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Friday, June 02, 2006

Selling out the nation

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Prime Minister JB Chifley: opening ceremony: Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric scheme, Adaminaby, 1949

National Archives of Australia (when will this be sold off?)

NAA: A11016, 821
Howard, Iemma and Bracks have decided to sell the Snowy Mountains Hydro Ltd., an icon of Australia's post-World War II development. This is a national shame which brings no glory to those involved. Glorious though is the letter sent by 56 prominent Australians to their Prime Minister begging him not to proceed with the sale. Miss Eagle publishes the letter below for all the world to see together with the honourable Australians who signed - many of whom are known internationally.

"The undersigned appeal to the Commonwealth to suspend the sale of Snowy Mountains Hydro Ltd. This iconic enterprise was a stepping stone on our path to nationhood and was seen by all the world as a marker of our aspiration. It is part of the glue that binds us.
Handing control of this central pillar of our water and power supply to those whose interests cannot be guaranteed to reflect our own, at a time of climate water and energy uncertainty such as we have never seen, is imprudent at best and could so easily end in bitter regret.
That the sale is proceeding, apace, with so little public understanding, is wrong. Such an action demands rigorous and transparent analysis by people of vision, with unquestionable objectivity, undistracted by unrealistic time limits, short-term budgetary considerations or vested interests.
We ask you to suspend the process to give pause for analysis and time for free and open debate of this manifestly non-partisan issue in all parliaments of the nation. Water is far too fundamental and precious a resource to be put in jeopardy with so little forethought.
A wise and sensitive response to the widespread and growing public anxiety about this sale would attest to the strength of our democratic system and serve to enhance the unwritten compact between parliament and people that has allowed this country to work so very well.
Our warrant for this appeal is that we are all so very fortunate as to have been born into or welcomed by this wonderful place we call home."
Les Murray, Poet
Donald Hazelwood, Concertmaster Emeritus, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
John Bell, Actor, Bell Shakespeare
Siobhan McHugh, Author and Historian
Geraldine Brooks, Author
Julian Burnside, QC
Paul Barratt, Former Secretary, Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy
Andrew Buttfield, Civil Engineer
Alastair Mant, Author
Richard Leplastrier, Architect
John Anthony, Former Deputy Prime Minister
Ian Lowe, Scientist, President, Australian Conservation Foundation
Mick Dodson, ANU Institute for Indigenous Australia
Bill Hayden, Former Governor General
Jack Mundey, Former Union Leader
Tom Uren, Former Federal Minister
Cate Blanchett, Actor
Bernie Fraser, Former Reserve Bank Governor

Peter Cockbain, President, Institution of Engineers
Justice Marcus Einfeld, QC
Bob Wilson, Chief Commissioner of Water Resources
Jonathon Biggins, Writer
John Button, Former Federal Minister
Jeff Angel, Director, Total Environment Centre
Faith Bandler, Author
Bob Ellicott, QC
Ted Mack, Former Independent Mayor, MLC, MHR NSW
David Malouf, Author and Poet
Sheila Swain, Former Mayor and head of the Mitchell College of Advanced Education
Malcolm Fraser, Former Prime Minister
Gordon Samuels, Former NSW Governor
John Menadue, Former Public Servant
Max Talbot, Former Engineer, Snowy Hydro Ltd
Rachel Siewert, Senator
Peter Andren, MHR, Fed
Alison Broinowski, Writer and Former Diplomat
Craig Ingram, MLA, Vic
Peter MacDonald, Mayor, Former MLA NSW
John Hatton, Former MLA NSW
Vin Good, Former Snowy Commissioner
Tony Windsor, MHR, Fed
Robert Manne, Professor, LaTrobe University
Andrew Bartlett, Senator
Glenn Murcutt, Architect
Henri Szeps, Actor
Richard Wallace, Mayor, Snowy River Shire
Ian Barker, QC
Ian Frazer, Scientist, 2006 Australian of the Year
Paul Stephenson, Mayor, Goulburn
Richard Broinowski, Former Diplomat
Bob Ellis, Author
Russell Savage, MLA, Vic
Peter Sculthorpe, Composer
Lady Southey
Lyn Allison, Senator
Natasha Stott Despoja, Senator
Douglas Nicholas, Convenor