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Home » AGW and climate change » Don’t get fooled again by the Greens

Don’t get fooled again by the Greens

While many conservatives hate any political party to the left of   Genghis Kahn I actually have a fair bit of time for the ALP and those who support it, I do appreciate that most many of its ideals have some merit even though it has lost my vote over a number of stupid things adopted into its platform. The main reason I abandoned it was more to do with managerial incompetence in office both at the state and federal level. There has been a sad  decline in Labor’s fortunes under Gillard which shows no sign of abating as the party moves zombie like towards the next election there is one bright spot on the eastern horizon and that is the even more severe decline in the fortunes of the Australian Greens. If there is one thing that must gladden the hearts of most Aussies it’s seeing the cold hammer of reality hitting that loopy bunch of ideologues as their fortunes continue to decline.

Thus I found Lenore Taylor’s piece about the changes to the Greens policy platform such a hoot mainly because what she reports is not a substantive change of heart from the Greens as much as it is a cynical marketing exercise where they have sought to conceal  their true agenda behind euphemism and understatement.

 

THE Greens have announced a party platform portraying many of their core beliefs as ”aims and principles” rather than explicit policies, presenting a smaller target to critics in a federal election year.

After a year in which senior Labor figures have labelled the Greens as ”loopy” and extremists who threaten democracy, the new platform does not resile from the party’s basic beliefs, but it contains fewer firm policy measures, in keeping with the manifestos of the major parties.

It removes one of critics’ favourite lines of attack, no longer specifying that the Greens support death duties.

The platform gives the Greens’ federal MPs – currently nine senators and one member of the House of Representatives – flexibility in negotiating legislation when holding the balance of power. But it will also make it harder for opponents to attack or ridicule the party over specific policies.
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For example, the new platform no longer specifies that the Greens want to abolish the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate, but rather talks about ”redirecting funding from subsidising private health insurance towards direct public provision”.

And it no longer calls for a freeze on Commonwealth funding for private schools, stating instead that funding should be based on school need and that money not provided to the wealthiest private schools under the model should instead be given to the public sector.

The new platform was agreed at the party’s November national conference and has now been approved by all its state branches.

The document still makes it clear that the Greens want to increase the marginal tax rate for people earning more than $1 million, but no longer specifies that it should be raised to 50 per cent. It advocates increasing the mining tax and applying it to more commodities, but no longer proposes a rise in the company tax rate to 33 per cent.

The platform says the Greens want tax reform that improves housing affordability by no longer rewarding speculation, but it does not specifically call for an end to the concessional arrangements for capital gains tax. It no longer specifies that the Greens support death duties or an ”estate tax”.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/greens-soften-policy-stand-20121226-2bwh0.html#ixzz2GCFd1OZb

Frankly I find this as bizarre and desperate as another Green of my online acquaintance who having been outed and forced to delete his blog then decided to try and claim that he was anonymous … As the old adage says, a leopard can’t change its spots and this attempt by the Greens to hide their pustular lesions with weasel words and euphemisms is not likely to be successful because the voting public are not stupid enough to be fooled by this political myth making.

Cheers Comrades

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64 Comments

  1. Tel says:

    I’ve just been reading Environment Betrayed: The Abuse of a Just Cause by Edward C. Krug.

    Excellent work, for four bucks (downloadable soft edition) it is great value, very educational.

    I support the Green ideal, but their attempted science is rubbish. They put belief first and then gather evidence only if it supports their pre-existing belief, rather than look at the evidence first in order to formulate a theory. Gree science has become political science, and it is killing our ability to make rational decisions.

    As for the ALP, they have some very deep problems. They supposedly support the working class, but they have also been invaded with angsty upper middle class “Champaign Socialists” who have an ideological agenda, and who genuinely believe they are fixing the world. Meanwhile the unions who are also supposedly representing the working class have been filled up with people like Craig Thomson (nuff said on that). As a consequence the ALP no longer really represent anyone but themselves.

    Slowly but surely the “Champaign Socialists” will move across the the Greens, together with the neo-hippies who have no real ideology but are willing to help out in what seems like a good cause.

    The genuine working class will have to start rebuilding from the grass roots. Probably there won’t be enough factory workers and labourers in Australia to even make it worthwhile doing that. Maybe the ALP will hang in there as a minor party.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    I call them “Silvertail Socialists my self Tel

    The genuine working class will have to start rebuilding from the grass roots. Probably there won’t be enough factory workers and labourers in Australia to even make it worthwhile doing that. Maybe the ALP will hang in there as a minor party.

