Browsing articles in "Environment"
Sunday 26th June 2016 - 3:23 pm
Comments Off on PM urges Australians to vote for “stability”

PM urges Australians to vote for “stability”

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull says:  “the shockwaves in the past 48 hours from Britain’s vote to exit the European Union are a sharp reminder of the volatility in the global economy.”

Delivering his policy speech in Sydney for the July 2 elections, the Prime Minister also spoke of the need for stable majority government, experienced economic leadership and a national economic plan.

An edited copy of  his 4,000 word speech is reproduced below.

After praising senior Liberals who attended the launch, Mr Turnbull said Australia needs a national economic plan  which “recognises the nature of our times – both the opportunities and challenges – and gives us the resilience we need to succeed.”

“Only the Liberal National Coalition can deliver that plan, that security, that leadership,” he added.

“Everything we seek to achieve, all of our hopes, our dreams depend on strong economic growth, “ Mr Turnbull said.

In a strong economy, business is  confident and  prepared to risk investing, expanding and hiring.”

Mr Turnbull said:  “Our business tax cuts encourage small and medium businesses to do just that.

“A strong economy means a mum whose kids are now at school and wants to work a few more days, or work full time, will have plenty of opportunities to do so,” Mr Turnbull said.

“And our childcare reforms will make it easier for her to do so too,” he added.

“It means that young men and women who have left school and are looking for a job will find an employer who is hiring and is happy to give them a start.”

“Our PaTH program with job training and internships will provide additional support to youth employment,”Mr Turnbull added.

A strong economy means we can fund our Innovation and Science Agenda to ensure our kids learn the digital skills of the 21st century, our research is commercialised to create jobs here at home and investors support start-up companies.

A strong economy means that senior Australians know their children will be in good jobs, their investments will deliver better returns and that Government will have growing revenues to support their pensions and health care.

It means that the farmer is getting much better prices for his cattle and can afford to hire a local contractor to replace his fences, clean out a dam or build a new hay shed.

It means the cafe, the restaurant, the hotel has more tourists and they hire more staff to cater for them.

All thanks to our export trade deals.

A strong economy means that builders will be hard at work on new homes and tradesmen will have more jobs.

It means that a manufacturer has more export orders, can buy more equipment, hire more workers and expand their business.

A stronger economy means we can fund over $50 billion in 21st century road, rail and other infrastructure including the Western Sydney Airport and the 39,000 jobs it will create.

“A stronger economy means we can afford to fund world-class education and health services, including Medicare, without weighing down our children and grandchildren with more debt and deficits,” Mr Turnbull said.

A strong economy means we can meet and beat our international obligations  to address climate change and do so without massive hikes in electricity prices as Labor would do.

“We have a national economic plan because the prosperity and security of 24 million Australians depend on it,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said success in the 21st Century cannot be taken for granted.

“Always expect the unexpected.”

“We will need to renegotiate vital trade deals with Europe and Britain,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We concluded five in the last three years – Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“In six years Labor concluded none,” he said.

“We have carefully considered what we need to do to succeed, to make the transition from an economy fired up by a once in a century mining construction boom to one that is more diverse, more innovative, smarter, more productive – an economy that wins, and keeps on winning.”

“So there is a clear cut choice at this election,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We present our fellow Australians with a national economic plan every element of which supports more investment, stronger economic growth and more jobs.

“Our plan invests $1.1 billion to promote leading-edge innovation in our industries and to prepare our children for the jobs of the future.”

Our plan promotes export trade deals to generate 19,000 new export opportunities, giving our businesses premium access to the biggest economies in our region.

Our plan invests in local defence industries to ensure every defence dollar possible supports advanced manufacturers and thousands of Australians jobs.

Our Enterprise Tax Plan provides tax relief to tens of thousands of small-to-medium family businesses now and to all companies over time so they can invest, grow and hire more Australians.

