Saturday 29 June 2019

Take that, Bitches (2)


Another matter the COALition government is readying itself to tackle is industrial relations/labour laws. Unlike the “Morrison” tax cuts -- virtually their only proposal -- they never said a word about IR in the election campaign. In fact and to the best of my knowledge, with the partial exception of Georgina Downer, Liberal candidate for the seat of Mayo (South Australia), the COALition carefully avoided that subject. (It was a sensible decision, too: Downer lost to Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie.)

Sunday 23 June 2019

Another Nail in Labor’s Coffin?

When Parliament reconvenes next month the first order of business will be the “Morrison” personal income tax cuts. In fact, a legacy of Malcolm Turnbull, the “Morrison” cuts were proposed slightly over a year ago -- when Turnbull was PM and Scott Morrison was federal Treasurer -- together with a bill cutting corporate taxes. Given the numbers in Parliament at the time, Turnbull had to dump the corporate cuts and months later the COALition dumped him and the Treasurer was promoted to PM.

The personal cuts weren’t particularly popular either. Labor opposed that bill then. But Labor lost the election. The COALition won. Parliament numbers changed.

During the elections, other than opposing every single proposal Labor put forward, virtually the COALition’s only proposal was the personal cuts.

So, what should be Labor’s stance on that issue now? Should they oppose that bill? Should they support it?

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Police State: is This the New Normal?

In Australia, freedoms of speech and press are not constitutionally protected.

Last week the Australian Federal Police, which reports to Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton -- himself a representative of the COALition far Right and former policeman -- legally raided the Canberra home of journalist Annika Smethurst (News Corp Australia) and the offices of the ABC.

Both  Dutton and Prime Minister Scott Morrison deny previous knowledge of the raids, and, whether by accident or design, both were in official visits overseas when they took place, all but out of reach of the media. They claim the raids were instigated by the higher echelons of the defense and police bureaucracies acting with absolute independence of their political bosses, the relevant ministers (Dutton being one of them).

Criminal charges against leakers and journalists (and, presumably, against their publishers although no one really expects News Corp being charged) have not been ruled out.

Friday 7 June 2019

Getting all Tied Up (5)

This series considers Paul Mason’s “Risks are ‘a Thing’… and so is the Death of Capitalism”, a critique of MMT.

In the previous post I argued that Mason’ s choice of Prof. Ferguson’s views as emblematic of the theoretical differences between Marxism and MMT was problematic.

Thus, so far in this series I’ve focused on things I believe Mason got wrong. But it’s time to go into the things he got right.

There may not be a theoretically “irreconcilable split” between Marxism and MMT, as Ferguson claims. However, to me and in terms of policy recommendation, things look different. Mason pointed to this passage in Ferguson’s article
“Rather it [MMT] implicitly de-prioritizes gravity’s causality in political and economic processes, showing how the ideal conditions the real via money’s distributed pyramidal structure”.
That was a good choice.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Take that, Bitches.

In the wake of the botched Hayne Royal Commission on Banking, yesterday the RBA finally decided to cut interest rates to a historical low of 1.25%: a drop of 25 basis points.

The RBA governor, Philip Lowe, using the insipid bureaucratese spoken at the RBA, explained that was meant to “help make further inroads into the spare capacity in the economy”, which in English means something like they are trying to start the faltering economy run by those clowns who just got re-elected on their claims of being great economic managers.

The idea is to make loan repayments to banks more affordable to consumers and investors, to try and avoid a recession.

Monday 3 June 2019

Election Post Mortem.

Why did the Australian Labor Party lose the “unlosable” 2019 federal elections is the question keeping all and sundry busy lately.

That I’ve seen, the best take on that question by far came from Annabel Crabb, the ABC’s chief political writer. Those who know me may say that’s predictable -- it’s no secret to them I’m her fan.