Timothy Stanley of the UK Telegraph reports that Australia has elected a Stephen Harper of their own.
Tony Abbott has won the Australian election – a blow not only to the Australian Labor Party but to Left-wingers everywhere who presumed that he was too “Neanderthal” to win. Well, us Neanderthals will be having a barbie tonight and sculling some beers to celebrate. “Good on yer, mate!”
Abbott won for two reasons. First, the Australian Labor Party is going through a long-term identity crisis. The ALP was once the party of the working man (and Sheila) but in recent years it’s succumbed to the worst aspects of factional politics, becoming a magnet for liberal pressure groups desperate for their slice of the taxpayers’ pie. The party contained plenty of factions in the past but it always managed to steer a sensible middle course between them – so while it was the ALP in the 1970s that established Australia as an outward-looking, Pacific power it was also the ALP in the 1980s that recognised the need for economic reform and rejected protectionism. It’s the party of both Gough Whitlam and Les Patterson.
However, in recent years the Left gained an ascendance over the Right that undid that delicate balance. Under Gillard and Rudd, the ALP “bought” off Australia’s metropolitan elites by embracing issues like gay marriage and the green agenda – the latter threatening the livelihoods of ordinary Australians trying to drill, mine and log their way through the global recession. It invested in silly, expensive projects that turned into giveaways to client companies and unions. And it displayed all of its internal bickering in public, reducing national politics to student union shenanigans. The ALP is now severed from the base that it once represented so well, leaving the ordinary blokes and blokesses looking around for something new.
[…]On the quiet, Abbott has picked up some of the politics that the ALP abandoned. He is said to be a devotee of BA Santamaria, the Catholic thinker who tried to build a Christian Democratic movement that combined social justice and social conservatism. Abbott’s conservatism is plain to see: he rejects doctrinaire environmentalism and favours a far freer and competitive market than the ALP’s clients would ever tolerate. But he also has Santamaria’s concern for social justice: Abbott wants to introduce a scheme that would pay for parental leave to encourage mothers and fathers not only to spend more time with their children but to have more of them, too. Dig beneath that hard man image and you’ll find a politician who is considerably softer and complex. Whereas some Western conservatives seem to be entirely motivated by the desire to win (Romney, Cameron), Abbott has a philosophy and – almost unique in our materialist age – a theology.
This puts him in the George W Bush, Stephen Harper compassionate conservative tradition – the tradition that tends to attract the most votes. For while British Tories might look at Abbott’s politics and language and sneer, they would do well to remember this important distinction. Tony Abbott wins elections; David Cameron has yet to do even that.
Congratulations, Conservative Coalition!
My previous post on Tony Abbott is here, if you want to know more about his policies.
Latest opinion polls show a further drop in support for Labor two weeks out from an election, with one indicating the Prime Minister may struggle to hold his own seat.
The Nielsen poll, published on Fairfax websites, shows Labor’s primary vote has fallen two points to 35 per cent.
After preferences, that gives the Coalition a six-point lead – 53 per cent to 47 per cent.
If the results were replicated evenly across the country on election day, Labor would lose 10 seats.
The poll of 2,500 respondents has a margin of error of 2.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, a Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper, shows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is behind the Coalition candidate, Bill Glasson, in his Brisbane seat of Griffith.
The poll of 500 voters shows Mr Rudd trails his opponent 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis. The margin of error is 4.4 per cent.
Another Newspoll of almost 1,400 voters in the Coalition’s eight most marginal seats in Queensland shows the Coalition’s primary vote has surged eight points to 54 per cent, while the ALP’s primary vote has slipped to 32 per cent.
It shows the Coalition has a commanding two-party preferred lead of 60 per cent to Labor’s 40 per cent.
Mr Rudd’s personal support has also fallen to 39 per cent, with 49 per cent of voters across the marginal seats preferring Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
The Coalition is is composed of the Liberal party (which is actually the conservative party) and the National party (which is also conservative).
I found an interview with Tony Abbott posted on India Today, when I searched for some keywords related to his policies. I searched for a detailed policy-oriented interview in the mainstream media, but couldn’t find much. Strangely enough, the Australian media seemed to be more concerned with gaffes and fear-mongering about Abbott’s socially conservative views. It’s as if the mainstream media is aiming for some sort of Jon Stewart coverage of the election, instead of telling us about each candidate’s plans and proposals.
