INLAND RAILWAY- POLITICS OF DISASTER

Back in the days of his prime, Barnaby Joyce announced that the Coalition Government had allocated 9.5 billion dollars for the construction of the Inland Railway.

He had demanded this from Malcolm Turnbull as the price for National Party cooperation at the time of Turnbull’s coup to topple Abbott.

Turnbull reluctantly agreed, but insisted that it had to be funded ‘off balance sheet’, ie, not taken from general taxpayer revenue in the next Budget, but funded by loans to be taken out by the Federal Government’s own railway company, ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) against its balance sheet. Future revenue would pay back the loans.

This was mentioned only in the fine print of the public announcement. Most voters think it is being funded by regular government grants.

In other words, Barnaby Joyce proceeded with the project without allocating one cent of government funds to it. This means that his in-depth commitment to it has been Nil. It was simply a vote getting stunt. Continue reading “INLAND RAILWAY- POLITICS OF DISASTER”

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”

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”

Why our railways must triumph over roads.

The foundation of Australia’s growth as a nation was based on railways. They spread out like tentacles over the habitable areas of the continent from every capital city, and they were the basis on which commerce and industry were built.

Unfortunately, they had defects that downgraded their ability to serve the needs of a growing nation as they were focused on directing passengers and freight to capital cities, thereby causing unbalanced development — too much population concentrated in too few places. Continue reading “Why our railways must triumph over roads.”

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!”

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”