Unity in the State of Disaster?

After the Menzies administration was voted out during World War 2 and the Curtin-led ALP took over there was a suggestion to have a Government of National Unity so the best talent on both sides of the house could be applied directly to the desperate issues at hand. Curtin rejected this, for reasons that I can’t recall except that the gadfly journalist Brian Penton was highly critical in one of the books that he wrote shortly after “Advance Australia – Where?”

The state of NSW is now looking facing difficult circumstances, not so dire as wartime of course, but not pretty for commuters and hospital patients and others at the sharp end of the mess. The Liberal opposition has been able to dine out on a rich feast of Labor mistakes but they might like to think a second time about their achievement in sinking the partial privatization of power generation.

What if they had to take on some ownership of the black hole of debt that this decision has created? What about a unity administration to make use of the best brains on both sides of the house to find, if humanly possible, some common ground for the sake of the public at large, to find some bipartisan policies that will take the state forward instead of bogging down in a predictable slanging match of point scoring and recriminations?

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13 years ago

Government of National ( State ? ) Unity for NSW – ?

Rafe – we need a Marshall Plan here – we are trying to figure out if we will stop at the level of Argentina or regress all the way back to Zimbabwe !!

Bugger the Northern Territory for intervention – wave the white flag and get the Feds and their/our money box to install an administration of state salvation and bail us out before the lights go out too !!!!

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
13 years ago

“What if they had to take on some ownership of the black hole of debt that this decision has created?” What black hole is that? NSW cannot fix their financial position by flogging an income producing asset. The arguments for privatising electricity are that it might run more efficiently. It is not a question of minimising debt.

13 years ago

Curtin refused a government of national unity because a) he thought, and demonstrated, that the ALP could govern with its own majority and b) the whole point of the UAP’s collapse was that their talent couldn’t govern because of their own mutual hatred.
I don’t agree that the Liberals have made a particularly good fist of Opposition yet at all. Opposing power privatisation in the lower house was a magnificent act of self-sabotage on O’Farrell’s part—and I say this as an energy-privatisation agnostic.
Also here’s Ross Gittins today.

There’s no crime in running a budget deficit during economic downturns as long as you run operating surpluses during the expansion phase. Indeed, trying not to run deficits when the economy is weak risks making things worse…

Nicholas Gruen
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
13 years ago


I too have thought about the dearth of talent the NSW Govt must face after all the sackings and fallings on swords.

But it led me in a different direction – Bob Hawke’s proposal in his Boyer Lectures in (around 1978) that a number of ministries be filled from outside the Parliament.

Of course such Ministers would still need to answer to and retain the confidence of the Parliament as any other minister does.