The election in numbers

We know the Liberals lost 13 seats, or in other words Labor gained 13 seats, with one seat, Herbert, still in the balance at the time of writing. (Labor actually won 14 but gave one back which I will come to later.) The Liberals claimed a win because they did at least manage to hang on to government, thanks to the Nationals, and Labor claimed success because of the number of seats it gained. But can either party really claim success? The numbers suggest not. The numbers also suggest that individual seats varied markedly and there was not anything like a uniform swing to Labor although swing there was overall.

This is only for the House of Representatives and the numbers I have used are not the final numbers but are from the count a day either side of 13 July, so further changes will be only fractions of a percentage and make little difference to my overall conclusions, although it is the Labor vote that is reducing percentage-wise as the postal votes are finalised. All the numbers are from, or derived from, the AEC’s Virtual Tally Room.

Overall Labor gained a swing of about 3.1% on the two party preferred (2PP) count but it gained only 1.4% on its first preference vote to about 35%.

The Liberals lost 3.4% on its first preference vote, receiving only 28.6% of first preferences, and the multiplicity of groups making up the National side of the Coalition, the Nationals themselves, the LNP in Queensland and the Country Liberals in the NT, remained static — the Nationals gaining 0.39% but the LNP losing 0.32% and the CL losing 0.07% (and their only seat) for no nett gain. The National side of the Coalition, however, accounted in total for about 32% of the Coalition’s first preference vote and its vote was also equal to about half of the Liberal first preference vote. They are now providing 31 of the Coalition’s 76 seats (or roughly 40%). So the Nationals’ argument for a greater say in the Coalition has merit.

The Nationals and the LNP each hold six very safe seats with a 2PP vote above 60%. Since the Nationals only hold 10 seats in their own right, that is a high proportion of very safe seats, whereas for the LNP in Queensland it is out of a total of 21 seats. The Liberals hold 20 such seats, for a Coalition total of 32 very safe seats. The ALP has 25 such seats, with 9 above 65% — the Liberals have 8 seats above 65%, the Nationals 3, and the LNP 2. Obviously such seats will rarely change hands unless there are major changes to the electoral boundaries or in the make-up of the population.

As is to be expected from the overall result the Coalition parties lost first preference votes in 114 seats — an overall average of -2.7% and a median of -3.7%. People may like to know that the worst result for the Liberals, -17.3%, was in the seat of Indi: even in the seat of Mayo, gained by the NXT, the loss was slightly lower at -16%. They also lost on the 2PP count in 119 seats (although in 12 seats it was less than 1%). So although the Coalition has just managed to achieve a majority government, the fact that it lost votes in almost 80% of electorates suggests it can hardly be taken as a ringing endorsement of the government or its policies.

Some of the swing to Labor was wasted in seats which it had no chance of winning or in its own safe seats. It gained 2PP swings of more than 3% in 12 seats in which the Coalition vote was above 55% (even after the swing). And it also gained swings above 3% in 29 of its own seats where its vote ended up above 55%. So in 41 seats, over a quarter of all seats in the House of Representatives, Labor’s gains did nothing to change the outcome in terms of seat numbers and it could be said to have been most successful in its own seats, basically winning back some of the Labor-leaning voters that it lost in 2013 — overall, Labor improved its first preference vote in 43 of its own seats and its 2PP in 49. (There were 10 seats in which Labor was not involved in the final two candidate battle, so Labor 2PP is not readily available for those seats.)

Labor cannot be complacent about its vote. Although it gained overall it actually had a reduced first preference vote in 50 seats (11 less than 1%) but that reduced to a smaller 2PP vote in 20 seats (5 less than 1%). It lost first preference votes in 23 Liberal held seats, 5 LNP seats in Queensland, and 5 National seats (and in 4 seats won by minor parties or independents). It also had a reduced 2PP in 9 Liberal seats, 3 LNP seats and 1 National seat.

