The Official Website of Emeritus Professor David E Flint AM
Spectator Australia Diary
Written by David Flint
Friday, 11 February 2011 12:02
My week began when a dear friend took me to the Berlin Philharmonic concert. The program — Rachmaninov and Mahler — was modern by my standards. The acoustics in the Opera House are somewhat barren, but the energy and brilliance of this orchestra overcame that.
The applause was deservedly prolonged, with a complete absence of the curious yelping you hear these days. As the crowds surged out, a company of young ladies came forward bearing wrapped gifts. When one admitted it was the Sun Herald, there was an audible groan.
I was back in the Opera House on Thursday for the Australian Ballet’s absolutely delightful Molto Vivace — all dancing and no rolling on the floor.
Tony Abbott delivered the Neville Bonner Oration at the ACM conference last Saturday. His line that a broadsheet editor was worried that the royal marriage might be ‘a distraction from the need for a republic’ brought down the house.
As did his quotation from a journalist who had grown to like the royals because they ‘annoy so many awful people’. (This was publishe din the same edition of Spectator Australia)
It surprises some that our first Aboriginal Senator was a conservative. As is our first Aboriginal MP, and as were our first women MPs and ministers. So was Britain’s first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
ccA few years ago I found myself discussing immigration with her. Telling her how my grandparents were given the White Australia dictation test, she thundered: ‘There ought to be more of that.’ Taken aback, I asked, meekly, ‘More of what, Lady Thatcher?’ ‘Dictation of course… children must learn to spell correctly,’ she glared.
Kevin Rudd unleashed the federalism genie in the "mining states", and Julia Gillard will only win them back by abandoning the super profits tax.
Worse, she was handed a massive $16.2 billion for the BER stimulus. She failed in her duty to put in place the most elementary safeguards to see the taxpayers received value for money. As the scandals grew she was in denial, until too late. Now that the horse has bolted, she has appointed Brad Orgill to undertake a Clayton's review.
Orgill has been compromised by evidence before the NSW parliamentary Inquiry where he followed too closely the Gillard line. And that has been heard across the marginals, thanks to the ever diligent 2GB's Ray Hadley. And now Mr. Orgill concedes he cannot protect witnesses.
Of course what should now be in place is a public AWB style judicial inquiry, a Royal Commission, where documents can be subpoenaed, sworn evidence taken on oath and subject to rigorous cross examination, and witnesses protected.
Many in the media whinged about the AWB terms of reference, although the Howard government said these would be changed if the judge asked.
Where is the outcry now over the clear and compelling need for a proper inquiry about a scandal potentially involving many billions and not millions? Where did the money go? Did some of it come back?
And Madame $5 billion will only regain her credibility by Royal Commission into the nation's biggest financial scandal, the BER rort.
THE super-profits tax will end in tears. Either there will be backflip or the government will lose the election, or both. In the event that the government survives and introduces the tax, it will collapse in a morass of constitutional and international litigation.
If the government is determined to have this tax, it should ask the people to clear the constitutional hurdles in a referendum. In addition, it should avoid international legal action by excluding all existing projects. But this would deprive it of the windfall income it hoped to have.
Soon after the programme was recorded, the leading proponent of the tax, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was forced to resign by his party. The other principal proponents of the tax, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan, were then appointed Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.
Ms. Gillard then withdrew government advertising on the tax, and invited the mining companies to enter into meaningful consultations.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 July 2010 11:46 )
The Super Profits Tax will end in a legal minefield