Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Country independents, regional development and spin

One of the reasons why I so hate spin is that the desire to present things in the best light leads to distortion.

I say this because Ramana asked in a comment what the quid pro quo was in the deal between the two country independents and the ALP. For that reason, I put up  Agreement between the Australian Labor Party and the Independent Members. The way I did it makes it a bit cluncky to load. The Australian has a PDF version that may be easier to read.

The headline treatment of the deal generally reads something like independents gain $10 billion for the bush. I have yet to analyse the document in detail, but the reality appears to be nothing like this. Regional Australia would have got some of this money anyway. What the deal does do, it seems to me, is to add some spending at the margin plus shift the timing of spend between metro and regional areas. The real content lies in these areas; the $10 billion number should be ignored.

I must say that my heart sank when I read some of the wording obviously supplied by the ALP side. It's full of that type of language so beloved by current governments. Everything is expressed in positive terms, great weight is placed on the things done, it's all packaged. This means that each sentence has to be critiqued for real meaning.

This doesn't mean that package won't bring real benefits to regional Australia, I think that it will, simply that it cannot be taken at face value and has to be analysed properly.

I will try my hand at this over the next day or so, looking generally at the package on this blog, at the specific New England implications on New England Australia


Anonymous said...

Well I for one would really appreciate the sort of analysis you suggest Jim. I must say I was not taken in by the $10B headline figure, because it really seemed to be counting mostly the re-prioritisation of spending rather than new spending. But I do admit to being taken in by the wording of the agreement you have included in full below. I thought that was a well thought out, very clear statement of principles – 99% of which I could only agree with and would support.

But you say the entire wording is suspect, and must be “degaussed” before the practical effects are to be found? I will await with interest your comments.

I would note that I think the $10b figure is a press invention – rather than a claim/counter claim by the polititians. And also note that we are now seeing the typical “city will subsidise country” line being pushed in the press regarding the NBN. They really do have a lot to answer for I feel. In many ways they divide/polarise our community – and that is just sad.


Jim Belshaw said...

Sorry, KVD. My wording was lose. I was really refering to the regional development material.

Rummuser said...

In all the legalese, I am afraid that my question still begs to be answered.
Having seen small political parties holding larger ones to ransom in coalition governments in India, I am willing to bet that you will see this happening sooner than later.

Jim Belshaw said...

I'm sorry, Ramana. I will try to answer the question more fully. Jim