If Australia’s daily newspapers are as smart as I think they are, I reckon they’ll hold that grinning “35 years? Wot, Me Worry, etc” headshot of recently sentenced gangland warrior Carl Williams and just replace it with an equally smug “I rather hope you folk in the cheap seats enjoyed my monetary shout-outs” Peter Costello this morning.
Didn’t he seem thrilled with himself delivering the twelfth federal budget, the dear old thing? He even managed to repeatedly say the words “This is not a fiscal stimulus”, with a straight face, which is more than you could say for anyone under the age of 30 with a penchant for double entendre.
“Battlers” featured heavily in the government’s free-money campaign, with low to middle-income earners no doubt gladly receiving the wads of cash being shoved in their general direction simply for, you know, being alive voters. Other winners in surplus heaven included senior citizens, parents, and university students, who no doubt will have already forgotten the rabid slash and parrying P. Costello did with their funding last budget as they are all stoners with low ambition trying to get Arts degrees.
Another big winner was – as ever – the increasingly evocative metaphor, with lines like: “Let me make this clear – once the paw goes into the honey pot, it can pull all of the honey out. I put the honey in there, and I’m locking the honey against the paw”, putting Costello a cut above the rest, whilst simultaneously repulsing a nation of people perhaps mid-way through their dinners.
“We want to get more people who haven’t been looking for work to want to join the workforce,” the Treasurer beamed paternally, perhaps forgetting for a moment his role in a government creating the types of industrial relations laws better known for sending children down mines with canaries with nary a sign of a Ryvita break.
Whether all these Godspell-esque Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord handouts will convince middle Australia of the government’s commitment to beatific rule is yet to be seen. All I know is, if I’m stuck with another 11 years’ non-parole, I’m joining the Morans.