As we enter another budget season, we are again swamped by a wall of excuses from Treasurer Wayne Swan, excuses that are supposed to explain why his budget will be a dud, again.

Cartoon: Nicholson.

Each year it’s the same.  As budget night approaches, out come the excuses.  It’s someone else’s fault.  It’s the financial crisis.  It’s a natural disaster.  It’s a mining boom that won’t deliver like other mining booms. 

Wayne Swan acts as if he is the only Treasurer to face challenges.  In Wayne’s world, all others had it easy.  Peter Costello and the Howard Government were lucky, according to him. 

This version of history ignores many issues.  The Asian Financial Crisis, the Tech Wreck, a US recession, 9/11, Bali bombings, a war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a one-hundred-year drought that very nearly brought regional Australia to the brink of collapse.  All these issues impacted on the federal budget during the former government’s term. 

So did $96 billion of debt left by Paul Keating.  But prudent economic management meant the federal budget remained in good shape despite all these challenges. 

This is not to say that issues faced by Wayne Swan aren’t impacting on the federal budget.  But it is how he complains and uses them to cover-up his own incompetence which is infuriating. 

This incompetence – the wasteful spending, the mismanagement of government funded programs and bad policy decisions – is the main reason why the federal budget is producing such ugly figures, and is why taxpayers will be left with an interest repayment bill of $4.3 billion for this financial year alone.  But you won’t hear Wayne Swan talk about these issues, these factors. 

Building the Education Revolution – a $1.7 billion blow out with up to $8 billion wasted.  The Home Insulation disaster - $2.4 billion wasted and mismanaged.  The Solar Homes program - $850 million wasted.  The Green Loans program, which became Green Start before being dumped altogether - $300 million wasted. 

Tax bonus payments - $46 million wasted, with money sent to people overseas, criminals and people who had passed away.  Grocery Choice – $8 million spent on a website that delivered nothing and was eventually shut down.  The 2020 Summit - $2 million wasted on a great big talk fest. 

Recently it’s been revealed that $1.3 million was spent on payouts to terminated staff immediately following the political assassination of Kevin Rudd, and $13 million was wasted on advertising Kevin Rudd’s now dumped health reforms.  Incredibly, Labor used taxpayers’ money to make claims it now says were not correct. 

Then there’s the cost of Labor’s failed border protection policies.  So far, taxpayers have forked out an extra $1.4 billion to deal with the influx of asylum seekers.  But with more boats coming and no policy to stop them, current trends would indicate that an additional $1.9 billion in expenditure will be required over the next three years. 

Then there’s the National Broadband Network – a $43 billion project with no business case. 

If it wasn’t for all this wasteful spending, the Government would be in a better position to deal with unforseen events, like natural disasters.  If it wasn’t for the wasteful spending, we wouldn’t need to impose new taxes and levies on hard working Australians.  If it wasn’t for wasteful spending, medical researches wouldn’t need to worry about their funding being slashed. 

The blame for all the wasteful spending, the driving factor behind the budget woes, falls on the feet of this Labor Government.  Wayne Swan can use all the excuses he wants, but he cannot hide behind the fact that it is he and his Labor colleagues that have put the budget in this position. 

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    • acotrel says:

      06:27am | 09/05/11

      ‘Then there’s the cost of Labor’s failed border protection policies.  So far, taxpayers have forked out an extra $1.4 billion to deal with the influx of asylum seekers.  But with more boats coming and no policy to stop them, current trends would indicate that an additional $1.9 billion in expenditure will be required over the next three years.’

      All Labor has to do is entice some poor financially strapped island nation to participate in denying the asylum seekers their basic human rights of access to the Australian courts, to find out why they are being imprisoned.  IT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE!.  And it would really deter them from using people smugglers to get here.  TURN BACK THE BOATS !!  Put a shot across their bows, then if the don’t stop- SINK THEM!  Who cares about the UNHCR treaty which Menzies signed us up to?  He was obviously preoccupied with crawling to the Poms when he did that, and wasn’t thinking clearly?

    • TimB says:

      08:03am | 09/05/11

      What’s your solution then Acotrel?

      Try to include lots of capitalised sentences wherever possible, it will make your solution even more realistic.

    • MarK says:

      08:23am | 09/05/11

      Yeh either that or send to a country that is not a signatory to the UN convention on refugees and whips them instead.

      You were saying again?

    • dovif says:

      08:24am | 09/05/11


      Facts: under the pacific solution by Howard government, the illegal boat smuggling trade was almost zero. Under the Gillard’s incompetant regime, refugee came at record level and people drowned at sea.

      the ALP and Gillard had admitted they were wrong and have almost adopted all of Howard government policies, including sending refugees to a country who is not part of the UN refugee convention - Malaysia

      That should tell you how wrong the ALP policies were. The questions that need to be asked, is how incompetant a government is to not fix it for 4 years

    • Bemused says:

      08:39am | 09/05/11

      Yes acotrel, heaven forbid we stop the ECONOMIC refugees buying access to OUR country and demanding citizenship and handouts. To bad for the real refugees stuck in a camp while these people queue jump. Put down your Latte and get into the real world. PS they lost the title asylum seeker the moment they landed on a safe country outside of their own. PPS, it is interesting how the people who blew up their boat, killing other economic refugees and injuring Australian Sailors have been given access to our country. Guess there is no violence you can do to stop your human rights to compromise our boarders. Yet another Labor failure, breaking a system that worked.

    • Advocate says:

      09:12am | 09/05/11

      Ever hear of push factors boys and girls?
      Escalation of the war in Afghanistan?
      Civil war in Sri Lanka?
      Where are most of these asylum seekers coming from again?
      You were saying?
      Oh, 20 million asylum seekers in the world at present, I see.

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      09:12am | 09/05/11

      Actually, Nauru has said they will sign up to the UN Convention on Refugees. I think they’d be idiotic if they did but it WOULD take care of one bleeding-heart argument. 
      And this idiocy of accepting 5 for 1 is a new low. With math like that, is it any wonder Labor has never delivered a surplus?

    • Adam says:

      09:36am | 09/05/11

      According to the Bolt Report last night, 94% of these boatpeople are still unemployed after 5 years and on welfare payments. We can’t afford to let a demographic like that keep growing, particularly when they are bleeding taxpayers dry.

    • Mark Smith says:

      09:39am | 09/05/11

      We will take 5 real refugees for every illegal turned back. If they are real refugees then they can wait in line like those we will help

      4000 people get a better life while 800 who attempted to break the rules get the same life the 4000 where suffering. What can be wrong with helping more people? I for one would prefer to accept 4000 people who are waiting their turn then 800 who riot & make bombs.

      This is the best idea this govenment has had.

    • Rosie says:

      10:04am | 09/05/11

      The Malaysian deal is you take one I pay, then you give me 5 and I pay again! Dumb acotrel, surely you are smart enough to understand it is a wonder the Malaysian Govt has leapt at Gillard & Bowen’s deal. Aren’t you concerned that Bob Browne isn’t happy with Julia has done? Julia is killing off the Labor party for the support from Bob Browne’s greens and the Independents to remain in power. This is very selfish! Poor Wayne Swan, I think he means well so keeps struggling making out that he is doing a good job. Oh dear more and more sweeteners! There goes the surplus! More desperation if you ask me!

    • MarK says:

      10:11am | 09/05/11

      Oh hai advocate.

      That argument is old, useless and boring.

      Please do keep up.

      You now like to apologise to Howard and Ruddock.

    • Rosie says:

      10:46am | 09/05/11

      Mark Smith

      Spin it any and every which way you want. The fact is it is a dumb deal!

      How can you be certain these are real refugees? ( the 5 that is ) We are,  (well I hope ) talking about asylum seekers fleeing their birth country from persecution for a better life and Australia is better than Malaysia any day. Aren’t they all illegals? I think they are all illegals and therefore should be processed, screened and allowed into the community by us and us alone. Why are we paying Malaysia to do our dirty work for us? Wouldn’t it be better if the taxpayer’s money remained here rather than give it away to Malaysia. It is not going to stop the boats, asylum seeker will be cartered off to Malaysia, they will wait patiently if they know it is their only chance to get into Australia legally.