More worryingly, Labor lost first preference votes in 13 of its own seats, five in Victoria, one in NSW, two in Queensland, four in SA and one in WA — One Nation or NXT were involved in six of those seats which drew votes from both major parties. The Greens were present in every seat and received more than 10% of first preference votes in five of the seats in which Labor lost first preference votes but that is not an explanation because Labor also gained in many seats where the Greens vote exceeded 10%.

It managed to reduce that to losses in only five of its own seats on 2PP and one of those still remained above 55%. That is where the Green vote benefits Labor, in both Labor and Coalition seats, with about 80% of its preferences flowing to Labor. The Greens, however, are a Left-of-centre party, as is Labor, and it is surprising that as many as a fifth of Green voters direct their preferences to the Right. While there are explanations for that, it is an issue for Labor.

The Greens had a first preference vote above 15% in 17 seats but 11 of those were Labor seats and the Greens held one in their own right. Of the five Coalition seats three were safe for the Coalition, Labor gained one and failed to gain one in which it thought it had a chance (Corangamite in Victoria). So that level of support for the Greens, and preferences flowing to Labor, does not translate into Labor gaining a significant number of Coalition seats. The Greens tend to do better in Labor seats (obviously Left-leaning electorates) which is not beneficial in terms of achieving a Left-of-centre government.

At a state level, the NXT vote in SA had a major impact with Labor losing first preference votes in all but one of SA’s 11 seats — but increasing its 2PP vote in every seat. At the other end of the spectrum, it gained in four of the five Tasmanian seats and lost ground on its first preference and 2PP vote only against Andrew Wilkie in Denison.

In WA Labor lost first preference votes in four of the 16 electorates, including one of its own, but lost 2PP in only one, a very safe Liberal seat (above 65%).

In the larger states, Labor lost first preference votes in 11 of the 47 seats in NSW but lost 2PP in only four, each safe Coalition seats. On the other hand, NSW was also the state where Labor improved its first preference vote by more than 4% in 19 seats, including six that it won.

In Queensland Labor lost first preferences in seven of 30 seats and 2PP in four seats. It improved its first preference vote by more than 4% in only four seats, one of which it won (Longman).

Victoria was the state in which the Labor vote suffered most but that was off relatively high levels at the 2013 election, when it had 12 seats above 55% and 9 of those above 60% on 2PP. This year it lost first preference votes in 17 of the 37 seats including five of its own. That reduced to 2PP losses in 10 seats including four of its own but in two of those seats the loss was against a Green candidate. It did improve its first preference vote by more than 4% in seven seats but six of those were its own seats and the other a safe Liberal seat (61% of 2PP at the 2013 election and still slightly over 56% at this election) so had no impact on the election result.

Victoria was the state where Labor suffered its only loss — the seat of Chisolm from which Anna Burke retired at this election. Labor received 37.3% of the first preference ‘ordinary’ votes (at the ballot box) compared with the Liberal candidate’s 44.7%. The Greens received 12.1%. While the majority of the Green preferences would have flowed to Labor, putting Labor slightly ahead, the Liberal candidate also benefitted from preferences from the Family First Party (2.3% of ordinary votes) and Rise Up Australia (1.9%). The Liberal candidate, however, received 51.6% of about 13,000 postal vote first preferences compared to Labor’s 32.4% — on 2PP that translated to 58.1% of postal votes for the Liberals and only 41.9% for Labor. If Labor had held the seat it could have reached 70 seats in the House of Representatives and held the government to 75 (if Labor wins Herbert, or 69 and 76 respectively if it does not). There will no doubt be much soul-searching within the Labor party about this loss.

As Chisolm and Labor’s loss of first preference votes in a third of electorates indicates, there was much variation. Even where Labor did well, for example in NSW, its improved first preference vote varied from 0.7% to 13.9%. For such wide variations, it obviously becomes necessary to examine what was occurring in each seat, which is well beyond the scope of this article.

The other candidates in an electorate obviously have a significant influence, as with the role of NXT and One Nation in drawing votes away from the major parties. Local issues, like the CFA dispute in Victoria, can also have an influence, as does the perceived quality of the candidates. And it is of more than passing interest that Labor did well in the states that have a Liberal state government — NSW, Tasmania and WA.