“On the other hand, our opponents in the Labor Party have no economic plan.”

“Labor believes its best hope of being elected is to have trade union officials phone frail and elderly Australians in their homes at night, to scare them into thinking they are about to lose something which has never been at risk,” Mr Turnbull said.

“That’s not an alternative government, that’s an Opposition unfit to govern.”

Every element of Labor’s platform would discourage investment and employment.

He described it as: “a recipe for economic stagnation.”

“If returned at this election, we will convene a joint sitting to restore the rule of law in the construction industry and reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, Mr Turnbull said.

So Australians could  have the building infrastructure  they need  “at a price they can afford.”

He said:  “housing values would fall in a fragile property market and rents would rise, because of Labor’s investment destroying ban on negative gearing and 50 per cent hike in capital gains tax.

“This threat is real.

“ So we need to be crystal-clear about what our votes will mean,” Mr Turnbull said.

“If your local vote is for Labor, Greens or an Independent, and you are in one of the 20 or so key battleground seats across the country, it is a vote for the chaos of a hung Parliament, a budget black hole, big Labor taxes, less jobs and more boats,” he warned.

Only a Liberal or National vote ensures stable government, a clear economic plan, real funding for the aged, Medicare and education; more jobs and strong borders.

Mr Turnbull urged Australians to: ““Vote for your local Liberal or National in the House and in the Senate.”

“In the last calendar year, there were 300,000 new jobs,” the Prime Minister said.

“Our unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent is well beneath what was anticipated when the Coalition came to office,” he added.

None of this happens by chance. Strong economic leadership supporting hard-working Australians means that, even with difficult global headwinds, we continue to grow our economy and expand our workforce.

And, today, I can announce additional policies from our Coalition team to support our national economic plan for jobs and growth.

Mr Turnbull said his government is determined to ensure none of our regional communities are left behind as we make the transition to a stronger new economy.

“… our regions must be at the frontline of the drive for innovation, jobs and growth,” Mr Turnbull said.

Our ‘Regional Jobs Fund’ is a major commitment… he added.

“As we build a stronger economy, it is vital that we also do all we can to ensure all Australians, especially young Australians, are not left behind,” he added.

So the Coalition woulds deliver a record $73.6 billion over the next four years for all Australian schools,” he said.

“Today, I can announce an additional $48 million for scholarships under the Smith Family’s Learning for Life program, to help disadvantaged students to complete year 12 and transition to work or further education and training,” he added.

“The Coalition will also invest $31 million in programs to encourage more girls and women to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Mr Turnbull said.

It would also help older Australians get smartphones.

He said only about one household in five, with people aged 60 or above, had a smartphone.

“To make their lives easier, to help them retain their independence, and to keep them connected to families and friends, I am announcing today a $50 million Coalition strategy to assist seniors who want to improve their digital literacy skills,” he said.

“And as announced earlier today, my Government will be investing $192 million more in front line mental health services including twelve suicide prevention sites around Australia and ten more headspace centres; and at the same time using smart phone and other technology to make these services more accessible,” he said.

This complements our support for Veterans’ mental health programs, itself a reminder that we best honour the diggers of Gallipoli and Fromelles by supporting the veterans and their families of today.

Mr Turnbull said; “only a strong Australia can be a safe Australia.

“After six years of abject Labor neglect and indecision, our continuous shipbuilding strategy will ensure Australia retains a sovereign capability to build and sustain naval vessels, securing thousands of advanced manufacturing jobs for decades to come,” he added.

Mr Turnbull said:”Labor’s abandonment of John Howard’s proven border protection policy opened the door to the people-smugglers:

The results had included:-

  • 50,000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats,
  • 1200 deaths at sea, of which we know,
  • Over 8000 children put into detention,
  • 17 detention centres opened, and
  • An $11 billion border protection budget blowout.

“In contrast, the Coalition has restored security at the border, integrity to our immigration program – and with it, public trust,” he said.

