Tag Archives: NSW

News That’s Fit To Punt – 18/Mar/2013

Tin Ear Drum, Tin Ears, Tone Deaf

It’s a new week and a new poll says Julia Gillard’s got to go. As far as the electorate’s concerned, she’s a Dead Leader Walking.

The Prime Minister conducted a live-in campaign tour of western Sydney, announced $1 billion for the WestConnex expressway, promised a brace of benefits for workers, pledged $1 billion for aged care staff, attacked foreign workers on 457 visas and championed ”Aussie jobs,” and presided over strong growth in the number of people in jobs.

All for no electoral gain. The only movement in Labor’s primary vote was a 1 per cent rise, which is within the poll’s margin of error of 2.6 per cent. Neither offers to meet voters’ needs nor appeals to their prejudices made any discernible difference. The evidence of the last month is that, as a campaigner, Gillard is ineffectual. So if Gillard can’t do it for Labor, who can?

The poll tested the standing of four alternative leaders – Kevin Rudd and the three Gillard ministers most commonly touted as leadership material, Bill Shorten, Greg Combet and Bob Carr.

Asked whether they would prefer Gillard or Rudd, respondents chose Rudd by exactly two-to-one, 62 per cent to 31. His edge over Gillard on this measure has risen by 5 percentage points in the last month. Asked to choose between each of the other three and Gillard, respondents chose Gillard every time.

”The voters are saying, ‘if we can’t have Kevin Rudd, we’d rather have Julia Gillard over any of the alternatives’,” Stirton concludes. In short, there is no realistic option of a ”third candidate” to lead Labor.

That’s sort of the problem, though, isn’t it? It’s too late to go back to Kevin Rudd because even if they did, they’re not going to win. That choice was way back in February 2012, so as far as we can tell, the ALP is accepting it’s going to go down with all hands, thank you very much Captain Improbable.

Julia Gillard defiantly says she won’t flinch. Well, neither does a corpse, so I don’t know how not flinching is going to help.

”I’ll just keep getting on with it and dealing with the issues that actually matter and all of this kind of side-commentary can do whatever it does. It’s not going to deter me – or distract me.”

Ms Gillard has just emphatically ruled out any prospect of her stepping down before the election, insisting Labor made its decision on leadership when it rejected Kevin Rudd’s challenge last year. ”I haven’t revisited it since and I won’t be revisiting it. The decision’s made.”

But, in an expansive exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, Ms Gillard said Mr Rudd would play a prominent role in the election campaign, saying he would be ”asked to participate in the campaign more broadly than his own electorate”.She also indicated she would not resist a return by Mr Rudd to the front bench after the next election, saying: ”It would obviously be a matter for him that I would deal with in the circumstances of the time.”

Good heavens! After the next election when the ALP gets decimated in the polls, it might be only Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard remaining. She sure as heck won’t be keeping the leader’s seat after she presides over a mess that is likely to go down in history as the mother of all drubbings.

One of the more awful trends in the last few months has been the growing acceptance that come 15th September, it’s going to be Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. It’s like the 5 stages of grieving. We’re done ‘Denying’ it. We’ve been ‘Angry’ for 3years now. Some people are trying to ‘Bargain’.

The optimistic conclusion is this: Life under Tony Abbott may not be as bad as we fear. Perhaps. If we’re lucky. Assuming he’s fair dinkum and his mates don’t succumb to the power aphrodisiac.

I forgot to mention the other finding from the German research was things never turn out as well as optimists predict.
Such is life …

This is what we have been reduced to. I guess I’m going straight to ‘Depression’. It’s going to be very hard to accept Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. There’s something so insidiously  wrong about that – but what can you do? Vote of Julia? Puh-lease!

How Rotten Is NSW Politics?