Here’s some of the interview:
1. What are your plans to grow the economy?
The Liberal Party understands that successful businesses generate prosperity for the entire community by creating jobs, investing in growth and earning important export income.
We will lower costs for Australian businesses by removing Labor’s carbon tax. We will take the shackles off Australian businesses by cutting $1 billion in red tape every year. And we will boost productivity by encouraging more people into the workforce with better child care and a paid parental leave scheme and we will build 21st century infrastructure.
The economy will be strengthened by a new lowered company tax rate of 28.5% from 1 July 2015. This builds on the Coalition’s track record of delivering real tax reform focussed on cutting and simplifying taxation in Australia. Our fully funded tax cut will restore confidence in the management of Australia’s economy and boost job creation and investment.
The Coalition will also build a more diverse, world-class economy – a 5 pillar economy – to unleash Australia’s real economic potential. In particular, we will build on our strengths in manufacturing innovation, agriculture exports, advanced services, world class education and research as well as boosting mining exports.
2. The cost of living has gone up in the recent years, how will the Liberals help families cope with the rising costs?
We will start reducing cost of living pressures for families by immediately scrapping Labor’s carbon tax, taking the pressure off rapidly rising electricity and gas prices.
The average family will be $500 better off next year alone and seniors will still keep their fortnightly pension and benefit increases- all without a carbon tax. We will not proceed with Labor’s FBT changes on cars. And we will restore the Private Health Insurance Rebate as soon as we responsibly can.
3. We have a lot of small businesses in our community, how will Liberals help them?
The Liberal Party understands the small businesses are the real job creators in the economy, employing almost half of the workforce in Australia. We will reduce costs for every business by abolishing the carbon tax, directly reducing electricity, gas and transport costs. By removing $1 billion of red tape each year, small businesses will be able to put more time, effort and resources in their ‘real’ work, rather than complying with complex and unnecessary government requirements.
The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme will mean small businesses would no longer be disadvantaged in the ‘war for talent’, attracting and keeping quality staff.
We will also ease expense pressures on small businesses by delaying the increase of compulsory superannuation contributions to 12 per cent by a further two years.
8. Do you have a view about same-sex marriage?
There are very strong feelings on both sides of this particular issue right now. I take a conservative position on it myself. I think that we should not lightly change something which has been this way since time immemorial. But I don’t believe that I can necessarily impose my view on society for all time, all I can do is candidly and honestly tell people what my view is. I support the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Now I know that others dispute this, because I have lots of arguments inside my own family on this subject now. But my position, it’s always been clear, it’s always been consistent, and as long as I’m in the Parliament if the issue comes up that’s the way I will vote. Whether it remains for all time the Liberal Party, and the Coalition’s position, well that will be a matter for our party, for our Coalition if it were to come up in a future Parliament.
11. Everyone is talking about the Asian Century, what does this mean for the Liberals? What are your plans?
An important element of our economic plan for Australia is to strengthen our trading relationships with Asia, welcome investment from the region, boost our exports and deepen Australia’s knowledge of and engagement with countries in Asia. We recognise the rapid emergence of both China and India and the opportunities this will afford Australia in the future.
Specifically, we will take real action to increase economic activity by fast-tracking Free Trade Agreements with China and India amongst others.
We will strengthen our diplomatic relationship and trade ties with India and boost mining exports by exporting uranium to that country.
We will help Australians gain study and work experience, strengthen the ties with the region, learn to adapt behaviour to Asian contexts and work more effectively with Asian governments.
The Coalition’s new Colombo Plan would encourage and support Australian undergraduates to study for part of their degrees in a university in the Asia-Pacific region, so promoting Australia’s deeper engagement with the region to the benefit of both.
It’s nice to see what policies a conservative would propose. We haven’t had much of that around here for a long time, have we?
The Australian election will be held on September 7th. I would appreciate it if my Australian readers can keep me informed about stories related to the election campaign.
Raising taxes on all those above $250,000 as Obama proposes would raise just $34 billion. That’s a whopping 3% of our $1.1 trillion deficit. Even if you seized all their income, it would only run the government for three months.
So the idea that taxing the wealthy will reduce the deficit is false. This is just class warfare, pure and simple.
Even so, Obama compounds the fib by going on to say his tax hike will have virtually no impact on small businesses. He notes, for example, that 97% of all small businesses would be untouched by his tax hike.
