Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In which the pond joins Julius in asking why is it so?

(Above: more Pope here).

David Pope gets the day's business underway by spotting an errant Yoda burbling away in the sky, followed by a dirigible or blimp which constantly threatens to deflate.

Could it have anything to do with news of climate science?

But first let's get the pond's new word for the day out of the way.

Omphaloskeptic seems like the perfect word to describe the pond's daily activities.

But then the pond was torn by a realisation that navel gazing could in fact result in a dire case of herpetophobia.

It's easy to understand how a fear of reptiles comes about. This is the pitiful way that the reptiles of Oz this day try to dress up, or dress down, a poll result which is not good:

You don't even have to crack the paywall to read the results - news.com.au puts a bald summary here, and it's back to 55/45, and the only sign of hope for the reptiles is that Abbott's record dissatisfaction level fell from a high of 68 to a mind-numbing 63, meaning his net satisfaction rating is -35. And amazingly, zinger Bill's satisfaction rating rose by four points to 39% - meaning his net satisfaction rating is -3.

Now the pond realises that polling is gibberish, and the only poll that counts is the poll on the day yadda yadda, but the reptiles had been most excited by the dead cat bounce in recent polling, and many were expecting or hoping that the dead Yoda would continue to bounce. Instead:

The latest Newspoll, taken exclusively for The Australian at the weekend, marks 18 months since the Coalition won power and shows if an election was called today Labor would start as clear favourite to return to ­office with a commanding two-party lead of 55 per cent to 45 per cent. 
Since the September 2013 election, and in particular since last year’s poorly received budget, support for the Coalition has plunged by eight percentage points in both primary and two-party terms. 
Labor has been in front of the Coalition in two-party terms for 19 consecutive Newspoll surveys and Bill Shorten, who also ­enjoyed a rise in his personal ­ratings, has led Mr Abbott as ­voters’ preferred prime minister since November.

Naturally the pond, being of an inquiring mind, had to ask:

Thanks Julius. Give us a mad scientist impression:

It turns out one of the reasons explaining why it is so is embedded in the reptiles' poll story:

Liberal backbenchers yesterday warned the next budget “battleground” would be over plans to reduce pension indexation from mid-2017, with Queensland MP Andrew Laming telling Fairfax Media there were “a couple of large missiles, Exocets and torpedoes aimed at this policy”. 
But Mr Abbott, who yesterday made his first visit to Western Australia since two Liberal MPs from that state moved the spill motion against him, said he had no plans to make any further changes to the pension.

There's a simple enough bottom line here.

The parliamentary budget office estimates the change would save the Government $22.8 billion over the next decade.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist, Julius, to work out that a saving for the government equals a loss for pensioners.

Yes it's that pesky Andrew Laming back in the news at the ABC with Liberal MP Andrew Laming says missiles and 'torpedoes' aimed at Abbott's pension policy.

The only question is how soon before Abbott does his now perfected and patented backflip.

Right now we're in the set up phase:

...Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was standing by the policy. 

"There are no plans to make any changes to the age pension, other than those that were announced in the budget last year," he said. 
"We think it's a perfectly reasonable measure to put in place for a period of time until the budgetary position is substantially improved."

Uh huh. That'd be the peachy keen budget loved by all.

As compensation? Pie in the sky in the bye and bye when things get better, but in the meantime, let me stand bold and resolute, so that the back down can be even more exquisite.

What's remarkable is that it's taken the doddery old senior citizens in the land to work out that that they're in the firing line.

Silly old buggers are often inclined to be conservative - oh that boofhead Tony Abbott is such a nice man - but they're also inclined to be canny, and they can recognise a tap on the purse or the wallet, and so can their representatives:

And if that wasn't enough, jolly Joe Hockey, dirigible at large, came out with what could only be described as an absent-minded thought bubble, making superannuation as much of an issue as pensions.

Sorry, the pond stands corrected:

This idea is certainly not an innovation and is not responsible enough even to be considered a thought bubble.

Yes, jolly Joe has brought down the wrath of Paul Keating in double-barrelled mode in Hockey plans to smash a world-class superannuation system.

Naturally the pond is leery about standing between Keating and Hockey when Keating launches such a fine assault, but sorry Julius, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that if the young splash the cash early in their life on a home (or an apartment, with its added annual costs), they're likely to end up asset rich and cash poor in old age.

