Wednesday 13 May 2009

Budget Review: Ross Parisi

I've asked local commentators, from various political persuasions, to write their observation of the Federal budget, just handed down by Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Ross Parisi is a former Mulgrave Shire Councillor, who served from 1976 to 1989 and 1994. He was on the Cairns Hospital Board 1985 to 1988, President of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens and a Foundation Trustee of the Cairns Art Gallery.

He is politically Independent.

All Governments use the tool of spin as a means to sell its credentials to the electorate and the body politic.

Spin is nothing new.

All successful Politicians, be they Dictators or Politicians democratically elected rely on spin for their sales pitch, security and ultimate survival.

The Rudd Government has honed this skill to perfection. Rudd himself, is detail meticulous and by extension cautious and boring. Being a relatively new Government it has many more spin strings to its bow including the electorate’s tolerance. Therefore, the art of spin is not as difficult to impart.

The Rudd Government is in power principally because of the Rudd factor. Apart from the Howard Government reaching its use by date, the message that Rudd imparted was heavily based on perception, his diplomacy, a well directed marketing sales pitch of ‘brand Rudd’ and spin.

Politically astute Governments understand that the campaign for the next election begins on election night.Campaigning for all intents and purposes should never stop.
Budget 2009 effectively is a continuation of that strategy, preparing the electorate for the next election. When Rudd was elected the Australian economy was buoyant with no hint of recession.

His policies were framed around that fact. Furthermore, the electorate’s perception was that the Howard Government has lost the opportunity to invest the surplus wealth generated by the mining prosperity, in needed infrastructure. A substantial part of the 2007 election campaign spin was directed towards highlighting this point. Budget 2008 laid the groundwork for the rectification of this perceived imbalance.

All of a sudden in October 2008, Rudd is hit by a Global financial meltdown. Treasury, informed the Government that Australian was not immune. To minimise the political fallout the Government had to start softening the public to the inevitable recession. A change of tact had to be steered. Rudd, his Ministers and ALP Members generally were briefed and told of the impending gloom and to continually remind the electorate of the impending doom. That is why every media statement, every media interview was and still is laced with the mention of the phrase Global Recession.

‘We must appear to take decisive action’ meticulous Rudd was told by his spin doctors, ‘the electorate is becoming anxious that we appear to be dithering’ Not wanting to be a one term Government, panic almost sets in and so began the ‘Cash Splash 1’ and ‘Cash Splash 2’

Infrastructure funding was to follow in Budget 2009 as part of a “Horror Budget” Leaks, another tool of spin, on the extent of the magnitude of the ‘ Horror’ were happening with increasing pace. The operative word ‘Horror’ is in keeping with the perception of ‘ Decisive ’ One would associate ‘Horror Budget’ with huge spending cuts not tweeting at the upper end.
Rudd had no intention of presiding over a “Horror Budget”.

Why on earth would you have a Horror Budget when the emphasis over the last 8 months has been on pump priming a stalling Australian Economy?

So what has been delivered is a “Fairy Floss Budget” The little structural adjustment to Pensions and Middle Class welfare cuts will not take effect till after the next election! Well timed indeed….no pain to be administered till after we are re elected in 2010 was Rudd’s edict to Swan.

What about the ballooning Debt, the electorate began to ask with justification. The spin doctors realising that this could cause some political anguish had to find a solution, an exit strategy. A solution had to be included in Budget 2009.Treasury was instructed by Swan to do modelling that was going to show that the Debt was indeed temporary and was going to be paid out by 2014/15.

To achieve this timeline, growth in the economy is essential. Treasury advice to the Government is that within 2 years there will be 4.5% growth. Mind you this is the same Treasury that did not anticipate the Global Recession, a Reserve Bank that was raising interest rates this time last year, when in fact the rest of the world was lowering them.

The interesting observation which the spin doctors have yet to address and I am sure this will happen within the next day or two, is the following observation. Based on the recent poor track record of these Bureaucratic Mandarins why would the electorate take seriously their growth forecasts about recovery?

If the creditability of these forecasts can be dismantled by a scattergun Opposition the Budget Debt Exit strategy will then be in tatters and it would follow by extension that Budget 2009 integrity will be in serious peril.

The real spin is yet to begin.


Unknown said...

I see the rabble that passes for our business and tourism leadership is whining about the federal budget. If this third-rate rabble had their way there would be pension cuts rather than pension increases so they can live life high on the hog with their super salaries and all their lurks and perks. this is the same mob that in the good times says 'look at us, aren't we wonderful - government, mind your own business.' but as soon as a bit of reality sets in - that success is down to pure luck, not their self-proclaimed skills - that they go whingeing and whining to the govt. what a bunch of time-serving, time-wasting hypocrites. what a rag-tag bunch of self-interested buffoons. they've got no interest in the region. all they're interested in is protecting their own pockets.

Geoff said...

I'm with you Unda. As a small business owner with no direct involvement in the tourism industry I am getting more than a little nervous about the rumblings from certain individuals that small business/ratepayers in this town should be slugged with a tax to support these people. I'm sure they wouldn't give a shit about me if I was going under.

Unknown said...

Yeah - what has Advance Cairns ever done for the community as a whole.
Same goes for those half-wit real estate desperadoes at Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
And there is absolutely no empirical evidence to show that the gazillions of business and taxpayer dollars spent by TTNQ has ever given any return whatsoever - in fact some studies suggest that the opposite is the case.
As for that proposed council tourism tax slug, I understand that is only RattleSnake trying to set ratepayers up so that all his good-time mates can continue to live high on the hog.
As far as I can see, no council decision has been made at all. Although I'm sure the Gang of Four wil try to vote it in.

KitchenSlut said...

Meanwhile it would seem to be senior public servants who have engineered a loophole to maintain their snouts in the trough.

I'm not aware that Advance Cairns were mentioned in any commentary in today's Compost? Giason and Blockey were mentioned as could be expected do you have any supporting evidence of their personal claimed rorts and opposition to pension increases?

I could agree with many criticisms of TTNQ however do you have anything to display apart from personal bile,spleen, and envy?

nocturnal congress said...

Yeah, well TTNQ's latest brainwave is to persuade the US military in Guam to come here for R & R. That's an indication in itself of the lack of intelligent foresight.

Cairns Dude said...

I'd much rather have American military here on R&R than rugby, swimmers, and other Australian sports thugs.

We've had dozens of American military ships here previously, to no detrimental affect. Several provided crews to work on schools and retirement homes, as I seem to recall.

One rugby team and you get an alcoholic, gang-raping mob of losers.