For a while I have resisted writing about the political situation in Australia simply because it is too depressing. Of all the possible political outcomes after the election last year it looks like the Australian people have ended up with the worst case scenario – a leaderless dysfunctional government adrift at a time when major ecomic challenges loom.
In July 2009 while the mass media were still enjoying thier Rudd love-in I raised the alarm about how much money would be wasted by his big spending, poor planned vote-buying projects. As I said back then:
“The main problem is that extreme socialists only know how to spend as the concept of making a profit or seeking an economic return is something that only those evil neo-liberals would think of. So in their view of the world when a government funds a project there should be no detailed objectives, just some high level vague statements of what they they hope will be achieved.”
Fast forward to today: the National Broadband Network (NBN) debacle drags on, millions was wasted pumping Gillard’s ego via the Building Education Revolution (BER) and lives were lost plus million wasted in the rush to install imported home insulation into peoples homes.
But don’t go looking for any details from the Government regarding the economic return on any of these projects because they don’t have the data or they are cunning enough not to disclose it. But the Australian public and media have finally woken up to the fact that governments that borrow and spend big are just buying time in office.
For sure some economic stimulus can ease the pain as an economy hits a rough patch, but when a government spays around too much money then much of it is wasted, mis-directed and does nothing to make the economy more robust for the future.
We have gone in just a few years from a situation where the Rudd Government was handed $10 billion as they came into office to one where the Gillard Government (and I use the term government loosely) has no racked up a debt of around $60 billion. So what time is it now? It’s tough budget time!
A ‘tough’ budget means that the Government finally realises that the public has worked out the politicians have been spending too much and folks are getting worried. Of course most folks in Australia did not seem that worried when the hand-out cheques were in circulation but those are now a distant memory. (even Gerry Harvey seems to have forgotten them)
Of course the Government should have stopped the spend-a-thon a while back but the problem is the Government morphs in and out of several mutations as every week passes.
Sometimes it appears to be greenish in colour where Julia Gillard is in a power sharing deal with Bob Brown but then it re-invents itself to look after the Unions. (since they held Rudd’s toga when the knives went in)
It then occasionally morphs into the Silly Party and embraces the rantings of Wilkie, Windsor and Oakeshott; three chaps who I am sure are brushing up their CV’s for a life after politics which I hope is not too far away.
The result is that the Gillard Government is unable to untangle itself from the deals it did to hold onto power. Simply put, the Gillard Government is a mess and if the Prime Minister genuinely wanted to help the nation she would go see the Governor General and call an election.
But that’s unlikely to happen and so the nightmare continues. The mining tax remains an unsolved mess and added to it now is the carbon tax. Businesses are not sure which way the Government will lurch from one week and overseas governments probably consider Gillard and Co are acting in a caretaker role until a real government can be formed.
So far the only major achievement of the Rudd/Gillard years since 2007 appears to be that they built a lot of school halls. Apart from that I am struggling to think of what else has happened.
The big health reforms have stalled, the education revolution has been a flop, the NBN is already running over-budget and behind schedule and the only thing the Government has done in terms of climate change is start some green programmes and then run out of money and cancel them.
Julia Gillard is so worried about carbon emissions that she felt compelled as a atheist republican to fly across the planet to attend a royal church wedding.
So at a time when measures should have been taken to diversify and improve the efficiency of the economy we have been poorly served by firstly Prime Minister Rudd, an ego maniac who really wants to be head of the United Nations and Prime Minster Julua Gillard, who appears to want a job writing travel stories for LonelyPlanet.
Some of this would be funny if we didn’t have to pay off the debt. Gillard, Swan, Rudd etc will be okay because their overly generous politician’s pension will more that insulate them from higher taxes and energy costs etc in the years ahead. The general public however, won’t be so lucky.