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Australian Budget released — Will it live up to expectations?

UPDATE: The bottom line. Meh.People are calling it “brutal”, and saying it’s a slash and burn budget, but really government spending will only shrunk by 0.5% of GDP.

[The Guardian] “The government is cutting overall spending, but relatively slowly – from 25.3% of GDP to 24.8% next year, 24.7% in 2016-17 and rising to 24.8% again in 2017-18. By comparison Peter Costello’s first budget was much more savage, cutting government spending from 25.1% to 23.9% of GDP.”

The Australian 2014/15 Budget has just been released. It’s the first budget of the Abbott government.  (Catallaxy has the transcript of the speech). Given election cycles there will probably not be a better opportunity to move towards a smaller, less burdensome government. Are the cuts enough? [UPDATE: No].

How much unnecessary tithing is there to the carbon monster?

There are some good signs: 16,500 public service jobs will be cut. And “70 government agencies will be scrapped or merged” including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Depressingly, while this is useful, it’s not much. There are apparently so many government agencies no one can figure out the exact number. There are estimates it’s close to 1000.

UPDATE: From News.com “you won’t believe what they’re slashing”  — Science!

The CSIRO, which invented WiFi, Aeroguard and extended wear contact lenses, will be slashed the most, losing $111.4 million over the next four years. A staggering amount of money.

This hardly a “slashing” cut given that the CSIRO budget is $1.2b billion a year, and these cuts are spread over 4 years. If CSIRO trims some admin fat, the scientists might not even notice…

The ARENA chop is worth “$1.3 billion from 2017-18″. (Shame we have to pay out until then).

UPDATE: ABC and SBS budgets will face tiny cuts–  “NATIONAL broadcasters ABC and SBS will lose $43.5 million in funding over four years. ” Before the election the Coalition should never have said they would not cut ABC funding (What exactly were the words?). It works out to be less than $10m a year in cuts shared between a $1b budget for the ABC and whatever the SBS budget is. It’s practically nothing. Not worth the pain and cries of people pointing back at their election statements. Disappointing. If they did promise not to cut, they shouldn’t have done it.

The Australian’s latest news link has many stories.

Will the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation go? [Post note: No --thats a matter for legislation, not for mere budgeting.]

Please add your thoughts here…

 

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107 comments to Australian Budget released — Will it live up to expectations?

  • #
    pat

    this was the biggest story i saw today, but i didn’t want to go too O/T on the polar threads:

    business in China is fighting back:

    13 May: Reuters: Guangdong carbon scheme sparks China green vs growth dispute
    By Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev
    Additional reporting by David Stanway
    China’s campaign against pollution and greenhouse gases is hitting early resistance in Guangdong province, where more than 60 manufacturers are holding back from a carbon market launched last year, saying the scheme is unfair and too costly.
    The stand-off between a quarter of the intended participants in the emissions market and the provincial government underlines the difficulty in implementing green policies in China, even after the launch of a national “war against pollution”…
    “There is no reason for companies to pay millions of yuan a year (for carbon permits) when environment and energy regulators already charge us other pollution fees,” said an official at provincial government-owned iron and steel producer SGIS Songshan, which has not bought any carbon permits.
    The official, who wanted to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to media, said pollution costs were already weighing heavily on the company as it must also pay fees for sulphur dioxide emissions, waste water and solid waste, and adhere to strict efficiency standards.
    Despite strong backing from Beijing, Guangdong has limited power to force SGIS or other hold-outs – mostly cement and steel makers – to participate in its carbon market. It can hit them with a fine of 50,000 yuan ($8,000) per company and a possible reduction in the number of permits allocated to them next year.
    That’s measured, though, against an aggregate 42 million yuan the companies need to spend for access to carbon permits with a market value of 1.4 billion yuan…
    In Guangdong, the local government hands out for free 97 percent of the permits that companies are expected to need to cover their emissions. To access the permits, they must buy the other 3 percent in auctions at a minimum price of 60 yuan each.
    Yet, when the last planned auction for the 2013 compliance year ended a week ago, data from the China Emissions Exchange in Guangzhou showed that 64 of the 242 companies covered by the scheme still had not bought any carbon permits.
    “Some of the companies don’t have the money to pay for the permits. They are unlikely to change their mind and will not engage even if there are more permit auctions,” said a consultant with several steel mills holding back from the Guangdong market among his clients…
    “We have noticed the companies’ concern and are discussing how to handle it,” said an official with the Guangdong government’s carbon trading department who wished to remain anonymous.
    The government may arrange an extra auction in order to give companies another opportunity to buy permits and is also looking at ways to use auction revenue to help the firms cut emissions, the official said…
    Li Xinchuang, vice-secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), recently told a conference some regions face environmental costs twice as high as other areas.
    Only one of China’s other six pilot markets, in Hubei province, auctions a share of the permits, but there is no minimum requirement and the minimum price is set at 20 yuan.
    The remaining four pilot schemes – in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin – issue carbon permits for free, while in the rest of China, companies do not now face any carbon costs.
    The country’s large- and medium-sized steel mills lost 2.3 billion yuan in the first quarter of 2014, according to CISA, at least in part due to rising pollution costs…
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/05/12/uk-china-carbon-idINKBN0DS1JM20140512

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    • #
      Safetyguy66

      Just got this email. Its comedy gold and to me, it goes pretty much straight to the heart of why AGW appeals to so many people, its a gravy train, an unapologetic, fraudulent income stream for anyone with few enough morals to take advantage of it. Checkout the line where the collection plate comes out and you are encouraged to donate your money to change the weather, isn’t money wonderful!

      The Email…

      Lindsay, 100% Renewable info@100percent.org.au via email.nationbuilder.com

      12:51 (3 hours ago)

      Dear Safetyguy —

      The budget is all over the news, and the analysis is everywhere – it’s good; it’s bad; it’s broken promises; it’ll clean up a mess. But the question remains – what does the budget mean for renewable energy?

      Before the election, Tony Abbott promised “A Million Solar Roofs” a program to install solar on a million more solar homes. But, in yesterday’s announcement, there was no mention of a million solar roofs – and the program seems to have disappeared.

      Instead, we heard that the Australian Renewable Energy Association (ARENA) – previously established with bipartisan support – has been axed. And, along with it, the 190 renewables projects in development, worth approximately $7.7 billion. [1]

      Will you chip in $25 – or whatever you can afford – so we can continue to grow our numbers to fight back against these continued attacks on renewable energy?

      ARENA provided funding for renewables projects, including big scale solar, and community wind and solar. And a million more solar roofs would mean millions more Australians running on the sun. If the Government wanted to create more jobs and ensure families can take real power over their bills, they would have kept these programs – not killed them.

      It looks like the real winners in this budget are big energy companies who want to kill renewables. Now that we know where the Government really stands, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to be done. And that’s why 100%, through our project Solar Citizens, needs your support.

      The big energy companies might have friends in Canberra – but there are many things on our side too. We have five million people who have solar, there are millions more who want to go solar, and ordinary Australian Citizens are literally taking the grid back into our own hands. So far Solar Citizens is 50,000 strong, but we need to keep growing our numbers and impact – can you chip in to help us to do this now?

      We have big plans to shape renewables and combat the voices of the big energy companies. In the next month, we’ll be bringing Solar Citizens together for large public meetings all over the country, where we’ll talk about threats to solar and prepare to take action to protect it. We are launching a new campaign to influence the federal Senators on key policy issues. And we are continually working to make sure a tax on the sun is never considered.

      But, we are only as strong as our community support, and our funding – just like our influence – is reliant on the support of many individuals like you chipping in to give a hand. Help us continue to fight back against the power companies by donating $25 or whatever you can afford today.

      The new Federal Government may not be delivering on their election promises, but if we can continue to grow in numbers and profile, we can start to show real electoral power to our politicians.

      Thanks,
      Lindsay,
      National Director, 100% Renewable

      PS – Don’t quite understand what ARENA, the CEFC and other acronyms in renewables policy are? Read a breakdown by The Age here: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/the-state-of-government-funding-for-renewable-energy-20140512-zrajr.html
      [1] http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/arena-to-go-as-abbott-breaks-more-promises-on-clean-energy-68423

      -=-=-
      100% Renewable is a community campaign for clean energy. This email was sent via Solar Citizen’s NationBuilder. Solar Citizens is a project of 100% Renewable, and all of your information has been kept confidential.

      This email was sent to peterjm66@gmail.com. To stop receiving emails, click here. But, just know, we’ll miss you!

      You can also keep up with 100% Renewable on Twitter or Facebook.

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      • #
        James (Aus.)

        Comedy gold it is, Safety.

        Having parasitised the Australian taxpayer to near death via REC’s, not to mention outrageous electricity prices with the back-up double-pay racket, the wind/solar spivs being told to stand on their own scammy feet sends them into terror and fury. And of course, reality.

        Several years ago I mentioned to a weasely “Project Manager” at an “information” day that these subsidies were their lifeblood and money supply. The prat suddenly lost his facade of professionalism and lied in a bog-rude manner; the game was there for all to see.

        Communities around Australia need to agitate with their local councils and organisations to have existing IWT’s removed, particularly from closely settled districts, to restore some semblance of economic sanity and civility.

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      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Anybody who believes that 100% renewables is possible, let alone desirable, knows nothing about the electricity supply.

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        • #
          PhilJourdan

          As Bill Clinton would say – it depends on what the meaning of “is” is. In this case what the meaning of “renewables” is. Clearly all energy sources are renewable (the law of conservation). What differentiates one source from the other is the time it takes to renew them.

          Oil, coal and NG did not magically appear out of the aether eons ago. They formed on the planet, and continue to form to this day. Ergo they are renewable. That they may take thousands or millions of years is the “time” factor.

          So those pushing renewables (who for the most part have no clue what they are talking about in the first place) are pushing all sources of energy. And yes, all energy needs can be met with renewables. They mean something else. But this is what they are saying.

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          • #

            A more accurate term for wind and solar is “energy from weather”. I often call it hunter/gatherer energy. I agree is an erroroneous term designed to get people to not really think about what this means. Also, as others have pointed out, the towers and the miles of solar panels cannot in any way be considered “renewable” and without those, wind and solar are useless. The so-called “fuel” (also another misnomer) is free but everythng done to use the free “fuel” is very expensive and must be maintained and replaced. Turbines and panels takes huge, huge amounts of minerals and synthetics to make the towers and panels. Geothermal and hydro are closer to the intended meaning on renewable (as in we get the fuel for free and we can get more anytime) but hydro is subject to snowpack and drought. Geothermal on large scale is not practical in many places but seems to be fairly stable in output.

