Thursday, May 08, 2014

An 86-step strategy for fiscal rescue

TONY Shepherd and his Commission of Audit report stand in stark contrast to Tony Abbott’s blizzard in their view of what the coming Budget must deliver.

The no-nonsense two-volume (with three volumes of appendices) audit, is, as Shepherd firmly stated yesterday: “A report for government, not by government.”

This is unlike the cyclonic shower of leaks about policies such as the deficit tax which are clearly the work of policy advisers determined to stay working for a government.

Shepherd’s report contains 86 recommendations, many of which Treasurer Joe Hockey admits will be unpopular. That’s called reality.

Shepherd, chairman of the Greater Western Sydney Giants, a former Business Council of Australia president with a background in the construction industry, is a practical person.

“National interest and not special interest must prevail,” he told reporters in Canberra. That would make a real change in the national capital, so used to quick political fixes which have in recent years had an alarming tendency to explode, sometimes lethally, more often though in massive uncapped budgetary blowouts.

The other Tony, the Prime Minister, and his economic team, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Matthias Cormann, are still too intent on mixing their political interests (and in Abbott’s case, his very personal political interest) with the national interest.

The proposed deficit debt tax is a clear case in point.

The Shepherd report does not canvass such a revenue-raising measure. The audit is primarily a cost-cutting venture.

The mooted new tax is, at this point, Abbott’s baby, but there is no logical reason why it should make it into the Budget papers and plenty of reasons why it should be permitted to disappear between now and May 13.

From the constant repetition of the “spreading the pain” mantra, it is clear that Abbott thinks (erroneously) that hitting up those Australians who already pay the overwhelming bulk of income tax will in some way make those who pay little or no income tax feel more kindly toward his government.

That is the sort of soak-the-rich attitude that unthinking generations of Labor trade unionists and politicians used to kill industry and stifle growth.

The Labor and Green voters, for whom this sort of pandering rhetoric is ambrosial, are never going to change their votes.

They are as wedded to madness and hypocrisy as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Greens leader Christine Milne and Clive Palmer and his mindless moppets are to their plans to block economic reform.

While the sums involved may not cause those at the top end of town too much pain, the damage caused to the Abbott government by such an impost is not worth the price.

In raising a sum which would do little to meet even the interest bill on Labor’s $123 million deficit, Abbott would destroy the single greatest point of difference between himself and the last two Labor prime ministers.

He would have broken faith with the public who believed he was not lying when he promised no new taxes.

He may call any new tax a levy but that is the sort of hair-splitting sophistry that he decried when he was in opposition. The suggested tax is the sort of thought bubble that should be pricked now.

Abbott has already shown some flexibility with a backdown of sorts on his proposed Paid Parental Leave program, reducing the recommended payments to a maximum $50,000.

What he should do is speak to some of the young mothers around the nation and he will find they are not as interested in his PPL as getting some action on childcare — that’s what they are most concerned about.

If some missionary streak — some essence of the liberation theologist — remains within Abbott from his seminary days, there are plenty of meaningful and painful reforms within the Shepherd report that he could embrace — forcing all high-income earners to take out private health insurance, for example.

But it is the nation that needs to wear a hair shirt — every single one of us.

Labor may continue to deny that it was a failure but the books don’t lie.

Not one of its promised surpluses was ever realised, not even the one it boasted of in the campaign literature for last year’s election.

Labor’s economic platform was one big lie.

Abbott would be a fool to even try to sustain the level of spending Labor promised for such illusory programs as the NDIS and the NBN while it is still borrowing to pay for failures such as Labor’s degraded border protection program.

The Shepherd medicine may be bitter but it is necessary — and it need not be taken all at once.

The strategy Shepherd lays out looks to build a sound economy for future generations of Australians.

Tony Shepherd and his team have sent a clear call to the Abbott government, Tony Abbott must take an icy shower and steel himself to deliver the hard cuts the nation must wear if it is to prosper in the future.



Thought I’d risk another 8c last night and watch the overpaid Jones boy get his rocks off bushwhacking another Lib.

There were the usual suspects with the ever-present token homosexual, unhinged ex-Speaker Anna Burke, one sensible bloke next to her, a sheila in a yellow dress and Jones' victim, Education Minister, Christopher Pyne.

One look at the hand-picked audience and it was clear Jones had set Pyne up, and Pyne knew it! But the diminutive Education Minister is a seasoned operator and was in no mood for the supercilious Jones.

He quickly gave him a verbal belting at his first smart-arsed interruptive comment.

The audience was crammed with over-privileged, pimply uni students who were miffed that they had to leave their bongs at reception. “The Socialist Alternatives” I think they called themselves.

    I settled back and rolled a smoke... this could be interesting, for a change.

It sure was! Jones was soon enmeshed in the trap he had set for Pyne as uni students reverted to type and pulled on a well-rehearsed demo waving either a back-to-front banner or displaying appalling spelling, eventually forcing the program off air.

Tony Jones was in deep poo and his moderating skills were found woefully inadequate as he tried to quell the riot while Christopher Pyne sat back and grinned.

Someone finally removed the rabble under section 94A and it wasn’t Anna Burke, she was trying to be funny while agreeing with the fracas, and it wasn’t working.

Jones looked stressed and Pyne was still grinning when finally, it was time for the token homosexual to tell everyone to clap hands while he warbled a dated song.

This morning the Jones boy is crying in his Weet Bix, the “Socialist Alternatives” are back on the bongs, Anna Burke is in the bathroom practising her humour, the token homosexual is still warbling that dated song and Christopher Pyne still hasn’t stopped grinning.

