17 February 2010

Media release from Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz

15 February 2010

Senate Additional Estimates: In case you missed it

No amount of spin doctoring and Ministerial interference can hide Labor’s litany of broken promises, lies and clangers following a week of hard fought efforts by the Coalition, exposing Labor for what it is - all talk and no action, all spin and no substance.

Here are a just a few examples of Labor’s bungling and broken promises exposed during Senate Estimates:

Destruction of Border Protection

Last week in Senate Estimates, Immigration Minister Chris Evans, facing questions from Liberal Senator Gary Humphries, appeared to find it somewhat amusing to admit that boot-scooting lessons were provided to asylum seekers on Christmas Island, as part of more than a billion dollars of taxpayers money the Labor is spending annually to deal with immigration issues. As Senator Humphries, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and representing the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the Senate, said later in an interview with 6PR’s Howard Sattler, “The people smugglers clearly use a number of sales pitches; I don’t know whether they describe the boot-scooting at Christmas Island as one of those things. But you’d have to wonder what they do say and it is a worry. It ought not to be the impression that is created of what Australia will do for people who illegally enter its territorial waters.”

Labor fails to invest in Education Fund

Following scrutiny of Education Department officials by Senator Brett Mason, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education and School Curriculum Standards, the Department has revealed that Labor has not contributed one cent to the Education Investment fund despite promises by the Rudd Government that they would do so, with great fanfare, as the centrepiece to Labor’s so called “Nation Building Package”.

Resources and Energy sector specialist rejected by Henry Tax Review

Department of Resources and Energy officials revealed that inexplicably their offer to second an officer from the resources division to the Henry Tax Review secretariat to provide specialist input, following growing speculation that the Rudd Government is looking to slug the resources sector with a massive new rent tax, has been rejected. “Considering this review could have very, very serious implications for the resources sector and could result in a massive new rent tax being imposed on it, I find it absolutely extraordinary that the Department’s offer to have a representative seconded was rejected,” said Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator the Hon Nick Minchin.

ASIC probed on Liquidators

Questioned by Nationals Senator John Williams, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission revealed that liquidators complete their own annual return and that ASIC does not carry out a routine audit which Senator Williams describes as “a recipe for disaster” and justifies the upcoming Senate Inquiry into liquidators and administrators and the role played by ASIC before and after a company collapses.

Rudd looks after himself and leaves all others without Training

Government officials questioned by Senator Mathias Cormann, Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Apprenticeships and Training, and Senator Michaelia Cash, Chair of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee, revealed to Senate Estimates that only one single trades training centre out of the 2,650 promised by Labor before the last election is fully operational and that coincidently the only trades training centre that has been established so far is located in the Prime Minister’s home town of Brisbane. This is despite an assurance just three months ago by the same Government officials that fifteen trade training centres would be completed by the end of last month.

Labor Government failing Australia with its Great Big New Tax

Treasury officials, questioned by Nationals Senator Ron Boswell revealed that following the Copenhagen debacle, which failed to secure a binding global agreement on emission reduction, it has done no modelling of the current international situation. Senator Boswell said, “Treasury modelling stands and falls on whether a global emissions trading scheme is in place. All their analysis of the impact of the Emissions Trading Scheme on pensioners, jobs, income and price rises depended on Copenhagen being successful.” Senator Boswell said that “it was very strange that no one in the Government had directed that the modelling be updated to take into account the Copenhagen outcome.”

Labor fails to support Australian fruit and vegetable growers

It has been revealed that whilst a staggering 114 Australian officials attended the failed Copenhagen conference, not one Australian Government representative could make it to the Berlin Conference on the fruit and vegetable industry seven weeks later. Senator Ian Macdonald, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia and representative of the Shadow Minister for Trade, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, confirmed during Senate Estimates that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were invited to the trade fair but showed little interest in supporting Australian fruit and vegetable growers.

Labor fails to deliver to Australian taxpayers

The Australian Tax office admitted that 700,000 Australians are facing delays in the processing of their tax returns because the Department’s computer system is undergoing a major overhaul and that the Department estimates it will take until at least March 2010 to catch up on the back log.

Laptops? What laptops? Kevin07 promise slower than Conroy’s broadband.

Education Department officials revealed that despite Labor’s promise to give every one of Australia’s one million secondary students their own computer connected to ultra fast fibre broadband, less than a quarter of the new computers have been delivered and none of them have been connected to fast internet. Kevin Rudd needs to deliver one million computers by the end of 2011. ‘At the rate he’s going now, it will take some time until the end of 2018 to deliver Kevin07’s election promise. The whole program has been over-hyped and under-delivered right from the start. It’s been grossly under-budgeted and is now way behind schedule. Sadly, it has now become a national joke’, said Senator Brett Mason.

Labor mocks Australians with the ironically named Fair Work Act

During questioning by Shadow Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, Senator Eric Abetz, Fair Work Australia President Justice Geoffrey Guidice was unable to commit himself either way when asked if no Australian workers would be worse off since the introduction of Labor’s new workplace laws. Fair Work Australia was asked to address the growing confusion over workers entitlements and conditions despite both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd giving Australian workers a guarantee that no Australian workers would be worse off under Labor’s so called Modern Award scheme.

