Rat and Mouse budget games

Dry and DrierIn a deceptively milquetoast budget reply speech, Kevvie cut the ground out from under any possible rodential pre-election spending spree with a ‘fiscally responsible, conservative’ demeanour. Declaring that there would be no new tax increases as a percentage of GDP, Rudd kept his iniatives to five main points, ostensibly to avoid predictable attacks of ‘where will the bucks come from to pay for them’ during the forthcoming election campaign and to focus the electorate on a short list of core promises.

Without firing broadsides at Howard’s beneficent budget bribes, Rudd correctly linked future productivity growth and low interest rates beyond the masking effects of the mining boom with education, “a core value of Labor for more than a century”, beginning with early childhood where Australia is ranked 32nd in investment in OECD countries. Productivity growth is ominously predicted by the government to be only 1.1% though the current decade.

“We are blessed,” said Uncle Kevvie. “The time to fix the roof is when the sun is still shining.” Though painfully cliched, his metaphorical allusion may resound well in the blue collar mortage belt, much of which may not feel so blessed by the fruits of the resource boom. With Rudd stating categorically that there is “no difference in a trade certificate and a university degree”, we are all tradespeople now.

Labor’s projected funding of trades training in secondary schools is a canny, appealing policy both for business, which is crying out for more skilled tradesmen, and Australian workers, many of whose kids aren’t bright enough to make it to uni, which is where Howard’s education policies are primarily directed. Howard proposed funding only 3 new tech colleges across Australia – a demonstrably weak response to industry requirements. The unstated subtext is that business has been importing foreign skilled workers to the detriment of our own youth. Further, an ALP federal government will have the ability to coordinate the implementation of its trades and Asian language initiatives with the all-Labor State governments.

Noting that currently there are 540,000 young people not in full time learning or work, Rudd announced further education initiatives including $84m over 4 years for on the job training for 20 weeks a year for year 9 – 12 students, improving school retention rates to year 12 from the present 75% to 85% in 2015 and 95% by 2020, thus earning Australia’s economy an extra estimated $9b at the 90% mark, and a uniform national curriculum for english, history, maths and science to facilitate mobility across the states.

Addressing industry directly, Rudd indicated Labor would maintain the absolute independence of the reserve bank and streamline regulatory arrangements – “no new regulation unless an existing an regulation is withdrawn.” Furthermore, business would have the right to charge Commonwealth departments on late payments, use an optional national superannuation clearinghouse, and for the finance industry, a simple standard disclosure form for financial service products. To attract investment from the Asian funds management industry (already swanning it with the removal of CGT on foreign share investments), Uncle Kevvie promised to halve withholding tax.

After skimming over the continued need for national security via vigilance, Rudd next reiterated the contentious yet much needed ALP broadband initiative for a $4.7b investment in partnership with private business for a state of the art fibre to the node 12mb/sec network – no surprises there.

Rudd’s fourth major point was climate change. Linking the economic cost to Australia with a failure to act now, he repeated Labor’s intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, reducing greenhouse gases by 60%, establishing a clean coal fund (CXY could benefit here), low interest loans for home solutions and boosting the use of renewables.

Water security would be addressed with low interest loans for homeowner solutions and improving water security for local communities. Noting that “30% of water is lost from leaks and burst water mains”, Rudd envisaged a National fund for fixing leaks across Australia to match local government contributions.

EVZ is right on target to benefit from Rudd’s water saving initiatives.

“That’s why we’ve committed to funding the Goldfields Superpipe for Bendigo and Ballarat, the Geelong Shell Refinery water recycling project and other major urban water projects.”

Lastly, Rudd presaged changes to the disastrous Howard Workslavery laws which are widely perceived to have gone too far – for Rudd “the fair go has a future”, there must be a “balance between fairness and flexibility”, and Australians must be “united not divided”.

All in all, a bland, unthreatening presentation, and one in which the rodent will be scrabbling to gain a claw hold for his wedgies.

12 comments to Rat and Mouse budget games

  • Gloomy Brown doesn’t appeal to me either. Britain has never recovered from the Iron Witch Lady, who enabled the swing to the right in the Labour Party there.

    At least Rudd isn’t as right wing as Beasley – things could be worse here.

    THanks for the second link – I’ll add it here.

  • Anonymous

    Good questions Fringe. How healthy is our constitution? Take a look at Britain’s new PM under the title…….So Who Is Gordon Brown? Blair and New Labour on Steroids http://infowars.net/articles/may2007/170507_Gordon_Brown.htm

    The following link that has several interesting topics http://100777.com/money

  • Anonymouse,

    Even if Rudd does nothing else after he gains power, his policies are *still* far preferable to Howard’s continued corporate fascism.

    As for the UN running the world, the UN can’t even run itself. Anyway, at present the UN is largely controlled by the United Stupids.

    I’m not quite sure what ideal you are attempting to put forward instead of what you erroneously define as “Statism”.

