Out of a habit that dates back to 1964, I still trot along to the local newsagent each Saturday morning to get my copy of The Weekend Australian. Over the years in several overseas postings I would have to wait until Monday morning to get my copy after it had been air-freighted to its destination at great additional cost : I remember a newspaper vendor in Singapore being very annoyed that there were so many newspapers in Australia that she was obliged to stock, one for every state capital and a couple of extra thrown in for good measure.
Nowadays The Australian and The Weekend Australian seem to have lurched to the Right as I seem to have been dragged to the Centre although I’m still a little confused about Right and Left .
Anyhow, here are a couple of snippets that I picked up on today over a espresso and a piece of carrot cake.
We’ve been reading and hearing recently that Peter Dutton appears to have a penchant for admitting au pairs [defined as :a young foreign person, typically a female, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.] into Australia even though they arrive with the wrong visa and with the stated intention of working for one of Dutton’s mates. In an idle moment I wondered why Mr Dutton didn’t extend his broad discretion to gardeners or dog-walkers or other such useful bods. Well, Matthew Denholm in the Oz has a breathless and exclusive exposé that seems to explain it all.
It appears that the well heeled families in the leafy suburbs of our inner cities have worked out that despite the massive subsidies that taxpayers give to child-care centres such as those operated by Mr Dutton and his family it’s still a costly exercise to plant their offspring in long daycare and it can be much cheaper to bring in a young foreign person ideally from Europe and it just requires a phone call to Pete (old mate, long time no see !) to facilitate this.
According to the Oz, long day care [8am to 6pm] runs in at about $125 a day per child or $1250 for a five day week pour les deux enfant. Whereas, you can pay an au pair around $300 a week plus bed and board (evidently the don’t each much and can get by on a croissant and lentils on alternate days) and you get the kids looked after, they learn a European language, the beds are made, the dog walked and dishwasher emptied. The main drawback is that they do seem to attract young males so it pays to keep the hose handy but otherwise, an absolute snip and you don’t even have to join the Liberal party, but a donation is always welcomed.
Other columnists are saying that Morrison must seize his mandate and resist any pressure to go to an early election and he must focus on his agenda : anything wrong with that statement ?
Another snippet from The Weekend Australian is in a weekly opinion piece from that well known humorist and raconteur, Gerard Henderson who is busily rewriting history for us : he tells us when talking about the many failings of Malcolm Turnbull – a man he held in great esteem just two weeks ago – that Shorten and Labor had successfully framed Turnbull as a multi-millionaire who lived in a harbourside mansion and was out of touch with average Australians and that this contributed to Malcolm’s demise. Gerard has a track record of inexactitudes, indeed David Marr has to make a cameo appearance on Insiders periodically just to keep Gerry on the straight and narrow.
Of course,as we all recall, it was former Abbott minder Peta [don’t call me Pete !] Credlin who coined the term Mr Harbourside Mansion for Turnbull, nothing to do with Labor.
Have a good weekend !
PS :If you have been concerned about my use of French words in this oeuvre and you think I am being pretentious twit, all I can say is : pretentious ? moi ? absolument pas !
PPS: Yes, I know espresso is Italian – ciao !