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Canberra watch: new directions? « Previous | |Next »
December 30, 2007

If the Liberals are in the land of oblivion desperately trying to create a future for themselves on liberal principles, then the ALP's intellectuals are saying that the Howard legacy has disappeared and will not return. Consequently, we can expect new directions from the Rudd Government:

workingfamilies.jpg Matt Golding

Barry Jones argues that the new directions will involve greater accountability and transparency in government; respect for the rule of law; a more independent foreign policy; international leadership in reducing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions; a national apology for Aboriginal dispossession; depoliticization of the public service and the return of frank and fearless advice; co-operative federalism.

Its a 'change the government change the country' style argument that Jones is mounting. I'm not persuaded that it is as clear cut as Jones makes out. There is too much overlap with the Howard legacy: budget surpluses;deregulation and expansion of the economy; entrenching choice of school and health care provider; enhancing the enterprise society of small firms; even industrial relations reform.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:57 AM | | Comments (19)


Does anyone else get the impression that the end of Howard and beginning of Rudd have confused the left as much as the right? I get the sense that we've stopped being one thing, but haven't started being anything else yet.

one clear difference is nuclear power. There is little chance of the commonwealth support for nuclear power; or uranium enrichmment or making Australia the world's radioactive waste dunmp with a Rudd Government in power in Canberra.

The debate will be about the issue of mining and export of uranium with the Rann Government in SA leading the way in the name of short term wealth production.

However, on a cautionary note, there are strong pro-nuclear elements in the federal ALP who benefit from the deep pockets of the Quarry Australia crowd and who work in favour of the politics of subservience to Washington.

I think we are in a bit of a hate vacuum. Rudd hasn't really done anything for the press to criticise (there all still drunk anyway)
I feel like the eye of the cyclone is above us and everybody is looking around thinking boy am I glad thats over.

one difference could be the end of the nasty Howard-style conflict politics in favour of a more national consensual approach that addresses the climate change issues.

That is my hope----along with lots more blood spilled in the Liberal party of course. Slow factional poisoning, Roman style, is what I'm looking forward to.

There you go. That's what I mean. Three different people, three different ideas of what's going on.

Gary, so it's business as usual on the nuclear front without the looming threat of reactors and radioactive waste dumps in our backyards?

Les, hate vacuum is an interesting way to put it. For me it's a bit of a passion vacuum. You watch the news at night and there's nobody to point at and say "Yeah, what they said" or "Get off my TV you cakehole".

Nan, honestly, how much joy can there be in watching what's left of the Liberals mangle each other? Without Howard it's like watching the Qld opposition, or paint dry. Nelson says Hicks should work for the dole. Geez, that was momentous. Not.

I agree it's good to see the end of Howard-style confrontation, but it would be nice to have a decent argument from time to time.

Maybe it's just the time of year following the most seat gripping year of politics I can remember. Maybe I'm just having adrenaline withdrawals.

I called it a hate vacuum because more people hate pollies and their ways than those that love them.
I mean they don't sit in front of their TV news and say "Oh jolly good we have consensus, Polly A is lovely"
They sit there and say "Oh thats crap" "Agh Bullshit" and this is directed at both sides.
We are all just siting around at the moment going "Ooo Ahhh! those damn animals are going berserk" instead waiting for the pollies to start gnawing each other again.

Gary et al.
For those who think they are living in a political news vacuum now is a good time to do a bit of reading. I mentioned earlier the outcome of the COAG Conference, so today I printed off the papers.In the lead up to the election there was dicussion about Tafe and health services to name two.Well the Coag papers will tell you what has been set in train. There is enough material there to keep most intelligent observers in discussion for the next few months and by then we will be into the first session of Pariament.I haven't mentioned indiviual responsibilities of the Executive government .As I understand things, they, with their departments, have long since started work on the government's stated agenda. There is plenty going on if you want to find it.

Can you simplify it for us Len?
Tafe, Health! I've got this funny feeling that the gov is going to spend the next 2 years bullshitting to us about both.

