Thursday, May 13, 2004

Budget time. Or perhaps that should be bribe time? The way the media report the budget policies always amuses me - particularly our own Melbourne tabloid. There are always the winners and losers, with photos of the "winners" smiling, hugging their children close. And then the poor "losers", scowling and alone. I hate the budget, regardless of political party, it always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth because in making discretionary spending decisions, there are always losers. Speaking as an Economist, it is difficult to make the average person on the street see the benefit in spending on something like infrastructure or education, so instead we have vote winning policies that speak directly to the hip pockets of voters, like tax cuts. Never mind that with reduced infrastructure spending there are less jobs etc etc. This is the problem with politics ruling economics, and Mr Costello gunning for the top job. If only he could get rid of that little guy.

I have issues with things like the $3000 baby payment, not because I dont think that parents deserve every cent they get, but because I am not sure that the $3000 times thousands of people taking up the bonus is best spent in that way. Do you think that some people would be swayed by that money to have more children? Children that cost a hell of a lot more than $3000? I guess they are the ones who's vote may be bought by such a policy.

We have major issues in Australia. We have a Prime Minister who thinks that our State schools dont teach the right values, and yet seems quite content to do nothing to rectify the scarcity of resources for schools. To increase teachers pay, fix these supposed value problems and make the public sector as "attractive" as the private one. I'll give you an example of a friend of mine who has recently switched careers and has become a Primary School teacher. She taught her first couple of years at a State Primary school. She had 26 kids in her prep class. This year, she has switched and is now teaching at a Private Primary school. She gets paid about $5000 more, and has 12 kids in her class. 12. It's ridiculous. How do you keep the good teachers in the state system under those sort of circumstances? I know that education is a state govt issue too, but sheesh someone has to fix all this!

And dont get me started on HECS and full fee paying students and how we are fast tracking to an American style university education system, and how it is going to very quickly get to the stage where low income earners will never be able to send their kids to uni, that is given they can get into uni from our underfunded and overworked state high school system.

Am now climbing down from my high horse..

The funny thing that I can be quite a political person, and have been known to bore my friends with rants about something or other of a political nature. This side of me is almost never represented here. Lucky for you guys. Next post I promise will be back to my usual rants on what to cook for dinner, reality television and learning foreign langauges.


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