Today the Australian Financial Review carried a surprising and uncharacteristic number of remarks about the high cost of privatisation and the benefits of public provision of vital services.
The report by past Federal Treasurer Peter Costello of his supposedly independent investigation into Queensland State finances on behalf of the Queensland Government Commission of Audit recommended the full privatisation of Queensland Government's electricity generators. Only last year, the Queensland public, outraged at the asset fire sale embarked upon by former Premier Anna Bligh without any electoral mandate whatsoever from the 2009 state elections, savagely punished Labor at the ballot box leaving only 7 sitting Labor members in a house of 89.
That, less than a year after, the new Government of Campbell Newman has contrived an excuse to continue with policies, that have been so resoundingly repudiated by Queenslanders, provoked outrage. An example of the outrage felt is a new opinion poll taken by news.com, which shows that Qld privatisation [is] opposed by 85%: poll.
Professor John Quiggin of the University of Queensland responded on 6 March with a post on his web site. That post included a link to a pdf report which, by examining the disastrous history of privatisation across Australia in recent decades, comprehensively demolishes the case for any privatisation.
If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed by other articles, please add your comments here.
Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 16 October 2012 can be found here.
How did stealing from the public to enrich the private sector become a norm in Australia and why do some religions give it moral credence? This is a reminder of the existence of an important, publicly available article about the rise of right-wing so-called 'think tanks' in Australia since the mid 1970s and their recent tendency to combine forces with the religious right. Here, from another source and angle, are arguments that reinforce candobetter's message about the problems Australia has with the growth lobby and its merchants.
If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed by other articles, please add your comments here.
Comments made on the previous "Miscellaneous comments" page from 25 August 2012 can be found here.
Comments made on the next "Miscellaneous comments" page from 4 December 2012 can be found here.
On the ABC News radio this morning (9 Sept 2012) we heard that private coal companies are demanding compensation for carbon trading costs from the Victorian Government and apparently this is being taken seriously!
This article contains James Sinnamon's submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) which wants to pass new laws to make all your emails and other internet transactions up to two years back accessible to the Australian Government. "If Australian governments were serious about protecting Australians from terrorism, they would not have given transnational corporations with interests in every kind of industry including military total access to information about resources and infrastructure relating to location and operation of power, water supply and telecommunications, land-use planning, national statistics, scientific research institutions and banks. What is left, I ask, for terrorists?" (James Sinnamon)
Also published on Global Research.
The sale of Australian agricultural land and water resources to foreign interests that was noted with alarm in June by other contributors to candobetter is only part of a global trend. The IPCC document HS 15332 Climate Change Impacts: Securitization of Water, Food, Soil, Health, Energy and Migration explains how the UN plans to secure resources to use at their disposal. Through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under-developed countries are forced to sell their resources to the global Elite as "full cost recovery" to the global central bankers. Once those resources are under the complete control of the creditors, they become assets to be reallocated back to the enslaved nations for a price.
See also: Does Australia need a national policy to preserve agricultural land? of 1 June 2012, Writer sees Bob Hawke as guilty of treason and treachery of 1 June 2012, WA Independent opposes foreign buyout of Australian rural land of 4 June 2012 -- article and comments on the same page.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was playing politics when she used a speech to the Energy Policy Institute of Australia on Tuesday to blame state governments for soaring power prices.
Queensland has had a 80 per cent hike in household electricity prices in the past five years. Mr Newman and every other Premier will seize every opportunity he can to blame his predecessors for financial and policy mismanagement. Editorial - shedding light on power prices. Victoria is a good example of soaring electricity prices due to privatization. (Republished from comment posted at http://candobetter.net/node/2834#comment-8672)
In her Quarterly Essay piece, "Great Expectations," Laura Tingle loads a gun with a big bullet that she never shoots - which I thought any writer knew was a no-no. She says that "constant mass migration" " more than anything else" pushed the Australian economy and the population through waves of rapid change. The whole time I was reading her essay I was waiting for the gun to go off and for Detective Tingle to say two obvious things ...
This is a review of Australian Financial Review's Chief Economics editor, Laura Tingle's sweeping condemnation but interesting analysis of Australians' perceived expectations of democracy, which should not go unanswered. Having googled and found no critical responses, I wrote my own. [Ed: On 8 Aug 2012, Notes 8 and 9 ammended to eliminate confusion re Khemlani loan minutes.]
It was maddening to hear a number of mainstream and lesser media organs come out observing that the Labor Party lost the recent Queensland election because of ex-Premier Anna Bligh's and ex-Treasurer, Andrew Fraser's counterintuitive and unpopular insistence on going ahead with privatisation and population growth policies, when you spent time recording the efforts of a man who continually tried to raise these issues and was preparing to run for election as an independent on these very matters in a major Brisbane seat. James Sinnamon was engaged in a long running campaign to raise the media profile of the Queensland public's right to choose on population and privatisation, when a terrible road accident removed him from active political life. Reviewing Laura Tingle's "Great Expectations in Quarterly Essay, June 2012, brings home the awful consequences of not having Australian political alternatives to canvass the selling off of institutions. See also ABC markets new privatisation grab of public assets
Back in 2002 the Australian Government owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) surprisingly placed itself in the forefront of efforts to steamroll the public into acceptance of the Howard Government's plans to privatise Telstra.
