post budget brawl
Sleep deficit puts early-riser Clive (a 2am start) on the nod
Peter Slipper,
March 2010
Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono on the
microphone, rogue
Queensland MP Peter Slipper
slipped away with the fairies
for a brief kip. Rather than
awaken the future speaker of
the house, fellow Liberal MP
Alex Somlyay snapped away
on his phone.
Kevin Greene,
March 2009
Fresh from
an 88-day
break from the
rigours of NSW
Parliament, the Labor minister
for Gaming and Racing took a
nap on the front bench, with
his staffers claiming he merely
suffered from droopy eyelids.
Kevin Greene, 2007
Clearly a repeat offender. This
time, the then Labor minister
for Community Services shut
his eyes for a few minutes
before being raised by
colleagues. He claimed he was
looking down at his notes.
Clive Palmer sleeping during during Question Time in Parliament House Canberra. Picture: Gary Ramage
WOULD the Member for
Fairfax resume his sleep!
Clearly belt tightening is
doesn’t find very engaging.
Pssst, Clive, wake up, your
priorities are showing.
Ah never mind, it’s not that
important. It’s not like the
Prime Minister was discussing
the Budget and his tough and
demanding plan to lead the
country back to prosperity.
It’s not like the Treasurer
was busy being grilled over the
vital and contentious details of
his government’s future spending and savings measures that
will very soon require your
critical, controlling vote.
Federal budgets are all
about deficits, squeezing pennies and closing gaps. But the
only gap being closed yesterday was the short breach
between Mr Palmer’s expansive chin and the puffed-up
chest it shadows.
When Prime Minister Tony
Abbott rose to answer questions about his government’s
debut Budget, the Palmer United Party leader’s own deficit
finally caught up with him —
that old chestnut of a post Bud-
get night deficit of sleep. Said
chin bobbed, it sagged, it wavered, before it finally caved in
to the peer pressure from his
fatigued body and mind, and
buried itself in his man boobs.
Lights out.
Only a gentle hand and the
generous offer of a glass of
water from electoral and
parliament neighbour Mal
Brough brought forth consciousness from the dozing
Queensland firebrand.
When social media lit up
with pictures of his ill-timed
public siesta, Mr Palmer con-
ceded he rose from his silk
sheets at 2am to prepare for
interviews, thus his lethargy.
He then detailed his voluminous schedule that further
sapped his body, before finally
deflecting the blame towards
the Prime Minister.
“I only start work at 4am. So
getting up at 2am was a big
thing for me, so I went a bit
sleepy,’’ he said.
“I’ve had about 38 interviews today, roughly, I had to
give a speech over there at
lunch time which I struggled
through, I hope you don’t
report that.’’
Before his seated nanna nap
Mr Palmer — whose ventures
include a dinosaur park at his
Coolum resort featuring lifesize models of triceratops and
stegosaurus — rose to fire a
question at Treasurer Joe
Hockey, raising his own idea
that ex-politicians should only
be able to access their generous superannuation package
when they are of pension age.
It went down like a lead balloon, he later conceded.
Well, at least, he didn’t hear
an answer.
He could’ve been asleep,
you know.
Premiers squeal at thought of losing trough of cash
THE old saying that one should
never get in the way of a state
government and a pot of money was
typified yesterday with collective
outrage over the federal Budget.
It should never be forgotten that
the Coalition government in NSW
was the first to get into bed with a
federal Labor government when it
signed up to Gonski. It wasn’t about
V1 - TELE03Z01MA
better education outcomes, it was
about more money, pure and simple.
Julia Gillard exploited this greed to
illicit support for a policy that Labor
knew would never be able to be
funded fully into the future.
NSW was also among the first to
sign up to the NDIS. The reason
again was money. Not that it was
getting any more, but because the
reciprocal obligation required by the
state government had already been
met in its own forward estimates. It
didn’t need to spend an extra cent.
When it comes to health, a similar
situation arose under Kevin Rudd.
The states had their hands out and
Gillard signed them up. It did nothing
to improve health outcomes.
The states now argue that $80
billion is to be ripped out of health
and education over 10 years. This is
disingenuous. The figure of $80
billion was simply that which had
been built in to federal Labor’s
unsustainable spending trajectory. In
reality, that money would never have
come to the states anyway, short of a
fiscal miracle like finding a mountain
of gold in the Simpson desert.
There is astounding hypocrisy in
the outrage from the states.
The NSW government has just
been given the discretionary right to
start charging patients who clog up
their emergency wards with trivial
complaints that should otherwise be
treated by a GP. This is something
NSW had asked for years ago. Now it
is claiming it doesn’t want it. It would
rather complain about how badly
funded its hospitals are.
Mike Baird complains that the
federal government has engaged in
deceit through cost-shifting when in
reality what the Premier is
complaining about is the not-sosubtle shifting of political pain from
Canberra back to the states; at a
time when Mr Baird must start
considering a March 2015 election.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has proved
that he is prepared to make the tough
calls, and now he is asking the states
to do the same.
Instead of whingeing about not
getting their fair share of GST
revenue, which all states do, they
could collectively agree to simply
put it up.

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