            It was part of a very clever marketiing scam to call these “renewable” and the wind plants “farms”. We have no control whatsoever over the fuel supply to these and the installations are as industrial as any supermarket, mining facility or military installation. Acres of 400 ft towers are not “farms”. However, if you word something right, a lot of people will back you because it “sounds” good. Actual thought processes need never be engaged and are actively discouraged this way.

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      • #

        It’s great when people run on emotion and not on thought. You can sell so many things to so many people. Richness awaits! Some of us have morals and can’t bring ourselves to rip off the emotive ones so we just have to settle for trying to explain to people that life is harder and it’s harder yet when you put no thought whatsoever into it.

        20

  • #
    pat

    also worth noting – top story on Point Carbon today:

    China looks to bolster carbon market with futures trading – experts
    BEIJING, May 12 (Reuters) – China’s decision to put carbon permits on a short-list of commodities to be cleared for futures trading will attract bankers to the market and help drive clean investments in the world’s biggest-emitting nation, experts said.
    http://www..pointcarbon.com/news/reutersnews/1.5094664

    6 May: Economic Times, India: Reuters: China to launch first carbon-linked financial product on Thursday
    BEIJING: China will launch its first carbon-linked financial product on Thursday, a debt note linked to the performance
    of carbon offsets on the Shenzhen Emissions Exchange, issued by a unit of China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).
    The launch will be a first test of financial market confidence in China’s emerging emissions markets, as trading houses generally consider outright trade
    in carbon permits unattractive, since it is limited to spot deals.
    CGN will invite investments of up to 1 billion yuan ($160 million) in the medium term note, the company
    said. The note will mature after five years.
    “We see a market potential for companies to finance mitigation activities with these new products,” said Cui Xuelai, a broker at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, which will sell the product.
    “We are looking at carbon futures and other financing tools like green bonds, but it depends on how the carbon market performs,” she told a
    news agency…
    The CGN subsidiary, a wind power unit, has five wind projects that can generate up to 377,000 offsets per year if approved by the government.
    The product’s future value will be decided by a combination of a fixed rate, to be announced on Thursday, and the floating price of offsets from the five wind
    projects, as traded on the Shenzhen Emissions Exchange.
    ***(NOTE: CLIMATE BRIDGE)Shenzhen-based CCAM and Australia-headquartered Climate Bridge, two carbon specialist firms, have bought the offsets from CGN on a forward basis at an undisclosed price, but will sell them on the exchange when they are issued…
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/china-to-launch-first-carbon-linked-financial-product-on-thursday/articleshow/34720859.cms

    10

  • #
    pat

    Climate Bridge: Corporate History
    2005: Climate Bridge Ltd. is conceived by its founders, ***Cameron Hepburn and ***Alex Wyatt, on the Great Wall of China.
    2006: Climate Bridge becomes active in the Voluntary Carbon Market, and remains one of the key players in that sector today.
    2010: Acorn Capital becomes the first institutional shareholder in Climate Bridge.
    2011: Climate Bridge has now built one of the largest portfolios of CDM projects in the world.
    http://climatebridge.com/about-us/corporate-history/

    CameronHepburn.com
    Cameron is an economist with expertise in energy, resources and the environment. He is Professor of environmental economics at the University of Oxford, based at the Smith School and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, and is also Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and a Fellow at New College, Oxford…
    His work has been referred to in publications such as the Economist and the Financial Times, and he has been interviewed on television and radio in various countries…
    Public policy. Cameron is a member of the Economics Advisory Group (with Lord Stern and Professor Helm) to the UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. He served for almost a decade as a member of the Academic Panel, in the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has advised governments (e.g. China, India, UK, Australia) and international institutions (e.g. OECD, UN organisations) on energy, resources and environmental policy.
    Business. Cameron began his business career with work at oil multinational Shell, law firm Mallesons and then management consultancy McKinsey & Co. Cameron is now a founder-investor in the social enterprise and clean energy sectors.
    In 2006, with Alex Wyatt he co-founded Climate Bridge, a developer of clean energy projects in China and around the world, with offices in four countries…
    He is an investor in Purpose, a firm that uses digital technology to create mass consumer movements, and DoSustainability, a specialist electronic publisher. He also serves on Advisory Boards for other companies (e.g. the Carbon Neutral Company).
    http://www.cameronhepburn.com/

    LinkedIn: Alex Wyatt
    Director at Climate Bridge Ventures, Melbourne, Vic
    Current:
    Directorat Climate Bridge Ventures
    Directorat The Able Movement
    Young Global Leaderat World Economic Forum
    Advisory Board Memberat ClimateWorks Australia
    Directorat Climate Bridge Biomass
    Guest Lecturer, Climate Change Lawat University of Melbourne
    Deputy Chair, Selection Panelat Rhodes Scholarships (Victoria)
    Past:
    CEO and Co-founderat Climate Bridge
    Consultantat McKinsey & Company
    Rhodes scholar
    University of Oxford
    University of Melbourne
    http://au.linkedin.com/pub/alex-wyatt/0/128/ba3

    10

  • #
    pat

    Acorn Capital, who became the first institutional shareholder in Climate Bridge in 2010:

    Acorn Capital: Board of Directors
    John Steven: Chairman & Independent Non-executive Director:
    John Steven was appointed a director and non-executive chairman of the Company prior to the lodgement of the Prospectus with ASIC. He holds a Bachelor of Law (with Honours), a Bachelor of Economics and a Diploma of Commercial Law from Monash University. John is the head of the National Corporate Division and a member of the National Board of Minter Ellison. He practises in the corporate and capital markets area, particularly public and private mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings and joint ventures. He also has an extensive general corporate practice. John is currently chairman of the Advisory Committee of the private investment funds on behalf of commercial and State government investors. He was previously a Board Member of the Monash University Law Foundation.
    http://www.acorncapital.com.au/listed-investment-fund/board-of-directors.html

    these links, once again, tell us something about the scope & breadth of the CAGW “carbon” architecture that needs to be dismantled. they also tell us something about Academia’s complicity in the CAGW scam.

    30

  • #
    pat

    an oldie but goodie i stumbled across today, which says so much about CAGW economics:

    30 Sept 2013: Futures pioneer Richard Sandor praises EU emissions scheme
    One of the founding fathers of the modern futures industry has described Europe’s struggling emissions trading scheme as performing “brilliantly”, saying it has far exceeded its goal…
    Prices on the EU’s flagship policy to tackle climate change have tumbled to record lows this year, forcing the European parliament to vote to prop up prices by temporarily reducing the glut of permits. The eight-year-old scheme has also been hit by weak demand as a result of Europe’s economic woes.
    “We too often look at price as the benchmark for success of the market. Europe has really performed brilliantly,” said Mr Sandor on a visit to London. “The goal was to cut emissions by 8 per cent and they’ve cut it by 17 per cent. The efficiency of the market is not really the price,” he said.
    Mr Sandor, who is also chief executive of Environmental Financial Products, will next month receive the French Legion of Honour for his work in environmental finance and carbon trading. The award is the highest decoration awarded by France.
    He said his company had also helped China to resume trading bond futures this month for the first time in 18 years, by modelling the system on the US.
    Mr Sandor, who created the world’s first bond and interest rate futures while at the Chicago Board of Trade in the 1970s, said the move was “critically important”. “It’s being looked at with less interest than it should be,” he said…
    http://www.samachar.com/Futures-pioneer-Richard-Sandor-praises-EU-emissions-scheme-nj4uO4hbgdh.html

    10

    • #
      Andrew

      Yep, the carbon scam was so successful that it managed to cut emissions by 9% more than planned (through causing a 6-year depression that took 9% out of GDP). Brought to you by the letters E, U, C and O and the number 2.

      90

      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        Well, you can’t argue the logic. He succeeded in doing what he said he wanted to. Cut emissions from the nation.

        Awarded and recognised for successfully destroying the economy. Wonderful stuff.

        30

  • #
    pat

    i’m off to watch the tennis in Rome, so i promise this is my last comment!

    Gore out & about shilling for the likes of renewables giants, Siemens & General Electric!

    VIDEO: 13 May: Chicago Sun-Times: Mitch Dudek: GOP resistance on global warming makes Gore hot under collar
    Former Vice President Al Gore preached global warming at the University of Chicago Monday.
    Gore, who said 99.99 percent of climate scientists acknowledge the planet’s climate is changing, compared the situation to a heart problem…
    The truth, Gore said, is obstructed by politicians, money and special interest groups…
    Gore said the battle is not lost, yet.
    “I want to recruit you. I want to ask you to get involved,” Gore told the crowd of about 200 students, faculty and others at the event, which was sponsored by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
    “Our politics must come to the rescue and must empower us to make intelligent forceful decisions to protect the public interest, and we are not yet doing it … now is the time to act,” said Gore, who proclaimed “a revolution is coming” in the form of alternative energy…
    After Gore finished his prepared remarks, he sat for a discussion with David Axelrod, director of the Institute of Politics.
    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/washington/gop-resistance-global-warming-makes-gore-hot-under-collar/mon-05122014-1012pm

    51

  • #
    Joe

    So now we have a bigger Hydrocarbon tax but at least we won’t be giving it to the UN.

    90

  • #
    MadJak

    It’s a pity they didn’t can the ABC,

    Personally, I say cut the welfare and the NDIS completely. Being a guest worker of australia, I see no point in paying for those systems. For anybody.

    94

  • #
    warcroft

    Do we still have a carbon tax?
    I havent been keeping up with things the past month. Whats happening with the carbon tax? Is it being kept to help pay off the debt now?

    30

    • #

      The Carbon tax is a legislation thing — not a budget choice. The Coalition need more support in the Senate or it would have already gone. Maybe they will get it through in July when the new senate starts.

      150

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Housing and community amenities
      Environment protection.
      …The increase in expenses after 2014-15 is primarily due to the implementation of the Emissions Reduction Fund.

      The Environment portfolio includes…
      Emissions Reduction Fund… +$300M/yr
      Green Army… $500M.
      planting “20 million trees”… +$50M.

      Why do this? They can’t be doing this to appease the Greens because they appear to be cutting $300K from the Whale and Dolphin Protection Plan.

      The BoM’s supercomputer expenses are “Not For Publication”. ;)

      But wait, I found the Chris Turney line item:

      The Department will implement a number of new and continued measures from 2014-15, including:
      Strengthening Australia’s Antarctic transport capabilities, including a Request for Tender for a replacement Antarctic Icebreaker, which enable Australia to continue to run a credible Antarctic scientific research programme and enable Australia’s ongoing presence in Antarctica.

      A new facial eggification prevention strategy is in progress.

      91

      • #
        the Griss

        I guess Greg Hunt knows where all the skeltons are.

        he seems to way more tow than he should have.

