A FUTURE WITHOUT ADANI

We are led to believe that the economic future of North Queensland is utterly dependent upon the opening of the Adani Mine in the Galilee Basin. Without it, we are told that there will be massive unemployment and a general economic downturn.

Indeed, it is of such enormity that an election in Melbourne for the Seat of Batman in the Federal Parliament will be decided on the issue, even though the electorate and the mine are thousands of kilometres apart.

This nonsense, spread by politicians, free market advocates, climate change deniers and general fear mongers, badly fails the pub test.

The stark fact is that development of the North and the Inland has never been backed by either serious political will or genuine investment, nor has a well researched long term plan of sustainable development for the region ever been prepared, let alone implemented.

The Adani mine was chosen as a quick fix for years of neglect and it was based on series of appalling fabrications. Continue reading “A FUTURE WITHOUT ADANI”

THE ADANI ELECTION

Queenslanders go to the polls on Saturday, 25 November, to elect a State Government.

Ostensibly, it is a contest between Annastacia Palaszczuk and Tim Nicholls as to who will be Premier of the Queensland Parliament,

It is absolutely not.

The battle is about whether or not one of the largest coal mines in the world will be opened in the Galilee Basin of Queensland and send its coal to India via the Barrier Reef.

This creates a complicated political situation as both Palaszczuk and Nicholls strongly back the opening of the mine, as does the likely holder of the balance of power, Pauline Hanson and her competitor for that role – Robbie Katter.

One would think that this would place the Adani mine in the safest of political positions, but it does not. It is an issue that will dominate the headlines until voting day as Adani protesters turn up to disrupt every political meeting, particularly those of the Premier.

Its chief beneficiary will be the Greens who have never before prospered in Queensland.

They will gain the balance of power and deny Hanson her dream. Continue reading “THE ADANI ELECTION”

BARNABY or HANSON

The Angry Vote is growing throughout Australia and is doing so at an ever increasing pace as voters grow more and more disenchanted with a political establishment which is so appallingly out of touch with the aspirations of voters.

Currently, Angry Voters see Pauline Hanson as their only vehicle for protest, but most of them don’t like her personally. She is simply a political convenience.

But, even if Turnbull and Shorten manage to destroy her, an event which is highly doubtful, the Angry Vote will remain and grow even faster.

The fact is that all those disenchanted souls need a new political home, another knight in shining armour.

The only possible candidate is BARNABY JOYCE.

This raises an unanswered question.

WILL BARNABY TAKE THE NATIONALS OUT OF THE COALITION AND CLAIM HIS, AND THEIR, PLACE IN THE SUN? Continue reading “BARNABY or HANSON”

THE MONEY MYTH

Controversy has raged around the five million dollars in salary and bonuses paid to the Chief Executive of Australia Post and the ridiculous manner in which those who were responsible tried to hide their stupidity.

Clearly, there is something wrong when the CEO of a Government Corporation is paid nine times that which is paid to his boss, the Prime Minister. Eye brows also rise when that CEO buys a home for around twenty million dollars and then spends five million renovating it. The underpaid postmen out on the beat in hot weather were somewhat less than impressed.

But, it did give the leaders like Wayne Swan an excellent platform to relaunch their much needed drive to have inequality taken seriously by politicians, voters and economists.

The Board of Directors of Australia Post is clearly to blame, absolutely out of their depth. Their Chairman is a politician with no business experience who was given a ‘job for the boys’ when his political career abruptly ended. Quite obviously, that type of political appointment must cease as it is of absolutely no value to Australia. Continue reading “THE MONEY MYTH”

Rating Malcolm

Australia has had 29 Prime Ministers – some excellent, a few worthy of special mention, many mediocre, some shockers.

I thought that I would rate them while enjoying a wee dram of superb single malt scotch whisky – Lagavulin from the Isle of Islay – as it expands my mind to a splendid level of generosity.

The result is that I rank Malcolm Turnbull at No 19, ahead of Abbott, Rudd and McMahon who shared the wooden spoon.

My reasoning is simple. He has the capacity to become a great PM, but he is a long way short of realising his potential. Continue reading “Rating Malcolm”

EVERALD’s ELECTION EDICT

We are two weeks into the 2016 Australian Election and I have waited in vain to hear any policies of vision and conviction from either the Coalition, the Opposition or the Greens that will stir my passion as a proud Australian who wants to build and expand the quality of our nation.

