by SockPuppet ~ an Australian
This is a bloody national disgrace.
Next year is the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day, that day in April 1915 when thousands of underage Aussies (and Kiwis but who counts them?) were sacrificed by the Brits on some godforsaken Middle eastern outpost peninsula of bloody Turkey known as Gallipoli – nowknown as Anzac Cove and a tourist destination and camping resort for Gen Y.
But as Anzac Day falls on a Saturday next year guess what?
The citizens of NSW (and every other State except one!) will be short one public holiday next year: Anzac Day.
Both Anzac Day and Boxing Day fall on a Saturday but only one will be marked by an additional day off.
Unlike other holidays, no additional day is granted for the national day of remembrance in NSW under the Public Holidays Act.
Other states will face a similar issue: only West Australians will get a public holiday on Monday, April 27.
What is going on here?
If we cant get a holiday for the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day what else will be taken away?
Whats next, move the Melbourne Cup to a Saturday and take away that national day of celebrating horses too?
No holiday for Australia Day if that falls on the weekend too? What will the abos have to protest about?
Why not go the whole hog and have no public holiday for Christmas Day if that falls on a Saturday or Sunday too? Who needs one? Go to work!
And Easter: Yeah lets cancel Good Friday & Easter Monday because no one goes to bloody church and besides the Muslims have already taken over (just ask GD).
This is the slippery slope – the taking away of our days off .. but it doesnt end there!
Collingwood & Essendon will have to play there heroic Anzac Day battle on a Saturday and compete with all the other games on that day too. They will lose $millions.
And what will Gen Y do? They cant go to Turkey on the weekend because that is ‘hooking up’ time wasted.
Of course we could all move to Perth, the only State that recognises Anzac Day and gives us a day off.
But where the f*ck is Perth?
And what is there to do there?
Dont think this is a oneoff either folks – in 2016 Anzac Day falls on a Sunday so same deal, no public holiday!
I blame Tony Abbott.
We need an election.
Dead, deceased, it is no more, it has shuffled off its mortal coil, the Carbon tax has fucking snuffed it, or death of a vile impost on our lives.
The tragedy of the Carbon tax/ETS is not in its passing but that it ever existed in the first place because it was always based on a false premise, namely that it was ever going to make the slightest bit of difference to the global climate and so many leaders, on both sides of politics have been destroyed by it. It took out Rudd, Turnbull and Gillard in turn and it also played its part in taking out the resurrected Rudd as well. There has been more bullshit produced to promote the various incarnations of this toxic scheme than our national herd. And for what? All that it ever gave us was a wildly expensive token gesture and a rather nasty piece of socialist wealth redistribution which in layman’s language means it was a totally useless money churn.
Even if you believe the AGW proposition there is no reason to believe in the often chanted mantra that the best way to address it is through a “market mechanism” because there is absolutely no reason to believe that such a mechanism can ever produce the desired outcome without some nasty unforeseen consequences, of which the massive spike in energy costs is a rather good example, and before anyone says “its the gold plating of the poles and wires” that caused the majority of those price rises I’m going to say that the “gold plating” is just another example of the same thinking that the poor long suffering consumers are an eternal milch cow that can be taken for granted by planers and ideologues just as they take for granted the idea that costs for essential commodities can rise endlessly and no one will suffer or object.
Suffer and object we have and now the vile impost on every aspect of our lives has be dispatched to the dustbin of history and any claims that it will bring down Abbott in its passing are utterly ridiculous. The trend in technology now is very much focused on energy being used as efficiently as possible and for that I do think that, to some extent, we can thank the panic merchants of the Green Religion but just as we can take from the Christian religion useful notions of community and what makes a good society without taking on the supernatural Mumbo Jumbo of that faith. So to we can take the good things that have come from the Green religion, like seeing our planet and its biosphere as a whole and complexly interconnected entity of which we are just a small part, but we can let go of its millenarian prognostications and dire predictions of doom because no matter what life and the earth itself is far more resilient and adaptive than the doom merchants of the Green religion are willing to admit
Like others I woke up this morning to the news that the government has had a very sharp turnaround in the polls many people are unhappy with the budget. Well just tell me who is surprised? I’m not because the government have gone the difficult path of doing the right thing. something that is often rather unpopular. Its times like this that we learn the true calibre of our leaders. Perhaps its time for those who are cheering so loudly for Labor in the commentary should take a moment or two to consider just how we got to this place where a government has to bring down such a harsh and, lets be frank, unpopular budget.
