Monday, January 12, 2009

A Monday Meander - Indonesian ferry loss, Mr Rudd's overwork and the 1978 Cabinet Records

There has been a lot of coverage on the Australian media of the dreadful Indonesian ferry tragedy. However, a passing reference caught my ear; the ferry was travelling to Samarinda. This is, I think, Tikno's home city, adding a personal note to the story.

I do not feel like writing a lot tonight. Too tired. But a few comments on some current issues.

Without boring you with the links, here is one example, I discussed some time ago the need for the Rudd Government to pace itself or risk having things fall over.

Despite Julia Gillard's defence in the face of warnings by the Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, Lynelle Brigg, that the workload demanded by the Government of its public servants is unsustainable, Ms Briggs is to my mind right. At the moment, everybody is trying to do to the point that there is little time for thought. The result is wasted opportunity.

I let the release of the 1978 cabinet records pass by without comment. I should not have.

For the benefit of international readers, Australia has a thirty year rule for the release of official papers unless there are continuing national security releases for restricting release. The cabinet papers provide an invaluable picture into just what then Governments thought were important.

Australian Archives provides a valuable introduction to each release. For those who are interested, you can find the entry point here.

Just one quote from the introduction:

Malcolm Fraser’s government faced significant challenges in 1978, despite a sweeping victory at the December 1977 election. Unemployment was close to 7 per cent and there were 20 unemployed for every vacancy. Inflation was falling, but it was still over 7 per cent.

When I write about economic policy, I do so from the perspective of someone who has been through previous crashes. In Australia, it is 17 years since the bottom of the last downturn. I remember it only too well. However, many of those writing or making decisions now do not have such clear memories. I think that this makes things worse.

Enough, I think, for tonight.


Tikno said...

Prima Teratai ship sinking in waters Baturoro, Majene regency, West-Sulawesi Province, caused by the storm, on Sunday, January 11th 2009. Incident location not far from the fall of Adam Air plane early 2007 ago.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you for the information, Tikno. My apologies for my slow response; just a bit swamped.