The Federal Government has a propensity for hiding ‘bad’ news, or releasing it under cover of Christmas or another such event that will make it certain that few people are paying attention. The first of these was the Treasury modelling of the Labor Party’s planned changes to negative gearing. ABC journalists, under Freedom of Information law, obtained a copy of Treasury briefing documents that modelled the impact of Labor’s proposed change. Treasury found that these changes would most likely have a small and temporary impact on housing prices. These briefing notes have been in possession of the government for the last two years. However, that did not stop Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stating that: “Their reckless policy on negative gearing is absolutely calculated to put the skids under property prices”1. At the time, Turnbull knew this was a lie, but he was never called to account by anyone until the Treasury briefing was obtained recently.
In the week before Christmas, the Federal Government released its latest data on greenhouse gas emissions, as usual, in the hope they’d be missed by most commentators. However, the government is so underhanded and has so much form in this regard, that some commentators pay special attention to any releases of information around this time. This data has shown that Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, which dropped from 540Mt (million tonnes) to 528Mt over the two years of carbon pricing, have now climbed to 550Mt. This makes Australia’s chances of reaching the 26% cut on 2005 emissions down to 440Mt, extremely slim. Current projections are that we will be at 5% below 2005 levels, at about 570Mt2. No wonder the government wanted to hide this data. It shows that their Emissions Reduction Fund is an abject failure, as it always seemed it would be. However, it was never designed to actually decrease carbon dioxide emissions. What it was designed to do was to stop polluters paying for their pollution, and making the taxpayer give them large amounts of money to cut emissions. I am sure the government hoped that some of these taxpayer funds would eventually find their way back to Liberal Party coffers as donations from these polluting companies. As I have stated earlier, it is just an elaborate money laundering scam3.
When such data is available, it should be made public immediately, so that the populace can make a judgement as to what is a reasonable policy, and to stop one side of the political fence simply lying to us and the parliament, solely for political advantage.
I regret to say that governments, both State and Federal, of all political persuasions have being doing this since Adam was in short pants, but it seems to be an increasing trend. The politicians then wonder why the general population has a such a low opinion of them.
It has always been around, but, as you say, it seems to be getting worse. The irony is that the media seem to have twigged and are on the lookout for such subterfuge. This is made easier by modern communications, and the fact that most of the government seems to think it is still the 1970s.