Demolition man

Fresh from announcing that Queensland is on the brink of bankruptcy, and sacking 14 000 (“non-frontline”) public servants Premier Campbell Newman has announced plans to demolish the Executive Building (where he and his Ministers have their headquarters) and Public Works Building, to replace them with spanking new ones. Apparently, the front line is in George Street.

The proposal is wrapped up in such a way as to make it impossible to determine true cost. It will be run as a PPP, a bunch of heritage assets will be sold, doubtless in a way that reduces their protection and increases their market value, and a casino license will be thrown into the mix. But, it’s blatantly obvious that if you tear down a building and put up a new one with exactly the same purpose, you are taking on additional debt, whatever the accounts can be made to say.

This kind of shonky deal is precisely what Commissions of Audit are supposed to investigate. And fortunately, we have one, due to report early next year. I’m confident that Peter Costello, Doug McTaggart and Sandra Harding, backed up by a strong secretariat will be able to unravel this deal and show how much harder it will make the task of reducing state debt.

And of course, if there’s anything really dodgy going on, we have the Crime and Misconduct Commission. At least, we do for now.

I did an interview on all this with the Queensland 730 program, which may go to air this evening.

35 thoughts on “Demolition man

  1. Quite so, Paul Walter.

    “No good faith, it kills an adult conversation when it just sinks to asinine spitefulness and inanity. you have to wonder why some people are like this”

    This is what our politics have sunk to.

    But it is not about good guys and bad guys, it is about “honest” guys and those for whom winning is so important that all honour, integrity and intellect are acceptable casualties of the quest for power and control.

    Good management of common interests is no longer the primary interest of political rivals, it is control for the servicing of vested interests. Australia was a bright spot of political enlightenment, but I feel that that was a “passing phase” on the road to eventual ruin.

    But perhaps I am miss understanding you, in which case you might care to share your perceptions of forests and trees.

  2. I have to agree with Jim!

    An upper house can keep that essential grit in the cogwheels which stops or at least retards the efficient implementation of some simple majority of extremists. The value of the swill is that it is unrepresentative, or at least that its representation is not identical to the lower house.

  3. BilB, the attack on ecology, and science and rationality in general over the last twenty years here and across the globe, on the basis of expediency, alibied by neoliberalism and implemented by instrumentalist zombies of behalf of greedy morons, has been a heart breaker, truly gutting.
    Totally self defeating and dictated by false consciousness.

  4. It has all been predicted, Paul Walter

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Calhoun

    There is even a photo in there of John B meeting Head Rat, “the Pope”.

    “Template changing always has gained a slight, though often tenuous, lead over template obeying. Now we must search diligently for those creative deviants from which, alone, will come the conceptualization of an evolutionary designing process”

    Are you a conceptualizing creative deviant JQ?

  5. As Queensland’s parliament is uni-cameral and this State is effectively “mono-media”, the party (LNP or ALP) with 1 more seat than the other runs it as a dictatorship with the only countervailing force being Rupert Murdoch’s imprimatur on “important” decisions.

    Even then, they can get away with ignoring even Murdoch if they really want to.

    At the ALP wipeout election this year it is very important to note that Peter Wellington (‘Nicklin’ on the very conservative Sunshine Coast) and Liz Cunningham (‘Gladstone’ a supposedly Labour – as in blue collar – electorate) both kept their seats.

    Wellington was once a vital key to a minority ALP government when he and Cunningham allowed Beattie to form government in 1998. Unsurprisingly, they got done over as soon as the ALP didn’t need them anymore (big hello to Andrew Wilkie and his $1 pokies promise).

    My point is that while the rest of the State was chucking out a bunch of people they had never met and replacing them with another bunch of people they had never met because, in a nutshell, they had a gutful – they re-elected these two independents.

    I’m fairly positive that I am not the only person in this country who is fed up to the back teeth with this cynical and pointless ALP/LNP partisanship fuelled by a Murdoch controlled media.

  6. Some experiences in life are like selling a loaded gun.

    Only to find the person you sold the gun to sitting opposite you, holding both the gun and the money you’d been given when he’d purchased from you.

    Difference I s’pose between naive economic analysis and learning by having it done to you.

  7. The misery across the Tasman, is in part due to the lack of an upper house, exacerbated by a small realatively homogeneous population. Fine with benevolent philosopher kings having fifty percent plus one, but prone to violent change when radicals get hold of the reigns.

  8. @Freelander
    I agree a house of review is a good thing especially if it allows minority opinions to surface through having block votes.

    However the US has a senate and a review system which is arguably more independent of party policy. Yet they have entrenched vested interest and pork barrel politics so there is more at play here. At least in Queensland you can still in theory sack the presidential premier any time. So I suggest the problem of what might be called legal corruption may have multiple sources which we are not well set up to analyse.

    For me a more important question to be asked is whether current politics globally is degenerating by which I mean becoming more antidemocratic, by virtue of multiple forces including:
    – allocating proportionally more political power the neo-liberal managerial/economic/finance interests through international treaties and constructs such as an independent reserve banks which seems to operate under the assumption that economics are as scientifically objective as say medical systems ( a more nasty example is the European Union where ‘technocrats’ are being assigned more power over elected governments – whether Greece and Italy have overspent is a separate matter to whether the solution is to call in an administrator who produced the economic system that led to the mess in the first place – in the same manner as happens with Australian local government all too often.)
    – movement of the media towards ‘balanced’ reporting which increasingly means presenting really nutty ideas as equally valid as less nutty ones (see last night’s Media Watch item on vaccination)
    – the demise of old time progressive philosophies (seems to be the case with Labor but also with the Liberals too with the reduction in the influence of their ‘wets’.)

    Thus Queensland may not be exactly a return to the good old days of Jo – but rather that modern political economics is moving more to a Jo model and Queensland realizing it used to be a leader is merely reasserting this system (just kidding – sort of).

  9. The US has major problems including design problems. But one major problem that has made there system totally corrupt is the lack of the type of party discipline found in more evolved parts of the world. That is why Congress is such a wonderland for lobbiests. With party discipline you need to bribe whole parties to do what in the US can be achieved by buying off just the few key players to swing things your way.
    As a consequence seems to me that vested interest will ensure the US will remain unable to address the many urgent issues it needs to address until it is far to late.

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