Really?

The following paragraph was in an Oped in today’s AFR.  It was the final paragraph in an opinion about stopping “sports rorts”:

Better still, federal parliamentarians might consider the limits of mission creep for political gain. At some point after taxing citizens to fund the basic responsibilities of the Commonwealth such as defence, health, aged care and education, voters might actually be better off deciding how to spend their earnings than federal politicians.

Let’s put aside for the moment that health, aged care and education are NOT Commonwealth government responsibilities, at least as such responsibilities are scheduled in the Australian Constitution.

But who do you think wrote this?  Perhaps the health, aged care and education bit was a give away.

The author if this was Dr Craig Emerson, former Minister in the Rudd Gillard Rudd governments.  Member of cabinet and possibly (but not certainly) a member of the expenditure review committee of Cabinet (what with his economics qualifications).

Emerson was a Cabinet member of the Government that brought Australia things like pink bats, NBN, cash for clunkers, Gonski 1, NDIS, and more and more.

Emerson may have also written the ALP review of the last federal election – the election platform included a MASSIVE increase in taxation and spending.

And now, just now, he believes that “voters might actually be better off deciding how to spend their earnings than federal politicians”.

Interesting isn’t it.

Here is the whole oped:

How to stop the sports rorts rot

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19 Responses to Really?

  1. Pyrmonter

    To be fair, as the Doomlord has reminded us of that other occasional Op-Ed writer who toes the party line, Andrew Leigh, we don’t know what he said in private.

    TAFKAS is right to wonder what has happened to those politicians (and perhaps more, the ‘deep state’ policy makers in the RBA and Treasury) who could recall the aphorism attributed (perhaps wrongly) to Gladstone about the taxpayers’ funds fructifying in their own pockets.

  2. Pyrmonter

    ^ re-read, I think that should be ‘tows’. Anyway …

  3. H B Bear

    The Leg-Over man lives.

  4. health, aged care and education

    To be fair, the federal government does collect taxes that are then redistributed to the states for health, aged care and education. When I have to make any arrangements regarding my mother, who is in aged care, I have to communicate with both Centrelink and Aged Care, which are Federal government departments.

  5. Roger

    When I have to make any arrangements regarding my mother, who is in aged care, I have to communicate with both Centrelink and Aged Care, which are Federal government departments.

    Well…they run no hospitals, no aged care homes and no schools.

    They have to find work somehow or they’ll be retrenched.

  6. Old School Conservative

    that should be ‘tows’

    Amongst all the big issues of the day, I pick this one to comment on.
    Strange.
    However, my memory is of “toe the line”. A quick google search supports that.
    You were correct first time.

  7. Alex Davidson

    Dear Sparticus, why do you bother? One look at the illustration accompanying the article, disingenuously showing a person much younger than 65, says it all. Why would his writings be any different?

  8. Old School Conservative

    Roger
    #3319943, posted on February 11, 2020 at 12:38 pm
    Well…they run no hospitals, no aged care homes and no schools.

    In this area of our lives, the Constitution only gives the federal government the power to makes laws with respect to invalid and old-age pensions; everything else is a grab for power.

  9. Roger

    In this area of our lives, the Constitution only gives the federal government the power to makes laws with respect to invalid and old-age pensions; everything else is a grab for power.

    What was it that Reagan said about a government that promises to look after you from the cradle to the grave?

  10. Robbo

    When a Member of Parliament Emerson proved himself over and over again as a genuine lefty moron. Why on earth would anybody be interested in anything he has to say?

  11. Pyrmonter

    @ Old School

    Thanks. For some reason, I’d always imagined it had something to do with barges on the UK canals, but that’s a furphy.

  12. 8th Dan

    Let’s put aside for the moment that health, aged care and education are NOT Commonwealth government responsibilities, at least as such responsibilities are scheduled in the Australian Constitution.

    Let’s not put that aside … not even for a moment … because your statement is not correct.

    Prior to the 1946 Social Services Referendum s51(xxiii) gave the Commonwealth power to provide for invalid and old age pensions. As a result of the Referendum, carried overwhelmingly by all States, new s51(xxiiiA) gave the Commonwealth additional powers to make laws with respect to:

    The provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment,
    unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental
    services (but not do as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to
    students and family allowances.

  13. nb

    Moscow yesterday.
    Damascus today.
    Caracas tomorrow.

  14. Well…they run no hospitals, no aged care homes and no schools.

    True, the federal government doesn’t run hospitals etc, but can you imagine how some of these would work (or more importantly not work), were the states able to control every inch of these services? I think it would get very ugly, very quickly, at least in Victoristan.

  15. On another note, isn’t it amazing how anyone on the Left can lay low for a while after a major scandal and before you know it, they float to the top again.

  16. Big Toe Hurts

    8th Dan. The powers given to the federal government all relate to pensions and benefits, not to the actual control and running of hospitals, schools (the exception being universities) or aged care homes. Still all state responsibilities.

  17. miltonf

    When a Member of Parliament Emerson proved himself over and over again as a genuine lefty moron. Why on earth would anybody be interested in anything he has to say?

    Exactly. Former ANUs.

  18. Richard Bender

    Health is within the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth, and at least Chifley had the decency to have a referendum to put it in there rather than just abuse the discretionary grants to the states provisions.

  19. Squirrel

    Having now read the full article, it may be that Emerson is looking back – with a degree of nostalgic and selective fondness – to his time as a staffer for the Hawke government.

    There was, in those days, a genuine pursuit of the concept of devolution and not just on token items – the transfer of responsibility for Repatriation hospitals to state governments was a serious example of the principle at work.

    It didn’t last, of course, and the recession “we had to have” saw the big government, Canberra-knows-best centralists back in control. It might have revived under Howard and Costello, but the rainbow up the Khyber provided by the mining boom made easy decisions so much easier.

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