        10

  • #
    pat

    at the end of a set of tennis, i thought i’d switch to ABC to maybe catch a summary of the budget. what was on? Flannery & John Doyle in China. didn’t watch ten seconds, but this article suggests the program is pure Fantasy. looks like this program somewhat pointedly followed ABC’s Budget coverage:

    7 May: West Australian: Pam Brown: Where size matters
    Close friends comedian John Doyle and environmentalist Tim Flannery are on the road again but this time they are not in a tinnie on the Murray- Darling rivers or climbing the Great Divide.
    They are in China, where they follow the mountains of iron ore and coal being exported from Australia.
    Two Men in China sees the odd couple use their combination of ad-lib comedy and scientific fact to analyse life in the giant Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.
    Speaking from his home in Melbourne, Flannery said that two things struck him – the magnitude of the ore being moved and the pollution in China.
    In the first episode of the three-part ABC series, he uses a striking analogy – that the amount of ore removed from the Pilbara is equivalent to scooping off the top 2m of the soil in Tasmania.
    Flannery, now head of Australia’s Climate Council and a former Australian of the Year, admits that that was a very rough calculation.
    “It might be wrong but we were trying to get a grip on what was gone,” he said.
    “We have literally shipped away mountains of iron ore to China. The impact on planet Earth is beyond comprehension it is so large…
    Working in the pollution during the seven-week shoot for the series was a problem, though Flannery said the Chinese were making impressive inroads into reducing it.
    “I am pretty in tune with my own environment – I know when we are in a sick environment and China’s was dire. It is depressing to see all of those people who are going to die of lung cancer early and all of that environmental damage and the species that used to be there that are gone
    “We were both sick all the time.”
    But he added that the Chinese were moving incredibly fast to combat pollution.
    “I just saw this week that their targets for coal burning have been brought forward from 2017 to 2014, so they are years ahead of schedule in terms of getting rid of their old coal-fired plants,” he said.
    “I should say the coal-fired plants here would not pass muster in China as they are too old and too polluting. The Chinese are burning a lot of coal but they are doing it more efficiently than we are.”…
    The show is not scripted and Doyle’s often whacky humour is spontaneous.
    “You can’t script that sort of stuff,” Flannery laughed. “John is a comic genius. He is a wonderful jolly hangman: he can give you the bad news in a comic sort of way. And he is far more gloomy than I am; I am much more of an optimist.”
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/television/a/23292641/where-size-matters/

    ABC: Two Men in China
    John Doyle and Tim Flannery’s engaging journey of discovery through China to peer into the future of the Australia-China relationship
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/two-men-in-china/

    30

    • #
      Andrew

      Sorry, is Tom Foolery suggesting that we should get rid of our old, inefficient coal burners and switch to modern USC coal?

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    • #
      Peter C

      Did Doyle say something funny? In the transcript it sems like Flannery is the comedian

      40

      • #
        Safetyguy66

        The Ad was enough Flannery for me, I have no intention of watching him demonstrate his stupidity on the screen. I sat through half an episode of 2 fools in a boat. I lived in Mildura at the time and I openly ridiculed the suggestions on that program that Doyle and Flannelbrain would be the last people to sail the Murray from start to finish as it would be dried up within 12 months. Seriously pathetic.

        In the ad for this lamed brained escapade into alarmism, they walk up to a car in the street and wipe a finger through the grime on it, they then seem to be suggesting it is evidence of extreme pollution from fossil fuels. This may well be the case but let me guess, did Flannery make any effort to establish how long the car had been sitting there? 1 day? 1 minute? 1 year? Do I even need to wait for an answer or can I assume its Tim’s usual half baked approach to anything remotely associated with science and evidence. I saw a duck therefore grass will die in England due to decreased selenium in Ethiopian forest floor litter. No that makes too much sense to be from Tim.

        51

    • #
      Diogenes

      I wonder if they filmed the pollution lakes associated with, & furnaces used to make, the rare earth magnets for windmills or the solar panel factories.

      10

  • #
    LevelGaze

    It’s a cautious and sensible start, given there is no Coalition majority in the Senate. I would expect bolder in the next Budget, if they can be re-elected.
    At least the overseas broadcasting arm has been taken from the ABC (as I understand it at the present time).
    All in all, a qualified thumbs-up though we could have done without the ludicrous paid maternity leave provisions staying – Lord only knows what Abbot was thinking when he dreamed that one up.

    100

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      the ludicrous paid maternity leave provisions

      Abbot signaled that before the election, when he told a female ABC reporter that he wanted all working women to have the same maternity provisions that Public Servants enjoyed.

      40

      • #
        LevelGaze

        So, grant immensely more people the same ridiculous welfare that a relatively small number of long-pampered fat cats enjoy?
        How can that be good governance?

        50

      • #
        LevelGaze

        Sorry RW,
        I might be misconstrued as having taken your comment as an excuse rather than an explanation.

        Mal.

        00

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    hahahaa ahhh, what did ABC luvvie blogger Tim Dunlop moan about on The Drum last week:

    It doesn’t matter how mild the Budget appears when it is finally released next week, the attempts to destroy the pillars of egalitarian Australian civilisation – universal health care, universal education, and a minimum wage – are not going to stop.
    The whole reason the conservative parties exist is to enact precisely this agenda. If they don’t succeed today they will still be there tomorrow, or next week, or next election or in 20 years pushing for the same changes.

    I skipped the speech and The Australian and the overview and just jumped straight to the “Statement 6: Expenses and Net Capital Investment” :

    _____________________________2013/14| 2014/15| 2015/16
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Education___________________ 29,707 | 29,553 | 30,206
    Health______________________ 64,511 | 66,892 | 68,203
    Social security and welfare_ 140,569 | 145,773 | 149,269

    Education – `tis barely a scratch.
    Health – a 3.6% boost which is a 1.3% boost in real terms.
    Welfare – a 3.7% boost which is 1.4% boost in real terms.

    Yes the Welfare State appears to be live and kicking under Abbott’s first term.
    So you can see the problem here. They are going to hate the Liberals for not making it easy to hate them!

    Savings made in other areas got funnelled into a $8 billion dollar boost for:

    Other Purposes
    the increase in expenses from 2014-15 to 2017-18 primarily reflects growing general revenue assistance payments (largely GST) to be made to the States and Territories, increasing public debt interest costs and the conservative bias allowance component of the Contingency Reserve

    The financial and fiscal affairs component of public services went down several billion but this is described as a one-off grant to the RBA, which I have interpreted to mean 2013/14 was unusually high and not that 2014/15 has been cut from normal, but if anyone finds more detail on that please tell.

    Mining and construction got slashed, so they aren’t trying to build infrastructure at the same time as paying down Labor’s debt, something had to give and mining/construction was part of it.

    All sounds fairly ordinary so far. I thought Abbott666 was going to bring the world to an end.
    Abbottcalypse Ciao?

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    • #
      Joe

      Andrew Mc, I think it is an over simplification to just look at the expenditure figures. While things like the aged pension come under welfare expenditure, the taxpayer costs associated with superannuation, which is moving to replace the pension, are not considered as welfare costs. This is largely because this funding comes through foregoing large amounts of tax revenue with generous tax breaks which mostly benefit those on higher marginal tax rates. Even at the lower income levels, I don’t think the Government superannuation co-payment (which is now gone)was ever posted as a Welfare expense.

      10

  • #
    Radical Rodent

    Hmmm… like “Cast-iron” Camoron’s “bonfire of the quangoes”. I would not hold your breath on this; wait until the next election, and then see how much actually was cut.

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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      That’s a wise precaution, Mr Rodent.
      I apologise for my temporary cessation of suspicion of Australian governments.

      I still wonder how the ire is being raised with reactions like this:

      The GP co-payment attracted the most ire, with many groups saying it would make access to primary care more difficult.
      “It sends a message to Australians that you shouldn’t get sick … and you shouldn’t get old,” Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association head Charmaine Crowe said.
      Changes to family benefits, including a temporary pause on the indexation of payments and programs, and changes to the eligibility thresholds for Newstart also caused concern.

      Total spending on Health and Welfare increased in this budget over last year.
      If a total expense increase occurs and it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, yes, that would be a shame.
      There is a chance that new conditions on welfare/services will mean a significant fraction of what’s budgeted will never actually be paid to anyone.

      You say wait to see what was cut. Okay, so while you’re waiting you can also wait to see how the new rules on expenses work out.

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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Well, we all have to take our suspicion and cynicism offline, once in a while, for maintenance and upgrade purposes.

        But, in this instance, your timing could have been better managed.

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  • #
    Sceptical Sam

    At first glance I’m appalled at how mild it is.

    It is not going to do what needs to be done. I’m very disappointed in Joe. I’d hoped he’d do the job – but?

    I shake my head in despair at the lost opportunity.

    They will get slammed by the green lefties and Labor. That was always going to happen, no matter what they did.

    The next Budget will, by necessity, be even weaker. This was their one chance.

    Buy gold. We’re stuffed.

    How do we ever get the message through to these politicians?

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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Steady on. Government debt is only 12% of GDP. That’s low compared to other large countries.
      It’s good they are paying it down to reduce total interest payments, but… it was not a disaster.

      Did you mean there should have have been cuts in more areas? Like bringing Government revenue as % of GDP from 25% down to.. say.. 20% ?

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      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        Andrew,

        Don’t “steady on” me matey.

        In the 6 years under the green left comrades the Commonwealth debt grew to approx $300 Billion and will grow to $670 Billion without serious action. This Budget, while addressing some of that, has missed the opportunity to turn Australia around and get those billions quickly under control.

        Much of the saving has been pushed off to 2016-17. They’ve kicked the can down the road until after the next election. The damage needs to be fixed in this term of LNP government because we all know, from bitter experience what will happen if the green left Labor socialists ever get back into power.

        If you want to live in Greece be my guest. Catch a plane.

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        • #
          Andrew McRae

          Okay, I won’t tell you to steady on, on the condition you don’t call me “matey”.

          Greece didn’t just have public debt of 27% GDP, they had public debt of 105% GDP in 2007, and the following year had an annual budget deficit of 15%. They also had 40% of GDP being gobbled up by public sector employment, plus were heavily reliant on tourism. That is a very different scenario to Australia. Compared with Greece, Australia’s debt ratio is much lower. Australia’s debt ratio was already on the way down before our last election, including a 7% drop in one year that Swannie must have pulled out from under his mattress. After foreign loans, our net debt is 12% GDP. Our budget deficit is only 3% this year. It should be between 1% and surplus, of course, but the trends did not and do not point to a Greek outcome.
          (Cypress Express, perhaps, but not Greece.)

