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

the “deserving” and the “undeserving” poor « Previous | |Next »
March 1, 2014

The bleating fossil fuel industry is uses the Abbott Government to defend its short term profits under threat from the emergence of renewables (solar and wind), to evade environmental regulation at open cut coal-mines and to socialize the externalities such as public health.

PopeDMorwellfire.jpg David Pope

Meanwhile the bleating farmers in NSW and Queensland get yet another handout or public subsidy in the form of drought assistance.

The justifcation for yet another exception to the end of the age of entitlement--recall the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania---- is that drought is a natural disaster. Yet drought is commonly accepted in public policy circles as a normal part of Australia's weather, and a permanent element of the Australian landscape. Farmers are seen as the deserving poor.

It's called protecting the conservative base. The manufacturing and canning industry, in contrast, is union based and allowing union jobs to go the wall weakens the unions and an ALP still heavily dependent on the support of blue collar unions. The unionized workers are the undeserving poor.

So much for the level playing field and the hard line free market approach. Politics rules. That is clearly seen with Qantas becoming a political football in order to wedge the ALP over increasing the 49 per cent foreign ownership through amending the Qantas Sale Act.

Labor opposes changing this part of the Act (it is in favour of both increasing the 35 % limit on the stake by foreign airlines and the 25 % limit on an single foreign shareholder). So Labor is held responsible for the decline of Qantas and the loss of jobs and that destroys Labor's (union-backed) argument of "protecting Aussie jobs".

Despite the obvious public health issues caused by the fire in the open cut coalmine supplying the Hazelwood power plant (the air quality is very poor because of the particulates produced in the fire), the Abbott Government has announced a study into the health impacts of wind energy and continues to talk about the cheap energy provided by Australia's abundant coal reserves.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:20 AM | | Comments (4)


That the second depressing thread starter I've read in ten with Quiggins, I wont comment further.

I think the difference with drought assistance and the myriad of other "subsidies" to just about every aspect of Australian life - be it for cars few buy, tinned peaches(who buys?) or public transport - is that the payback is usually quick. Obviously that depends on the length of drought.
At least farmers are cost competitive on a world scale.

Profits get privatised and losses get socialised for global companies.

The losses would include the harm to people from the particulate matter of the Hazelwood fire; the costs of putting out this fire; the clean-up of the surrounding areas.

What is important is protecting the energy company's profits--- GDF Suez is the multinational mining giant in charge of the nearby Hazelwood coal pit.

There is the option for class action against GDF Suez since the company is negligent.

the privatization of aged electricity infrastructure to off shore investors in order to reduce the Victorian government's debt has resulted in a reduction in maintenance spending on the Morwell Open Cut mine following privatisation.

What didn't happen was that the mine was rehabilitated and capped---including properly covering the property with non-combustible material, clay and vegetation--- and the water supplies in the abandoned areas were taken out --ie., the sprinklers and mains had been ripped out.

The latter meant that there was no firefighting infrastructure and no fire prevention sprinklers to stop the initial bushfire spreading into the pit.