John Quiggin has undertaken a more detailed analysis of NT CLP Opposition Leader Denis Burke’s bizarre election campaign promise/proposal to build a power line from southern Queensland to Darwin. I discussed the proposal here. JQ’s analysis was published in today’s Australian Financial Review, but is reproduced here.
Burke’s power line promise seems to be an attempt to provide some vaguely plausible basis for his negative campaigning claim that electricity is “the most expensive in Australia” under the Martin Labor government. Of course that is true, but it was true under the previous CLP government as well. Both electricity and petrol have always been very expensive here, because of the remoteness and tiny population. In fact, the last significant rise in electricity charges was under Burke himself as Chief Minister in 2000! Presumably he’s punting on the fact that the NT population has a very high turnover rate, and hoping that with a bit of luck even some of those who lived here in 2000 might have forgotten! With just over a week until election day, we’ll soon find out.