Monday, May 21, 2007

More money than sense

I know that Australian home-owners are renovation crazy, but when I heard that PM Howard's dining room is going to get a $540 million thousand renovation, I felt sick. This is the dining room at his Canberra office, by the way, not at the official PM's residence in Canberra, or Howard's prime ministerial residence at Kirribilli in Sydney.

Of course, besides the revolting arrogance of such lavish spending, the thing that really bugs me is that this renovation will cost tax payers more than the amount that is needed to significantly address the problems in Indigenous health a lot of money to allow John Howard to schmooze the captains of industry and his various political bedfellows – including the uranium industry.

What makes me angry about such waste is that the money is sorely needed in other areas, such as to address the crisis in Indigenous health.

Despite a concerted
campaign by Oxfam Australia, ANTAR, GetUp Australia and others to convince the government to commit the $450 million needed to address the significant crisis in Indigenous health, the government's May budget was a disaster for Indigenous health as it didn't go anywhere near enough what is needed.

This just proves to me that Howard's government has its priorities wrong. Is Nero fiddling while Rome burns?

By the way, do you think Howard's trying to scare us?

As a reader pointed out, I made a mistake in the amount that Howard's parliamentary dining room reno was going to cost – it is thousands, not millions! That will teach me to write a post in a rush! I've fixed that up, and removed the direct comparison of the amount to be spent with the shortfall in Indigenous health. The ALP's comparison of the expenditure with the cost of buying a suburban house was probable more accurate. I still think this a serious waste and misplaced priorities. Clearly, many others think so too.

News reports on ABC Radio this morning indicated that Howard was backing out of this expenditure because of the criticism he was getting. It's amazing how a slump in the polls can make the PM more receptive/responsive to 'feedback'.

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At May 21, 2007 5:46 pm, Blogger philjohnson said...

Thanks Mark for the post. I have also drawn attention to it along with costs revealed about expenditure onboth the Lodge and Kirribilli (those two places over a decade have had 18.4 million expended on them).

Yes I think Howard is about to pull out the bogeyman on terrorism, on Rudd as economic risk, and indeed even trying to show Rudd in his Goss career days was guilty of blocking the building a dam in SE Qld. Watch out for what happens in the lead-up to, and then during the APEC summit. Watch out for APEC being used as the trump card on carbon trading -- Howard the ecologist saves Australia from pollution with an APEC agreement with China, India and USA (while ignoring the rest of the earth).

At May 21, 2007 6:27 pm, Blogger Slim said...

Um...I think that's $540,000 not million. Still over the top, though.

At May 22, 2007 4:13 am, Blogger gorgeous said...

ur blog is lookin gud hunny let me

At May 22, 2007 9:03 am, Blogger priscilla said...

Wow, that's insane. They've sure managed to keep that one quiet so far. I agree the money should be used for Indigenous health ... maybe there's a campaign in there somewhere :)

At May 22, 2007 5:07 pm, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

slim, thanks for pointing out my error - as you see, I've fixed it. Thanks for your comments too, phil and priscilla.

And yep, I reckon Howard really is trying to scare us.

ooh. bogey man.

At May 22, 2007 8:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course it wasn’t $540 million – who could be stupid enough to spend that much on a building?

Bush 'palace' shielded from Iraqi storm

“Costing more than $US600 million ($A787 million), the fortress is bigger than the Vatican”.


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