Rudd’s promises:

Mark Jones writes: Chris Lehmann (yesterday, comments), this is Crikey not a third rate partisan blog. Your list and conclusions are too simplistic.

  • Fuel prices: November 2007 were $1.24/L, April 2010 $1.28/L . Yes the oligopoly not tackled, but market forces at play.
  • Groceries: percentage change in food prices from Dec07 to Mar10 is 8.05%, average CPI is 7.2%, so not a huge issue, but yes duopoly in retail and wholesale not tackled
  • Childcare: Yes double drop off not eliminated, but saved many ex-ABC centres and increased subsidy to 50%, though now capped at $7500 per annum.
  • Super clinics three out of 31 fully operational, but did they promise them in two years?
  • ETS — blame the Senate.
  • Copenhagen — blame the rest of the world.
  • Mental health: some incentive in place but did not build on Howard reforms.
  • 2020 Summit: well they had it, so promise met.
  • Fix hospital system by mid 2009: Failed.
  • Lower interest rates: November 2007, cash rate 6.75, May 2010 4.5%.
  • Evidence based policy: Stimulus package, see Crikey story “The most important chart in the Budget“, 12 May 2010.
  • Computers: 12,000 issued so far, program was designed over four to five years not two.
  • Cooperative federalism – Health? All but WA who are Liberal after all.
  • End of Blame game: Rudd, “I’m the leader — I take full responsibility for the good as well as the bad”, stated May 10 2010.
  • Yes poker machines are evil, yes boats not stopped, yes no progress on Indigenous housing and homelessness, nor significant closing of the gap.

So truthfully we got some of the above, a manageable deficit and two programs (BER and Batts) that have independently been assessed as achieving the vast majority of their objectives. However, yes there was not enough qualified public servants employed to oversee these two programs and completely stop the private sector from ripping off the tax payer.

The four deaths and subsequent fires were truly tragic, but based on the number of installations were lower than the industry average and the fault of the employers, not the government (installation rates per month were 30 time higher than prior to the program) . I’d happily provide you a list of Howard government broken promises and policy and program failures, but after 12 years of government the list would be significantly longer.

I also doubt Crikey would publish because its old news and would simply flame the partisans rather than contribute to a constructive debate.

John Kotsopoulos writes: Chris Lehmann’s selective list of Rudd “promises” and analysis is predicated on the facile assumption that everything negative can be pinned on Rudd while all the positives such as avoiding a recession, keeping unemployment low and interest rates lower than Howard are due to dumb luck.

For him to blame Rudd for the ETS delay when the Libs did a back flip while knifing a leader in the process is the ultimate in chutzpah.  It reminds me of the old joke about the wayward youth who murdered his parents and then pleaded for the mercy of the court on the grounds he was an orphan.

The Western Australian Corruption and Crime Commission:

A Corruption and Crime Commission spokesperson writes: Re. “Brian Burke walks? It’s time to investigate the investigators” (Tuesday, item 13). Luke Walladge on Tuesday had a number of inaccuracies and was based on a misunderstanding of the purposes of the Corruption and Crime Commission.

To address some of the inaccuracies:

  • Mr Walladge alleged a lack of involvement of the DPP in the corruption trial involving Messrs Burke, Grill and Hondros. The charges were laid on the advice of the DPP and the DPP then chose to take the matter to trial and was responsible for the conduct of that trial. All Commission cases in the higher courts are prosecuted by the DPP;
  • there have been nine corruption convictions (including a former ministerial Chief of Staff) not the zero corruption convictions as stated by Mr Walladge. There have also been nine convictions for bribery and eight of disclosing official secrets; and
  • in fact, the Commission has recorded convictions against 46 people — a conviction rate of 82%.

According to the Commission’s Act, the aim is not to gain convictions but to improve continuously the integrity of the public sector and to reduce the incidence of misconduct in it. Of course, if potentially criminal behaviour is discovered, the Commission will act.

The investigations into lobbying lifted the lid on activities including:

  • developers secretly paying councillors who later voted in favour of the developers’ projects without declaring a financial interest;
  • a Cabinet Minister having a secret mobile in order to receive instructions from a lobbyist;
  • another Cabinet Minister and his staff secretly meeting lobbyists to conceal their dealings with them; and
  • a member of a parliamentary committee secretly leaking a draft report to lobbyists so that amendments favourable to their clients may be made.

The exposure of these and other practices has resulted in a permanent change in the way lobbyists operate in this State. It has also reinforced for Western Australians the obligation of public officers to act first and foremost in the public interest.

Finally, the name of the organisation is the Corruption and Crime Commission not the Crime and Corruption and Commission as Mr Walladge wrote.

The Federal Budget:

Bryan Buchanan writes: Could I suggest that next year you dispense with the same tired old economic pundits and forecasters pontificating about the likely effects of the Budget, and instead get, as a suggestion some astrologers. I’m sure their prognostications would be equally as accurate as the economists and quite likely more entertaining.

David Cameron:

John Russell  writes: Re. “Rundle’s UK: my God it’s really over — New Labour has gone, gone utterly” (yesterday, item 2). No more than an hour and half after Gordon Brown made his terse resignation from notes at a lectern in Downing Street. David  Cameron had been driven to Buckingham Palace, had an audience with the Queen, driven back to Whitehall  and then walked up Downing Street with his wife.

Then without any notes or Teleprompter (Try that sometime Mr. Obama) he made a clear well paced gracious speech with no fluffs or repetition in understandable and grammatically correct English.  There was no mention of “working families” or “loved ones” or “battlers” which seem to be the only words that Australian politicians can repeat without notes.

How refreshing!

Low income tax offset:

John Lawrence writes: Any rise in the Low income tax offset affects minor taxpayers as well. With a LITO of $1500 for next year, the tax free threshold for unearned income of a minor will be $3333. With a lot of high income earners having family trusts, and say a couple of kids, that equates to a tax savings of $3000. Easy money.

Abbot’s immigration army:

Richard Scott writes: Re. “Dad’s Army vs. Tony Abbott” (yesterday, comments). The comparison between the immigration ad and Dad’s Army is all well and good — but it’s a little more startling to look at the graphic halfway down this page.

Peter Fray

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