Aussie Revolution: Mounting High Level Attacks Against Renewable Energy


Renewable energy resources are commendable, BUT, need to be sensibly phased in and economically viable. Carbon scares are exaggerated and the energy resources require a commonsense approach, controlled by scientific methods, NOT politics!.

” As the Australian government contemplates where to go next in terms of energy policy, the best ­approach involves acknowledging that enough is enough when it comes to subsidising renewable energy. The sector has been showered with favours, including volumetric guarantees courtesy of the RET. It is time it stood on its own two feet without any preferential treatment or financial assistance. “

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Leading Australian Politicians and economists are piling in against renewable political favouritism, comparing renewables to the Bernie Madoff and Enron scandals. The following from former Prime Minister Tony Abbott;

Tony Abbott calls for climate pushback as CET goes cold

8:55AM October 10, 2017
SIMON BENSON

Tony Abbott has doubled down on his scepticism of climate change science, reigniting a decade-old debate in a major speech in London after the Turnbull government moved yesterday to rule out proceeding with a clean ­energy target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

The former prime minister has labelled the likely backdown on a CET a “belated” gesture and warned that the Coalition is courting a “political death wish” if it fails to put cost of living and protection of jobs ahead of reducing emissions.

In a speech delivered early today that will further test the political fault lines over…

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Politicized sustainability threatens planet and people


” However, under sustainability precepts, we are supposed to predict future technologies – and ensure that today’s resource demands will not compromise the completely unpredictable energy and raw material requirements that those completely unpredictable future technologies will introduce. We are supposed to safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the undeniable needs of current generations – including the needs, aspirations, health and welfare of the most impoverished, malnourished, disease-ravaged, energy-deprived, politically powerless people on Earth. “

Watts Up With That?

Foreword:
It seems nearly everyone wants to advance sustainability principles. The problem is, no one really knows what they are. Real sustainability means responsible conservation and stewardship of natural resources. The public relations variety is mostly image-enhancing fluff. Politicized sustainability – the version that’s all the rage on college campuses and among government regulators – insists that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

The problem with this infinitely malleable definition is that it requires us to predict both unpredictable future technologies and their raw material demands. Even worse, we are supposed to protect those future needs even if it means ignoring or compromising the undeniable needs of current generations – including the needs and welfare of the most impoverished, politically powerless people on Earth today. That’s why this irrational…

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National facial recognition ‘incompatible with a free society’, privacy groups warn


Further evidence of Australians losing their freedom!

TOTT News

Privacy groups unite to oppose facial recognition. Photo: EFA

Australia’s leading privacy and civil liberties organisations have condemned the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to provide all images from state and territory driver’s licence databases to a national facial biometric capability system.

These organisations, including the Australian Privacy FoundationDigital Rights WatchQueensland Council for Civil LibertiesNSW Council for Civil LibertiesLiberty VictoriaSouth Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers Australia, have called the comprehensive facial recognition database ‘unnecessary’ and ‘fundamentally incompatible with a free and open society’.

They have also called for further transparency and details of the new proposals, arguing that national identification systems are the foundation for ‘suspicionless, warrantless mass surveillance’ and are a ‘disproportionate invasion of the privacy rights of all Australians’.

BACKGROUND:

This week, following a mass-shooting in Las Vegas, it was confirmed 

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Premier Hodgman on ‘anti-terrorism’ changes: “This is the New World Order”


Something important to consider!
The responses by our government far exceed the evidence justifying them.

TOTT News

Will Hodgman declares a ‘new world order’. Photo: CDN

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has assured Australians that national facial biometric matching capability would “only bring existing arrangements into real time”, after the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a suite of new ‘anti-terrorism’ measures yesterday.

As the mainstream establishment continues to dismiss privacy concerns of advocates across the country, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman seemingly showed no reserve when asked his thoughts on the overhaul, declaring “we live in very uncertain times” and “this is the new world order”.

NEW PROPOSALS:

In 2014, following a number of ‘foiled beheading plots’ in Australia, Attorney-General George Brandis and parliament unanimously passed what is known globally as the ‘triple terror’: three individual pieces of ‘anti-terrorism’ amendments to existing legislation introduced by the Howard government after 9/11.

We extensively covered the process and draconian legislative changes in our piece, The Fall of…

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Arctic Sea Ice Nonsense – The Media, NASA and NOAA Blatantly Lie To The Public


From a Facebook post:  Much to think about.

