I’ll be incommunicado for much of Tuesday, as I’m going to be representing Crikey at the Budget lockup. This is very different from my usual Budget experience, where I spend a day or so digesting the budget and the immediate reactions, before aiming for a more considered analysis. This time, I’ll be doing the immediate reactions. Quite a challenge for me, and an interesting sign of the way in which media are evolving.

22 thoughts on “Lockup

  1. Gee JQ you’ll be in the media scrum and no doubt recognised. Not only will you have to digest immediately but the media herd instinct will gravitate to your ‘immediate reactions’ – a super human challenge. Don a hood and dark glasses or tell the herd you’re exclusively under wraps to Crikey.

  2. Oh thats great. Crikey! Listen – give those ….single mums some support. Its the kids …how can Swan say penioners are more deserving…they dont have on average two kids (kids costafortuna)!.

  3. If they (fed labour) dont do anything about sole parent mothers… Ill keep tellings sole parent mums to vote for Bob Brownb quite happily. Even Menzies recognised childraising as a form of “national service.” How far have we fallen? No respect (zip) for the contribution (and labour hours – unpaid) of mothers who raise children. Many sole parent females now live in abject poverty with their children, and at one quarter of all families with children and documented in international reports, this really isnt fair.

  4. Beer, cigs, up!

    The Melbourne Sun (IIRC) used to love using that headline after budget night (1970s).

  5. My thought is sympathy for JQ for having been locked down with so many horrid posturing poseurs from Chez Murdoch.

    How did all the Murdoch people behave themselves? Was it obvious that they already had the inside running, or did it look as though they may have been slightly not quite as tightly in the loop as in recent years?

    This budget came straight from the Chicago School as far as ordinary Australians are concerned.

    Oh, lets remember GWBush’s squillion dollar deficit and Reagan’s famous ‘deficits don’t matter’ before we get into weasel word partisan slugging over how good/bad this pro-freemarketcapitalism budget is, shall we?

  6. That would be the same SeanG who appears to have been assigned to this blog to defend the indefensible.


    Your first comment is a completely irrelevant non-sequiter, naturally.

    You either have no idea of the ongoing neoliberal ‘Chicago School’ agenda, or you are simply a noisy foil.

    Can I speak to your superior, please?

  7. Don’t be so nasty to Megan, you lot. I understand full-well what she means, and if I do, so do the rest of you, but better than me.
    Although, is it really “Chicago School”, eg Sado Economics, when we are subjected to the sight of Bosses union Anderson last night and Laura Tingle; dominatrix, all glassy eyed, drooling and severe in half-moon nez glasses and full koala- bum lips downcurled like she’s just spotted a Rugby team, waving a metaphorical cat o’ nine tails and bemoaning that there is no fun in having a recession, when there is no “pain” ( except exclusively) for the slaves, unless you are genuinely, “undeservingly” poor of Alice’s desc ription: no “discipline”.
    Come on, it’s not good enough!
    Guilt and punishment are not being transferred onto the usual victims of a recession, away from the real culprits, quick enough.
    Tut, Tut..

  8. Paul – do I detect an irony alert? Sean – of course he knows what Chicago School means. And Teje – its time the well off and very very well off taxpayers weaned themselves off welfare. They should be in rehab learning not to rob the poor to feed their habit.

  9. For those of you interested in the minutiae of the government’s budget papers: in Budget Paper No. 1 Table C5 lists for each agency the staff level change from 2008-09 to 2009-10. This tells a partial, if small-scale, story about the government’s priorities.

    In the Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry portfolio, the department loses 25 people as does Land and Water Australia who lose 35 people.

    Over at the Attorney General’s portfolio, the department loses 159. Customs and Border Protection Service loses 220 (perhaps a reflection of a lower level of imports or perhaps there is less need for the borders to be protected). There are significantly more spooks with ASIO gaining 203 people. Also more people chasing naughty people with cash with CrimTrac gaining staff. Also gaining staff is the Family Court of Australia with 62 more people. However, all is not clear sailing with the courts as the Federal Magistrates Court loses 133 people (from 229 to 97). More people seem needed to deal with business insolvency given that the Insolvency and Trustee Service gain 13.

    In the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio, the department gains 43 people perhaps related to the broadband initiative. The ABC gets 33 more people, as does the Communications and Media Authority who gain 10 and SBS who gain 13.

    As we know there has been an increase in the defence budget so the military side of defence gains 653 people. Reserves and the civilian side gain 604 and 294 people respectively. But Veterans Affairs loses 91. The Defence Material Organisation gains 268 – perhaps more staff are needed to manage that increased investment in military technology.

    It seems highly implausible but perhaps there will be reduced services to parliamentarians with the Department of Parliamentary Services losing 40 people.

