Joe Hockey on the co-payment: “One packet of cigarettes cost $22. That gives you three visits to the doctor. You can spend just over $3 on a middy of beer, so that’s two middies of beer to go to the doctor.”
Amanda Vanstone 2003 on no increase to welfare: “$5, hell what will it buy you? A sandwich and a milkshake if you’re lucky.”
I note Joe Hockey didn’t choose to suggest that all $7 would buy is two loaves of bread. Or seven loaves of bread if you buy it for a dollar at Coles. (I’m not the ABC so I can say Coles and hope that they pay me for product placement!) I suspect that it’s because it seems wrong to be saying: “You can spend just over $3-50 on a loaf of bread, so that’s two loaves of bread to go to the doctor.” It’s far more appealing to suggest that you could give up beer and cigarettes than to give up bread.
Of course, though, the question does have to be asked: What do non-smoking, teatotallers give up in order to go the doctor? Or do they always have plenty of money because they don’t drink or smoke?
But the idea of making the cost concrete is very effective. In terms of selling their high income earners’ levy, perhaps they could have tried something like: “One bottle of ’59 Grange, that’s all this’ll cost you. And we all know how dangerous a bottle of Grange can be to your long term survival.”
Similarly, they could perhaps try to sell their cutting of the Foreign Aid Budget by suggesting that certain countries could save the money themselve by just cutting one or two days of eating a week. They could calcute the amount of money that food could bring if sold on the open market.
As for their increases to Higher Education, we could have, “You can spend money on a new Mercedes, so that’s one Mercedes to get a University Degree.” (Yes, more product placement. If any of you decide to get a new Mercedes today because of my shameless product placement, please tell the salesman. Who says I’m a leftie – I’ve embraced the uber capitalist Australia we live in?)
Changing the pension age to 70 could be sold by telling people that it’s only the cost of a couple of grandparents to pick up your kids while you’re working. Oh wait, that one doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…
Actually, when I hear the Coalition talking about the “problem” of the ageing population, I can’t help but wonder why they seem to think it’s a problem. I mean as someone once remarked: “Going grey isn’t that bad when one considers the alternatives.” Are they suggesting that too many of us are living to a ripe old age? And listening to Matthias Gorman speaking on the Budget, I started to think of “Hogan’s Heroes.” I know, it’s political incorrect and I shouldn’t make fun of someone’s accent, but it doesn’t help when someone who sounds like they’re in a bad World War Two movie starts talking about “doing what’s necessary”, I half expected to hear him say that they had “the final solution to the pensioner problem”. (Yes, I know. Too far. But I do have a right to be a bigot, you know.)
Finally, I’d just like to apologise to anyone who took offence to my comment where I suggested that Christopher Pyne wouldn’t know what a grub looks like. While some have taken this to be a reference to his privileged, city upbringing, and the fact that unlike country boys who are frequently exposed to grubs and the like, I meant no such reference. However, just to clear any confusion, I have no problem with city people, some of my best friends are city people and if any of them have taken offence please accept my apology. I can only say that I don’t usually use language like that, but that I find Christopher Pyne such a grubby, little man that I got carried away.
Mr Pyne has, however, cleared up any misunderstanding that his hand gesture to Bronwyn Bishop seemed to suggest that the Speaker was not operating as indepently as she should. “She stood up all by herself without any help or support. To my way of thinking, that indicates complete independence.” Pyne directs Speaker.
Breaking News: Just discovered that there have been seven deaths at mining sites so far this year. Clearly another failure of the Public Service to inform the Prime Minister, because mining operations are still continuing, and as the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Scheme was told this week, surely it should be shut down until the cause of death is investigated.