Steve Fielding: Get out of the way!

So Senator Steve Fielding is demanding a $4 billion addition (or is it substitution) to the Rudd government’s stimulus package. You have to wonder just what the role of a sole Senator is. Economic management? Grandstanding? Political/economic vandalism? Whatever he thinks it is, I’m sure the overwhelming majority of the Australian electorate have a message for him:

Get out of the way!

You can send him your thoughts at:

senator.fielding@aph.gov.au

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153 Responses

  1. Yeah!!! What right has an elected member of parliament got to express a view? Or to have a vote in the senate?

    He should be subjected to political party discipline, just like everyone else.

  2. Depends what the $4 billion addition is.

    All sides of politics have used the Senate to obstruct the other party.

    I am in favour of as many independents as possible to break the stranglehold of 2 dominant parties in what is supposed to be a democracy where people should vote according to their conscience or their constituents wishes and not along a party lines like a dictatorship.

    While I want the package to go through. I have no problem whatsoever in an independent questioning or attempting to amend the package.

    The reason new policiticians don’t have the snout benefiting superannuation that exists for exisitng politicians is a direct result of a campaign by an Independent namely Peter Andren.

  3. Rennie,

    Before I hit that email button, do you think you could uodate your post and explain what Sen Fielding wants the govt to do with that $4 billion?

    KThanx

  4. Sorry, I meant to address that to Kevin.

    /confused by your nickname.

  5. (Posted on Kevin blog also)

    Do you think that the Government should just have their package rubber stamped, even though it has considerable flaws?

    Senator Fielding’s proposal was modelled by the Treasury and is projected to create many more jobs per dollar spent than the rest of the Government’s package?

    The Government is attempting to rush this package through without considering all options and the best needs of the country. I am appalled with the Government’s actions on this.

  6. If I were to email Fielding, I’d be urging him to demand improvements to the bill or vote against it.

    The Government expects a package of $42 billion to be rubber stamped and rushed through parliament without proper consideration. This is a package which will contribute to a significant future government debt. A package of this size should not be passed without proper consideration.

    Both Labor and the Coalition are playing politics with this issue rather than acting in the best interests of the people of Australia. I am disgusted with both major parties.

  7. I agree Shane, I’d certainly prefer a parliament full of independently minded people. Some seems to be stuck with a commitment to the tired, stale parties that are full of party hacks. People with no talent, nothing to contribute, all they do is count their numbers to ensure continuing preselection.

    I’ve commented before that I have no time for Fielding, but the point is – he is entitled to review the package, and propose changes.

  8. I’m not up with this drama at the moment, have brainlag from N/S.

    What’s Sen. Xen up to?
    I know from his S.A. stunts that he loves the limelight but he is capable of doing some good at times.

    I think more scrutiny is good. I know if it was HowardCo trying to rush some hobbyhorse through the Senate in the past I’d have been pissed off.

  9. Toiletboss, the only stunts that are occuring in the Senate are from the Labor and the Coalition. The crossbench senators are treating this matter very serioulsly, and are attempting to improve the package. I’d expect nothing less from any Government to seriously consider reasonable proposals and amendments. The evidence so far suggests that the government are being stubborn and won’t budge on anything.

  10. He should review and try to change but not try to govern. I would accept him voting against government financial measures but INSISTING on his own is not democracy, just the reverse.

    While the likes of Fielding hold the balance of power we will experience increasingly unstable government. We are talking $4 billion extra, nearly half of the original stimulus package last year. We may end up with nothing because some think it’s too large and some think it’s too small and others just want their pet projects.

    I suggest people do a little reflecting on what Senator Brian Harradine’s horse trading did for Australian democracy and society.

  11. Renniek – “I suggest people do a little reflecting on what Senator Brian Harradine’s horse trading did for Australian democracy and society”

    Some of us would prefer a warts and all fragmentation of the existing, stale, unsatisfactory political power structures.

    Warring tribes of self serving, time serving, politicians is hardly a better model. Most have no objective beyond their personal ambitions.

    Breaking down this party political structure is better than putting up with it. Putting up with Fielding is part of the process.

  12. Kevin,

    I’m don’t believe that it’s correct to say that Senator Fielding is insisting on his own package being implemented.

    I believe that all senators should consider and scrutinise legislation on merit. Obviously you can only really expect that from crossbench senators. Labor and the Coalition just toe the party line most of the time.

    The crossbench senators are considering this legislation on merit and this is good for democracy. This government has tried to rush through a $42 billion bill without proper consideration and process. If the bill contains fundamental flaws, which may be the case here, then I would expect the senators to seek to ammend those flaws OR reject the bill. We should not be spending huge amounts of money only for it largely go to waste.

  13. I am in favour of as many independents as possible to break the stranglehold of 2 dominant parties in what is supposed to be a democracy where people should vote according to their conscience or their constituents wishes and not along a party lines like a dictatorship.

    Unrepresentative swill.

    I do have a problem with an unrepresentative senator obstructing and blocking legislation simply so he can ram his own ideology upon the people.

    Senator Fielding is also a party political player, the Fundies First Party, can you tell me the percentage of their vote in the last election? Fielding’s power is way disproportionate to his support. The other problem I have is the morals agenda that will come with dealing with Fielding – remember the ongoing censorship of the internet is down to dealing with him.

    Senator Fielding is another Brian Harradine, Australia still has Harradine’s foreign aid global gag order on abortion in place despite the US rescinding theirs under Obama. There are calls for Australia to ditch our gag order upon women who exist in grinding poverty in third world countries too, do you think Fielding will allow this?

    Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, Independents mostly seem to be conservatives in disguise.

  14. I guess democratic principles are only important if the Coalition are in power then? I’d like to see what Fielding has put before telling him to “get out of the way”. In fact, I find that the idea of an elected representative being told to “get out of the way” offensive. They represent the people who voted for them, and those people are entitled to representation, no matter whether they are religious nutters, green nutters, or redneck nutters. That’s democracy.

  15. “I do have a problem with an unrepresentative senator obstructing and blocking legislation simply so he can ram his own ideology upon the people.”

    I generally agree with that statement. However, on a point of relevance to this stimulus bill, how is Senator Fielding attempting to “ram his own ideology upon the people”?

    I see no “ramming” of ideology here, simply an attempt to save more jobs.

  16. We are on the verge of spending AUD$42 billion and Mr Rudd suggests that some people are being difficult about it. I think the package should be scrutinised even if it holds it up for FIVE or SIX days.

  17. Toiletboss,

    Sen X, as a condition of his support for the package, wants the money already allocated to the Murray-Darling basin to be brought forward.

    However, from what I can gather, the government, instead of negotiating with the independent senators, have taken to playing hard-ball.

    That is, put the pressure back on Xenophon and Fielding: call their bluff, and see if they have the balls to vote against – and effectively block – the package.

  18. Kittylitter – various parliaments have benefited from the election of independents.

    Clover Moore pushed the first Carr government, and has contributed quite well.

    Others have been vital in breaking down institutional and political corruption.

    Many have allowed conservative regions to turn away from a National Party stranglehold on various seats.

