And the gold medal for worst policy of 2012 goes to …

I have this piece in The Weekend Australian today.  Read it and weep.  Obviously, quite a few exclusions.

During an election campaign, I like to run a book on the worst policy proposals put forward by any of the parties.  Ironically, I started this competition during the 2004 federal election campaign.  I say ‘ironic’ because the gold medal winner then, by a country mile, was the Medicare Gold proposal put forward by none other than Julia Gillard, then shadow health minister.

Back then, the number of players in my competition was small.  But with the advent of blogging, I have been able to expand the number of punters.  It was a tight run race last election campaign, with strong betting for the Citizens’ Assembly, East Timor offshore processing, cash for clunkers and Tony Abbott’s souped-up paid parental leave scheme.

But why leave it to election campaigns, I thought.  Why not award a gold medal to the worst policy of the year?  In setting up this competition, there are a number of criteria to bear in mind.  Are the objectives of the policy likely to be met by the intervention?  Do the objectives make any sense in the first place?  Do the benefits outweigh the costs? What is the magnitude of the losses to economic efficiency?

By confining the contest to 2012, there are some truly appalling policies that cannot be considered.  The Renewable Energy Target (originally instituted by the Howard government) is right up there in terms of costliness and inefficiency.

And while the carbon tax and all its wasteful paraphernalia, most particularly the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, would normally be a front runner, the legislation was passed last year, not this year. More generally, the regulation of electricity markets should get a guernsey but the mismanagement of this space has been going on for years.

And then there’s the NBN.  Placing a single bet on one technology, costing untold billions and creating a new government monopoly, the NBN would have to be the clear winner if judged over a number of years.  Add the facts that the roll-out is way behind schedule and the take-up rates are pitiful means its long-term winning position is virtually unassailable.

One exclusion from consideration for this year’s prize that does particularly disappoint me is the policy with the silly sounding name, Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy.  Sadly, this shameful and expensive sop to the Maritime Union of Australia and Shipping Australia – which will doubtless be completely ineffective – became operational last year.

Not that I need worry too much, because there are plenty of lousy policies in 2012 vying for the top prize.  Here are my finalists:

  • Australian Education Bill 2012
  • Supertrawler ban
  • Illegal Logging Act
  • Schoolkids Bonus
  • Anti-Dumping Commission
  • Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

Lest I be accused of picking on the government, although governments do implement policies rather than oppositions, I would point out that a number of these policies have been either waved through the parliament by the Coalition or are stolen from the Coalition play-list.  The most notable example of the latter is the Anti-Dumping Commission.

I was very tempted simply to award the gold medal to the Australian Education Bill 2012 without considering the other entrants.  This must be one of the few times that there are more words in a second reading speech than there are in a bill itself.  But here’s the real kicker: it is a law without legal effect.  Section 10 states that the “act does not create legally enforceable obligations.” It is a complete con and an offence to parliamentary processes.

Of course, there is the guff attached to the bill, including one of the aims that “Australia will be placed in the top five countries in reading, science and mathematics, quality and equity in recognised international testing by 2025”. Let’s face it – there is no chance of this being achieved.  The recent results show Australia’s international education standing has actually deteriorated, notwithstanding the close to 40 per cent increase in per capita spending on schools in the past decade.

I am very tempted to award the gold medal for worst policy to the supertrawler fiasco simply on the important grounds of failure to comply with due process.  Here was a venture into which the owners had invested millions and spent years securing all the relevant approvals.  The science was also on their side – one large trawler would inflict less environmental damage than a number of smaller ones.

All this counted for nought when the government faced some voter resistance and strong opposition from their partners in government, the Greens.  Notwithstanding a disagreement between two ministers, the pin was pulled and the taxpayer can look forward to forking out substantial monetary compensation – and rightly so – to the owners of the venture.