That is exactly what happened. Rudd was worse than Whitlam. In the six years Labor was in government, the growth in Australia’s real federal expenditure was close to highest in the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development – even though Australia was a resource economy with a sturdy banking sector and no housing bubble, and thus not susceptible to the financial shock in the US and much of Europe.
It is difficult to move the macro-economic needle quickly in a $1.5 trillion economy that is the 12th largest in the world (larger than Spain, which has 47 million people). In 2009, Rudd managed to jolt the needle, ramping up federal spending as a percentage of GDP.
He was also more profligate than Julia Gillard and she was no prize, loading future budgets with the Gonski education program, the national disability insurance scheme and the multibillion asylum seeker debacle without seeming to have a Gonski about how it would all be paid for.
Now that the bills are coming due, neither Rudd nor Gillard are around. It is the morning after. The clean-up. The payment due date. And the demographic challenge has loomed into focus. So let’s not confuse who did the spending and who is having to pay.
It would also be remiss not to mention the supposed “crisis” in NSW. The people who instigated the current revelations about Liberal politicians, lobbyists and fund-raisers were a Liberal senator, Bill Heffernan, and a Liberal Party executive member, Holly Hughes. Not exactly a cover-up.
New South Wales has a new premier untouched by scandal. He has a thumping majority in Parliament and firm hand on the budget. The Independent Commission Against Corruption is doing its duty to the discomfort of both sides of politics, unhindered by political interference. Its work will lead to better governance of all political parties.
A clean-up is not a crisis. We’ve already had a false crisis and are about to pay for it.
Well I suppose it is incumbent upon me as the author here at a blog that is mostly about Australian politics to say something about last night’s budget. Up front I have to say that I have not read the original document or even watched the speech on the TV. I had other priorities last night. So instead I am going to respond to the summary written by the Guardian with what I think about the specifics enunciated there.
As leaked, it hits around 400,000 high-income earners with a three-year $3.1bn deficit levy and reaps a further $2.2bn by increasing petrol taxes in line with inflation.
The former will undoubtedly upset my more “economically dry” friends but I doubt that they will notice it beyond its existence as a line item from their accountants, most will not even notice unless they are obsessive about the amount of tax they pay. A rise in the tax on petrol will undoubtedly be noticed initially but soon forgotten by most people simply because the price of fuel has become so volatile anyway. Up here it jumped by nearly 20 cents a litre at Easter so I think this will soon become part of the economic background noise in our lives.
But the budget-night surprise was that much of the cash raised from cuts to benefits and tax rises is spent on the Coalition’s own priorities rather than on improving the budget bottom line, including a new $20bn medical research fund – to become the biggest in the world within six years – the Direct Action greenhouse emissions reduction fund and about $5bn in new roads funding.
Why that should surprise anyone is beyond me, Even in tough times a government wants to be seen to be capable of economic multitasking. That said who could complain about more money for medical research? Readers will recall that I would personally ditch, in its entirety, the Direct Action climate policy but in the absence of heeding my advice lets hope that there is the sort of secondary benefits from the spending that I have previously postulated, although I do remain sceptical that the scheme will deliver much for the nation.As a confirmed petrol head I welcome improvements to the road network and I also welcome the economic stimulus that the expenditure will bring.
Although the treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the aim of the pain was “budget repair” – a national effort in which Australians “fix the budget together” – he is not promising a surplus in the four years of the forward estimates, with a deficit of $2.8bn forecast for 2017-18: unemployment remains at 6% or higher for the next three, growth is almost unchanged and business investment is weakening.
Lets be thankful for that! I don’t think that I am alone in hoping that we never again see the false hope of a quick return to surplus trotted out in every one of Wayne Swan’s budgets .
Hockey conceded the government “could have gone harder” in paying down deficits, but said “it would have detracted from growth”.
Well we all know that its a balancing act between the need to pay down debt and not kill the economy in the process.
He denied his budget was the start of an “age of austerity”, saying he was in fact ushering in a new “age of opportunity”.
No surprise in trying to change the way that the budget will be perceived.
But for unemployed people under 30, this “age of opportunity” means waiting six months to get the dole, then receiving a payment only for six months and only if they work for it, and then losing the payment again for the next six months, during which a potential employers may get a wage subsidy.
