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Day to Day Politics: Bloody Hell, just get it done.

Thursday 24 May 2018

On Monday my wife and I attended a function at which a friend, Dan Clancy, a councillor with the La Trobe Valley Council was the guest speaker. The La Trobe Valley was the home of the Hazelwood power station that closed in 2017.

Dan is a relatively new councillor and in an all to brief discussion with him I asked how things were going. He explained that the most frustrating thing was “getting things done.”

It seems that even the most simple of things required a survey, a report, an inspection, analysis, examination, or a study of sorts.

In order to generate activity and jobs after the loss of Hazelwood, Council and both State and Federal Governments are contributing a generous amount of dollars to build a new aquatic centre, Performing Arts Center and a Sports centre in Traralgon.

To cut a long story short it got me thinking about “getting things done” and how long it could sometimes take. I recall hearing John Butten the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce in the Hawke Cabinet explaining on talkback radio just how hard it was, and how long it took, to turn the car industry around.

Then there were the setbacks that Architect Ulson had with building the Sydney Opera House.

But there are those among us, those who seem to have a natural aptitude for getting things done despite having obstacles placed in their way.

One such man who had the ability to crash through regardless of the circumstances he confronted was Gough Whitlam.

Please Note: This is a piece about getting things done using Whitlam as an example. I have had the debate about his worth as a Prime Minister many times and don’t wish to have it again.

It was on May 23, 1974, that Gough introduced a Universal Health Care system to Australia.

The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis.

The Whitlam Governments Achievements

“In his brief three years the Prime Minister produced profound and lasting changes – reforms which could not have been so broadly conceived and so firmly implemented by a lesser man. The Whitlam Government without doubt was the most creative and innovatory in the nations history. Under Whitlam, Australia’s foreign policy came of age. His Government made education its top priority and poured money into schools and colleges throughout the country. It created Medibank, set up community health centers, gave a new deal to pensioners, took an active role in urban improvement and development, provided funds directly to local government, and gave a healthy boost to sexual equality and aboriginal advancement. It promoted greater Australian ownership and control of resources, legislated against restrictive trade practices, introduced the most civilised and sensible divorce laws in the world, gave encouragement to the arts, and in its final budget implemented some fundamental reforms which made the income tax system considerably more equitable. Whitlam himself dominated both his party and the Parliament, and he commanded respect when he traveled overseas in a way no previous Australian Prime Minister had done.”

Extract from Laurie Oakes book “Crash through or Crash”.

My question is, how do today’s current crop of politicians compare?

My thought for the day

About that red headed women. ”She thinks climate is the only thing you can do with a ladder.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


17 comments

  1. jagman48

    Sorry John but does she think ?

  2. Peter F

    “It promoted greater Australian ownership and control of resources,” and in one step had both the US and Britain against him…….He had to go, it was inevitable.

  3. Florence Howarth

    Why is she at Bank RC, not in Canberra where she is supposed to be?

  4. Terence Mills

    Sadly this government have only one policy and one piece of legislation that they want to pass before the next election and that is to deliver corporate tax cuts to the top-end of town. Sad for us as a nation when there are so many more important matters that need our attention.

    Personally I don’t think that this is the right time to be considering tax cuts [$80 Billion over ten years] . However, if the coalition take this policy to the next general election and if the coalition gets returned with a resounding majority I will have to accept that I am out of step with my fellow Australian and the policy should proceed.

    Somehow, I don’t think that the coalition are game to make this the centrepiece of their re-election campaign and if they did I cannot see them getting back into office.

    This is quite a quandary for Turnbull , he has two choices either to drop that tax cuts and infuriate his corporate base or take these cuts to the next election and face oblivion.

    Good luck with that !

  5. Matters Not

    Now a resident of an ICU, and while it focuses the mind, it doesen’t change it. Seems to me that the L/NP are on the run but as always they still have the ‘fear card’ ready to play.

    The election must still be won – not inherited.

  6. Kaye Lee

    I was wondering where you were MN. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  7. Frank Smith

    John,
    There is also a widely held belief here in Queensland that Joh Bjelke-Peterson was the man to get things done and many still crave for “the Joh days”. But his crash-through tactic was to ruthlessly use the gerrymander and ignore and even demonise the law – the tactics of a dictator. Some current NP parliamentarians still hold to the Joh strategy.

  8. Harry

    I live in the LV and was employed in the power industry for all of my working life. The privatisations of the 1990’s (unnecessary, ideologically motivated) caused much social and economic devastation in the area. There has been a slow partial recovery but the area still suffers from high unemployment. The closure of Hazelwood (overdue) has hardly helped. A number of businesses have shut their doors and rationalisations of larger businesses, such as Coles.

    There is what I can only call a cohort of long term disadvantage in the area which is a result of long term, even generational, unemployment. and blue collar work is scarce. There are significant drug use, mental health problems and domestic violence problems in the area.

