23 thoughts on “Labor to lose progressive identity with small-target policies

  1. Someone on the Insiders TV show said Labors about face on tax cuts and negative gearing and franking credits would cost the budget $ 200 billion .Not much happens without the consent of Conservative elites .Labor have only governed for 6 of the past 23 years and only won from opposition 3 times ( I havent checked those numbers). They got rid of Whitlam fast ,Hawk and Keating introduced Neoliberal reforms (they are now Conservative idols) ,and Rudd/Gillard were dealt with very roughly. Its a bit like a fish complaining about water but its just not a level playing field .What to do for Labor ? I think stick to your ideals .Australia is about to be hit by international crisis (covid ) like we have not been hit by anything in living memory .Australians are not ready for this and neither are Conservative elites and their politicians .A mood for change might sweep the nation .Conservatives will then tack further Right despite the fact that there isnt much room left over there .They might win that way anyway but what is the point of winning if you have to mimic destructive Neoliberal doctrine to do so ? Better to die on your feet than live on your knees. Last time Labor only narrowly lost despite Clive Palmer spending 60 $ million ,a Murdoch smear campaign, and having a full suite of daring policy out there long before the poll.

  2. “Better to die on your feet than live on your knees – agreed sunshine. besides, if you take nothing to the electorate then you can’t deliver anything of value when you win it. at best you’re simply minimising the harm the coalition could do for that term, but that’s incredibly short-sighted when you’ve got nothing to pitch at the following election.

    it’s also a lot easier to stop tax cuts from coming than it is to increase taxes afterwards. they’re leaving themselves hamstrung. also, it seems like winning government typically has less to do with what labor can offer and more about whatever catastrophe the coalition has presided over. stagflation and recession for hawke, work choices for rudd, and hopefuly the bushfires and covid for albo. if that’s the case, might as well go in strong with big policies that can leave a mark.

  3. The Labor Party? Who are they? Sort of like an old flame who two-timed and left you with NSU. What’s that you ask? NSU? … Non Specific Unemployment! What did you think I meant? 😉

  4. Pr Q said:

    If Labor wins in 2022, it will be because of the incompetence of the Morrison Government in responding to the pandemic and because of any positive appeal.

    Pr Qs IA article links to another IA article published in Nov 2020, which accuses ScoMo’s LNP government of macro-economic “incompetence…[thst] has wrecked the economy”. The figures for FY2020/21 tell a different story. The FT reports that the “incompetent” ScoMo government was ranked high in both economic management and pandemic infection control:

    “Australia is in rare company here,” said Kristian Kolding, an economist at Deloitte Access Economics. “Only five other countries can boast an economy that’s larger now than before the pandemic. And we achieved that goal while keeping Covid numbers lower than almost anywhere else.”

    Its fine to dislike ScoMo on the basis of Leftist feels. But the objective facts of the past year indicate his administration has been competent, judged against relevant international standards.

  5. Why have I heard ‘ Labor only won from opposition 3 times ‘ ? What about Watson ,Fischer ,Scullin ,Curtin ? .Anyway ,the point is that Labor doesnt win much in recent history and anyone who tries to govern like a real Labor person gets shafted one way or another .However Labor can win state elections and only just lost at the federal level last time .A lot of good ,that is very hard to undo, can be done in a short amount of time with a mandate .Covid (and climate change ) may provide the mood for change .But how much can be done with the kind of financial constraints Labor has agreed to ?

  6. It’s a false and concocted analysis, a revision of the actual history, to say ScoMo has done well in the pandemic on the health front or the economic front. On the health front, Australia benefited from having no land borders and thus being able to completely lock down by controlling flights into Australia. We benefited by being far away from other population centers around the world. We were also less susceptible because of our spread-out nature: large capitals separated by 1,000 of more kilometers of not much in between. Also, our very suburban nature in the capitals and and relatively less middle density and high density living were part of our lucky legacy.

    Next, it was the hard lock-down premiers who protected us against earlier waves of the pandemic, not ScoMo with his clear open-up-and-let-it-rip bias. ScoMo with his influence on G.B. and NSW politics pushed for G.B.’s fool’s gold standard of non-suppression of the virus. It was ScoMo and his government who failed and continue to fail at getting proper quarantine stations built which IS a Federal responsibility. It was ScoMo and his government who penny-pinched and failed to order sufficient vaccines and especially sufficient quality vaccines for Australia, on a contingency and multiple redundancy basis, now leaving us behind in vaccinations and very vulnerable to the Delta outbreak. It was ScoMo and his government who permitted excess multiple movements out of and into the country (aside from bringing home stranded Australians) which over-stressed the inadequate hotel quarantine system.

