1. Service interruption
I’ve been advised by the host of Climate Plus that they will be taking time out for maintenance for about two hours from 2pm PDT (whatever that means, they are based in the USA) on Saturday March 25. It’s about MySQL and they say connectivity could be affected during that time.
2. Who pays and who gets the loot?
Laura Tingle has an interesting graph about who pays the bills and who gets cash and kind from the government:
She says that it is widely recognised within the government that the 2014 budget “shook to the very core voters’ belief that the Coalition had any fundamental commitment to providing them with basic services such as hospitals and schools.”
The 2017 budget will be about restoring trust.
I’d say looking at it that the poorest fifth are probably not paying tax beyond the GST. There is cash going to the top two quintiles that they could possibly do without. And I’m not sure that the middle quintile should be getting more in cash than they are paying.
3. Jacqui Lambie tells what it’s like
Jacqui Lambie told the Senate what it’s like to be on welfare in Australia today:
- “I want you to know that’s what it’s like to be at the bottom of the crap pile, through no fault of our own, for many of us.”
She Jacqui Lambie saved her best for Pauline Hanson.
In the past couple of weeks Turnbull and co have been doing deals, it seems, mainly with Derryn Hinch and Nick Xenophon. With One Nation falling readily into line, the new senate does indeed seem more amenable than the old. I find myself missing Glenn Lazarus and Ricky Muir.
This morning in the AFR there was a short note that Turnbull had personally asked Hanson to stop demonising Muslims, on security advice.
4. Turnbull moves on 18C
Here’s Andrew Probyn’s take on what happened. Apparently it was quite a surprise to the party room.
Most commentary indicates that this is not about free speech, rather it’s about Turnbull showing that he stands for something, at least to the 105 people in the party room. Probyn thinks it’s read meat to the right wing, who will want more. Phillip Coorey says that the LNP pollies have been told to stop talking about it. They are now rightly worried about losing a string of seats with high ethnic diversity. GetUp are already on the case with posters pairing Turnbull with Hanson.
The key wording is:
- (1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.(Emphasis added)
Such acts are unlawful, but not illegal.
‘Intimidate’ stays, but offend, insult, humiliate are replaced by “harass”.
Turnbull is claiming that protection of vulnerable groups is strengthened, when to a reasonable person the opportunities for hate speech will be enhanced.
The legislation will be introduced in the senate, where it will fail. Turnbull will also avoid the problem of a handful of his own troops wanting to abstain or cross the floor.
Two other provisions are included. I “reasonable person” test will be explicitly added, although in juridical practice the reasonable person is already there. Finally, the legislation governing the Human Rights Commission will be changed allowing them more discretion in dropping complaints that lack gravitas, something they have requested.
These provisions will likely pass.
Andrew Jakubowicz says that Australians believe 18C protections should stay, biassed surveys showing otherwise notwithstanding.
He believes that the change is designed to make white privilege inviolable, and will enable the language of hate to the edge of physical violence.
5. Poll stuff
Newspoll came in at 52-48 TPP in favour of Labor, down from 55-45 a month ago. Murdoch hacks act as though no other polls exist and put it down to Turnbull’s Snowy vision, and Sally McManus’s support for law breaking, with the poll showing that the LNP are back in the game.
Katherine Murphy at The Guardian returns the favour, ignoring Newspoll. The day after Newspoll The Guardian Essential Report had Labor at 55-45.
Murphy says more voters see Liberals as ‘divided’, the government as ‘out of touch with ordinary people’ and ‘too close to the big corporate and financial interests’.
Labor is ahead on everything that matters, like policies, vision, having a good leadership team, and looking after the interests of working people. The Liberals lead on things like promising to do anything to win votes.
6. Trump v Merkel
Trump clearly saw Angela Merkel as the enemy. I haven’t had time to follow the full deal, but here’s a photo that says heaps:
Vanity Fair says Merkel fact-shamed him on his big issue. Germany doesn’t have any direct trade deals with the US, it’s all governed by rules negotiated by the European Union on behalf of member states.
I heard this morning the Republicans pulled the healthcare package to replace Obamacare in order to avoid it going down in the vote. Trump, the great deal-maker, has failed to convince his own party. I expect the share market will take a dip on Monday, as investors contemplate whether he’s up to governing.