There is no doubt that the Illegal Logging Act could easily be awarded the medal.  Just what the Coalition thought it was doing when it voted to allow the bill through the houses of parliament is completely beyond me.  The law reverses the onus of proof so all importers and users of timber have to be able to prove that timber being sold or used has been legally harvested.  Of course, the real aim of the Greens is to kill off all harvesting of hardwood timber, an aim that might well be achieved.

And what was the government thinking when it introduced the Schoolkids Bonus?  After all, the savings from ditching the under-utilised education tax refund could have come in handy to secure the predicted wafer-thin budget surplus.  But having given in on the solid idea of reducing the company tax rate, the government opted to spend the ‘proceeds’ by handing over regular and completely unjustified cash handouts to parents with school children.  All up, just a bit of brazen vote buying, which hopefully – from the government’s point of view – will do the trick in the western suburbs of Sydney

It is early days for the Anti-Dumping Commission, but here is another example of a sop to the union movement and certain companies.  Don’t you just love the idea of anti-dumping?  The Prime Minister defined the practice of dumping as unfair because “imported goods are sold in Australia at prices below their normal value, injuring local businesses and their workers.” Define “normal”, Prime Minister.

And how does the Anti-Dumping Commission sit with the advice given by Austrade to Australian exporters to price at marginal cost in order to get into overseas markets?  There is an assumption here that we are all dying to pay more for the goods we purchase.  Let’s be honest about this – the Anti-Dumping Commission is just another industry protection racket

But, as they say in the classics, there can be only one winner.  The gold medal for worst government policy for 2012 goes to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

Notwithstanding the fact that truck road safety has been actually improving, the Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, has been on a promise to the Transport Workers’ Union to introduce this costly and ineffective intervention for some time.  Not that the big transport companies will be complaining.  Roping in owner-drivers and extending responsibility to all parties in the chain suits their cartel-like ambitions very well.

From July, a new section of Fair Work Australia has been tasked (I am really on to this government lingo) with setting the pay and conditions in the road transport industry.  It covers all manner of issues.  Recently, there has been a call for suppliers to pay for any waiting times that drivers must endure.

But here’s the real kicker.  When the regulation impact statement was prepared to consider the establishment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, the cost-benefit analysis clearly demonstrated that the costs would exceed the benefits. In fact, the net present value of the policy was estimated to exceed negative $200 million, principally because the costs “will be passed on in the supply chain and ultimately paid for by consumers”.

Yes, I hear the squeals of complaint about policies I have missed, but the judge’s decision is final.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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71 Responses to And the gold medal for worst policy of 2012 goes to …

  1. Now if it were the US, there’d be no contest. The hick fascists idea to put armed guards in schools would win hands down.
    It’s not yet policy, of course, but anything is possible in the land of the gun.

  2. .

    What’s the relevance, 1735099?

    Judith – the supertrawler ban was egregiously wrong. It has to win hands down.

  3. Splatacrobat

    The first commenter Agent Orange and your already off topic with a dig at the policies of a foreign government.

    I know you are a school teacher so I’ll say this slowly for you.

    This
    thread
    is
    for
    people
    to
    comment
    on
    failed
    government
    policies
    in
    Australia

    not
    America

    Asshat

  4. @Splatshit
    This thread is open for any post – entirely consistent with Liberarian principles…..

  5. Bruce

    How do you pick stinkiest policy from a Government with the worst case of reverse midas touch ever?

    All of them.

    And frankly I can’t think of a single non-stinky one. Even NDIS isn’t funded and is ‘way off in the never never.

    This Government should take a holiday in North Korea and not come back.

  6. Ubique

    Numbers, please don’t confuse libertarian principles with those of anarchy.

  7. MattR

    Haha:

    The hick fascists idea to put armed guards in schools would win hands down.

    Aside from the fact that this is a clear strawman, what exactly is bad about this idea? Armed guards are used to transport money, why not to protect schoolchildren?

    How heartless are you lol…

  8. Bruce

    Then again, they did have one good policy, to run a surplus this year. Another oops.

