Malcolm Turnbull has gone on a bizarre rant on ABC radio this morning claiming that “Bill Shorten thinks rich kids from Europe should pay less tax than Pacific Islanders working here to send money back to their villages.”
“They say a backpacker from Europe, a rich kid on holidays here from Germany or Norway, backpacking around, he or she should pay less tax and that Pacific Islander who comes here to pick fruit during the season and is sending that money back to his village – some of the poorest countries in the world,” he said.
“The Labor Party, for nothing other than political cynicism, wants these white kids – rich white kids from Europe – who come here on their holidays to pay less tax than some of the Pacific Islanders from some of the poorest countries in the world.”
“And [Mr Shorten] wants these kids, from Europe, to pay less tax than Australians working alongside them. I mean, seriously!
“What’s the principle there?”
Labor has attacked Mr Turnbull for claiming Australians would pay more tax than backpackers because locals can access the tax free threshold for the first $18,200 of their yearly income.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Mr Turnbull’s comments on foreign workers were “unhinged” and inaccurate.
Under the tax rules for backpackers, 95 per cent of their compulsory super contributions are claimed by the Government when they leave Australia.
DEBATE RAGES OVER TAX RATE
The combination of super tax and the tax rate means the effective tax rate for backpackers under Labor’s compromise of 10.5 per cent is higher than for the Seasonal Worker Program, as these workers are not subject to the same superannuation clawback arrangements.
In addition, under Labor’s 10.5 per cent compromise, there is no income level at which someone on a working holiday visa pays less tax than an Australian worker.
While the Prime Minister is usually an expert when it comes to rich people and the tax they pay, he’s been caught lying today.
Under the Liberals, the backpacker tax:
• Went from zero per cent to 32.5 per cent in the 2015 Budget;
• Then to 19 per cent after a Malcolm Turnbull’s backbench revolted;
• Then to 15 per cent after the crossbench rolled the Government; and
• Is now back at 32.5 per cent after the Turnbull Government lost a second vote in the Senate.
Peak lobby group the National Farmers Federation said it would be a disaster for fruit growers if the 32.5 per cent tax rate kicked in from January.
There is no one else to blame but Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce for the backpacker tax debacle they find themselves in.
The Attorney-General George “bookshelves” Brandis and Finance Minister Mathias “I’ll be back” Cormann are set to face questions from a Labor-Greens inquiry into whether the Federal Government instructed former solicitor-general, Justin Gleeson, to run a particular argument in the Bell Group High Court case that would have favoured Western Australia over federal taxpayers to the tune of some $300 million.
Brandis has so far dodged scrutiny, instead pointing the finger for any “misunderstandings” of what the Western Australia State Government perceived as an “agreement,” conveniently in the direction of former Treasurer Joe Hockey, who is now residing in the USA as Australia’s Ambassador for fast food and other culinary adventures all funded courtesy of the Australian taxpayer of course.
In addition to bookshelves and Cormann, other witnesses to appear before the enquiry may include “burgers” Hockey, WA Treasurer Mike Nahan, as well as WA Attorney-General Michael Mischin, however the inquiry does not have the power to compel anyone other than Brandis and Cormann to attend.
Hilariously, Turnbull’s “stable government” stands accused of orchestrating a secret deal between former treasurer “burgers” and the Western Australian Barnett Government where Canberra would not challenge the constitutionality of WA legislation and instead direct the then solicitor-general, Justin Gleeson, not to run a particular argument in court – in order to end a long-running legal saga. The result – if it all went according to the secret deal – would see a windfall of some $300 million for the WA govt at the expense of Australian taxpayers.
However, according to our sources, The Gutter Trash can reveal that Justice Gleeson defied the direction of bookshelves and ended up building the case against WA, rather than for it, creating a conflict between the Commonwealth and the state.
Unsurprisingly bookshelves insists that no such deal exists, declaring he was unaware of any “agreement” between the WA government and Joe “burgers” Hockey, conveniently removing himself from any such negotiations.
All that being as it may, both Labor and the Greens say bookshelves has still not explained whether or not he instructed the former Solicitor-General not to run a particular argument in the High Court.
Bookshelves is claiming “legal privilege” over the specifics of his discussions with the solicitor-general.
Now, would be a good time to invest in those popcorn shares.
One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, says she’s been subjected to ‘racist abuse’ and is sick of what she calls ‘reverse racism’.
Senator Hanson, along with Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, has proposed a private bill that seeks to eradicate race-hate laws.
During debate in the Senate on Thursday she said people should look at the way different religions make comments to women who don’t wish to cover themselves up.
She claimed women couldn’t swim at beaches because others were offensive towards them.
‘There is a lot of this going on in this country,’ Senator Hanson said.
‘WE CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE’
‘We can’t have an opinion, we can’t say anything anymore.’
Unlike the bill proposed by Liberal backbencher Cory Bernardi to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, Hanson’s bill seeks to remove the entire part of the law dealing with prohibition of offensive behaviour based on racial hatred.
Senator Hanson says she’s ‘sick of being called a racist,’ insisting her accusers can’t point to ‘one racist word’ she has ever uttered.
WHY CAN’T THEY JUST SEE THE FUNNY SIDE OF RACISM?
She insists she’s been subjected to ‘racist slurs,’ like ‘white trash’, and that Greek and Italian immigrants had a ‘good sense of humour’ about being called ‘wogs’.
Indigenous Labor senator Pat Dodson was scathing of the proposed changes, declaring ‘bigotry was back in favour.’
He slammed comments by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton about Lebanese Muslim immigration being a mistake, saying the ‘stupidity’ of his language had ‘excited some lunatic’ to threaten violence and death to Muslim Labor MP Anne Aly.