If anything has been busily hammering the nail into the coffin of the Federal ALP, it’s been NSW ALP with all the horrible bits and pieces coming out of the ICAC inquiry. For a start, the Morbid Obedity that is being explored doesn’t just cover coal; it turns out it covers Ron Medich and the Michael McGurk murder. It even goes far back as Offset Alpine. Eddie Obeid’s right in there with Rene Rivkin. (In fact, that mess of course leads to the Caroline Byrne thing but we won’t go into that here.  The point of all this is that there was a cabal of people in and out of each other’s deals, cleaning up on the scraps left over by government; and Eddie Obeid made sure that he left big scraps on the table and that a sizable portion of the scraps went into his own pockets.)

I seriously wonder if the ALP will survive this scandal. They may not come back for over a decade, both in NSW and Federally. We may be witnessing the end of the ALP. And they would only have themselves to blame.

Oh, let’s never forget that Eddie Obeid’s support and sway over the NSW Right Faction swung the numbers for Bill Shorten and Mark Arbib to oust Kevin Rudd. Julia Gillard may well wonder why she does so badly in NSW. If she could get her head around our deep disgust, then she might even get her head around flinching in revulsion and resigning.

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Morbid Obeidity

‘Obeidity’: A New Word For Rampant Corruption

We knew the NSW branch of the ALP has been very odd for a long time. The depths of the corruption that is coming out in the ICAC hearings is at once unsurprising and yet so repugnant. From what we are to understand from the hearings, Eddie Obeid held the NSW Right faction hostage, placed Ian MacDonald (‘Sir Lunch-a-lot’) in a position where he would have inside knowledge, then used that inside knowledge to stake out a position wherein they would have to be bought out in order for a coal mine to be built, finagled his family trust into owning the mining concern that would win the tender on the back of knowing where the coal was, and by having Ian Macdonald decide who would win the tender. In the process, Ian Macdonald had side deals with Greg Jones and a cast of characters have either opted in (and out); all of it as a result of the shenanigans carried out by Obeid and Ian Macdonald.

The surprising thing in all this is that the fast and furious chopping and changing of Premiers from Morris Iemma to Nathan Rees to Kristina Kenneally may have been done to preserve Obeid’s advantages in the various deals and had nothing to do with:

  • Points of public policy
  • Policy differences on public policy
  • Inner ALP politics and machinations for political advantage
  • Inner NSW Right factional politics for political advantage.

No, no, no, no, no! Eddie Obeid was pulling strings and throwing his weight around just so he could have his snout firmly entrenched in the comings and goings in these deals. That all the public incredulity and angst about the state of the ALP over these changes had sweet fuck all to do with anything of actual importance. It was all about the Obeids getting more out of the public purse. So, it may well be that since Bob Carr left office as Premier, NSW politics has essentially stood still, unable to do anything because these corrupt toads were  busy filling their own pockets and making out like bandits. And if nothing else it explains how the extremely insufferable and stupid Kristina Kenneally came to be our Premier. The Obeids played us all for suckers and stuck a muppet with hair up there, knowing full well that voting was just some kind of popularity contest when the real deal was the deal making to stuff one’s own coffers.

The true tragedy in all this is that the ICAC can’t lay charges, and that the DPP won’t be able to prosecute the Obeids unto a conviction because the ICAC evidence won’t necessarily fit through that tight door into the courtroom. That’s right. Eddie Obeid and his family just might get away with all this. I *hate* saying this but the Angry Fat Man is right: this is moral turpitude at its most flagrant worst.

And we’re all the poorer for it. All those policy points we’ve argued about and waited for our government to action, such as public transport or infrastructure spending never really took any part of Eddie Obeid’s greedy little mind. It didn’t matter who lobbied whom, none of it was ever going to happen (and didn’t) because frankly this guy did not give a shit about public policy – at all – And he just rope-a-doped his way through office, hardly turning up, pulling down his salary (and the Parliamentarian superannuation now), just being generally obstructionist so that nothing that got in his way, got done.

