The Omni-Shambles of the Omni-Bill


Comrades, do you know that in that Omni-Bill (more like a bloody Omni-shambles) that Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison (ScoMo) wants to push through both Houses of Parliament contains some very nasty surprises for anybody with an HECS debt. Morrison has come up with this very nasty surprise in that bundle of bills

At the moment the HECS repayment threshold is $54,869 pa, just under $55,000 pa. That means you don’t pay anything back if you earn less than that amount. But Morrison wants to change that threshold to $51,956 pa. That means more people are going to have to repay their HECS debt sooner and faster than before. This change will impact everyone with an HECS and FEE-HELP debt.

Students on Youth Allowance will also cop it as well. Until this year, students on Youth Allowance were eligible for a $1,025 scholarship each semester. As of the 1st January, new students who didn’t receive a scholarship had the opportunity to take a loan out instead, gees thanks for that Mr. Morrison. The government is also proposing that students who were enrolled prior to 2016 will lose their scholarships, saving the government $405 million.

The Turnbull Government – like the conservative government in Britain –  is loading young students up with more and more debt and expects them to pay it off quicker. It’s a bit like your bank manager offering you a huge loan and after you sign the contract turns around and increases the interest rate to 10 per cent and expects you to pay it off in 10 years instead of 20 years!

The Turnbull and successive governments have for years been pushing more and more debt onto younger people and expects them to pay it off no matter what. Now, this is despite many of the people proposing these harsh changes to HECS and FEE-HELP were the beneficiaries of free higher education, with many on the government front benches benefiting from free tertiary education. Yet they don’t like to be reminded of this.

The argument used to support increasing HECS debt and earlier repayments from graduates is they are paid higher salaries when they enter the workforce and thus can afford it. However, recent statics have shown there is an over-supply of graduates such as teachers and even doctors, with many forced to go overseas for work and of course experience.

Most students who undertake higher education might undertake double-degrees in law, engineering or science. Then upon graduating they might enrol into a graduate diploma or a master’s course. After a few years you might decide to up-grade your skills and enrol into another course of study to assist your career. Either way this also costs money at the full-fee rate and you can either pay for it, or defer the payment onto FEE-HELP and eventually pay it off through the taxation system each and every pay until it is finally paid off. The debt is indexed to the CPI rate. If you’re fortunate enough, you might be able to claim your study as a legitimate work expense.

Your degree, depending on the discipline of study will vary from $6000 to $10,000, and if it’s a double degree then up to $18,000. A full fee degree could cost up to $90,000, depending on the discipline studied. With medicine, veterinary science and dentistry up to $122,000.

So a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) HECS degree with further post graduate study, which includes Fee-HELP could cost a student from $30 to $60 thousand, depending on the field of study.

So the Omni-Bill will quickly turn into an Omni-Shambles for both the Turnbull Government and current and future university students.News__students_throw_mortarboards_-_JULY_14


Dead Man Walking

Dear Comrades, in case you missed it there have been 2 polls out today that spell very bad news for PM Turnbull – He’s a Deadman Walking – with News poll showing a continues swing away from the Liberal/National Coalition Government, making it line ball with the ALP. Now the Essential Poll has had the ALP on 51 % to the Coalition on 49 %, but the first preference vote for the Liberals has fallen to 40 % and with second preference vote takes it to 49 %, down 2 points from the recent Federal Election. The ALP’s vote has been on 51 % for several months since the August election, and looks to either stay on that number or go up in the next couple of months.

The Turnbull Government is going to tie its self in knots of same-sex marriage (SSM) and will continue to push for the Plebiscite, which is estimated to cost anything from $160 to $200 million; money we’re told the federal government doesn’t have!

All it will take to change the law on marriage is a very simple vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. Now when former Prime Minister John Howard changed the marriage law back in 2007 he did not forewarn the Australian public he was about to change the law to prevent Same Sex Marriage. He wasn’t going to allow all those ‘gays’ too marry on his watch.

The ALP, much to my disgust supported the motion to prevent its self from being ‘wedged’ on the subject. So after the vote on the floor of federal parliament it was passed into law that marriage was to be legally defined between a ‘Man and a Woman’ and nothing in-between!

Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, could have overturned the law during his reign, but chose not to. Prime Minister Gillard opposed Same-Sex Marriage on the grounds claiming she was opposed to the ‘Institution of Marriage’, despite years earlier claiming to be in a lesbian relationship whilst at university. But, her opposition to Same-Sex Marriage might have had more to do with the support she required from the right-wing SDA faction – or the former DLP – that was diabolically opposed to the notion of homosexuality let alone Same-Sex Marriage!

For the plebiscite to go ahead the Turnbull Government must first present a motion in the House of Representatives to hold the plebiscite, before it goes to the Senate for approval. However, there is a very good chance the Motion and Bill might be defeated in the Lower-House even before it gets to the Upper-House.

Today, the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will table a private members bill for a vote on Same Sex Marriage motion.

