Mixed Bag

Some ticks and crosses for recent political events:

Julia Gillard visited India to reassure the Indian people that we want their students here, we’re serious about protecting them, and we’ll shut down any bogus educational organizations.  This is a smart move.  It’s a good example of Customer Service – how to turn a bad situation around by listening to concerns and doing something about it. The Indian government responded by inviting Australian universities to set up branches in India.

XNSW minister John Della Bosca resigned because he got caught having an affair.  John Della Bosca’s personal life is irrelevant.  The comments in the media about him missing planes because of his secret relationship are lame.  The bottom line is whether or not he’s doing his job effectively or not, whether the NSW tax payers are getting value from his efforts, and whether his actions and those of his government are taking his state in the right direction.  If you want to remove a government minister due to incompetence, that’s fine – it’s politics.  But resigning, or getting kicked out because you had an affair is stupid.  What sort of precedent does it set?  If we want to get rid of a government now, do we forget about policy debates and performance indicators, and just take the easy way out and dig through their dirty laundry.  This is grubby journalism, and stupid politics.  And NO I don’t support NSW Labor, or their politics.  But Della Bosca should still be a cabinet minister today.

Victorian minister Tim Holding was rescued from the Victorian Alps after two days being stranded on a mountain top.  This is great news, and a good example of emergency services getting the job done when needed.  Yes, he should have taken an EPIRB and probably should have taken a couple of mates with him, but despite that it’s good to see healthy active political leaders getting out and exploring the world, and surviving calamities.

XACMA refuses to ban junk food ads.  The Australian Communications and Media Authority is toothless, and without gonads.  They are incapable of doing anything courageous if it threatens the profitability of commercial broadcasters.  Australian Commercial Media requires more regulation, not less.  They intrude into every area of our lives.  Most of our chubby little kids are addicted to the junk they serve up.  Getting tougher with them won’t harm them at all.  All commercial media has to compete in the same environment.  Television advertisers still have to advertise.  I just think they should have a few more boundaries so they learn to behave properly.  The bottom line is that Australian Media can’t or won’t regulate itself.  The Government needs to bite the bullet on this.

√XA bet each way for the Gorgon Gas project.  It’s a good outcome which is a result of the efforts of both Labor and Liberal governments, past and current in WA and Federally.  It injects billions of dollars into the Australian economy.  BUT, environment minister Peter Garret was pretty much sidelined by the whole process.  The project was announced and feted BEFORE Garret had given his approval as environment minister.  Regardless of what the spin-doctors say, it shows that he’s considered irrelevant by the major players, and that the environment comes second when large amounts of money are involved.

XWayne Swan has left the spending tap on, money is splattering everywhere, and our current account deficit is blowing out.  Yes, our economy has benefited from economic stimulus, but Swan forgets that the stimulus doesn’t need to be a blunt instrument.  The Australian economy is growing, but Swan needs to be aware that the extra cash is boosting imports, and hurting exports.  If our current account deficit continues, we’ll be staring at Paul Keating’s “Banana Republic” in the not too distant future, with a $300 billion foreign debit too boot.

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