‘This is what words do – when you don’t understand and comprehend the difference between debate and prejudice.’
He spoke about his own fight for freedom, having been born before the 1967 referendum, when indigenous Australians were not counted in the census.
‘There was a hell of a lot wrong with freedom if you had to fight to experience it,’ Senator Dodson said.
‘If this nation cannot stand up for the weakest and the poorest and those who are most vulnerable because of their race, their ethnicity, or their beliefs, then we have become a very sad replication of what democracy is about.
‘Racism is something that isn’t growing wild out there in the fields – it’s actually tendered in a flowerbox sitting on the windowsills of flats and houses.’
Centuries of failed migration policy must not be repeated
Warning: you are now entering a politically incorrect zone. Australia is in the middle of an honest discussion, fuelled by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Previously, Australia’s immigration policy has been based on a complex, rather muddled process where immigrants from all over the world joined the so-called “most successful and harmonious multicultural nation in the world”.
But that’s a phrase our prime minister hasn’t used it for some time now. Things change. Our nation is not counting its immigration successes, but its immigration failures. Chief among those is the introduction of Lebanese Muslims. Mr Dutton says that allowing them to flee the Lebanese Civil War to our shores was a “mistake”. And what better way to quantify that mistake than crime statistics. In question time, Dutton pointed out that, of 33 recent terrorism charges, 22 were against people of Lebanese Muslim background.
Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and a table of ministers have been told to “f**k off” and a female minister has been called a “c**t” by South Australia’s Water Minister Ian Hunter, during a heated discussion over irrigation of the Murray Darling Basin.
The bizarre tirade targeted Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville and Barnaby Joyce who is acting Prime Minister while Malcolm Turnbull is busy doing something else not really.
The rant then continued outside, with Mr Hunter telling department staff to also “f**k off” before heading off to buy an ice-cream.
He also called Ms Neville — a fellow Labor minister he today accused of not supporting SA on the plan — a “c**t” before telling all ministers present to “f**k off”.
The Gutter Trash called Mr Hunter for comment this morning, but he just hung up.
However, when asked if Mr Hunter had unleashed a string of expletives including towards Ms Neville, his office did not deny it had occurred but described the exchange as a “private conversation”.
Asked again if he had called Ms Neville a “c**t” his office said he had no further comment on the incident.
Earlier this morning, Mr Hunter demanded that Barnaby Joyce be sacked from the water portfolio, accusing him of “tearing up” the basin plan and attacked Ms Neville, claiming he got a better deal when the Liberals were in power.
“Malcolm Turnbull either has to pull him into line or sack him and hand over the ministry for water to somebody like Senator Ruston,’’ he said.
Victoria and NSW have each stated in recent months that they do not want to see any further water buybacks under the plan, and want to focus on measures to get similar environmental gains without taking more water from the system.
“Quite frankly I got more support when the Victorian Government was run by the Liberals and we had a National party minister who was also committed to delivering the plan,” Mr Hunter said.
“I’m outraged that NSW and Victoria have decided they don’t want to deliver the plan because it’s too difficult for them.”
“I’m even further outraged that the Federal Government is going to let them get away with it, he said.”
President-elect Donald Trump has given his first televised interview since winning the electoral vote – sitting on a gold throne.
CBS correspondent (and woman) Lesley Stahl was sent to interview Mr ‘Man of the People’ Trump at his penthouse in Trump Tower.
Rather unfortunately for his populist, down to earth, standing-up-for-the-little-guy rhetoric – already demonstrably ridiculous coming from a billionaire reality TV star – he and his family chose to appear seated on a set of bizarre golden thrones.
While the gold thrones were distracting, it’s also worth noting what we actually learned from the interview itself.
Stahl questioned Trump on many of his most notorious campaign pledges, and he appeared to backtrack on several major issues.
For example, he will not be appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Clintons. He says they are “good people” who he “doesn’t want to hurt”, which is somewhat of a change in tack from calling Hillary a “nasty woman” and Bill a rapist.
Stahl asked Trump again whether he would be releasing his tax returns. His response?
“The only one who cares is, you know, you and a few people that asked that question. Obviously, the public didn’t care because I won the election very easily.”
(Actually, Trump lost the popular vote by a margin of over one million people.)
Stahl also pointed out to Trump that he had, in the past, criticised lobbyists for “owning politicians because they give them money”.
His current transition team is a panel of lobbyists, with a few of his older children thrown in for good measure – who owe him everything.
Stahl pressed him on his plans to deport millions of immigrants from the country, and build a wall to stop others entering.
He was then joined by his Slovenian-born wife, Melania.
Melania reiterated that her cause of choice would probably be campaigning against bullying on social media.
Her husband’s has, to date, directly insulted almost 300 people and indirectly offended millions with his astonishingly inappropriate tweeting.
Trump said again: “We’re going to knock out Isis.”
Stahl replied: “Now, how are you going to do that?”
Trump snapped: “I don’t tell you that. […]
Why do I have to tell you that? […]
I don’t want to tell anybody anything.”
Ms Stahl summarised the interview by saying “some of his signature issues at the heart of his campaign were not meant to be taken literally, but as opening bids for negotiation.”
That ever-so-subtle distinction appears to have been lost on his voters.
Look he might be insane, but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from becoming the leader of the so-called “free world” and arguably the most powerful nation in the world.
Heck, here in Australia, we have our fair share of nut jobs occupying the hallways of power with the likes of Bernardi, Hanson, Abetz and Christensen haunting Turnbull’s every thought and movement, so who are we to mock when the USA seeks out the most heinous individual to lead their own languishing nation from the depths of depravity into some neverneverland. Not I for one..
Well maybe just for a little while.