Leading article Australia
While 2008 will be remembered for its financial fireworks, 2009 will be about public policy debates: less memorable, maybe, but far more formative.
The Rudd government was elected in 2007 on the promise of industrial reform, or in our view, reaction.
The Spectator Australia wishes its readers a Happy Christmas
The final sitting of federal parliament for 2008 witnessed a flurry of legislative, even theatrical, activity — short-selling restrictions were codified, ‘fair’ workplace reforms were proposed, same-sex couples were accorded more consistent legal treatment, all amid accusations of ‘humiliating backflips’ and opposition feline displays.
The Australian states have never raised enough money to pay for their natural constitutional chores — they vacated the field of direct income taxation in 1942, and their indirect ‘franchise fees’ on alcohol, tobacco and petrol were branded ‘excise’ duties by the High Court in 1997, and struck down.
Prime Minister Rudd ends his first year in office on a high, literally and figuratively.
When the Prime Minister outlined his industry policy in the run-up to the November 2007 federal election — ‘I don’t want to be leader of a country that doesn’t make things any more’ — some feared an increase in industry subsidies.
While the world has been fixated by the United States’ historic presidential election, a more modest nation has voted for change.
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