          The absolute debt figure is not important. Debt is bad only when it can’t be repaid. Expressing it as a percentage of GDP, or tax revenue, is the more appropriate gauge of how bad it is. I don’t personally know of any particular reason why net debt 12% is disastrous for Australia but not disastrous for other developed countries that have national debts of 50% or more.

          It’s good the debt repayments have increased, if only by 3 billion per year. If future governments continued to repay it at this new Budget rate how many years would it take to bring the debt back to the target recommended by the Audit Commission of 5% GDP? That will put the severity into some sort of perspective.
          If the net debt is 400B then it will take 15 years at this budget’s rate of 17B/y, which is not nearly soon enough but the trend does not take us anywhere near a Greece situation.

          Since Greece is so different, wouldn’t it make sense to compare current debt levels to Australia’s recent past instead of to present day Greece? It took Costello’s budgeting almost 10 years to pay Keating’s debt down to 10% GDP, from 1996 to 2007, and yet Costello inherited debt of 33% GDP. Any suggestion the Rudd/Gillard debt of 27% is unprecedented would be false.

          Yes the debt is too high for our liking and Hockey’s new debt repayments aren’t fast enough, but the Greece comparison was just a teeeny bit dramatic. Read Keen’s column for more reasons to think 12% was not an urgent Aegean disaster.

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          • #
            Sceptical Sam

            Andrew McRae says: “Debt is bad only when it can’t be repaid”.

            Do you want to reconsider that statement Andrew?

            Debt is bad when it is used to fund consumption – and that’s what Labor’s debt mess was used for.

            Debt carries an opportunity cost which constrains future expenditure and private sector growth

            Government borrowing squeezes out productive private sector borrowing.

            Increased government spending adversely impacts on corporate profits and private spending.

            Here, get al alternative view to the liberal one you seem to hold:

            http://www.nber.org/digest/jan00/w7207.html

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            • #
              bobl

              Agreed, I tell my kids… “Never use debt to fund a depreciating asset” that is, debt should only be used to fund invesfments.

              Now those who know a bit more will want to point out that debt can be useful to reduce your tax liability in certain circumstances which results in your being in a better position than without the debt… eg Negative gearing, novated leasing and the like. But when it comes to educating 20 somethings I think the simple version is best. It a bit hard for governments to use tax breaks though!

              Before the lefties start to bleat about negative gearing, let me remind them that negative gearing is nothing more than making a Nett loss. Let’s say you have a market stall, you buy 100,000 of food but can only sell it for 60,000 because some spoiled, you made 40,000 in your day job. So in the end you had to fork out the 40K from your day job on your weekend job, do you reckon you should be taxed on 40,000 or the money you really made (nothing).

              Property is the same you get taxed on your profits, which is any rent less costs (and interest on the loan is clearly a cost, as would be the interest on any loan you took out to buy the veggies in the market stall example), and the capital gain when you come to sell the property.

              But I digress, moral of the story, governments shouldn’t borrow to buy depreciating assets either.

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          • #
            Sceptical Sam

            Andrew,

            You might also like to read this:

            http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/fotopoulos/english/brvarious/restruct_irae_92.htm

            Check Table 1 to see how government debt grows over time if it is not constrained. Note also what happened to private debt.

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  • #
    Andrew

    To be fair, while they haven’t altered spending a lot they’re substituted 20,000 seatwarmers for a huge investment in roads and rail construction. I know which I’d prefer as a taxpayer (and I’m paying a LOT more tax after this budget).

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  • #

    The only thing that can be predicted with 97% certainty (actually, virtually 100% certainty) is that politicians will lie to get elected and fail to act on that which was promised. It may be that they fail to dismantle the socialism they promised or it may be they don’t get enough income redistribution accomplished, but you can predict with certainty they will lie and they will fail to act. And they’ll all have flimsy, worthless excuses for why it happened.

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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      At the centre of working politics, you have the Political Policy Advisors, saying, “This” is what needs to be done, in order to remain in power, based on their “research”.

      You also have the various Ministry and Departmental Public Servants and their Policy Researchers, saying, “This” needs to be done, for these reasons, based on this research, from these experts.

      Then you have the forward commitments, made by previous Governments, under various treaties and supranational agreements.

      Now, guess what? These things very rarely agree with each other because Politicians, in the main, are opportunistic, and will do anything to stay in the journalistic limelight, and it is my personal observation that the last mob of red/green/puce were especially so.

      Having a change of government, does not imply an immediate change in policy direction. Policy has more inertia than any physical substance known to mankind.

      What the public sees, is a change in lipstick on the pig.

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      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        Back in the 13th in Florence. When the political party got booted from power (voted out by the electorate), the entire political party was also exiled from the country. Refer Dante Alighieri for details.

        I personally would like this idea implemented in Australia. It would make the politicians more responsible for their decisions, and have more than “zero” consequence for screwing the electorate.

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        • #
          Joe

          Maybe, but why go to all that trouble when you could just put them in a tub of water before they are elected and see if they float?

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  • #
    TdeF

    “The CSIRO, which invented WiFi”. This is becoming truth by repetition. In reality the CSIRO had only one patent of many the patents which were used for what was finally created by many others and called WiFi by others. It did produced an income of around $650Million, but this came from patent lawsuits, not commercialization. An annual investment in R&D of $1Bn+ for 70 years should return better than that. It is hard to argue that the CSIRO has a line of commercial successes in any field. Basically public service commercial research does not work and the CSIRO is largely a sheltered workshop while the Gillard governement killed off large scale commercial research by removing the R&D tax deduction for big companies, so R&D in Australia by groups like Telstra, BHP, Banks is absurdly taxed like any commercial activity. So it is dying or dead now. The Greens thought the money could be spent elsewhere because they cannot understand that a tax deduction is not a subsidy. No science and no accounting either. The people against everything. Six years of a Labor/Green government has done untold damage to Australia but the CSIRO is fine. Cloud seeding anyone?

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    • #
      Safetyguy66

      And we can only wonder at what other potentially useful research the CSIRO will have to cut in order to keep funding the studies into something they cant quantify, explain, model, manage or control. Hopefully a little belt tightening might keep some blood north of the waist band and encourage clearer thinking.

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  • #
    bobl

    Hmm,
    There’s a lot to like, eg the medical research fund, the infrastructure.. Exactly what labor should have done for stimulus instead of wasted 900 dollar cheques. The cuts to green agencies. Some things not to like

    Pensioners should not be hit, they have very little capacity to adapt, and getting pensioners to work until 70 is NOT the problem, getting employers to hire till 70, now THATS a problem. Also, if you save for yourself and therefore aren’t eligible for benefits then you can’t access the employment co-pqyment for over 50′s …. dumb ! The new energy tax (excise increase) is regressive and will drive up business input costs – very, very bad, and the removal of controls on university fees is also very bad long term for the economy. Instead they should provide ways for universities to get more corporate support. Applied research should be funded. by industry, pure research by govenment, and climate change research by greenpeace, since im not particularly bothered by greenpeace pizzing it up against the wall. Also a bit worried that the 6 month wait to unemployment benefit will drive up crime, I think that one has tentacles.

    I would also have levied a financial levy on sales of aussie dollars, eg when forex exchange from aud to other currencies, and looked at changes to sole parent welfare, and the first home owners grants that encourage kids to take out loans they can’t afford to service. Id hack the CSIRO more, gone is the climate divisions, and I’d spin off the profit making bits into public companies and float them. I think I’d have looked at some asset/land sales too. Wonder how much a national park is worth?, maybe we could sell off Tasmania, maybe the Americans would like to buy Rottnest island or at least the Naval Base? I’d sell off Canberra but noone would want it …

    On the whole though maybe 6/10 I give them a pass.

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    • #
      Debbie

      Maybe everyone could also pay back 50% of those $900 cheques?
      My recollection was that it was about $40billion?

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  • #
    PhilJourdan

    Don’t count on all those government positions going away. The “Armageddon” of the US, the old “Sequester” amounted to 1 job loss.

    And as far as the “slashing”, if the budget is not increased by at least twice the rate of inflation, that is a cut. So an actual cut is really a “slashing” in government speak.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      We’re so far up the creek that a crash is inevitable. And I’ve no good idea how to survive it.

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        And no one in DC cares, in fact many still believe we can sustain this spending and borrowing by one kind of trickery or another. Yet the world is slowly but ever more rapidly moving away from the dollar as the world’s currency. And suddenly we will be hung out to dry by our own negligence.

        Look up bill HR 2847 and specifically the FACTA that begins implementation by the IRS on July 1. It is ostensibly a measure to make it more difficult to hide assets from income tax liability. Sounds good, yes? But it will do more, much more… …and we will all regret it.

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      • #
        ianl8888

        Roy

        A while ago, some of my Russian colleagues (geologists) were telling me about the Gorbachev “reform” time – we knew it as glasnost

        The key “reform”, and not at all well reported in the West’s MSM, was an overnight currency depreciation of about 90% !. This was not forewarned. It essentially meant that one went to bed on the night with the equivalent of, say, AUD$100,000 in life savings, and woke the next morning with equivalent AUD$10,000

        I have no idea at all of how to survive a crash such as that. Many Russians did not survive it, of course. Murderous anarchy took over, alleviated only by an interim alcoholic President with just enough political credibility to prevent all-out civil war

        Note I am not suggesting Aus is in a similar predicament of debt requiring such drastic action to pull the country out. But is is a very sobering example

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          …was an overnight currency depreciation of about 90% !

          Ian,

          That was truly a knockout blow to the average Soviet citizen. Our situation is deteriorating a little differently but looks like having a similar end result even if it unfolds a little slower.

          The Federal Reserve here is trying to run a fatally flawed operation, keeping interest rates down to put off the inevitable. When they finally begin to believe they can’t do that anymore, all hell will break loose. And we’re still doing what put the whole economy into a tailspin in 2008, making bad loans to people who don’t qualify for them by any reasonable measure and giving never a care for recent history. Ever heard of HARP, Home Affordable Refinance Program or words to that effect. It’s a damned replay of government backed bad loans that we should know better than to do. But the bastards who run things don’t care.

          But our problem is far bigger than that. Our debt is so large we’re borrowing (means printing money with which the Fed buys our debt) just to pay the interest. That’s like the proverbial snake eating it’s own tail. It can only go so far… …and then comes the piper with the bill, which bill we will pay with many years of suffering I’m afraid.

          Right now other countries are quietly changing what is the worlds currency from dollars to the Yuan or some other currency; striking deals to allow international debts to be settled in some other currency; all this where a few years ago it would have been the dollar without question. But what else do you do if you don’t trust the value of a dollar? And the world bank, never a friend of the U.S., is in the thick of it.