Well this is a great deal tougher than I expected and I can see some individuals could very well suffer severe hardship under such a regime. On the other hand it will clearly incentivise those in this demographic to both accept any work that they can get and to try harder to please their employers to avoid losing their jobs in the first place. I can’t see how it could work in remote indigenous communities that have bugger all jobs though.
For sick people it means paying $7 for every visit to the doctor and every medical test – $5 of which will be invested in a new “medical research future fund” and $2 will be kept by the doctor or test provider, in part to help them waive the payment in cases of “genuine need”. The co-payment will stop after 10 medical payments for concession holders and children. The co-payment for medicines will also increase by $5.
Which means that those sick with concession cards will mostly still be able to see a doctor for free as they do now but I am less than impressed by the increase in co-payment for prescriptions which will almost double with the $5 increase. No more coffee shop stop for me when I get my drugs then :(
Hockey said the aim of the health changes was to “get the nation to invest in its own healthcare … and for people to accept personal responsibility for their own physical health.”
Most of us do this anyway
For students the new era means paying back a greater proportion of the cost of a degree, and this cost potentially rising as the higher education sector is deregulated – although government loans will be available for a wider range of courses.
I have repeatedly argued that tertiary education is rather over rated and if it is going to cost those who benefit from it more than they will certainly chose their courses with greater care and a consideration of its benefit to their future career. The important thing to keep in mind though is the generous and universal loans scheme means that greater costs will not restrict anyone from doing the course of their dreams no matter what their background may be.
For single-income families it means losing up to $73 per week a child in family tax benefit B payments once the bread winner earns more than $100,000 (rather than the current $150,000) and losing the payment when the youngest child turns six, rather than 18.
Who could object to cutting this? Anyone on 100K a year does not need this kind of benefit at all.
And government payments including family tax benefit, Medicare rebates and private health insurance rebates will be frozen, as will eligibility thresholds for receiving them – instead of rising in line with inflation – an idea Tony Abbott derided as “class warfare” when it was tentatively tried by the former Labor government.
Likewise a reasonable move.
Many disability pensioners under 35 will be “reassessed” and those with “some work capacity” forced to seek employment.
As I have suggested elsewhere this is a largely symbolic matter and that the vast majority of those DSP recipients who will be re-accessed will in fact found to still be compliant with the eligibility criteria which are pretty hard to meet anyway. As for work well it has to be there and suitable for the disabled and I have my doubts that many in this cohort will be able to find work.
But clearly hesitant to break an election promise that no changes would be made to the pension, the government has delayed paring back aged pensions until after the next federal poll.
What the government takes to the next poll will be judged by the people.
It is then proposing major changes – linking pension increases to inflation rather than average earnings, which will see their buying power decline over time compared with current arrangements, freezing the threshold for assets and income a pensioner can hold even though their value will rise over time, reducing the amount a pensioner can earn from their assets.
It seems to me that this is a reasonable change that brings the aged pension into line with the indexation of other government benefits. As for changes to the assets valuation well I’m undecided on that one.
The pension age will rise to 70 by 2035, but addressing criticism that older people often find it hard to get a job the government is offering a new wage subsidy to employers taking on a worker over 50 who has been unemployed for more than six months.
The subsidy will undoubtedly be welcomed by both small business and older job seekers and is to may mind far more significant than a raising of the pension age in twenty years time.
As I predicted in my last post this budget is not the horror that the pundits were suggesting it would be. Its certainly not perfect in every aspect and only time will tell if the assumptions and expectations that are at its heart will be correct. However one thing we can be sure of is that it has to be better than any of the flights of fantasy delivered by Wayne Swan that were inevitably entirely made of tat hope and bullshit. All big picture instruments like the federal budget are going to be like the curates egg “good in parts” and at this one will be no exception there certainly are some parts that are a bit off smelling but on the whole its seems to be quite reasonable given the mess that we inherited from Labor.
Despite my Re-blogging of Yale’s Clive Palmer post and my, well, less than complementary assessment of the fat man it seems that of he is true to his word he may just be able to Save the Abbott government from itself by preventing the creation of the expensive and pointless “direct action ” climate policy .
Clive Palmer has declared the Abbott government’s Direct Action policy is “dead”, saying his Palmer United Party will use its numbers in the Senate to block the Coalition’s policy to replace the carbon tax.
