Budget explained: A guide for true battlers

There has been a lot of commentary about the Budget but precious little of it has come from Australia’s battling suburbs – Balmain, Paddington, Woollahra. Here are the insights you have been waiting for!

In my Daily Telegraph opinion article, originally published on 11 May 2018, I give you Betty from  Balmain’s understanding of the Budget.

You can read the original article here or you can read the full text of the article below.

Trouble understanding the Budget? Never fear, here’s battling Betty from Balmain to explain it all

There has been much commentary about the Budget, but precious little of it has come from Australia’s battling suburbs — Balmain, Paddington, Woollahra.

Happily, this circular from the Inner West Ladies of Charity delegation to the federal Budget dropped into my inbox today, courtesy of one Betty Whittlemore-Smythe, who has taken the time to share her thoughts with her fellow members:

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Shutting down debate is no way to solve a problem

Why is it that when the media have a discussion about a current issue there are people in the public that want that discussion stopped because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

In my Daily Telegraph article, originally published on 13 April 2018, I discuss how Sunrise was the target of ongoing protests. You can read the original article here or you can read the full text of the article below.

Shutting down debate is no way to solve a problem

IF the media seems overly obsessed with opinion polls that change nothing, perhaps its because real news has become too hot to handle.

Channel 7’s Sunrise is the latest to feel the heat. The breakfast show has become a target of ongoing protests and its presenters are being bullied, just because it tried to do its job.

In the wake of the alleged rape of a two year old Aboriginal girl in Tennant Creek, the Assistant Minister for Children and Families, David Gillespie, said that he wanted to “relax rules requiring Aboriginal kids to be placed with relatives or other indigenous families”.

He told the Courier Mail this would increase opportunities for abused Aboriginal children to enter stable care arrangements, and potentially save them from ongoing rape, assault and neglect.

When Channel 7’s Sunrise put the proposal to its regular panel, mayhem ensued.

“Should white families be allowed to adopt Aboriginal children?” host Samantha Armytage asked PR Prue MacSween and radio host Ben Davies.

“Of course, it’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned,” responded MacSween.

“We can’t have another generation of young indigenous children abused in this way.”

Seems reasonable.

But she followed up: “Don’t worry about the people that would cry and hand wring and say this would be another stolen generation. Just like the first stolen generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing … we need to do it again, perhaps.”

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Why Bill Shorten’s glum, wealth-squelching money grab is no surprise

Bill Shorten’s proposed money grab is no surprise but it’s sad to see his shadow treasurer along for the ride.

In my Daily Telegraph opinion article, originally published on 16 March 2018, I discuss how the government is finding new ways to tax the public.

You can read the original article here  or you can read the full text of the article below.

Why Bill Shorten’s glum, wealth-squelching money grab is no surprise

It’s cute when your kid asks you for 10 bucks, then shows up on Mother’s Day with a $7 bunch of ­gerberas and — mysteriously — a new pack of Pokemon cards.

It’s less cute when governments find new ways to tax you so that they can make munificent gifts back to you at election time — minus, of course, the administrative costs of letting you know how great the government is for giving you all this stuff.

But that, in a nutshell, is the system under which we live. And for the most part we like it well enough.

However, when governments and oppositions decide that they need even more of your money, things get ugly. For obvious reasons, personal tax hikes are unpopular. So our bureaucratic overlords try to look for sneaky ways to wangle the money out through a hole in your pocket or, as with dividend imputation, via an accounting concept that many people don’t understand.

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It’s time to stop treating Aboriginal people as projects

Isn’t it time to stop treating Aboriginal people as projects and start treating them as human beings?

In my Daily Telegraph opinion article, originally published on 16 February 2018, I talk about how self-determination, not feel-good campaigns, is the best solution for remote indigenous communities.

You can read the full text of the article below or read the original article here.

It’s time to stop treating Aboriginal people as projects

The 10-year anniversary of Closing The Gap has brought out the usual army of do-gooders.

All week the media has been overflowing with pat solutions uttered by unctuous advocates, telling us the solution to indigenous disadvantage is “relationships” or “country” or “culture”.

But if you’ve spent any time in ­remote indigenous communities, you’ll know that these are things the locals don’t lack.

Rather, after a couple of centuries of interference, what they’ve been robbed of most poignantly is genuine self-determination. And that’s something that can’t be flown in.

Now would be a good time to stop treating Aboriginal people as projects and start treating them as human ­beings.

Would-be do-gooders must learn to take on the unglamorous supporting and facilitating role to remote Australians. But despite the $30 billion a year spent on tackling indigenous issues, that’s an idea struggling to get funded.

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Just who do everyday Australians think they are?

Australians are proud to be Australian and recognise all we’ve achieved together, but a small number prefer to take the view that white settlement has been nothing but a disaster.

In my Daily Telegraph opinion article, originally published on 5th January 2018, I discuss the age-old question of who do you think you are?

The full text of the article is below or you can read the original article here.

Just who do everyday Australians think they are? 

Just who do you think you are? It’s an age-old question given new life this week when the Prime Minister — perhaps in a pre-emptive strike against a Peter FitzSimons-led bandana republic — opened the door to a plebiscite on what type of head of state Australia might fancy when the Queen shuffles off this mortal coil.

But missed in the predictable round of praise and outrage for Malcolm Turnbull’s thought bubble was that Australia has far bigger identity issues than whether our head of state collects her mail at Yarralumla or Buckingham Palace.

The fact is, Australians who live their lives outside the Canberra bubble would be forgiven wondering just where they fit in to the nation their policy makers are building for them.

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