Monday, August 20, 2007

'Forget About States Rights'

Howard Wants It All, Now

John Howard's Liberal Party cannot win a state election. So what to do? Slowly, but surely, eliminate the power and control of state governments :
Prime Minister John Howard will continue his attack on state Labor governments today with a major speech outlining more plans for federal takeovers of state responsibilities.

Calling for a new "aspirational nationalism", Mr Howard will deliver his fourth Australia Rising speech in Sydney.

Mr Howard said all Australians should want the best possible outcomes for people regardless of where they lived and which level of government delivered those outcomes.

"Sometimes it will involve carefully put together cooperative federalism. On other occasions it will require the Commonwealth bypassing the states altogether and dealing directly with local communities."

Mr Howard said much of the debate about commonwealth-state relations was wrongly focused on finding a balance between the respective roles.

"That is the wrong approach. We should be focused on outcomes, not systems," he said.

"We should be neither centralists, nor believers in states' rights.

"We should be aspirational nationalists."

Why not just spend Australia's money where it is needed most, before crises develop?

Now all Howard needs is some kind of event that, or national emergency, that will allow him to delay or outright cancel the federal elections until he can finish ramming through his raft of new "interventions".

Howard's clenching fist around Australia's throat, in the name of 'aspirational nationalism', has been a chilling and vastly cynical exercise. Spend a decade holding back national funding for hospitals and health care facilities, strip away or divert federal money for education, abandon hundreds of thousands of elderly people to rotting nursing homes, cheerily allow national infrastructure to crumble, and then when times are desperate, and the need for 'intervention" is close to peaking, step in and save the day.

Would Howard be doing any of this if he wasn't tanking in the polls and facing devastation at the coming elections?

Howard's supporters will cheer him on, of course, failing to realise that what he sets in motion with his 'aspirational nationalism' can also be adopted by the Labor Party, if they win the federal election. They can use Howard's deligitimisation of states rights to block Liberals from winning state elections for a decade or more to come.