Anthony Albanese is a modern legend of the Labor Party who was a welcome winner of the 2022 May 21 election that saw the vanquishment of the demonic Scott Morrison and fellow vultures. His front bench contained other legends who had given long and faithful service. Several are deeply loved by Australians and respected across Parliamentary competitors.
They inherited major problems which, if not “repaired”, will worsen Australia’s recovery from Covid and other crises and response to climate and climate risks challenges. Many things went amiss from the beginning and even earlier:
- deciding before May to keep on leading executives from the previous LNP Government who had shown a distinct lack of ability and achievement, recruiting one who had worked with John Major, Jeff Kennett and Gladys Berejiklian – in the latter case, with a record of corrupt interventions in previous reforms especially of Lib Legend, ethical reformer, Nick Greiner
- not repairing damage to the “Rule of Law” with 2 urgent exceptions but continuing with a plethora of other problems, some being critical breaches of Human Rights, Criminal Code and Anti-Corruption legislation
- Suppressing professional issues which had been impressively, independently approached during the previous chaos, federally and in NSW, and not heeding damage done to them and inviting the same damage to their own blunders
- and among them, rejecting OECD and systemic reforms (including from December 2015) that would lead to better budget, planning, health, climate, bush and flood risks and ethical outcomes.
As at 20 March 2023 in the run-up to Labor’s 2nd Kennedy/Chalmers Budget, there is still no attention to outcomes which are getting further away, with climate and Covid disasters:
This is an experimental presentation but as no one else is trying, I gave it a go.
Yesterday’s morning and evening and for as long as a piece of space shuttle coupling hose, the senior Government figures received a pointed letter about settling an overdue account. The context is the PM denying he will touch the tax treatment of residences FULL STOP, EXCLAMATION MARK:
The PM and Attorney-General are front and centre. Integrity is a critical element in social and economic sustainability as the World Bank says (below). Instead this Government has appeased Morrison and accepted compromised results:
The Albanese Government is in hot pursuit of Morrison’s nuclear submarines and AUKUS technology transfer but their governance inheritance is in stark contrast to the “machinery of government” features of successful governmental reforms including Whitlam’s, Wran’s and Biden’s, all also coming after a period of decrepitude and public distain. Here, the ramshackle LNP machina was kept rolling along under its eminence gris, delivering for client corporates and smashing the National Interest, with a crisis May Budget coming that was not “repaired” last October:
UPDATE 16 March 2023: The PM is with the Pom PM and US President announcing that Australia will gift to the North Pacific a fleet of nuclear submarines costing about $400,000,000,000, initially purchased from the US and then somehow made by the British in Australia, with no strategic deployment plan, no process of risk-assessment and cross-priority engagement (or even understanding), no port access plan or engagement, no waste disposal plan.
The process is as rock-a-billy as was Berejiklian’s catastrophic betrayals of Sydney and NSW in June 2012 and August 2016 and into Covid. The sad became critical as former PM Keating launched his critical rapiers at red-baiting journalists and politicians – and remembering the red-baiting mood in Cornwall when Biden double-crossed Morrison leading to AUKUS, burning the twisted “logic” of north-pointing nuclear subs:
Update 19 March 2023
Insiders had the Defence Minister and Deputy PM Mark Dreyfus on this morning and it was a fizzer, however one area of popular contention is the breakdown in due process which is seen to focus on a lack of logical and value-for-money justifications, somewhat reflected here (Twitters lack an eco-jurisprudential historical perspective):
Wayne Swan, as President of the Labor Party, in August 2019 wrote an excellent overview of values discussions and this quote will shock Albanese and Chalmers to their core – their own promises had few values elements:
A few months ago Graham Freudenberg passed away. At his tribute dinner in 2017 he observed “there is now an urgency and menace in Australian affairs that was absent even in the Cold War years.” He said “the attack from the extreme right is now an attack on the Parliament itself – just as it was in the West in the late 20s and throughout the 30s.”
He once said to me the most significant speech he ever wrote was Arthur Calwell’s rejection of Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War. In that speech, as many of you will know, he warned us that although we would be traduced for our courageous stand, and suffer at the election that followed, we would emerge from that loss stronger because we would be on the right side of history. By showing the courage of our convictions, he said, we would be vindicated.
History vindicated us. Ignoring the truth and acting as if nothing should change would cost us our integrity and our dignity.
The same now can be said about climate change.
Just as we were right to oppose participation in Vietnam because Menzies’s case was built on a collection of lies, we are right to oppose climate change denial because it too is built on a collection of lies.
Science is on our side.
Freudy’s argument retains its relevance especially after the shock loss of the last election.
What Graham Freudenberg and federal Labor realised in 1965 was that principle matters, values matter. Labor is united by core beliefs that go far beyond making a buck for your mates. If you just want to cut taxes for your dinner party guests and work out how to screw the workers, you’re not going to find any friends at a Labor Party branch meeting.
When Graham wrote that famous “drum beat” speech, our leadership and campaign bosses knew it would cost us votes, but we could not, in good conscience, do or say anything else.
A victory built on winning a race to the bottom on cheap tax cuts or consolidating power in the hands of a few is not a victory at all. Sometimes you’ve got to take one for history and maybe, in a sense, we did that in May.
