catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Emerson for Finance?

with 32 comments

According to this item in The Australian, Craig Emerson is all set for promotion to the Shadow Finance portfolio. If true, this would be great news for those keen to see Labor return to its economic reformist days under Hawke and Keating. Unfortunately my old blogpost on Emerson’s ‘Opportunity Society’ speech to the CIS was lost to the ages after the Great Server Crash but you can read the full speech on the CIS website here (PDF).

Some excerpts from the speech:

Barely 25 years ago a small group of philosophers and economists, whose views had previously been dismissed as eccentric, began to gain the ascendancy over Keynesian disciples of the managed economy and government regulation. Known at the time as neo-classical economists, and soon after, pejoratively as economic rationalists, these followers of Hayek and Friedman imagined a world in which – just a quarter of a century later – we now live! It is a globalised, market-driven world economy that has generated wealth at a rate previously unimagined.

The most radical free market reforms in Australia’s history were implemented by a Labor government headed by a former trade union leader – Bob Hawke. The ‘conservative’ Howard government has extravagantly expanded the welfare state. Hansonites to the far Right hanker for a return to protectionism on the spurious grounds that countries with lower labour costs are not competing on a level playing field – a view shared with the far Left of Australian politics.

The Coalition’s contract with Australia is: we will keep sending you welfare payments and organise the services you want if you keep voting for us. The Coalition government has stifled incentive by taxing people hard, making them dependent on income support and services organised by the government.

By refusing to bid in the welfare auction, Labor would be giving the people greater control over their destinies. By promoting liberty, freedom and self-reliance, Labor would be giving power back to the people in the great social democratic tradition.

Let’s hope he lives up to his words.

Written by Admin

December 7, 2006 at 9:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

32 Responses

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  1. No he needs to be Shadow Treasurer.

    The ALP need a technical specialist there to point out Costello’s obvious deficiencies in this area.

    pollies do not overcome lazy treasurers.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 7, 2006 at 9:42 am

  2. Chris Bowen is also being promoted to the front-bench, he is being tipped to get the Infrastructure portfolio that will be split from Stephen Smith’s IR portfolio – he comes across as being pretty sharp, and looks more than capable in one of the economic portfolios.

    Also Bob McMullan back from the front-bench is a good decision.

    Stephen Hill

    December 7, 2006 at 9:44 am

  3. Apparently Krillard are insisting on picking the people they want, rather than simply accepting the faces the factions toss up. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but if true, it can only be a good thing.


    December 7, 2006 at 9:51 am

  4. Homer
    I was just going by the order of the Australian article – it seemed to suggest that Emerson will get Finance and Tanner will get Treasury:

    “Last night there were indications that Dr Emerson and Lindsay Tanner would take the two key economic portfolios – finance and Treasury”

    Jason Soon

    December 7, 2006 at 9:52 am

  5. Someone needs to give the middle finger to these lard-arsed factional bosses. Good call.

    Jason Soon

    December 7, 2006 at 9:55 am

  6. That should read “McMullan back from the back-bench”, the morning caffeine is only just kicking in.

    Stephen Hill

    December 7, 2006 at 10:04 am

  7. I konw that Jase I was putting as it should be.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 7, 2006 at 12:41 pm

  8. If I recall correctly then the proposition that the ALP leader should appoint the front was previously rejected by Beazley with him saying it would make the leader a dictator.


    December 7, 2006 at 1:12 pm

  9. Someone needs to give the middle finger to these lard-arsed factional bosses.

    Crean did to some extent by changing the party rules to give the unions a little less say. They still have a very big say however.


    December 7, 2006 at 1:14 pm

  10. what happens is that the Caucus elects and then the Leader appoints.

    In the Liberal party it is only the leader appointing however given all the different interests to appease there isn’t a lot of difference in the end.

    British labour party goes the way of the Liberal party here.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 7, 2006 at 1:28 pm

  11. So is Emerson calling for tax cuts and deregulation – Gillard was talking about a reform agenda – which must mean streamlining IR, super and further privatisation.