“I am proud to announce that today marks 700 days without a successful people-smuggling venture to our country,” he added.

“I am also very proud to announce that we have removed every child from detention in Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

Labor had failed Australia before.

“The people-smugglers are looking for the earliest sign that an Australian government will waver,” he added.

Mr Turnbull said: “our policies are tough.

“But  these policies have stopped the drownings at sea, and restored the integrity of, and trust in, our large but orderly immigration and refugee programs,” he added.

To further strengthen our domestic security I announce initiatives that go to that most fundamental of liberties – the right to live without fear of violence.

Mr Turnbull also said: “my first announcement as Prime Minister was a new $100 million package to encourage all Australians to confront squarely and honestly the ugly truth of violence against women and children in our society.

“Today, I can announce a $64 million commitment to crack down on the trafficking of illegal firearms on our streets, in particular by criminal gangs,” he added.

He said he is asking Australians to make a clear choice — to back a strong and stable Coalition majority government that can press ahead with its plan for a stronger new economy.

That would deliver the economic security that enables Australians to fulfill their aspirations.

“That is why I am asking my fellow Australians at this election to support our Coalition’s National Economic Plan for a Strong New Economy,” he said.

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Sunday 19th June 2016 - 7:04 pm
Comments Off on Shorten sharp:Labor chief’s warnings

Shorten sharp:Labor chief’s warnings

by Alan Thornhill

Bill Shorten sought to inspire Australian voters with a speech he gave today.

 
Acknowledging that the Labor party he leads polls more strongly among women than men, Mr Shorten opened his speech with a line that reverses an old favourite, of Australian politicians.

 
“Women and men of Australia,” he declared.

 

An edited version of his 5,000 word speech is reproduced below.

As expected, Mr Shorten concentrated on traditional Labor themes, health, education and jobs, while attacking the government’s “arrogance.”

And he warned that the Liberals pose a real threat to Medicare .

Mr Shorten said: “ We gather as one united party: ready to serve, ready to lead, ready for government.”

He declared that “a great future is within Australia’s reach” – and  said he is “certain that Labor has the plans to grasp it.”
“Labor knows “… that this election can be won…”Mr Shorten said

“Mr Turnbull says he’s got this in the bag, he claims he’s already won it,” Mr Shorten added.

“I say to him – never underestimate Labor.

“You ain’t seen anything yet, has he?”

“… only a Labor Government will build a stronger economy and a fairer society, Mr Shorten said.
Only Labor would:-

*…. fund our schools and protect Medicare.
*….create jobs and build roads, rail and a proper National Broadband Network.
On aborigines, Mr Shorten said:-“I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, I pay my respects to elders past and present,“…but let our respect travel past words into action.
“ because as long as a young Aboriginal man is more likely to go to jail than university, words are not enough. Action matters. ”
“Friends, our issues are starting to bite – please, keep up the great work, we count on all of you.
Mr Shorten thanked three previous Labor Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Julia Gillard who attended his launch and mentioned Kevin Rudd who is overseas.

He said that under Labor “… Medicare stays.”
Mr Shorten also said: “We’ve got the best people, we’ve got the best policies and we’ve got the best plan to pay for them.”
He said Labor would be :” …accountable and responsible for every single dollar.”

It would deliver: “Only policies that we can fund, only policies our country can afford.
“We will not be a big spending government.
“We will be a government for the fair go, fully paid for.

“Bringing down the deficit each and every year.
Mr Shorten said: “… the difference in competing economic visions has never been sharper or starker:
“A Labor party investing in people, in productivity, in infrastructure and technology.

“And a Liberal party asking for three more years on the back of one bad idea.
“A $50 billion giveaway to big business, $30 billion of which goes straight overseas.
“This is not a plan for the Australian economy – it is foreign aid for foreign companies.

“Treasury has put a final figure on the economic benefits, such as they are.