So the question today is this: given the Obeid/ICAC thing, the Craig Thomson thing, and the Nova Peris/ Trish Crossin thing, (not to mention the Rudd removal) how can we bring ourselves to even contemplate voting for the ALP in all good conscience? How do we know the next candidate they put up in Dobell to replace Craig Thomson won’t be some union hack or some low grade party apparatchik? How do we know Nova Peris won’t become a corrupt politician with her snout firmly embedded in the public purse, and un-removable by dint of her ethnicity? Forget high ideals and lights at the top of the metaphorical hill; where the heck are we supposed to find any faith in this mob?

It’s bad enough that we’re confronted with a 2-Tax Systems Tony Abbott and his attack-poodle-of-death Christopher Pyne. Just what the hell are we supposed to do? Vote for these muthers?

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Won’t Have Kristina To Dick Around Anymore

No Splintering To The Left

I have to admit that I must be pretty radical when it comes to the political spectrum. I’m not exactly a communist – far from it, but I sure as hell don’t run with the conservatives come hell or high water. Which chased me into my choice of voting Green. I don’t regret it even though in my seat, the Green candidate won’t come close to the line. The Liberal Candidate ended up with a 25% or so swing in his favour according to the election night telecast on TV. (Thanks Angela D’Amore, you are the gift that keeps on giving, like a Herpes virus).

I’m a little amused that Kerry O’Brien started off the night by saying it was going to be a bloodbath, everybody knows the result; the only question is just how much of a bloodbath. Even more amusing was the ALP colour commentator they had – Luke Foley, I think he’s called – who came across as somebody with an IQ of about 75. He had to admit it was catastrophic, the resulting devastation was going to be cataclysmic and that the ALP were going to have to do a lot of soul searching. Well, d’uh.

I guess nobody looks smart when their heads are getting beaten in; and yet even he had one reason to crow and that was that Carmel Tebbutt was likely to hold Marrickville against Fiona Byrne, and went on to bag out Fiona Byrne for being a terrible  candidate for the Greens.

Which all got me to thinking how much of the ALP vote that might have been swinging votes and traditional votes ran to the right into the arms of the Liberal and National Parties. Luke Foley was saying that the ‘Labor Heartland’ no longer exists. That might be true, and by extension this might be one of those elections that changes the state for ever. The ALP may not be able to win in NSW until well past 2020. And if the Hawke-Keating years and  the Howard years proved something, 10+years can change the culture of a place dramatically. NSW might turn into an arch-conservative state.

So where does that leave me with my radicalised environmental vote? Gagging on my recycled materials wooden spoon.

The Rush To The Right

Given the sort of miasma and nauseating whirlwind that was the Labor government of the last 4 years, it’s not surprising that the middle rushed to the right, just pull the handbrakes on the craziness. I don’t know if it’s even a rational choice given that 79% of the electorate don’t know what the Coalition’s policies are and that 65% voted them in.

The poll is at odds with predictions that the gap between the parties would narrow as voters paid more attention closer to the election. It suggests voters switched off long ago.

Asked how much they felt they knew about the Coalition’s policies, 79 per cent said they knew either ”little” or ”nothing at all”, with just 21 per cent saying they knew a lot.

Knowledge of Labor’s policies was slightly better, with 68 per cent saying they knew little or nothing and 31 per cent saying they knew a lot.

This could mean that a lot of people are going to wake up tomorrow and wonder just what the hell they’ve done but I guess it’s too late for that now. The ALP haven’t done much for the image of stability. That Karl Bitar fellow and ‘protected’ US informant Mark ‘The Mole’ Arbib have done over Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees,while doing the same Federally for Kevin Rudd and helping Julia Gillard to a hung Parliament has made the ALP a laughingstock in most conversations I’ve come across.

The unfortunate upshot is that it’s pushed a lot of people to the right, and it amazes me how unimaginative people are when it comes to their politics. Here’s the thing. I voted Greens last time too, but I preferenced ALP. If Nathan Rees was still Premier, I might have been persuaded to still vote ALP even. As soon as they dumped Rees and put in Kenneally I vowed they would not get my vote, and it’s a sentiment that’s been shared by many people I’ve spoken to. I’m amazed that most of the people who felt that way took it as a cue to vote in Barry O’Farrell, but I guess that’s the 2 party system for you.

