Vale Gough Whitlam

Having heard the sad news of Gough Whitlam, it reminded me of this.

Many years ago I was asked to scrutineer (check the validity of votes cast as they were counted by the electoral officers) for a friend running for office.
Luckily as the son of two political parents, I learnt scrutineering at my mother’s knee.

In this case, my friend was one of two candidates for this office so the job was as easy as could be. But I had a pleasant surprise.

On one of the ballot papers, someone had neatly printed Whitlam,E. G. added a box and had filled in the number 1 leaving the other candidates blank.
On the day of his passing all I can do is agree!

Abbott After 100 Days : Policies versus the Pamphlett

There has been much written about the Abbott Government and its achievements in its first 100 days.

They’ve even brought out a pamphlett of their achievements.

But if one had studied their election pamphlett, the clues to their performance were already there.

And the giveaway is mainly in the presentation and only some of the content! Which describes the last 100 days!

The introduction stated the election was still on September 14. Perhaps a government out-of-date with voter expectations. Or perhaps a government looking forward to an election after September 7.

The document uses quotes inconsistently. There are double quotes on page 4 and single quotes on page 8. Maybe they knew there would be problems remembering who said what and when.

The document also uses numbering inconsistently with a full stop after last point on page 9 but no full stops anywhere else. An omen that they would have some issues around policy prioritisation.

Use of semi colons at the end of bullet points and the use of commas elsewhere. A portent of a possible policy backflip perhaps.

Misspelling on page 5 Australian. The LNP perhaps are unsure about this country’s place in the world.

Yes it was all there in black and blue in the pamphlett.

To misquote Bob Hawke, if you can’t format your documents properly you can’t govern the country.

What Does the Ultimately Downsized Government Do?

With the death of Margaret Thatcher, many people have been reflecting upon her legacy.

Since her time as Prime Minister of Great Britain, governments of all colours have rolled back their dominance through spending cuts, tax cuts, withdrawal of services, privatisation and/or deregulation.

As the GFC and its after effects continue, austerity is the new watch word. Countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, USA and France are struggling due to even more tax and spending cuts, privatisation, withdrawal of services, etc.

Even when governments change (See France ), the incoming administration struggles to replace what is lost. The loss of revenue and spending cuts create difficulties in replacing what has been lost. Even Australia despite its world class economy will face this problem if there is a change of government.

This trend to roll back government raises the following question:

What does the ultimately downsized government do?

  • Are they reverting to the nineteenth century role of administering defence, foreign affairs, law and trade?
  • Will downsized governments have no role in the areas of health, education and social security?
  • What then happens to the poor, homeless, sick, unemployed, old, disabled and unfortunate?
  • What about the attendant social dislocation?

What does the ultimately downsized government do?