This is current as of JAN 12th 2014. For the updated list click here.
Tony Abbott has been in power since 7 September 2013. From that moment, he and his government have broken promises and hurt Australians.
This post will be regularly updated to keep track of the Abbott Government’s broken promises and everything his Government does to hurt Australians.
Each separate item will have a link to a source. Broken promises appear in bold and in a separate list at the end.
78. Politicises the national school curriculum by appointing a former Liberal staffer and a Coalition supporter, both critics of the current curriculum to conduct a review – 10 January 2014.
77. Directs that people already found to be refugees who arrived by boat be given the lowest priority for family reunion – 8 January 2014
76. Fails to contradict or take any action against a member of his government, Senator Cory Bernardi, who makes divisive statements about: abortion, “non-traditional” families and their children, same sex couples, couples who use IVF and calls for parts of WorkChoices to be reintroduced – 6 January 2014
75. Devastates Australia’s contribution to overseas aid by cutting $4.5 billion from the budget, causing vital programs supporting those in extreme poverty in our region to collapse – 1 January 2014
74. Drastically reduces tax breaks for small business and fails to publicise it – 1 January 2014
73. Refuses to support jobs at SPC at the cost of hundreds of jobs – 27 December 2013
72. Appoints Tim Wilson, a Liberal Party member and Policy Director of a right-wing think tank to the position of Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission even though this think tank argued for the Commission to be abolished – 23 December 2013
71. Approves private health fund premium increases of an average 6.2% a year – 23 December 2013
70. Fails to provide the promised customs vessel to monitor whaling operations in the Southern Ocean – 23 December 2013
69. Requests the delisting of World Heritage status for Tasmanian forests – 21 December 2013
68. Drastically dilutes consumer protections and transparency requirements for financial planners, including abolishing the requirement they put their clients interests first – 20 December 2013
67. Scraps the Home Energy Saver Scheme which helps struggling low income households cut their electricity bills – 17 December 2013
66. Defunds the Public Interest Advocacy Centre whose objectives are to work for a fair, just and democratic society by taking up legal cases public interest issues – 17 December 2013
65. Defunds the Environmental Defenders Office which is a network of community legal centres providing free advice on environmental law – 17 December 2013
64. Axes funding for animal welfare – 17 December 2013
63. Abolishes the AusAID graduate program costing 38 jobs – 17 December 2013
62. Cuts Indigenous legal services by $13.4 million. This includes $3.5 million from front line domestic violence support services, defunding the National legal service and abolishing all policy and law reform positions across the country – 17 December 2013
61. Abolishes the position of co-ordinator-general for remote indigenous services – 17 December 2013
60. Changes name of NDIS “launch sites” to “trial sites” and flags cuts to funding – 17 December 2013
59. Abolishes the National Office for Live Music along with the live music ambassadors – 17 December 2013
58. Weakens the ministerial code of conduct to let ministers keep shares in companies – 16 December 2013
57. Disbands the independent Immigration Health Advisory Group for asylum seekers – 16 December 2013
56. Starts dismantling Australia’s world leading marine protection system – 13 December 2013
55. Scraps the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water – 13 December 2013
54. Breaks its NBN election promise of giving all Australians access to 25 megabits per second download speeds by 2016 – 12 December 2013
53. Overturns the “critically endangered” listing of the Murray Darling Basin – 11 December 2013
52. Dares Holden to leave Australia. Holden announces closure which costs Australian workers 50 000 jobs – 11 December 2013
51. Approves Clive Palmer’s mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin which opponents say will severely damage Great Barrier Reef – 11 December 2013
50. Demands that the few childcare workers who got pay rises “hand them back” – 10 December 2013
49. Approves the largest coal port in the world in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area – 10 December 2013
48. Removes the community’s right to challenge decisions where the government has ignored expert advice on threatened species impacts – 9 December 2013
47. Downgrades national environment laws by giving approval powers to state premiers – 9 December 2013
46. Undermines Australia’s democracy by signing a free trade agreement with South Korea allowing corporations to sue the Australian Government – 6 December 2013
45. Damages our diplomatic relationship with our nearest neighbour East Timor – 5 December 2013
44. Repeals the pokie reform legislation achieved in the last parliament to combat problem gambling – 4 December 2013
43. Suspends the Wage Connect program, despite it being proven to deliver good outcomes for unemployed people – 3 December 2013
42. Axes funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia, forcing the 46 year old organisation to close – 27 November 2013
41. Back-flips twice on Gonski, reversing a commitment to a ‘unity ticket’ and failing to deliver equitable education funding – 25 November 2013
40. Shifts Australia’s position at the UN on Israeli settlements – 25 November 2013
