Budget 2017: Polyps on the Bowel of Life

The NBN efficiency team are excited to receive a funding boost for a desk and two chairs

I’d hoped I would have been relieved of the duty of doing the yearly budget round-up, but apparently I’m the ALP’s  intellectual lighthouse in an Opposition full of rocks, oil spills and the odd sewage leak. So here we go again.

Not surprisingly, the Turnbull / Abbott / Dutton  powerhouse have come up with a bunch of initiatives that they’ve buried deep in the budget papers. I’ve seen ALP Preselection ballot papers more transparent than some of the nasties embedded deep in the bowels of this budget, but I’m pleased to say that you get to see three examples right here in the home of Non-Fake News.

1. Parliamentary Real Estate Representative Support Scheme

$42 Million over four years. As you’ll be aware, all of us elected to the federal parliament spend a lot of hours in Canberra when we drag ourselves there. The LNP have decided that rather than Ministers getting into strife for using taxpayer funds to buy houses on official trips, they’ll shift the blame over to public servants who will go buy the houses for the Ministers. Grudging respect to a former health minister for getting this one through Expenditure Review.

2. Prime Minister’s Diction Enhancement Initiative

$67 million over two years. Bogans and gronks beware – Malcolm is setting up a  taskforce of retired English teachers and vice-presidents of capital city Liberal Party branches. They’ll be embedded in schools, TAFEs and Universities to make sure you remember there’s no ‘F’ in ‘Thank You’. There will be no exemptions unless you’re a Deputy Prime Minister.

3. Focus Group Rehabilitation Scheme

$410 million over four years. Rehabilitation centres will be set up in each state to try and repair the physical and mental damage received by the market researchers who run focus groups for the LNP’s pollsters. These poor sods have had more than three years of asking people whether they like Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull. Imagine the trauma of constantly seeing people scream, throw chairs or laugh like Pauline Hanson on cocaine.  The ALP will be supporting this measure.

So there you have it – three nuggets in the underwear of our arseclown of a Government. Be assured I will be digging for more in coming weeks and months. You’re welcome.

Perspectives on Life: Defections

11189640616_66f3f3cbcc_zDefections in politics are a bit like urinary tract infections. They can sting like hell at the time, but a week later you’re back to the status quo and ignoring the nether regions. They’re a transient distraction that causes pain, but also amusement for the people not directly affected. Nothing is funnier that imaging someone pissing razor-blades with their pants around their ankles – as long as it’s not you clawing chunks out of the porcelain whilst you go wee wees.

Cory Bernardi is a similar source of humour. This is a man who in reality has the intellectual depth of a soggy Sao left in some boarding school prefect’s lunch box for a week. It may surprise you however, that Cory himself believes that he’s the best thing since the successful 1978 creation of a Bob Menzies / Russ Hinze hybrid*. And it’s this self-belief that’s led to him deciding to jump ship from the LNP to a new Anti Bestiality No Poofs Party.

Like Don Chipp, Pauline Hanson, Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie before him**, Cory is convinced he’s going to put together the killer outfit that fundamentally alters the balance of power in Australian politics. And like all those others before him, the reality will be a little different. At best he can hope for two or three senate spots and a lower house seat or three if he can squeeze some cash out of Reclaim Australia and the All Kids Off My Lawn Alliance.

A honeymoon period will follow. The half-dozen Anti Bestiality No Poofs Party members will allocate portfolio responsibilities, with smiling agreement that Cory himself should take on the key areas of Diversity Derision, Marriage Reclamation and Arts Minimisation. ABNPP party membership will skyrocket, with sales of steak, sausages, potato, carrot and peas also through the roof. Police will patrol empty streets as all types of violence move back indoors where they should be, not seen and hopefully not heard. John Laws will finally retire from radio at the promise of a run in a safe seat for the ABNPP.

