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”

Who won the Games?

Australia went backwards at the London Olympics, but the Brits have enjoyed great success both in a sporting and organisational sense, except for their inability to sell tickets. There is no doubt that the Games did wonders for the morale of the British people. It has been at rock bottom for a long time for a wide range of political, economic and social reasons, a large measure of which is related to its fateful decision to join the fiasco known as the European Union half a century ago.

The Olympics have cost Britain a lot of money, and the debate about whether they have or will ever receive value for money will go on for a long time. Continue reading “Who won the Games?”

The pain of being like Spain

Premier Campbell Newman made headlines when he declared that Queensland’s economic position is similar to that of Spain. His remarks reminded some commentators of Paul Keating’s famous forecast that Australia could become a banana republic, a comment that caused him to suffer a fair bit of flak for years afterwards.

Of course, Newman knows, as we do, that Queensland’s position is nothing like that of Spain. His State has the backing of a strong Australian dollar, while Spain is tied to the Euro which is well on its way to being a terminal currency. Spain has 25 per cent of its population unemployed, whereas Queensland’s percentage is one quarter of that. Additionally, Queensland’s debt, and that of Australia, is miniscule compared with Spain’s.

So, why did Campbell Newman make such a dramatic statement? Continue reading “The pain of being like Spain”