39. Damages our diplomatic relationship with the Indonesian Government by refusing to apologise for tapping the phones of their President, his wife and senior Government officials – 23 November 2013
38. Converts crucial Start-Up Scholarships into loans, increasing the debt of 80,000 higher education students by $1.2 billion – 21 November 2013
37. Gifts two navy patrol boats to the Sri Lankan government to stop asylum seekers fleeing the Sri Lankan government – 17 November 2013
36. Introduces a Bill to impose on workers who are elected onto unpaid union committees huge financial penalties and jail terms for breeches of new compliance obligations – 14 November 2013
35. Condones torture by foreign governments by saying “sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen” – 14 November 2013
34. Hides information from the Parliament and the people about the government’s treatment of asylum seekers – 13 November 2013
33. Separates a refugee mother from her newborn baby – 10 November 2013
32. Cuts 600 jobs at the CSIRO – 8 November 2013
31. Abolishes Insurance Reform Advisory Group which provided a forum for industry and consumer bodies to discuss insurance industry reform – 8 November 2013
30. Abolishes the Maritime Workforce Development Forum which was an industry body working to build a sustainable skills base for the maritime industry – 8 November 2013
29. Abolishes the High Speed Rail Advisory Group whose job it was to advise Governments on the next steps on implementing high speed rail for eastern Australia – 8 November 2013
28. Abolishes the Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula which for 21 years monitored compliance of industry to agreements on marketing infant formula – 8 November 2013
27. Abolishes the Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee who ensured research on animals in the Antarctic complies with Australian standards – 8 November 2013
26. Abolished the National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing that for 21 years worked to make sure the law was effectively enforced on corporate criminals – 8 November 2013
25. Abolishes the National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council which provided expert advice on overseas adoption – 8 November 2013
24. Abolishes International Legal Services Advisory Council which was responsible for working to improve the international performance of Australia’s legal services – 8 November 2013
23. Abolishes the Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council a group of experts in gun crime and firearms which was set up after the Port Arthur massacre – 8 November 2013
22. Abolishes Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee a diverse group of experts advising the Agriculture Minister on animal welfare issues – 8 November 2013
21. Abolishes the National Housing Supply Council which provided data and expert advice on housing demand, supply and affordability – 8 November 2013
20. Abolishes the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, established to help address the challenges the country faces as the number of older Australians grows – 8 November 2013
19. Refuses to offer support to manufacturing in Tasmania, despite requests and warnings. Caterpillar announces the move of 200 jobs from Burnie to Thailand, costing around 1000 local jobs – 5 November 2013
18. Provides $2.2 million legal aid for farmers and miners to fight native title claims – 1 November 2013
17. Abolishes the 40 year old AusAID costing hundreds of jobs – 1 November 2013
16. Launches a successful High Court which strikes down the ACT Marriage Equality laws invalidating the marriages of many people and ensuring discrimination against same-sex couples continues – 23 October 2013
15. Denies there is a link between climate change and more severe bush fires and accuses a senior UN official was “talking through their hat” – 23 October 2013
14. Appoints the head of the Business Council of Australia to a “Commission of Audit” to recommend cuts to public spending – 22 October 2013
13. Cuts compensation to the victims of bushfires – 21 October 2013
12. Instructs public servants and detention centre staff to call asylum seekers “illegals” – 20 October 2013
11. Appoints Howard era Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) Director to help reinstate the ABCC with all its previous oppressive powers over construction workers – 17 October 2013
10. Axes the Major Cities Unit a Government agency with 10 staff which provided expert advice on urban issues in our 18 biggest cities – 24 September 2013
9. Fails to “stop the boats”. Hides the boats instead – 23 September 2013
8. Scraps the Social Inclusion Board, which had been established to guide policy on the reduction of poverty in Australia – 19 September 2013
7. Abolishes the Climate Commission – 19 September 2013
6. Appoints himself Minister for Women – 16 September 2013
5. Appoints only one woman into his cabinet and blames the women for his decision, saying he appoints “on merit”– 16 September 2013
4. Abolishes key ministerial positions of climate change and science – 16 September 2013
3. Breaks his promise to spend his first week with an Aboriginal community –
14 September 2012
2. Takes away pay rises for childcare workers – 13 September 2013
1. Takes away pay rises from aged care workers – 13 September 2013
The Broken Promise Count
1. Does not spend his first week as Prime Minister with an Aboriginal community – 14 September 2013. This promise was made in front of indigenous elders and participants at the Garma Festival on 10 August 2013, this is a live recording.