Of course the only solution then is to add a greater burden to the aged pension, or to sell the home and shift into a cardboard box, or best of all - and you can see why the Liberals are slavering and slobbering at the idea - force the young 'uns turned oldies into a nicely profitable reverse mortgage situation where their castle gradually becomes the property of the banks and financial institutions ...

And then there's Keating:

Breaking what is now a national consensus on the principle of preservation, where savings cannot be drawn down till age 55, would amount to the wilful destruction of one of the best retirement systems in the world...
...The Liberals have always hated national superannuation for the broad workforce. And mandatory superannuation gets right up their nose. Their objection to superannuation is ideological. They would prefer to see broad increments to national wealth in such places as stock markets accumulate only to their top end wealthy constituency. In other words, superannuation, limited as it used to be before 1985 – for the top end of industry and the public service only.

Uh huh. So what was Abbott's response to the dirigible's bubble that couldn't be called a thought?

On Monday Prime Minister Tony Abbott supported Mr Hockey, saying his suggestion was "a perfectly good and respectable idea" and he hoped Australians keep debating it. 

"I can remember back in the early '90s when I was helping John Hewson to draft the 'fightback' statement, putting in a suggestion to this effect," Mr Abbott said. 
"It is something that I am very happy to see further debated but there are obviously some issues around it and let's fully consider it. At this stage we don't have any plans to introduce it."

Yes it's that bloody Yoda floating in the air jibber jabbering away and flying kites and wanting debates, as if it's all just a discussion starter on a TV science show...

Already the debate's dragged out David Murray to front the ABC cameras with a genteel reprimand,  while others have crunched the numbers:

David Whiteley, the chief executive of Industry Super Australia, says a typical $40,000 deposit for a first home would wipe out completely the first nine years of a young adult's super savings and reduce their retirement savings by $140,000 in current prices - with $100,000 lost in compound interest. 

Mr Keating also makes this point in his column. 

$40,000 typical? Well sure if you want to buy a garage in Sydney, but do go on:

"Any meaningful housing deposit taken from the accumulated savings of younger savers would effectively eliminate or near eliminate the base from which the important compounding [of earnings] would otherwise occur," Mr Keating writes. 
Saul Eslake, the chief economist of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says if young adults used their super savings to buy a home they may be compensated later in life by increases in the value of that home, but that could not be guaranteed.

Well indeed Saul, especially as the chicken littles frequently circle the wagons and squawk about housing bubbles, and especially if you end up asset rich and cash poor and look to the aged pension for relief ... what else can they do now that Bank of America's got out of the reverse mortgage game? (here).

But wait, there's more.

You see, the man who follows a gruesome death cult, with a crucifixion, stigmata, vinegar and wafer and wine turned actual flesh and blood cannibalism at its core, has in recent days been waxing lyrical about how the Australian government is going to lead fundie Islamics away from a dangerous death cult.

How does he propose to do it?

Why by slagging off the UN for its tedious blather about human rights.

It's all there in Fairfax's Tony Abbott: Australians 'sick of being lectured to' by United Nations, after report finds anti-torture breach (with forced video).

Indeed. No doubt fundie Islamics are pleased to follow Abbott, berate soft touchy feely human rights do gooders, denounce the UN for its lecturing and hectoring ways, and carry on doing what fundamentalists like to do, whether it involves monuments, museums, music,  gays, women, or refugees flung on to the seas by the desperate situation in Iraq and Syria ... a desperate situation the western alliance did its very best to bring about by a counter-productive war ...

And all with the collective noun thrown about wildly, as in 'Australians are sick of being lectured to', when in fact there's a considerable bunch of Australians sick of listening to Abbott's confused and chaotic rhetoric, talking down fundies one minute, and then dissing human rights in the next breath, and all the while using security issues to infringe on all kinds of rights ...

What else?

Well the pond has managed to get through this piece without once experiencing herpetophobia, so it's time to head back into the nest of festering reptiles for a typical experience from a man who once purported to be Labor but now makes Genghis Khan sound like a moderate greenie leftie:

What to say?

Well by a strange and weird coincidence, yesterday the reptiles locked this editorial behind the paywall:

The reptiles backing Obama's strategy? Will wonders never cease?

