Tag Archives: election

Swan promises rigorous audit of election policies

Updated February 22, 2013 09:08:51

The Parliamentary Budget Office will be required to release a post-election audit of all election commitments within a month of polling day under changes announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan today.

In a speech to an Australian Business Economists forum this morning, Mr Swan has also promised to release a preliminary budget outcome for the current financial year well before the September 14 election.

Amid an increasingly personal debate with the Coalition over economic credibility, Mr Swan has committed to a funding boost for the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) to ensure it has the resources needed to prepare rigorous policy costings in the lead-up to the election.

“Transparency would be further enhanced if the PBO were to prepare a post-election audit of all political parties, publishing full costings of their election commitments and their budget bottom line 30 days after an election,” he said.

“We will introduce legislation for consideration by the Parliament to enable this reform.

“This will remove the capacity of any political party to try to mislead the Australian people and punish those that do.

“It will avoid a situation we saw last election, where the Liberal Party thought they could con the Australian people.

“As a result of the reforms I am announcing, their $11 billion black hole in the budget bottom line would have been uncovered regardless of the election outcome.”

After the 2010 election, Treasury analysis revealed a multi-billion-dollar shortfall in the Coalition’s election costings, although the Opposition described the figures as a “difference of opinion”.

The analysis was only made public because of the post-election negotiations between the independent MPs and the major parties.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has welcomed Mr Swan’s move, saying the Coalition strongly supports the PBO.

“I cannot believe my luck in Wayne Swan calling for sunshine on budget numbers,” he said.

“I mean, he is just the gift that keeps giving in this regard.

“Every single number from the mining tax and the carbon tax through to the budget surplus that he claimed he was going to deliver, every number he’s got wrong and transparency only helps the Coalition.

“It seems as though Wayne Swan is actually trying to get more prepared for opposition than he is actually running the country. I mean, he’s almost declared the innings closed on Labor by going down this path.”

The Coalition has said it would not be able to finalise its policy costings for the 2013 election until the Pre-election Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) is released, which will occur after the official campaign begins in August.

Mr Swan has today pledged to release a preliminary budget outcome for the 2012-13 financial year as soon as he is given a “reliable figure”.

“Treasury and Finance officials last week were clear that a reliable estimate of the underlying cash balance could be made well before the election and we commit to releasing them,” he said.

“This means that the 2012-13 outcome of the underlying cash balance – the most important budget aggregate – will be there for everyone to see.

“There will be no fiscal surprises after the election.”

Both the Coalition and Labor have indicated the economy will be a key focus of its election pitch to voters, although the Government is still dealing with the fallout of walking away from its promise to deliver a surplus this financial year.

It is also coming under pressure to explain how it will pay for signature policies such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the overhaul of school funding.

“Inevitably, these reforms will involve very difficult decisions, but they will always be guided by our Labor values,” Mr Swan said.

Topics: federal-government, government-and-politics, budget, business-economics-and-finance, australia

First posted February 22, 2013 06:18:50

Economy will be at heart of Abbott’s election pitch

Tony Abbott has signalled that economic management will be at the heart of his election pitch, promising to “increasingly detail” the Coalition’s policies during the year.

The Opposition Leader has seized on the latest rise in unemployment, linking it to Labor’s decision to break its commitment to delivering a budget surplus this year.

“No government can be good for jobs if it is not good for the economy… and this is a Government which simply can’t manage the budget,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

“In the end, it all comes down to the economy.

“If you don’t have a strong economy, it’s very difficult to have the strong communities that every Australian wants and deserves.”

He says having a strong economy is necessary to maintaining good government services, having a clean environment and securing the country’s borders.

Labor has responded to Mr Abbott’s comments by pointing to the Government’s track record in guiding the economy through the effects of the global financial crisis.

“Since the Government came to office, we have created more than 800,000 jobs, we’ve grown the economy by 13.2 per cent, and labour productivity has risen by 6.5 per cent,” Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis said.

She also pointed to the way in which state Liberal governments have gone about slashing jobs, arguing that a federal Coalition government would take the same approach.

“You don’t have to look back to the Howard government, you can look to any of the current state Liberal governments to see exactly what modern-day Liberals stand for,” Ms Ellis said.

“And that is job losses, it is stripping away people’s protections in the workplace, and we know that an Abbott-led government would be absolutely no different.