2. Fails to “stop the boats”. Hides the boats instead – 23 September 2013. This promise was repeated so many times I can’t count. Here’s Abbott’s 2013 campaign launch speech.
3. Back-flips twice on Gonski, reversing a commitment to a ‘unity ticket’ and failing to deliver equitable education funding – 25 November 2013 See paragraph two from Christopher Pyne on 29 August 2013
4. Breaks its NBN election promise of giving all Australians access to 25 megabits per second download speeds by 2016 – 12 December 2013 This was the Coalition’s policy they took to the election first announced 9 April 2013.
5. Changes name of NDIS “launch sites” to “trial sites” and flags cuts to funding – 17 December 2013 The promise to deliver the NDIS in full was made 20 August 2013 and is in the policies they took to the election
6. Fails to provide the promised customs vessel to monitor whaling operations in the Southern Ocean – 23 December 2013 Promise made by Greg Hunt 9 April 2013
Thanks to David Olive for this image.
Thanks to The Greens whose research in 100 days, 40 failures: A Preview of secretive, cruel and chaotic Government provided the initial material for this project.
228 thoughts on “Tracking Abbott’s wreckage – The full list”
Sally, i just wanted to voice my deep appreciation for your work creating this page and keeping it up to date. I truly hope you are able to keep it up all the way to the next election.
Thanks Jonathan! I will do my best
As someone who has been reading these comments and didn’t vote for either of the two parties.. I think some of the comments here let Julia Gillard off a bit too easy with the carbon tax / price whatever.. BUT I also cannot for the life of me understand anyone who can defend ALL of the policies (& cuts) above even IF your sole concern is money and the economy.. bear with me..
surely you do not want to lose the Great Barrier Reef
surely you do not want more people in jail (on your tax paying dollar) and crime numbers to increase because we losing services to the most volatile
surely you want an available media source that is not so concerned with “page clicks’ that they run obscene sensational headlines b/c they are beholden to shareholders rather than facts
surely you want to educate Australians evenly across the board – even if you think that the financially challenged are mostly bludgers who leech off the government, sure you don’t want to breed more said bludgers
surely you do not want your tax money to be spent defending Australia in court if we get sued due to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
surely you want to know if the boats numbers have reduced and you are blindly having your precious tax payers dollar secretly spent on policies that are not working
surely you want scientific evidence that coal seam gas will not damage Australian water supply
surely you want a government that will protect farmers from big American companies that are bullying them like Monsanto is doing right at this time
these are issues that are so much greater than the argument of who said what. to me it defies logic for people to put their kids in seat belts and then not care about food and water. It defies logic to trust any government (Lab or Lib) that is hiding information from you.
How can you talk about the economy and not think about all of the above?
There are obvious people on here that are defending Tony Abbott. Other than not being Julia Gillard, can someone who voted for Abbott please produce some facts that tells me what he has achieved that will benefit all Australians (not just a select few)? I am not being a smart arse. I would be genuinely interested. I am lost. Is there a list somewhere?
… and surely you don’t want to have Australia facing the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity, for torturing asylum seekers that it has an obligation to protect and keep safe, not submit to further physical, mental and emotional despair.
