Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 11, 2012

Wednesday, 9th May 2012 – Budget summary, Alzheimer’s, and memberships!!

From today’s Australian Financial Review, we have Laura Tingle’s opening paragraphs to her front page summary of last night’s Federal Budget.  Laura writes:-

‘Business will lose tax cuts but households will enjoy a cash bonanza as Wayne Swan’s fifth budget redirects the benefits of the mining boom to underwrite growth and gives his embattled party it’s best chance at re-election in 2013. Big spending cuts in defence, foreign affairs, welfare, pharmaceuticals and the public service, along with decisions to dump tax measures previously promised to be funded by the minerals resource rent tax, have helped the government reach it’s long-held goal of a return to surplus in 2012-13 and beyond and record the biggest cut in government spending in 24 years. The 2012-13 budget also benefits from the first clear signs that a $150 billion slump in tax collections after the global financial crisis has finally ended. Tax collections as a proportion of GDP are finally forecast  to climb in coming years, though to remain at levels below pre-GFC peaks. Mr Swan’s budget strategy – built on official forecasts of more interest rate cuts – seeks to underwrite consumer and business confidence even as a big contraction in overall government spending robs the economy of steam. It does this by focusing spending on a number of payments which – in conjunction with last week’s interest rate cut – will deliver cash into the hands of the low income households most likely to spend it, with both economic and obvious political benefits [to try and persuade all those disaffected Labor supporters back to the fold!]. It is argued that annual growth in household consumption of 3 per cent will help spread the benefits of the mining boom by supporting the non-mining business sector, while contributing to overall forecast growth in GDP of 3.25 per cent. The boost to household spending  will come from……two new payments [and] will be in addition to tax cuts and compensation already scheduled to offset the carbon tax, which is now killing the government’s political prospects. There is also a booby trap for Tony Abbott in the family tax benefits measure as it is being funded from the minerals resource rent tax. The Coalition has opposed all spending funded from the tax – which it says it would rescind in government…………………” and so Laura goes on!!!

Some of the other headlines that appeared in the Review this morning, and no doubt other similar ‘comments’ appeared throughout the nation’s media, included: –

  • Higher earners face tax slug;
  • Business left on the sidelines;
  • Team Gillard employs some reverse psychology;
  • Most families [will] face wait for sweeteners;
  • No apologies for soft-shoe shuffle [of monies];Vision ceded to penny pinching;
  • GDP at trend on rate cuts;
  • Super slug for top earners;
  • A surplus too small from a budget too tight;
  • Intent on giving away money; and
  • Facing up to a surplus of distractions.


But enough [for now] of politics and budgets  –  I noticed an interesting little piece in a recent newsletter from the National Senior’s organisation headed ‘Life purpose heads off Alzheimer’s’

Greater purpose in life may help head off Alzheimer’s disease, a US study has found. Patricia Boyle from Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center said that people who reported greater purpose in life showed better perception than those with less purpose. “This is encouraging and suggests that engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities promotes cognitive health in old age,” Dr Boyle said. Researchers studied 246 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project who did not have dementia and who subsequently died and underwent brain autopsy.  Participants received an annual clinical evaluation for up to 10 years, which included detailed cognitive testing and neurological exams. They also answered questions about purpose in life, the degree to which one derives meaning from life’s experiences and is focused and intentional. Brain plaques and tangles, which disrupt memory and other cognitive functions, were quantified after death. Boyle said that much of the ongoing Alzheimer’s research seeks to identify ways to prevent or limit the accumulation of plaques and tangles, a task that has proven quite difficult.  Until effective preventative therapies are discovered, strategies that minimise the impact of plaques and tangles on cognition are urgently needed she said.

Meantime, the Carlton Football Club advises that it has just broken its all-time membership record, registering 44,296 members up until today. Their aim is to reach 50,000 by the end of the home and away season. This is the second year in a row the Club has reached new ground with its membership numbers, having surpassed last year’s final figure of 44,136. Obviously, the promise of future success helps in such ambitions after  almost a decade of  the most unsuccessful years in the Club’s history. This year, Carlton was the first AFL Club to introduce personalised membership cards with members being able to select their favourite player and have the image of that player  alongside their name on their ‘I Am Carlton’ membership card.  I have Mark Murphy on my card, chosen on the spur of the moment when purchasing the membership – a worthy choice, though in retrospect, given a bit more time to think about it, might have chosen someone else [Brett Thornton]. In any case, the Club feels that the ‘I Am Carlton’ campaign has been well received by Carlton supporters and believes it has been a key factor in helping drive membership as well as promote all other areas of the Club in 2012. No doubt the various pieces of paraphernalia that came with the membership also proved an incentive [quite an expensive exercise overall, by the Club]..

For myself, as a ‘committee’ member of the local Family History Society, there was the obligation of attending a committee meeting tonight – held in a ‘new’ location, the ‘Men’s Shed’ building location at the end of the Evans Street Grasslands Reserve in Sunbury. Only problem was a lack of external lighting and properly constructed pathways to the building from the road, but I guess those things will come over time!! A committee which frustrates me at times, with the ‘slowness’ of the manner in which the meeting is conducted, nevertheless, some useful decisions made including an agreement of holding a month long display at the George Evans Museum later in the year, and the possibility of having an article about the group written up in one of the local papers. Meanwhile, not a late night, which always pleases this writer.

A bit of communication with Heather during the evening, as we finalised our lunch time ‘meeting up’ tomorrow, For me eventually, another reasonable sleep!!



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