In any case, it’s not like all is lost for the ALP faithful of NSW. It’s just a bleeding state election to kick out a tired, over-ripe, incompetent ALP government. Surely some of those who ran to vote in Barry O’Farrell will come back as prodigal votes. It’s the nature of politics.

Can The Greens Get Beyond The Marginalia Of Politics?

On the basis of tonight’s result, I think this is going to be a tougher ask than I thought. So far it’s counting about 11%. That suggests that:

  • 10 out of 11% are crackpot socialists and tree-hugging hippies and dope-smoking Newtown-ites.
  • Only the extra 1% represent the people who jumped to the left. The 20% swing to the right represent the middle.

I think 1% is an incredibly hard basis to build a platform upon when you’re already outnumbered 10 to 1 by the loonies in your own party. 13% at the Federal election was a good showing, but in closer examination, the Greens are still the party of feral-loonies, druggies, hippies the dispossessed and socialist-idiots.

By contrast, at 50% of the vote, the current crop of Coalition voters are people with desperate mortgages and the NIMBY crowd. Laura Norder didn’t even factor into it this time around.

One Final Thought About Kristina Kenneally

I’ll be flayed for writing this, but what the hell. Everything else is going down in flames.

I’m thinking that Kristina Kenneally has to represent the end of the line of that crappy brand of 1980s feminism that saw male chauvinism layered in to every text and wrote post-modern essays about gender politics in Shakespeare to Bananarama. Let’s call it, ‘Quota Feminism’ for want of a better tag. It gave us Verity Firth and Carmel Tebbutt and Angela D’Amore and Virginia Judge and Kristina Kenneally in an awful hurry.

Here’s the thing: If that line of thinking really had merit, Kenneally and company would have been more persuasive figures – And I do say this with my deepest condolences to the Po-Mo 1980s feminists I know, but the rise of Kristina Kenneally (and to some extent Julia Gillard) has got to be one of the more abstruse and disaffecting manifestations of that line of thinking.

Was it any good? Goodness, the proof sure is in the pudding tonight, isn’t it? Half the electorate ran screaming to a patriarchal-looking Barry O’Farrell. Doubtless Germaine Greer is going to write an article for The Observer over in the UK saying how this proves we’re all sexist shits in NSW, and how Kristina Kenneally was defeated by the forces of backward oppressive patriarchal men. But you see, that’s exactly where the ideological rot is at.


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On The Eve Of The NSW Election

Vote Green

I was at the usual shop picking up lunch when I ran into some people I always meet. One of them said he was thinking of voting for the Greens. The other was a gnarled mechanic in overalls saying the Greens want to bring in death duties. I interjected, “well why not?”

“Kerry Packer said why should his family give up money so you can misuse it?” the older guy retorted.

“For the common good. That’s why. I mean Jamie Packer didn’t exactly work for that money. Why the hell should he get such a big head start in life on account of his dad being obscenely rich?”

“Yeah but if my mum dies and she leaves half a million, why should the government tax that?”

“For the common good.”

“…But they’ll only waste that.”

“…and you’d only sit on it for you own pleasure. How’s that helping anybody? If it’s all the same, the 15% they would take from it would be put to better use than you sitting on it,” I offered. “I mean, you didn’t earn it. Your mum did; and when she goes, she can’t take it with her, so a portion may as well go to the state, because the state probably looked after her as much as you with its hospitals and doctors and nurses.”

You should have seen the guy’s expression. He was apoplectic with rage. I said, “mate, don’t worry. I think they should tax everybody more, but that’s just me. We don’t pay enough taxes as it is and we wonder why our hospitals are clogged with waiting lists.”

He looked even angier.

“I mean, tax everybody. Who really cares?” I continued. “The money you get taxed, do you really miss it? There’s still enough for you to pay your bills and pay your rent and still have a drink with your mates. I mean what were you going to do with it that was going to change other people’s lives? That’s what governments do, so give them what they need.”