    • TimB says:

      11:23am | 09/05/11

      @ Mark Smith, it *was* a good idea last year when it was floated by a few different people ,including Andrew Bolt.
      (I know it was pointed out to me at the time that the idea didn’t actually originate with Bolt , can’t remember exactly where it did though-but I’m pretty certain it wasn’t Labor)

      Of course when it *was* floated, the deal was 2 for 1.  Which is a pretty good deal, and fair too. More genuine refugees helped, queue-jumpers punished & deterred. Win-Win.

      Labor being Labor, of course managed to cock everything up with their overkill 5 for 1 deal. Way to go Labor. Genius.

      *golf clap*.

      It should still hopefully work, it’s just not nearly as efficient as it could have been. But again, inefficiency is to be expected from this mob.

    • Advocate says:

      12:03pm | 09/05/11

      Interesting approach to providing something to the debate.
      just call an “argument old, useless and boring.”
      excellent strategy, bet it works for all sorts of arguments.

      Thank goodness there are thinkers in the world to offset buffoons like you.

    • TimB says:

      12:36pm | 09/05/11

      “Interesting approach to providing something to the debate.
      just call an “argument old, useless and boring.”
      excellent strategy, bet it works for all sorts of arguments.”

      No, it won’t work against all arguments. Just the old useless and boring ones. Paticularly yours.

      There is a much greater correlation between the timing of our law changes & the varying levels of boat arrivals than there is between any rising push factors and boat arrivals.

      Afghanistan has been a war zone for 10 years. Why hasn’t the number of boat arrivals been consistent over that time? And why are these “refugees” that have been “pushed” here, so anxious to return to these places on holiday?

      Your argument is worse than old boring and useless. It is an excuse and a lie designed to cover Labor’s incompetence.

    • Advocate says:

      01:19pm | 09/05/11

      I guess you work at the flight centre in Lakemba and book these holidays for Afghanis going back to Afghanistan on holiday? Or do you just get your information from political hacks like Morrison?
      Great location for a holiday that Afghanistan. Perhaps our diggers should be paying a bit to holiday there too?
      You don’t have an argument, you have an opinion.  A very old political tired, boring and useless opinion.
      But it is yours - and MarKs to whom I directed my comment.
      But thanks for putting your weak intellect out there for us.

    • TimB says:

      01:30pm | 09/05/11

      I had an argument. You just ignored it. Or possibly failed to read it. I imagine you might be the sort of person that has trouble reading.

      Let’s try again. If, as you say (for example)...Afghan refugees are coming here purely due to the push factors of the war, please explain to me why the boat arrivals have not been consistent over the last 10 years of the war.

      For a bonus point: Provide an alternate explanation as to why the fluctuation in the number of boat arrivals directly correlates with changes in Australian refugee policy.

    • Dan Hillier says:

      01:32pm | 09/05/11

      It is NOT a basic human right for refugees to have a right of access to Australian courts.  When were the Australian public asked if they believed that such a “right” should be recognised and the benefits that should attach to it?  Even if such a right is recognised, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this includes endless rounds of publicly funded court appeals, Centrelink payments, accomodation, permanant residency, family reunion visas etc.  It should just entail the ability to stay in Australia, self funded and subject to good behaviour, only as long as conditions in their home country prevent them returning.  If this is all that the refugees were seeking, nobody would have any real concerns. 

      The ability to access Australian courts is is an opportunity that has been granted because Australian’s have a sense of fair go.  However, if this is being abused, we are entitled to modify the process.

    • MarK says:

      05:54pm | 09/05/11

      Gosh Tim don’t ask Advocate a question. She will just repeat what she said again. It is sort of droll but after reading ians posts I see where the inspiration comes from.

      But don’t you love it when ian, advocate and their ilk descend to hyperBOWL to try and make a point. When they get in troucle it all hyperBOWL and lies.

      And she called you intellectually weak.

      Love it. This one is a keeper. Should be fun to play with her for a while before she goes off.

      Let’s see if we can answer out of her.

    • buckyboy says:

      06:39pm | 09/05/11

      Advocate says:

      Ever hear of push factors boys and girls?

      Escalation of the war in Afghanistan?

      Question: Why do young, fit Afghan men journey here alone while leaving their families to the dangers of the ‘escalating’ war in Afghanistan.

      Civil war in Sri Lanka?

      Fact:  The Civil war in Sri Lanka ended two years ago.

      Back to you Advocate

    • Michael says:

      02:28pm | 10/05/11

      Alcotrel, you miss the point entirely. You’ve missed reality. True, “it’s been done before”, but also true - it worked. The boats stopped. People stopped arriving in the hundreds a week. These people did not arrive, therefore they were not shipped off to Pacific islands and denied access etc.

      It’s more true to say that labor’s policies, by exposing so many people to deadly conditions on barely floating things that are loosely called “boats” and encoraging criminal people smugglers to profit are in fact causing deaths that we are not even aware of. Nobody knows these people are drowning at sea - and you can be sure many do - because nobody even knows they are there until they make it virtually ashore.

      How does the deaths of unknown numbers of these people compare to the denial of access to Australian courts of a few stragglers who came here during the Howard years? Would you prefer that hundreds drown at sea or that they be denied access to a court while they sit comfortably in a detention center with everything laid on?

      Wake up, you idiot - smell the reality and look deep into your black heart. See if you cannot find the compassion to stop these people being endangered for profit!

    • John A Neve says:

      06:43am | 09/05/11


      Is correct “Each year is the same”, over the last 50 years the budget’s impact on my life has been almost zero.

      Governments give a little here and take a little there. It is fairly rue to say the rich get richer and the poor still suffer. We finish one war, only to start another.

      We bitch about this government, but we bitched about the last one and the one before that. We must be the most masochistic species on this planet.

    • Against the Man says:

      08:00am | 09/05/11

      John A Neve, what you meant to say is that your life is a zero.

      Have a nice day Coward smile

    • dovif! says:

      08:18am | 09/05/11


      But the incompetance of this government is just breathtaking. How do you manage to stuff everything up?

      They have decided to return to the Howard policy, after spending $1 billion to figure out how wrong they were. And they are now sending refugees to Malaysia, who has not signed the UN refugee protocal. Another lie by Julia, who promised to now do that just 8 months ago

      This government is a failure, no doubt about that anymore

    • John A Neve says:

      09:30am | 09/05/11

      Back to your old one liners again!  Spread out AtM, go through the waste bins, get some old newspapers and repeat yesterday for us.
      Better still sign up at night school, I am sure you could learn something.

    • John A Neve says:

      09:34am | 09/05/11

      Thank you but I read the papers and watch TV, but it’s nice to get your view on events.

      The one thing so still won’t accept is that this parliament was elected by the people. But then you don’t like democracy do you?

    • dovif says:

      11:01am | 09/05/11

      John A Neve

      and the people ie opinion poll are saying 55-45. People recognised they made a large mistakes

      The people of Lynn recognised they made a large mistake and Basseling is gone

      Yeah the public knows what they want to do with this incompetant goventment.

      And while it looks like it might be a joke, the incompetance is really real and are hurting all Australians

    • frank robb says:

      11:18am | 09/05/11

      against the man,

      i just hit the like button.

      i admire your great judge of character

    • John A Neve says:

      12:40pm | 09/05/11


      I know how hard it is for you to only come second, but grow up and accept it. The only poll that counts is the election and that could be a long way off.
      So dry your eyes and be brave, I hate to see people cry, maybe you and AtM could console each other.

    • TimB says:

      01:18pm | 09/05/11

      @ John A Neve, the 2011 NSW election was a long way off in 2008 too. It was still a foregone conclusion.

      Only a miracle will save Labor now.

    • Paul says:

      07:51am | 09/05/11

      yawn. may as well have had abbot or Costello write this article. the coalition presided over a boom time and where is all the money? the best they could do was put a little away in the future fund and bribe taxpayers with tax cuts. virtually zero on infrastructure or services.

    • Nathan says:

      09:26am | 09/05/11

      Where’s all the money? Ask Swanny, He spent it all in the first year.

      The balance went back to the people who it belonged to, the taxpayer, and paying of the debt left by Labor.