    And that has to be the winner since they went on and on and on and on and on about the surplus only to wincemakingly say one bloody day ago ‘er about that surplus’.

    Crap these kiddies are hopeless! /rant

  9. Milton von Smith

    You forgot the MRRT. It didn’t become law until March this year.

  10. Cato the Elder

    The Anti Dumping Commission for the win!

    The Education Bill isn’t policy, it’s propaganda
    School kids Bonus is a bribe (which may work)
    Super Trawler Ban was a gut reaction, not policy
    Illegal Logging and Road Safety may achieve their (hidden) agendas

    But the ADC won’t achieve it’s intended protectionist goal, it will just cost money

  11. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Numbers the racist anti-American bigot:
    N

    ow if it were the US, there’d be no contest. The hick fascists idea to put armed guards in schools would win hands down.
    It’s not yet policy, of course, but anything is possible in the land of the gun.

    As a racist bigot he can’t help himself. Any thread, every thread, does not matter. He will vomit stinking racist bile and bigotry all over it.

    Back OT, so many to choose from (had Judith made it the ALP’s dastrous five years we’d be here until doomsday). But I have to pick the Illegal Logging Act.

  12. Poida

    Clearly not able to be included this year, the mining tax has to rate a mention.

    It adds cost, a compliance burden, liability and other unnecessary burdens whilst managing to raise zero revenue!

    If incompetence were an Olympic sport, these guys would be gold medallists.

    Also it’s nice to see a critical eye turned on the big government conservatives policies.

    Incidentally my vote goes to the trawler fiasco.

    Great article.

  13. The law reverses the onus of proof so all importers and users of timber have to be able to prove that timber being sold or used has been legally harvested.

    This is blatent protectionism towards Australian produced timber. Current Australian plantation owners stand to gain. So it is not simply about stopping overseas logging which we can’t anyway.

  14. H B Bear

    Albasleazy has a win at last.

  15. thefrollickingmole

    1735099

    Ok Ill bite, why is it a bad idea?

    1: The American constitution prohibits disarming the populace. Any band aid ban on magazines etc wont stop a nut shooting up a school.
    2: Schools, are by their nature targets of choice for mental wankers who want a “kill count” before they suicide.
    3: An armed person isnt a garuntee to stop a shooting, but on a number of occasions the nut has ended up in a gun duel allowing more time for people to get to safety. Often being opposed leads the nut to turn thier firearm on themselves.

    Also if you realy wanted to reduce crime stats theres a sacred shibboleth of the left you might want to examine.

    Single motherhood.Every country, every race, every social backgound shows single motherhood as (in many cases) more than doubling crime rates…

    What does this mean? Children from fatherless homes are:

    4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,

    6.6 times to become teenaged mothers (if they are girls, of course),
    24.3 times more likely to run away,
    15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders,
    6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
    10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
    6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
    15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager.

    That site may be a little too strident/biased for you, but heres the challenge, find me one researched article showing an “on par” outcome for the children of single parents.

  16. Judith, you missed the kneejerk ban on beef exports to Indonesia after the animal welfare activists got their ABC to film some paid cow torturers.

  17. Mark

    I am with Forester.

    Simultaneously destroying jobs, an industry, competitiveness and principles whilst making less off people pay more for their food effectively making them hungry until substitute markets were found and having them source the beef from less regulated markets than Australia meaning MORE cows were harmed in the making of this policy, whilst also pissing off a close neighbor takes exceptional perseverance in the cause of stupidity.

    Big winner in my opinion. And Garrett wasn’t even involved.

  18. James Bauer

    Forester: The live-export ban was one of the very few things this government has ever done right.

    I think I’d nominate the Anti-Dumping Commission. I actually thought we were past protectionism.

  19. fingerbone bill

    Worst Government decision of the year – to appoint Quiggin, Karoly and Clive Hamilton to the board of the Climate Change Authority – a loathsome combination.

