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Oct 25, 2012

Role reversals; politics without convictions

Cartoon: Larry Pickering   
Australians could be excused for getting somewhat confused about the state of the political parties over the last week.  First Treasurer Wayne Swan did his mid year budget review in which he outlined massive ‘savings’ most of which were tax increases. One of the only genuine cuts to expenditure was the reduction of the ‘baby bonus’ from $5,000 to $3000 for second and subsequent children.
For the benefit of overseas readers, feminism in Australia (at least in the form acceptable to the state) tends to be so left wing and entitlement dependant, that women find it impossible to fall pregnant without stimulus from the government.
Most of us expected the conservative Liberal Party response to be a criticism of the tax rises and the fraudulent manner in which they were touted as savings.  No such luck; Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey went on the attack over the reduction in the ‘baby bonus’ likening it to China’s one child policy, and claiming that the government was penalising anyone who had a second or third child.
Now an MP from the spendthrift leftie Labor Party, Kelvin Thomson has turned out to be the only fiscal conservative in the House by calling for the abolition of the bonus: 
Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson said there was no need to lift the birth rate and the money spent on the baby bonus could be better spent elsewhere.  "It was originally introduced on the claim that we need more people. I don't subscribe to that," he told The Australian. 
"Births every year are twice the number of deaths, and furthermore, we have a massive migration program that is projected to bring in 200,000 people this year. That's 4000 more arrivals than departures each week." 
Under changes announced in this week's mid-year financial update, the government slashed the baby bonus from $5000 to $3000 for second and subsequent children.  Mr Thomson said the money allocated to the baby bonus should be used to cut the cost of tertiary education.  "I think there are better ways of spending public money," he said. 
Meanwhile, opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey was attacked in an article posted on conservative website Menzies House over his comments comparing the baby bonus cut with China's one child policy. 
The article, by Menzies House editor Tim Andrews said the cut to the baby bonus was "one of the few good things to come out of (Monday's) mini-budget", which he described as an "ineffective and wasteful welfare policy". …
The real problem in Australian politics at present is not merely the inherent dishonesty of a government, which cannot even afford principles owing to the parlous position it finds itself in.  It is the situation whereby the opposition, which can afford to take the high moral ground if it had any, so lacks conviction that it takes the old populist path of least resistance.
In reality, the only conviction the Liberals have is that they ought to be in power.  Despite Labor being less popular than a dose of clap, the Liberals would be in real trouble winning an election if the Labor Party was to find itself a half decent leader like perhaps Malcolm Turnbull.  Even Oakeshott would give them a run for their money.

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