When is a pork barrel not a pork barrel?

When it’s a littler pork barrel.

Tony Abbott is having a tough week. Some of it expected which isn’t so bad but a couple of surprises have been visited upon him that he would not have anticipated. Firstly The Greens signed on for supporting Labor which hardly rates as a shock but it took another level of negotiation out of the mix. Julia’s work load got a little bit shorter.

Then Treasury discovered that Joe “I don’t tell lies” Hockey had a massive hole in his budget. This shouldn’t have been that big a shock after they tried to hide their figures in the first place but they don’t seem to have an answer to it. The approach of “my savings are bigger than yours” does nothing to dispel the impression that they just aren’t that good when it comes to the Economy.

The fractured responses by the Libs to the GFC with some days holding the opposite view to the day before and then the final idea that facing it with higher unemployment was a better approach, has continued their wobble under Abbott.

But the biggest problem of all was offering the $1B hospital to the independent Wilkie and having him dismiss it as unfunded and opting for Gillard’s more restrained $350M upgrade. The funny part about this one is it completely blindsided Abbott who thought he could spend his way into Government. I imagine he would have thought he was dreaming when he first heard the news.

We find out this week where it is all heading and I’m still thinking it will collapse at the final hurdle and we will end up back at the polls. I can’t see Katter voting for his Dad’s old party and I can’t see Tony Windsor knocking off the National Broadband Network.

If either party gets the numbers it will still be a tough gig.

A Microsoft freebie really worth it

windows-live-writerAs much as folk bitch about Microsoft (And I’d be just as guilty as anyone else on that point) occasionally they really come up with the goods. In this case it’s a free program that escaped my attention until I went looking for an easier way to handle blog entries and particularly entries across multiple blogs.

Enter Windows Live Writer.vox

Now first thing I should mention is it doesn’t help my fellow Voxers which is a great pity because it’s much more manageable than the VOX Create page, but it works beautifully with WordPress and Blogger. Even better than that,  it allows you to create profiles for different services so posting to another account simply requires a mouse click on the next profile.

Having 4 different blogs and managing one where a couple of fellow Voxers have given me repost bloggerpermissions means I have the problem of 7 different profiles to manage. Before discovering Windows Live Writer I wouldn’t have even considered tackling the problem, but now it’s a breeze.

A real bonus with WLW is the add-ins that really expand the capabilities of the product. So far I have added modules for Maps, YouTube, and Clipboard Live but there are plenty more to choose from. The trick is to find them then test them one at a time. In other words don’t throw a stack of mods in then start testing. The modules come from various writers and are not guaranteed to work seamlessly with each other.wordpress

So if you are into running multiple blogs or simply looking to easily post to your non-Vox blog, have a play with Windows Live Writer. And a big thankyou to GOF and Ninja for their generous donation to the HorshamDirect blog site. I’ll be trickle feeding some of their material each week (subject to time available.)

In the National Interest – Killing the tree planting gimmick

Peter Mares
Peter Mares

No. I haven’t taken leave of my senses. There is a need to kill off a recently agreed piece of legislation for forest protection in Australia due to some pretty lax drafting of legislation.

In an effort to encourage the planting of more forests for carbon storage, a piece of legislation has slipped through both houses of parliament without due consideration of its phrasing.

As is stands, a tax incentive can be earned by replacing existing native forests with imported trees that are less effective at the task of carbon capture. I can excuse this part of the problem because the effectiveness report has only just been published.

But what I can’t accept is the “other” problem in which transfer of ownership of the property does not carry any obligation to retain the plantation. This is inexcusable. A tax benefit allowed “up front” on an expectation of a 20 year lifespan, can be trashed the very next year by a con artist.

Standby for the rush of less honorable investors if this is allowed to stand.

All is not lost though. The Greens, some Independents, and even at least 1 Liberal, have indicated they want to withdraw the legislation before it is enacted. I certainly hope so, otherwise it brings the supporters of the existing legislation into disrepute.

Addressing Global Warming is going to require some clever ideas applied in a timely manner. Allowing $$$ to be wasted on potential scams like this is not the way forward, and worse, shows a naivety not acceptable from adults. To keep everyone motivated, we need to show the Government is working cleverly and effectively.

Congratulations to Peter Mares too. This program consistently delivers a deeper level of information for those who take the time to listen.