||Issue No. 316||21 July 2006|
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
Sick of Ants
Praise from Belly
Letters to the Editor
Sick of Ants
I was revolted at the sycophantic behaviour of our labour premiers towards John Howard re the COAG meeting. Obviously anyone would support the vaunted $4 billion for mental health; if it delivers even one more psychiatric nurse, let alone, a new mental hospital and not just more paper in triplicate.
Are our ALP premiers so threatened by Howard and Costello's machiavellian double act, that they accept the first offer made by Howard, and 'crow' as if it were a victory. This is not a shining example of cooperative federalism. It is cooperative 'roll-overism'.
Back in the 1980's Premier Court snr of WA and Bjelke-Peterson of QLD used to threaten to secede from the federation, when the federal government of the day wanted to enact a policy when one of them thought threatened their states rights, or they just plain wanted to thwart Bob Hawke from enacting a piece of ALP policy. Sometimes it worked and either Hawke or, before him, Fraser had to give up on whatever they had planned.
It is a pity that none of our premiers used it, purely as a negotiating tool over either the recent IR legislation, to force some moderation, or with last years anti terror legislation. Again, not with any intention of actually leaving the federation, but as a tactic to force some watering down of the more draconian aspects. By this time next year we could well have two coalition state governments.
Any opportunity for all states acting together against Howard will be lost for at least three years, or they could've refused to hand over the GST revenue, for say 6 months, as an alternative tactic. The states had an opportunity of provoking some sort of constitutional crisis, to get a better deal. An opportunity was missed.
All governments seem to have a policy of diverting the public's attention from the above issues by providing a modern equivalent of the old, "beer and circuses" - now called the Commonwealth Games, Olympics, World Cup soccer, celebrity weddings, or weekly gladiatorial sporting contests, NRL and AFL, partly funded by Rupert Murdoch.
For reasons best known to itself the NSW Government allows the guts to be metaphorically and financially kicked out of Jeff Shaw; by a glorified Kangaroo court, that is judge, jury and sentencer. Shaw was not only one of the most brilliant ministers, but ironically, one the most ethical and decent.
I suppose that's considered part of the publics 'entertainment'. Magazines are filled with the life dramas, and weight loss crises of third rate celebrities, that hardly anyone has ever heard of, while our resources, and some industries are going overseas on the cheap. Like good ants we work ever harder for less wages on a one-way race to the bottom trying to earn less than our competitors in China. After spending more than ever on petrol we try to fill our homes with consumer goods and clothes made in China. I think there is some irony in this somewhere, but it's not funny.
F Mitchell, NSW
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