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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Catching up

Crikey, you don't write a post for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose and you end up with a bit of catching up to do.  So here's the wrap:

Hanson Back

She probably won't get in but you never know.  Having this fruitcake look after the balance of power would bugger things right up, but the coalition would be jumping over themselves to do a deal with her.  Labor (and Peter Costello for that matter) have always been open in its dislike of Hanson, and they have announced that she will be placed last on their how to vote card.  The coalition (apart from Peter Costello) have always shirked this point.  Openly they do not slam her (because they like the votes of "people like that") but on the other they form secretive trusts to get her banged up.

Caretaker Conventions

As usual Howard has gone against parliamentary conventions for his own benefit.  This is a more serious issue than the media is making out.  It is nothing less than an abuse of power, and he has a track record for this kind of shenanigans.  For those of you not in the know, the idea is that because the government is not subject to the usual level of scrutiny they should consult the opposition on major decisions.  I would say the decision to send in the boys is as major as it gets.  Costello is not above chicanery himself, with the medicare policy somehow being costed by Treasury before the election was called, but no one was told until it was game on. From AM:

MARK COLVIN: You're essentially accusing him of conjuring figures out of nowhere, but then just in the last 24, 36 hours, we've found that there's $1.8 billion that nobody really seems to know about. Where did that come from?

PETER COSTELLO: Well that was costed by the Treasury, and that is in the figures that the Treasury will release, but look…

MARK COLVIN: I mean, you still have the huge advantage, don't you, of having Treasury on your side.

PETER COSTELLO: No, no, I'm sorry, no. The Government is in a caretaker period.

MARK COLVIN: So how did you manage to get it costed by the Treasury?

PETER COSTELLO: And this was a decision that was taken before the election was called.

MARK COLVIN: Why didn't we know about it before?

PETER COSTELLO: This was a decision which was taken before the election was called, and is in the budget bottom line, but …

And this is the guy that wants the ALP to get their tax policy costed by his stooges in Treasury.

So the standard line of the Howard government is, "we took the decision before the election was called".  Not good enough.

Labor Schools Policy

Bloody excellent.  About time a bit of equity came back into the system.  However I would like to see a lot more funding for the public schools.  Nelson says it is about choice and helping the battlers who have taken out a second mortgage to help their kiddies (we'd better hope that interest rates don't go up then).  I'd say it was about giving money to schools based on their needs.  Then there is always his spurious argument of "everytime someone gets sent to a private school the government saves money".  Then surely by cutting funding, the government saves even more! 

Iraq Invasion Illegal

Howard has responded to Kofi Annan's assertion that the invasion of Iraq was illegal with a load of guff.  The interesting thing to note is that once again he is using "advice" as his get out clause.  He said that he had legal advice that the war was not illegal.  Have we ever had the circumstance where Howard's advice has not been correct?  Does this guy ever take responsibility for his decisions?  The resolution to invade was not submitted to the UN Security Council because the French threatened to veto it on the grounds that UN weapons inspectors should be given more time.  It's not often I agree with the frogs, but they were spot in that time.



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