  20. DaveF

    Good call Forester, but it wasn’t a law which is the criteria I think. Unlike the trawler ban which was actually passed in parliament.

    Was the NDIS passed into law this year? If it was I think it should be on the list for it’s fuzzy aims and implausibility of it being funded.

  21. Cynic Al

    A very difficult competition, there are so many bad policies and quite frankly, I can’t think of any good ones, but here goes.
    I can’t get past the gross foolishness and waste of the NBN, so that has to get my vote.
    Another bad policy not mentioned which apart from those directly affected, is the incredible extension of the National Marine Park reserves. It will lead to unemployment in the fishing industresy, to increased imports of often inferior seafoods and with such, more harm to the world environment, even if it preserves our neighbouring seas!

  22. entropy

    the live export ban was more than a year ago. Of course, the repercussions are still be felt even after the ban is lifted.

  23. entropy

    I am struggling to think of a good policy they have implemented…..

  24. Entropy,

    They did cut the levy on the poor to subsidise rich green’s solar panels.

  25. Andrew

    School Kids Bonus is by far the worse.

  26. Andrew

    RET is one of the very few failures by the Howard Government.

  27. Andrew

    Judith, do you dislike the Paid Parental Leave scheme because it is a) a tax on big companies, b) another layer of welfare or c) both?

  28. blogstrop

    Rather than single out a worst of the worst, the period 2007-2013 may be summarised briefly, by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
    No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
    More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
    Comforter, where, where is your comforting?

  29. Rafe

    What do you think Numbers? Can you focus on the question and give a response that adds value?

    Just for a start, do you accept that the policies that Judith has nominated are actually bad?

  30. hzhousewife

    The live export ban may have been over a year ago, but the ramifications are ongoing and dreadful, and affect one of the only things this country may be able to rely on in the future for wealth – primary production.

  31. johno

    I am struggling to think of a good policy they have implemented…..

    There are none. Zip. Zero.

    There are only failures.

    That’s the Labor way!

  32. harry buttle

    It has to be the boat people policies, how many of the other policies have left 1000 people face down in the sea, created a whole new problem that didn’t previously exist and cost us billions?

  33. My greatest fear is that the Liberals(sic), who know better, will make only ineffective cosmetic changes or none at all. The failed lawyers and real estate agents will be too busy cooking up another mortgage brokers scandal or wasting our hard earned votes in pointless Victorian factional spats. Hopefully the post election rout and ‘Nuremberg Trial’ will sling enough of the current Trade Union Party leaders in gaol and the classical liberals like Costa can rise to the top.

  34. John A

    Andrew, I take it your question/s were rhetorical. The clear and obvious answer is c) Both

  35. cohenite

    Hello, carbon fucking tax?!

  36. Ant

    I think the ALP’s asylum sneaker policy deserves to be mentioned. Yes, I know it’s 3+ years old but it’s the farce just keeps on being farcical and it today resembles on paper little of what Labor’s policy was originally like, yet it’s still disastrous on so many levels.

    Billions flushed down the plughole, thousands added to the welfare dependency rolls (if they “can’t” find jobs), restarting and enriching the people smuggler trade abroad, shafting genuine refugees who get bumped way back in the queue, and, of course, hundreds and hundreds of floating bloated corpses bobbing around the Indian Ocean.

    And all to satiate Labor’s desperation to look “compassionate”, after spending the best part of a decade demonising this country’s conservatives as heartless racists, only to return to basically reinstating the most objectionable parts of the original policy.

    Really, I’d challenge anyone to find a policy more stupendously catastrophic in its counterproductiveness.

  37. .

    I can’t believe they sent people to effing malaysia to be compassionate.

    I thought the Pacific Solution was an expensive charade but Gillard takes the cake for taking the piss.

  38. Alice

    Andrew says

    Judith, do you dislike the Paid Parental Leave scheme because it is a) a tax on big companies, b) another layer of welfare or c) both?