          At the same time, for U.S. residents they’re making it un viable to put your assets into any other currency except the dollar, all in the name of preventing tax dodges by those who have assets worth protecting from ravaging by the federal government. The law, HR-2847, specifically the so-called FACTA provision is the critical part and the IRS is implementing it on July 1. While the specific language doesn’t say what I just said, the net effect will eventually be effectively that. Read what SNOPES says about it. The last part is the interesting part.

          I expect tax rates to go up; I expect 401-K and IRA accounts to eventually be appropriated by DC and their value replaced by an equivalent “value” of treasury bonds and there’ll be nothing anyone can do about it. Some are already talking about doing it. And treasury bonds will be useful only to paper the walls of your house because the rate of return will be controlled by the Fed, not the market and whatever it’s supposedly worth will be hot air by then anyway. They are desperate in DC to hold their fraud together. The president lives high on the hog at our expense and pays attention apparently to nothing but; 1) his agenda of dragging down his country and ; 2) keeping his allies in power.

          It’s an ugly picture and I don’t see how anyone can escape it unless they have a lot of money already in assets that this nonsense can’t touch. And even there, the heavy hand of a desperate government can do almost anything, Constitution and it’s own laws be damned.

          I suspect the only ones who will end up staying intact financially will be the politicians and their allies, who’ll have some loophole that protects them.

          And my question to those who challenge what the video says is this: can you refute any of the claims made about what’s happening? I don’t like being alarmist. But I don’t like missing the obvious signs of serious trouble ahead either.

          This next election looks like the showdown. If we can pull off a Conservative majority in the Senate and increase our Conservative majority in the house then we’ve a chance. But otherwise it’s a disaster and the United States changes forever.

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          • #
            PhilJourdan

            I expect 401-K and IRA accounts to eventually be appropriated by DC and their value replaced by an equivalent “value” of treasury bonds and there’ll be nothing anyone can do about it.

            Actually there is something that can be done. But it is painful to most people (and perhaps even self defeating). Everyone can liquidate their IRA/401K. However for those under 60 (actually 59.5), the proposition costs 10% off the top and then taxes on the rest at the sum total of their earnings for the year plus the value of the accounts.

            Those over 60 can move the money out immediately into other ventures, with no penalty, and just the tax.

            And I agree the government is salivating over it. But as with all things government, they are forgetting the law of unintended consequences.

            Currently the ONLY thing propping up the market is the feds pumping $1 trillion into it each year. Plus the fact that there is no place to put your retirement except under a mattress or in the market. Once the feds pull that money out of the market, not even the Federal reserve will be able to sustain the market and it will crash. (think of it as the new bubble bursting). That of course will lead to a real bad recession (not a depression as a depression is defined as the money supply shrinking and the Fed reserve will keep printing money) that makes the Democrat CRA recession look like a minor blip.

            And it will have the affect of massive unemployment, and plummeting tax revenues, which will defeat the purpose in the first place. But they will do it because they (like the IPCC0 ignore the reality that does not fit the narrative.

            The Fed Reserve “QE” crap is a tar baby. They are stuck to it, and there is no way out of it that even remotely is easy or soft. We are headed for a correction. The only question is when. Even the “how hard” is not in question. Harder than anything experienced to date.

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      • #
        bobl

        Bricks and Mortar, or other ‘property’ eg gold, only certain things in the end. If you own a big enough chunk of Oz then you can always farm it to eat.

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      • #
        PhilJourdan

        agreed. Not if, but when.

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  • #
    Al in Cranbrook

    Any time a government can bring in a budget that just holds growth in spending to zero over the previous year, is a victory these days…particularly if doesn’t allow for inflation.

    There’s something to be said for “incremental” change, a strategy/philosophy employed by PM Harper here in Canada. Small hits over time to the “system” are easier for voters to swallow, if not less controversial, then getting hammered in one fell swoop. Nevertheless, a predominantly liberal left media will do their damnedest to wring every bit of hysterical indignation out of even the least measures of austerity.

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    I’m not really qualified to comment here. But if your budget is anything like ours, fasten your seat belts because the ride will get quite wild.

    00

    • #
      Tanner

      Roy

      Aus is in a much better financial position than the US with debt at less than 20% of GDP. The budget is about as good as it can get in the circumstances with aiming for a return to surplus in about 4 years. A fuel levy of 1 cent a litre – Gee, the price of fuel changes by about 10c a litre every week end!

      My understanding is that China owns a lot of the US debt and has been buying up a lot of gold. China may not accept debt repayment from the US in US dollars and ask for repayment in Gold which the US does not have enough of. I expect the world may revert back to the gold standard in the future with currencies backed by gold in which case the US dollar will no longer be the preferred currency!

      Western democracies are run by politicians who are not the best individuals to be running countries but that is all you can vote for ;) .China on the other hand, whilst not a democracy, is run by the best and brightest. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out?

      10

      • #
        bobl

        Huh?

        China is run by a single party communist government, such bodies automatically weed out anyone with talent lest they get the better of the powerbrokers. Take a look at the NSW royal commission to get some idea of what chinese internal politics will be like… I Imagine Eddie Obeid equates to your best and brightest. There is no incentive in a single party system to elevate talent, none at all. Even in our partly competitive system we still end up with leaders like Latham, Gillard and Rudd, imagine if there was no opposition to beat?

        10

      • #
        Roy Hogue

        I should sometimes include /sarc or ;-) where I don’t. I expect that you in Oz are definitely in a better financial position than we are without a doubt. We’ve been run for 5 years by an absolute numskull when it comes to money who has no leadership ability and is literally bluffing his way through his presidency. He’s been helped along by two of the worst of the political breed I’ve ever seen, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. I’ve thought several times that I wish I could trade the 3 of them for Julia Gillard. ;-) So that will tell you what I think of our current “leadership” (John Boehner isn’t much either). But budgeting assumptions can hide a lot of shenanigans by politicians in this country and I expect also in Oz.

        As for what will be happening in the future, if you can wade through the long winded sales pitch in my comment here I think you’ll get the expectation of one of our more successful financial analyst firms about it. But beware, it’s long winded and is a sales pitch for his advisory newsletter.

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  • #
    Fred

    After public outrage over the ABC, a tap on the wrist… It shows that the ABC is feared by even our government. Meanwhile we’re left with the pain of a billion dollar drain on the budget that many Australians are disturbed by.

    Time to rethink my next vote.

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    • #
      Peter C

      Check out the Liberal Democratic Party!
      http://www.ldp.org.au/

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    • #
      James Bradley

      Time will tell Fred, I watched a couple of interviews last night and was surprised that the ABC lefty commenmtators laid off a fair bit and allowed some ositive opinions from conservative business and finacial groups so maybe there were deals done between the government and the ABC to ensure a more subjective coverage – I’m just suspicious when I see even small changes in behaviour and then notice thet ABC wasn’t targeted for any meaningful cuts.

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  • #
    handjive

    Meh?
    It’s a Parallel Universe.

    WHEN the Australian ‘conservative party’, the Liberal Party:

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt – “I want to re-affirm today the Government’s clear, strong support for the science underpinning climate change, recognition of the need for both domestic and global action, and our commitment to the 5 per cent target as we go forward.

    IS in goose-step lockstep with the Marxist endorsed, fraudulent United Nations-IPCC global wealth redistribution programme:

    IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer – “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.
    One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.”

    AND, the Australian Greens are opposed to a extra tax on the rich

    I shakes me head in bewilderment.
    It’s like waking up in a parallel universe.

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    • #
      the Griss

      I really can’t see the Liberals winning the next election.

      They have not gone hard enough on things like climate funding to keep many Liberal voters happy.

      But who to vote for when you have 2 major parties that are centre-left and far-left.

      Shudder.. I see PUP making further inroads.

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    • #
      handjive

      In an attempt at fairness, here is John Connor@ABC squealing:

      The budget has it backwards on climate

      “A budget that rips hundreds of millions of dollars away from climate science, international climate finance and clean technology research programs.”

      Squeals from that hypocritical carpetbagger is music to my ears!

      Though it should be ‘billion$’, not ‘million$’.

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      • #
        PhilJourdan

        It is also a good opportunity to tell the truth. merely scream back at him that he is trying to starve children and women to pay for bird choppers.

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      handjive

      Interesting suggestion: End the concept of ‘career politician’.

      The Death of Representative Government – The Real Conspiracy – Crisis in Democracy

      Within the 6000 year history of society, each and every instance we see no external groups or plots from the private sector that destroys civilization, that always comes from within government.

      We do not accept Presidents for life – we should not accept ANY politician for life at any level.

      The G20 is now coordinating as a single cooperative entity to hunt down money everywhere. Welcome to the new face of Marxism.

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  • #
    the Griss

    Will Labor and the Greens block the budget and force a double dissolution ?

    Who would win a dd at this stage?

    20

    • #
      the Griss

      Then Shorten will be PM under the thumb of the Greens and PUP.

      Australians will finally have the government they deserve.

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    • #
      TdeF

      The repeal of the Carbon and Mining taxes has been presented twice and refused twice. The trigger for the double dissolution has long been in place. It may be why the budget is not as severe as it could have been, as the new Senators in July will be asked if they want their jobs.

      Every move is part of a chess game played as poker because of the sort attention span of the popular press. They can only see today’s move, but everything is being readied. Abbott could not want a better strategic opponent than wimp Bill “whatever she said” Shorten. There are three Royal Commissions underway at present and both previous PMs are going to be cross examined this week on disastrous judgement, even criminal activity and criminal negligence while Julia’s Commission into the Catholic Church will find nothing which was not already known and will not damage the PM.

      The government is more than ready for the battle in the Senate. They have been preparing since September.

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      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Even if the new Senate blocks the repeal of the Carbon Tax and other measures, e.g. the RET, and a double dissolution looks poor, the government could effectively negate those measures by increasing the number of (renewable) certificates issued.

        HEADLINES: Government boosts aid to wind and solar to fight Climate Change! From today the number of REC issued will be tripled!
        RESULT: The price of the certificates will drop but it is unlikely that either Labor or the Greens have any idea about supply and demand, so may make welcoming noises.

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          the Griss

          And of course only make those renewable certificates usable in Australia.. ie NO Nigerian trading !!

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        scaper...

        You are mistaken, TdeF. Neither bill has been presented and rejected twice as of yet.

        The only bill that has been rejected twice is the closing down of the clean energy finance department or whatever it is called.

        Remember the $10B to finance what the banks won’t touch? I expect to vote again this year.

