For the second time in a week, the Daily Telegraph features a big exclusive about Opposition plans for nation-building. In this case, the 'leak' is a draft discussion paper on water management, involving the building of up to 100 dams around the country, "to prevent floods, fuel power stations and irrigate a food boom to feed 120 million people across the Asia Pacific region."
Like the pamphlet about developing Australia's north last week, these policy proposals are uncosted and entirely lacking in detail, but the message is clear: The Coalition has Big Plans for the Nation.
This is the way the game is likely to be played this year: the Opposition will float policy ideas, create impressions but commit to nothing. The viability of such massive infrastructure projects, and the ability to finance them under current budgetary conditions, will remain largely unexamined.
It is a very effective form of politicking.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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“Gathered on one side of the cabinet table were the newly-installed Prime Minister Julia Gillard, her Treasurer Wayne Swan and her Resources Minister Martin Ferguson. On the other were the heads of Australia's three big mining companies: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata. Absent were the key people from the Treasury - the ones who really understood the tax.”
“The slightly uncomfortable fact is that success in modern politics has precious little to do with the truth. This should be obvious enough by now. The politics of the past several years is littered with misrepresentation taken as fact; with those same misrepresentations converted to potent political talismans. The government is high debt. (Well, no ... ) We are staggering under cost of living pressures. (The facts suggest otherwise.) The Parliament is paralysed by the lack of an effective majority. (Nope.) You get the drift.”
Leaders Surprise With A Rare Warmth
“Yesterday was a good day in our national public life. When our political discourse is often characterised by its banality, politicians lack courage and imagination and bipartisanship is as elusive as ever, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott showed there can be another way. On the fifth anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations, both leaders spoke in support of a bill that recognises the contribution of indigenous Australians to the nation.”