Hockey’s Biography Reinforces Need for New Budget Presentation
Assuming the quoted references in Hockey’s biography are correct – and Hockey has not denied any –my assessment that he was the soft one on the Budget is wrong. Now we are told what was obvious right from the start – it is (was) not a tough budget and Abbott is supposedly at least partly responsible for that. The exposure of the differences on policy is certainly not a good look for the Coalition and will only make policy formation more difficult. But initial reactions do not suggest any political challenge to Abbott. So far he has had nothing to say about the policy differences or the extent to which they affected the Budget.
However that the budget is softer than presented should be acknowledged by the government and it reinforces the need for a much better explanation of the rationale of the proposed expenditure reductions. Before Parliament resumes at end August, or when it does, a new presentation of the budget should outline the economic and equity case for reducing spending.
That presentation should include some changes that will help it meet those criteria. An editorial in today’s Australian (see below) suggests that “Mr Abbott and Joe Hockey are looking for ways to recast their budget rhetoric” and argues that changes should include Productivity Commission proposals on child care reforms (why weren’t these obviously warranted reforms included in the budget?) and a “casting off” of Abbott’s signature policy on PPL. Including these in a new budget presentation would go some way to restoring community confidence in the Coalition.
Today’s news included a report by a US body that average global temperatures in May were higher than they have been since 1880. Of course, one month’s figures a trend doth not make and the important question is whether an increase over time suggests dangerous global warming is happening. This is given little or no consideration in media discussions of “records”.
In most of the claims of records, nor is any mention made of the now widely recognised cessation of increases in average annual global temperatures over the past 15-16 years despite the large increase in emissions. I am developing an analysis of the past 100 years or so showing there is little or no correlation between temperature and emissions increases except for the period between the mid 1970s and the late 1990s. But the temperature increases then were due to natural, uncontrollable causes viz the Pacific Decadal Oscillations. As the G20 meeting approaches, it is timely to have available an up to date analysis which suggests that the dangerous warming thesis needs re-examination.
Israel’s Entry Into Gaza
Tonight’s 7.30 report spent a considerable time on the earlier killing of four Palestinian children by Israel on the Gaza beach. This was a tragic incident that may have been
a case of mistaken identity for which Israel should be held responsible. But the ABC made no attempt to explain that such incidents are likely to happen as long as Hamas refuses to stop sending rockets and to dig tunnels into Israel. True, the ABC has referred to such actions by Hamas on previous occasions. But a balanced presentation tonight would have included that in tonight’s presentation and might have added that Gazans now seem likely to face continued Israeli action until the tunnels are destroyed and Hamas is subdued. For the UN secretary general to call on both sides to stop fighting shows again how useless that body is in bringing a peaceful world. Neither the ABC nor the UN secretary general appear to have condemned Hamas and its use of human Palestinian shields