Bentleigh’s buses might actually get fixed for real

Local Bus Forum with Member for Bentleigh, Nick Staikos MP. Tuesday May 17 at 6:30PM at the Bentleigh Bayside Community Health Centre. Come and have your say on local bus services and how they can be improvedNick Staikos, the Labor Member for Bentleigh, is holding a forum about the area’s buses at the Bentleigh Bayside Community Health Centre.

For years now, I’ve been saying that we need better buses in Victoria, and Australia more broadly. To that end, I’ve been advocating to Nick Staikos (and to a lesser extent, Philip Dalidakis) for better bus services in the Bentleigh area.

Many others in the area have been making that point too, and for good reason:
There are major gaps in bus services in the area, such as the lack of buses after 8pm, the lack of buses on Sunday on some routes, and sections of Nepean Highway having no public transport at all (which is ironic given that Nepean Highway is the southern continuation of St Kilda Rd – an extremely busy public transport corridor in Melbourne).

For this reason, the Victorian Government needs to invest in substantially improved bus services in the area, along with the rest of Melbourne and Victoria. After 4 years of the Baillieu-Napthine “Government” ignoring this issue, we might just finally see that from Dan Andrews and Nick Staikos.

Certainly, the fact that Mr Staikos is hosting this forum is a very good sign, as is his acknowledgement that many people would like to see the lack of buses on Sunday fixed.

School funding: Malcolm doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going

Sideshow Bob walking funny as he derides Mayor Quimby by saying "Sometimes he doesn't know whether he's coming or going".Malcolm Turnbull is confused about our schools. Do you know what he does? He flip flops! Sometimes, he doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. He wants to sell young Australians’ future short!

Yesterday his government has announced $1.2 billion of funding between 2018-2020. This announcement has come merely weeks after Mr Turnbull announced that public schools will get no federal funding at all.

Nobody knows what he’ll say in a few weeks time, and more importantly, nobody knows what he’ll do if he wins the next election.

Of course, the funding comes with all sorts of silly strings attached, and even then is tiny compared to the $30 billion that Tony Abbott cut over 10 years after promising not to cut education funding.

The Liberals in Canberra have conflicting ideological obsessions. They want to impose their ideological policies in schools, while at the same time they want to cut federal funding for schools. They can’t work out which of those they want more.

Rail duplication: Dan’s budget has done something rarely done in Victoria

This budget handed down by Andrews Government Treasurer Tim Pallas is noteworthy for how it fully funds the Melbourne Metro project, so that this essential project goes ahead even if Malcolm Turnbull continues to play silly games.

Heidelberg tunnel photo by Marcus WongBut there are two other projects that stand out: the Melton and Heidelberg rail duplications.

This is actually a very big deal. Those who know the history of infrastructure investment in this state would know how rare rail duplications are. To put it into perspective, getting Victorian Governments to commit to duplicating railway lines is more difficult than getting the Troika of creditors in Europe to agree to less austerity. Continue reading ‘Rail duplication: Dan’s budget has done something rarely done in Victoria’

Malcolm’s Latham hit list: every public school

Remember the fuss that the conservative side of politics made about Mark Latham’s “hit list” of private schools that were to have their federal funding reduced? Well, it looks like Malcolm Turnbull has a hit list of his own now: Every public school.

We’ve gone from Tony Abbott saying “no cuts to education” before the election to Malcolm saying no federal funding for public schools at all. It’s quite a contrast. The Liberals have truly sent the Gonski funding model off the rails.

Stacking the Senate is a poor substitute for good policy

Back in 2014, I warned about changing the election rules in order to stack the Senate and benefit the Liberal Party.

Since 2013, the Abbott-Turnbull “Government” has continuously sought to bring in ridiculously bad policy. When their policies were rejected in the Senate, instead of reflecting on how bad their policies are and coming up with good policy, they blamed the Senate. Totally unsurprisingly, they are now changing the rules in order to wipe out the cross-benchers and shove their bad policy through.

Contrast this to Victoria, where the Andrews Government has to deal with an upper house where the numbers are even more difficult than in the Senate. While the Turnbull Government is able to choose to do a deal with either the Greens or cross-benchers, the Andrews Government has to work with Greens and cross-benchers. Despite this, the Andrews Government is doing a good job of running the state. It is working with the cross-bench rather than feuding with it. It shows that the problem in Canberra is not the Senate but the Turnbull Government. Continue reading ‘Stacking the Senate is a poor substitute for good policy’

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