It’s a funny thing that happens when people who we believe are credible tell us something.
Lots of Australians believe Politicians.
They trust them because that is what people do. They think they are there for the best of reasons.
BUT in the case of the Conservative Governments which have infested our lives since late 2013 we were all wrong.
Abbott started off by telling a pack of lies.
“no cuts to education, health, or the ABC and SBS, and no changes to pensions”
And then came the 2014 Budget, one of Austerity, which caused people to demonstrate in the streets.
Joe Hockey famously said.
''the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun''.
He and the finance minister sad on their fat entitled posteriors and smoked cigars outside the Australian Parliament. Just before the 2014 Budget.
The changes to
1. Education were to cut $4.7 billion of funding from higher education over four years (Wikipedia)
2. Health, introduced $7 co-payment to see a bulk billing doctor, receive x-rays and get a blood test was proposed to save $3.4 billion over five years, however $5 of it will go toward medical research. All 61 Medicare Locals—organisations established to plan and fund extra health services—are going to close (Wikipedia)
3. ABC/ SBS. Funding for the ABC and SBS is being cut by 1% leading to costs savings of $43.5 million. Also The ABC's contract to operate the Australia Network was cancelled after its first year of a 10-year contract. (Wikipedia)
4. No changes to pensions. The indexation for pensions will be lowered from 2017 onwards, after it is linked to inflation rather than male average earnings (Wikipedia)A pretty comprehensive set of lies by Abbott.
Yet in Abbott’s eyes Hockey failed to carry out the deal and in order to pass the Welfare reforms he had never taken to the people in September 2013, he brought in Scott John Morrison.
Morrison had the ticker to do the job without fuss or bother. He was Abbott’s bully mate in Abbott’s bully gang.
He was much more subtle than Hockey who led with his chin. Morrison led with his guile and he had plenty of that to go around.
Abbott made him Minister for Social Services and he introduced three wide ranging policy changes with three enormous lies.
We are now seeing the fruits of those policies and their failures.
Where the lie was that over 860,000 welfare recipients had defrauded the Commonwealth. Morrison was the Welfare Sheriff. He was the sharpshooter at the saloon rounding up the cheats and fraudsters and threatening to put them in Jail. We all know how Robodebt ended after 4.5 years it was declared illegal and all the money and interest paid back to the people who had been sent debt notices. A Royal Commission has been held and it has just reported. The public service have a seriously red face and so do the politicians who instigated it, especially Morrison, yet he has said openly that the Commissioner, a Judge and Barrister had got it all wrong.
The Cashless debit card.
Where the lie was that all the people in the trial areas (thousands of people) were on drugs, were gambling addicts and were also alcoholics. They had 80% of their Welfare entitlements on the debit card and couldn’t buy Alcohol, and had to shop only at approved venues. The idea of the Coalition was to roll this out to all Welfare recipients and Aged Pensioners.
Thankfully this awful policy has now been repealed.
But we wrote about what the conservatives wanted to do here.
Where the lie was that many aged pensioners were wealthy because they had huge assets. This potentially affected 3.6 million Australians. Morrison managed to convince the Greens political party (some sort of Quid pro Quo happened there but it was never revealed) to support them and they put at least 400,000 pensioners under the poverty line by the changes.
This policy is described in detail in the attached document (see bottom of page). Policy like this is intricate and detailed and it’s easy to get lost in all the permutations, So Vince O’Grady wrote a spreadsheet model which incorporates all of the permutations which are also explained in the attached document. The document is a long read, it 22 pages long. Please feel free to download it and read it. This sort of approach is how this detailed policy work should be done. Under the Coalition it wasn’t. The model was offered to the Greens party along with a presentation of the intricacies of the policy and the variables. That offer was refused. The author Vince O’Grady did present it to two colleagues in the Labor party and those presentations lasted 2.5 and 3 hours respectively.
What is the influence of the Press in all of this policy work?
Very interesting question, which is also tied in with Question, Why did Robodebt happen?
The Answer is simple. Journalists are not experts in the policy areas above and just repeat what they have been told by the politicians. Moreso than the Electors, the Journalists of Australia just believe what the politicians say.
In the attached paper, I have a new definition for this phenomenon, it’s termed the Stump article.
If a Journalist has no idea about an issue, they revert to what they think they know and just repeat it.
Classic examples of this are housing and Taxation. All they write are motherhood statements about the Tax regime needs to change. They don’t explain how it needs to change and what part of it needs to change, why does it need to change?
At thevogfiles we have actually looked at some of these issues and analysed them. The biggest one is corporate taxation and our findings can be read here.
and guess what.... Yes there is a spreadsheet to download and study. Where are the spreadsheets the Journalists have done?
Housing is the same. All the journalists write is about the State governments needing to release more land. They have had that stump article for 30 years or more. Not one of them has done any work on the Howard Government policy affect on house prices when they gave away $20,000 to new home buyers or for that matter the Abbott government “open for business” approach to selling residential homes through the Foreign investment review Board process, where the cashed up Chinese buyers bought Billions of dollars worth between 2013/4 and 2016, creating a shortage of houses for Australians and also increasing prices dramatically because of the fierce completion involved.
Finally it would be remiss of me not to mention the largest Scandal in Australian political history largely ignored by Journalists in this country. I refer to the rorting of Commonwealth money in the approx $96 Billion of grants granted between 2013 and 2022 by the conservatives. https://www.thevogfiles.com/ have analysed over $7 billion of them and they show a really bad bias toward coalition seats. That Analysis with the evidence can be read here.
So if there is a message to take away it is. Don’t believe everything you are told by the press and anything the Coalition tell you. Check your own sources.