New rules are making it difficult and expensive for experienced nurses to return to the workforce after a period of absence.
This has become clear to me following two nurses in Bradfield contacting me about their situation. In one case, an experienced registered nurse left the work force to look after children. After a break of more than five years, she was told that to requalify she would have to undertake a course run by a private college in Sydney at a cost of $10,000. This expense was prohibitive for my constituent.
This week’s visit to Parliament House by US President Barack Obama was a very special occasion.
Personally, I do not think Obama is doing a particularly good job as President. But like every other member of the Australian Parliament, I nevertheless felt it was a unique privilege to be in the Parliament to witness a visit from a US President.
Recently the government announced the creation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, but there is a certain inconsistency in the successive announcements as to what it is actually going to do. On 10 July we were told that it would:
… invest $10 billion in businesses seeking funds to get innovative clean energy proposals and technologies off the ground.
We have heard a lot from the Labor government, and from the Assistant Treasurer in particular, about reforms to the superannuation system. Some of the reforms recently announced are clearly sensible and uncontentious, such as improving paper flow and streamlining the back office.
Listening to Julia Gillard speaking about her Malaysian people swap deal over the last few days, in Parliament and outside, has been truly remarkable.
A claim we hear repeatedly from Stephen Conroy and Labor Parliamentarians is that the Coalition had eighteen failed broadband plans.
For example, on 25 June 2008 Conroy put out a media release headed ‘National Broadband Network jeopardised by Opposition Vandalism’, in which he stated: “During its 11 years in office, the previous Government presided over 18 failed broadband plans.’
He repeated this claim in a media release dated 30 March 2010, headed ‘Coalition opposes high speed broadband.’
The same claim is trotted out by Labor backbenchers: for example in a blog posted by Michelle Rowland posted on the ALP website on 17 February 2011.
So if they say it so often, it must be true, right?
Actually, no: it’s not an accurate statement.
Since Labor came to power in 2007 government spending has been rising at an extraordinary rate.
In 2006-07 the Commonwealth spent $253 billion; only four years later total spending was up 38 per cent to $350 billion.
The recent sight of rowdy groups of protestors targeting outlets of the Israeli owned Max Brenner chocolate shop chain in Australia is truly disturbing to anyone with even a skerrick of historical knowledge.
In the 2011-12 budget, spending on social security and welfare is $121 billion – almost one third of total Commonwealth government spending of $365 billion.
How could we be spending such a massive amount of money on welfare?
Well, one reason is the careless way that benefit money gets splashed around – including going to people who do not need it.
The recent book by former Labor Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy, is a thoughtful reflection on the practice of politics in the modern media age. He argues that the media, including new media, are more interested in entertaining than informing, and politicians have been forced to adapt to the media’s priorities:
“The need to entertain has completely taken over the media’s approach to serious subjects. That’s forcing those whose jobs revolve around communicating about serious issues with a mass audience to become entertainers.”