So is Gary Johns the only one not alive to the way Netanyahu is an existential threat not just to Israel but to events in the Middle West?

Seems like it, and amazingly even the reptiles are a little askance:

So could a more modern, outward-looking Israel, but then that's asking for Gary Johns to sound a little less hawkish, and long ago that was scientifically proven to be impossible ...

What else? Well no need to ask why it's so, let's just continue the debate, thanks to Petty, and more Petty here.


  1. A year of conversations? A year of reaching out and teasing answers form the commentariat, and god help us the public. Has the good government notion evaporated so quickly?

    Let's retreat to fiction then. Reading Arnold Bennett's "The Old Wives' Tale" this week, a few lines leapt from the page, apropos of a gentleman spotted in a Parisian cafe:

    "The whiskered Englishman had never earnt money, never known much value of it, never imagined himself without as much of it as he might happen to want. He had the face of one accustomed to give orders and look down on inferiors. He was absolutely sure of himself. That his companion chiefly ignored him did not appear to incommode him in the least."

    Bennett wrote this in 1908, a full century before the likes of Pyne, Downer, Abbott et al entered our daily lives. Remarkable character drawing.

  2. The government is further down in the polls; Abbott with a negative approval rating and his magnum opus, Battlelines, is now selling at a price less than what it cost to print it. He must be having a bad week, month, year. I am sure his luck will improve when he's sacked.


    1. Basement price?

      Basement polls not far away.

    2. Must be close to making toilet paper expensive.

  3. Of course, Abbott's snarl "we won't be lectured" is crafted to bring out howls of outrage from the soft-cock Left, which, in turn, justifies the next round of blather from Roop's tools.

  4. Justin Trudeau of Canada, DP. A very attractive man! No winks, nods, expansive gestures or facial gymnastics.

  5. DP, you will enjoy Matt Taibbi's latest on how the US Congress is disappearing up its own clacker. It's also fair to say the nonsense on display for Abbott's QT is evidence of similar fate.

  6. A backflip today on the $500M cuts to the auto manufacturing industry? On super and buying a home:

    Hockey-Abbott propose a draw down of accumulated super for people wanting to get a foot in the door of a home they may own? But, but, BUT they're committed to abolishing the Labor introduced First Home Saver Accounts Scheme which has several attributes remarkably similar to superannuation...

    Note, the hokeypokeynomics measure below has not been legislated as yet. The law is unchanged. Notices of jabbering Joe's wish to take down the scheme abound on numerous associated government and bankster sites, but the dickhead hasn't acted on his greatest wish to keep the people desperate and their COALition mates' rents increasing. No legislation abolishing the FHSAs has been introduced - even though the banksters want it gone.

    Budget Measures 2014-15 —Part 2: Expense Measures
    page 216

    First Home Saver Accounts scheme — cessation
    Expense ($m)

    2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
    Australian Taxation Office -1.0 -18.0 -36.1 -37.1 -38.1
    Related revenue ($m)
    Australian Taxation Office - - - 2.0 2.0

    The Government will achieve savings of $134.3 million over five years by abolishing the First Home Saver Accounts scheme due to lower than forecast take-up rates. New accounts opened from Budget night will not be eligible for concessions, with the Government co-contribution to cease from 1 July 2014 and tax concessions and the income and asset test exemptions for government benefits associated with these accounts to cease from 1 July 2015. In underlying cash terms, the saving is $113.3 million over the forward estimates period due to the timing of the claims, including $54.3 million in departmental resourcing.

    The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

    Infrastructure Growth Package — Asset Recycling Initiative — establishment
    Expense ($m)

    2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
    Department of the Treasury - 335.0 1,278.0 1,285.0 1,007.0

    The Government will provide $5.0 billion over five years to 2018-19 (including $1.1 billion in 2018-19) to establish an Asset Recycling Initiative (the Initiative), which will provide state and territory governments with incentive payments to unlock capital from state-owned assets and reinvest the proceeds in new productivity-enhancing economic infrastructure.

    The Initiative will be supported by a National Partnership Agreement with participating states and territories that will provide incentive payments set at 15 per cent of the sale price of the asset, paid in two instalments on the completion of set milestones. Incentive payments will be available for asset sales and reinvestment programmes agreed with the Commonwealth prior to 30 June 2016. The Initiative is time limited and will close at the end of 2018-19, or once funds have been exhausted.