    The other non-NSW state premiers were not perfect either. Annastacia Palaszczuk has made a number of mistakes. By a considerable amount of luck and some adroit hard and early lock-down saves by Jeannette Young, who might well be the most competent C.H.O in Australia, these mistakes have not yet bitten Qld. But on balance the most egregious mistakes by far were made by Scott Morrison, Gladys Berijiklian and the LNP Sydney-Canberra neoliberal axis: a cabal operating against the best interests of the mass of ordinary Australians. It was the other states and the other Premiers, plus Australia’s lucky geographical position and urban sprawl which have saved us to date. Maybe our very hot, dry summers help too.

    But now we are condemned, most likely, to an unfolding disaster by the egregious mistakes of Morrison and Berijiklian. I hope I live long enough to see them destroyed at the ballot box. Many in my generation and older (and even younger) and many vulnerable Australians are going to die because of their criminal incompetence and endless lies and spin. In this pandemic emergency, incompetence, penny-pinching and falsehoods kill people.

  7. I’d like some facts here not just the standard “tax the rich” rhetoric.

    Since 2014 total taxes in Australia have increased by $100b or 20%. Although it has slowed. down in recent years bracket creep will have pushed many into higher income tax brackets. How much of the current reforms undo non-legislated tax increases by stealth? What is the real tax benefit to people earning say $150,000? Earning $250,000? It would be interesting to see this as a fraction of the tax they do pay – rough estimates I did suggest the figure is low because the wealthy pay most of the income taxes by a mile.

    A plumber or a builder taking home $150k is not rich and works harder than a university professor (I was one) earning more than that. Many Labor voters earn middle or higher incomes.

    Indeed, as conservatives argue, is there a case for reducing taxes on effort (based on income) and redirecting them to taxes on spending? A rich guy who earns $1m annually but who spends only $50,000 (investing the rest via savings into jobs) should not be taxed the same as the same rich guy who spends $700,000 a year and saves much less. But income taxes do this and indirect taxes do not.

  8. Jack, as we don’t have access to the FT, could you please point out how the FT article handled the incompetent point headings from the article linked to JQ’s you referenced;
    ” Pr Qs IA article links to another IA article published in Nov 2020, which accuses ScoMo’s LNP government of macro-economic “incompetence…[thst] has wrecked the economy”

    From IA article:
    “Recent jobs data from the Bureau of Statistics help pinpoint the areas of failure in Coalition employment policy.”;
    – Underemployment
    – Jobless youth and women
    – Number of weeks the jobless spend looking for a job
    – Workers employed by the public service
    – Hours worked per person per month
    – Workers with fewer than ten hours
    – Casualisation of the workforce

    “Incompetence, not the pandemic, has wrecked the economy
    By Alan Austin | 2 November 2020, 
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/incompetence-not-the-pandemic-has-wrecked-the-economy,14472

    Should be interesting. Thanks.

    P.S. I am not represented in GDP, nor do I appear in Google location data, except as a rock which never moves.

  9. I was sad to read, buried somewhere in the middle pages beneath the used car ads, a tiny report that Labor would support the government legislation to neuter the Senate.

    To vote thus would be at the same level of criminality as keeping FTA details secret and supporting DR/surveillance rubbish.

    It could derail idiots like Hanson, but it could also exit Rex Patrick who has spent some years dong what should be Labor’s work of exposing the government for it. Apparently it is within shadow minister Don Farrell’s to pursue the issue, but as to purges within Labor, who is left from the left faction?

    Soon they will be chucking out people like Farrell himself for being too Marxist.

  10. Negative gearing could be tamed by regulatory reform instead of tax reform. Require lenders to be reasonably satisfied that proposed “investments” in established homes will be cash-flow positive. Then negative gearers, by default, will be directed to new homes.

  11. KT2 said:

    Jack, as we don’t have access to the FT, could you please point out how the FT article handled the incompetent point headings from the article linked to JQ’s you referenced

    The “incompetent point headings” in the IA hit piece are just the Microeconomic usual suspects, that always underperform in any economic rundown. The FT concluded that ScoMos LNP was an OECD standout macroeconomic performer.

