The Guardian • Issue #2100

WEASEL WORDS

Special Budget edition!

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2100
Weasel Words heading

Savings

Jim Chalmers says he’s found $27.9 billion in savings. When you or I make savings, it means we’ve spent less on ourselves. When treasurers make savings, other people get cuts.

Reprioritisations

Some Weasel words are coined because people want to say the same thing twice so it looks like they’re doing more. Jim Chalmers talks about ‘savings and reprioritisations’ so we’ll think he’s doing a very smart and difficult thing. What he is doing is spending more on the military and less on unemployed people and the NDIS – not smart, also not difficult (for Labor, that is. It’s difficult for people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, and the NDIS).

Investment

An oldie but a goodie for weasel word fans; ‘investment’ is just spending dressed up, like when politicians visit a building site and put on a safety vest and a hard hat so it looks like they’re workers. Real investments bring a return of some kind. Labor is ‘investing’ our money in militarisation and fossil fuels. Militarisation will give us a less safe but poorer Australia, money put into fossil fuels will return heatwaves, crop failure, and bushfires. It’d be better if they ‘invested’ the money in lottery tickets.

No new money

Extra-weaselly attempt by Labor to weasel out of any consequences for their kill-the-planet gas strategy. They’re not giving ‘new money’ to the fossil fuel industry because they’ve given so much to it already. It’s like someone with six vodka and cokes inside them, and a bottle of Scotch under their arm promising you they won’t buy any more alcohol that night.

Responsible

As night follows day, the release of a budget is followed by the treasurer calling it ‘responsible’. This means that they’re not wasting any money on the homeless or people with disabilities, but are going ahead with tax cuts for the rich, and nuclear-powered submarines for the US.

Unavoidable (spending)

Not much is really unavoidable for the Australian government. They can raise or lower taxes, abolish GST, raise JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to above the poverty line, build fast trains, you name it! They’re the government.

However, government like getting out of responsibility for unpopular decisions, hence ‘unavoidable.’ If something is unavoidable, it’s not anyone’s fault. This year, the term is treasurer Jim Chalmers’ way of apologising to right-wing newspapers for spending any money on the non-rich.

Magic pudding spending

The Magic Pudding is a classic Australian children’s story about an infinitely renewing pudding, who’s always angry with everyone. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is a bit like the Magic Pudding only without the charm. Also he doesn’t feed anyone and, unlike the Magic Pudding, loves using racism for political advantage. Okay, they’re not very similar.

Anyway, Dutton has pretended that he’s furious about “Magic Pudding spending” because in the real world you can’t just throw money around without saying where it’s coming from. Unless it’s for his imaginary nuclear reactors. They’re going to pay for themselves in some totally unexplainable way, just like a magic pudding.

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