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Lessons for Labor : Anna and the Disasters

February 5, 2011

At a function last night a Labor colleague made the point that Queensland Premier Anna Bligh had gained approval during the two natural disasters by the oldest political device in the dictionary of politics : no device. She was, under the pressure of events, simply herself. Without a trace of self-consciousness, without a thought for how she looked or sounded or what the polls may be saying. She was simply Anna Bligh, doing a job and the electorate warmed to her.

A lesson for Labor leadership everywhere.

My colleague made another point. He said all Federal money for rebuilding should be handed over to the State. The Federal agencies should be held at bay. They stuff everything up – detention centers , school programs, disaster assistance, ceiling insulation, even bringing the right body home from Iraq. State agencies are used to running things. They do it every day. Let them rebuild. Keep Canberra away.

And have three State ministers and the Premier’s chief of staff meet for half an hour every day to oversight the spending decisions, managing the rebuilding tightly because it’s the follow-through that counts.

With rail privatization out of the way and the State’s Triple A secured it leaves Queensland State politics with a clean agenda under the guidance of a politically refreshed leader.

  1. Richie Gun permalink
    February 5, 2011 8:29 am

    Hear hear. Transfer of responsibilities back to the States should apply elsewhere, not just to disaster relief. The tendency to centralisation should be put into reverse – eg hospitals, universities. (On the other hand there appears to be no alternative to complete Commonwealth control over the Murray-Darling system.)

    • Bob Carr permalink
      February 5, 2011 11:38 am

      Reflect that the Commonwealth has never sought complete control over the Murray Darling, not over town water supplies or irrigation ditches or the routine stuff. In NSW reform of water pricing and allocations and new water allocations to the environment were all well advanced before the current report was commissioned or released. The Commonwealth is required on the linkages between the states but would never want to build a bureaucracy to run the whole show.

  2. Bob Manton permalink
    February 11, 2011 7:51 am

    Fine for the mainland States but please not for Tas mania. They will hand all the money over to Gunns & federal Hotels.
    thats how banana states work.

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