So on the numbers it could be said that the election did not produce a clear winner. Although the Coalition scraped over the line, it lost votes in about 80% of electorates indicating the increased numbers who were rejecting the government and its policies. Labor, however, also achieved mixed results, losing votes in a third of seats and relying on third party preferences to improve its position. On that basis, both major parties have a lot of work to do to convince voters they deserve their vote.

What do you think?
Does the media pay too much attention to national trends when it appears elections are influenced just as much by local concerns and local candidates?

Were the minor parties and independents the real winners at the election?

Is a Left coalition of Labor and the Greens necessary to counter the coalition of the Right?

Let us know in comments below.

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2353NM, 15 July 2016
There are three types of people in this world, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. – Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics …
The Liberals are dreaming
Ken Wolff, 17 July 2016
On Sunday morning 10 July, before Shorten conceded defeat in the election, Arthur Sinodinos appeared on the ABC’s Insiders. He claimed the Coalition had a ‘mandate’ for its 2016 budget and its company tax cuts. Sinodinos’s view takes no account of the reality of the new parliament.

Although the final count is not yet complete, it appears the LNP will win 76 or 77 …

What economic plan?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared that GDP growth of 3.1%, reported by the ABS on 1 June, showed that his plan for the economy was on track:
You cannot succeed without a clear economic plan. Everything we have is encouraging companies to invest, to employ.

So far so good.

This confirms the direction we are leading the country in, in terms of our economic plan, but there is much more work to do.
[from The Guardian’s live election blog on 1 June]

But did he read the fine print?

As reported by the ABC:
However, while the headline number was strong, it was driven by a rise in output, while the prices Australia got for its exports continued to fall relative to imports.

That saw the terms of trade decline another 1.9 per cent in the quarter, and 11.5 per cent over the past year, which in turn saw the real net national disposable income rise by just 0.2 per cent over the quarter and plunge 1.3 per cent over the past year.

The ABS describes this number as “a broader measure of the change in national economic well-being” and the fall in this figure indicates declining purchasing power for Australian households.
That was picked up by Labor’s Chris Bowen:
Beneath the headline figure, we know there is an economy struggling with falling demand and falling income growth. In these figures today we see the eighth consecutive decline in nominal income: living standards.
Michael Janda, the ABC’s business reporter explained that ‘real’ GDP only measures how much we have produced in goods and services. It is ‘nominal’ GDP that actually gives a measure of the value of those goods and services. As an example, the current GDP figure includes a surge in iron ore and LNG exports but we are getting less dollars for these exports than we did before:
This measure is far more important for households, businesses and governments as it better reflects how much income, profits and revenue they are getting …
Despite that, the initial reaction in the markets was that the Australian dollar rose as overseas financial markets focused only on the headline figure, as that is taken as a global and uniform indicator, but our local share market fell.

Weakness in the economy has been repeated in other recent data from the ABS.

Although the government liked to claim some success for unemployment remaining at 5.7% in April, other labour force figures associated with the release of that data showed:

  • the headline figure of 10,800 jobs created actually included the loss of 9,300 full-time positions but an increase of 20,200 part-time jobs

  • monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 17.9 million hours to 1,613.8 million hours, the fourth consecutive decrease (the first time that had happened in three years) and a cumulative decrease of 1.0% since December 2015.
The ABC reported:
Paul Dale from Capital Economics observed that full-time employment has not increased at all over the past three months and that the average number of hours worked per employee per month is at a record low.

“In other words, the quality of the jobs being generated is deteriorating and the amount of work being done is falling,” he wrote in a note on the data.
The April figures reflected similar declines in March when 34,900 part-time jobs were created but 8,800 full-time positions lost, resulting in a loss of 17.5 million hours worked.

It also followed the Wage Price Index for March (released on 18 May) which showed a rise of 0.4%: ‘the lowest rate of wages growth recorded since the start of the series in 1997’ the ABS noted in its commentary.