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    Geoff Sherrington

    Much depends on the Senate. A new PM with your best intentions well known is presently handicapped as to what can be done and how quickly.
    The budget proposals include room to give away points to get reform through the Senate. Some of your knee-jerk dislikes might be negotiated away like this.
    Alternatively, if a double dissolution is now part of the Conservative plan, the budget will include elements designed for a best DD result.
    The political strategies, in many ways, dominate the outcome. A major philosophical attack on our political structure would currently fail to swing Australia far away from its present burden of handouts, union work practices and general anti free enterprise thinking. It has to be softly, softly.
    Part of this prediction is because of the failure of the Opposition, including Greens, to accept that their performance for the past 6 years was bloody awful by any objective standard. They wil continue to fight for their failed ways instead of becoming partly cooperative about reform whose direction is obvious even to Blind Freddie.
    Wait a while to see what actually happens, rather than what people think wīll happen, because there is still to much guessing going on.

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    janama

    Abbott and Hockey are fully aware of the ridiculous funding that goes to wind farms and solar power. They have instigated a full inquiry into it and you can expect some action later in the year – it’s all tied up in legislation created by Labor so it’s a complex path to dismantle it.

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    pat

    another reminder – as if one is necessary – that CAGW is not a left/right thing:

    JAMIE SHEA of NATO interviewed by RTCC’s Ed King:

    13 May: RTCC: Ed King: UN climate treaty vital for global security, warns senior NATO official
    Militaries will bear the brunt of worse disasters if world fails to strike emissions reduction deal in 2015, says Jamie Shea.
    One of NATO’s most senior officials says militaries could find themselves overwhelmed by the scale of natural disasters if a global agreement to tackle climate change is not reached in Paris next year. In an interview with RTCC, ***JAMIE SHEA***, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, said projected temperature rises above and beyond 2C were alarming the global security community.
    Further global warming had the potential to exacerbate what he termed the “development-terrorism nexus”, encouraging Al Qaeda and other terror groups, as well as placing extreme stress on military efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to areas affected by drought, flooding or storms.
    “If we do nothing and there is no agreement, we could go up to more alarming scenarios. Then even the military, particularly with the budgets we have at the moment, could be somewhat overwhelmed,” he told RTCC…
    NATO does not have an official position on the UN’s proposed climate treaty, but Shea said he agreed with those who believe global warming is one of the world’s greatest security threats.“Personally – and if I can be so arrogant as to talk for the global security community – I think it is. The problems that we are already facing today, the fact that disasters seem to be more frequent and violent, particularly in Asia, they have a paralysing effect on the economy, electricity grid and transport system.” …
    “It would be very short sighted to think that suddenly that because a crisis like Ukraine has come up we can forget about all of the more intellectually demanding and complicated, but potentially much more in the long run significant causes of unrest,” he said…
    NATO’s focus on climate change could increase later this year, when former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg replaces Anders Fogh Rasmussen as chief of the organisation. Currently serving as Ban Ki-moon’s climate change envoy, Stoltenberg arrives with a reputation as one of Europe’s most progressive and green politicians, with a keen awareness of the variety of threats posed by a warming planet…
    http://www.rtcc.org/2014/05/13/un-climate-treaty-vital-for-global-security-warns-senior-nato-official/

    JAMIE SHEA of NATO called out by one of The Guardian’s CAGW gatekeepers, Nafeez Ahmed. Nafeez’s latest article was mocked on CAGW sceptic sites: “Behind the rise of Boko Haram – ecological disaster, oil crisis, spy games”:

    8 May: Guardian: Nafeez Ahmed: Think tank behind Tory foreign policy promotes Arab world fossil fuel hegemony
    Henry Jackson Society courts corporate, political power to advance a distinctly illiberal oil and gas agenda in Mideast
    Last week, I wrote about the expansion of the American right-wing website Breitbart News Network into the UK, a prime example of the converging forces of climate denialism, fossil fuel addiction, and xenophobia…
    As I’d pointed out, Breitbart’s managing editor Raheem Kassam is an Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society (HJS)…
    Among the HJS Statement’s signatories are Gerard Baker, chief editor at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal; Paul Beaver, special advisor to the Parliamentary Defence Committee; ***JAMIE SHEA,*** NATO deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges; Irwin Stelzer, Rupert Murdoch’s former right-hand man; Col Tim Collins, CEO of security services firm New Century; Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 during the Iraq War WMD farce; several government ministers – secretary of state for education Michael Gove, culture minister Ed Vaizey, and minister for universities and science, David Willetts; among many other Labour and Conservative MPs…
    Indeed, the Society’s list of international patrons reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of American right-wing hawks. Stand-out names include Michael Chertoff, former US homeland security secretary; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – the notorious Reagan administration-founded, Congressional funded ‘NGO’ specialising in providing funds on behalf of “a very particular form of low-intensity democracy chained to pro-market economics” to support “handpicked pro-market allies”; Bruce Jackson, foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain during his 2008 presidential candidacy; Robert Kagan, foreign policy adviser to President Obama’s then secretary of state Hillary Clinton and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) – the now defunct think-tank closely linked to senior Bush administration officials calling for the military occupation of the Gulf as a stepping stone to global US military hegemony; William Kristol, founding editor of Murdoch-founded neocon rag The Weekly Standard and PNAC co-founder with Kagan; General Jack Sheehan, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic; Richard Perle, PNAC signatory and chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board until 2003; James Woolsey, former CIA director and current Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton – the same giant US defence contractor that employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and which runs the US Army’s war games on impacts of ***climate, energy and economic crises for homeland security…
    According to an HJS announcement on the website of BritishAmerican Business – the Secretariat for the British-American Business Council (the world’s largest transatlantic business network) – the Society launched its new political risk consultancy, Strategic Analysis (SA), in 2012. The project provides clients with “commercially-relevant research, analysis and consulting services to assist them with mitigating risks and identifying opportunities for their business” – especially, “the economic, security and political risks which may impact our clients operating in the Middle East.”…
    (Strategic Analysis) SA describes its flagship product as a quarterly “Middle East and North Africa Oil and Gas Sector Risks and Forecasts Report” consisting of 14 country profiles designed to “benefit individuals within the legal, financial services, energy, banking, consultancy, infrastructure sectors.” …
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/may/07/henry-jackson-society-neocon-militarism-mideast-oil-gas-energy

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    pat

    RTCC” About us
    Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) is a news and analysis website focused on providing the latest updates and insight into global low carbon developments. Our sister website Climate Change TV (CCTV) offers an online channel hosting interviews and footage from international climate change and development summits. We are accredited as official observers to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and run a TV studio for the UN at its climate, biodiversity and desertification talks. Our annual ‘Respond’ publication is distributed at every major UN climate summit, covering advances in low carbon policy, technology and research. RTCC and CCTV are funded by sponsors and web advertising. A list of business partners can be found on our front page…
    The RTCC and CCTV team work from the London offices of our parent company Entico Corporation, which specialises in organising conferences and summits in emerging economies.
    http://www.rtcc.org/about-us/

    Media Partners
    UNFCCC
    Guardian Environment Network
    Entico
    UNCCD
    Climate News Network

    RTCC Sponsors
    http://www.rtcc.org/sponsors/

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    TdeF

    Pat, what is this? It does not appear to be a comment and these cut and paste texts are overwhelming everything.

    The RTCC and CCTV team work from the London offices of our parent company Entico Corporation, which specialises in organising conferences and summits in emerging economies.

    So? What are you saying? Or is this some sort of service?

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      Pat posts items much of the time that may or may not seem attached to the discussion. I have noticed that some readers really like the comments and consider pat to be keeping people informed. I just skip most of them (nothing personal, pat—I just don’t relate to many of the comments). Not all comments are helpful to all people. So just skip the ones that make no sense.

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    pat

    13 May: ABC Rural: Edwina Farley: Major changes ahead for ethanol and biodiesel
    The Ethanol Production Grants program will be scrapped from July 2015, with projected net savings of $120 million over the next four years.
    While the fuel excise on domestically-produced ethanol will stay at zero for the year ahead, an excise will come into play in the years following.
    From July 2016, a 2.5 cents per litre excise will be applied until it reaches a maximum of 12.5 cents a litre in 2021.
    That will deliver around $16 million to related revenue over the forward estimates.
    Imports of ethanol will still attract a customs duty of about 38 cents a litre.
    The Federal Government plans to save $156 million over the next four years through a range of changes to the taxation of biodiesel.
    The main savings will be made through cuts to the Cleaner Fuels Grant Scheme, which will be abolished…
    A program focused on harnessing the power of ***algal synthesis and biofuels will also be scrapped.
    The government says the $5 million program can be abolished because alternative fuels, including advanced biofuels, will be considered in the context of the 2014 Energy White Paper.
    The changes are certain to concern local producers of ethanol, as well as industries like sugar, and may discourage further foreign investment in the local industry.
    As expected, there is no change to the controversial diesel fuel rebate, where farmers and mining companies get a rebate on excise of around 38 cents a litre for diesel used off-road.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-13/budget-diesel-rebate/5441552

    7 May: WashingtonFreeBeacon: Lachlan Markay: Report: Pentagon Paid $150 Per Gallon for Green Jet Fuel
    GAO report notes exorbitant prices act as de facto subsidy for biofuel firms
    The Department of Defense (DOD) paid $150 per gallon for (1,500 gallons of) alternative jet fuel made from ***algae, more than 64 times the current market price for standard carbon-based fuels, according to a report released on Wednesday…
    The price for conventional jet fuel is currently $2.88 per gallon…
    Reuters reported in 2012 that the Air Force had purchased 11,000 of alcohol-based jet fuel for $59 per gallon from a Colorado-based biofuel company.
    That company, Gevo Inc., was backed financially by high-dollar Democratic donor Vinod Khosla, who has invested in a number of companies that have received federal support from the Obama administration…
    A week before that story broke, the Navy spent $26 per gallon to fuel its Great Green Fleet during the 2012 Rim of the Pacific exercise.
    The $150-per-gallon DOD reportedly paid for HEFA fuels would dwarf those previous purchases, which came under fire from critics of the Obama administration’s green energy push…
    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/report-pentagon-paid-150-per-gallon-for-green-jet-fuel/

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    Al in Cranbrook

    OT…

    Just came across this column, from the Financial Post last Nov., yet another example of what we’re up against here in Canada from the usual suspects…

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/11/29/vivian-krause-new-u-s-funding-for-the-war-on-canadian-oil/

    Due to bottlenecks in pipelines over the last several years, Canadian oil has been selling at a considerable discount into the US, often in excess of $20/barrel. Delays in the Keystone pipeline, and now Northern Gateway, have cost the Canadian economy literally tens of billions, and with no clear end in sight.

    Of course, the usual suspects of the left wing who oppose all this development that generates real wealth, employment and thus tax revenues, nevertheless are the same bunch who want free healthcare, free education, free childcare, better social programs, better pensions, better unemployment benefits, better highways, better schools, better infrastructure, yada yada yada, etc., etc., etc…not to mention billions sent to far away places to fight global warming.