    December 7, 2006 at 1:33 pm

  12. Emerson is full of shit.

    In the OECD Australia has the second lowest level of government spending as a share of GDP at 35.7%, lower even than the United States.

    According to the OECD the Australian level of government spending as a proportion of GDP has declined from the 1996 level of 38 per cent to 35.7 per cent.

    Labor is not to be trusted. In 1996 they left us a huge debt and a $10 billion deficit. The top marginal rate now kicks in at $150,000, when the ALP were last in it was $50,000.

    Rococo Liberal

    December 7, 2006 at 5:22 pm

  13. you’re happy with government spending more than one third of GDP, RL, or is it just that it’s a Liberal govt so it’s alright?

    Jason Soon

    December 7, 2006 at 5:26 pm

  14. “Let’s hope he lives up to his words. ”

    He is either lying or in the wrong party. Either way if he believes this what is his stand on labor market refrom?


    December 7, 2006 at 5:29 pm

  15. Re 13


    Lot’s of us are pissed at what is going on. But it’s a question of least smelly fish in the batch. How can you trust the clowns to the left of us that they would simply keep it there or increase it?

    Since listening to Crudd I have my doubts he even appreciates what he is saying. In any event they will and could skin a cat a different way. They will simply mandate the way we must spend our money.


    December 7, 2006 at 5:33 pm

  16. Given how the swat womble is going on about ‘commodification of society’ etc. etc. and attacking Howard as a free market ideologue (and I don’t think he meant it as a joke) I think Emerson would have Buckley’s of following through on this speech.


    December 7, 2006 at 9:37 pm

  17. To the members of the communist (ie Liberal) party out there… your party is running the highest-taxing and highest-spending government in the history of Australia. Not to mention the ever-growing list of regulations.

    The only PM to control tax/spending in the last 30 years is Hawke and he is also responsible for microeconomic reform. The worst is Whitlam, closely followed by little red johnny.

    I’ll withhold judgement on Rudd until I start seeing some policies. Emerson is certainly a good sign and it would be tough to be worse than Beazley or little red johnny.

    John Humphreys

    December 7, 2006 at 10:21 pm

  18. John

    What happens to labor market reform, possibly the most important reform since federation?


    December 7, 2006 at 10:44 pm

  19. Not much so far unfortunately.

    Perhaps we would do better with an ALP government because they are always more free-market in government than in opposition and the Liberals are more free-market in opposition than when they’re in government.

    Obviously, that wasn’t true with Beazley… but I’ll give Rudd a bit of time before I through him out. Emerson would get IR right. So would Turnbull. Those two should quit and join the LDP.

    John Humphreys

    December 7, 2006 at 11:01 pm

  20. JC you forget that Button and Hawke began IR reform.

    This doesn’t make me a labour supporter, it makes me bitter towards the Liberal Party.

    “Emerson would get IR right. So would Turnbull. Those two should quit and join the LDP.”

    We live and hope….

    Mark Hill

    December 7, 2006 at 11:09 pm

  21. John, ABL

    I don’t disagree with you about Hawke, Button etc. and the appalling way the libs have behaved with taxing and spending. I’m in total agreement there.

    But Rudd has said it’s his policy to rollback labor reform and we therefore have to take him/them at his word.

    So far he really hasn’t said anything about taxes and spending although it wouldn’t be too hard to beat the libs over this issue. I agree they have been appalling.

    It’s not always good to look back and think the present set of guys will copy their predecessors.

    I have my own view on what happened in the past. Hawke was forced into reform, as he had no choice. The financial markets had to be reformed. Button also had no choice with his reforms, as the car business was about to go belly up unless the unions etc. stopped using these firms as captured capital.

    Looking at the accomplishments I would say this.
    Yes, sure they did make good reforms but they were hardly revolutionary.

