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Throwing the disabled off the top of a Bank


Joe Hockey is a modern-day conservative Rambo. Last week he turned his sights on the nasty banks. This week, his focus is on the disabled. What a man.

Take this you dirty banks and you dirty pensioners!

Last week Joe Hockey sprayed his venom into the ether. And the result was immediate for Banking stocks with all taking a huge hit. Now if what he said was right, then sure Joe, get in there and gouge out eyeballs. But in reality Joe’s words where just that yet the effect of those words were dramatic. Joe does not seem to understand that when a stock takes a hit, then banks are more than inclined to raise fees and reduce loan applications. Or maybe he does know and that is his plan; to hurt small business and mortgagees.

Joe ranted and raved for almost a week. He claimed that the other banks will soon raise their rates and was bitterly disappointed when his words were not marked as he asked so many to do. He then claimed that by not raising the rates, the other banks were causing unnecessary stress for bank clients. Say what now?

Then halfway through yesterday, Joe changed tact. He no longer made sweeping calls for the public to vent their anger onto the banks and it seemed he withdrew his claim to crucify the CEO’s in a public Rooty style forum. I thought that maybe Joe was concentrating on the big words in the MYEFO documents and this had distracted him from his dose of vitriol.

Then last night in an interview on Lateline with Ali Moore, Joe faced a series of interesting questions including one about Gail Kelly, the CEO of Westpac. Apparently they had a meeting! I was able to find some mention of it in a Perth Newspaper.

JOE Hockey took his campaign against the banks into the bankers’ den yesterday.

He paid a visit to Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly and the bank’s Sydney headquarters.

Mrs Kelly last week used her announcement of Westpac’s $6.4 billion profit to call for calm in the political debate about bank interest rates, saying “cool heads and quiet conversations” were needed.

The opposition Treasury spokesman had attacked Westpac over its profit, saying it was underwritten by taxpayers through the government guarantee.

Australians rightly feel angry about the way they are being treated by the major banks that now dominate Australian banking,” he said.

A Westpac spokesman said yesterday’s meeting had been arranged some weeks ago, before Mr Hockey sparked debate about whether banks were gouging their customers. A spokesman for Mr Hockey said he had given Mrs Kelly the same message he had been giving publicly, outlining his nine-point plan to improve competition in the banking sector.


I took the liberty of highlighting Joe’s rhetoric prior to his meeting with Mrs Kelly. Joe’s appearance on Lateline seemed to indicate that he was backing off from his bank bashing stance. Joe started the conversation with a mention of the word ‘remarkable’ in relation to Wayne Swan’s earlier use of the word. I found something else rather remarkable. Joe had a different tie on.

Okay that all sounds petty, but even during the election campaign Tony Abbott rarely found time to change his tie. What ever he had on in the morning is usually the one he had on when giving interviews later that night.  In fact, part of the spin doctoring tact is to not try and change your appearance. It indicates some kind of wishy washyness on your behalf. If you wore a red tie in the morning and it got dirty, then the idea is to get another red tie to replace it. During the day Joe appeared with this nicely patterned green tie. During the interview on Lateline the tie was this blue number. Yes. I can hear you all laughing at me from here. However I found it interesting that his change of tie coincided with his change of stance on the banks.

ALI MOORE: Do you think the other banks are running scared?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, they may well be but we’ll wait and see. You know, if they were running scared they wouldn’t – they would make their announcements and they wouldn’t be one single basis point above the 25 of the RBA.

And of course, bear this in mind: Wayne Swan made a point of leaking to the newspapers that he had rung around the chief executives of all the other banks and said to them “Do not increase interest rates above the 25 of the RBA.”

Well, we’ll wait and see.

ALI MOORE: Well you met with West …

JOE HOCKEY: I-I-I would expect that the other banks will increase by more than 25, which will be the ultimate indication of the weakness of this government.

ALI MOORE: Is that what Gail Kelly told you yesterday when you met the boss of Westpac?


ALI MOORE: What did she tell you?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, that’s between Gail Kelly and myself but we had a very good discussion. I …

You know what, you look at someone like Gail Kelly – who was absolutely right to say that everyone should be calm, everyone should be measured and engage in a proper public debate.

Now, the chief executive of National Australia Bank and a number of others have done that.



Bahzinga! And there is the reason for his change of tie. Last week Joe was bashing on imaginary desks and bellowing for action now! Last Monday he was jumping into Alan Jone’s lap and demanding a call for a public forum.