    Your comment really points to the tragedy of the ALP, namely they don’t really know what they stand for any more and that has led them to having a grab bag of ideas and aims that lack any sort of cohesiveness or coherence.

  3. Tel says:

    When I search on “Silvertail Socialists” it comes back to this blog. The other terminology gets a Wikipedia page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champagne_socialist

    I duly note my spelling is wrong above, but I try to stick to the common lingo where it suits my purposes. George Galloway is listed under that heading and maybe unfairly so. Galloway is a socialist for sure, but hardly from privileged upbringing.

    If I want to follow the Wiki to the letter I should say, “Chardonnay socialist” here in Australia, but that’s kind of backwards because Chardonnay is cheaper than beer these days (until Gillard forces a minimum $10 per bottle bullshit charge), so anyone saying “Chardonnay socialist” to imply wealthy and middle classed would also be announcing themselves as an economic muddle-head.

  4. Ray Dixon says:

    the ALP no longer really represent anyone but themselves

    Maybe so but that’s more reflective of their current leader in my opinion, who is only about her own preservation and ‘place in history’. Gillard has no real compassion for the people she is supposed to lead and that’s a real problem that in turn creates a culture – the fish rots from the head down.

    But what or who on earth does the alternative stand for?

    Anyway, I don’t accept your doom & gloom forecast for the future role of the ALP. They need to reinvent themselves for sure but I think that all parties are presently in a transition stage given that society in general has changed so much over the past 20 years of prosperity for anyone prepared to go and get some. Courtesy of Keating, we now have a much more egalitarian society.

    Of course there are still divides and the gap between ‘haves’ & ‘have nots’ has actually widened but that’s more a reflection of property values and because the ‘haves’ have taken the opportunities presented to them, whereas a lot of ‘have nots’ are either too slow , lazy or stupid to realise we live in a land (and time) of plenty.

    That’s not to say I think the ‘have nots’ who won’t get off their own arses should not be supported – they should and that’s all the more reason to support some of those wealth sharing programs that you, Iain, GD and every other rusted-on conservative seem to begrudge and oppose.

  5. Brian says:

    I think both parties are ideologically frozen and devoid of talent. Even someone like ‘Bomber’ Beazley would be considered a statesman in the modern ALP, while the Liberal front bench (Pyne, Bishop, Mirabella, Hockey, Robb etc) is an ideas-free zone. The ALP’s economic governance over the last five years has been mishandled in some areas but nowhere near as disastrous as the right wing likes to make out. The Liberal policy platform involves spending less and little else. Australian politics is quite boring and empty at the moment.

  6. Tel says:

    http://www.ldp.org.au/principles

    There’s a party with ideas. Not new ideas, but good ideas at any time.

  7. Brian says:

    Most parties have good ideas in their policy statements and on their websites; it’s putting them into practice that’s the problem. Especially when they’ve got no seats and no supporter base, like that one.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    Oh yeah, Tel, the LDP. Sounds more like a party for the ‘haves’ and stuff the ‘have nots’.

  9. GD says:

    this attempt by the Greens to hide their pustular lesions with weasel words and euphemisms is not likely to be successful

    Well said, Iain. I also remember a metrosexual commenter who used to frequent this blog with predictions of the Greens vote increasing at every election. Where is he now?

    Obviously embarrassed by his failed ideology.

    This shape-shifting by the Greens is only the start of the left’s rewriting policy to suit mainstream voters. Trouble is mainstream Australia won’t be fooled again by another vacuous Kevin 07 campaign, and will vote this time with their heads instead of their bleeding hearts.

  10. GD says:

    I have always thought that playing unplugged versions of rock songs was a lazy way of presenting a band’s best known music. However, the vid that Iain has posted of Pete Townsend ‘unplugging’ ‘We Won’t Get Fooled Again’, is an eye-opener.

    This unplugged version has all the angst and anger of the original without the Marshall stacks. Pete Townsend proves that his music stands alone, whether acoustic or Marshall enhanced.

    I prefer the original band version

  11. Iain Hall says:

    You know what GD I was actually intending to put the version of the song up that you use in your last comment but my search found the acoustic version and it blew me away it was so elegant in its simplicity and the words delivered by the man who wrote it had such passion that my choice was no choice at all.
    The line in the song that resonates for me is this

    “meet the new Boss, same as the old boss”
    because it so reminds me of the message of Orwell’s animal farm that revolutions change noting except who is the in bosses chair…

  12. GD says:

    Yes, Iain, this unplugged version of the classic rock anthem is ‘elegant in its simplicity’. It’s perhaps an exception to the rule. Pete Townsend performs it both true to the electric version and probably more true to his initial conception of the song.