    I’d certainly prefer many more independents, rather than less. And the election of those like Fielding is part of this. I’m over barracking for one side against the other.

  19. Fielding has video of his speech yesterday on his website. In the 15 minutes he did not give any details at all of his proposals. He argued for “getting people working… in soft areas… that don’t count in GDP… building social capital.”

    $4 billion that doesn’t count in GDP. When he said “I don’t understand” it is hard to disagree, given with his complete lack of economic understanding.

    He also says that the extra 300,000 unemployed will be “innocent causalities of the war on recession”. Somehow the stimulus package is going cause extra unemployment?

    He’s not threatening to hold up the legislation for 5 or 6 days. He says he may stop it altogether. If he has good ideas let him air them and the voters can let the government know what we expect them to do. That’s democracy. Not blackmail by one indivdual.

  20. In fact, I find that the idea of an elected representative being told to “get out of the way” offensive. They represent the people who voted for them,…

    1.66% of the vote is representative of the balance of power and gives a mandate from the people to block the popularly elected government’s legislation?

    Of course they should represent the people who vote for them, the problem comes when they try to impose their values and beliefs upon the rest of us.

  21. I’d certainly prefer many more independents, rather than less. And the election of those like Fielding is part of this. I’m over barracking for one side against the other.

    I keep saying, Fielding is not an Independent, he belongs to the Family First Party or should we say Assemblies of God party?

  22. So he got 1.66% of the vote? He’s also only got 1.3% of the votes in the Senate – 1 out of 76.

  23. Good point Tom.

  24. However, from what I can gather, the government, instead of negotiating with the independent senators, have taken to playing hard-ball.

    That is, put the pressure back on Xenophon and Fielding: call their bluff, and see if they have the balls to vote against – and effectively block – the package.

    That’s true Tony and I think the govt. is right. Why shouldn’t they play hardball?, their package deserves to pass through on merit without these obstructionists trying to get their names in the paper, win a few more votes and blackmail the govt. for their own agendas.

  25. KL, I would go further and say not only should they impose their principles on Parliament, they are bound to by the people who voted them in to do just that. It’s not his or any other Independants or minor party’s fault that the major parties only vote along party lines. He has a vote, he should exercise it.

  26. KL at 11.04, they shouldn’t play hardball because they don’t have a majority in the Senate. If they don’t want to negotiate with the minors, then they should have negotiated with the Coalition. That’s democracy, you don’t get to dictate from a minority position.

  27. “That’s democracy, you don’t get to dictate from a minority position.”

    And how are Senators F and X not doing just that?

    They do not appear to be attempting to negotiate but to be demanding that their alternatives be adopted by threatening to reject the enrtire package.

  28. Above or below the line? Managing preference votes: By Antony Green

    …The Senate’s electoral system is one type of “Proportional Representation by Single Transferable Vote”, or PR-STV for short. It is not proportional representation based on the primary vote, as seen every where else in the world, but operates on a complex interplay of primary votes and preferences. Primary votes determine the number of Senators each party elects with full quotas in the initial stages of the count. The final vacancies are filled by the distribution of preferences between candidates remaining with partial quotas…

    …An electoral system should encourage parties and candidates to campaign for votes rather than arrange deals with preferences…

  29. James
    He has a vote, he should exercise it.

    And he can, but in a responsible manner and thinking of ALL Australians (because that is who it is going to affect), not just his voters. Blocking the legislation of the elected govt. is not responsible.

    He could start by explaining just what it is that he wants to do with the $4 billion that he wants to cleave off the package. As kevin says, he hasn’t given much detail on his own plans for our hard earned taxpayer $.

  30. “Blocking the legislation of the elected govt. is not responsible.”

    I strongly disagree. Senators should only vote for legislation that they believe is in the best interests of the country.

    By the way, who has blocked the legislation? No crossbench senators as yet.

    Kevin,

    Have you read the committee report on this bill and Senator Fielding’s additional comments? He outlines his proposal there.

    Needless to say, I strongly disagree with your stance on Fielding, who you believe should just rubber stamp whatever package the government puts forward.

  31. I strongly disagree. Senators should only vote for legislation that they believe is in the best interests of the country.

    Are you saying that this legislation is not in the best interests of the country?

  32. Look, I can’t stand Fielding’s opinions (and hence voting stance) on alot of things. The guy is a fundamentalist Christian willing to shove his ideology down other people’s throats. I have the same opinion with Fred Niles, the resident fundamentalist whacko here in NSW.

    However, the point of this matter is, as far as I can tell, that Fielding is not shoving his fundamentalist ideology down our throats but is actually working toward a purely secular goal – that of securing/creating jobs for Australians. What is publicly known of his stance (i.e. there may be back-room deals we’re unaware of) is not a bad stance to be in and I support him.

    Hell, I may hate the guy’s stance on alot of things, but having him “get out of the way” or toe the government line is not democracy as I know it and I support his right to vote the way his constituents (the religious fundies) want him to.

  33. Needless to say, I strongly disagree with your stance on Fielding, who you believe should just rubber stamp whatever package the government puts forward.

    There is nothing wrong with the package. He shouldn’t hold the country to ransom just to get his hands on a large slice of the money for his own agenda.

    Some comments from people in crikey:

  34. Please note.

    I voted for Kevin Rudd

    I do not like religious fanatics.

    However the government needs to take a breath here and let a bit of diplomacy and negotiation take place.

    I fully support any independent wishing to exercise his democratic right in seeking to change packages or policy.

    To expect less ( especially by becoming ideologically hysterical) is placing yourself in the league of the previous government who abused the senate by ramming through legislation simply because they have the numbers.

    Let democracy and negotiations have an attempt first.

    Remember Kevin may need Steve Fielding for another 2 years yet.

  35. re He could start by explaining just what it is that he wants to do with the $4 billion that he wants to cleave off the package. As kevin says, he hasn’t given much detail on his own plans for our hard earned taxpayer $.

    KittyL – Has Fielding specified which of the government’s package he is going to cancel in order to achieve his goal? Or does he want an additional $4b on top?

  36. “Are you saying that this legislation is not in the best interests of the country?”

    I am saying that it can be improved and that if they are going to spend a huge amount like $42 billion, they have a responsibility to make the legislation as effective as possible. The government is displaying immense arrogance by trying to rush this legislation through parliament without giving much consideration to alternative suggestions.

  37. I agree Shane and Tom of Melbourne.

    By the way Kevin, do you know in what context Senator Fielding said ” I can’t understand it”? He was referring to the Government’s macho approach to the passage of the legislation where they are putting politics ahead of the interests of the jobs of Australians.

  38. Alastair

    I know. Irony?

    How is the stimulus package “putting politics ahead of the interests of the jobs of Australians.” Short sharp consultation is what’s needed, then some leadership from the elected government. The longer we wait the more jobs are at risk.

    Talking of macho, Fielding is the one who used war metaphors throughout his speech. “Battle plan… war casualties…” etc. Not to mention tap dancing and chess pieces and falling off cliffs.