Mr Palmer said on Monday the controversial policy, which aims to reduce emissions largely through payments to businesses, was “hopeless” and would be “gone” if his party, Labor and the Greens all vote against it, as they have previously indicated.
“It’s goodbye Direct Action,” Mr Palmer told Fairfax Media.
Mr Palmer had said earlier in the day he would not support Direct Action if the Abbott government made any changes to the pension, in light of
growing speculation that there are plans to raise the pension age to 70 and tighten eligibility requirements.
But on Monday afternoon Mr Palmer went a step further and said there would not be any circumstance in which his party would vote for Direct Action.
The government plans to spend up to $1.55 billion over the next three years on the scheme, but several senior economists have questioned whether Direct Action can meet its emissions reduction target of 5 per cent by 2020 with that budget.
Mr Palmer said the policy did not make economic sense and questioned whether it would have any environmental effect.
“We can’t see any reason to vote for Direct Action,” Mr Palmer said.
“We think it’s hopeless.”
The green religion is worse than the Spanish inquisition #qanda.
— Iain Hall (@theiainhall) April 21, 2014
Its a nice bit of sport for a Monday night Comrades
Palmer is a clown, not your happy go-lucky circus clown though, more like the sort of evil clown envisioned by Stephen King in his novel “It” he is also as you suggest like a spoilt brat who throws tantrums when he does not get what he wants . Sadly for this country I think that he is like a bigger fatter and far more ugly version of Pauline Hansen and he is going for precisely the same disaffected voting demographic the truly tragic thing is that he has the cash to make more headway than One Nation ever could have done. The only thing that could truly stop palmer is his very obvious obesity and the high possibility that he will not live to a ripe old age. We can be sure that if Palmer himself carks it the “party” he created will likewise quickly evaporate.
None the less there is always the possibility that those elected to the senate on his ticket may not be as compliant once they actually take up their seats. I saw Jackie Lambie on Q& A the other week and she struck me as the sort of woman who will not meekly vote as Clive says she is no Ex footballer who will have more loyalty than good sense and it only takes one of his upper house crew to break-ranks and the Palmer chimera will disintegrate no matter how much money he throws into the game.
That all said there is still a possibility that Shorten may man up and stop blocking the government’s repeal of both the mining and carbon taxes which would be smart politics from Labor. By finally capitulating and letting the bills pass they will show that they respect the mandate of the last election and they can argue that they did not just roll over like a dog. Further they can take the focus off the stupidity of both the Greens and Palmer and remind the people that it is they, and not the silly and extremist minor parties who are the potential alternative government. Frankly Labor needs to have more skin in the game of politics and they should be doing everything they can to make the minors irrelevant.
Ok well that’s what I think and maybe I’m dead wrong or only partially right but one thing that I know is that Tony Abbott will not be led like a sheep by Clive’s antics. He has amply demonstrated that he is a far better player at the game of politics and I think that we will find that once the new senate sits that Palmer will not be the king-maker as he imagines himself to be, instead he will earn nothing but derision and well deserved scorn.
Cheers Comrade Yale
Originally posted on The Red And The Blue:
One reality of politics that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that the people who most loudly profess disgust with the political process — and with the Liberal and Labor parties in particular — are also mostly those who couldn’t be bothered joining a political party in an attempt to have some input into the process, let alone bother to avail themselves of the finer details of issues or to look beyond the spin (that Labor especially peddles) in which their outrage comes ready-packaged (which is…
View original 1,721 more words
Well now the mother of all by-elections is all over bar the shouting (and counting, assuming that its not stuffed up again) its good to see the leader of the opposition moving to reform the ALP to better reflect the diminished standing of the union movement in Australian society. The requirement that someone who wants to join the Labor party has to also be a financial member of a union is an anachronism that has surely been putting off a lot of people who might otherwise join the party. Now as much as I dislike the ALP as it is currently constituted and the polices that it pursues I do recognise the need for there to be a viable yin to the LNP’s yang and as the Greens are too loopy to be let anywhere near the levers of government a viable ALP is the best option and for them to be viable they need to be more reflective of the people that they purport to represent. So after Ray has picked himself up after discovering me writing something positive about Electricity Bill Shorten I’m sure that we will be in agreement that making Labor party membership easier and cheaper will be a good for the political landscape of this country.