This week, Malcolm declared his millionaire budget, Trump saddled the GOP elephant and Egypt named their most dangerous terrorists…Tom and Jerry?
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful mothers out there; in particular my own to whom I owe the world!
This week saw the lead horseman of the political apocalypse gallop into the headlines with the news that Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for the upcoming US Election. Trump enjoyed a significant win in Indiana this week which resulted in his two Republican rivals, John Kasich and Ted Cruz dropping out of the race. Trump is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee.
He now heads a divided party, with many prominent Republican leaders and backers contemplating the highly unusual step of supporting Clinton over Trump. House speaker and former Republican Vice President nominee Paul Ryan indicated that he was “just not ready” to back Trump, whilst Mark Salter, a top adviser to former Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain, publicly expressed his support for Hillary.
Mrs Clinton isn’t missing the opportunity, shifting her campaign focus away from minority voters to Republican-leaning white collar voters who are against Trump and the blue collar voters that are drawn to Trump’s populist message. She’s even indicated that her husband, former President Bill Clinton (who is still very popular with blue collar workers), will come out of retirement and take charge of creating jobs for blue collar workers.
Hillary, however, hasn’t yet won the nomination of her party. Whilst she holds a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders, there is a very large thorn inches away from her side in the form of an FBI investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified and national security information when she was Secretary of State.
At the very least, the investigation will hurt her chances in the general election as the issue is sure to represent an open wound right for the salting. At worst, she could face criminal charges, including the possibility of a charge of gross negligence under the Espionage Act, which would end her political career instantly and possibly her freedom. The most disconcerting part of this for the Democrats is that the FBI’s findings may not be concluded until after they choose a nominee, meaning that if Clinton is named and then indicted, the presidency has just been handed to Trump.
In a case of truth being stranger than fiction, this is shaping up to be more interesting than House of Cards.
Across the pond, there has been some history made in London with Sadiq Khan being named the new Mayor. Khan is the first Muslim leader of a major Western city.
The landslide victory over conservative opponent Zac Goldsmith also means the return of the Labour party after eight years in the wilderness under outgoing Mayor Boris Johnson.
The victory has the makings of a Hollywood movie; Khan grew up as one of eight children born to his Pakistani immigrant parents in a south London housing estate. His father worked as a bus driver and his mother as a seamstress in order to support the large family.
Khan went on to become a prominent human rights lawyer before making the jump to politics in 2005, retaining the marginal seat of Tooting for Labour. Khan has pledged to be a “Mayor for all Londoners” and represents a great victory for his party and embattled leader Jeremy Corbyn, who saw the Labour party pushed into third place in Scotland this week.
On the local front, this week saw Treasurer Scott Morrison deliver his first budget as head coin counter. Whilst there were no huge Abbotesque shocks put forward, the general consensus is that ScoMo didn’t put forward a lot at all. What’s more, two of the notable changes were taken straight out of the opposition’s playbook; an aggressive increase in the tobacco excise and a reduction in superannuation concessions for those at the big end of town.
The “dull” budget has led many to question the validity of the Libs positioning as strong economic managers and reformers, particularly when you consider that the deficit has increased by a further $36.3 billion over four years since last year’s budget. This critique, in particular, isn’t good news for the Libs in the lead up to the expected July 2nd election, given the campaign that won power in 2013 was strongly focused on Labor’s inability to achieve a surplus. As we know, not only have the Libs been unable to achieve this, but they have seen the fiscal situation worsen under their leadership.
Whichever way you slice it, the delivery was lacklustre, with the first poll taken after the budget suggesting only seven per cent of voters believe they will be better off. A significant 15 per cent of Coalition voters believe they will be worse off.
Bill Shorten’s budget reply took aim at Turnbull and Morrison, labelling it a budget designed for “Malcolm’s Millionaires.” The Labor leader put forward an alternative that he claims will result in an additional $71 billion in savings over the next decade. Mr Shorten outlined that these savings would be achieved by making the temporary deficit levy on high-income earners permanent, not proceeding with the Libs’ plan to reduce company tax to a flat 25 percent in 10 years and a restriction on the size of Government-backed vocational educational loans.
Labor are in support of the reduction of the company tax rate for small businesses who turn over up to $2 million annually, however, they hace refused to support cutting the rate for all companies. Shorten has also suggested that Labor will support the Libs’ budgeted change of the personal income tax threshold for middle-income earners from $80,000 to $87,000 to avoid “bracket creep.”
Wacky and Wonderful
Salah Abdel-Sadek, head of the Egyptian State Information Service announced this week that he had found the cause of the culture of violence that has seen Islamic insurgency in the country continue to rise.
So who or what is to blame? Is it the “spread of democracy” from powerful Western nations creating a power vacuum in the entire region? Is it disenfranchised youth, easily indoctrinated into extremism after being let down by society? No…it’s Tom and Jerry.
Sadek claims that because children see Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse “beat and blow up one another with explosives,” they become desensitised and see the behaviour as normal.
Maybe it’s time for a Captain Planet reboot?
The most Australian police pursuit in history occured in Western Australia this week following the abduction of an orphaned kangaroo by a wedge-tailed eagle.
The six month old kangaroo, “Cuejo” was in the yard at the remote Burringurrah Community Police Station after being adopted by Constable Scott Mason in March. The opportunistic eagle swooped into the yard, grabbed Cuejo and lifted him over the two-metre high fence.
Not one to abandon his duties as a country cop or as an adopted father, Constable Mason gave pursuit before eventually scaring the eagles away and rescuing Cuejo. Cuejo is expected to make a full recovery and return to his police duties just in time to wear his brand new high-vis uniform.
Have a great week TBSers!