    I dislike the paid parental scheme because it is another perk to an already divided workforce where some who have permanent and part time secure jobs get all the fucking perks whereas a growing number who are casuals or on contracts get none.

    Fuck paid parental leave. The makority of it would accrue to punlic servants given they have the most protections. Bugger that.

  39. Scott

    FOFA should have been in the list.

  40. jupes

    The worst policy for 2012, or this century for that matter, is the decision to allow women into the combat arms of the army.

    This will do what the Boers, Bosch, Japs, Norcoms, Chicoms, Vietcoms and assorted jihadists couldn’t do.

    Destroy the Australian army as an effective fighting force.

  41. Alice

    or the combat arms of the police force for that matter

  42. James P.

    Surely the worst policy made by this, the most disastrous of governments, is that they will run full term.
    Can they not see that the best outcome for Australia is for them to hold an election as soon as possible, so we can vote this charade of a government out?

    But then with labor, it is not what is best for Australia, but what is best for them.

  43. Greebo

    I note that a lot of commenters have missed the word “policy” when they have been framing their comments; fair enough, I will too. I simply cannot wait to see Senator Conroy with a pair of red underpants on his head. It will be the crowning moment in the demise of this despicable period in our political history. I bet the weak prick won’t do it though.

  44. peter

    I agree with the comments and sentiment on this forum but it is degraded by the use of swear words.

  45. Rousie

    $10 billion ‘clean’ energy fund or;
    Anything announced by Emmo

  46. Sue

    It is hard to understand why so few people understand the importance of Tony Abbott’s Parental Leave Scheme. There is an urgent and significant problem that so many very highly trained and experienced women leave the workforce never to return when they have babies. More women than men are currently in tertiary training, and many of these valuable contributors will have had hundreds of thousands spent on their training and industry experience. If we aspire to be a clever country , which we must do, you should understand the importance of this insurance scheme to retain them . It is a charge on industry for the benefit of industry, not a welfare payment.

  47. David Brewer

    All the policies mentioned contain one or more of the following:
    - protectionism

    - futility

    - ill-conceived handouts.

    I say this only to help Jules and Swannie identify new policy winners for 2013, and the rest of us to anticipate what they might be.

    Good on Judith for making a bold attempt to be even-handed, by fingering several Coalition turkeys too. Well it is Christmas, but the Libs’ flirtations with populism are nothing compared to this lot’s. And let’s not forget the distinguishing feature of post-2007 Labor: the mind-boggling level of incompetence in implementation.

    This is actually illustrated best in areas where they don’t have any policy – where they don’t know what they want, and are forever thrashing around to fix problems created by their own confusion. The classic example is the “irregular boat arrivals”. This could still qualify in my view as a policy in 2012, since Nauru and Manus have only recently been reopened.

    Surely the whole saga though is the defining policy train-wreck of the Rudd/Gillard years. Remember how it started. No real policy, just a desire to posture as compassionate combined with wilful blindness to the obvious consequences. Then four years of playing catch-up with ever wilder and more expensive expedients, none of them really believed in by either the government or the targets of the policies. In the end, harsher policies than ever, but record arrivals as well.

    The gold medal policy failure of this government.

  48. Samuel J

    The problem with Julia and Wayne – they want to do something. If they really want a useful policy that works: do nothing. Sit back and enjoy your salaries and perks and don’t lift a finger.

  49. MiltonG

    Andrew, at lease Howard’s stupid RET topped out in 2010, and the subsidies stopped in 2020.

    It was the expansion from the 2010 target of 9,500GWh to the new 50,000Gwh-ish 2020 target, with subsidies through to 2030 which will really cruel the system and consumers. Twas supported by all but the Nationals.

    Worst of all, the expanded RET extended the subsidy of generation built before 2010 from 2020 to 2030 – a windfall profit indeed!

  50. MikeO

    As a number of others have said name a good policy. Maybe I am biased and just can’t see it through the wreckage but I would be appreciate if any can be nominated. The government has increased the expenditure by 100 billion a year and I don’t see these stupid schemes are enough to account for it. To this end can someone do a search for an association under the name Australian Federal Government Reform Fund?

