Friday 6 January 2017
1 Malcolm Turnbull made a statement similar to my headline, I think on Q&A when, before he became Prime Minister, he was espousing virtuous platitudes of political niceties that got him rave reviews for his generosity of spirit.
And since then he has often repeated the same reflection.
“Fairness is absolutely critical” he said recently.
But the truth is that this generosity of spirit has not been evidenced by his Government’s actions.
Richard Denniss in a piece for The Guardian makes the point that in the current debate about Centerlink recouping overpayments from Welfare recipients that “billionaires get more leeway than vulnerable citizens”.
On top of that there seems to be no fairness when MPs use the living away from home allowance to pay for homes through negative gearing or claim expenses that in the private sector would invite dismissal. They fly willy nilly across the country attending weddings, sporting occasions etc at the public’s expense as though it’s a God-given right.
How many Government MPs, including former ones, could provide paperwork for 6-year-old travel allowance claims?
Yet the poor old welfare recipient is confronted with a letter of retrospective demand decided by and based on a computer algorithm that suggests they might have been overpaid. They have even placed the onus of proof on the citizen many years after the fact. And it’s a liberal Government.
I’m not arguing that it may well be the case that “some” are overpaid. My beef is with the fairness aspect.
Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie has, after receiving more than 100 complaints (including from four people who were suicidal) has suggested that the system be put on hold pending an inquiry.
It is a form of class warfare and it’s the right that are fighting it not the left.
Then they argue as Denniss says that:
“Like the economic modelling used to argue that a $50bn tax cut for big business is the best way to boost the wages of low paid workers, the data matching algorithm used by Centrelink to identify “overpayment” is only as accurate as the assumptions and data it relies on. As the old adage says: garbage in, garbage out.”
The Government argues that they need to cut spending but never look beyond one sector to do so. Unlike Pink Batts they can’t blame Labor for this one. Their default excuse of blaming Labor for everything after they have been in Government for 4 long years is not going to work.
Then Senator David Leyonhjelm who seems to know anything and everything about anything and gets ample media space to opine about it suggests that anyone on a pension shouldn’t be proud of it and that people should give up wanting one.
OMG, spare me.
I have even read on social media that Centrelink is advising those in distress to contact Lifeline. However I cannot vouch for the veracity of it.
Yes, Malcolm, “Fairness is absolutely critical”.
2 So far the 17 appointees to Trump’s Cabinet have more wealth between them than the bottom 43 million Americans.
3 What a start to the year. Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne has issued a statement about Indonesia’s decision to suspend military co-operation with Australia. According to Payne, suspension applies only to certain areas of defence cooperation between the two countries but Indonesian armed forces spokesman Major General Wuryanto said all forms of cooperation had been suspended. Wuryanto stated technical reasons were behind the suspension.
As usual the Governments transparency is about as good as its fairness.
4 No doubt we have a pro coal Government. With the Coalition considering a $1 billion loan for Adani’s coal mine project in central Queensland they are coming out all guns firing against environmentalists. It’s just a pity that the planet takes second place all the time.
5 According to Conservative Commentator Judith Sloan the Prime Ministers report card looks a bit sad. She reckons his efforts in public policy development are unsatisfactory. Little progress has been made in reforming industrial relations, education, health, and energy in the past 12 months. It is particularly disappointing that the Federal Government did not respond to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report on the workplace relations regulatory regime.
6 Now I have a gripe. I have always argued that we should have some sort of test for MPs. Something that tells us their suitability or otherwise to represent us in the parliament. For example we have a government with degrees from the best learning institutions in the world yet they are seem incapable of good day-to-day governance. Maybe they need more experience in the real world perhaps.
More empathy in Government maybe. Whatever? So my question is if all that education doesn’t make them better citizens, unable to govern the country? Why does Peter Dutton think that by changing the citizenship test to make it tougher he will end up with better citizens?
What makes him think that the standard of Australian citizenship the Prime Minister and his government sets is any better than that of those seeking to become citizens?
7 Donald Trump on Climate Change:
“I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows … Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast. I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch.”
My thought for the day.
“You see now he is saying that what I thought he said is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. That when he says something and I take it to mean one thing he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all. It was only my interpretation of what he meant .I mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really what he meant.”
Well that’s politics.
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