The bizarre fixation on the tax hike for ready-to-drink alcholic mixed drinks shows that they haven’t really got a lot to effectively gripe about with the first Rudd Budget, have they? How many of the small number of politics wonks who normally watch the Opposition Leader’s Budget reply speech will even bother tuning in to Brendan Nelson’s (aka 9 of 100) effort tonight? 1
Mark Bahnisch continues the major thesis of the Budget commentary over at LP – that Labor under Rudd has deliberately undercut the Howardian habit of government according to the rhythms of the news cycle, or at least the rhythms of the newspaper op-ed cycle, and that this has left the journalistic pundits floundering as to where to pitch their columns just as much as it has left the Opposition floundering on where to pitch their spin.
Time to get used to some long-range planning instead of short-term electoral pandering, punditariat. Which means you might actually have to think a bit when writing your lucrative op-eds instead of just letting the knee-jerk determine predictable stream-of-consciousness rants that you later let the subbies tidy up.
On the whole I’m OK with the budget, within its fiscal constraints. I have quibbles with some choices for cuts and the alcopop tax strikes me as mistargeting, and I have grave concerns that more wasn’t provided for addressing climate change, but on the whole it’s what Labor promised when they were elected with no nasty surprises.
1. Seeing as there’s virtually no coverage of the fact that Christine Milne will also be delivering a Budget reply speech in the Senate, I imagine even fewer will listen to her, despite the fact that without Greens support in the Senate Labor cannot deliver on any legislation to fulfil their agenda – it’s not all about Fielding and Xenophon, but they’re the only two non-major Senators who are ever mentioned in the press. (Milne’s initial post-Budget press release here)