The Honourable Jeff Kennett AC, former Victorian Liberal Premier, promotes multiculturalism. In particular in public, “Multiculturalism is good for jobs.” But he had never revealed other reasons. Speaking to a well-heeled audience of Melbourne’s planning elite - another group keen on high immigration for the increased housing demand - he said more.
Video inside: The Kennett era in Victoria represented a neoliberal makeover of government, state and local. Swept to power during a global property collapse in 1992, the Liberal premier imposed radical and rapid transformation without electoral platform or forewarning. It was a classic case of the international phenomenon documented by Naomi Klein in Shock Doctrine. This talk focuses on the transformation of the core municipality of greater Melbourne – the Melbourne City Council in its historic context. It was disempowered and its citizens disenfranchised between 1992-9 to give the Growth Machine of property interests and state government free rein. That Machine emerged from the mid 1970s, being reinforced under the previous Labor government, 1982-92, as the manufacturing sector was phased out federally; cranes on the skyline was Premier Cain’s catchcry. Kennett capitalized on a political and institutional tradition in which property interests (entrenched in the Victorian Legislative Council) dominated from inception. Other Australian colonies were founded by government rather than land seekers.
Video inside: This article is the text of a speech by Sheila Newman about how Kennett Government policies pushed up population growth in Victoria and Australia. Whilst many people remained for a long time under the impression that immigration numbers were a Federal domain, he began the practise of using regional migration definitions to attract people to urban Melbourne. He also de-toothed Victorian industrial law, affecting wages, condition and enforcement. The new interpretation of regional migration was adapted by other States and territories. Kennett's attack on Victorian industrial laws would ultimately pave the way for Workchoices and a much less effective system for ensuring that imported workers were not paid less than Australians, creating a new pull-factor in Australia.
UPDATE 29 September 2015, Click here for video of speech.SPAVicTas AGM, 5 September 2015, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, 4th Floor Conference Room: 1.45 for 2pm. Speaker: Dr Angela Munro, Public Policy expert: "Kennett's 'commonsense revolution' and the Melbourne 'growth machine'. "The unilateral substitution of an appointed commission for the elected Melbourne City Council in October, 1993 by the incoming, neoliberal Victorian Government, was followed by its disempowerment as a democratic institution before reinstatement in emasculated form in 1996. The resounding defeat of the Labor government, in 1992, coincided with an unprecedented global property collapse whose cataclysmic economic and political consequences in Melbourne were conducive to this marginalisation of the City Council and citizenry. A historic dual conflict over the governance and development of central Melbourne between the Victorian Government and the City Council on the one hand, and between central city property interests and citizenry on the other, was immediately resolved. Whereas efficiencies justified council amalgamations statewide, the Melbourne City Council was subject to separate and extreme centralisation of state government power, deregulation of urban planning and de-democratisation as a micro CBD council."
On the ABC News radio this morning (9 Sept 2012) we heard that private coal companies are demanding compensation for carbon trading costs from the Victorian Government and apparently this is being taken seriously!
Kennett's legacy to Victorians has been no Victorian on the public payroll has a secure job, their employment can disappear a the stroke of a pen.
The local council is staffed by compulsory part timers and town planners lurch from 3 month contract to 3 month contract leading to no continuity of planning decisions and less than fearless and forthright planning decisions.
Local council services for the less well off in the community are provided by part time staff so that programs for the elderly are haphazard.
Teachers can spend up to 10 years on contract applying for their job and 50 others in the area every 6 months.
Patients in private hospitals as well as public hospitals are in the tender care of nurses who were hired at the start of the shift who don't know their way around today's workplace.
Because we still have employer based superannuation schemes older workers are not able to find meaningful permanent work.
In short Kennett's reforms were a disaster for working women and state public servants in Victoria throwing them out of secure employment and forcing those who were retrenched to continue in casual work or face a poverty stricken old age.
I think the rent seekers are those leeches in the financial services sector.