Joe, it seems, has changed his tie.

Now Ali had done the old one two to Joe last night and I ask you to look at the full interview or read the full transcript because Joe really was all over the place last night including this passionate defence of Tony Abbott making untrue statements that he claims are not untrue.

ALI MOORE: Just a final question. Tony Abbott says the banks never moved the mortgage rates independently of the RBA under the Howard government.

They did – twice.

Is it a great hindrance to you when you’re trying to make an argument about the banks when your leader gets the facts wrong?

JOE HOCKEY: No because in fact, the truth is they did move but they reduced interest rates by more or, uh – certainly didn’t increase interest rates by the same level …

ALI MOORE: Indeed. Once they reduced them by less than the RBA. The second time, they hiked when the RBA held.

JOE HOCKEY: But on other occasions they actually reduced their interest rates by either more than the RBA or they certainly didn’t pass on the RBA rate increase.

ALI MOORE: So he wasn’t wrong?


Ah Joe. That’s two Lateline interviews in a row that you had to say no a lot in.

But the real reason of the interview was not about Banks and interest rates and who gets what facts wrong, it was about Myefo.  Lets return to the start of the interview

ALI MOORE: You ask how Wayne Swan can describe today’s set of figures as “remarkable” and yet unemployment is now expected to fall to 4.5 per cent by 2012.

Aren’t there large numbers of Australians whose have kept their jobs through difficult times who will be applauding the government’s budget management?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, I find it “remarkable”, to use that term that Wayne Swan used, that we do have unemployment falling to 4.5 per cent and yet, according to the numbers today, the budget deficit is getting larger, the Labor party debt is getting larger, and the surplus is getting smaller in 2012 with the unemployment rate coming down.

ALI MOORE: So where would you cut?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, we’ve announced in the past 12 months almost $50 billion of cuts – $50 billion.

Now if I was in government and the Opposition had offered $50 billion of savings and cuts, I would be grabbing them, but this is a government with no ticker.

And I would have thought – given that now there is an increasingly universal view amongst economists that in order to take upward pressure off interest rates, the Government should be cutting its own budget – I would have thought it would have been easy politics for Wayne Swan to pick up some of the $50 billion that we’ve offered in savings, but they didn’t.

ALI MOORE: Well, of those 50 billion, of course, previously you’ve called for cuts to the public sector. Is that part of your 50 billion?

JOE HOCKEY: Yes, absolutely, absolutely.

Now I pause here because Joe seems to want to run the economy like he wanted to squeeze and force cardiac arrest to the Banks. He had made an analogy in his Alan Jones interview that some how the banking sector was a complicated thing sort of like a water balloon. He makes the same comment in this interview.

JOE HOCKEY: And that’s because banking and revenue for banks is like a balloon full of water. If you push at one point, there will be a bulge somewhere else. So if you remove exit fees over here, simply the banks will just increase fees and charges somewhere else.

I will let you read that section at your leisure. Needless to say, after Joe had spent time selling his 9 point plan and calling for more powers to ASIC so they can squeeze that water balloon, he has now withdrawn from that claim saying he never actually said anything about “specific products and specific product decisions by the legislature.” Which is true. Joe kept to generalisations. And as the saying goes, people who generalise, generally lie.

But let’s get back to the Myefo. See apparently Banks are like a water balloon but the economy is like gardening. The fact that shedding 12,000 jobs from the public sector is akin to a tough pruning. Sure some of the plants may die, but you can always rip those out and replant later on right?

Joe if Banks are like a water balloon, so is the bloody economy big guy. And if the economy is strong but subject to volatile external pressures which we can not control, then any cuts you make or defer MUST be down slowly and gently. Any gung-ho assault on the economy will squeeze that balloon and instead of creating jobs, your plan is to cut them. You basically want to crank up the chainsaw and launch into the rose garden and the orchid shed. You don’t seem to think that you may want to go gently softly here. Quite frankly Joe, you did not learn a thing from your meeting with Gail Kelly. Do you remember Joe? You said ‘everyone should be calm, everyone should be measured’. That is EXACTLY what is needed now.

So imagine my surprise when I flicked to the papers and saw this.

However, Mr Hockey said it was extraordinary the budget bottom line should be getting worse at a time when the economy was getting stronger. He noted that the peak level of debt was now expected to be $95bn, up almost $5bn since before the election.

