22 July 2007

swallowed by Singapore

Stephen Mayne, of crikey.com wrote an interesting opinion piece in The Age today.

WHEN shareholders in Perth-based energy utility Alinta Ltd gather to vote on the $15 billion carve-up of the company on August 13, few of them will realise the remarkable historical event they will trigger.

In accepting $4.5 billion of cash from Singapore Power for a suite of Australian electricity and gas distribution assets, Alinta shareholders will lift the total value of Australian business assets controlled by the Singapore Government to almost $30 billion.

This will exceed the value of commercial assets owned by our own Federal Government, which is surely an unprecedented situation for any First World country. How can a foreign power own more of Australia than our own government?

While ordinary Singaporeans have limited democratic rights and still don't enjoy benefits such as Australia's minimum wage (the world's highest), the Singapore state has amassed an empire worth more than $200 billion — and it has now put more of it into Australia than any other country.

there is quite a lot there to read, but the crunch

Planes, child-care centres, shopping centres, department stores, satellites, hotels, power lines, gas pipelines and mobile phones: the Singapore Government owns all that and more in Australia yet this is barely mentioned in public debate.

Does anybody else out there feel a little uneasy about this phenomenon, especially given the secretive, autocratic and undemocratic tendencies of the Singapore Government?

Australian companies, let alone our Government, would never be allowed to buy equivalent assets in Singapore.
Click here to read more.

Yep, it's fine for a dictatorship to own a lot of our assets, especially our critical infrastructure.

I didn't do much this morning. Went to the club after 1pm to watch the game and met up with Nick for a few beers.

After the game, I came home and made apricot chicken to be cooked in the oven, then cleaned the bathroom. I also managed to clean the floor, but it is only half done. Bah!

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