst I appreciate your thoughtful and relevent comments I have based my position on the GST on the premise that adequate compensation would be paid to those on welfare. Yes, there are superannuants, not on welfare, who will also suffer and returns on super are "crap" at the moment, but at least we have sufficient funds to maintain lifestyle, if we choose to spend our savings.

    I do NOT support passing on revenue from any increase on GST in the form of tax relief. All GST funds, bar compensation, must go to the States to be wisely spent on health, education and infrastructure particulalry public transport. Note the marginal increase in the cost of livng for everyone is offset by the improved social services needed for kids, disabled and the aged.

    As above we cannot afford more tax relief and must ALSO eliminate all tax concessions or subsidies to get the budget back into a small surplus and pay down the national debt that has doubled under the present Government.

    Australia has a spending and revenue problem largely due to failing to collect sufficient taxes and concessions that benefit the wealthy at the expense of providing much needed social services.
    Anonymous
    4th Feb 2016
    6:59pm
    mIKER, lots of people NOT on welfare, who will get no compensation, don't have any savings to spend. Others have tiny incomes and will drain their savings very quickly and become pensioners, pushing pension costs up.

    It's stupid to attack battlers when there are so many other ways to balance the budget. Your last sentence is correct, and raising the GST is the WRONG way to address it. It is damaging and unproductive. This government needs to stop pandying to the whims of the rich and get serious about wiping out concessions to the wealthy and about collecting tax from those who can afford to pay.

    As for ''adequate compensation to those on welfare'', I don't think compensation can ever be adequate, because those who decide these things have no concept of how people on welfare have to spend. But aside from that, people on the aged pension in 2017 will already be tens of thousands of dollars a year better off than many who lose it in Jan 2017. And pensioners will get more? People are already saying they have to spend up big because every $100,000 a year they spend gets them an extra $178,000 in pension over 10 years PLUS extra benefits. And we are going to INCREASE the disparity. Watch the cost of aged pensions skyrocket!
    Lescol
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:24pm
    Bring it on Malcolm. Your group is already finished and only if you were able to bring down a realistic budget would you have more of a chance. At present I and many others see you as only an interim replacement.
    Lescol
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:31pm
    PLEASE DO NOT PROVIDE REFERENCES TO ANY ARTICLE THAT MAY NOT BE READ BY THE PBULIC. RECEIVING 'You've reached a subscriber-only article' IS CRAZY. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO SUBSCRIBE TO ALL PUBLICATIONS????
    particolor
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:42pm
    Drives Yer Nuts Don't it ? :-)
    Mygasheater
    3rd Feb 2016
    3:58pm
    Try the Guardian and New Matilda, they don't have pay walls.
    jonty
    4th Feb 2016
    3:47am
    Who knows ; what we are witnessing at the moment could just be a LNP pantomime.
    Abbot gets voted in - becomes unpopular - big conservative caucus bust-up - 'Prince Charming' Malcolm Turnbull gets elected leader, but only because he now adopts Abbot's policies ditching his own in an amazing about-face - That's all right because they only got elected on lies in the first place.
    While the media is saying what a wonderful job Turnbull is doing he decides to call an early election whilst the Australian Public are still in Dupeland.
    Election duly called more lies told - Liberals get back in but only just. The tactics have worked.
    Hey!! Guess what happens next - Yes you've got it; There is another leadership challenge - Abbot becomes leader again and carries on with the same policies that Turnbull has so kindly kept going.........Big Business winning all the way and laughing all the way to you know where.

    Just a word of warning though; Do not for one moment think all parties are the same.
    The Liberals are just like the Vikings ( Raping and pillaging the land and all its resources, ensuring they get it all and ordinary people get to exist off the crumbs and are expected to pay taxes and extra taxes and increased taxes until they are destitute, just like in America.)
    We need a government with a Heartbeat which is Labor, not just because they are RED (the colour of blood, couldn't resist that.) but because they DO give a damn !!
    particolor
    4th Feb 2016
    11:21am
    Yes ! Ive always said.. Half a Loaf of Bread is better than No Bread At All ! :-(
    ex PS
    4th Feb 2016
    11:47am
    I think that it is quite obvious, the LNP is going to shaft the voters and stand by its campaign donators. It wants an early election so that it can make unpopular moves in the first year of its rule. This will give us the remaining years to forget about it. An old, tired trick, but it works.
    Time to teach all would be governments a lesson, if he brings on an early election, vote for an Independant, time to stop the nonsense.
    Adrianus
    4th Feb 2016
    12:02pm
    mick finally got to you :(
    particolor
    4th Feb 2016
    3:21pm
    For God sake Frank Stab the QUIT Button that Lib Site You frequent!
    And DO YOUR OWN THINKING ! I don't care which way you go its none of My Bloody business ! :-) But your like a Hare in the headlights :-)
    Adrianus
    4th Feb 2016
    5:10pm
    I only watch the ABC.
    I'm just saying, mick was right. If you say something often enough people will start to believe it.

