Fundamentally incorrect government statements

This seems very direct.

Lying is native to politics. If you did not realise it before watching the inquiry into Victorian Labor’s disastrous COVID-19 quarantine scheme, you will now. The Victorian government led by Daniel Andrews is so mired in lies that truth is a distant memory….

We heard the lie by omission, the half-truth, blame-shifting, obfuscation, red herrings, selective memory and collective amnesia. The Premier claims not to know who made the decision to hire private security staff to guard people in hotel quarantine. Labor ministers have followed suit, though most peppered their feigned ignorance with a generous serving of selective amnesia….

On August 8, the Premier told a parliamentary committee: “I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was (sic) hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no. That’s not, in my judgment, accurate.” However, Sky News and others reported that Prime Minister Scott Morrison personally wrote letters to the Victorian Premier urging him to accept the help of Australian Defence Force personnel in July as the number of COVID cases surged in Victoria. It was reported that the PM sent letters to Andrews on July 4, 6 and 11. In the final correspondence, the PM offered about 1000 defence personnel to work alongside Victoria Police to ensure the virus was contained, affected suburbs were locked down and contact tracing was undertaken….

When Defence Minister Linda Reynolds noted the Victorian government had rejected commonwealth offers of ADF help with hotel quarantine, the Premier framed it as playing politics. He supported the alternative version of events authored by Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp, who said he neither sought nor was offered ADF assistance with hotel quarantine in meetings on March 27-28. However, Defence records showed that from late March the offer stood. The Victorian government authorities rejected at least half a dozen offers of assistance.

And then there is this from Maurice Neuman: Nostalgia won’t protect Snowy white elephant.

Paul Broad, the chief executive officer of Snowy Hydro, has provided a solid rebuttal (The Snowy 2.0 project will pay its way) to an open letter (On every count, Snowy 2.0 is a disaster in the making), published on this page on September 18. The letter’s 37 authors cannot be easily dismissed. All have relevant expertise in energy markets, engineering and the environment.

That said, Broad is adamant that Snowy 2.0 is “underpinned by a strong business case”. He alleges that “critics have run with every falsehood under the sun” and that most arguments are “flimsy” and not warranting a response….

The project’s announcement bears many of the hallmarks of the National Broadband Network, which was a dream brought to life on the back of a drinks coaster. As predicted, it is a technological and commercial white elephant.

While there were no drinks coasters, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Snowy Hydro 2.0 announcement in 2017 was widely viewed as a cynically timed thought bubble. Like the NBN, it had no business case but was still acclaimed as an “electricity game-changer”. Turnbull boasted, “it will increase the generation of the Snowy Hydro scheme by 50 per cent, adding 2000 megawatts of renewable energy to the national electricity market”. He made no reference to cost. However, Broad later told a Senate estimates hearing that a “very rough, top-level estimate”, was $2bn.

Rough it was. Two years later, a construction contract was let for $5.1bn….

All in all, and without allowing for cost overruns, the final investment for the entire project could well sit at about $14bn or, seven times the original indicative figure….

Whatever the reality, Australians are getting the impression that Snowy Hydro 2.0 is yet another “trust me” project where the business case has been written to reflect the announcement. It will take time for the truth to be known but, sadly, history is not on the government’s side.

The sad part is that we still live in a kind of fantasy theoretical economic environment in which government waste is believed to be good for the economy. It may well be good for those on the receiving end of all this money, but for the rest of us, it is a straightforward loss that keeps us much poorer than we would otherwise have been.

1 thought on “Fundamentally incorrect government statements

  1. Pingback: Fundamentally incorrect government statements - The Rabbit Hole

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