      Don;t talk about booms, we are currently in the midst of the biggest resourse boom in history, bigger than in the Costello era, but there is no golden goose. Why is that? maybe the golden goose wasn’t as big as Labor thought and told us all it was, but it was actually prudent economic management that gave us the surplus and money in the bank.

      Guess we will have to wait and see when the coalition get back into government because swanny won’t fall into this category.

    • David C says:

      10:13am | 09/05/11

      but this boom time is significantly greater than the howard/costello boom time .. look at commodity prices now as opposed to then look at the terms of trade??
      so question is still valid where has it all gone? fact is the second stimulus was not necessary

    • Ryan says:

      10:59am | 09/05/11

      @Paul: and what infrastructure and services are we getting from this incompetent Labor government for the billions upon billions that have been wasted, not to mention having to pay a flood levy because the government needs to spend that money on illegal immigrants being enticed here by the free ride.

    • Bruce says:

      04:02pm | 09/05/11

      Paul; Where is all the money ? You are kidding ! The labor party spent the surplus, and wasted it where ever they could. Just check out the all the costly failed projects. Too many to list, you can look them up yourself. Labor’s solution to problems is to spend, spend, spend. Its in their DNA.

    • Me says:

      06:20pm | 09/05/11

      The money has all been spent - well over $40b in infrastructure funds, no net debt, plus the future fund and a $20b surplus.

      Now we are $180b+ in debt (growing at $100m a week at one point).

      Where is all the money?  Ask Kev and Julia - they were the ones that blew all the cash

    • buckyboy says:

      06:57pm | 09/05/11

      Yawn…exactly the same reaction I get from Paul’s posts

    • Vaunted says:

      07:55am | 09/05/11

      The old, “Oh yeah? Well so is yours” argument. But speaking of rich and poor John, what about the you-beaut climate smart Labor budget initiative where the poor, the disadvantaged and home renters have been subsidising through higher electricity charges the purchase of solar panels by wealthy home owners? That’s the trouble with rusted-on Labor supporters, they refuse to recognise unmitigated commercial ineptitude even when it keeps hitting them over their thick skulls. Face it mate, the Rudd/Gillard government has been an absolute amateur-hour disaster, and the sooner we get to boot them out the better off we’ll all be, including one-eyed ALP apologists.

    • John A Neve says:

      09:40am | 09/05/11

      I haven’t offered any “argument” what I posted was fact.
      Firstly, no budget over the last fifty years has had any real impact on my way of life. But if you have suffered I am sorry for you.

      PS. I have solar panels and am not a “wealthy home owner”.

    • Ryan says:

      11:01am | 09/05/11

      @John A Neve: clearly you are because you must have been able to afford said solar panels.

    • John A Neve says:

      12:30pm | 09/05/11


      Yes, I did have a mother, do you know who your’s was? More importantly, did your mother know who your father was?

    • MarK says:

      12:55pm | 09/05/11

      “Yes, I did have a mother, do you know who your’s was? More importantly, did your mother know who your father was? “

      Another important contribution from John.

      That really showed him kid.

    • John A Neve says:

      01:27pm | 09/05/11


      You’ll note who raised family members, I just like to respond in kind.
      I am only glad you took the time to read it. The trouble is, do you understand?

    • frank robb says:

      01:50pm | 09/05/11

      John A Neve

      how long each day do you spend on your computer spewing out your vitriolic crap

      do you have a life at all

      you really are a piece of useless shit

    • John A Neve says:

      02:52pm | 09/05/11


      Good on you, I wondered how long it would be before you got back to your old self. You really have a way with words, spent a lot of time in toilets did you?

    • simon says:

      02:57pm | 09/05/11

      Cmon guys, keep it clean!! Everybody is entitled to an opinion, it just so happens that very few people agree with John A Neve’s opinions.

    • frank robb says:

      03:14pm | 09/05/11

      John A Neve

      ‘Yes, I did have a mother, do you know who your’s was? More importantly, did your mother know who your father was?

      and this is a piece of Shakesperean oration

      crawl back under the rock you stuck your pox filled head out of

    • John A Neve says:

      04:15pm | 09/05/11

      Your post @ 03:14pm is one of your better ones, warming up are you? Come on Frank, show us the real you, if you run out of filth, ask me nicely and I’ll try to help you out. A list of local toilets any good to you?

    • Tator says:

      10:38pm | 09/05/11

      I prefer the Pythonesque “your mother was a hampster and your father smelt of elderberries ”

    • nossy says:

      07:58am | 09/05/11

      So Jamie you want us to abandon a government who is prosecuting the BIG issues and go with a chappie “Tony The One Trick Pony” whos only policy is to say “NO” ? God help Australia if we did that Jamie !

    • dovif says:

      08:38am | 09/05/11

      you mean stuffing up every big issue?

    • nossy says:

      11:49am | 09/05/11

      @dovif - Yes dovif Abbott would stuff up every issue - well said fella !  hahaha

    • Ryan says:

      01:14pm | 09/05/11

      Still trolling for attention nossy, what is surprising is that even you don’t believe half the propaganda you spout.

    • NicoleG says:

      01:31pm | 09/05/11

      Now don’t be too harsh on ol’ nossy Ryan. He’s only acting his age. Senile.

    • Ron says:

      08:01am | 09/05/11

      And their solution for fixing the budget?  Hit the unemployed with everything they have.  Never mind middle class welfare, lets not discuss that.

    • Markus says:

      10:02am | 09/05/11

      I’m kinda wondering which party is going to be the first to target the nearly 50% of families who, after taking into account every one of the government rebates and tax deductions for families, do not pay a single cent in tax each year. And are still whinging!

    • Bris Jack says:

      08:09am | 09/05/11

      Notice Labor’s counter punch was posted 5 .50 am.
      It reads like repetition of what Wayne Swann spruiks every time he opens his mouth.
      But, when you do analyse what they all say, it does come over as if they have had a CD of the day inserted.

    • PaulA says:

      08:11am | 09/05/11

      This is what is wrong with the level of political debate exposed in the media. There is no substance to anything in this article. He’s just taken a raft of programs and labeled them “wasteful” regardless if the deserve that or not. There is no argument, no proof, just mindless ignorant loud mouthed spin of the worst kind.

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      09:15am | 09/05/11


      who could deny Grocerywatch was wasteful?  And the Great Pink Batt Fiasco of 2010 that killed people as WELL as wasting money?

    • C1 says:

      09:19am | 09/05/11

      Paul A,

      You are absolutely correct regarding the quality of political debate and David Bradbury’s counyterpunch highlights that just as much. You can take your comments and apply them to the next column and insert ‘progressive or the right thing to do” with equal effect.

    • PaulB says:

      09:34am | 09/05/11

      I have nothing to add - I just wanted to squeeze in between the two of you.

    • John A Neve says:

      10:40am | 09/05/11


      Pink Batts killed no one, bad workmanship did. As for wasting money, I doubt those that now have roof insulation would agree with you.
      Neither would the companies who made a dollar out of the installation.

    • PeterA says:

      11:51am | 09/05/11

      PaulA - are you all there or is this an ironic post?

    • TimB says:

      12:13pm | 09/05/11

      @ John A Neve, those would be the companies that went under after the bursting of the ALP-created insulation market bubble. Right?

    • Kevin says:

      12:20pm | 09/05/11

      Tony of Poorakistan says:09:15am | 09/05/11


      who could deny Grocerywatch was wasteful?  And the Great Pink Batt Fiasco of 2010 that killed people as WELL as wasting money?

      You are so right Tony, that pink batt fiasco caused 154 fires and killed 4 people.

      154 fires from 1.1 million installations.
      40 fires from 70 thousand installations the year before the scheme.

      4 very unfortunate deaths, caused by faulty wiring that was pre-existing, and the shonky installers didn’t train their staff sufficiently.

      None of the people who took advantage of the free batts installation were forced to do so.
      All of the people should have choosen installers carefully, I believe they were advised to get more than one quote.  Perhaps we have been somewhat irresponsible in the past with de-regulation.

      As for wasting money, I’m sure the majority who took part are enjoying lower power charges, and many companies made a truckload of cash out of the installations, in spite of their current ‘crying poor’.