That’s as good as it’ll get for Cory’s crew though. Like a two-week Christmas day with extended family, things will deteriorate at a rate of knots:

  • There’ll be the inevitable scandal where some newly elected bumpkin from Queensland will tearfully admit he read a Fairfax paper or didn’t find Cory Bernardi’s blog that interesting.
  • A party room meeting will end in deadlock over a policy issue. A third of those present will support the Private Member’s Bill to ban non-missionary sexual activity. Another third will argue for the inclusion of non-penetrative spooning as an acceptable approach, with the final bunch insisting on an amendment preventing pets being present in any room where physical contact may occur.
  • Our Glorious Leader Cory will start to get concerned his colleagues are plotting his demise. Leaks to the media about his love of a staffer scratching his back with half a pistachio nut shell and his failure to get through the latest series of Midsomer Murders will start to rattle the great man. From there it’s a slippery slope of internal recriminations, threats of expulsion to leakers and the final nail in the coffin: a one-on-one interview with Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt where tears flow at the tragedy of Australia’s greatest chance at political salvation being undermined.
  • The next election rolls around, Cory loses his Senate seat, Eric Abetz defects and takes over the leadership just in time for the ABNPP to be deregistered.

Ok so that last point actually makes me want to send Cory a few grand from the ALP coffers to get things kicking off. But overall, defections help no-one and waste valuable political capital that could be better spent on creating workable policy for the Australian people. Notice how we in the ALP have had no-one of note defect***? It’s not just because of the ALP constitution that mandates the mysterious death of defectors. It’s also because we work for the common good and people recognise that.

 

*George Christensen – Member for Dawson

** Sorry Don, that’s a pretty shit group you’ve been lumped in there with. If you got on a bus and those other three were there, you’d get off quicker than Donald Trump in a Russian topless bar

*** Don’t even try to put up Mal Colston as an example. And the whole DLP thing is Fake News.

A Limerick for Sussan Ley

Gore Vidal once said my limericks were like sorbolene cream for his soul, so I thought I’d share one I’ve written for the lovely Sussan Ley.

There once was a Minister named Ley,
Who liked her work trips to be:
in business class for two,
with a house purchased new,
and LNP donors on bended knee

 

Budget 2014: The Hidden Haemorrhoids

Cigar-JoeAs I do every year in the name of transparency, I wanted to highlight some aspects of the Budget that tend to get overlooked.

Unlike my valuable insights from 2011, 2012 and 2013, this year sees a Budget that contains more nasties than Clive Palmer’s undies at the end of a buck’s night.

Here’s just a few things that you’ll be paying for over the next few years:

1. Luxury Car Carwash Welfare Scheme

$165 million over four years. All knob-heads on more than 300K a year that have been ‘impacted’ by the latest tax changes, can receive a free car wash monthly if their car is valued over 200K.  Usual story of the Libs looking after their mates, although using conscripted Greens voters as the car washers has some merit.

2. Foreign Minister Hair Innovation Taskforce

$1.2 million over two years. This is actually a roll-over of funds allocated by the Gillard Government to try and get Bob Carr to bring his hair-do into the 20th Century. Sure, Julie Bishop’s new style is a good start, but there’s lots of work to be done.

3. Safety Net Enhancement Fund

$345 million over three years. Designed to find out how all these safety nets (social security, universal health care etc) can be made out of cheaper materials whilst still catching most people. I’ve had dozens of workers at Centrelink over the years relate how both Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott have asked to see the safety nets they fund when they’ve made visits.

4. Deficit Levy Levy

$87 million revenue in first year. A deficit levy  has administrative costs, so the Libs will be applying a levy to those organisations administering the deficit levy.

5. The Smokable Sausage Roll Research Initiative

$14 million over three years to develop a thinner sausage roll that can be smoked by Joe and Matthias. Naked self-interest.

6. Phlogiston Harnessing Scheme

$215 million over five years. This is Greg Hunt’s baby – he sees phlogiston as the key plank to reduce fossil fuel reliance.

 

[Picture via http://oldpeoplelol.com]

The Real Hottest 100

For those around long enough, Triple J’s Hottest 100 used to be the bastion of independence. Now that we’re under the Abbottocracy, things have declined considerably. The 2014 Hottest 100 is nothing more than the playlist from the spa in Kevin Andrews’ bathroom / dungeon.

So in order to put some balance back in things, here are the top 10 songs as voted by you*

10. The North Korea Five: Picking For Our Dear Leader

9. Mr Blobby: Mr Blobby

8. Stryper: To Hell With The Devil (Live)

7. Vita Beats: Boom Box

6. Dobie Gray: Drift Away

5. Manga Japan Bass Boy: Drinkin’ Milk

4. Focus: Hocus Pocus Live ’73

3. Transfusion: Nervous Norvus

2. The Wurzels: Combine Harvester

1. Frank Ifield: The Wayward Wind

* You = me, plus three staffers to whom I suggested a reservation-free confirmation of my choices.