Mr Hockey said a blowout in spending on disability pensions, which has risen by $900m because of a higher number of claimants and bigger average claims, was an example of the government’s lack of spending control.


Let me get this absolutely straight Joe. Your government put in place a vast amounts of checks and balances in regards to pensions and ESPECIALLY in regards to the disability pension. To actually qualify requires doctors examinations and reports as well as internal checks. You seem to be alluding that the government has removed these balances when in fact they made them tighter.

What you are seeing here Joe is people actually getting older. Obviously your solution is to cull these people from society as they are no longer useful.

If you are going to cull people from society Joe, I suggest you make a symbolic gesture and jump on your own sword. Seriously though Joe, you have to control your mouth. I know it gets in the way of your thought processes at times. Last week you were ready to lead the lynching of the Bank chiefs. This week, you want to exterminate the disabled pensioner ‘problem’ and sack thousands.

You don’t want to squeeze the economy water balloon. You want to squash it to death.

A. Ghebranious        2010            All Rights Reserved.

  1. Catching up permalink

    It makes sense if the dollar rising means lower incomes for all the export, these people are going to have lower profits. Unless I am mistaken, that leads to smaller tax receipts for both the states and federal government.

    The costs of imports become cheaper, helping to lowering inflation. The strong economy and growth in employment helps to balance some of the harm caused by exports income being lowered.

    The dollars as we know fluctuates over time. What is true for the budget outcome today will be different next month or next year.

    Mr. Hockey presents black and white simple solutions. They have been demanding the same action for the last couple of years. Mr. Hockey ignores the fact that a lot of what he calls for is already happening or is in the pipeline. The stimulus package has an end date built into it. There are restrictions on how fast the government spending can grow.

    Mr. Hockey has opposed a tax on the industry that is creating a two-speed economy. Mr. Hockey has been part of an opposition that has voted against any reduction in middle class welfare.

    Mr. Abbott has proposed giving full wages for six months for woman who earns 150 thousand dollars a year. Would not it be prudent to use this tax to assist the industries that are or will be in strife from the mining industry?

    For the future good of the economy, there needs to be more done than making cuts, which as usual the lower income earner will pay for.

    Mr. Hockey is attempting to use the so-called massive debt as a cover to put his party’s policies and ideology into place. There are structural problems left over from Mr. Howard’s government that much be addressed.

    It is fact that we have good employment figures and interest rates lower that Mr. Howard left office. Interest rates did rise under Mr. Howard’s government in spite of having budget surpluses.

    Please let Mr. Hockey talk as much as he wants on the media. The more he talks, the more confused he appears to become.

    I suspect that Mr. Hockey is pushing his own agenda at this time. His agenda is not necessary be good for the country or us. Mr Hockey with the grin which gets wider at any bad news on the economy is announced is running for Mr. Abbott’s job.

  2. Catching up permalink

    “Let me get this absolutely straight Joe. Your government put in place a vast amounts of checks and balances in regards to pensions and ESPECIALLY in regards to the disability pension. To actually qualify requires doctors examinations and reports as well as internal checks. You seem to forget to be alluding that the government has removed these balances when in fact they made them tighter”

    There are lots of people who have a disability and can do some work. The problem is that the jobs they can do are generally scarce in good and bad times. Some may manage a few hours under ideal conditions but to do more puts them in pain or even bed. The number of disabled on the on the pension is really in the hands of the employer.

    When the rules become too hard, the government is forcing many to work at the abandonment of any quality of life.

    • Good point re those with some disability can indeed do some work. However private enterprise seem to be reluctant to employ them. I remember seeing a shocking case of exploitation when I was in real estate a few years back. A deaf person was employed full-time by a factory. The factory at the time was receiving an incentive from the government to keep the gent in employment. In return they were paying him (get this) less than $3 an hour. Basically $120 a week to which the gent was supplemented by the government yet again. So basically what he should have been getting was stripped and awarded to a business who then basically paid him less then the govt was paying them.

      It was the most despicable thing I had seen. The gent should have been paid at around $10 a hour. Further he was full time so he should have been entitled to the govt bonus the business was keeping.

      I would not be surprised to see many such cases of what can only be called fraudulent action.

  3. 監視器 permalink

    Is there something up with the site. It’s loading up pretty slowly for me. Someone else experiencing this?

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  1. The Political Sword | Lyn's Daily Links
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