Friday, 3 September 2010

Tony Abbott and the billion bucks; catholic education

Ms Hilary White (in between writing for the Remnant) has changed the description of her blog a few times recently, first from 'blogging the Apocalypse', to 'ignoring it'.  Now she has now opted for 'going out for gelato'.

I suspect many Australians would share the sentiment, as we watch the painful process of Government formation, and the ongoing kerfuffle over the costing of Coalition policies.

So I'm sharing some of the (quite sharply tasty) gelato she offers for entertainment purposes below.

Days of our lives on parliament hill

First though more on the latest developments on the political days of our lives front.  Labor now has 74 seats, with Mr Wilkie signing up with them, rejecting a billion dollar offer from the Coalition for the Hobart hospital as economically irresponsible!

Much as I dislike Wilkie, I have to say that everytime I see him on tv, he comes across as smarter and more credible than his policies would warrant (though actually his pokies push does have its merits).  And last night, as he pondered how accepting a billion dollar bribe from the Coalition would have played out in the media he looked very plausible.

Andrew Robb was right, on Lateline, to look sick about this turnaround as he explained that the billion dollars was what Wilkie had asked for....Of course, well might he look sick; Labor's somewhat more modest bribe does make the Coalition look desperate and dangerous. 

And it must all have an impact on what both the parties can offer the other three independents to get them to sign up.  Brilliant stuff...

The costing saga

So just why is the current costing saga and argument about black holes important?  The answer is that it goes to the ethics of how you go about gaining government.

The Liberal-National party were the ones who decided to make the size of the deficit an election issue: few economists were seriously arguing that the size of Australia's deficit or debt is a real economic issue at the moment.

Having decided to make it an issue, the Opposition then decided to ignore the Charter of Budget Honesty that they, under Howard, had been responsible for, and to use a private accounting firm to cost their policies rather than Treasury.  And its clear now that they decided to do this well before any Treasury leaks.

They consistently resisted scrutiny of those costings by a neutral third party in the form of Treasury and Finance.

And now it turns out that many of their key assumptions were shonky, and that the bulk of the claimed savings were nothing more than accountants' tricks to cook the books.

Most importantly of all, it seems that the budget bottom line under the Coalition would be virtually the same as under Labor.

Lies and damned lies

So the Coalition's whole election campaign on this subject was about lying to and deceiving the Australian public.

And the Coalition have form on this area - remember children overboard? 

All parties are guilty of over-committing and then reneging on election commitments to some degree in the light of economic and practical reality. 

But not all parties have a history of engaging in downright deceptive behaviour in order to get elected.

The independents are entitled to reject the Coalition as the next Government of Australia in the light of all of this.

And now for some gelato

So perhaps its time to think of other things to distract ourselves. 

Thanks to Ms White for alerting me to this gem of a spoof of Catholic education today....

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