    My new slogan for painting on corflute boards....
    "Independents = All care , no responsibility."

    parti, why don't you get off your butt and make sure the boats don't start coming in again!! :)
    particolor
    4th Feb 2016
    5:50pm
    Frank I don't think it'll make any difference now :-( They have enough Troops here now to give us a Hard Time ! :-( And Your Mal will give them a Boost Anyhow ! Jet Em In :-(
    Adrianus
    4th Feb 2016
    5:24pm
    I was just thinking what could have been.
    What if we didn't spend all that money on climate change research?
    In QLD before Newman, the premier's husband was running a 50 strong department focussing on tidal changes comparative to the moon phases. It must have cost a fortune to install pink batts in so many homes across Australia?
    What if we had spent all that money on Cancer research, Alzheimer's research, Pediatric research?
    I suppose climate change was more important than a few lives :(
    jeffr
    4th Feb 2016
    8:06pm
    Hey Frank....ask Julie Bishop about the importance of a few lives. Before she became a High Flyer ($30,000 aircraft booking) she was a lawyer defending Boral. It appears she complained that the victims of Malignant mesothelioma were jumping the queue and her reasoning was they were dying.Wonder what the judiciary thought of that
    jeffr
    4th Feb 2016
    8:17pm
    Sorry Frank...wrong wording."It appears" is incorrect it is as shown below. But I would suspect this is something you would have already known?

    Lawyer Peter Gordon told Australian Doctor magazine in 2007: "We had to fight even for the right of dying cancer victims to get a speedy trial. I recall sitting in the WA Supreme Court in an interlocutory hearing for the test cases involving Wittenoom miners Mr Peter Heys and Mr Tim Barrow. CSR was represented by Ms Julie Bishop (then Julie Gillon). (She) was rhetorically asking the court why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying." But I suspect you would have already known
    Adrianus
    4th Feb 2016
    8:42pm
    jeffr,
    I'm not sure what point you are trying to make? My point was that we waste so much money which could be put to better use. I suppose if you don't have a counter argument, that is to say for example, that the money was well spent because now we know that the moon has an affect on tides etc. Then the Craig Thompson defence is a good one to pull out?
    Everyone is doing it so it must be ok.

    The idea of not prioritising a court case ahead of others does sound harsh. That's what lawyers do, they are hired to work for their clients.
    It was a rhetorical question after all. Possibly meant to put others on the back foot? I don't know? Don't know the circumstances?
    ex PS
    5th Feb 2016
    5:09pm
    Cimate change is real, even the LNP are admitting it now, this will have a negative result for millions.
    Adrianus
    8th Feb 2016
    8:46am
    If it is real, then why are we still spending $millions trying to confirm that????
    That surely is evidence that scientists are agreeing with each other on the basis of it being humanely the right thing to do??
    Scrivener
    5th Feb 2016
    2:19pm
    I so want to vote for Malcolm Turnbull and Tanya Plibersek. Pity they are not in the same party. What leaders they would make.
    Damn, that's going to stir up a nest of ding-dongs!
    Go for it 'mick'.
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    6:43pm
    I just wish Shorten would let Plibersek as a decent question during question time.
    wally
    6th Feb 2016
    7:10pm
    where is mick?
    Adrianus
    7th Feb 2016
    1:59pm
    Don't know wally? He was getting pretty serious. Maybe GetUp ordered him to have a holiday?

    7th Feb 2016
    11:49am
    Bring on the election, please. We need to get RID of the LNP. I don't like the alternative much (I've actually been an LNP supporter for most of my life) but ANYTHING is better than this mob of unconscionable, corrupt bastards who are destroying the fabric of Australian society in order to indulge the obscene and endless greed of the filthy rich.
    particolor
    7th Feb 2016
    8:13pm
    HEAR ! HEAR !!
    Adrianus
    7th Feb 2016
    10:22pm
    That sounds like political bias against the LNP??
    What have they done now???
    Anonymous
    8th Feb 2016
    6:39pm
    Only broken every election promise to destroy the lifestyles of the less well off, destroy the fabric of Australian society by cutting health and education, and give in to the greedy rich and privileged, letting them retain all their obscene concessions and rorts.
    particolor
    8th Feb 2016
    7:15pm
    Do9nt Blame Me ! :-( I Didn't vote for them ! :-(

    7th Feb 2016
    6:23pm
    We need a leader who will lead the nation to do what Iceland did in response to the GFC.

    http://www.australiannationalreview.com/iceland-sentences-26-top-bankers-prison/
    Happy Jack
    8th Feb 2016
    6:47am
    Tumbles Turntable whilst playing the friendly politician is walking the Lieberal party tight rope, anchored on one end by the conservative's and at the other by their left wing. The dilemma he has is how to deliver fair and just tax and social policies for this country remembering he has a switched on electorate waiting below as he wobbles on that swaying, bouncing rope. One false move and he's a goner. Yep, what a dilemma!
    particolor
    8th Feb 2016
    10:47am
    :-( :-( :-(


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