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Loaves, fishes, and why Tony just needs us to trust him until after the election!

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Cassandra – as those who know their Greek mythology or who read one of my previous blogs will know – had the gift of knowing the future, but was cursed because nobody believe her. At times, I feel that it’s as though there’s a great mass of people out there who don’t seem to know the past. And don’t seem to believe you when you try to remind them.

The Audit Commission has just suggested that a whole range of government services be privatised. As we all know, when things are privatised, they become more efficient. Leaner. Take my home state of Victoria. About twenty years ago, the guru of privatisation, Mr Kennett, did a lot of that. Energy companies and public transport were privatised so that we’d get more efficient service and cheaper prices. Trains would always run on time. Gas and electricity would be cheaper.

(At this point, I’m tempted to recount my recent experience with Origin Energy who finished a number of calls with “We’ll look into that and ring you back.” To cut a long story short, I’m yet to receive any calls from them.)

And I’m certainly not going to talk about the successes of certain private companies in the way they give bottles of Grange as gifts. You don’t get public servants being efficient enough to do that.

And, on the way home tonight, I heard an interview with Audit Commissioner, Amanda Vanstone, followed by an effusive caller saying how much she admired Amanda because she was someone who always says what she thinks. Personally, I’ve never understand why always saying what one thinks is such a virtue. I would have thought that restraint is something that the Right would admire. Certainly very few people apply it to other aspects of one’s existence. “You really have to admire Barry, he always relieves himself whenever he feels the need. It was so great that he wasn’t intimidated by the presence of the Royal Family.”

Now, Amanda was in fine form. Apparently – as she told us – she was one of the most important people behind all the “saving” that the Howard Government managed to achieve. And that was wasted by the Rudd Government who spent “far too much” trying to stave off the GFC. (After all, we didn’t even go into recession!) And as for pensioners receiving less in the future, well, she aspires to a system where people don’t need to rely on the government. (Mm, perhaps a system where someone can be on a parliamentary pension, work as a presenter on the ABC and be paid to tell us all that the government is spending far too much.)

As far as Gonski is concerned we need to remember that more money doesn’t necessarily lead to better outcomes for students. However, should I suggest that Boys Own Private School may be able to forgo their grant to build a sauna for their polo ponies and I’m trying to start a class war against all those aspirational people who just want to sacrifice so that their kids have opportunities.

When asked about the suggestion of a $15 for all visits to the doctor, Vanstone said that Whitlam got a number of things wrong. Like free university education. I guess her cheque to pay for hers is in the mail… I suppose that we were meant to infer that a universal health scheme was one of the others.

I guess I’m starting to find it laughable that they’d even think that we’d buy this latest round of rhetoric from the forces that would pick our pockets then ask us to thank them for saving us from wasting our money. To me, it seems to go something like this:

Aren’t you concerned that some of the most vulnerable members of society will be hit by your decisions?”

“In our world, there’ll be no unemployed and everyone will be on the board of directors of BHP.”

“What about the surcharge on visits to the doctor?”

“We don’t think being ill is a good thing. It’s Labor that wants you to go to the doctor, and research shows that people who go to the doctor are less likely to be well than people who don’t!”

Then we have the strange attempt to recast breaking one’s promise as quite ok, because one is thinking about the long term. This has been written about ad infintum, so I’m not going to quote the “No excuses, no surprises” bit or even the “No new taxes”. I’m just going to ask how on earth anyone can try to justify that it’s some higher sense of duty that breaking some promises in order to keep the most important one is in any way justifiable. Particularly when Tony doesn’t even intend to balance the Budget until after the NEXT election.

I just can’t see, though, how anyone can actually buy the Liberal Manifesto from the last election which went along these lines: We won’t cut education, health, pensioners; we will cut the biggest tax in the history of the world that’s raking in trillions of dollars; we won’t increase taxes and we will balance a budget that is in deficit. Although perhaps, Abbott was asked to leave the priesthood when he suggested that the little trick with loaves and fishes was nothing compared to what he could do.