    Only Australia, China, Chile, Romania, South Korea and Lithuania have grown their economies since Covid-19 struck, according to research by Deloitte Access Economics. On average the economies of OECD countries, a group of wealthy nations, were 2.7 per cent smaller than they were before the pandemic, it said

  12. Jack, the link was added by the IA editors. I supported the initial economic policy response to the pandemic, and my reference was to the incompetence of the vaccine rollout. If you want to defend that, go right ahead.

  13. I think it was Robert Reich that pointed out that the balance sheet of the Soviet Union looked ok when it collapsed – it was the social indicators that were bad. Something similar is happening here now. Good export commodity prices and money printing has held up asset prices .Unemployment is low due to no immigration and a proliferation of low quality insecure work .However young people cant hope to own a home one day and the university system has been strangled ,etc ,etc. The government cant do anything besides shore up existing wealth distribution patterns and protect us from whatever the latest foreign bogey man is .However markets are happy – the stock market is booming and my house is worth 4 times what I paid for it 13 years ago ,yes Sunshine is ‘booming’ for the landed gentry at least .Just saying ‘oh well things could be worse’ doesn’t cut it – what about the future ?

  14. Quote: “my house is worth 4 times what I paid for it 13 years ago.” – sunshine.

    “What about the future? Sunshine understands that the 4 times nominal increase in the worth of his house might or might not make him richer in real terms as opposed to nominal terms. Sunshine also understands that such movements imply problems for our national and social future.

    The standard measure of “worth” in our political economy is the price in dollars. But dollars are not a fixed unit. The worth of a dollar varies. We can see this via relativities. Goods and services vary in dollar price relative to each other. Currencies vary in exchange value to each other.

    The real value of a thing to us can only be measured objectively if there is an objective real value it can be reduced to and measured in. Sunshine’s house can be measured in floor area and amenities count. X square meters, y bedrooms, z toilets and so on. Without extensions or dilapidations, sunshine’s house has the same safe and legal occupancy limit that it had 13 years ago. This we would have to say is its real worth, to sunshine and society as part of our housing capacity at an acceptable standard.

    The changes in asset prices (land, houses, shares) as rampant asset inflation have been engineered by our political economy. More particulalry, they have been quite deliberately enineered.

  15. Quote: “my house is worth 4 times what I paid for it 13 years ago.” – sunshine.

    “What about the future?” Sunshine understands that the 4 times nominal increase in the worth of his or her house might or might not make him/her richer in real terms as opposed to nominal terms. Sunshine also understands that such movements imply problems for our national and social future.

    The standard measure of “worth” in our political economy is the price in dollars. But dollars are not a fixed unit. The worth of a dollar varies. We can see this via relativities. Goods and services vary in dollar prices relative to each other. Currencies vary in exchange values to each other.

    The real value of a thing to us can only be measured objectively if there is an objective real value, or set of real values, that it can be reduced to and measured in. Sunshine’s house can be measured in floor area and amenities count: x square meters, y bedrooms, z toilets and so on. Without extensions or dilapidations, sunshine’s house has the same safe and legal human occupancy limit that it had 13 years ago. This we would have to say is its real worth, to sunshine and to society as part of our housing capacity at an acceptable standard.

    The changes in asset prices (land, houses, shares) manifesting as rampant asset inflation in the current financial climate have been engineered by our political economy. More particularly, they have been very deliberately engineered by real people making decisions and understanding, in broad terms, what the results of those decisions will be. They wanted and continue to want to orchestrate asset inflation. It’s a completely deliberate and very effective ploy and policy, for the upper middle class and the rich.

    Asset inflation is a wealth transfer mechanism. Houses are a good example. Inflate house prices rapidly, compared to other goods and services and this effects a wealth transfer to those who already own houses or possess enough wealth to purchase houses; usually multiple houses and other rental properties. It is a policy of, by and for, rentiers.

    The perfect method has been invented, or found, to do this: quantitative easing. Quantitative easing is used to give cost free money (money at effectively zero real interest rates) to big players. The already wealthy oligarchs, companies and corporations are in the main the only ones who can borrow cost free money to purchase assets that are inflating rapidly due to that very cost free money. It’s a perfect and completely legal scam. Ordinary people cannot get cost free money. They still tend to pay above zero real interest rates and sometimes much above zero real interest rates for their borrowed money. Differential interest rates are part of the game. If you are rich, you pay no real interest. If you are poor you pay high real interest rates.

