Why the Federal government’s budget is a failure for this and future generations

The first and major reason is that it looks no further than beyond the next federal election. 

There are plenty of short-term problems that it addresses. The first is the rising cost of petrol. The reduction in the fuel exercise will reduce the cost of petrol for many families by $10 every time they fill the tank. But this is a short-term measure and will have little long-term impact as will the one-off $400 payment to pensioners. Similar payments to workers in aged-care will have little long-term effect. The income tax cuts are similarly short-term and likely to be overtaken by increases in interest rates.

Whether these palliative measures will save the terminally ill federal government will be seen in the election results.

What is immensely disappointing is what this budget does not do.

It does nothing to address or mitigate the impacts of climate change. Lismore is currently being flooded yet again. They haven’t had time to rebuild the levy banks even if they had money to do so.

The government says that we are heading for the zero emissions by 2050. That nearly 30 away years. It is far too late. We need a 40% reduction well before the end of this decade. We are going to be nowhere near that and the impact of failing that benchmark is being seen in the disastrous bushfires and flooding in the last five years.

This budget is an indication of what a re-elected Morrison government will do to rectify these problems: Nothing.

This budget does nothing to address the problems of aged care which became obvious during the Covid crisis. The federal government’s model of private enterprise running aged care is clearly deeply flawed. This budget goes nowhere towards solving this problem.

This project does not speak towards the problems of the equities in the funding of state and private schools.

It does not increase the problems that have developed tertiary education sector as a result of the universities being denied Jobseeker payments. The loss of intellectual capital in the sector will be felt for decades. The anti-intellectualism of the Morrison government has wrought severe damage on the staffing structures of universities. Most particularly, this damage has been done to young researchers on short-term contracts who have been lost to the industry and who may never return.

The government has yet again failed to address the problems of negative gearing and franking credits. The totally irresponsible scare campaign that was room during the last federal election denied the Federal budget an opportunity to correct one of the structural inequalities in the taxation system. Gerry Harvey, one of Australia’s richest men, reportedly receives $1 million in franking credits. There must be quite a few like him who receives this concession who don’t really need it. Similarly, people do not need to receive negative gearing concessions at their marginal tax rates.

It will be interesting to see whether the Australian electorate has a view beyond the end of April

The Morrison Liberal government appears to be heading for a disastrous defeat

A Roy Morgan Poll conducted over the last week shows the ALP has increased its lead over the L-NP to its largest during the current term of the Morrison Government with the ALP 58% (up 2% points from a week ago) now even further ahead of the L-NP 42% (down 2%) points) on a two-party preferred basis.

At the last federal election, the Morrison government was elected with the majority of one on a 52%/48% two-party preferred split.

These numbers in this particular poll taken about six weeks out from the election will probably tighten but not by 16%. This means twenty Federal L/NCP members who are sitting on margins of 6% or less will certainly lose their seats.

Those on margins 10% or less, a further 17 would lose their seats, bringing the total L/NCP losses to 37.

This leave 39 of the existing sitting L/NCP Parliamentarians, 17 who are Nationals.

If this scenario plays out, and it is by no means certain, there will be 22 Liberal members of the lower house in June 2022. It will not include Morrison, Dutton or Frydenberg.

There are a number of caveats to this scenario.

The trends shown in the graph may not continue.

The Morgan polls are taken from a very small, but carefully selected, samples which may not play out across the national electorate.

Many inner-city electorates will be complicated by the presence of strong independent candidates, some of whom may win, but whose preferences will certainly be influential.

Perrottet and Morrison have created a leadership vacuum during the flood crisis in Queensland and New South Wales

They have outsourced leadership to the people on the ground: The Local heroes.

Volunteers on the ground in Lismore were carrying out rescue work in small dinghies,

Source ABC

a contingent of Fijian migrant workers were hard at work,

Fijian abbatoir workers help out in the evacuation of residents of an elderly home in Lismore in Australia. Picture: Facebook/Ezekiel Tubuna

individual charities were flying helicopters in to rescue people.

Source The Guardian

The response from government agencies and the ADF has been woefully inadequate, even the federal and state governments admit this.

When Perrottet first arrived in Lismore and saw how bad things were the only thing he could offer was a review.

There is obviously significant hostility towards the Prime Minister.

