Multiple choice NSW political question: opposition leader Peter Debnam (a) spends too much time listening to the investment banker residents of his Vaucluse electorate; (b) really has no ambition to take Premier Dilemma’s job; (c) is a complete fool; or (d) all of the above.

Given the SMH’s report that he’s promising to sell off NSW Lotteries in the usual fat-fee float or trade sale, I’ll take (d) thanks, Eddie.

You could also throw in “(e) is a complete hypocrite” as Debnam opposed selling off Snowy Hydro. Compared with privatising the lotteries racket, there were better economic reasons and fewer moral hazards in flogging NSW’s slice of the Snowy, but Debnam went with the opinion polls on that one.

Now he’s a political fool for failing to realise that only his broker constituents would welcome the prospect of selling the lotteries to James Packer, for example.

However happy most folks might be to buy the odd scratchy or Lotto game, there would an unease about giving a large slice of the profit from that to the private sector. We prefer our sin to be community owned.

Yes, Victoria has its Tattersalls – or maybe that should be: “Look at Victoria’s unease with Tattersalls.” Bad enough to have a taxation policy based on ripping off the stupid, but to share the loot with the millionaire business class – nah, it’s not nice.

Debnam also has a problem with his excuse for the need to make his mates richer – saying NSW is going broke and can’t afford to pay for fixing its water problems.

Yes, NSW is not the most economically healthy state at present and has been suffering from incompetent government ever since Nick Greiner was shafted, but it’s credit rating is excellent and it will have no trouble borrowing money if it needs to.

I just remembered another option: (f) secretly works for the Labor Party.

Peter Fray

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