    It is chilling that the last line echoes the sentiment of ‘Animal Farm’.

    Of course the coming revolution in 2013 will be a case of ‘meet the new boss and good riddance Gillard and crew’. 🙂

  13. Ray Dixon says:

    the coming revolution in 2013 will be a case of ‘meet the new boss and

    …. and he’s actually worse. Have you ever stopped to think about the prospect of Tony Abbott becoming PM? If the Liberals get back into government without undergoing any fundamental changes (and they haven’t changed) then we are actually going back to the future. Way back. Be careful what you wish for.

  14. GD says:

    Ray, in what way is it ‘back to the future’? Have you any specific concerns or are you merely mouthing platitudes?

  15. Ray Dixon says:

    Because Abbott has no policies apart from dismantling projects. I don’t think that’s a platitude, it’s a fact. With Abbott we’ll be going back to the Howard days, or even further back. Go on, name one visionary idea, one advancement, one ‘big picture’ project or policy he’s got on his agenda. It’s a blank canvas – as blank as his expression when he’s asked to explain his policies.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    Ray you exaggerate to suggest that Abbott has “no policies” its entirely uncontentious for an opposition party to only speak in generalities at this point in the electoral cycle.
    Abbott has enunciated the general direction of the Coalition’s policies and we will get more detail as the election draws CLOSER. In any event its better to have no policies rather than the ALP under Gillard’s BAD policies. 🙂

  17. Brian says:

    Anyone who seeks a job, whether by appointment or election, should be able to articulate a plan for what they can bring in the mid- to long-term. Abbott and his crew have not done that. The best they’ve offered so far is not to repeat the mistakes of the ALP. That kind of campaigning is lazy, uninspiring and dull. Sure they might unveil something between now and the election, but I doubt it.

  18. GD says:

    A year out from the Kevin 07 election Labor had no idea of its campaign. Young Kevvie hadn’t been sourced and his mantra of ‘Howard Lite’ not yet given a run, yet leftards today demand complete disclosure of Liberal Party policies.

    Why? They’re not going to vote for them anyway, so bug off! The Libs will win this election on their own terms.

    As for visionary government, I reckon it is visionary enough to call a halt to wasteful green subsidy programs which benefit no-one but the contractor. I reckon it’s visionary enough to revoke the Carbon Tax and its (already paid) requisite 10% payment to the UN, especially when that 10% could have helped our indigenous or our homeless. At last count it was in the hundreds of millions.

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/latest/8916664/carbon-tax-billions-to-help-poor-nations/

    Equally visionary would be saving Aussie battlers 10% on their power bills. That’s a vision I’d like to see. Getting rid of the unnecessary Carbon Tax will do that. Simple.

    Getting rid of this unnecessary Labor Government will solve a lot of self-inflicted problems. Border control and industrial relations, both in turmoil at the moment, will benefit from a firm hand on the tiller as opposed to the free hand the Gillard government has given them.

    And finally, clearing out the Fabians and socialists from government in order to stop spending our kids’ inheritance before they’re even born.

    Labor has already left a huge debt to be repaid by future generations. Unfortunately, they have nothing to show for it. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

    They are a total failure of a government.

  19. Tel says:

    There’s plenty of Liberal policy on their website, very little has changed since 2010, and it is perfectly specific. Here’s a part of their education policy for example:

    Unshackle school Principals so they can deal with issues ‘on the ground’

    Our school principals are shackled by union-prescribed rules that have been legitimised by state bureaucracies. The unions hinder decision-making on the ground and in a timely manner. Most importantly, governments will always struggle to understand the specific issues faced by individual school communities. By contrast, senior members of a school community usually know what is best for their school.

    In addition they want to make it easier to reward the best teachers and get rid of the worst teachers — exactly the sort of stuff the unions won’t allow. What else do you want them to say? If you like teacher’s unions and uniform mediocrity, vote ALP, if you like students to get the best teachers, vote Liberal.

    In other cases like the Temporary Protection Visas, the Liberals were equally detailed and then the ALP just came along and stole their thunder by using exactly the same policy (with a small name change if I remember, to make it look different).

    Little by little they are forcing schools and teachers to be transparent about their results… that’s been Liberal policy since John Howard and and the ALP finally accepted that it is what the parents want, and what the taxpayers want. Perfectly easy to understand, what else do you want Abbott to say about the matter? The teacher’s unions gnashed and moaned and now they have to put up with it, because the vast majority of Australians want it.

