Topic: election Oz 2007
Al Gore in the celebrated, Oscar winning An Inconvenient Truth has a priceless section where he considers a scales with bars of gold on one side and planetary survival on the other. He teases the audience by adopting the pose of Joe Punter in confusion, and who really does want the gold, but he somehow knows it’s a trick question.
And Joe would be right. As the old saying goes the root of all evil: is the love of money.
Yesterday’s budget coverage had cartoons everywhere showing Costello literally swimming in dollar bills as a metaphor for the huge sums of money in the surplus churning taxes off the People, ripped out of services. That money represents skyrocketing homelessness, premature deaths, huge air pollution impacts, a dead river system, students who never got in the door, and any number of other objective measures.
That’s not to say profitability and greeniology, as in sustainability are not compatible. They are to some degree via natural capitalism – the notion there is no “waste” in nature, and thus in business there ought be a profitable use for every by product, which in turn can become the tail that wags the dog.
But it's time lines that count. It’s longer to be sustainable, its sooner to draw down natural resource for quick cash. And that’s what this latest federal election budget is mostly about. Quick cash. It’s the money, not the planet. Money for stupid twin speed hedge trimmers and sponge sharpeners. It’s not about the future really.
Take broadband internet. A $5B education endowment looks great but broadband is the best educator you are likely to find especially combined with an easy on the eyes flat top screen. In the last 12 months I’ve learned
- SAM's editor can stay in touch with my affinity groups and project networks without driving all over the city, or even flying over the country or to other parts of the world, . The age of regular big meetings may hopefully thankfully be drawing to a close. Not to be replaced entirely but travel times greatly reduced. This is a very important evolution to address greenhouse emissions in the mobile energy sector, if not IT sector.
- why my Toyota Liteace is prone to over heating via innumerable south east Asian delivery drivers on user web sites;
- how to swin the Australian Crawl with near correct stroke via expert local web site;
- how to generate a micro news blog with some original reporting and satisfying writing exercise via a host USA site (those pesky Democrats), including freeze frame screen prints of tv images,
- similiary I can quit my grovel job and still be seriously involved in community media work
- that I can be paid to do web updates for the local community centre,
On a more trivial level I also learned
- where all my favourite pop songs are and listened to them (You Tube, with the exception of Finding You by the Go Betweens), and that http://www.engagemedia.org/ is better for non profit groups
- that I’m not interested in dating sites
Okay sure I’m a dedicated self learner, and motivated having already received courtesy of Whitlam and the Catholic system a decent tertiary education. But I don’t think a $5B endowment from Peter Costello is relevant to that. It was free 'HECS' from Gough Whitlam et al, and my savings from 12 months working in a boozer bottle shop at 18 years of age that did that.
The ALP are building on that history of education policy in Australia with a fast broadband plan for access to the say 70% of Australians who really need to learn their whole lives. Who really missed the boat on formal tertiary education, and many of who are befuddled and misdirected by the hogwash in the Murdoch press and the Howard Coalition. No wonder the ALP are for it, and the Coalition are against.
It’s mostly politics. The most revealing things I’ve read so far about the budget are as follows:
- people with serious dental problems who aren’t actually dying from them but still living in misery have probably got nothing, like the woman from Uralla who pulled her own tooth out indesperation.
- in terms of expenditure, this budget is 1. defence 2. health/social services and then 3. education. Not the other way round
- profound Crikey.com.au opening editorial yesterday on how an Opposition Leader can avoid sounding carping, instead present as gracious, and transcend his opponent with a higher message in reply. A laugh out loud moment here at SAM micro news blog.
- Chanticleer back page of the Australian Financial Review with profound statistics in his article (subscribers) "Classic Costello: politics first" with these salutary observations:
"simply handing back windfall tax revenue .....$31.5 billion ..... As pre election budgets go some $71 billion was 78 per cent more than the $40 billion in the last pre election budget and 3.7 times the $19 billion before the prior election."
- Imre Salusinszky in the Murdoch press (The Australian) with the line, to paraphrase 'in truth tax cuts are due to the success of Kevin Rudd as a competitive opposition leader.' How surprisingly honest of Imre.