Two quite separate events yesterday illustrated, in painful detail, exactly how badly policy-making in Australia has run off the rails. For a country with a proud record of making tough but eventually worthwhile economic and fiscal decisions over the last 30 years, our process for making decisions has now gone badly awry.

Over in the west, as part of the landslide victory of Labor, Nationals leader Brendon Grylls lost his seat of Pilbara, despite the Nationals overall suffering only a tiny fraction of the big swing against the Barnett government. Despite leading a more independent National Party than the Liberal Party minions back east, Grylls was every bit the traditional advocate for regional boondoggles and wasted spending that we see in the eastern states. But he also supported an increase in mining royalties, and as a result became the target of a $2 million mining industry campaign across all media platforms. Labor opposed the royalty hike as well, and in the end was the beneficiary of the mining industry's largesse.