Now his private members bill – or stunt – might fail, but then again it just might pass as well. There are 69 Labour members and on the cross-benches; 1 Green, 2 Independents, 1 Nick Xenophon Party and 1 Bill Katter’s Australia Party member, making it 75. There are 76 Liberal and National Party Coalition members, taking 1 out for the Speaker of the House. The numbers are even. There is a good chance that Shortens private members bill might be carried, if Bill Katter supports the motion. Then the Speaker of the House, Tony Smith might be forced to use his vote as a casting vote, thus torpedoing the whole bill.

But, if Shorten is smart and puts up another bill against the Plebiscite on Same-Sex Marriage, then Coalition members opposed to holding the Plebiscite and Same-Sex Marriage might cross the floor in support of the motion, thus preventing it from going to the Senate.

Now, in the Senate the numbers are evenly split, which means any motion in support of holding a plebiscite would surely be defeated thus saving the Australian Tax payers an estimated $200million on a plebiscite the majority of Australians are opposed to!

As for Prime Minister Turnbull? Well he’s unable to go back on his word in supporting the plebiscite because it was part of the deal with the right-wing of the Liberal Party to support for PM Abbotts policy. Perhaps it’s time for Turnbull to grow-a-pair and stand up to the right-wingers and assert his authority over the party and the Coalition. Where would he and his colleagues rather be? On the Treasury Benches in charge of the money? Or divided and in opposition? If Turnbull doesn’t assert his authority then he is a ‘Dead-Man Walking’.

The wreckage of Clive

Well in-case you have missed news reports it is pretty clear that Clive Palmer and his political career as the Member for Fairfax and leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP) is well and truly over. Big Clive has been a very naughty guy and has been found to have breached his duties as a director and acted recklessly under the Corporations Act. His company Queensland Nickel (QN) was declared bankrupt, owing up to $100 million to creditors, $75 million of that to the 800 workers. Now, there is a good chance the Australian Taxpayer will be left to pick up the bill to pay for the workers entitlements. Thanks a lot Clive!

Now, why did this happen? Well because Big Clive used Queensland Nickel as his own private ATM to fund his so-called political ambition and career. He syphoned more than $200 million from QN, donating $21 million to his political party the Palmer United Party, thus forcing the company bankrupt. Big Clive of courses blames the demise of QN on the low nickel price. The administrators FTI Consulting of QR claimed the refinery could have continued trading even with the low nickel prices.

Clive Palmer was a former media director for the Joh Bjelke-Petersen National Government in Queensland, where mixing politics with business interests was an accepted way of doing things.

In 1984 Big Clive wanted to build a 66-storey townhouse development on peaceful rural land in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, but the local council knocked back his planning application. Big Clive was going to take this lying down so contacted his mate and minister, Russ Hinze, (also known as the minister for everything) to overturn the council decision. Palmer made the second-largest donation to the QLD Nationals of $15,000, writes Sean Parnell in Clive: The Story of Clive Palmer.  Palmer knew the importance of using politics for personal business.

Clive considered Joh Bjelke-Petersen the best premier in QLD’s history, despite Joh being charged with perjury from evidence given at the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and his government considered one of the most corrupt in modern Australian history. A number of ministers were also jailed for corruption, including the police commissioner. But hey, but you know the adage: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”.  Joh ran Queensland as his own political fiefdom due to the corrupted Gerrymander in place at the time, which allowed the Nationals to rule QLD for 32 years.

Hopefully Big Clive will face criminal charges and do time in prison for what can only be described as corporate criminal behaviour. When he entered the federal parliament as the Member for Fairfax he was meant to have declared all his assets on the federal parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests and placed all assets into a ‘blind trust’, with no contact allowed between himself and his business interests. It is a fairly straight forward policy, but not for Big Clive as it was revealed he used an alias email account under the nom de plume of Terry Smith to communicate with his nephew, the Director of QN, Clive Mensink. This is clearly in breach of the register of members interests. He also wrote on his register that he resigned from QN on the 5th April, 2014.

Will Clive face any penalties for not declaring his “hands-on” role and allegedly lying on his register of members interests? Perhaps not, other than being made to correct his “mistake” on his register. He might be dragged kicking and screaming before a parliamentary committee or the speaker of the House might impose sanctions or fines for his misdemeanour. But then again after July the 2nd Clive’s political career is over, along with the PUP’s only senate seat.

He has left a trial of wreckage in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, with people glad to see the back of his rather large fat arse. The federal government could force Big Clive to pay his 800 workers their entitlements, perhaps he could sell off his large portfolio of 17 properties valued at $43 million!

Not only has Big Clive ruined the lives of 800 workers, but there is also the environmental consequences of the nickel refinery closing down. The tailing ponds around the refinery are noxious and an environmental disaster just waiting to happen. Last year one of the tailing ponds overflowed, which was a major risk to the local environment and the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland Government might be forced to clean up and remediate the site, which is estimated to cost anywhere from $25 to $40 million. Former owner BHP believed the environmental clean-up cost may exceed $100 million. Whilst the plant is operating workers are able to maintain the assets. But if it is left vacant it is a great risk to the environment.

But, already Big Clive – as we should expect – is blaming administrators for sacking the workers and for the refinery closing down. He labelled the administrators report as “lies” and “fantasy”. He said he would release documents that “prove the allegations made by the administrators are false”. Including denying that he acted as a shadow director. Typical of Big Clive, it is always somebody else’s fault!