Home > Regular Features > Monday message board

Monday message board

July 17th, 2006

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

Categories: Regular Features Tags:
  1. July 17th, 2006 at 19:11 | #1

    Back in the Box Indeed

    John Howard seems to have comprehensively stomped Peter Costello, saying he has consulted with his peers and they want he and Peter to remain in their current positions. Slick operator that he is, he now predicts that the coalition will suffer at the polls as a result of the leadership scuffle. Nothing to do with IR, AWB, no WMD in Iraq etc.

  2. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 17th, 2006 at 22:34 | #2

    The latest AC Nielson poll published in todays SMH suggests that on a two party prefered basis the Coalition has dropped one point since last month. However it hardly seems very significant in terms of recent polling history. For instance it’s the same result as in February.

    Poll details at link below:-

    http://www.smh.com.au/media/2006/07/16/1152988411949.html

  3. July 18th, 2006 at 08:14 | #3

    Prof Q, perhaps you could share your views on Victoria going it alone with a 10% MRET target by 2016, and contrast that with Howard’s “energy superpower” speech yesterday.

  4. still working it out
    July 18th, 2006 at 08:55 | #4

    The coalition has usually been quite unpopular in the middle of the electoral cycle. If this is the best that Labour can do, with leadership problems in the Liberal party and very unpopular workplace legislation then its hard to see how they are not going to get creamed again at the next election.

  5. gordon
    July 18th, 2006 at 11:23 | #5

    Following the discussion of price-based regulatory schemes at “Nuclear Option” (July 6th), I can’t help posting this expose of how drivers are inventing a market for demerit points

    ‘The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has launched an inquiry into drivers using the Internet to trade demerit points, to avoid losing their licences.

    Thousands of infringements are reissued every week because motorists claim someone else was driving at the time.

    RTA spokesman Alec Brown says the scam is being investigated and anyone caught taking part faces big penalties.

    “Already anyone convicted of falsely nominating runs the risk of a fine up to $550,” he said.

    “But more than that, they can also be charged with fraud offences and that’s a fine of up to $22,000 and jail terms of up to two years.”

    Mr Brown says the RTA is investigating and is considering increasing the penalties for people who trade demerit points.

    “What’s been brought to our attention is that some people are using the Internet to try and trade in demerit points,” he said.

    “It is an illegal practice, that’s why we’ve launched an investigation to determine the extent of this practice on the Internet and we will be considering tougher penalties for those who trade in demerit points.”‘

  6. StephenL
    July 18th, 2006 at 11:39 | #6

    Not sure you’re right there SWIO. Certainly in their second term the Coalition trailed most of the way up to Tampa, but the first and third terms were different. They held comfortable leads (at least according to Newspoll) from the election until October 97. Crean was dumped because of poor polling through 2002-3, although part of this was misinterpretation of preference intentions.

    In both cases Labor’s fortunes were reversed by a dramatic event – the defection of Kernot and the enthronement of Latham respectively. Each gave a dramatic lift, which proved less potent come election time.

    I’m not inclined to predict the result of the election this far out, but I think that the notion that Labor will be crushed because they haven’t racked up a huge lead requires a misreading of history.

  7. Ernestine Gross
    July 18th, 2006 at 11:41 | #7

    Interesting post, gordon.

    How is the RTA getting information on internet trade of demerit points?

  8. gordon
    July 18th, 2006 at 12:05 | #8

    I know no more than is in the source, Ernestine.

  9. July 18th, 2006 at 12:14 | #9

    StephenL,
    I would tend to agree with swio. The Coalition has been doing a few silly things and not explaining them well in addition to having a few big egos jousting publicly. If this is the best that the ALP can do, then I think that the Liberals will be able to bank much of their campaign funding next time as they will not need to spend it on the actual campaign.
    The thing is, I do not know how they can change it. They have no real leadership options they can go to before the next election and it will be doubtful if they can get a good candidate in at the next election.
    Australia needs a viable opposition to make the government a bit more honest. We do not have one at the moment.

  10. Ernestine Gross
    July 18th, 2006 at 12:45 | #10

    Apologies, gordon. I had missed the link to the source document.

  11. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 18th, 2006 at 13:33 | #11

    It is a reasonably safe bet that the Coalition will win the next election. Although nobody should bank on it. However I have not seen any polling that attempts to reveal what might happen to the senate. Do Australians mind that the Coalition controls both houses or are they mostly oblivious? And if they do mind then do they intend to change things via the ballot box at the next election.

  12. July 18th, 2006 at 13:56 | #12

    Terje,
    Both Mumble and Pollbludger have a lot to say on this.

  13. still working it out
    July 18th, 2006 at 15:05 | #13

    My own impression is that voters are most comfortable with a senate that is not controlled by the government, even if it that results in little meaningful change. I don’t think voters trust any party enough to deliberately give them that much power.

    Though there may not be much talk about it in the media, there seems to be a quiet but pretty universal consensus that one party control of the Senate is a bit of an aberration that should be corrected, even by coalition voters.

