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Barnaby Joyce … what the hell can you say?

Barnaby Joyce was once considered the best ‘retail politician’ in Australia.

That skill has left him. He is now, without question, the dopiest politician in Australia. Without question. No need to go to the bunker. The on-field decision is correct.

For the love of all that is holy, what made him say earning $211 k was insufficient?

Actually … hold that thought …

There are essentially two streams of logic to Joyce’s comments:

  1. The headline comments about being poor and not being to afford heat (which are really, really bad and have Australia reaching for their smallest violins).
  2. The longer explanation which is actually OK due to its empathy.

Let’s dissect both quickly …

The dopey

This is stupid:

Mr Joyce, now a father of six, earns about $211,000 a year but the New England MP is financially supporting his estranged wife and their youngest daughter who is at boarding school, plus his current partner Vikki Campion, who just six weeks ago gave birth to their second son.

“I’m not crying in my beer because there are thousands, thousands doing it much tougher than me,’’ Mr Joyce repeatedly stressed, adding his changed circumstances were a “good thing” because as a politician it gave him fresh insight into those facing extreme financial pressure.

“It’s not that I’m not getting money it’s just that it’s spread so thin.

“I’m just saying these circumstances have made me more vastly attuned … it’s just a great exercise in humility going from deputy prime minister to watching every dollar you get.

“A politician (renting a duplex without a dishwasher) for 415 bucks a week, he’s not living high on the hogg, is he?”

The empathetic

These are more considered. Smarter.

Watch the video at the link.

Pity that the outrage – and there are very few comments supporting Joyce – won’t look at the bigger picture, that a (once-smart) politician is backing their case. But the short-term joy of outrage is greater than the long-term benefits of smart strategy. So Joyce must suffer. And he is suffering.

Now for the hard truth

Barnaby Joyce has been on a bloody good wicket as an MP since 2005. The figures are here.

As Deputy PM, by my reckoning (and my maths is pretty ordinary), he earned $211k base salary plus 105 per cent of the $211 k which means he was on about $432 k as deputy PM. And he was deputy PM from Feb 2016 to Feb 2018, until his affair with Vikki Campion was exposed. So a couple of years.

Here’s the question: what the hell was he doing with all the money that he is now broke? Divorce and school fees doesn’t cut it.

And we are right to ask the question that is asked of many people on Newstart: what crappy decisions did you make to put yourself in that position?

In Joyce’s case, we know some of them, but for him to be ‘broke’, and now killing his own sheep for meat, we don’t know all of them. They’re good questions he should answer for the sake of his own cedibility.

David Marr likes tax breaks for some

Spoiler alert: David Marr likes tax breaks for David Marr.

On Insiders, Marr made the case for increasing Newstart. An increase of $75 a week will cost the budget about $3 billion a year.

Marr compared this cost, sarcastically, with the cost of franking credits: $5-6 billion a year.

The fact that franking credits are a refund on a tax that shouldn’t be paid is irrelevant to Marr. That’s been covered here before.

Also, as pointed out before, if the franking credits regime is changed, people will change their investments so as to avoid paying the tax. Early int he year a number of companies such as Brickworks restructured their dividends in order to assist shareholders avoid the change Labor promised if elected. In the end, it wasn’t required.

But we know that when taxes are applied, people change their behaviour to avoid the taxes.

How we do we know this? Because of David Marr.

In 2012, Marr abruptly left Fairfax after 35 years (on and off).

Why? Well, according to Colleen Ryan in Fairfax: The Rise and Fall:

Funny how not paying tax is OK for some, sinful for others.

When it’s David Marr, i’s OK.

Paul Anka (b 1941)

The story of My Way is fantastic. Especially David Bowie’s involvement. Read it.

This version is awesome – the intro is awful (who wrote those jokes?) but his line about Anka highlights the love Sinatra had for his songwriters, arrangers and orchestra.

Enjoy (especially from the 1 min 53-sec mark):