… and surely you don’t want your tax dollars to be spent in the billions to create concentration camps in third-world countries to send those asylum seekers to, whereas if they were allowed to live in the community, work and contribute to society, and pay taxes, they would be on their way to recovery from their terrible experiences and their children would be entitled to an education. This would represent a tiny fraction of the cost now dedicated to mobilise the army and pay big dollars to PNG and Nauru. It would also allow us to restore our very damaged image abroad. We are the only country of the western world that has mandatory detention, let alone indefinite detention, yet we have the smallest number of asylum seekers.
There is no list mate. This is a mean, uncaring despicable goverment. Only a Labor government cares for all Australians. Unfortunately the voters didnt realise how good we had it. Our economy was the envy of the world. What idiits they must think we are now, governed by this mob
We need these broken promises to get us out of the mess the previous government screwed us up with! Who knows what other surprises this government continues to find that it’s predecessors have left behind?
Mr PM keep doing what you need to do in order to shut everyone up and carry on with what it takes to rebuild this great nation of ours.
D – i don’t know if you have read my previous comments but i don’t vote for either Lib / Lab.. 2013 was the first year that i enrolled. so i am not loyal to either party or blind to anyone’s errors. but i am confused / concerned b/c it appears all of the cuts are being lumped in the sector of the most needy and volatile.
if there is a need to break these promises and raise revenue (as you say above) why does there appear to be no taxes at all aimed at Australia’s biggest earners. in fact wasn’t there some car lease tax break for the well off that was just reinstated? if there is a need to cop some pain to get the country back on track why is it all levelled at the most needy?
Someone on a wage of $200000 pays tax of $67000 (34% tax)
Someone on a wage of $400000 pays tax of $160000 (40% tax)
Someone on the average wage of $57,000 pays tax of approx $10,000 (18% tax)
How much tax should “the wealthy” pay to make you happy?
And keep in mind that the tax rates were imposed by Labor….
Yeah right, and how much of that $160,000 is paid after negative gearing, deductions etc. Kerry Packer is a fine example – Not a cent!
But i was referring to funding cuts to services that effect the most needy and new taxes imposed such as medicare fee vs the lack of pain being felt by companies that are returning super profits. Natural resources do not belong to Gina and co. they belong to Australia.
I was not referring to individual tax, although they are a fine example of high earners being on the tit while the middle & lower class pay their dues.
The tax now is labour but it is a lot less then when Lib. where in. It was so much higher with the libs.
Wait a minute. In order to “get us out of the mess” left by the previous government, we have to let people torture animals and break promises? Does this actually even make sense? What? No, it doesn’t. Didn’t think so.
If you look, objectively, at our economic history over the recent few years, you will see that the previous government wasn’t too bad.
Man, if we thought we had a mess to try and clean up before, we were dreaming…
Not so much a broken pomise but embarressing all the same – Abbott’s apology to Indonesia over their torturing of Australian cattle (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/ill-say-sorry-to-jakarta-for-cattle-ban-tony-abbott/story-fn59niix-1226639332349). This, along with his governments failure to take any action against the continued horrific treatment of Australian animal who are unfortunate enough to be part of the live animal export trade with Gaza being the most recent example (http://www.banliveexport.com/features/gaza-video-evidence.php). This government are the most unethical bunch of imbeciles imaginable. Great post by the way !
while LNP votes were 1,152,266 VS Labor 4,311,341. Clearly Jaguar is referring to the Coalition? It’s not officially accurate to say the LNP that is in power is it? – even though their name LNP implies that they are a combined party…
sorry as i said i am new to voting in australia. sounds like Jaguar might be too.
You are so right and we are not taking in the amount we are meant to. Also they take so long to check into them it costs the public so much more. I had a friend that was waiting 6 years until he was able to bring his wife and children to come to Australia to be with him. What is it that took so long 6 years, how many of us would wait that long.
Abbott is doing exactly what I hired him for, to cut useless spending! I don’t know if you realize but money doesn’t grow on trees, and it might be a good idea if people decide for themselves if they want it to be spent on: “the National Office for Live Music along with the live music ambassadors”
Bart, the money outlaid for the National Office Of Live Music is $560,000 over a 3 year period ie. $187,000 per year.
Venue-based live music industry has a gross industry output of $1.21 billion and an industry value add of $652 million; creates 15,000 full-time jobs; and attracts audiences of over 41 million annually.
