The Liberal’s compulsion to turn public assets into private wealth – and get the public to help fund the process

The LNP in Queensland have been softening up the public for a privatisation binge pretty much from the day they got elected in 2012. In recent times, they’ve kindly made the public pay millions for a prolonged wide-ranging advertising campaign – badly disguised as a pretend consultation process called Strong Choices. Naturally, any input from […]

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Downsides of the mining boom

I’m MC at a free public forum in Brisbane tomorrow (Tuesday) evening on the topic of Can Queensland Afford the Mining Boom? The forum is organised by The Australia Institute, whose Executive Director, Dr Richard Denniss will be speaking. It will explore the economic and social downsides of the mining boom. (I imagine some of […]

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‘Liberals’ planning to adopt anti-migration position?

It is disappointing, but sadly not surprising, to see this report in the Canberra Times suggesting the Coalition is planning to adopt a more explicitly anti-migrant position. Despite all the evidence about the demographic inevitability of a shrinking labour force, growing international mobility (including record emigration from Australia) and the latest research showing the significant net […]

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Super tax breaks for women?

Very interesting suggestion reportedly made yesterday by federal Superannuation Minister, Nick Sherry – floating the removal of the 15 per cent super contributions tax for women as one way of bringing their retirement savings into line with men. “Women spend significant more time out of the workforce than men and super splitting is not a solution, […]

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Social Enterprises in Brisbane

This morning I attended the launch of the Brisbane Social Enterprise Hubs’ accelerator program.  Social enterprises build economically sustainable businesses specifically aimed at providing employment, income and business experience to people from more disadvantaged backgrounds. The focus is on building social capital alongside the financial returns, rather than being driven by wealth creation and (maybe) using […]

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My actual final speech

Due to the way the government wanted to order Senate business in the final week, the formal Valedictory speeches of departing Senators were not actually the last speech for many of us. Below is the text of what was my actual final speech (and the final words spoken by a Democrat in the Senate).  I […]

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Budget views

There is heaps of commentary on the Budget on a myriad of different websites – a couple I found of interest are here, here and here. Rather than write my views about it in detail here, I’ll just reproduce a speech I made in the Senate today during a debate (of sorts) about the Budget. […]

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Taxing denial

Most of the major party focus in the last week has been on interest rates and economic management. The battle for bragging rights about which party is supposedly the best economic manager is faintly ludicrous, given that both sides at various times have made a point of emphasising how similar their basic tax and economic […]

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Coalition tax policy

It seems a long time ago now, but in the months leading up to the 2006 Budget, there was a whole lot of people, including many members of the Coalition, engaging in debate about possible tax reforms. I did a series of blog posts on it at the time. When Budget time came, the Treasurer […]

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Unemployment figures

The latest official unemployment figures show a national total of 4.2 per cent, which is reportedly the lowest level since 1974. Reports on unemployment figures inevitably bring questions about just how accurate they are, and how much underemployment is ignored. There have certainly been comments left on this blog a number of times to that […]

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Affordable Housing crisis III

As noted in this comment from a reader, I had another go at pushing the issue of housing affordability in the Senate last week. This time I put up the following motion in what is known as a matter of urgency debate: The need for a national affordable housing strategy to be developed, involving all […]

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Harmony in Maryborough & Hervey Bay

Yesterday I attended a Harmony Day function at the Brolga Theatre in the town of Maryborough. It was great to get away, even briefly, from the Senate and all its Santo shenanigans, and get back out into the real world – particularly a part of it lovely as Maryborough. If you’ve never been there, I’d […]

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