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Federal Politics

Politics Live: Audit Commission aftermath

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With that, it is just about time we rode off into the sunset. To think about the meaning of Federation and whether we would be better connected if we went for a run around parliament at 5.30am.

But before that, what did we learn?

 

Many thanks from Alex Ellinghausen, Andrew Meares and I.

Enjoy the weekend. But not too much.

Remember: prosperity is not a gift. It has to be earned.

 

 

 

 

As we bask in the post COAG glow, Andrew Meares has a puzzle for you.

And it is harder than you think.

 

It being Friday, it is also time for a briefing on Operation Sovereign Borders.

(Remember the days of those weekly press conferences? Seems like years ago now, given all the stoof that's happened this year.)

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has issued a statement to say that there have been "FOUR FULL CALENDAR MONTHS WITHOUT A SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE".

The press release also reminds us that four months is also equal to a third of the year.

Commander of OSB Angus Campbell was seen getting a coffee at Aussie's at Parliament House earlier today.

Perhaps toasting the boat-preventing success of his efforts.

 

What's the collective noun for premiers?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with state premiers and chief ministers at the COAG press conference. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with state premiers and chief ministers at the COAG press conference. Photo: Andrew Meares

After that 40 minute effort (quite brief for a COAG presser), Tony Abbott wraps things up.

The PM's office say a date has not been set yet for the next COAG meeting.

Back to the GST.

Tasmania and South Australia are not as keen as the likes of WA about a change in the way the tax is distributed.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill is asked for his views and replies by taking a big 'ol swipe at Colin Barnett (who is sitting but two seats away).

"They have struck it rich and they have decided they want to essentially cut themselves adrift from the rest of the Federation, which I think is intellectually bankrupt and also morally bankrupt, says Weatherill.

(With this, the PM gives Barnett a pat on the arm.)

The Prime Minister when asked for his reaction to Gallacher says he "can't comment on matters that I have been absent from". 

TA explains that he has been in a COAG meeting and isn't familiar with what may or may not have happened today in Sydney.

 

Mike Baird is asked a question about Mike Gallacher.

But the PM rules it out of order.

(It is not about COAG).

Baird says he will address the media later this afternoon on his stood-aside cops minister.

 

One of the (many) headline recommendations out of the Aud Com report yesterday was that the feds should hand over responsibility for schools and hospitals to the states.

The PM is asked if he has a view on this.

Tony Abbott says that it's a "proper" subject for discussion, but adopts a wait and see approach for now (given the white papering going on).

"Let's see where this discussion goes because we're at the beginning of a process."

He is also asked about the recommendation that states could levy income tax.

"The last thing I want to see is any idea of double taxation," the PM replies.

"People are perfectly entitled to put things on the table ... but in the end ... if there is to be any substantial change, obviously it has to be something which is supported by the Commonwealth government. And obviously it would go to an election."

While you're getting excited about GST changes, Tony Abbott leaps in to say:

"I want to stress that the position the Commonwealth government took to the election [is], we have no plans for change in this area..."

"Walk in my shoes, Denis."

So says Colin Barnett to the Victorian Premier, after Napthine complained about GST distribution (and Victoria not getting enough.)

There has been some speculation that COAG today would be asked to delay or change the approach to the NDIS.

(This also follows a recommendation from the Audit Commission that the timelines be slowed down for the roll out.)

The ACT's Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has just scuttled this.

"I was really pleased that COAG agreed to proceed as agreed previously with the NDIS," she says.

"We are proceeding with the timetables as agreed."

On his way in to COAG this morning, Mike Baird, had also hosed down a slow down.

"We have no intention to renegotiate [the timelines," he said.

The timelines for the NDIS, which is supposed to be fully rolled out by 2019, are agreed in bilateral agreements between states, territories and the federal government.

The NDIS board (with the help of KPMG) is also reporting to the federal government on timelines/capacity around the rollout for the scheme. This is due sometime in the first half of the year.

Yesterday's Commission of Audit report made many recommendations about streamlining the relationship between states and territories (as well as the suggesting that states be able to tax incomes ...)

In his introductory comments today, the PM notes that a Federation White Paper is coming.

(It was an election commitment for the government to have a paper on reform of the relationship between the Commonwealth and the states within two years.)

The White Paper will have buy in from states, territories and local government, Tony Abbott says.

"It will be a constructive and collegial operation."

In other words:

Peace.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with state premiers and chief ministers at the COAG press conference. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with state premiers and chief ministers at the COAG press conference. Photo: Andrew Meares

With that announcement (or confirmation of announcement - given the 70 thing has been much reported this morning), we leave the Treasurer in Melbourne.

And hop to the Main Committee Room at Parliament House for the post-COAG press fest.

Tony Abbott is addressing reporters.

Telling us for the 795,683th time that he wants to be the Infrastructure Prime Minister.

(Oh, TA, we know!)

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, WA Premier Colin Barnett, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, SA Premier Jay Weatherill and NT Chief Minister Adam Giles address the media during a joint press conference on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, WA Premier Colin Barnett, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, SA Premier Jay Weatherill and NT Chief Minister Adam Giles address the media during a joint press conference on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Joe Hockey says that the government is "not in the business of shocking people".

Those who are 65 now will not lose their pensions.

But he confirms that the Coalition will introduce legislation to lift the pension age to 70 by 2035.

And he expects there to be bipartisan support when this happens.

 

The Treasurer moves on to discuss the "demographic challenges" before Australia.

(i.e. the increasing number of oldies)

"We should celebrate that we're all living longer," he begins. "That's a good thing, I encourage it."

BUT

"One area that needs to be properly addressed it, the eligibility for the age pension."

The budget meetings - where ministers come to a cabinet committee to plead for spending in their portfolios - must have been tough going.

Joe Hockey says he has told his colleagues not to come to him with spending proposals unless they have a bigger savings proposal.

"Any new proposals to spend money must [be] more than funded through offsetting savings."

 

The Treasurer continues to deliver to good news here.

"The biggest surprise of coming into government is [the budget's] it's as bad as I thought it would be."

 

Hockey refers to the speech he gave in London two years ago, calling for an end to the "Age of Entitlement".

"This budget will seek to replace the culture of entitlement with a culture of enterprise," he tells the lunching audience.

And in news that will surely come as a cozy comfort those on low incomes:

"There's no such thing as a free visit to a doctor, there's no such thing as free welfare ... every Australian is in one form or another, a taxpayer."

The Treasurer quotes his father.

"Prosperity is not a gift, it has to be earned."

Joe Hockey is at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, addressing the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

This is his last pre-budget speech.

"In just eleven days I will deliver the first budget of the Abbott government. It will be the budget that we were elected to deliver," he begins.

On that note, the PM and his running buddies/state premiers will hold a press conference from Parliament House at 1.30pm.

Michaela Whitbourn and Kate McClymont have been writing earlier this morning that NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher has been drawn into a cash-for-favour scandal, after ICAC heard he had hatched a "corrupt scheme" with Nathan Tinkler's property group to receive illegal donations.

Expect NSW Premier Mike Baird to be asked about this in the post-COAG press conference this afternoon.

In state politics news, ICAC has claimed another scalp.

 

Bill Shorten and Jenny Macklin have been hanging out the age pensioners in Melbourne.

They have jumped on the news re: the pension age increase.

Macklin argues this is a BP.

"No change to pensions is what Tony Abbott said to all Australians before the election," she tells reporters.

In a way, Macklin urges Hockey to go further.

"Now that Joe Hockey has come out and confirmed that he is going to put up the age pension age, he should also make clear what other changes he is going to make as a result of the Commission of Audit."

Indeed, when it comes to pensions, increasing the age pension age was not the only recommendation in the report yesterday.

"We have age pensioners here in this community who are very worried about what is going to happen," Macklin says.

 

The Treasurer also opined that he finds the wind turbines near Canberra (they are near Bungendore and can be seen from the road that runs along Lake George) "utterly offensive".

"I think they are just a blight on the landscape."

Hockey said he could not "knock" the subsidies associated with the turbines, however, because they were in locked-in schemes.

The Treasurer also hinted strongly that politicians' entitlements will be on the chopping block on budget night.

"I can't confirm where we're heading with that, because that is a matter for the budget, but I hear what you say and we hear what you say."

Now, before Joe Hockey comes up in Melbourne today to tell us about the age pension, he has had a chat to Alan Jones on Macquarie Radio.

During the exchange, the Treasurer revealed that he grew up listening to Engelbert Humperdinck every Sunday.

(To be fair, it did come out in the transcript as Inkleburt Humpdidink, so we are making a leap here.)

Also discussed during the interview was the Audit Commission.

Well, sort of.

Jones said that he was not going to go into the Commission of Audit "in detail" (given it was a report to government) ... but Hockey did observe that the report has "fed into our budget deliberations".

When Jones said "you're not going to have a debt levy, are you?", Hockey replied: "Well, Alan ..."

