In 2006 the NSW, Victorian and Australian Governments attempted to privatise the cash strapped Snowy Hydro organisation. An extraordinary campaign of resistance was mounted with leading Sydney radio commentator Alan Jones very prominent. That well known poet “Anon” penned the following piece of dogrel.
The Man From Snowy Hydro (With apologies to A.B. Paterson)
There was movement at the media for the word had passed around that the Snowy Hydro privatisation was astray,
It had joined the masses radar and could easily be beat-up, and all the media power would be on display,
All the tried and noted players from the (radio) stations near and far had mustered to the action over right,
For the Parrot loves hard riding where the national icons are and the populist “pollies” sniff the battle with delight.
There was Heffernan who lost his style when Kirby beat the slight,
the bush warrior with his redemption all aglow,
Few could go against him when his blood was fairly up,
Ask Barnaby and Fiona, they ought to know.
Bill sees water as his saviour and claims to know it all, with Cubbie Station firmly in his sights,
It really is much safer than homophobia and all, and anyway power recovery is his by right.
And Little Johnnie back from Ireland, three elections in his (saddle) bag, knows in truth the three Governments should get out,
I’ll be firm says he, they trust me, I’ll turn this around, a token gesture here and there, just watch me clout.
But the Parrot rode to wheel him, he was racing on the wing, it well might make the boldest hold their breath,
He drove his spiel right through them and he made the ranges ring, with his rhetoric in full audacious flight,
Howard and Iemma copped a lashing how inadequate they felt, and Nairn says Eden-Monaro will be death,
The air waves were electric, how the populace was swayed, it really was a movement to asight,
How could they even think of it, this dastardly plan, to sell an Aussie icon such as Snowy,
After all, the people own it and retention is a must, never mind the Railways and the PMG.
Governments can run things, just look at Cuba and all, don’t trust those nasty markets of the free.
We know Russia’s ‘gone to market’ and China’s freeing up, but clearly they must have got it wrong.
The pollies went to water, Johnnie pulled the plug, and all the rest is history.
Sometimes we must be reactive, give the populists a win.
“I have listened to the people just as democrats should do, it really never hurts to change your mind”;
Just like breaking non-core promises, ‘tis only a minor sin,
And it has the compensation of putting Iemma in a bind.
We must win the next election, me or Pete, it is just so important to get our priorities tall,
To do whatever’s needed to keep the masses on our side, a compromise here or there wont really hurt,
You give a bit and take a bit that’s the game we play; we know we cannot win them all,
We’ll take a bit of flack from the brightest in the land, but they’ll get over it and forgive us for the dirt.
So who are the real culprits, the ones who let Australia down and forced us down the road to the fall?
Where was the voice of reason, of the ones who really understand, the true bastions of the free?
Their silence was so deafening, they never said a word, why were they never heard at all?
If only Alan had not done arts at Oxford, and had not adopted the economics of the L.S.E.,
And down by Snowy Hydro, Terry Charlton holds his head, how to turn my vision really on?
It really is perplexing, are sovereign Governments so weak, they would ultimately control us after all,
Governments are all powerful, it is they that make and the rules, and without their Snowy shares their conflict would be gone,
There ain’t no funds to grow us, to take those foreign generators head-on; I was so looking forward to the brawl.
Snowy was built by immigrants, a truly global exercise, with lots of Yankee contractors their machinery and tools,
It could be something so much stronger, creating more wealth for us all, paying taxes, employing more people and playing by the rules,
Australia will always “own” it, whoever holds the shares, and with new capital it could really make a bigger mark,
But no, we are so jingoistic and myopic, afraid to let market forces have free reign. Sometimes we can behave like bloody fools,
We should live to regret it, but then perhaps we’ll never know, but let’s hope we don’t all end up in the dark.