Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

The Liberal’s compulsion to turn public assets into private wealth – and get the public to help fund the process

The LNP in Queensland have been softening up the public for a privatisation binge pretty much from the day they got elected in 2012. In recent times, they’ve kindly made the public pay millions for a prolonged wide-ranging advertising campaign – badly disguised as a pretend consultation process called Strong Choices. Naturally, any input from the public that didn’t back privatisation was ignored and the recent Budget duly contained a range of privatisation measures. And to rub in just how shameless governments with big majorities can be, having ignored the majority view of the public, the LNP is now embarking on another advertising campaign – also paid for by the public – to sell the Budget’s privatisation measures.

All of this shows just how deeply embedded in the LNP’s DNA is the compulsion to privatise, even though it clearly does nothing to address any structural deficit there might be in the state’s finances and even though it is undeniably unpopular with the public. I suppose one could therefore give some credit to the conservatives for pushing ahead with something they know is electorally unpopular, but personally I don’t think they deserve even that – firstly because no government should get credit for an unpopular policy measure if they’re going to use public funds trying to promote it, and secondly because the conservatives compulsion to privatise has nothing to do with balancing the budget and everything to do with a mindset of enriching their corporate mates who inevitably make a financial killing transferring the proceeds of decades of investment by society as a whole into the bulging coffers of a wealthy few.

For a clear and simple outline of why the Queensland government’s privatisation plans are a crock, read this piece by University of Queensland Economics Professor, John Quiggin – http://www.crikey.com.au/?p=441375

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