Williams' Word with Ray Williams | June 19

DECENTRALISING CANBERRA 

Several Federal Parliamentarians plan to follow Barnaby Joyce’s move to shift various government departments to their own electorates. Mr Joyce is continuing with his campaign to relocate some agricultural services to his own electorate but decentralising Canberra instrumentalities is not the answer.

The politicians should realise that Canberra is, in fact, decentralisation in action.

Without Canberra all our Federal Government operations would be in Sydney or Melbourne.

That is why the ACT was created, an effective way of removing government operations outside the existing metropolitan areas. Decentralisation is important but the big offenders are the State Governments, not the Federal. 

The NSW Government is a good example of centralisation. We rarely hear of that government undertaking any project of any sort outside the Sydney basin.

Take, for example, the poor railway services between Goulburn and Sydney or Canberra. The original Goulburn-Sydney rail link was an historical first for NSW but these days the people of Goulburn have only a third rate service and Goulburn to Canberra is even worse, with a rail link that was created in the Puffing Billy days.

There is talk about a new Canberra-Goulburn upgrade and it would be logical to rebuild it to a standard that would enable it to be part of a Very Fast Train system, eventually linking Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with a rail system similar to those created in other parts of the world.

DON’T MENTION CARBON TAX

Notice how carefully all the Federal pollies are avoiding any mention of a carbon tax in their talks on the future of the nation’s electricity services.

They all know that studies have shown that a type of carbon tax is the most effective method of ensuring a reliable electricity service while helping reduce carbon gases in the atmosphere but it must not be talked about because it is a sensitive issue, going back to the days when Julia Gillard introduced an effective carbon tax, thus breaking on an election promise that there would be no such tax.

The Tony Abbott reaction was severe and his friends, the shock jocks, were appalled that a prime minister had broken a promise. They even organised busloads of protesters to voice their objections in front of Parliament House and that effective carbon tax was dropped. 

Sadly, the critics of the Gillard tax are still very powerful pollies in Canberra and Julia Gillard was dumped, Tony Abbott became PM and his supporters, who don’t want to listen to the scientists, talk about ‘clean coal’, which is almost a contrast in terms.

These are people who don’t seem to be concerned about the future and the loss of the beauties of our Great Barrier Reef. 

TURNBULL SHOWS HIS SKILLS

Listening to our Prime Minister give an address in Singapore recently was quite inspiring.

We are quick to criticise our politicians but sparse in our praise because there was little coverage of that address which was one of the most statesman-like from any Australian prime minister in recent years.

He carefully warned China that it would lose its international goodwill if it continued to claim territories which other nations claim as theirs and explained Australia’s role in the Pacific area. Mr Turnbull was quite impressive but no applause even from his own team. 

Surely it’s time our Australian Liberal Party decided if it is a party of liberal thinkers or a hard right conservative party. The voters need to know before the next election. 

The Liberal Party must decide if it wants to be a moderately right wing Liberal Party in the traditions Mr Menzies envisaged (there were some very liberal thinkers in his government) or a far right conservative party, The voters need to know.

It is sad that some of our far-right pollies even applauded President Trump’s decision that the USA would scrap its program to reduce greenhouse gases.

Team Abbott seems intent on destroying another Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as they did to Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott himself.

BETTER MANAGERS NEEDED

It seems that, no matter what political party is involved, people anxious to run our State or Federal Parliaments seem to admit that they are lousy managers. Instead of taking on the role of decision-making administrators that they are not very good at being good at financial management.

Why else would they privatise anything that is capable of making a good profit? And, even when they outsource special projects to private operators our politicians let the country down by making bad decisions.

Recently the Sydney Morning Herald’s investigative teams found that the total tax from the top 20 companies which have tenders for services to the Federal Government paid only $43 million in tax.  According to the report their tax bill should have been $3077 million.

We elect politicians because they tell us they have all the answers. Maybe they could answer the question – “Why doesn’t the Government ask how much tax these corporations plan to pay as part of their tender contracts?”

The pollies should demand that they do, in fact, pay a fair amount of tax on their government contracts. Surely this figure should be included in their tenders because it is part of the whole deal. And, by including their estimated tax in their submissions for government jobs it should also give the smaller – and possibly cheaper – contractors a more realistic opportunity of winning these contracts.

 – Ray Williams