Audiences of 41 million Australians enjoy it annually!
This comes from a venue based report, AND it does not take into account the money generated thru music sales, streaming, radio stations, television ads, films and syncs, tour infrastructure – airfares, hotel stays, event companies, technicians and so forth… which steams from Live Music venues where artists learn their trade.
The Live Contemporary Music sector is responsible for building Australia’s best artists – ambassadors who put Australia on the world stage. It might not be your scene Bart, but it was a huge source of National pride to have Gotye on the world stage, winning 3 Grammy awards last year.
Also, Live Music Ambassadors are representatives. I am not sure why the ambassadors are mentioned in the capacity they have been in the media.
Well put Barry! Couldn’t have said it better 🙂
Audiences of 41 million Australians enjoy it annually!
Thank you for that useful tid bit about how double our population enjoys this music. Sort of makes it hard to believe any part of your post.
“Venue-based live music industry has a gross industry output of $1.21 billion and an industry value add of $652 million; creates 15,000 full-time jobs; and attracts audiences of over 41 million annually. ”
Can you please explain how removing the National Office for Live Music will reduce the industry output?
Samalot – the report refers to attendance numbers / patrons. sorry if my use of the word ‘Australians” was considered clunky by you. Obviously people can be part of an audience many times over. In terms of believing my post, suit yourself. The report, commissioned by APRA is right here – http://issuu.com/apraamcos/docs/summary-livemusic/1?e=0
With regards to your question – how the loss of the Live Music Office will reduce output – it’s difficult to describe how the whole sector operates here.
Small pubs and hotels are breeding grounds for musical output. By nature live performance is on the job training. Yet the Live Music’s unique contribution to Australia’s music success here & abroad has never been official recognised, cultivated, documented and represented.
The Live Music Office changes this.
Although live music in pubs/hotels contributes significantly to the development of Australia’s great musical exports, it is not a lucrative business. Margins are very slim, because people are watching the band (not drinking as much). The margins are especially slim for the small rooms (most important in the chain, small rooms are more likely to give a starting band a chance). Any changes to codes or liquor licensing can render a live music venue no longer viable.
Currently the State gov is seeking ways to reduce violence in Sydney’s entertainment precinct and spending exponentially to do so. While numerous reports indicate that live music & the cultural exchange facilitated by many pubs/hotels help mitigate violence there is very little support for the licensees, investment, further study in this area.
When policy makers change the laws & codes surrounding liquor licensing & in venues they do so without consulting with, understanding or recognising musicians. They also do so without access to reporting in this area.
By highlighting the issues and providing impact analysis & representation, the Live Music Office can reduce the loss of these institutions and help governments provide vibrant cities. They can help safeguard this 1.2 billion industry.
By reducing the $6,500 instant tax write-off to $1,000 Abbott just ruined our plans for 2014. Nice surprise on 1 January! Thanks for hiring him Bart 😦
The $6500 write-off was clearly enunciated Liberal Party policy during the campaign. You should have paid more attention. You get a tax cut instead (one day).
Got a link to the tax cut? Does it match the $6,500?
You get a 1.5% tax cut. If you don’t have expenses, you are ahead. If you do, you aren’t.
Of course money does not grow on trees, it comes from other people’s pockets, that’s how the rich get richer, they take if from everyone around them.
Which is why they need to corrupt politics and create a pseudo democracy, that serves the minority who pay to distort election campaigns.
Indeed cut waste
Its the selfish ultra right wing attitude of this govt that is scary
After living In sweden for 10 years I came to see see that lefties actually do have a generally fairee view of society and the world in general,not so much a me,me and screw the rest attitude
Tell me anyone if left leaning views are so bad for a country then why do the scandinavian countries over decades continually list in the top 5 of standard of living and happiness indexes and places with a user pay system like the usa have massive wealth inequality and debt
“Devastates Australia’s contribution to overseas aid ” and, by doing it in the ‘holiday period’, minimises publicity.
Remember they announced this policy a day or so before the election
Axes the alcohol and other drugs council……
See No. 41
“Drastically reduces tax breaks for small business …” because big business supports the Lib.s.
“Drastically reduces tax breaks for small business …” as per their policies prior to the election. Hardly a broken promise.
