09 DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU THURSDAY MAY 15 2014 post budget brawl PALMERSNORUS Sleep deficit puts early-riser Clive (a 2am start) on the nod FAMOUS SNOOZERS Peter Slipper, March 2010 With Indonesian President 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 summer 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 ANDREW CARSWELL WOULD the Member for Fairfax resume his sleep! Clearly belt tightening is something Clive Palmer 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 OUR LEADING ECONOMISTS ON THE ROAD AHEAD BUSINESS, P32 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. Dreamtime. 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 SIMON BENSON COMMENT 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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