THE LAST GASP: The Boss vs the bosses

This week the treasurer rocks out, Tony Abbott is paid out on China and Jay Weatherill gets into the Olympic spirit.

The Last Gasp is a wry take on the week’s biggest stories, every week. This week, Wayne Swan invokes Boss rock in a battle with our rock bosses, Tony Abbott gets sold out on China, and Jay Weatherill cutely thinks he can influence BHP.

Who’s the Boss?

Fresh from ruining 70’s rock favourites Skyhooks for everyone, the ALP has again targeted out-of-fashion musicians in an attempt to convince everyone that they are in with the hip kids. Wayne Swan has added Bruce Springsteen to the list of international luminaries that he has quoted in public speeches, using the American’s music as a launching pad to reinvigorate his public attack on Australian mining magnates. The Treasurer said his only regret over criticisms made earlier this year against Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart was that they were not harsh enough. He later added that they didn’t cause the lift in the ALP primary vote the stunt was designed for, and he was having another shot.

Palmer hit back on behalf of the miners, claiming Swan was often happy to tackle him personally, but never his arguments. In a rare admission of fallibility, Palmer went on to say that while he may be wrong in his claims more than he is correct, he has a right as an Australian to be act that way. Experts reportedly agreed that while all Australians had a right to make odd statements, none like Palmer have such a consistent history of doing so.

She’s on holiday, thankfully

Always a source of measured comment, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott slammed Swan over his speech, calling on the Treasurer to get on with governing the country instead of attacking those who provide it with much of its wealth. Abbot said the government should be more focused on creating wealth for Australians rather than destroying it. Just as long as that wealth does not come from China. Fellow Liberal MP Jamie Briggs said it was clear that Swan did not like success, and was more concerned with ‘redistributing the pie and not growing the pie’. He was later accosted by Palmer, who demanded to know more about this delicious pie.

Get in quick

In another sign of the great working relationship that exists between Abbott and Liberal State premiers, the New South Wales government has gone out of its way to attract Chinese investment a week after Tony Abbott expressed specific concerns about the practice. The NSW Liberals have unveiled a plan to attract $40 billion worth of investment in its infrastructure assets from Chinese state-owned companies. The move drew more scorn from the ALP, who and follows criticism from Swan last week who said the coalition had clearly left its foreign policy to maverick Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce. Joyce has since returned fire, accusing Swan of trying to paint him as a ‘banjo-playing reprobate’. The Senator reportedly stressed he was never quite dexterous enough to play the banjo, but had excelled at the triangle as a child.

Not so great expectations

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission delivered mixed news this week when it said that the number of companies attempting to gouge customers while blaming the carbon price had been well below expectations. On one hand, it is good that most businesses are not willing to break the law for their own gain. On the other, it says a lot about the general state of your industry when the watchdog is surprised by the dearth of individuals attempting to rip off consumers.

Like they had a say

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill was only kidding himself this week when he tried to make a peace offering to BHP Billiton over their disagreement surrounding the $20 billion Olympic Dam project. Despite a previous hard line over talk of a potential delay to the project, the state government now says it is ‘willing to entertain’ the notion of expending the approval deadline. Much in the same way federal Labor is ‘willing to entertain’ the thought of being in opposition next year, one would imagine.

Quick misses

– The federal government announced changes to its clean technology investment grant program this week, following what it called detailed consultations with industry. Experts suggested ‘detailed consultations with’ was a nice way of putting ‘constant whinging from’.

– The Queensland Liberal party has backflipped on previous assurances that it would not sell any assets in its time in government, in the first ever recorded case of a ruling party breaking an election promise.

– Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says the core conclusion of the independent review into the Fair Work Act is that the laws are working well and as intended. Surprise!

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