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The Budget And Malcolm’s Comeback!

When Malcolm Turnbull took over the leadership, he promised an end to the three word slogans… “No more slogans,” he told us, completely ignoring the irony of using three words in a statement that sounded suspiciously like a slogan.

But he did have a point. The public had grown cynical about the proliferation of the way the Abbott government seemed to equate repeating a catch-phrase like “Axe the Tax”, “Stop the Boats”, “Repay the Debt”, or “Stop the Waste” with actually solving the problem. And let’s not forget that the famous jobs and growth first appeared under Tony… Well, actually it was one of George W. Bush’s campaign slogans, but as with “Change and continuity” we like borrowing from the USA, even if we’re borrowing from something that’s a satiric comment on the world of politics… I mean, “VEEP” btw, although you can please yourself when it comes to George W.

Anyway, as we approach the Federal Budget, which the Treasurer tells us is not about politics, the official leaks and unofficial leaks seem to be an attempt to position Malcolm’s Mob as something other than an out-of-touch bunch of refugees from the early twentieth century… Sorry, that should be “illegal immigrants” because they arrived in this century without permission.

For starters, we’re going to go a long way towards putting the Budget back into surplus by changing the way we think about debt. Taking a leaf from the Scott Morrison’s book, I’ve informed my wife that – by ignoring out mortgage and only considering the repayments, we’ll be debt free by the end of the month, once we’ve paid off that credit card that we – and Labor governments – are always putting things on.

Then we’ve got a funding boost of about $300 million to the AFP to fight terrorism. I notice that they’re not using the same criteria that they’d previously argued on education: Just throwing money at the problem doesn’t work, so let’s cut funding.

But we’re also suddenly seeing an increase in education spending. With the proviso that we make sure it’s well spent, of course. And, of course, there’s no such proviso for the extra funding for the AFP. When I say “education”, I’m only refering to schools, because universities and university students have had it far too good for so long.

We’re going to help first home buyers, by enabling them to salary sacrifice to save, thereby building a deposit faster and ensuring that they’re able to pay higher prices so that the property portfolios of the Cabinet don’t take a dramatic hit.

There’s talk of a bank levy to provide for the victims of dodgy financial practices. The banks are suitably outraged. Who do these victims think they are? Wall Street financiers?

And we’re going to get rid of some of the nasty measures still hanging around from “The Hockey Horror Show” such as the four week wait for the dole. (If you think of some slob lying on mum and dad’s couch, the four week wait for a young person seems fair and just. However, if you consider someone on their own without a family for support, four weeks is a long time to ask the landlord to wait for the rent.)

Yep, it’s all good and it’s all going to be about “Fairness, Security And Opportunity”! Yes, not only does that “and” stop it from being a three word slogan, but the “fairness” differentiates it from Abbott’s campaign slogan of “Hope, Reward, Opportunity” which sounded suspiciously like Amway’s slogan. We’ve replaced the Reward with Fairness, the Hope with Security (or vice versa) and the Opportunity – like the song – remains the same.

Will this all be enough to save Malcolm from the circling vultures?

Well, it should be reasonably well received. There’s an attempt to say, we’re not so bad really, and that poor people have every right to exist and even to drive on occasions. And, it would be expected that there’d be a slight jump in the polls once we forget about Malcolm’s cringeworthy, “You and me is pals, ain’t we Donald?” were it not for Tony’s determination to make Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s working relationship seem like a romance compared to Turnbull and him. Rudd may well have leaked, but Abbott is openly shitting all over everything.

In the end, of course, the Treasurer is lying when he says that the Budget is not about politics. All his guff about meeting in the middle for the good of Australia is political in the extreme, because a Budget without criticism is a Budget that wins points for the government; there won’t be many for the Opposition being “sensible”. I’m making a general comment there and not talking about this specific Budget. But everything these days is about politics. Even the dangers of climate change are politicised on a daily basis. If ever there was a case for a bipartisan, let’s establish the facts and stop listening to those who clearly have no expertise in the field, then climate change would have to be it.

When Robert M. Pirsig died the other day, I was reminded of when I read, “Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”. For those of you who haven’t read it, there’s not much of either, but there is a long discussion about the battle between rhetoric and logic in Ancient Greece. Pirsig examined the whole idea of the artistry of the argument versus the truth of the argument.

Without going through the long debate, we like to think that sometime in the last few centuries, logic won out and that, even if we don’t always see through those spinning eloquent sophistry to win us over, we’re always seeking the truth. Well, often, anyway.

But even before the election of Donald Trump, it’s been clear: We’re all suckers for a compelling short slogan if it goes anywhere near our world view. “Make America Great Again” captures so much for so many that they’ll won’t even consider anything beyond that seems like a good idea. Once you’ve picked your side, confirmation bias takes over and even the most intelligent people will argue for their team without questioning that they may be wrong.

So, it’ll be interesting to see if “Fairness, Security and Opportunity” can overcome the growing cynicism of a population that would like to actually see an improvement in something, rather than simply another contract with the Australian people that if you just continue to trust us, Utopia is just around the corner.

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10 comments

  1. Ella Miller

    So what does the new LNP slogan mean to an ordinary person?
    Corporate welfare is FAIRNESS for the LNP’s vested interests because it provides OPPORTUNITY for them to stay mega rich.Not to mention SECURITY for the mega rich that NOTHING CHANGES.

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    Nohing more than throw away motherhood statements.

  3. Terry2

    The AFP overlooked the fact that to tap a journalists’ phone they need a judicial warrant : Perhaps the additional $320 million will enable them to employ a person who can oversee these trivial matters 🙂

  4. helvityni

    …I feel so safe and happy now that Mal has come back home from America. He and Trump have made up, and are best of friends. That is so comforting, so ensuring, things will be great again, very great….