 

 

And just because we believe in safe exercising, he's a shot of the Prime Minister en stretch.

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott stretches ahead of his early morning run. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott stretches ahead of his early morning run. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Things were not so fun for Newman's press sec Mitch Grayson (who can be seen in the background with his arms inside his t-shirt).

He is from Queensland, after all.

NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Prime Minister Tony Abbott ahead of their early morning run from Parliament House to Lake Burley Griffin.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Prime Minister Tony Abbott ahead of their early morning run from Parliament House to Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Much earlier this morning, in the pre-dawn darkness, Baird joined the PM and Queensland colleague Campbell Newman for a jog from Parliament House to Lake Burley Griffin.

The PM is a busy man. Who also likes to exercise.

So joining him during one of his workouts is a great way to keep in touch.

(Do you think the other premiers feel left out or relieved?)

NSW Premier Mike Baird, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman during an early morning run on Friday.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

NSW Premier Mike Baird, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman during an early morning run on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The PM was also right on hand to put newbie Premier Mike Baird through his paces.

It's always handy to know exactly where to sign.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with NSW state premier Mike Baird signing the Asset Recycling Agreement. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with NSW state premier Mike Baird signing the Asset Recycling Agreement. Photo: Andrew Meares

Over in COAG land, the Prime Minister and state premiers and chief ministers signed up to a federal government plan to recycle assets.

As James Massola writes, the package is designed to spur the states to sell their old assets and put the money back into new infrastructure investment.

It will provide states with an extra 15 per cent of the sale value of their assets in the process.

 

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with state premiers after signing an Asset Recycling Agreement on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with state premiers after signing an Asset Recycling Agreement on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Seriously, the deficit will be like *this* big.

National Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd, in discussion with Senator Richard Di Natale, after the Senate hearing.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd, in discussion with Senator Richard Di Natale, after the Senate hearing. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Handshakes don't cost a thing.

National Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd, in discussion with Senator Richard Di Natale, after the Senate hearing.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd, in discussion with Senator Richard Di Natale, after the Senate hearing. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Senate hearing has wrapped up in Canberra.

(But not before Sam Dastyari threw something of a rouge herring at Shepherd - quizzing him on a Transfield connection to ICAC. Shepherd was chair of the construction giant until last October.)

After two hours of slightly testy questioning, we can report that things ended with a handshake between the Audit Commission head and the chair of the Senate committee, Richard Di Natale.

 

Senator Sam Dastyari puts a question to National Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Senator Sam Dastyari puts a question to National Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Senate inquiry is starting to wind up. But Labor's Sam Dastyari is given a last crack at questioning.

The Labor senator asks about the business, rather than the community focus of the Commission.

Shepherd says that he is the only one of the five commissioners with a purely business background

You haven't felt that it's a disproportionately conservative makeup?

(For example, Amanda Vanstone is a former Howard government minister, and Peter Boxhall is a former chief-of-staff to Peter Costello.)

"I would think that we're a fairly eclectic [bunch]," says Shepherd, who until recently was the president of the Business Council of Australia.  

 

 

 

Di Natale then turns to the Audit Commission recommendation that single people on incomes above $88,000 should be paying for their own healthcare (taking out private health insurance).

"We do not want to end up in a US-style [health system]," says Shepherd.

Di Natale asks how this could be avoided under the Audit Commission's recommendations. In the current system, Medicare control costs, he argues.

Shepherd replies that the existing health system is becoming "unaffordable".

 

 

 

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd during a Senate hearing the day after the release of the National Commission of Audit Report.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd during a Senate hearing the day after the release of the National Commission of Audit Report. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Meanwhile, in the Senate committee rooms, Richard Di Natale is going after Tony Shepherd over the Audit Commission's recommendation to introduce a GP co-payment.

And has he landed a punch here?

Di Natale (who is also a medical doctor), questions Shepherd about the proposed charges to people who present to hospital emergency with complaints with less urgent problems.

The Greens Senator uses the example of someone who drinks a bottle of Grange at home (touché) and has a rich meal and then presents to hospital with chest pains. And of someone who has a lump on their leg that is growing ever more painful.

Because of the risk of heart attack, the wine/food case is seen as hospital-worthy (and not charged for). The leg lump is not seen as urgent and is charged for.

Di Natale then concludes by noting that the wine/food turns out to be indigestion, while the lump is bone cancer.

Where's the logic in that?

"We haven't drilled into the detail of this," Shepherd protests.

An exasperated Di Natale shoots back: "But you're recommending it!"

Senator Richard Di Natale puts a question to National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Senator Richard Di Natale puts a question to National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Political correspondent James Massola has written on Joe Hockey's impending announcement on retirement age.

Australians born after 1965 will have to work until they are 70 before they are eligible for the age pension.

The Treasurer will announce this in a speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne at 1pm.

The age pension is already rising from 65 to 67 by 2023. This new policy will see the pension age keep rising until 2035.

Sleeves up, Australia.

And put that hammock in cold storage.

Sam Dastyari has questioned Shepherd on his manta that the "best thing" we can do for people is to "create jobs".

What then of the recommendation to cut 15,000 public service jobs?

Shepherd says he is not sure where that 15,000 figure has come from.

But he goes on to argue that taxpayers money needs to be spent "wisely".

"We should not employ public servants inefficiently," he says.

"We have a sacred obligation to make sure our public service is as efficient and economic as it can be."

 

ACT Labor Senator Kate Lundy has been quizzing Shepherd on what the Audit Commission's recommendations mean for Canberra.

The report recommends big cuts to the public service - including in the Departments of Education and Defence. And suggests that government services such as visa processing and the Centrelink payments system should be outsourced.

Lundy is worried about the impact on Canberra. After the Howard government came in in 1996, Canberra suffered big job cuts in the public service, and as result, the housing market slumped and times were tough (for a while).

Shepherd insists that he sees this as an "opportunity, not a knockback" for the ACT.

 

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd is questioned by Senators Sam Dastyari, Kate Lundy and Richard Di Natale during a Senate hearing the day after the Audit Commission report was released. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd is questioned by Senators Sam Dastyari, Kate Lundy and Richard Di Natale during a Senate hearing the day after the Audit Commission report was released. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Keeping an eye on the pension age news, we head back to the Senate hearing, where Tony Shepherd and the head of his secretariat, Peter Crone, have just been asked how much the Audit Commission report has cost.

They had a budget of about $1 million.

And have come in at about $750,000.

They wouldn't be a proper Audit Commission is they didn't make cuts to themselves, one supposes.

 

In breaking news, Treasurer Joe Hockey is set to lift the retirement age to 70 by 2035 today.

This is almost two decades earlier than the 2053 timeline recommended by the Audit Commission.

This would come after Labor introduced changes in 2009 that would see the pension age raise from 65 to 67 between 2017 and 2023.

Even before the Audit Commission, the government has recently been making noises about raising the pension age.

The number of Australians aged between 65 and 84 is set to double between 2010 and 2050. The number of those over 85 will quadruple.

The Treasurer is due to make a speech in Melbourne at lunchtime, where he will make the announcement.

 

 

While the Senate committee settles into a post-Macdonald rhythm, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has opened the first Council of Australian Governments meeting for the year.

Everyone has squeezed into the Cabinet room.

The PM particularly welcomes NSW Premier Mike Baird and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to their first COAGs. 

(Surely what most premier aspirants dream of when they envisage what the job will entail.)

TA says that there some "quite significant items" on the agenda.

Like infrastructure.

He has just told the room that he hopes to be the "Infrastructure Prime Minister". 

This is fast becoming a catch cry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets with state Premiers and Chief Ministers for COAG at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets with state Premiers and Chief Ministers for COAG at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

With that, Macdonald is off to catch his plane, and Dastyari gets the conch once more.

The Labor senator asks a question that is not about the report.

What's your view on a debt levy?

"I haven't really got a view on it," Shepherd replies. "I really haven't worked on it. I've been so concentrating on getting this report out."

When pressed by Dastyari, he says that the levy and his report are "unrelated".

That is, the government could, if it wanted to, adopt a levy and implement a large majority of the recommendations in the Audit Commission report.

 


Ian Macdonald, listening in via phone, has a plane to catch.

So he gets the next question.

The Queensland Coalition senator is grateful for the opportunity. But he notes he has not read the report yet.

"I confess, I haven't set eyes on it yet."

(It has been available on the web since 2pm yesterday.)

Perhaps this is why Macdonald goes for a more general question.

Could I just ask you to explain what exactly it was the government asked you to look at when setting up the Commission of Audit?

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd is questioned by Senator Ian Macdonald via teleconference.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd is questioned by Senator Ian Macdonald via teleconference. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Labor's Sam Dastyari has clearly solved the problem of what to ask Tony Shepherd.

He is the first questioner, and kicks off with: 

Mr Shepherd, there are tens of thousands of families who woke up this morning and just heard about this Commission of Audit and have found out that your report recommends cutting services and government support that they rely on, that they need.