    He’s not the only one having trouble sleeping.

  39. Fielding is the one who used war metaphors throughout his speech. “Battle plan… war casualties…” etc

    Heh. Maybe he’s heard General Rudd once too often.

  40. Just through..via http://www.theage.com.au/national/rudd-government-agrees-to-alter-stimulus-package-20090212-85e0.html

    The Rudd Government has agreed alter its $42 billion stimulus package, reducing cash payments to eligible taxpayers by $50 dollars to $900 after pressure from crossbench senators.

    The one-off $950 payment to single-income families will also be reduced by the same amount.

    Senator Nick Sherry said the amendments were necessary to balance the need of the package to be approved by the Senate and concerns raised by the Greens, Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Independent Nick Xenophon…..

  41. Amazing.

    A bit of negotiation and things are achieved.

    Hysterical name calling achieved nothing.

  42. Package isn’t through just yet. Xenophon said they’re still a little way from agreement. If this package passes, the Coalition will win the next election.

  43. James

    You are on another planet if you think the coalition will win the next election as a result of the passing of this package.

    look at this, don’t think conservative politics is recovering yet in peoples minds.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25043897-29277,00.html

  44. “How is the stimulus package “putting politics ahead of the interests of the jobs of Australians”

    Oh gosh. Where do I start?

    Demanding that the package be passed through parliament within 48 hours – not giving MPs and Senators enough time to properly scrutinise and consider the bill.

    Attacking anyone who didn’t pass the package within 48 hours as “economic vandals” etc.

    Refusing to properly negotitate with balance of power senators and to make ammendments until the day of the deadline even though they say that the bill is urgent.

    Misleading the parliament and the public that the bill had to be passed last week otherwise the cash payments would be delayed. In the committee hearing, it was revealed that if the legislation was largely unaltered the payments would not be delayed if the legislation was passed this week.

    The Government has been immensely arrogant believing that it could put forward a crucially important stimulus plan amounting to over $40 billion and rush it through parliament without proper scrutiny and consideration. It ought to have allowed for two weeks of scrutiny in order to make the package as effective as possible.

    I believe that a package of this size could be designed to support more jobs than the government’s proposal. It could be argued that the cash handouts are an attempt to buy votes, and are not very effective at supporting jobs.

  45. The Rudd Government has agreed alter its $42 billion stimulus package, reducing cash payments to eligible taxpayers by $50 dollars to $900 after pressure from crossbench senators.

    The one-off $950 payment to single-income families will also be reduced by the same amount.

    Does that mean the money saved is not used at all, or does it go to funding the demands of the crossbench senators?

  46. kitty

    yes it will go to projects requested by the senators and agreed to by the government.

  47. KittyL, I suspect that the hint is from the Nick Sherry part of the quote: Senator Nick Sherry said the amendments were necessary to balance the need of the package to be approved by the Senate and concerns raised by the Greens, Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Independent Nick Xenophon.

    To me it sounds to be a reduction in the handout (doesn’t fuss me at all) to pay for the demands of the Greens, Fielding and Xenophon.

  48. Look, I am as aware as everyone here that the cash handouts was a way to focus media attention against those detracting from the stimulus. Rudd has been adopting the (successful) tactics of conservative politicians everywhere; namely using the media’s need for sensationalism to hide scrutiny of other deeds he may be doing.

    That said, Rudd passing the legislation is not a guaranteed election winner for the Coalition no matter how much RWDB’s may wish this to be the case. It may well tilt in their favour, but the Coalition have alot more fence-mending to go and neither Turnbull or Costello are going to be able to do that.

    Also, it’s kind of interesting that Republicans & Liberals are singing of the same hymn sheet on stimulus bills. By opposing them completely they are crossing their fingers and hoping/wishing that they don’t work. After all, if they do work or at least are seen to alleviate the symptoms of a recession in people’s own lives – it becomes a winner for the government/party that passed it. Hell, even Mr “Goldman Sachs Executive” Turnbull says a stimulus is needed.

  49. B.Tolputt

    Have a read of the link I posted at 1.16pm. It shows how much conservative politics and business is on the nose at the moment. and these poll results are from upper income highly educated australians. hardly the ALP voter mass.

  50. Mr “Goldman Sachs Executive” Turnbull… or Mr “Goldman Sachs Executive & Wran, Whitlam, Turnbull Partner & Republican” …

    Balance it up, he wasn’t only with Goldman Sachs.

  51. Shane at 1.16. Perhaps I am on another planet. James of Uranus (like my choice?).

    We are going into recession. No doubt. If the legislation gets blocked, it will be the Coalition’s fault for not allowing passage of the “rescue package”. However, if the package gets passed, with the Coalition voting “no”, they can identify a point of difference at the next election. It’s pretty widely believed that the ALP are looking for a reason for an early election, and perhaps want this package blocked to give them an excuse. But if it gets passed, it won’t work and the budget will be blown.

  52. James

    The difference between the Coalition and the Government is $20 billion. Neither here nor there in the scheme of things.

    If you read all of the link I gave you you will see that even the well to do are now tending to blame business and the conservatives for the mess we are in. So recession or not I will find it amazing if the Coalition win at the next election.

    When 80% of those polled want increased Government intervention across all business sectors it bodes poorly for the capitalists.

    The final sentence of the poll is very interesting in how the world is changing its thinking of a business trading as a public company.

  53. Shane, the difference could be $5, it wouldn’t matter. The average punter will remember that the Coalition voted against. It’s one thing to be all aboard the package now, but just watch the turnaround if it doesn’t work. By the way, I think a Turnbull led Coalition government would be equally as bad as the current government. It’s not an outcome I necessarily desire.

  54. James

    Most people I talk to are fully aware that it is not this governments fault regarding the economy and that the government is trying things in the hope they will keep the economy going which may or may not work.

    None of them want to change and vote for the Coalition at the next election on the basis that this package fails. As the poll statistics page I referred you to shows, most people blame business for our mess and want government intervention.

  55. As I said, Shane, watch that all change when the intervention fails and we’re left with nothing in the bank. A few months is a long time in politics.

  56. If anyone is getting formatting issues, do not worry. I think wordpress might be having some emotional issues at the moment.

  57. Joni,

    I just visited another wordpress blog, and they’ve got the same problems.

  58. OK James

    Lets have a review in 6 months time 🙂

  59. Indeedy-doo Tony…. bloody programmers!

  60. From watching the senate proceedings today, It’s clear that the Government have negotitated an agreement with the Greens, who have indicated that they will support this stimulus package. I have no idea how Senators Xenophon and Fielding are going to vote. It’s good to see that the Government has changed its stance and has been prepared to negotiate with other Senators, presumably for a better outcome. Hopefully, they have been negotiating in good faith with both Senators Xenophon and Fielding. Of course it would’ve been nice if there’d been good faith negotiations with the Coalition but they have made it clear that they’ll be doing nothing other than block and obstruct the legislation.

  61. Senator Xenophon has stated that he will vote against the entire package if his ammendments on the Murray-Darling are rejected!

  62. “That’s democracy, you don’t get to dictate from a minority position.”

