Friday, 13 February 2015

Good Government Starts Today... Or Tomorrow, But We're Definitely Committed To It! - The AIM Network

Good Government Starts Today... Or Tomorrow, But We're Definitely Committed To It! - The AIM Network

Good Government Starts Today… Or Tomorrow, But We’re Definitely Committed To It!

There’s an old cartoon where the couple in a car are speeding down
the highway while there’s hundreds of cars stuck in traffic in a lane
beside it. The wife says, “Look at the sign – we’re going the wrong
way!” To which the husband replies, “Who cares, we’re making great

Every few days someone in the current Abbott Government makes me remember that cartoon.

Of course, unlike the man in the cartoon, most members of the
goverment seem completely unable to acknowledge that they are going the
wrong way, even though that’s what the sign clear says.

“We’ve made great progress on the Budget!”

But the deficit is growing and it’s not predicted to get back to surplus any faster than Labor planned.

“But you’d be a fool to trust what Labor said. They promised to get
it back to surplus a couple of years ago and they still haven’t done

But you’re the government now; you’re the ones promising to have it back in surplus, then changing the date. 

“Yes, but I’m not a quitter. I’m determined to see this through, as
is the PM. He’s a nice bloke, you know. A terrific guy. Family man.
Athlete. He pedals really fast. Firefighter. And he’s a fighter. He’ll
get back up. Really, I can’t think of someone with more attractive
daughters. No, he’s certainly the best person to lead the country. ”

Of course, Hockey did acknowledge that having the highest
unemployment since John Howard was PM wasn’t great, but attempted to
argue that it could be worse. Basically, his point was that if there
hadn’t been so many jobs created last year then unemployment would have
been over seven per cent, so we were really, really lucky that we’d rid
ourselves of that Labor Government who wouldn’t have grown the economy.

He went on to argue that the best possible way to improve the
 unemployment figures was to get the economy growing faster. Which, to
me, is a bit like a mechanic saying that the best possilbe thing for
your car is to get it moving again, because once it’s moving then you
won’t have this problem with it stalling. And if it keeps stalling,
well, that’s because it’s not moving. At this point, don’t be tempted to
ask the mechanic how you’re supposed to get it moving again, because
he’ll just tap his nose and tell you that he has a plan, and, though it
may not be popular, the best thing you could do is to pay his bill.

In fact, that’s more or less what Hockey said:

“I’m trying to get it to shift and things that have been unpopular but necessary have helped.”

I’m still trying to work out how sacking large numbers of public
servants is meant to stimulate the economy and lead to an increase in
employment numbers in the short term, even if one accepts the rather
dubious argument that it’ll help get the Budget back in surplus and once
the Budget is back in surplus, all will be well. (And once the car starts moving, it’ll no longer be stalled. $739, please, for parts and labour!!)

But, of course, the week truly belongs to Tony Abbott. Now I’m not
going to mention the war – in particular, I’ll say nothing about the
holocaust; neither will I make cheap shots about him not being able to
stop Japanese subs from coming to Australia. (Actually they’ve
announced that it’s no longer the case that Adelaide can’t build them,
and that the they’ll be allowed to put in a thing that nobody seems to
know what to call, before the contract is given to the Japanese under
the free trade deal that’ll lead to jobs, jobs, jobs in whatever part of
the world we’re trading with, and now that we have a free trade deal,
well, what benefits them, benefits us, because we’re all just one happy
free trading partnership where we’ve managed to break down the borders.
Actually, change that to barriers. We want STRONGER borders, but no
barriers to the movement of money, trade and anything else you care to
name, if your donation is big enough.)

So after we’ve had the barnacle clearing, the learning, back to work
Tuesday, more learning, and good government starts today day, we were
treated to the government’s attempt to bury a report by waiting six
months then releasing it late in the day, only to have Tony attack the
Human Rights Commission for all he’s worth (no, actually, probably a bit more than that!) A
report that was apparently partisan against his government, yet  Mr
Abbott suggested only minutes later that he was doing the Labor Party a
favour by not following its recommendations, because if he implemented a
Royal Commission “… it would condemn them (the former Labor government).
Strange that a report that was so ‘blatantly partisan’ report should
also condemn the Labor Government, but, never mind, Abbott’s attack on
Gillian Trigg’s managed to create enough attention that the report
didn’t go the way of so many reports: We’ve got it, thanks, we’ll
read it and get back to you, unless it’s the Gonski Report which
Christopher Pyne refused to read because there were no pictures.

But just to cap off the week, we had the sacking of Phil “Smiley”
Ruddock. Undertaker Ruddock, the Father of the House (do we know who the
mother is?), the third longest serving member ever, Uncle Phil, the
Liberal Party Whip was sacked. Make no mistake, Abbott wasn’t going to
give him the dignity of resigning to promote generational change, or
because he wanted to spend more time nursing a family member’s ingrown
toenail, the PM made it clear that the decision was his. (I don’t think
that he added and his alone, because that may have necessitated another
announcement about how he intended to be more consultative in future,
and people tend to grow a little cynical when you announce the same
intention to change on a weekly basis, instead of the monthly basis that
we’ve grown used to.)

Yep, I’ve heard people argue that the term, “forward progress” is a
tautology, because you can’t have “backward progress”. That, of course,
was before the Abbott Government.



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