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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Sunday Sanity Break, 21 August 2016

Another big week of private sector economists and businesspersons pleading with the Turnbull government to behave like a serious government. Paul Keating’s heroic effort to turn the budget deficit into a surplus to head off ‘Banana Republic #1’ cannot be overemphasised. Now we are definitively heading to ‘Banana Republic #2’ and this means our children and grandchildren will be left with a pile of debt they cannot repay. So sad, especially as the next generation and the generation after that will also struggle to buy houses as well as paying off their parent’s household debt, now the highest in the world as a ratio to household income. And still rising.

'Spend up, folks' is the message of our government.

Do wake up Malcolm. The outlook is bleak. As Paul Kelly says this weekend: ‘Australia seems a case study in a Western society losing its consensus about core values and what constitutes virtue in its public space. The government is buffeted by eruptions over free speech, offshore detention, foreign investment, juvenile protection conditions and big banks in a myriad culture wars and contested struggles over values.

‘Australians cannot even agree on the laws that govern how they should talk to each other, pathetic proof of contemporary dysfunction and mounting trouble over minority politics. It is tempting to think a nation unable to agree on such mundane essentials has little hope of agreeing on how to run its budget’.

Do not miss Grace Collier’s expose of the genius organisation that is being credited with the Superannuation tax fiasco in the latest budget. As Mrs Thornton said: ‘I’d support the Superannuation policy if there was a serious attempt to balance the budget. Using our taxes to spend more is simply unacceptable’.

New Henry

Henry Thornton’s sabbatical is about to start but the news is good. With help from a young bloke, New Henry will be set up on the system. There will be very little history on New Henry, but it will be available courtesy of the Australia's splendid National Library, which has been collecting downloads since August 2003. Here is a link.


Henry’s editor’s Art exhibition has been renewed for three weeks at Sapori Di Casa in Dromana. Here is a link to the original notice, but please note the gallery is open this weekend and for the next two long weekends, ending on Sunday 4 September. More here.

Footy’n’cricket’n’the Ollys

In a thrilling arm wrestle, Hawthorn was beaten in Perth by the West Coast Eagles. Sydney disposed of the Shinbowners in Hobart. Caaaaaarlton! won a thriller at the ‘G’ over Melbourne on Sunday.

The former number one test cricket team was thrashed 3 zip in Sri Lanka amid allegations of pitch fixing (by shaving), practice pitch fixing (by watering) and lack of application when it mattered, like when batting. Also sad to see an apparently disinterested Captain Smith missing 2 catches he’d normally swallow in the last test. If Shaun Marsh is dropped again after making a century, we shall have to give up on Aussie cricket.

Feature of the Ollys has been the disappointment of highly fancied Aussies. Our winners were usually athlete’s flying under the radar, especially modest females with no PR machine to over-promise and therefore no great risk of underperforming. Most recently, the ‘Boomers’ surrendered tamely to Serbia after beating then in the pool matches. Henry’s guess is that the talk of the Boomer’s ‘mongrel’, rough house tactics that would give them a shot at gold really fired the Serbs, who produced their own rough house. Humility combined with focussed determination would do better, comrades.

The powers of course are considering what went wrong. Let’s forget the aim of a ‘top 5’ finish and stop the big spending. We have far more useful things to do with scarce money than support athletes with mighty PR machines. Lots of aggro between the main powers, reminding us again that disunity is death, or at the very least underperformance.

Usain Bolt is Henry’s hero of Rio 2016, with Michael Phelps a close second for what seems like lifetime excellence. Both men should be safely retired by 2020, though one half expects Baby ‘Boomer’ will reinstate the Phelp’s family name by 2028 or 2032.

Image of the week

From Pete Jonson's Exhibition

Two Rocks at Uluru, 2013 Oil on canvas 36x48 inches (Approx 91x122 cm)

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