Posts Tagged 'henry ergas'

A damning assessment

Henry Ergas has a great piece in The Australian today that offers a fairly comprehensive analysis of the secrecy and idiocy that runs through the Rudd Labor Government.

He touches on some of Conroy’s failings:

As for the national broadband network, the Government seems intent on making its predecessor’s policies look good, a feat I considered to be beyond human ingenuity.

The Coalition merely wasted time and money. This Government seems determined to wreck the network we have. Stephen Conroy is poised to try what no country has seriously contemplated: undertaking a complete revamp of the incumbent’s network against the incumbent’s active opposition. This involves huge costs and risks for users, especially in country areas, for Telstra’s shareholders, and for taxpayers, who will bear the project’s inevitable and mounting losses.

And Labor’s secrecy:

Lack of transparency makes the Government’s record all the poorer. John Faulkner promised full disclosure. In fact, disclosure has been pitifully inadequate. Access to the modelling underpinning FuelWatch: refused. Access to the model used to evaluate the ETS: refused. Access to the cost-benefit studies underpinning the NBN: refused. Access to the Building Australia Fund’s project appraisals: refused. Access to the Treasury’s assessment of alternative stimulus packages: refused.

This makes a mockery of democracy, whose virtue, as the historian and philosopher R.G. Collingwood argued, lies in forcing governments to operate “in the open air, and not as a post office distributing ready-made policies to a passively receptive country”. This Government seemed full of policy wonks who would bring a fresh breath of serious expertise. Unfortunately, it has proven far more adept at politics than at policy.

Whenever the likes of Rudd or Gillard are asked for treasury modeling that backs up their policies, they offer nothing. This is, by their own admission, no more than “pay back” for Howard and Costello not releasing modeling when they were in Government. Labor has absolutely no interest in transparency or accountability in Government, only in keeping a terrible status quo alive. Undoubtedly, Labor’s actions while in Government now will serve as justification for the Liberals not releasing modeling when they make Government in the future. Someone needs to break the cycle. The taxpayers deserve it.

The Labor party is trying to implement so many new policies and spend billions of borrowed dollars without showing us the modeling and the evidence that underpins their decisions. All they’re interested in is playing tit for tat with the Liberals. Why are people not outraged?

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