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Janet Albrechtsen and Auntie

Janet Albrechtsen.

Janet Albrechtsen.

The Abbott government has appointed conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen and former deputy Liberal Party leader Neil Brown to the panel overseeing appointments to the boards of the ABC and SBS.

The four-person nomination panel, which is appointed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, presents a shortlist of recommendations to the government when vacant ABC and SBS board positions arise.

Dr Albrechtsen and Mr Brown will serve alongside businessman David Gonski and former diplomat Ric Smith, whose terms expire next year.

Labor introduced a merit-based appointment process in 2011, which was aimed at depoliticising the ABC and SBS boards.

SBS has two vacant board positions – including the position of chairman – and the ABC has one vacant position.

Dr Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian and former lawyer, has previously derided the ABC as a “Soviet-style workers collective”.

She was appointed to the ABC board by the Howard government and she served on it from 2005 to 2010.

In November, Dr Albrechtsen called for ABC managing director Mark Scott to resign for airing stories based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden about Australian intelligence operations in Indonesia.

Mr Brown, a former Victorian Liberal MP, served as deputy Liberal leader under John Howard in opposition and as the communications minister and minister for business and consumer affairs in the Fraser government.

Call me a politics tragic if  you like but I could not help finding this to be a promise of rancor to come because I can’t help but expect that there will be a whole stampede of our friends form the left who are going to be having kittens about the thought of Janet Albrechtsen having a big say in the selection of boards of both the ABC and SBS. Heaven help us if the result was boards that did not lean so far  to the left…
Cheers Comrades

Oh Joe, you might have just blown it

(Reproduced from my home blog Alpine Opinion)

Oops, there goes the over-55's vote.

“We need to compare ourselves with our Asian neighbours, where the entitlements programs of the state are far less than they are in Australia”

Every political party has ’em. Jovial looking big boys of wide-girth whose demeanour and sales pitch more resembles that of the used car salesman than a parliamentarian. Blokes who shoot their mouths off. Who talk first and think later, or don’t even think at all.

The ALP has one but he’s a back bencher and I can’t even think of his name. You know, the largish chap with the beard who’s no fan of the carbon tax but who Gillard manages to keep out of the spotlight.

The Nats have one too, albeit not-so-large, in Barnaby Joyce. He doesn’t do a lot of real damage either, even though he gets confused between millions and billions, because most people think Barnaby is half-pissed most of the time.

As for the Liberals though, well they’ve got the biggest buffoon of all and, worse still, he’s their Shadow Treasurer meaning, potentially, he will hold the purse strings of the nation and the second highest office in the land if Abbott wins the next election. His name is Joe Hockey of course.

And ‘Big Joe’ might have dealt a serious blow to Abbott’s election hopes with his big-noting address in London titled ‘The End of the Age of Entitlement’ followed by his foot-in-mouth (but revealing) interview on Lateline where he foreshadowed his party’s plans to “scale back the size of its welfare bill” if they are elected :

“We are all living longer, and the longer we rely on government handouts, the greater the burden for taxpayers and particularly those that follow,” he told Lateline.

“We need to be vigilant. We need to compare ourselves with our Asian neighbours, where the entitlements programs of the state are far less than they are in Australia.

“If we talk about the Asian century … then the Asian countries are our competition, our children’s competition.

“Hong Kong is our direct competition, as is Singapore, as is Korea in different ways, Vietnam, Indonesia.”

Hmm, Hong Kong, Joe? Where they have a top tax rate of just 17% benefitting the top-end, but where they also have no welfare safety net whatsoever – i.e. no old age pensions. Is that the type of system you want to model Australia’s future on?

Maybe so ….

When you look at Europe in particular, and France in particular, nearly 30 per cent of GDP is going towards public welfare and health care and pension costs. “That compares with other countries in Europe which are between 20 and 30 per cent. Australia is at 16 per cent, Korea at about 10 per cent. So, obviously the age of entitlement is coming to an end because governments are running out of money and the debt is now crippling governments.”

So our welfare at only 16% of GDP is too high, Joe? And you’d like it to be closer to the likes of Korea? Tell me, Joe, will you need an old-age pension when you retire? No, of course not – you’ll be on a fat parliamentary pension of about $250,000 per year for life!

You know, I reckon the quickest way to lose a massive amount of voter support is to do exactly as Joe has done – to threaten older people with their loss of ‘entitlement’. Well done, Joe – you just shot your own party right in the foot.

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