“A growth dividend of 0.1 per cent a year.

“Zero. Point. One.

“$50 billion dollars for a benefit that rounds down to zero.

“But at least Mr Turnbull has already told us already how he is going to fill the void it that will leave in the Budget – a 15 per cent GST, on everything.

“Or ripping every single Commonwealth dollar out of every single government school.

“And letting the states loose to charge their own income tax.

“Make no mistake, if the Liberals win, we shouldn’t be worried about Mr Turnbull breaking his promises, we should be worried about him keeping his promises.

“Mr Turnbull’s plan, such as it is, means a $7.4 billion windfall for Westpac, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank and NAB.

“Three out of four of these are under investigation for rigging the interest rates of Australians trying to save for a home, pay-off a mortgage or plan for a self-funded retirement.

Mr Shorten said: “The Australian economy needs a real jobs plan.”

And he said that was what Labor would provide. (see earlier story)

Mr Shorten also said: “… the two most important things for an economy in transition are: public investment in infrastructure and education.

‘Building and teaching.

“Labor will do both.

“We will turbo-charge Infrastructure and create a new ‘Concrete Bank’.

“We will clear away the market blockages that hold back our superannuation investing in good projects.

“We will build if given the opportunity by the Australian people, the Perth Metronet, AdeLINK, the Melbourne Metro and of course Brisbane’s Cross-River Rail.

“And we will build the Western Sydney Rail Line connecting fast growing communities.

“We’ll back this up with 15,000 new places for apprentices – of all ages – right across the nation.

“And we will clean-out the dodgy private colleges undermining vocational training in this country.

“Politics, as you understand, is about choices,” Mr Shorten said.

“We choose TAFE.

“We choose local content.

“We choose the apprenticeship system.”

“We choose renewable energy and Australian steel because we believe advanced manufacturing has a future in this country.”

On schools, Mr Shorten said: “We will build – and we will teach.

“And our future as a knowledge economy depends upon the National Broadband Network, “ Mr Shorten said.
“It’s vital to small businesses in the regions engaging in our region.”

But Mr Turnbull has made a horrible mess of the NBN.

The cost is now double what he promised – and it’s going to take as twice as long to build.

Australia’s ranking has collapsed from 30th to 60th in the world in global internet speeds.

“I suppose, this was the perfect preview for his time as Prime Minister.

“Over-promise, under-deliver and take forever to get to the point.

“Australia deserves so much better than this.
“A new Labor Government will connect up to 2 million more homes and businesses to a first-rate fibre National Broadband Network.

“Equality for women will be a national mission for my government,” Mr Shorten added.

“That would mean:-
A minimum of 18 weeks paid parental leave, guaranteed.
Better childcare, sooner – for 800,000 working families.
He said, ,too, that Family violence is not a family matter – it is a national disgrace.
Mr Shorten also said, Labor would provide “…will provide the leadership in the Parliament to deliver marriage equality within our first 100 days.”

And he added: “There is a hidden story in our country.

“Teenagers are taking days off school to attend the funerals of classmates who have taken their own life.

“Parents sitting at kitchen tables, numb with incomprehension, shattered by grief, trying to write a eulogy for their child. No parent should ever bury their child.

“Yet seven Australians die every day at their own hand.

“Every single day.

“We can do better than this.

“A new Labor Government will start by providing $72 million for 12 regional suicide prevention project, Mr Shorten said.

He said the election on July 2 would be “ a referendum on the future of Medicare.

“Medicare is the community standard, it’s the gold standard, it speaks to Australians about who we are,” he added.

“And Medicare costs Australia far less than other countries pay, and we get better care,” Mr Shorten said.

And he added:”The Liberals have given the Productivity Commission new riding instructions, to investigate privatising human services and Americanising Medicare.

“This is Mr Turnbull’s second strike on Medicare and we know he won’t stop, he won’t rest,” Mr Shorten added.

