How Canberra became Wayne’s World

What political silence?

Dr Richard Di Natale, Greens Senator for Victoria, writes: In Bernard Keane’s piece yesterday “Cost of living delusion runs deep at the political level” (yesterday, item 2) he says that that all politicians keep pandering to the notion that voters are doing it tough despite the fact that the opposite is true. He finishes by saying “at some point a brave politician has to come forward and tell voters the truth.” He obviously hasn’t read my first speech. It’s not a question of bravery, just a willingness to say it as it is.

From my first speech, July 2010:

It is now a political mantra to talk about how tough life is for ordinary Australians. Of course some Australians are hurting. Some are trapped in an entrenched cycle of poverty.  Some people have lost their retirement incomes because gamblers have speculated on the market with their savings. Some have a gambling problem of their own, supported by State governments whose own addiction to this revenue shows no sign of letting up.

But the reality is that by almost every measure, whether it is income, housing, education or health, most Australians are doing better than the citizens of almost every country on earth and far better than at any other time in our history.

At a time of global turmoil, our economy is one of the world’s shining lights. When almost half of the world’s people continue to live on less than $2.50 a day, we have experienced a prolonged period of economic growth, low inflation and low unemployment. Our nation has never been better placed to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. This is precisely the time for courage and vision, to lead rather than follow.”

The power of Wayne:

Robert Jensen writes: Re. “The Power Index: why Canberra revolves around Wayne’s World” (yesterday, item 1) I think Bernard Keane is the only journalist that gives Swan any credit for being a good treasurer — thanks for that.

It’s easy to be a great treasurer in the good times but it’s in the hard times that they truly have to show their metal. I think Swan and Rudd deserve a lot of credit (though they won’t get it) for having the guts to go hard with the stimulus when the GFC hit. It couldn’t have been an easy decision but it saved lots of jobs and more importantly for the long term — businesses.

And those people who think that 2012/2013 surplus is purely political should read the article “Keynsians in the recovery” that Swan wrote for the Australian Fabian Essay.

Also, in the next few years productivity will increase as a result of the current restructuring of businesses resulting from the high Aussie dollar and the training measures put in place by the government. Unfortunately, Swan won’t get the credit as Abbott will probably be in power then.

Finally, I think people under-estimate how much influence Swan had in getting the carbon price up. He was committed to pricing carbon into the economy after he met Stern. Although, the short term politics aren’t good on this one the long term economic benefits to Australia will be immeasurable.

The Gillard v Walladge war continues:

Hugh McCaig writes: Something has to be said to bring Luke Walladge’s (comments, yesterday) all out attack on PM Gillard (now twice) down to earth. It has become an unrecognized reality that the economic safety which our country has had is in fact down to the Labor Government led by Julia Gillard and her Cabinet colleagues. Looking around the world this should be acknowledged. The fact that it isn’t, is down to the constant negativity of the Media pack in Canberra  working almost in a lock step march to denigrate the Prime Minister and Government.

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Categories: Comments & corrections

3 Responses

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  1. Lindsay Tanner has long supported the large-scale sale of public infrastructure.

    In an email to me back in 2005 he said he supported the sale of the Snowy Hydro - as in the modern era governments don’t invest in capital assets like power stations and dams etc anymore - and instead invest in human capital - like education.

    Of course the only reason he was saying this was that at the time both the NSW and Victorian state Labor governments wanted to sell the Snowy Hydro off to raise money to balance their budgets.

    The really scary part to this was that he was effectively saying it was okay to fund recurrent costs such as the education budget with revenue from asset sales.

    Tanner was also a Rudd supporter and was against Gillard from the late 90s.

    But why let facts get in the way of a good attack against Luke.

    As to the WA premier/election - I think Luke was talking about rising utility costs in general and was not referring to the carbon tax - and all governments are facing growing anger from voters over escalating electricity, water, gas prices. State govts will try to blame the carbon tax - but as we all know from Crikey - it’s infrastructure costs that are mostly driving up prices.

    Finally, calling Luke’s efforts tr**ling is just pathetic. It’s inherent aim is to shut some down - and it should be included in Godwin’s law.

    by Simon Mansfield on May 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

  2. Matt Davies - considering Luke Walladge is a West Australian (or at least lives in Perth), I strongly doubt the excerpt you quote is intended to be read the way you interpret it (though it is confusing). I can only presume that he means that Colin Barnett’s vote in the next State election will end up being inflated by the very strong anti-Labor feeling being generated in the west by the federal government.

    by Phen on May 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm

  3. As Far as I’m concerned, regardless of how you read it, it proves he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
    The Crikey crew could surely have seen this guy coming from a mile away and it’s a fair bet they only gave him space in the daily mail in order to stir the “true believers” into a frenzy.
    Trolling at it’s finest, and not a little enjoyable for that.
    However, if this Wallage character is not an idiot, perhaps he could take some time to explain his ridiculous error.

    by mattsui on May 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

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