Election Diary Day 23 to Success

saus-roll

Sausage rolls: gone under an Abbott Government

I’ve already explained why I haven’t done this diary as often as I would have liked, so I want to move onto something much more important. There’s only one day left in the campaign and it’s the time at which I’d like to write an open letter to Australia on why a Rudd / Wong Government needs to be re-elected.

Thing is – I’m bloody busy and the person I tasked to draft the open letter had to be let go after putting Lavender Pine O Cleen in Kevin’s toilet, so I’ve decide to repurpose my 2010 Open Letter, which is still 85% relevant today:

My friends,

Today Saturday is the most important day in your life. You may not realise it yet, but your actions today will set in motion a chain of events that will change the world in irreversible ways. The deceivingly simple process of walking up to a local school, scowling at the Party workers handing out how-to-vote cards, getting your name signed off and then walking up to the private cardboard paradise that is your voting station, has never been more crucial to the world.

Why? Because the vote you cast will change Australia’s future. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a safe seat or a marginal one, the mantle of destiny still sits on your shoulders. Cynics will expect me to say a vote for the ALP is the only option – and they’d be right. However, this is a decision that you need to come to on your own. All I can do is provide facts, and the rest is up to you.

The Facts

If the Coalition is elected:

  1. The world’s temperature will rise 0.1 4 degrees, at the exact time the poll is declared. This is an established scientific fact. When George Bush was elected in 2000 and 2004, there were 0.2 and 0.3 rises respectively, mostly offset when Barack Obama was elected as it delivered a 0.4 drop.
  • Joe Hockey will be our Treasurer and he’ll be like a kid in a lolly shop – with a near unlimited supply of cash and one big appetite for Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs and chin sweat bands.
  • After making his call to Nauru George Pell, Tony Abbott’s second call will be to the Army, to order a 100% cull of all kittens, lace doilies, Clive Palmers and moderate Liberal Party members.
  • Bronwyn Julie Bishop will be appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wilson Tuckey Sophie Mirabella will be Trade Minister and Bananaby Joyce will be Defence Minister. I don’t need to elaborate on this any further.
  • Public sector teachers, nurses and social workers will be burnt at the stake. Teachers and nurses do not deserve this.
  • Compulsory morning calisthenics sessions will occur, with all required to sing the Liberals’ Real Action campaign launch song whilst exercising.
  • Owners of hybrid cars will be gaoled and their vehicles burnt at public events introducing the new Hummer Import Discount Scheme.
  • The Murray-Darling river system will finally throw in the towel when Tony Abbott announces a cessation of water restrictions and free Slip ‘n Slides for all.
  • Surf Lifesaving Clubs will be deployed to protect our northern borders, leading to numerous deaths from sharks and Cornetto overdoses back on our beaches.
  • Beer shandies will be provided in all school canteens.
  • John Howard will be appointed Governor-General and President of Netball Australia.
  • Legislation will be introduced preventing women holding offices higher than Deputy PM. (Having interacted with Julie Bishop over the years, I’d be mightily tempted to support the legislation)

If the Gillard Rudd / Wong team is elected:

  • Bronwyn No Bishop will not be Foreign Affairs Minister.
  • Every day will feel like the day in 1983 when we won the America’s Cup.
  • Mark Latham will be appointed Ambassador to North Korea.
  • Bob Hawke will become a Special Adviser on Sex for the Aged and Niche Pornography.
  • Paul Keating will remain bitter.
  • Bert Newton will be appointed Governor-General when the position comes up for re-appointment.
  • Subsequent to the success of the Climate Change People’s Assembly, a Ministry of People’s Assemblies will be created with the task to create further assemblies on the Republic question, buying New Zealand, banning John Farnham concerts and re-introducing cracker nights.
  • Kevin Rudd Craig Emerson will be appointed Minister for People’s Assemblies and Mandarin Promulgation.
  • Chocolate will taste better but have 120% less fat and sugar, resolving the obesity epidemic within 18 months.
  • Drought will be proven by the CSIRO to be a product of State Coalition governments.
  • Three blockbuster Hollywood movies will receive modest government support to be filmed in Australia, in return for box office royalties. The films will be: Waterworld 2, Fraggle Rock 3D and The English Patient Goes Outback.
  • MasterChef will always mostly be interesting.
  • Princess Mary will become Queen of Australia as part  of a financial bailout of the UK by Denmark.

