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

whither Australia « Previous | |Next »
November 25, 2007

It's Howard's end. A chapter on our political history has just been closed. I see that Dame Leonie Kramer is pointing the finger at the press for closing the chapter. She says "The fourth estate has let us all down, The press, with noble exceptions, has been opposed to him." She noted the symbolism of a former journalist taking Bennelong to the brink of Labor control.

There is still denial about the policies: unpopular industrial relations reforms, climate change, welfare to work and a lack of vision of Australia's future amongst the hard edged Liberals. The Liberals had lost touch with public opinion. Apart from the economy they had little to offer in terms of the future and they couldn't see that it was time for political renewal.

Bruce Petty

So where to now? If the Rudd policy agenda is still a work in progress and me-tooism a campaign strategy, then we know that the states now have the obligation to work with the commonwealth government to fix the health system.That just means hospitals doesn't it?

We also know that Rudd's priorities will be federalism, a large part of which will involve sorting out the delivery of water services and education as well health plus the construction of the high speed national broadband network, and putting a computer in every school.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:55 AM | | Comments (9)


Well, it was the same listening to Kelly and Downer on tel this morning. Moaning b---s.
And since when should we be taking notice of geriatric and moribund fossils like Kramer anyway.
This is the best thing about the Tories being tossed out-loking at their sad-sack faces; realising that Jones, Ackerman, Flint and all the other relics of paleo- feudalist kleptosquattocracy are finally consigned to the trash can of history, where they belong.
Good riddance to utterly valueless rubbish, I reckon!

And while am about the place, what better moment last night than seeing the dawning of recognition of what had overtaken him, on Brough's face. Am ready to beleive there is a God after all.
Events like Kelly sisters and the Nairn demise; even the overthrow of John Winston himself, paled into insignificance before the sheer magnificence the brutal and cleansing Brough justice.

Rudd's own list of five priorities (published in last week's Sunday Age: Kyoto, hospitals, broadband, training and Iraq).

I would add the following: water; higher education; energy.

I see belatedly what Gary is really getting at.
The hospitals were symbolic of everything that was wrong with Howardism in its last term. Opportunistic confrontationalism, in which fights picked with the states removed attention from the Feds and their mismanagement of the receipts derived of the boom, through a false claim of state incompetence (according to the narrative). This clash of political policy aimed at survival with "governance" and the implementation of genuine Policy, seemed too obvious after the NT "intervention".
This last and most crass variation of the theme allowed
Labor to gain traction, by pointing out another example of political expediency of reaching the stage of callous harm to innocent bystanders. Cooperativism could acheive what headlong confrontation for political gain failed to acheive, especially as to the public good.

But the terms of discourse have subtly changed, again. Rudd is now suggesting coercion rather than cooperation, reviving the Howard line. The initial critique suggested the problem with state infrastructures related to willfull lack of funding from Howard, but now the blame is surreptitiously being shifted back on the states and their "inefficency" ( real or imagined ) again. Rudd also begins to chatter hard on the subject of government spending cuts elsewhere.
Sooner a politician pass through the eye of a needle than forsake neoliberalist ideology, or just bloody hoarding, for the common good.
Or is a recession on the way?

interesting take on matters roughly along thread topic lines comes from that eternal optimist, ken davidson, entitled:
"Rudd the reformer; he's no Whitlam" in the "Age" ( finance ), 26/11, just out

thanks for the Kenneth Davidson link to the op-ed Rudd the reformer; he's no Whitlam in the Age. Davidson's argument is:

Rudd Labor has won the election but, unlike the election of the Whitlam government in 1972 and the Hawke Government in 1983, there is no sense of renewal.Right or wrong, in both those elections Labor sought a mandate for a range of policies that attempted to tackle the burning social and economic issues of the time.

This can't be said of this election. The main policy distinction between the major parties in this election was WorkChoices. Rudd promised to abolish it but it is still unclear what industrial relations regime Rudd will put in its place.Beneath the hype, there is little difference between the policies of the major parties in respect of the environment, monetary and fiscal policy, education, health and even refugees.

He points out that on the environment, federal Labor has effectively adopted a policy that is consistent with a three-degree global increase in temperature, rather than the two-degree target supported by the International Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations and the European Union. As the Carbon Equity group has pointed out, three degrees cannot be a target, just a signpost on the way to catastrophe.

But we have moved away from denial and a refusal to do anything serious about it. That is a serious difference. However, Davidson is mor eabout his own agenda that evaluating the ALPs:

Fundamental reform of health requires better control over health-provider incomes. The $2.5 billion subsidy to private health insurance should be spent directly on health — on private hospitals if necessary — to provide elective surgery for patients based on need rather than their ability to afford private insurance.

There is more to health reform than that--ie., the shift from public hospitals to primary care prevention.

If you want "prevention", OR quick remedying of ideological or incompetence-imposed operational flaws in current social delivery services, you'd need a different consciousness than what is encouraged in our society?
You'd have to level with the People as to the nature and operation of society and the techno crats would have to get away from their market based "beauty " of system design, in the sense of a system fitting in with abstracts like privatisation and "small government", as "goods"in themselves rather than as means for delivering outcomes for real people.
You'd have to tackle the whole underlying neolib paradigm, typified through things like the abandonment of government input into interest rates, Serf choices for "efficiency". Who recalls Tony Abbott's celebrated example concerning junk food advertising; e.g. the strict application of "laissez-fair" regardless of the impact of a problemin the real world.
PPPs for their own sake solely as part of some abstracted ideological agenda, must go unless proven to be of some practical use for society, rather than solely, parasitic racketeers.
Margo Kingston, on "Difference of Opinion" recently, suggested we need a more "holistic" aproach in seeing the way our society, including ecology/economy, operates. As was said elsewhere yesterday, the Costello/Howard radical experiment has collapsed because of its self referential and escapist theology.
Therefore, if the underlyng assumptions on which action is predicated are no longer valid, we must necessarily pause for a moment from all that "Creative Destruction" and include a "view from a distance" currently arguably lacking.
But if we can't even have an adult converstion about the underlying goals and objectives of civilisation, let alone move to substantial change on the basis of improved consciousness related to need and "use"; why even bother- that's why Ken is right in fearing "Howard Lite".
We just continue to build castles to remain upright on a flat earth.
As for Davidson's practical suggestion concerning an immediate attempt to deal with specific public hospital or education bottlenecks, I see nothing in the proferred proposal of micro help concerning specific "bugs" that indicates any implicit rejection of "prevention" at the macro. The two are not necessarily inimicable.
Although I'd disagree that funding should go "private" before "public" as to infrastructure in health and education. But am curious if you are suggesting Davidson is putting forward a private hospitals agenda- I think he has always argued against this, at lest without proper prior consideration as to specifics.

a good pathway for a Rudd ALP would be to build on and reshape Howard's economic legacy of a strong economy, and to do away with the worst abuses of the Howard regime: sophistry, undermining democratic institutions, perverted the public service, and allowed the national security laws to be abused by ASIO and the federal police.It's repairing the damage that has been done.

the problem with me-tooism is that the ALP's policy culture is thin. They lack creative energy and purpose and are going to have to rely on others to avoid a sense of drift.

That's how I interpret Petty's different ALP and Liberal pathways ending up on the same road into the future.

The road? Increased centralism.