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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Wilson Tuckey Deadwood Award Nominee 2004 - Kay Patterson

She is a cracker this one, anyone who can make Wayne Swan look good must be a dill.  Now cast your mind back to last Friday's Lateline.  Swan said that 1.4 million Australians had incurred a debt through the crappy benefit system this government introduced.  Good old Maxine pressed Patterson for the "real" figure as she kept saying than Swan was lying.  the nearest we got to a figure was:

SENATOR KAY PATTERSON: "Maxine, what we have is a reduction in overpayments.
We have I think about now 297 families that still have outstanding debts for the last three financial years.
It is nothing like the figure Mr Swan has given, and this information from the department indicates as always that what Mr Swan says and between what he says and reality is a huge chasm, a huge gap.
He's been caught out lying to the Australian public."

So her best guess was 297 families.  Today she is claiming victory :

Labor's claim that 1.4 million Australians had a family tax benefit debt and 1.8 million families would not know they had a debt until after the October 9 election could not be substantiated, she said.

Departmental advice on Friday showed that an estimated 600,000 families, based on the previous year's trends, could be expected to incur a debt.

"I'm happy to fight on the issues but not when Australians are being misled," Senator Patterson said.

So Patterson is claiming the daggy laurel wreath on account of only 600,000 families being in debt.  She has completely ballsed up her position on 3 counts:

1) She has in fact proved that Wayne Swan was in the right ballpark (especially if he meant 1.4 million individuals rather than families - he does get a bit confused)
2) She has shown herself to be a bullshitter with her "297 families" claim.
3) She thinks that only 600,000 families being in debt is something to crow about

Now add to this the debate about the $600 Harvey Norman vouchers - is it real or unreal.  Labor claim that it is not real becuase it gets absorbed by the debt to Centrelink.  The Libs claim it is real.  What is the purpose of the "gift"?  Patterson said it all on Friday:

MAXINE MCKEW: Sorry Senator, you're not answering the question.
What are you doing in this portfolio to redesign the system so that people are not in this position of having to predict their future income over a year.
How many people can do that effectively?
SENATOR KAY PATTERSON: Well, what we've done is give people $600 per child.

So in effect if Labor remove the debt AND remove the $600 then people are no worse off.  As the Minister in charge of this stuff clearly said, the purpose of the money was to pay off the debt.
A frontrunner for the Wilson Tuckey Deadwood Award for 2004.

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