Yes, it is not a broken promise. The six broken promises are in bold and in a separate list at the end
Great list, but i don’t think I saw anything about asylum seeker atrocities on Nauru and Manus – maybe not technically a broken promise but still a tragedy
Not only does Tony not believe in ‘human rights’, he doesn’t appear to give a s.uff about our international reputation.
True, but I can’t put it up there unless they do something to change the previous policy regarding asylum seekers on Nauru and PNG
Sally, maybe another list: Gross Atrocities?
According to Press reports Australia has had the hottest warmest Year of temperatures in History, yet we have a Prime Minister who openly does not believe in Global Warming or Climate change and yet Queensland is in Drought and most cattle farmers are talking of walking off the land because they can no longer afford feed for the cattle. Mr Abbott does not factor this into clim,ate change at all.
Your grand children will be the ones to ultimately suffer from his decisions today.
Is Cardinal Pell advising this man.?
Thanks for keeping us informed Sally, we need to have the full story about what this government is doing well in place because those shifty bastards will continue to lie. And to those of you presenting the anti-labor views, I would be very happy to consider them if they were based in fact rather than simply reiterating the lies that Abbott and his band of idiots spurt out.
You can add the broken promise of never towing boats back. Thanks to leonetwo at http://pbxmastragics.com/2014/01/05/surprise-me-no-high-level-prosecutions-over-the-gfc/comment-page-5/#comment-113577
This is a hard one – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-10/abbott-splitting-hairs-on-tow-turn-difference/4994592
I will probably cop some flack for this but I actually agree with roughly 80% of the cuts made. Bureaucracy was clearly out of control and Government spending needed to be reigned in. Seeing him wanting to destroy Tasmanian forrests and The Great Barrier Reef makes me sick to the stomach though. He seems to be on a crusade to destroy the environment and enslave us. OUT!!
Sally, when you update the page it changes the web address and renders the old link useless, this doesn’t help with sharing.
How do I fix that?
It seems that it changes the date i.e http://sallymcmanus.net/2014/01/11/tracking-abbotts-wrecking-and-broken-promises/ –> http://sallymcmanus.net/2014/01/12/tracking-abbotts-wrecking-and-broken-promises/
It should be pretty easy to remedy but I don’t have much expertise in this area 😦
Thanks for pointing this out – I’ve set up a separate page to overcome this problem. Unfortunately, these comments cant change over but from now on the constant url will be – http://sallymcmanus.net/abbotts-wreckage/
Another addition to your list would be the Steve Bracks appointment as Consul General in New York. The appointment was made in May 2013 and he was due to take up the position in September. It was cancelled by the incoming Abbott Government on the 9 September.
It has damaged our relationship with the U.S. as all the orientation meetings had been held in Washington and they have gone on the record as to their amazement that this was rescinded at the last minute. His house had been packed and rented.
Melburnians especially were incensed at this as Steve Bracks is a genuinely good guy. His work in East Timor was exemplary. His appointments to various Boards and other private sector positions were a testament to this.
Please include this in your list as it was malicious and petty and only embarrassed this great country on a world stage.
Here’s another broken promise: http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/coalition-proposes-200-bucks-to-get-engaged/story-fn9qr68y-1226705299676
well this is one promise i am happy for them to break. talk about mindless spending. essential services like medicare compromised while they give money away, no thanks. Plus when will gov’mts learn that whenever they offer ‘incentives’ it just becomes a rort.
A very comprehensive List. Checked all my favourites, but might have missed Jobs for the Boys/Girls appointment of failed Indi candidtate to submarine Corp.
I hear this ridiculous excuse for a prime minister wants to take medicare away next… medicare (Medibank, 1975 renamed Medicare, 1984) was introduced by the Whitlam government to ensure every Australian has access to primary heath care. Lets hope the doctor treating you on your deathbed was one of the thousands who’s jobbsuffered from this Mr. Abbott.
This is a wonderful thing that you’re doing.
All the best.
[…] let Sally McManus (and others) keep adding to this growing list of BROKEN PROMISES by the government, who in opposition hounded Julia Gillard from office over one supposed […]
I am glad and nice to be a visitant of this everlasting blog ! appreciate it for this rare information indeed!.
