02 June 2006

workin for the weekend

A week is certainly a long time in politics. I can't prognosticate on the fallout from the aborted Liberal-National merger in Qld. There will be harsh words in private no doubt but whether anyone gets the chop...who knows? The early election mail, which has been about for a while, has regained vigour and the relatively good reception of the Blueprint for the Bush initiative is no doubt a factor - Beattie made noises about Labor's affinity for the bush earlier this week and now you've got QFF and Agforce publicly supporting the program (only the Qld Council of Social Services was peeved that they didn't get more money to visit their rural clients). Watch this space, as they say.

The kyboshing of the Snowy sale is also fascinating. Like I said earlier this week, I thought the instant agreement to privatise, with no debate in any of the three parliaments, to be a low act. Once Alan Jones came out against and talkback radio was overwhelmingly against, no doubt the Rodent sniffed a problem. Heffernan against was extremely interesting, I thought and I imagine his counsel is something the Rodent listens to. I was also struck that the comments on some 'right-of-centre' blogs also took the debate up against the prevailing wisdom.

The political plus was that Howard could claim to be responsive to public opinion (let's just forget for a while that this is not his usual modus operandi, but no matter...) and it puts Iemma - moreso than Bracks - in an enormous (dam-sized) hole. I read somewhere that Minchin thought the decision (to not sell) a good decision. Spare me.

Some commentary I've read tonight suggests that, except for T3, privatisation as a policy preference is now off the agenda for the foreseeable future. My feeling, informed by nothing more than my own prejudices, is that too few people are seeing the benefits of privatisation and that those who benefitted from some of the earlier ones (eg Com Bank) are a dispersed voice (eg my old man did well out of that one and indeed T1 (for a while), but he's no longer a voice). Also - I wonder whether the threat of decreased wages under the IR laws might have had an effect? Who would have understood the value in the float? And punted a few bucks (why, those who could afford to, of course - and who might they be)? Oooh, naked envy - get it here while it lasts, folks.

And finally, just on IR, this from Peter Hartcher in the SMH today: "
Of course, the argument that he had to create conditions to allow falling wages to create more jobs is extremely dubious."
Of course it was. It was about neutering the union movement and deeply entrenching the dominance of capital over labour, to roll back several decades of increasing equality and get people frightened and compliant again. Australia, you're living in it. Have a lovely weekend, folks.

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