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Sunday 17 April 2016

Pre-poll populist posturing

It is in the air and the air-waves. All manner of old and new policies are being dusted off, kites being prepared for flying, expert groups forming to pour water on ideas not yet released. Yes, an election is coming.

It is an unsavory time in modern democracies where we see the sausage being made. Honesty, responsibility and simple integrity are displaced by self interest, populism, and electoral advantage.

There are too many instances to list them all, but consider; -
  • The Very Fast Train project - a recycled infrastructure project rolled out several times in the past but all analysis shows it is just as unjustifiable today as it was in all previous incarnations
  • Bank bashing - It was not that long ago that the ALP rejected a Royal commission into the financial system, but given the likely focus on Union corruption in the coming battle, what better distraction than the banks. We may be bad, but look over here they are equally bad or perhaps even worse.
  • Prominent Australians pushing barrels -  In the first instance claiming that Australia is a high taxing country and that a drop in Company tax would have no benefits, forget the economics books which say the contrary, In the second we have a panel declaring they want to pay more Tax. Try to sell that one to the battlers!
  • ALP policy to eliminate Negative Gearing - forget that this was done before by the ALP with poor consequences , forget that it is patently unfair to those the ALP claims to support, and forget the negative consequences; higher rents, lower economic growth
  • Terminating the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal - The government seems to have belatedly seen the light after the owner drivers were about to start picketing Canberra. 
Each of these issues have been driven by more than a soupcon of populism and posturing.

We are yet months before an election and already we have this nonsense beating its way to our door.
One can can only wonder what hodgepodge of irrational legislation will be wrought from this pre-poll populist posturing?

It is certainly no way to govern a country. 

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