Saturday, 29 May 2010

It is (not) an emergency

but the government is telling us that it is. The government is about to spend another $38m worth of taxpayer funds on getting re-elected. From their point of view it is an emergency - but it is not the national emergency they claim it is. Even the most hardened and one-eyed of voters could not call this an emergency. The government does.
The money is to be spent on "selling" the mining super-tax to the electorate. This is the tax that is supposed to cure us of our economic woes. It is what will pay for money already spent on the failed home insulation scheme, the failed building education revolution scheme and a number of other failed or about to fail schemes. It will pay for Australia's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council and the bid to host the soccer World Cup.
It is not a national emergency but it is being treated as one. We are being told that, without it, our economy will be in tatters.
As always I may be mistaken but, to me, a national emergency would be something along the lines of out of control fire or floods across half of Australia, a successful terrorist attack on water supplies in Sydney, the release of radioactive material across a wide area or something of those epic proportions. The results of any of these things would directly impact on the health and welfare of the population and the environment - and they would do so for many years to come.
The possible failure of a mining tax might cost the government billions of dollars, some of which they have already spent, but the end result will be uncomfortable belt tightening, a lower standard of living and a need to rethink economic strategy. We might even need to work a little harder and in more diverse ways.
All the arguments about who owns what and who should pay for what seem to me to be missing the point. There is a finite limit to mining, just as there is finite limit to oil in places like Saudi Arabia. What happens when it runs out or it is no longer required? We should be thinking about that now. If we are going to use those resources it should be to build a self-sustaining future, not squandered on bids for seats or sport.
We might be a big island but we are a small nation. Our governments (of all persuasions) have tended to have an inflated idea of our importance and our influence. If we did not have English as our national language we would have no importance and no influence at all.
No, the mining super tax issue is not a national emergency. It does not warrant $38m of taxpayer money spent on trying to sell it to the nation. It does warrant a long hard look at what we are relying on. That is an emergency.

4 comments:

Tony said...

Why are they trying to sell the tax to me? They're the ones who were elected to make the policies; if they think that's the best one, they should stick to their guns, and we'll all see what happens.

Rachel Fenton said...

This is why I seldom buy/read the press because all you get is mass brainwashing.

Not for the first time this week - bonkers!

catdownunder said...

If the tax is that good it should not need selling surely? Maybe I just do not understand economics?

Donna Hosie said...

This made my blood boil this morning. The Government have no right whatsoever to waste such a huge amount of money on advertising.

I get to vote in this election. K Rudd - beware.