Home > Boneheaded stupidity, Economics - General, Politics (general) > Bligh and Fraser sell Port of Brisbane … to themselves

Bligh and Fraser sell Port of Brisbane … to themselves

November 10th, 2010

According to the Brisbane Times, the Bligh government has just sold the Port of Brisbane to a consortium led by the Queensland Investment Corporation. This must have been a tough negotiation, given that the QIC website states

As a Queensland GOC, QIC’s shareholding Ministers are the Honourable Anna Bligh MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts, and the Honourable Andrew Fraser MP, Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development

Note: As with the QR sale, it looks as if the government has retained about $1.3 billion of debt in the Port of Brisbane Corporation, which now has no assets, so the net proceeds will be less than half the announced price of $2.3 billion.

  1. Uncle Milton
    November 10th, 2010 at 16:04 | #1

    I suppose an investment bank took a share of the sale price. For a sale of $2.3 billion, the bank fee would in the neighbourhood of $25 million. Then there’s the legal costs, which for transactions of these type are usually measured in seven figures.

  2. November 10th, 2010 at 16:25 | #2

    I just bought the Story Bridge!

  3. paul walter
    November 10th, 2010 at 16:51 | #3

    Uncle Milton’s post is a useful supplement, probably as much to the point as Prof Quiggin’s article, in its more modest way.
    The Brisbane Times article, without the context provided by Quiggin, is valueless at best.

  4. November 10th, 2010 at 19:37 | #4

    From “Industry Funds Management’s” website:

    [Alec Montgomery : Head of Infrastructure - North America

    MBA, BA

    Alec is responsible for managing IFM's US investment options.

    Alec is a seasoned project financier with over 15 years' experience in financing large infrastructure and commodity-based projects. Before becoming Head of Infrastructure Finance at the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2006]

    And wasn’t Royal Bank of Scotland ‘advising’ Bligh and Fraser on the sale, or something?

  5. Alice
    November 10th, 2010 at 20:09 | #5

    Crooks

  6. Alice
    November 10th, 2010 at 20:11 | #6

    Crooks – and they are making Bjelke Petersen look snow white.

  7. Alice
    November 10th, 2010 at 20:28 | #7

    We really need to get the donations out of politics urgently and the word corporation out of government bodies. This is all complete rubbish (GOCs and GBEs). Nothing is being well run. Everything that cant be nailed down is being stripped and flogged, profit or no profit and the debt is being left to taxpayers. These blood suckers in Labor do need to go – in NSW and QLD. For once Im in agreement with Strocchi (another thread) but I wouldnt be voting liberal either. They are exactly the same. There is only one way to go and its the party you rarely see on or in the right wing Murdoch media.

    Someone needs to get private donations out of politics before ghouls like Bligh and Fraser and Kenneally and Roozendahl run the eastern states down to basket cases (its happening now). What the hell has happened to public accounatbility? Is there no way to stop this completely amoral wanton destruction from both major parties?

    Its completely internationally embarrassing.

  8. wilful
    November 10th, 2010 at 21:13 | #8

    In the words of my favourite Quincelander, “ploise explain?”

    How does this make any sense whatsoever?

  9. November 10th, 2010 at 21:45 | #9

    Alice @ #6 said:

    Crooks – and they are making Bjelke Petersen look snow white.

    Quite right. Joh’s corruption was of the fairly venal “jobs for the boys”, “brown paper bag for the back-room” kind. I mean bribes-for-brothels. It seems almost quaint in its old-fashioned modesty.

    Joh would never have sold the whole state down the river. It was his homeland and his constituents would not have appreciated being done over by city slickers.

    These days corporate crooks and their political handlers don’t do things by half. And they have an ideology to make things look nice. As usual, it was Russia which provided the experimental test case for this radical social theory. Half the economy sold to con-men, sting of the century.

    “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal; it’s what’s legal.”

    Kinsley

  10. Jason Smith
    November 10th, 2010 at 21:52 | #10

    I have to wonder if this is in he best interest of Queenslanders and Australians in general. Came across this news article:

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7289038-port-brisbane-bought-by-arabs

    I understand a similar deal including DP World was rejected by the US senate as it compromised the security of USA considering the fact that Dubai was a major donar o

  11. Jason Smith
    November 10th, 2010 at 21:53 | #11

    I have to wonder if this is in he best interest of Queenslanders and Australians in general. Came across this news article:

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7289038-port-brisbane-bought-by-arabs

    I understand a similar deal including DP World was rejected by the US senate as it compromised the security of USA considering the fact that Dubai was a major donor of HAMAS.

  12. November 10th, 2010 at 21:59 | #12

    So the QLD government gets into the business of trading its own assets to itself. Seriously why doesn’t it set up its own stock exchange on which it can list all revenue-generating public agencies? Then it could act as broker and make more money out of all the wheeling-and-dealing. What a brilliant business model, I think I will set myself up as a consultant.

    And add to this the pea-in-the-thimble jiggery-pokery with QR’s finances, on the one hand stripping and flogging off assets and with the other hand saddling debt. As if the interest saved from paying off very low interest government debt can ever make up for the rivers of gold forgone from selling the rights to transport minerals to China.

    Every time I hear the phrase “financial re-structure” I feel the same way Goering felt when he heard the word “culture”.

  13. November 10th, 2010 at 22:08 | #13

    The QIC owns a large amount of Canberra’s CBD. They seem to be working hard to turn as much of it as possible into a giant shopping mall.

  14. Ikonoclast
    November 11th, 2010 at 06:21 | #14

    The behaviour of the Queensland government troubles me. I am an advocate of relatively big government and relatively big taxes. Yet, the Queensland government seems to be straying in a way that gives big government a bad name. It is starting to look like outright corruption.