    Frankly, I’m at a loss as to just how much more of this asinine crap western democracies can survive.

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    pat

    time will tell:

    13 May: Des Moines Register: Christopher Doering: DuPont CEO asks Congress, White House to keep ethanol mandate
    The top executive with seed and chemical maker DuPont said Tuesday that Congress and the Obama administration must preserve a law requiring ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply.
    Ellen Kullman, DuPont’s chief executive, said in remarks Tuesday at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Philadelphia that the Renewable Fuel Standard reduces the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, creates jobs in rural America and produces environmental benefits. The Renewable Fuel Standard is a 2007 law that mandates a growing amount of ethanol to be blended into the country’s gasoline supply each year through 2022…
    The EPA proposed last November cutting the mandate to 15.21 billion gallons for renewable fuels in 2014, down from 18.15 billion gallons initially required in the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard. The agency is expected to set the 2014 mandate in June.
    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2014/05/13/dupont-ceo-ethanol/9046273/

    UK has a lobbyist problem too:

    12 May: UK Telegraph: Matthew Holehouse: Ministers ‘reliant’ on lobbyists
    Businessman who spent year as government advisor reveals shock at ‘revolving door’ of corporate lobbyists
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10825213/Ministers-reliant-on-lobbyists.html

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    In all this talk of Budget Nasties, and how they will raise the living costs for average Australians, let me show you something which Labor would have you either still pay, or not even consider as worthwhile noticing.

    That iniquitous TAX on CO2 emissions and how it affects each and every one of us.

    Allow me first to show you exactly what it is costing you, considering that Labor said it was only those filthy rotten disgusting dirty polluters who would be paying the cost.

    Here is the link to a table of costs for the whole Month immediately before the introduction of that CO2 Tax. This is for June of 2012, and that CO2 Tax was introduced on July 1st 2012. Click on the link to open it in a new tab, so you can skip between this one and the next one.

    This is now the link to the same table of costs for the following Month July 2012, after the Tax was introduced. Again, click on the link to open it in a new tab.

    Now skip between one Month and the next. Notice that for every State, naturally, the price of electricity from the overall mix of generating entities has increased ….. EVERY State, including South Australia with its (alleged) cheap wind power and even Tasmania, with its cheap Hydro.

    That price rise is not small either, in fact almost doubling the wholesale price for electricity in most cases.

    Now where you see that cost there, and here I’ll just use the first entry for NSW, top left on July 1st of $58.09, that indicates the cost per MWH, which translates to 5.809 cents per KWH, the charge you see on your Power bill, charged at around 25 to 30 cents per KWH, the retail cost.

    So, if when that CO2 Tax is repealed, then your electricity costs will drop back by between around 2.2 and 2.6 cents per KWH.

    That covers your home electricity bill, the Residential Sector. As this only makes up 26% of total electricity consumption, then all other sectors will also see decreases in their costs as well, and these decreases will also be passed back to consumers in the lower costs for goods they purchase. Some of those falls in those sectors for individual Comapnies will be really really huge, like each and every Coles and Woolies, huge consumers of electricity.

    Also, the costs for those other 20 or more gases will also fall back to their original cost, most of those gases refrigerants used by the big users, the supermarkets.

    Also falling back will be the cost of Natural Gas, minus its multiplier as well.

    So, as you can see from this, and I’ll just do the Maths for me, hopefully an average consumer, using around 23KWH per day. Just my home electricity account will drop by around $210 a year.

    So, while there are some nasties in the Budget, when this TAX is disappeared, there will also be some savings as well.

    Funny how a budget Levy on high earners is bad, and yet a CO2 Tax that is monumentally huge is good.

    Get rid of the damned thing now.

    Tony.

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    pat

    when will sanity return to the energy market?

    13 May: Reuters: Christoph Steitz: E.ON calls for plant compensation as sector crisis bites
    FRANKFURT, May 13 (Reuters) – Germany’s biggest utility E.ON on Tuesday called for compensation for its loss-making gas-fired power stations after posting a 12-percent fall in first-quarter earnings.
    Germany’s utilities are under pressure from expansion of renewable energy capacity which is threatening the business model of their conventional power plants, most notably gas.
    Even though loss-making, gas-fired power plants are needed for constant or “baseload” energy supply, which variable solar or wind energy sources cannot provide.
    trueTo keep plants on standby, Germany’s power groups are calling for adequate compensation payments as part of a so-called capacity market, which would cover their losses…
    This so-called capacity mechanism is already being discussed or implemented in other European states, including France and Britain, which are also faced with weak wholesale prices that have made gas-fired plants unprofitable…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/13/us-e-on-results-idUSBREA4C04N20140513

    13 May: Reuters: Jason Hovet/Robert Muller: UPDATE 2-Czech utility CEZ posts drop in quarterly profit, flags risks to outlook
    Central Europe’s largest listed utility CEZ reported a 44 percent drop in first-quarter net profit, blaming lower electricity prices and sales in a milder winter, and flagged risks to its outlook in overseas markets.
    The Czech utility producer, like European peers, is feeling the strain of wholesale electricity prices that have fallen by more than half in the five years since the global economic crisis…
    The majority state-owned company confirmed it expected net profit before adjusting for minority interests to fall for a fifth straight year to 27.5 billion in 2014, just above half of the record 51.9 billion crown profit it posted in 2009…
    ***In Romania, the state has cut support for renewable energy, affecting CEZ’s wind farms there…
    CEZ said another risk was a delay in the completion of renewals of coal-fired plants. CEZ’s sales and strategy director, Pavel Cyrani, said the completion of an upgrade at its Prunerov coal power plant may be delayed by several months from a deadline toward the end of the year…
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/05/13/cez-results-idINL6N0NZ2TT20140513

    13 May: Reuters: Susanna Twidale: Britain to end solar power subsidy scheme early
    Britain will end its subsides for new solar power plants two years earlier than expected to prevent costs from the scheme soaring, the government said on Tuesday…
    Under the plans announced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) the scheme will be closed to new solar projects over 5 megawatts (MW) from April 1 2015.
    “Large scale solar…is deploying much faster than previously expected,” DECC said in a statement, adding that as a result the cost of subsidising the technology was rising faster than originally planned.
    The government gave no details on how much has already been awarded to solar power producers under the scheme.
    DECC said it needed to halt the solar subsidies to make sure there is sufficient cash to support other types of renewable technology and to keep a lid on consumer bills.
    Renewable power developer Good Energy called the decision “disappointing” and said it would harm investment in the sector.
    “This decision will bring further instability and uncertainty to investors, and we will have to reconsider our portfolio of investments as a result,” CEO Juliet Davenport said in an emailed statement…
    Solar projects will still be able to apply for Britain’s new contracts-for-difference scheme which gives renewable power generators certainty of a minimum electricity price over 15 years.
    However this subsidy is likely to be harder to win as the total amount available is capped and projects will be forced to compete with each other on cost to win the contracts…
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/23487203/britain-to-end-solar-power-subsidy-scheme-early/

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    scaper...

    What the hell has GDP got to do with government revenue? I’ve had this out with the kin of climate scientists, economists many a time.

    If one looks at government debt it is almost in equilibrium with one years revenue and we basically have SFA to show for it.

    I see nothing in the budget to grow the pie which means more revenue. Don’t buy building roads as long term growth either.

    There is only one way to grow and that’s developing the north. With the right settings much foreign capital would flow in to the north and the possibilities are endless.

    There is an enquiry into developing the north and if nothing comes out of it then the future looks bleak. I laugh when Australia is called a “developed country”.

    We are a nation of coastal cities, a national capital that is so ugly it should be nuked and agriculture that is the prisoner of rainfall.

    We haven’t built anything of worth since the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Our forefathers would be disgusted if they knew how apathetic we’ve become.

    Ah, the lucky country.

    Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.

    Donald Horne penned that in 1964 and nothing has changed!

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    Leonard Lane

    Count your blessings. Here in the USA if the budget INCREASES are “drastically cut” from something like 10% to 9.9% over a decade, the Democrats are screaming bloody murder. “You cant balance the budget on the backs of poor___________ (take your choice of the class or profession, or the union, etc. to fill in the blanks). Then the Democrats’ main stream press take up the howls on a 24/7 basis until the Republicans give in and increase the 10% increase to 11 or 12%. Makes one wonder if the NSA, CIA, etc. are feeding damaging surveillance information on Republicans directly to the White House and the Democrat Party.

    So cheer up in OZ, at least your increases are not significantly increasing.

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      I doubt that the White House or the Democrats need the CIA or NSA feeding them damaging information on the Republicans. A quick look through Google in the morning should be enough. At the moment, the Republicans seems pretty much like empty chairs—they just sit there and do nothing, especially in the senate. Even when you read letters from your representatives, there’s not much happening (surprising, my one senator who is “entitled”—his cliam, not mine—to the seat that is up for re-election, is one of the quietest. Perhaps he knows he’s not going to do anything promised, so why say anything?). Republicans either have “gone dark” or given up. It’s hard to tell.

      You’re right on the budget—the Republicans keep saying they are going to draw a line in the sand, but I guess for fear of looking like Obama and his meaningless lines, they never do. They just say “next time”.

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    Robert JM

    Most of this budget is fluff with the notable exception of the genocidal policy against unemployed people. There is no way in hell I would have voted for them if i knew they planed to impose policies that lead to increased youth suicide and crime. The Carbon tax pales to insignificance compared with this diabolical policy.

