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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

Editorial – Optics vs reform

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One of the more hyped elements of last week’s federal budget was a $300 handout to every homeowner to alleviate the increase in energy costs.

Presumably the government thinks the cash will provide the optics that it is trying to help with the rising cost of living. 

Yet let’s dive into the logic.

This is a message that those who have spent money to have off-grid power are not valued, for example. So much for doing the right thing and reducing your carbon footprint.

Perhaps the signal is to reward those connected to rapidly ageing coal-powered plants?

If you stop to think – that $300 still goes to the fossil fuel corporations. The Labor government has given our taxpayer money back to us, to give to the power companies.  It encourages energy prices to remain high.

Where’s the meaningful structural reform? Perhaps they have given up.

Or, given the dominance of old conservative mainstream media in the country, Labor have decided to appease them.

Once governments and corporate interests have fully merged, there is nothing but band-aids, token hand-outs and added layers of unneeded bureaucracy.

As David Lowe’s opinion piece on the budget points out (available at echo.net.au), fossil fuel subsidies will grow well beyond spending on renewables, and the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) will be revised down even further.

The Echo asked local MP Justine Elliot of the $300 rebate: ‘Why are the wealthy in need of government handouts, and will those who are off-grid be compensated in any way?’

She replied, ‘Our $300 energy bill rebate is being delivered through people’s energy bills, via the retailers. Once you go beyond providing this energy bill rebate, like we did in the last Budget for people who are on pensions and payments, you must design a whole new system because the energy retailers don’t have income information for people. So, the most straightforward, most efficient way is to provide this energy bill relief for every household’.

She added that other cost-of-living help includes a ‘tax cut for every taxpayer, cheaper medicines, reducing student debt, extending the higher rate of the JobSeeker Payment, increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance by a further 10 per cent, and paying superannuation on Paid Parental Leave’.

Punter’s Politics

A clever 1.30 minute online primer on the $300 rebate has been produced by Punter’s Politics, a relative new actor on the scene.

It’s available across all social media platforms.

Much like Juice Media or the Friendly Jordies,  Punter’s Politics delves into the political spin and hypocrisy and delivers informative, concise and witty observations.

Punter’s Politics say Australia pays the most on the planet for its gas (it’s three times cheaper in the US), and points out that Australia is the world’s largest supplier.

And we mostly give it away to large corporations for free – Chevron’s earnings just tripled to $12b, according to The West Australian.

If it isn’t their cosy relationship with the energy cartels, then Labor are terrible negotiators on behalf of this country.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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19 COMMENTS

  1. I’ll have to leave others to reply here, I’m too busy laughing. I can see why we’ve been directed to some comedians rather than qualified economists. That’s where the inspiration for this has come from? It’s a parody, right? A self parody.

    Other wise Hans, I think you need to take a break – or a good long lie down with a Bex and a cuppa. Give Aslan a go for a while! Why do you get to be the grand poo bah anyway?

  2. The problem with logic here Hans about subsidies to fossil fuels is illogical. Think about it the $300 does go to the electricity suppliers but it would otherwise be paid for by consumers, so are you arguing we consumers are subsiding the fossil fuel companies. So how do you morally pay your energy bill? As for subsiding power plants well logically that will happen as we strive towards renewables( the greens dream this will happen overnight- a miracle not likely). Imagine the subsidies to the fossil fuel companies if we had to wait for those mythical nuclear power plants- and the waste disposal issues.( look at the problem of finding a site to store low level waste from the research reactor at Lucas heights and medical/industrial uses).

  3. I like the Justine’s / ALP’s new take on their irresponsible rollout of the $300 spenders – its just all too hard for Justine / ALP to protect the $’staxpayer pot, so just spray the $’s around. Why should the ALP care if Gina, Clive, Twiggy etc get something they obviously shouldn’t be getting, after all it isn’t the ALP’s money being spent now is it.
    If anyone gets knocked back in applying for a government payment just tell Justine / Albo, if its good enough for Gina and Clive etc to collect a tidy little earner, why I am being discriminated against.

        • Actually I have but I often think you don’t bother to read the replies you get. I have pointed out that there will be problems associated with any broad brush measures to get relief out quickly.

          While many of those who got $500 last time, no doubt needed it – it would have gone to part pensioners as well as most self-funded retirees. You Greens are always telling us boomers are the root of all evil.

          I don’t recall you lauding the government on the 2023 energy bill relief – not at the time.

          I reckon 2023 had at least as many problems in getting exclusively to where it was most needed as this iteration. No nation wide system will be perfect.

