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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the light at the end of the tunnel « Previous | |Next »
April 28, 2004

Consider this:
CartoonWilcoxaph2.jpg
Kathy Wilcox

The PM's dash to Baghdad indicates that the strategy is to use the war in Iraq to help win the election. It recalls the imperial presidents aircraft carrier shoot, where Bush stood below a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished", as US troops returned from Iraq. I heard the PM on the airwaves saying that Australia stays in Iraq until the job is done.

Now which job is that? Making Iraq a safe and secure democracy? Or ensuring that the alliance with the US remains everything? I reckon the job is all the way with the USA. It's our security blanket.

Now consider this:

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Bill Leak

An election campaign is definitely under way.

Well, we knew that. It has been so for some time. It's all politics, politics, politics now.

Aah that sugar package. The sugar industry has been in crisis for decades.

The sugar package is being sold as helping the industry to restructure and diversify into new value adding activities. The politics? Given the failure of the Free Trade Agreement with the US to open new markets in the US for sugar, the sweetner is to prevent an electoral backlash in National Party marginal seats in Coastal Queensland. It's a dressed-up pork barrell.

The Howard strategy is to spend up big to win the election.

Does Treasury think that market subsidy and protection is a good thing? Surely Treasury officials must be questioning the Howard Government's creditionals as a good economic manager. This is all round protection and subsidy.

Why not help the industry by increasing the amount of renewable generated in Australia? Sugar millers can generate energy by burning waste sugar cane fibre. So lets increase the madatory renewable energy targets (MRET) to encourage wholesale electricity distributors to buy an minimium amount of power from environmentally friendly sources.

Not possible Why? Politics. The energy intensive industry (eg., coal and aluminium) is opposed to increasing the MRET target. So that's that. No shift from generating electricity from polluting coal-fired power stations can be allowed. The line must be held.

Hence the sweetners. It's all politics, politics politics.

Where's the light in all this?

Me? I'm standing in the tunnel. According to the Howard Government, I'm hanging out for the "sandwich and milkshake" taxcuts in the forthcoming budget. For them I'm just motivated by money in the hip pocket and self-interest. That is the light at the end of the tune.

Update

The Prime Ministers Press release on the sugar industry for those interested.

The Mayne boy over Crikey.com lets fly at the "great free marketers in the Howard Government throwing hundreds of millions of public money at a bunch of moaning and chronically inefficient Queensland sugar farmers."

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:14 AM | | Comments (0)
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