Wednesday 8th June 2016 - 2:25 pm
Comments Off on New research casts shadow over Australia’s trade prospects

New research casts shadow over Australia’s trade prospects

by Alan Thornhill

Analysis

Australia’ s economic growth  appears to have been surprisingly strong in the early months of this year.

Indeed the Statistician put it at 3.1 per cent in the 12 months to the end of  March – and said trade had played a leading role.

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, later made that an election issue later when he said this kind of growth does not happen “by accident.”

These developments make new research,  that the National Australia Bank published today, particularly interesting.

For the bank states, quite bluntly, that our iron ore trade has been “riding an unsustainable wave.”

If that is true, the Prime Minister’s carefully crafted, but still merely implied claim, to have produced that growth, takes a hit.

Mr Turnbull conceded later that there are risks associated with both government and opposition forecasts.

The reality is that forecasts – there are always risks with forecasts I think everyone understand that.

“The further out you go, the more speculative those assumptions are.

He was replying to a reporter in Ulladulla.

 “What will the iron ore price be?

“What will the foreign exchange rate be?,” Mr Turnbull asked rhetorically.

The bank, itself, avoided stepping into the current election campaign, contradicting Mr Turnbull directly.

But what the NABt does say is deeply disturbing to people who worry about Australia’s economic future, especially as iron ore has long been a very big item in this nation’s trade accounts.

It says that:” After trending lower across 2015, iron ore prices staged a short-term volatile rally in early 2016 – returning close to US$70 a tonne in late April.

“This coincided with a rapid increase in Chinese futures market trading volumes on the Dalian Commodity Exchange – with may indicate a temporary speculative bull market.

“Subsequent tighter regulation on the DCE brought prices back nearer to US$50 a tonne.”

Then the NAB adds:-

 

  • This rally occurred against a backdrop of stronger Chinese steel market conditions – with demand recovering thanks to a rebound in construction activity (the sector that accounts for over half of China’s steel demand). Steel prices rose faster than input costs between February and April, driving steel maker profitability to its highest level in almost seven years.

 

  • We argue that the rebound in construction is not sustainable, with policy changes that have relaxed purchase requirements, looser credit and the poor performance of alternative investment options re-inflating the property bubble that had somewhat deflated across 2014 and 2015.

 

  • The short-term boost to profitability should not be allowed to overshadow the significant long-term challenges that China’s steel industry needs to address. Excess capacity in China’s steel sector exceeds 300 million tonnes (around three times the 2015 output of Japan, the world’s second largest steel producer).

 

  • Medium term trends for steel – both in China and globally – appear subdued. Expectations that China’s steel consumption will continue to decline in coming years will be a major constraint on iron ore demand, while sub-trend economic growth elsewhere provides little opportunity for China’s declines to be offset. Over the medium term, we expect prices to settle at around US$40 a tonne.
Monday 30th May 2016 - 11:03 am
Comments Off on How we will protect the reef:Labor

How we will protect the reef:Labor

by Alan Thornhill

Labor has revealed its plan to save the Great Barrier Reef and protect the 70,000 jobs it supports

The Opposition Leader Bill Shorten did so in a joint statement he issued today with his environment and climate change spokesman, Mark Butler.

They described the reef as “Australia’s greatest natural asset.”

And they said: “The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and one of the best known marine areas in the world.

The reef attracts more than two million visitors each year, contributes $5.7 billion to the economy, and supports approximately 70,000 jobs, they added.

“All of this is at risk if serious action is not taken to protect it,” they added.

“The Great Barrier Reef is an environmental treasure Australia holds on trust for the world.

 
A Labor Government will make protecting the Reef one of our highest priorities,” they said. 

Mr Shorten said the government has no credible plan to protect the reef.

“Only last week, it was revealed that the Turnbull Government intervened to censor Australia being mentioned in the report on the impact of global warming on World Heritage Areas,” Mr Shorten said.