I guess its hard not to be cynicl about the performance of Government, particularly after the last eleven and a half years. I've made a point of meeting at least some of our new leaders and am convinced that they have every intention of implementing their stated policies and election committments. Certainly that has been the case to this point. Early day for sure.
You will recall Posts about Tafe during the election and speculation about Labor's intention.We now know what is intended from the COAG paper describing the education working Group
"Improving and expanding vocational and technical education by developing future management arrangments for thr Australin Technical Colleges and creating an additional 450,000 training places over the next four years."
Compared to the blockage, because of IR laws by the previous government I think that is progress.
You ask about health. I think, as do health professionals throughout the country, that the creation of a new Preventative Health Care Partnership,and a revision of the exiting Health Care Agreement [covering hospitals] is real progress.Even better is the creation of a Nationl Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.
All of this and more is quite readily found on the Prime Ministers web site I got my copy from the Australian Hospitals Asssocion site.Goo hunting.

Thanks for that. I think you have saved me a lot of reading.
The 450,000 places: Can you tell me what amount of places are to be made in what vocations?

Sorry. No. I guess we will have to wait for the task force to do a bit more work!

I suppose one could estimate that the idea would be to spread the places between the cities and regional areas 50/50 and then divide by the number of states and then split them between trade type training and office, hospitality and other. All things being equal you could come to a ball park figure.

I wonder what the dollar value to creating one tafe place opposed to creating one operation and recuperation in hospital is?

Les, If you think about it as distribution by need rather than evenly split money it would be more beneficial, but way more costly to set up and then you'd have local and state governments bickering over who got more and how unfair it is that someone gets 10 hairdressers when someone else only gets 2.

Your observation on hospitals is spot on I think. Trouble is, it takes an expensive and controversial university place to train hospital staff at any level. Universities are the black hole in Rudd's plan so far. We're doing ok on that score here on the GC in medicine, nursing and dentistry. Hospitality is covered at TAFE and uni, which is excessive. But plenty of other places around the country will do without.

I wonder if there is a plan to allocate some of this 450,000 training places to the defense forces. It would be a good way to make up the numbers. Perhaps I am being too cynical and should slap myself again.

I think some indigenous issues will take precedence.

What's looming is dealing with climate change through a carbon trading scheme; and the impact this will have on the corporate sector and the economy.

Achieving the order of magnitude of cuts the ALP has put on the table (60% cut in emissions by 2050) requires that much coal fired produced power will need to close.

Yet Australia's energy consumption continues to increase and it underpins fuels the engine of the economy. That collides with plans for a sharp reduction in emissions in 2020 that came out of Bali.

I think there needs to be an apology to all aborigines not just the stolen generation. I think we owe them this for allowing them to have grown up and become part of a Rape Culture. Yes we stole their country. Yes we stole their children. Yes we turned a blind eye to lots of abuse both by whites and blacks.

I read about Nanosolar film the other day. In effect a photovoltaic material that can be produced on a film base, in paint or maybe as an additive in concrete. The film production is in Germany and then USA by plants in which Google has a heavy interest. The first year of production has already been sold,so it said. Energy production is said to be lower than using coal,certainly when all cost including ghgs are taken into account.If all or any of this has substance why would we build any more coalfired power stations?

Yes I agree an apology to the aboriginal community is long over due. And what is worse we are still doing all of things you mention and more.A real test for our new Government

Yes but I think the Government will see the importance of the issue at this point. I believe that the indigenous community sits on the knife edge of many violent protests should the status quo remain.
It is a pity that they never really have had a leader that could unite them and direct them in a positive way.
Sure Noel Pearson is smart but has he really achieved much for his status beyond Cape York. And is that model really working? Sure its working better than some but is that enough?
What are realistic targets for the future of aboriginal welfare? Is it to only have 50% receiving it? Is that good?
Should we establish a target like we have with climate change issues?
Is the Aboriginal environment equal in value to climate change? Should it have as much of our attention?

They sure will be tested.