Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 13, 2011

Friday, 13th May 2011 – Friday ‘mumblings’ and bits & pieces!

The other day, after the Federal Budget, I included a few views of different organisations on likely budget outcomes. One group of which I’m a member [the National Seniors Organisation, for over 50s] had their views submitted for members’ advice as well, so I am including them here, as being of a personal interest to me!

Older Australians have emerged unscathed from a budget widely speculated in its lead-up to be defined by tough love measures.  National Seniors chief executive, Michael O’Neill, who attended the Canberra lockup on Tuesday, said older Australians would feel little impact from it.  “For the over 50s, it’s a vanilla budget – nothing terribly exciting or different,” he said.  Amongst the few new initiatives announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan is support for older workers in their search for employment. These include new training opportunities, employer subsidies and a doubling of allowable work hours for disability pensioners of whom, in 2009, almost 60% were aged over 50.   O’Neill welcomed the employment initiatives but warned they were only a start.  “More than anything, real jobs for older Australians will require an attitudinal change from employers, and that can’t be legislated,” he said.  New participation requirements for disability pensions will only apply to people under the age of 35.  A highlight for self funded retirees still recovering from the GFC is the extension of the minimum drawdown concession on allocated pension accounts.  “Missing from this budget are reform measures around long-festering issues such dental and aged care. Seniors expect to see something solid and substantial around these things in the coming year,” he said. 

Meanwhile, highlighting the beginning and ending aspects of Tony Abbott’s response last night, I note from his speech that [beginning] “Mr Speaker, the fundamental test of a budget is how it improves the wellbeing of the Australian people.My three children are still in the education system and Margie, my wife, works in community-based childcare so my family knows something of the financial pressures on nearly every Australian household” [applying the personal touch, perhaps a dig at the PM’s non family status!!], and [the end] “On this subject [the carbon tax proposal], the Prime Minister has compared herself with John Howard and the GST. There is one fundamental difference between them: the former Prime Minister changed his policy and put the new position to an election; the current Prime Minister had an election on one policy and promptly adopted the opposite one.  The Prime Minister should copy John Howard, not just quote him. She and Bob Brown [Greens’ leader] should finalise the carbon tax details including its impact on jobs, industries and Australians’ cost of living and then she should seek the people’s verdict before trying to legislate it. Otherwise, the next election won’t just be a referendum on the carbon tax. It will be a referendum on governments that betray the people. That’s what Australia needs: not a carbon tax but an election. Only an election could make an honest politician of this Prime Minister. Only an election can give Australia a government with authority to make the tough decisions needed to build a stronger country and help Australians get ahead”.  

On this point, which was the major focus of the Abbott speech, I don’t really agree that the Australian people want another election so soon –  sure, the polls might indicate that Labor would lose if an election were held this weekend [there seems general agreement on that], but the Opposition have no power to call an election, particularly without a majority in the Senate, and the Government, despite it’s minority status, has no obligation to foreshorten it’s elected 3 year term [barring disasters of a political nature] –  I feel the electorate would like to see the carbon tax debate conclude, perhaps in favor of the Opposition, but they would prefer to see the present elected politicians sort that out, rather than have another Federal election!!

I shall return, on this day, with no more talk of this week’s Budget, I promise!!! Back at work today [after a ‘reasonable’ sleep], it’s quiet, no major issues on hand, and the weather continues to be cool, wet and somewhat miserable. I arrived to a nice warm office – ‘someone’ left the heater on overnight!!! Glad I don’t have to pay the energy ‘bill’ here, at least!

Watched a movie last night about an Aboriginal man, named Jandamarra, and as the promo suggested, I must embarrassingly admit to not being able to recall being familiar with him! Jandamarra was a 19th-century Aboriginal station worker who came to lead an armed conflict with white settlers – or as it might be described today, the story of an Indigenous Australian rebel who in 1894 embarked on a 3 year guerrilla war against invading pastoralists, and attracted the whole white population in the hunt for him.

Called ‘Jandamarra’a War’, the movie [or documentary, as we had the voice of Ernie Dingo as narrator throughout it’s duration] was based on the book by Howard Pederson ‘Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance’. Now the Bunuba ‘tribe’ I have come across, having regularly played a number of songs recorded by an Indigenous band from that part of northwest Australia [in the Kimberleys]. I found the film of interest, and a grim reminder of the, at times, bitter relationships between the white settlers & farmers, and the local Indigenous tribes. There was retribution on both sides, though the whites generally had the upper hand in terms of retaliation and weaponry[with at times little regard as to who the actual guilty parties were they were hunting down – if you were black and came across the paths of a ‘police’ or station  hunting group, you were likely to suffer for the ‘sins’ of your fellow black man], although Jandamarra and his ‘gang’ evened things up a little bit for a while, when they got hold of the white man’s weapon –  the guns!.

Writing in the ‘Age’ last week, Jim Schembri puts it like this.  “Jandamarra became caught between the culture of his people and the seductive ways of the white settlers, a tension that initially left him dislocated before the rampant injustices being imposed upon the  Bunuba prompted him to wage a war that lasted three years…………………….here are those key moments where his conscience plays havoc with him as his brothers, manacled at the neck, ask why he hold’s the white man’s gun in his hand.  Laced with period photographs and quotes from a fiery newspaper piece demanding the government do something, the film also treads into the highly controversial issue of genocide. [In his book] Pedersen says bluntly ‘There was clearly a war of extermination being fought in the Kimberley’”. As the settlers in those northern regions attempted to protect their livestock and the land they had  presumptuously taken over, so too did the Indigenous population take offence at this intrusion into their traditional land areas and sacred places. As sheep and cattle gradually eroded and destroyed their traditional natural pastures and plant life, revenge was inflicted against these invading creatures,  and then man himself.  All in all, another fascinating, and in many ways, disturbing aspect of Australian history, since the arrival of the white man and the beginning of European settlement in January 1788.

Susan home\, but not – out somewhere tonight with ‘friends’ in the city – in fact I drove her to the train, and was pleased to learn that Jodie would be driving her home from the city, apparently she would already be there.  This house is fast becoming a ‘one man show’ –  and when Susie is here, there are few meals she has here lately. Unexpectedly, since the boyfriend  ‘walked away’ I seem to see less of her than previously! Anyway, plenty of ‘football’ entertainment on the TV – clash between the top two teams – Collingwood and Geelong –  with the latter probably the underdogs, but in a very tight finish, they got up to inflict the first defeat this year on the 2010 premiers.  So now, we have Geelong sitting on top of the ladder  – and their next opponent on Friday night of next week  –  will be Carlton!! I think we might struggle to win that one!!

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