As Joe Hockey danced out to deliver the budget last week, something earth-shattering happened – Tony Abbott broke his promises! This incident, the first that springs to my mind of a politician being dishonest, sets a dangerous precedent. Politicians up until this point have been widely regarded as the most honest and virtuous among us – so imagine the chaos that could rain down upon our society if more politicians start acting in a dishonest and self-serving manner. Maybe we can discuss the budget emergency that Joe, Tony and friends fabricated to justify their ideological cuts another time, or even the brutal irony of upping uni fees when your own daughter got handed a scholarship by a mate of yours; right now I’m still mourning my innocence.
Both Labor and the Greens vowed to block a number of budget measures. Palmer United Party leader and walking punch-line Clive Palmer even challenged Tony Abbott to call a double dissolution election and suggested he would run for PM saying “I think there will be a new change in the dynamic of Australian politics. In the lower house we will be going out to win it.” All this from a man with one of the worst attendance records in parliament, who recently fell asleep during question time. I’m reminded of a lyric by little know folk singer Robert Zimmerman, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”
Christopher Pyne was accused of swearing last week as some alleged he dropped the c-bomb on Bill Shorten. Pyne’s office denied the accusation and suggested “grub” was the term he used. Whatever the case, the message is clear to any protesters who feel like they’ve been unfairly criticised by Mr Pyne in recent times: join parliament and you can seemingly behave however you like.
In international news, the US indicted five Chinese military hackers on charges of stealing commercial secrets. An editorial response in Chinese state newspaper The Global Times took a page out of Kim-Jong-Un’s free-wheeling book, labelling the US a “mincing rascal” and accused it of hypocrisy after revelations about the NSA’s PRISM program. Personally, I see no hypocrisy – the US will happily hack its own citizens, other countries’ citizens and yet it won’t take anyone hacking its companies’ commercial secrets, dammit!
We finish this week with more traumatic shocking news in which another pillar of our community has been implicated – banks! Credit Suisse was fined US$2.5 billion after it admitted helping US citizens evade tax. While HSBC, JPMorgan and Crédit Agricole were charged by the EU with participating in a cartel which attempted to manipulate the Euribor Interest rate benchmark. I would never suggest that the behaviour of these few banks is indicative of all banks – but just imagine, hypothetically, the budget holes that could be filled if similar investigations found and punished similar wrongdoing…