    And how are Senators F and X not doing just that?

    Senator X in particular does not appear to be attempting to negotiate but to be demanding that his demands be complied with by threatening to reject the enrtire package.

    I asked this question earlier, so is anyone, particularly those supporting their stance, care to answer he question?

  63. Huh,

    It’s not just Senator Xenophon who is likely to vote against the package. The entire Coalition will vote against it. Senator Fielding’s position is unclear at the moment. I believe if this package doesn’t pass, the Government has to share a portion of the blame for failing to properly negotiate an outcome and for attempting to ram through this legislation without proper consideration and process.

  64. Huh

    Senator X will demand Y and the government offers Z. They negotiate until an agreement is reached on amounts and package.

    I have no problem with this. The economy has not crashed that badly that negotiation cannot happen for the next few weeks even. Job creation actually went up in January.

  65. Xenophon represents South Australia. Obviously he thinks that the Murray Darling system is as important as some of the other initiatives. He may be right. Perhaps the government don’t always have all the answers.

    I can’t understand why he isn’t entitled to exercise his vote in the senate, and live with the political consequences. That’s the system we have.

    And I’d be happy to have more independent politicians voting for funds for the Murray Darling, voting against a gambling led economy, and making their minds up about issues on their merits.

  66. Not arguing Huh because I agree. For some reason this song keeps filtering through..

    To Steve F, this one’s for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9IhMHPInVk

  67. Ask a question politely, with a little less of the aggression, and it might be answered, Huh. Oh, and I line up with those others who think your online name is ridiculous.

  68. “Huh. Oh, and I line up with those others who think your online name is ridiculous.”

    Blame her “acccouting supervisor”, I think Rigles or Pollytickedoff probably made up the name.

  69. “It’s not just Senator Xenophon who is likely to vote against the package. ”

    No, it isn’t just Senator X but he is the one demanding his demands be met in return for voting for the rest of the package.

    “Senator X will demand Y and the government offers Z. They negotiate until an agreement is reached on amounts and package.”

    Well, at this point it doesn’t look like he is negotiating – it appears that Sentor Xenopghone is making demands in return for voting for the package. So how is that not attempting to dictate from a minority position?

    I don’t have a problem with scrutiny, negotiation, or amendments to the package that improve it, but Senator X’s position does not seem to be based on any of those things.

    “Perhaps the government don’t always have all the answers”

    Perhaps? I would say the government definitely doesn’t have all the answers, but neither does Senator X.

    “and making their minds up about issues on their merits.”

    But is he? If the package merits being passed then he should vote for it. If he believes it isn’t he should vote against it. Why would the package suddenly become worthy of being passed because his demand re the Murray Darling are met?

    His support for the Murray Darling is commendable but really, is he thinking about the best interest of all Australians by threatening to vote against the package?

    “think your online name is ridiculous.”

    Tough!

    And Tom, making the same lame attempts at what I can only believe you think is humour does not make it any less funny than it was the first time. Got any thing to contribute other tham lame attempts at humour and insults?

  70. “Well, at this point it doesn’t look like he is negotiating – it appears that Sentor Xenopghone is making demands in return for voting for the package. So how is that not attempting to dictate from a minority position?”

    Huh, Huh?? Try looking up negotiating……. Oh, and there are plenty in the Senate, a majority even, who appear to think that the package does not merit being passed. Get it?

  71. James

    And they (the coalition) made their decision to oppose before even seeing the legislation.

  72. “making the same lame attempts at what I can only believe you think is humour does not make it any less funny than it was the first time”

    You seem confused, I don’t participate for your entertainment, I participate for my own amusement. Whether you regard anything as funny, insulting, annoying… is entirely incidental to that purpose.

    I don’t see the behaviour of Xenophon as being particularly different to the internal machinations of a political party eg leverage, barter, trade. Only this process is more transparent.

  73. Huh

    The government did not negotiate in the first place either so maybe they will learn from the experience.

    Legislation should be voted upon its merits and never upon ideology. Thats the problem with the 2 party system.

    The previous government was roundly criticised for its abuse of the senate (and rightly so) and now you expect other senators to pass legislation without any scrutiny, simply because the government of the day says so and wants it done NOW. Sorry I can never agree.

  74. joni

    Yes the coalition did make their decision to oppose before seeing the legislation, once again based on ideology. And they will suffer the consequences.

    But isn’t this about senator Fielding an independent and the demand of him to pass the package.

  75. I understand the meaning of negotiation James, but how is “Do this or I will vote against it” negotiating? Sorry, but that sounds like a take it or leave it proposition, not negotiation.

    “and there are plenty in the Senate, a majority even, who appear to think that the package does not merit being passed”

    But is Senator X one of them? If the package merits being passed then he should vote for it. If he believes it isn’t he should vote against it. Why would the package suddenly have merit because his demand re the Murray Darling are met?

  76. Huh

    If he gets funds from the government to help fix the Murray Darling and a change to the package hi is happy with as a result of voting for the package then that is how he achieves his aims.

    Thats how legislation passes in a parliament not dominated by one party and results in the brakes being applied to extreme ideology on both side of politics. A much better outcome than either side having total control.

    I much prefer the independents having control of the senate than the coalition.

  77. Good point Shane, we need less partisan game playing by th emajor parties, and more people that aren’t subject to political discipline.

  78. “The government did not negotiate in the first place either so maybe they will learn from the experience.”

    No, they didn’t. But is Senator X attempting to negotiate of offering a take it leave it proposition.

    “But isn’t this about senator Fielding an independent and the demand of him to pass the package”

    Well, I’m not demanding that either of them vote in a particular manner, that is up to them. What I am trying to figure out is how their positions fit with a claim made earlier that “That’s democracy, you don’t get to dictate from a minority position.”

    Seems to me we have two Senators attempting to do just that.

  79. Good point Tom et al. I must admit that I am surprised that there have been no statements from Barnaby…at least none that I can locate. It’s not like him to just tow the party line without at least having a say.

  80. Huh, either you are genuinely stupid, or simply being disingenuous. To “dictate” in politics implies a totalitarian stance. To qualify for that, you must be the one presenting the legislation and expecting it to be passed in toto (Rudd). Fielding and Xenophon are doing exactly as they were elected to do. They have not presented an alternative piece of legislation and demanded that it be passed. They have presented relatively small amendments, and will apparently agree to the rest if it includes their input. And their amendments sound pretty sensible too. That’s negotiating. OK? Dictating implies a whole, negotiating implies a compromise. Get it, Huh?

  81. Breaking news via Sky..voted down by Xenophon.

  82. Min at 4.19, and thus the ALP have secured the next election.

  83. And if the government then sends the legislation back again for a vote then the threat of a double dissolution then arises (I think?). And that would change some peoples minds I think.

  84. “Dictating implies a whole, negotiating implies a compromise. Get it, Huh?”

    It appears that it is you that does not get it and yet you question my intelligence.