    In the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio, the department loses 150 people although the Curriculum Assessment And Reporting Authority goes from nothing to 60 people. There are some swings and roundabouts happening in workplace relations. For example the Industrial Registry drops from 233 to 1 (a lonely person there) whereas Fair Work Australia goes from nothing to 360 people. The Office of the Workplace Ombudsmen, a left over from the Howard years, goes completely (to zero from 434) however there’s probably a shift of people from one organisation to another as the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsmen goes from nothing to 900 people, so there is obviously employment growth for those who want to be regulators of workplaces. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership goes to nothing (down from 20). And the Workplace Authority (another Howard government legacy) becomes another organisation with a lonely person in it moving from 659 people down to 1.

    In the Environment Water Heritage and Arts portfolio the department goes up 150 people. There are more people looking at the weather with the Bureau gaining 25 people and a lot more people helping out with the Murray Darling Basin Authority with an increase of 125. In these troubling times there is less need for librarians with the National Library of Australia losing 10. And there seems to be a lot less need for maintenance of screen history and culture with Screen Australia losing 34.

    In the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio the department loses 11 people but from a base of 3000 that’s not much. The Central Land Council, Indigenous Business Australia, Indigenous Land Corporation and the Northern Land Council all gain people. In the case of the Land Council 60 people from a base of 254.

    In the Finance and Deregulation portfolio the department gains 63 people – obviously more people needed to help with reducing red tape. ComSuper loses 17 people which coincidentally is the number of people that the Future Fund Management Agency gains.

    In the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio the department gains 86 people.

    In the Health and Ageing portfolio the department gains 71 people. The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency gains a small number (six). There seems less need for research on health since the Institute of Health and Welfare loses 12 people and less need for monitoring of food standards as Food Standards Australia and New Zealand loses 10 people.

    In the Human Services portfolio there is quite a large increase in the department with 625 more staff. Centrelink gains 950 people from a base of 24,000. Medicare Australia does not seem to need as many people, or its work is not as important, as it loses 228 people.

    In the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio a strange entry: the Australian Transport Safety Bureau goes from not existing to having 109 people. I trust this is simply an accounting adjustment as the Bureau has existed for a number of years (otherwise I wonder who’s been writing all those transport safety reports about safety breaches).

    In the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio that department gains 47 people from a base of 1700. There seems to be less need for scientists doing research as CSIRO loses 136 people from a staffing base of 5797.

    In the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio Kevin’s department gains 65 people from a base of 530. The Climate Change department gains are quite large with 140 more staff, from a base of 310 – plenty of work to do no doubt on that deferred carbon emissions trading scheme. There will be a handful of more auditors around to check that taxpayers money is being well spent with an increase of 14 people for the National Audit Office.

    In the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio there seems less need for people to do research on geosciences as Geoscience Australia loses 46 people.

    And finally we come to the Treasury portfolio. That department must be doing good work because it gains 61 people from a base of 932. Similarly ABS gains 106 people, and the consumer’s friend the ACCC gains 28. The corporate watchdog ASIC gains 174 and there are gains for the Office of Financial Management and the Prudential Regulation Authority. There is no need for as many tax collectors in the current environment as the taxation office drops 315 people but that’s from a base of over 22,000. The Productivity Commission gains six at the expense of the Royal Australian Mint which drops six – clearly there will be less coins in circulation in these troubling times.

  10. What are you suggesting, Boconnor?
    Howardism by stealth?
    PS, what happened with ABC, SBS, public broadcasting this time around?
    Interesting watching Grattan at pressclub. Seemed to be ok ing government so far, but warning, “no more” for any more of same and Duck trying to look chastened.

  11. The comments about workplace regulation were quite innocent. Just pointing out that even though there were reductions in some agencies that were created under the Howard administration there were increases in agencies obviously created to manage the new workplace relations legislation. Overall the numbers may be pretty much the same from one administration to another (but I haven’t done the maths required). And of course the number of staff doesn’t necessarily tell you the impact of government programs, or their focus.

  12. Boconnor

    I think thisn says more about the economy than the sharemarket does…

    Centrelink gains 950 people from a base of 24,000.

    The biggest number gain / of any dept?

    Thanks for the stats boconnor – they do tell a story.


  13. And Teje – its time the well off and very very well off taxpayers weaned themselves off welfare.

    I’ve been saying much the same for years. Although I’d also add that it is time that industry got of the welfare gravy train as well. I even campaigned as a candidate in the 2007 election on this position. As such Alice I’m not sure why you have singled me out for this message.

    In terms of removing welfare from the well off it is good to see that the First Home Owners Grant is set to end. A pity however that the end date was extended.

  14. Terje – we are in agreement on this one (and the industry gravy train as well). It was your comment “try and say something grateful” above etc. We are all grateful for taxpayers but with unemployment predicted to be 8.5% soon I cant agree with the generous tax cuts given to higher income earners in these economic conditions and feel they should have been directed to lower income earners – lots of ordinary families are going to be sliding down the income ranks even if they do retain one employed worker.

  15. 20# Thats one helpful solution Terje…agree (higher tax free threshold). How long since that end has been adjusted upwards?

  16. Terje – would you stop adding libertarian blog to all your posts…are you trying to sway me? Only on some things am I libertarian. I want my super..Im an adult, I can save for my own rertirement and dont need the daddy state to do it for me and charge me commission on the way through! (deep justified mistrust).

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