Various subjects

In an earlier message I referred to the implication that the NSW Liberal Party seemed too susceptible to persuasive activity by lobbyists seeking decisions on appointments to government agencies or the award of government contracts without proper contracting procedures. As noted by Shanahan below, although Abbott imposed last year a ban on lobbying by party officials, his new announcement suggests lobbying still succeeds in having a high level of influence.

Whether Abbott’s new policy of expanding registrations of lobbyists of all forms will have the desired effect is open to question. For one thing, it scarcely seems appropriate to give the head of Prime Minister’s department the responsibility for determining who is and who is not a lobbyist per se. More importantly, reduced lobbying will come if there is a reduction in the role of government (ie fewer government-financed projects), and the publication of the qualifications of appointments to government agencies.

The AFR article below illustrates the  continued unwarranted disruptive union activity in the building industry and the important role being played by the new head of the FWBC in combating that activity, even with the limited powers available as a result of Labor’s amendments. It also illustrates the need for a completely different approach to the existing regulation applying in sectors outside the building industry viz one that allows individual contracts and prevents union disruption.

The decision to announce the purchase of a further 58 F 35 joint-strike fighters is a welcome start to reversing the decline (relative to GDP) in defence expenditure and, judging by ASPI expert Davies’s comments, confirmation of a top notch acquisition. It is presumably also partly designed to paint a different expenditure picture to the stringent one being conveyed by Hockey. However, most of the payments for the fighters seem likely to fall outside the normal forward estimates period and after the next election. One hopes that by then Abbott will not have repeated his “no cuts” nonsense.

More on the action being taken by extremist green groups to restrict the production of food. This obstruction warrants an inquiry and a tightening of regulations of such groups to protect farmers and other food producers.