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Analysis: 207 days of paralysis with caretaker govt

If Australia was a shop, the owner has just hung out a sign saying “closed until after the election”, a point driven home by instability at the highest level of government, the latest ludicrous attempt to boost manufacturing, and more so because no-one in business has dared criticise the loopy plan.

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Tim, I think you need to take off your blinkers and get a taste of reality. The fact that PM Gillard announced a date, from the 2 likely dates, rather than keep it a secret from the electorate has actually created a certainty of sorts, albeit deriving the media types a topic of incessant speculation. I don't think the Barnett government has been in caretaker mode since it was elected, demonstrating foreshadowed election dates do not stop governments from functioning. With the only realistic investment considerations impacting the national election being carbon tax abolition or NBN downgrading, it is worth noting that the support of the Senate is required for any legislative change. With the Greens likely to still hold a balance of power in the Senate post the election, any changes are unlikely in the short term and definitely not until any new senators are sworn in. The bigger impact on investment in WA is coming from the infighting between Collier and Barnett over Energy amalgamation and needs to be rectified post haste. Governments always make ideological decisions, such as this manufacturing announcement. I am sure that by the time any legislation could be enacted, various interested parties will have ensured that the impact is controlled, just as the miners did with the mining tax. I just wish the business lobby in WA would bring Collier & Barnett into line over energy. Abbott has had the coalition on election footing since the day that PM Gillard was sworn in, advising MPs on numerous occasions that Gillard wouldn't last 18 months. I still don't believe that the election will wait until September, however the reality is that PM Gillard has already outlasted Abbott's assessment by a considerable period of time. And the real tragedy is that your blinkered view fails to focus on the real investment uncertainty created by the state government, instead focussing on advertising revenue (a dinosaur measure) that is driven by market economics, not potential federal legislative change.

Absurd to call Australia unstable due to an election being called at long notice. There is so much wrong with this article; the main fault is that it lacks anything resmbling a fact.

Someone should stick to tennis, methinks. The fact that Gillard formally declared an election almost nine months away is what has caused businesses to move into "wait and see" mode, *not* the usual political banter about how long a government might or might not last. Large businesses - the largest job creators thanks to the sheer scale of their capital projects - have already been hammered by regulatory uncertainty regarding the MRRT and the carbon tax, both items that various legislators have threatened to submit, or have actually submitted, changes to over the past 12 months. Now they are forced to wait to consider FIDs on projects until the election in mid-September because a change in government may significantly affect the business case upon which the FID proposals are currently based. This lack of investment will chase away jobs growth across the country. Add to this the silly proposal of some Government apparatchik being required to bless new projects with a "sourced in Australia" stamp? No thanks, large companies will say, we'll wait to see what happens eight months from now. Separately, your comments around being "sure that...various interested parties will have ensured that the impact [of pending and proposed legislation affecting R&D taxation and "buying local"] is controlled" simply beggars belief. How are companies, having a fiduciary legal responsibility to consider risks and explain to shareholders how those risks are being mitigated, supposed to plan expenditures based on your criteria of wishful thinking? If anyone has a "blinkered view", it's neither Tim, whose assessments in this instance are sound, nor is it you, whose opinions on this matter are so silly as to take seriously only in terms of how little you seem to understand about the effects of legislation on companies: a low information voter's viewpoint writ large.

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