Big Society, Brighter Future

  • 13 December 2012

Big Society, Brighter Future, Less Government for All, Four Pillars, Privatisation, Sustainable Government, Better Services

  - What they all have in common

What does David Cameron's 'Big Society', John Key's 'Brighter Future', Stephen Harper's 'Less Government for All', Campbell Newman's 'four pillars', Colin Barnett's privatisation agenda, Barry O'Farrell's and Baillieu's 'Better Services', all have in common.

The grand sounding agenda is a cover for the silent promotion of a single ideology, that of market capitalism with its winners and losers.

More public service productivity calls are being dressed up as the need for service contestability. This call is underpinned by an outsourcing mantra that will flood the suburbs with privateers determined to drive employee conditions and entitlements of future public service deliverers back into the last century. The agenda's not home-grown but we know who ends up paying when it all falls over.

Conservatives say their decisions are determined by "austerity", that the state doesn't have enough money to be caring but saying we can't afford it is just a way of being coy about their political priorities.

There is plenty of money; it's just being creamed off at the top and to benefactors.

Britons are being caught in a "perfect storm" of rising living costs and falling incomes at a time of public services cuts that threaten to return the country to levels of inequality not seen since Victorian times says UK Oxfam.

According to the Sunday Times rich list, the combined fortunes of the wealthiest thousand people in Britain have risen to a record £414bn this year.

And in a delicious irony, it is the involvement of private firms - trumpeted by Cameron and co for driving efficiency and cost-cutting - that is responsible for the apparent doubling in the cost of services over the last four years.

Across the ditch, John Key has signalled another wave of public service restructuring, with more mergers of government departments and further redundancies likely with the PM not ruling out Google and other multi-national corporations ending up with New Zealand Government contracts to carry out work currently done by the public sector.

In its first term, the National-led Government cut at least 2,500 jobs from the public service. In this next phase, John Key says some existing jobs will be eliminated.

Claiming that Canada's prosperity and that of all developed countries is at risk, Harper said his government is primed to make the "hard" choices needed to sustain "economic growth, job creation and prosperity, now and for the next generation."

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says public services are going to be cut while private corporations receive billions of dollars in tax benefits.

This means less government services in our lives and more money for the rich and powerful.

Truly not what the average Canadian wants.

In Queensland the newly elected Premier told Parliament there are 20,000 more public servants than the State can afford.

Campbell Newman then emailed his entire workforce to assure them he is trying to save their jobs.

Taking a cue from the NSW O'Farrell Government, Newman is also moving towards the implementation of a so-called "one-stop shop" solution.

This seeks a generic classification of employees, as already proposed here in Victoria, to consolidate the sprawl of government shop fronts, contact phone numbers and websites.

Former Liberal federal treasurer Peter Costello was chosen to head an audit of the state's finances.

Starting to sound familiar.

The findings plagiarise Alan Stockdale's efforts from the early 90's in Victoria.

In W.A. the Barnett Government's agenda to radically undermine rights and conditions for public sector employees is well underway.

Implementation of more than 40 recommendations put forward in their independent report designed to re-focus the State's public service to deliver better services for West Australians is well underway.

The spin is clever and unambiguous 'give people more power over the services provided to them' but the sting comes as existing public services are under-funded and wither as employees depart.

The shift is on.

Quality public services are the foundation of democratic societies and successful economies.

They ensure that everyone has equal access to vital services, including as health care, education, electricity, clean water and sanitation.

The public should not be forced to shop around.

When these services are privatised, maximizing corporate profits replaces the public interest as the driving force.



Contact Details   
Name:     Karen Batt
Address:  1st Floor, 160 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000