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Tony Abbott, Roads Scholar, and His Tunnel Vision

“This election is about many things, but in the end, it is a referendum on the East West Link. It is a referendum on the plan that this Premier and no one else has, to build a modern 21st century with 21st century infrastructure,” Mr Abbott said
The Sunday Age, 9/11/14

Now those of you who aren’t Victorians may not be aware that we are having an election and Mr Abbott has promised us money to help us build a tunnel. In fact, just about anything that involves flat surfaces that you can drive on is ok by him. Public transport, however, not so much. Well, not at all.

There’s been a bit of argy-bargy about the State Government’s refusal to release the business case. Or indeed, the final details of the contract. But thanks to Mr Abbott we can see why. The Premier, Dennis Naptime, is the only one with the plan. This is causing the people building it a few difficulties because until they know where the road is going to finish, they won’t know where to start, but that didn’t stop them signing a contract in the final days before the government went into caretaker mode.

Labor, however, threatened to tear up the contract, so the Liberals have written into the contract a very large compensation package. How large? Well, we can’t know. But it’s enough to show how economically irresponsible Labor are with our money, because when they refuse to spend $8,000,000,000 on a road, they’ll have to pay the company the compensation the Liberals agreed that they were entitled to receive for not building the Link.

Tearing up contracts is economically irresponsible. It’s quite ok for the Federal Government to tear up the one signed with Telstra for delivery of the NBN, because the Liberals didn’t sign it, but if Labor were to refuse to honour the East-West Link contract, it’d be wrong because the Liberals DID sign it. And also because Mr Abbott wants to be remembered as the man who ensured that Australia was covered by one enormous road so that you can drive anywhere in any direction without the need to keep to the left, which as we all know is the sort of ridiculous red tape that slows us down.

As for Mr Abbott’s idea that roads are “21st century infrastructure”, I can’t help but think that they’ve actually been around a while now. One could forgiven for thinking that roads were, in fact, part of 20th century infrastructure as well. But this road will be built in the 21st century and after all, we’ll always need more and more roads. I mean, it’s not as if – for example -advances in technology may lead to people using 3D printers to print goods from home reducing some of the need for trucks on our highways. As for the idea of people working from home and using video link-ups, well, how far-fetched is that. There’s no way that our Internet would have the capacity to do that, because our Internet relies on 20th century infrastructure.

And it’s going to create lots and lots of jobs. Ok, one of the first jobs Acciona Infastructure (members of the group given the contract) advertised was for an immigration adviser, but just because this is a full-time position doesn’t mean that there won’t be oodles of jobs left over for Australians. I mean this project is costing $8 billion dollars. It can’t all be going on dinners at Vue De Monde.

(Speaking of Australian jobs, did any else happen to hear about one of the points being negotiated as part of our free trade deal with China makes it easier for Chinese companies working in Australia to bring out Chinese workers? Ah well, Tony’s contract with the Australian people only promised two million jobs within a decade. It didn’t specify that they’d be jobs for people already living in Australia. Actually, when you think about it, two million in a decade only works out at 200,000 a year – we did that during the GFC.)



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  1. townsvilleblog

    Bloody business case? If there is a public need for transportation upgrades than the government should build it. Sadly with the LNP what this really means is that the government will build it, only to later privatize it so low income people who can’t afford to pay tolls are unable to use it. This is now so blatant that it is LNP policy that State governments (LNP) and the federal government LNP are selling Australia off to the highest bidder or in some cases to a bidder who contributes to the LNP not necessarily being the highest bidder. It is an absolute disgrace to be following in the footsteps of the USA as far as a privatized economy goes. You in Victoria have the first chance to kill this movement in its tracks and return Victoria to the people, I sincerely hope you do so.

  2. Loz

    What an idiotic, toxic and tunnel vision government. I still cannot believe we are saddled with this government for the next two years.

  3. keerti

    200,000 jobs a year happens simply because of the overall population increase. It is not the result of any great economic ability of governments!