“…But they’ll waste it,” he offered again. “That’s what governments do. They waste it.”

“What? On hospitals and ambulances and police and emergency rescue workers and all that? Roads and trains and water and sewerage treatment and electricity? How about schools for kids, day care centres for infants and libraries and colleges and TAFE? Apprenticeship schemes where you got your training, it’s all a waste is it?”

“Bullshit mate,” he snarled, grabbed his lunch, and stormed out. Couldn’t say I blamed him. I’d hate to be harangued by me while picking up my lunch too.

The first guy said, “I’ve been back to Greece and when you go to the country side, they have nothing. No roads, no schools, no sewerage or running water. It’s like medieval times. They don’t even know about taxes. Never even heard of the idea, let alone paid it. And the place is so backwards and they wonder why. So yeah, taxes are fine by me,” he said.

Apparently, that’s the way things are in the spiritual home of democracy and a country racked with sovereign debt issues.

So vote green, peeps! Vote for higher taxes for the rich. Get a little Bolshy. Higher taxes never killed anybody.

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The Lady Deserves A Beating

Sexism? I think Not

Kristina Kenneally may not indeed be the most odious Premier of NSW. It is a point I must concede. After all, Robert Askin sounds like he was as crooked as they come, and Bob Carr seems like one of the most insufferable human beings a man could meet. Nick Greiner left such a slimey impression what with his board memberships on so many dodgy PPPs, and Neville Wran was… Neville Wran.

The point being it is entirely possible she has not been the worst human being to grace the position of Premier of NSW. However, this puff piece had me choking.

During Verity Firth’s husband’s ecstasy scandal last week, Keneally’s staff almost fell over laughing when asked if their boss had dabbled with drugs. She similarly fails to grasp sexual innuendo during office banter, they say.

For all these reasons the Premier is likely to recoil, rightly, at the disturbingly sexist view of her that has arisen in focus groups assembled by the Liberal Party.

A senior Liberal source says a theme has emerged, particularly among male voters, that can be boiled down to: Keneally is the one-night stand who was fun at the time but insisted on hanging around the next morning, even though you wanted her to leave.

It’s always hard to know if selected snippets of internal polling like this reflect the true results or, more likely, illuminate one element for damaging effect. But there’s no argument that opinion polls showed voters had an immediate attraction to Keneally when she took on the job from Nathan Rees in December 2009.

”It was a flirtation, or some sort of infatuation,” the senior Liberal said. ”She’s obviously attractive but it was more than that; it was a novelty to have an American as premier – an American woman as premier.”

Almost everyone is surprised by how hard and fast Keneally fell in the polls when the love affair ended – to the extent that she now lags the Liberals’ Barry O’Farrell by 20 percentage points as preferred premier.

If people believe they’ve somehow been taken in by Keneally, that’s their view, fine. But our first female premier deserves better than being objectified because of her gender.

The last bit  is nuts. What she deserves is the line from ‘Unforgiven’, “deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” along with the electoral bullet to put her out of her misery.

But before getting to that point, here are at least 2 problems of Kenneally’s own links to scandal that this article glosses over. Number 1 is of course just how deep her dealings with Ron Medich (and the whole corrupt dealing aspect of Medich’s empire) actually go, and number 2 is the allegation that the Barangaroo contract for car parks benefits her husband Ben directly. So no, it is not true to say she is scandal free herself.

The four women who marched in to replace Nathan Rees with Kristina Kenneally as Premier, if I recall correctly were Verity Firth, Angela D’Amore, Carmel Tebbutt and Virginia Judge. Of these 4 MPs, Verity Firth’s in this drug scandal with her husband even if she had nothing to do with the said pill; Angela D’Amore has since been found to have been corrupt and been kicked out of the ALP; Virginia Judge has been accused of handing out grant money to her mates; which leaves Carmel Tebbutt the only one free of scandals.