The government has been vocal about its free market orientation. It has used this, in part to justify the refusal to grant SPC/Coca Cola funds for restructuring.
The Government has every right to adopt such a policy, since governments are elected for their philosophies as much as their promised policies (leaving aside the influence of a rejection of the incumbent government issue.)
Let’s, for the sake of this discussion, leave aside also the fact that SPC’s performance or non-performance is really a matter for SPC, their parent Coca Cola and their directors and management. If they are travelling poorly, then that reflects significantly on either strategic or operational decision-making. If one argues that the world market is changing, then good management should have picked it and repositioned the company to address the changing world. The fact that they didn’t, is to their account. That they bought SPC in the first place, should have indicated that they were confident that it would provide some level of sustainable benefit to shareholders. Clearly they have failed. So let’s ignore this dimension of the issue.
If one accept that government has reinforced a “Free Market” approach to managing the economy, then one must accept the definition of a ‘Free Market’. One definition is:
‘A market economy based on supply and demand with little or no government control. A completely free market is an idealized form of a market economy where buyers and sellers are allowed to transact freely (i.e. buy/sell/trade) based on a mutual agreement on price without state intervention in the form of taxes, subsidies or regulation.’ (Investopedia)
On this basis alone, their decision to reject the SPC request is correct.
However, the definition of free market refers to both supply and demand. More specifically, a free market means that the owners of capital are free to treat with the owners of labour and other supplies. That is not what happens in Australia at the moment or what is intended to happen with this government’s policies.
The government certainly wishes to free up corporations from unnecessary rules, regulations and constraints – and fair enough too if they are really pointless or a hindrance. However, the government is simultaneously interfering in labour’s ability to bargain and contract their labour. It appears that for this government, it’s all for making it easier to transact the business for its owners, but harder or more onerous for labour to transact in that business.
The core issue for me is that this government has a misplaced sense of purpose.
Let me explain.
It appears to me that the Conservatives in this country have the view that the purpose of government is to create a strong (maximised) economy, among other objectives such as defence, research, etc.
The problem with this is that to maximise the economy, one must eliminate non-productive parts of the economy and reallocate those resources to more productive parts of the economy. If that was all there was to government, then this government would be on-track.
However, I am of the view that the purpose of a government is the optimisation of the entire society, and not merely the maximisation of the economy. In other words, the economy is ‘merely’ an enabler (yet very important one) in order to help a society deliver what is the responsibility of the government of the day to deliver. And the responsibility of a government, regardless of whether it’s ‘big’ or ‘small’ government, is to grow, protect, support, motivate and nurture its people, capabilities and resources so as to enhance their quality of life. Period.
Not everyone in Australia is an owner of a business yet everyone in Australia is a part of the Australian society.
A government that merely pursues the maximisation of the economy on the assumption that if you have a strong economy all else will be taken care of, fails to understand the relationship between market performance and individual well-being.
The reason that the US society is considered a ‘sink or swim’ society is because its social philosophy doesn’t accommodate all its constituents in the way the Australian society does (or tries to do; or has tried to do in the past.) The US has many outliers from its mainstream economy – and that is a large problem and a large part of the explanation of their social dysfunction. There are a lot of people in the US who are sinking and not swimming.
I believe that the Australian economy needs to be growing, robust and profitable, not for its own sake, but in order to improve the life of all Australians. Having a job is really important, but if you’re hell-bent of maximisation, then you are prepared to make jobs redundant, without understanding or being prepared to support those marginalised people.
So in this context, one can reasonably argue that maybe, just maybe, the government might have engineered some type of support for SPC to save jobs and protects its constituency.
So far, this government has exhibited a black or white policy philosophy- they don’t appear to understand that government, much like society, is all about emphasis, nuance and balance. Black and white works in simplistic contexts – and society and economy are anything but simple.
Dear Sally McManus
The National Library of Australia is interested in contacting you with regard to its possible inclusion within PANDORA: Australia’s Web Archive. We were unable to locate any contact details onsite and are requesting that if you are interested in your blog being archived that you contact us at: webarchive [at] nla.gov.au.
You can see more details on the Archive at the link below. http://pandora.nla.gov.au/about.html