The Business Indicators for March, released on 30 May, showed the trend estimate for company gross operating profits fell by 3.1% in the quarter, or 4.7% seasonally adjusted: mining fell 9.6% seasonally adjusted; manufacturing 14.5%; and electricity, gas, water and waste services fell 5.6%. There were minor improvements in construction and retail, with both growing by 0.6%. The biggest loss in seasonally adjusted profit estimates was for financial and insurance services which fell by 69.4%.

Those indicators are not good news for the government. Less hours worked translates to lower PAYG income tax revenue and the company profit estimates also indicate lower company tax revenue.

Business investment in the March quarter, as reported by the ABS on 26 May, was down 2.8% for the quarter and down 15.4% over the year. Expectations for future investment in 2016‒17 showed some signs of improvement but, in dollar terms, would still remain below the investment in 2015‒16.

While the trade deficit improved marginally in the March quarter (as compared to the December quarter) the fall in prices for our exports meant that we were still running up foreign debt — now a record $1.03 trillion, or two-thirds of our total GDP. While that is not government debt, it does leave our companies vulnerable to changes in international conditions, particularly increases on the currently low international interest rates. And, of course, if companies (including banks) are hit with higher borrowing costs for overseas loans or refinancing, that will be passed on to consumers in Australia which, in turn, could lead to lower domestic demand and more headwinds for our economy.

Some of this is not supposed to happen, according to economic theory. As a CBA analyst said of the figures:
Today’s figures confirm that the Australian economy finds itself with a unique set of circumstances that will continue to perplex policymakers and complicate the interest rate outlook.

GDP growth is running at an above trend pace and the unemployment rate has been declining. In isolation two highly desirable outcomes. But wages growth is at its lowest level since the 1990s recession and consumer inflation has been falling. On the surface, these four outcomes occurring simultaneously is bizarre. [emphases in original]
[from the Canberra Times ‘Markets Live’ blog on 1 June]

It does go on to suggest that the ‘anomaly’ can be explained by the negative terms-of-trade, soft domestic demand and historically high under-employment, which means there is spare capacity in the labour market.

Most analysts were predicting that GDP growth would come in at 2.8%, so an actual increase of 3.1% was a ‘pleasant’ surprise. Normally such an increase in GDP would be welcome and would indicate a robust economy but all the other data show that the increase in GDP is not being reflected in other improvements, like full-time employment, wages, even business investment, and so is not being reflected in improvements in our standard of living which it normally would.

Of course, Turnbull and Morrison give the figures a positive spin and also offer the line that only their approach will help overcome the poorer aspects but in a report in The Guardian on 1 June, the Council of Small Business Australia estimated that only 4.6% of small businesses would take advantage of the Turnbull/Morrison company tax cut to reinvest and expand their operations. The Council suggested that the instant asset write-off was a better mechanism to encourage expansion — the government is keeping the $20,000 asset write-off until 30 June 2018, instead of ending on 30 June 2017, and will expand it to businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million (currently $2 million).

Also, Goldman Sachs, at which Turnbull was chairman and managing director in Australia between 1997 and 2001, found that 60% of the benefit of Turnbull’s company tax cut would flow to foreign investors, 10% to domestic investors, and only 30% would boost the Australian economy.

Turnbull’s and Morrison’s plan to boost the economy is under pressure. The impact of the tax cut is being questioned, not by Labor but by people in the market that it is aimed at. The economic indicators are mixed but more heavily negative and the benefits of economic growth are not being seen. So where is the economic plan to turn this around and ensure that people actually benefit from an increase in GDP growth? All the growth Turnbull and Morrison promise from their tax cuts and innovation agenda will mean nothing unless they can turn around the other indicators and growth actually provides benefits for all.

The fact is their plan isn’t working and isn’t a plan that will benefit all Australians through a rising standard of living. It is time they found another plan!

What do you think?
How can Turnbull claim his plan will boost the economy in the face of the economic indicators?

If his plan does not lift our standard of living, is it worth the paper it is written on?

Will Turnbull’s blindness as regards social policy come back to bite him?

Let us know in comments below.

