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The desire to reform welfare could become Tony Abbotts’ “Gimpchoices”

destiny-wheelchair

While i don’t want to dismiss the angst I see in the commentary on the Welfare review lets keep a couple of things in perspective here, firstly no matter how much the government may want to do any of the things that make up the sum of all of the fears expressed here they do not have the senate and those with the balance of power there are not going to be able to pass the  enabling legislation  to change very much of the status quo.

Secondly one thing that the review is right about is that the current welfare  system is very complicated and confusing both for those who now rely on it for their sustenance and for those who have to administer it.  Further to that there is the popular myth that getting on to the DSP is in any sense easy or that it is subject to a great deal of fraud. Frankly if this government were to find savings with better administration and simpler process without hurting any of the vulnerable I don’t think anyone would object. Given   the senate we have now I do expect some changes in the way that the department is run are very likely  to eventuate rather than this government doing to the disabled what Gillard did to single mothers .

On the matter of encouraging work, well its fine in principle but I find it difficult to believe that there is even enough unpaid volunteer work to viably engage  very many of the disabled especially when you consider the extra support that many of the disabled would need to be able to work at all. So if you are starting form a purely economic point of view it may well be that the cost of forcing or coercing  the “unwilling” disabled to “work” is far greater than the value of the work that they may be able to do. Further to this there has been no consideration of the contributions that so many disabled people make to their families and communities. Things like the child care and good old domestic duties that they do for their families and the contributions that they already make to their communities  with their involvement in a great deal of volunteering. Of course much of this is totally invisible to the general public who sadly think that  shows like “Housos ” is reality TV rather than greatly exaggerated satire. There certainly has to have  been  some fraud because  no system of welfare  can be immune to it. But there are enough checks and balances that make it less common than some would have us believe.

Taking that all on board I can’t help but think that this whole thing is a very big ambit claim because the government must know that they will not get the sort of changes that are mooted here through the senate so I think that their end game here  has to be to seek simpler and less expensive ways to administer the welfare system  while minimizing the possibility of having to run a gauntlet angry   starving cripples on the way to the next election,  because if they don’t tread lightly here  then the desire to reform welfare could become Tony Abbotts’  “Gimpchoices”  that sees their much needed tenure in the lodge cut short .

Cheers Comrades

Even a gimpy dog can have its day

Even a gimpy dog can have its day

On a wing and a prayer

Some say that Qantas’s woes are due to global economic circumstances others will insist that its poor leadership from Alan Joyce as their CEO Personally I say that both factors are right up there along with my personal favourite , namely that the era of cheap air travel will not last or be at all enduring, it has only existed this long because so many governments have, for political reasons and a desire to enhance national prestige been propping up so many airlines.  Essentially air travel has been heavily subsidised and no that this country has a government who won’t play the same game it hardly surprising that Qantas  is in such a dire circumstance. With that in mind lets consider the Union response as reported in the Fairfax press.

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Street marches? Digging their heels in? Do these dinosaurs understand nothing of reality? What it boils down to here is the simple reality that the choice is to have a far leaner Qantas  or no Qantas at all  and it would not matter a damn how many street marches they have  the public are just no longer buying into this kind of stupid industrial campaign and no matter how much the usual suspects will insist that we should keep the jobs in Australia their rhetoric is not matched by their credit cards when it comes to their own air travel. Oh its easy to propagate a sort of aviation jingoism about Qantas but if the flying public don’t vote with their bums and chose Qantas above the other purveyors of high altitude near death experiences then the company won’t be able to make a quid and if the company can’t make a quid then the protesting unionists may was well move their protests to their nearest Centerlink office.

