Like watching Q&A, experiencing a Swannie budget night is necessary but painful beyond belief.
But this time things are different. I have the good fortune to flying out of the country early tomorrow morning. I can tell myself that I’m not being slack for avoiding the speech and Budget Papers till after I take off; rather I am just a prudent traveller.
A self-deceiving rationalisation like that seems in keeping with the Budget that our Dear Leaders will soon force upon us malleable masses.
On ALP Budget Nights I feel like an ex-Wallaby watching his 10-year old play rugby: you want to be there, you feel obligated to watch, but with each uncoordinated and amateurish move, a little piece of you dies.
So I’ll be missing this year’s speeches. With a light heart and a lighter soul. Though there will be some backsliding when I read the Budget Papers on the plane. I have to admit it: there is only so much pain a masochist can forego.
Until I read them there is nothing I can add of substance. And even then, probably not much. This Budget will be received by one of the most cynical and unconvinceable audiences in human history, rivalling that of Nixon’s “I am not a crook” appearance in 1973, or Charles I’s trial speech in 1649.
Somehow I doubt that Wayne will make quite the same splash in political annals. I do believe that he will suffer a similar fate. Your choice as to whether it is political ignominy or decapitation.
I anticipate that the presence of the word “decapitation” in last paragraph will lead to Will Steffen, Grahame Redfearn and all of ANU asking for police protection.