Oppenheimer Ranch Project   Published on Sep 26, 2017

“Alarmism is not new. The fear mantra in mass media is a staple in a world dominated by oligarchic control. The ruse is deep and perpetrated at the highest levels to obfuscate the truth and control the narrative. In this video we show how alarm-ism historically is simply nonsense fairy-tales perpetrated by the media and supported by government agencies. Learn how to see through the mist as we uncover the truth about climate and the future of our planet. Using actual data sets uncomprimised [sic] by the global warming ruse. Historical data is also important to peruse as well, in order to reveal the clues of the past which will secure our future.”

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HUMANITY ALERT: Sperm count plunges 59% due to mass chemical feminization of men


From ‘Natural News’, by 

An article which should be widely read.  The dangers of chemicals introduced into our bodies by various means, should not be under-estimated, it seems.

It reveals causes and effects and provides knowledge to minimize our own exposure, all of which should be appreciated by all.

A great deal to think about!  Commencing-

(Natural News) A rigorous new study conducted at the The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and published in the science journal Human Reproduction Update finds that human sperm production has declined 59.3% from 1973 to 2011, trending toward a collapse of human population.

Via Science Daily:

…The researchers found …a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count, among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand who were not selected based on their fertility status. These findings strongly suggest a significant decline in male reproductive health that has serious implications beyond fertility and reproduction, given recent evidence linking poor semen quality with higher risk of hospitalization and death.

The causes of the decline have been widely linked to chemical exposure, especially from agricultural chemicals like atrazine that are “chemical castrators” of men. These chemicals cause “feminization” of males, leading to hormonal disruption and sperm population decline. That decline, researchers found, is accelerating in western nations like the United States and could lead to a collapse in human population.

Chemical exposure causing “feminization” of biological males while destroying sperm function

Although this was not the focus of this particular study, the same chemicals causing this plunge in sperm production may also be increasing non-male gender expression in biological males, leading an increasing number of biological males to pursue transgender surgeries or lifestyles. This biological fact remains adamantly denied by the anti-science political Left in America, which pursues the “magical science” narrative that transgenderism is solely a “choice” and cannot be influenced by chemical exposure. Yet every biological scientist and chemist in the world knows that chemical exposure alters biological function in humans. In fact, the very process of medical gender transition from a biological male to a female involves chemical castration using hormone-disrupting prescription chemicals such as Cyproterone.  [My bold emphasis]

The common food packaging chemical BPA is also widely known to be a hormone disrupt and estrogen mimicker. Those who insist that choice alone can override the laws of chemistry and genetics are living a delusion (Bill Nye, anyone?). Biological sex expression is determined by genes and chemistry (including chemical exposure), not by wishes and hopes.

Environmental exposure to such chemicals is irrefutably a significant vector for sperm decline among men in western nations. As explained by the researchers:

While the current study did not examine causes of the observed declines, sperm count has previously been plausibly associated with environmental and lifestyle influences, including prenatal chemical exposure, adult pesticide exposure, smoking, stress and obesity.

The complete article is linked here.

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When to Trust the Experts (Climate and Otherwise)


This refers to Scott Adams’s Blog,  “Dilbert”, a really interesting and commonsense article posted 11th Sept 2017.

Our duo of hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, have elevated the perceived risks of climate change in a lot of people’s minds. Are these disasters, and the record heat in many places, a sign of climate warming already out of control?

The quick answer is maybe, but climate scientists will need a lot more data and probably a few more years to know whether we are seeing a blip or a trend. From a persuasion perspective, the fascinating thing to me is that the climate science “sides” have reversed because of the storms. And here I am only talking about non-scientists on social media.

Last winter I saw climate skeptics (or deniers in some cases) proclaiming climate change a hoax because it was cold outside. The scientists and pro-climate-change folks mocked those poor souls for not understanding the difference between anecdotal evidence and science. You can’t determine a long term trend by looking out the window, say all scientists. And if you think you can, you’re being a big dope who doesn’t know the first thing about science.

If you don’t understand that anecdotal data in isolation is generally useless to scientists, you don’t understand anything about science. A year ago, that described a lot of climate skeptics who were looking out their windows, seeing snow, and declaring climate change a hoax.

