The Self Doubt of Greg Hunt

Hidden among the reaction to the first Australian Government Direct Action emissions abatement auctions is an interesting and revealing response from the relevant minister Greg Hunt.
To recap, the Direct Action scheme has spent 25% of the funds allocated to abate carbon. For that spend, it will  theoretically abate 15% of the required 5% emissions reduction. Both figures are far too low by world standards.
Hunt believes that the full target can be achieved in the timeframe. No-one else does.
Hunt has derided his critics as ALP stooges and exaggerated the price of carbon under the ALP government ($1300) without an accompanying explanation.
Typically, it seems, much like his colleagues he’s afraid of criticism and prepared to exaggerate. So there’s nothing to see here, just move along.
But it was Hunt’s recollection of his conversation with  John Connor of the Climate Institute  that was for me most revealing.
Hunt claimed they gave him  full approval. The Climate Institute clarified the conversation just stating they saw the process as transparent and the projects had potential
I wondered, “Why would Hunt do that?”
My surmise is that those are the words of a man driven by self-doubt.
His course should now be clear. Hunt should admit he needs a better plan. A real ETS. It would cure his self-doubt too.

An Abbott Recession Or Worse?

History unlearned has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself.

Unfortunately, the present economic policies of the Abbott LNP will have historical long-term economic and social consequences.

The following ready reckoner and broad analysis sets out the short and long term consequences of an Abbott LNP government.  (Please note these commitments are not costed).

Short Term Consequences

Tax Reduction

Tax Neutral

Spending Increase

Spending Decreases

  • Unspecified (see below).


Long Term Consequences

Obviously, even on a superficial understanding of the economy and Government spending, these promises will have to be funded through as yet unspecified spending cuts and/or extensive privatisation. One of the policy think tanks aligned with the LNP has specified an extensive blueprint here. Further suggestions are here.

Whether the LNP implements such wide-ranging spending cuts and/or privatisation remains to be seen. But there will be long-term consequences.

Privatisation

Privatisation, unfortunately has a poor track record in the public sphere:

  1. Governments have a poor record of successful privatisation with increased costs and decreased efficiency of service delivery.
  2. Privatisation increases public revenue in the short-term and decreases revenue in the longer term.
  3. Privatisation increases costs to the public in the long-term (especially for electricity).

Spending Cuts

As for spending cuts, as most Government spending is Health, Education and Human Services, inevitably the axe will fall there. The long-term consequences will be:

  • Health cuts will not satisfy the existing and increased demand for services due to mental illness, an aging and increasing population, etc.
  • Education reductions will create future skills shortages.
  • Social security cuts will create even more long-term unemployed and homeless with resulting social dislocation.

Ultimately

The same policies of spending cuts and privatisation have created recession for:

Worst of all, the LNP has stated its commitment to a budget surplus. Such a commitment  retained during an induced recession, will be history repeating itself : the same policy that worsened the 1929 Depression and the same policies that have hurt Greece and Spain.

It (will be) much worse than we thought.

Is This The Most Boring Opposition Ever?

English: A bored person

He’s Bored.

Politically, I always thought it was the role of the Government to bore the electorate to death. And then be re-elected.

But, and especially of late, that role has been taken on by the Opposition.

As posted yesterday, it was the asylum seeker debate.

Now it is the AWU scandal which dominated Parliament yesterday with allegations that the PM broke the law. Which does not match her defence or recollection. Besides, if that is the case there should be an investigation. Or perhaps a Royal Commission into all lawyers that gave good advice subsequently misused. Boring.

And the week before it was the carbon tax which has had its day. Boring.

And every question time the Opposition moves for a suspension of standing orders which almost always is lost. Boring.

Wouldn’t it be funny if there was an election and the Opposition was re-elected based on their boring performance.