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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Fairfax runs public finance experts' withering critique of Costanomic public energy sale plan
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt

We at SAM have been making meta reportage of the great public energy assets sale debate/media coverage for many weeeks now.

Yesterday we rang the office of sale plan critic John Kaye MP and suggested his staff take another look at the Sydney Morning Herald editorial of last Monday:

24 March 2008 Editorial: Climate heats up for Garnaut

Because it is quite suggestive without being definite that the Grand Old Lady is now on reflection willing to forestall it's (ideological) support for privitisation of the public's energy assets.

Quotes like this one with the bold lifted and amplified

"The Federal Government stepped quickly back from endorsing Professor Garnaut's interim report in February, and it will now be under pressure from NSW at least to cut a special deal for the power industry the state is to privatise. Will Kevin Rudd save the planet or save the NSW budget? Perhaps the release of this latest paper late in the afternoon a day before the Easter holiday hints at his thinking. Does it suggest a desire to bury the report and all the problems it raises? We certainly hope not. "

To ask the question seriously can only have one answer, the planet, if one assumes dangerous climate change really is that. And the Herald is dedicated to addressing climate in it's reportage week in and week out, to their credit.

Then this concluding comment evidencing a serious contemplation of across industry sectors carbon pricing including NSW energy generators such that a sale price will be significantly depressed, and thus not particularly good value:

"Australia will manage climate change somehow. It will be costly, painful and most likely unpopular. With heads in the sand, we will certainly do it badly. Professor Garnaut is suggesting ways we may handle the challenge well. His study deserves the closest attention."

In other words, the Herald appears to be for biting the bullet on hard decisions on climate to best ensure our collective survival. At least we are thus speculating because we wonder if their editorial writer last Monday was already informed by this withering opinion piece in their paper today:

26 March 2008 - Betty Con Walker and Bob Walker: Electricity inquiries show no spark

It's worth reading in full because we think it may well cause carnage amongst any of the remaining supporters of energy privatisation. Notice the credentials of the critics of the sale plan being:

"Betty Con Walker is a former Treasury official and runs Centennial Consultancy. Bob Walker is Professor of Accounting at the University of Sydney. They are the authors of Privatisation: Sell Off Or Sell Out? The Australian Experience."

In other words elite public finance experts unshackled from the ALP Govt ball and chain.

Our intuition is that the stars are aligning to cause havoc on the Iemma-Costa regime in NSW ALP Govt - being ALP Conference, significant swathe of ALP MPs, deadbat by Opposition's O'Farrell, conservative icon Nick Greiner sounding equivocal of late, the Herald above, Green Party also.

The Iemma Govt has got whiskers on it now. Veteran Alex Mitchell has written of pretty much the same phenomenon yesterday in the crikey.com.au ezine -

25 March 2008 NSW Cabinet set for bloodbath

Posted by editor at 1:48 PM NZT

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