I have held off writing this post for a long time. I was worried that my blog would turn into an anti-liberal whinge session where you, dear reader, would be continually pummelled into political submission, and where I, your earnest scribe, would be sitting here wondering what happened to all the feel good posts about cats, film reviews and holidays. NOTE: I have not posted anything about cats but trust me, I will be getting one in a few years when I move out of my rental and when that happens, look out!
Anyway, back to this post. This one is about clowns. There are five types of clowns. The whiteface, Auguste, contra-Auguste, character clown and the Liberal Prime Minister. Actually, I confess. It’s not really about clowns but it is about Tony Abbott. Again! Hence my initial apprehension. Below I am going to touch on just a few of the issues that surround this poor excuse for a leader at the moment.
“No Cuts to the ABC or SBS”
The Libs have hated the ABC for a long time, but it came into particular focus when they exposed them for lying about the Children Overboard.
The night before he was voted into office, Abbott went on SBS (oh the irony) and said the above quote about no cuts. Low and behold, he announced that the ABC budget would be cost by $254 million over the next 5 years. Not a great deal but still, it’s a lie. He then tried to defend himself by saying it’s not a cut, it’s an efficiency dividend. WTF? He does not even have the courage to admit he lied or the intelligence to come up with a good excuse such as “the situation changed and I needed to go back on what I said to balance the budget”.
Don’t get me started on their proposal that they get to choose the Editor in Chief position. Government interference in editorial control anyone?
School Chaplaincy Program and the Separation of Church and State
Yes, even today in the 21st century, this is still a topic for discussion. Despite Australia being a multicultural and multi-faith country, we have a catholic and former priest in training PM (no problem with that) saying that the state will only fund religious leaders in the school system (BIG problem with that). Now one of my close friends used to be a chaplain in a school but I am sure even he would agree that religious leaders do not have a monopoly on ethics or counselling skills.
The cost of this silliness is about the same as what is being cut from the ABC but it seems some policies are too important to cut and state sanctioned religious counselling of our nation’s youth is one such policy.
GP Co Payment
One of the things that separate us from the animals is free healthcare. Look at the countries that have functioning civil societies and they have one thing in common; socialised health care. We as a society have decided that we are happy to pay taxes so that the government can use its bulk buying power to purchase cheaper drugs and doctor services. It’s a trade-off between that and stepping over the leprosy infected body that slumped up against your door overnight so when Abbott decided that he will charge people $7 for every visit to the doctor, you bet his popularity is going to fall. It doesn’t sound like much and in isolation, it’s not. But with a young child, I have been or have taken her to the doctors at least 15 times this year. $100 is nothing for me but for a single mum with two kids, that’s unacceptable and I am more than happy for some of my taxes to go towards the health of her children. The Liberals tried to wrap it up as an integral part of the Medical R&D fund they wanted to get up and running, but this sort of blackmail never works and especially from a bunch of hypocrites whose grasp of science is faltering at best. And don’t get me started on your lack of a Science Minister, cutting of funds to the CSIRO or that your Environment Minister gets his understanding of science from Wikipedia and won’t be attending the Paris Meeting on Climate Change. Again, WTF?
University Deregulation of fees
Another great thing about Australia that Toby Abbott is trying to ruin is our cheap education. Ideologically, you can argue that the conservative side of politics does not believe in government funding education for the masses. This idea leads to education being available only to those who can afford it. But an educated workforce, particularly in the information age, is a public good, not a private one.
Sure, universities should be able to compete with other universities in the global marketplace but universities are not about competing with other universities to have the best mass spectrometer or science professor or even the most Nobel prize winners. Their job is to produce the best educated workforce to take the country forward and our league tables suggest that we ain’t there. Interestingly, those same league tables suggest that the US is not there yet and they have had expensive degrees for ages.
Paid Parental Leave Scheme
This was a great idea that went too far. Abbott had a woman problem. Actually, let’s refine that. He has an old school attitude to women which has become a problem in the 21st century. What’s the best way to change that? Throw money at them. Now, I am as supportive of helping women achieve equality as the next person and ordinarily would support him in this but when its progressively skewed to help higher earners rather than lower earners, does nothing to alleviate the problems with expensive childcare after the first 6 months and is unaffordable to boot if we do have a so-called budget emergency, then it just appears to be what it is;- a short term thought bubble to get him out of his sexist hole he dug himself. Let’s have real reform, real equality, and less misogyny.
This whole experiment has been a failure and if the Libs actually knew anything about science, and sadly they do not, they would know to throw the microbes in the bin and start again.