What do you say to those families today?

The Audit Commission head replies that a budget "hole" has to be filled.

"We've tried to spread it fairly, we think equitably across the community. And that is, I guess, up to the government whether it accepts it or rejects it."

The GST recommendation was seized upon by a chipper WA Premier Colin Barnett on his way into the COAG meeting this morning.

(Barnett has long argued that WA does not receive its fair share.)

"The four biggest states - NSW, Victoria, Queensland and WA - have already agreed last year that the GST should be allocated on a per-capita basis and obviously that's something that I, as a Western Australian Premier, have been campaigning for for the last five years," he said.

 

WA Premier Colin Barnett arrives for the COAG meeting at Parliament House on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

WA Premier Colin Barnett arrives for the COAG meeting at Parliament House on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

At last, Tony Shepherd gets to give his opening statement.

"I think the report speaks for itself," he says.

He notes that the Commission did go a little bit out of the terms of reference by looking at two tax issues

(The committee was not asked to look at revenue issues, but the report recommends that state governments be allowed to raise income taxes, which would vary from state to state and that GST is split between states based on population, not economic need.)

"We could not look at the federation without looking at the GST itself," Shepherd explains. 

 

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd during the Senate hearing.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd during the Senate hearing. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Macdonald wants the hearing postponed.

Di Natale (who is chair) says that members were first notified there might be a hearing last Thursday. This was then confirmed on Monday.

The Greens senator tries to go to opening statements, but Macdonald's disembodied voice buts in.

"This is an outrageous abuse ...!"

Tony Shepherd only gets a couple of words into his opening statement, before Macdonald butts in again ...

"You are being extremely disrespectful to the Senate ..."

Something tells me that it is going to be very hard to control/ contain Macdonald via this medium.

 

Before opening statements are allowed, Queensland Coalition senator Ian Macdonald, who is present via phone, is protesting.

WA Coalition senator Alan Eggleston is also patching in via phone.

Due to the late notice of the hearing, they have been unable to attend in person.

Macdonald wants to know if any other government senators are present in person.

(No, they are not.)

"This makes a complete farce of the whole ... system," Macdonald says.

He adds that witnesses cannot be seriously questioned over such a big report the day after it was handed down.

The Senate hearing has just kicked off.

A little late, Richard Di Natale's apologises, explaining his plane was late.

Labor's Sam Dastyari is also on the committee and is preparing his attack.

Following yesterday's bumper report (86 recommendations and all that), there has of course been no shortage of Reaction (with a capital R) today.

The Sydney Morning Herald's Economics Editor Ross Gittins tells us not to be too alarmed, however.

"Few of [the report's] recommendations will make it into the budget on Tuesday week. They were never intended too."

The Age's Economics Editor Peter Martin writes that something is missing from those 5 kilos worth of reporting.

In a word?

Tax.

Peter makes the point that while age pensioners copped a beating in the Audit Commission report, superannuants got off free as a scot. 

 

 

The Senate hearing into the Audit Commission is due to start at 9am.

You can watch it live via the parliamentary website.

The inquiry was set up last December and is chaired by Greens senator Richard Di Natale.

The committee is expected to report back by May 13 (budget day) and has already had six public hearings.

Today's hearing with Tony Shepherd was organised after the date of the Audit Commission report hand down was made public.

This will not be Shepherd's first sortie with the committee. The Audit Commission head has appeared before, back in January, before the first phase of the report was given to the government in February.

 

Good morning and welcome to the national capital on a morning that is actually quite cold.

(And here was you thinking that Canberra stereotypes aren't true.)

 

It's the day after the day of the Audit Commission Report. As premiers arrive in Canberra for the first COAG of the year, the head of the Audit Commission fronts a Senate committee for questioning ...

Tony Shepherd will appear before the Senate's Select Committee into the Abbott Government's Commission of Audit this morning, along with the head of the Commission's secretariat, Peter Crone.

Treasurer Joe Hockey addresses the media during a joint press conference after the release of the National Commission of Audit Report on Thursday.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Treasurer Joe Hockey addresses the media during a joint press conference after the release of the National Commission of Audit Report on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

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Sort comments by:
  • Hacka and the rest of you LNP fools - when will you admit that there is no budget emergency and that this audit is just a big con being played on the public. Looking in from overseas Australia is no looking ridiculous to many economists who just cannot understand how in any way this country is in the middle of an emergency.

    Commenter
    Trickster
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:57PM
  • Hacka, me lad, the only thing that's shrill is the squeals from the faux-rich with Abbott's Socialist Deficit Tax.

    More, Mr Abbott, More.

    He's surprised us all, and whacked his constituents with a thumping lovely tax.

    You must be proud of him Hacka.

    I am

    Commenter
    Axis
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:44PM
  • with regards to raising the pension age to 70 in 2035, how come there has not been any mention whatsoever that labor has already increased the pension age to 67 to phased in between 2017 and 2023. no mention at all very surprising

    Commenter
    john
    Location
    newcastle
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:43PM
  • Well the age of entitlement might be over, but the age of the wind turbine is not.

    Joe might be best to stick to what he's good at, the national books.

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:41PM
  • Both my parents are well over 70 and are still working. The fact is that we live longer these days, a 70 year old these days is a lot more fit and active than 70 year old 30 years ago. As a consequence of living longer we need to work for longer to fund ourselves. If you invest wisely, save and create wealth you can retire any age you want. If you want your retirement to be funded by the community you will have to work a bit longer. But that's ok, I think that working keeps you going and helps you to stay fit and healthy for longer also.

    Commenter
    Aussie Bob
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:35PM
  • And the collective noun for memory loss?
    LNP

    Commenter
    n720ute
    Location
    North Coast NSW
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:19PM
  • TBH, the audit committee should audit all government agencies, including All States' Superannuation Fund financial accounts and they will discover how these people manage our wealth and use our retirement fund for their lavish corporate lifestyle. I am sure there are lots can be saved from them.

    Commenter
    susi
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:18PM
  • Re: “Prosperity is not a gift, it has to be earned.”

    Most tax payers, the payers of fines, licenses, fees, rates, levy’s and charges have all earned their prosperity. Not one of them was paid $75 million, plus $19 million worth of shares. Most pay disproportionate amounts of tax compared to those who receive massive golden handshakes. Now as usual they are being told lies so they will accept less reward, while those of the golden handshake club take more and more and more.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:18PM
  • Hacka.... isn't it a bit rich for you to criticise Shorten for "shrill" opposition? You were missing in action during the opposition of the LNP and you're still missing in action from the confected and "shrill" BS about the budget emergency...

    Commenter
    n720ute
    Location
    tuxed0
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:03PM
  • What's the collective noun for premiers? I'd have to wait and see what Malcolm Turnbull comes up with, he's the expert in this feild.

    Commenter
    Tim
    Location
    innercity
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 3:00PM
  • Is it really the right decision to lift the pension age to 70 ? Where are the employers that will employ someone to 70 ? Its hard enough at 50 to get a job. And even if so, does it just mean that its someone much older occupying a job that could be passed to the youth of today ? There's not enough jobs out there now for our youth, this may make it more difficult. Why not think laterally and come up with better solutions. Maybe even part pensions at earlier ages, job sharing, mentoring, And with many of our jobs going overseas or to cheaper migrant labour then why not takle some of those issues at the same time. Maybe we could have call centers staffed locally by 60-70 year olders instead of sending them to offshore centers.

    Commenter
    Enlightened1
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:54PM
  • Green tie - Weatherill
    Candy cane tie -Barnett
    Whitey-blue tie - Baird
    Blue tie - Abbott
    Red Tie - Newman

    You guys just make this too much fun!

    Commenter
    Sharron
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:52PM
  • Scott Morrison, what a great Immigration Minister. Stopping international criminal cartels, saving lives that would have been lost at sea, saving $billions, and prioritising the intake of genuine refugees. Morrison is a class act within a very good Federal LNP Govt.

    Commenter
    enough is enough
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:48PM
    • Why can't he get a job with the UN then?

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:55PM
    • and also responsible for the death of an asylum seeker in custody and supposedly under the 'care and protection' of the Australian Government.

      Commenter
      mike of morayfield
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:58PM
    • How has Morrison saved $billions? It costs more than ever with the towbacks, one-use only boats, aslyum seekers detention camps etc etc.

      Commenter
      Interesting
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:04PM
    • Scott Morrison is wasting untold billions and has actively covered up the murder of an asylum-seeker on his watch. Just today it has been confirmed that there has been an asylum-seeker boat in Australian waters for days after Morrison on Friday said no boats for four months. Lies, waste and corruption.

      Commenter
      Think Big
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:21PM
  • A group of premiers is known as a Bother of Blowflies".

    Except for our Kate of course.

    Commenter
    Sharron
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:36PM
  • The collective noun is a COAGulation of premiers.

