Monday 15 April 2019

Bits and Pieces: is the Government the Problem or the Solution?

I’m sure readers have heard libertarians and free-marketeers roaring or wailing -- fire in their hearts or tears in their eyes -- that the Government is not the solution, but the problem. Lefties (Anarchists and similar excepted), on the other hand, sing hymns to the virtues of Government intervention.

Who is right (lower case)? The Right or the Left?

Sorry, fellow Lefties. At least in Australia, Righties have good reason to believe the Government is crap. Believe it or not.


In Australia Righties can make sure the Government is expensive and dysfunctional. They can achieve that, for instance, by appointing their mates to cushy, well-paid positions weeks -- nay, days -- before the elections, particularly if they believe they may lose them.

Which is precisely what the ScoMo dis-Government did:

(source see also)

You see the guy at the right? That’s Matthias Cormann -- our very well-paid federal Finance Minister -- who made of low wages, including in the Public Service, “a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture”. That does not apply, evidently, to his mates.

This happens as news of Australian Public Service workers’ discontent for their low wages start to mount.


Nepotism Besides buying their mates’ gratitude, this last-minute hiring spree may have another upside for the COALition: potential moles in the Public Service, as a Labor electoral victory seems increasingly likely. COALition fanboys and girls within the bureaucracy harbouring an inborn hatred towards a Labor government, however, also have associated risks. Readers may remember the notorious case of humorously-named Godwin Grech:


Many of the jobs seem to be in cultural areas. Is this part of the COALition culture wars?

Particularly concerning, to me at least, is the extremely sensitive appointment, by federal Invisible Environment Minister Melissa Price, of Josh Thomas as CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Authority:


I don’t know Thomas and this may be just me being too demanding, but a resumé -- like his -- showing “advisor to a minister in a climate change denial Cabinet” would not impress me if I were in charge of hiring for an environmental office.


It’s not just jobs for the mates. ScoMo is squeezing everything he can, while he still can:

Taxpayers' bill for advertising hits $136 million as Scott Morrison prepares to call election
By David Crowe and Eryk Bagshaw. Updated April 8, 2019 — 1.00pm; first published at 12.18pm
The Morrison government has ramped up its marketing and advertising spending to $136 million for the first half of this year as it looks to maximise the number of taxpayer-funded ads before calling the federal election.

To use Tony Abbott’s infamous expression, ScoMo seems to be spending like a drunken sailor.


I already commented on this (readers may remember), but Adani also won bigly in the ScoMo Government meltdown. This is how.

Their Carmichael mine in QLD requires both Commonwealth and State approval. Until last week it had none.

On Friday 5 Jane Coram, from CSIRO Land and Water, in advice to the Department of Environment and Energy, wrote that:
“CSIRO is of the view that Adani’s responses should satisfy the recommendations to update the groundwater models, and are directed to address the modelling related issues and concerns in our advice, noting that there are still components of that advice that will need to be addressed through approval of the research plan.
Harassed by her party colleagues and ignoring the bit highlighted, on Monday 8 Melissa Price approved Adani’s groundwater management plans, claiming she had the full, unconditional, enthusiastic support of CSIRO and Geoscience Australia (two governmental bodies involved in scientific research). In fact, if you believe her, they almost strong-armed her into signing the bloody piece of paper.

Now, essentially the only thing standing in Adani’s way seems to be the QLD State Government.

More to the point for this post, that’s another way Righties make sure Government is shit: by ignoring governmental advice.



I’ll have to leave the Al Jazeera sting operation exposing One Nation as hookers soliciting for the American National Rifle Association’s money in exchange for favours for another day.


A bit less tongue-in-cheek now: I believe Leftist faith in Government and governmental intervention is seriously misplaced. It’s a capitalist Government, isn’t it? (And I’m looking at you, MMTers)

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