Graham Matthews

National accounts figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on September 4 show economic growth was slower over the 2018–19 financial year than at any time in the past 10 years.

"As a result of the cultural-left’s long march through the institutions … political correctness involving identity politics, privileging victimhood and virtue signalling dominate public policy and debate", whined Kevin Donnelly, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, in the Sydney Morning Herald

"Like never before Free Speech is facing extinction in Australia", exclaimed conservative activist group Advance Australia. "We are at a crossroad. We either stand up and demand a fair go or we get trampled."

Yet is it really the free speech of conservatives, right-wing radicals and religious fundamentalists that is under attack?

The economic slow down means the Coalition will either abandon its promise of increasing budget surpluses and increase government spending — on infrastructure for instance — to stimulate the economy or it will double down on its commitment to a surplus, necessitating spending cuts. Its track record suggests the latter, writes Graham Mathews.

The federal Coalition government announced a planned budget surplus for 2019-20 on April 2. Disgracefully, again, one of the most important areas of “savings” was the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The planned surplus relies on “a $3 billion underspend in the National Disability Insurance Scheme, after a $3.4 billion underspend in the current financial year,” according to the ABC’s Laura Tingle.

Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher announced on September 26 that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) had reached the milestone of registering its 200,000th participant. That same day, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the final figures for the 2017-18 federal budget showed the budget deficit had been reduced to $10.1 billion, with "the single biggest saving [being] the lower than expected numbers of participants entering the NDIS.”

From November 2016 until September 2017 I was as a guest of New South Wales Health. For much of that time I was in a desperate situation. I entered Campbelltown Hospital in septic shock and would certainly have died had it not been for the fabulous efforts of the doctors and nurses who treated me.

The hospital system is an excellent place for saving lives. Unfortunately, it is not geared for long-term inmates. The longer you have to stay, the more is likely to go wrong.

I have been a “participant” in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) since July 2017.

In November 2016 I contracted pneumonia. After 24 hours of sickness and high temperatures my partner took me to hospital, where I was diagnosed as being in septic shock. Unfortunately, the medicines used to raise my catastrophically low blood pressure led to my lower legs and fingers becoming gangrenous.

“Labor’s public transport policy lacks vision. It’s just more of the same — and follows the Liberals’ privatisation agenda”, John Coleman, Socialist Alliance candidate for the Legislative Council said. “Labor promised $1 billion for a small-scale light rail project to run from Parramatta to Homebush, matching the Liberals’ promise. But while any money spent on public transport rather than roads is money well spent, Labor’s policy doesn’t address the real problems.
Just because we don't pay for something, it doesn't mean that it has no value. Clean air, safe food and public education are just some of the things that we expect to be provided “free” by governments. Yet ask anyone, and they will tell you how valuable these things are. We expect government to provide these services as a matter of course.
With his harsh budget in tatters and his popularity in decline, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and outgoing head of ASIO David Irvine raised the terror alert from medium to high on September 13. It was justified, they claimed, by the threat of those returning from fighting in the Middle East — all 70 or so of them — posing an increased risk to Australia’s way of life.

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