Demands on the public purse

Demands on the public purse

Barry tells us it’s election time in his home state of Western Australia and that this time around there has been an unusual demand on the public purse.

Demands on the Public Purse
It’s election time again ‘Downunder – Western Australia that is. Unfortunately they are a necessary evil. But I will always exercise my franchise and vote.

It’s the same old story every time with promises in return for our vote of ‘We’ll give you this, we’ll give you that, and we’ll even give you this & that’. All that we have to do for ‘this, that, or even this and that’ is sign off on the electoral role before filling out a voting slip and ‘Hey presto, everything will be honky-dory’.

In fact, it’s the only time many of the politicians come out of hibernation with their well worn words of ‘trust us, we’re politicians and we’re here for you’.

It’s also a time to be on our toes when making visits to our local shopping mall and places of popular leisure activities because as soon as we spot the camera crews and reporters we just know that in amongst the media crush will be the local ‘would be’ political representatives with their minders in tow and, sometimes, members of the local constabulary.

Shaking hands and kissing babies seems are the most common of behaviours when meeting the people. But the real con is pretending to have ‘bumped into’ like minded people so that the wannabee pollies can spout on about their pet political subject – especially if they are in opposition to the sitting member – thus giving them a chance to whinge and moan like some of the Lorne Street members of Vale Park’. You know the stuff: ‘the government is asleep on the job; they’re showing no signs of creativity, drive or ambition’.

These visits are well staged right down to the very last minute and, as a general rule, are short, sharp and sweet with all effort made to make sure the vox populi have no chance to ask awkward questions. Even if awkward questions are thrown at them the ‘would be’ pollies simply smile and wave before turning on their heels to the nearest exit where, surprise, surprise, their chauffeur driven chariot awaits.

Once every now and again such visits will be upstaged by special interest groups demanding action to save one thing or another. Such as: ‘SAVE THE ONE EYED TAFFY AFRICAN OF BIDDULPH MOOR’ in big letters on a black and white banner. They usually get right into the faces of the ‘wannabe pollies’ big time which acts as a cue for the local ‘Plod to restore law & Order. The resulting loud and vile language aimed at the police, who are now dragging the unwilling protesters toward the vans conveniently parked nearby, absolutely shanghais the pollies’ visits, gains the attention of the following media and gets top publicity for their cause – most of whom will later walk from ‘Court with no more than a small fine for disorderly conduct.

It’s also a time for the many monetary demands on the public purse – health, education, welfare & justice being the main contenders with water making special appearances when the annual rainfall has been lower than expected. But most politicians have, until now, given lip service only to water issues. Most will do nothing after the event.

This time around our national game of Australian Rules football has placed its demand on the public purse. Some of you will know something about Australian Rules football – often referred to by many Europeans as ‘aerial ping-pong’. Anyway, not so long ago the Western Australian government approved a public purse grant to assist with the upgrading of facilities at Subiaco Oval – the home of football in this state. Part of the grant was dispensed in the name of tourism. Seems they want more of the same.

This time the Subiaco Oval Trustees have asked for another Au$40m to enable them the increase the capacity of the stadium from 42,000 to 50,000. This equates to Au$5,000 per seat or, when converted at today’s exchange rate, £2,086 per seat. Wow!

What are their chances of getting $40m from the public purse? Absolutely zip, zilch, nothing. Not even a dented bin lid or battered shirt button.

Just think: even one quarter of £16m would secure most things needed at Vale Park – with change left over for an ice cream for everyone. But would the extravagance of the ice creams be too much for the Lorne Street Whingers & Moaners Choral Society?

See you later…

Barry Edge
Western Australia
February 10, 2005

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