    Commenter
    bratman
    Location
    mount druitt
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:35PM
  • The Pulse @ 2:23pm. "What's the collective name for premiers?"

    a COAG?

    Commenter
    Lewis
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:33PM
  • By the way the Future Fund for public service superannuation is also making huge inroads into becoming the main source of aged funding for public servants. It currently is worth almost $100 billion and will be used for super payments beginning 2020. Abbott and Hockey never mentioned this little pearl either, did they.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:32PM
  • 2.23 Collective noun- Middle aged gaggle of suits.

    Commenter
    A country gal
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:30PM
  • Hacka, at it again with misleading spin in the first post.

    Accepting for arguments sake that the previous Labor Govt did a bad economic job and that there is an economic emergency and budget crisis (neither of which I, leading world and local economists and organisations consider are correct), the current WA LNP Government must be the exception that proves the rule that LNP Govts are better economic managers than Labor.

    The WA LNP Government has been the most profligate and economically irresponsible WA State Government ever and has squandered the benefits of this once in a century boom.

    When elected in 2008 there was a modest debt of $3.6b and within 3 years had blown it to $17b despite record revenue and two huge new hospital projects - Fiona Stanley and the new Children's Hospital both being fully funded by the previous State Labor Government which also built and paid for (not out of debt) the very significant infrastructure project - the Perth to Mandurah rail line.

    Barnett has lost the States AAA credit rating.

    The State debt is forecast to blow out to over $27b by 2016/17 despite recent austerity measures, asset sales and delay or cancellation of other sorely needed public transport projects. And is still to pay for some big vanity but non-essential projects.

    There are no excuses for this debt. The WA Govt did not have to deal with the consequences of the GFC as this was a Federal Government remit.

    It did not have falling revenues as the Fed Labor Government did post GFC. Instead it received record revenue in that time from royalties.

    Commenter
    Lyn
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:24PM
    • Hacka is a far right wing neo con and probably feels that anyone who is middle class or poor doesn't deserve to be alive......hence the rich deserve a great life without the poor to worry about.......I suggest he take his views and go and live in the US in a gated community to keep the marauding poor out!

      Commenter
      JT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:32PM
    • He had Troy to help him.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:36PM
  • Hacka

    Demographics are an exercise in making generalizations about groups of people. That at best only offer limited insights hence, their practical usefulness is debatable. What is not debatable is the fact that our population in 2001-02 was 18.9 million today it is 23.5 million, an increase of 24.33%, and the aged represent 2.5% of the population. Hence the demographics put out by the Coalition are blatant lies.

    As for working until one is 70 all this will do is increase work related accidents and deaths. I am 72 and I would not contemplate under any circumstances returning to the work force because it would endanger lives. I designed electrical and electronic systems for electricians to work by, one mistake could mean someone being killed. My powers of concentration are waning and I tire more quickly for longer periods of time even though I am physically fit for my age.

    It really is past the time of joking that you realised that the Coalition is disreputable and untrustworthy as Labor, your continued support for liars and those of little ethics does nothing for you as an individual.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:21PM
  • First of all, politicians and all the audit committees will enjoy their pensions once they leave the parliament.

    So, they do not have to work until 70 unlike the general public. Why should they care about our wellbeing?

    I hope this government stays only one term. This is their final term. That's.

    Commenter
    sue
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:11PM
  • How can Mr British Blue Tie create over a Million jobs in 5 years when he will only get a 3 year term and then be kicked out..strange

    Commenter
    Steeden
    Location
    Ballina
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 2:11PM
    • He expects you to vote him in for second term. Will you?

      Commenter
      susi
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:10PM
  • Wasn't John Howard the one who said we all had to retire early, enjoy our old age and then create jobs for the younger? Hence the super and enormous tax cuts on amounts of up to a million dollars for amounts deposited into super.

    Commenter
    Long memory
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:56PM
    • Well, he certainly practiced what he preached. :)

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:34PM
  • Coalition lies confirm what we have long suspected: the public good and duty of care come a very poor second for those in Canberra and their mates who donate by the million. Basically they believe they can tell us anything and get away with it:

    The F35 will cost $12.4 billion and $12 billion for running costs right? Wrong, I have explained below how the lemon will cost taxpayers around $84.56 billion.

    Do we have an aging population? No. Why our population in 2001-02 was 18.9 million today it is 23.5 million, an increase of 24.33%, and the aged represent 2.5% of the population.

    Will pensions become unfordable? No. Why? Superannuation funds currently grow at the rate of $90 billion per year and currently total $1.1 trillion. “In 2010–11 government spending for the aged reached $36.3 billion and $25.5 billion for families and children” (ABS).

    Is Medibank expensive because if medical costs? No once non-profit Medibank now pays government dividends of $450 million, “including special member dividend of $300 million”? Profit before tax $315 million so government made $765 million? And has tax liabilities of $1.187 billion.

    Do we have a budget emergency? No. Government debt is currently $191.5 billion, which can easily be paid off in the medium term. Canada’s government debt is over $600 billion.

    Why are being lied too? Basically Labor and the Coalition cannot control the economy without population increases for growth.

    Population increase is the greatest burden on the states by infrastructure spending, but we are not told this because the high end of town needs increasing numbers to expand, it’s why visa numbers grow.

    Consider infrastructure spending lags behind population growth by one trillion dollars, therein lays the real problem and our main financial burden that dictates why the GST must increase.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:56PM
  • Its official the Abbot government doesn't rule for all Australians just those who take advantage of tax rorts available to the highest tax rate income earners as they shall inherit a levy for a few months. While the pensioners will sink under the CPI indexation for ever.

    Commenter
    redache
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:54PM
    • No - ALL Polititians only have one interest - looking after themselves, wouldn't it be nice for a change to get someone in Canberra to do whats right for the country?
      Maybe any polly who doesn't honor his promises should be automatically jailed for life prior to every election
      ----------AHHHH one can but dream

      Commenter
      john34s
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:05PM
  • I was born in 1968.
    I missed out on:
    - First home buyers grant (wasn't around)
    - Baby bonuses (kids were born prior)
    - Kevin Rudd's $900 gift (over the threshold)
    - Free Uni (HECS came in when I was there)

    And now I'm told I have to work until I'm 70. I hate you baby boomers!

    Commenter
    notlad
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:48PM
    • I was born in 1957.
      First home purchased prior to FHOB.
      Kids born before BB, I received $40 for twins.
      $900 gift, was in business enduring a 11 year drought, didn't receive.
      Endured my working life with non equal pay.
      No mandatory child maintenance, received one payment of $40 (ironic).
      Endured interest rates of 19%. Lost home due to a family member going broke due to interest rates.
      No compulsory Super till......
      I could go on.
      I am not silly enough to say I hate a whole Gen.
      No sense blaming another Gen, each have their own burdens.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:16PM
    • you voted for them so suffer baby suffer ha ha

      Commenter
      JT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:21PM
    • Stop it you two!!?! You've both got me sobbing uncontrollable now.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:26PM
    • I was born in 1942, in the middle of WWII and we had nothing. I went to school with cardboard inserted into my shoes because shoe repairs cost money. There was no TV, no computers, no DVD’s, no cars, hardly anything to eat, offal was a weekly feast. Shopping meant a two mile walk carrying heavy bags. Rationing was on everything and if it wasn’t rationed one could not afford it.

      There was no such thing as middle class welfare, welfare was the very basic supplemented by charity shops. Every piece of dirt was turned into growing food. Bath water was heated in a tub and transported by saucepan to the bath once a week, other days it was a strip wash with a bowel of warm water. No electric blankets other than a hot bottle of water. Needless to say I was about six the first time that tasted chocolate it was a chocolate biscuit.

      I never met my father until I was seven as he stayed on in the army in the Middle East because of the coming of Israel. My Mother worked about a 56 hour week during this time.

      It took the UK economy about 14 years to normalise to something approaching what we have today.

      Commenter
      Pen of hrba
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:57PM
    • Let's not forget that the Baby Boomers have also had to endure:

      - the biggest property boom in history
      - massively favourable tax treatment on investment properties
      - the opportunity to transfer huge amounts into the tax shelter known as super

      I'm sure quite a few have missed out for reasons beyond their control, but as a whole, the generation has been treated unbelievably well - and pollies are still afraid to offend them!

      Commenter
      Phil
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:21PM
    • I lived in a shoebox. When it rained we all got wet. Fortunately the shoebox was located in Leichhardt and went from $80k to $1.25 m in a little more than a decade.

      Thanks, John Howard, for giving Baby Boomers Superannuation

      You noisy brats in Gen X/Y should be gratefull for what we went through to give you freedom. Our parents used to beat us, teachers caned us, the police framed us and at university, the beer was lukewarm.

      You bunch of lazebouts got much better job selection, plus we treated you kindly and gave you self esteem (too much, obviously) and you didn't have to get married to have children. And we all came out of the closet and got bashed, so you could walk around kissing and holding hands at the cafe.

