Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 23:03 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 23:03 | SYDNEY

Government back: Who wants in?


Fergus Hanson


4 February 2009 08:35

As Mark keeps reminding us, government is back, but if you were in government would you really be that pleased to be on centre stage right now? If you are in government and your country hasn't already been bankrupted Iceland-style, you might find yourself on the list of those about to collapse.

Failing that try rising social unrest and discontent about job loses. The economic crisis is engulfing almost every other issue in its wake, dramatically changing the agenda we otherwise might have had.  

An international agreement on climate change mitigation measures is one obvious example. Already, the Australian Government's climate change target has been scaled back to a modest, pork-laden target and does not even allow for an ambitious outcome in international negotiations. In any event an agreement at Copenhagen looks increasingly difficult.

Defence spending might be another casualty as Sam Bateman suggested in a previous post. Despite serious under resourcing, DFAT will also likely struggle in the face of $115 billion less in government revenue. Plans already in the pipeline, like the costly bid for the Security Council seat, will be harder to sell domestically in this hip-pocket environment and what happened to Labor plans for a republic? 

You have to feel a little sorry for leaders like Obama and Rudd who came to office with so much ambition, but who will be judged on only one issue.