The sorry state of our country’s so called leaders

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Sorry State Leader

A disillusioned John McNamee discovers there’s only one “honest” politician and he’s a disgraceful satyr and lecher!!

Every time election year comes around I start running the ruler over the current crop of our politicians.

And when I reflect back over the past term of Parliament, there hasn’t been much to inspire the national spirit of well-being and booming prosperity.

On the contrary there’s been a superfluity of corruption, vice, lying and cheating, nasty insult hurling, debasement of long-held democratic principles, shameless harassment of women and fringe groups …..and then there’s the cringe-making emergence of those two sour-faced female Green’s leaders who make the statues on Easter Island look like a beauty parade.

Nothing is sacred …even one of the loftiest bastions of parliamentary tradition, the position of Speaker of the House, has been sullied by a nasty salacious scandal.

Fair dinkum, you start to despair and wonder if these people have any dignity at all.

When Question Time comes around and you scan the benches on either side of the chambers, when you look at all the various faces pretending to be absorbed in the proceedings, when you see the dreaded noddings of their heads in the back benches as the strident leaders try to score their puerile points, you wonder how firm a grip these people have on our futures…it seems many won’t have much future in their own current occupation if the polls are any indication.

I can’t help it but when I look at those people sitting in those serried ranks all I can think of is the  one hundred grand or so in post-parliamentary pension they are going to cost the taxpayer for many generations to come. No wonder they all look so smug.

Do you ever wonder what they all do? I know they sit in the chambers for hours on end and join sub-committees and such like, but what in hell’s name do they contribute to the nation? Do they ever come knocking on your door these days?

Already, just a few months from the Federal election, and many incumbents facing political oblivion, the rats are scurrying from the rotting corpses and heading to foreign climes to gorge themselves in one last frenzy of riotous self-indulgence and junket swallowing.

They have no shame. It’s probably lucky for the ageing population of this country that there is an election looming and at least last May’s Budget didn’t slug seniors as much as was feared but contained some long-sought-for relief.

Many seniors groups in fact cautiously welcomed the embattled Labor Government’s innovative $112.4 million pilot scheme that allowed them to quarantine the proceeds of the family home from the age pension means test.

Under the scheme, pensioners must have lived in their own home for 25 years and be required to put a minimum of 80 per cent of the excess proceeds from the sale into a special account, up to a maximum of $200,000 (plus earned interest). These funds would remain exempt from the pension income and assets test for up to ten years or until a withdrawal was made from the account.

And tireless campaigner Michael O’Neill, the National Seniors chief executive said at the time that on the face of it, the policy looked interesting but warranted further scrutiny.

“Any innovative attempts to alleviate the everyday living pressures on Australia’s so-called asset-rich, income poor retirees without penalty are welcome,” he said.

“However, rather than the pension assets test, National Seniors research indicates that it’s stamp duty that acts as a disincentive to downsizing.

“After doing the sums, elderly Australians with stairs and big gardens often find they simply can’t afford to downsize after being slapped with state taxes and agent fees.

“While it appears to be a way of releasing equity from the family home, as soon as a withdrawal is made from that account their money is counted in the income and assets test”.

“It begs the question: If pensioners can’t use the money to help out with electricity bills or a leaky roof, who is it sitting there for?

“Low income retirees should be able to at least withdraw interest without penalty,” said Mr O’Neill. “We look forward to seeing more detail”.

But don’t hold your breath…and Mr O’Neill admits there was also a major downside to that so-called soft Budget.

One of the most- trumpeted of the Government’s Budget reforms, and certainly one that quite rightly received widespread support, was their Budget centrepiece national disability scheme.

Despite the rather unedifying sight of the Prime Minister sobbing on the floor of the House, that scheme is a credit to our democratic process and gives some hope I suppose that all is not lost on Capital Hill in Canberra.

As Julia Gillard said announcing the plan on Budget Day: “We will increase the Medicare Levy by half a percentage point from 1 July 2014 – this will take the Medicare Levy from 1.5 per cent of taxable income to 2 per cent.

“For someone earning around average wages of $70,000 a year, this will be a modest contribution of around 96 cents a day.

“As you know, that money will support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability, and for their families and carers.

“That money will also mean peace of mind for every Australian – anyone who has or might acquire a disability will have a new safety net to rely on,” she said.

Wrong Julia… older Australians are to be excluded from the disability scheme on the basis of age.

As Mr O’Neill explains:  “It’s disappointing that any Australian who acquires a severe disability after age 65 will not have access to the NDIS, despite paying the increased Medicare levy.

“Instead they will be shunted into a user-pays aged care system currently ill-equipped for disability.

“This is a human rights issue, and it should be pursued by the Age Discrimination Commissioner. It is an issue that older Australians and their families won’t let up on. We will take it to the September election,” he said.

To be fair, there was another fillip for the aged sector. One of the other small gains included $0.3 million of existing Health and Ageing money to a wounds management study; $4.6 million over four years for an international ageing policy institute; and an $9.9 million over four years for Broadband for Seniors kiosks.

But does all this good work outpoint the lying cheating and corruption?

One world leader who spectacularly shows the way in this area, who is totally unashamed of his blatant abuse of the national trust, who scorns even the simplest of human dignities and decency is Italy’s outrageously corrupt and venal Sergio Berlusconi…he of the infamous “bunga bunga” parties at which scantily clad nubile young ladies cavort and carouse in a Bacchanalian orgy of lust, liquor and depravity. Half his luck I hear you say..but seriously….

Maybe our pollies who fear for their futures could throw caution to the winds and take a leaf out of Sergio’s book before they’re turfed out of power…but then somehow, I don’t think I can see  Julia Gillard playing the part of the Lolita-like Little Miss Ruby Heartbreaker can you?




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