But that was last year. This week the sides reversed. Now I keep seeing climate alarmists on social media looking at the hurricanes and declaring them strong evidence of climate change. They might be right. But if they are, it is by coincidence and not by science. Scientists say it is too early to tell. So now we have a bizarre situation in which the pro-science side is disagreeing with the scientists on their own side. That’s what confirmation bias gets you. Both sides see anecdotal evidence as real. Both sides think they respect and understand the basics of science. Both sides are wrong.

Please excuse my generalities here. Obviously there are plenty of smart people on both sides who understand that anecdotal information is not confirmation of anything. But in terms of what I see on social media, the hurricanes have turned a lot of people on the pro-science side into believers in anecdotal evidence. Here’s one example. Read from bottom up.

And this brings me to my topic of the day: How do you know when to trust experts? My hypothesis is that people who have the most experience in the real world trust experts the least. To make that point, allow me to give you a brief tour of my experience with experts.

The remainder of the article is linked here, well worth reading, IMHO.

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Former NASA scientist disses @NASAGISS – says it’s a “monument to bad science”


” NASA GISS where this whole global warming nonsense started. ”
[Not taking anything away from ” Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) “]

Watts Up With That?

Climate scientist Dr. Duane Thresher:

Start with defunding NASA GISS where this whole global warming nonsense started. It was started by James Hansen, formerly head of NASA GISS and considered the father of global warming. It was continued by Gavin Schmidt, current head of NASA GISS, anointed by Hansen, and leading climate change warrior scientist/spokesperson. I know from working there for 7 years that NASA GISS has almost been defunded several times in its life anyway. It’s a small group over a restaurant (Tom’s Restaurant from the TV comedy Seinfeld!) in New York City, nowhere near any other major NASA facility. Just the dedicated data link to the nearest NASA facility, GSFC in Maryland, is a big expense. GISS is the Goddard Institute for SPACE Studies. If you don’t need a rocket to get to it, it’s not space.”

Thresher rips former colleagues:

Physicists and mathematicians who couldn’t make it…

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IPA – Australia’s Champion of Fairness and Truth.


The Institute of Public Affairs is an independent, non-profit public policy think tank, dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of economic and political freedom.
Time to promote a valuable Australian asset, a private enterprise providing a public service to Australians.
I have just purchased copies of their publication “Climate Change  –  The Facts 2017”, providing much information dealing with the unscientific bases for the “Climate Change” agenda.
It is their third such publication, contradicting much of the misleading and political propaganda driving much of the world’s hysteria about the dangers of CO2.
Their web page is linked here, details the publication and offers a variety of  important, intelligent insights into many Australian issues.
Hopefully it will interest others and be a source of knowledge and inspiration as it is for me.
  • Address: Institute of Public Affairs
    Level 2, 410 Collins Street
    Melbourne Victoria 3000
    Australia
  • Telephone: +61 3 9600 4744
    Facsimile: +61 3 9602 4989

This current weekly email to members provides further insight into the type and value of their contributions to the Australian public.

Dear IPA Members

When John Roskam asked me to step in to write the regular Friday email it was looking like a quiet week but, as Mark Twain is supposed to have said, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” When John penned his column last Friday there were no offences in Commonwealth law referring to the uncertain notion of “vilification”, and nothing that looked like a blasphemy law. Today, thanks to legislation rushed through Parliament this week with bipartisan support, we have both. It took the Liberal Party three years to make a token effort to amend Section 18C, but only three days to add some further restrictions on free speech.

My darling wife, like I suspect millions of Australians, didn’t even find out about the legislation until after it was proclaimed, yesterday. I’m always suspicious about calls for less debate and more bipartisan support about any policy, and the suspension of democratic debate and deliberation we saw this week is the reason why Mark Twain (or more likely Judge Gideon Tucker) was absolutely right.

I’ll come back to that legislation but first a word on how I came to be writing this email, and a further couple before John Roskam resumes the chair. John started doing regular Friday emails to Members about the same time as I arrived at the IPA in December 2015. I wish I could claim the credit for the idea but John had already committed to the concept and since then he’s produced more than 100,000 words in regular instalments. Those Friday emails will be great fodder for future historians, as John has identified the key issues over a tumultuous 20 months.

Emerging from those many words is an unflagging commitment to a free society and a commentary on the state of culture in Australia and the West in general. This perspective is an essential counterpoint to the identity politics which increasingly drives politics and media – always seeing the world through the prisms of race, gender and class.

