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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

it's back to politics « Previous | |Next »
January 19, 2011

The political holiday season is slowly coming to an end.

We have the Coalition finding yet another reason to attack the national broadband network (NBN) and have it scrapped. Abbott says that since the NBN is an unnecessary project--- a luxury that Australia cannot now afford---the money (its been inflated to $50 billion by the Coalition) should be diverted to the flood recovery in Queensland.


Why not cut money from defence if the priority is to save the budget surplus from an increase in expenditure? There are lots of efficiency savings to be made there. Why not roll back expenditure in the subsidy to private health insurance?

These are not goers for the Coalition--they'd block them in the Senate --- because Abbott is not interested in the budget surplus; he is using the floods to try to undermine a policy that is seen to both popular and successful for the ALP. So mud has to be thrown at it, in the hope that some of it sticks, whilst Abbott ensures the austerity (slash and burn) credentials remain with the Coalition. It's politics: --keeping Labor inside the big spender/high taxation box.

We have the Gillard Government's commitment to return to surplus by 2012-13 to be achieved by capping extra spending at 2%b real growth and banking the increased revenue revisions. If this commitment is locked in concrete---to avoid a Deficit--- then whyy not a temporary flood levy? That is what Howard did when he introduced a levy to fund a $500 million gun buyback in 1996, after the Port Arthur massacre. No doubt the Coalition will say cut spending not raise taxes.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:19 AM | | Comments (11)


How does the Coalition get $50 billion when most commentators talk about a public investment in the NBN of around $28-$35 billion?

Cut defence? Well, maybe. It's probably full of pork anyway. But let's not lose the opportunity to cut sporting and tourism subsidies while we're in Scrooge mode.

I don't think I need to defend cutting sporting subsidies; tourism creates crappy jobs at great public expense.

Except for lobbyist jobs, of course.

The life of a tourism lobbyist must be terrific. By its very nature, tourism should be able to offer free trips, free meals, free booze, and free sex workers to vulnerable pollies more easily and cheaply than any other industry. And who wouldn't want to spend their working day organising that?

PS. I wonder if there's such a thing as free gambling?

One must accept that after these floods less people will be keen on the NBN over levees it the areas flooded and surrounding them.
We will have to see how that translates in politics and popular opinion over the coming weeks in the areas outside.
My feeling is that the NBN will be scaled down. Perhaps the federal government will fund the money to the states and let them choose whether they go ahead with it or use the money for something else. This will absolve the federal government of backing down.......again.
Anna Bligh is riding a wave of popularity with her handling of the flood situation and given her position in the Labor Party she may be a key player in it.

re your comment: " One must accept that after these floods less people will be keen on the NBN over levees it the areas flooded and surrounding them. "

that should read 'less people in Queensland will be'

People in SA or Tasmania will be keen on NBN over levees. The NBN and the blackspot backhaul programme is being rolled across all states in the country.

The first release site in Queensland is an area of Townsville covering parts of the suburbs of Aitkenvale and Mundingburra; in NSW it is the coastal communities of Minnamurra and Kiama Downs south of Wollongong and an area of west Armidale, NSW, including the University of New England; in Victoria it is a part of the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne; in SA it is the rural town of Willunga.

None of these were affected by the floods.

The second realise sites are here. Toowoombia is included.

That takes care of 2011/2012

Yes I think my second sentence covers that point.
The polls, politics and critisms on the issue will give us something to watch.

I hear Rudd plans a comeback. That's going to be fun.

Did the coalition think of the NBN attack by themselves, or was that fed to them by The Australian?

We could save a considerable sum if Christmas Island detention centre was shut down. Or if private school subsidies were scaled back.

The surplus is not the essential issue here.

At Unleashed Stephen Bartos says:

One sure way to make that economic impact worse would be to stint on recovery expenditure. Businesses need working infrastructure – roads, rail, ports, communications and the like – and they need their local communities to be functioning well. The sooner this is helped along the better.

The Coalition has a fetish about deficits and surpluses.

Gee, am stuffed if I can figure how the Tories can make this leap of imagination from "Queensland floods" to "sack the NBN". whatever mushrooms they are putting on their porterhouses, I wish they'd send me some!
Since when has the price of wheat on the Chinese rice market had anything to do with everted left hand widget production in the Outer Hebrides, whilst patting ones head and rubbing ones belly simultaneously?
More to the point, will they abandon privatisation now, because they need the money brought in by public assets for reconstruction? Regarding the cutting of defence spending someone hope fully ventured forth, just as well my irony alert mechanism was functional. Hope springs eternal, but..
As for Nan, first up, what can we say?

I hear Aussie Crawl are going to reform to sing the Coalitions election theme.

Levee Levee....Oh boy....its out they go.......lalalala

I don't hear the Coalition making serious proposals to cuts to middle-class welfare that it had expanded under Howard to buy voters.

What Abbott and Turnbull don't get about the NBN is that this long term investment enables Australia to be able to export our talents without having to export our people.

I find this a very attractive possibility.