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* T & Cs apply
2353NM, 31 May 2016
Charles Dickens wrote a book called Oliver Twist. It is undoubtedly a classic. The book has been the subject of numerous reviews, movies and is frequently a subject for study in English Literature classes. Perhaps the best known section of the book is where young Oliver asks the Master of the Workhouse for ‘more’.

The poor, disabled and incapable who were unfortunate enough to live in what is now the United Kingdom from the 1700s …
It’s all their fault
2353NM, 1 June 2016
Have you ever noticed that politicians in general have a great ability to blame others? As an example, here Labor is blaming Prime Minister Turnbull (as he was the former communications minister) for a $15 billion cost blowout in the construction of the NBN. Here’s Turnbull in 2013 accusing Labor of the same thing (only the value is $12 billion in this case). Let’s put this simply — they both can’t be right!

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Behind the NBN raids: hypothetically speaking

On Thursday 19 May the AFP raided the parliamentary offices of Stephen Conroy in Melbourne and the home of a political staffer as regards leaks from NBNCo. Next morning the AFP Commissioner maintained that there had been no political influence on the investigation, nor the timing of the raids, and that the relevant minister, the leader of the opposition, and even Conroy himself, had only been advised of the ‘investigation’ when the raids were commencing. But consider these hypothetical scenes.

The scene: a Canberra restaurant (which must go unnamed) during a busy lunchtime in December 2015. At a table near the window sit a minister and a senior official of NBNCo, sipping their wine after completing a resplendent meal. The noise in the restaurant helps dampen the carry of their conversation.

Minister: These leaks are a bit embarrassing.

NBNCo official: Not for us.

Minister: But you would have to admit it’s not a good look for the organisation.

NBNCo official: We don’t see it as a major problem.

Minister: You do intend to refer it to the AFP, though, I take it.

NBNCo official: We hadn’t thought about taking it that far. We thought we could deal with it in-house and avoid all the negative publicity that a full-blown AFP investigation would bring.

Minister: The problem, though, would be that if it is just dealt with quietly, no-one else will realise the consequences and before you now it the place could be leaking like a sieve.

NBNCo official: You mean like a minister’s office.

(Although intended as a joke, the minister remains grim-faced.)

Minister: Any organisation that leaks like a sieve reflects poorly on its management. It wouldn’t do management’s reputation any good. May even harm it when the time comes to move on and they have to seek another position, in another company. It may even hasten the time that a move becomes necessary.

There you have it. Not once did the minister tell the official what he should do; and he referred to the ramifications only in terms of any organisation, not in NBNCo itself, and not to what might happen to the senior NBNCo official but only any senior management person in any organisation in any circumstances that might be similar to the hypothetical situation he was …blah, blah, blah. You get the drift!

Scene 2: a Canberra restaurant (which must go unnamed) during a busy lunchtime … Yes, the same, only now it is a few weeks later and this time it is a minister and a senior AFP officer.

Minister: How’s the NBNCo investigation going?

AFP officer: You know I can’t discuss such things.

Minister: Well, let’s just say that I have heard whispers on the grapevine that such an investigation is, well, possible.

(He had heard such ‘whispers’ from a senior NBNCo official over another quiet Canberra lunch.)

Minister (continuing): If such an investigation was underway, how long, hypothetically, would such an investigation take?

AFP officer: Much would depend on the investigation itself and how quickly we can gather sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution. Speaking hypothetically, if we identify at an early stage who the probable leaker is, it could be mostly over in two or three months and then it’s just putting the evidence together for the prosecutor, unless we’ve managed to obtain an admission of guilt — then it can be over quite quickly.

Minister: So if you narrow it down, such an investigation, starting recently, could be done and dusted by February or March?

AFP officer: That could be possible.

Minister: But don’t you need to make sure that you have sufficient evidence and hard evidence? After all, very few of these leakers actually admit to it, from what I’ve seen in the past.

AFP officer: Hard evidence goes without saying.

Minister: Yes, but doesn’t that mean you would need much longer for such an investigation. At least another few months, perhaps through to May or June.

AFP officer: Not in every case.