Mr Morrison got a fiery reception in Lismore. CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT

Morrison had to be protected by police during his visit to Lismore. He didn’t take his normal contingent of photographers, obviously not expecting photo opportunities.

To insult to injury, today the Prime Minister said ““I think we have to be realistic that in any natural disaster, we don’t have those resources which has ADF just waiting around the corner,”

Why not?

Why cannot the ADF have a disaster response team capable of responding to floods like those in Queensland and northern New South Wales. They do get some warning in terms of weather forecasts, so such a team could be put on standby.

Individual organisations were flying helicopters into stricken areas before the ADF got there. They were winching people off the roofs.

The Army should have that level of responsiveness.

And government agencies both Federal and State should have that also.

But worse than that.

When Perrottet first arrived in Lismore and saw how bad things were the only thing he could offer was a review, not immediate aid, not special subsidies, the things people need to give them hope in a crisis, the things a leader does.

The people of New South Wales and Queensland have probably now become resigned to the fact that their governments will offer them neither the resources nor leadership in times of crisis.

Bridget McKenzie spent $600m on Sports Rorts but none of the $4.8b Emergency Relief Fund

Apparently the fund is meant to be spent on disaster mitigation.

No doubt the good folk of Lismore would have liked a little bit of mitigation given they’ve already had two recent disastrous floods (1999, 2017) before this one.

News.co.au reports The ERF allows the government to draw up to $200m a year in additional funding for emergencies and natural disaster recovery and preparedness.

Since it was established in 2019 with an initial $3.9bn investment, the ERF has earnt some $836m in interest and paid out $50m in disaster projects, according to the Department of Finance.

Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie is the Minister in charge.

Lismore has had floods in 1954, 1974, 1989. 1999, 2017 and 2022.

Surely this would have qualified for some of the ERF funding. But apparently nothing has been forthcoming even in 2022.

What does Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie do with her time?e

Bridget McKenzie spent $600m on Sports Rorts but none of the $4.8b Emergency Relief Fund

Tim Haslett's Blog

Apparently the fund is meant to be spent on disaster mitigation.

No doubt the good folk of Lismore would have liked a little bit of mitigation given they’ve already had two recent disastrous floods (1999, 2017) before this one.

News.co.au reports The ERF allows the government to draw up to $200m a year in additional funding for emergencies and natural disaster recovery and preparedness.

Since it was established in 2019 with an initial $3.9bn investment, the ERF has earnt some $836m in interest and paid out $50m in disaster projects, according to the Department of Finance.

Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzieis the Minister in charge.

Lismore has had floods in 1954, 1974, 1989. 1999, 2017 and 2022.

Surely this would have qualified for some of the ERF funding. But apparently nothing has been forthcoming even in 2022.

What does Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie do with her time?e

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Is it viable to rebuild Lismore on a floodplain?

There have now been two disastrous floods in the last five years. Between this one and the last one in 2017, nothing has been done to protect Lismore from flooding. And now the New South Wales Premier is talking about rebuilding the town.

When is someone going to stand back and say, “Perhaps we should rebuild it somewhere other than on the floodplain.”

The Guardian reports NSW Premier Perrottet vowed he was “not going to spare a dollar” in flood recovery efforts and promised to “not just rebuild” Lismore despite its flood prone environment.

“Lismore is a great town and we’re going to make it greater.”

The emergency services minister, Steph Cooke, said that of the roughly 1,400 rapid property damage assessments carried out in Lismore, 900 homes had already been deemed uninhabitable.

There are19,000 dwellings in Lismore. From the aerial photographs it would appear that most of the town was flooded. How many of those 19,000 houses have been damaged beyond repair?

Source ABC news

The scenes of the damage to schools, kindergartens and local shops show huge devastation.

Residents speak of the insurance work from the last flood not being completed. Now, many must contemplate beginning again.

Or will they?

Shopkeepers, many of whom must be uninsured, will be wondering whether they can continue their businesses, with the entire contents of their shops now waiting to be taken to the rubbish tip.

Source SBS News

The insurance costs will run over $1 billion and premiums in the area will become unaffordable.

In the case of Lismore, which has been devastated by floods twice times since 1999. Not just your little $50,000 flood that we had a couple of years ago but big, wide-spread, destroy-your-house type floods.

In terms of insurance payouts, this has led to insurance industry to massive losses in flood prone areas.

The question becomes whether it is viable to insure (and live in) Lismore.

Is it viable to rebuild Lismore on a floodplain?