  51. pete m

    MikeO – that would be AFG Members Safety Fund. aka caucus wobblies and wowsers collective.

    Worst policy was the Budget 2012 Act.

  52. amcoz

    I’m with you Milton von Smith.

    Surely, the dumbest most stupidest thing any guvmint could do; legislate for a tax that don’t pay nut’in’, notwithstanding that I totally disagree with it in the first place.

  53. cohenite

    Yep, the RET; I should have added that to the CO2 tax as the stupidiest policies of the year century.

  54. Jack

    -200million. In labor land, it is a negative in need of a group hug. Since group hugs are positive then the 200million is a good thing.
    After all taxing is saving! Roll over George Orwell, you didn’t invent that one. I bet even George Bernard Shaw is kicking the lid of his coffin for not thinking of that.
    For mine, the Murray Darling legislation is the pinnacle of poor decisions. They adopt dodgy ecological economics which is post modern economics. You decide on the result you want then fit the data to that answer. When Asian countries are working towards food security, labor works toward shutting ours down. The legislation draft was so bad it was burned in the street in protest. What did Jelly Burke do then? He backed down to the greens.

  55. David

    I personally think that the general policy forcing ministers to wake up and go to work should be right up there…

    Granted, it’s been going on for years… but as far as policies go, this is the grand daddy of them all..

    Change this, and the rest will sort its self out :)

  56. lorraine palmer

    merry christmas to all
    2012 comes to and end, with as many bad policies
    by zillard and the swansong, we the australian working poor,are the poorer for voting in this miserable Government . At the next election the voters need to put the Greens last and the alp 2nd last. Then with a Liberal Party in the Top job,we can repay debt and get on with our lives. get the Government out of our lives,we do not need the NANNY
    ALP knows best for all.we are here to help.BS

  57. Judith Sloan

    Sue

    The evidence is not on your side.

    The group of women most likely to return to work after having a child are those with more skills and are better educated. This is hardly surprising.

    This group of women has high rates of privately provided paid maternity leave from their employers – think law firms, accounting firms, universities, public sector.

    The Coalition’s policy is just another wasteful tax that is unlikely to alter behaviour significantly.

    What is the Coalition thinking? They should be getting rid of the baby bonus too.

  58. B.Haselum

    What else to expect from a bunch of Unionist Cronies who have not one milligram of intelligence between their ears.

  59. mick

    i guess you just didnt have a choice when it came to listing all of the failed labor policys and disasterous hare brained schemes.Even the internet only has a certain amount of space and such a list just wouldnt fit.

  60. Andrew

    I am struggling to think of a good policy they have implemented…..

    If they make going to an election at August (so that we get a Senate election ASAP), that will one of their great contributions to the Australian society.

  61. Borisgodunov

    The people who run the Nanny State are really well qualified,a minor useless “uni degree” ,broken personal relationships,promiscuity,duplicty,lying ,half assed theories,theyve got it All,unemployability is another criteria,Yes eminently qualified!

  62. Greg

    Tend to agree with most of the article, but two things worry me out of it. Anti-Dumping: clearly the author doesn’t understand the problem, and it is wrested with by governments of whatever ilk. For example, our free trade agreements (in the main good things, because they reduce costs to consumers, as the author lauds) don’t let us provide subsidies for exports. But not everyone plays by the rules, and products are exported to countires, including Australia, heavily subsidised and at less than cost. That’s unfair competition, and unfair competition destroys viable business and, ultimately, competition and consumer benefits.
    The second one is the NBN. I wouldn’t say I’m totally across the issue, but one thing governments are continually criticised for is failing to undertake “nation-building” “productivity-building” infrastructure projects. Here’s one, and they are criticised for pursuing it … I don’t get why the criticism is so vociferous. After all, it’s the main reason the Government is in government – the independents were impressed with one of the few good ideas of Labor. It’s also untainted by the Greens, carbon, mining etc etc. Exisitng telephone lines will not be sufficient; satellites choke with the level of usage.

