33.8 C
Byron Shire
December 6, 2022

The Clive and Jacqui Show proves a study in contrasts

Latest News

Global Ripple Op Shop in Byron destroyed by fire

The much-loved Global Ripple Op Shop in the Byron Arts & Industrial Estate has suffered major damage in a fire that also struck Byron Bay taxis and the Suby pop up cafe.

Other News

Rally for the Right to Protest on Dec 10

Activists and concerned citizens of Lismore and Northern Rivers will rally at 10 am on Saturday in Peace Park in Lismore on International Human Rights Day.

Unsealed roads left off govt road audit

The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation say one of the biggest road surveys in regional NSW is now underway – yet unsealed roads have not been included in the audit.

Byron Shires wildlife corridor 

Byron Greens congratulate Byron Shire Council on its commitment to wildlife corridors and to developing wildlife corridor mapping. We...

Dogs – stay out 

Byron’s Main Beach and playground is a no-dog area. About ten signs clearly state this and unless someone is...

Planning for Casino and Urban Growth

Richmond Valley Council is seeking community feedback on two key strategic documents - the draft Richmond Valley Growth Management Strategy and Casino Place Plan.

Natural burial site found unsuitable

The long-standing plan to create a natural burial ground for locals who want to be buried sustainably has hit a major hurdle, with the site favoured for this use found to be completely unsuitable.


Bernard Keane, Crikey

While much of the media’s attention on Monday was focused on the prime minister furiously stabbing the reset button, and his success or otherwise in tickling the tummy of the Press Gallery that had given him such a ragging last week, other, more substantial, events were playing out.

The prime minister’s concession on Australian Defence Force entitlements had proven insufficient to lure Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie out of her point-blank opposition to all government bills – indeed, NSW senator David Leyonhjelm publicly mused that he might start opposing all bills as well until the PM allows a conscience vote on same-sex marriage. Lambie’s recalcitrance – if Teddy Roosevelt was ‘pure Act’, as Henry Adams said, then Lambie is surely pure Recalcitrance – was bad news for the government’s higher education reforms, on which the coalition is pinning its hopes for a decent end to the legislative year. The numbers currently look bad for the government, with PUP and Lambie opposed (she suggested yesterday that someone send education minister Christopher Pyne a box of Kleenex …) and Nick Xenophon reluctant to move to a vote this year. But it has the support, to varying degrees, of Leyonhjelm, Madigan and Day, and Ricky Muir’s position is unclear, so a compromise win could still be on the cards after the government burnt a couple of billion agreeing to lower the indexation rate of student loans.

The government, though, is in a lose-lose position on university fee deregulation: if it secures passage, it can celebrate a win but it will own the burden of the $100,000 degrees that Labor will campaign hard on at the next election, and voters oppose deregulation by a factor of more than two to one. And if it loses, it will be another blow for Joe Hockey’s beleaguered budget. On which, by the way, you may have missed that during Monday’s Press Gallery tummy-tickle, Abbott said that the budget was back under control and had gotten back under control from the moment he was elected. ‘It’s like if you’ve got a fire, the moment the fire brigade turns up, the situation starts to come under control,’ Abbott offered by way of explanation. Which doesn’t quite explain how the budget deficit blew out in the government’s first MYEFO, then blew out more in its first budget, and now looks set to blow out for 2014-15 at the coming MYEFO.

But anyway, back to Lambie. Lambie’s hostility to university fee deregulation isn’t merely because of the ADF pay deal. As she outlined in her speech in the Senate last night during debate on the bill, her opposition is based on something quite different. Given her background, if Lambie had adopted the view that higher education was a middle-class indulgence for which taxpayers shouldn’t have to shell out, it would have been entirely understandable. But she has very different views: her speech was a ferocious attack on the government as a practitioner of class warfare. In urging Muir to oppose the bill, she said

‘I ask that, before he votes, Ricky consider the tens of thousands of children who come from working class backgrounds who will never be given the opportunity to better themselves and improve their lot in life through a university education – because the Liberals’ costs will scare them and stop them from even dreaming of a university degree. This legislation is deliberately designed to keep working class people in their place by Liberals who think they are born to rule and lord over normal Australians.’

This is very strong stuff. Earlier, she had said, ‘[i]f we accept the Liberals’ proposed radical plans for higher education contained in this bill, as a nation we will take a large step to the right. Our country will become less caring, a place where class differences become greater … The haves, in a future Australian society dominated by Liberal policies presented to this parliament in recent times, will be guaranteed to have more. And the have-nots will be forced to fight amongst themselves for a fair go and a smaller share of the Australian common wealth.’

Such language augurs poorly for the government’s chances of securing Lambie’s support for any sort of economic deregulation, not just on university fees, and suggests Lambie isn’t merely a simple populist: this was as trenchant and unsubtle a critique of class and public policy as the Senate has heard for a long time.

By that point in the evening, Lambie’s erstwhile leader Clive Palmer had nearly completed his journey from the mid-year political rooster to end-of-year feather duster. With PUP languishing at three per cent nationally in the polls, reduced to two senators and scoring a risible 1.62 per cent in the Victorian upper house – a tad more than the Animal Justice Party but below Family First – Palmer is now a political shadow of the legislative gatekeeper he delighted in being earlier in the year. And when journalists homed in on his ongoing litigation difficulties after a banal, content-less address at the National Press Club, he vented his fury at them with all the class of a screaming child.

Palmer complains he is the subject of a News Corporation smear campaign. Unlike many of Clive’s conspiracy theories, that’s entirely true, but other politicians in non-Coalition parties are also the target of News Corporation campaigns, and many of those campaigns have less substance than the one being waged at him (the smears directed at Julia Gillard, anyone?), but other politicians don’t carry on like a tantrum-throwing toddler. Nothing could have been more calculated to expose Palmer as a wealthy man too used to having his own way to cope with the basic scrutiny that comes with public life. The question now is whether PUP will have any influence at all in the coming Queensland election, whereas once Palmer dared dream of seizing the balance of power with a clutch of defectors and his own MPs.

A more likely outcome is a byelection in Fairfax before the next election as the mining magnate engages in his final political dummy spit.

 This article first appeared in Crikey.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW SES continues its efforts on International Volunteers Day

NSW SES volunteers continue to assist flood impacted communities across inland NSW as extensive flooding moves to downstream locations.

4WD restrictions at South Ballina beach to stay

Moves towards use of a smart phone app to help control 4WD access to South Ballina’s beach have failed in a recent Ballina Shire Council meeting.

Assange sought asylum

The controversy over the actions of Julian Assange seems to miss a crucial point. His motive for seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy was...

Climate change likely to bring more compound disasters

The 2022 floods have caused $5.3billion in damage. Black Summer bushfires caused almost $2.5 billion in damage. Three consecutive La Nina events, or multiple droughts and heatwaves likely to become more common.