    A lower tier worker today can never get ahead. The system is rigged to ensure that he or she cannot get ahead and that almost all of their money will go to rentiers and suppliers of daily necessities. This is quite different from the era where Australian labor law insisted on a basic wage that was a “living wage”. The living wage was meant to support four people. In those sexist times the household was assumed to be a male wage earner, a female homemaker and two children. The sexist (and racist) elements extant then were lamentable. The living basic wage concept itself was laudable and the backbone of economic and social inclusion and cohesion, outside the sexist and racist limitations. Housing policies, at least post WW2, emphasized cheap loans for returned soldiers and cheap loans for young (male) workers starting married and family life. These cheap loans were made in the main by state Housing Commissions. Then and/or later, the federally owned Commonwealth Bank played a role in keeping housing loans cheaper than they would otherwise have been if prices had been pushed solely by the corporate banking entities.

    A lower tier worker household today can never get ahead and never acquire any housing asset. Let me support that statement. The current minimum wage is $772.60 per week. Let us assume a young couple household with no children that does a bit better than that and earns nearly $1,000 per week AFTER tax. Let us assume $50,000 per year after tax. They are renting and paying close to the average house rent in Brisbane at nearly $400 per week or $20,000 per year. Groceries would cost say $250 per week if they were reasonably careful. Then they would likely pay for internet, mobile phones, other fixed and discretionary spending and run at least one car. A bare minimum for that would be another $250 a week. (I would be open to correction on that.) We are now up to a weekly spend of $900 per week They can save $100 p.w. and keep that IF they have no emergencies or contingencies.

    At $100 a week they can save just $5,000 per year in round numbers. In reality that would go on emergencies and contingencies but let’s assume it doesn’t. For a $400,000 home or flat, and that’s the very cheap end of the market these days, they would need to provide $80,000 deposit (20%). Now let’s try saving for a $400,000 home or flat at $5,000 per year. That’s 16 years. Assume their interest merely negates basic goods inflation. It would be lucky to do that. Then let’s allow a modest 2.55% average annual inflation in house prices. In 16 years an equivalent house would now cost $600,000 in round numbers. The necessary deposit is now $120,000. They will never get there. Especially when their wages are kept below real inflation for their basket of goods: an event we can almost guarantee will happen in the current system.

    Voila! This is a system designed to keep almost everyone poor and renting for their entire lives and to move all the accumulable wealth to the renters. If you believe this happened by accident, I have a bridge to sell to you. It’s all engineered. It’s all intentional. It’s the final great scam of capitalism… until the next one. The next (intended) one is cryptocurrency. But that’s another post.

  16. Jack’s piece got mangled by both html and paywall and then he became further entangled by posting a response on another thread. To further compound the issue he links to tweets by some twit known as “JustSomeGuy”

    Which is a a good thing, now we are all playing off the same level field 🙂

    WRT Morrison’s COVID financial stimulus – great stuff and a timely response

    WRT Morrison’s response to all other issues; his modus operandi has been to delay a response until he can properly manage a response – that’s how it seems.

  17. A plumber or a builder taking home $150k is not rich and works harder than a university professor (I was one) earning more than that. Many Labor voters earn middle or higher incomes.

    I don’t know whether either of these statements is true, but I also don’t know why it matters either way. On the first point, it’s impossible to have a taxation system based on taxing people more the less effort they make. On the second point, to advocate for a political party (any political party) to support tax measures on the basis that they have less impact on groups which support that party (and therefore more impact on groups that don’t) is simply to advocate for corruption.

    Indeed, as conservatives argue, is there a case for reducing taxes on effort (based on income) and redirecting them to taxes on spending?

    The parenthetical description linking effort to income directly contradicts the earlier observation that people who work harder don’t always earn more. Some income does depend on effort; some don’t. I am not sufficiently expert to know whether it would be practical to have higher rates of tax on income which derives from things like dividends, interest, and rent than on wage and salary income, but it seems on the face of it like the kind of thing that might be feasible; it’s not clear whether that’s what’s being advocated, though.

  18. I was sad to read, buried somewhere in the middle pages beneath the used car ads, a tiny report that Labor would support the government legislation to neuter the Senate.

    What legislation is this?

  19. I was sad to read, buried somewhere in the middle pages beneath the used car ads, a tiny report that Labor would support the government legislation to neuter the Senate

    What legislation is this?

    If the reference is to the electoral legislation described by Antony Green (https://antonygreen.com.au/proposed-electoral-act-changes-for-the-2022-federal-election/), then I can’t figure any way it neuters the Senate, but perhaps there’s something else going on?

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