Monday, December 13, 2010

Selling out Australia

Australia is being sold off and sold out by the very people who have been trusted to run the government. State after state is selling off public utilities in a hurry, often against the wishes of the people. The latest in this scandalous and immoral assault on the public family jewels is the NSW government. Due to go for re-election early next year (in which the incumbent government is widely believed to stand a huge loss), the NSW government is rushing to privatize the state's energy retailers and electricity generation. This is to boost the election war chest by up to $5 billion in order to shore up its re-election chances.

I think it is utterly irresponsible of any government sell off any major public asset without going through a referendum. Public assets belong to the public. The political party elected to run the government should not assume they have a mandate to sell off what does not belong to them. If a family's fortune is placed in the hands of a trustee and the trustee starts selling off the assets, wouldn't anyone immediately put a stop to that? In the same way, the ruling party should be seen as only a trustee of the state's assets, without any right to sell off any public property without the owner's (in this case, the general public's) permission.

Finally, I question the timing of the sale. Australia is not going through a financial crisis now. I can understand if Ireland, Spain, or Portugal were to resort to such a move at this time, but goodness gracious... not Australia! If public utilities are sold off in a time of plenty, what do we have left to sell when bad times fall? Our best farmland? Our richest mines? (er, brace yourself... that has already been going on....)

No comments: