Saturday 21st of May 2022

perrottet, the grave digger...

on the fairwayon the fairwayDominic Perrottet’s five-man “Catholic Cabinet” rushed through a deal to deliver control of Sydney’s cemeteries, ergo $5bn in capital, to the Catholic Church, in defiance of independent expert advice. Callum Foote reports.

Evidence emerging from Gladys Berejiklian’s ICAC inquiry shows alarming similarities to the way in which senior MPs in the NSW Coalition government are pushing for the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese to be given control over Sydney’s vast cemetery network. 

The cemeteries are set to run out of space in under a decade, and its operators are about $300 million in debt. In 2020, the NSW government developed a proposal to amalgamate Sydney’s five cemetery operators into a single efficient operator: OneCrown.

Unfortunately for Archbishop Anthony Fisher, one of these operators is the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (CMCT). The amalgamation would effectively wrest control of Rookwood cemetery and other assets away from the CMCT.

Under the government’s proposal, referred to as Option 1 by NSW cabinet, OneCrown would be able to develop the new Macarthur Memorial Park, extending the term of Sydney’s cemeteries until 2045, at which time they could use the excess capital they have amassed over 20 years to buy new land for burials.

Extensive financial analysis has revealed that under option 1, Sydney’s failing cemetery sector would eventually result in a financial boon for the state’s balance book while providing low-cost and efficient burial services for Sydney residents.

Despite a year of intensive Catholic lobbying against the proposal which Michael West Media reported on here, everything was set for Option 1 to be considered on Monday, September 27. That is until Finance Minister, Opus Dei Catholic and former board member of the CMCT, Damien Tudehope, demanded Treasury mock up a last-minute Catholic Option



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polishing perrottet's toilet...



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Jack Waterford is erring in the winderness — or is it the wilderness...??? It appears that Jack Waterford, a writer we usually respect, has gone apeshit about Perrottet... Is it a trick? Or has Jack gone fliperoo? Or is Jack sarcastic???? When Jack says : "Dominic Perrottet is one of a small and intimate group whom I am entitled to call cousin..." one has to worry about Jack... Perrottet has no idea about social values, heritage, and anything else that does not have a church or an account balance sheet in it... Anyway, here is Jack:




The NSW premier is a fecund source of ideas about the future of the federation. And he believes the states should be at the forefront of reform.


Dominic Perrottet is one of a small and intimate group whom I am entitled to call cousin. Anyone who has heard murmuring about his being one of but 12 kids, himself in the process of adding a seventh to his own progeny and of his being regarded as a conservative Catholic will understand why he has been already judged and found wanting in some quarters. But as a person who shares his eyebrow gene, I’m inclined to think that he should be given a chance before we defenestrate him, as we probably ultimately will.

I have probably about 600 cousins as closely related by blood as Dominic, and even if I stick only to Perrottets, there would probably be 300. My grandmother, Norma Perrottet, first cousin to Dominic’s grandfather Frank, had 11 children, 76 grandchildren and well over 200 great-grandchildren at last (not recent) count.

I don’t know Dominic at all, though I knew his grandparents well enough, and they were fine people. From time to time Perrottet descendants gather, usually having to book the Dubbo Showground, and having to wear various coloured ribbons to distinguish each of our lines of descent from Samuel Perrottet.

Sam was a bastard French-Swiss winemaker imported to Australia by Governor Latrobe of Victoria in 1848 and settled around Geelong with 50 other men (including a de Castella) with the intention of establishing a Victorian wine industry. Samuel sold his winery soon after gold was found in the area, married an Irish woman, had a large family, and found  gold by selling meat to miners. He ventured into western NSW, ending up around Narromine.

Upwards of Dominic’s and my generation, I doubt that many Perrottets have ever voted Labor, though it is far from uncommon in our generation and below.

Indeed, Dominic Perrottet was only recently casting aspersions on the unsightliness of the Cahill Expressway at Circular Quay, named after a former Labor premier, Joe Cahill, also by way of being a (remote) cousin of mine, if not of Dominic. Dominic did not criticise Joe, probably as pious a Catholic as himself. Nor his judgment over the commissioning of an Opera House at Bennelong Point, but he did suggest, rightly enough, that the man would be more honoured by tearing down the unlovely expressway so that Circular Quay, as much as the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House could be made one of the loveliest creations of human civilisation on earth. He’s far from the first to say it but could do something about it, if he means what he says.

Last week, Perrottet took advantage of the National Press Club and dull political weather to announce some ideas about reforming the Australian federal system, informed by lessons learnt from how the Commonwealth and the states managed through the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, I suggested that the Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, join other premiers (and chief ministers) in calling a royal commission into lessons to be learnt from pandemic management. This was particularly given the complete lack of interest in any such review or looking back by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

Those who do not learn from pandemic mistakes are bound to repeat them

The value of an inquiry could be better and more efficient ways of handling future pandemics (which are virtually inevitable), including better distributions of power and responsibility between central and state governments. Only incidentally, if deliciously, would it also serve for some point-scoring between the players, and perhaps the allocation of credit or blame for some of the plans which, however well intentioned, did not turn out as expected.

Perrottet said the pandemic was a stress-test for the federation and had demonstrated the importance of strong states. Premiers now enjoyed unprecedented popularity. The Commonwealth had played a pivotal role — its JobKeeper program had saved the economy — and the vaccination program, if a bit of a disaster during its “not a race phase”, had ultimately been successful.

“But the pandemic has been fundamentally a frontline crisis. And when it comes to frontline service delivery, the responsibility lies with the states. So I believe federation reform in a post-Covid world should be state-led, not Commonwealth-led. Reform should be driven from the bottom up … We need to move to an era of frontline federation.”

The national cabinet, created early in the crisis, had been a successful innovation, certainly a lot more productive than anything which had come out of COAG — the Council of Australian Governments. But the treasurers’ equivalent, the Council on Federal Financial Relations, had been completely dominated by the Commonwealth, to the detriment of genuine or serious policy discussion, largely because the states had not supported each other.

Perrottet said that his disappointment as treasurer with its workings had led him to organise informal meetings with state treasurers and the creation of a new body — the Board of State and Federal Treasurers.

“We realised that the federal government could take a ‘divide and conquer’ approach to these meetings — because we weren’t working together. And while we didn’t agree on everything, there were many areas where we had strong common interests.

“The point … is to get states working together across party political lines to develop good policies. Not just the treasurers — but treasuries too.

“The states have so much in common with one another, even despite their differences. So it makes sense to work together — to share information, test ideas, and collaborate — all while maintaining a dynamic competitive tension.”



Tomorrow, Jack Waterford examines Perrottet’s advocacy of co-operation between treasurers


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