WHEN John Brumby torpedoed Kevin Rudd’s plan for a Commonwealth takeover of the Murray-Darling Basin, he earned an unedifying nickname from other premiers – ”the terrorist”.At the July 2008 Council of Australian Governments meeting in Sydney, held at a time no one was standing up to the enormously popular, newly elected Prime Minister, Brumby refused to agree to a meaningful relaxation of the trading cap on water Victoria uses for irrigation.Rudd was unimpressed while South Australia’s Premier, Mike Rann, whose home town of Adelaide cherishes every drop that makes it across the border, was livid.So much so, he mentioned it again yesterday when publicly attacking Brumby for threatening to derail Rudd’s plan. ”I just hope we’re not seeing for political reasons in Victoria, Victoria doing to the health reform plan what Victoria did to the Murray River reform plan,” he said.Rann and Brumby clashed again at the November 2008 COAG meeting. In the lead-up, Rann says he enlisted the support of all the states, Victoria included, to press Rudd to revert to a 50-50 funding arrangement for health in which the Commonwealth and states would pay an equal share.Rudd refused. Rann says Brumby sold out the other states and withdrew his support. They agreed on an extra $20 billion over five years but with the same 60-40 formula.Brumby now is demanding the 50-50 deal Rann says he abandoned.Sources said Brumby stands up to Rudd the most and shows no sign of backing down this time, Rann or no Rann.Phillip Coorey
Nanjing Night Net