Friday, May 13, 2005


Beazley Budget Buzz Bafflement

I didn’t get to see Mr. Beasley’s Budget Reply speech last night, but according to those whose views I respect it was good.

That’s not the message I got though from reading the leading article this morning in Australia’s favorite newspaper The Heralds Sun.

Understand that I’m a busy man, and that I have to snatch my news grabs in the car on the way to work, balancing the paper on my knee while negotiating traffic madness, and shaving in the rear vision mirror. That’s why I read the Herald Sun – It gives me the news intravenously.

First the Headline:

Beazley plan to hit high-income earners
Jeez, I thought. A roundhouse from Bomber. Poor bastards!

Then the next line

KIM Beazley last night pledged a $12-a-week tax cut to middle Australia that he knows he will never have to deliver.

That’s cheating. I thought. That’s almost like making an election promise and then breaking your word. What a bastard! But then:
The handout would be funded by slashing Budget tax breaks for high-income earners and keeping the unpopular superannuation surcharge.

Where’s the ALP compassion I thought? This is terrible. And then we see the true motive. The desperation of a big man in trouble.

In a desperate bid to deal himself back into the tax reduction battle, the Opposition leader proposed doubling Treasurer Peter Costello's $6-a-week cut for workers earning between $35,000 and $60,000.

It wasn’t until I spoke with those that actually saw it, that the old cognitive dissonance kicked in and I started to do a bit of sniffing around.

It turns out that the well meaning folk running The Herald Sun have been receiving an ear-bashing from their own financial wiz-kid Terry McCrann. Terry who earns $300,000 pa, embarrassed himself by gushing like a schoolgirl over the Costello budget without listening to the Beasley alternative first. He forgot his responsibility to get both sides of the story poor fella, and no doubt the considerate folk at the Herald Sun decided that they must support their man, which is of course a laudable thing.

We’ll give the Herald Sun the benefit of the doubt in this case and let them off with a light slap on the wrist. We know ourselves how difficult it can be to tread that fine line between fairness and balance.

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