Gillard’s pokie hokey-pokey

This morning's media reports are far from clear about what Julia Gillard is planning to do about curbs on poker machines.

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

This lady is for turning? This morning's media reports are far from clear about what Julia Gillard is planning to do about curbs on poker machines. What is clear is that if she reneges in any substantial way on her agreement with independent Andrew Wilkie that the lobbyists of the nation will be jubilant. Labor not going on with a mandatory pre-commitment scheme for poker machines would confirm the weakness indicated when the Prime Minister backed down to major mining companies before the last election on its super profits tax. That in turn would enable the political manipulators to encourage other groups effected by government policy to run expensive public relations and advertising campaigns. An absolutely wonderful outcome for the income of lobbyists. More tax for those richer than me. That's what a group of US millionaires think about billionaire Warren Buffet's call for the rich to pay more taxes and give more to charity. A survey from PNC Wealth Management, a unit of Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC), released overnight found that while 71 percent of millionaires surveyed said they agree with Buffett, 49 percent of those surveyed said that they’re "not in the same league" as Buffett and that the higher taxes shouldn’t apply to them personally. Mitt Romney, the short priced favourite to become the Republican presidential candidate, clearly shares the view of the 49%.

A bloody quote of the day. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel winning liberal economist, on the response of European politicians as their countries slow towards recession:
"The answer, even though they see over and over again that austerity leads to collapse of the economy, the answer over and over is more austerity. "It reminds me of medieval medicine. It is like blood-letting, where you took blood out of a patient because the theory was that there were bad humours. "And very often, when you took the blood out, the patient got sicker. The response then was more blood-letting until the patient very nearly died. What is happening in Europe is a mutual suicide pact."
Reality TV reaches new low. If you thought the Australian version of Big Brother took public taste to a low point, consider this week's Brazilian version where a contestant was raped live on television.

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