I think the electorate has actually been highly supportive of the politically correct/anti-sexist line to the extent that when these women engineered the first female premier of NSW – though unelected she may be – the electorate perhaps was willing to give her a go. Okay, it’s true, I made a commitment to never vote for her government – one which I will keep – but other people around me have been umm-ing and aah-ing. They’ve told me they like the reality of having a female mayor of Sydney, a female Premier of NSW, a female Prime Minister and a female Governor General, plus a Queen.

In other words, sexism isn’t what’s going to kick Kristina Kenneally out. In all realistic appraisal, when Kristina Kenneally’s government does get voted out on 26th of March this year, it would be because of the collective shenanigans of all the NSW ALP members and staffers. That she contributed very little to the parade of scandals is not going to persuade people to keep this NSW government. Any argument mounted in favor of Kenneally’s government should face up to that daunting, brutal, frank reality.

In that light, the article was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read in the SMH in a long time.

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Spin Control

Meet The F*ckers

Pleiades convinced me to go and see what the top Film Bureaucrats had to say for themselves at a function at Trackdown, at an ad hoc event organised by Tristan Milani. Fronting up for their policies were Screen Australia boss Dr. Ruth Harley, Screen NSW boss Tania Chambers and Ausfilm boss Jackie O’Sullivan.

The gist of the presentation was that the numbers are up and so far everything is much better than 5 years ago. The bad news is that the Australian Dollar is playing havoc with the part of the industry that subsists on American productions. The banality of the presentation was breathtaking and Dr Ruth Harley closed off her segment with a couple of trailers for films to come.

Maybe the numbers that were read out by both Dr. Harley and Ms Chambers bear out a recovery in the film industry in general, but it struck me more as spin. They were all busy predicting a trough to come, as if to forewarn and foreshadow bad news ahead. An unkind mind might suggest that if they’re willing to take the credit for the peaks, perhaps they should take the rap for the troughs, but these bureaucrats were so wily, there’s a reason they’ve got their cushy fat jobs and chumps like us are looking in.

There is a lot of angst in the wider film making community at various levels and in various sectors of the business. The gathered faces were surprisingly older faces. Some of whom were my instructors at AFTRS way back when, which while it is encouraging to see, was also depressing in that it showed the industry had let them down as well.

James Ricketson got up and in their faces about the ‘anonymous assessor’ process that has been put into place. Clearly this is is an abominable procedure but the top bureaucrats expressed the strong opinion that the anonymous nature of the assessment allows the assessors to be more frank.  Well, let *me* be frank – I think these film bureaucrats are full of themselves if they think this process is in any way helping the film maker. Yet, there they were, defending the process on the basis of numbers. Numbers of projects submitted, number of projects funded and number of projects that eventually went into production. And when you stop to think about it, you think, what if they just changed the rules so they *didn’t* have to be accountable to the submissions?

Inquiring minds wanted to know, but these film bureaucrats were decidedly defensive on this point, saying it was a good thing. Clearly they have no idea what it is like to submit a project to these bodies. I started to laugh – I couldn’t stifle my giggle response when Dr. Harley said with a straight face for the third time that they got better information through the frankness of anonymous assessors. Well of course you would. Much like NAZIs would from secret informants – but they just didn’t seem to care that they came across as really hostile.

Some e-mailer made the charge that Screen Australia were only interested in genre pictures, to which Dr. Harley trotted out some statistical breakdown to show it was not, but in so doing, she entirely ducked the issue of accountability raised in the question. As in, “why do film bureaucrats get to keep their cushy jobs when they pick losers to develop and lose money?” No answer was forthcoming.

At one point Tom Jeffrey got up in support of a North American dude who complained about the intractability of the process and the procedures. Both men were politely told that they should get with the times and simply navigate the website and put in some study hours dealing with forms because the bureaucracy simply didn’t have the man-hours to deal with all the inquiries.