    Senator Xenophon has been demanding that his plans re Murray Darling be agreed or he will vote against the package.

    ie he gets what he wants or the package fails. So what part of that is negotiation and coming to a compromise? He is demanding all or nothing which doesn’t sound like negotiation or compromise to me.

  85. Joni at 4.25, well Xenophon has secured his Senate seat by his stance. The ALP have apparently sought advice re a DD. That may explain their take it or leave it stance. Turnbull has, believe it or not, lost out of this. It was only after the event that he could score political ground over its failure. Now he just looks obstructionist.

  86. Xenophon represents South Australia.

    I’d suggest that most South Australian think the Murray Darling issue is about as important as home insulation. I’d agree with them.

    If we splash around about $4bn of taxpayer’s money on home insulation, it seems to me that some expenditure on our most important river system is fair enough, and some brinksmanship is ok with me.

    It is all transparent here.

    On the other hand, do we know which other options were suggested to the government? Was there a little road testing by research companies on the political popularity of the measures before the government made the decision?

  87. Perhaps someone should mention to Xenophon how much a DD will cost at a time when there are other far more important things to be considered. His timing is (insert descriptive).

    I agree James. Turnbull gives the appearance of having shrugged his shoulders and having walked away.

  88. Well, Huh, you see Mr Rudd has agreed to put all these bike paths in to keep the Greenies happy. Ok? Now yay for that! Senator Xenophon comes from South Australia where there is hardly any more water flowing down the Murray. Now I know that that pales into insignificance compared to our need for bike paths, but it has probably kind of upset Senator Xenophon who has possibly said, “well if you’re prepared to give Brown his bike path how about giving SA some water?” and he’s been told to stuff off. So he’s probably said “if you don’t give a shit about the people I represent, South Australia, and their needs, well I guess there is no good reason for me to vote for your bill. Xenophon wanted an amendment, and a deserved one at that.

  89. “and he’s been told to stuff off”

    No, he wasn’t James. He was offered a compromise which he refused. His was an all or nothing demand – stump up $5b or I vote against it.

    “South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon demanded $5 billion be brought forward from future years to buy back water and improve irrrigation infrastructure along the ailing Murray-Darling Basin.

    The government offered $410 million, including about $200 million this financial year.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/42b-stimulus-package-sunk-20090212-85of.html

    Can’t help but notice the Greens and Fielding all managed to negotiate a compromise position.

  90. $4bn for home insulation is sooooo much more important than the Murray Darling.

  91. Well, I guess Steve Fielding had little choice after receiving all those emails but to “get out of the way”.

  92. Xenophon represented his constituents and should be congratulated for it.

  93. Tom. Insulation will save on $200pa on power on the average home. Over 30, mostly oldies died due to heat exhaustion. It is also a fire retardant. Only 4 in 10 homes in Australia have this most basic.

    I agree re saving the Murray Darling but if it means a DD. My family are from Tungamah and Berrigan originally.

  94. I strongly agree with Shane and also agree with Tom.

    Huh, I strongly disagree with you. I don’t know if the $410 million figure is correct. If it is, do you think that $410 million out of $5 billion is a real compromise? I think it’s a tokenistic cop-out.

  95. I would add that I think that Insulation is a worthy project. However, I believe that much more needs to be done on the Murray-Darling. And the priority in this package should be supporting/creating as many jobs as possible. Projects on the Murray-Darling and insulation both would be effective with regards to jobs. I’ve got major doubts about the cash handouts helping jobs.

  96. Alastair, does it have to be a choice between insulation and the Murray? I think, scrap the cash and give it to the Murray.

    My only concern is that we need a short term fix to avoid a Recession and sadly the Murray cannot be it.

    Also ‘money for the Murray’ needs to be highly scrutinised on the off chance that the $s goes to consultancy organisations rather than buy backs and actual water.

  97. I think, scrap the cash and give it to the Murray.”

    I completely agree.

  98. I’m not happy about taxpayers money being used to add to the value of someone else’s assets. Beyond that, I’m equally happy to give up my $900 for the Murray Darling Basin. Beyond that, I suspect that the government are not altogether disappointed that it didn’t get up. They win politically, and now get a chance to improve on it.

  99. And to any other worthy infrustructure projects that will create jobs.

  100. The Xenophon Xylophone – http://www.limmy.com/playthings/xylophone (language warning)

  101. Day ain’t over yet 😀

  102. I don’t blame Xenophon, he’s obviously passionate about the Murray/Darling issue & who can blame him?

    I blame Turnbull & his mean-spirited, tight-arsed mates…including the ever blustering Hockey. Screw the schools & affordable housing & energy conservation measures…as long as he & his team of Scrooges get their precious tax cuts eh?

    I’m still wondering tho if Rudd & co. are bona-fide…over the years I’ve become highly suspicious of politicians & their corporate, dynastic, war machine, media connections.

    We’ll see.

    N’

  103. “I’ve become highly suspicious of politicians & their corporate, dynastic, war machine, media connections.”

    And unions.

  104. nasking, on February 12th, 2009 at 6:55 pm Said:

    I don’t blame Xenophon, he’s obviously passionate about the Murray/Darling issue & who can blame him?

    Sorry, but I blame X.

    He had the opportunity to work for the nations best interest, but it appears that he would rather ride his current hobby horse.

    While the Murray is in need of aid, rapidly, this bill is not about that. This bill is about holding back a recession. I am not sure how bringing forward $ 4($3?) billion will help jobs in the short run. Not even sure how it will help flows right now when there is no flow??

    Sorry, but he has put himself, and his current obsession, in front of the national interest.

    Just like the opposition has.

  105. So Tom R, it is better to spend $4bn on home insulation, as a recession preventer, than a similar amount on our river system? As I’ve pointed out ad nauseum, Victoria needs water infrastructure more than insulation, and there are mechanisms to create jobs and stimulate the economy that are at least equally effective.

    The insulation package is politically expedient, an easy one size fits all announcement. The government thought it would be easier to have a single program, because it would save having to negotiate with states/regions. They were wrong.

    They then set a totally unrealistic deadline for the parliament to deal with the package.

    The government have been equally responsible for the creation of this problem.

  106. Yes TomM, lets go and confue the issue with bringing state problems into this. The insulation was simple, needed, and provided the stimulus needed. As we have seen with water disputes, nothing happens quickly, and, while it would be ‘nice’ for this to happen, we are living in the real world here, and, this is for immediate action, not more bickering.

    And lets remember, the greens are happy with it, and they are the ones who have been pushing the Murray for years. What does X know more about it than them?

  107. There is one person really shitting himself at the moment and that’s Malcolm. Or at least that should be the case because if this farce continues Malcolm will be the ‘biggest loser’.

    Every bit of bad news to come (and there’s plenty of that in the pipeline) can be easily sheeted home to Malcolm’s refusal to act. Fiddling while Rome burns springs to mind.

    People are not across the detail but in the months to come they will be looking for a scapegoat. If a compromise can’t be reached in the next 24 hours Malcolm is toast but maybe he doesn’t realise it.

  108. Although, I must admit, I will give Mr X his due in that he is still at the table and prepared to talk, unlike the rabble.