Sadly, I have stared at a barren waste.

Our politicians have missed the heart beat of the nation. They are talking to the old fashioned electorate of yesteryear that no long exists. Continue reading “EVERALD’s ELECTION EDICT”

TAX CUTS & POLITICAL SUICIDE

I respect Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison. They are intelligent, astute Parliamentarians. This makes it difficult for me to understand why they have made tax cuts the cornerstone of their election campaign.

They appear to believe that such cuts will stimulate economic growth and create jobs, but history proves this theory to be a fallacy.

In order to justify this statement, can I suggest to all my readers that you study research reports into tax cuts in USA and Australia over the past fifty years? You will find no economic or social justification for them.

The facts are that every tax cut has created some more billionaires, but few jobs down on Struggle Street. The trickle down effect has never ever trickled down and never will. Of even more concern is that on each occasion there has been a tax cut the national debt has risen. Continue reading “TAX CUTS & POLITICAL SUICIDE”

TAMING THE NORTH

I have been a voter since 1952 and, at every election since then, there has been someone, either a Prime Minister or an Opposition Leader or an aspiring MP, who has seriously threatened to develop Northern Australia.

Sadly, I still wait with fervent hope for a leader to appear who will actually do it. For the past sixty years it has simply been an exercise in vote gathering. Continue reading “TAMING THE NORTH”

IN SEARCH OF A NATION BUILDER

Australia is a disgracefully underdeveloped and poorly planned nation, the result of hugely neglectful politics over a long period of time.

Because no thought has ever been given to balanced development, most of our population is crammed into capital cities where the price of housing is exorbitant, roads are clogged and suburban rail systems are primitive.

80% of our land mass is sparsely populated and poorly serviced by internet, hospitals, water, railways, roads and ports. Continue reading “IN SEARCH OF A NATION BUILDER”

Time has come to search for Nation Builders

To find Australia’s last nation building venture we must go back two thirds of a century to the Snowy River.

We have to take our minds back the same number of years to discover a nation builder, Flynn of the Inland, the man on our twenty dollar notes, who founded the Flying Doctor Service, Pedal Radio, School of the Air and two dozen bush hospitals in very remote places.

One does not have to be a genius to come to the considered view that it is time to revive the fine traditions of the grand pioneers after 65 dormant years of fostering the good life in preference to investing in the future of a great nation.

To emphasise our passive attitude to nation building, let me tell you about an experience I had two decades ago. Continue reading “Time has come to search for Nation Builders”

SENIORS ARMY WILL MARCH FOR WATER

Last week, I outlined a plan to drought proof our Australian continent by sending tropical water south via dry river beds and connecting channels.

The concept is fundamentally sound, but it will become a reality only if the private sector provides the money and expertise to do the job as all governments are consumed by an insatiable desire to retain power at all costs. They think that capital spent on water won’t get them as many votes as handouts.

Continue reading “SENIORS ARMY WILL MARCH FOR WATER”

WITHOUT WATER, LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE

Australia is the driest continent on earth.

Yet we invest tiny dollars in water even though we are aware that Australia has the potential to become the food bowl of the world.

Unaccountably, we are willing to risk only miserable dollars in this enormous trading opportunity.

Continue reading “WITHOUT WATER, LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE”

Infrastructure Australia must be an independent legal entity- currently no teeth, no money, no hope!

Of all the nations in G20, Australia’s record in creating modern infrastructure is the least progressive and most inefficient.

There are two main reasons for this. One is that our outdated Federal Constitution leaves responsibility for infrastructure in the hands of State Governments, with the Commonwealth being able to influence matters only by offering finance to the States. The only exception to this is infrastructure for Defence, which is totally a Federal matter.

Equally negative is that the Commonwealth does not offer sufficient funds to meet the huge challenge that modern infrastructure demands. Continue reading “Infrastructure Australia must be an independent legal entity- currently no teeth, no money, no hope!”

How we have failed to build a balanced nation – disasters & solutions

Just imagine for a moment that you are standing on Possession Island in Torres Strait with Captain James Cook on August 22, 1770, while the good captain makes his declaration that the Australian Continent is a territory of the King of England.

He calls you aside and asks you to prepare him a report on what quality of nation Australia should be 250 years hence, as he expects His Majesty to ask him about it when he gets back home.

Let us also assume for the purpose of this exercise that you are a person of extraordinary intellect who has the capacity at that time to perceive what the world will be like in the 21st century.

