Bookmarked What does the fuel excise cut mean? What happened to the beer excise cut? Five quick questions about the federal budget by Peta Fuller (ABC News)

Want a shortcut guide to the federal budget? Here are the answers to five quick questions from tonight’s announcement.

Listening to or reading discussions on the budget always intrigues me. I am not sure if I have become too cynical, but I always wonder why each decision might be made. I can understand the decision to cut the fuel excise, however this does not actually solve the situation and takes money out of revenue. Overall, it would seem that I am not the only person cynical about the decisions:

And look, even if all the measures announced were fair dinkum and definitely going to happen, this budget is elaborate and messy. It looks like an economic theory having a nervous breakdown in the street.

Josh Frydenberg says this is β€œa plan” for a strong economy and a stronger future. But it looks more like a weather forecast.

Replied to Morrison’s 332-word answer to a reasonable question ended with a triple-somersault-with-pike (

As though the news cycle wasn’t bad enough, that brief moment when our leaders seemed to make decisions in the broad public interest is over, writes Laura Tingle.

So James Purtill, I guess the discussion of MMT and free university is now off the table.
Bookmarked Can Morrison live down his George W Bush moment? (ABC News)

George W Bush’s failure to immediately recognise a catastrophe during Hurricane Katrina tells us what problems are created by Scott Morrison’s perplexing failures of political and policy judgement

Laura Tingle reports on the backlash Scott Morrison has faced when visiting towns. See Jordan Shanks video for a summary. As with George W Bush after in delay in responding to Hurricane Katrina, there is animosity towards to prime ministers ineptitude.

Nobody cares about the Prime Minister’s problems when their house is under threat, or they feel their lives are in danger. They want to know what is being done to help them.

This is highlighted when comparing the current disaster to recent events from around the world.

To give some scale to what has happened here so far, international media outlets have been reporting the 2018 California fires burnt 2 million acres; the 2019 Amazon fires 2.2 million; and the 2019 Siberian fires 6.7 million.

Tingle explains that the biggest problem that Morrison has is that his policy cupboard is bare.

When you look, it turns out that the policy cupboard is pretty bare. The Government’s quarterly figures on what has driven emissions lists figures without any real obvious help from government policy.

The real challenge according to Tingle is when the current crisis is over and we are forced to reimagine life in Australia as we know it.

The real test, however, may not be on what the Government does on cutting emissions, but on how it leads us to confront the sorts of brutal adaptations current events show us we now face: not just the immediate effects of disasters, but the questions they raise like building standards, towns that governments will not able to afford to rebuild, and communities that have run out of water.

This piece follows up from an earlier piece in which Tingle questions the way in which Morrison has responded.

Replied to Yes, Prime Minister, it is a national disaster and we need a frank discussion (ABC News)

Having lost control of the discussion about bushfires and what to do about them, there is little sign that Scott Morrison knows how to correct his language, or his apparent grasp of a response back to something that is reassuring, rather than contentious.

That will require some serious reflections on the nature of leadership over the summer.

Laura, it is intriguing that this was written at the start of December before all the issues associated with Scott Morrison’s sojourn to Hawaii.