      That's another thing we gave you - coffee. All we had was El Pablo until we staged demonstration s.

      The list of benefits that you lazy louts got for free, that we had to fight and get gaoled for, its a mile long. That's another thing - we had to learn imperial, and gave you metres and so forth.

      Grrr. Makes the blood boil to hear you pathetic whingers complaining about high house prices when you know you'll inherit millions. Get stuffed!

      Commenter
      Axis
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:31PM
  • What WILL Labor do?

    Feign its predictable 'outrage' and represent what exactly?

    The Voice for the Powerless my arse.

    Commenter
    Two Up
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:47PM
    • Labor doesn't have to do anything other than maintain the outrage against all of the cuts and co-payments. The electorate will do the rest at the first opportunity.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:59PM
    • Yes, what will Labor do? Is Bill Shorten up to it? Does Bill Shorten have the tenacity and the guts to take on Abbott? Always a sceptic I'm thinking that the new honors system was a shrewd move by Abbott. After all how hard are you going to go against a Prime Minister who bestowed such a great honor on one of your family. PM can't be such a bad bloke, can he?

      Commenter
      Pluto
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:06PM
    • It is great watching Bill Shorten in front of the cameras demonstrating his acting skills, and doing what The Greens tell him to do.
      I don't think I have seen a more pathetic performance than his.
      What is he going to be like when he fronts the RC.

      Commenter
      Thepres
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:09PM
    • "Mike Baird is asked a question about Mike Gallacher." Tony Abbott, a stickler for protocol, intervenes. I'm sure the people will be asking a lot more questions about Liberal Party activities in NSW and everywhere else in the next few months and next three years. We will also want to know the extent of Liberal Party corruption and how far up the chain it goes. After all lets have a level playing field here. The Liberals are always ready to stick the boot into Labor and the unions.

      Commenter
      Pluto
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:19PM
  • re Tony Shepherd---a man with such a brilliant mind, one that will lead us out of the wilderness and he cant remember

    Commenter
    helena
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:28PM
  • "Prosperity is not a gift, it has to be earned."

    Wow, now the Australian people are getting moral lessons from Joe Hockey's dad. Fresh from the Liberal Party pulpit. I guess with so many men of faith in the party this was bound to happen.

    Commenter
    Pluto
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:27PM
  • "We've tried to spread it fairly"? Yeah, pull the other one Tony. I doubt that you, or your mates, will be paying or sacrificing anything.

    Commenter
    Pluto
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:22PM
    • Haha, well, he wanted to, but have you seen the uproar about the deficit levy?? Most of it coming from the left. Unfortunately, there is little he can take away from rich people, as they don't get any welfare. I was going to be targeted by the deficit levy and wasn't happy about it, but still would have paid it if that was balanced by a reduction in welfare payments and a reigning in of the budget in other areas. The left doesn't like this though. They want the budget balanced through magic.

      Commenter
      Nick
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:44PM
    • @Nick, no arguments there. The left of the far-right including the centre-right (which includes some LNP and Nationals MPs) are unhappy with this tax. That means most of the population. How about fixing up the revenues instead of taxing? How about removing tax concessions for super, negative gearing that favours higher-income earners etc instead of adding to the burden of people?

      Commenter
      Interesting
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:00PM
  • The pension age issue is a serious one for the country, given the demographic projections on the ageing population.

    Wouldn't it be nice if just once, Shorten would try and deal with an issue in a nationalistic, bi-partisan way, rather than with the usual shrill.

    When Labor get back in power (hopefully in a decade or more), it's going to be an issue for them too. It might be an idea to come up with a solution that will last.

    Is Bill's plan to repeal the 70 age and push it back down, even though they've just increased it themselves ?

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:09PM
    • Hacka, I doubt Bill Short-Term will be around much longer to make any decisions. The Royal Commission into Unions will end his 15 minutes of fame

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:36PM
    • @ Hacka
      What I the point of extending the pension age if Employers are not prepared to employ and one over 50. Why doesn't the government address this issue first?

      Commenter
      Seriously
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:38PM
    • Fair point Seriously, but if the government can get jobs moving again, then demand for older workers will grow.

      eie - who would be your tip to be an alternative to Shorten ?

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:53PM
    • Hacka
      So you want a nice compliant opposition?
      What happened to the "Opposition is there to oppose" chant that Tony had going for 3 years.
      Where was the bi-partisan approach on taxation reform and asylum seekers?
      Why is it suddenly Labor's responsibility to be bi-partisan??
      If Abbott wants bi-partisan support, he needs to consult Labor and come up with a bi-partisan plan.

      Commenter
      Steve
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:22PM
    • Hacka, given the current ALP failures I'd say its a tossup between J Fraser of Qld and current ALP President Jenny McAllister.

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:25PM
    • Why doesn't Tony just defer his GREAT BIG PAID MATERNITY LEAVE scheme until things are better

      Commenter
      john34s
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:01PM
    • Steve - despite the headlines, the Coalition supported about 90% of government bills from 2007-2013.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:38PM
  • By forcing people to work until 70 means the LIEbrals will hope you die not long after that so they have no need to pay out a pension for you.

    Commenter
    Steeden
    Location
    Ballina
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:09PM
    • Back to the good old days of Victorian England. How far we have come.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:24PM
    • @mitch of ACT. Spot on. If you give this government a second term they will want the family home means tested. Then older workers who can not find a job will very readily find a place in the newly constructed workhouses that the Liberal Party is planning to build in major Australian cities.

      Commenter
      Pluto
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:33PM
    • Steeden, here is an easy question for you, if Labor are so good why are they not the government.
      You can phone a friend if you like.

      Commenter
      Thepres
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:34PM
    • Steeden,
      Good to see you think the Libs will still be in power then....
      I thought you were a Labor woman!

      Commenter
      dRod
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:50PM
    • @Steeden, because the Libs are better liars than Labor.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:57PM
    • Because voters have been deceived and now they are all very regretful. So, should I say Australian are stupid..

      Commenter
      sue
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:06PM
  • Keep Running PM.

    Commenter
    Exercise is Good For your Heart
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 1:00PM
  • The retirement age should be 60. Many of my friends are doing large amounts of charity work for free. They should not have to suffer the humiliation of having to apply for jobs, they have no hope of getting. Give these volunteers the pension or part pension and cut out all the expense and red tape.

    Commenter
    Rod
    Location
    the Coast
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:56PM
    • Yes, I'm wondering as well. Unless an older person is working for themselves and can adjust their work life, where are the jobs going to come from? I doubt Tony Shepherd and his friends at the big end of town are going to employ older Australians. After all, business in Australia does not have a good record in this regard.

      Commenter
      Pluto
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:16PM
  • So $88K per year is rich enough to pay for ALL of your healthcare needs.

    So a take home of (according to an on-line tax calculator) of $66K (5,500 monthly) per year.

    So in 2011 according to the ABS the average mortgage repayment was $1,800 per month.

    So that leaves a rich person $3,700 per month to pay for their own healthcare.

    Oh and ..... Heating, Lighting, Water, Car, Rates, Insurance, Student Loans .... And of course they want to eat.

    So how on Earth are this generation going to find the money to afford the next generation, and on top of all this, afford their OWN healthcare.

    When you let a capitalist multimillionaire idiot in charge of policy scripting, you just know that you're not going to get a reasoned argument you can take to the electorate.

    So, perhaps this has to be seen as cover to protect the 'reformers' from the political damage that implementing any of these would cause.

    By openly talking about the WORST outcomes, we accept without political blame, those they do implement which previously would have been railed against.

    Commenter
    Joe the POM
    Location
    Geelong
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:49PM
  • ...and with the pension age rising, I assume that the politicians will not be able to access THEIR pensions until they're also 70.
    Yeah - right!!!

    Commenter
    notHappyTony
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:36PM
  • I have voted liberal all my life, even when the liberals winning meant I would be drafted for Vietnam. But this latest round of cuts appalls me - why don't they stop the parental leave scheme - we have survived a 100yrs without it, same with the disability insurance scheme - save them for when things are fixed. IE Stop all new spending and trim a little in other areas - stop pushing us further into living beyond our means just to satisfy Tony's ego.

    Commenter
    John34s
    Location
    Narre Warren
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:31PM
  • Tony's plan for the Commission of Audit was always:

    Give some far right dinosaurs free reign to come up with some ludicrous schemes.

    Step back from them slightly towards the middle

    Claim you balancing all stakeholders.

    Cut as much as you can from the people who can't afford to donate to you or were never going to vote for you anyway.

    Commenter
    Richard
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:31PM
    • Agree. Smells just like that.

      Commenter
      Joe the POM
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:52PM
  • It angers me that politicians who feast on the public purse strings create horrid conditions for the elderly in this country, I call it lousy, sloppy, mean spirited tripe by Sunrise Joe, he who lives off the public purse strings as a politician enforces his personal views of Australians who may require and should expect Australia to look after Australians who need help on government benefits.