    Australia’s government is defined by laws – we have a government of laws, not men. Even the rodent is subject to Australian law. It is the responsibility of the electorate to ensure that those whom they elect to govern respect Australian laws. Whilst democracy might be an imperfect system, it is the *only* system of government which permits direct representation of individual rights. If you don’t feel it is working for you, get involved – join your local party branch and raise your voice. You will soon see that you are free to disagree with the ‘state’ and have input into change.

    Or perhaps you would prefer we have no laws, and that we return to the jungle where feudalistic vigilante thugs stomp on those less fortunate?

    Personally I haven’t the time or inclination to become a vigilante survivalist. I support the principles of social democracy – equality, egality and liberty, enforced where necessary for *my* protection, by the government which *I* elect, which serves not just my needs, but needs of those less fortunate than me through the provision of specialised services by trained professionals.

    When the government, like Howard’s present rogues, stop serving those above needs and instead feather the nests of the elite, I freely raise my voice to protest.

    If others are too stupid and ill-informed to realise Howard’s mob aren’t acting in their interests and continue to vote the mongrels in, then so be it. The wheel *always* turns eventually.

  • Anonymous

    Fringe you are putting all your faith in what Rudd “may” do once he gets his foot in the door. Smoke and mirrors, the fact that he isn’t divulging any of the “more controversial reforms” is that he has no intentions of doing so. Government is ready to hand us over to the UN. Once in power why change the status quo of the work done before you as to that what was done before them. These guys are the modern day version of the Pharisees who are prepared to sell out and give up the Christians to the UN.

    The image of what they take on as ruler doesn’t matter, and the same goes with the state be it communist or socialist it doesn’t matter. What we have here is the “Idolatry of Statism” the worship of something other than god and all controlled under mans aw. We are being slowly rounded up as sheep softened up with the comfort of the state and to be fenced into slavery by a system of those who have the power and money and the history of its attempts behind them. What is the ultimate goal of government other than total control and the smaller countries like Australia have governments that are ready to hand over their control to an authority that has even greater control. Now these guys are either brainwashed into thinking we are entering into a perfect utopia for the good of all or they are just part of the ruling elite who have been with us for thousands of years. Democracy is a farce!

    Idolatry of Statism

    Statism is the belief that the state is the source of power, authority and law.

    We live in a statist society

    * Everything must be for the state and nothing against the state
    * You’re either for us or against us

    The most potent weapon that the state has is force

    * Government is force
    * Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force. Like fire, it becomes a fearful master and a dangerous servant. It has the power to change its own laws.
    * We must stand for truth even if anyone else stands against the truth.

  • Hi anonymouse

    Thank you for your comments. I see the move of Labor to the right as a pragmatic response to the move of the rodential regime even further right. IMO Rudd will keep larger, more controversial reforms under wraps until he obtains power. The first rule of political game-playing is to gain power – IR remains a contentious issue which Howard will use as much as he can to create a wedge. Rudd must know this, and may appear to give ground during the election campaign. Once he is in power however, I suspect some intelligence, humanity and fairness will swiftly return to Australia and the very real needs of the electorate for health and education will be addressed, along with climate change and water security issues.

    Due to lousy polls, which for the first time he is openly and hypocritically admitting are of import (a large difference with his disregard of poll outcomes against Australian involvement in the Iraq war), Howard is now embracing the underdog role, usually taken by the contender.

    My view of educational priorities is that meta learning, the ability to learn to learn, is of most importance. An education system which is geared to industry rather than the needs of students’ intellectual development cannot help but to fail our democracy.

    I don’t see current trends as communistic. Firstly, bear in mind that Stalinism is *not* communism in the Marxist sense, it is a form of ratbag totalitarianism. When totalitarianism is combined with putting the needs of industry first, we don’t get communism, we get corporate fascism, where the hollow pronouncements of economic rationalists are in favour. For economic rationalists, there are no limits to growth. Yet in the real world we know our resources will not be sustainable if we gobble them at ever increasing rates to feed the god of economic growth.

    To quote Mussolini’s words (and Mussolini as a fascist, knew what he was talking about):

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.”

    There is no question in my mind that Howard has ignored the wishes and needs of the electorate in favour of big business and has worked in tandem with its needs rather than the needs of the electorate. And sooner or later, in a democracy where people still have the power to vote him out and who are still granted a modicum of freedom in the media, a leader who puts the wishes of the business elite before the needs of the electorate, will be voted out.

  • Hi danny

    Having spoken with several teacher friends in recent years about the woes of the public education system, their major criticism which I echo here is that class sizes remain way too high – large class sizes are detrimental to students and teachers alike.

    IMHO, there needs to be a reassessment of needs across Australia and implementation of solutions which encourage the best from teachers and students alike.

    Part of the problem which has grown unabated during the rodent years is that education is seen as a means of satisfying the needs of industry, whereas decent education is about teaching students to learn strategies and information which equip them to make adult, motivated decisions about their own futures, and to enjoy and seek more learning throughout their lives.

