I was set to write a congratulatory comment about the senate actually doing its job and rejecting the government’s attempt to pass through completely unnecessary changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Aside from commenting that considering its inaction in many more pressing areas, it seems odd that the government should consider this bill any kind of priority, I won’t go into detail with my objections to the proposal to make it easier to offend and humiliate people based on their race, as I have discussed it further in a separate post. Although any time you allow Barnaby Joyce to sound like the voice of reason for your party, as he did for the Coalition on this issue, you should probably reconsider your position.
The senate’s raison d’etre is basically to scrutinise government legislation and reject those that are not in the nation’s interest. So in rejecting this bill, the senate actually illustrated part of our democratic system is still at times functioning correctly (I realise the number of qualifiers in that supposedly positive sentence is a little depressing).
But before I even had a chance to post a comment, my good humour was largely stolen by another Nick Xenaphon backflip (the guy seems to do more of them than the Olympic gymnastics team), this time over cutting the company tax rate.
I find Xenaphon very hard to read politically. It just isn’t clear what his core political philosophy is, (less charitable analysts than me would say ‘populism’) which makes him hard to predict, but to say I was disappointed in his latest change of heart is putting it mildly.
In an era where trickle-down economics arguments have been widely disproved, no one has convincingly made the point that lowering company tax rate will significantly improve the economy or the budget (let alone the lives of the Australians, which seems a distinct third priority in these discussions).
On the other hand there are no shortage of arguments against the policy. Kaye Lee outlines a number of them in this article for the Australian Independent Media Network so I won’t repeat them or elaborate further.
Now admittedly Xenaphon only agreed to half of the ridiculous 50bn dollar tax cut, but half of 50 billion dollars is still a bloody lot of money. He may also argue that he was able to extract some measure of quid pro quo in the form of a one-off payment to pensioners to help offset the rising cost of power and federal support for a South Australian solar energy project, but did he get anywhere near enough for what he just agreed to?
I don’t think so.