Currently we have an interesting contrast between two resource-rich jurisdictions …

Comment on CLP pushes for oil & gas, including fracking by Alex Nelson.

Currently we have an interesting contrast between two resource-rich jurisdictions with struggling economies under new Labor governments, with both governments dealing with substantial reductions in GST revenue.
Last year voters in the NT swept a clearly dysfunctional CLP government out of office, handing Labor one of its greatest election victories, including electorates such as Braitling and Katherine which that party had never won before.
One of NT Labor’s major policy planks was the fracking moratorium which, a year later, continues to be a promise that the new government has upheld.
In March this year the ALP in Western Australia swept the Liberal-WA Nationals Government out of office, achieving the greatest election victory in that state’s history.
Labor in WA promised not to raise taxes but in its first budget the new McGowan Government has broken that promise only six months into its term, plus announcing substantial funding cuts and seeking thousands of voluntary public service redundancies.
In both cases, with one government upholding its election campaign promise (NT) and the other breaking its promise (WA) we have arguments from political opponents and the business sector that both governments are putting their respective economies at risk.
What is the price for breaking key election promises, especially so early in office? The analysis of the WA situation written by ABC journalist Jessica Strutt provides an interesting perspective.
Conversely in the NT we are confronted by the bizarre situation where not only the CLP opposition but the Federal Government are demanding that the NT Government break its election commitment.
It surely comes as no surprise that public cynicism towards politics in general must run deep.
Finally, it’s interesting to note that CLP President Shane Stone has added his voice in criticism of the NT Government’s fracking moratorium.
Mr Stone would undoubtedly recall the circumstances the re-elected CLP government faced after its election victory in October 1990, when he was first elected as the Member for Port Darwin.
Six months later the NT Government announced major expenditure cutbacks and public service redundancies as it wrestled with a dire economic situation and substantially reduced revenue from the Commonwealth markedly similar to the situation the McGowan Government in WA contends with today.
The CLP did not lose office in the 1990s as a consequence.
Indeed, Shane Stone led the CLP to one of its greatest election victories on August 30, 1997 (exactly 20 years ago), winning 18 seats including the previously safe Labor seat of MacDonnell – markedly similar to the current situation under Labor Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
Yet in the following election the CLP lost office for the first time.
Read from this what you will.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Council shoots Anzac precinct gallery down in flames
The Treasurer, Nicole Manison, has just released a “STATEMENT” declaring: “The Northern Territory is still $500 million out of pocket every year despite the Federal Government’s proposed new legislation on GST distribution.
“This legislation protects us from future cuts, but does nothing to restore the $500 million less GST revenue we have lost from Canberra.
“That’s $500 million less for police, teachers and nurses – and this continues to hurt us.”
Well, if the NT’s economic circumstances are now so dire, with so much less money available for essential services, does the NT Government have the $50 million to spare (let alone any extra funding) to spend on a National Aboriginal Art Gallery for which there is no actual plan and no substance to the claims made for its supposed economic benefit?
Notwithstanding its massive majority in the NT Legislative Assembly, this is a government that appears to be floundering with no real idea of what to do.
I think we’re in a lot more trouble than most of us realise.

Anzac Oval: hand it over, says NT Government
@ Hal Duell (Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm):My personal opinion is that I think you’re on the money with your suggestion about the NT Government’s motives, Hal.

Rain: Yesss!
@ Charlie Carter (Posted October 12, 2018 at 7:44 am): You’re correct, Charlie, except the Indian Ocean dipole is positive and the major driver of the current drought conditions across much of Australia.
So now we’re about to cop it from both directions – a “perfect storm,” oddly enough.

Govt spokesman hits out at Opposition over floor price
There’s a strong element of history repeating here, or at least there’s a major risk of it happening again.
A previous scheme to deal with the rampant abuse of alcohol was attempted by the NT Government, under then CLP Chief Minister (and Member for Fannie Bay) Marshall Perron, with the introduction in 1991 of the 10-year Living With Alcohol program.
The scheme was financed with an excise on the price of full-strength beers, wines and spirits.
It was at this time that light and mid-strength beers were widely introduced for sale as a measure to reduce overall alcohol consumption levels in the NT. In 1992 the Alcohol Policy Unit of the Department of Chief Minister found that average weekly consumption of alcohol in the NT was “about 50% greater than the national average and at least 40% higher than any other state or territory” (Alcohol Fact Sheet, NTG, May 19, 1993).
The Living With Alcohol program was generally regarded as having a positive impact; although in the mid 1990s there was (yet again) a crisis in Alice Springs over alcohol abuse and attendant crime and anti-social behaviour.
This was the time when the Peoples Alcohol Action Coalition (later Group) was established by concerned local residents in response to this crisis.
The Living With Alcohol program fell victim to a High Court case decided in August 1997 (Ha v New South Wales), when – in a narrow result – the High Court ruled that such excises are a tax on sale, production and manufacture of goods prior to consumption, contrary to Section 90 of the Australian Constitution.
This prompted the Howard Government to introduce the GST to compensate for the loss of revenue to the states and territories resulting from the High Court’s decision.
Now here we go again? God help us!

Rain: Yesss!
Meanwhile the Bureau of Meteorology this afternoon raised the chance of an El Nino this summer from “watch” to “alert,” with a 70% likelihood of it now occurring.
The rain that some of us received today was delightful but came from an isolated storm. We are in classic drought territory.

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