Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Jon Faine takes on Morrison

It was all going so well.

For about two seconds. Right up to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s cheery, “G’day, Jon” as his post-budget selling offensive blew in to the studio of Jon Faine, host of the ABC’s Melbourne morning conversation hour.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison began the day with a flurry of media interviews to promote the budget.

Faine took barely a breath before launching his own offensive.

“Is it a moral fail to build an election surplus off starving the National Disability Insurance Scheme of money, leaving disabled people without the services they need?” he demanded of the Prime Minister.

“Well,” said Morrison. “That’s a terrible lie, Jon.”

“What is?” inquired Faine.

Prime Minister: “What you’ve just said.”

Faine: “What part of it?”

Prime Minister: “All of it.”

Faine: “None of it.”

Prime Minister: “All of what you’ve just said is untrue.”

Faine: “The NDIS has been starved of funds, it’s not getting what you yourselves said would be its allocated money, and people are desperate for services and are not getting them.”

About then, listeners probably clued up that this wasn’t a friendly chat. Or even a conversation.

It may also have begun to dawn on the Prime Minister that just about all those listening were Victorians.

If the imminent federal election was a western movie, Victoria would be cast as the badlands for Morrison and his wagon train. The Liberals got all but run out of town during last year’s state election, and federal electorates in Victoria that once were considered unassailable are looking shaky.

And here was the Prime Minister trying to sell his election budget and he was in a “liar, liar, pants on fire” contest with Jon Faine, who has Melbourne’s second-biggest morning radio audience.

The Prime Minister tried to escape from the “Is not! Is so!” loop by trying to explain the workings of the disability insurance scheme.

“What happens is based on estimates that are provided by the states working with the Commonwealth to understand what the expected demand is, and then you pay out what the services are that are provided in response to that demand,” Morrison said.

“Now we overestimated the demand in the NDIS. That money actually shows up in extra expenditure on hospitals where a lot of those services have been provided through the states. It’s just swings and roundabouts.”

Faine, however, wasn’t buying.

“No, you’ve squeezed the pipe,” he declared, referring to the $1.6 billion reduction in NDIS payments for 2019-20, revealed in the budget.

While the government says this is because of a shortfall in forecast demand, disability advocates say the slower than expected uptake is because people are having trouble gaining access to services.

Morrison said every invoice for every service was paid for everyone requiring a service.

The Prime Minister has reflected on the Federal Budget the night after it was handed down.
But Faine said he had spoken to the providers and they had declared they did not have the cash flow.

“You cannot tell those lies to the Australian people,” bridled Morrison.

“It’s not a lie,” said Faine.

“Every demand for the NDIS is fully funded,” Morrison insisted. “Not just next year, this year, into the future.”

And on and on it went, neither giving an inch.

You really wouldn’t want to be an ABC executive making a submission to the Morrison government for more funding for the national broadcaster any time soon.

Monday, April 01, 2019

CFMEU – Melbourne Cranes Halted on 80 Sites After Accident

Cranes used across 80 Melbourne worksites will be halted until they undergo safety inspections after a man was killed and another critically injured on Thursday.

Safety notices will be issued for 80 cranes across Melbourne after a man died and another was critically injured in an incident on a Melbourne worksite.

The two men were submerged in concrete when a tub fell from a crane on a building site on Whitehorse Road at Box Hill on Thursday afternoon.

One man died at the scene and his 28-year-old Caroline Springs colleague was rushed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with critical head, chest, pelvic and abdominal injuries.

A third man was treated for minor injuries in the incident that has left the crane driver, colleagues and those who rushed to help traumatised.

CFMEU state secretary John Setka said the incident involved Clarke Cranes, the same company involved in a crane collapse in Richmond in June.

A union spokesman told AAP the company would be issued with safety notices halting the operation of cranes across 80 sites until they've all been inspected.

A Clarke Cranes representative declined to comment.

The union has also organised counselling for workers at the site when the incident occurred, as well as those who rushed from nearby to assist with the rescue effort.

Emergency service workers and police are seen at the scene of an accident at a construction site in Box Hill

Intensive care paramedic Gary Robertson said it had been a particularly tragic event and the crane driver and workers were incredibly traumatised.

"We've got three men that were hit by this load that came loose. Unfortunately one has lost is life, which has been particularly traumatic," he said.

That man was submerged in the concrete and trapped under "a fair amount of weight".

Workers managed to free the critically injured man.

"Thankfully ... they were able to at least get him out of that part, which will actually have saved his life, given him a chance," he said.

Seven people have died on Victorian construction sites this year.

NYT and Brexit

The disappering May

For the 1,000th time, what’s next for Brexit?

It seems Prime Minister Theresa May’s sacrificial promise to resign in exchange for support for her withdrawal plan has made little difference.

British Parliament remains deadlocked. Another vote on Mrs. May's twice-rejected plan will take place in Parliament today, but a third rejection is entirely possible.

To add to the complications, none of the eight alternative Brexit plans that lawmakers voted on on Wednesday mustered a majority, setting the stage for yet more debates in Parliament on Monday to try to whittle down the list for a second round of voting.

Analysis: Mrs. May’s resignation offer was a surprising move for a woman who, over the last two years, has bounced back from crises with unflappable resolve. 

“The sight of this proud, rigid woman admitting that she could not finish the job, giving up her hopes of ever being remembered as anything but Brexit roadkill, was a somber one,” writes our London correspondent Ellen Barry.

The next prime minister: British bookmakers are already offering up odds on who they think will step up when Mrs. May steps down.

Morrison Government excludes people on lowest incomes from one-off energy payment

ACOSS Media Release: Morrison Government excludes people on lowest incomes from one-off energy payment

The Morrison Government’s pre-budget announcement a one-off Energy Assistance Payment — $75 for singles and $125 for couples — excludes people on the lowest incomes, those who are looking for paid work on Newstart. 

“The Morrison Government is ignoring the people who are doing it the hardest,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

“This one-off payment excludes people on the lowest incomes and pales in comparison to the ongoing benefits to be reaped by those on high incomes from the Morrison Government’s existing high-end tax cuts worth billions.

The announcement today is $285 million, while the Morrison Government has already legislated $11 billion in tax cuts for people on the top 20% of incomes.

“It means that people on modest incomes will receive a once-only payment of $75, while people earning more than $200,000 a year are set to be $200 better off a week, every week.

“It’s grossly unfair to give high income earners tax-cut handouts week after week, while those on modest incomes get a fraction of this as a one off payment, and people on the lowest incomes miss out altogether.  

“To support those struggling to cover the basics, like food, housing and energy bills, while they look for paid work in today’s competitive job market, we must increase Newstart by $75 per week. Doing so would cost far less than the income tax cuts the government has already put in place.

 “To cut energy bills for people on low incomes we need to invest in energy efficiency, solar and battery storage, which will provide ongoing energy bill relief, rather than a one-off payment, which leaves people to struggle with future bills.

“We’re calling on political parties to commit this election to working with COAG to implement mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties; to co-fund energy efficiency and solar for social housing and Indigenous communities; and to provide funds for homeowners on low-incomes to invest in solar and energy efficient measures.

“To immediately support people doing it toughest to cover energy bills and other basics, like food and housing, we must urgently increase Newstart by $75 a week, after 25 years without a real increase,” Dr Goldie said.

Media contact:  Australian Council of Social Service, 0419 626 155