Tony Abbott says no to bludging

Tony Abbott is signalling the end of bludging, especially corporate bludging in Australia.

Australia’s rent seekers are firmly on notice: it is the end of corporate welfare. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has never been so direct: no government has ever subsidised its way to prosperity, he declared, adding a good kick from his R.M. Williams boot to the stupidity of ”knee-jerk piecemeal deals”.

What a difference a few months makes. During the election campaign, Abbott flew to Tasmania and blithely handed a gift of $16 million to the Cadbury chocolate factory. Cadbury is owned by a multinational firm that had reported a 64 per cent rise in its profit to $74.9 million last year.

Abbott at the time argued that Tasmania had been ”left behind, big time” on almost all economic measures, and his was a pragmatic approach to a special case in aid of ”job, jobs and jobs”.

It was, of course, an election campaign, and Abbott, who was not yet prime minister, had his eye on a number of juicy Tasmanian seats. You could call his gift politically pragmatic, but you could also call it corporate welfare and a campaign-motivated knee-jerk piecemeal deal.

Now that he is Prime Minister and a vastly bigger company, GM Holden, has announced its decision to quit Australia, Abbott has seized the opportunity to return to what has been his reasonably consistent theme about corporate welfare – if you ignore the Cadbury deal. Faced with a ballooning deficit, Abbott needed to elucidate a coherent approach. With Holden going, Qantas is also knocking on the government’s door for assistance. So is SPC Ardmona.

”We’re not here to sort of build a field of dreams,” the Prime Minister offered. He had the same sort of message for SPC Ardmona that he had delivered to Qantas: get your own house in order.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.