  20. Tel says:

    People who like the idea of government taking over charity and transferring wealth at the barrel of a gun, show read “America’s Great Depression” by Murray Rothbard.

    Herbert Hoover was a perfectly intelligent and enthusiastic man, he made a bunch of money working on zinc extraction for the mines in Australia, and he helped out all over the place during the war. He was also a very charitable man, a Quaker, and he followed his principles.

    Then he became US Secretary of Commerce and decided he could help people by improving things. From 1921 to 1933 he was putting together committees, and running around tinkering with everything — trouble was, Hoover was not much chop at Economics, and didn’t understand that a national economy works differently to a zinc mine. Over those years, the government got more and more involved is trying to regulate industry, manipulating prices, changing import and export rules and generally interfering with everything they could get their hands on. Gradually the stuff they interfered with fell apart, until the 1929 stock crash revealed the rottenness.

    Of course, when things got tough, they didn’t give up their tinkering. No sir, they redoubled their efforts! Didn’t fix anything but the broke a lot more stuff in the process.

    On the RFC, Hoover proclaimed, as he did for the rest of his program, “Nothing has ever been devised in our history which has done more for those whom Mr. Coolidge has aptly called the ‘common run of men and
    women.’” Yet, after three years of this benevolent care, the common man was worse off than ever.

    All done in the name of a good Quaker fellow helping out where he was needed.

    Then Roosevelt took over and did more of what Hoover did, and harder, finally the government pretty much took over the economy and turned it all to military arms buildup, then after that it moved to a centralized war economy, and has never fully recovered.

    If you want to understand where things are going in the US, this is an excellent book.

  21. Iain Hall says:

    You make a very good point about the policy being there on the Liberal website Tel I can’t help but wonder just what form Liberal polices have to take before Ray will admit that they do have polices after all 😉

  22. Ray Dixon says:

    They are not policies, Iain – they are destructive ideas to dismantle things that have been built.

  23. Ray Dixon says:

    Another load of biased tripe by GD. Yeah, “getting rid” of ALP policies and programs are “policies”. This is like saying that because Captain Bligh was a tyrant, the Bounty was better off being taken over by the mutineers. Um, what happened then exactly?

  24. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    How can you say “They are not policies”?

    Please define precisely what you understand a “policy” to be so that I can comprehend the logic of your reasoning here 😉

  25. Ray Dixon says:

    A policy is a tangible plan to do something, Iain. If you call their plan to tinker with education and tinker with asylum seeker policy (which should be a non-partisan issue) then they have “policies” of sorts on those two issues. I don’t call that a tangible plan to actually do something – I call it a plan to undo something. Beyond that it’s not up to me to articulate what a policy should resemble – I’m saying that the writings on the Liberal party website do not inspire any kind of belief that they have real plans for the country apart from undoing a few things and possibly raising taxes and cutting spending. That’s a very lazy way of governing, much like we had under Howard. It’s very easy to build up a surplus by doing nothing with the taxes you bring in but in the end the country goes backwards. Or do you somehow think we’re less advanced now than we were 5 years ago? News flash – we are still better off than we were.

  26. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    A policy is a tangible plan to do something, Iain. If you call their plan to tinker with education and tinker with asylum seeker policy (which should be a non-partisan issue) then they have “policies” of sorts on those two issues.

    Well that means that they do have some polices doesn’t it?

    I don’t call that a tangible plan to actually do something – I call it a plan to undo something.

    That is a judgement of the policy not proof of an absence of policy

    Beyond that it’s not up to me to articulate what a policy should resemble – I’m saying that the writings on the Liberal party website do not inspire any kind of belief that they have real plans for the country apart from undoing a few things and possibly raising taxes and cutting spending.

    But it does show that your “they have no policies” claim is empty hyperbole though.

    That’s a very lazy way of governing, much like we had under Howard. It’s very easy to build up a surplus by doing nothing with the taxes you bring in but in the end the country goes backwards. Or do you somehow think we’re less advanced now than we were 5 years ago? News flash – we are still better off than we were.

    Frankly I would rather have a lazy government than an incompetent one like the Gillard regime

  27. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, that’s your definition of “policy”, not mine and not in the minds of those people who are other than rusted-on, blind-faith supporters of whatever Abbott and his coalition of yesterday men and women do … and don’t do.

    Why would you rather have a lazy, do-nothing Howard-type government? Are you suggesting we were better off under Howard? The fact is Australia has continually improved since the last recession we had more than 20 years ago and since Keating’s economic reforms kicked in and gave even Howard an easy ride. But you’d like to go back to the future then, when things were tougher? Okay.