Each Friday John provides a perspective on the major events of 2016 and 2017, including major disruptions like Brexit, Trump and the rise of populist parties. This perspective is essential when the dominant narrative holds that the only motivation for Brexit and Trump must be racism and/or sexism, because that’s the only explanation identity politics can produce. And any populist backlash against elites must be seen through a materialist lens of class – they voted that way because of ‘globalisation’ or ‘capitalism’ or something like that.

The determination to prove an economic base to the discontents is seen in how so many progressive and interventionist policies are predicated on ‘rising inequality.’ Such policies are always destructive, when we should instead be focussed on enhanced opportunities for all. But the focus on inequality is doubly misguided when – as the IPA’s Daniel Wild showed in a recent Parliamentary Research Brief – inequality, once taxes and transfers are taken into account, has been static if not in a slight decline. Just this week, new ABS data provided further evidence of this slight decline in the Gini coefficient, the best measure of inequality.

Also this week, Hillary Clinton took her particular version of identity politics to the nth degree, twisting the meaning of George Orwell’s 1984 so it becomes a defence of elites:

“the goal (of Trump and anyone who doesn’t support Hillary) is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves.”

But across the West people ARE genuinely concerned at the direction the elites are taking their countries, and are concerned at the challenge being mounted to the core values around which their nations were built.

In our own country the latest attack has been on the celebration of Australia Day. Last week the IPA’s Evan Mulholland was asked to comment on the latest Victorian council committing to “#changethedate”, and rightly said:

“(the City of) Moreland’s attempt flies in the face of Australian values and is a move that divides, rather than unites Australians.”

From media coverage, you’d think there was a massive groundswell for change. But in 2016 a poll the IPA commissioned showed that 85% of Australians believe Australia Day is a day to be celebrated and 78% said that our history is something to be proud of.

The IPA’s Dr Bella d’Abrera has written persuasively of the deeply concerning trend to tear down or deface, by legal means or otherwise, the statues and monuments that represent our heritage. This week she produced “A Politically Correct Walking Tour of Ballarat”. This video has now had more than 11,000 views. Watch to the end and you’ll see proof that in the modern age it’s hard to do satire because real life is one step ahead: the final statue Bella went to view had already been replaced – by a giant pink handbag.

Bella’s tone is light-hearted, but the message is serious: Erase our history and you erase the understanding of the values that sustain our freedoms and our prosperity. Seeing vandals deface statues of Captain Cook is a cause for outrage, but much more disturbing would be a government sanctioned law to rewrite its inscriptions and/or remove such ‘offensive’ statues and monuments.

It was pleasing to see that two days after the video was released the Minister for Energy and the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, gave the Heritage Council the task of recommending ways to increase protections for historic monuments. Clearly they need protection, and not just from vandals.

By contrast, the same Minister’s response to major faults in the Bureau of Meteorology’s measurement and handling of temperature data has been underwhelming, and falls short of the full Parliamentary Inquiry into the Bureau and climate data that the IPA has repeatedly called for.

When I arrived at the IPA in 2015 Dr Jennifer Marohasy walked me through her concerns with homogenisation – the process by which the BOM crunches the temperature data to produce what it sees as an acceptable source of climate data. The years of research behind these concerns was admirably presented in the IPA’s Climate Change: The Facts 2017. But the premise of Jennifer’s work had hitherto been that raw temperature data was reliable, hence our concern when Jennifer and her network discovered recently that at two key weather stations at Goulburn and Thredbo, minimum temperatures were being adjusted upwards and/or disappearing from the record for reasons unknown.

The limited, in-house, inquiry ordered by the Minister last week came down with the finding that yes, those two stations had equipment that was not ‘fit for purpose’, but they were the only two and all the rest of the weather stations were fine, out of 695. Imagine that! As John said in The Australian:

“The Bureau has now acknowledged that for many years temperature readings have been wrong for at least two weather stations. The Bureau’s claim that of its 695 automatic weather stations the only two at which there were problems were by coincidence the two identified by Dr Jennifer Marohasy makes the Bureau a scientific and statistical laughing stock – the chances of this happening are approximately 1 in 120,000.

“The only way to determine what’s wrong at the Bureau of Meteorology is for the Turnbull government to initiate a full parliamentary review into every aspect of how the Bureau has been recording and publicly reporting temperature data.”