On a wing and a prayer Comrades

The spitfire certainly is an elegant looking aircraft

The spitfire certainly is an elegant looking aircraft

Heroes? Yeah we all admire heroes or, The loneliness of the long distance swimmer, Ian Thorpe

Its no secret that I am far less than keen on any sort of sport, I can see its sociological value as a surrogate for war and for its participants it provides a way to channel their inner warrior but in this age of the professional athlete it also has a tendency to suck up some young people into the maelstrom of fame  and unbridled adulation entirely bereft of  very much humility and on top of that many of the particular sports are incredibly wearing on young bodies never really designed to be so focused on the choreography of “scientific” training. Thus in some sports an athlete is burned out by the time they are truly adults. Add to this the seductive song of fickle  adulation and you have a heady brew that would be despised  as much as tobacco products were it not for the fact that the gurus of the sports industry want very much to foster the notion that sport is good for you and a harbinger of good health.

Which brings me to Ian Thorpe, now in rehab with depression:

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The thing about swimming is that it would have to be one of the most mind numbingly boring sporting pursuits out there, spending hours after hour watching the black line on the pool floor would be enough to do anyone’s head in. I suspect though that its more about a lack of direction in and very high expectations upon the shoulders of this young man that may have precipitated his troubles.

So in the end I just have to put the obvious question. Can “sport” really be that good for anyone if it takes fine young men and women wastes their youth on essentially useless activities, like swimming up and down a concrete puddle, imbues them with the hubris and adulation of being “champions” and then spits them on the scrapheap with no ability to do something else in their lives by the time they  are thirty…

What does being a sporting hero  really mean  Comrades?

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Warning: escaped inner lefty at large

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The begging bowl never enhances the look of any business and the SPC bid for government money certainly strikes me as a bit of underhanded blackmail. and what is especially galling is that the parent c0mpany Coca Cola Amatil  are far from short of a quid themselves. To be honest the driving force here is the foolishness of allowing unfettered imports of cheap  product because it enhances the profits of the supermarkets. As the family shopper I make a special effort to avoid foreign produce and imported canned and preserved fruit but when you see the price differential its hardly surprising that many shoppers are less discerning that I am.

I know that this may horrify some of my conservative friends but it seems to me that this whole saga is a very good argument for grower’s cooperatives running canning companies to preserve and market their produce.  Its also a damn good argument for  tariffs imposed upon all agricultural produce that we ourselves grow.

In another example of shopping sadness the butcher shop that I have been patronising for nearly thirty years is to be either sold or closed within the next 12 weeks and I am less than pleased about the prospect. Angus and Tom have been great examples of the perfect store keepers with well priced quality product and exemplary service to their customers. Its the very old story of a shopping mall management greedily charging outrageous rents and greedy adjacent  supermarkets (Aldi and Coles) selling packaged meat at below cost prices. If they can find a buyer they will sell the goodwill but if they can’t then they will walk away. I know that that is the reality of free enterprise but I can’t help but think that its a far from attractive reality.

Strewth, looking back on this post  I think my inner lefty has escaped! Now that is a real worry!

Cheers Comrades

As things go from bad to worse in Libya...

A Great deal of blood on the hands of Brother Number One

The thing about apologies is that they can not undo the serious consequences for which they express contrition. Now where is this more so than in the case of the fatal results of Brother Number One’s Pink Batts fiasco:

blood on his hands

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“In each case the employer should have recognised that roof spaces are inherently dangerous places to work and they should have had in place reliable systems to effectively manage that risk,” Mr Barnes said.
“Three people died because that didn’t happen with the three registered installers.”
State Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the men “lost their lives because of a chaotic, rushed and underdone” Federal Government policy, and blamed Mr Rudd.
“Kevin Rudd took ownership of the scheme under his first prime ministership, and the responsibility should lie with him,” Mr Bleijie said.
“These tragedies were preventable. In April 2009, Queensland’s Building Services Authority warned the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet about the risks but it never responded.

The coroner’s report is   incredibly damning of the federal government and its role in the design of the scheme and its something that we critics of  Brother Number One have been saying  ever since these three young men were so tragically killed. Of course we have had the usual excuses made about it being the responsibility of the States to regulate the building industry but such nonsense has no currency with the families of these three young men who will never recover form their tragic and unnecessary loss. So when you see or hear Brother Number One makeing his insincere apology don’t be swayed towards the excuses and Labor party spin. instead remember that  it was a panicked  Kevin Rudd who created the fatal scheme and it is a desperate Kevin Rudd who now just hopes that this issue will go away so that he can play his game of spin.

