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Archive for Politics

Change of guard

The weekend Federal elections saw the Labor win and Kevin Rudd elected and has Labor has won the federal elections for the first time in 14 years.

I am not going dwell so much on that but what has happened in the aftermath especially on the Liberal side has been very interesting. I was surprised to see that Peter Costello was not going to contest to take leadership of the Liberals from outgoing Prime Minister John Howard.

Of the people who have up their hands and they say they will contest I think Malcolm Turnbull will have a good chance compared to the two other contestants Brendan Nelson and Tony Abbott.

Turnbull already agrees with the idea of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol which is good and backs the Labor Government's moves to say "sorry" to Indigenous Australians as reported here.

The nationals are also looking for a leader Mark Vaile announced that he will step down from his post the Nationals' dismall showing at the elections. Instead of a coalition I think its time the coalition just combines and form one party.

The budget and the election

Its interesting to see the reaction of different people to the budget presented by Federal Treasurer Peter Costello on Tuesday night.

While the tax breaks are always welcome, and so are all those bonuses to carers and older people and also the child care benefits - these go a long way in helping those who receive them.

What I find interesting though is that these one-off bonuses tend to come in election year. In the 2004 budget, a new maternity payment was introduced and now known as baby bonus.

I am wondering whether Costello has done enough to win the election later this year but should his party win then in three year's time we should expect even more one-off bonuses - I just don't know what shape or form they will take.

Local State election issues

This coming Saturday Victoria goes to the polls for the Parliamentary elections.

Well, in the campaigning there have been a few promises here and there and in my actual constituency there hasn't been a real issue or promise given but some few kilometres away at South Morang there is a real issue of the South Morand rail extension.

This issue has dominated the local papers for a while and it has now to a head with the state election. The Liberals have promised to extend the rail line spending $12 million on the project while Labor says that up to $300 million will be required and that amount would include necessary alterations to the Epping line.

I think the residents of South Morang deserve that rail extension and maybe the way to go about it would be to adopt both methods and extend the line in phases starting with the actual extension and over time making those alterations to the Epping line.

You would first built a simple line to South Morang and when that is finished continuously work on the other parts to the rest of the line. This phased approach would possibly satisfy everybody.

This is probably the only result I will be watching closely come the announcement of the results.

Howard stays on

Its good to see that Prime Minister John Howard has decided to stay on on and fight the next election next year and its even better that the Treasurer Peter Costello has also decided to stay in his current portfolio. I am happy for Howard to stay on because I think he has done very well in the last four terms. Some of his family friendly policies have been quite good especially the baby bonus and the 30% child care tax rebate.

I think the next election is going to a bit tougher especially with the Industrial Relations laws not getting as much good press as they would have liked and also beginning to affect some workers in a negative way but it's up to the opposition Labor to make it an even more serious election issue.

What I would like to see though is that if John Howard gets re-elected at the next election then he should set out earlier on whether he would seek a sixth term or not just like Tony Blair did at the last British election when he stated that he wouldn't fight the next election. That way it puts an end to on-going speculation that once in a while distracts the government from maybe what I would think are more important issues.

Live coverage with new media laws

I was just wondering what was there for me in the proposed changes to the Australia media ownership laws announced last week by the Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan until I read this article in The Age. I like that idea that free-to-air networks that buy rights to sporting events will be forced to televise them or possibly lose those rights possibly to pay TV. That would be very good and that could mean that we will be able to watch most of Wimbledon live, especially in the second week and also for a change watch Formula 1 live.

Currently Channel 9 has got the rights to Wimbledon although Foxtel also shows some games live especially in the first week. This year in the second week of Wimbledon we missed some live matches that started at 9 pm local time because Channel 9's coverage was going to start around 11 pm. Compare this to the French Open where Foxtel have got the exclusive rights live coverage commences the moment play starts at Roland Garros.

Another sport whose rights are with a free-to-air network but is not shown live is Formula 1. Channel 10 has got the rights to F1 and its hardly broadcast live save for the Australian Grand Prix. Interestingly, pre-race coverage sometimes starts at around 1030pm for European races and this is normally 30 minutes into the actual race. Motor GP on the other hand is on Foxtel and this is always shown live.

These events could stay with free-to-air networks and as long as there is guaranteed live coverage there is no problem. Hopefully these new media laws will easily sort this out and get us viewers to get more live coverage of sporting events and stop the current practice where events are shown at a time most suitable to the television network. If a network has got no space for a sporting event then they won't have to buy the rights for the event or else they will be 'forced' to show it.