There have now been two disastrous floods in the last five years. Between this one and the last one in 2017, nothing has been done to protect Lismore from flooding. And now the New South Wales Premier is talking about rebuilding the town.

When is someone going to stand back and say, “Perhaps we should rebuild it somewhere other than on the floodplain.”

The Guardian reports NSW Premier Perrottet vowed he was “not going to spare a dollar” in flood recovery efforts and promised to “not just rebuild” Lismore despite its flood prone environment.

“Lismore is a great town and we’re going to make it greater.”

The emergency services minister, Steph Cooke, said that of the roughly 1,400 rapid property damage assessments carried out in Lismore, 900 homes had already been deemed uninhabitable.

There are19,000 dwellings in Lismore. From the aerial photographs it would appear that most of the town was flooded. How many of those 19,000 houses have been damaged beyond repair?

Source ABC news

The scenes of the damage to schools, kindergartens and local shops show huge devastation.

Source Gold Coast Bulletin

Scenes like this show the entire interior of people’s houses destroyed by the flood.

A picture containing tree, outdoor, grass, sky

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Residents speak of the insurance work from the last flood not being completed. Now, many must contemplate beginning again.

Or will they?

Shopkeepers, many of whom must be uninsured, will be wondering whether they can continue their businesses, with the entire contents of their shops now waiting to be taken to the rubbish tip.

Source SBS News

Source 9 News.com

The insurance costs will run over $1 billion and premiums in the area will become unaffordable.

The simple fact about insurance is that, in the long run you’re going to have to pay a little bit more to the insurance company than they are going to pay out to you. It’s a form of long-term saving, was an element of risk.

If they are lucky, you will pay much more. If they are unlucky they will pay more. But in the long run, they will make a profit.

But in the case of Lismore, which has been devastated by floods twice times since 1999. Not just your little $50,000 flood that we had a couple of years ago but big, wide-spread, destroy-your-house type floods.

In terms of insurance payouts, this has led to incurrence industry to massive losses incurred prone areas.

The question becomes whether it is viable to insure (and live in) Lismore.

Bridget McKenzie spent $600m on Sports Rorts but none of the $4.8b Emergency Relief Fund

Apparently the fund is meant to be spent on disaster mitigation.

No doubt the good folk of Lismore would have liked a little bit of mitigation given they’ve already had two recent disastrous floods (1999, 2017) before this one.

News.co.au reports The ERF allows the government to draw up to $200m a year in additional funding for emergencies and natural disaster recovery and preparedness.

Since it was established in 2019 with an initial $3.9bn investment, the ERF has earnt some $836m in interest and paid out $50m in disaster projects, according to the Department of Finance.

Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie is the Minister in charge.

Lismore has had floods in 1954, 1974, 1989. 1999, 2017 and 2022.

Surely this would have qualified for some of the ERF funding. But apparently nothing has been forthcoming even in 2022.

What does Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie do with her time?e

Creationism: why is such a bad idea so successful?

Recent newspaper report in The Age stated: ” The number of Republican voters who do not believe in evolution has jumped from 43 per cent to 54 per cent in the past four years.”

Tricky things statistics. This particular statistic could mean that there is a surge in creationism in the Republican Party or that the Republican Party is simply getting stupider as intelligent people leave.

This does not disguise the fact that close to 30% of the American population believes in creationism i.e. does not believe in the theory of evolution.

In the recent state elections in the Alabama the Tea Party ran attack ads accusing Byrne (also a Republican) of believing in evolution. While he did not deny the charge he did argue that he had supported the teaching of creationism in the state.

Belief in creationism is widespread: A recent IPSOS Report found that creationist” view was most popular in Saudi Arabia (75%), Turkey (60%), and Indonesia (57%), with the United States ranking 6th (40%), between Brazil (47%) and Russia (34%).

Clearly the view is most strongly held Muslim countries but the interesting finding is that the US still ranks highly on the creationist scale.

One reason is that it provides a simple answer to a complex problem. The problem of how the universe began is a complex one difficult from human mind to grasp. The idea that God created the world in six days, 6000 years ago is a simple idea, easy to grasp and easy to understand, if you stop thinking about it at this point.

The idea of the Big Bang theory, is difficult to understand and much more difficult to understand if you keep thinking about it.

Even Darwinian evolution requires a level of intelligence and critical thinking.