Thursday, 7th February 2013

GRAND PLANS

The Daily Telegraph this morning released details of an intriguing Coalition policy discussion paper. It outlines a radical 'mega-project' to develop Northern Australia, essentially making all of the country above the 20 degree south parallel a special zone with different tax, immigration and foreign investment rules. The paper speaks of a new food bowl, an 'energy industry economy', relocating a range of government departments, and major new infrastructure projects.

The plan bears remarkable similarities to ideas long discussed by Gina Rinehart and Lyndon LaRouch's Citizen's Electoral Council, a series of uncosted 'economic plans', untested engineering and agricultural ideas and frankly utopian dreams which envisage Australia's north as a kind of paradise for hard-toiling entrepeneurial types.

Is it a Coalition response to the perception that it is lacking positive plans? The draft paper may or may not have been leaked deliberately, and Tony Abbott was quick to let it be known that it was just a discussion paper, not policy.

Either way, now that it's up the flagpole, we'll see who salutes.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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Northern Exposure As Tony Abbott Goes Troppo

Tony Abbott will take to the election a radical plan to reshape Australia by splitting it into different personal tax zones and forcibly shifting tens of thousands of jobs to the Top End. The secret draft economic policy document, entitled Vision 2030, also proposes to carve $800 million from the foreign aid budget to be diverted to a mega-project in northern Australia.”
Also: Abbott Hoses Down Tropical Tax Zone Plan – Jonathan Swan (The Age)

Labor Plans Tax Rise For Highest Super Earners

“Labor is considering a plan to increase the tax rate on superannuation earnings for the wealthy after ruling out imposing a new tax on super payouts. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has closed off the option of taxing withdrawals by wealthy people aged over 60, heading off a lucrative line of attack pursued by the opposition in an emerging superannuation class war.”

Senate Call To Reveal Mining Tax Earnings

“The Greens and the Coalition have upped the ante in their bid to see the details of the amount raised by the mining tax. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a motion which orders the tax commissioner to release previously secret details of the new tax.”

Why Gillard’s Contest Will Be Surreal

“The fact is that compared with other first world countries – the US, Britain, most of Europe, but especially Italy, Spain and Greece – Australian politics is about not much at all… Beyond the slogans that both Gillard and Abbott often employ as a substitute for a political language that is alive and that reflects real thought and real feelings, Gillard and Abbott are in fundamental agreement about this. They both said as much in their Press Club speeches.”

Closing The Gap? PM Left ‘Disappointed’ On Aboriginal Welfare

“Prime Minister Julia Gillard has formally expressed ‘personal disappointment’ that part of Labor’s quest to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage appears to be failing. Gillard delivered her annual ‘closing the gap’ update to Parliament this morning, revealing a mixed bag of results which include a widening gap between the reading and maths skills of indigenous and non-indigenous school kids.”

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