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    pat

    Generals upgrade climate risk from a “threat multipler” to a “conflict catalyst” and the so-called antiwar Guardian is willing to go along as long as it promotes CAGW:

    14 May: Guardian: Suzanne Goldenberg: Climate change poses growing threat of conflict in the Arctic, report finds
    Report by former military officers says prospect of ice-free Arctic has set off scramble for shipping lanes and for access to oil
    “Things are accelerating in the Arctic faster than we had looked at,” said General Paul Kern, the chairman of the Centre for Naval Analysis Corporation’s military advisory board, which produced the report. “The changes there appear to be much more radical than we envisaged.”
    The prospect of an ice-free Arctic by mid-century had set off a scramble for shipping lanes by Russia and China especially, and for access to oil and other resources. “As the Arctic becomes less of an ice-contaminated area it represents a lot of opportunites for Russia,” he said. Oil companies were also moving into the Arctic.
    “We think things are accelerating in the Arctic faster than we had looked at seven years ago,” he said, saying the situation had the potential to “spark conflict there”…
    The report from the retired generals goes further, however, upgrading the climate risk from a “threat multipler” to a “conflict catalyst”…
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/14/climate-change-arctic-security-threat-report

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    pat

    still shilling for the destruction of Australia’s energy grid:

    14 May: ABC: John Connor: The budget has it backwards on climate
    IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT that the election of the Abbott Government might slam the brakes on Australia’s climate and clean energy progress, it’s now over. With the Government’s first budget, it’s reversing at full speed.
    This is the Backwards Budget – a budget that shifts the burden for pollution reduction from polluters to taxpayers. A budget that slashes renewable energy agencies and funding programs that are helping create the jobs and industries of the 21st century. A budget that rips hundreds of millions of dollars away from climate science, international climate finance and clean technology research programs.
    We are back to the dark years of the Howard Government where climate and renewable energy are absent from the Treasurer’s speech.
    Certainty about the future of Coalitions’s ‘signature’ Emissions Reduction Fund isn’t helped by the budget overview saying the $2.55 billion thought to be over the first four years is all we get over 10 years.
    ***The Minister’s office says this is a misprint…
    We have laws that price and limit carbon emissions from 60 per cent of the economy; laws that require companies to take responsibility for their pollution. We have independent, non-partisan institutions investing in research and development for the next wave of clean energy technologies. All these steps are necessary to ensure low-carbon competitiveness and sustainable economic prosperity. Ironically, on the same day as the budget, all these forward steps were included in the conservative International Energy Agency’s recommended toolkit for energy policies to help avoid two degrees of global warming…
    The news that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is to be dismantled was a surprise, given the Coalition supported ARENA before the election and promised to keep it going.
    ARENA now joins the chopping block along with the Climate Change Authority, the nation’s climate policy watchdog, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which breaks down the barriers to clean energy investment.
    A glimmer of hope remains: while the Government has slated these three agencies for demolition, the Senate may not be minded to agree. This will be seen in July…
    But the Government’s retreat from climate action and clean energy will also cost us. Australia’s prosperity this century depends on the world avoiding dangerous climate change — and that means we have to play our part and be ready for the transition to a low-carbon, ultimately carbon removing economy…
    John Connor is chief executive of the Climate Institute.
    http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/05/14/4004085.htm

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    pat

    funny how Suzanne Goldenberg didn’t mention these guys are “government-funded” or that the Report is just a re-hash of the 2007 report, with an upgrade to the “catalyst” nonsense:

    14 May: NYT: Coral Davenport: Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers
    WASHINGTON — The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published Tuesday by a leading ***government-funded*** military research organization concluded.
    The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes…
    In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases…
    In an interview, Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that the report’s findings would influence American foreign policy.
    “Tribes are killing each other over water today,” Mr. Kerry said. “Think of what happens if you have massive dislocation, or the drying up of the waters of the Nile, of the major rivers in China and India. The intelligence community takes it seriously, and it’s translated into action.”…
    In March, the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the agency’s main public document describing the current doctrine of the United States military, drew a direct link between the effects of global warming — like rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns — and terrorism…
    ***Tuesday’s report is an update of a report by the center’s Military Advisory Board in 2007, the first major study to draw the link between climate change and national security…
    The 2007 report also described climate change as a “threat multiplier”…
    The 2014 report updates that language, calling climate change a “catalyst for conflict” — a phrase intentionally chosen, the report’s authors said, to signal that climate change is an active, driving force in starting conflict…
    “In the past, the thinking was that climate change multiplied the significance of a situation,” said Gen. Charles F. Wald, who contributed to both reports and is retired from the Air Force. “Now we’re saying it’s going to be a direct cause of instability.”…
    Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a vocal skeptic of the established science that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming, scoffed at the idea that climate change is linked to national security threats.
    “There is no one in more pursuit of publicity than a retired military officer,” he said of the report’s authors. “I look back wistfully at the days of the Cold War. Now you have people who are mentally imbalanced, with the ability to deploy a nuclear weapon. For anyone to say that any type of global warming is anywhere close to the threat that we have with crazy people running around with nuclear weapons, it shows how desperate they are to get the public to buy this.”
    Adm. David Titley, a co-author of the report and a meteorologist who is retired from the Navy, said political opposition would not extinguish what he called the indisputable data in the report.
    “The ice doesn’t care about politics or who’s caucusing with whom, or Democrats or Republicans,” said Admiral Titley, who now directs the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Pennsylvania State University.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/us/politics/climate-change-deemed-growing-security-threat-by-military-researchers.html?hpw&rref=science&_r=0

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    pat

    Nielsen Media Research: Monday’s Cable Ratings & Broadcast Finals
    Years of Living Dangerously (8:00)* – Showtime
    0.134 million viewers, #47; 0.057 million adults 18-49 (0.04 rating), #47 http://www.thefutoncritic.com/ratings/2014/05/13/mondays-cable-ratings-and-broadcast-finals-voice-dancing-continue-their-reign-61511/cable_20140512/

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    pat

    13 May: WaPo: Wesley Lowery: Rubio clarifies climate change comments during National Press Club appearance
    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) acknowledged that the climate is changing, but said that there is no legislative proposal currently on the table that would put a stop to it, while speaking Tuesday at the National Press Club.
    “Headlines notwithstanding, of course the climate is changing. The climate is always changing and that is a measurable that you can see. There is climate change.” Rubio said. “The issue is whether there is legislative proposals before us that can do anything about it, what I have said and what I disagree with is the notion that if we pass cap and trade it will stop this from happening.”
    Rubio made headlines over the weekend when he told ABC News that the impact of man-made climate change is being overstated…
    ***Rubio was asked three times by the National Press Club audience about those climate change comments…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/05/13/rubio-walks-back-climate-change-comments/

    13 May: The Wire: Abby Ohlheiser: Marco Rubio’s Stance on Climate Change Is a Hot Mess
    “I’ve never disputed that the climate is changing,” Marco Rubio said on Tuesday. He added: “Of course the climate is changing.”…
    “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio said on Sunday, placing himself firmly in the “climate change denier” camp…
    But it appears that Rubio is uncomfortable with that label, hence his remarks on Tuesday that read like a walk back but don’t actually clarify much of anything. They’re the “I’m not not licking toads” statement of climate change denial. Here’s a portion of his statement on Tuesday at the National Press Club, via NBC (emphasis ours): …ETC
    Rubio added that he’s fine with proposals that are more environmentally-friendly, so long as they are “also good for our economy.” He added, “for people to go out and say ‘if you pass this bill that I am proposing, this will somehow lead us to have less tornadoes and less hurricanes,’ that’s just not an accurate statement.” Except the quantity of tornadoes and hurricanes is not actually what most recent reports on the issue have pointed to…
    http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/05/marco-rubios-stance-on-climate-change-is-a-hot-mess/370814/

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    Geoff Sherrington

    Hey Pat,
    No doubt with good intentions, but your cut and pastes are too long and too often. We can subscribe to Media Monitors if we seek the reading you offer, which is often scarcely related to the thread.
    Can you scale it back to 20% of present & see how it goes? And be more strictly on thread?
    Thanks. Geoff.

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    Jaymez

    I have noticed that many people are confused by the terms ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’ and often use those terms interchangeably. A deficit or surplus is incurred annually by the government when you compare total government revenues from all sources, mainly taxation, to total expenses.

    Government debt is the amount the government owes on an accumulated basis. You also often hear the term Net debt an gross debt. Gross debt is the amount the government has to borrow to keep the government running and pay the bills. Net debt is Gross Debt, minus any assets such as the Future Fund, currently worth about $107bn and any businesses the Government owns, such as say the NBN. In theory it is the net debt levels we should be most concerned about unless the assets being included are being over valued.

    A concern I have about Australia’s debt figure is that it doesn’t include State Government Debt which has to be borrowed and currently totals about $278bn. So when comparing Australian debt to other country’s levels of Government debt, this amount should be included, because most other countries do not have States with borrowing capacity. You can see Australia’s debt clock here which shows state debt separately: http://www.australiandebtclock.com.au/

    But this doesn’t include unfunded liabilities or unfunded debt which the Government hardly ever talks about. This includes about $143bn in public service (federal government, politicians, military, judicial) superannuation entitlements, http://www.budget.gov.au/2013-14/content/bp1/html/bp1_bst7-02.htm. It also includes about $50bn in forward committments to capital expenditure in Defence and other areas, particularly aircraft, submarines and ships: http://www.gt.com.au/blog/2013/10/29/explainer-what-are-unfunded-liabilities. So Australia has almost $200bn in unfunded debt which isn’t included in the budget papers and never considered when comparing our debt with other OECD countries.

    Realistically therefore, Australian Government total Government debt net of the Future fund, but adding State debt and unfunded liabilities it about $554bn., not the net Debt of about $190bn usually referred to: http://www.budget.gov.au/2014-15/content/bp1/html/bp1_bst7.htm

    You should add State debts of $278bn, plus unfunded liabilities of about $200bn, less assets like the Future Fund about $107bn, for a more accurate figure of $371bn.

    When the Howard/Costello Government came to power they inherited an accumulated net federal Government net debt of $96bn. Then through 10 consecutive budget surpluses and some federal government asset sales, they managed to repay the $96bn debt and leave Labor with $25.4bn net cash surplus in the bank.

    Since then Labor delivered the Australian people the following annual budget deficits which swallowed that cash surplus and blew out our total debt:

    2008-09 $27.1bn deficit
    2009-10 $54.8bn deficit
    2010-11 $47.5bn deficit
    2011-12 $43.4bn deficit
    2012-13 $18.8bn deficit (This was supposed to be Labor’s surplus delivered on time as promised and followed by many more!)
    2013-14 $49.9bn deficit

    That is a total of $241.5bn in deficits. Sure you can say they weren’t in power for the last few months, so they aren’t responsible for all of that 2013-14 deficit, but it would be pretty hard not to agree that Labor hasn’t added at least $200bn in debt through their annual deficit spending.

    Unfortunately, the Coalition can’t just switch off that high spending overnight. That would be too much of a shock to the economy, so they must manage a transition of the economy back away from Government dependence and interference. Which is why the Coalition is still forecasting 4 more years of deficit budgets reducing from $49.9bn now, to $3bn in 2017-18.

    So the Coalition will still be adding $61bn worth of annual deficits to the total net government debt. Thus they are forecasting the net Government debt to grow to over $260bn by 2017-18 BEFORE they will be in a position to produce budget surpluses and start paying down the debt!

    You should be in no doubt that the Coalition left Labor with a budget in surplus and expenditure at manageable levels in 2007. Labor has once again left the Coalition with the budget in significant structural deficit which will take 4 years to remedy, and a massive debt to repay. The Coalition could, and in my opinions should, go harder at paying down the debt, but they are not. I guess that is a political decision, when you consider the squeals already coming from the community because of the sensible decisions they have already made.
    Future deficit predictions

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