Encouraging Drinking And Driving

I wasn't particularly impressed with the Rudd/Swan budget but temporary opposition leader Brendan Nelson managed to come up with an even worse alternative, pandering to teenage drinkers and myopic petrol consumers alike.

Crikey has a fairly thorough savaging of Dr Nelson's strange imitation of McCain and Hillary's "gas tax holiday" proposals, noting that one day we will start running short of oil, and that the appropriate policy response isn't to encourage more consumption. Nor is it fiscally responsible for that matter. There is a great cartoon summing up these policies at the link.

The SMH was just as critical, declaring "Nelson's populist petrol gambit is a foolish gimmick".

Before last night’s budget reply, Liberal leader Brendan Nelson was a dead man walking. He won’t be called that any more -- it would be too insulting to the deceased. For all the ridiculous political and financial measures seen in recent years, Nelson’s cloning of John McCain and Hillary Clinton’s fuel excise reduction would rate amongst the most financially impotent, myopic and morally insulting policies seen in decades.

Instead of taking the populist approach and suggesting an irrelevant 5-cent reduction in the fuel excise, Nelson could have made a brave pitch for the future and announced a Liberal policy against fossil fuels and in favour of wholly renewable energies. Instead of reducing the cost of petrol, a brave opposition leader would have proposed an increase to fund the commercialisation of alternatives to a rapidly depleting energy source.

In recent days, oil prices have spiked to record levels of around $US126 per barrel. While the crude price is believed to be inflated by speculators who have run out of other asset classes to gamble (sorry, invest) in, the underlying rationale for the speculation appears sound. That is, oil is a finite resource and in the next 50 years (or perhaps even the next 25 years), we are going to start running short.

Australian government, business and individuals need to urgently adjust their lives to ensure that oil is less important to the way the economy operates. Australian companies have a commercial opportunity to potentially profit from what will be a global shortage of the economy’s lubricant. If not to profit, at least to survive in a peak oil world (Australia is a net importer of oil by the way). That isn’t going to be achieved by reducing tax charges on petrol.

There is also one other important point – Nelson’s $1.8 billion excise reduction will take a mere 5-cents per litre off petrol price. The five cent reduction would be completely absorbed as soon as a Nigerian pipeline is attacked or Chinese consumption increases. The excise cut will be quickly forgotten, but the $1.8 billion cost wouldn’t be.

Traditionally, the Liberal Party has been a party of business and responsible government, while the Labor party, true to its name, has represented the working classes. John Howard’s spendthrift ways dented the Liberal Party’s economic credibility, while Brendan Nelson’s excise cutting lunacy has all but destroyed the remaining shreds of fiscal respectability in the party room.

Instead of developing long-sighted, sustainable energy policy which could propel Australia to a market leader in renewable energy, Nelson has sold out the Liberal party with a populist vote grab which will have no lasting benefit, but stunt Australia’s development in the decades to come.

So, Brendan and his highly-paid opinion pollsters can't see the problem with encouraging more oil consumption, and the SMH thinks we've got 25 years before we "start" running short. Good grief!

I don't know what's worse, the complete cluelessness, or the forthcoming doomerism and knee-jerking that will set in when they all wake up...

Who's up for a Popular Insurrection?

(Sometimes I'm only half kidding)

Kidding or not, please don't post calls for insurrection or revolution here.

In future they'll just get deleted...

If not revolution, can we have rotation?

We just had one of those. They just brought down the budget. ;)

Sure - (democratically) rotate as much as you like.

You'll probably just get dizzy, and maybe throw up if you are unlucky.

cowering before the almighty beast he begged forgiveness for having the audacity to look his masters in the eye.


I'm not suggesting cowering - by all means speak up and look anyone in the eye who needs to be looked at.

Just don't go saying stupid things that may well get you into trouble if you are unlucky enough to be taken seriously.

Just having a dig.

Nelson's pandering deserves every bit of criticism it gets, and Kevin Rudd better be quick in salvaging the home solar PV industry which he and Swan have almost wiped out overnight.

And you thought American policy was bad.

It's very sad about Nelson, nothing to say that has any meaning!

SPV means test, Dumb move for a smart fella like Kev.

Oh well the honeymoon's over

The Oppositions must be the Opposition....we saw it in the early days of the new government...It seemed that on every Government initiative, there was Brendan saying "Me To"....finally his minders said enough is enough....we must differentiate our product from the Government product...we must look for the popular, look for the ideas that are going to get us the maximum support....they don't have to be right....just popular

As for the budget. Behind the cant, the plethora of "future funds", more cant, there are few if any initiatives, that we could point to that really address the future that daily unfolds across our news pages. For those of us who have followed the scenarios, read our Hirsch Reports, read the early CSIRO assessments and anguished over the level of denial shown by Business, Government Agencies, eg ABARE, who poured through the Senate inquiry on fuel prices submissions and thought that a new government would make a difference......well the lack of any real vision is there for all to see...Means testing the Solar panel rebate.....kinds of says it all doesn't it. This Emperor has no clothes, and no ideas, and little real grasp of the situation.

I feel that only events will bring about change and by then, well the job is going to be just that much harder.