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Tag: . Pork-barrelling

Labor and Liberals Unite to Continue Opacity and Pork-Barrelling

25 May 2023

Labor has opposed a Teal move to have infrastructure proposals publically available. The lack of transparency has allowed the pork-barrelling that was rife in the Liberal administration, but it has also continued under Labor.

One would have hoped that Labor would support the move, as most of the Labor electorates, being less well-off are more likely to justify more spending.  But they have teamed up with the Liberals to defeat the move.  Very disappointing.  Labor seems happy  just to clear the Liberals very low bar.

Dutton and PM unite to block teal demands


Chief political correspondent SMH 25 May 2023

A bid to tighten safeguards on major road and rail projects has been blocked in federal parliament after Labor and the Coalition joined forces against moves by teal independents to reveal more about the $120 billion cost.

Calling for more scrutiny of the mammoth spending, the independent MPs sought changes to stamp out pork barrelling and force governments to reveal the costs and benefits of new proposals before sinking taxpayer funds into the projects.

But their bid was lost when the major parties used their numbers to defeat the moves, which included an amendment copied from a proposal from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese when he was in opposition nine years ago.

The debate heightened tensions between Labor and the crossbench over integrity in government and the priority for vast projects including the rail line to the Western Sydney Airport, the Melbourne Airport Rail, the Inland Rail and competing road-building proposals in every state.

Independent MP Allegra Spender wanted the government to accept changes that would prevent the peak agency for big projects, Infrastructure Australia, approving proposals that could not show the benefits outweighed the cost.

‘‘This is, you would think, an uncontroversial amendment, one which simply requires public money be used prudently and one which was previously proposed by the Prime Minister himself,’’ Spender said.

‘‘It is only controversial because it takes away the power of the government to make investment decisions which are positive politically but negative economically.’’

Another amendment put to parliament yesterday would require Infrastructure Australia to release its regular audits of the priority list so the public could learn more about costs and benefits of projects.

Spender gained support from Greens leader Adam Bandt and his fellow MPs as well as all other crossbenchers in the lower house

But the amendments were defeated when Infrastructure Minister Catherine King gained Coalition support, sending a signal that the government would also have the numbers in the Senate to defeat any similar amendments. The government passed its draft law in its original form.

King defended the decision to reject the amendments because some information was too sensitive to be released.

Coalition infrastructure spokeswoman Bridget McKenzie wanted an amendment to increase rural representation at the peak agency but did not support the push from the teals.

‘‘Other proposals would have increased costs, decreased investment, and reduced the ability of governments to initiate projects – which is surely fundamental to a democracy,’’ she said.

Kylea Tink, the member for North Sydney, warned that defeating the amendments would mean the Labor government was ‘‘no less likely’’ than the Coalition to engage in pork-barrelling.

Dai Le, who represents Fowler in western Sydney, said voters should not be surprised that Labor promised greater transparency before the election but voted against it after gaining power.

‘‘The two parties are the same – they go to an election, make a promise to make a change, and when they’re in government they don’t do it. They keep the status quo,’’ she said. ‘‘As a result of that, our society, our communities, pay the price for the lack of infrastructure planning.’’

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Pork Barrelling Works- it probably determined the 2019 Federal Election .

December 28 2021

There has been a lot of publicity lately about pork-barrelling by the Liberal party prior to the last election.

This is based on some excellent research by Shane Wright and Katina Curtis of the SMH (16/12/21), who went through grants that were at Minister’s discretion. They were worth $2.8 billion;  $1.9 billion went to Liberal electorates and $530 million to Labor.  The numbers do not add up exactly as some grants were hard to classify, being given to organisations that spanned different electorates. 

But if you take the money that has clear electorates, it is $1.9 v.$0.53 billion, which means that Liberal: Labor is 78% to 22%.  But it is even worse than that because $58.5 million and $55.2 million (21% of Labor’s national total) went to Lyons and Corangamite, which were seats the Liberals hoped to win. 

Lindsay, the NSW seat around Penrith got $23.1 million and was the only seat in NSW won by the Libs from Labor in the 2019 election. That number did not even count the $55 million in promised commuter car parks. The adjacent 3 Labor-held seats Chifley, McMahon and Werriwa with similar demographics got $5.9 million between them.

In Melbourne 4 Labor seats received less than $1million, while 3 vulnerable Liberal sears received an average of over $15 million each.

In my own electorate, which is safe Liberal against Labor, but had independent Ted Mack for some years, our local ‘moderate’ Trent Zimmermann still always votes on the Party line, just like the most rabid right wingers. He produces a lot of brochures with his ‘electoral allowance’ (which you paid for) and mentions many small organisations and the grants to them that he was responsible for. So even if we don’t like ‘pork-barrelling’ we can be glad that our local member is doing a great job. The idea is that we have a disconnect between criticising pork-barrelling at a general level, and voting Liberal at a local level; smart eh?

It si extremely likely that this degree of pork-barrelling determined the 2019 election, which the Liberals won by one seat, so we have corruption at a very significant level.  It is interesting that the Nine Group, SMH and Age, have produced this material more than 2 years after the election and as we look to the next election.  Had this been available immediately after the 2019 election perhaps Labor would have had another reason for their loss and not blamed it all on stating some policies, and then responding by having no policies that could be criticised since.

No doubt the same pork-barrel literature will keep coming in our electorate where the ‘Voices of North Sydney’ Independent, Kylea Tink may threaten Trent Zimmerman.

The only solution is to have a strong public service that is given transparent guidelines as to where money should be spent, and that their recommendations should be made public and not subject to any ministerial discretion.  It won’t happen without a lot of public interest and pressure.  

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