Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Please, some substance amid the power spin
The Sydney Morning Herald saw fit to publish another of my letters today. While an unprecedented storm of spin defends the privatisation of power generation in terms of 'union vs government' and 'securing the future of electricity supply' (as if there is only one way to do that), I tried to bring it back to essential issues:
"I can't believe so many intelligent people are still spruiking the privatisation of an essential utility while the Government is throwing millions of taxpayers dollars at a privatised rail operation to persuade it to carry export wheat to market.
I thought privatisation was supposed to shield the public from financial risk. This is a clear case of private profit holding the public good to ransom and it convinces me that fundamentals such as power generation should remain in public hands."
Michael Gormly Woolloomooloo
I still can't work out how, if the government can't afford new power stations, the private sector can stump up $10-15 billion to buy the system and THEN pay for a power station on top of that AND make a profit out of it. Especially as the government can borrow money more cheaply than the private sector. You can't regulate away that contradiction. Either way, we will be the ones paying!
Meanwhile The Herald leads today with the smiling faces of Morris Iemma and the world's ugliest politician, Michael Costa, under the strapline: "This is a time for healing and calm, not belligerence." This is laughable after Costa was filmed screaming abuse at his own party conference on the weekend.
While the smiling faces spread reassurance, all is not well in the Labor camp. MLC Penny Sharp, for one, is committed to oppose the sale.
And as for Paul Keating spruiking privatisation in a major Herald opinion piece... I am apalled. He coyly writes:
"Critics will say that I am writing in these terms because of my association with Lazard Carnegie Wylie, a company chosen to co-advise the State Government on its privatisation proposals."
Alex Mitchell on Crikey comments:
"This declaration – more like the admission of a howling conflict of interest – should have been made at the start of the article. And Keating is being uncommonly modest when he writes of his “association” with Lazard Carnegie Wylie – he’s the International Chairman for heaven’s sake!"
If I had any respect for Keating it's now gone.
And none of this even gets to carbon emissions and climate change.
Photos by Peter Rae.
Posted by The Editor at 10:22 am