Friday, August 08, 2014

Camels, sheep and current Abbott Government problems

In comment on yesterday’s post An opening muse on just what is Australian food, kvd wrote:

Jim, all this cogitating about "native food" and "Australian food": are you sure this is not just your sublimating that nasty streak of New England populist nationalism? In other words, it may be code for something more sinister.

Finding it improper (within your better self) to talk of keeping out foreigners, and (possibly) rejecting multiculturalism, are you instead seeking a sort of "safety valve" in a discussion of plants - maintaining purity against invasive species, exhorting the virtues of native plants, etc.? A sort of anti-multi-horticulturalism creeping in to your continuing search for a defining New England identity?

Well I say get a grip, before you are fully lost to us. Relax and have a camel pie.

The comment, which made me smile, maintained a line that kvd has been following in responding to my recent food posts. Apart from sooling my feral olives onto kvd, this time I thought: what would a camel pie taste like? Here is the end of one description:

Camel pie is good. I like strong flavoured pies and the camel meat has a gamey flavour without being overpowering. It is meant to be low in fat, but it had a fatty taste to it (not a bad thing). Was it worth the wait? Yes, although it wasn’t as good as the kangaroo and emu pie. I would certainly like to try the sausages, or some other cut of camel if it becomes available. And it might make an interesting burger.

Staying with camels, they are reputed to be bad tempered animals that spit. A bit like the world around the Australian Government just at present.

We begin with Senator Eric Abetz's comments on abortion and breast cancer. According to the PM, Senator Abezt is now feeling “a little sheepish.” Baaa!  Then both the Prime Minister and Attorney General Senator George Brandis ran into a degree of trouble over the definition of metadata, requiring the security agencies to come to the defence.  Oops or perhaps baaa? ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) chief David Irvine wondered what the fuss was all about?

Well, at the very least its about lack of clarity. This holds for the industry itself as much as anyone else. I quote from the Financial Review:

Optus has warned the government’s plan to make phone companies retain metadata is enormously complex and could cost it more than $200 million to implement, while the government admitted it announced the decision before devising the details.

Meantime, a story written by Phillip  Coorey an Jacob Greber in today’s Financial Review (its behind the firewall) is headed “Hockey a whinger, say Liberal insiders”, referring to Treasurer Hockey’s complaints about the treatment of the budget including the failure of the business community to mount an open and wholehearted defence.

The unexpectedly large deterioration in the labour market stats for July released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday was due in part to methodological changes. However, there was also a real deterioration especially among young people. Meantime, the Australian Reserve Bank has downgraded its economic forecasts. All this is not make Mr Hockey’s job in selling the budget including the changes to the NewStart Allowance any easier

Returning to the camel theme, one wonders what might cause the surrounding camels to spit next?


Anonymous said...

Yes, well, my advice to anyone attending that debate tonight is when Jim starts muttering about "dead-heading the gerberas" just leave as quietly and inconspicuously as possible :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Good morning, kvd. I can use this in the debate! More when I get back tomorrow.

Evan said...

Perhaps the business lobbies know that the budget is indefensible.

How do you sell ongoing subsideies to the wealthy and corporates when you are screaming austerity?

How do you justify making life harder for the poor and not cutting subsidies to the wealthy?

Jim Belshaw said...

Don't think that's quite a correct interpretation, Evan, on a couple of levels. I'm not sure that the business lobby is defending or wishing to defend subsidies to the wealthy. I do think that the common perception of the budget as unfair makes it difficult fro them to defend the budget. But a number are arguing in any case that that's not their role. That's a political role.

Evan said...

Good to hear the business lobby aren't keen on a political role. Like an advertising campaign to defeat a tax or being advisors to the current government on policy.

This reticence I think is novel - specifically since this dog of a budget. Where did it come from? In brief: the North Shore of Sydney I think. It breathes that kind of prejudice.