NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Rudd and Gillard are stealing from their state Labor colleagues


Here's how I'm seeing it:

Australia traditionally elects Labor governments at the state level.

This is no accident. The states provide the services we need - schools and hospitals.

Labor actually believes in providing them, deeply, tribally. The other side doesn't, as much. And often says so.

So we elect Labor at the state level (almost all the time) and often elect the Coalition at the federal level safe in the assurance that our hospitals and schools will still be in good hands.

Rudd (with hospitals) and Gillard (with schools) have changed that.

It'll be good for them. A vote for Labor federally will be a vote for hospitals and schools.

And it will be good for the tax take, and (when the time is right) for a higher GST.

We will no longer be able to delude ourselves by voting for a low-tax party federally while voting for a full-service party locally.

Rudd has explicitly tied the GST to hospital funding. Soon enough we'll want an increase.

But back to the states. Rudd and Gillard are making it safe to elect Liberal or Coalition state governments.

We know our hospitals and schools will still be looked after.

Here's Possum: The safer the government seat, the much larger was the swing against the government

And Piping Shrike: By any normal criteria, the Liberals’ campaign was pathetic.

Related Posts

. Tuesday Column: The case for the states

. Election night tonight - go Liberals!

. We'll soon no longer be Labor coast to coast