“The best way to help the Reef and to boost tourism and economic growth is to take serious action on climate change, to face the challenge and show leadership,” he added.

Mr Shorten said a Labor government would work with the Queensland Government and stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce report.

He said our plan “will be implemented in close consultation with the Queensland Government and all other stakeholders, with the Environment Minister taking a direct leadership role in its implementation.

“Our plan to protect this delicate ecosystem has three pillars covering research, management, investment and preservation,” Mr Shorten said.

Elaborating on various aspects of Labor’s plan, Mr Shorten said of science and research.

“We will improve science and research and monitoring of Reef issues to ensure the protection and sustainability of the Reef is based on the latest, specialised science.

“This includes directing the CSIRO Marine to conduct Reef-specific science, including climate research, supported by a $50 million targeted funding boost.

“Direct Environmental Investment: Integrated direct investment to improve, water quality, land management, agricultural and environmental impacts.

Reef Management: Improve Reef management architecture and incentives to fix the fragmented and uncoordinated approach that has for too long characterised Reef management and conservation.

Saturday 21st May 2016 - 7:52 pm
Comments Off on PM talks of extra protection for the Great Barrier Reef and….

PM talks of extra protection for the Great Barrier Reef and….

by Alan Thornhill

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced new measures today to protect the Great Barrier Reef and other Australian tourist attractions.

He also said he had not been told in advance of plans by the Federal police to raid a Labor party office and homes in Melbourne searching for leaked material, about the woes of his troubled National Broadband network.

The broadcaster, David Attenborough, who recently completed a series of programs on the Great Barrier Reef, said later that it is mad to think that unlimited growth is possible in a finite world.

Mr Turnbull, who will face elections on July 2, said that before European settlement rainwater had sunk into Australian soils, and had been cleaned naturally before it reached the sea.

But he added: “As there is more development, you get more runoff.

“You get more nutrients in the water.

“And you see what’s called the wrack, the weeds, you see along the foreshore there and a deterioration of the quality overall.

He was speaking in the Tuggerah Lakes district, a series of three interconnected lagoons, on the New South Wales central coast.

Mr TurnbullHe said the government’s new policy: “… means installing more and better pollutant traps so that large, as you know, large bits of rubbish don’t float into the lakes.

Mr Turnbull said that – as they had developed their communities – European settlers had allowed water to rush through, rush down drains and storm water pipes, far too quickly.

“So the key is to slow it down< Mr Turnbull said. He said: "... one of the big priorities of the Great Barrier Reef, for example - is to build swales *along streams. (my dictionary says swales are "... low tracts of land, especially ones that are moist or marshy. The term can refer to natural landscape features or a human-created ones It says artificial swales are often designed to manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and increase rainwater infiltration). “So when the run-off comes off fields, particularly with fertilisers, instead of rushing straight into the water-course, it is slowed down, settles and sinks into the ground and is then naturally cleaned through the environment,” Mr Turnbull said. He also confirmed that his Communications Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, had known about the Federal police investigation into the NBN leaks some months ago but did not tell him. “...yes, that’s right,” Mr Turnbull said when questioned on the matter. “I think it’s entirely appropriate,” he added.

Monday 2nd May 2016 - 6:30 pm
Comments Off on Labor again ahead in the polls, but…

Labor again ahead in the polls, but…

by Alan Thornhill

A new Morgan Poll once again puts Labor in front, but the pollster adds that if a federal election were held today, the result would probably be too close to call.

Gary Morgan, the Executive Chairman of Roy Morgan research, said it could well result in a hung Parliament.

He said that in early May ALP support was up 1 per cent at 51 per cent.

The Coalition’s support fell 1 per cent, to 49 cent on a two-party preferred basis.

“ This is the best result for ALP since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister in September 2015,” he added.

Significantly the Roy Morgan confidence level also fell, slightly, to its lowest level ince Mr Turnbull became Prime Minister.

