I have not focused on the Australian political landscape for a few months but the recent tragic deaths of 4 people installing home insulation as part of the Rudd Governments spend-a-thon, has reminded me of the dangers of a government obsessed with poll numbers and popularity.
I have been a vocal critic of the way the Government has thrown around the economic stimulus money from the day they announced their plans to toss money around. Back then I felt pretty much alone as the Business Council of Australia, the Unions and most in the media for example thought that injecting billions of dollars quickly into the economy was a grand idea.
My major gripe with the economic stimulus spending was (and still is) that it was poorly planned, not targeted and would do little to help make the Australian economy more robust or productive in the future.
In addition, very little of the money spent by the Rudd Government has been targeted towards reducing CO2 emissions which they say, is causing global warming which according Kevin Rudd, is the greatest moral challenge we face. (not people starving to death as we toss away food scraps or millions dying or disease etc.)
Think about the twisted logic in Rudd’s mind for a second. On one had he says we have to reduce CO2 emissions and labels people who disagree with him as “deniers”, but then on the other hand he puts together an economic stimulus programme that will increase our CO2 emissions!
Building new school halls does not reduce CO2 emissions. Building new sports facilities does not reduce CO2 emissions. Providing communities centres with Ipod docking stations does not reduce CO2 emissions.
Building a nuclear power plant and a high speed rail link between Sydney and Melbourne would reduce CO2 emissions but well, those sorts of “smart” projects don’t make the grade it seems in Rudd’s 21st century world.
Then we have the infamous National Broadband Network which I said from the day it was announced would be a flop. Again when I made those comments various telecomms “analysts” were saying the NBN was a great idea, but now as each month passes we can see the economic viability of the NBN collapse further.
By the time they finally get just 50% of the network deployed it will be outdated and broadband wireless technology will be at speeds almost equal to, or greater than, what the NBN can deliver.
But sadly the clearest example of how reckless the government has been with our money, and the money it has borrowed that we will need to repay, has been the home insulation programme.
Tragically four people have died because the Government seems unable to carry out the most basic of risk management exercises. Peter Garrett can hide but he cannot run as they say, he sold out his principles (if he indeed had any) when he joined the ALP and now he refuses to get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness as he should.
We are told that under the Westminster Parliamentary System that Minister’s are held accountable to the people for their actions, but in Australia this does not seem to be the case. Garrett should have already resigned because he oversaw a programme that was flawed from the start.
At best Garrett has been naive in which case he is not capable enough to be a Minister or at worst, he is incompetent. Either way he should resign or be sacked and this is what Rudd should do if he has one of those things made of bone running up his back.
On a brighter note it seems we actually have a Federal Opposition now, one that can take the fight up to the Government and hold them to account. For a democracy to be healthy we need people asking tough questions of those in power. Sadly under Malcolm Turnbull that was just not happening.
I am not great fan of any politician or political party, I simply think the situation we have had over the last two years where there has been no effective Federal Opposition has not been good for any of us.
I know some people applaud Turnbull for taking a stance on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) but please give me a break, when an ex-merchant banker defends a scheme that will set up a way for his banking mates to make a lot of money from trading carbon credits then I smell an rather large rat.
if Turnbull is so committed to reducing CO2 emissions then I expect to see him move into a smaller home, stop taking overseas holidays and catch public transport. But I suspect he hangs around with the climate change fakers and pretends he understand the science behind AGW when he actually doesn’t have a clue.
People in power with economics degrees are dangerous and should not be allowed in any debates about “real” scientific issues.
As we all know we are in an election year and to the Government’s surprise they seem to have a fight on their hands. Love him or hate him, the reason Rudd is looking somewhat rattled is because of Tony Abbott.
Abbott is now doing what Opposition’s should do and that is focus on what the Government is doing rather than fighting amongst themselves.
Turnbull is still sniping away at his own team from the sidelines and is destined to joined the grumpy old ex-opposition leaders club along with Mark Latham and John Hewson. At least we don’t hear much from Mark Latham these days but sadly John Hewson actually thinks he has something to contribute, even though he lost the un-losable election.
An election year means we will hear plenty of grand promises from both side of politics. The danger for Rudd is that people will stop believing what he says since he has failed to basically deliver much of what he promised during his Kev07 campaign.
The danger for Abbott is he is still a bit of an unknown and will be attacked by feminists, the unions and others as some ultra conservative that plans to thrust the nation back to the 1950’s.
At this stage it still looks like Rudd will be Prime Minister in 2011, but at least now he is not looking as smug as he did in the past.
Hopefully we will get some balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Australian media throughout the election year but don’t hold your breath. The only major newspaper I have seen tackle the tough issues consistently has been “The Australian”.
The others tend to go with: climate change is bad, those who question the science behind climate change are bad. Sea Shepard activists always tell the truth, Japanese whalers cannot be trusted etc.
I have found if you really want to dig into an issue you either need to search the blogosphere or if it is an overseas news story then bypass Australian journalists, because most of them simply don’t have a clue of what is really happening. (much of the international content on Australian news sites is from overseas sources anyway)
In an election year it is important for all of us to appreciate that people in power want to stay in power and those not in power want to be. These people have friends in the media and so the information we are fed is not always the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So read widely and don’t rely on the major news outlets to provide an unbiased view of the world.
Finally I am now a certified Twit or Twitterer, so if you want to catch my daily rants or digs at the mainstream media and journalists then you can follow me at GregAtkinson_jp Hope to see you there!