    • John A Neve says:

      12:45pm | 09/05/11


      No they would be the ones with little business acumen. Not friends of yours I hope?

    • TimB says:

      01:14pm | 09/05/11

      John, if the government starts throwing free money at people to insulate their homes, and the market demand skyrockets as a result…

      ...All the business acumen in the word isn’t going to help when the corresponding massive slump in demand hits directly afterwards.

      Bad policy is bad. Time Labor and their apologists admitted it.

    • John A Neve says:

      01:37pm | 09/05/11

      If our fellow countrymen had not tried to rort the system and had installed the insulation well. Had the public done as suggested and got a number of quotes and check out the companies involved. This programme would have rolled out smoothly and all would have benefitted and no slump would have occured.

      Blame greed, not policy for what took place.

    • MarK says:

      01:52pm | 09/05/11

      “If our fellow countrymen had not tried to rort the system and had installed the insulation well. Had the public done as suggested and got a number of quotes and check out the companies involved. This programme would have rolled out smoothly and all would have benefitted and no slump would have occured.

      Blame greed, not policy for what took place. “


    • TimB says:

      01:53pm | 09/05/11

      No John, I blame policy. I blame the government for rushing the program, and creating the loopholes that allowed the rorting to take place. If they’d done a better job of administering the policy we wouldn’t have an issue.

      Greed is part of human nature, You and I both know that. There’s aklways going to people who try to beat the system. The government were the ones who made it easy though. In the end, it still comes back to them.

    • Dash says:

      02:05pm | 09/05/11

      @JohnA, Oh so it’s OK that ALP backed builders had their noses in the taxpayer trough over the BER as well is it??? What kind of fool would pay their taxes and then make excuses for the way the government has wasted it? This ALP government is the biggest pack of morons i have ever seen!

    • Likes Joining Dots says:

      02:21pm | 09/05/11

      @John A Neve

      I see your point now. Those long established insulation businesses had little business acumen because they trusted the Government, they obviously should have known better than that according to you.

      By the way, when the insulation scheme was suddenly shut down (even while it was doing so well), how much notice were the installers given so they could avoid having warehouses full of paid-for products no-one wanted anymore?

    • John A Neve says:

      02:49pm | 09/05/11


      You and your fellow haters seem incapable of acknowledging the facts.
      Responsibility for building codes is with the states, Quality of work is up to the company and employees.
      In this case the federal government provide policy and money, simple really isn’t it?
      I wonder how you people ever learnt to dress youselves.

    • John A Neve says:

      02:56pm | 09/05/11


      You are one up on me. I always thought it took one to know one, friends of yours are they?

    • John A Neve says:

      03:01pm | 09/05/11

      Like Joining Dots,

      I don’t know the answer to your question, but suggest they had as much time as it took them to rush out and buy a wharehouse full of product.
      Also, who says no one wants roof insulation any more?

    • Dash says:

      03:29pm | 09/05/11

      @John - LOL does it sound like the ALP are my friends??? Does it sound like I’m making excuses for them wasting my taxes???? You have some serious comprehension issues Mr ALP apologist!

    • TimB says:

      03:54pm | 09/05/11

      “In this case the federal government provide policy and money, simple really isn’t it?”

      Yes John. And the federal ALP government provided bad policy. You’re also right in that it’s simple. Yet the ALP still managed to bugger it up.

      Of course as long as you want the states to shoulder their share of the blame, let’s not forget who was in power in all states other than WA: The ALP again. The party just reeks of incompetence at all levels, wouldn’t you say?

    • John A Neve says:

      04:21pm | 09/05/11

      Sorry, I should have made my post simpler. I was referring to your choice of “the biggest pack of morons”.
      Ring a bell?

    • Likes Joining Dots says:

      05:10pm | 09/05/11

      @John A Neve

      John, Australian compamies did not buy a warehouse of insulation material on a ‘whim’, it was based on a Government policy that was suddenly revoked by the ALP, which subsequently cost jobs.

      Thought you may like to read Greg Combet himself (ALP) from a Federal Government website:

      “The decision to terminate the Program prematurely has been influenced by the conduct of a number of unscrupulous operators. Their behaviour has resulted in wide spread harm to legitimate businesses and the redundancy of many employees.”

      Combet has admitted this scheme has cost jobs from legitimate businesses. Yes, he can blame this or that business, that they should have been regulated etc - but the point remains, this scheme has cost jobs and Combet has admitted it.

      Well, here’s the link anyway.

    • MarK says:

      05:56pm | 09/05/11

      “You and your fellow haters seem incapable of acknowledging the facts.
      Responsibility for building codes is with the states, Quality of work is up to the company and employees.
      In this case the federal government provide policy and money, simple really isn’t it?
      I wonder how you people ever learnt to dress youselves. “

      There ya go John. This is all i hear when you….“write”.

    • John A Neve says:

      06:01pm | 09/05/11

      Likes Joining Dots,

      I have never suggested companies bought on a “whim”, your words not mine.
      As to harm done to legit businesses, as Combet has pointed out, it was all due to get rich quick companies.

    • Paul C says:

      08:53am | 09/05/11

      Yet people still vote Labor…...... Never ceases to amaze.

    • John A Neve says:

      09:44am | 09/05/11

      Paul C,

      I’d suggest just opening your eyes in the morning is enough to “amaze ” you.

    • Dash says:

      01:42pm | 09/05/11

      Paul, seems this is a decreasing pool though. Only about 30% of the primary at the moment. The issue is how much more damage will they be able to do before we get the chance to get rid of them. The Carbon tax is a nightmare for this country! Seems the ALP is still moving to the lefty margin.

    • Ads says:

      06:28pm | 09/05/11

      We said that about NSW for a long time but sanity finally prevailed.

      We can only hope Australia gets a decent government soon - the country can’t handle much more of this

    • Tubesteak says:

      09:01am | 09/05/11

      I trust you’re aware the Keynes said that to spend your way out of a recession/depression that it doesn’t matter how you do it and that you could bury money in jars and pay people to dig them up. I’m sure you know considering that you know so much about economics.

      The Asian meltdown was a sparrow’s fart compared to the GFC and occurred in 1997 barely after the time you guys had sat for the first time. You traded off Keating’s economy to get through it. It was barely felt in US and Europe.

      The tech wreck was just one sector of the stockmarket which was a bubble and had little impact on our economy.

      The US recession and 9/11 were spent out of by Bush. They created the platform for the GFC but didn’t matter too much.

      What on earth do the Bali bombings have to do with our economy?

      The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were of your own choosing so you can’t really claim that as an economic problem you had to manage.

      Thanks to successive governments a one-hundred-year drought doesn’t mean much because regional Australia is virtually irrelevant to our economic well-being.

      I’m sure you can read the independent reports that say that school halls and pink batts were a success. I’m sure Persephone will enlighten you.

      If you really want to make a case for economic credentials you could start by attacking the budget announcements made already. Things like more middle class welfare and set top boxes provide ample fodder.

      Then you could tell us what you’d propose instead. I’ll be keenly listening to your budget reply and hope that you do more than chant “waste” for an hour.

    • scotty says:

      06:43pm | 09/05/11

      “I trust you’re aware the Keynes said that to spend your way out of a recession/depression that it doesn’t matter how you do it and that you could bury money in jars and pay people to dig them up. I’m sure you know considering that you know so much about economics.”

      Well tubesteak I AM a professional economist, and that quote is an urban myth.  At no time did Keynes say wasting money like that was a good idea.

      The Asian financial crisis had a massive effect in Australia (you don’t remember 0.48c exchange rates????), but Costello didn’t resort to 1920’s policies to manage it, he used modern monetary policy, hence we got over it quickly and without mountains of debt.

      There has never been an inquiry into the cost effectiveness of pink batt and BER spending - Gillard deliberately excluded cost issues from the enquiry.  They were NOT a success for anyone but the builders that were able to retire early because of it (hence the nickname the Builders Early Retirement scheme)

      “regional Australia is virtually irrelevant to our economic well-being.”

      This is getting comical!  1 Question - 40% of our exports come from raw material/resources.  I’ll make it easy for you - these raw materials are obtained from a) regional areas or b) McDonalds?