  4. stephentardrew

    Throw the bastards out.

  5. lefturnahead

    I hope Victorians do the right thing and i hope here in QLD in March we also do the right thing and kick these awful Conservative idiots into the garbage bin.

  6. jusme

    Judging by their wrecking of the NBN, NDIS, Gonski, climate action, international reputation and everything else they “fix”, Abbott will be remembered as the roads squalor PM.

  7. Terry2

    Not knowing the lay of the land in Victoria, the election is going to be fascinating particularly as I hear, today that Napthine has committed to major upgrades of the rail infrastructure – Tony won’t be too happy about that and how do Victorians feel about the Liberal government trying to lock any future Labor into their road/tunnel policies in this way ?

    Listening to Andrew Robb on this very rushed Free Trade Agreement with China he seems to be saying that it will include the free movement of labour and that Chinese labour coming to Australia to fill all of these job vacancies (?) will be paid Australian rates of pay – no cheap labour here. With due respect to the Chinese people, this will open the flood gates and change Australia forever.

    In Queensland we already have an unemployment rate over 7% and higher for youth and in regional areas.

  8. Billy muddle moir

    A fabulous read! When ever I see robb erring his way across the screen, I expect him to finish with ‘Ah, Magoo, you’ve done it again!’
    Perhaps it is time to start admiring the rabbott over his bladder control and little Billy’s steadfast adherence to not speaking till spoken to. Wonder what school they attended? The teachers have been strong disciplinarians?

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The East West Link is what the contract relates to above. It is a regressive measure to allegedly reduce congestion on east-west movements across Melbourne.

    It is yet another example of the ignorant and unethical short-sightedness of a Liberal National Party Government, (in this case the Napthine Government), which puts business mates and transport companies’ interests above the environment and the well-being of Victorians.

    Victorians have been calling for better public transport for decades and all we’ve received is bandaid treatment from both sides of the political divide.

    It’s only now with the public’s voices becoming louder and more numerous that Napthine and his degenerates, are providing carrots to public transport minded voters that show they might be taking it seriously.

    Too late, Napthine.

    Take heed, Andrews. If you win, be sure to honour your promises promptly to substantially grow our public transport train and bus networks, while ditching the contract on the East West Link.

    Belligerent Abbott says Victorians won’t get the $3bill earmarked for the East West Link if we don’t go ahead with it. Just shows what a Neanderthal he is.

    We’ll see about that!

  10. Terry2

    According to Tony Abbott, prior to the election, any Commonwealth funding for contracts over $100 million would be subject to a costs benefits analysis first.

    According to the ABC’s Fact Check the East west Link was not the subject of a costs benefit analysis before the Commonwealth money was committed and is thus a broken promise and potentially the contract is not binding or legal :

  11. lawrencewinder

    Dennis “Dodo” Naptime (Genus: Inutilus Rusticus), Pretend Premier for concreting Parkland …time to put him to sleep!

  12. Annie Byam

    What got to me was the hurried signing of the contract to build the East-West link … by Napthine……. that was specifically political sneakiness in the extreme. It forced the issue ( despite protestations from soooo many who would be out of homes, out of pocket because of it ) ……. and it forced the Labor Party to step forward to say what they might do about it.

    Either way it cuts, the Victorian people MUST pay the piper …. the deal is sealed so it comes out of our pockets. And if Labor scraps the deal, it is against the signed agreement with the constructions companies ……. so it STILL comes out of our pockets.

    So Napthine, painted both parties into a corner ….. that neither could get out of, without glossing their shoes with wet paint – and passing the costs of cleaning up the mess, onto the Victoria public.

    Nice going Napthine. …….. and here I thought he had a little degree of maturity and political truth about him

    There is no such thing as political truth. I thought Napthine HAD done a fair job running the State ( but would never have voted for the LNP at all – despite what my own sister might insist upon !!!!!!!! – she’s heavily into the LNP in Victoria … all the big deals, committees that she chairs, and meetings !! )

    But now – I put him LAST on the ballot sheet.


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