I grew up on a family farm where of course we all took a keen interest in the weather and in weather forecasts. Wedderburn is in northern Victoria on the inland side of the Great Dividing Range and the average rainfall is below 500 mm, significantly less than on the coastal plains to the south. I recall that my father could always quote almost verbatim the Bureau’s forecasts, but the big weather events and transitions always seemed to be unexpected and have unexplained causal factors. When I was in my final year at the local High School, Bob Hawke became Prime Minister and the punishing multi-year drought broke shortly thereafter. In the absence of something definitive Dad was always willing to give credit to Hawke for the coming of the rains (and Hawke probably would have accepted it too).

The point being that when much is at stake we should take seriously the views of experts, but also reserve our own judgement and seek other views. No government agency is entitled to blind faith. I think Jennifer nailed it when she said:

“For some years, ministers responsible for the Bureau have been claiming that there can be no external review because there is a need to maintain public confidence – they seem to know that a transparent review and public confidence are incompatible.”

And further evidence of the Bureau’s sensitivity to criticism is that in the Inquiry report no mention is made of how it came to be called. The Executive Summary says:

“In July 2017, the Bureau identified problems with the performance of some AWS equipment at very low temperatures which meant that some temperature data was not recorded at two sites”

I guess that line is a lot easier for them to write than “a Senior Fellow at the IPA and her friend Lance Pidgeon identified problems which were published on the front page of The Australian, and the Minister subsequently ordered the inquiry.”

Instead the Inquiry and its report are presented as the result of as some kind of Immaculate Conception, free of original sin. But we do thank the Bureau for its 70-page report, because there are so many internal inconsistencies it has opened up multiple lines of future inquiry, so watch out for more from Jennifer.

But to return to the Bill rushed through Parliament this week. The general coverage of the Bill in association with the survey of Australian’s preferences for changing the law on same sex marriage has described it by analogy to the existing laws which govern election advertising and commentary, and indeed it does have similar provisions, so even by referring to the survey I may be subject to the Act’s strictures (not being a lawyer I better just assume I am).

But Section 15(1)(c) relating to vilification and what is in effect a blasphemy law stands on its own, unmoored from anything to do with the survey other than their proximity in time. Indeed, comments in respect of the survey are subject to certain protections that do not apply to comments made in other contexts. Specifically, a person “must not vilify, intimidate or threaten to cause harm to another person…because of…(that person’s) religious conviction, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.”

Experience in the UK and other jurisdictions demonstrates that while notionally the matter at law is an offence against a person holding a ‘religious conviction’, the de facto outcome is a law against criticism of the religion to which a person adheres – a blasphemy law in effect if not in name.

There is of course a defence in the Act for ‘satire’, which will no doubt come as a relief to comedians on the ABC pondering whether to don a cassock for another skit about the Catholic Church.

Regardless of how you intend to respond to the survey – and I have good friends on both sides of the debate – I don’t see how anyone can believe that rushing through Parliament laws that have such drastic effects on fundamental freedoms can be a good thing.

But the last word on the Act goes to John, who delegated responsibility for his Friday email but fulfilled his duty to the Australian Financial Review with delivery of today’s column, in which he said:

“Then there’s the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017 which attempts to regulate the conduct of the same-sex marriage survey. Never has such a draconian legislation been passed by the Commonwealth parliament in such haste and with so little scrutiny. The law was literally made in less than twenty-four hours. The text of the legislation was made public on Wednesday, with the support of both the Coalition and Labor it passed both houses of parliament that day, and came into effect on Thursday. This tawdry process makes a mockery of the major parties’ claims they support accountability and transparency in law-making.

Section 15(1)(c) of the Act makes it unlawful to ‘vilify’ another person because of their ‘religious conviction’, with the penalty a fine of $12,600. This section establishes for the first time in Australian history a federal blasphemy law. As it’s drafted the law doesn’t only apply to vilification occurring during the holding of the marriage survey – it applies to religious vilification in any context. While the law has a sunset clause and is scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the survey, a precedent for the operation of a federal blasphemy law has been set – and it’s been set by Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government.

As senator Cory Bernardi said, the law is ’18C on steroids’.

The Act also overturns the rule of law. Under section 19(3) of the Act legal action against someone accused of religious vilification can only be undertaken with the consent of the Attorney-General. In a free country the government doesn’t get to decide when a law is applied and when it isn’t.”

