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Daily Archives: August 25th, 2013

So, it transpires that Rudd’s rudeness to Lily Fontana, the make-up lady at Broncos, prior to the leaders’ debate was that Rudd DIDN’T speak to her, not that he abused or verbally belittled her.

My source is the level-headed Andrew Probyn on Insiders this morning, hardly a rabid Ruddite. So Rudd said nothing to Ms Fontana at all. Well Rudd was just about to go out and speak for his life. I think he can be excused for choosing to remaining focused and collecting his thoughts and letting Ms. Fontana get on with her job.

Its just a rather artificial blow up.

And Abbott’s shut up turns out to be pre-meditated. Watch him on the vid. Abbott is not angry or harassed at all. He coolly smiles as he delivers the shut up. His eyes and confident expression clearly state gotcha. In the week that followed a phalanx of high profile Libs (Kroger, Pyne, Hockey etc) are all out there on message – Rudd talks too much.

So was Ms. Fontana’s social media complaint against Rudd also pre-meditated ? Hmmm. The Libs were certainly well-prepared with their Arrogant Rudd Its A Pattern schtick. But they would be. In itself that doesn’t prove anything.

But, to me, it feels like a set-up.

So What Would You Like To Talk About ?

Well I would like to talk about what Rudd was talking about: Abbott’s $30bn of undisclosed costings. And that $30bn, if Abbott can find them, does not balance the budget or put it into surplus. It just gets him on an even fiscal keel with the ALP.

This sort of budget thing was once considered important. I am very frustrated that Abbott looks like getting away with such a massive undisclosure of his plans.

Look, let’s take Paid Parental Leave. The Greens, who have a very similar policy to the Libs, last week released their fully-costed breakdown. The Libs haven’t. Now I thought it was supposed to be The Greens who are hypocritical, financially incompetent, secretive fringe loonies who at all times try to avoid scrutiny.

That’s a myth of course.

Janet Albrechtson of The UnAustralian is very fond of saying that her newspaper’s unrelenting misrepresentation of The Greens is nothing more than proper responsible scrutiny.

Well her colleague, David Uren, in the absence of LNP figures had to use Green’s figure to attempt to cost the Libs scheme. His finding – they are $2.5bn short, which Uren described as costed.

Janet – let’s have some scrutiny. How about starting with the fact that Business groups are unanimously opposed to it. That’s the Business Council Of Australia, the Small And Medium Enterprise Association and the Australian Retailers Association to name three statements I have read. How about reporting that the SME Assoc. expects big firms to pass on the PPL costs as price rises to small business which will then be passed on to consumers ? Their statement has become UnGoogleable, but here’s similar sentiments from The Council of Small Businesses of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry summarized on the Company News site Smart Company.

“This could be crippling for SME retailers,” [ARA Chief executive] Zimmerman said.

Banks have said they will pass on the PPL costs. That’s the great Hockey no-no of upward pressure on interest rates. In fact, the Libs policy could see rates on commercial (business) loans to Small Business rise by 0.25%. LNP – we understand small business, yes ?

How about the views of James Thomson, editor of BRW, that firms will avoid growing their business beyond the $5m per year PPL threshold in order to avoid the impost. He says PPL is a tax on growth.

Or maybe Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox who says the LNP PPL will lead to job losses and price increases for consumers.

Or Sydney-based commercialisation manager Karina Grados who says the LNP scheme will lead to pay cuts? Seems logical.

That’ll do for a start. And while you’re there, why is it that after three years of gestating this signature policy, Joe Hockey had no firm idea of its funding sources. I say Hockey is not serious about the policy.

Nick Minchin was recently saying that Abbott’s PPL would not pass the Senate. I don’t think the LNP are serious about implementing this scheme and I don’t think Australians will see this PPL. Abbott says he has the convert’s zeal for his gigantic PPL. Yeah, well that has echoes of The Real Julia. Like John Howard said, if you’re genuine, you don’t have to run around telling everyone that you’re genuine.

The LNP say their PPL is a magnificent productivity measure. Really ? If so, it should be introduced immediately and not two years hence. Why wait two years to commence a superb productivity improvement ? Doesn’t make sense. This LNP PPL is a con. We’ll never see it.

By the way, the Productivity Commission disagrees with the LNP’s rather glorious assessment of its PPL, saying that PPL for high wage earners leads to very few and highly expensive labour supply benefits. The Commissionnotes that a PPL assisting lower incone earners, as the currently existing ALP one does, is where the productivity action is.

Payment at a flat rate would mean that the labour supply effects would be greatest for lower income, less skilled women — precisely those who are most responsive to wage subsidies and who are least likely to have privately negotiated paid parental leave. Full replacement wages for highly educated, well paid women would be very costly for taxpayers and, given their high level of attachment to the labour force and a high level of private provision of paid parental leave, would have few incremental labour supply benefits.

Look, I’m not saying that The UnAustralian has not reported any of these views. But it certainly has not given them prominence. Its the difference between a Page 1 Headline screaming Tax On Growth and a page 7 eight-para story saying PPL Costed.

Imagine The Greens still had their PPL current scheme and the LNP didn’t.

There would be Scrutiny. On Page 1. Every day.

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