      “If you really want to make a case for economic credentials”

      I suggest you get a modicum of economic literacy yourself before attempting to trash someone else’s!!

    • Fairsnotfair says:

      09:05am | 09/05/11

      Thank you for mentioning the much neglected effects of the drought.

      Agriculture in Australia is an often undervalued but vital part of our economy, contributing approx. 12% of of total commodity exports. We have had absolutely NO support in our area (north-west NSW) from the Federal Government in the past 3 years, despite severe climatic challenges.

      Farmers (family farms, not corporate tax dodges) have been repeatedly been told that if they can’t survive on their own, they should “get out”. Hmmm…. I think (obviously naively) that this should apply to all small businesses, including solar installers, building contractors and pseudo electricians installing insulation batts.

      These contractors have essentially been heavily subsidised to keep their businesses going, and in some cases, started, and then disappeared when the money has come in. No follow-up from the government sections to confirm that the job was finished or warranted.

      There are many school projects half-finished; numerous solar installations incorrectly located with no chance of being re-located and therefore inactive, costing the homeowner around $40K with no feed in to the grid being recorded.

      From where we stand, in regional Australia, this article rings all too true.

    • disappointed says:

      09:44am | 09/05/11

      Labor’s wheels went off the track in their first year of office, what was once the ‘people’s party’ fell from grace with incompetent Ministers and incompetent Policies…the Howard government left a surplice which quickly changed into a $40+ Billion deficit and now Australians will be hit by a tough budget…this will not dig Labor out the hole they have dug for themselves.

    • wilma says:

      09:45am | 09/05/11

      Who wrote the Trade Union TV advertising for the Rudd election in 2007?
      It was very clever indeed. Blaming Howard for the Labor states distaters was brillant. But how would Costello have managed the economy over the l;ast few years?

    • scotty says:

      06:47pm | 09/05/11

      “But how would Costello have managed the economy over the l;ast few years?”

      At least twice as good as Swan.  Swan’s the most feeble, economically ignorant treasurer in living memory

    • DW says:

      09:53am | 09/05/11

      Its hardly news now that looking at history Labor gives us debt and Liberal brings it back. Yes, maybe Howard was in power too long…but i preferred that to the monkeys that are in power now.

    • Bill of Queensland says:

      10:01am | 09/05/11

      Australian taxpayers pay the price of the Faustian bargain with the Greens to get power!  The illegal arrival budget will not be cut!  Let those supporting illegal immigration put their own money where their principles are! Illegal arrivals have better than diplomatic immunity. They cannot be deported and know it. The government is impotent till it rescinds the 1951 UN Refugee Convention which effectively takes control of how refugees are treated out of government hands. The obsolete dysfunctional UN guidelines have been exploited by people smugglers and economic refugees during the Ocean Viking debacle and every boatload since! Economic opportunists travel to Indonesia bypassing UN and Australian legal channels to come to Australia destroy their identification documents extending the time needed to sift through the farrago of lies peddled at the Christmas Island visa factory. Illegal arrivals may get a temporary protection visa which bans them from Australian citizenship or bringing in family members left behind and barred from entering Australia again till their debt to the Commonwealth for the costs incurred is paid even after gaining citizenship in a third country.

    • mikey says:

      10:15am | 09/05/11

      I agree, this budget will be a dud. We should have had 10% unemployment with a massive blowout in the housing bubble instead of this resilient lucky country economy. We should have dumped money into the back-slapping banks instead of people and community projects - so wasteful to give money to actual people! We should be cutting precious welfare to offset the tax-dodging corporations and secure a phallic surplus we can be proud of, so we can sit on a wonderful pile of money as the country crumbles. Instead we have this dud budget where Labor is trying to protect the people of this economy from natural disasters, which you believe they caused through the climate change policies of which you don’t believe in anyway. You need to take a good hard long look at yourself and ask, am I in politics to make things better, or to join the cheerleaders whinging about the other team?

    • Ryan says:

      01:20pm | 09/05/11

      @mikey: how much will the flood levy raise?
      how much is this government spending on the flood of economic migrant boat people?
      I see how it works, this “flood levy” is not for the Queensland floods, which should have been paid for by the government, its actually a levy for the “flood” of economic migrants.
      Next week we’ll have a boat people levy, then a Julia Gillard / Wayne Swann incompetence levy to counteract this incompetence that is costing us dearly.

    • Kevin says:

      10:43am | 09/05/11

      Adam says:09:36am | 09/05/11

      According to the Bolt Report last night, 94% of these boatpeople are still unemployed after 5 years and on welfare payments. We can’t afford to let a demographic like that keep growing, particularly when they are bleeding taxpayers dry.

      So, these people arrived on Howard’s watch. (5 years = pre May 2006). Didn’t he stop the boats? Alternatively, just how many people are we talking about? 3 - 4?. I’m sure Bolt and Abbott have all these figures facts available if they wish to include them in a non partisan way.

    • Adam says:

      11:33am | 09/05/11

      @ Kevin - I believe they were refering to our total refugee intake. Apologies, using boatpeople was probably poor wording on my behalf. Either way, whichever Govt they arrrive under (ALP or LNP), it is clearly unsustainable. Perhaps we should either rescind our obligations under the refugee convention or put a five year lifetime limit on welfare (and put the saving back into educating people so they can get a job, etc).

      Also, to address your question, yes Howard did stop the stops (and associated drowning deaths), however, he also increased our total refugee intake during the same period. Though I’d personally prefer to not get into a political mud slinging match over who did what, etc. We just need to address the issue without causing further pressure on taxpayers.

    • Kevin says:

      12:06pm | 09/05/11

      Adam says:11:33am | 09/05/11

      “@ Kevin - I believe they were refering to our total refugee intake. Apologies, using boatpeople was probably poor wording on my behalf.”

      Adam, I had read the earlier reporting of this article before Bolt got hold of it, as I suspect you had; they did quote boat people.

      and   “I’d personally prefer to not get into a political mud slinging match over who did what, etc. We just need to address the issue without causing further pressure on taxpayers.” 
      It sure sounded to me like you were keen to sling mud at Labor until I mentioned the obvious floor in your argument.

    • Adam says:

      01:12pm | 09/05/11

      @ Kevin - “Adam, I had read the earlier reporting of this article before Bolt got hold of it, as I suspect you had; they did quote boat people”

      No, I can’t say I’ve seen it. Can you share a link? I’d be interested to have a read of anything that provides the underlying assumptions and figures because 94% unemployment amongst boatpeople who have been here more than five years is a staggering figure! I wonder how high the figure is for the more recent (and more numerous) boatpeople arrivals?

      “It sure sounded to me like you were keen to sling mud at Labor until I mentioned the obvious floor in your argument.”

      Do you mean flaw? Either way, my original comment was apolitical. If you disagree, feel free to point me towards anything in my original remark that is political or constitutes mudslinging. I’m happy to start the mudslinging about labors complete failure to secure our borders (and associated surge in drowning deaths, surge in boat arrivals, cost blowouts, riots in detention, community outrage, etc) if you want? Although it is generally not very constructive in my experience and playing the blame game never results in a viable solution being developed. Besides, I’m merely suggesting we address an obvious problem, based on the data available. If 94% of boatpeople are still unemployed after five years it is clearly unsustainable to let such a demographic keep growing. I’d hate to imagine what the unemployment figures are for those boatpeople who have been here less than five years (closer to 99%, all on welfare perhaps?). I propose our Govt fix it by either rescinding our obligations under the refugee convention or putting a five year lifetime limit on welfare (and putting the saving back into educating people so they can get a job, etc). Do you have any suggestions of how to address the issue? Or am I wasting my time talking to someone who thinks our Govt cannot ever improve on the way they are running the country.

    • simon says:

      03:22pm | 09/05/11

      Hi Kevin, but Labor need these boaties. These are the people who will vote for Labor at the next election. Traditional labor voters are jumping ship to the Greens or the Coalition so these new refugees will form their new voter base. It’s just an incredibly expensive, wasteful and disrespectful form of pork barreling.

    • ads says:

      06:51pm | 09/05/11

      The boats didn’t stop completely, but the last year there were only 3 boats, and the ALP were attacking Howard for keeping a detention centre open because there were only 10 people in it.

