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Why do governments find it so hard to say we were wrrrr……….

Government is, in some ways, like running a business. They must decide what they are trying to achieve, examine different approaches, choose which one to adopt, assess and evaluate progress, and, if you are not achieving the desired outcome, change the plan.

It’s the last part that government seems to have trouble with. No-one seems willing to say that their plan isn’t working.

One obvious example of this is the privatisation of the Commonwealth Employment Service. In an excellent article at Independent Australia, Darren Rexter writes of the pitfalls of turning jobseekers into commodities and the questionable practice of private sector organisations making a profit from the ills of the needy

He quoted Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business Australia, who recently wrote a piece calling for the creation of a new CES, stating that the privatised system was textbook driven policy that has created a few millionaires off the back of the unemployed while delivering a scheme that is probably delivering, at the most, minimal service.

Another example is the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Labor government introduced a carbon price which was achieving the goal of reducing emissions. The Coalition chose Direct Action instead and, ever since, emissions have been rising.

We have always had the goal to provide affordable, reliable energy. The thing that has changed is the urgent need to minimise global warming. But somehow that imperative has been discarded.

Privatisation of the electricity sector has proven a disaster. The NSW government, against the advice of the ACCC but with the encouragement of the Federal government, sold off Bayswater and Liddell power stations and now the Coalition want to prosecute the company they sold them to if they don’t give it back. They want them to keep using coal rather than implement their plans to use gas and renewables.

Then there’s our asylum seeker and refugee policy. Supposedly, the draconian offshore detention was to save lives. Peter Dutton keeps telling us about the deaths at sea. But he refuses to talk about the deaths in custody or the sexual abuse or the mental health issues or the cruelty and illegality of indefinite detention of people whose only crime was to come by boat instead of plane to ask for our help.

Or we could talk about how we let the car industry die but are now going into the armaments industry. Apparently giving billions to foreign arms manufacturers is preferable to giving foreign aid which has been slashed to record lows.

We have tried the experiment of pouring billions of dollars into private schools and our standards have fallen. Perhaps we should stop funding them, put the money into public schools, free tertiary education, and teacher mentoring and support and see if results improve.

Private health insurance has also become an expensive experiment that drains money out of the public system with increasingly unaffordable premiums and rising out of pocket costs. Waiting lists for elective surgery continue to rise as public hospitals close beds due to cuts in funding.

The government should fund public schools and hospitals and let those who wish to choose another system fund it themselves. Private health insurance should not be government subsidised.

Slashing the numbers of public servants has also been a poor choice. It has not led to better, more streamlined service for users. It has not eliminated duplication. All it has done is transferred the work that agencies used to do into the hands of overseas call centres and, instead of frank and fearless advice from departments, private consulting firms, for huge fees, give the advice the government wants to hear.

We send in inspectors equipped with the power to shut down puppy farms, we willingly pay more for free range eggs, yet when it comes to the horrific conditions in live sheep transport or the cruelty in abattoirs overseas, profit overrides our laws and our morality.

This list could be much much longer.

Why do governments find it so hard to say we were wrrrr……….


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  1. Ricardo29

    This reads like a to-do list for an incoming Labor Government. I hope someone with the Opposition’s ear is reading this and reporting back. Well done once again Kaye Lee, a succinct and erudite elucidation of some of the wrongs perpetrated by a heartless and incompetent government.

  2. Josephus

    Agree Ricardo, but wish Labor stuck to basic decency with respect to asylum seekers, spoke out against to coal fired power, called out toadying to big business re Adani. They look after the poor and sick sometimes, but tend to vacillate instead of having principles.

  3. Andrew J. Smith

    It’s probably a symptom of lacking grounded policy vs catering to external stakeholders; maybe why many MPs sound and look like sock puppets?

  4. Jack Russell

    I’ve been wrong soooo many times in my long life that I sometimes feel quite wise now … but I could be wrong about that.

  5. Kaye Lee

    There is no-one who has never been wrong. The measure of a person is what they do about it.

  6. Kaye Lee

    That story really angers me diannaart, for many reasons.

