Into The Unknown And With So Much At Stake

1 Jun

Barnaby Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

It is 5.45am on Monday morning as I leave St George for what will be my final budget estimates as a senator for Queensland.

Below me is the Western Downs of Queensland and to the east is the sun rising over the Bunya Mountains between Kingaroy and Dalby.

I have an unsurprising sense of apprehension because if I fail at the next election, this won’t just be my last budget estimates as a senator for Queensland, it will be my last full stop. This puts my personal position in somewhat of a correlation to my nation. In the next few months the nation will make a decision that will influence our future financial health in an emphatic way.

Budget estimates, if properly pursued, should flesh out the capacity of ministers and departments to manage the finances of the nation in straitened times. The combined picture, across departments, should cast some light as to whether there is any hope of extracting the country from the financial deficit death spiral that could drive the government’s social contract with the Australian people into the ground. Because of the complexion of the political participants, budget estimates becomes more of an Alice in Wonderland wander in the political park, hoping to stumble across a wondrous mushroom that will illuminate the path to the political knockout punch.

If you are supported in anyway by a government payment then the position of the budget should be of crucial importance. If you receive medicine subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, if you drive on a federally funded road, if you go to a doctor that gets paid by Medicare, if you rely on States who rely on federal funding to pay your school teachers, if you drop off kids at child care, if you want a defence force to stop your nation falling into foreign hands and if you work for the public service then you should be a fiscal conservative, if for no other reason than self-preservation.

What will Australia look like if the cheques bounce? How on earth do we repay the debt if it arrives at the market value on the budget statements of $370 billion, remembering there is no legislation to increase the limit above the current $300 billion limit?

It is 9.35pm on Tuesday night and I have just been to a function for Tom Sefton, Liberal candidate for Canberra. Two tours of Afghanistan, former conference president of St Vincent de Paul, married with one kid but up against a 9 per cent margin. He is in for a real test of his mettle. In a Liberal-Labor stoush where the public service is under the pump, even though it is Labor debt that has to be repaid, Tom will need skills in this battle. He has to work hard if he is to have a chance of a close fight.

Last year the Gillard government reduced the public service by more than 3000 people. The pressure that is on the public service right now is because of the reckless and wasteful spending of the government right now. When the last Coalition government left office, there was not that pressure on the public service because the budget was managed responsibly and, whether you agreed or disagreed with them, you got a sense of stability from those controlling the reins of power.

The best thing for Canberra would be to restore that sense of stability and competence to the federal government.

Down the road from where the function is happening at Marcus Clarke Street, Civic, is the new ASIO headquarters where apparently the plans have been lifted and are now in the hot hands of someone in Beijing.

Everything is closing in. We owe so much money to the same country, and that same country is acquiring interests in our power supplies, rural land and more. I wonder if the Foreign Investment Review Board is taking any notes and taking into account what may be contrary to the national interest.

The interesting thing for me is soon, for whatever the outcome may be, I will be a free agent. Yes, I will have to and so I shall, resign. Tom Sefton shall stand in what would otherwise be an impossible task in the seat of Canberra but this current fiasco parlaying as a government makes all seats possibilities. Political correctness will state that “there is nothing to look at here” as far as Chinese infiltration into Australia’s national interest is concerned. What else could they say?

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One Response to “Into The Unknown And With So Much At Stake”

  1. mick June 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    “…..extracting the country from the financial deficit death spiral ……”.

    Barnaby:

    Its about time politicians of all persuasion got real and took off the rose coloured glasses. For too long the nation has been held back by highly paid representatives who cannot see past the end of their (collective) noses. Please not:

    1. It has been the worst of policies betting it all on a minerals future whilst destroying our manufacturing industries. I was writing to Wayne Swan over 2 years ago warning him that this was a dangerous strategy and that it would come back to bite him. Whilst Swan’s reaction was to get in front of the cameras and talk about “crazies” my warning are now coming home to roost. And if the current situation gets considerably worse, as I believe it will then HOW DO WE PAY FOR THE ENDLESS LIST OF IMPORTS WE HAVE TO CONTINUE ON WITH? We have no other option short term and we will be done like the proverbial dinner. What then??????

    2. In part answer to the above I was absolutely horrified to discover that Australia has already sold off 11% of its prime FREEHOLD agricultural farmland to overseas interests. This would be treason in any other first world nation but it is how governments in this nation routinely operate. So how much is FOREIGN STATE OWNED? And we all realise that “state owned” means that produce will not incur any tax in Australia, meaning that OUR LAND will produce produce for foreign nations with nothing in it for any Australians, ever. I suggest that if the mineral boom continues to subside then more and more farmland will go into offshore (government) hands as this is the only cash cow left.

    3. Government waste: Who can condone Heads of Departments being paid $800,000 pa? Ridiculous. And the dodgy advice which comes from these highly overpaid bureaucrats is often not worth the paper it is printed on. And then the size of the bureaucracy is a joke as many produce propaganda and little more. It reminds me of the poorly performing eights rowing team. As more and more of the actual rowers are replaced the team ends up with 1 person rowing whilst the rest are there for performance enhancement, motivation and record keeping. Welcome to government in Australia.

    4. HANDOUTS: Whilst Australians expect some sort of safety net what we currently have is a huge group of BLUDGERS whose intention is to milk the system for all that it is worth and make not working a lifestyle choice. Having personally met a person who oozed this sort of sentiment I find it particularly disturbing that BOTH SIDES OF POLITICS will not act in a bipartisan manner to bring the never ending rorts to an end. It says a lot about both sides of politics and if the electorate were anything other than plain dumb it would unanimously vote in Independents and/or minor parties to address the misuse of the parliament. These bastards are voted in to lead the nation. not to bring it to its knees.

    Sorry about the long blog. As a passionate Australian it sickens me to see what is happening to a nation which has it all. Just like the man who gets a large inheritance, having never experienced the trials and tribulations of poverty and earning money the hard way, governments on both sides of politics spend like drunken sailors whilst Rome continues to burn. Like CEOs and bastards in public life these people do their mischief and then move on leaving the results of their misconduct for other to fix whilst they receive acclamations from their colleagues for the ‘wonderful’ job they have done and their ‘time’ in public like. It sickens me and it should sicken every apathetic Australian who continues to vote for these pariahs.

    Sorry Blissful……did I chip you about long posts.

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