“Now if they want to stand up today and talk about job losses, they might want to have a few words to say to their colleague in (Queensland Premier) Campbell Newman, because we know that when you look at Queensland, it sends a very clear example to the rest of the country of what we would see if Tony Abbott was ever elected to government.”

The federal election is due in the second half of the year, and this week’s Newspoll showed Labor was now within striking distance of the Coalition’s lead.

The results buoyed Labor MPs who said voters appeared to be backing the Government’s economic vision for the country.

Mr Abbott has responded to the results, saying: “No-one ever said it was easy to defeat an incumbent government.

“But every day of this year I will be pointing out that we have an incompetent and untrustworthy government up against an Opposition which has positive plans for a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.”

Topics: federal-parliament, federal-government, elections, business-economics-and-finance, abbott-tony, australia

First posted January 17, 2013 16:01:54

Monti’s future uncertain as Italy heads for election

Posted December 27, 2012 09:52:13

The political turmoil has begun again in Italy, with uncertainty about whether its technocrat prime minister might continue after the election.

Mario Monti has resigned, prompting fresh elections in February, but it is still not clear whether he will put his hand up again for the top job.

He has cryptically tweeted, “Together we saved Italy from disaster. Together we return to politics.”

As a well-respected economist, Mr Monti won support from European leaders, but as a politician at home he has not been so popular.

If he does not stand, voters are wondering what options they will face, with the scandal-plagued Silvio Berlusconi and a former comedian amongst those on offer.

At his only press conference since resigning, Mario Monti refused to say whether or not he will throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming elections.

However, he went on to publish an open letter to Italians outlining his ideas – prioritising anti-corruption measures, attracting foreign investment and incentives to hire women and young workers.

Notably, the letter was backed by the powerful head of the Catholic Church in Italy.

Mr Monti has thrown the election lead-up into confusion by saying that for credible forces he would give quote, “his appreciation, encouragement and, if asked, his leadership.”

James Walston, a political analyst at the American University of Rome, says Mr Monti has made it very clear his steady-as she-goes agenda is more important than his own personal ambitions.

“This is what he repeated and he made clear in all the answers he gave as well at the press conference when people were trying to needle him into saying are you going to stand, what sort of job will you take,” Mr Walston said.

“He said, as long as the program goes through, I can do more or less anything.”

Mr Monti is the technocratic prime minister appointed a year ago to steady the Italian economy.

He replaced the controversial Silvio Berlosconi, who had supported Mr Monti’s reforms, but recently withdrew that backing, prompting the upcoming elections.

Leading the polls is the centre-left Democratic Party.

The scandal-tinged Mr Berlusconi may have re-injected himself into the process in recent weeks, but support for his People of Freedom Party has halved to about 16.5 per cent, and he is seen as having a spoiler role.

Also in the mix is comedian Beppe Grillo, who is running on an anti-sleaze ticket and beating Mr Berlusconi in the polls.

On the streets of Rome some residents are unimpressed by their range of political alternatives.

“Monti has brought us to ruin somewhat, he’s made us poorer,” said one woman on the streets of Rome.

“As long as Berlusconi doesn’t come back, otherwise Italy will end up in a mess. Unfortunately we have very few alternatives.”

However, James Walston says he expects voters to support an agenda akin to that of Mr Monti.

“The most likely scenario will be a centre-left victory with a big fight over the senate and with Monti and the centralist parties coming in in some way,” he forecast.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, economic-trends, elections, italy

Markets rise on Obama’s election victory

Posted November 07, 2012 19:16:48

The Australian share market has rallied along with the dollar and commodities on the re-election of US president Barack Obama.

The All Ordinaries index jumped close to 0.5 per cent on the announcement, finishing 0.7 per cent higher at 4,534.

The ASX SPI 200 index rose 32 percentage points to 4,517.

The Australian dollar had a small jump to 104.5 US cents.

Global markets were concerned Republican Mitt Romney would end stimulus from the US Federal Reserve if he was elected president.

The White House is not able to interfere in Federal Reserve decisions but the president is able to choose the central bank’s chairman.

Ben Bernanke, the current chairman, is nearing the end of his tenure.

The win by Mr Obama means the markets have another four years before they have to worry.

Locally, most sectors ended in positive territory after turning around earlier losses.