    Financial reforms only went so far. There is no reason say Singapore is the preeminent private banking center in Asia for the entire tax avoidance money in the region. We could have had that business if they were prepared to act a little further and simply open up certain regulations instead of dithering. We have the safety and legal system that would have supported that business. There’s about 100 billion of private banking money sitting in Singapore now. As Switzerland regulates even further as a result of pressure fro the EU European money is moving into Singapore. They also dithered for years about allowing branch status for major banks and so they were forced to operate here as subsidiaries, which is a far more inferior system.

    I would also go so far as to say the accord was actually a corporatist deal with the RBA inflating away nominal wages. So it was fudge. A bad one that turned into a mess in the late and early 80’s

    This of course doesn’t mean the others would have been any better.

    And yea, I like Hawke. He is still my favorite PM and I voted of the dude throughout his time (for Christ sake, don’t tell Homer as I will never hear the end of it. He lives for those times like he is in a time warp or something)

    I think these guys -Rudd’s crew- are a different breed though. I am afraid there is some real Fabianism in the party.

    I am also afraid of rollback and what it means. It would be a shocking thing to see them roll back the little labor reform we have, which I do think is the biggest reform since federation and I want to keep it no matter how small it was..

    And yes, Emmerson and Turnbull should get out and join the LDP.

    What about you ABL, why don’t you make a go of it? Why not run for the senate. I would certainly offer some support if you did?

    Even you Humphrey’s as a lefty loving libertarian. Kidding.

    I’m telling you there could be as much as 5-10 support for the LDP if people knew about it. Wouldn’t that be fun.


    December 7, 2006 at 11:41 pm

  22. first we hear you’re part French, now you tell us you voted for Hawke.
    You’re clearly overcompensating, JC.

    Jason Soon

    December 7, 2006 at 11:58 pm

  23. Jason
    I always said I voted for Labor when i was young and silly. And Hawke was alright, pretty good in fact.

    As for the frog stuff. Part of my mothers family came from the Nice area. If you’ve been there you would realize it’s more wog than frog.


    December 8, 2006 at 12:08 am

  24. JC — I’ll be standing for the LDP, probably in the Qld senate:

    I think there are already some candidates lined up for the NSW senate, but I expect you and ABL to run for the LDP in some seat. And all your friends, relatives and pets too. The more candidates we have the more attention we will get.

    John Humphreys

    December 8, 2006 at 1:21 am

  25. That’s funny. Me running for a seat. Could you imagine what it would be like if I actually won!!!

    All the lefties i have tried to skewer in blogdom would be having a field day.

    I couldn’t trust myself anyway. i couldn’t trust myself not doing a milne to a greenie in the senate well.

    Actually the fun part would be sitting in there and laughing hysterically at anything Bob Brown had to say. I’d send that one to a looney bin in a month.
    Yea, that alone would make it a worthwhile thing.

    By the way … on a serious note , you ought to see if you can get Prodos on the ticket here. He would be a great asset to the party.


    December 8, 2006 at 1:31 am

  26. Oh — I’m serious. When it comes business time I’m going to be e-mailing and calling and pestering people like you and asking you to put your arses in the trenches for the cause.

    And if you do a Milne — publicity. Of course I’d have to say “naughty JC”, but then I’d say “and, btw, cut tax”.

    I’ll pester PRODOS too. But despite them rejecting him, he’s committed to the soviet socialist Liberal party.

    John Humphreys

    December 8, 2006 at 1:49 am

  27. I know he committed to them, John. But his views and ideas are all LDP. he is one of these people who actually thinks he could change the party’s stand on things.

    The guy is a tireless worker for liberty. he runs seminars where the public is welcome to attend. He is always out there doing his best. I was really sad for the guy because of how he was treated. i know who did it too.

    He really belongs in the LDP and shares very little with the liberal party .. ohter than a good part of its manifesto.


