Archive for November, 2012

Julia Gillard Slush Fund Allegations – Worth Pursuing?

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

So maybe our prime minister Julia Gillard knowingly allowed the misuse of union funds around 20 years ago. Is it worth seeking the truth 20 years on? Should we care about what really happened regarding the AWU affair?

Many people claim it is so long ago that it’s not worth pursuing. If that’s the case then what is the time limit? How recent must a corruption allegation be before it’s worth pursuing? It’s completely arbitrary to specify a time. There is no time limit. Either we have a philosophy of seeking the truth or we don’t. Anything else is more of the same that you’d expect from labor and their supporters – make it up as you go politics and arbitrary decisions lacking a consistent philosophy.

If we ignore a corruption allegation against our prime minister it’s fostering a culture where corruption is allowed to proceed. Let this one go because it happened a while ago and it sets a precedent for allowing more corruption to occur. Those that are corrupt will push the boundaries of an inconsistently applied principle. It’s reasonable to test a corruption allegation regardless of when it happened. Actually there is no time limit. The philosophy is, seek the truth. If the prime minister is not guilty it doesn’t mean we’ve wasted our time. That’s the price we pay for keeping politicians honest.

Even if Julia Gillard is not guilty in this case, I still find it disturbing the apparent conflict of interest present in the labor government from their entrenched history with unions. Many labor chiefs have an association with unions. It reeks of corruption, regardless of the specifics of this particular case. I’m not happy with allowing our country to be run by a group so intimate with unions. We need a more balanced government. One that knows how to run the business of a country’s economy. One that can adopt a philosophy and apply it consistently.


Danish Fat Tax Scrapped – A Lesson for Australian Tax Philosophy

November 13, 2012 3 comments

Danish lawmakers have scrapped the fat tax – a tax designed to encourage people to eat healthy food. The Danish tax ministry quoted:

“The fat tax and the extension of the chocolate tax – the so-called sugar tax – has been criticized for increasing prices for consumers, increasing companies’ administrative costs and putting Danish jobs at risk”

Sounds exactly like the taxes recently introduced by the Labor government in Australia. Sure the stuff being taxed is different, but I’m talking about tax philosophy. I’m talking about how governments go about maintaining a healthy economy whilst at the same time achieve other social and environmental goals. The consequences of the Danish fat tax are exactly the same as the consequences of the carbon tax and mining tax. Australian jobs are at risk and living costs are forever increasing.

Is taxing stuff the answer? Is adding to our already high cost base the best way to go when we already can’t compete in international markets? Manufacturing, tourism and retail continue to decline and the new taxes keep rolling in.

Mette Gjerskov, the Danish minister for food, agriculture and fisheries, said during a news conference:

“The fat tax is one of the most maligned we [have] had in a long time. Now we have to try improving the public health by other means.”

You mean there are other ways of achieving a goal apart from decimating business through tax hikes? Labor take heed. We need a government that can manage the budget and lower the cost of Australian business. The current government in Australia is exactly the opposite.

Qantas Job Cuts

November 8, 2012 3 comments

I thought news on high profile job cuts and factory closures came in at around once a week since the Labor government came to power. It seems that rate is accelerating to a few examples every week. The latest is Qantas. A few days ago it was Holden. Prior to that it was car parts manufacturer Autodom.

Qantas is in trouble. They can’t compete with international airlines. Our corrupt union run government is fueling the high costs that are making Qantas uncompetitive. In Australia, under a labor government, job cuts would usually be countered by workers going on strike. Maybe I don’t understand business, but wouldn’t striking make your position worse as a worker in a company struggling with high costs?

I continue to worry about Australia’s future in an international economy. Something needs to change before we price ourselves out of every industry and have nothing left. I don’t think labor’s universal strategy of increasing taxes will solve this.

Greens say Ban Live Exports

November 6, 2012 2 comments

The Greens party and some antiquated union believes there should be a ban on live animal exports. Processed meat exports are more profitable they reckon.

I’m no expert on the meat industry but I’m pretty sure companies exist to maximize profits. Live animal exports are there for a reason. It wasn’t pursued randomly. For example the countries that import live animals may want them live so that they can process the animals themselves for religious reasons. I don’t think the Greens are in the best position to gauge economic decisions. Companies are pretty good at that.

I’ve said it before – no knee jerk reactions from the government this time round please. Any changes need to be to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Banning live exports so that countries import their live meat from other sources does not improve animal welfare. In fact it makes it worse – there’s a good chance an alternative live animal exporter will not have the standards of Australian exporters. Animal welfare is worse and Australia loses business. If we ban our exports that does not change a country’s demand for live imports. What are we trying to achieve?

Australian Automotive Industry in Terminal Decline

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s rare that a week goes by in Australia and there’s not some news about a factory closing and jobs being lost. This week it’s a high profile company – Holden. Automotive manufacturing in Australia is no longer competitive in international markets due to rising costs. This has manifested as reduced demand for Holden vehicles and the announcement this week of the axing of 170 jobs at the Elizabeth manufacturing plant in South Australia. Many people are prediciting this is just the beginning of Holden’s eventual demise.

Along with tourism and retail, manufacturing in Australia is in terminal decline. It’s too expensive. Rising costs means we are no longer competitive in a world economy. The Gillard Labor Government is fueling these rising costs with a continual introduction of new taxes and tax hikes and by pandering to unreasonable union demands that force Australian labour rates to unsustainable levels. What do you expect from a corrupt union run government that lacks any ability to manage a budget?

The Australian economy is faring ok as we continue to be supported by the remnants of the mining boom. Our ability to rely on mining has already been diminished through the mining super tax which is reducing our international competitiveness in the mining industry. What happens when mining eventually declines? We’ll have nothing left. Our economy will be devastated  Maybe labor will counter the problem by increasing the carbon tax and mining super tax whilst getting us to learn Asian languages? This is what Gillard suggested in her Asia white paper. Is learning an Asian language going to give us a competitive edge in a market where we are too expensive? Wouldn’t reducing costs be a better alternative? If I was running a business I’d rather hire a translator and have a lower cost base so that I could focus on delivering a cost effective product.

The Labor government is adding to the cost base of Australian businesses. Australia cannot tolerate this burden forever. I hope this arrangement is corrected by a change in government before it’s too late.