  109. X’s is stuck between a rock and a very hard place. He’ll capitulate.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/42b-stimulus-package-sunk-20090212-85of.html?page=-1
    “The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia urged Senator Xenophon to reconsider his vote.

    ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson said the Senate’s rejection was a “blow to business confidence and investment certainty” while the Business Council’s chief executive Katie Lahey said the package was needed to “underpin confidence in the Australian economy”.”

    Business confidence crashes amid gloom
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25043895-643,00.html
    BUSINESS confidence in Australia crashed to its lowest level on record in the final months of 2008, scuttled by the global financial crisis and the ensuing savaging of demand on all fronts.

    According to the National Australia Bank’s fourth quarter 2008 business survey released today, business confidence plunged to minus 31 index points, compared with minus 7 index points in the previous quarter.

    The survey, which provides a snapshot of the mood of business late last year, graphically reveals the capitulation of demand across the economy, and underscores the urgency that surrounded moves by policymakers to inject stimulus into the economy.

    Overall business conditions fell 12 points to minus 16 index points in the fourth quarter, NAB said.

    NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the deterioration in the economy was swift in late 2008, explaining why the Reserve Bank of Australia began to rapidly cut interest rates, and the Government waded in with a $10.4 billion fiscal stimulus package in October.

    Since then, the RBA has continued to cut interest rates, which now stand at a 45-year-low, and the Government has unveiled a further four-year stimulus plan worth $41.5 billion.

    Concerns are growing that the stimulus will only deliver a brief jolt to the economy, applying only a mild brake to an expected rise in unemployment.

    What’s notable about the NAB survey is the forward looking indicator suggests capital spending has contracted sharply while deeper fissures are appearing in the labour market.”

  110. Nature5

    “People are not across the detail but in the months to come they will be looking for a scapegoat. If a compromise can’t be reached in the next 24 hours Malcolm is toast but maybe he doesn’t realise it.”

    I can see him now, I’d say he’s got an upset tummy and keeps going to the rest room.

  111. Alastair, on February 12th, 2009 at 5:14 pm Said:

    ” I believe that much more needs to be done on the Murray-Darling.”

    Agree!

    “And the priority in this package should be supporting/creating as many jobs as possible”

    Agree!

    “Projects on the Murray-Darling and insulation both would be effective with regards to jobs.”

    Leaving aside ‘insulation’ for the moment, Senator X is proposing a bring forward of the ‘buy-back’ of water that doesn’t exist. Pray tell how that buyback would create (of water that doesn’t exist) would help ‘create as many jobs as possible’. Particularly in the short and medium terms.

    Clearly a non-sense.

    As for:

    “I’ve got major doubts about the cash handouts helping jobs.”

    Unbelievable! Shakes head and walks away.

  112. “That is, put the pressure back on Xenophon and Fielding: call their bluff, and see if they have the balls to vote against – and effectively block – the package.”

    Based on his observable record in SA I’d say he has balls to spare & won’t hesitate to swing them. Get used to it, that’s how Nick does his best work & I (& many other SA voters) knew this when I voted for him.
    Believe it or not he does, on balance, have a more pronounced social conscience than plenty of his contemporaries…& he’s not a religious nutjob.

    I think that because SA is at the dried up arse end of the Murray (raped by the upstream states) it is very easy to ignore most of the time. Not this time apparently.
    Sen X is doing precisely what he set out to his electors to achieve. As mentioned above his stance on this will further cement his position in the minds of most people who put him there. No Pokies Nick, for all his grandstanding he has achieved a few outcomes over the years…although we do still have pokies.

    Now you’ll never get rid of him.

    With the added bonus that Malcolm is ROOTED!

    An interesting thread.

  113. John McPhilbin

    Good links. While speculation on the future of the economy is somewhat risky, the political landscape is (slightly) more predictable.

    At the most basic (political) level, name an organisation that thinks ‘nothing’ ought to be done. Lol.

    Howard argued that ‘interest rates would always be lower under a Liberal Government’. It was always an ideological argument (as opposed to a scientific one) because the proposition was never falsifiable. Simply it was a nonsense.

    We are now in the same political territory. Rudd believes/hopes that a stimulus package will work. Whether it will or won’t improve the ‘situation’ will never be known because there will never be a scientific point of comparison.

    But politically a divide has been created. Rudd unlike Turnbull decided to be an ‘architect’ while Turnbull elects to be a ‘worker bee’. One wants to ‘create’ the world while the other wants to ‘inherit’ whatever fate delivers.

    One wants to be a leader. The other chooses a type of fatalism. While Turnbull may be correct it is terrible politics.

  114. But tell me Tom R, why is insulation more important to us here than water tanks, for example?

    Water tanks are at least as beneficial for the environment, and our water infrastructure is crumbling, so we’re going to build a desal plant. How many houses do we have to insulate to compensate for the energy that this uses? And installation of a water tank is pretty labour intensive. TH stimulatory effect would be about the same as insulation. All the government had to do was give the states as much time as they gave our parliament to come up with stimulus package most effective for their region.

    The decision was intended to be a PR exercise, expedient, easy.

    N5 – I’m very dubious about the handouts. I think $8bn could have been used to far better economic effect. It will obviously provide some activity, but what is the target? What is the expected outcome for this huge sum?

    Though personally, I’m wracking my brain trying to think of some clever schemes to relieve people of some of it. I suppose you’ll put your portion of the $900 on black.

  115. Tom, any dirt on Alex Millar?

  116. Based on his observable record in SA I’d say he has balls to spare & won’t hesitate to swing them.

    It appears so. And at the same time it seems Sen Fielding has been found sadly lacking in the aforementioned gonad department.

  117. Nick isn’t afraid to take a stand, for better or worse.

    I don’t think this will harm him at all, not with his electors anyway.

    I’ve resisted launching an anti-religious tirade against Fielding thus far, not easy for me I’ll admit.
    As you say, weak as p!ss.

    So far it looks to me as if X has trumped them, although it’s not set in stone yet is it? I dunno, I’ve been asleep all day like Nosferatu.

  118. Tom of Melbourne, on February 12th, 2009 at 9:18 pm Said:

    “I suppose you’ll put your portion of the $900 on black.”

    Tom let me assure you I will get nothing of this ‘handout’. Apparently, I am not considered worthy because I saved and invested (and was lucky) and therefore we don’t qualify even though we have lost heaps over recent times (on paper at least). One of the engines that generates our income now has to work somewhat harder. (Perhaps I should raise the rents)? Just joking.

    As for:

    “I think $8bn could have been used to far better economic effect. It will obviously provide some activity, but what is the target? What is the expected outcome for this huge sum?’

    While I have read extensively in the ‘economic’ realm, I claim no expertise. Yet I believe that that any economy, and how it works, is so complicated that predicting people’s spending patterns is fraught with dfficulty.. I am of the view that (in the short term at least), it’s better to let (encourage) people to spend in their normal way. After all we are talking about a crisis here.

    BTW, I should point out that our household doesn’t sport a Plasma (more concerned with TV content that appearance) but I do admit our children and grandchildren are aghast. Lol.

