The first 100 days. Labor might have promised to stop blatant party political advertising being paid for with Government funds so I presume the glossy brochure First 100 Days will be funded from party coffers. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd released this cliché ridden piece of puff this morning so we can all know that the “Rudd Government has hit the ground running, working hard to meet the challenges of today – and tomorrow.”
Chuckling at the ABC. Management at the ABC should be chuckling this morning as it studies the latest allegations of political bias. After years of fending off spurious attacks by Liberals, this time it is Labor shouting “unfair”. South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley is the man with his nose out of joint and the subjects of his ire are 891’s morning radio hosts Matthew Abraham & David Bevan. Accusing the pair of a “daily rant against the Government”, Treasurer Foley told State Parliament the ABC was not being an “objective media” organisation. It had joined forces with the Liberal Party to talk down the state of the South Australian economy. Now I have not lived in SA for a few months but when I did I found the pair compulsive listening with their somewhat brash and belligerent style of interviewing. Bias was not something I ever detected, which is not to say I always agreed with them.
Tick and flick. Health Minister Nicola Roxon is promising not to tick and flick attempts by private health insurers to increase their premiums but she will surely soon wish she good give just that treatment to the election promise of her boss to end the blame game. The 18 month period which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has set for State Governments to get the public hospital system in order is clearly not going to be long enough. By the end of next year Ms Roxon will have the unenviable task of squirming out of the promise or actually holding a referendum to give the Commonwealth the power to take them over. For the State Governments the talk of cooperation in fixing the problems has degenerated into a squabble about how much money the Commonwealth should hand over and the demand for extra billions comes sat a time when the Federal Government has committed itself to restraining government spending. Prime Minister Rudd really will be a political Houdini if he can manage his way out of this impasse. And should he finally end up in charge of all public hospitals, all future Prime Ministers will curse him forever. State Health Ministers have a devilishly hard job running the hospitals in one state. Imagine the political horror stories one Federal Minister will confront every day trying to run the system in eight states and territories!
Loose Use of Left. Having worked on Labor Party election campaigns, it is inevitable I suppose that I am called a leftie but I would not have thought my views on alcohol abuse would warrant use of the term as Geoff Munro, director of the Community Alcohol Action Network at the Australian Drug Foundation, did yesterday. To me, in general terms, a person of the left tends to be one who favours a bigger role for government than a person of the right. On matters of social engineering of all kinds, including attempts to deal with alcohol abuse, I am a small government man. The libertarian streak in me says people should be allowed to go to hell in their own way and when it comes to children it is the family rather than the state which should play the primary role. A left libertarian? To me it is a contradiction in terms.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The Daily Reality Check
Thank goodness for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. Without him writing to Telstra asking it to “voluntarily” release the confidential information about its entire network operations in order to “maximise competitive tension”, there would have been no federal politics at all on this morning’s most read internet stories list. The Australian saved the day with its report while the other nine states gave the Canberra politicians the miss.
The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage
Hospital fix has massive price tag – Misha Schubert and Michelle Grattan, The Age
Why Australian households are hurting – Gerard McManus, Herald Sun
Average pay won’t buy a home – Tim Colebatch, The Age
Lunch with a state minister: only $5100 – Jano Gibson and Kate McClymont, Sydney Morning Herald
Conroy ultimatum on Telstra net plans – Cath Hart, The Australian
Foley’s whinge over ABC duo – Michael Owen, Adelaide Advertiser
Doctors ‘shielded Butcher of Bega’ – Adam Cresswell, Sydney Daily Telegraph