Baird on the wire: Why no-one likes privatisation

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Keating, Kennett, Kerin, Keneally, Bligh, Napthine and Newman all lost office because they privatised things, or proposed to, and it now seems Baird might do so too, if the recent polling is accurate. It is worth asking why this is so.

The answer is not hard to divine.

Old people have with taxes all their lives bought and built and maintained entities – Qantas, the Commonwealth Bank, the Southern Aurora, the Sydney Airport, the Opera House Lottery, the CSIRO – they are proud of. And these entities, in turn, have made money which comes back to them. It funds hospitals, roads, university courses, research into a cure for Alzheimers and so on.

When the utility is sold, that money no longer comes back to them. It no longer funds poor students, or cures disease. It goes to a particular millionaire, often a foreign one, and his already wealthy shareholders. It no longer comes, in benefits, to the taxpayer who, over decades, bought it and maintained it. It goes to ‘other priorities’: new tollways to the western suburbs, whose daily tolls cost even more money; electricity bills enriching, as they did in South Australia, Chinese corporations; or invading strangers digging ancestral green acres for coal seam gas.

It doesn’t come to Australians any more. It goes to the Chinese, or similar.

It is precisely like "selling off the farm", the farm whose cows and chickens fed your children, to a foreign rich man, who takes its produce overseas, and sells it there.

So xenophobia and socialism link hands on this issue, the Greens, the Nationals and Alan Jones. Not just "our ABC" but "our electricity" are defended at the barricades of the conservative tendency, not the revolutionary one.

Keating, Kennett, Kerin, Keneally, Napthine, Newman and Bligh have lost office because of this.

And Baird, almost certainly, is next.

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