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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Henry Thornton: News&Views No. 40

Four vital improvements to Australia’s management.

Today (25/11) I had a bit of extra reading time and I was startled to find on P13 of the Australian four excellent ideas for ways to improve economic policy, including Henry Ergas explaining how to improve NDIS discipline and credibility. Space is limited, so if you enjoy the following snippets, go to P 13 in the Oz.

Number 1, there is, to begin with, no restrictions on eligibility beyond severe disability. A generous member of the Gillard government suddenly announced, ‘with scant regard for the fiscal implications’, that the new scheme would cover ‘most people with autism’.

Number 2, the scheme failed to test whether the scheme was cost effective.

Number 3, the system has exceeded the 50 per cent to be paid by the Commonwealth, as agreed. In fact 67 per cent from the big bank, has helped states get a minimum contribution.

Number 4, the scheme was entirely demand-driven. Effectively, no limit on spending. Why did the States receive such largesse?

Number 5, compounding every other flaw, Labor fears losing the next election and so hardwires every flaw, making it impossible to pull back the excess spending. Naturally, people perceive a need for cheap medical attention, and with governments reluctant to say ‘no’ to minor problems, both groups work together to blow out costs.

The next item – Item 2 – is by Paul Monk,‘Echoes of ASIO’s Cold War failings in Putin Xi threats.’

‘With Vladimir Putin’s destructive war against Ukraine, and the ambitions of Xi Jinping causing growing geopolitical tensions, we must confront the reality of Russian and Chinese espionage and influence. Yet we still haven’t come to terms with our counter espionage failures in the Cold War’.

‘Putin has discredited himself and Xi’s wolf warriors have failed. But the arm wrestle with both – and their spies, moles and agents of influence – is far from over.’

Item 3, Claire Lehmann on ‘Modern nuclear technology offers ideology – free plan B’.

Today in Canberra a delegation of engineers will propose a ‘Plan B’ for Australia’s energy.

There are growing concerns that Australia’s current trajectory will harm Australia’s geopolitical security and economic growth.

‘Most Australians are simply not aware of new generation nuclear technologies, their economy and safety. But experts and commentators have found that when presented with information about nuclear energy, Australians are open-minded.’

A British nuclear advocate, Zion Lights, told the author that of everyone she spoke to, the only hostile response was from a wealthy investor.

‘The great mistake of environmental analysis has always been to present the solution to climate change as being restricted to wind turbines, solar panels and a ‘degrowth’ economic agender. But there is another path forward that combines innovation, energy abundance, geopolitical security and economic prosperity. If we really want to see a clean-energy future, Plan B needs to be on the table.’

Finally, Jim Chambers asserts that ‘Critical minerals a chance to secure future, lead world’.

‘If this is our great opportunity of this century, we need to make sure it is not a missed opportunity’.

‘We’ll know if our critical minerals wealth helps us closer to energy independence; supply chain security; a high-value economy; and, a stronger strategic position on the international stage.’

‘And our partners around the world increasingly ask themselves what’s required to power the clean-energy technologies of the future, and to sustain their economies, we know this – Australian resources can be the answer.’

I would prefer a more confident ‘Will be the answer’, rather than ‘can be the answer.’

But a good try, Mr Treasurer. And do not forget my advice about more efforts to find successive new ways to boost productivity.


Fiona Prior discovers that James Bond was not killed but has acquired a Southern drawl and a boyfriend. More here.

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