  63. Steve from SM

    There are so many crap policies from this bus load of fools that the so called “Gold” medal could only ever be made from iron pyrites…. “FOOLS GOLD”

  64. Andrew

    The second one is the NBN.

    I don’t think it is the actual idea of the NBN itself is the problem but rather the implementation, the technology choice and the cost are the issues.

  65. MikeO

    Greg I understand what you say but you have accepted the spin. Nation and productivity building; nonsense the government knows this otherwise a cost benefit study would have been done. I am IT professional fast communications are needed by some but that will happen without government meddling. Setting up a monopoly in which the cities will subsidise the country areas is a disaster. I know those of the left hark back to the days of the Postmaster General’s Department but these days it is a bad joke. There is already adequate communications in these areas. Look at the government propaganda, do want pay so that small business in Dubbo can Video conference to Shepperton, will they use in. If it is used then mainly it will be for video entertainment (porn will be a big user) not what you think. ADSL 2+ users in cities can all ready do this; I do want pay increased tax to provide the floss of life to all.

  66. MikeO

    Mistakes fixed sorry
    ————-
    Greg I understand what you say but you have accepted the spin. Nation and productivity building; nonsense the government knows this otherwise a cost benefit study would have been done. I am an IT professional and know something about it, fast communications are needed by some but that will happen without government meddling. The fact that speed depends very much on the host is forgotten. I can download at a say 1.5 mega bytes a second from some but a tenth of that from others. Our connection and hosts overseas is the important part not our infrastructure. Setting up a monopoly in which the cities that will subsidise the country areas is a disaster. I know those of the left hark back to the days of the Postmaster General’s Department but these days it is a bad joke. There is already adequate communications in these areas. Look at the government propaganda, do you want to pay so that small business in Dubbo can Video conference to Shepperton, will they use it? If it is used then mainly it will be for video entertainment (porn will be a big user) not what you think. ADSL 2+ users in cities can all ready do this; I do not want pay increased tax to provide the floss of life to all.

  67. Poor Old Rafe

    Another one turned up on the radio news today, the electronic connection to GPs is not meeting its targets. Who would have thunk…

  68. Poor Old Rafe

    This looks like a contender for next year, less service on Sundays and less work for casuals.

    UNIONS will urge the Gillard government to legislate penalty rates as a minimum entitlement and to back the creation of an employer-funded scheme to give casual and non-permanent workers access to portable paid leave.

    Outlining the union movement’s election-year agenda, ACTU secretary Dave Oliver revealed unions are set to push the government to change the Fair Work Act to guarantee penalty rates and shift allowances where employees work outside their standard hours.

  69. Jim Rose

    Judith, parental leave will alter behaviour significantly like any other subsidy.

    Women’s labour supply is highly elastic. Very generous parental leave reduces the incentives of some women to invest in market-related human capital.

    The Dutch have a part-time economy for women. The majority work part-time: just enough to qualify for leave entitlements and pay enough social insurance taxes to qualify for unemployment & disability insurance and the old age pension.

    The majority of Dutch women working part time don’t have young children in the house, and mothers rarely increase their work hours when children leave home. Only 4% of Dutch women working part-time would prefer to work full-time.

  70. Andrew

    Their worst policy is to have policies. If I had to pick one, it would be the MRRT – a 3 year fight, massive derating and almost total exodus of capital, a 1987-style crash in the Resources sector, cancellation of Olympic Dam expansion to the permanent achievement of the Gillard govt. Raising precisely $0.00. Oh, PLUS they spent the “forecast” revenue too!

    Biggest own goal in the history of our only decent industry, and for a net budget impact of about MINUS $9bn! Now THAT takes real skill – if I had a team of PhDs working for a year I couldn’t achieve a policy that bad.

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