          But I forget, unless you Greens can get perfection you’d rather not do anything. You’d rather nobody got the money if Gina’s going to get it right? Then you’d carp on about how people can’t feed themselves.

          Or where would you strike the cut-off mark? And how many public servants will be diverted to checking everybody’s income statements. Get real – it’s not the school fete being organised here.

          • Lizardbreath, keep chipping away trying to defend the indefensible giving away $’staxpayer’s to those that obviously shouldn’t be getting it. You might just convince yourself and old matey Keith that this is now the blueprint for future ALP spenders. Lol.
            LibNat had their go at wasting $’s, now its Lab turn.
            It doesn’t have to be this way.

          • We just might convince ourselves? Well you’re sure not likely to convince us with this interminable impenetrability to reality.

            Just tell us. Where would you/the Greens place the boundaries for payments like this one? Wont say?

          • Like I said in another space, follow the prescription rollout that was Budget23’s $500 helpers. There was no wasting precious$’s on Gina, Clive etc.

          • So you want to give it to to practically every baby boomer in the country – regardless of some having very considerable means – but give nothing to low and middle income earners paying rent or mortgages. It’s cost of living relief and to reduce inflation (I don’t expect everyone will understand how that works) – I can REALLY understand why they broadened.

            By your prescription, you wouldn’t be giving it to many of the people really struggling right now. Pity that’s above you!

          • Lizardbretah, the $300 helpers to reduce inflation. Shall we tease that one out.
            Sure the 4 x $75 energy bill reduction hits will have some effect on reducing inflation but its only temporary. Once that last $75 reliever flows through, inflation goes up.
            But yeah, a nice inflation reduction sugar hit for 12months or so, helping Albo at Election25 time and maybe save some face over his pre- Election22 promise to reduce energy bills by $275 by 2025.

          • Ah you slipped this one in here almost a week after my last comment Joachim. I almost missed it.

            Only temporary you say – fair enough. But that’s what a budget’s meant to do – respond to the greatest economic circumstances and needs. If inflation and high interest rates are still the major threats then they just may extend it. If there’s an overheated economy then relief and stimulus wouldn’t be the go.

            It’s why the relief is targeting those most affected by high rents and interest rates and guess what, that’s why it’s gone broader than last time. It all makes perfect sense unless you’re determined to carry on with any rubbish rather than admit you’re wrong!

          • Well Lizardbreath, you did like to put forward. ” It’s cost of living relief and to reduce inflation (I don’t expect everyone will understand how that works)”. Indeed, the smoke and mirrors trickery of $300 helpers reducing inflation has been lost on most people but at least both you and I can see it.
            So, another justification for the $300 helicopter cash has been exposed.

            What’s this, you happy to go another round of $300 helpers and Billionaires and Multi Millionaires getting another piece of the action.
            Say it ain’t so.

  4. Hans, seriously do you actually get paid for writing these sensationalized Greenspinning opinion pieces, if so I think that money could definitely be better spent, never mind about the $300 energy rebate, that is actually going to help people.

    • Keith, Gina, Clive, Twiggy etc, so very grateful for the $300 helpers.
      But never mind eh Keithy, its only hard earned taxpayer $’s we spending, NOT ALP’s own money.

  5. Albo throws us a few crumbs for energy rebates while spending 450 million on two new jets for himself and his incompetent ministers, good one Albo, what is your next trick?, maybe jailing the released detainees would begin to show you actually know what you are doing?, however I have my doubts.

    • Listening to your usual news sources Greg?

      the nightly.com.au reported:

      “The jets are due to be delivered in July, replacing two 20-year-old Boeing 737s, and will be used by the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and other government ministers …

      “Plans to lease the jets were axed after it was revealed it would cost an additional $100 million for a 12-year lease, prompting a decision to buy the jets outright…

      “The 737-8s have three times the cabin space of a typical private jet, carrying at least 19 passengers on journeys of more than 12,000km without refuelling …

      “The new jets have sleeping quarters and meeting facilities, and are fitted with business-class seats for all passengers.

      “It is understood the jets were ordered under the previous Coalition Government.”

  6. I don’t quite know what you’re getting at here in this rather garbled sentence: “ What’s this, you happy to go another round of $300 helpers and Billionaires and Multi Millionaires getting another piece of the action.”

    No extra rounds of anything – who said that? Just this one not confining criteria that mean many home owning comfortable retirees would get it when one of the main driving factors of COS pressures is housing – to rent or buy.

    You surely can’t find that so hard to understand! Or are you deliberately pretending to avoid answering?

    Budgets aren’t set and forget (you’ve said that yourself Joachim) but should respond to the current economic conditions. You think just leaving out ordinary wage earners right now is fine?

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