I received the e-mail below the other day:
Achievements (sic) of the Rudd Government (Nothing we don’t already know – but it is interesting to see it all put together in summary.)
A friend asked me the other day, “But what has the Rudd government actually achieved?” I said, rather sarcastically, “Quite a few things”“Like ‘Sorry’ to the stolen generation; ratified the ‘Kyoto’ protocol, and he organised the ‘best and brightest summit’ (wow).” But my friendthen asked me again ,”but has anything really been achieved?” That got me thinking about it and prompted me to do some research, which led to the compilation of the following list. Here’s what I came up with:
1 Said ‘Sorry’ several times, for a range of things.
2 Ratified the ‘Kyoto’ protocol, as it was about to expire without a 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 totally abandoned.
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 cosseted Dept of Environment. This feel-good department, whose Ministers’ previous experience, was as a lead singer in a rock band; is full of environmental scientists and climate change disciples, with zero experience in dealing with the real world,or in delivering real programs. Four deaths, a Minister demoted, (but not sacked or had his salary reduced), and then $50 million to former ACTU heavy, Greg Combet, to fix it. And, by the way, Combet says that that may not be enough. It should also be noted that the claimed potential environmental benefits – were grossly exaggerated. Rudd said he took full responsibility, but I don’t know what that means – he’s still PM, he’s still drawing his salary and highly favourable superannuation benefits.
8 Set up SIHIP (Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program). This program was initiated by a MoU 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 criticized as – too slow to deliver; its governance was overly bureaucratic; and 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 1st February 2010, 2 of a targeted 750 houses, and 70 of 2,500 refurbishments, have been completed. Gross incompetence – no other words for it!
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 1930’s”. In fact, unemployment was 11% in 1991 and in 2009 itdidn’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 homeowners 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 (sic).
12 Turned a good budget surplus into such a huge debt, that our grandchildren will have so much trouble servicing, that our population will have to increase rapidly to help pay it down. Blamed it all on the GFC, while steadfastly refusing to give a scintilla of credit to Howard and Costello, for leaving them an excellent surplus budget position to work with. Merely said that the previous government had been ‘lucky’ and enjoyed a robust mining boom.
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 that intended to lodge an application, missed out. Peter Garrett blamed a cost blow-out, from the original estimate of $150 million to $750 million a year, for the knee-jerk reaction cut-back. More incompetent budgeting and planning!
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 nothing more than an over-representation of people with union backgrounds. Jobs for the boys!
17 Said “the science ‘is in’ on climate change” and claimed the ETS would fix it. Labeled sceptics as deniers, among other derogatory things.
18 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. What a fiasco that was, but a delightful result.
19 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 environment. I haven’t seen any announcement of the cost of the junket (and I doubt that we ever will), but I’m sure that whatever was hoped to be achieved, that at least 100 of the free-loaders were superfluous to even the most fanciful outcome and/or requirements of Rudd and Wong. This has been a monumental blunder, but then even Turnbull has totally misread the Climate Change issue.
20 Refuses to debate the use of nuclear power generation to reduce pollution, because it’s against ALP and union policy. So, what’s he saying – that several of the world’s largest economies are fools for employing it? The rest of the world (sensible rational thinkers, that is) must think we are stupid, a backyard full of uranium, but not a nuclear power station in sight.
21 Has opened one of 2,650 promised “trades training centres”; one of 260 promised child care centres in schools and TAFE;and 2 of 31 promised GP Super Clinics.
22 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. Who advises this government?
23 Removed Labor’s original 2007 election promises from the ALP website. But we remember them, even if they don’t.
24 Promised to take Japan to court on whaling, but now says that will not be until November, which will probably be after the election.Admittedly, this is a ticklish one.
25 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, either way, you can be sure the Rudd spin doctors would’ve heralded it as another triumph, if it were otherwise. Gutless wonders!
26 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 bureaucracy 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 vue all over again. Rudd said if the states block his plan he will take it to a referendum, which of course is just grandstanding.
Compiled by a concerned Australian citizen / voter