Yesterday we saw exactly why the
Howard Government is a fraud – and it had nothing to do with Reserve
Bank appointments or the Wheat Board.

It actually came in a
rather jocular dixer to the rather jocular Minister for Human Services,
Joe Hockey, delivered towards the end of Question Time. It’s on p.56 of
Hansard and went like this:

Mrs DRAPER (3.19 pm)—My question is addressed to the
Minister for Human Services. Would the minister advise the House of
steps taken to make it more convenient for Australians, and
constituents particularly in my electorate of Makin, to deal with
Centrelink and other human services agencies?

Mr HOCKEY—I thank
the member for Makin for her question. I will give it my best shot. I
want to wish the member for Makin a very merry Christmas and a happy
new year. It is the season of goodwill. Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order!

Mr Murphy—Joe knows it’s Advent!

SPEAKER—The member for Lowe will remove himself under standing order
94(a). When the Speaker is on his feet, he will not interject.

The member for Lowe then left the chamber.

HOCKEY—As David Gower said, it is all about timing! As part of the
goodwill of the season, the Minister for Workforce Participation just
had a baby. He complained to me about the form—

Mr Beazley—It’s a miracle!

HOCKEY—It is a Christmas miracle! His wife had the baby, I should say.
But it did not stop the minister from complaining about the form he had
to fill out to claim the maternity payment. We listen to those concerns
on this side of the House. That is why, from March next year, we are
abolishing a form that is nearly 29 pages long and replacing it with a
three-page form and a simple question—so it is easier for people to
claim it. Abolishing those seven million pages of forms is part of the
Christmas present from the coalition to the Australian people…

why they are a fraud? Joe’s job is to streamline government services.
Marks for what he’s doing on the paperwork, but that ain’t the problem.
Surely the question should be “Why the f*ck are we wasting time and
money handing out welfare dollars to a f*cking member of the ministry?”

Minister for Workforce Participation, Peter Dutton, isn’t a member of
the Cabinet. He’s just a junior minister. Even politically, though,
that doesn’t mean he is in humble circumstances. Yet he and his missus
still qualify for handouts – and have the gall to ask for them.

is the Liberal Party – the party that preaches small government and
self reliance and all that. Yet it takes taxes from people once they
start earning $6,000 a year – way below the poverty line – and
redistributes it to ministers.

That, surely, is injustice. It’s incompetent, illogical – and immoral. Yet they don’t even see they have a problem.


PS Our friend The Labor Dry writes: “Talk about an open goal. Here we have Nick Minchin
warning that tax cuts could jeopardise the long term health of the
budget because the current boost to revenue from commodity prices could
be shortlived . Excuse me? Did I here this right? A Finance Minister
basically admitting that he can’t do his job – i.e. cut government
spending. Unbelievable.”