In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Scott Hargreaves of Melbourne, VIC [no this is not actually a joke, I’m doing this declaration based on my reading of the legislation that was rushed through Parliament.]

regards
Scott

Scott Hargreaves
Executive General Manager
Institute of Public Affairs
M 0418 528 281 | P 03 9600 4744 | F 03 9602 4989 |  E shargreaves@ipa.org.au | W www.ipa.org.au
Level 2, 410 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000 AU
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Don’t let Treasury bureaucrats fob off calls for Glass-Steagall


Australian Financial Issues

Our banking system is overwhelmingly banker powered, placing the citizens at their mercy. Not very satisfactory nor encouraging.

This article  outlines the issues. The need for an overhaul is real, but requires the government to bite the bullet and represent citizens instead of the bankers.

Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

Media Release Thursday, 14 September 2017

 

  • Treasury is responding to requests for Glass-Steagall, even from MPs, with three-year-old form letters;
  • Such disdain reflects the banker influence in Treasury, and resistance to democratic accountability;
  • A three-year-old response does not take into account the developments in the financial system since then, nor the increase in political support for Glass-Steagall around the world, as demonstrated in the 2016 US presidential election;
  • Their arguments against Glass-Steagall are not just old, they are false: Australia doesn’t have a “high degree of structural separation”; commercial bank losses in other countries were not due to normal commercial banking, but property bubbles inflated by commercial banks doing securitisation/derivatives deals with investment banks.

Unaccountable bureaucrats in the Treasury department are fobbing off Members of Parliament who have passed on to the Treasurer their constituents’ requests for the government to look at a Glass-Steagall separation of Australia’s banks.

Treasury staff have drafted reply letters for Treasurer Scott Morrison to send to MPs that are copied and pasted from a letter written by a Treasury official in 2014 when bankers’ boy Joe Hockey was Treasurer. The 2014 letter was written in reply to CEC members.

This is not the first time Treasury officials have copied and pasted a reply letter on Glass-Steagall for Scott Morrison: a 28 April 2016 letter from Morrison to then Member for Longman Wyatt Roy was also identical to the 2014 letter.

Is Morrison aware he is putting his name to copy-and-paste jobs that are intended to fob off his colleagues’ inquiries?

Revolving door to banks

Treasury is heavily influenced by bankers, the profession that almost universally hates Glass-Steagall because bankers do not want to lose their ability to use the public’s deposits to leverage their profits. In fact, there is a revolving door between Treasury and the banks. Under Morrison’s predecessor Joe Hockey, who was Treasurer when the original letter was written in 2014, influential bankers included his wife Melissa Babbage, a superstar international financial trader with Deutsche Bank; his chief of staff Grant Lovett, from the giant Swiss multinational investment bank UBS; and his chief economist Tony Pearson, the former chief economist at the National Australia Bank, and now a director of the Australian Bankers’ Association. Pearson once pretended to a CEC delegation which included the former deputy director of Japan’s Ministry of Finance, Daisuke Kotegawa, that an airline ticket was no different to a derivative, the toxic financial gambling instruments that blew up the global financial system in 2008. He is currently authorising TV ads attacking the government of South Australia for having the temerity to impose a levy on the banks.

In 2014, Joe Hockey appointed another UBS honcho, Chairman and CEO of UBS Global Asset Management John Fraser, as Secretary to the Treasury, in which position Fraser has continued under Morrison. Fraser epitomises the revolving door: he started his career as a Treasury official before joining UBS in 1993 and 20 years later was back at Treasury.

Treasury is notorious for its resistance to democratic accountability. Invariably, it is Treasury that informs incoming governments that they cannot fulfil the promises that got them elected, due to the budget deficit or some related excuse. It is no surprise then that Treasury officials do not appreciate having to write letters explaining their policy positions for the benefit of members of the public. The aforementioned Tony Pearson expressed particular indignation to the CEC that he had to spend time writing replies about Glass-Steagall and the policy of “bail-in”.

New developments

Even assuming the Treasury’s reply was sincere when originally penned in 2014—a generous assumption—recycling it three years later for a new Treasurer deliberately ignores the financial and political developments since then.