    Yes we are all aware of the waste by the Rudd, Gillard and Rudd again governments but surely using this as a big stick to whack the least who can afford to be whack by Sunrise Joe just makes this government in many respects worse than the farce called the Gillard government.

    How dare Australians grow old, how dare they may need support from government benefits, so Sunrise Joe resorts to sloppy cost cutting rather than at least trying to be a little creative in preparing the budget, you know show his worth in the very ample pay he would take from the public purse strings he puts in his very ample pockets.

    Thanks Sunrise Joe for confirming why I am no fan of you, your TV camera persona is only for the camera but your nasty views of Australians growing old and needing assistance shows your character well and truly

    Commenter
    GJS
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:18PM
    • Has the irony been lost on everyone that those who express overt contempt and act with passive aggression towards the disabled, the pensioners and the unemployed are those that do, and aspire to live on unearned income?

      Commenter
      Sir Mascara Snowflake
      Location
      West Brunswick
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:37PM
  • When are the hierarchy of the Liberal Party going to wake up to Abbott, he keeps on painting you into a corner.
    Why release this document 12 days from the Budget. It clearly shows that his policies had and have no substance.

    Commenter
    KMA
    Location
    Berwick
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:06PM
  • What about the fact that already a high percentage of workers are forced to constantly work overtime without extra pay (forget penalty rates). Knowing who is driving this audit it is clear that there is an attempt made to turn the majority of the work force into slaves while a small minority of parasites sucks the live of them. Time to stand up before the majority has lost all rights. This is insane. Give power to the greedy and they get even greedier.

    Commenter
    Mike54
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:05PM
  • 11:28am

    What's Mr Bean doing sitting in Sams chair?

    Commenter
    notlad
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 12:03PM
  • Can anyone explain what Labor and the Greens learned from this Senate Committee meeting ?

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:56AM
    • Beats me, maybe the free donuts?

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:24PM
    • Nothing it's all show to gain votes next election, "Oooh look at us we asked the hard questions Australia, oh by the way vote for us"

      Nothing it just gives the appearance that there are questions asked of this commission of audit report, when in fact all of the public purse politicians foam at the mouth hoping the coalition introduces most if not all of the recommendations.

      Nothing, it's all a farce

      Commenter
      GJS
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:27PM
    • That Liberal MPs aren't interested in turning up to defend the CoA report and that those who did get involved (by phone) were only interested in running a spoiling campaign.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:39PM
  • Could somebody please have a word with the PM and explain to him that he might be better to be known as the Smart Infrastructure PM and not just the Infrastructure PM.. By use of smart technologies developed in Australia at NICTA and CSIRO much of our huge planned infrastructure spend could be mitigated or re-prioritised.. We would end up with much better use of taxpayers dollars as a result.. Also, while I'm on my soapbox, why do all of the Govt advisory groups under the Libs (eg. C of A group, PM's Business Advisory Group) end up being full of dinosaurs who are deeply entangled in the old ways of doing things.. Haven't they heard about the transformative nature of the Internet economy.. Maybe getting some smart technology people involved in these groups might bring up some innovative new approaches...

    Commenter
    techboy..
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:52AM
    • Sorry, but if its not in the bible Abbott is not interested in it.

      Commenter
      QED
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:24PM
  • What a low blow by Dastyari,,,,using the Senate Committee question time on the Cof A to make a statement about ICAC and the LNP.Totally irrelevant,,,,Shepherd should have just ignored him.

    Commenter
    Chumlee
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:44AM
    • Meanwhile more LNP MPs become embroiled by the minute. It's very topical even if you don't want to hear it, Chumlee.

      Commenter
      BC
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:16PM
  • I notice that the Treasurer will announce the new retirement age at 1:00 pm. How do we know it already? Actually, it should read "announce" the retirement age. Does anyone else get sick of that sort of nonsense?

    Commenter
    David Morrison
    Location
    Blue Mountains
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:39AM
  • re 11.14. If he thinks the mob making up the Commission of Audit are an 'eclectic bunch' I would suggest that Mr Shepherd needs to get out into the real world more.
    Some of us actually work with people who actually have differing opinions

    Commenter
    meganjj
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:35AM
  • Unbelieve comments . Pen suggest that common sense argues you fix revenue problems before expenditure. Its just not that simple otherwise we'll end up with an ever increasing taxation burden. Its always obviously a compromise between a fair level of taxation that doesn't discourage effort and reasonable government spending. The argument never centres around whether we should be paying for certain things only really over who should be paying. At the end of the day maybe no-one should be. Maybe some policies are great in theory but impossible in practice and hopelessly expensive. Not just the PPL scheme but the NDIS amongst many others.

    Commenter
    Doc
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:29AM
  • I would be very interested to know how much of the federal budget goes to pay interest on loans (or interest on interest ) to the Rothchild banking cartel. Those gangsters have been sucking nations dry for many years. They bankrupted Iceland, Ireland and are about to bankrupt The US. They create money out of thin air and then loan it to us and have the audacity to charge interest on it. And when the interest payments become too large to pay off we have to pay interest on the interest, until the nation goes broke. That makes one more nation destroyed and a step nearer the creation of their totalitarian New World Order. Iceland and Ireland kicked out the Rothchild banks, set up their own National bank, issued their own currency and paid interest to no one. Iceland went from poverty to prosperity almost overnight. Wake up Australia, kick out the cartels owning our banks and Reserve bank.and issue our own interest free currency. The Australian public must make this mandatory on any party wanting to become the Government. The pressure on Abbott and Co must start now Refusal to do so means Abbott and Co are either in bed with the Rothchild bankers or too fearful to remove them from Australia. Either way, to continue on the present course towards eventual bankruptcy is treason against the people of Australia.
    Rick5591.

    Commenter
    joe3868
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:13AM
  • There are two interpretations possible from the CoA.

    1. It's a chillingly ideological wishlist of things the Government would love to do, (but if they have even a shred of political nouse they won't touch with a barge pole).

    2. Tony Abbott is actually the love child of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

    Commenter
    Gigondas
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:09AM
    • It's probably only just no.1... sadly.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:20AM
  • These Senate enquiries are simply a witch hunt in disguise. The Greens questioning of Govt expenditure takes the cake. The Greens helped cause this budget mess together with Swan who hides on the backbench waiting for a job offer but nobody is calling this economic illiterate.

    Commenter
    enough is enough
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:04AM
    • Give it a break, EIE - your views are solely "Lib=good, everything else=bad". You have zero objectivity and it shows in every comment.

      Commenter
      BC
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:29AM
    • http://www.euromoney.com/Article/2903395/Press-release-Australias-Wayne-Swan-named-Euromoneys-finance-minister-of-the-year.html

      Do you mean the same Swan who was internationally awarded treasurer of the year?

      Commenter
      eliotwrites
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:43AM
    • Here's a couple of novel ideas....What about taxing family trusts? That will save billions a year! How about removing negative gearing from EXISTING residential property (not new or commercial) That will save another few billion...oh wait, can't hit your blue blood liberal mates can you?

      Commenter
      shemp
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:51AM
    • Swan should hand that 'award' back to his friends in the Eurozone. If Swan is so good why hasn't he been offered a top job in the IMF or similar? because he is hopelessly out of his depth in all economic matters.

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:54AM
  • Less than one day, and already some of the Commission of Ordure*s recommendations have been shown to be based on dodgy premises. Where are the senators who should be roasting them on this?

    Commenter
    David D
    Location
    Ettalong Beach
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 11:02AM
  • 70? You've got to be kidding. Joe, I am 45. I have worked since 15. In some blue but mostly white collar positions. I am just about done now due to overwork, and 'productivity increases' which just mean do more with less. There is no way I will make 70 even if the jobs are there (and i have direct knowledge of this and they are not).

    Pity the blue collar worker, who has my respect and would have it even tougher than me.

    I honestly believe the LNP is only in power due to a protest vote on the Rudd/Gillard saga. Hopefully now that their true colours have been nailed to the flagpole, they will be gone in a couple of years... not that the ALP is in any state to govern at the moment, but jeez... at least they have some semblance of common sense and equity.

    Commenter
    Mark
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:52AM
  • The same old, unoriginal Luddite, Thatcherite Economic Rationalist claptrap trotted out every few years to justify a scorched earth policy 100% ideologically driven. This again will be the tedious exercise in making everyone believe they're going to be hit with a sledge hammer and then only being hit by a baseball bat. Hockey will only implement about a third of this farcical report and everyone will think that wasn't so bad after all. For Canberra this Report has dire consequences.

    Commenter
    Lord Lucan
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:50AM
  • 9.12am Peter Martin. But superannuants will get screwed royally if the GST increases, if doctor and prescription payments increase, etc. This could make a huge difference as to whether they can sustain themselves without the public teat.

    Commenter
    Norm
    Location
    Maroubra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:46AM
  • All you Australians are not real bright are you the utter chaos of the LNP government in this country what a joke.