Aside from policy, this election is about the way Australia looks at itself and how it is perceived by the world more broadly. To move backwards to a Coalition coven of incompetence  would have a range of consequences. It’s minor things like trade sanctions imposed on Australia. It’s critical issues like the increased likelihood of a swine flu or bubonic plague outbreak as people travel more because of the Coalition’s slow broadband.

Today, you can change that potential reality. Let’s move forward together to a new way.

Pretty enticing argument don’t you think?

Election Diary Day 17-22 – Priorities

Kevin's fork of doom

Kevin’s fork of doom

Ok, I have an admission to make. I’ve purposely let this diary slip. It’s not something I’ve wanted to happen, as it’s a bit like Samuel Pepys deciding to go and play badminton while the Great Fire of London was occurring. However, it’s been unavoidable for a number of reasons, that I for some reason feel the need to share with you:

1. This election campaign has been totally different to the 2010 shindig – as spokeswoman for the campaign I spend a lot more hours of the day trying to smile at non-News Ltd journalists.

2. I’m spending a lot more time mentoring less experienced campaigners and smoothing or destroying the egos of staff. It’s nice that people recognise my seniority, but if Jenny Macklin asks me once more about colour matching Crocs to pant-suits I may just say something she regrets.

3. Reading a chapter of Infinite Jest to Kevin each night before being released takes a heavy mental toll. Go on – try and read a chapter of that bastard of a book and then imagine doing it standing up, with someone sitting behind a desk slowly digging out the skin of their palm with a fork.

So – I’ll be checking in when I can with the odd gem of wisdom or campaign anecdote. It’s more than you deserve but any good campaign has unbidden snippets of altruism, so there you go.

Election Diary Day 16 – Toilet Spotting

election-fish

The ALP Campaign HQ Election Fish Remains Confident

It was great to see Health on the agenda today, with our announcement on increasing medical research funding. Health is one of those areas that everyone agrees deserves funding, but the competing demands are enormous. The other trouble is that as much as everyone says health is a critical policy area, as a campaigning conversation piece it’s a topic as exciting as a Wayne Swan Tupperware party. Instead, I thought I’d give you three tips on what not to talk about in regards to health policy when out campaigning:

1. Never, ever talk about anything that can be remotely construed as being related to the gastrointestinal system – unless you want to be crushed to death by every person over 70 within a 2km radius. Research shows that these people can sense even the smallest potential interest in their bowel habits and they’ll converge on you without prejudice. In 2000, Bronwyn Bishop bought herself a lifetime guarantee of holding Mackellar by setting up the ‘find a toilet’ website whilst Aged Care Minister.

2. Avoid engaging in conversations with any punter who tells you they are a member of the AMA. The last AMA member to vote ALP was Don Dunstan, who thought he’d joined Adelaide Model Aerosport. You’ll never convince them to back you and you’re likely to have them bulk bill the Government for the time spent attempting to.

3. As hard as it can be, politely refuse to purchase anything from the ladies on the local hospital auxiliary trolley. What can seem an innocuous knitted toy can end up being a Pauline Hanson-knitted Golliwog. I’ve seen it happen.

Election Diary Day 15 – The Campaign Titanic

I’ve got to tell you, this election campaign is boring the shit out of me. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why, and it’s probably for a bunch of reasons:

1. The huge momentum we’re building towards a win, which means there’s less on the line to be excited about

2. The focus on the broad economy at expense of the exciting issues like national audit mechanisms and business analytics innovation

3. The fact Peter Beattie’s been as much a boost to the campaign as a vomit enema

4. The addictive nature of Clive Palmer’s campaign flyer with enclosed Titanic DVD, which makes the rest of the campaign seem a little bland:

clive-palmer

5. The total autonomy Kevin is giving us all in the campaign makes things less focused.

Ok, number five is an egregious lie but you get the drift. The only light I can see at the end of the tunnel is the campaign launches and the last minute costings released by the Hockeynomicsists. There’ll be laughs out of both and I can tell you my staff will be needing every laugh they can get by then if this campaign doesn’t spark up a bit.

In the meantime, tell me what’s excited you about the campaign so far. Best comments will either win a used Titanic II DVD or be used as a policy announcement on the fly by Kevin sometime this week.