Author unknown! (or perhaps to sensible to identify him/herself)
What has the Rudd government actually achieved?"
Here's the list so far: 1 Said Sorry several times. 2 Ratified Kyoto as it is about to expire without successor. 3 Organised "best and brightest summit" - if anything useful came out of that, I missed it. 4 Set up "fuel watch", a costly fiasco since abandoned. 5 Set up "grocery watch" another costly fiasco since abandoned. 6 Established the Australian Social Inclusion Board. This rarely heard of bureaucracy was set up because "Every Australian should have an opportunity to be a full participant in the life of the nation. Unfortunately, too many Australians remain locked out of the benefits of work, education, community engagement and access to basic services. This social exclusion is a significant barrier to sustained prosperity and restricts Australia's future growth". If there is any evidence to support this argument it wasn't included in the announcement. The Board has been described as "the biggest waste of tax dollars imaginable, towards some more Rudd-style feel-goodism". That was in May 2008. It probably did seem a big waste of tax dollars then, but it's been turned into a drop in the ocean by what's happened since. 7 Set up the home insulation program - what a disaster! It was a disaster because Rudd so wanted the Feds to be able to claim the credit he gave it to his Dept of Environment. This feel-good department, whose Minister's previous experience was lead singer with a rock band, is full of environmental scientists and climate change disciples with zero experience in dealing with the real world or delivering real programs. Four deaths, a minister demoted, (not sacked or had his salary reduced) and $50 million to former union heavy Greg Combet to fix it, and Combet says that may not be enough. And the claimed environmental benefits were grossly exaggerated. Rudd said he took full responsibility but I don't what that means - he's still PM, he's still drawing his salary and privileged superannuation benefits. 8 Set up SIHIP (Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program). This program was initiated by a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2007. In July 2009 the ABC (hardly a hot-bed of opposition to the ALP) reported on its Lateline program that it was yet to build a single house. That was despite $45.54 million of its $672 million budget having been spent. A government report dated August 2009 said the program was being criticised as: too slow to deliver; its governance was overly bureaucratic; the program is too costly in terms of unit cost of housing and administration. The revised program budget is still $672m with each new house expected to cost $450,000 or $529,000 after factoring in a proportion of administration costs and "contingencies". As at 1 February 2010, 2 of a target of 750 houses and 70 of 2,500 refurbishments had been completed. 9 Sent money direct to taxpayers and non-taxpayers to spend on large screen imported TV's to stimulate the economy and avoid the effects of what Rudd and Swan called the worst depression since the 1930s. In fact unemployment was 11% in 1991 and in 2009 didn't get to 6%, which not too many years ago would have been regarded as virtually full employment. Remember Beattie's target 5%? But if you can't maintain your popularity rating by sending money to voters what can you do? 10 Promised that every child in every school in Australia would get a computer. This program is moving so slowly that most of the people who were high school students at the time of the promise will have left school before they see a new computer. 11 Set up the $70m green loans mess - people gave up their jobs, paid $3,000 for qualifications and insurance to be trained as assessors, only to find the demand for green loans had been grossly exaggerated, many more assessors were trained than the program envisaged, and there was no work for most of them. The Courier-Mail reported on 2 Feb 2010 that: "The Federal Government predicted up to 200,000 home-owners would take up the loans and only 1,000 have done so ....instead of training 1,500 to 2,000 well-qualified assessors the Government permitted a blow-out and it is now estimated there will be up to 11,500 well-qualified assessors". The program has now been transferred to Penny Wong's department - that should fix it. 12 Turned a good budget surplus into such a huge debt that our grandchildren will have so much trouble servicing it that our population will have to increase rapidly. Blamed the global financial collapse while steadfastly refusing to give any credit to Howard or Costello for leaving them an excellent budget position to work with. 13 Didn't include any major infrastructure in the stimulus package because the effects would be felt too slowly (except for duplicating school halls and gyms). 14 Set up the home solar hot water initiative which was abruptly ended three weeks early with eight hours notice. This caused chaos in the industry, and many people intending to lodge applications missed out. Peter Garrett blamed a cost blow-out from the original estimate of $150 million to $750 million a year for the cut-back. 15 Disbanded "Work Choices". He had to do this because it was the unions' self-funded campaign against it that got him elected. Replaced it by giving back powers to the unions and re-instating the Industrial Relations Club. Set up Fair Work Australia with what seems to many as an over-representation of people with union backgrounds.16 Changed the previous government's immigration laws so successfully that the exponential blow-out in illegal boat arrivals created a need for a lot more accommodation on Christmas Island.
