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A half smart Rann Government « Previous | |Next »
August 20, 2003

There is in article in The Adelaide Review by Paul Chapman that provides a good evaluation of the Rann Labor Government. He says that:

"... it has tactical is increasingly confident that it can do enough to get itself well organized, responsive and self-preserving....but it has yet to prove that it is innovative and original."

Chapman argues that this Government's strategy has borrowed heavily from Tony Blair in Britain: fiscal constraint, strident law and order and health and education being the focus of the agenda. Yet the Government is controlled by the powerful tough guy neo-liberals--- Rann, Foley and Conlon---who control the purse strings. It is the women who are given the soft issues of health and education and are expected to implement the ideas with budget cuts.

It is half-smart because it is not very good at joined up big picture thinking. Though we have lots of ideas floating around about making Adelaide a sustainable city, none of these have been linked up with fostering economic development. There is nothing in terms of industrial an policy that actively fosters new Green businesses through retrofitting houses, manufacturing and installing solar panels, replacement of electric hot water systems zero water management program.

Though there is a lot of emphasis on being innovative and dynamic, there is little emphasis on facilitating innovative green technology let alone exporting this technology for income. Instead of incubators to encourage green entrepreneurs we will more emphasis competitive national electricity market. There will be no greening of competition policy.

What is depressing is that there seems to be little understanding in policy making circles that ecological modernization would provide more jobs in South Australia than the car industry. Instead of an increased regional investment in education, training and research to lift inventiveness and creativity, we get showpiece exercises, such as solar panels on the SA Museum and the Art Gallery and the protection of the old car industries.

The title half-smart is deserved. So why is SA half-smart? A report in The Australian Financial Review (19 08 03, p. 7) suggest why.

SA is chasing a coveted AAA credit rating from the interantional ratings agency Standard and Poor. That means ongoing and increasing budget surpluses over three years. It needs a AAA to attract national and international investment capital. So it has to reduce state debt and to cut expenditure to achieve budget surpluses. Dancing to the tune of international capital means less money on health, education and sustainability. It means smaller government.

Hence we have the Blair strategy of intensive media spin on the Rann Government being so wonderful, innovative and dynamic. The reality is that even in the biotech field there is little in the way of incubator programs that would help start-ups move from techno-science to risk taking, swashbucking entrepreneurs. But SA does have a biotech thinker-in residence.

More excellent ideas to cover up the lack of action.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:26 AM | | Comments (2)


Yes, you couldn't imagine the previous Olsen Liberal Govt. having the gumption to move some education union activists, who are vigorously opposed to Partnerships 21, out of Craigmore High. A Labor goverment with Liberal 'principals', which is the secret of electoral success.

A Labor Govt with liberal principles is a third way one. An apt characterisation of the Rann Government.

It is only half smart if the commitment to liberal economic principles is at the expense of the Labor concern for the welfare state and the public good.

It is only half smart if the strategies to keep it in power are at the expence of the long term future of South Australia.