In 2012, 10 years later, the same ABC Radio National Breakfast Show, but with a different presenter, is again at the forefront of another propaganda drive to impose yet more privatisation against the will of the overwhelming majority of Australians.
This article also marks James Sinnamon's relaunching of public asset defending website, "Citizensagainstsellingtelstra.net"
Park Rangers in NSW Public Service Association will take industrial action to show their lack of confidence in NSW Premier's backroom deal with shooters party to give them hunting access in our National Parks. This seems the right thing to do. The current government attitude to New South Wales's beautiful parks and indigenous animals seems unAustralian and somehow blasphemous, for these are our icons and Mother Nature's home. This foreshadowed desecration of our national parks is linked to deals to privatise NSW electricity. See also "Barry O'Farrell, NSW electricity privatisation and shooting in National Parks Australia"
See also: Not in Our Parks of 5 June in the Glen Innes Examiner, Riled rangers target national park hunts of 5 June in the Western Advocate, Hunters and objectors of 5 June in the Central Western Daily.
O'Farrell gunning down democracy. Electricity privatisation continues to cause bizarre consequences as yet another State Premier will apparently do anything to push it through, despite almost total lack of electoral support. See our history of attempts to privatise electricity in NSW. It reads like a war on democracy. Now that war is against the State's wildlife. During his first week in government, the NSW Premier, Barry O`Farrell, made a strong promise to environment groups and the people of NSW that he would not allow shooting in National Parks. Now he has done a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party so that they will support his electricity privatisation bill. Shame on Barry, Shame on the Shooters and Fishers who many see as just another front for the Libs in NSW, posing as another party.
An Australian Farm Institute study provides a comprehensive review of what is currently known about the amount and location of Australian agricultural land, the rate of land use change occurring, and how governments make decisions both in Australia and internationally. Whether or not there will be sufficient good quality land available for agriculture in the future has not been a high priority issue for most of the past two hundred years.
See also: The Groundwater Footprint: The Privatisation of the World's Water Resources of 16 August 2012.
Sheila Newman will interview Jenny live TODAY 19 April between 12 midday and 1pm at 3RPP. You can listen live here. What next? Will they sell the people off as slaves? Will the remove access to our bank accounts overnight? Will they raise the cost of electricity so high that the companies take our houses to pay for them? Our Parliamentary system is beyond democratic control. Our economic system is a bad joke. Our taxes are used to pay for educational institutions which are then set up to profit private enterprise and investors and users overseas. And now, under Ted Baillieu, there is this proposal to sell Port Melbourne... (No, this is not an April fools joke.)
What you won’t hear from Labor or Liberal spokespeople about the causes of the Queensland election result.
Cost of living has been given as a major cause of Labor's loss in the Queensland elections 2012, but the real reasons for these rising costs are skirted. The Liberals have even tried to pin these costs on taxes that have not yet been used. See also James Sinnamon's articles about privatisation and population policy in Queensland and how he tried to call the government, the unions, and the Greens to account on these well before the 2012 elections.
This audit assessed whether State Trustees is effectively managing the financial and legal interests of represented persons. It examined the extent to which State Trustees is meeting its legislative and administrative responsibilities, the systems and processes that enable State Trustees to measure quality, timeliness and cost effectiveness, and the adequacy of State Trustees' communication and accountability processes to represented persons. The audit found that State Trustees is not able to clearly demonstrate that it is fulfilling its obligations to represented persons. State Trustees’ direct engagement with represented persons is not sufficient for it to be assured that their needs and wishes are properly understood.
Increasing private-public partnerships, contracting out, privatisation, creation of authorities 'outside government' etc over the past 20 years in Victoria "has led to a steady erosion of accountability to Parliament and the public, as these services and the public monies that fund them fall outside existing accountability frameworks and the mandate of this office." (Auditor General, Victoria) The forward plan also notes concerns about population growth, oil supplies and food security.
Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) – independent authority or rubber stamp?
Over the last decade, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and its predecessor the Murray-Darling Basin Commission have been hamstrung by the National Water Initiative, which is promoting the privatisation of Australia's water: to the joy of speculators and the dismay of those who understand the need to promote wise and sustainable use of the nation's water. Originally published as a Media Release for Fair Water Use on 7 Mar 11.
Greens member of the NSW Legislative Council, John Kaye, has previously stood up against privatisation of that state's electricity and we have published some speeches to that effect by him here at candobetter.net. Major newspapers carried quotes about his opposition to electricity privatisation and we publish here what he says on his website. I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that James Sinnamon, the owner of candobetter.net is a fierce opponent of privatisation and had intended to run as a candidate in the seat of Brisbane in the 2010 Federal Election on this issue. Unfortunately he was hospitalised for months after a terrible collision between his bicycle and a 4WD and so he never ran in an election where, ironically, he just might have won against the usual odds. We will write about this one day.
