Tuesday February 23 2010
1 At noon yesterday the keys on my keyboard were craving the familiar attention of my fingers to write of daily happenings in the body politic. However, I was drawn to words of the spoken kind. Words that fall from the tongue like raindrops on starched eucalyptus leaves delivered in a fashion that stirs the mind and unlocks the emotions.
Stan Grant’s speech to the National Press Club was equal to the YouTube clip that stirred the nation and was given endorsement by a million views. What a powerful speech reminiscent of the Noel Pearson mixture of style and substance.
Grant says he is ripe for politics but is uncertain as to which side his personal ideology lays. I could suggest that the conservative side needs more people with his compassion but to be honest it would be a travesty of justice if he didn’t represent the left.
2 Last week I said that polls this far out from an election could only ever be a guide to how people are thinking. What can be taken seriously however, is when there is a trend on. Today’s 50/50 Newspoll result when coupled with other recent polls confirms that one is on. Of course they will go up and down as they always do but this one must give Labor renewed hope.
The Essential Poll has been recording a trend away from the Government. Today’s will be interesting.
There are two reasons for the turn around. Firstly, because Labor is releasing common sense policy in line with public expectations, and well ahead of the traditional campaign period. They are policies that serve to enhance its economic credentials. Secondly, and more importantly, it is because people are fine-tuning their opinion of the Prime Minister. He has not yet met people’s hopes.
The expectations were that the bombastic Abbott would be replaced with a modest smiling lord of the manner who would ditch the Abbott policies and replace them with ones he had a long-held belief in. At the time they didn’t understand that he had sold those beliefs down the drain to get the job.
So the honeymoon is finally over. The government is floundering without being able to explain its taxation reforms. After last week’s debacle in which the Treasurer almost hyperventilated with over speak every time he came within an inch or so of a mike.
Tax policies have been on and off the table that many times that the serviettes have had little use.
They do, however, seem to have an endless array of deserts. Now they are floating the idea that low-income earners, instead of having superannuation put away for them, take the cash upfront instead.
It would allow a part-time worker earning $35,000 a year to take home an extra $63 a week, or about $3300 each year. Barnaby Joyce said on Sunday that the idea made sense because it would allow low-income earners to use that extra money to buy their own homes, so by the time they retired they would have their own home to live in while drawing a pension. If you can find me someone who earns 35k per year who can afford not only to save a deposit, but can service mortgage repayments, I will retract my viewpoint and just to add insult to injury. Joyce is a member of the Turnbull government’s expenditure review committee, which advises the Cabinet on budget spending priorities. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny . . .
Scott Morrison said:
‘Well, the new idea is to continue to work through the plethora of other measures which were put back on the table by the Prime Minster and I, since only last September, and to work those through and ensure that in the Budget we are able to deliver some modest tax relief to people so they do not go into these higher tax brackets.’
The question the public is asking is what the Government has been doing for two and a half years.
3 The Roy Morgan daily newsletter reports that the:
Australian Industry Group wants a reduction in the company tax rate in the May Budget. CEO Innes Willox has also called for “prudent” spending cuts in areas such as aged care and health. This would enable the Government to prioritise expenditure on policies such as infrastructure and training in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.
4 Peter Dutton all but confirms that Baby Asha and family will be returned to Nauru in due course. This of means that they and many others will rot there at the government’s pleasure, and expense, if another country cannot be found. Australian doctors say Nauru is an unfit place. The Government says it is but won’t let anyone near it.
The flippancy with which the Governments treats the disadvantaged is often breathtaking.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has downplayed fresh negotiations to resettle asylum seekers living in Manus Island and Nauru saying it was ‘early days’ for most of the discussions, and that the countries involved might also have to consider internal factors before coming to an agreement.
‘Some of them have domestic issues, like elections,’ Ms Bishop said,
What does one say?
‘When we go out of our way to help someone less fortunate we cannot avoid helping ourselves.’
5 It may seem petty but the MSM were fond of saying ‘Gillard/Rudd’ Government. Why can’t they bring themselves to say ‘Abbott/Turnbull’?
6 In Question Time today the PM said in answer to a question ‘lead up to the election’ and quickly corrected himself saying ‘lead up to the budget’.
Am I reading too much into that?
My thought for the day.
‘Every major experience is a mountain with a peak to climb, a decent to safely navigate and a lesson or two to learn on route’.