Financially, 2016 witnessed a sharp increase in concerns about a new and probably worse financial crash than 2008. Those concerned included the International Monetary Fund, which expressed alarm at the potential for global contagion from a collapse of Joe Hockey’s wife’s old employer Deutsche Bank, the world’s biggest derivatives trader. Analysts and experienced observers have become especially concerned about Australia, which is (wrongfully) thought to have dodged the 2008 crisis, but is now poised for what former Turnbull government adviser John Adams called in early 2017 “economic Armageddon”. Concerns about Australia centre on its wobbling real estate bubble, and the extreme exposure of Australia’s biggest banks to over-inflated housing, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of their loans. It is now undeniable that a collapse of the housing bubble will trigger a major banking crisis—whatever the banks say.

Politically, Glass-Steagall has also become a much bigger issue globally than in 2014. The issue dominated the 2016 US presidential election, to the point that both the Republican and Democratic parties adopted it in their campaign platforms. Both Bernie Sanders and eventual winner Donald Trump campaigned for Glass-Steagall, and the White House has since twice reiterated Trump’s support for the policy. Trump’s election victory on a platform that included Glass-Steagall was noted in the UK Parliament, which has also debated Glass-Steagall, and indeed 445 MPs and Lords voted for the policy in 2013, on an amendment that only narrowly lost. It is extremely unlikely that, if the USA restored the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking that kept its banking system secure for 66 years from 1993 to 1999, the UK and Australia and the rest of the world wouldn’t follow suit, especially as Glass-Steagall is already law in the world’s other big economy China, which is Australia’s biggest trading partner.

For Treasury to ignore these developments by resorting to a three-year-old form letter is the height of ignorance.

False claims

The letter claims Australia’s banking system has a “high degree of structural separation”. This is the kind of lie an adult might tell to a child he assumes wouldn’t know better. Eighty per cent of Australia’s banking system is just four Too-Big-To-Fail (TBTF) banks, and they are financial Frankenstein’s monsters of so-called “vertical integration” a.k.a. universal banking. Although commercial banking with deposits is the biggest division of each of them, their many other divisions combined, such as investment banking, wealth management, insurance, and stock broking, are now almost half of their businesses. The banks have an edge over businesses that compete with these non-commercial divisions, because they share the capital of the whole bank, which is underpinned by their massive deposits. This arrangement exposes those deposits to the risks of those non-commercial divisions. Glass-Steagall mandates a strict separation to ensure deposits aren’t exposed to any risk. In the UK Parliamentary debates on Glass-Steagall, a former banker in the House of Lords, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, warned that the separation must be strict because “bankers are extremely adept at getting between the wallpaper and the wall”.

The letter’s other main claim is that “risks to financial stability as a result of poor practices in retail and commercial banking can be just as large, if not larger, as those posed by investment banking. Many of the bank failures in Ireland, Spain and the UK during the financial crisis resulted from losses on retail and commercial banking assets rather than from trading activities”. This is a misrepresentation. The large failures of commercial banks in Ireland, Spain and the UK were due to housing bubbles, so yes, they were commercial banking assets, but grossly inflated beyond what they should have been. The commercial banks did not create this housing bubble themselves; it was a product of their dealings with investment banks, which securitised and derivatised their mortgages. This enabled far greater volumes of money to pour into the housing market. The commercial banks should never have been allowed to have these dealings with investment banks, and it would be forbidden under Glass-Steagall.

What you can do

It is an outrage that Treasury can fob off the inquiries of elected MPs about a policy that was the most successful banking regulation in history, while planning legislation to give banking “crisis management” powers to APRA—the secretive, unaccountable agency that has permitted the banks to engage in reckless and criminal practices that have ruined thousands of Australians and placed the entire economy at risk.

Don’t let them! Do three things:

  1. Visit, phone or email your MP with this message:The APRA crisis management bill gives dictatorial powers to the unaccountable agency that is responsible for the banking crisis Australia is heading into. Instead of managing the crisis, the government should pass a Glass-Steagall banking separation to prevent it—now!

  2. Give your MP the CEC’s formal “Proposal for a Glass-Steagall separation of Australia’s banking system”. Click here to order a printed copy. Click here to download a PDF copy you can send as an attachment.

  3. Tell the MP to demand a proper response from the Treasurer, and not accept Treasury’s three-year-old form letters that are intended to fob them off.

Craig Isherwood‚ National Secretary
PO Box 376‚ COBURG‚ VIC 3058
Phone: 1800 636 432
Email: cec@cecaust.com.au
Website: http://www.cecaust.com.au

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