Campaign countdown: Promises you have to keep
Tony Abbott will be giving surf lessons to a refugee after activist organisation GetUp! paid over $16,000 to secure the event in the Mid-Winter Ball charity auction.
Abbott, not the most avid Twitter user in the Parliament, posted his third update of the month after the auction closed, saying: “I’m looking forward to Getting Up on the surfboard with my successful auction bidders.” He will go surfing and have breakfast with Riz Wakil, an Afghan man who as an asylum seeker spent time in detention centres and was recently granted refugee status.
Wakil arrived in 1999 and is now an Australian citizen running a printing business in Sydney. He said: “[Abbott] can teach me a thing or two about surfing and I’ll teach him what refugees go through to build a new life in Australia.”
The Age reports other dates with politicians auctioned yesterday were barefoot bowling with Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan which raised $12,600, and a dinner or lunch with Julia Gillard which went for just over $10,000.
These at least are promises politicians can keep. This morning The Australian reports the PM has dumped one of the key features of his proposed health reform, the National Funding Authority.
It wasn’t necessary, the PM’s department told a Senate inquiry, and its role in overseeing the cash in the “funded nationally, run locally” system would be performed by Treasury. But the opposition says it will reduce transparency in the health system because “they have have less ways of keeping track of the states”, according to Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
Hang on. Isn’t that side supposed to be in favour of smaller government less bureacracy, not the other way around?
Anyway this is more of a policy adjustment than a u-turn, but it’s a good reminder of how policies change once they move towards implementation stage. Announcements are made to fanfare but when the actual scheme gets up and running it can be unrecognisable.
And we are going to see a swathe of announcements during the campaign proper. Rudd has learned, to his party’s cost, that keeping all your promises in office isn’t always as easy and adjustments need to be made for practical reasons.
On the other big policy debate of the moment Jennifer Hewett also writes in the The Oz today that the big miners say negotiations on the RSPT are still going precisely nowhere, although there are some more soothing noises coming from resources minister Martin Ferguson.
Given this imbroglio, as Michelle Grattan notes in The Age, the PM is desperate to change the conversation.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…