Features Australia

Fall of a political pin-up

3 September 2016

9:00 AM

3 September 2016

9:00 AM

After NSW Premier Mike Baird, with his Greens and neo-Marxist allies rammed through a ban on greyhound racing, ‘Kim Il Baird’ and ‘Benito Baird’ were just some of the appellations angry critics used for the man who was once a political pin-up. There was a growing despair among those in his parliamentary party still faithful to their founder’s principles, and in the general public.

Robert Menzies created the Liberal Party for the ‘forgotten people’, people who until then had neither the organisation, nor the wealth to be effective politically and who were therefore ‘taken for granted’. In small business and on the farms, artisans and salaried workers, they were, he said, the ‘backbone of Australia’. They still are, and those thousands involved in greyhound racing (a delinquent minority apart), as well as small service stations owners forced by Baird to sell the ethanol people don’t want are a modern example. Yet most Coalition MPs turned their backs on their base and followed Baird. To their credit, a few brave souls joined with Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers to vote with honour and integrity.

Too many politicians from the major parties seem to be under the influence of the hard left and assorted powerbrokers and lobbyists. They show little empathy for the ‘forgotten people’, ordinary Australians and their property rights, but are ready to smooth the well-lobbied path for communist government entities and oligarchs to acquire strategic assets, mines and agricultural land. And as with the greyhound ban, Liberal and at times even Nationals also readily abandon their base to ally themselves with neo-Marxists on matters social. This is graphically illustrated in that programme to seduce school children into the confused world of gender fluidity, rather than ensuring they do not fall further behind in core subjects, mathematics, writing, reading and history. There are even moves to replicate the federal assault on free speech exemplified in the notorious case against QUT students expelled from a segregated computer laboratory.

The greyhound ban will not only destroy the lives, jobs and businesses of thousands of honest citizens, but as if NSW were some Marxist republic, Baird stripped them of any right to go to court to recover fair compensation. Already embarrassed over a secret report recommending measures to ensure fair compensation for his many resumptions, including houses seized for West-Connex, Baird is demonstrating an alarming disdain for the ‘forgotten people’. This follows the Turnbull team in their attack on present and future self-funded retirees, all the while leaving untouched the rivers of gold for retired politicians and top public servants.

The greyhound ban was clearly on the ABC agenda, and as with live cattle exports and the Darwin detention centre, an inexperienced leader rushed to do their bidding. Rather than seek an audience with the Premier, one Liberal says the victims of the ban should have hired a lobbyist. Probably not; the lobbyists are no doubt salivating over the massive fees developers will pay them to open politicians’ doors about the state’s greyhound racing tracks, such as Wentworth Park.

For the base, the greyhound ban is the last straw. The premier had been excused previously on the grounds of his political inexperience, such as his call for a 50 per cent increase in the GST, and his knee-jerk reaction to the shocking photograph of the drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi. Baird immediately attacked Prime Minister Abbott for not admitting more Syrian refugees, but then found that the Kurdis had actually been living in Turkey for three years, with the father a suspect people smuggler. And while Baird curiously spurns mainstream or ‘legacy’ media in favour of social media, with taxpayers spending over $30,000 for lessons on how to use Facebook, Twitter etc, when it came to destroying the greyhound industry the mainstream media were filled with over $1 million of questionable government ads justifying the ban.

Baird, who insists on his republicanism while monopolising the time of every visiting royal, tends to be secretive, as we have seen with the resumptions reform report. When he decided on the forced amalgamation of local government councils based on a KPMG investigation on the viability of the proposal, he refused to release the report. To his embarrassment it was then claimed that KPMG had been involved in devising the merger proposals which it then investigated. Another example of his secretiveness was the smooth and sudden transition of Mark Scott from ABC boss to Baird’s education supremo.

And while the first duty of any government is to ensure law and order, the government of which he was then a minister unwisely relaxed the bail laws under which Monis walked the streets. Even after Lindt, the introduction and use of a stronger bail law was delayed for months. Another concern is whether the next Police Commissioner will be chosen only on merit. Then there is the ICAC. When the High Court found that their relentless campaign against the crack Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen was unjustified, Baird rushed through retrospective legislation but took no action to restrain what is a Star Chamber.

Baird has had good luck with a windfall from the large stamp duties flowing from the housing bubble. This has been fuelled by the Reserve Bank’s endless obsession with low and lower interest rates, unsustainable immigration into the Sydney basin and an over-restrictive land release policy. This cannot of course continue. In the meantime, Baird has promised to create 150,000 new jobs. While construction jobs are increasing, manufacturing jobs are being exported to Asia in an ineffectual and foolish program to control the climate. Most recently the $2.3 billion contract to build 500 new train carriages went to Hyundai for construction in Korea rather than in Australia. Why didn’t he consider the innovative approach recently adopted in Massachusetts? There the Chinese CRRC underbid Hyundai in an A$742 million contract for 284 new train carriages for Boston’s subway system. The greater part of the contract value, 60 per cent, will be spent in assembling the carriages in a new US plant employing 150 Americans. Better still, this is seen as a pilot for other manufacturing contracts across the country.

A similar venture on the South Coast could have a similar potential, making a significant dent in the 17 per cent youth unemployment there. Rather than destroying one industry, surely any government should try to build others?
Returning to principles rather than abandoning them should always guide the government.

The post Fall of a political pin-up appeared first on The Spectator.

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