    See also related expense measure titled Infrastructure Growth Package — Asset Recycling Fund — establishment.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 28 March 2014 issued by the Treasurer.

    1. Smokey Joe and the Conman haven't much time left before their announced July 1st date to shut FHSA down. Lieberal bets are off on whether the creeps go the Senate on this ever.

      Treasury FHSA page

      The greghunted FHSA page

      An ATO notice of FHSA abolition Note the final sentence. This ATO page links to the above Budget Measure (page 216) of the 14/15 Budget Paper.

      ATO FHSA home page



      Another hokepokeynomics type Lieberal/bankster/rentier housing scam: FHOG

    2. Blowing smoke rings from his bum the obedient lackey craves taking from the poor, giving to the rich.

    3. ...from his bum is all he's actually done, apart from scare potential FHSA depositors off.

    4. Despite Hockey's May 2014 announcements and the Abbott misgovernment's May 2014 budget the FHSA account balance cap has actually gone up $5000 for this financial year! I assume that was by a regulation in the pipeline from Wayne Swan! Swan's regulation trumps thoroughly opposed Hockey's wishes - how?

  7. From the Perth Now Sunday Times August 10, 2007

    “FEDERAL Education Minister Julie Bishop has accused Deputy Opposition Leader Julia Gillard of behaving like a "fashion model or TV star'' rather than a politician.

    The war or words has sparked a catfight between two of the most powerful women in Australian politics.
    ‘I don't think it's necessary to get dressed up in designer clothing and borrow clothing and make-up to grace the cover of magazines,’ Ms Bishop told The Sunday Times.

    ’You're not a celebrity, you're an elected representative, you're a member of parliament. You're not Hollywood and I think that when people overstep that line they miss the whole point of that public role.’ “


    hyp•o•crite (hɪp ə krɪt)

    a person whose actions belie stated beliefs

    From the Daily Mail Australia, 5 December 2014

    “Inside the Fashion Minister's wardrobe: Julie Bishop on her love of designer labels, her obsession with expensive shoes and why she would love to dress like Carrie Bradshaw
    • Julie Bishop is a fan of Armani suits and Louboutin heels
    • She has revealed she wears Chanel makeup but gets ready in 30 minutes
    • The 58-year-old believes it’s her duty to wear clothes 'that will promote an appropriate image for Australia'. “


    1. :) Ms Asbestos wins the fashion catfight

  8. SMH, today: http://bit.ly/1CYoOhx

    "Prime Minister Tony Abbott has chided a journalist for asking if Treasurer Joe Hockey's decision to spend two days in court suing Fairfax Media is a waste of taxpayers' money…..

    Mr Abbott, in his first public comments on the defamation case since the hearing began on Monday. replied his government was hardworking and that the question was unreasonable.

    "I think anyone who knows the Treasurer knows that he was working all weekend so I suppose maybe he is having a bit of time off in lieu today," Mr Abbott said.

    "But the fact is every member of this government works incredibly hard, incredibly hard, as you'd expect and I think it's pretty unreasonable, if I may say so, for people to start bandying around that kind of question."

    I love listening to Abbott's lies when I know the truth.

  9. Does Hockey really expect us to take him seriously? He wants to dilute the Super savings provisions and argued against raising the compulsory contribution rate, but also wants to reduce indexation of pensions (we can't afford all these old buggers sucking off the public teat), and remove the first home buyers grant.

    What a dog's breakfast of illogical nonsense.

  10. Abbott does it again.

    "Indonesia could release 10,000 asylum seekers to Australia if Canberra continues to antagonise the republic over the execution of the Bali nine duo, an Indonesian minister has warned.

    If Canberra keeps doing things that displease Indonesia, Jakarta will surely let the illegal immigrants go to Australia.

    This would create a "human tsunami", according to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno."


  11. "especially if it undergoes a process of economic modernisation", "opening it [the Iranian economy] up to the positive, moderating influences of the global economy and trade might assist the long-term interests of the West."
    I don't know what this means, but shouldn't the Iranian economy be for the long-term interests of the Iranians?

  12. "If people choose to live miles away from where there's a school, if people choose not to access the school of the air, if people choose to live where there's no jobs, obviously it's very, very difficult to close the gap," he [Tony Abbott] said."


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