  28. Brian says:

    Like I said earlier, a policy is not the guff they write up and publish on their party websites. Any reasonably well trained PR hack can produce one of those. A real policy is announced with at least some detail of how it would be legislated and how it would work. It would be submitted for public and media scrutiny and also for costing. Has the coalition done that with any of its major policies? The answer is no.

    Still a few months to go but I suspect the opposition is going to campaign for the next election on the basis that they are not the other mob. They’ll probably still win but they won’t deserve to.

  29. Brian says:

    GD is still banging on about debt, debt, debt I see. Here are the CIA’s figures on public debt to GDP ratio as of 2011:

    1 Zimbabwe 219.70%
    2 Japan 205.50%
    4 Greece 165.30%
    9 Italy 120.10%
    11 Singapore 118.20%
    12 Ireland 108.20%
    18 Canada 87.40%
    19 France 86.10%
    20 United Kingdom 85.30%
    24 Germany 80.60%
    32 Israel 72.60%
    38 United States 67.80%
    39 Netherlands 65.10%

    118 Australia 26.70%

    Australia has one of the lowest debt to GDP margins in the developed world. In fact of the three dozen or so countries below us, most are either third world economies or Arab states swimming in oil. How you lot can go on with this horse excrement argument that we are being ruined by debt is beyond me.

  30. Iain Hall says:

    Brian in this day and age I would say that what is published on the website is MORE important than something said in a speech and how it will be legislated will be duly scrutinised as the bill is proposed and debated through the parliament.
    I agree with you though in so far as the election will be fought on the “we are not the other mob” not just by the coalition but by Labor as well.

  31. Iain Hall says:

    Brian
    Just our of curiosity what was Australia’s standing on that league table before Rudd won the lodge?

  32. Brian says:

    Brian in this day and age I would say that what is published on the website is MORE important than something said in a speech

    I’m not referring to speeches. Policy unveilings expose DETAILED policy proposals to public scrutiny. They should also be submitted for costing, something the Coalition has been dodgy on. Any clown can write a few paragraphs on a website but that doesn’t make good policy.

    I agree with you though in so far as the election will be fought on the “we are not the other mob” not just by the coalition but by Labor as well.

    Probably. But they’ll at least be able to point to some successful policies they have introduced. The coalition would present much better if it behaved like an alternative government rather than being obsessed about bringing the government down or forcing it to an early election.

    Just our of curiosity what was Australia’s standing on that league table before Rudd won the lodge?

    It was 10.9% in 2006. So the government has spent big to protect the domestic economy from a global meltdown, yet we’re still miles better off than any other developed nation.

  33. Iain Hall says:

    What successful Labor policies would that be then Brian?

  34. GD says:

    I asked that of deknarf some time ago and he has yet to answer. I wonder what Brian can come up with?

  35. Tel says:

    Australia has one of the lowest debt to GDP margins in the developed world.

    Australia has a pretty low murder rate too. Lower than typical.

    Egat! We are not exactly average (wring hands and moan). What to do? What to do?

    Look at your list. Personally I don’t want to be trying to make my economy more like Zimbabwe, Greece, Italy, or Ireland. Even Singapore and Japan aren’t exactly ideal, those two nations have very loyal citizens willing to keep lending to their government indefinitely, but that’s a social thing, and not an attractive social thing IMHO.

    Ireland was an occupied nation for centuries, with a simmering war going on in the background. Thank God that’s over with, but they put on huge growth over the last 20 years, and they did most of it on borrowed money, so now they are suffering payback, but at least they moved into the modern world. Also, Ireland stupidly bailed out their private banks, should have done what Iceland did and allowed banks to fail. No reason for government to take on board private debt — not the government’s job to prop up failed enterprise.

    By the way, if you divide public debt by GDP you get an answer in years (yes, this is nitpicking). Public debt is dollars, GDP is dollars per year, so the dollars cancel out and “per year” becomes “years” because of the divide. So more correctly, Zimbabwe should measure 2.1970 years, and Australia should measure 0.2670 years, or 3.2 months if you prefer.

    The time is how long it would take to pay back the debt if the ENTIRE GDP was fed into nothing else, but that’s impossible so multiply by a reasonable factor (like 20 at least) to get the minimum time we could feasibly pay back the debt. That is not the case for Greece nor Italy since neither of those have any intention of paying it back.

    I’ve tried to explain this point to the CIA, they do listen (it’s what they are good at) but they don’t seem interested in fixing up details.