It will be safe for us to presume that you would not imagine an Australia that would the planning disaster it now is.

Would you have suggested that these unimaginable disasters may eventuate? Continue reading “How we have failed to build a balanced nation – disasters & solutions”

Rail and Water Agenda for an Infrastructure Prime Minister

Article written for On Line Opinion “Under New Management” feature.

I greeted with enthusiasm Tony Abbott’s election comment that he wanted to be remembered in history as Australia’s Infrastructure Prime Minister. I formed the view that his words were welcomed by many who have genuine concern that our nation has an appalling record of neglected infrastructure stretching back for far more the half a century that has elapsed since the Snowy Mountains Project became a reality.

During this time, there has been a steady, but not spectacular, investment in roads and some expansion of ports, but very little spent on railways or water. If the PM can make a difference in these two areas, it will make an enormous contribution to the progress of the nation. Continue reading “Rail and Water Agenda for an Infrastructure Prime Minister”

The Election of a Lifetime

Who will win power in September?

A year ago Tony Abbott was an unbackable favourite to become Prime Minister of Australia at the 2013 Federal Election. Only Black Caviar had shorter odds. Most punters reckoned that Julia Gillard would lead her party to absolute oblivion, irreparably damaging the ALP brand in the process.

Now, although the Coalition is still clearly in front, it is a genuinely contestable election that may yet provide the biggest political upset in our nation’s history. Continue reading “The Election of a Lifetime”

Is there a prosperous future for the Australian Bush?

Have we killed the legacy of John Flynn?

Out where the sun goes down, the people of the bush call him “Flynn of the Inland”. He was the man who, in the first half of the Twentieth Century, made a valiant attempt to create a “Mantle of Safety” across the remoteness of the continent by building hospitals and hostels in places like Birdsville, Innamincka, Oodnadatta and Halls Creek, creating the Pedal Radio and establishing the Flying Doctor Service so that ordinary Australians could make a new life in the Outback and feel secure.

He also enlisted a team of Padres who ministered to people in areas covering countless square miles — marrying, baptising, counseling and burying them — no matter what their faith or lack of it. By any standards, his life’s work was a notable achievement which will be honoured by historians for generations to come.

Now, sixty years after his death, we should be honest enough to admit that we have not built on the solid foundation created by his extraordinary endeavours. Continue reading “Is there a prosperous future for the Australian Bush?”

An Olympic Dream

The massive expansion of the BHP mine at Olympic Dam in South Australia is splendid economic news for Australia in terms of job creation and export revenue, as is the impending opening of the Galilee Coal Basin in Queensland which has the potential to become Australia’s largest coal field.

Reports on the 24-hour news cycle tell us that BHP has signed an agreement with the South Australian Government to build a water desalinisation plant near Port Augusta, with pipelines to Olympic Dam at an estimated capital cost of four billion dollars and an annual operating and maintenance cost of $200 million. Some of the water will be used also to meet general water needs in South Australia.

This decision shows once again the unfortunate tendency of State Governments to make decisions in isolation without looking at a solution that will create economic and social opportunities across the nation as well. Continue reading “An Olympic Dream”

The Murray-Darling at five minutes to midnight.

 There is a no more thankless and unproductive task than to have a cake of a fixed or shrinking size and be given the task of dividing it among a large number of people — each of whom is after a larger slice than they are reasonably entitled to have.

Yet, this is the fate of the Murray Darling Authority which is taking a thrashing from everyone with an interest in the region — irrigators, farm service industries, small business, Greens, the five governments that are involved, and lots of others. No-one is happy, and they will remain that way until a greater water supply is permanently available — a goal which is achievable, but will cost money and political capital. Continue reading “The Murray-Darling at five minutes to midnight.”

Creating the Great Australian Food Bowl – Andrew Robb Leads the Way

Having long been a staunch advocate of using the surplus water of northern Australia for the benefit of the whole continent in a far more wise and visionary way than we currently do, I was delighted to read the recent front page coverage in The Week-end Australian of the planning that Shadow Federal Finance Minister, Andrew Robb, is undertaking regarding the storage of water and the expansion of agriculture in his policy development role for the Coalition.

It is refreshing to know that there is at least one parliamentarian who has it in mind to do something significant about water and our capacity to become the food bowl of the world, with the added benefit of becoming less dependent on mining for our national economic survival. Continue reading “Creating the Great Australian Food Bowl – Andrew Robb Leads the Way”