Shred their credibility
Imre Salusinszky is another one who has gone from the far left to the far right without any pause for reflection on the ameliorating influence of the moderate centre. In this piece he shows a Colless-like enthusiasm for being swept up by the hype without drilling down to the core issues about privatising NSW electricity.
It's the wrong time to sell NSW's coal-fired electricity generation and distribution systems, for four main reasons:
- None of the buyers have enough money.
- The current government will stuff up the sale, adding "sweeteners" that will rebound for years to come.
- The facilities are out of date - you'd hope that the private sector would invest in new facilities (just like they have with freight rail beyond the major cities!) but the technological and regulatory environment is radically uncertain.
- The Coalition are entitled to be sick of Labor having a bag of money to beat them up at election time. The link between success in the sale process and generosity to the ALP would be strong. Sussex Street might oppose the sale for now, but they'd get over it once the donations began rolling in.
The bleating from the private sector is not motivated by far-sighted visionaries with the good of the state uppermost. It is motivated by chancers frustrated from making a short-term killing from a bunch of mugs.
Never mind that the business community will abandon the Coalition as a lost cause. Never mind that the embattled Iemma will be gifted an issue - strength of leadership - with which to cane O'Farrell.
Yeah, the business community. They've been ignoring and hectoring the Liberals for a decade, splashing ridiculous amounts of money at (what was, at its best) a second-rate government, and now the Liberal Party is the "party of business". There's more to "the business community" than rent-seekers and spivs, but you'd be forgiven for not realising this if you looked at the
David Elliott used to be a PR man for the pubs, who poured millions into ALP coffers on his advice. When he ran for Liberal preselection the far right painted Elliott as insufficiently loyal to the party. Now, Elliott is doing the same again for a different bunch of rentseekers, trying to do to O'Farrell what he did to (for?) Peter Collins. At least I'm open about being a former Liberal and not having that party's interests at heart, David Elliott has done much more damage to the Liberal Party than I have.
Barry O'Farrell should take his chances with the leadership thing. Morris Iemma has failed to lead the Labor Party toward electricity privatisation, and now he thinks he's leading the Liberal Party.
By rejecting the bills, O'Farrell can repeat his predecessor Peter Debnam's trick during the scandal surrounding disgraced former NSW Aboriginal affairs minister Milton Orkopoulos in 2006. By attempting to widen the scandal to include former NSW attorney-general (and current federal Home Affairs Minister) Bob Debus, Debnam snatched defeat from the jaws of triumph.
Nobody accepted the link between pedophilia and homosexuality, and nobody took Debnam's word for the Debus-Orkopoulos "link". Debnam was stupid to accept advise from Lynn and Gallacher - two architects of NSW Coalition failure - to that effect. Mind you, voters were stupid to believe Iemma, whose "leadership" has now collapsed and not even all the money in Sussex Street will bring him back.
Everyone accepts the link between Iemma, public assets and the capacity for an awesome balls-up that will reverberate for a century. There is no linkage between privatisation now and electricity security going forward, and it is Iemma, not O'Farrell, who has to be called to account for it. When O'Farrell becomes Premier, points 1, 3 & 4 above will have disappeared and David Elliott can help the Liberal Party for a change.
Update: The Iemma-Costa out-of-Parliament solution is the dodgiest piece of public policy since Rex Connor and Clyde Cameron attempted to find other ways of funding the 1975 budget. And didn't that end well for Labor?
Update 2, 31 August: This shows Elliott at his most pathetic. He gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars every year by people who wish to avoid getting blindsided like this. Turns out that Dave should've seen it coming and acted in his employers' interests. Whoops! Get to work you clown.