Politicians should face a penalty for costs stemming from their wilfully negligent decisions

I have a piece ($) in the Herald Sun today in which I note that the Victoria’s Wonthaggi desalinisation plan, soon to be five years old, cost $19 billion and will never be required. As I say,

The money spent has been irretrievably wasted.  To put it in perspective, the Wonthaggi facility’s cost represents enough funds to replace three older coal fired electricity generators thereby future-proofing Victorians against unreliability and the doubling of wholesale power prices that has taken place.

Among the merits of the desalinisation plant, according to then Premier Bracks, were 4,750 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and a $1 billion economic boost to the state.

Unchastened by the experience of the White Elephant desalinisation plant, the Andrews government is directing funding into new areas of waste, namely wind and solar facilities.

Under its recently announced renewables policy, the Premier estimated some $1.2 billion of investment in these subsidised renewables was made in the current year alone.  Echoing the discredited prophesies made to justify the desalinisation plant, Mr Andrews claimed the policy will create 11,000 new jobs during construction of windfarms.”

But for every job so created more (2.2 in the case of estimates form Spain) are lost as a result of the higher costs.

Subsidies to wind have forced unsubsidised power stations to close, bringing about the doubling of the average wholesale price of electricity.

For Victorians that doubled price means an annual cost of $2 billion, an impost on the average household of $800 in terms of direct charges and increased costs of goods and services.  And, by driving up electricity prices, the subsidies are threatening the future of the energy intensive industries including smelting and paper manufacturing that have created the prosperity Victoria enjoys.

I conclude, “In the private sector, management pays personal penalties, sometimes criminal penalties if shareholders are wilfully misled.  Perhaps politicians and the public servants advising them should also be subject to such disciplines.”

In days gone-by, prior to the eighteenth century rule of Robert Walpole, the political chief who later became known as the Prime Minister, usually paid such a penalty, often capital punishment, for “peculation”.

Self-enrichment from the use of office (except in the case of the Clintons) is unusual today and the gallows might be a tad excessive in the modern world.  However, it does seem that politicians who knowingly commit to very expensive programs of no value – think desal plants, NBN, rooftop insulation, the renewable energy con, submarine programs – should incur some personal loss rather than retiring on a pension from those they have, in effect, defrauded.    Such a possibility would surely have a chastening effect in preventing extravagant policies being put in place, thereby contributing to better government.

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34 Responses to Politicians should face a penalty for costs stemming from their wilfully negligent decisions

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    On top of all that the wretched monstrosity is unnecessarily consuming about 50 MW of electricity, which Victoria is mainly having to buy from Queensland according to the AEMO dispatch data. I bet Andrews will bug out of the contract if he gets blackouts this summer.

    The news a few minutes ago was of yet another gridlock on the Tullamarine freeway due to the third large accident in three days. Air passengers have no choice but use it – or, as some were doing yesterday, get out with their luggage and walk. Sydney by contrast has a train link to Kingsford Smith. Think of what Melbourne would be like if that $19 billion had been spent on something actually useful, like an airport rail line.

  2. Kneel

    Most political “issues” fit into one of two catagories: they are new, or they are very old.
    For the new, no-one knows the best solution.
    For the old, every conceivable solution (from simple to highly complex) has been tried and has not worked.
    Therefore, where is the political party that will require “solutions” to have:
    costings: exceeding costs is failure
    benefits: failure to achieve stated benefits is a failure
    measurements of above: in immutable and publicly available form
    where sunset clauses apply for failure.
    I don’t expect you to have all the answers, nor that you will get it right first try. I do expect you to converge on a best solution, and have proof you have/are.

  3. Whalehunt Fun

     the gallows might be a tad excessive in the modern world.  

    Seriously? Where someone forcibly removes my money (tax) and then frivolously wastes it I want worse than capital punishment. Capital punishment is for mere murders and child molesters. For these filth I want waterboarding followed by a slow hanging drawing and quartering and I want the seizure of absolutely all assets of the family. I want the family left naled homeless and starving. And I want the right to perform the waterboarding and the hanging and the deawing and quartering all ayctioned off to the highest bidder so as to gain som little money back.

  4. Michel Lasouris

    You’d be interested to learn then, Steve, that my long gone father who was a Treasurer in a London Borough, was liable to extent of his ‘personal fortune’ if the Expenditure was more than + or- 10% of the Budget. No wonder he brooked no interruptions whilst he prepared next years Council budget! See, it can be done. Personal fortune in this case included the family home, and his superannuation if I remember correctly.

  5. Roger

    You’d be interested to learn then, Steve, that my long gone father who was a Treasurer in a London Borough, was liable to extent of his ‘personal fortune’ if the Expenditure was more than + or- 10% of the Budget.

