Did you watch Q&A last night? I didn’t. Well, I started but I went to bed after Arthur Sinodinos totally ruined the premise of the show. I mean it’s called Q and A for a reason, right? If politicians are just going to admit that they don’t know what’s going on, this could start a nasty trend.
In case you missed it, when asked why people on Newstart were excluded from the one-off payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to help with their energy bills in the spite of the government bringing in the highly successful NEG, Arthur replied:
“I’m not sure what’s happened in relation to Newstart. I’m not sure exactly what the rationale there… The short answer is, I don’t know why,”
This is a far cry from the days of Joe “poor people don’t drive” Hockey, who would have probably told us that people on Newstart don’t have homes so they don’t pay power bills, but it did sort of suggest that this wasn’t going to be a repeat of the Teena McQueen fiasco of the week before. Where’s the fun in watching someone come clean and tell us that they have no idea the reasoning behind their party’s decision.
I was glad I left when I did, because apparently, the senator went on to say that there was a case for increasing Newstart. The program even had John Roskam of the IPA suggested that Newstart was too low.
However, Yo-yoMo set us all straight by telling us that it’s a very modest surplus “so I don’t think you can all of a sudden go ‘oh let’s make whoopee’!”. Yep, it’s modest so we can’t get all carried away and raise the Newstart allowance when we need to bring forward tax cuts to people earning more than $90,000 a year.
Of course, while the Liberals never actually come out and say it, they regard all unemployed people as just a little bit suspect. They help them with “work-for-the-dole” schemes. Now the basic absurdity of such schemes is simple: If there’s work to be done, why not just employ them? Is it because they believe that they wouldn’t get enough applicants? Or is it because they’d have to pay attention to all those nasty things like awards and Worksafe and insurance? Whatever, every now and then – and by every now and then, I pretty much mean most “nows” and every “then” – someone slips up and exposes their true feelings.
Take John Ruddick’s tweet which I initially thought was an April Fool’s joke, but then I noticed that he’d posted it a few days earlier. John Ruddick was a well-known figure in the NSW Liberal Party and author of the book, “Make The Liberal Party Great Again”, which may also have a blue cover but isn’t the same blue book that Pauline allegedly read. Even though Ruddick resigned after Muddling Malcolm was made PM, his tweet sums up the views of many who decided to wait around and fix that radical Point Piper socialist. He tweeted:
If I was Treasurer this would be my budget:
Cut staffers by 70%
Cut MPs pay by 50%
Abolish 50% of depts
Let states tax individuals & companies
Get people off welfare by forcing them to read motivational books
No drought relief
Zero funding of global warming
Now while there are a couple of excellent policies there, like letting states tax individuals and companies, which is the current situation, and the “zero funding of global warming” which I’d argue means that there’ll be no more subsidies to fossil fuels or talk of backing a coal-fired power station, it’s the “Get people off welfare by forcing them to read motivational books” that really took my eye. Yep, that should do it. I wonder if his reading list includes “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, or just more down to earth ones like “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “The Art of The Deal” by Donald Trump…
Whatever, it betrays the sort of assumptions that those with an egocentric view of the world hold. I’m not denying for a moment that some people could be helped by the right motivational book at the right time, but I seriously doubt that someone who’s been on a disability pension for twenty years will suddenly no longer need it just because they read, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale.
Still, I shouldn’t judge all Liberals by someone like John Ruddick. There are the softer, more leftwing ones like Amanda Vanstone. Didn’t you just love her article in yesterday’s paper, suggesting that we could be worried about immigration due to Islamic extremists without it necessarily being Islamophobia? Isn’t she a treasure? Of course, New Zealand might do well to restrict Australians attempting to go there for all the reasons, Mandy suggests. I know that most of us are decent, upstanding people who don’t involve ourselves in radical groups, but after Christchurch isn’t it better for them to be on the safe side! While there’s an argument for having ex-politicians giving readers an informed view of what’s going on, if they’re just going to be a party hack, then they should be paying the paper for a political ad, rather than receiving money as a journalist.
Ah well, it’s the Budget tonight and there’s lots of speculation that this could be the government hitting the reset button and putting themselves on a better footing for the upcoming election. It might be, but I’d be more convinced if it wasn’t for Tony Abbott’s 2014 promise after a few “hiccups” that good government starts today. Or the reset of Malcolm Turnbull taking over the leadership. Or the 2016 election. Or the ascension of Scottie to the top job.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but I’m wondering how the Liberals will try to spin that anything they now spend is the result of a healthy economy but if Labor want to spend the same money on a different project it’ll cause our ruination.
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