    Whilst the assistance of both State and Federal government is helpful and welcome, most of the funds and stimuli will do little to assist those most in need.

    In my opinion, a more direct sort of intervention is required in the form of a Job Guarantee, an unconditional offer of a job, at a living wage, federally funded, but locally managed, with the variety of work opportunities available in each region to be determined by local authorities.

    Most of these opportunities would be service sector jobs: working on environmental restoration and protection, support for the aged, and a variety of other roles which are not being performed, but for which there is an obvious need. We aren’t short of ideas.

    People could also be paid as part of the job guarantee to work in not-for-profit organisations, or while in training, and local authorities could extend job guarantee roles to support artists, writers and musicians. Those providing care for family members could be paid as job guarantee workers. People on the aged pension or disability support could be paid at the job guarantee rate.

    We can restore a modern form of genuine full employment. We can permanently eliminate involuntary unemployment, underemployment and insecure employment. By doing so, we can go a long way to eliminating relative poverty, stabilise the economy and greatly reduce a variety of social problems.

    The LV is just one area among many all over the country which would benefit.

  9. Peter F

    Frank Smith: If anyone wants to know about Joh they should read Evan Whitton’s report on the Fitzgerald Enquiry into corruption in Queensland: ‘The Hillbilly Dictator’.

  10. Matters Not

    While Joh cdertainly employed the ‘gerrymander’, let’s not forget, it was Labor who cast the first stone. It was Labor that provided the ‘rationale’and It was Gross who refused to repudiate same when provided the ‘golden’ opportunity.

    Not a principle in sight – except for those in the dustbin of history.

  11. Wam

    A pleasant read for sitting in the same sun as 4000kms north but with a very different air temperature, with coffee from the hardluck in Yarrawonga.
    Fortunate, that woman is all that is keeping trumballs from copying the trump’s cuts.
    Perhaps she read the piece where the harley company closed a factory and gave the saving to shareholders?? Why is the colour of her hair worth mentioning? Did it not match her shoes??

    It may be heresy, but, even with her artful, sly payrise scheme, I consider gillard’s efforts, as pm, earned her equality with gough. Like him, she was cut by shabby tactics.

    Ouch, ICU!!
    Had a stint there after an operation mishap and then a week in the kidney ward. So good luck MN and if they ask you to lie on your tummy and fart upwards, don’t hesitate.

  12. Frank Smith

    Peter F,
    Yes they were unforgettable times here in Queensland. As Fitzgerald showed, regrettably corruption is almost always at the base of unfettered power. In 2018 we need look no further than the Home Affairs Dept and the power that Dutton and Pezzullo wield to see unfettered power in action. Far-right conservative Andrew Hastie also provided an excellent example of this yesterday. These are the sorts of “crash-through” tactics we do not want to see and point to the urgent need for a Federal ICAC and Bill of Rights. It would also help our democracy if all politicians desisted in the use of childish “wedge politics” and just got on with good governance.

  13. Möbius Ecko

    One big difference between now to Whitlam’s time is the MSM. Crashing through may have garnered some criticisms in the past, but crashing through and succeeding was mostly lauded. Now every step and every policy word is scrutinised to a minutia, and so as to sell news, deserving or not, nearly always discredited. Crashing has always been objurgated.

    Thus political leaders today are too scared to crash through. They selectively leak to see how the MSM will react, and deny the policy if that reaction is negative. Howard’s WorkChoices II is a good example of that. They run focus groups on everything. I doubt Whitlam ran any focus groups. They never release detail, because detail is complex in explanation and the MSM thrive on simplicity, such at three word slogans. They eschew transparency and obfuscate as a first recourse on any action.

    If you want to bring back political leaders like Whitlam, and that are not dictatorial, then our media laws need reformation to curtail the lies, distortions and unfounded attacks on policy by the MSM.

  14. Keitha Granville

    Julia Gillard actually achieved quite a lot in her short time as PM too, it seems she is gradually being airbrushed from our history as a mistake – fancy having a woman as PM, how foolish !

    They would get a whole lot more done if they stopped all the Dorothy Dix questions in the house, and just presented policy, fought for it and got it passed. If it doesn’t get passed , move on, don’t keep on flogging a dead horse. A whole lot less press conferences would be a good idea too. They are always talking to reporters somewhere about something or someone. Enough !

  15. Kaye Lee

    And stop flying all over the countryside to make announcements. Either make them from Canberra or let the local member do it or just issue a press release. Stop paying a fortune to put ads on the television and use the money to employ more people at Centrelink.

    I also think Julia Gillard achieved a great deal. And then along came Abbott and jumped on the sandcastle.

    PS I just got polled AGAIN. All Reachtel wanted to know this time is who I would vote for, my age, and gender. Talking about getting things done, I wish they’d have the bloody election so these people would stop ringing me.

  16. Glenn Barry

    On the topic of getting it done – the by-elections are scheduled for the same day as the Labor National Conference
    LNP corruption and politicisation of the public service and statutory authorities continues unabated

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