|National Archives photo|
forty years ago
when Secretary of the
Prime Minister's Department.
Read it here.
A sample of the clarity and sense:
"If Labor is to differentiate itself from conservative parties, it needs to express that difference in a clear set of principles which accord with the best of Australians’ values. Otherwise the political contest is reduced to satisfying short-term materialist ‘aspirations’, appeasing vested interests and managing the media cycle. In such a contest, Labor is engaged in a futile struggle, for the Coalition is adept at conveying the misleading impression that it is the ‘natural party of government’, particularly because of its supposed competence in economic management. Joe Hockey’s performance as Treasurer shows that this supposed competence is a myth but conservative commentators still persist with the myth."
That's from part 1. John has also reposted his concluding elegant part 6. The language is clear, the arguments important.
Even conservatives acknowledge that only the public sector can provide some services such as national defence and management of the money supply. In addition, however there are economic functions where private funding or provision is possible but only at high economic cost, with distorted incentives and with serious consequences for equity. These include education, health insurance, energy and water utilities and communication and transport infrastructure. In these and other areas there are market failures for which prudent economic principles require a strong government role in funding or provision. Unless Labor articulates and defends the proper economic role of government – a pre-requisite to improving Australia’s weak taxation base – economic growth will be restrained by inadequate public spending and investment.
Of these investments, the most important is human capital to ensure that people can develop their capabilities so that they can contribute to their full potential through employment, business or unpaid work...
...[Labor] should present its human capital policies in the context of a unified set of principles in infrastructure, education, health, environmental protection, underpinned by principles of investing in capabilities, nurturing individual freedom and autonomy and supporting social inclusion.