Mixed views on government 'paralysis'


Electronic Media Monitoring Service 


22-03-2013 12:20 PM


Radio National

Parl No.


Channel Name

Radio National


22-03-2013 12:20 PM



22-03-2013 01:22 PM

Cover date

2013-03-22 12:20:26

Citation Id




NOLAN, Tanya






HALL, Ashley



Open Item 

Parent Program URL
Text online


Media Deleted


System Id


Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document

Mixed views on government 'paralysis' -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

TANYA NOLAN: The Federal Opposition says yesterday's leadership spill has done nothing to resolve what it calls the "paralysis" plaguing the Government.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the minority Government is a failed experiment that must come to an end.

So is the government dysfunctional?

Ashley Hall put the question to some of the nation's leading community advocates.

ASHLEY HALL: The Prime Minister says last night's spill has put the leadership question to bed, for good.

But not everyone believes her.

And the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the instability is having a negative effect on the community and the economy.

TONY ABBOTT: Minority government is an experiment that's failed. This Parliament has long outlived its usefulness.

ASHLEY HALL: To test that proposition, we approached a raft of organisations and lobby groups to get their assessment.

Many declined to comment, including the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Council for Social Services, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National Retailers Association, the Business Council of Australia, and the Fundraising Institute.

But others were prepared to venture an opinion.

GRAHAM BRADLEY: There's a state of suspended animation in the business community with a lot of major investment decisions just being deferred until we see the outcome of the September election.

ASHLEY HALL: Graham Bradley is the chairman of HSBC Bank and Stockland Corporation, and a board member of Energy Australia and Virgin International.

GRAHAM BRADLEY: We have a government which is almost in semi-caretaker mode.

ASHLEY HALL: What sort of decisions are being put off because of this uncertainty?

GRAHAM BRADLEY: To name just one or two areas, energy policy in Australia needs to be reviewed holistically and there are a lot of major projects to strengthen our electricity and power generation industry that simply will not be made until there is much more clarity around the future of the carbon tax.

ASHLEY HALL: It's a similar story in the higher education sector.

The resignation of Chris Bowen paves the way for a fourth minister in 15 months

BELINDA ROBINSON: There's been a lot of talk about honourable resignations and what's good for the party. There's been very little talk about what's been good for the Australian people and in our case what's good for higher education.

ASHLEY HALL: Belinda Robinson is the chief executive of Universities Australia. She says the repeated changing of ministers is affecting policy development

BELINDA ROBINSON: For example, with the national research infrastructure program, that is absolutely critical to be able to deliver on the recently announced job statement and the announcement of the innovation precincts. They require the national significant research infrastructure that was to be networked. That looks like it’s in abeyance.

ASHLEY HALL: One leading health lobby group says it's struggled to get the attention of ministers, who've been distracted by party in-fighting.

But the Australian Medical Association says it's had no such problems.

Dr Steve Hambleton is the group's federal president.

STEVE HAMBLETON: We've got good access to the Minister and we've got a booking with the Minister coming up next week. We're actually getting good access to the shadow minister, we're certainly getting access to departments.

ASHLEY HALL: The ACTU sees no problem with the way things are being done.

The national secretary Dave Oliver says the Government boasts a long list of worker-friendly legislative achievements

DAVE OLIVER: Because this Government knows that the way to handle some of the big reforms in this country is through collaboration.

ASHLEY HALL: And he insists changing ministers isn't a problem

DAVE OLIVER: We saw it in the manufacturing sector, we've seen it in the defence sector and the policy initiatives just keep rolling through and the engagement is still there and that's the important thing.

ASHLEY HALL: But the businessman and former president of the Business Council, Hugh Morgan insists it's the union movement that's to blame for many of the Government's woes

HUGH MORGAN: The puppeteer is pulling the strings on the puppet in terms of the trade union interest being remarkably put forward in what is presumably the dying ages of this Government.

ASHLEY HALL: I just want to come back to the Opposition's point that the Government is dysfunctional and paralysed. Do you agree with that or not?

HUGH MORGAN: I don't find anybody else who would say that this Government has a compass which is a predictable compass working forward on the major issues for this country. There is not one scrap of evidence suggesting that that is the position of where they are right now and almost without exception, the resolution of this issue going forward must be to have an election.

TANYA NOLAN: That's businessman and former Business Council of Australia president, Hugh Morgan, ending Ashley Hall's report.