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The musings of Jez Melb Punter

Labor. It's a mess.

13 Feb 11 01:17
Gillard Labor continues to lurch from one problem to the next. Everything Julia Gillard does - on water, new onshore detention arrangements, the unravelling mining tax or the NBN white elephant - ends up in a mess. Julia Gillard promised results - but instead all we are getting is more reckless policy, more incompetence and more disappointment.

Gillard Labor is in a mess of its own making.

Julia Gillard is becoming more and more shrill with her claims about the Coalition “screaming from the sidelines”.  Just a few months ago, Julia Gillard said the Coalition wanted to “let the market rip” but now accuses the Coalition of ‘economic Hansonism’.

Between 1998 and 2007, Julia Gillard opposed every major economic reform introduced by the Howard Government.  She opposed the private health insurance rebate. She opposed tax reform. She opposed waterfront reform. She opposed superannuation reform. She opposed successive Howard Government budget decisions designed to reduce government debt.

Julia Gillard is running the most economically incompetent government in living memory.  Having wasted billions of dollars on overpriced school halls racked up mountains of debt and continuing to borrow $100 million every day, Julia Gillard has zero credibility when she talks about economic reform.

The only economic reform Julia Gillard is interested in is imposing higher electricity prices on Australian families through a carbon tax.  This is an increasingly desperate Prime Minister trying to distract from the seriousness of Labor’s mess.

The Coalition has taken the initiative to prepare legislation requiring publication of a 10-year business case for Labor’s $43 billion spending on broadband.  The Coalition has had to force Labor’s hand, establish the facts and provide Parliament with an appropriate level of understanding by allowing the Productivity Commission to independently assess economic and regulatory issues associated with Labor’s NBN.

Australia’s peak business body, the Business Council of Australia, has called for the NBN to be subjected to a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.  While the US Government is spending $7b to support broadband rollout, Labor’s NBN will spend taxpayers’ money at 100 times more per capita without undertaking a cost-benefit analysis.

Water Minister Tony Burke now says he will push the Murray Darling Basin Authority to assess the social and economic impacts of water cuts.  Labor now effectively admits the work leading up to these cuts is flawed.  The Murray Darling Basin report cost $100 million, but only reflects one third of the Act’s requirements. Why did Labor let this go on to this point of anger among the affected communities? The confusion is Labor’s responsibility.

Water cuts mean higher food prices just as Labor breaking its promise on a carbon tax means higher electricity prices.  More water for the environment is important, but Labor's mishandling of this important reform is jeopardising both the river system and river communities.  Gillard Labor has pre-judged the issue by its pre-election commitment to accept all of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s report.

Labor’s failure to control our borders has seen more than 150 illegal boats carrying more than 5500 people arrive on our shores in 2010.  Gillard Labor’s response is more beds marked by abject lack of consultation with affected communities or the state governments.  More beds won’t stop the boats.  Universal offshore processing is no more and Gillard Labor is nowhere near achieving third country processing.

We’ve seen absurd proposals from Labor such as the temporary asylum freeze, used as an election fix.  Labor still does not have a proposal for one offshore processing centre in East Timor, let alone several in the region.

If the Coalition were in government, Nauru would be open now.  Instead Labor is still only talking about their never never regional processing East Timor plan.

Wherever you look, Gillard Labor is a mess. It has no plan to help make Australia stronger and better. Its only goals are the deals and compromises it needs to make to stay in office.
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