    The Workchoices legislation is unpopular with all the minor parties and the electorate. Even Family First do not like it. The minor parties may decide to go to the electorate with a mesasge that it would not have passed if they had more seats in the Senate. That message could resonate with voters. And for coalition voters unhappy with Workchoices it would be a great way to register their unhappiness without risking a Labour government.

  14. StephenL
    July 18th, 2006 at 16:27 | #14

    Morgan did some polling quite a while ago which showed that most people said they prefered a Senate not controlled by the government (this was well before it became a reality). What we don’t know is how much this will affect their behaviour.

    Unfortunately polling is not very reliable here. Senate polls are almost universally wrong – not in the sense that House of Reps polls are, having people after the election say “see they were wrong” because a poll missed by a by a percent or two (usually within the margin of error). Rather Senate polls tend to drastically overestimate the fortunes of at least on minor party. Up to and including 1996 the Democrats used to score up to twice as much in Senate polls as they actually got. In 1998 it was One Nation, with polls shortly before the election predicting they would get four seats. In 2001 it was back to the Democrats, and in 2004 the Greens.

    All this time the House of Reps polls were reasonably good predictors for what these parties would get (give or take a few percent) but the Senate polls were miles off. Consequently, if there was a poll now on the Senate I would not take it seriously.

  15. observa
    July 18th, 2006 at 17:29 | #15
  16. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 18th, 2006 at 17:47 | #16

    Observa,

    Its a con. We may be paying less income tax but we are paying more tax. We also pay road tolls (which used to be paid for by our taxes) and for lots of other things that were once provided by government. There is no reasonable justification for the current level of taxation. It is excessive.

    Also percentage terms are a con. In absolute inflation adjusted per capita terms the cost of government is sky high compared to the recent past. If government is a service then the price has gone through the roof.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  17. July 18th, 2006 at 18:13 | #17

    There is no reasonable justification for the current level of taxation. It is excessive.

    How did you come to these conclusions?

  18. blitzed
    July 18th, 2006 at 19:30 | #18

    Terje
    ” There is no reasonable justification for the current level of taxation ”
    There should be a hard and fast rule that anyone who makes a statement like that HAS to say which services are to be CUT
    Lets call it the Terje rule
    Would you suggest
    1 New Schools (10 billion required in Victoria alone)
    2 Public transport
    3 Health

  19. July 18th, 2006 at 21:37 | #19

    blitzed, that assumes that all taxation is spent on government service provision rather than building up surpluses to dish out in election campaigns (The Johnny Rule).

  20. Jill Rush
    July 18th, 2006 at 22:40 | #20

    Personal taxes are just one kind of tax. Ask any motorist about the effects of taxation and there might be a different answer. There is GST on essential services as well as state taxes and council rates. Then we can add in things such as land tax and capital gains etc. We are paying more tax than ever.

    I would mind less if there were more services but the waste of money in $55 million campaigns which insult the intelligence, the amount of money wasted on Pacific Solutions, outsourcing government services which used to cost less to deliver a better service and whatever war has taken the PMs fancy, do little to convince me that our money is well spent. Having a Government spending money on private schools which then employ PR consultants and advertise on TV whilst the GOVERNMENT school down the road can’t even afford computers is a gross misallocation of funds.

    I would gladly pay less tax and we could still receive better Government services as taxpayers wouldn’t be subsidising the profits of the private sector and paying for spin doctors to tell us what a wonderful job the government is doing.

  21. blitzed
    July 18th, 2006 at 22:59 | #21

    Come on Jill what about some big ticket items so we can really put a hole in the budget and lower those taxes
    I agree that I can’t see where the money goes
    Perhaps because it is such a big country, the infrastructure dollar is spread very thin

  22. crocodile
    July 18th, 2006 at 23:10 | #22

    Much of this inflated tax is simply handed back as middle class welfare. Money for having babies, Family Tax Benefit, subsidised private health insurance, handouts for child care, private school subsidies and a plethora of others. Can anyone show one case where these subsidies actually deliver a real cost benefit to the consumer. After all it seems to me that the costs of sevices such as private health, child care and private schools have simply risen by the amount of the subsidy.

  23. crocodile
    July 18th, 2006 at 23:13 | #23

    Oh ! I forgot. I think that the superannuation guarrantee levy should also be included in the tax estimates.

  24. observa
    July 18th, 2006 at 23:53 | #24

    We can all argue about value for our tax buck and the overall level of the tax take. The question arises though, is it smarter economically to rely more on indirect taxes (GST) than income tax? An average income tax drop from a high of 23% to around 17% is not a minor shift. Has this movement had a strong positive impact on our economic performance of late? Would a greater tax shift in this direction produce more positive macroeconomic results?

  25. Ernestine Gross
    July 19th, 2006 at 00:41 | #25

    “…….positive macroeconomic results? ”

    For whom are positive macroeconomic results important and why?

  26. observa
    July 19th, 2006 at 01:40 | #26

    Traditionally lower unemployment and better economic growth Ernestine. They have been a bipartisan political mantra.

