Canberra Connect

Whenever there’s very little happening around the country – that we haven’t already talked about – we can always rely on Canberra to provide us with something to sizzle over. Today I turn to Canberra to see what happening.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is in the news and despite the scheme expected to benefit 400,00 Australians, the Liberal states are more interested in what’s in it for them ahead of what’s in it for the people who actually need it. Now who in their wildest dreams would have thought the Liberal State Premiers would want to play politics on such an important issue? Their political tackiness and the cost of such has been recognised:

Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Steve Hambleton said his body wanted the state governments that have not signed on to the NDIS to overcome their opposition and put the interests of people with a disability ahead of ‘political squabbling’.

That’s a fairly big ask. It’s asking the Liberals to act against their political grain. Good luck.

Labor leadership speculation again boiled to the surface this week and for the record it was for once not media driven, with Federal Government Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon providing the drive. Mr Fitzgibbon said that:

. . . if leaders stayed unpopular for long enough, they would inevitably stop leading the party.

And naturally the media had to chime in with this bit:

Speculation has mounted about Ms Gillard’s time as leader as the federal Labor Party’s standing in opinion polls remain in electoral wipeout territory.

Perhaps they missed that Mr Fitzgibbon actually said leaders, not Prime Ministers. Honestly, someone could suggest that the Collingwood captain is unpopular and the media could be relied upon to turn it into a Julia Gillard story.

In money news, Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says Australian governments are enjoying their lowest borrowing rates in more than a century and there are now suggestions that the Government should consider taking this as an opportunity to go into deficit to fund infrastructure projects. As wise as that idea might seem, the current Government is committed to returning a surplus which in my humble opinion is only driven by the need to keep the Liberal monkey off its back.

Opportunity lost, unfortunately, with Economist Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics saying that with the government borrowing money at rates barely above the inflation rate, in real terms it was was getting its money interest free.

What a pity that everything is so poll driven.

A jet lagged Tony Abbott, in the meantime, has made a big hit in China with his talk on tougher investment guidelines. Here’s the reaction:

Some in the Chinese system have laughed off Mr Abbott’s tougher investment guidelines as the empty talk of an opposition leader.

”I never take seriously what politicians say,” said Lu Bo, the deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s World Economy and Trade Research Department.

The empty talk of an opposition leader! Goodness, our Chinese cousins are very perceptive?

Parliament House Canberra, Australia

Parliament House Canberra, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)