The banks extended gains, with Westpac up 1.3 per cent.

Macquarie Group shares rose 1.6 per cent after announcing a return to retail banking, by marketing mortgage products through wealth management firm Yellow Brick Road – its shares remain in a trading halt.

Resource stocks jumped in line with a rise in metals prices.

Rio Tinto added 0.8 per cent while BHP Billiton rose half as much.

At the close of trade, the Australian dollar was buying 81.3 euro cents, 65.2 British pence and 83.7 Japanese yen.

West Texas crude jumped to $US88.50 per barrel and Tapis rose to $US116.

The spot gold price also got a significant from yesterday’s close, trading at $US1,723 an ounce.

Topics: markets, business-economics-and-finance, currency, futures, stockmarket, money-and-monetary-policy, australia, united-states

Shares creep higher ahead of US election results

Posted November 07, 2012 12:12:32

The local share market has been holding early gains in light trade, as investors await the outcome of the US election.

The All Ordinaries was 0.3 per cent higher at 4,516 by 11:56am (AEDT), and the ASX 200 matching that gain, up 13 points to 4,498.

Gains have been broad-based, with most of the major banks and miners helping support the market.

Rio Tinto and Fortescue were both posting rises of around 0.5 per cent, although BHP Billiton was pretty much flat amid media reports that it is starting a process to find a new chief executive over the next year or two.

The major banks were led by Westpac, up 1 per cent, and ANZ up 0.9 per cent, while Commonwealth Bank was flat on its first quarter trading update, and National Australia Bank was down 0.4 per cent.

The Australian dollar has held on to the gains made of the back of yesterday’s interest rate decision – it was buying 104.2 US cents.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, markets, currency, stockmarket, australia

Yen dips on Japan election plan

 Continue reading the main story Japan’s yen has fallen after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he was set to dissolve parliament and hold a snap election.

It fell as low as 80.83 yen against the US dollar, a six-and-a-half month low.

There is no guarantee the government would win an election, and the opposition has called for aggressive monetary easing by the central bank.

Its leader, Shinzo Abe, has said the bank should print “unlimited yen” to help fight deflation.

Analysts said such a move would weaken the yen even further.

“It is very likely that the Liberal Democratic Party will take over the lower house again, and very clear that they will be pressuring the Bank of Japan to become more dovish,” said Geoff Kendrick, a currency analyst at Nomura.

“We are expecting the dollar/yen to head up to around 82 yen by the end of the year.”

Mr Noda is expected to formally announce the elections on Friday.

However, Mr Noda indicated that his call for a snap election was conditional on opposition support for a financing bill and voting reform.

Economic issues Mr Noda’s proposal for a snap election comes amid fears that Japan’s economy may be heading back into a recession.

The economy contracted by 0.9% in the July to September quarter, from the previous three months. Most analysts have forecast that it may shrink further in the current quarter.

Japan’s exports, one of the biggest drivers of growth, have been hurt by a slowdown in key markets such as the US and Europe.

Meanwhile, policymakers have found it increasingly tough to boost domestic consumption, as they continue to fight deflation or falling consumer prices, which tend to make customers put off their purchases in hope of a better deal down the road.

Mr Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has said that the bank of Japan (BOJ) needed to set an inflation target of 3% instead of its current 1% goal to help revive growth in the economy.

“If we take power, we’d like to do our utmost to beat deflation,” Mr Abe said. “In doing so, monetary policy would be key.”

He indicated that if elected, he would review the BOJ law that guarantees its independence from the government.

Change of faces: LCCI announces corporate class election results

Only 816 voters took part in the polls out of the total 2,120.  LAHORE: 

The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front (PIAF) Founders Alliance made a clean sweep once again by winning all seven seats of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries Corporate Class elections for the year 2012-13 on Wednesday.

Only 816 voters took part in the polls out of the total 2,120, while eight votes were rejected on technical grounds. PIAF-Founder Alliance got 570 panel votes while the Azad Progressive Group got 96 panel votes. PIAF-Founders Alliance witnessed little opposition in the elections even though Azad Progressive group participated and campaigned for the elections vigorously. The group was able to secure only 96 panel votes in the corporate class elections, but experts say this group will become a stronger opposition in the future.

The final results will be announced on September 29 in the annual general meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2012.