  36. Tel says:

    What successful Labor policies would that be then Brian?

    He will probably tell you that the ALP saved us from economic crash, except this was only possible because Peter Costello kept the public debt to a minimum and the RBA kept interest rates up, so there was room to move when the 2008 crash happened.

    Easy to open the savings box when a rainy day happens, hard to think ahead and lay down those savings in advance.

    Also, we aren’t out of the woods yet. The USA still needs to figure out what to do with their rising deficit and their Social Security obligations. Crazy stuff, I hope we don’t get sucked into their vortex, but I think we might do.

  37. Ray Dixon says:

    Yeah, you’re right. Instead of “opening up the savings box” and injecting liquidity to avoid the GFC we should have just done nothing and gone into deep recession with the rest of the world. That’s what the Libs would have done.

    Btw, Costello was the world’s laziest Treasurer. It’s easy to “keep public debt to a minimum” when you don’t invest, isn’t it? And Costello inherited a ready-made Keating-designed economy … and then added a GST. And then didn’t spend. THAT IS ALL HE DID.

  38. Ray Dixon says:

    Correction: Costello also sold off our gold reserves at rock bottom prices. F*cking brilliant.

  39. Brian says:

    What successful Labor policies would that be then Brian?

    I think they’re response to the GFC was appropriate. The NBN is a bold and visionary project. There’s been advances in education, e.g. the National Curriculum, NAPLAN testing. They’ve invested in some important and long awaited infrastructure projects. There’s also been waste and mismanagement, of course. They are a mediocre government, not a good one. But if you were to listen exclusively to the likes of Iain and GD, you’d think Gillard was the devil incarnate and Swan was her mischievous imp.

    Australia has a pretty low murder rate too. Lower than typical.

    We’ve probably got smaller average penis sizes than the Congo or Micronesia too Tel. And it would be about as relevant as that comparison, or your conflated babble about GDP. The figures are the figures and they stand alone as a comparison of how much each country owes as a proportion of its output.

    Ray is right about Costello. He was no genius: he was simply a conservative, spend-little treasure who filled up the national coffers by shirking infrastructure spending and selling off publicly owned assets like Telstra. We could have made great leaps under Costello and Howard, but instead we marked time.

  40. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    I think they’re response to the GFC was appropriate.

    That is a a maybe from me because I think that there was just a bit too much panic in that response

    The NBN is a bold and visionary project.

    But as yet it has not got far enough to qualify as a “success” especially when you consider the very low take up rates where it has been rolled out

    There’s been advances in education, e.g. the National Curriculum, NAPLAN testing.

    I’ll admit that I think that those are things that have merit.

    They’ve invested in some important and long awaited infrastructure projects.

    What in particular? because all governments invest in infrastructure.

    There’s also been waste and mismanagement, of course. They are a mediocre government, not a good one. But if you were to listen exclusively to the likes of Iain and GD, you’d think Gillard was the devil incarnate and Swan was her mischievous imp.

    Its the waste and mismanagement that concerns me Brian, especially in things like their “clean energy future” and their border protection shambles.

  41. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, there was also a low take-up rate of the Internet for the first decade of its life. Then it kind of went exponentially bonkers. Same for Blogs & Facebook. It’s what they call the ‘J’ curve.

    What infrastructure did Howard invest in over his 11 years? Please tell.

  42. Tel says:

    Peter Costello sold no gold at all. The Australian gold was sold by the Reserve Bank of Australia, and Costello decided not to interfere with that decision. It is quite unusual for a treasurer to interfere with the RBA and there are good reasons for that.

    The amount of gold was about $8 billion (at today’s prices) which would cover only 2 months of ALP borrowing (they have averaged an extra $50 billion per year). The actual loss on the sale was considerably less when you consider cumulative inflation since 1997.

  43. Tel says:

    What infrastructure did Howard invest in over his 11 years? Please tell.

    The Internet in Australia expanded much more during the Howard years than anything the NBN has achieved (both in terms of speed, and availability). There’s a lot of infrastructure right there.

    State infrastructure projects were also booming during the Howard years, but it would be a long list or roads, rail, new suburbs, new mines, etc. Sydney got so many new skyscrapers you would hardly recognize the place.

  44. Ray Dixon says:

    So Howard built the Internet, or the use of it in Oz? Well no, he didn’t – the Internet explosion just happened to coincide with his term and Howard did nothing to assist it as it simply used the existing infrastructure. Maybe he should have put fibre optic cable in when the costs were cheaper and when we had the surpluses but, no, that’d be like doing something. Is it any wonder that Labor is left to play catch up and spend like there’s no tomorrow whenever they get into power?