  5. Terry2

    I think they have employed a new firm of PR consultants to boost Malcolm’s image and to differentiate him from his predecessor.

    Have a look at this photo, on the day before the budget ; note the flags and the prints on the wall. It’s all designed to promote a subliminal image of wholesomeness and togetherness – if there were audio it would be the strains of Waltzing Matilda in the background and of course Dutton was not allowed in the room.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2017/may/09/australia-federal-budget-2017-live

    Contrast the Abbott image :
    http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/fragment/charlie-pickering-took-all-tony-abbotts-flags

  6. freefall852

    One has to question the value of those “Elite, private school education” that gets promoed as “the best” when the most elevated graduates are only able to repeat someone else’s three or four word slogans!…I mean, one can hear such equally lucid conversation down at the local on any Fri’ night when “Zero” calls to Ron th’ barman to : “Giz us a beer!”..

  7. Glenn K

    Ross, i love your work! i’m gonna miss the budget – emigrating to France today – but will continue to watch and wait for the LNP implosion. Abbott will finally do something positive for Australia – BOOM!

  8. David Bruce

    More and more it seems we are no longer a democracy in Australia. We seem to swing from socialist communists to national socialists, yet we are preaching to all our neighbours how great our “democracy” is in Australia. Is Australia losing it’s soul through the media bombardment of soft porn, fear, uncertainty and doubt. The rate of change of social dysfunction seems to be speeding up. We knew we were screwed by the US election, no matter who won. Now I wonder what surprises are in store for September/October around the end of the US financial year, with Donald Trump suggesting it might be a good time to shut down the US Government! Keep up the good work Rossleigh, I find it hard to trust anything south of the Tweed!

  9. Kronomex

    I wonder what day of the week that poor people will be allowed out of the hovels to go shopping with their cashless card tracking their every movement? Will they have to hide behind bushes and walls or doff their flat caps and look at the ground when a toff is chauffeured past?

    Not a “political budget”, do these idiots expect us to believe…oops a toff (removes cap, looks down and knuckles forehead while hiding real money in pocket).

  10. Kyran

    “Anyway, as we approach the Federal Budget, which the Treasurer tells us is not about politics, the official leaks and unofficial leaks seem to be an attempt to position Malcolm’s Mob as something other than an out-of-touch bunch of refugees from the early twentieth century… Sorry, that should be “illegal immigrants” because they arrived in this century without permission.”

    At the risk of sounding critical, there are several premise’s in that statement that need clarifying.
    As Mr Kelly pointed out, it’s not so much a budget, as a fiscal statement. A statement of what has happened and how the government intends to address those happenings. Bearing in mind the capacity of this alleged government over the past few years is akin to a mortician seeking to address a fatality with little more than a band-aid, in the hope of a resurrection, it could be described as little more than ‘ambitious’. The benefit of hindsight in viewing what was actually delivered in this ‘corpse’ of a ‘budget’, does little more than underscore the fact that these gits have only got band-aids.

    With regard to your suggestion that we have a Treasurer, can you provide any proof? I’m calling ‘fake news’. Once upon a time, I used a ‘BS’ meter. The thing imploded so often, I replaced it with a ‘truth’ meter. It hasn’t gone off in recent years.

    With regard to your suggestion that our non-existent Treasurer is not playing politics, and with the benefit of hindsight, I’m calling ‘fake news’.

    With regard to the ‘official leaks’ and ‘unofficial leaks’, I’ll get back to that.

    With regard to your proposition that malcolm’s mob are ‘illegal immigrants’ that arrived in a new century without visa’s, that is nothing short of preposterous. They are firmly fixed in the last century, with no intention of seeking a visa.

    “There’s talk of a bank levy to provide for the victims of dodgy financial practices. The banks are suitably outraged. Who do these victims think they are? Wall Street financiers?”

    With regard to the ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ leaks, nobody seems inclined to investigate the ‘short selling’ of bank shares, pre budget. Ah well, official corruption in Australia is now acceptable.
    Just on that bank’s thingy, did anyone else read our alleged treasurer’s address to the Press Club?

    “Treasurer Scott Morrison has pleaded with Australia’s biggest banks not to pass the cost of a new tax on to customers, telling executives the public “already don’t like you very much”.”

    In fairness to this alleged treasurer, he did note that politicians also weren’t liked.

    “Speaking at the National Press Club, Mr Morrison said if banks wanted to show they valued their customers, then they would not charge higher fees.””

    Perhaps, if politicians wanted to show they valued their constituents, they wouldn’t constantly defecate on them, let alone increase their taxes. Only the under $100k earners should pay tax.

    “”Don’t do it — they already don’t like you very much,” he said.”

    The alleged treasurer pleaded with the banks not to do his dirty work because they aren’t liked. On a scale of 1 to 10, who do you like more? A banker or a politician?

    “Prove them wrong, don’t confirm their worst impressions. Tell them you will pony up and help fix the budget.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/federal-budget-2017/2017-05-10/federal-budget-2017-morrison-pleads-with-banks-about-levy/8514342

    Yep, that was our alleged treasurer at the press club. A politician, asking bankers, to prove their detractors wrong by not confirming their worst impressions.

    “Without going through the long debate, we like to think that sometime in the last few centuries, logic won out and that, even if we don’t always see through those spinning eloquent sophistry to win us over, we’re always seeking the truth. Well, often, anyway.”

    Bearing in mind that education is now an option, like so many other fundamental rights, based on your ability to pay, we can only hope these gobshites are forever detained in the last century.
    Thankyou Mr Brisbane and commenters. Take care, question everything.

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