The Labor Govt wants a surplus because they unwittingly made a promise to have a surplus as soon as possible and Defence's budget has always been the easiest to cut without political ramifications (unless we get invaded in the near future). The budget deficit is something that the Opposition has been using as ammo for some time (and is working and this govt is afraid), it has nothing to do with the Unions. There are Australian economists who are stating that it's OK to have a deficit and not to rush for a surplus - Australia after all has one of the smallest deficits in the developed/western world, one of the biggest economies in the world and it's economy continues to grow. There's some facts and figures here:The only reason why the Labour Govt is cutting the Defence budget, is so they will not get a backlash from the Public Service Unions. The Defence Dept is an easy target to help them get back into surplus.
The Baby Bonus was introduced by the Howard Govt to help raise kids. There was also a one-off Household Stimulus Package in 2009 (under Labor) for "some Centrelink customers, including families, students and farmers". The govt encouraged people to continue spending (eg. economic stimulus package) during the GFC to avert a recession - if people limit spending and save most of their money, small businesses will go broke and people will lose jobs, this could snowball and the country will go into recession - just like some countries during the GFC. It's better for the govt to spend money and go into deficit than for individuals to lose jobs and their families to suffer, etc.A surplus the previous Conservative Govt gifted to the Country. And the current Labour Govt, blew on feel good spending. Like a "family bonus" with which people used to buy the latest flat screen TV's.
Look at it this way, during the Global Financial Crisis:
The govt spends billions to prevent a recession, the budget goes into deficit and the Opposition will blame them for doing a bad job and wasting money;
The govt doesn't spend money, the country gets hammered by the GFC and companies go bankrupt and the Opposition will accuse the gov't of doing a bad job and not protecting people's jobs.
It wasn't the materials that was causing fires (and some accidents and deaths). The problem was that most of the installation companies were hiring untrained installers. They saw a chance to make a quick buck so they just jumped on it without screening or training the right people. You couldn't just start using nail guns in a roof cavity where electrical wires are and not risk getting electrocuted or start fires.Or the House Insulation Scheme, where the insulation product used was so bad, that it caused house fires. Then you have the "Green Jobs'' program.
The Port Kembla wave generator was just a prototype:One of it's great legacies, is a ocean wave power generation system which sits abandoned and rusting off a Port Kembela Beach. But the Labour Govt has given this group even more money.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceanlinx#Past_Projects...Port Kembla was the site of Oceanlinx's most recent wave energy converter design – the Mk3 Pre-Commercial. The Mk3 Pre-Commercial, or Mk3PC for short, was a demonstration scale device that is identifiably similar to the fully commercial blueWAVE design, but was designed to be limited in its life, operations, and scale to suit both the environment at Port Kembla and its purpose as a demonstration of the technology.
...The MK3PC served the very important and specific function of verifying the performance of the Oceanlinx blueWAVE product in open ocean conditions, as well as its ability to provide acceptable grid-quality power to an established electricity retailer. The MK3PC immediately proved successful in achieving these aims, and validated the ability of the full scale blueWAVE design to be rated at 2.5 MW.
Results from the one-third scale model of the Oceanlinx floating wave energy technology, dubbed the MK3PC, have exceeded expectations in regard to performance. The unit was deployed for three months, from February to May, 2010, and operated successfully during that time as one of the world’s first grid-connected generators of electricity from ocean waves. Then it broke free from its mooring in a storm and crashed into the breakwater/sank.
The Labor govt will probably not survive this coming election but the Greens will probably increase in numbers.People in Australia can't wait for the next Federal election to throw the Labour Party and it's Green allies out of power.
I'm not a fan of either Gillard or Abbott. One is a backstabber who only cares about saving her skin, the other one is only using slogans to attack the govt but doesn't even provide alternative policies - I prefer Rudd or Malcolm Turnbull