    I guess the old cliche about following the money is apropos. We need to know who the money is going to, who are the beneficiaries and what the effective wealth transfers are. This process is clearly structured to benefit narrow and specific interests. It is clearly not structured on any logical or broader economic grounds that would match the interests of the general Queenland public.

  15. November 11th, 2010 at 10:57 | #15
  16. Alice
    November 11th, 2010 at 19:06 | #16

    @Jack Strocchi
    jack

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment as follows

    “These days corporate crooks and their political handlers don’t do things by half. And they have an ideology to make things look nice. As usual, it was Russia which provided the experimental test case for this radical social theory. Half the economy sold to con-men, sting of the century.

    “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal; it’s what’s legal.”

    Kinsley

    It was Russia that provided the test case by transferring billions of state owned assets to plutocrat friends of Putin. Freaking closer analogy you couldnt get Jack – the asset stripping of a nation by powerful vested interests and the puppet governments on their teat – and has it helped Russia ? No – it just shifted assets once owned by the people to Putin and friends and now Putin is owned by his friends.

    This really drives me crazy. Its happening under our noses in Australia but not me, not you and not the vast majority of QLDers who clearly and loudly dont approve can stop it. Its decay, its rot , its corruption, its filth and as far as I am concerned its being carried out by a Labor government (government of the people by the people for the people?) What have the cretins in labor become but the worst of all radical right wingers. Its a party at State level I wouldnt touch and not even at federal level now. They dont deserve the name Labor. They deserve the name

    “the party of thieves”.

    Liberal may do exactly the same and likely would – what do I care? All our ministerial control and accountability is lots. I dont care a scrap for either of them. First they legislate to change the laws that govern their behaviour to the people, and then they behave like pigs in power.

  17. gerard
    November 11th, 2010 at 23:12 | #17

    With no upper house, and with the only choice between this and the LNP, it’s pretty much hopeless. How did Tassie get mixed-member representation and how can the same thing happen in QLD?

  18. Alice
    November 12th, 2010 at 09:19 | #18

    @Peter Wood
    I think eastern states Labor parties (cant speak for the west) have a comparative advantage in large shopping mall developments and not much else.

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6600

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/governing-is-childs-play-20100813-12330.html

  19. paul walter
    November 12th, 2010 at 11:47 | #19

    Which way have the die fallen, as tothis exercise?
    For my part Alice’s response to Strocchi and Ikon’s comment, for two, show that folk, given the chance, DO put one and one together and employ enough effort to arrive at “two”, despite all the bullsh-t thrown their way to prevent such an understanding.
    Same with (most) of the other comments.

  20. nick03
    November 12th, 2010 at 13:09 | #20

    I would be grateful if John or his readers could sort out the conflicting information about who sold what to whom.

    http://www.thenewlawyer.com.au/article/Firms-get-share-of-2-3bn-Port-of-Brisbane-sale/525388.aspx

  21. Wendy R
    November 12th, 2010 at 19:09 | #21

    “With no upper house, and with the only choice between this and the LNP, it’s pretty much hopeless…..” Gerard, this is exactly what the newly registered Queensland Party is prepared to change. Policy is to reintroduce the Upper House, with no extra politicians, by using the mayors to form this body of review.

  22. Alice
    November 12th, 2010 at 19:33 | #22

    The only thing to come out of this is the spillage of every party repeatedly year after election year but unless people learn to vote for a third party or a fourth party they wont get anywhere near decent government. Perhaps Wendy is on track with this.

    Until the donations stop we wont stopped getting screwed as a population and by economic policies that are false and destructive, by our own political parties. Its tantalisingly simple. The US population has been walked over and so have we. Legislative changes are needed to stop changes to the legislation dealing with public sector impartiality and accountability. Ministers come and go but they should NOT be able to rip apart our public systems or assets for sale or for profit at the whim of a few in a given term of power.

    They have might now but all things must change because we will as a nation learn to throw these corrupt fools out eventually, even if we are impoverished first, and we will prevail. We are better than the dirt they are and we will walk over them. I have hope.

    Some legislation changes, like those governing political accountability, should only be permitted by referendum to the people.

    As well, high level corruption, in public office or in private office when dealing with public officers should be a jailable offence with a very severe penalty. So should public officers who take their retirement benefits and then solicit their services to private corporations concurrently to accepting a public sector retirement pension. That pension should be cancelled immediately upon engagement in private benefit. Money making activities after retirement on a public benefit should come with very strict provisions.

  23. Mitchell Porter
    November 12th, 2010 at 21:07 | #23

    Would someone be willing to compare-and-contrast this with the US Federal Reserve monetizing a few months of government debt by buying Treasuries? This seems like a good time to understand the various ways in which governments can alter the financial situation by transferring assets from one tentacle to another.

  24. November 22nd, 2010 at 20:23 | #24

    Well work it out only a non elected represenative of this State and a labour party representative could possibly want and has sold all our assets knee jerk reactions it’s no wonder we don’t and can’t get ahead in this country with politicians wanting to sell everything we have to private corporations and then they ask for a pay rise well if they get one let them be judged on performance and be reviewed and dismissed if not performing just like the corporations they sell our ASSETS too do to there staff.

    I SAY STEP UP AND BE ACCOUNTABLE YOU POLITICIANS OR GO BACK TO WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE BUT DON’T BLUDGE OFF THE AVERAGE AUSTRALIAN AND THINK YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING!THIS AND ALL AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT OWNED ASSET’S SHOULD GO TO A REFERENDUM AND WE SHOULD BE INFORMED OF ALL FACTS BEFORE A SALE.

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