    Given that our budgets seem to have no constraints other than what we can borrow from future generations first we’d need to determine a budget ceiling for that eminently sensible idea to work.

  6. Neil

    Perhaps the people who vote for them should pay the penalty. Might make people take more care about their vote.

    If i was dictator of Australia i would double the tax on anybody who voted for Rudd in 2007

  7. stackja

    MP who handled the rooftop insulation now burning the Midnight Oil.

  8. stackja

    MP who created the biggest mess now flogging a book.

  9. stackja

    Liberty Quote
    No politician is any longer interested in the question whether a measure is fit to produce the ends aimed at. What alone counts for him is whether the majority of the voters favor or reject it.

    — Ludwig von Mises

  10. stackja

    Liberty Quote
    The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

    — Winston Churchill

  11. Gengis

    Alan said: I have a piece ($) in the Herald Sun today in which I note that the Victoria’s Wonthaggi desalinisation plan, soon to be five years old, cost $19 billion and will never be required.

    Absolute garbage, the plant will be needed as population and Melbourne grows as we are not allowed to build new dams by the G-L stupids. Now what should have be said is that after spending $19Bn will the blooding thing work and the answer to that is probably unlikely because there will be no reliable power to run it and it was built by the CFMEU!

  12. Bruce in WA

    Politicians and nappies should be changed on a regular basis — and for the same reason.

  13. – should incur some personal loss rather than retiring on a pension from those they have, in effect, defrauded. Such a possibility would surely have a chastening effect in preventing extravagant policies being put in place, thereby contributing to better government.

    I, and I suspect a large portion of the population, wholeheartedly agree. There must be a consequence for this destructive behaviour. I do question whether it is in fact based in ignorance though. There has been more than enough information freely available for even the most dim-witted politician or bureaucrat to have found cause to stop and think that maybe not everything they’re “believing” is not necessarily true.

    You know, along the lines of being occasionally – gasp – sceptical before they commit other peoples money, i.e., OUR money, to harebrained bulldust schemes.

  14. thefrolickingmole

    The problem is we have no downside to blatant political corruption.

    Look at Gillard, donated 400 million to a global education mob (Clinton based) then parachutes into a position there after leaving politics.
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/why-have-we-donated-to-clintons-foundation/news-story/96f87b9c4999e22cd3b022d267129896

    Gillard also donated $300 million of our money to the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education.

    Lo and behold, she became chairman in 2014 and has been ­actively promoting Clinton as president ever since — in a campaign video last December slamming Trump, in opeds trumpeting the next woman president and in appearances with Clinton spruiking girls’ education.

    The Abbott government topped up the left-wing organisation’s coffers with another $140 million in 2014, bringing total Australian largesse to $460 million, according to a press release from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

    I think we should go the original Celtic style penalty for our rulers, you get 3-4 years in the job then executed to satisfy the earth goddess.
    https://www.irishcentral.com/news/bog-bodies-are-kings-sacrificed-by-celts-says-expert-129289548-237410131

    Though I do like the name of the museum chap..

    Ned Kelly, keeper of antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland told the Irish Examiner that a clear pattern has emerged in each case.

  15. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    If i was dictator of Australia i would double the tax on anybody who voted for Rudd in 2007

    You are too kind. I’d have them placed in the public pillory, for the mob to hoot, jeer at and throw rotten fruit and dead cats.

  16. Chris M

    Totally agree Alan – I’ve long said we should pay government ministers a lot more but on the basis that they are personally liable for their decisions as per the real world… so their property and superannuation are all on the line.

  17. Norman Church

    thefrolickingmole
    #2534420, posted on October 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Completely agree. The total waste of taxpayers money on the Clinton kleptocracy is truly shocking. Even more so is the media’s total lack of interest in the scandal.

  18. max

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    Blame the Leaders? Or the people who elect them? Or the system?

  19. Tator

    There is a special kind of hell for politicians, the same one for child molesters and people who talk in the theatre.

  20. Rabz

    Politicians should face a penalty

    I think execution would suffice – and billing their family for costs incurred executing them.

  21. Cannibal

    Politicians and nappies should be changed on a regular basis — and for the same reason.

    This creates the wriggle room that stop fraud charges ever being laid : “the other side got in and stuffed up our perfect plans”.

  22. Driftforge

    Gallows would work fine.

  23. H B Bear

    The Victoriastanis voted the Liars back into government three years after the waste and extent of Wonthaggi had been exposed. They knew this CFMEU feather bedded project would add approximately $600 a year to their water rates for the next 25 years. They also knew the Liars were proposing to kill off a road project that would exposed taxpayers to an open ended, un-quantifiable damages claim.

    Clearly Victoriastanis are completely comfortable with all this stuff. Democracy – good and hard!

  24. Eddystone

    I think we should go the original Celtic style penalty for our rulers, you get 3-4 years in the job then executed to satisfy the earth goddess.