It showed that only with 39.5 per cent of Australians believe that Australia is ‘heading in the right direction’ while 41.5 per cent believe the country is ‘heading in the wrong direction’

This week’s Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted over the last two weekends, April 23-24, and April 30 and May 1, 2016, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,951 Australian electors.

Friday 18th March 2016 - 8:55 am
Comments Off on Senate’s marathon debate drags on

Senate’s marathon debate drags on

by Alan Thornhill

The  Federal government has threatened to keep Parliament sitting until Easter if necessary to get controversial legislation, which would affect the way Senators are appointed passed.

The threat was made by a senior West Australian Liberal, Matthias Cormann, during debate on a bill containing this proposal.

Labor Senators responded angrily, saying they were prepared to sit until the middle of the year, to protect voters’ rights, to choose Senators from small parties or those who stand as independents.

So the Senate, unable to resolve its differences, sat past midnight, and was still sitting at 6am today.

All this has left the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, with very little time to call the double dissolution he is expected to hold on July 2.

Wednesday 16th March 2016 - 1:49 pm
Comments Off on The deadlock:What now?

The deadlock:What now?

by Alan Thornhill

The Turnbull government may be facing the rare prospect of a defeat in Federal parliament which could lead to an early election.

This prospect has arisen because the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull does not control the Senate and he is anxious to set up a building industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission Bill.

This is one of a number of bills on which debate between the two houses of parliament, the House of Representatives and the Senate is deadlocked.

Control of the Senate is currently shared by the Labor party, the Liberals and Nationals, the Greens and various micro parties.

The micro-parties and independents would probably be wiped out if voting reforms that the government is also proposing area adopted.

For that reason – if no other-a fierce and messy debate on these plans has been predicted this week -and – in fact – it has already begun.

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, was severely embarrassed yesterday when he was forced to admit in parliament that that cuts he had flagged earlier, for this year’s budget are no longer likely to be realised.

This led Labor members to suggest that his position is now untenable.

MrMorrison  is now saying that individual tax cuts – which he has previously flagged – will not be possible until the budget is in better shape – he Morrison has dashing hopes he had previously raised, in that area. Now, he is saying that only tax cuts for business are still on the cards.  Mr Morrison regards them  as a tangible “growth dividend.”  That is Treasury-speak for economic growth and higher employment rates.

So some  opposition members are now wondering if the Treasurer is engaging in the traditional pre-budget game of expectation management, where gloomy predictions are seeded before delivering a bretter than expected outcome  on budget nigh, to to sighs of relief.

However the shadow treasurer Chris Bowen sees the government’s mixed messages on tax changes with glimpses of a higher offset by loweri aand now earlier cuts in tax rates as  evidence that Mr Morrison lacks authority.

“It took Joe Hockey two years to crash and burn,” Mr Bowen told Parliament.

It’s taken Scott Morrison six months.”

“Impressive,”

“When it comes to economic policy and tax reform, the last three years have been a waste, with the government promising three more years of the same.”

He said it was time Mr Morrison “considered his position”.

The comments followed media reports that the Treasurer has told colleagues that a lack of “fiscal headroom” made tax cuts for individuals impossible at present.

This is despite the fact htat Mr Morrison wasg among the most vociferous advocates of returning “bracket creep” to taxpayers who through wage inflation had drifted into higher taxation brackets.

The government effectively surrendered the scope for large-scale tax reform once it pulled out out of lifting the GST – a measure it was understood Mr Morrison was more inclined towards than Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

On Tuesday, Mr Morrison attacked Labor’s proposed halving of the capital gains tax discount on housing, arguing it would inhibit rather than encourage investment.

Confusion over the finalisation and release of the tax package had seen it flagged for April, then in the budget, and then both, although a government source said it was merely a matter of keeping release options open allowing budget details to be reported in the days leading to it.

But the date of the budget itself remains in play

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