    As for the State projects that were booming during the Howard years, yes, they’d be the States that were (then) under ALP government like Victoria (1999 to 2010), NSW and even Queensland.

  45. Iain Hall says:

    Ray what is the difference between creating an environment where the Internet could flourish and actually building it via a government quango?

    Further it would not have cost any less to have built a fibre optic network because the same problem would have confronted Howard as the NBN faces now, namely the size of our country and its population density,

  46. Brian says:

    Tel, from recollection I believe that selling two thirds of our gold reserves was an RBA decision but it had to be signed off by Costello, since any offshore sale of sovereign wealth requires Treasury approval. So at the very least he approved it. And in hindsight it was a poor decision, though not a shattering one.

    I think in 20 or 50 years time, the NBN will be hailed as one of the few visionary public projects of our generation. Yes, it is massive and yes it will cost an enormous amount of money, but I think it will bring enormous opportunities in the future. I’m struggling to think of any one long term project introduced by John Howard in 11 years of government.

  47. Ray Dixon says:

    what is the difference between creating an environment where the Internet could flourish and actually building it via a government quango?

    First of all, Iain, the Internet took off all by itself, in spite of Howard’s ineptitude. Are you seriously suggesting that something he did from 1996 onwards caused it to flourish? What, selling Telstra?

    And a fibre optic network certainly would have cost less if it had statred earlier under 1990s wages & conditions.

  48. GD says:

    Brian said:

    I think in 20 or 50 years time, the NBN will be hailed as one of the few visionary public projects of our generation

    Already the NBN is being labeled as a white elephant. The blow-out cost, the ludicrous time-frame and the inability of this pathetic government to deliver it to any but a measly few households stands as proof of another Labor failure. That other countries have faster, cheaper internet than us is testament that this government is incapable of undertaking large scale infrastructural projects.

    Even small scale initiatives have fallen by the wayside. Without mentioning the tragic pink batts scheme, there has been so many, possibly all, of Labor’s ideas that have failed to fly.

    Set top boxes for pensioners? Well a few pensioners received one. Most didn’t. Wouldn’t vouchers for a new TV have been more cost effective and voter friendly? Not according to Labor. At the same time many pensioners were harassed with young unidentified people brow-beating them into taking ‘green scheme’ power devices to cut off their TVs. Geez, that was a smart idea. These smooth operators insisted on entering the homes of the elderly, to ‘see what devices they had’.

    Labor is out of touch with the general populace. It is the party of choice for Fairfax journalists and the latte sipping ‘elitists’. Good luck with that Labor at the next election.

    I think in 20 or 50 years time, the NBN will be hailed as one of the few visionary public projects of our generation

    Brian, fifty years ago we’d barely glimpsed black and white television. Our telephony was restricted to those that could afford a home phone and the rest who went to the public phone box, inserted a penny, pressed Button A, then Button B.

    That was fifty years ago. Do you really think that in fifty years time people will be marvelling over Labor’s ridiculous NBN white elephant?

    Internet years are like dog years, they move much faster, catch up, old man.

  49. Ray Dixon says:

    Those A/B phones were a great source of extra revenue, GD. Want a few shillings? Just go to the phone box with an ice-cream stick and hit the jackpot. Yeah, I marvel at that technology, GD.

  50. Iain Hall says:

    One thing that occurs to me about the nature and direction of the internet is that the future is wireless as more and more people transition to the incredibly cheap devices like the ones I bought my kids for Christmas. They all eitehr work through the cell phone network or through wifi So maybe the NBN will be as GD suggests a pale Pachyderm…

  51. Brian says:

    Already the NBN is being labeled as a white elephant. The blow-out cost, the ludicrous time-frame and the inability of this pathetic government to deliver it to any but a measly few households stands as proof of another Labor failure.

    I know you don’t do “facts” well, GD, but “a measly few households” is just baloney. More than half a million homes were connected this year and they’re forecasting another 750,000 in 2013. In any case, I think the more important measure is what the NBN will do for business and education in the next decade or two. It’s a visionary project and very few people employed in or with a business stake in the online world think otherwise.

    Set top boxes for pensioners? Well a few pensioners received one. Most didn’t. Wouldn’t vouchers for a new TV have been more cost effective and voter friendly?