    +1*

    Definitely needs to be brought in retrospectively for any politician or public servant who advocated for CO2 emission controls.

    *NADT, obviously!

  25. Up The Workers!

    And don’t forget the $750 MILLION “North-South Pipeline” fiasco that the same idiot Labor Misgovernment built to pump water from a place that doesn’t HAVE any, to a place that doesn’t NEED any.

    The clue-phobic Labor imbeciles were warned about this long before the thing was built, but they went ahead and built it anyway. Now that they have acknowledged that the water actually needs to flow in the opposite direction, all the massive ONE-WAY pumps have been cemented in place and can only pump water from the North (where the water ISN’T), to the South (where the water ISN’T REQUIRED).

    In effect, the whole 70 kilometre pipeline has been installed back-to-front (as they were told, initially) and if it is ever going to be put to use, now needs to be dug up – along with all the massive one-way pumps – and then be turned around and re-buried (presumably to be powered by windmill or solar panel or perhaps by former genius Labor Premier John Brumby and Dodgy Dan the C.F.M.E.U. Man pedalling a tandem pushbike-generator in unison.

    Only the low-browed members of a Labor Idiocracy could do something that awesomely stupid – and STILL put their hands out to collect their Parliamentary pension, superannuation, lurks, perks, schemes and scams.

    What else would you expect from a Party so pathologically, knuckle-draggingly stupid, that after a hundred years, they still misspell their own Party name.

    LABOR(sic) – They have no place for “U”!

  26. manalive

    … But for every job so created more (2.2 in the case of estimates form Spain) are lost as a result of the higher costs …

    Germany with large lignite deposits like Victoria is discovering “… 1 coal energy worker = 20 green energy workers …”.
    Andrews is so dopey that equation would probably please him no end.

  27. Myrddin Seren

    And don’t forget the $750 MILLION “North-South Pipeline” fiasco that the same idiot Labor Misgovernment built to pump water from a place that doesn’t HAVE any, to a place that doesn’t NEED any.

    The clue-phobic Labor imbeciles were warned about this long before the thing was built, but they went ahead and built it anyway

    I am sorry but I just don’t think we should continue to accept these things as ‘ooops – aren’t we silly pollies !? – giggle, blush ”

    The taxpayers have had $750 million stolen from them to line the pockets of vested and associated interests.

    There are African despots staring in amazement at the naked theft and corruption in Australia that, on their own turf, they have to kill people to cover up.

    Here – even most of the small minority of us who care just roll our eyes and say ‘Dopes !’.

    They aren’t all dopes – Australia is being deliberately pillaged at a gross and accelerating rate.

  28. min

    Look at the committee Turnbull set up to advise him on energy policy. Chair person put in the desalination plant in Sydney and another gave New York State the highest energy prices in USA because she went renewable . Bet there was only a token base load fuel supporter on the committee

  29. overburdened

    I note how seamlessly State and Federal Parliaments have been blended in the responses. As referred to by Grand Poobah Rudd (retired but still getting airtime), programmatic specificity may be a thing. Regardless of that, our current representation is a reflection of the calibre of the cattle in the ruling class and the calibre of the punters that put them there. To be specific that generally includes all voting aged people due to the compulsory voting system. No one is blameless.

  30. John Constantine

    The mafia built desal plant was to keep the population Ponzi scheme limping along for a few years longer before drying up.

    Organised crime running and building a twenty billion dollar slush project.

    The pipeline will buy water from irrigated agriculture areas, de populating rural electorates to enable mass importation of welfare voteherds to live on imported Chinese vegetables.

  31. John Constantine

    Rationing will be the way the State deals with water shortfalls.

    Shutting down water using industries and sending them to dictator run hellhole countries will be War reparations for racist colonial sins.

    Deindustrialising will free up a lot of power and water for the importation of demographic change plantations to drive the welfare services economy.

  32. John Constantine

    No more cotton, no more rice, no more irrigated animal industry, milk and meat is racist murder.

    Deindustrialise water use for social justice.

  33. struth

    It’s stupid to call them stupid.
    They are criminals.

  34. benaud

    In New Zealand they have the Fiscal Responsibility ACT. If the outgoing Treasurer decieve or with hold relevant information in the budget or the fiscal update prior to an election they can be criminally prosecuted.

    The Clark government faced the serious possibility that Michael Cullen (Treasurer) and Helen Clark (Prime Minister) would be imprisoned for hiding a $1 billion loss on the Tranz rail purchase from Toll and a defecit of $8 in the Accident Compensation Corporation capital account (ACC is a no fault insurer for accidents like Workers Comp but much, much bigger).

    I think something like that would be good in Oz. we can’t stop them from from wasting money, but we can stop them from hiding it.

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