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....)