Minister: I wouldn’t tell you how to do your job but sometimes in cases that may be politically sensitive, I would have thought there is a need to be extra careful, extra diligent in the investigation. Anything less than absolute thoroughness, absolute procedure by the book, could come back to bite you on the bum.

AFP officer: I’m … We are well aware of that in such cases.

The AFP officer is left to muse on the possibilities: on the … sorry, any such investigation and the possibility that a wrong decision could come back to bite him on the bum. The minister hasn’t told him what to do; hasn’t discussed the investigation into NBNCo, just any investigation that may be politically sensitive, and the ramifications … Yes, much the same as last time!

Scene 3: a Canberra restaurant … I don’t think I need to repeat that any more. This time there are two ministers.

Minister 1: How’s the investigation going into the leaks from NBNCo?

Minister 2: I think I have it under control. NBNCo got the message that a referral to the AFP would be the best thing in the circumstances. At least it would clear the air for the organisation itself. And management needed to make sure it was seen to be doing the right thing. We can’t have every Joe Blow deciding what’s in the public interest.

Minister 1: And the AFP?

Minister 2: Obviously they can’t officially discuss an ongoing investigation that was referred to them by someone else but I stressed how important any such investigation might be. And that they needed to ensure that it was thorough and by the book. If that took them longer, then that was how it had to be.

Minister 1: So it should come up in the middle of the election campaign?

Minister 2: It should.

They both chuckle.

For the politically uninitiated, don’t think that this doesn’t, hypothetically speaking, happen. Private discussions that can’t be corroborated take place between ministers, ministers and officials, between senior officials, and, of course, even the opposition can be involved. Such conversations can give rise to ideas and courses of action that have ‘no known’ origin. Such conversations can be purely hypothetical (as is this one) so no-one is responsible for what may arise from it.

It’s a wonderful way to run government with no accountability or, at least, still being able to shift the blame!

What do you think?

Likely even?

Let us know in comments below.

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The barbie bigot is back: on Turnbull

I previously took Brandis’s advice that we have a right to be a bigot an’ had a go at our last PM, pommy Tones, an’ said I was willing to refund his £10 to send him back to pommy-land, ‘specially if we could spare an orange life boat for him. Now I wanna ‘ave a word or two about the new PM, this Mal bloke.

First, what did they think they were doin’, that Liberal mob? They spent years havin’ a go at Labor for changin’ leaders so often, so they decide to do it themselves. Not actually a smart move if you think about it. But I s’pose they think the average punter will ‘ave forgotten all that crap they went on with. Some may have but not the blokes an’ sheilas around my barbie.

An’ then what did they do? They went back to someone they’d elected leader before. Sounds a bit like Rudd revisited doesn’t it? No, you’re not supposed to remember that. Actually, he was less of a success than Rudd the first time ‘round. But that’s another thing you’re not supposed to remember. Nor Godwin Gretch — who remembers that name? All the hands around my barbie went up. What about around yours?

Poor old Tones never seemed to get past his pommy past, what with bringin’ back knights an’ dames an’ givin’ old Phillip a knighthood that he didn’t know what to do with — couldn’t fit another medal on his chest! Now we have Mal who can’t get beyond his business past. He’s been all sorts of things. So many I can’t remember them all but I do know he made squillions from some of them.

Have you seen his place at Point Piper in Sydney? A bloody mansion an’ right on the harbour! I’m surprised he moved into The Lodge in Canberra — it’s a bit of a come down for him an’ his missus. If he likes, while he’s in Canberra, me, the missus an’ the kids, an’ a few of me mates an’ their families, would be happy to move in an’ look after it for him. It looks big enough for a few of us. An’ the barbies would be great lookin’ across the harbour. Yeh, I promise we’ll be careful to pick up the empties.

It must be worth a motsa. I‘d be lucky to afford one room an’ I bet it’s worth more than I’ll earn in me whole life.

Does that qualify him to be a good PM? Some posh bloke said you need someone who’s been successful in business ‘cause they know how to make Oz successful — you reckon? Doesn’t makin’ Oz successful also include the rest of us, includin’ me an’ me mates here at the barbie? What’s he doin’ for us? Does he even know what we’re on about? I’m not so sure he does.

Have a look at what he says about housing. It’s getting bloody hard for the kids to buy their own place — I can only hope it improves a bit before my kids are old enough. But what does Mal reckon? He reckons me an’ the missus should invest in a house or two for the kids. What with! — the spare change after buyin’ the food, payin’ the bills, buyin’ the petrol, payin’ for child care. It would take me 20 years to save one deposit, let alone two (or three, as I’ve got three kids). But I’m supposed to negatively gear them. Apparently if I negatively gear one then I’ll ‘ave enough to buy the second one, an’ when I’ve negatively geared both, I can afford a third. Pull the other one! I don’t earn enough to negatively gear one. Doesn’t he understand that negative gearing means I’m makin’ a loss? I can’t afford to make a loss on anything without the kids or missus missin’ out on something.

Him an’ his Liberal mates are tellin’ us that $80,000 is an average wage. I wish! How can they understand how the other half live if that’s what they think. I could possibly push up towards that but only if I get something like 10 hours overtime an’ that’s every week —workin’ all day Saturday plus a bit on another day. Doesn’t really leave a lot of time for the family.

He’s makin’ a lot of noise about what he’s doin’ for businesses, ‘specially small businesses. He’s cuttin’ the tax rate by 1½ cents in the dollar. I’ve got a few mates who run their own show an’ there’s a couple here at the barbie. Do you wanna know what they think? They think it’s okay but it’s a pretty p*ss weak OK if you ask me. I mean they might have their own business but it’s not like they’re making millions. What they make is actually their income to support the family an’ they tell me they still hafta pay income tax on that. It might help ‘em a bit. Perhaps help pay for a little holiday — if they can get any time away from the business. That’s the biggest prob’ for blokes like me mates, the time it takes to run the business. Not just the time workin’, but all the paper work that has to be done afterwards — includin’ those BAS things — mostly at night when other blokes are playin’ with their kids. It’s not easy for ‘em. But Mal thinks they’re worth 1½ cents.

See, the problem, Mal, is you’re so outa touch that you don’t really have a clue. Your idea of a small business doesn’t really include blokes who are plumbers or plasterers runnin’ their own show — unless they’re employin’ another three or four blokes, or you’d prefer ten. But what if they’re on their own, as me mates are. A couple of ‘em do have an apprentice, but that’s all. What does Mal reckon they are? Businessmen or just blokes makin’ a crust as best they can? It’s not like they can just get on with the job on their own. The law says they hafta register as a business for tax — but they still can’t hide their money in the Cayman Islands! You think about it, Mal. They’re not really a business. They’re just blokes, an’ some sheilas (yeh, I’m not forgettin’ there’s now a lot of women tradies), doin’ their best. OK, Mal, do you finally get the message? Your view of a business is horsesh*t when it comes to me mates.

So it seems to us that what you’re really on about is big business. An’ to us ‘big’ business starts at a million or two, not ten million. Yet I read somewhere that there’s more than a million blokes an’ sheilas, like me mates, who work on their own as a ‘business’. What about them? All of them!

I think, like poor old pommy Tones, you need to give up this PM job. You’re so outa touch you just don’t understand how most of us live. The view across the harbour isn’t the view from my barbie.

You jus’ don’t seem to get it. You don’t get what it’s like earnin’ less than $80,000. You don’t get what it’s like for the blokes workin’ on their own — they’re only a ‘business’ ‘cause the tax office says they hafta be. Better you p*ssed off back to runnin’ your own businesses an’ puttin’ your money in those overseas places — wherever they are. Perhaps you should live there as well an’ leave us to get on with things — for all of us! I think you’d be happier doin’ that an’ livin’ with the other fat cats. Yeh, that’s a bigoted view but like I said, ever since Brandis gave me the green light, I can be a bigot.

What do you think?
Does the barbie bigot have it right?

Does he speak for the genuine small businesses?

Let us know in comments below.

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