Yep, it seems that any Liberal supporter is on such shaky ground that an earthquake would make them more secure. Their narrative goes something like this: “Gillard lied in a naked attempt to grab power, but Mr Abbott now has a responsibility that goes beyond election promises. And anything that we do that you don’t like is all Labor’s fault. And when Tony Abbott said he’d have a no excuses government, he didn’t realise that Labor had been such a bad government even though he said that they were the worst government in the history of Australia, so he’s allowed excuses now. Besides Julia lied. And Rudd spent too much. Besides it’s not a tax, it’s only a temporary levy. Shut up. You must be one of those Labor types who wrecked the country, so you have no right to question me.”

“What you slaves need to realise is that while the previous overseer was in charge, he didn’t beat you hard enough. And he gave you time off to fight that fire. Then thanked you for helping put it out, but the amount of cotton you picked is down on previous years. I know that some of you are trying to point out that we picked more cotton than the other slave plantations, but we don’t compare ourselves to other plantations here, so I intend to increase the whippings for the next couple of years but only so that I can reduce them in a couple of years. And you can blame the previous overseer for the pain!”

Ah, I’m starting to ramble. If I keep going, I’ll asked to be Tony Abbott’s speechwriter before the month is out.



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  1. Jane Plane

    Just an observation about Amanda Vanstone. When is an ex Liberal ABC presenter’s views considered a ‘counterpoint’ when the political landscape in this country is dominated by conservative governments?

  2. rossleighbrisbane

    She’s a “Counterpoint” to the Left wing media in this country, Jane, because Murdoch employs nothing but left wingers.
    Well, people more left wing than him anyway.

  3. The Trees

    Well said! Wonderful to see that satire is alive and doing well.

  4. Don Winther

    The Audit Commissioner, Amanda Vanstone. What the F##k ! “Sell the joint” I dont care any more. My country has been stolen, Australia is finished. I always knew how the Aboriginals felt but now I feel it. Sorry about your country fellas.

  5. Don Winther

    Jane she is still a Liberal pension and all.

  6. rick5591

    There is no budget emergency. This is just ideological warfare. Did the sheepls who voted for him think this would not happen? Why do people never ever learn? A vote for a far-right party means hardship for the ordinary people. Also , does Australia have to go into bankruptcy at some not too distant date before we kick the Rothchild banking cartel out and print our own currency and pay interest to no-one. How much of the annual budget is going to pay interest on currency loans to the international banksters? Learn from the experience of Iceland and Ireland and set up our own national bank and print our own currency again. I am probably wasting my time as their is only one nation of people more stupid than Australians and that’s the Americans,

  7. guest

    Nothing Abbott has said compels us to believe him on anything. Already we see how even members of his own party are speaking out in disbelief.

    As for Amanda Vanstone, see how she harks back to Howard days and simply barracks for the team colours, whether the team is doing well or not.

    It is interesting to note how Abbott returned to the Motherland “doing important work for Oz” and has come back with a plastic version of the NBN and a plan for austerity – both questionable policies.

    But where Abbott preaches “small government”, the Tories in the UK are moving into centralised government control; where the Tories are aiming for 50% reduction in carbon emissions by mid-century, Abbott is singing the praises of a 5% reduction here in Oz by 2020 and no clue about how that reduction could be increased by mid-century.

    How Abbott will make a feast for the multitudes out of a handful of loaves and fishes when he claims he will reduce taxes is not very well explained, if at all, except by a muddle of policies which seem to be devised by someone on a bike.

    It will be interesting to see what he and Hockey etc make of the Audit report. If it is anything like what we have heard in the past from them, it will be circus.

  8. Matters Not

    Look, all they are proposing is a sick tax of $15.

    After all, Tony promised a strong, healthy economy and those who get ‘sick’ deserve to be taxed more because they aren’t pulling their weight.

    And when it comes to ‘weight’ Amanda knows all about that.

  9. Bacchus

    😆 @ MN

  10. Conrad

    Liberal with their largesse for the rich, Liberal with their disregard for the truth, Liberal with their crackdown and harshness on the poor and the vulnerable. Makes me sick

  11. diongiles

    Tony Jones interviewed Kennet at length last night. It’s at‎ but you need a fancy trendy flash player for it. He reassures the listener that there really is worse than Abbott prowling around. It’s Kennett. Lucky the Liberal Party is so clannish, or they would have invited Kennett into their fold as an advisor.

  12. CMMC

    Petition Cosgrove to sack them.

