Allan Takes Aim Blog

An unbiased view of politics

Posted on: 23 May 2012


Also posted The Chronicle http://www.chronicleonline.com.au Tuesday 23 May

A difficulty when writing about politics is to avoid being classed as showing bias in favour of a particular party or participant. I suspect the same situation applies in all countries, although in some of them the life of a journalist can be made very difficult or put in danger if they don’t show bias to the party of government or its leader. Although the latter doesn’t happen in Australia it can’t be said it will never happen although I can’t say the same for the former.

In Australia, perhaps the biggest danger citizens and journalists face is censorship because any limitation of free speech is a major blight on the community. Does it happen? I don’t know but I have heard journalists living in the ACT, the head office of Australian politics and write about politics and politicians, say it does.

Budgets are of particular interest to many journalists because they contain predictions that Nostradamus would be proud of. And as the ACT has two Houses of Parliament there are has more than enough budgets to keep journalists employed.

One fine example is the budget brought down just a few weeks ago by Treasurer Swan that he described as the battlers’ budget. Many people think his description right on the button. It might well be a battler’s budget, but not the way he meant it, because if not a battler now, if people spend the budget cash handouts on a new TV, washing machine and dryer, when later the hidden costs of the budget start to take effect, it could turn them into battlers.

For myself, it seems to me the federal budget is a bit like the curate’s egg: good in parts. Unfortunately, however, what seemed to be a very good part last week has become a bad part this week. You may recall that in last week’s column I wrote about how many people with a disability welcomed the announcement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Well you’ve heard the old saying: if something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is, which seems to be the case with the NDIS.
From ongoing newspaper, TV and radio news reports, it seems the billions of dollars needed to run the NDIS have vanished as have the non-partisan politics surrounding it.

Indeed the reappearance of partisanship has emerged again as the main impediment to funding the scheme. As usual Government politicians blame the Opposition and the Opposition blames the government. In truth all politicians should hang their heads in shame.

Let’s move now to the ACT where, in July, the ACT Labor Government will bring down a budget whose contents, no doubt, will form part of its policy platform in the campaign for the ACT Election in October. Bearing Federal events in mind, ACT voters have an important question to ask themselves: if Labor is returned could an important policy announcement meet the same fate as the NDIS?

Remember, once you drop your voting paper in the ballot box on 20 October it will be too late to change your mind. The die is cast. You cannot retrieve your ballot paper and alter it even if you think you’ve made a mistake. That said, ACT voters have until 20 October to decide which party and candidates they will trust to govern the ACT in their names for the next four years.

However, before they vote they should look for hidden caveats in the proposed policies of all parties which indicate that, after the election if the Government thinks it politically expedient to ditch a policy it will. If it then happens probably its action will be explained away by saying the policy was ditched due to unforseen effects caused by the Global Financial Crisis.

Speaking personally I examine policies with the words of poet Rabbie Burns in mind: “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley and leave us not but grief and pain for promised joy.” This makes me wary of MLAs who seem too sure of themselves. The ACT has had them before and dare I say it, some current MLAs display this same air of arrogance. So, voters beware!
dca@netspeed.com.au

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