      Compare that to now when Gillard is bribing foreign governments to take illegal arrivals because she can’t build detention centres fast enough to keep up.

      Think that highlights the differences pretty succinctly

    • ads says:

      06:55pm | 09/05/11

      If I recall correctly the 94% figure was for overseas (Denmark I think?).

      The research said that immigrants from western countries contributed $435m in taxes, whereas 94% of all other immigrants were still unemployed 5 years later and cost the Danes $12b a year.

      It was meant to highlight that having a large 3rd world immigrant intake costs taxpayers, large western immigration pays its own way and actually contributes a lot of tax revenue

    • Adam says:

      08:43am | 10/05/11

      @ Ads - Thanks for the info. It just reinforces to me what a problem the current state of affairs is an that we need to stop it.

    • crackerjack says:

      10:54am | 09/05/11

      Ah Jamie Briggs- you have been conned by a Master. Obviously Wayne Swan is much smarter than you.Sad but true

    • crackerjack says:

      10:56am | 09/05/11

      Ah Jamie Briggs- you have been conned by a Master. Obviously Wayne Swan is much smarter than you.Sad but true

    • MarK says:

      12:59pm | 09/05/11

      That is possibly the most insulting thing I have seen on these boards.

      Real nasty.

    • Fiona Hudson says:

      10:56am | 09/05/11

      Wonderful! You really captured the Labor government’s ability to waste money in your article. Labor need to stop wasting money and scrapping projects. Spending $4 billion on interest repayments isn’t an option for the Australian taxpayers.

    • cityboy @ Sydney says:

      11:19am | 09/05/11

      Boy, I get so sick of boy wonder thrusting prats such as Jamie Briggs banging on with a script from central office denigrating those he sees as his opponents. OK, Labor is far from perfect and probably deserve their dismal numbers in the polls, but Briggs and his kind are much, much worse.
      Just one look at the line-up behind Abbott makes one extraordinarily queazy.
      Ever thought of getting yourself a life Jamie? No, thought not…..

    • Aussie Born and Bred says:

      01:33pm | 09/05/11

      “Labor is far from perfect “

      Understatement of the MILLENIUM!!

      Labor isn’t within cooee of reching the lofty heights of DISMAL.

    • ads says:

      06:58pm | 09/05/11

      “Just one look at the line-up behind Abbott makes one extraordinarily queazy.”

      Me too - look at all those ministers that actually ran the country properly and could manage a budget.

      I feel extraordinarily queasy as well having been sucked in by Rudd and his mob of incompetent fools

    • Cleo Basset says:

      11:22am | 09/05/11

      What’s with this ‘Jamie’ thing; what is he, 4?

    • Thommo says:

      11:56am | 09/05/11

      He was christened and name jamie not james by his parents. Who looks like they’re 4 now Cleo?

    • Cleo Basset says:

      02:00pm | 09/05/11

      I guess his parents wanted a little boy forever without any thought he might actually grow up to be a man, albeit a politician. Off to to do a Deed Poll I say.
      Any what were your parents thinking naming you Thommo, eh?

    • Amused Qld says:

      02:40pm | 09/05/11

      Whats with this Basset thing??  Any relation to Fred?
      I cant believe the level of discussion on the Punch today, they must allow them to do it in class.  No normal debate, just fighting and calling each other names like a bunch of school kids. Moderators should try and raise the level .

    • Labor/green voters are a Joke says:

      11:33am | 09/05/11

      Serves Australia right for voting in this government.  Australia had the chance after Krudd was knifed to get rid of this pack of loonies, but it accepted the leftist media hype that Abbott was no good.  Now Australia is crying.  Well remember history, every labor government has nearly destroyed the economy, it is just this government is the worst of them all.

    • Amused Qld says:

      02:46pm | 09/05/11

      Dont know about the leftist media having so much sway, as Gillard herself promising,  no carbon tax under a government I lead.  Asylum seekers will be treated with dignity - does she not know about the caning they get in Malaysia (No a signatory) At least at Nauru, we get the same number back and nobody abuses them whilst they are there.

    • John A Neve says:

      05:38pm | 09/05/11

      Can’t you read? These people died due to faulty boats and faulty thinking.
      One even failed to listen to his brother, who warnedhim not to come.
      Go back and read the article again, you might understand it this time.

    • davidl says:

      12:21pm | 09/05/11

      It never fails to amaze me how totally incompetent the libs are at basic economics, while constantly sprouting how much better they are than labor. Firstly Howard pays off our debt by selling Telstra as a monopoly ? which of course leads to 10 years of telecommunications industry struggle. The money then goes in to the future fund which sells its Telstra shares asap to Howards new western sydney ‘capitalists’ who now have to face considerable loses, good work John. Then Costello sets up the biggest tax break for the wealthy ever seen in a modern economy..remember, put 1m into super and never pay tax on it…which very soon after, due to the ‘extreme’ capitalism of the west loses 50% of its value…great work…but they still laud him like he was some type of Messiah ? Then we have Robb, who in the same breath states that an Access Economics paper has proposed that a carbon tax will possibly mean 100k job losses in the mining industry ? and then says he would not have supported the economic stimulus ..that Access states saved 300k jobs ? Then we have “jamie’ boy here who reckons that billions have been wasted…like the billions we give to the unemployed etc ? where do you think the money went Jamie boy, into fairyland with Barney the dinosaur…it went into the pockets of Australians…fairly ? who knows, it was meant to stimulate the economy dumbo, it did, get over it , stop whinging about waste and please do a basic economics course, it may stop you from looking like a goose.

    • Steve says:

      01:28pm | 09/05/11

      davidl. The more you earn the more tax you pay so it stands to reason that the highest earners get the biggest tax breaks. It is difficult to give a tax break to those who don;t earm money because they are not paying tax in the first place. Having said that you should , in the interest of balance, given credit to Costello because he did give that to Low income families. Thanks to Costello low income families receive more from Family payments part A B each fortnight than they pay in tax. If you net it out they don’t really pay tax at all but receive money from the Govt. Thats that nasty Libs hammering the poor again for you! They are not tax payers they are tax receivers. I don’t begrudge that in fact I was a receiver for a few years but you should not overlook it in your assessment of Costello.

    • Dash says:

      01:30pm | 09/05/11

      @davidl, WTF are you talking about???

      The LNP are so incompetent they delivered consistent budget surpluses, paid off $96billion in ALP debt, delivered 5 consecutive years of PAYG tax cuts, restored the nations AAA rating that the ALP had lost, left the future fund and $26billion in surplus for the ALP to waste on handouts to dead people. They delivered close to full employment and economic growth levels higher than any other western nation.

      The superannuation tax break you mention was Paul Keating’s! The consessional tax treatment for superannuation was in place since Paul Keating introduced the scheme. It was there to encourage people to contribute for their retirement and not be a burden to future taxpayers!

      And what was wrong with Costello giving something back to the people that pay all of the tax anyway???? I’m sick of lefty ALP idiots who think it’s wrong to reward people who contribute the most financially to our society!! And another thing, they only gave it back once they had balanced the budget and paid off the ALPs debt!!! It’s not like this pack of ALP fools who allowed ALP backed builders to rort taxpayers under the BER fund whilst the budget is in record defecit.

      When was the last time an ALP government (any ALP government) balanced a budget let alone delivered a surplus???? I can tell you right now, that this ALP will never pay off the debt that they have racked up for you and your grandchildren! That will be left to a LNP government yet again!

      Swan will announce a record budget defecit tomorrow night. $50billion!

      And yes, the ALP has wasted billions! $900 handouts to dead people and people living overseas, $13million not to deliver grocerychoice, $21million not to deliver fuelwatch, $2billion on a failed insulation scheme which also cost 4 lives, $47billion on a second stimulus which overheated the economy and drove interest rates up. $43 billion on a NBN, most of which was purely to lock Telstra out and to create a monopoly. Then you also had over $30million wasted to advertise the profits tax not to mention the fact that this government spent more in its first 2 years on consultancies than any other government in our history.

      Anyway you cut it, this ALP government has been and still is CRAP!

      I have an economics masters degree and I can tell you, Wayne Swan wouldn’t know if his arse was on fire!

