Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 12, 2011

Tuesday, 10th May 2011 – the night of the Federal Budget

the end of the first quarter in last night’s game, there was a bit of an all-in brawl between the players of both teams  –  apparently started by our captain, Chris Judd, who was expressing his displeasure at an already injured Carlton player, being roughly bumped by one of the opposition.  A poor display of sportsmanship by that Saints player –  if a player is in a match, he is ‘fair game’ for some fair bumps and tackles, but not to be ‘attacked’ in that manner as he is trying to leave the field with an injury, which is what occurred last night.

‘The Saints midfielder, Montagna, bumped Carlton’s Curnow after he injured his shoulder in a crunching tackle during the first quarter of Carlton’s thrilling three-point win last night. Curnow is expected to miss four weeks with an injured AC joint. Seven players have been fined for taking part in a quarter-time melee that started when Montagna’s teammate Justin Koschitzke again bumped Curnow, after he had returned to the field with his shoulder strapped.  Carlton skipper Chris Judd copped a fine of $3000 for starting and participating in the melee and teammates Heath Scotland, Marc Murphy, Aaron Joseph and Mitch Robinson were all hit with $1200 fines.  Also fined were Saints Jason Gram, Sam Gilbert and David Armitage. Today legendary North Melbourne hard man Glenn Archer labelled Montagna’s bump “weak” and “un-Australian”.  In scenes reminiscent of Nick Riewoldt  injurying a shoulder and then being bumped by Mal Michael and Chris Scott at the Gabba in Round 9 of 2007, Curnow also attracted St Kilda’s attention at the quarter-time siren’. 

A good strong response from the Carlton skipper, but an ‘expensive one’, but it is good to see the twice now ‘best and fairest’ player in the competition, prepared to stand up for his team members.  Meanwhile, last night’s win has moved the Blues into 3rd place on the AFL ladder. They get a rest this weekend, with a Bye, necessary due to there being 17 teams in the competition this year.

Another radio show tonight – my program of show music from Broadway, stage and screen. The presenter on air before me, turned up for her show for a change, but I was disappointed that the man a good program of Blues music, didn’t put in an appearance again. This aspect of ‘inconsistency’ is my main concern these days in trying to be a part of a committee which is aiming to fill all available spots on the program grid.  Unfortunately, some of our presenters don’t have the same level of dedication that I would like to see.  Until we have a full program grid, and a queue of volunteers wanting to go on air, we have to ‘live’ with those people who are at least filling a spot, when they decide to turn up!! I raised my little ‘gripe of concerns’ about that aspect at last week’s committee meeting – as I have been doing since late 2005!

I missed the delivery of the Federal Budget tonight, being on air at the normal Parliament delivery time of 7.30 pm. Not really concerned because I knew there would be a plethora of summaries, reviews, talkfests, etc, on air for the rest of tonight, and in tomorrow’s papers. So while I have headed this blog with reference to the budget, don’t think I felt in the mood for getting too involved with it’s contents. Instead, once I got home from the radio, had eaten and sorted out a few things, I tried to have an early night, aiming for a better sleep than last night, but that was not destined to happen. However we will below just put a few comments from all sides of the fence without getting into any specifics or economic facts and figures.

Wayne Swan [the Federal Treasurer] had nothing but positives to say in his speech tonight, and that’s the way it began –

  • “Mr Speaker, the purpose of this Labor Government, and this Labor Budget, is to put the opportunities that flow from a strong economy within reach of more Australians. To get more people into work, and to train them for more rewarding jobs. So that national prosperity reaches more lives, in more corners, of our patchwork economy. To take full advantage of the seismic shift in global economic power, which positions us as a prime beneficiary of tremendous economic growth in our Asian region. And to succeed in the good times as we did in the bad – by choice, not by chance – by applying the best combination of hard work, responsible budgeting, and well-considered policies to the difficult challenges ahead”.
  • But as far as Tony Abbott and the Opposition parties were concerned –  “This Budget confirms how out of touch Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan are with Australian families. It fails the essential test: to ease the cost of living on Australians who face higher prices every day. The government is launching a $2 billion assault on families by freezing the indexation of key family tax payments and income thresholds for three years. Labor simply doesn’t understand the serious cost of living pressures faced by millions of Australian families. At the same time, offshore asylum seeker management has blown out by a record $1.75 billion since last year’s budget. Labor’s incompetent approach to border protection is in disarray. The government’s failure to rein in its wasteful and reckless spending will lead to higher inflation and higher interest rates. Because the Budget does not include the carbon tax, it is not worth the paper it is written on. The absence of the carbon tax is a hole in its heart. It means the government’s claim to deliver a surplus in 2012/13 can’t be taken seriously. It is little wonder experts and industry and community organisations have condemned Labor’s Budget for its failure to ease the cost pressures faced by Australian families and businesses. Without the carbon tax there is a hole at the heart of the budget. Without the carbon tax in the budget the revenue figures, the expenditure figures, the inflation figures and the jobs figures in the budget are all wrong. This is a weak and directionless Budget’.
  • The ‘GETUP’ organisation have immediately taken all the credit for one significant part of the Budget, with their comment that ‘Mental health was a huge winner in the Federal Budget — one of the few new spending initiatives in a tough year. That’s testament to the tireless work of mental health advocates and the huge impact GetUp members had over the past year’.
  • Community welfare organisation,Anglicare said, “we are concerned that the $2 billion freeze on family payments and dependent spouse rebates come at a time when we are seeing unprecedented rises in the cost of living which will be compounded by projected rises in interest rates… and there was nothing in this evening’s budget speech about how public housing shortages and spiralling private rents will be addressed.” (Media Release 10/5/11).
  • Economic commentator Robert Gottliebsen said, “I doubt whether Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan or even the cabinet understand what they did to middle income Australia in the 2011-12 budget. If you combine the budget with other government measures it represents the most vicious attack on Australian middle income earners since the Whitlam-Cairns era in the 1970s.” (Business Spectator 10/5/11).
  • Certified Public Accountants  Australia CEO Alex Malley says it is a ‘steady as she goes’ Budget with a touch of caution, predicated by the Australian Government’s imperative of a return to surplus by 2012–13, and is more notable for what is not in it, given what is still to come – including the carbon tax, minerals resource rent tax and the national tax forum in October.  The 201112 Federal Budget is characterised by caution and a focus on a return to surplus, and is more notable for what is not in it rather than what it contains, CPA Australia has said.  ‘This Budget is carefully calibrated to enable a return to surplus during the next appropriations period but it does not paint the full picture,’ said CPA Australia CEO Alex Malley.  The real story in this Budget may lie in what’s still to come, as a number of significant issues – including the carbon tax, minerals resource rent tax and the national tax forum in October – are yet to be resolved.  While the Budget takes some tentative steps in the right direction, it is characterised by caution at a time when a bold, long term vision is what is needed.

So there we have a range of views on what the Government has presented to the Australian people tonight  – apart from it’s immediate supporters, there seems to be a general view, that the principal concern is not so much about what is in the budget, but what isn’t contained within it!!  I must admit that my main concern about government policy at present, relates to the continuing saga of our attitude towards refugees, and that, I shall leave to another day!!

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