Peter Smith

Crashing the economy

More inept than Gough’s colourful crew

Why is this Government still treated seriously? It has consistently dumped its own policies: for example, fuel watch, grocery watch, emissions trading, one-stop child minding centres, taking over public hospitals (all good things to dump, but that is by the way); twisted and turned over asylum seekers; and shown monumental incompetence in administering the ceiling insulation fiasco and in wasting billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on overpriced and sometimes unwanted school buildings. The architect of this latter bungle is even touted by sections of the media as a possible prime ministerial replacement for Kevin Rudd. The rewards for incompetence apparently know no bounds.

Then we have the national broadband network. Forty three billion dollars of taxpayers’ money at stake, decided on the back of an envelope. And to cap it all, we have the resources super profits tax (RSPT).

The way Rudd and company did it; it is so bizarre, it seems untrue. How inept can you get and still be thought of as having a brain? It makes it hard to write about in considered terms. When you add the RSPT to the other reversals, back downs, and fiascos, it’s hardly credible that anyone still treats them seriously and still gives them a chance of being returned to office. What does it all mean? What planet are we on? It must be planet “left-leaning media”; that is the only explanation. I cannot believe that a government which is clearly more inept – and not nearly as colourful as Gough’s (to wit as examples, Al’s shirts, Jim’s Junie, Rex’s pipedreams and Lionel’s penchant for break and entry) would still be rated as having any chance of winning 30 or 40 years ago, when the media was more objective than it is now.

Is it possible to imagine a government sitting for months on a publicly-funded report on taxation and then, without any consultation, announcing a punitive taxation regime, whose details and impact are beyond the wit of the Government to explain, on the very industry responsible for Australia’s economic good fortune?

How gullible can Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan, Julia Gillard, Lindsay Tanner and Martin Ferguson get, to accept the advice of Ken Henry without asking for other views? In Swan’s stead, we had Henry (a Government minister in disguise you might reasonably think) explaining that Treasury’s model says that higher taxes on the mining industry will benefit the mining industry. Some model, some clever tax.

Henry asked us to believe that Treasury’s model had figured out exactly how the worldwide mining industry would respond to the new tax before even BHP, Rio Tinto, and other miners, had figured it out. Pull the other one, is the only retort that Swan should have been made to that nonsense of unparalleled proportions.

None of this can be happening. Yes it can. Look at the United States under Barack Obama and his legislative cohorts Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid; look at the experience of the United Kingdom under Gordon Brown. There is a tension between reality and the Left which can be disguised at a debating level but which eventually shows itself in all its discordance whenever the Left gets into position of actually doing things.

Sometimes left-wing governments, like wastrel heirs, can survive for a time on a legacy – in Rudd’s case, on Howard’s and Costello’s fiscal legacy. But in a short time Rudd, like Gough before him, has managed to spend and mismanage his legacy. They can’t help it. They have so much to do and so little time. They have such grand utopian plans (sometimes called ‘revolutions’) to mould the universe with so little talent and real world experience to back it up. Motley crews of trade union officials, lefty lawyers and street smart political apparatchiks.

You wouldn’t let them run a corner store, but the country; heck, let’s give them a go and see what they can do. Well we now know what they can do and it isn’t pretty; particularly now that the public service, like the press, does not seem to be as objective as it once was. Hopefully it will get them kicked out of government; and their like-minded descendants kept out, at least until memory fades and the gullible think, all over again, “it’s time”, and this time it might be different.

 

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