Eek, I just wrote a long response and lost the lot by pressing something on the touchpad, damn computers :)
Anyway, I wont try to recreate, just to say that I have read our constitution many times, and our government, although it pushes the envelope at times, is acting in accordance with our constitution.
The government is allowed, by the constitution, to operate and own businesses. This is true for federal, state and local governments. Telstra is an example of a federally owned company, (now partly, due to the privatisation of some of the company). Our local council owned caravan park, is an example of this sort of activity, at a local government level.
The parliament, after debate, decides on the legislation, and the laws are tested in the courts. The judiciary did not make any decisions regarding the privatisation of telstra, as this was legal under our constitution.
If you ever get the chance, watch a movie called "The Castle", its very funny, but shows how the constitution can be used in Australia, for the people, rather than against them.
As far as another economic collapse, I agree, it is going to happen. This cycle of collapse and partial recovery, can be halted, but it would take a change in the way people see the basic principles of economics. We need to stop looking at either capitalism or socialism, as the fix, and should be looking at a balance of both political ideals.
People become apathetic when they are powerless, and that seems to be the aim of governments today. I glad there are people like yourself Chaz, that stir that apathy :)