    People create industries, not the other way round.

    For example, under the rodent’s regime, applied sciences have thrived compared to the pure sciences. Yet applied science cannot progress without the powerhouse of pure research. To the ignorant and shortsighted, who have little understanding of the longterm benefits of pure science and research therein, it may be convenient to think the needs of industry for applied scientists and worker drones should be of most import. As a result, many of our best brains have fled overseas where their contribution is valued.

  • Hi Pat

    Re your blogs … they may have already been spidered by the Blogshares bot which sweeps the net for new blogs and adds them for indexing.

    Blogs which have posts less than 6 months old are eligible to be traded. You might like to join up with the game – it’s a fun community, and the game is enriching and interesting – it’s enabled me to find quite a lot of information and points of view round the globe.

    You can check to see whether your blogs are already added. If not, once you’ve joined, when you add them, you receive 20 chips per new blog, which can be used to accumulate ideas and artifacts. You can also reconstruct your own blog – issue more shares and increase its price. For example, I have made Beyond the Fringe outrageously expensive so no one will want to take it over and because I took out blogshares premium membership after winning a trial in the chip chances, I could buy public shares.

    I did enjoy your blog in which I hold shares – shall be hanging onto it which will remind me to revisit it!

    Cheers

    FD

  • Anonymous

    Take away Labor’s IR proposals that Rudd is already talking abut watering down for business and there’s very little difference between the two parties. Rudd is now telling us that its going to be a 49-51 race at the finish and that is hog wash! People are waking up in this country and seeking change. All Rudd is trying to do is exert his rule over factions within the party that its going to be close and that he is the man for the job. Rudd will come out with nothing more than a brand name change on government (labor). This is the greatest chance true Labor has of taking back control of Australia and its being led by a multi millionaire leader following the dictates of the agents of the Money Power in the world. This country needs a leader who is strong and prepared to lead the us and the peoples of the world out of this mess, Rudd is not the man for this task.

    The Education revolution, what a a sham, just lip service to what needs to be overhauled and changed including teaching history to reflect the current state of world power and control it has been yielding over many decades. Where to start? Economics…..”The economics profession is totally bankrupt today, with every Nobel Prize winner in economics with the sole exception of Maurice Allais qualifying for committment to a psychiatric institution. One of the reasons for the depravity of the economists is that their assigned task has always been one of mystification, especially the job of covering up the simple and brutal fact that American depressions have generally been caused by Bank of England and City of London bankers. All the mystical mumbo-jumbo of curves, cycles, and epicycles a la Schumpeter has always had the purpose of camouflaging the fact that the Bank of England bank rate was the nineteenth century’s closest equivalent to the hydrogen bomb.”http://www.radix.net/~tarpley/29crash.htm

    Found this useful link http://members.iimetro.com.au/~hubbca/upp.htm#LIMA. Not much out there on Australia although what can be found on the perilous state of American democracy is most likely occurring here. Its obvious, if one can suspend their perceived reality to take a closer look at the direction democracy is taking, is to total world government and voting in a two-party system of democracy is akin to collusion of two corporations secretly joining forces to counter competition.
    Stalin laid down five intermediate goals of Communism as necessary steps toward the ultimate goal of global conquest.

    Summarised, they are as follows:

    1. Confuse, disorganise and destroy the forces of capitalism around the world.

    2. Bring all nations together into a single world system of economy.

    3. Force the advanced countries to pour prolonged financial aid into the underdeveloped countries.

    4. Divide the world into regional groups as a transitional stage to total world government.

    ref: ( The Fearful Master, extract from Marxism and the National Question. Joseph Stalin New york international Publishers 1942 http://www.netbay.com.au/~noelozzy/stalin.htm

  • I agree with what you are saying… the education system is such a shambles that when I have children I will seriously consider home schooling them.

    Then there is the health system… *sigh*

  • Pat

    Hi mate
    I saw you bought shares of my blog in this hypothetical stock market website, blogshares.com.

    Did you add my blog?? I want to add my other blogs too. How do I go about that? I want to list them on the market too.

    Thanks mate
    Pat

  • What I am really appreciating, Danny, is that there’s a valid competition between the parties on education, the basic powerhouse for Australia’s future prosperity.

    From their trog caves, our pollies are finally interfacing with real electoral needs for real people – our solid treasure, our children.

    We in the electorate need to mantain the pressure on both parties during the electoral campaign so our children’s needs are more likely to be met, whether the rodent loses his seat or not.

    I still expect dirty games to come. And if Howard has to concentrate on his own rathole, it will probably assist Labor to win ground nationally.

    Go Maxine! (And she’s a woman!!!!!)

  • It’s great to see (judging by the polls) that the public have recognised Howards budget for what it is – a bribe.

    What would be fantastic to see is Howard losing his own seat. I think Liberal party morale would take 10 years to recover!