    Yes indeed, that was a cock up. Doing a deal with an Australian owned company to distribute $100 vouchers or something would have been much more efficient. Or why not supply charities with wholesale STBs or digital capable TVs that they can then distribute to pensioners? It could have been done better. But at least they tried. I’d rather a government try projects like that and have them blow out than to do nothing.

    One thing that occurs to me about the nature and direction of the internet is that the future is wireless

    There is no way in hell that improvements in wireless, even 4G, will render the NBN or any other hardwired network obsolete. Fibre is essential if we are to keep pace with a growing population that chews through more data and more bandwidth. Unless you want mobile towers in every suburb, wireless just won’t cut it.

  52. GD says:

    Yep, no-one is impressed with 50 year old technology, except for Ray 🙂

    I marvel at that technology, GD

  53. Ray Dixon says:

    So, GD, you don’t reckon the public telephone was a significant invention? I see.

  54. Iain Hall says:

    Brian I may be the family computer geek but I have my doubts about what you say here:

    There is no way in hell that improvements in wireless, even 4G, will render the NBN or any other hardwired network obsolete. Fibre is essential if we are to keep pace with a growing population that chews through more data and more bandwidth. Unless you want mobile towers in every suburb, wireless just won’t cut it.

    Not so much for technical reasons but because I can see the way that the hardware has been evolving. For instance the PC I am writing on is well and truly obsolete compared to a very basic lap top and the new generation tablets leave many laptops for dead in terms of their user interface and capabilities and all the new stuff works without wires into the wall its a trend that I can’t see changing any time soon

  55. Brian says:

    Yes, wireless can be almost as fast as wired technology. And yes, wireless is much more convenient than being wired to a wall point or network. iPads and what-not would be impossible without wireless and 3G/4G technology. But you’re confusing capability and ease of use with capacity, Iain. Wireless simply can’t cope with large numbers of high bandwidth users. It’s like comparing a water pistol with your mains water.

    Some have argued that the NBN should have been a composite of an extensive fibre network and wireless installations, and there is certainly an argument for that.

  56. Ray Dixon says:

    There are also reception problems with wireless in many areas, like around here where there are many hills. Even digital TV reception can be a problem here and is easily interfered with by passing traffic and my neighbour’s lawn mower (any loud resonating sounds will do it). My guests who bring up their laptops, ipads or dumbphones find it hard to pick up anything other than Telstra wireless connection and even then they sometimes have to move around to pick it up. Even Foxtel (which is via sattelite here) is easily interfered with too, by storms or even heavy cloud. We’re due to get the NBN cable in 2016 and it’ll be most welcome by everyone I assure you.

  57. Iain Hall says:

    I may be wrong Brian but wasn’t the coalition’s Fibre to the node idea what you are suggesting here?

    Some have argued that the NBN should have been a composite of an extensive fibre network and wireless installations, and there is certainly an argument for that.

  58. Iain Hall says:

    Ray I get what you mean about digital reception because we still can’t get a clear digital signal form the ABC here no matter what I do.

  59. GD says:

    Only joking, Ray

  60. Ray Dixon says:

    I know, GD, but you weren’t joking about public telephones. You used it as an example to say we don’t marvel over the technology of 50 years ago – when the phone (and the public accessibility to it via phone booths) is probably only exceeded as a technological miracle of great significance by the motor car and the electricity grid. Ergo, we may well look back on this era as equally significant.

  61. Brian says:

    I may be wrong Brian but wasn’t the coalition’s Fibre to the node idea what you are suggesting here?

    I was thinking more of fibre to the curb rather than the node. The problem with FTTN is that in a large country like Australia, the node might be miles away from end users, and even relatively short distances can stretch the capacity of copper or coaxial line.

    I think there is an argument for fewer hard fibre connections and more wireless stations in heavily built up areas, like the suburbs in capital cities.

  62. Ray Dixon says:

    I reckon the Coalition’s idea of FTTN would be that the fibre optic cable only goes up main highways to the larger regional towns. That’d make Wangaratta (80 km away) or Wodonga (100 km away) our nearest connection point, with the connection being the old copper wire of course. In other words, no change whatsoever.

  63. Brian says:

    Yes, and I think that defeats one of the main purposes of the NBN, which is to take high-speed connectivity to regional towns. This will encourage companies who do most/all of their work online to set up or relocate to these towns, where other costs like rent, services and wages are probably less expensive.

    It is not that risky an investment to run fibre down the Alpine Road and have nodes in all those towns along the way. The take-up rate now mightn’t be very high but it is certain to improve with time. The same goes for every significant country road in Australia.

  64. […] Don’t get fooled again by the Greens (iainhall.wordpress.com) […]

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