I would like to preface this article by saying that if you are getting your political news and information from me, then may any god have mercy on your soul. This is a very basic recap, and by no means should it be taken as an analysis. When you're out with your friend who leans, much like my penis, slightly to the left of the political spectrum, you should nod and keep your mouth closed as you still haven't read enough to have an informed opinion. But please enjoy anyway.
Honestly, there isn’t really that much to discuss. It is certainly a backflip in rhetoric from last year's budget, which barked that the 'age of entitlement' was over and implored everyone to 'tighten their belts'. This year we are seeing a softer budget as it could possibly be the last one leading into an election year. The more interesting points for our readers are as follows:
- Small businesses that turn over less than $2 million per year will only have to pay 28.5% company tax rather than the usual 30%, which all other businesses over that threshold will still have to cough up. All small businesses will also receive a tax write-off of up to $20,000 for things like machinery, technology, or other depreciating assets. Hey, guys? Are we a small business?! I really need a new laptop.
- For all you jobless hobos out there (good thing no one here reads this, 'cause there’s a few here at LM *wink-wink*), $212 million has been allotted over four years to help young people faced with long term unemployment. A further $18 million has been allotted for work experience programmes.
- Digital downloads and online purchases from overseas now attract GST. This essentially follows the idea that if you earned a dollar in Australia, you will be taxed by Australia. Makes sense, but it also means your online shopping and services like Netflix are about to get a tiny bit more expensive. Nertz.
- For those of you who were planning to run away from your impending HECS fees by living overseas, think again. From 2017, any Australian citizen earning over $53,000 a year while living overseas will have to pay back their HECS debt. I was always kind of perplexed that people could effectively 'run away' from HECS, so it's no real surprise that the jig is finally up.
- A 'crackdown' on the largest international companies that find ways to avoid tax in Australia. I’m not sure how much faith I have in this eventuating or being a significant amount, but if it can curb or even bring attention to the alarming tax/revenue dichotomies of companies like Apple and the only man known to have bought the devil's soul, Rupert Murdoch, and force them to pay a little more on the money they earn here, then cool.
- As part of National Security budget spending, the government is shelling out $154 million on metadata retention, including $131 million to help telcos store all your information. Although this is being disguised as a boon to national security and a strengthened facility to dig out terror threats, it also has massive implications for our online freedoms and a simple 'well, I have nothing to hide' argument doesn’t quite cut it here. This also means that internet is most likely going to get more expensive as the cost of retaining all our own fucking information is passed down to us. Fucking sweet.
Although I said there wasn’t much to discuss with this particular budget, it also means that all the shitty things from last year, such as educational reform and health cuts, are still in there. So, if this year doesn’t make you mad, then at least you always have 2014.
On May 6th, Senator Christine Milne stepped down from the Greens leadership position she had held since 2012 and walked away from a political career spanning over 25 years. On the same day, Senator Richard Di Natale was elected unopposed as the new Greens party leader. Is the speed at which this leadership vote took place suspect? Yeah, a little bit, but this time I feel I’m okay with it.
Senator Di Natale looks to take the Greens party into the future with more progressive ideals than we usually see in modern Australian politics. Di Natale is a keen advocate for the independence of West Papua, the push for legal euthanasia under his ‘Dying with Dignity’ campaign, and the legalisation of medical marijuana, just to name a few of the issues he supports. He also delivered this gem on Facebook illustrating his stance on the current state of the NBN.
I look forward to the path Di Natale will take Australia's 'I don't know about politics so I voted for the Greens, lol' party down in the future.
Deflategate, otherwise known as 'Ballghazi', has dominated much of American sports media in the last week. To bring you up to speed, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have been accused of deflating 11 out of 12 balls in the American Football Conference Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, led by Andrew Luck.
The balls were supposedly just below regulation pressure and many reports suggest it was not even enough to notice. Nevertheless, it was below the legal amount. There are many conflicting reports about when it was known the balls were deflated and who among the Patriots' staff knew of the ongoing issues. However, on May 7th, the NFL published a 243-page report, known as the ‘Wells Report’, by attorney Theodore V. Wells, which suggested that it was 'more probable than not' that quarterback Tom Brady was aware of the deflated balls.
On May 11th, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season without pay, with the Patriots also copping a fine of $1 million and losing a 2016 and 2017 draft pick. This seems harsh, but it isn’t the first time the Patriots have been suspected of trying to circumvent the rules.
I could go on, but I just wrote 200 words on a league I really do not care about, so, moving on...
Game of Thrones
Okay, now, don’t get me wrong, I fucking love Game of Thrones just as much as the rest of you nerds but here is my qualm with the series: if you aren’t up to date with the most recent episodes, then you should seriously stop reading now and come back when you are.
Now, I don’t think the direction they are taking with the show is bad; in most cases it's better, like with the cool new Bronn and Jamie arc we were deprived of in the books, or the Sansa and Brienne story arcs that were such a struggle in the book and have now been, in my opinion, rendered far, far more interesting by the show's depiction of them. However, since George R. R. Martin hasn’t finished the last two books (and I doubt he will, as he takes almost five or six years to finish one and, well, a quick Google Images search will give you a pretty good feeling of why that makes me sad) the show is almost certainly now going to finish before the books.
Why does this suck? Because now I have to watch unexpected characters die like the rest of you motherfuckers and all the emotional advantage and ability to prepare myself I was given by the books is gone. Not only are we all being deprived of a cool version of Daario Naharis, Strong Belwas, or the entire Greyjoy storyline thus far (although, fingers crossed, it will still come through), I now get to be surprised along with the rest of you, which is a new and exciting feeling, I guess. Here’s to hoping that the show's directors are fans of Stannis “The Mannis” Baratheon.
Real life Bond villain Eddie Goldsmith has a passion for photography, movies, basketball and speaking in third person. Like most other sleep deprived 20-somethings Eddie's managed to find a balance between calm and collected to being one coffee cup away from never sleeping again. Writer, Editor, Generous Lover, Photographer and part time funny man I'm always looking to try my hand at something new.