Monday, October 10, 2011

Australia's North

Mark Latham in today's AFR (behind paywall) takes aim at coalition Finance spokesman Andrew Robb. He has two lines of attack; both are justifiable but one may be a little unwise.

The first is to criticise Robb's support of the latest piece of coalition cargo cultism - the belief in the opportunity to "develop the North." I actually think the coalition support of this is a little bit of an old coded message on yellow hordes - by populating the North we make it harder for arrivals.

But Latham points out the simple logic. The water from the big wets is unreliable, at least very variable. The soil is poor. The Ord River Scheme is still not a viable proposition.

Unfortunately for the ALP its own Paul Howes called in Voice for a city in the Pilbara - on the grounds that it could house all the FIFO miners. The proposal ignores all the simple reasons why it is not an area for a sustainable city.

Latham's other line is to question the wisdom of a person with a history of depression as Finance Minister. In this he is on less safe ground. It is always worth asking if a person's health can withstand the requirements of a job, but also to be prepared to allow the someone can "get better". The same is true of drug-addicts and any other "past life."

In addition Cabinet government is a collective, not individual, act - despite the supposed rejection by Liberals of collectivist outcomes. There is in reality very little of substance Ministers achieve without the support and endorsement of their Cabinet colleagues.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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