"... there's a utopian tone to the whole thing, not dissimilar to the early, funny socialist visions that were untainted by the nasty experience of the real world."Today the visionary North Australia/Asia's Foodbowl/Turn The Rivers Inland policy vision made a visionary reappearance in newspapers; like many an Abbott policy, there'll be a white paper about it once in government -- Abbott will, in Brendan Nelson's words about Kevin Rudd, "hit the ground reviewing", but that's no bad thing. The unconstitutional tax bits have been dumped but the door left open to visionary tax incentives to relocate to sections of the country where there aren't any people or infrastructure, along with a vague but visionary commitment to move some public service departments north; the Long March of Bureaucrats from Canberra to Karratha envisaged in the visionary original, leaked version of this scheme early in the year has been replaced with a less ambitious but still somewhat visionary proposal to investigate whether there's bits of the APS that could shift. Hopefully Abbott's white paper process will investigate the less visionary option of doing nothing, on the basis that we won't need to shift Australia to the top end when, courtesy of climate change, the top end is coming toward us at a rate of knots. In fact, you'd just settle for the white paper addressing implications of climate change for the original top end. The Abbott vision is that northern Australia becomes a cornucopia of tourism, agriculture and mining, apparently unaware it's tricky to have even two of those together let alone all three, and climate change is hardly conducive to any. Just ask tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, this deep north stuff is downright weird. It's not just Tony Abbott's own big government DLP mindset emerging -- it's shared by Coalition MPs with functioning brains like Andrew Robb, the small government types at the IPA and far-Right miners like Gina Rinehart. It's straightforward, Whitlamesque regional development, complete with Whitlam government policies like moving public servants around. It's social and economic engineering on a huge scale; there's not a market mechanism in sight. Indeed, there's a utopian tone to the whole thing, not dissimilar to the early, funny socialist visions that were untainted by the nasty experience of the real world. It's as if the Right wants to create a new Australia, one free of all the bad things about the current one like pesky unions, well-paid workers and restrictive environmental regulation, a place where entrepreneurs, with just a little help from taxpayer handouts, some government spending on infrastructure where no one currently lives and a few indentured public servants, can breathe the (admittedly, rather humid) air of freedom and create a more efficient economy. Still, it's only Abbott's policies that are dysfunctional. They can always be changed -- a famous and unfairly criticised habit of Abbott's. Labor's problems run far, far deeper than silly policies.
Abbott’s ‘visionary’ policies v Labor’s crippling dysfunctionality
While Tony Abbott continues to produce dud policies for the Coalition, Labor's problems are far deeper and have now crippled it. The choice for voters come the election in September is miserable.