...and I reckon, for the first time, I finally got my first 8c worth out of the ABC.

SOURCE.  Another report of the program here

AUNTY NEEDS A FACE-LIFT  ...and a lift in ratings

The Gillard-appointed crusty old Leftie, ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman, along with his offsider Mark Scott, have plenty to fear from next Tuesday’s budget. They are about to lose their $250 million Gillard-gifted (and tender circumvented) Australia Network along with 80 million Chinese who have taken a liking to Skippy and Bananas in Pyjamas.

But back home it’s a different story. Of their 25 top scripted programs only one, “Scandal”, is holding its own against the commercial channels. Of the remaining 24, all have suffered massive ratings losses with “The Neighbours” losing over 48% of viewers and another five shows either cancelled or held over.

So, what to do with this arrogant nest of Marxist wastrels who have hijacked our ABC and teamed up with that UK far-Left rag, The Guardian? Well, not much really.

Slashing its luxurious budget of $1.3 billion won’t discourage its unbridled support of Labor/Green values and not one highly-paid executive will cop a pay cut, but you can bet its rural programming will take a hit because that’s the only part of its programming the Abbott Government will be at pains to preserve.

Can it be sold? No, it can’t be because the commercial networks, with their multiple channels, are struggling to compete for the available advertising dollar.

Channel 10 is on its last legs and Channel 9 is up to its ear lobes in debt with SKY sucking the advertising buck out of all of them.

SKY is currently running 18-minutes per hour of commercials and viewers are wasting their time switching channels to avoid the annoying impost because ads are cunningly sequenced to run at the same time on all of over 100 channels.

Add to that the rural channels with their aggregated commercials, in concert with a patchwork of FM radio stations and on-line advertising, and it’s not hard to see why newspapers are dying a fast death.

    Selling an amorphous ABC network into the commercial mix would be as welcome as a fart in a two-man Italian lift.

To get the ABC back on track will be electorally unpalatable for Abbott. And he has few choices.

He could decide to go for institutional reform and pay out the Board’s contracts installing an independent (politically impartial) Chairman who could restructure the whole Marxist mess from the top down.

The Left will scream blue murder at losing their main media mouthpiece but they will still have Fairfax, The Guardian and a few rabid on-line outlets, so maybe that’s possible.

The best option is to flick the whole bloody thing, only don’t say you’re flicking it, say you’re amalgamating it with SBS. Then restructure SBS to take up the ABC’s rural commitments, dilute its ethnic content and give it full commercial access.

Any hole that’s left, including indigenous stuff, will be eagerly filled by SKY. ABC Radio National should remain.

The cost of having a public broadcaster would then be a reasonable and diminishing $300,000 or less, depending on advertising revenue.

SBS and Channel 10 could then fight it out for third spot in a ratings war, with Channel 10 certain to lose.

That would give us three free-to-air channels and a bourgeoning SKY, all highly profitable.

Once the whole thing settles down, flog it off with an attractive IPO and everyone’s happy, ‘cos at the moment television proliferation is a bloody dog’s breakfast.


Attraction in Australia

A new survey, conducted by eHarmony, sheds light on the "spark" in Australian relationships, and at first glance the results are warm and fuzzy. Aussies appear to be a decent bunch.

Of more than 1000 people surveyed, less than half (46 per cent) rated physical beauty as extremely or very important, while 83 per cent ranked as very or extremely important a feeling of ease with the other person, flowing conversation and the sense that it is interesting to spend time with them.

The GSOH – or great sense of humour – is still in high demand, with 84 per cent of women and 74 per cent of men rating it highly and admitting sparks fly when they meet someone who can make them laugh.

But while we pat ourselves on the back for not being vain, shallow creatures who place physical beauty above personality, dig deeper into the results and that's exactly what we do.

Not that there's anything wrong with it! Let's be honest, if you're thinking about stoking a fire, you're entitled to like the look of the mantelpiece.

Yet why does it still feel taboo to admit we want to be sexually attracted to the people we date, have sex with, potentially marry and possibly procreate with?

Breaking down the results by state, Victorians are the pickiest: 79 per cent rate sexual attraction as extremely or very important.

They are followed closely by 72 per cent of New South Welshmen. Queenslanders and South Australians are third and fourth with 70 and 69 per cent respectively; and 66 per cent of West Australians rate sexual attraction as paramount when it comes to igniting their interest.

As for the folks of Tasmania and the Northern Territory, only 56 per cent rate sexual attraction as extremely or very important, preferring to find a partner who is interesting to spend time with and makes the conversation flow.

It's not just where we live that appears to influence what we like. The survey found interesting correlations to the width of our wallets. For instance, 81 per cent of men and women earning more than $100,000 a year cite a sense of humour as very or extremely important, while 80 per cent rated a powerful feeling of attraction and sexual attraction as extremely or very important.

Among those earning $40,000 a year or less, only 60 per cent rated sexual attraction as very or extremely important.

As far as gender goes, it's no surprise to see that men are still more overpowered by "the scent of a woman", with 77 per cent of men needing that sexual spark, while 79 per cent admitted a powerful feeling of attraction was very or extremely important.

But the ladies are finally fessing up too . . . 66 per cent are lured by lusty attraction to men they consider as potential partners and 75 per cent rate a powerful feeling of attraction as important to sparking a future.

So while physical beauty in the traditional sense may not be the lead indicator of who we date, there's still no substitute for physical attraction and sexual chemistry when it comes to sparks flying.


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