The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

The Liberals are making lots of different noises lately

Friday 4 May 2007 at 4:30 pm

Bill Heffernan and Joe Hockey; Creative Commons licence doesn't apply to this image
Liberal on the left: not so trustworthy. Liberal on the right: he’s your best mate!

I was somewhat disappointed by the apology from Bill Heffernan on Wednesday — not because he was doing it grudgingly, his hand clearly having been forced by Johnny, but because it means the crazy NSW senator will be silenced for at least a couple of weeks.

You see, the other bits of his interview in the Bulletin revealed just how much time he spends thinking about being horny. So I was looking forward to all-new slurs being thrown at other Labor figures — we could have heard how Senate leader Chris Evans doesn’t understand the average Aussie because he supports the Dockers (real men root for the Wagga Brothers!). Or maybe environment spokesperson Peter Garrett could’ve been cut down to size with a reminder that the people of Australia will never trust a man who waxes his head.

Instead, the Heff’s been pushed aside by last night’s announcement from that big bear of a man Joe Hockey: WorkChoices will be made slightly kinder and gentler. Even though this’ll quite nicely blunt criticism from Labor and the unions, it doesn’t constitute bowing to public pressure, oh no. It’s just that Honest John found some places where his flawless IR policy needed a “stronger safety net”.

First the scramble to replicate Labor’s broadband policy (which hasn’t yielded anything yet), and now this. So it seems that what we have a new strategy from the federal Liberals: just photocopy Labor’s press releases!

I wonder what this strategy will yield next? Maybe Kevin should dump his concern about repeating Mark Latham’s mistakes, and start talking about our troops in Iraq …

no comments »

Some observations around the Houses

Saturday 28 April 2007 at 9:48 pm

I’m caving into writing a list again: if only I’d had time to develop each of these into posts themselves!

  • The speculation earlier this week about possible tax cuts in the next episode of The Peter Costello Budget Show is amusing in the context of John Howard talking up his economic management credentials in Brisbane. It’s an election year, and you have to be pretty naive to think that the Budget will contain anything other than vote-buying measures. If only we could get some real economic reform out of these guys, like a desperately-needed simplification of the tax system (rather than just tweaking rates and thresholds) to cut down the gigabucks wasted on administration. Or better yet, how about some spending on economic constraints — on upgrading the ports that serve our mines, or on technical education to address skills shortages?
  • Water from the Kimberly is back in the news; forgive me for not being excited. Lots of people are saying things like “forget the cost, we’d never get anywhere if we didn’t build expensive stuff!” … and sure, big visionary projects are wonderful, but there’s a difference between being a visionary and bankrupting the State. The best available assessment suggests that three thousand kilometres of water transport system, be it canal or pipeline or whatever, would fall into the latter category. (For those who failed physics: to move stuff, including water, requires energy. The amount required is directly proportional to the distance travelled. Energy is not free, and the Kimberly is a bloody long way from Perth.)
  • The other part of Omodei’s proposal this week is far more sensible: an irrigation scheme to develop agricultural land near the Fitzroy River. I can see a lot of potential problems (the region’s ecosystems are more fragile than anyone in Perth seems to recognise) but there’s actually hope that these are problems that can be handled. So much so, in fact, that the idea sounds like a copy of what already exists.
  • On the other side of the House, state Labor have always been pretty bad on the self-promoting propaganda front, but why do we need ads during the footy telling us that new liquor laws are coming and we can expect a “change of scene”?! Actions speak louder than words, kids.
  • Finally, a brief mention of federal Labor: I don’t know enough to comment on the merits of the new IR policy, but for crying out loud, this obsession with throwing the term “fair” around whenever workplace relations come up is getting very tired, very fast.
no comments »