Not a bad Friday.
Tony Abbott will not be travelling to Warsaw with a hairdresser, photographers, and a chef in an entourage of 114. Nor even is Greg Hunt (the Environment Minister) going. They are too busy back home trying to cut expenses and repeal the carbon tax (though that looks like it will have to wait til the new Senate starts in July).
It breaks the chain of Ministers bowing to the IPCC, though last year the Labor Party only sent a Parliamentary secretary for Climate Change. This year we will be sending a junior (but why send anyone at all?).
Not a good look for the IPCC. Australia’s carbon tax was the main bright spot on their outlook, and now it’s being snatched away from them. Bravo, I say. But can we stop sending the money?
Soon we might be free to speak again
More good news — the Racial Discrimination Act (which was used against Andrew Bolt) is a high priority on the chopping list. It’s the first thing Attorney-General George Brandis will bring to Parliament. Not a day too soon.
If we have to have a human rights commission, then it ought to protect the right to speak. (I thought we had laws for that?)
“The Australian Human Rights Commission will also be given a broader mandate to protect all human rights instead of confining its activities to selected areas. At least one “freedom commissioner” will be appointed next year to protect traditional rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion that Senator Brandis said had suffered from past neglect. “The classic liberal democratic rights that in my view are the fundamental human rights have been almost pushed to the edge of the debate,” he said.”- See more at: The Australian
A shrinking bureaucracy?
Meanwhile, Abbott has taken the radical, extreme position of freezing spending on public servants. In a world where no line is flat, and no English word is fixed, that’s called “a cut”. The target is …12,000 jobs cut by natural attrition. Apparently there are “14,273 non-ongoing employees in the public service.” Another casualty is CSIRO, “where an estimated 1400 people are on casual or term arrangements.”
As part of the productivity push, the government has promised to cut the cost of regulation on business and the community by $1 billion a year.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will announce on Friday the abolition or amalgamation of 21 non-statutory bodies whose roles have either “outlived their purpose or are not focused on the government’s policy priorities’’. They include the National Housing Supply Council, the Insurance Reform Advisory Group and High Speed Rail Authority, which investigates the feasibility of a high speed rail link along the east coasts.
“We certainly won’t be stopping here,” Mr Abbott said.
“What you see is a government that is taking significant early steps towards … reducing the size of the bureaucracy.”
We have a few more suggestions here: Is your snout in the trough? (Though the old Australian government links are broken now.)
But before Australian taxpayers party too hard at the slight lessening of the burden, Hockey tells us the deficit this financial year will be $45b or more. Which is 50% worse than we thought. *OR as Jaymez in comments points out 149% worse than Wayne Swan predicted in May this year.
The full public service is 166,000 according to the APS (250,000 if we include the military, and for the sake of the numbers, nearly 2 million if we include all three levels of government because the bulk belong to the state governments).
I suspect, thought, that doesn’t include the contractors…?