Pollie Crackers

Attention! Attention! Royal wedding-free zone ahead!

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Did anyone mention there’s a federal election coming soon to a polling booth near you?

The next federal election must be held by November 2019, although there is a half-senate election due by May 2019.

The nature of the latest budget is being seen as a scene-setter for an early election and few commentators now believe the government will see out its full term. We may not like elections, but they are important. If only we could have them without the associated stuff and nonsense.

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Budget speeches are notoriously boring and full of flights of fancy (beef producers have another word for it). The important part about a budget is not just the question of how it affects you personally, but how it stacks up to close examination overall by (relatively) independent analysts.

That process is now in train for both the Treasurer’s budget and the opposition’s response. There is a lot more at stake than just the tax cuts which have been getting all the media attention. Dig deeper, dear readers.

After the recent Abba Festival at Trundle, it seems entirely appropriate to offer up one of Abba’s great hits, “Money, Money, Money,” to our federal Treasurer and his Shadow as a symbol of our appreciation of all their efforts on our behalves.

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The spectacle of the major parties falling over themselves to offer tax cuts here, there and everywhere is unedifying for one thing and poor policy for another. When there is a massive national deficit to manage, where is the logic of cutting taxation? (NB: the Feather Duster no longer pays tax so should declare an interest at this point).

One of the worst aspects of these pre-election campaigns is having to listen to the actual and prospective Treasurers and PMs lecturing us like children on the terrible things that the other mob is going to do, with mock outrage and feigned indignation in spades. You can tell they really care about the poor old taxpayer and really truly want to give back all your money.

This is not a good time for cynics and critics.

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The state government is at it again, by rejecting federal recommendations to consider noise when zoning land around the proposed new Badgery’s Creek airport, which is intended to operate 24 hours a day.

This will have the effect of permitting residential development closer to the airport and its flight paths where future residents will be afflicted by excessive aircraft noise, so they will complain, so airport restrictions will have to be imposed. Sounds like Kingsford-Smith all over again, doesn’t it?

Why would they not adopt such a common-sense recommendation? Apparently because a lobby group for land developers objected to the restriction which would limit their access to the undeveloped fields of dollars (sorry, I meant to say green). How many of these developers contribute political donations to the coalition is not known but it would not be surprising if there were many.

A classic example of policy short-sightedness for short-term political expediency. Or worse.

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While on the subject of political donations, the NSW Supreme Court has ordered the NSW Liberal Party to repay almost $250,000 in illegal donations from the last state election. Of course, the decision is being appealed.

The sooner all political donations are banned or limited to minor personal amounts, the better for the rest of us.

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The Donald may possibly be achieving something worthwhile with North Korea, after internal problems which go back to the Korean War in the early ‘50s at which Australia was the first country to support the USA’s defence of South Korea. Some are even tipping him for the Nobel Peace Prize but it is much too early for that: North Korea has an unreliable history of honouring its commitments.

Now he has pulled the USA out of a multi-national negotiated deal with Iran, contrary to the public appeals of Germany, France, the UK and Europe. Analysts are predicting the re-imposition of trade sanctions will cause oil costs to double in the short term (that’s your petrol!) and will free Iran to resume development of nuclear weaponry. It may also create a division between the USA and its usual allies, something which will give great delight to China and Russia as they seek to extend their spheres of influence. Australia’s loyalties are about to be tugged and torn.

The Middle East at crisis point? Who’d have thunk it?

Feather Duster No 3

T Lobb