Concerned about energy bills? Not making ends meet? Well, I have a great idea for you. Just give me a large amount of money… say $10,000 and I’ll pay your energy bills for the next couple of years. That way you’ll have a balanced budget in the near future and you’ll have reduced your energy bills to zero.
If you think that sounds like some elaborate con, you’d be wrong. There’s nothing elaborate about it. Yes, you may be worried that I’d just abscond with the money and you’d get nothing for it. And I guess that’s a risk. However, that assumes that you trust me a lot less than the government trusts the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
You see, Scott “Promo” Morrison has told us that the reason they gave so much money to the foundation was a strategy to ensure “our return to a balanced budget at the earliest opportunity”. Rather like the scheme I proposed for helping with skyrocketing energy prices. They’d promised money to help with the health of the Great Barrier Reef and giving it to any government department would have meant that the spending would have been listed against the Budget in the year that it occured. By giving it in one big hit, Morrison and the Liberals ensured that not only did it make future Budgets look better, but they weren’t accountable for how the money was being spent.
This is a pretty well-trodden path:
- Cut funding so that a public service department isn’t functioning efficiently.
- Anounce that you’re selling the particular department so that the private sector can turn it around and make it function properly which will lead to better service for less cost.
- Blame any shortcomings on teething problems for the first few years, while crediting any improvement on privatisation rather than the sort of technological breakthrough happening all the time.
- When privatisation hasn’t brought the promised improvement, either say it’s a private company and nothing to do with us (see Public Transport) or, if that’s going to cause too much anger, tell people it’s because private companies are more concerned with profit and you’ll wave a big stick at them if they don’t smarten up their act (see Banks and Financial Institution).
It’s worked with the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, electricity companies, Medibank Private, public transport and TAFE. I mean, here in Victoria we were told that privatising electricity would lead to cheaper prices because having mutliple companies pay armies of people to knock on our door and insist we switch providers was much going to give the system efficiencies that the government just couldn’t deliver because they had a monopoly. Thanks to privatisation we can all get a large discount as long as we paid our bill on Tuesdays via any method that didn’t involve cash or credit card.
Privatisation was meant to lead to lower prices. Then getting rid of the carbon “tax” was meant to save us $550 a year. Next, we were told that the NEG was going to save us $550 a year. After that, getting rid of the PM was meant to be the way to get lower prices. Now, it’s building more coal-fired power stations because a source that needs mining, transporting and burning will inevitably be cheaper than the wind or the sun. If you’re not noticing a pattern here, I suspect I should send you my bank details so you can deposit the $10,000 for the scheme I mentioned earlier.
Of course, some of you may think that spending a lot of money this year just so you can say that aren’t spending it in coming years does nothing for the bottom line, but clearly, you’ve never been Treasurer of Australia. This year, it’ll be part of the economic mess that Labor supposedly left, whereas in the future it’s part of their “sound” economic management.
It’s like big and small government. Labor apparently believes in “big government” so it can be blamed for absolutely anything that happens while it’s in power, but Liberals believe in “small government” which is code for nothing is ever our responsibility. You know how it goes: Unemployment? Labor’s fault! But these people are just bludgers now we’re in power. Street crime? Labor’s fault! Hang on, we’re in power. It’s those bloody judges not filling up the private prisons owned by our buddies! Wind blows electricity transmitters over? Labor’s fault for building wind farms and encouraging all that wind! When coal-fired power stations fail to work with us in power, it’s because Labor didn’t do enough when they were in power. Removing an elected PM? Labor started it. Needles in strawberries? Oh wait, we’re in power now. We believe in small government so that has nothing to do with us, but we’ll get cross as Punch and tell everyone that we’ll raise the sentence from ten to fifteen years. Thank god, they did that because I’m sure that there’d be thousands of people out there who’d be saying that they would have happily done ten years but fifteen means that they’ll think twice before adulterating strawberries.
It’s all very predictable. Just like the post-mortems on the Wentworth by-election. When Labor fail to achieve a 17% swing, we’ll be told what a good showing it was for Scott considering that Malcolm was a popular member and PM to boot (which they did), besides by-elections always show a swing against the government. If Kerrie Phelps happens to win, we’ll be told that it’s a really shocking result for Labor because – even with such a large swing – they failed to pick up the seat.
I just wish the lotto numbers were as easy…