  119. Should have a new post: Xenophobia – Get our of the way, Nick!

  120. How about: Democrophobia – Silencing dissent!

  121. Seems fair Kevin. I imagine what he’s done/doing will polarise people somewhat & generate plenty of comments.

    Is that Malcolm’s carcass laid down in front of the bulldozer? he better be careful it doesn’t just plough straight over him.

  122. N5 – “let me assure you I will get nothing of this ‘handout’”

    Tell me about it N5, I qualify for nothing except taxes. Followed by more taxes.

    I must admit to being old enough to recall when $8bn was considered quite a lot of money. $42bn was considered to be a Packer inheritance of Packer proportions.

    I don’t have a plasma TV either. I’m still watching my old AWA b&w television. Just can’t beat an old AWA.

  123. Interesting days ahead for those who pay attention to what’s going on at the top of the tree.

    BTW, from what I gather the SA end of the Murray is about f@cked anyway so I’m not sure that any amount of $ (without huge, & highly unlikely, concessions from the upstream states) will be able to make a difference.

  124. Toiletboss @ 9:13.

    I see your argument Tboss. But why should X be able to hold the rest of the country at random for the sake of a few lowly South Australians?

  125. LCD’s are the ones that you “need” now guys…& yes, they don’t improve the content of the broadcasts.
    More politically correct Union Programming please.

  126. Sorry, meant ransom not random. Tboss’s new avatar is making me light-headed.

  127. “why should X be able to hold the rest of the country at random for the sake of a few lowly South Australians?”miglo

    Because he can. If he doesn’t noone will.

    It’s all a bit of an aside to me, as you know the Murray comes nowhere near my patch of dirt (SA gov still makes me pay “Save The Murray Levy” though). I’m not a huge fan of the decadent Eastern States though, to see them ransomed is childishly gratifying.

    BTW, Sen X looks a bit like a Port fan, dontcha think?

  128. BTW, Sen X looks a bit like a Port fan, dontcha think?

    Maybe it’s his ethnic appearance.

  129. I’ve got my doubts whether water buybacks will make any difference to the Murray-Darling. Arguably the govt has already wasted millions buying properties in Queensland for their worthless water licences.

    However, it’s been fascinating to watch the proceedings unfold. That a single senator can hold such power, and has the courage to exercise it, is intriguing to say the least. More power to him.

  130. “That a single senator can hold such power, and has the courage to exercise it, is intriguing to say the least.”

    For me it’s a real worry that a single Senator can hold such power. And I thought Democracy was about rule of the majority (with the rights of the minority respected). Silly me!.

    As for the ‘courage to exercise it’. Please explain?

    There’s no ‘courage’ evident either in the physical or moral sense. What we have here is blatant political oportunism which will ensure he is re-elected by a desperate SA electorate. So much like Pauline Hanson.

  131. As for the ‘courage to exercise it’. Please explain?

    The whole country – including the eight-odd million recipients of $950 $900 pork rations – is watching him. He is under immense pressure to stand down, but has decided to take the opportunity to gain some concessions for his electors. That, in my book, is courageous.

  132. Nature5

    “We are now in the same political territory. Rudd believes/hopes that a stimulus package will work. Whether it will or won’t improve the ’situation’ will never be known because there will never be a scientific point of comparison.

    But politically a divide has been created. Rudd unlike Turnbull decided to be an ‘architect’ while Turnbull elects to be a ‘worker bee’. One wants to ‘create’ the world while the other wants to ‘inherit’ whatever fate delivers.

    One wants to be a leader. The other chooses a type of fatalism. While Turnbull may be correct it is terrible politics.”

    Agreed. The economy and the global financial system has reached a very fragile state and anyone who claims to have the answers for a quick fix is a BS artist.

    Turnbull seems to think if allowed to run the free-market system will fix itself yet the very same system has reached for bailouts of unprecedented proportions.

    It’s time now to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs with the hope that sooner or later we’ll find some stability. The damage is and will continue to be extensive and as far as I’m concerned the Rudd Government are doing the very best that we could expect. They readily admit that they don’t have all the answers as well as accept the probability that the best we can expect is to cushion the effects of what is likely to become a nasty recession.

    Obviously, as events play out more measures will be put into effect to try and combat adverse conditions.

  133. John McPhilbin, on February 12th, 2009 at 10:59 pm Said:

    “The economy and the global financial system has reached a very fragile state and anyone who claims to have the answers for a quick fix is a BS artist.

    No question!

    “Turnbull seems to think if allowed to run the free-market system will fix itself yet the very same system has reached for bailouts of unprecedented proportions.”

    Agreed! A ‘frre market’ solution to an unbridled ‘free market’ problem is nuts.

    As for:

    “It’s time now to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs with the hope that sooner or later we’ll find some stability”

    I think that’s the way forward. (No claim to expertise.) But I read somewhere that it’s much cheaper to sustain a job that to create same. Any links?

    As for:

    “The damage is and will continue to be extensive and as far as I’m concerned the Rudd Government are doing the very best that we could expect.”

    Indeed anyone who follows these events knows that and I understand your intention to reinforce same but what about the way forward.? And there is a ‘future’.

    For example, I missed the BHP low-point of $20.00 (approximately) but I note now that it’s at least 50% higher. Now if I didn’t have a wife who retards my gamblimg habits – who knows.

    Cheers!

  134. Roll-on the DD.

    Have you lot looked at the polls recently? A DD will bury the Coalition, probably for a good decade.

    While I agree that the Xeno will probably get returned (with the reduced quota on a DD), he’ll no longer have his hands on the obstruction lever in an ALP controlled senate.

    He and Fielding might as well pack it-in as they’ll have bugger-all say in anything the next Rudd Government does.

  135. And on the subject of Fielding, you oughta check-out what his former Senate running mate, Pastor Nalliah, has been up-to.

    The Good Revrend pulled his head out of his arse the other day just long enough to blame the Victorian bushfires on those Godless Victorian Abortion Laws.

    Apparently he reckons all those burned people are God’s Wrath, or somesuch.

    Nalliah’s outburst was so gross that even Fielding has had to distance himself from his comments.

    Here’s Possum’s take on it:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2009/02/11/fielding-responds-to-nalliah%e2%80%99s-ghoulishness/

    Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

  136. Evan, on February 12th, 2009 at 11:51 pm Said:

    “you oughta check-out what his former Senate running mate, Pastor Nalliah, has been up-to”

    News to me. Any link?

    While I agree that Danny is nuts I wasn’t aware of your claimed religious connection.

  137. Nature 5,

    Here’s the link to the Catch the Fire press release:

    http://catchthefire.com.au/blog/2009/02/10/media-release-abortion-laws-to-blame-for-bush-fires/

    Sickening stuff.

  138. Tom of Melbourne, on February 12th, 2009 at 9:18 pm Said:

    But tell me Tom R, why is insulation more important to us here than water tanks, for example?.
    ………………………
    The decision was intended to be a PR exercise, expedient, easy.

    Expediency is the main word here TomM.

