The Budget is all over, and just like many of the previous Budgets, it’s almost disappeared from the news cycle, although there’s still some remnants that are being discussed, and the two big issue s are inflation and tax cuts – the Reserve Bank did raise interest rates during the week, and that’s the seventh consecutive interest rate rise – and the Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe said that the rates will keep rising, although we have to remember he also said interest rates wouldn’t rise until 2024, and that was just a few months before the last election – and these interest rates rises are primarily being used to curb inflation.
The Labor government is facing many economic problems that have to be addressed, and it doesn’t really matter who caused these problems, they’re in government now, and it’s their job to repair the damage.
Some economists have suggested that the state of the economy now is very similar to the Depression era economy, with a combination of high national debt and inflation – and the Scullin government at that time, couldn’t resolve the issues they inherited and were thrown out of office in 1931.
It’s difficult to compare economies from different eras – the economy today is far more complex and sophisticated than what it was in 1931 – but there might be a few lessons for the Labor government – fix the economy, or face a very short period of time in office.
Robodebt rears its ugly head again
Robodebt has also reared its ugly head again, and the Royal Commission into the previous government’s Robodebt scheme is hearing evidence at the moment – and there’s some pretty awful material that’s being presented there. And we’re hearing from public servants, lawyers, people affected by Robodebt, people who had family members who suicided after receiving Robodebt notices.
We can see why the Coalition just wants to deal with the here and the now, and don’t want to hear about the past – but past is coming back to bite them – the government did receive legal advice in 2014 that a Robodebt system was unlawful and unconstitutional – yet a year later, they implemented the scheme. They were also given legal advice during the operation Robodebt scheme that it was unlawful, yet they continued to run with it.
The former Prime Minister Scott Morrison is likely to appear at the Royal Commission to explain his actions as well, but whatever the outcome from the Royal Commission is, and whoever goes down with it well, we just have to make sure that governments can never ever introduce this type of system again.
The Lurhmann mistrial
And there’s also a few legal cases in the national news – Bruce Lurhmann was accused of raping Brittany Higgins in 2019 at Parliament House – and the trial had to be aborted because of misconduct by one of the members of the jury, where the jury member brought in their own research into the jury room, we assume to influence other jury members – the jury hadn’t been able to reach a verdict after deliberating for five days and after these research papers were found in the jury room, the judge dismissed the case and there’ll be a retrial in February 2023.
It’s an unsatisfactory outcome, but as a result of this mis-trial, there have been calls for a different type of court system for dealing with serious crimes of sexual assault – only around 15% of rapes are reported to police, and ultimately only 3% of those result in convictions – and only 10% of all rape trials result in a guilty verdict, and that’s a really low statistic considering prosecution usually decides to go to trial if they think there’s a good chance of winning the case –
So obviously the system is not functioning well at all, and for different reasons, the Bruce Lurhmann trial was a more public example of this – and that was an issue with the jury, not with the case itself – but these types of cases are heard every day all around the country, with similar results, and it’s a system that needs to change.
A racist attack in the West
And there was a recent incident in Perth where a 15-year-old Indigenous boy, was beaten by a 21-year-old white man while he was walking home from school – Cassius Turvey died a few days later, and the WA police tried to play down the racial aspect to the attacks by suggesting that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time – just a bit odd, because Indigenous people always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – and they were also asking the public not to draw conclusions –
And it’s the same story all around Australia, whether it’s Redfern, Darwin, Palm Island, Moree or Middle Swan in Perth, Police always try to downplay the racist influence in these attacks on Indigenous people – a 15 year old boy has just been killed, and they put so much effort into downplaying the racist element to it.
The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has called out this racist attack, so if the Prime Minister can say it, why can’t the police – if a 15-year-old girl from MLC had been attacked in this way, this would be massive national news for the next couple of months, but an Indigenous kid in a working class suburb of Perth, it tends to get brushed away.
The division of News Corporation
Despite everything that the Herald Sun, The Age, and the ABC have been able to throw at Daniel Andrews, Labor is still way ahead in the opinion polls – and Labor have been far from perfect, but they’re not incompetent – Daniel Andrews has made mistakes, but Matthew Guy has been a poor leader and the Victoria Liberal Party is in a complete mess.
Now having said all of that, we just have to remember what happened in 1999 – The Liberal Premier at the time, Jeff Kennett, he was widely expected to win – he was way ahead in the polls, although the polls did narrow dramatically in the final week or two before the election day – and Steve Bracks ended up winning the election, with the support of independents. In that election, the Liberal Party lost 15 seats – and the ABC’s Anthony Green said afterwards that it was the only election that he’s ever worked on where he thought there might be something wrong with his election computer –
so, that was a surprise election loss for the government in 1999 – it could always happen again in 2022, although the Coalition needs to win 18 seats to win the election – so it has to win more seats than Labor did in 1999, and it starts from further behind – so, it is unlikely, but you never know what might happen on election day.
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