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People have lost faith in privatisation and it’s easy to see why

TJ Ryan Foundation Board member, John Quiggin, writes in The Conversation (10.8.16) about how the presumption in government is that privatisation is always desirable, but many failures have led consumers to think differently.

‘From the viewpoint of ordinary Australians, privatisation is a policy that has consistently failed but is remorselessly pushed by the political elite. It is little surprise that voters are turning to populism in response.

‘“Privatisation” is a term that covers a multitude of policies. These range from the outright sale of government business enterprises like Medibank Private to the outsourcing of services like IT support for government agencies.

‘In a mixed economy like Australia’s, the boundaries of the public and private sectors are constantly shifting. The desirability or otherwise of privatisation needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

‘However, the rhetoric that has dominated Australian public policy for the last 25 years embodies the presumption that privatisation is always and everywhere desirable. The many failures of privatisation have led most ordinary Australians to draw the opposite conclusion.’

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