Because friends we were right when we argued for a fair distribution of wealth and when we argued to stand up on a pivotal issue like climate. We might not have got every bit of messaging and campaigning right, and our defences could have been constructed better, but we were where it mattered, when it mattered. And we will be again, in the future. It’s in our DNA.
And this is where Adrian in his introduction, in my view, confuses an analysis of the underlying challenges facing social democratic parties with short term political tactics.
He says on page 2 “fighting climate change and closing tax loopholes are important, yet secondary concerns. The primary priorities are secure, meaningful jobs, to feed one’s family and a sense of belonging to both people and place.”
Unfortunately the latter objectives are not achievable without significant changes to taxation and climate policy.
On 10 March a broadcast went out in these terms:
Enough slings and arrows. We’re doing this because we can make a difference, rather than be bound to narrow sectional interests, right? This email went on Wednesday and will be registered for eternal access as another line in the sand – another one to be accounted for as necessary.
Today is drop-dead day for a few Canberra charlatans, the low road maybe for some. Those repeating the Baird/ Berejiklian/ Turnbulls/ Morrison/ Kennedy/ Frydenberg/ Chalmers attempt to drive me into homelessness, destitution, illness and death.
Why? I am honest and professional, and fought for the National Interest and what used to called Labor Values, robbed blind by the LNP since Baird 2008 and now by the same people under Labor.
This email went to Labor leaders with a follow-up yesterday. The consequence of repeating the LNP’s refusal to conciliate now throws the relevant officer, A-G Dreyfus, into the headlights. What is wrong with justice, fairness and the National Interest? Simple fact, the main trouble-makers in the LNP governments are continuing the same incompetence, corruption and malevolence, thereby undermining the reputation of the Labor figures who succour them especially Chalmers.
The October Budget excluded critical community outcomes – see attached. Labor will have no credibility if it repeats that Frydenberg mischief.
You’ve seen my work and know it is relevant and meaningful. My hopes for post-resolution are fantastic – yes? no? The benefits of negotiating are in the attached commentary on Labor’s budget-making failures, which is being updated – October 2022 to May 2023 and gathering momentum to the detriment of the PM, Treasurer, A-G, portfolio ministers and agencies. WHY!
By all that is holy, let’s implement integrity before I have to publish a similar format on each portfolio performance.
In the context the performance by the eminent Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Attorney-General, whose functions in reform agenda include (as its own website proclaims), was quiescent:
We support the Australian Government in being accountable for actions, making rational decisions and protecting human rights. We uphold the rule of law through our daily work to ensure …Dispute settlement is fair and efficient where parties cannot resolve disputes themselves.
As the Rule of Law Education Centre put it:
… the A-G must ensure the law is applied equally and fairly to everyone and that checks and balances are maintained between … the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. An inherent part … is also to ensure that each of these arms of government (is) accountable to the public”.
There is a blackboard “executive summary” of the status in early March 2023, 285 days into the not-now-new Government, in the next section. This SWOT is an overview which is then broken into 17 specific program, project and institutional problems:
NSW and Federal Governments have been stealing MY MONEY which remains my money which they have no right to squirrel away and deny me the right to live a free life and support my family and community –
Here is the BIG ISSUES Blackboard:
The poor state of every significant “project” in Sydney has been documented on this website and sydneyimprovementpolitics.com and the “new” Albanese Labor Government is a continuation of a Lib/Lab co-venture. Its October 2022 Budget had lots of hype but is another case of lost opportunities and damage to society:
- Same distorted “gifting” approach which is the opposite of “outcome based budgetting” despite repeated advisings to revert to OECD and Treasury Regs probity, so protection of corruption and repeating of gifting especially to city “shiny toys” and deprivation of regional needs
- Same omission of any systematic approach to bushfire risk, Covid health management in all aspects of medical capacities and personal safety, climate change mitigation (the nominal approach was tokenistic)
- Same suppression of ethics & probity and therefore of high-value alternative approaches to urban transit, Covid health, climate mitigation,
- integrity especially in Budgets (Kennedy had locked that away since December 2015), together with …
- Same endorsement of theft, oppression and intimidation despite repeated requests for conciliation (ignored by Labor’s A-G and PM&C and thereby breaching their duties).
Tom Lewcock, City Manager of Sunnyvale in California, was quoted by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler in Reinventing Government. Lewcock was regarded as a leading reformer in municipal planning in America:
One of the keys in government is to take things that aren’t politically acceptable in the normal context and change the context – to create a different way for the decision makers to look at them … the very same issue often turns out to be politically acceptable.
In the right environment, all of the myths about how elected officials behave have come falling down for me. They don’t have to be short-range thinkers, they can be long-range thinkers. They don’t have to be people who say, “I know this is more important than that but we’re going to spend our time on that, because local constituents are on my back”. They don’t have to be any of those things.
Right now, the first weekend in March 2023 with the next 1/2 Budget just 3 months or so away:
In short, the way Albanese is going, corruption and waste are being reinforced and solutions are being suppressed, here set out in 17 lines:
To come are section lines on AUKUS, climate, mitigation, bushfire risks and the like; but the Attorney General has a separate section that will be have 7 main lines, this being the Introduction:
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