Australians have found it very hard to protest against high immigration because of constant subtle messages from government and media implying that they had no right to object. They have been given the idea that there was nothing special about them that gave them the right to object. They only lived here. Although only Australians might vote in governments, the importance of this was subsumed to a cult of plutocracy, where governments prioritised commercial and corporate demands over the wishes of the actual electorate. The mainstream press (the ABC, the Murdoch Press, the Fairfax Press) promoted a cult of elite authoritarianism and the official alternative press never really encouraged questioning of this process on issues of real dissent. And the elite authorities all endorsed 'multiculturalism'. One has only to glance at the membership of the Multicultural Foundation of Australia to realise how true this is.
Remember the lesson of the great Newfoundland cod fisheries. Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous gives a description of fish so plentiful that the waters seethed with them. In 1977 Canada tried to stop the reduction of the cod stocks by declaring 320 kilometers off Newfoundland off limits to foreign factory ships. The local industry flourished, bringing prosperity to Newfoundland. In the 1980s marine biologists warned that the future was threatened by the heavy fishing and recommended an annual target of 125,000 tonnes of cod. But the community outcry about the economic and social damage made the government set the target at 235,000 tonnes. Stocks fell below a sustainable level and in June 1992 one of the richest natural resources was closed down. 30,000 jobs were lost and Newfoundland fell into rapid economic declin
Recent legislation to privatise water services in Italy has met with staunch public resistance and a well-organised national campaign, resulting in the tabling of a petition of around 1.5 million signatures from citizens opposed to this legislation - three times as many as are required to call a referendum on the issue.
Upon the election of an Abbott Liberal Government it is almost guaranteed that Tony Abbott will 'discover' the national finances to be in a far worse state than he now claims he believes them to be.
Consider the precedent where, because of the so-called "Beazley Black hole" Howard assumed, in 1996, a right to massively cut social spending, never knowingly given to him by Australian electors.
Without obtaining the prior mandate of the electorate, successive Australian governments have been seeking to establish a water-market in this country. For as long as the people of Australia are required to “buy-back” the nation’s water, especially during times of crisis, they will have no water security. Bidding-wars, as currently being waged by Senators Wong and Joyce, are now an unattractive and dangerous feature of Australian water policy: profits arising will be privatised but the impacts will be borne by the Australian public. The electorate of this country must be given the opportunity to indicate whether it wishes its water to be privatised and exposed to global speculation - or protected for future generations of Australians.
So many of our manufacturing industries have disappeared overseas, that opportunities for training and apprenticeships are limited, despite the provisions of vocational training at TAFES.
Why should we be having an immigration program to address skill shortages when we should be developing a better educational and training framework that produces and exports our own skilled workforce?
On Saturday 10 April, at a Brisbane anti-privatisation forum held by Search Foundation, the Secretary of the Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), an avowedly hard-line anti-privatisation union, revealed his view that the fight against the Bligh Government's fire sale was lost.
What you can do: If you are a member of a union affected by privatisation, particularly a member of the ETU, contact your union and demand that meetings be called so that this question be decided democratically by the membership. See also: "If the unions get off their knees, privatisation can be stopped!" of 4 May 10, Queensland Not For Sale - the Qld Council of Union's anti-privatisation web site, "Time for the B team" of 11 Apr 10 on johnquiggin.com and "Explaining Bligh’s privatisation push: Search Foundation forum" also of 11 Apr 10 on larvatusprodeo.net
Updates, 2 May 10: Branch secretary claims ETU misrepresented by article and my response and a further response by Tony Reeves; Motion carried unanimously by meeting of AMWU members in Redbank Railway workshops in June 2009 calling for industrial action to defeat privatisation.
In 2007, Andrew Fraser, as Local Govenment Minister, imposed council amalgamations against the overwhelming wishes of affected residents, even threatening to dismiss councillors who dared hold ballots on amalgamation. For many months, the angry backlash threatened Labor's federal election prospects. In 2010, the same Andrew Fraser, as Queensland Treasurer, claims that the unions' campaign against his unpopular $15 billion fire sale, opposed by 79% of the Queensland public, will threaten Labor's federal election prospects.
What you can do: Attend Queensland Council of Union's Rallies to stop the Sell-off before it starts: Innisfail - 28 Feb, Cairns - 2 Mar, Mackay - 3 Mar, Rockhampton - 3 Mar, Gladstone - 6 Mar, Brisbane - 10.30AM 9 Mar at Roma St Forum
Sign the petition calling for new state elections and the repudiation of assets sale legislation. (You have until 2 March. See also "Why Queenslanders must demand new and fair state elections" of 12 Jan 10).
See also: "Unions 'aiding and abetting' Abbott: Fraser" by Jessica Marszalek in the Brisbane Times of 27 Feb 10, "Anna Bligh faces rural anger in Queensland" in the Courier-Mail of 28 Feb 10 , "Peter Beattie bent on destruction of Rudd's chances" of 9 Aug 07 by Margo Kingston in WebDiary, "Cate Molloy : Forced council amalgamations planned by Property Council of Australia" of 7 Sep 07. ...