And if you thought that was a bit rude – and let’s face it Tom Jeffrey’s an old bull of the business who deserves respect – these people were quite snide about it. The North American Dude made a metaphor that he wanted to  discuss Alaska, but the process involving forms always tried to reduce the discourse to a shoe box. The snarky remark from Dr. Harley was that they couldn’t help him because nobody at Screen Australia knew how to reduce Alaska to a shoe box either – which ignores the fundamental question being asked. Why are these forms so difficult and contrary to the creative process, and why do they keep insisting on these mountain of forms?

Tom Jeffrey also got the short shrift by both Tania Chambers and Dr. Ruth Harley when they suggested it was all available online and it was his own fault or being so old so as not to be up to the times. How insulting was that? Pretty extreme in its insult, I thought. And Tom’s not somebody I would consider a friend. Tania Chambers said that they simply didn’t have enough people to talk through each project, so it had to be through forms. It seems they use forms and e-mails and bureaucratese to distance themselves from having any moral responsibilities.

Some of the ex-NSWFTO people made the point of saying that they would never try to go through these bodies for development. You could see why. The whole event was an interesting exercise in bureaucrats trying to substitute discussions of quantities in place of discussions about qualities, and thus try and avoid any moral responsibilities. All in all, it was a very poor showing.

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 10/Jun/2010

A Balanced Budget For NSW

I’m not going to vote for NSW Labor at the next election. It’s on principle. There’s nothing they can do to get my vote. They’ve pissed me off sufficiently that they are most definitely not getting my vote.

That being said, I want to note that the NSW Government’s budget is in surplus. I was staggered by that fact.

Some of the commentary points out that it’s not all their doing and there are may areas of policy where they are failing – and don’t we all know it – but on one level they are being responsible. It may perhaps be the only level on which the NSW Government is being responsible, but I have to give them credit for the fact that they’re not spiraling into deep debt, like, say Greece or Japan.

With all this talk of endless scandals, including the ill-conceived outing of David Campbell by Channel Seven, you’d think the state was deep in debt to the point that it was going to need a bail out by the Federal Government. Or that perhaps it was a basket case like the State of California which can’t pay its employees so they’re making them take time off without pay. It’s not like Japan where they’ve been running up irresponsible deficits for 20 years, to the point that the accumulated debt is twice the size of the annual budget. But it’s simply not that bad.

Compared to those places, the NSW Government is the model of fiscal responsibility. No wonder Barry O’Farrell hasn’t made much inroads, seeing that the traditional way Liberal governments get in to office in NSW seem to be by screaming about mounting debts. If it’s not there, then what exactly can they present that’s so radically different? Barry’s offering $5bn for infrastructure. Whoopee. That’s $5bn coming out of somewhere else or $5bn he’s going to borrow. Is there really much to be excited about in that? I’m not voting Liberal, that’s for sure.

But I’m still not voting Labor at the next State election.

Hooray For Democracy

This one caught my eye today.

Alvin Greene has been on the phone all day. That’s to be expected for the guy who just won South Carolina’s Democratic Senate primary and is facing incumbent Republican Jim DeMint in November. But everyone calling Greene has just been trying to find out who the heck he is — and one thing reporters learned Tuesday is that a criminal complaint was sworn out against him last year for allegedly showing obscene photos to a South Carolina college student and suggesting they go to her dorm room.

Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed military veteran who lives with his parents, defeated Vic Rawl on Tuesday for the Democratic Senate nomination despite having run essentially no public campaign — no events, no signs, no debates, no website, no fundraising.

The result has baffled political observers, who had heavily favored Rawl — a former state legislator, attorney and prosecutor who had the edge inasmuch as he actually campaigned and tried to win. Many in South Carolina (which has grandly lived up to its reputation as a political circus this year) suspect that somewhere, a crafty GOP political operative is snickering.

As far as the local political press can discern, the only positive step Greene took toward campaigning was when he plunked down a $10,400 check in March to satisfy the state’s filing fee and get on the ballot. He never registered a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission or filed a financial disclosure with the Senate Ethics Committee.

You have to love the odd things electoral politics sometimes casts upon the shores of our awareness. He should run in NSW. He’d annihilate Kristina Kenneally.

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