    • PM Nick Nailor says:

      01:31pm | 09/05/11

      Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, can the last leftie in Australia, sitting in the nose bleed section, please read a book on democracy, economics and capitalism. If he doesn’t like what he reads, the people are happy to buy him a one way ticket to China or Russia.

    • Economist says:

      02:25pm | 09/05/11

      Dash, while a little contrite, Keating brought home the bacon in 1988.

      While I agree totally with your sentiments “what was wrong with Costello giving something back to the people that pay all of the tax anyway???? ” I could list, as I’ve previously done, Costello’s wasting of billions.

      Some of what you’ve listed as ALP waste I would disagree with.

    • Dash says:

      03:24pm | 09/05/11

      Economist - Wow 1 out of the last 11 ALP budgets since Hawke won office. Lets not even discuss the ALP state government performances!

      As I said, Costello still managed to consistently balance the budget. Once the ALP manage to do so, let alone pay off their debt, look me up! They’re pushing for the skinniest surplus on record in 2012 but no talk about how they are going to pay off the debt they have racked up.

    • davidl says:

      04:09pm | 09/05/11

      @Steve..Your missing my point Steve, I didn’t say that Costello’s 1m super plan wasn’t fair, just turned out to be ill timed and basically bad advice…people lost a hell of a lot of money. Is your lib bias so strong that you cant see the wood for the trees ? Some people lost 50% of it in within 12 or 18 months ? Selling Telstra, the way it was done, (markets and infrastructure) was like making the whole industry half pregnant, cost us billions in low investment and over charging…it just wasn’t a good idea. My point is that to criticise labor via a comparison with Howard is difficult for those that saw them as some sort of economic heroes, they just were not.
      As far as stimulus goes, I’m extremely capitalistic actually…Governments should just get it out there, don’t let governments store it up and create ‘wealth’ funds that you or I will never see. Double the dole and watch the economy boom my friend.
      Abbot and Robb would have by their own words not stimulated the economy during the GFC with the result about 300k jobs lost. Do you have any idea where we would be today with that type of hit on consumer spending ? You capitalists don’t seem to understand your own dogma ? Since when does a capitalist like governments to be debt free while the public’s debt multiplies tenfold (as it did under Howard) ? You really need to have at look at what capitalist economics really means and you will see that since Hawke, labor has been and still is the capitalists friend.
      Howard’s only idea was to tax every bloody thing 10% , the GST being possibly the highest form of socialist style economics we have ever been a victim of.

    • Dash says:

      04:31pm | 09/05/11

      davidl - you have no idea mate. Stop digging. The GST was the single biggest piece of tax reform this country has seen since the income tax assessment act of 1936! And 100% of it went to the states! Not to the federal government’s budget bottom line! It is comparably low by western standards and there is a strong argument with the changing demographics we face to increase it. I don’t hear too much talk of “rollback” from the ALP these days???

      The Carbon tax is a lefty policy. The compensation scheme which punishes families on the basis of income rather than pollution is a socialist policy. The flood levy which takes from middle and high income earners is a socialisty policy. The nationalisation of broadband is a socialist policy. The censorship of our internet is a socialist policy. The means testing of the private health tax rebate is a socialist policy.

      This ALP government under Gillard, who was a member of the Socialist Forum right up until 2002, is the most socialist government this country has ever seen! That’s why it was so happy to jump into bed with the greens.

      Gillard has tried hard to pretend to be a centralist with comments about the dole and single mothers etc. But look at what they have done, not what they say. She has driven the party further to the left margin and the primary of the ALP has suffered the consequences.

    • Economist says:

      05:02pm | 09/05/11

      @ Dash, just to be little further contrite grin Keating delivered 3 budget surpluses. But how did he do it, by collecting 25% of GDP as receipts. Most of the time receipts are less than 25%.

      Not to take anything away from Costello’s acheivements. A quick look over his record shows that the surpluses were due to the federal government taking over 25% of GDP in government receipts.  They’re now closer to 23%. So this Labor government have actually taken less as a percentage of GDP, your forgetting about the last 3 years of income tax cuts.

      The carbon tax/price punishes usage of carbon, not income. If your rich and you use less carbon you should be better off. Yes Levy is a tax on the rich. NBN socialist in the short-term, but isn’t it ment to be sold off later? Yes Internet censorship is rubbish. As for the PHI rebate, I have to totally disagree with you. It should be scrapped, it socialism for insurance companies.

    • davidl says:

      05:48pm | 09/05/11

      @dash…mate, you again grab the wrong end of the stick…I never said labor didn’t have a socialist policy….aren’t you tired of trawling out the same rubbish that Abbott and hockey have been going on about for what, 4 years ? You need some new material, No one with a brain in their head believes that abbot and the crew have any answers, they just keep saying the same stuff over and over again…it lost them the last election and will lose them the next if they don’t get over the fact that things have moved on.
      One question , if the Chinese bought bhp and rio fair and square in the open market, would you still oppose the mining tax ?

    • ads says:

      07:02pm | 09/05/11

      “Firstly Howard pays off our debt by selling Telstra as a monopoly ? which of course leads to 10 years of telecommunications industry struggle. “

      A decade ago I had dial up internet with a 2 hour session limit, and I had a mobile that cost well close to $1 to listen to a voicemail message.

      Today I have a 25mbit completely unlimited ADSL2+ connection, and my mobile phone bill costs $29, despite me making 10x the calls and texts.

      Yeah telecommunications has been a disaster for consumers.

      Don’t worry, the ALP is building a union friendly telco monopoly as we speak

    • ads says:

      07:13pm | 09/05/11

      “Not to take anything away from Costello’s acheivements. A quick look over his record shows that the surpluses were due to the federal government taking over 25% of GDP in government receipts.  They’re now closer to 23%.”

      “Economist” - tax receipts are down to 23% BECAUSE the government is spending so much!

    • Economist says:

      08:44pm | 09/05/11

      @Ads spending is the other side of the ledger. The difference between spending and receipts is the deficit/surplus. So your partly right in that the deficit has blown out.

    • Gunther says:

      12:21pm | 09/05/11

      Once a devout Laborite, not any more.  This is the most idiotic government we’ve had since Billy McMahon’s.  I used to think ‘If Abbot’s the answer, the question must be stupid’, but boy, did I have that wrong! If Julia’s the answer, then the question must have been something like ‘how do we send Australia down the path to ruin?’
      We’re going to have the ‘Carbon Tax’, more of the unrestrained ‘Boat People’ (who will now be flown, at taxpayers expense, to Malaysia)...possibly sent to PNG…or accomodated in luxury apartments in Sydney or Brisbane.  So-called ‘Income Tax breaks’ for people on $30,000 or less. And I don’t know what this Gillard government will come up with next.
      I’m fed up.

    • bikinis on top says:

      12:54pm | 09/05/11

      In McHale’s Navy, Captain Binghampton and LT Carpenter used Briggs to place Mc Hale,Parker, Gruber,Tinker Bell, Christie, Fuji, Vergil, and Happy.
      Bighampton always failed to keep his favorites in the Briggs.They got off the hook thanks to the Admiral.

      Now Liberals want to put Labor in the Briggs. Labor will get off the hook and win the next federal election.

    • simon says:

      03:42pm | 09/05/11

      What the hell are you going on about? This takes the cake for the most nonsensical rant of the day!!!

    • Mouse says:

      04:33pm | 09/05/11

      Ok bots, pass me the bottle, slowly now, don’t want to spill any, slowly does it, there’s a good boy…...

    • Daryl says:

      01:13pm | 09/05/11

      This government is an incompetent pack morons!

      They sent a letter back in 07 to all Health insurers ensuring them that they will not touch the private health tax rebate. LIE!!!!! Guess what, tomorrow they will announce again a plan to means test it. So those that already pay the most medicare levey get smashed again. Millions of people in this country will reduc e the amount of health care they have or go straight on to medicare! So the public health system is going to be put under increasingly more pressure! IDIOTS!

      Also take note that the forecast $41billion defecit is now expected to be $50billion. And in a time when this country has close to full employment levels and the biggest mining boom in it’s history.

      Make no mistake, this if because of the ALPs incompetence!