True, but irrelevant, as Treasury Department data show. For while there are 34.8 million small businesses in America, 30 million of those employ no workers.
Just 4.8 million, or 12%, employ workers. But an even smaller number — just 1.2 million — earn 91% of all the small business income. These are Obama’s “rich.”
But while they make up just 3% of all small businesses, they employ a stunning 54% of the total private U.S. workforce.
They are, in short, the nation’s job creators. And their owners, who report their small-business income on their personal income tax return, will be taxed at a higher rate by Obama.
So don’t be fooled. It’s not really the “wealthy,” as Obama says, who’ll get taxed. It’s small businesses. And it will have a devastating impact on jobs.
How devastating? A recent study by Ernst & Young noted that Obama’s tax hike, far from being “balanced,” would cost 700,000 people their jobs.
And it will no doubt kill hundreds of thousands if not millions more jobs in the future as would-be entrepreneurs decide not to start businesses in such a hostile tax and regulatory environment.
It’s important for us to realize that the people voting for Obama have no idea about these facts. A lot of people are annoyed that we lost the election last week. I think that if we want to win the next one then we have to start to think about becoming more persuasive with the people around us. We have to learn to deflate the slogans of those on the left with facts.
Along with all manner of dire and dreary budget data reflecting President Obama’s budget and economic policies to date, CBO provides its assessment of what would happen if the President and Congress sit on their respective hands and fail to defuse the threats of Taxmageddon and the fiscal cliff. The answer is fairly simple: recession.
As CBO so diplomatically put it, “such fiscal tightening will lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession.”
Taxmageddon is the $500 billion tax hike slated to take effect on January 1, while the fiscal cliff consists of Taxmageddon plus various spending reductions—among them the sequestration left over from the disastrous negotiations that led to the Budget Control Act in 2011.
According to CBO’s analysis, if Congress defuses Taxmageddon and the fiscal cliff, then the economy will grow at a tepid 1.7 percent in 2013 and the unemployment rate will remain stuck around 8 percent. But if President Obama and Congress play chicken with Taxmageddon and fail to act, then the economy will contract by about 0.5 percent and the unemployment rate will shoot up to 9.1 percent, about halfway back to the peak from the past recession.
Forget percentages—what does this mean in actual jobs lost if President Obama and Congress fail to act? It means roughly 1.6 million more Americans will be out of work—on top of the 12.8 million who already want to work but can’t find jobs.
Just about every relevant school of economics, from the President’s pure Keynesianism to supply-side and neoclassical persuasions, tells much the same tale on net: Raising tax rates on a weak economy produces a weaker economy. It’s not terribly complicated.
Here’s my advice: This time, let’s elect someone with someone with experience in business administration and economics.
The tax increases scheduled to take effect in January 2013 – dubbed Taxmageddon – could have the American people spending more days than ever working to pay for federal and state government, areport from the Tax Foundation shows.
A host of tax rates are scheduled to rise in January 2013 – when George W. Bush-era tax rates and the annual patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax expire – leading to a tax increase of approximately $500 billion in 2013, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The Congressional Budget Office reported in January that taxes would increase by $4.6 trillion over ten years, if Congress allows the rates to rise as scheduled at the end of this year.
Tax Foundation economist William McBride estimated that this historic tax increase would push Tax Freedom Day to its latest point ever.
Tax Freedom Day is the day when – theoretically – Americans begin working for themselves and can stop paying for government. It assumes that 100 percent of a person’s wages go to paying for federal and state tax burdens. The day when government operations are fully paid for is Tax Freedom Day.
In 2012, Tax Freedom Day was April 17. However, Taxmageddon may push it until the end of April or beyond, McBride reported in a blog post on the foundation’s website. At the federal level, the 2012 tax increases would add 11 days to the Tax Freedom Day calculation, pushing it to April 28.
Adding in rising state and local tax revenues could push Tax Freedom Day beyond its May 1 record.
The Taxmageddon provisions adding to the cost of government – measured in the days that Americans will spend paying for it – are as follows:
Bush tax rates – 2.6 days
Alternative Minimum Tax – 2.2 days
Small business tax cuts – 0.4 days
Corporate income tax – 3.4 days
Payroll tax cut – 2.5 days
Estate tax – 0.2 days
One of the problems with all of this voting for bigger government is that there is less money for people to make their marriages and families work. The more we vote for bigger government, the less we haves as individuals for our own plans, including our marriage and family plans.