    December 8, 2006 at 1:58 am

  28. You guys are going to have to do some fast talking – the voters are happy to forgo tax cuts (even have them increased) if it averts an armageddon (global warming, AWAs etc)

    They like the safety net even if it is an illusion.

    BTW Hawke was a softy who revelled in the adotation of the public, it was his finance minister Walsh who tried to cut govt expenses. Hawkes popularity was weakened by Hewson who promised tax cuts and the GST and by Keating who belted Hewson.

    Peter Walsh shows the ALP the way;

    …Since the 1980s, Australian Labor Party policy has been incrementally hijacked by well-heeled, self-indulgent, morally vain and would-be authoritarian activists, whom the media often misdescribes as the intelligentsia. If language had been less debauched, they would have been more accurately described as secular religious fundamentalists, as contemptuous of the values and aspirations of mainstream Australians as Mao Zedong was of Chinese peasants.

    The consequences for Labor have been four successive electoral defeats. Short of a self-destructive Coalition implosion, there is little chance of reversing this electoral trend in the near future. Some smart Labor people have been long aware of the poisoned chalice handed to Labor by green ideologues and their media cheer squad. Opposition resources spokesman Martin Ferguson is one person to have attacked their holy grail: global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. Writing on this page recently, Ferguson drew attention to the mutual exclusivity of green hostility to economic growth, the greens’ self-proclaimed commitment to social justice, their Kyoto-inspired eagerness to export technically efficient Australian industry to Third World countries (thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions), and their secular religious veto of the only economically feasible alternative to fossil fuel for base load power: nuclear energy. …”


    December 8, 2006 at 6:52 am

  29. Labor’s problem is that since Walsh, they’ve never had a bastard who can say no to every silly idea that comes up. Hopefully Emerson can be that person.

    Keating wasn’t Shadow Treasurer, and probably just as well. Once he was in office he was fine, but the job of a Labor Shadow Treasurer is to lunch with corporate boards and project a message of: see, we’re not that scary. You can’t have Emerson as Shadow Treasurer for that reason. Nothing is more scary than a Labor ideas man. Even Lindsay Tanner has had to tone this down because Latham, Whitlam and Evatt show the dangers of Labor With Ideas. In office Emerson might be fine, but there’s a long way to go yet.

    Andrew Elder

    December 8, 2006 at 9:06 am

  30. wrong,
    keating was made Shadow Treasurer by Hayden replacing Ralph Willis.

    it wasn’t for a long time as Fraser called an early election.

    I have yet to be convinced the ALP can come up with any ideas for spending as silly as Howards.

    It is merely an example of a Government being in power too long.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 8, 2006 at 10:02 am

  31. rog — I agree that many Australians are happy with the current size of tax, or would even support more. But not all.

    Every other political party in Australia already caters to that demand. I think there are enough anti-tax people in Australia to support the existence of one anti-tax minor party.

    I don’t see any armagedon coming — from terrorists or AGW or any other excuse for huge government spending. But I agree that many Australians allow themselves to get scared into supporting bigger government. I think fear is the primary driver of big government and one of my constant themes is that people need to be more rational about their risk assessment and less afraid. As libertarians, we need to combat fear.

    Don’t be scared. 🙂

    John Humphreys

    December 8, 2006 at 10:59 am

  32. keating was made Shadow Treasurer by Hayden replacing Ralph Willis.

    BringBack, this was for a period of about six weeks. Keating did no policy development and, by his own admission, went into government drastically underprepared for the job of Treasurer. Imagine if Emerson was confirmed today, and there was an election in mid-January, how much cleaning up of the Augean stables of Labor economic reputation could he possibly do?

    I have yet to be convinced the ALP can come up with any ideas for spending as silly as Howards.

    It is merely an example of a Government being in power too long.

    I don’t need convincing that it could be worse. I need persuading that it could be better.

    John Humphreys’ post on fear and big government is one of the best I’ve seen. Well done that man.

    Andrew Elder

    December 8, 2006 at 11:28 am

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