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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 .
During the course of the last government we saw the rather unedifying spectacle of the Labor party trying very hard to distract attention from its failings by letting the polity be distracted by the Greens long held desire to change the marriage act. With all kinds of silliness we saw MPs asked to consult with their constituents about their feelings on the subject we saw several doomed to fail private members bills presented to the parliament and we saw the Canberra town council try to create same sex marriage in their jurisdiction even though they knew that their efforts would be quickly torn down by the high court. So it should surprise no one that the high court has in fact ruled that the whole edifice created by the Canberra Town council is null and void.
The problem with political stunt flying is that those sort of aircraft are bound to come back to earth with a very unpleasant crash and sadly people get hurt. Some how I think that the sad Gay couples pictured in the Canberra Times’ picture gallery will direct all of their angst at the wrong players in this bit of legal theater. They will undoubtedly blame the current government instead of both the Labor party and the Greens who gave them such false hope that there is any substantive mood for change of the Marriage act in the Australian polity. At best its a fringe issue a long way down the political agenda of most people. The general public are more than OK with homosexuality per se I would venture that the reforms to various acts to remove discrimination against same couples made by Labor under Rudd is generally endorsed and that within the greater Australian community* being Gay is of no more consequence than having a particular hair colour. That is something to give ourselves a collective pat on the back for but Gay marriage? Forget it, its not going to happen in this country any time soon because there are far more pressing fish to fry than the vanities of that small proportion of the community who bat for the other team.
*Our Islamic community is a notable dissenter when it comes to social acceptance of homosexuality within our society and that the Koran insists that being Gay is a capital offense.
If there there is one virtue in the sacerdotal tradition of the Catholic Church that I really admire its the humility and piety that has been exhibited by the new pontiff in his refusal to take up the ostentatious trappings of his high office. not for him are the palatial apartments in the Vatican, not even the fancy red shoes are important to Francis. I was actually unsurprised that our new PM Tony Abbott is following the same example in his choice of digs while the lodge is being renovated and even more surprised that some media commemorators from the Left like Radio National‘s Fran Kelly should be tut tutting that (and I paraphrase) “Abbott should be seeking accommodation more in keeping with the dignity of his high office” .Call me an idealist but I would have thought that a true socialist would be applauding the simple workman like piety on show here. This along with Julie Bishop‘s decision to travel business class for her official duties as Foreign Minister really seems to be striking the right tone for an incoming Abbott Government.
The lesson of history has been that socialists like Fran Kelly, Gillard and Rudd are often the biggest fans of forelock tugging deference to our elected officials even though you would expect their ideology to be endorsing the clear humility of both the Holy Father and our New PM (elect), yet if they did then they would have to explain or justify the love of the good life exhibited by the last two and a half Labor PM’s…
There would be something truly delicious if the the New Again Dear Leader were to lose his own seat on September 7 as polling in the Guardian suggests is possible:
I would think that If I were an elector in Griffith I would be mighty pissed off about Rudd failing to front up to a candidates debate in his own electorate. It shows rather disgusting arrogance and its proof that he is taking the voters in his own seat entirely for granted and if there is one thing that turns voters off its being taken for granted, Then again this could be a calculated effort from the New Again Dear Leader to deliberately loses his own seat so that he would not have to resign after the landslide. That is a scenario that I would not doubt knowing the practice that our New Again Dear Leader has had over the last three years he spent undermining Gillard. Rudd is a one man conspiracy and his whole strategy has been about his ego and what could be more humiliation for the New Again Dear Leader than losing the election and retaining his seat? The upside of him losing his seat would be a large saving to the tax payer as a by election would not be necessary…
Hopefully the New Again Dear Leader’s snub will be enough to make that saving and we will finally be rid of this loathsome man and his over inflated ego.
- Kevin Rudd trails in his own seat in shock poll finding for Labor (theguardian.com)
- Three smoke trails from Kevin 747 (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Rudd could lose his own seat: poll (smh.com.au)
- Poll shows Rudd could lose own seat of Griffith (australiantimes.co.uk)
- ‘Selfie’ absorbed Rudd wearing thin (smh.com.au)
- Rudd Election Defeat Looms as Polls Show Abbott Gains (bloomberg.com)
- Australia rivals in second debate (bbc.co.uk)
A week is a long time in politics and no one can be unaware that over the last few days the new again Dear Leader has had some rather mixed blessings , in the first instance he has made that rather audacious agreement with PNG that has been largely lauded as being something that might work. However we have also had the riot and extensive damage of the facility on Nauru which has caused about 60 million bucks worth of damage, with the sort of bad press that Labor has received for years on the “asylum seeker issue the latter does very much take the shine off the former which is starting to show a few cracks anyway as PNG now insists that it will only resettle those who are formally accepted as refugees:
PNG made it clear over the weekend that it was willing to resettle asylum-seekers who were given refugee status but would not do so for those who fail that test, keeping them in detention if no other countries agreed to accept them. The approach could breach the capacity of the Manus Island detention centre within weeks given the current rate of boat arrivals if Labor’s plan does not quickly curtail the people-smugglers’ trade.
So despite some indication that the Rudd scheme may be an effective deterrent its success is far from being a done deal. That said we should not EVER forget that it was Rudd himself who created the problem in the first place with is ill fated decision to change from the successful Howard model in 2008. Some how I don’t think that Rudd’s culpability will be as easily forgotten as Labor hopes.
The changes to the way that leadership of the parliamentary party is decided looks likely to be waved through the caucus as well which has to count as a win for the new again Dear Leader but I personally can’t see what has been proposed being a long term benefit to the party. While it may well make it harder to achieve a coup while the party is in government it also means that the party will be less able to change its leader in the face of incompetence or leadership failure which means that someone as bad as Gillard will be virtually non removable apart from electoral defeat or being encouraged to resign “for the good of the party”. Like a lot of “progressive” ideas it sounds good in principle but I can’t help thinking that a rule change like this one could end up doing more harm than good .
which brings us around to the reason for all of the frenetic efforts from the new again Dear Leader, namely the desire to be in the best possible position to call the election. The latest scuttle-butt suggests August 31 barely a fortnight sooner than Gillard’s mooted September 13 but light years away from her utterly hopeless position:
Thus we find that Labor, instead of giving us the needed concrete changes prior to the election offer us three illusions. Firstly that they have changed the Carbon tax when they can not get their changes through the parliament. Secondly they are set to make the leadership more difficult to change which has to mean that a bad leader can endure well past their use-by date and finally they are giving the us the illusion that they have found a s9olution to the boats with the less than rock solid deal with PNG.
As I see it the honeymoon is all but over for Rudd and that things can only get worse from here on in because already the contrast between the new again Dear leader and his predecessor are fading fast. Personal popularity of its Dear leader won’t save Labor from the consequences of its misrule over the last six years and while they may loose fewer seats than they would have under Gillard I still can’t see them winning the election either.