    Commenter
    oldfella67
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:38AM
    • Well... it is kinda hard to choose between the projected chaos of this LNP government and the proven realised chaos of the previous ALP/G government.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:08AM
    • I tend to agree with Lewis on that one. If it's a case of supposed to actual, then actual takes the cake.

      Commenter
      Indeed
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:05PM
  • The sad thing about this whole exercise was more about what it wasn't than what it was. It was not a Commission of Audit. It was Commission given to a number of politically friendly men to offer up a philosophically appropriate blueprint for the government's agenda for as long as it holds the Treasury benches. There is very little economics behind any of the recommendations but there is lots of free market philosophy. Many of the recommendations were deliberately over the top so the government can introduce a watered down variety in its first budget with only little of the drastic effects they will reap on the lower socioeconomic strata down the track. A truly deceitful exercise delivered for a truly deceitful government.

    Commenter
    RTP
    Location
    Sawtell
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:35AM
  • Cuts to defence? Hello?

    For those who believe 100 F35’s are good value for money think again. According to the US congressional watchdog, the average price per plane doubled from $69 million to $137 million since the F-35 program began in 2001. Our recent purchase of 58 planes cost $180 million each without any further cost increases our 100 purchase equates with a grand outlay of $18 billion right? Forget it.

    The latest SAR (Selected Acquisition Report) cites flying costs for the F-35 at $31,900 per hour. However, in its quest for maximum obfuscation the Pentagon has found at least six different ways to calculate the F-35′s costs per flying hour. One dictates if Australia doesn’t fly the lemon too often, which is likely because of simulators, the flying cost will fall because of the use of the simulators by pilots, however simulator usage is not calculated into the cost of flying hours, so since the lemons are not actually flying when simulators are used in fact the actual flying costs per hour increases.

    So without going into any form of combat and if we fly our lemons at the rate of say an average of 8 hours per week the cost without inflation is 100 planes x 32000 x at say for 50 years x 52 x 8 hours = $66.56 billion plus the purchase price without inflation of $18 billion for a grand total of $84.56 billion. And Abbott is trying to save money by privatising the housing of pilots and ground staff – hello is anyone there?

    Meanwhile, Abbott is screaming blue murder because we have government debt of $191.5 billion?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:35AM
    • So the Eurofighter Typhoon instead or just make do with combat drones you reckon?

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:25AM
    • So why didn't the Govt put you on the C'tee to complete the Commission of Audit?

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:28AM
  • The retirement age is not as big an issue as age discrimination in the employment market. I'm 59 years old & am not worried about the retirement age because I will certainly be made redundant long before with grim prospects of finding another job at my age.

    Commenter
    Lewis
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:31AM
  • Oh dear, the ALP Senators are stuck in a mess. A mess created by Rudd/Gillard/Swan/Wong who are nowhere to be seen. This Abbott Govt has got credibility and determination to fix the financial vandalism left behind by Swan.

    Commenter
    enough is enough
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:30AM
    • Is that the vandalism that kept the majority of us in a job and able to pay off our mortgages?

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:39AM
    • eie,
      What vandalism are you talking about, please be explicit.
      and don't say debt and deficit because the LNP has already said they would have been in debt and deficit too, just that somehow they could get back to surplus faster after the GFC

      Commenter
      econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:39AM
    • enough is enough, your screen name is a classic case of nominative determinism.

      But keep up the mindlessness- it serves to remind everyone with half a brain the dangers of blindly following a political party irregardless of their incompetence.

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:56AM
    • Is that irregardless mindlessness or illiteracy? Pure gold!

      Commenter
      enough is enough
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 11:26AM
    • Perhaps in your case, iron pyrite.

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:02PM
  • I think financial incentives to encourage those who can to work till 70 or beyond would be better than raising the pension age for all. A small reduction for home-owning part-pensioner couples right now would also help the budget and not hurt most of such pensioners

    Commenter
    David Morrison
    Location
    Blue mountains
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:25AM
  • Yes yes Hacka -and under whose stewardship AAA Credit rating, record unemployment, record low interest rates. An economy the envy of the rest of the world, insulated from the GST....must be hard to swallow given that your lot only know how to slash and burn and sell the family silver. But try a spoonful of sugar. It helps the medicine go down.

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:23AM
  • Business Day reports that "Australia Post (AP) is at the start of a $2 billion four year investment program ...". CofA report recommends the sale of AP and "... could fetch more than $3 billion. I'm probably economically brain dead, but ($3+b minus $2b) equals ($1+ billion) and unless the ($+billion) is a lot of cash why even consider selling AP? Especially when the future annual dividend stream to the federal government coffers could exceed $200m anually?

    Commenter
    MichaelP
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:21AM
  • Weren't people who warned of slash and burn before the election accused of running a scare campaign? Rather than Labor being in long term trouble this may signal the demise of the LNP. People will not forget this. The overall and probably indelible impression that will stay is that these cowboys only care for the rich. Also that they didn't say a thing about the slash and burn before the election. In the end the Australian people will see the boats issue as a con and relatively unimportant.

    Commenter
    Pancho
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:15AM
  • Not surprised nor angry just incrediably sad at the heartless cynicism of this government...pick a bunch of hardnose business men that have enough money to keep them going for ever, tell tham what you want to hear back and then release two weeks out from the budget. Terrify everyone and then look like 'good guys' when the budget is 'not so bad'. Once again I am ashamed to be an Australian, greed and self interest not only rule but get stronger everyday.

    Commenter
    Appalled
    Location
    sydney
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:07AM
  • Did the audit commission say that we should put the politicians on minimum wage? Then we would see how quickly things changed!!!!

    Commenter
    shemp
    Location
    melb
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 10:03AM
  • Further, Sam's opening salvo is relation to the the slashing of agencies that families rely on.

    Are these the same agencies that the Audit Committee couldn't even figure out their purpose?

    Commenter
    $keptic
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 9:58AM
    • You seem to have an agenda

      Commenter
      Pancho
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:28PM
  • Given Sam Dastyari's first two questions, it is no wonder that he reached out to Twitter for some assistance.

    Commenter
    $keptic
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 9:56AM
  • The Commission of Audit was LNP’s way of getting answers on the wrong questions from the wrong people. No surprises that if you ask business leaders how to make them more money they will give you lots of good cost cutting measures that show no interest in outcomes for Australians, only outcomes for them to make more money.

    Further proof that the LNP are following the failed US GWB style trickle-down economics ideology where that wrongly believe that if they make business owners as rich as possible all will be well. Then debate today is how strongly the LNP will follow this totally damaging set of solutions to the wrong question whilst ignoring unbiased solutions like those in the Henry report, or Gonski etc.

    Commenter
    QED
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 9:50AM
    • QED

      And who exactly commissioned the Henry Report and what actions did they take?

      Commenter
      $keptic
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:04AM
    • $keptic – How predictable of you to blame something on Labor. Yes, Labor didn’t follow all of the recommendations either because they lacked the vision of the power to overcome the relentless Murdoch & mining propaganda machines. Labor failed to implement a real mining tax. Labor did not address any of the other huge corporate welfare areas like mining diesel subsidy, or negative gearing etc. I have never voted Labor and wouldn’t want to if the election is tomorrow. Now that we’ve got that out of our systems, can we address the REAL issue which is that no matter how average Labor was Abbott is manifestly more dangerous.

      Not only is Abbott ignoring unbiased recommendations, he’s set up this kangaroo court of an audit to tell him what he wanted to hear.

      Personally I hope that he tries to implement all of the recommendations cos then maybe the masses will wake up enough to revolt against him and maybe Turnbull can take over and bring the LNP back from its Tea Party right wing fanaticism.

      Commenter
      QED
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:11PM
    • $KEPTIC
      The labor party did and they had acted on 22 of the 106 recommendations, with more to follow.
      Unfortunately the LNP have wound back or removed 8 of those 22 recommendations since coming to office.

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:11PM
    • QED

      Exactly where did I blame the ALP? Neither party is serious about taxation reform or even to suggest taxes may rise.

      There are some good suggestions in the audit and I agree other areas could be included; however, it is simply an audit and your typical 'rich mates' line is wearing thin. How about looking at the proposal in more depth. There is no budget crises; however, we don't want to get to the stage where there may be.

      Commenter
      $keptic
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:09PM
    • “'rich mates' line is wearing thin”

      I’d say the opposite is true. I remember last year being one of few bloggers stating that Abbott was heading in a US GWB direction (with the same results expected) and being shouted down by your type. Every day it becomes more clear that’s all that Abbott has in his bag of tricks. Just policies to benefit the already rich.

      Except as Hacka pointed out the other day, he has a PPL – but that is a way to pass our tax dollars to already rich women, and one PUP rep went as far as to suggest that it’s a Eugenics policy.

