Friday, March 23, 2007

Rudd on broadband

I am too lazy to post something original myself today. I'll settle on this gem from Peter Martin on how Kevin Rudd will do the bidding of Murdoch and Packer in raiding the Future Fund to pay for an expansion of the broadband network that will reward the commercial interests of these major media players. The Australian began its campaign to encourage the spendiing today. They have young Kev-vie convinced. Helen Coonan would just be too smart.

Rudd is having a dream run and might well be our next PM. But, what a clot. Stupid proposals to reregulate our labour markets that are performing about as well as they ever have, daft industry and protection policies, daft handouts to the motor assembly industry, a cowardly and opportunistic policy on Iraq. Where is the serious thinking?

And there will be more infrastructure projects - fast train, renewable energy - one can guess that none of them will pay the FF a reasonable return. Politicians should never have created the FF cookie jar - it will inevitably be raided and abused. It is easy to spend other people's money when you do not need to account directly to shareholders.

It was members of the Left who advanced the idea of a Future Fund. A major criticism, scoffed at when it was discussed, was that opportunistic politicians would use the forced-savings in the FF to buy their way into government. It has already happened. The cookie jar is already being raided to pay for 'infrastructure projects'. Thanks Kev-vie.


Fred Argy said...

Harry I prefer to discuss the pros and cons of Rudd's proposal. I do so in Club Troppo. I realise it is early days as the proposal has not been well defined but I hope it starts an economic debate and that you can participate in it.

Sir Henry Casingbroke said...

Calling the future fund a "cookie jar" is emotive and juvenile and is part of Dollar $weetie's invective to discredit ALP's broadband initiative. This is part of the Liberal political strategy to try to dismantle and denigrade any proposal coming from Rudd. The methodology here is to make it appear as if the ALP is "stealing" the money to somehow line its own pockets. Note, that Tip didn't say it was to line Murdoch's or Packer's pockets. Now there's political courage for you!

Brian Toohey blew the unfunded liability furphy right out of the water on Insiders this morning.

I think there is a sensible debate to be had whether the government should upset the competition cart by re-entering as a player, but your commentary here is not one (sensible debate).

Peter Martin is wrong about the uses of high-speed broadband. To see some good counter-arguments read the comments under his blog.

Ultra fast broadband and almost unlimited downloads will have enormous effect on free-to-air television and radio by making the current FtA cartel irrelevant. This may be part of Labor's plan: to undo the power of the major franchise holders, seeing as they are all hostile to the ALP.

BTW Most people I have visited have PCs running all the time in the living room like TVs once used to be. Most of them are monitoring their ebay, some have the BOMA up to see the weather and fishing tides, but it is clear that the internet has become what the mantel radio once was, and TV has been until recently.

The horse has bolted.

hc said...

Some of your comments might be right Jack - the competition angle is the key point and whether or not public involvement is warranted.

I think a major difficulty was setting up this foolish Future Fund in the first place. It is probably unnecessary and political so 'raiding it' might not impose big costs. Backing for the proposal initially as I recall came from the Left.

I may have jumped a bit quick. The efficiency of the proposal depends on how the 50:50 private sector share of total costs is negotiated and whether competition in ndelivery of services can be encouraged. I'll wait before saying anything else.

hc said...

BTW Jack I originally supported Bomber Beazley's plan to publicly-fund a broadband expansion so I am being a bit inconsistent in opposing this plan simply because it is funded from an ill-conceived FF.

As I say I'll wait a while and rethink.