    It could have been water tanks, it could have beensolar panels, it could have been nuclear reactors. They went with insulation, which could have been because insulation bats are a highly mobile, readily accessible, and relatively cheap (in comparison with water tanks) outlay. Basically, they went with the one thing that would be easy to implement, and provide a steady return.

    It would be nice to do everything at once, and cater to everybodies whims, but a decision needs to made that is both expedient and easy to oversee.

    We could argue endlessly why water tanks are more important than insulation, or we could just do it.

    As I said earlier, there are already substantial subsidies for water tanks, I do not think any exist for insulation.

  139. Tom R

    Spot on. Both water tanks and insulation are good causes but it’s better to do one well rather than both half half arsed. Water tanks take longer to roll out than the insulation so insulation wins out between the two in terms of doubling as a stimulus. It’s as simple as that.

    As for solar, the same applies. Solar, I’m led to believe, has another problem in that direct link up of all cells to the grid (as opposed to battery storage) would cause significant problems for the operation of the grid. At the moment the number of panels linkedf to the grid is pretty much insignificant but a massive increase such as that proposed by most people is a technical nightmare.

    I don’t see too many people saying that insulation isn’t a good thing, rather they just ‘think” (usually based on some preconceived notions that have scant regard to reality) that something else would be better. Insulation NEEDS to be improved in a large % of houses in Australia so directing the money to this as part of the stimulus is a very good move.

  140. Tom R & Dave 55.

    As I’ve commented before, I’m still able to remember when $4,000,000,000+ was regarded as a fair bit of money, that’s how much we’ll spend on home insulation. One tenth of the entire stimulus package – on an easy, expedient program – that the government thought would make everyone happy, because the PR advisors gave it a tick.

    I find it irresponsible that we’d have the attitude that we “just need to get on with spending” this vast sum. Queensland may need insulation. Victoria needs water tanks, if we don’t get the best value for $4bn, why bother.

    Irresponsible, misdirected spending is what got is here in the first place.

  141. …and just one more thing, why would home insulation be a better economic stimulus than the other suggestion I’ve made – give each pensioner, SFR (means tested) a voucher for a few thousand dollars worth of home maintenance/improvemtns. They’d spend it on insulaiotn, water tank, getting their plumbing or roof fixed…

    Probably requires about the same type of skills, has a good employment effect, with a direct improvement I quality of life.

    Various parts of the government package are poorly targeted. So I don’t blame those looking to get some of it changed.

  142. why would home insulation be a better economic stimulus than the other suggestion I’ve made

    It probably isn’t any better, but it is also no worse.

    It is simply a matter of doing something.

    For somebody who complains about Unions arguing points so much, you appear to be very keen to derail any progress, even when you cannot prove ‘your ideas’ are any better than that proposed, just so we can all use ‘your ideas’.

    Perhaps you should get a job as a shop steward?

  143. Ouch.

    I’m obviously not a politician, but I have been involved in developing programs of how to a fair bit of money effectively.

    $4bn on a home insulation program, and $8bn on handouts is crap, and the government should not be congratulated for expecting us to eat it.

  144. Nature 5, on February 12th, 2009 at 8:53 pm Said:

    “Senator X is proposing a bring forward of the ‘buy-back’ of water that doesn’t exist.”

    He is not proposing to buy back water, he is proposing to buy back water rights. They are very different things. If the water rights are bought, the water that returns to the lower lakes will stay there rather than being used for irrigation.

    “Unbelievable! Shakes head and walks away.”

    LOL. Well you can do that if you like. Regarding the cash payments, I can tell you what I’ll do with mine. It’ll go straight into savings. And most people I know who’ll get the cash bonus will put it straight onto their mortgage repayments or into savings. I will not be changing my spending habits nor will those other people. That will not help stimulate the economy one iota in those cases. I’m sure some people will spend some of their payments which will help the economy a bit and help a few jobs. However, it is not a very cost-effective way of stimulating the economy.

    Some may point to the recent retail sales figures in the last couple of months or the employment figures. Has anyone in the media accounted for the fact that there have been massive sales across the board (far greater than usual)? No they haven’t. Lower prices across the board has stimulated most of the extra purchasing in my opinion. No doubt the pre-Christmas cash handouts had some effect but I believe it to be only minimal.

  145. “However, it is not a very cost-effective way of stimulating the economy.”

    Nor is it a very cost-effective way of saving jobs.

  146. (Tom)…They’d spend it on insulation, water tank, getting their plumbing or roof fixed…

    Probably requires about the same type of skills, has a good employment effect, with a direct improvement I quality of life….

    Maybe, but I reckon the householders and DIY speculators would pocket the money, do the work themselves and not contribute to jobs for others.

    …And most people I know who’ll get the cash bonus will put it straight onto their mortgage repayments or into savings…

    You (and most people you know) can obviously afford to, therefore probably don’t need it and shouldn’t get the bonus. Many others on low wages will spend on things that they haven’t been able to afford ’til now, thereby contributing to the economy.

  147. Kittylitter – I think a pensioner housing repair program need be no more open to abuse of the funding than the installation of insulation in 2 million homes. That’s not open to the same type of abuse?

    It would be just as easy for the government to approve regional trades and maintenance contractors as it is to approve thousands of regional insulation installers.

    The government already has systems that could be used to build the monitoring and reporting.

    It is a judgment and I think spending money on giving pensioners better houses is more beneficial overall than spending $4,000,000,000 on home insulation. Better for them, and better for the economy overall.

  148. Tom of Melb,

    With the heat that you have had in Melb over the past month or so and the cold winters, why do you think that the need for insulation is solely a Qld thing – if anything, it ismore a Victorian thing.

    And yes, water tanks are helpful in saving water but insulation reduces energy demand and is seen as low lying fruit in terms of GHG savings. If this reduces electricity demand and the demand for emissions permits under the CPRS (and hence the price of permits) then it has significant long term benefits for the economy.

  149. It is a judgment and I think spending money on giving pensioners better houses is more beneficial overall than spending $4,000,000,000 on home insulation. Better for them, and better for the economy overall.

    I say do both!

    I was listening to the parliamentary debates on newsradio last night as I was driving home from work. I didn’t catch his name but there was a senator talking about the area where he comes from. He said that feedback he’d got from the community was good and that the local house insulation guy had said something like:

    “my phone has not stopped ringing with bookings and I have been in frantic activity ever since the package was announced. If this keeps up I can see that I am just going to have to employ more people!.”

  150. Well Dave, we’re hell bent here on building the biggest and best desalination plant, on some very attractive coast.

    I simply wonder how many houses have to be insulated to compensate for the energy intensive conversion of salt water into fresh water. Quite a few I’d say.

    The government said one of the reasons for selecting the insulation option is the reduction in emissions. My point is that by reducing the need for a desal plant, we are achieving a better outcome.

    Putting money into housing repairs for pensioners would be a more direct stimulus than kicking in $900 cash handout.

    In my opinion, the government has come up with crap, and obviously I think that this should be pointed out.

    Others seem happy to just swallow it, I don’t like the taste of lazy, political crap.

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