Kevin07 Green Loan Scheme promise a monumental failure

More than seven months into this financial year and Peter Garrett and Rudd Labor have managed to deliver just 1,008 of the 20,000 budgeted ‘Green Loans’ they promised to deliver, let alone the 200,000 they originally promised voters in 2007. Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Action, says Labor’s ‘Green Loans’ scheme has been downsized from what the Rudd Government originally promised and describes Labor’s bungling of the scheme as a monumental case of mismanagement.

Labor fails our Defence Force

Defence Force chiefs revealed more pay bungles within the Australian Defence Force. When questioned by Shadow Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, Defence revealed that 56 combat engineers based in Afghanistan have had to repay debts of $38,000. Sixty three soldiers, who had returned from Afghanistan, have been forced to repay $340,000 and hundreds of Reservists have been overpaid. Meanwhile 25 Reservists were underpaid. Senator Johnston says even the Chief of the Army, Lt Gen Ken Gillespie admitted he has been forced to repay $20,000 due to a superannuation glitch in the system.

Conroy recommended Labor mate for plum NBN job

In a stunning revelation Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy admitted under questioning by Chair of the Environment, Communication and Arts References Committee Senator Mary Jo Fisher that it was he who recommended disgraced former Queensland MP and Labor Party apparatchik Mike Kaiser for a plum $450,000 a year job with the Government’s NBN Co. Senator Conroy said he put forward Kaiser’s name to NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley “as a person of possible relevant experience” for the role of Principal of Government Relations and External Affairs. Mr Quigley advised that the position had not been advertised, nor was a short-list of possible candidates compiled prior to Mr Kaiser’s appointment. Senator Conroy dismissed Mr Kaiser’s involvement in an electoral rorts controversy in Queensland as a “youthful indiscretion”. Kaiser will be paid around $100,000 more a year than the Prime Minister. Conroy now becomes the ‘Minister for Mates’.

Lack of NBN transparency

Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy refused to say whether he will publicly release Labor’s $25 million Implementation Study for his $43 billion NBN Mark II proposal. Senator Mary Jo Fisher, Chair of the Environment, Communication and Arts References Committee, asked the Minister if the report will ever be released and questioned him as to why he would not commit to releasing the information for public scrutiny if Labor had nothing to hide. So Much for Mr Rudd’s supposed commitment to openness and transparency.

Labor fails to deliver on its promise to Aboriginal families

Despite Labor’s promise to deliver comprehensive preschool education to Aboriginal children none of Mr Rudd’s promised children and family centres in remote communities are operational. Liberal Senator Brett Mason, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education and School Curriculum standards, discovered that two years after Kevin Rudd delivered his ‘Sorry’ speech; none of the 35 promised centres are even close to being operational.

Labor fails accountability test on public housing

Having ploughed $5.638 billion into it’s investment into public housing, Labor has failed to secure any guarantees that the dwellings provided to the states won’t then be sold. Coalition Housing spokesman, Senator Gary Humphries said its sheer foolishness for the Rudd Government to trust the States with this windfall and Labor must move immediately to guarantee that State and Territory Governments will not rort the system.

Counsellor assigned to India in placation exercise over uranium ban?

The Department of Resources and Energy confirmed that as part of a “whole-of-government” decision, it would station a departmental counsellor to the High Commission in New Delhi to identify and promote resources and energy trade and investment opportunities at a cost of $2.7 million. It was revealed that no such position has been assigned to China, which is far and away the largest importer of Australian minerals, which includes uranium, accounting for around 26 per cent of our overall mineral exports. India accounts for just 8 per cent of mineral exports and 6 per cent of energy exports. Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator the Hon Nick Minchin said, “One would have to seriously question whether this decision is purely an attempt to placate the Indian Government, which is both bemused and displeased by the Rudd Government’s nonsensical refusal to sell it uranium for civil purposes, while at the same time selling it to China for the very same reasons.”

Strong Border Protection and ASIO compromised by Rudd’s Special Deals

Evidence suggests Labor put political expedience before national security in its ‘special deal’ for refugees aboard the Oceanic Viking. Evidence presented at Senate Estimates clearly shows that the only reason refugees, given adverse security assessment by ASIO, were transferred from Indonesia to Australia was because of Kevin Rudd’s ‘special deal’ for the Oceanic Viking.

Labor’s cash splash fails the educational outcome test and more Jobs for Australians test.

Labor is unable to say how many jobs were created under its $16.2 billion cash splash on its so called Building the Education Revolution scheme. Labor also failed to answer how building multi-purpose school halls will help Australian school children’s literacy and numeracy and improve their academic performance.

Labor beggars belief – failure to embrace all Australians

Labor has confirmed that Australians who are blind or vision impaired will not be guaranteed a secret ballot at the next Federal election. Under questioning by the Coalition’s spokesman for disabilities, Senator Mitch Fifield, Labor’s Special Minister of State, Joe Ludwig flat out refused to comment.

Missing in Action - Prime Minister’s grand plan for hospitals.

“Not even a back of the envelope plan for fixing hospitals could be produced by the Secretary of the Department of Health,” said Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Shadow Minister for Ageing.

Websites: www.liberal.org.au www.abetz.com.au

Media enquiries: Jane Kilmartin (02) 6277 3019 — 0400380925

8 February 2010

An inconvenient truth about the IPCC

It is one of the most critical and frequently cited findings of the IPCC and has been used to justify action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by governments around the world:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

In the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the words very likely specifically mean a probability greater than 90%.

While this figure has been treated as definitive in our understanding and response to global warming, it is not based on science as most people would believe. The figure was determined via a show of hands from representatives from each country. It was the result of a political process that did not involve climate scientists.