      Commenter
      QED
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:26PM
  • lol - Labor's Sam Dastyari is also on the committee and is preparing his attack. "Senate Inquiry with Tony Shepherd. Any suggestions on what I should ask?"

    If you have to go to Twitter to get suggestions of what you should ask, you shouldn't be on the committee.

    Commenter
    Indeed
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 9:36AM
    • @Indeed, the consultative process in action. How much opportunity does the gov't give you to participate.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:43AM
    • Indeed, doesn't democracy dictate that the people ought to be able to ask questions of their governments and politicians too? Why knock someone who is facilitating this and make yourself look silly in the process?

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:55AM
    • Indeed Mitch / tasch2, though Twitter & Facebook et al are social media jokes IMO.

      Commenter
      Indeed
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:13AM
    • Indeed, Dastyari clearly needs all the help he can get because his next question on the debt levy is completely off-reference & gets a firm dismissal from Shepherd.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:24AM
    • If you think that he must be taking his queues from Hockey who put out on twitter asking everyone to respond to him about what he should do when the question of leadership came up... Or perhaps he was laughing at Hunt who uses Wikipedia for his research?

      Commenter
      n720ute
      Location
      North Coast NSW
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 3:07PM
  • Labor. the Greens & PUP (& me) can't believe their luck. The ham-fisted, ultra-conservative, business wish list compiled by the Commission of Audit is going to be the gift that keeps on giving, right up to and beyond the next election. In fact Tony Jones's first question to Chris Bowen last night on Lateline was "When does the scare campaign start". And we haven't seen those other reports with pre-determined outcomes yet, ie the Productivity Commission report on childcare and the Review of the Renewable Energy Target. Both reports are guaranteed to alienate a significant number of voters. On Lateline last night it was also highlighted that the Commission of Audit undertaken by Costello in '96 came out with similar recommendations, none of which were acted on. But that doesn't matter, they are out there for the opposition to use. We could have been saved $millions by just resurrecting the '96 report.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 9:30AM
  • Peter Martin is right in that the revenue side of the budget also needs to be addressed, but one step at a time.

    Where's Wayne Swan, the architect of the carnage ? Liberal / National governments are becoming rather sick of having to clean up Labor mess. First Fraser, then Howard, now Abbott.

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 02, 2014, 9:25AM
    • Wayne Swan, the Treasurer under whose stewardship Australia was saved from the GFC. How soon the ungrateful forget because it suits their political agenda. Wayne Swan did not spend that money on his own. It was spent on advice from Depts of Treasury & Finance and the best economic brains in the nation but of course Hacka knows more than them.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:34AM
    • mitch - ungrateful is one word, contemptuous is another. Surely the worst Treasurer in generations.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:41AM
    • You will find the architect of the problem is one team of John Howard and Peter Costello who pretended we would have a neverending mining boom and gave tax cuts and benefits to one and all creating what Joe Hockey terms the age of entitlement.

      Wayne Swan may have been Australia's worst treasurer while he was in office, but Joe Hockey quickly grabbed that title. Joe is out of his depth in politics, let along treasury. Joe doesn't even do anything for his local electorate - even tells lies about them.

      Commenter
      Thriller
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:44AM
    • @Hacka

      Such an unpretentious LNP apologist. This is an Abbott/Hockey commissioned report. We are not talking about the opposition.

      Commenter
      Hacked
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:50AM
    • Booooring ......

      Commenter
      MP
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:52AM
    • This is a Joke right Mitch. Surely that last comment is a joke??

      Commenter
      Brettie
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 9:59AM
    • Broken record Hacka. A boring, unconvincing one at that. And as we slide down into the morass that this incompetent Government steers us toward, you will still be using the same "Labor mess" mantra in two-and-a-half years' time - though this time folk won't be so easily fleeced by your bosses.

      Commenter
      BC
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:06AM
    • Brettie, the funny thing is that you obviously don't agree with what Mitch says but can't come up with an argument to say why.

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:09AM
    • Sadly Hacka, It was not Swan who was the architect of the carnage but John Howard who rolled out the middle class welfare and tax cuts when even I could see that the mining boom would have a use-by date. Nope, not really Swan although he wimped out on the rol, back, but John Howard who is the author of this lot.

      Commenter
      Long Xuyen
      Location
      Lismore
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:30AM
    • A lot of worldwide experts seemed to think Swan was one of the best, I think i'll take their word over yours Hacka

      Commenter
      Paul
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:32AM
    • Hacka

      Common sense dictates that one fixes ones revenue before expenditure. We are almost the lowest taxed country in the OECD. Furthermore infrastructure spending lags behind population growth by $1 trillion and the states cannot cope, hence GST should be increased along with pensions and welfare spending.

      Commenter
      Pen of hrba
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:42AM
    • Paul - one test of a good Treasurer is being able to get budgets about right. Swan missed revenue and spending projections on every single budget, by quite some mark. $106 billion on budget outcomes alone.

      Today we have to deal with the consequences.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 10:51AM
    • Sadly hacka, even Costello missed his projections; in fact just about every projection is 'missed' because they are a budget estimate and not 'actuals'

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:12PM
    • Blame the last government! Blame the last government! If you tell the same lie often enough people will believe it. The trouble is that it has now been so overused that it is little more than a cliche. What is evident, is that Hacka pratting out the same old line indicates that this government's deceit and ineptitude has left him no room to defend it or find an example of its positive contribution to society.

      Commenter
      Sir Mascara Snowflake
      Location
      West Brunswick
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:26PM
    • That's true Econorat, but don't you find it interesting that every actual result under Swan was a worse result for Australia, where Costello was a far more conservative forecaster and underestimated revenues, for example.

      On every budget Swan overestimated revenue and underestimated spending. That's not bad luck, that's just bad management.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:29PM
    • @Hacka, try again. The Budget forecasts by Swan & co were made in one of the most tumultuous periods in financial history. Even the largest corporates were reluctant to give any indication of their future performance and Treasury uses their forecasts and other economic forecasts to prepare its estimates. If the data going in is unreliable the forecasts coming out will also be unreliable. Costello & co made their forecasts in a period of financial stability at home and abroad.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:44PM
    • Thriller....you've hot the NAIL ON THE HEAD....
      The LIBS gave away too many tax cuts to ensure that were in govt for longer....yes the mining taxes lost..
      The LABOUR / GREENS govt....decided to either waste the rest of the Mining INCOME / TAXES on '$900 cheques', unwanted school halls or PINK BATS! Yes we needed some cash to help with the GFC...but we didn't need to waste ALL what was left...to WIN there second term....
      and ALL THOSE WHO VOTED FOR LABOUR in 2010... thanks.... we are up the Creel without the paddle now....even the LIBS don't know how to get our finances back on track!!

      Commenter
      Darkone
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:48PM
    • So that's the reason hey mitch, bad luck and big business. Was that the problem during the Whitlam and Keating years too ?

      Come on let's face it - as fiscal stewards, Labor just don't cut it, they're serial offenders. The Coalition always start by having to clean up the mess.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 12:57PM
    • @Hacka, one of the first messes left behind by the Liberals that Rudd had to clean up was to lift the Single Age Pension by a record $13pw as Howard & Co had let it fall below the poverty line in pursuit of their precious surplus.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:30PM
    • It is not just a matter of conservative vs optimistic forecasts. The real damage was done by the immediate & enthusiastic spending of the overly optimistic forecasts. Howard did divert too much revenue capacity towards vote buying but Labor created revenue illusions then spent it & more.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:41PM
    • @ Hacka
      When is the LNP going to grow up and stop its juvenile finger pointing. The government still hasn't explained what the crisis is and why a calm measured managed plan proposed by grownups over 5 years couldn't to what this drama drama drama crisis crisis its all their fault plan purports to do. What I would like to hear from the government is what role it is going to play in the fostering of sunrise industries to generate employment for all those 70 year olds in the next 20 years? If we are nothing but a quarry we don't have a future tax base.

      Commenter
      Seriously
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:46PM
    • Thriller, your comment makes no sense given mining revenues and profits are higher now than they were at any stage during the Howard years. The mining boom did not end when Rudd and Gillard took over. In fact, except for about a 6 month drop, it went from strength to strength.

      Commenter
      Nick
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 1:47PM
    • @Pen of hrba
      Completely agree that revenue side of equation should be fixed first but fixing revenue requires a lot more smarts, ideas, forward planning, clever analysis and thought than pulling out the red pen as the first and only strategy. This is clearly the primary approach of many Australian businesses who struggle to innovate or compete in value adding globally. There is some doubt as to whether the government has the capability to come up with anything that can add value

      Commenter
      Seriouly
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:02PM
    • You can't keep harping on with this excuse Hacka........many economists have suggested ways to fix the budget (not caused by Labor but by structural changes in the economy). Other ways to fix besides this redistribution of income from the poor to the rich......move...go to the US to live if you want those politics.

      Commenter
      JT
      Location
      Date and time
      May 02, 2014, 2:20PM
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