We wake today, with 47 Days to the NSW State Election.
Yesterday Kristina Keneally launched the ALP Campaign for the Election. This started with an apology. This took the form of an acknowledgement that Labor had lost it’s way, that it had been focussed on itself rather than the needs of families in New South Wales. This then led to the policy that is to be enshrined in legislation should a Labor Government be re-elected (unlikely, but possible) called the “Fairness for Families Act”. The key intent of such legislation is to cap Government taxes and charges. Also on offer in an increase in the energy rebate scheme this will provide a rebate of $250 per anum for households with an income of less that $150,000.00 pa, and the abandonment of any plans for any further privatisation of the States Power Assets. The Treasurer, the unelected Eric Roozendaal is thought not to have been in favour of the decision to abandon further sale of the Power Assets as it would be likely to damage the States AAA credit rating. Most of us, of course, would rather that we did not have a need to be launching into further massive debt. Of course was Parliament not already prorogued this legislation could be before the house already.
Bob Hawke, the former Prime Minister, helpfully added that “Labor would be kidding itself if it thought it could be re-elected”.
Personally I believe that the apology is honest, and well with the Keneally capacity to be sufficient self aware as to make an honest self assessment and auricular confession of the short-comings of her government. This is a meaningful contemporary confession of an ontological nature, not a traditional detailed analysis of everything done wrong since the last election in a teleological sense. But then I guess she didn’t have all day.
Do I think it is good policy to cap government taxes and charges. Basically yes, however most taxes and charges are already supposed to be under some sort of control. In a sense I can’t see that this offers us very much that we do not already have. The $250 rebate worries me a little more. Not that long ago (like at the commencement of the current government 4 years ago) that would have been a quarter of our annual Power Bill, and today it would be 10%., and in the not too distant future it will be 5%. I would rather see a stronger commitment to make solar energy more affordable.
The decision to cease selling power assets comes after the back is broken, in a situation where Labor has looked bad in a teleological sense. Days after saying that she will not appear again before the Legislative Council Committee investigating the last big sale, in an environment where she has threatened to litigate against the 8 former directors who resigned over the sale, she asks us to take on face value a promise that she will not do it again. In one sense this is a mute promise, firstly because it would be politically impossible to sell any more given what has transpired recently and is still not resolved, and commercially impossible given that a canvass of the global arena found that there were no bidders for what remained. Rather than a promise this is an honest acknowledgement of something that has been forced upon her.
I have no doubt that we will hear a lot more about ‘Fairness for Families’. None the less it is a little bit like motherhood and apple pie. I can’t see Barry O’Farrell standing up to oppose ‘Fairness for Families’. In about two weeks I gather the Libs will launch their campaign and we will hear no doubt what they have to offer.