We, the voters, should instead remind the erstwhile Brother Number One time and time again that his decisions have cost lives in the roofs of our houses we lost fine young Australians and on the seas to our north Brother Number One has to be held responsible for the deaths of an unknown number of “asylum seekers” as well.  Strangely enough he is apologizing for that as well. Surely there has to be a point beyond which such empty apologies are an insult to both the dead and those who grieve for them and I for one think that Kevin Rudd is well past that point.

With respect for the dead Comrades.

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes and Mitchell Sweeney.

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes and Mitchell Sweeney.

The first of many?

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When a party faces the big fall of electoral grace from holding the treasury benches to the desolation and  wilderness of opposition its hardly surprising that old lags who don’t have the stomach for another bid will resign before the fateful poll that they know will end the careers of so many of their fellows. We saw a whole slew of Queensland  Labor members announce that they would not be re-contesting  before Labor suffered the Blight of Anna. Which leads me to the point of this post which is to wonder how many Labor Lags will follow Martin’s lead and step aside before the poll? To be frank  it is a horrible task to campaign when the voters are so disgusted with Labor.   So  I also wonder if Labor will even be able to get candidates  for every seat this time…

The ship is sinking and the rats are putting on their life jackets…

Cheers Comrades

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If Gonski is the answer what is the question again?

The Gonski agenda is core business to rebuild Gillard's personal profile. During the next month she has the chance to alter the atmospherics with the Easter break, an official visit to China and the Gonski deal. There is one certainty -- a Gillard media onslaught next month focused on her ability to deliver. If she cannot do a street walk she can still attend plenty of schools.Gillard's remarks yesterday betrayed her huge reliance on the Gonski agenda to salvage her fortunes. She comes with buckets of hope and swinging a big stick. Gillard told the premiers they must "stop the cutbacks" on school funds, demanded they apply an annual indexation factor for schools of at least 3 per cent, tied Gonski to her Asian Century plan of expanded opportunity and repeated her aim that Australia by 2025 penetrate the top five school systems in the world.Gillard sees education as her strength. Her record, however, is far more dubious. It is vital that this debate be focused on results, not just financial inputs. Gillard must be forced to explain how her policies and funds will change classroom culture and arrest the documented Australian decline in standards when significant funding increases in past years have been linked with falling quality. (click for source)

The Gonski agenda is core business to rebuild Gillard’s personal profile. During the next month she has the chance to alter the atmospherics with the Easter break, an official visit to China and the Gonski deal. There is one certainty — a Gillard media onslaught next month focused on her ability to deliver. If she cannot do a street walk she can still attend plenty of schools.
Gillard’s remarks yesterday betrayed her huge reliance on the Gonski agenda to salvage her fortunes. She comes with buckets of hope and swinging a big stick. Gillard told the premiers they must “stop the cutbacks” on school funds, demanded they apply an annual indexation factor for schools of at least 3 per cent, tied Gonski to her Asian Century plan of expanded opportunity and repeated her aim that Australia by 2025 penetrate the top five school systems in the world.
Gillard sees education as her strength. Her record, however, is far more dubious. It is vital that this debate be focused on results, not just financial inputs. Gillard must be forced to explain how her policies and funds will change classroom culture and arrest the documented Australian decline in standards when significant funding increases in past years have been linked with falling quality. (click for source)

Beware of the pork when it is promised for delivery after September 14 and take with a very large grain of salt  any promises made in the next  budget because the underlying assumption inherent in any Labor promises no matter how grand or generous,  that they will be around to deliver on them is not to be believed by anyone with this in mind I am rather cynical about the so called Gonski reforms.  In particular I object to the drivel preached in the TV adds sponsored by the teachers union that suggest that if only more money is spent  on special attention for those children struggling with literacy then they will “get it” and magically become successful at their studies.

