Budget explainer

ABC Online has put together a neat budget explainer, telling us what is already on the record, what to watch out for and what might happen tonight.

Yesterday we heard that a further 36 government bodies will go in addition to the 40 already axed, at least on paper. Amongst them Ivor Frischknecht (literally ‘fresh servant’) had a lot to say about the expected demise of ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The audit commission recommended that ARENA be dissolved and its activities rolled into the Department of Industry.

Frischknecht seems to be taking the view that ARENA is legally obliged to keep operating until its governing legislation is changed. That will depend on the Senate.

The Government seems to be taking the view that decision-making and service delivery will be cleaner, more streamlined and more accountable if the Government does less. In my humble opinion burying the activities of separate, identifiable, dedicated agencies in the bowels of government departments will have the reverse effect.

Meanwhile Abbott gave backbenchers and newbies ‘love and reassurance’, but they still have to go out and sell the crock Hockey and co have cobbled together. They should sound about as convincing as sales people and be held in similar regard.