The past two weeks we have been fed morsels about the coming Federal Budget. The Government leaked the information it wanted to leak and then refused to speculate about what was in it. Very strange terminology indeed when there was no need for speculation since the the details of the budget were already known to the Labor politicians who had been involved in forming it.
We, the ordinary public, could speculate to our heart’s content but it would make not a skerrick of difference to the fait accompli which Treasurer Wayne Swan and his fellow teasers held in their hot little hands.
Came the night of the budget announcement and we were served spin. Slogan after slogan about stimulus and infrastructure sounded just like Rudd’s election droning. This went on for about twenty boring minutes and then a few general comments were made about Education, Hospitals and an increase in pensions but what I remember most was something that sounded like an announcement from the Department of Main Roads.
Everything is shovel-ready, Mr Swan told us. All we need are some people to be prepared to dig. They will come from the ranks of the unemployed, apparently. Can you really see Generation Y getting out of bed before noon to go build hundreds of roads across our vast continent? This is the generation that refuses to mix its own alcoholic drinks. Too much like hard work.
We sat through the whole thing waiting to hear if self-funded retirees were going to be thrashed again after having their Private Health Care rebate reduced. And how about the Health Card? Well, it wasn’t until the next day that some details came out in the newspaper about that.
I guess we are typical of the WIIFM population of Australia, no better, no worse. We wanted to know how all this would impact on our lives. What’s in it for me is what it’s all about. What will happen in the year 2050 will not impact on us personally and besides, I don’t believe that anyone has a clue about how the world will look in forty years’ time. They couldn’t predict this recession even weeks before it happened. So what makes the government and all those experts think they can do any better now?