  27. Ernestine Gross
    July 19th, 2006 at 09:15 | #27

    observa,

    Your answer doesn’t contain the words people or individuals or pride in work or CO2 emissions or pollution or job satisfaction or cost of living or any of the words that feature in Jill Rush’s post or those in Crocodile’s post.
    Interesting, isn’t it.

    This leads me to the question: To whom is the answer to the question you raise of interest and why?

    Your question is: “The question arises though, is it smarter economically to rely more on indirect taxes (GST) than income tax? An average income tax drop from a high of 23% to around 17% is not a minor shift. Has this movement had a strong positive impact on our economic performance of late? Would a greater tax shift in this direction produce more positive macroeconomic results? “

  28. Terje
    July 19th, 2006 at 10:32 | #28

    Terje
    � There is no reasonable justification for the current level of taxation �
    There should be a hard and fast rule that anyone who makes a statement like that HAS to say which services are to be CUT
    Lets call it the Terje rule
    Would you suggest
    1 New Schools (10 billion required in Victoria alone)
    2 Public transport
    3 Health

    I have always wished for a rule named after me. “The Terje Rule”. However given that this rule is to be named after me I would think it appropriate that I formulate the rule. Here is my version of the rule:-

    When the governments per capita (inflation adjusted) tax revenue increases in absolute terms it should be called before a public commision of prominant citizens to explain what new or improved service it has delivered to justify this increase in cost.

    So if this year government costs us $15000 per capita and in 5 years time it costs us in real terms $20000 per capita they should be made to explain why their services are costing us more.

    Now if you think that you are getting a better set of services from your government compared to say 10 years ago then it may be fine. However if the price per capita has increased (and it has dramatically) and the services have not improved or expanded in a comparable way, then there is something very wrong.

    “The Terje Rule”. Suck it and see.

  29. Ernestine Gross
    July 19th, 2006 at 11:41 | #29

    Terje,

    I interpret your proposed rule as an extension of the policy of linking wage increases to productivity to the government sector. As such it is a step toward logical consistency (roughly corresponding to the proverb: Put your money where your mouth is) and, as such, I like it.

    One query though. Is the condition ‘prominent citizens’ a sufficient one? Would a ‘representative sample’ be better? Could the condition be linked to elections (the total sample)? I don’t have an answer. But the condition in your proposed rule doesn’t look quite satisfactory (not obviously ‘incentive compatible’).

  30. Aidan
    July 19th, 2006 at 13:01 | #30

    I like Terje’s rule but suggest that every three years or so, each contender for government should propose their tax plans and then get EVERYBODY to vote who they think is best. Oh no, dumb idea, they’d just get in and then tear up their pre-election pledges…..

  31. crocodile
    July 19th, 2006 at 15:05 | #31

    Terje said “Now if you think that you are getting a better set of services from your government compared to say 10 years ago then it may be fine.”

    Government must have been intolerably small all those years ago

  32. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 19th, 2006 at 15:15 | #32

    Ernestine,

    I accept that the procedural process might be open to refinement.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  33. blitzed
    July 19th, 2006 at 19:16 | #33

    Talk about hi-jacking a thread Terje
    Now you have hi-jacked a Rule
    Even though it is named after you
    My meaning for the Terje Rule was a sort of a justification/put up or shut up rule
    Whenever anybody starts yammering on about how high the taxes are in this country, anybody within earshot has to say Terje Rule and the jammerer has to say where the services are to be cut

  34. sdfc
    July 19th, 2006 at 22:07 | #34

    By simple extension the Terje rule postulates a government should increase tax rates during a downturn.

  35. crocodile
    July 19th, 2006 at 22:26 | #35

    Or put the budget into deficit.

  36. July 20th, 2006 at 05:41 | #36

    I don’t think the rule applies only in a surplus, it applies when per capita tax revenue increases in absolute terms, whether the Govt spends it or not. Running a deficit does not offer exemption.

    I strongly support the rule in principle but share the concern about how best to form the panel.

  37. July 20th, 2006 at 08:24 | #37

    Talk about hi-jacking a thread Terje
    Now you have hi-jacked a Rule

    blitzed,

    How about you have a “blitzed” rule that “says put up or shut up” and leave my name out of it.

    In order to fund tax rate cuts we don’t need to stop any spending. We just have to avoid spending more each time revenues increase.

    I’ll tell you what. How about we freeze current government spending per capita for a decade. You and your sort can keep all the government spending that we have today and me and my sort could see personal income tax rates cut in half.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  38. blitzed
    July 20th, 2006 at 19:24 | #38

    Terje,
    No offence intended
    My initial post was in response to your ” excessive taxation ” claim,only 18 days after we all recieved a personal tax cut.
    There is obviously a disconnect between what we think we pay in tax and what we think we receive in return
    I personally think that taxation levels are about right,perhaps a little high
    I can’t see where all the money goes
    Regards

  39. Terje
    July 20th, 2006 at 22:39 | #39

    If you did offend me at all I have since forgiven you.

    When I look at the budget papers I can see where all the money goes however I have trouble agreeing with the massive rates of increase.

Comments are closed.