Time for the B team

I spoke yesterday at a Forum on the Bligh government’s privatisation program. I got a presentation ready (it’s over the fold) but spoke off the cuff instead.

As well as my oft-stated critique of the government’s case for privatisation, I took a look at the broader budget problems facing Queensland. Although the government has overstated these problems to promote the privatisation push, they are real enough.

The fundamental problem is that the government is committed both to high quality service and to keeping Queensland a low tax state. According to standard measures, Queensland’s tax effort is about 85 per cent of the Australian average, which amounts to a shortfall of around $1.5 billion, or pretty much the gap the government is trying to fill. In addition, Queensland provides more business subsidies and incentives than any other state, most notably the indefensible Investment Incentives Scheme. To the extent that these incentives actually attract new business to the state they increase the demands on infrastructure and thereby create even more problems. Mostly, though, they are just a waste of money.

The government has committed itself clearly and publicly to providing Queenslanders with services that are as good as those in other states. That can’t be done while also holding down tax revenue.

Looking at the political situation regarding the asset sales, it seems to me unlikely that they can be stopped while Bligh and Fraser are in charge, and unlikely that Labor will change leaders unless electoral defeat appears inevitable. I’ve therefore concluded that, in the absence of such a change, I’ll be giving the Greens my first preference and the LNP my second.

In a democracy, it’s important that parties should alternate in office to some extent, and it follows that it can’t be reasonable always to prefer one major party to the other. As a general rule this hasn’t had any practical implications for my vote – for most of my life, long-running Labor governments were a rarity. But Queensland Labor has been in for 20 years, with only a brief interruption under Borbidge, and it shows. It looks like it’s time to give the other side a go, unimpressive as they are.

Update More from Mark Bahnisch at LP

AssetSales1004 (PDF)

81 thoughts on “Time for the B team

  1. Just a guess, a wild stab in the dark, but the ‘other side’ would sell off even more. So how is giving them a go going to help?
    Guards with dogs, lockouts, massive unemployment; all the things we’ve seen from the coalition in the past would return. How does that help?

  2. Fran, stop trying to defend the indefensible.
    If LP have been censoring people out of personal spite, or an unwillingness on their part to have their particular views on an issue challenged, then Daggett is quite right to expose it.
    And that includes all the”silences”, sulks and “transgressions” aimed at weasel wording contributors whose views vary from theirs into compliance.

  3. As regards the comments policy at other sites, that’s a matter to be raised with the moderators there. Please confine comments here to the topic at hand.

  4. Not possible John, when they refuse to respond.
    The thread topic concerns the inability of western politics to reform itself.
    What hope society reforming itself when even supposedly progressive units where debate and discovery are supposedly developed or generated, as an ambit, “without fear or favour”, themselves resist full discourse when certain positions subsequently put up for discussion are rejected subjectively on personal taste or prejudice, rather than in relation to the political issues.
    ” Contempt prior to investigation?”.
    but yes, if what’s arisen during the thread’s progress tends to draw attention away from Fraser, Bligh, Tebbutt, Joe Tripodi and their Tory opponents who are as bad, and what makes them the way they are, and the consequences arising thereof ( public suspicion of bigpop policies, for example, in the hands of such people?), that would be far from any intention of mine

  5. Well I am really pleased to find here that others are guilty of “flooding” a site….I have only been guilty of “swamping”. That might not be as bad as “flooding” on the scale of water damage….!! Sorry JQ – have you noticed Ive been very moderate lately…just a polite trickle? Im leaving it to Terje and Fran although Terje must be on hols…

    Back to the current team in QLD. They have been infected with the same neo liberal policies as NSW…..the ones that clearly arent working and we await their enlightenment sooner or later. It has to happen because they are impoverishing too many people.

    Mums are already on the warpath as the neoliberal model of childcare produces a perverse price that didnt fall as it should have but rather rose and then rose more and is still rising (and then there is electricity and gas – all everyday household expenses). There is definitely something wrong with de-regulation and privatisation when the price rises …and rises some more.

    I thought all that lovely “competition” (cough…splutter)..was supposed to make the prices fall? I suggest we privatise Ms Bligh and Mr Fraser and Ms Keneally and Mr Roozendahl before their retirements as they are clearly working towards their political retirement incomes, rather than the states’ income. Ive never been very fond of Tebbutt either. She is supposed to be from the left but hasnt really contributed any advances to a socially inclusive style IMHO whilst she has been in politics. Dare I say it but I think she is the Labor version of Julie Bishop.

  6. Re #28, Fran Barlow, etc.
    Attempted suggestion proffered.
    Result: more censorship.
    Should not second rate sites be exposed?

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