      They have delivered the LNP PAYG tax cuts only because they had to. There will be zero in the way of tax relief for taxpayers in tomorrow’s budget. Flood tax, profits tax, carbon tax. Lefty green tax policy.

      Remember what they have promised us and not delivered:

      Cheaper groceries (Grocerychoice)
      Cheaper Fuel (fuel watch)
      A Coast Guard
      An East Timor Solution
      Root and Branch Tax Reform
      260 Childcare centres
      Cash for Clunckers
      More affordable housing
      Cheaper Better Childcare
      Cheaper books
      Abolision of Uni Union Fees etc etc

      We have record budget defecits and are currently borrowing $100m a day! They are bankrupting your children’s furture.

      Now they are talking about sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia and accepting 4000!!!

      When do we get a chance to get rid of this lot of bumbling fools?

    • Cranky ol' Bugga says:

      02:31pm | 09/05/11

      Simple answer: at the next election you will have your opportunity.
      I may join you if Abbott gets on his bike (again) an pedals off into the sunset towing a tumbrill loaded up with the left-overs from the Howard Years,  leaving a vacancy to slot Malcolm Turnbull into. A contest between him and Rudd (if he does a Lazarus) would be the choice we should have had last time round.

    • Ryan says:

      03:40pm | 09/05/11

      @Cranky ol’ Bugga: oh joy, another rusted on Laborite spinning like he would ever vote for the opposition. Here’s the thing buddy, Malcolm ain’t gonna come back, just like you wouldn’t vote for him even if he was there.
      Fact is, your Labor government is so incompetent you are harping on hoping that the Liberals do the same. Sadly Tony Abbott is the best thing that will ever happen to this country and we will all reap the rewards for our voting this incompetent, lying and downright pathetic government.

    • ads says:

      07:18pm | 09/05/11

      “into the sunset towing a tumbrill loaded up with the left-overs from the Howard Years,”

      You mean the people that actually ran the country properly before this Rudd/Gillard madness?

      “leaving a vacancy to slot Malcolm Turnbull into. “

      The only people who want Turnbull as PM are Green and ALP voters - currently a healthy minority in our democracy

    • Nick Nailor says:

      01:26pm | 09/05/11

      Jamie, are you kidding me? Is this a joke? Have you tendered your letter of resignation and about to leave The Leftwing Courier mail? Why these questions? Simple it was the courier mail in 2007 that gave K.Rudd and the current W. Swan the front page of approval in your paper the day before the election, in a show of un-bias reporting of course. Your paper openly endorsed Rudd and his band of scaly wags (This included the current treasurer). Now you question their validity in excuses? The damage caused by your papers flagrant bais and one sided Labor supporting has come home to roost. Now go sit in the corner with the rest of the flip flop leftie voters. As that’s where your paper belongs. (Rant over, turn off microphone, step off soap box) Good article, spot on, Swan is in all sorts of trouble and has no idea, the Left will continue to sprout garbage (It’s what their good at). At the end of the day if you split Australia in two for the Left wing and Right wing in politics, we all know the Right would have to deal with some serious immigration issues from the lesser state.

    • Mikko says:

      03:15pm | 09/05/11

      @ John A Neeve: “Neither would the companies who made a dollar out of the installation”. Are you kidding? What about the legit companies with large amounts of stockon hand when the program was suddenly axed? How many of these are still trading? Meanwhile Labor has to spend millions more patching up the damage and fire risks before finally cutting off this patch up work. All this would be bad enough on its own but it’s just one of the many programs overspent and bungled, as the article points out.

    • John A Neve says:

      04:31pm | 09/05/11


      I have already addressed this issue above.
      But if a company overstocks, who’s fault is that?
      As to “patching up” surely it is up to the cudtomer to chase the installer?
      Regarding over spending and bungling, I thought in the public’s eyes all governments did that.

    • PINK says:

      03:47pm | 09/05/11

      pay Myanmar 1.4 billion and they will ‘look after’ the refugees for a decade!
      betcha NO MORE BOATS!

    • Gunther says:

      04:00pm | 09/05/11

      I’m just waiting for my set-top-box to arrive so I can feel good about voting for Julia, NOT!!!
      Here’s my slogan:
      Don’t let Joolyah foolyah!

    • Holly says:

      05:04pm | 09/05/11

      You have trotted out the same old garbage.  The BER was in fact a great success and your figures are imaginary.  The insulation - a great success for those who received insulation but wrecked by a few (less than 200 I believe) of those darlings of the coalition, small businesses.

      The greatest structural problem which was the legacy of the Howard/Costello years is the extension of age pension entitlements to higher income earners and the open slather tax free super after age 60.  This was a completely reprehensible economically, given that at the same time government was already aware of the issues the country would face as the population aged.  Think how much funding would have been available for nursing homes if the Howard/Costello government had not pandered quite needlessly to the already rich in this way. 

      The provision is quite unsustainable, costing the country tens of billions a year, but it will be a brave government which will dismantle it.

    • simon says:

      06:43pm | 09/05/11

      I would rather negative gearing be dismantled.

      How bout this for starters.

      1st Investment home full negative gearing.
      2nd investment home 75% negative gearing
      3rd investment home 50% negative gearing
      4th investment home 25% neagtive gearing
      5th house and onwards no negative gearing deduction

      This is fair, you can still own 4 investment houses and receive ng benefits. Should save about $5 billion per year!!

    • ads says:

      07:21pm | 09/05/11

      “The greatest structural problem which was the legacy of the Howard/Costello years is the extension of age pension entitlements to higher income earners “

      What on earth are you talking about?  My Dad earnt $40k the last year he worked and had problems accessing the pension!

    • DaveinPerth says:

      11:36pm | 09/05/11

      4.3 Billion dollars in interest!?!?!
      OMFG !!!! That’s over 0.0033 of the Aus GDP !  How on earth are we going to pay for this?

      Oh the horror ! Oh, the humanity !

    • Eric says:

      07:12am | 10/05/11

      Shortly after Howard’s introduction of the GST, a few of us, including Wayne Swan, were having a beer at the Banyo Tavern discussing the pros & cons of the GST.
      Swan was unaware that in Australia there had been differing rates of sales tax.  He was under the impression that all sales tax had been 5%. He took quite a deal of convincing otherwise. This man is in charge of our countrie’s finances.

    • Mouse says:

      07:59am | 10/05/11

      Well Eric, looks like nothing has changed, he still has no idea!

    • DaveinPerth says:

      12:35pm | 10/05/11

      Eric says: And then there was the time that I was having a beer with Elvis, and who should show up but JFK ?!? Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact that Bin Laden (or Binnie as we called him) was there to hold me up, I would have fallen over.

    • DaveinPerth says:

      06:04pm | 10/05/11

      Eric says: And this one time, at Band Camp…....

    • Eric says:

      07:06am | 11/05/11

      Davein Perth;  You are a Labor voter right? There were 6 or seven of us in the conversation at the time. There’s a good chance you will find one of them there if you go to the Banyo Tavern.

    • DaveinPerth says:

      10:28pm | 11/05/11

      @Eric - Former rabid liberal voter. Like many people, divorced from automatic support of the Libs by Howard lying his way into Iraq. Now try to base my vote (and Punch posts) on facts and reality.

      If the options at the next election are Gillard/Swan vs Abbott/Hockey then I think the choice is easy. If Turbull takes the lead then it’s GO Libs! I don’t think Robb (the adult in the room) understands how much of a fundraising boost he would get from a Turnbull leadership?

      Also, Very unfair of me to cast doubt on the membership of your drinking buddies. I apologise unreservedly. (But I do love the odd band camp reference.)

    • UN Happy says:

      10:37am | 10/05/11

      Our borders are now out of control because of the UNHCR Convention and the 1967 Protocol.  I would suggest the commentators google the above and see how we are held over a barrel and have no say in who comes to this country.

    • Nettie says:

      12:24pm | 10/02/12

      If the ismoespirns I formed of Julia Gillard during our youthful sparring in the early 1980s are at all accurate People can change between the ages of 20 and 50.

    • Ankit says:

      12:25pm | 10/02/12

      that’s right gregm, I rlealy think SC and his ideas should be locked in the same vault as smallpox.


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