    If Shorten believes in his case, he should welcome discussion so he can defend it.

    If the AWU and CFMEU can gag debate which has nothing at all to do with their members or industries, then they DO have too much power.

    And why is it when there is a difference of opinion in the Labor party, the Coalition cry weakness and division, but when there is disagreement within their own party, it is a broad church.

    And most importantly, exactly what is Shorten’s plan for the people currently on Manus and Nauru and what will he do if he can’t find places for them. I cannot believe he has resorted to saying “stop the boats”.

  7. Pierre Wilkinson

    thank you Kaye Lee, agree 100% with Rcardo29 and your comments…
    if only the MSM would report honestly on this government the polls would be 60:40

  8. DavidBruce

    Don’t expect either party, LNP or Labour, to change anything. The Commonwealth of Australia, trading as the AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT, is a corporation. We are enfranchised to elected the franchise operator, LNP, Labour, coalition or others. The franchisee can’t change the rules, they are bound by the terms of the franchise to operate the business, AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT.

    After reading the information from the websites below, I think I now understand how the big banks managed to get away with what they have been doing!

    Documents relating to registration with the SEC of the Australian Government as a privately owned American company
    30 June 2017

    Document 1 - PDF 3MB

    Attached are documents released under a Freedom of Information request seeking access to all documents that confirm the following: registration with the SEC of the Australian Government(Commonwealth of Australia) as a privately owned American company, file number:333-163307 CIK:0000805157.
    Keep up to date with Treasury

  9. Kaye Lee

    The newly elected Australian Medical Association president says the country’s health system is ailing and doctors’ patience with Health Minister Greg Hunt is “wearing thin”.

    Dr Bartone said public hospital waiting lists were growing and health insurance slipping further out of reach, singling out the federal health minister.

    “Our health minister needs to understand that the time for rhetoric is over, our patience is wearing thin, we need to see crucial positive actions now,” he said.

    “Australians have a right to quality healthcare, and it is up to us – as the AMA – to defend our world-class health system, but our health system is ailing.”

  10. DavidBruce

    I didn’t request the FOI documents, they are on Treasury websites.

    I am aware of the Australian (and International) system of banking. Also looking closely at the new legislation being drafted to separate the banking systems in Australia. The CEC and Bob Katter deserve more support!

    Not at the mercy of the Crown… hmmmm

  11. Kaye Lee

    I think looking into breaking up the banking system has merit. Get them out of insurance etc.

    The Queen does not control our financial system and our government is not an American company.

    But that doesn’t stop them from making really stupid decisions all on their own (or at the behest of corporate lobbyists and financial backers).

    As they have been paying for unemployed people to plant trees…

    “The total volume of logs harvested from commercial plantations and native production forests reached record levels in 2016-17, exceeding 33 million cubic metres, a 10 per cent increase from the 2015-16 log harvest and 45 per cent higher since 2012-13.”

  12. Glenn Barry

    Malcolm would disagree with everything you have said, it is all completely wrong and I’ve seen him do it in front of an entire studio audience on Q&A.

    If you for one second think that Malcolm is wrong then you are clearly mistaken.

    The students in his year at high school begged the head master NOT to make him school captain. He ignored them.
    He’s ended up prime minister.
    I bet those students from his year are wishing to high heaven that someone had effing listened to them all those years ago…I wish it were so also

  13. DavidBruce

    Queen Elizabeth II is head of the committee of 300 who control the World Bank. I had dealings with the World Bank over the past 2 years and it isn’t pretty. Queen Elizabeth II is not the entity referred to when I said the Crown. Crown agents include Trump (1987), Soros (Swartz) and many others with whom you will be familiar. No conspiracy theory with these players. Their records are in the public domain.

  14. garry

    The Liberals have a commitment to maintaining there ineffectual climate endeavorers. It’s an appeasing smoke screen for the voters. But in reality they have no commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are chameleons, blending in with public opinion, to stave off rejection, They enact a hollow Climate change initiative, but it’s only camouflage. Remember Coal is good! Up is down

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