Paul Fletcher MP

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Watching the protracted and painful negotiations in Washington DC over the last few weeks, concerning attempts to lift the US debt ceiling, prompts me to ask: could we face a similar process in the Australian Parliament?  And if not, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Could the US political crisis over debt limits happen in Australia?

Watching the protracted and painful negotiations in Washington DC over the last few weeks, concerning attempts to lift the US debt ceiling, prompts me to ask: could we face a similar process in the Australian Parliament?  And if not, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011 10:06

A few thoughts about Australia and New Zealand

I’m just back from 3 days in New Zealand with a political delegation. 

A key motivation for me to accept the invitation was the chance to learn more about broadband in New Zealand.  I’ll say more about that elsewhere – although I can’t resist noting that NZ is getting fibre to the premises to 75 per cent of the country at a cost to taxpayers of NZD 1.5 billion.  It looks like remarkably good value compared to Labor’s NBN here, where the total cost is heading north of $50 billion.

But I was also very interested to learn more about politics and policy in our closest neighbour.  So close are our historical ties that at one point it was planned that New Zealand would join the Australian federation – and there is provision for this to happen in the Australian constitution. 

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 00:00

Foreign investment

Last week I held a community meeting in my electorate and one of the issues that was raised by a number of people present was concern about the purchase by Chinese interests of agricultural land, particularly for mining purposes. We had a good discussion at that meeting and a range of views were expressed, including a number of people highlighting the importance to Australia of foreign investment. This issue has been getting a lot of scrutiny recently. I want to make three key points in the brief time available: first, to welcome some of the additional scrutiny; second, to make a key point about the two issues involved, on the one hand foreign ownership and on the other hand the impact of mining on agricultural land; third, to highlight the importance of foreign investment.

Amongst the many claims from Treasurer Wayne Swan, one we hear regularly is that imposing a carbon tax qualifies as an economic reform.  He wants us to see it as part of the great line of economic reforms of the last thirty years, in the tradition of floating the dollar, opening up the banking sector to competition, giving the Reserve Bank autonomy to set interest rates, and introducing the GST.

 This government would have you believe that the National Broadband Network represents a holistic solution to competition in telecommunications. In fact it is increasingly clear that telecommunications competition is being strangled because this government is determined to push ahead with a shiny new network and ranks that as a higher priority than a competitive market in telecommunications. Despite the rhetoric, for at least the next decade Telstra's will be the only network connected to a very large number of homes in Australia.

If you want a good insight into the economic delusions of the Greens, have a look at their reaction to last week’s Productivity Commission report comparing climate change policy measures in nine different countries.

Last night I attended an important forum organised by the NSW Parents’ Council and held at the leading girls’ independent school Abbotsleigh, located at Wahroonga in my electorate of Bradfield.

The purpose of the forum was to discuss likely changes to the model for funding independent schools, which the Gillard Labor Government looks likely to introduce following the report of the Gonski Review into independent school funding.

Monday, 06 June 2011 11:30

Boy Scouts and Girl Guides

On Saturday I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Northern Region of the Boy Scouts.  The Scouts’ Northern Region encompasses the entirety of my seat of Bradfield – and extends well beyond it.  It was a privilege to be invited.

Thursday, 02 June 2011 00:00

Decision making under uncertainty

Last night I attended the Minerals Council of Australia Annual Dinner. 

Prime Minister Gillard spoke – and she said something I agreed with.  The business leaders in the room, she observed, spent much of their time dealing with risk and uncertainty.  So too must national leaders.  The problem of climate change is a classic example of leaders needing to deal with risk and uncertainty.

The fact is that there is plenty of uncertainty facing policy makers in Australia – and around the world – about climate change and how to respond.  Let’s consider some of those uncertainties – and their cumulative impact.

Authorised by Paul Fletcher MP, Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070.

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