Let the (no fun) games begin

Get set for the hard slog.

Federal politicians returned to Canberra today. You know what that means? Electioneering. Yep, we vote (seems like yesterday) again this year.

Malcolm says it will be August, September or November. Wonder of he could be more specific? Then again, that’s Turnbull. He’s quite non-specific (flaky would be my descriptor).

The latest version of the Liberal Government has had time to show its stuff Can’t say it’s much different from the previous Tony Abbott-led version. I think perhaps a little meaner, with increasing attacks on the most vulnerable (cuts to pensions and cutbacks to health to the forefront). Of course, there’s the possible increase in GST, which will also hurt the weakest. I haven’t heard any pledge of how pensions will rise by the same amount.

On the other hand, the wealthy get away with “blue murder”. The hundreds of major companies which don’t pay tax (or very little) in Australia is well documented. In fact, it’s astounding. Among them is News Limited, Rupert Murdoch’s Aussie arm of his global media empire. And Murdoch papers have the temerity to attack people ripping off the welfare system (not that I condone it) – just the hypocrisy of Murdoch.

Back to Malcolm.

The honeymoon is well and truly over. It’s time he stopped the rhetoric (polite word for bullshit) and spelt things out. Where do we stand as a nation? There’s lots of things happening (i.e., gay marriage, the republic, war on terror). But where are we going as a nation, when all I can see are average people struggling to get ahead?

Unemployment is way up, despite “offical” figures saying otherwise. You only have to work for an hour a week to be classed as employed and/or for a job to have been created. Never mind the thousands who have been laid off by the mining, banking and manufacturing sectors (with more to come).

8e691ece55eca46507767bcc36cc2877The smoother veneer Malcolm coats himself in (and that includes a highly-polished Instagram feed – some of the latest trading off the homeless, which have suddenly been deleted) hopefully will receive some scratches as we progress throughout the year.

Let the games begin.


Pic: Daily Telegraph



Now it’s Turnbull’s turn

Hot on the heels of Peter Garrett’s blunder about admitting Labor would change its policies in government, federal environment minister Malcolm Turnbull has said similar.

Turnbull told well-respected national TV personality Peter Cundall he was opposed to the Gunns paper pulp mill in Tasmania. Turnbull then denied it.

Well, someone’s fibbing.

It’s likely Malcolm IS opposed to the mill. After all, he wanted the government to ratify the Kyoto protocol.

You’d think he’d rise above party politics and come out and say what he really believes. God knows, he doesn’t need the politicians’ salary.

An environmental election

Elections these days seem to loom further and further out from polling day. We’ve been in (federal) election mode for months. So it is, we get the chance to observe the various amount of, and techniques, used to push the party line on voters. In PR, if you’re following issues, it’s called tracking.

At present, the common denominator is the environment. The Howard Government has suddenly decided after 11 years in power, that the environment is an issue. Never mind it had been told many years before about the effects of global warming on the Murray-Darling river system.

Howard has never one to shy away from using “fear” (I call it uncertainty) tactics to make people believe that at a time of uncertainty they shouldn’t risk an untested party in government. What bunkum. The country would still function without Howard and Co and the helm. That’s what we have a Public Service for.

In the past few weeks (since March ’07), Howard has suddenly discovered we might run out of food because there’s no water in our rivers – and of them. Australian of the Year Dr Tim Flannery, and others, have warned of this for years.

This is one issue that needs to be tracked; particularly how Howard handles it. Apart from Labor, his main concern might be his new Water Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who right put his foot in it this week when he said the government didn’t need Victoria’s participation in a national water scheme, yet was immediately contradicted by Howard, who said we did need the “Mexicans”. With Ministers like that, who needs an Opposition?

Other issues worthy of tracking include the nuclear power debate and workplace reforms. You can bet there’s some serious lobbying going on by uranium miners. The unions have yet to show their full hand on Work Choice legislation. And let’s not forget the Iraq War (we’ve already had the government preparing us for casualties).

However, I believe the biggest issue is the environment. This is tied to the greenhouse debate and incorporates logging, mining, vehicle pollution and waste production. At the end of the day, other issues can be discussed, but if we haven’t got any water, it won’t matter much about anything else.