17 Has recently suspended the processing of applications for permanent visas until after the election. presumably hoping there won't be a dramatic build up on Christmas Inland and that the electors will forget about the whole situation by the next election. 18 Said "the science is in on climate change" and claimed the Emissions Trading Scheme would fix it. Labelled sceptics as deniers. 19 Attempted to railroad the ETS through the Senate before Copenhagen for no other reason than it would have allowed Rudd to strut the world stage. 20 Went to Copenhagen taking 114 government free-loaders with him (one of the largest of the 190 delegations), at huge cost to the Australian taxpayer and the world's environment. I haven't seen any announcement of the cost of the junket (and I doubt I ever will), but I'm sure that whatever was going to be achieved, at least 100 of the free-loaders were superfluous to requirements. And it was fairly predictable that nothing would be achieved. 21 Refuses to debate the use of nuclear power generation to reduce pollution because it's against ALP and union policy. Now even the “Silver Bogie” is sprooken’ Nuclear! 22 Has opened one of 2,650 promised "trades training centres", one of 260 promised child care centres in schools and TAFEs, and 2 of 31 promised GP Super Clinics. 23 Attracted 752 retired nurses back into the profession using a return-to-work bonus. When they announced this scheme Labor hoped 7,750 would take up the offer. 24 Removed Labor's original election 2007 promises from the ALP website. 25 Promised to take Japan to court on whaling, but now says that will not be until November, probably after the election. As time goes on, I find I'm becoming less convinced about who is really at fault here, Japan for fishing in international waters, or the protesters for disrupting a legitimate commercial operation. 26 Has so far kept the Henry tax review secret for political reasons. Last week Rudd was saying it wouldn't be released until after the election. Wiser heads have since made him realise people won't vote for a new tax system when they don't know what's in it. And there must be something nasty in it, either unpalatable to the voters or inconsistent with ALP policy, or it would be heralded as another triumph for the Rudd government. 27 Announced he will keep 30% of the state's GST to fund 60% of their hospital costs. The 60% funding will have strings attached. The states have not been given any of the details, just the executive summary, and he expects them to agree to the proposals without knowing what the strings are, or what he might take back with the other hand under the Henry tax review. The announcement doesn't explain how it will improve delivery of hospital services, but it will probably add another layer of bureaucrats to the health system. Australia already has 450,000 bureaucrats looking after 290,000 health professionals. The announcement was hurriedly made in March 2010 after it had been pointed out that he had imposed a June 2009 deadline on himself for reform of the hospitals system. Perhaps this explains the lack of details. Refer back to the criticisms of SIHIP above. I think it'll be deja vu all over again. Rudd said if the states block his plan he will take it to a referendum, which of course is just grandstanding.28. Turned Gillard loose with $16.7 billion to give building contractors, states and bureaucrats a feast in return for COLA.s and unwanted libraries and gyms – the insulation racket all over again in spades.29 Last week he trotted out five senior ministers to criticise the Senate for being "obstructionist". The 5 were Jenny (SIHIP) Macklin, Penny (ETS) Wong, Lindsay (clean nose) Tanner, Nicola (new hospital system) Roxon, and Greg (Mr Fixit) Combet. I think Rudd is lucky the Senate has been obstructionist because if it wasn't he'd have more failures to add to his already impressive list. I noticed Julia was too smart to join the line-up of losers, and has managed not to be associated with too many of the above "achievements" – actually lying low while the schools building fiasco and criminal activities are unfolding. But watch your back, Kev.As you might have guessed, I think Rudd's a dud. But everyone's entitled to their own opinion, and if I've missed some real achievements I sincerely apologise.I can't wait to hear how he will try to turn these "achievements" into something which will encourage the Australian electors to give Labor and, equally important, the unions another chance!
Of equal importance will be what the Liberals put forward to convince the electors that they will be any better. They will have plenty of cheap shots to fire but that is NOT the main game from an opposition seeking to become the government. They need to develop and put forward sound, well thought out and costed policies to get Australia out of the mess into which Labor has dropped us.