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The grave problem of votes
letter published in The Australian, 17 August 2009

Tony Abbott ("Some things must pass" Opinion 14/8) argues that, "in response to serious problems, there has to be a conservative case for change". However, he completely overlooks public choice theory, which points out that political parties of whatever ilk have an almost irresistible urge to identify supposed problems and try to solve them by government intervention.

Abbott's Liberal party is supposed to favour small government but has failed abysmally in practice. A major change under the Howard government was to expand middle class welfare to deal with the serious problem of votes.

In questioning the  states' capacity to provide "responsive service delivery", he also overlooks the initiatives adopted by the Kennett/Stockdale government in Victoria, particularly in initiating important privatisations. They set the pace and were ahead of the Commonwealth.

Competition between governments can help improve society by showing that  a greater role for the private sector is beneficial.

Des Moore
South Yarra

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