Rudd a dud dud

“The past lies like a nightmare upon the present”: Karl Marx.

Senator Ron Boswell, in a letter to The Australian this morning, reminds us of a frightening precedent.

The Prime Minister behaves now as then when he was head of Wayne Goss’s cabinet office. The policy disasters of the era are reflected in the disasters of today because they had the same architect. The health budget doubled but the system all but fell apart, largely because of a massive increase in the bureaucracy. A once fully funded workers compensation scheme developed a long tail, massive liability via a curious policy of reduced premiums alongside increased benefits and a blind eye to increasing common law claims. Long-term power security was crippled by a decision to scrap a project and not move to plug the gap for years despite dire and public warnings from the then Queensland Electricity Commission and the premier’s own department.

A prison was shut down to save a few million dollars based on a hunch that prisoner numbers were dropping. They were not. A public housing scheme borrowed from Neville Wran left thousands of Queensland battlers owing more to the government than their houses were worth, and more than their original loans. The list of policy disasters then is as endless as it is today.

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