Gillard’s bad faith on population might be her epitaph.

22 09 2013

A great letter by Mark O’Connor to the Canberra Times.  Well worth the read….

Mrk O'Connor

Mrk O’Connor

The opening  letter in The Canberra Times on Sunday 22 September set out the costs to Labor, as well as to Australia, of Gillard’s (and of Rudd’s) bad faith on population.

(Where Rudd merely concealed until  elected his “big Australia” agenda, Gillard actively promised to change direction on this, and even took out paid advertisements to make sure voters knew of her promise.)

The letter runs:

Gillard’s epitaph

I CAN well believe – and sympathise with – Julia Gillard when she writes that losing the prime ministership ”hit like a fist” (Sunday Canberra Times, ”For Gillard, the loss of office”, September 15, p10), but I am less credulous when she claims the greater pain for Labor is losing ”the power to change our nation for the better”. Consider Gillard’s first major promise to the electorate after she replaced Rudd: that she would take the nation off his path to ”big Australia”.

It was already too late to have Australia peak at the 23 million population the Australian Academy of Science had warned was our safe upper limit. Yet if Gillard had set us on course to stabilise at even 26 or 27 million, that would have helped relieve our overstretched infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, roads and public transport, and might thereby have prevented a series of state governments being bundled out of office by angry constituents.

It would also have protected our environment, and helped ease cost-of-living pressures, including housing, energy, water and transport – not to mention minimising overdevelopment, whether high-rise or sprawl. It might also have moved us towards a more resilient economy not dependent on Ponzi-style growth schemes and an endless sell-off of the nation’s mineral wealth.

Instead, from the moment Gillard formed government in 2010 it became clear she did not intend to keep this promise, against which Murdoch’s media were baying.

Her grandiosely named Minister for Sustainable Population had his title changed, and refused even to meet with Sustainable Population Australia. (He finally released his proposals on a Friday afternoon in budget week!)

Gillard left office with Australia on course for an even higher population in 2050 than the prediction of 35 million that, in Rudd’s day, had so alarmed Treasury Secretary Ken Henry. Gillard’s remark that ”Labor comes to opposition having sent the Australian community a very cynical and shallow message about its sense of purpose”, may be intended as Rudd’s political epitaph. It may also be hers.

Mark O’Connor, Lyneham

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