Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Deal with it

Sometimes deals just have to be made.

O'Farrell would say that we need the $3 billion that the power generator sale will generate, and that we cannot afford the $6 billion in investment and upgrades that will be necessary in the future.

He's right, at least in part.  As I have explained before, O'Farrell has a big agenda, and that agenda requires cash.  Pennies (or, at least, billions) will have to be pinched.  Whether this is the way to do it (and, let's be fair, I could suggest a couple of alternatives) is another question.

The real story, however, is what O'Farrell gave away to make the deal.  The Shooters have been pushing for the right to hunt feral animals in national parks for a long time, and they knew full well that O'Farrell needs to get the generators sold.  So what better issue to demand a concession on?
Stock photo of O'Farrell looking annoyed, from here
After all, whilst the Shooters do sit on the same side of the political spectrum as O'Farrell, that doesn't mean that they need to give up opportunities for a bit of a sweetener for their pet issues.

Whether you agree with O'Farrells' decision or not (and I think we can assume that, all things being equal, he would rather not have had to make the deal he did) the sale of the power generators would be cheap at twice the price.

There are simply not enough people who care about this issue enough, in my opinion, to do him much political hurt. On the other side, this is something that the Shooters will LOVE - they will be trumpeting this success at the next election.

The online articles I have read today have almost universally broadcast the deal O'Farrell made with the Shooters, but it's a one-day story. Labor have bigger fish to fry, and it's unlikely that the complaints from the Greens will have much traction outside of Greens voters.
The view of one Greens staffer
This is politics.  Fortunately (in my opinion) we have checks and balances like the Upper House to, at least in theory, keep the power of the Premier in check.  Of course, whether you believe that those checks and balances have worked for the greater good in this case will depend on your political persuasion - but I'm pleased to see O'Farrell having to give up something to get what he wants.

That's the way our government is SUPPOSED to work - and, frankly, I'd like to see the minor parties (including the Greens) being a little more pushy about these things. With a bit of luck, we might get some good policy out of it.

But maybe not so much this time.

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