It has been revealed in Senate Estimates that the Government spending on self-advertising increased from $137 Million to $208 million in 12 months! That is is an increase of 52% in one year.
Worse, the figure had to be drawn out the senior bureaucrat from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It is difficult to believe that the omission from the official report was anything other than deliberate!
To other matters. In the last 10 days, we have seen:
- the PM tour drought-striken areas, to announce more funding, and stop for a few (party) fund-raising dinners from the farming community. Gives with one hand, and takes with the other??
- The Government take control of health services for detainees - an area that has been a problem for John Howard and Amanda Vanstone in the past
- The Salvation Army decline to be involved in the Government's 'unfair' Welfare-to-Work Program. Its decision is based on the lack of social justice in the program
- Alexander Downer face questions about a possibly UN sanction-busting oil shipment of Iraqi oil to Perth.
- The Stern Report on climate change, a subject now routinely in the media, and which the Federal Government has previously tried to ignore or ridicule. It seems even Rupert Murdoch, staunch supporter of John Howard, now believes in global warming!
- Further concerns about workplace safety under the new "Workchoices" legislation.
- A fatalistic acceptance by the Prime Minister of another interest rate rise. It will be the fourth rise in 12 months.
- More media coverage about skills shortages
- Reports of companies routinely abusing so-called 457 visas: those where the Federal Government allows visas for overseas workers on little pay, and adverse conditions. They have finally had to step in and set a public example of one company, to ensure the voters see something happening.
There is a myiad of problems facing the Prime Minister and his government. It will be seeking to minimise their effects, and there will be much political oil poured on troubled waters.
Some of these will be addressed with a bag-o-dollars in the Federal Budget in May 2007. The dollars may be earmarked for spending at some time in the future.