As Western Australia prepares to vote AGAIN for the Senate no doubt some people just feel over it all. Though aghast at the result, I remember last September feeling relieved that at least the endless campaigning was over, but they have not had a break in WA. In fact they have been barraged by media and politicians non-stop. They could be forgiven for turning off. In an attempt to get them up-to-date without having to search too far or read too much, here is a selection of the recent news.
“TONY Abbott and Joe Hockey are convinced the government will be punished electorally if it does not produce a tough budget, and they believe there is a “public appetite” for decisive action to get the economy back on track.”
“TONY Abbott has established a covert political hit squad which is funded by taxpayers, operates outside parliamentary scrutiny and has a controversial leader.
The under-the-radar Coalition Advisory Service supplies Government backbenchers with media information and ammunition to aim at the Labor Opposition. It has offices in Parliament House. It’s head is Simon Berger, the former Woolworths executive who left the company after organising the auction of a “chaff-bag jacket”at a September 2012 Young Liberal fundraising dinner addressed by Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. The chaff-bag referred to on-air comments by Mr Jones that then Prime Minister Julia Gillard should be put in one and dumped at sea.
Under CAS, Mr Berger has a staff of at least six but a potential allocation of 10. They are paid from $75,000 to $175,000 a year and so far have been issued laptops and mobile telephones worth a total of close to $22,000.”
“The Abbott government is using a research company to trawl through millions of Australian social media posts to advise it on its immigration policies. The scrutiny of Twitter, Facebook and blogs is part of $4.3 million worth of research contracts commissioned by the federal government in its first five months of office.
Cubit Media Research has two contracts with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to deliver ”media positioning analysis”.
“The Immigration Department employs a 66-strong team of spin doctors, dwarfing the 39 media and communications staff employed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the ministers on his frontbench.
Last August, immigration employed 72 media staff, but the 66 officers who now work in the department’s media unit are supported by a further 33 personnel who work on media operations and events in the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.”
“Textor has been politically invaluable to Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party. Few people are as politically close to Tony Abbott as Mark Textor. And what of the 21 firms that have now employed Crosby Textor Research Strategies Results to lobby on their behalf in Canberra. These firms include the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the leading lobby group for the oil and gas industry. The APPEA is particularly campaigning for government support for the coal-seam gas industry.”
“The Abbott Government will seek a truce with media outlets and taxpayers so it can buy or lease larger VIP jets to fly politicians, officials and journalists overseas on the same aircraft. The $600 million lease on the current RAAF fleet of two Boeing 737 business jets and three smaller Challenger 604 aircraft will expire next year and the government will seek agreement from media companies to limit criticism of any decision to opt for bigger planes
Both US giant Boeing and European maker Airbus would be likely to offer highly competitive deals to secure the plum deal for the VIP jets. The Boeing 777 and Airbus A-330 each cost about $250 million and both can carry in excess of 200 passengers in VIP configuration..”
“Prime Minister Tony Abbott will fly his Cabinet to Perth this week in an attempt to rally last minute support for the Liberals in the upcoming Senate election.
While in Perth, Mr Abbott will also attempt to swell the coffers of the Liberal Party by being the headline act of a party fundraiser tomorrow night – charging $5000 a table to attend.”
“Mr Newman’s pay packet will increase by almost $70,000 to about $380,000 a year. Ms Palaszczuk’s pay goes up by $80,000 to about $310,000.”
“Unless we take immediate remedial action in the budget, then Australia will never have a surplus,” Mr Hockey said.
“The fact is we have to address this and address this fast. And the challenge is that everyone in Australia has to help to do the heavy lifting in the budget, because if the burden falls on a few, the weight of that burden will crush them.”
I now realise that the few who can’t bear the burden are the wealthy and the politicians, but there’s lots of low income earners. They should be able to support them, right?
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