To my mind its just a total denial of the reality that not every child can be a great scholar.   No amount of money and special  coaching will  change that simple fact. Its obvious to me that what Gillard is trying to do is butter up the parents of those underachieving students with the false hope that Labor can buy their children academic adequacy. Add to that the inherent politics of envy that sees so many socialists resenting the fact that many parents choose to send their children and that those parents are just as entitled as the poorest of the poor to expect some government contribution towards the education of their children.  It all adds up to a flurry of half truths and false hopes of academic excellence from all sides of the political spectrum.

Why False hopes you may ask?

Well no matter how much we help the prospects of those who are “lagging”, no matter how much we try to leave none behind there will still be  a world out there where every member of the next generation will have to compete with  for their place in the economic machine. No amount of delusional dodo race thinking, so beloved of the left, is going to help the children of today compete in the economy of tomorrow.  All that will be achieved at a social level by spending ever more on educating our young people will be an ever expanding education industry  and the goal posts for entry into  every job or profession moving ever further away.

Cheers Comrades

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So will today be the Gillardageddon?

According to some pundits in the press today is likely to be the high noon moment for the Gillard Regime and the resurrection of Brother  Number One well personally I don’t know its certainly possible but I can’t help thinking that the internal animosities within the party might just prove to be irreconcilable. The Daily Telegraph  reports on a piece of information control that kept the news of  Rudd favourable polling away from the caucus just before the knives were pulled on Brother Number One.

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Its a story that would have made Machiavelli proud and one can imagine about way the Gillard coup plotters sought to control this crucial bit of information and just how relieved that they were to know that their efforts were successful. Then again its quite amazing that none of the caucus thought to ask just why a whole swag of party polling was suddenly cancelled at just the point in time when it was Rudd’s fall from grace with the voters that was the claimed reason for the sharpening of knives.

Labor have even further blotted their copy book with the rather heartless move against those single mums and even a committee that they head is saying so:

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Even the most heartless conservative can not fail to recognise the political madness of this so called “cost saving” measure. You can bet with great certainty that every one of those single parents will not be voting for Labor this time around and once people switch their vote it takes a great deal more incentive for them to return to the fold than it took to lose them in the first place. Its a whole lot of political injury for the party to save a few bucks. Worse still it makes a mockery of Labor’s claim to be “for” the disadvantaged in our community. If they wanted to save money that is well and truly wasted they should have abolished all of the “Clean Energy Future ” nonsense instead. That would save many billions more that the “savings” of this measure and on top of that it would have played better with the middle ground voters who have been crossing the political street to vote for Tony Abbott in droves.
As I see it the tragedy of the modern Labor party is that they have tried, without any benefit, to court the loopy left constituency which is far smaller and of course they can’t go too far in that direction without alienating the centre from which they are bleeding an ever increasing number of voters straight to the coalition. Their problem though is that those who slip into the loving embrace of the Greens tend to preference Labor but those who go to the Coalition will not return the same secondary benefit to the ALP. Am I the only one who can see the inherent problem in this  strategy here for Labor?

The new ALP HQ for the next decade or so

The new ALP HQ for the next decade or so

So will today be the Gillardageddon? I don’t know for sure but its shaping up that way and if it is I suspect that we will be going to the polls well before Sept 14. As a resurgent Rudd will seek to capitalise on any honeymoon period to maximise his chances of making a good showing in the final result. It will all be too little too late for the ALP who have utterly trashed their own reputation with such skill and acuity that a conspiracy theorist would be insisting that the party must have been infiltrated by agents of the Coalition. Back in the real world though  we can see that what has killed the Labor party has been two things firstly they have failed to keep pace with the changes to the demographics  of our society. No longer is there a vast cohort of low and semi skilled labourers who are amenable to the message of socialism and “worker solidarity” we have moved on form that to being a country were more workers are highly skilled and many are contractors or sell their Labor via their own small businesses. To these men and women  the union dominated Labor party are like a lumbering sauropod , a lumbering dinosaur that is out of its time and place in the current environment. Secondly they have lost sight of just how corrosive their own archaic internal processes are to their public image. I think that it will be a near fatal combination at the next election and that it will be the reason that The ALP will take up residence in the wilderness for a very long time.

Cheers Comrades

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Pulled from both the left and the right the beast is sure to fall.

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