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The Budget: it whimps... but « Previous | |Next »
May 13, 2003

I've only paid cursory attention to this years Federal budget. I've been too busy worry about the beautiful and constructing my life to accord with the taste dictates of Vogue Living.

My fear is that the budget will have cuts in the grants for scientists just to undermine the building momentum that is making Australia a "smart or clever country." Remember the Howard Government's Howard government’s Backing Australia’s Ability (BAA) program, which supposedly set the scene for being a smart country. It is doubtful if the 2003 Costello Budget will strengthen and broaden this program to enable Australia to join the bottom league of being an innovating nation; or to attract talented Australians overseas to return and join dynamic cooperative research centres bursting with creative ideas, innovative energy and strong commercialisation. Well, the Howard Government once talked that way. Today its a dream

Will the CSIRO will be punished for entering into public policy debates?

I also doubt that Costello's budget will be a deficit one to fund improvements to public infrastructure; or give me hugh tax cuts; fund public health and education; or buy back water licences to save the River Murray. All the signs are, from the headlines I've noted, is that military spending (defence and security) is going to take up oodles of cash; the budget has to remain in surplus; and that the Howard Government lacks the courage to break with economic orthodoxy in the face of declining world economic growth----what economists call the economy being soft!

When the economy is growing they talk in terms of stellar economic performance. No doubt we will hear how great the Australian has been doing due to the wonderful economic management of Costello and Howard.

Surely they are not going to go about needing the surplus to pay off the national debt again? There cannot be much left.

The education reforms? Will they facilitate the shift to a clever, sustainable country? Or are the reforms more about deregulation, user pays (more full feeing places), increased competitiveness, increasing export earnings of international education and allowing regional universities to drift into teaching only institutions.

Addition I caught the budget speech while cooking dinner. A big spin about minor tax cuts----tiny weeny tax cuts to grab newspaper headlines in the morning. Nothing about the environment though. It was not even mentioned---only preserving the cultural heritage of significant sites of national remembrance. Not much long-term green vision there. And there is increased governance of the universities through the deregulated market is the long-term vision for higher education. Of course, there is no research money for philosophers to critique the neo-liberal policy agenda or the lack of drive in the sustainable policy agenda. The humanities will become even more marginalised. Ansd we have lots of promises to spend money many years from now.

Pretty lame and tame all round. Apart from election, election, election.

The faces of the government front bench as they looked at the Labor Opposition said it all. Smugness, arrogance and contempt. They have the federal Labor Party over a barrell. Who would have believed that it is the Liberals have control of the health and education policy fields and it is the Australian Labor Party that is on the defensive and looking for answers.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:05 PM | | Comments (3)


What?! The Untermenschen are being given their money back! The horror!

Don't they know that politicians, bureaucrats, and tenured academics know what is best for them!

except we're not being given our money back, we're just having less of it taken from us than otherwise would have been the case. the same government still thinks they know what's best for me. they won't even let me take the smallest amount of methamphetamine, despite the fact that i rarely drink, and would be classified as extremely healthy.

The Liberal and Labor party both contain many people who think people like myself, the "Untermenschen", are only valuable so long as we continue to spend money and vote them in. If we write them a letter or engage in actual physical debate with them, we soon appreciate that 'the battlers' are only for use as a rhetorical tool by either brand of the business party.

Personally I'm not opposed to the tax cuts at all. (See the latter post). Any tax cut is better than none even tiny weeny ones.

The post was trying to adddress the 'selling' of the Costello Budget: both the way it is framed politically and the rhetoric that seeks to persuade us to vote Liberal not Labor.