||Issue No. 220||14 May 2004|
Interview: Machine Man
Unions: Testing Times
Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
Unions: Badge of Honour
National Focus: Noel's World
Economics: Safe Refuge
International: Global Abuse
History: The Honeypot
Review: Death And The Barbarians
Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Budget Brushes Elderly Blueprint
Labor Council of NSW
A Fistful Of Votes
"The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away."
- Tom Waits
The Opposition-Leader-In-Waiting-And-Waiting-And-Waiting delivered yet another budget that mirrors the Liberal Party's ideology that the central role of government is to allow its mates to stick their snout in the public trough.
It was illuminating that this government, whose morals appear to exist at the same level as Malcolm Fraser's trousers, used the hoopla and showmanship of budget night to try and slip a few quick ones past while no one was watching.
On budget night they introduced the legislation to "reform" the Parliamentary superannuation scheme. This classic piece of doublethink at once acknowledges how outrageous the current scheme is - so far from community standards that it needs NASA to keep track of its orbit - and yet keeps its rather, ahem, generous provisions for the incumbent seat polishers.
Mind you, more than a few of the government members will need to call on their super in the not too distant future the way things are going.
The sheer disingenuousness of calling up a tactic that was last used in the dying days of the Fraser Government beggars belief!
This whole shabby exercise is steeped in irony - our Tool Of The Week coming to the aid of his flailing leader, Howard; the man whose job he so desperately and obviously wants; using the same tactics that Little Johnny tried to use in 1982.
Let's hope it is just as effective.
You would think that after that effort, they would get it right the second time around, but no.
With tax cuts aimed at the 30% of Australians who earn more than approximately what the Howards spend on wine each year, this sad parody of a government has singled out as to who it is there to represent - and it ain't battlers.
No doubt those that are down to their last three cars are doing it tough, and those who are missing meals each week should make sacrifices so that the fittest can survive. It is Pete's way.
One can only admire Costello's ongoing commitment to ensuring the survival of the species through a bit of social Darwinism.
He may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he does not flinch from setting firm priorities.
He enthused over the importance of spending $64 million on letting the destitute know where the nearest workhouse is. Also, setting the Centrelink repo men onto those who cannot predict their future incomes down to the last cent - despite the fact that it's probably three fifths of stuff all to start with - is another stroke of policy genius.
It is good to see Pete encouraging the advertising industry to help out the millions of Australians for who are set to miss out on his economic miracle.
Well, it saves them the trouble of having to spend that money on actually relieving the situation of the millions of Australians who actually live on $15,000 a year or less.
Luckily this exercise in fiscal panic isn't sullied by spending the surplus on something trivial like education, health or the national infrastructure. Why do that when you can plonk the lot on red 36 and see how the wheel spins.
It's a bit rich for our Tool Of The Week to wander around the country playing Midas after suddenly finding billions of dollars down the back of the lounge after crying poor for the last eight years.
Hopefully this fiscal turpitude is the last we have to put up with from a man who's foray into public life has been a great loss for all concerned, not just those on $52K a year or more.
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