  13. rick5591

    Just an afterthought. If the Opposition has the numbers in the Senate simply don’t pass the Budget,and force an election. Even Murdoch’s Goebbels tactics won’t get Abbott back next time.

  14. Auricle

    Thank goodness rick5591 has arrived. I just haven’t had enough wingnut Jewish banking conspiracies lately.

  15. Fed up

    I wonder where our economy would be now, if that dollar had behaved as expected. Not coming down was unusual, not the norm.

    I think that fact alone was why Labor stupidly kept saying they would get the budget back to surplus.

    We did benefit from cheap goods, that kept inflation down.

  16. Anomander

    You know you shouldn’t do all that whipping yourself Ross, you should outsource the whipping to a private flogging firm who can beat, molest and murder far more efficiently that you can.

    Don’t worry about the additional cost, you can write that off under the new IPA tax concessions where the slaves pay the taxes and the slave owners get all the benefits.

  17. Stephen Tardrew


    Well said a fine piece of writing.

    Please be Abbott’s speech writer. I know you would love to put more than a few choice words in his bumbling mouth.

  18. Egalitarian

    It’s great to see Dennis Napthine still having fun playing Spin the Bottle.”One little spin, see! no hands. He’ll get someone else in the government to do that for him, where it lands nobody knows. Ah! look it’s Landed on Midfield Meats. Fancy that .We know Dennis Napthine is totally removed from this process. Though if he can’t give Colin McKenna a kiss now. Well maybe a good old handshake at the Old Boys club down the track sometime. But it won’t be any old handshake. Yes siree it will be warm and tender. Well,l maybe a little peck on the cheek from Col! would be in order. Like the rest of us Dennis has had to do some heavy lifting lately; well not him .Someone from his government will give Col the money. Dennis is totally removed from this process. And any suggestion that this is targeted Corporate Welfare is unfair. And I have since learnt the new rules of Spin the Bottle. If you spin the bottle to the left you have different outcome. They take the money from you.

  19. joy cooper

    One thing that really puzzles me is the belief that everyone is entitled to be bulk billed by their GPs. Even the egregious Commission of Audit seems to think this way. This is not so. Only those who are recipients of pensions, DVA card holders, health care concession cards or are children aged 16 years & under are entitled to be be bulk billed & then, only at the discretion of their GP.

    In fact, many GPs, (sometimes all of the GPs in regional towns & cities) refuse to bulk bill,eligible patients. They charge them the full rates which leaves pensioners, etc $30-$40 out of pocket for each GP consult. Are these the ones who will also have to pay $15 on top of this? This is why the emergency departments of many regional base hospitals are stretched as those who cannot afford to visit full fee requesting GPs have to use the EDs as their primary health care provider..

    This will only get worse when the Abbott government implements US-style TEA Party ideology into our health system.

  20. Fed up

    Shepherd made a comment, that we have a highly educated and skilled workforce, that productivity is not going up. Therefor any assistance given to industry for innovation should be cut.

    Could it be the employers, bosses that are not delivering.

    Labour productivity is still rising. Labour’s share of profits is declining. How much do we have to give big business, before they can make ago of it.

    The truth is, labour has been doing all the heavy lifting up to now.

  21. Keitha Granville

    oh dear, I wish you didn’t make me laugh – although if I wasn’t I’d be crying. And I endores your selection as the new speech writer for the PM, I’d be able to stop turning off the tube when his face appears !

  22. abbienoiraude

    @joy cooper has it in one.
    I don’t think those who live in the cities understand how it is for we in the Rural and Regional areas. I don’t think even our National Party reps understand how it is for us in Rural and Regional areas when it comes to medical issues.

    When it all comes down to it it is that the poor, the needy and disabled need to be the target of the middle classes to be the ‘villains’ of the country. This is the aim of the LNP/Conservatives so they can damn them to hell. The only worse ‘baddies’ are those pesky asylum seekers who are costing us tens of thousands of dollars EACH per year to keep incarcerated for asking for help.
    See the common denominator?
    You ask for help from a Conservative and you will be, YOU WILL BE punished.
    I know. I have a wealthy brother. We are on DSP/Carers. Where is he in our lives….PFFFT! Disappeared up Abbotts bum.

  23. rossleighbrisbane

    D.A.U.B! Disappearing Up Abbott’s Bum. Has a certain ring to it…

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