Some choice pars from Nick Kater’s column in today’s Australian…
“..A boarded-up school hall on the NSW central coast stands as a reminder of the conceit that consumed a Labor government.
The $16.2 billion Building the Education Revolution program was the brainchild of a prime minister who defined his task as “saving capitalism from itself”.
Wyong Grove Public School hit the jackpot when Nathan Rees’ Labor government divided up the $3.5bn that had been forced upon it. Enrolments were dwindling. The word around town was the school might be closed. Yet Wyong Grove was given both a new school hall and a covered outdoor learning area at a cost of $2 million. Never mind redistributing wealth, growth comes first
Local federal Labor MP Craig Thomson was delighted, lauding it as part of “a very targeted stimulus package” that would be celebrated for decades to come’’.
“I’m sure in 25 years those buildings will still be there,” the former member for Dobell told parliament.
Thomson’s fall from grace is well known. He was found guilty of using a Health Services Union credit card to pay for hookers and other unauthorised expenses.
Less celebrated is the fate of Wyong Grove, which was closed in 2013. Its few dozen remaining pupils were sent to a school 15 minutes walk away with plenty of spare capacity.
Last year, the school was sold for $4.45m to a developer who plans to demolish the hall and build medium-density housing.
The Labor leadership, however, is absorbed in another project altogether, convinced that the greatest challenge the nation faces is inequality.
The words “fair”, “equality” and their various derivatives occurred 17 times in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s campaign launch speech week.
Ben Chifley’s 1949 election pitch, by comparison, was twice as long yet he never embraced the concept of equality and uttered the word “fair” only twice.
Nor did Chifley feel the need to complicate “prosperity” by insisting that it should also be “inclusive” as today’s Labor leaders feel compelled to do. Economic growth, says Shorten, should benefit everyone, not just those who seize the opportunities for business and employment that an expanding economy presents.
The scale of the redistributive task Labor has set for itself is enormous and entirely unsuited to the times.
There is a deep irony that today’s Labor leaders — mostly fortunate university graduates — present as class warriors standing up against big business in defence of the vulnerable.
It is a pastiche of what Labor once stood for, a fair wage for working people and the universal provision of basic services like education and healthcare.
But then today’s rusted on Labor supporters are not just the recipients of those services but the providers.
It is in their interests, together with those of Labor’s union paymasters, that Shorten will govern if elected on Saturday.
It is a party with scant regard for the creators of wealth who risk capital to create businesses and the vast non-unionised private sector workforce they employ and who together make up almost all of the nation’s taxpayers and consumers.
Yet these are the drivers of prosperity upon whom the nation’s future rests and who will have to pay for Labor’s follies.
Contrary to Rudd’s thesis, it falls to capitalism to save governments from themselves..”