Comments on Michael Costa “Mal, lose 'born to rule' style”, 26/06/2009, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25690445-7583,00.html
Both the government and the opposition have shown remarkable incompetent economic and budget management. Turnbull's unlucky, rush and miscalculation in the Utegate affair has temporally delayed the inevitable fate of Swan to resign as Treasurer. He is incompetent as Treasurer and has been proven to have acted improperly and has misled the parliament. He should resign for either account. The nation just cannot afford to have an incompetent Treasurer at the helm of Treasury to be in charge of the budget and economic management.
Swan’s problems, however, does not appear to be his own alone – it appears to be a more deep problem of the current Labour government involving quite a few ministers. The minister for finance is responsible for federal expenditure. The minister for education is responsible for the expenditure on schools. The minister for communication is responsible for the NBN costs increase to $43 billion. Of course, the Treasurer is directly responsible for the cash handouts, if he could be excused for not directly for others at all. Of course, the prime minister, with his economic essay advocating for government intervention, is responsible for the combination of these expenditures or proposals.
The problems with the opposition have been that they were unable to hold the government to account for its reckless spending. The government, the prime minister and the treasurer, have been talking nonsense like that “the alternative is to do nothing”. The tragedy for the opposition is that it has been so ineffective in its attack on the government and the prime minister and the treasurer when they were talking nonsense. The argument is so weak and illogical. Yet the opposition could not fight that simple battle.
The winter recess of the parliament should be a good opportunity for both sides of federal politics to reflect and rethink their strategies and polices. They have performed extremely poorly and both need to lift their games.
There is also the question of the quality of advices from bureaucrats. The government’s problem in managing the budget and the economy call into question of what advices they got from Treasury and different departments. Were they the cases that the government were given quality advices and ignored them? Or were the advices, or at least some of them, of questionable quality, due to political pressure or incompetent top bureaucrats? The Utegate affair and the revelation of what Treasury officials have done and known appear to suggest the politicisation of public services and the involvement in activities that they should have not done in the ways they were handled.
So top bureaucrats, or government ministers also need to consider how to improve policy advices from bureaucrats to assist the government in managing the nation’s affairs, especially budgetary and economic affairs.