September 08, 2004


I grew up in a sole-parent family earning less than equivalent of $35,000 per year in today’s money. Under Labor’s proposed tax plan (although there is some dispute over the calculation of a one-off $600 annual payment) we apparently would have been worse off by $208:

CATHERINE MCGRATH: Well, you're obviously sticking by those weekly tables, but if families are doing the sums, if someone, a sole parent today is doing the sums and they earn $35,000 a year, they are by a year $208 worse off, so how do you justify that? You may say the $600 is unreal payment, they think it's a real payment. How do you justify the fact that they'll actually have less in their pocket over a year?

MARK LATHAM: Well our approach is unashamedly to say that we've got to ease the squeeze on middle Australia, we've got to ease the squeeze on middle Australia and we are providing substantial benefits in that area.

What about the battlers, pal? (Incidentally, Latham performed remarkably poorly in this interview. The transcript doesn’t fully reflect his awkwardness.)

Posted by Tim Blair at September 8, 2004 02:56 PM

but the Melbourne Institute, the Melbourne Institute!!

(Exactly why is Sharan Burrow a member of the advisory board of the Melbourne Institute?) (see their website

Posted by: Secret Squirrel at September 8, 2004 at 03:07 PM

Lathem shakes his head from side to side when he doesn’t believe what he is saying. It was evident on the 7.30 Report last night.

When he says ‘work is better than welfare’ his head stays still, this, he believes.

But when he says ‘the $600 payment isn’t real’ his head starts shaking.

Keep an eye out for it. It’s excruciating to watch once you notice it.

Posted by: matt at September 8, 2004 at 03:48 PM

He looked completely flustered on the 7.30 report and I saw him on Sky and again he looked unconvincing.

When confronted with a direct question, he just mouthes the same things, $600 = not real and easy the squeeze, he also refuses to answer any question that may diminish the policy.....he just refuses to answer the questions, and invariably, the reporter moves on and Lacker gets away with it.

Posted by: Nuffy at September 8, 2004 at 03:59 PM

They're fucked.

The lefties are going into a tail-spin and it is beautiful to observe. (Both here and in the US)

Could the Australian Lefties please Electrolux before they turn out the lights.

Thank you

Posted by: Razor at September 8, 2004 at 04:12 PM

Can we ease the squeeze by mounting the ladder of opportunity (rung by rung)?

Posted by: mr magoo at September 8, 2004 at 04:27 PM

Latham's reasoning on the $600 payment is dodgy.

By the same (il)logic, what about the people who are being paid monthly? Do we count their income in the weekly or fortnightly tables? After all, it is not 'real' for three weks of the month is it?

What an idiot...

Posted by: Dylan at September 8, 2004 at 06:34 PM

I thought he handled the interview well. I also thought he'd been let off lightly by McGrath. Latham is staying on message, which is that somehow a $600 cheque is not real. Sure the interviews should be using lines like: Are you for real! Or perhaps something stronger.

I was really discussed that when asked about the lower income people left worse off, he got away with saying Labor would get them a job. Imagine if the Coalition said that.

Posted by: PJ at September 8, 2004 at 09:00 PM

What the???

Just in case there are any capitalists left on this forum let me point out that (1) single parents do not have a god-given right to my money; (2) Latham's package represents a cut in tax and spending; (3) Latham's package is addressing the high effective marginal tax rates and is consistent with the advice of nearly all economists (left and right and any other variety).

It amazes me that the entire "right-wing" (cough cough) attack on Latham in this election is based on the fact that the conservatives are going to spend and tax more! My local Liberal candidate is campaigning on the fact that the Labor Party will cut several useless government programs, and the Liberal promises to spend more. This is disgusting. And now Tim Blair jumps on the big-government bandwagon?

But at least our government makes up for it by running the highest taxing, highest spending government in our history and increasing regulation and banning guns ...

Posted by: John Humphreys at September 9, 2004 at 11:14 AM