Cartoon: By Bill Leak.
Had Mark Latham been a little less abrasive and intemperate he could have been one of the better Labor leaders. He had some classic lines, once referring to the Howard cabinet as, “A conga line of suck holes,” but he could never match the class act of Keating as far as insults were concerned. On the other hand he didn’t have the conceit that caused Keating to refer to himself as the Pavarotti of Australian politics, making some wonder if he was actually the Kid Shelleen.
Since leaving parliament he has adopted the conventional lifestyle of the political undead. He has done an autobiography, which lost him a lot of love in his party, especially giving some insights into the treachery of Rudd, something that is still apparent today. He caused a buzz in libertarian circles with an article, “The folly of handouts,” and has been a consistent critic of the government.
He has just slammed the idiotic $10 billion fund for ‘clean energy' handouts:
OUTSPOKEN former Labor leader Mark Latham has warned that the Gillard government's $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation will become "the greatest waste of money in the history of the commonwealth."He is wrong in this, as it will be relatively easy for the industry to absorb this money in the same way as it has been absorbing all of the other billions tossed at it in the past. The availability of these funds will attract all sorts of shysters who will present plausible schemes for spending it. In return for it we will get little except expensive electricity from highly subsidized generating processes. It represents a lose, lose situation for taxpayers.
Speaking on Sky News' Australian Agenda this morning, Mr Latham said the carbon tax the Gillard government negotiated with the Greens and the country independents was more about income redistribution than legislating a significant environmental measure.
But he said the $10 billion clean energy fund designed to boost private investment in clean energy technologies was “the forgotten element” of the debate. “It'll end up, I think, being the greatest waste of money in the history of the commonwealth, it'll make the Building the Education Revolution and pink batts programs look like a Sunday picnic,” Mr Latham told the program.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was a key demand of the Greens in exchange for their support of the $23-a-tonne carbon tax to be paid by 500 big polluters from July 1 next year. Former Reserve Bank board member Jillian Broadbent has been appointed to chair an expert panel to advise government on the design of the fund.
But Mr Latham said the fund was premature and the industry was not ready for that level of government-backed investment. “This is the biggest industry slush fund in the history of the nation,” he said. “How can you spend $10 billion on industry development when most experts say that the technology, the so-called clean-energy technologies, aren't there to absorb that money in any productive fashion.
When a drunken sailor throws his money around he attracts whores, but a better class of whore than are attracted to government when it throws our money around. At least the conventional ones provide a valuable service.