05 May 2016
by John Lord

“What was the point of your three years in office?”

1 Leigh Sales got it right when she asked the Treasurer; “What was the point of your three years in office?” On the eve of an election it is a relevant question to ask a government who in order to gain office accused the Government of the day of absolute carnage in terms of running the economy. And then proceeded to triple the debt of the Government it so condemned.

Without doubt this is a bland budget. It doesn’t scare anyone particularly, but nor does it inspire. It doesn’t hide three years of Abbott and Hockey’s incompetence. It just asks that we forgive and forget and give them another chance.

After saying revenue was not a problem it proceeded to use three Labor policies to raise some.

They are by way of Superannuation, Tobacco excise and clamping down on Multi National tax avoidance. All Labor policies announced some months ago. Even if they are variations on Labor’s theme.

The high income earner’s Superannuation Tax Concessions which are much larger than Labor’s may have hidden ramifications. Will we now see these high salaried people move into the Negative Gearing market and make housing affordability even worse?

Although if Labor won they could adopt the Coalition’s policy and negate the rorting of both Super and Negative gearing.

Yes, it is a budget that the Coalition wants everyone to forget in a week which is a strange strategy given they could have included it as part of their election campaign. Anyway, people will probably forget it quickly enough because there isn’t much to get excited about. No boldness to remember.It is also a budget that doesn’t predict a surplus for years. It doesn’t apoligise for it which is hypocrisy of the worst kind given its ”budget emergency” damnation of Labor. The tax cuts for business rely on future growth to GDP of 3% which in the current volatile economic climate can best be described as just plain silly.

There are no brave policies that suggest they can be trusted. No policies with the heralded innovation at their core. All they are doing is following, ostensibly against their better judgement, I suspect, Labor’s lead. They do not want any scrutiny on their appalling economic governance.

They are, after their gross negligence asking the Australian public to have faith and to forgive them their slanderous talk to gain office and their incompetence it.

An example of their maladministration is that this budget still contains $13 billion worth of savings the Senate failed to pass in the last two budgets, and if the next Senate contains a similar mix of independents, is unlikely to do so.

A Treasurer who continues to hoodwink the public with unrealistic bookkeeping lacks trustworthiness. Particularly when they say they will decrease the deficit from $37 billion to $6 billion in three years’ time.

Talking about economic elasticity I’m still trying to figure out how a small business can be described as one with a turnover of $10 million today but by 2019 it will be $100 million. That sort of logic is staggering.

As Chris Bowen said:

“In fact, Mr Turnbull is so desperate to give a tax cut to the top end of town that he’s changed the definition of small business. Apparently in Mr Turnbull’s Australia, big businesses like Goldman Sachs are a small business!”

Governments should be judged on performance. This one hasn’t.

So Leigh Sales was right to ask the question:

“What was the point of your three years in office?”

And so should every Australian voter be asking the same question.

Obviously the Reserve Bank has one view of the economy and the Government another.

By the way I lost count of the “jobs and growth slogan” in Morrison’s speech. I gave up after 22.

It’s a plan they say. If it is it has gone through three years of talking, and talking and talking. Just exactly what the plan is remains unclear to me. Incidentally there are more people looking for work now than at any time in the past twenty years.

Underlying this budget is the conservative ideology of Margaret Thatcher:

“There is no such thing as society, there are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich”. (Paraphrased).

At the end of Morrison’s speech the usual clapping and hand shaking took place. The notable exception was Tony Abbott who never moved from his seat.

2 The latest Essential Poll continues to have Labor four points in front. IPOS and Newspoll will follow next and we will be able to gauge people’s reaction to the Budget. You don’t get much closer than this. Another hung parliament, anyone?

3 A couple of days ago I noted the “Carping” performance of Barnaby Joyce in Question Time. It was a performance so cringe worthy that it went beyond embarrassment into a disgrace that this man is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. You be the judge lest you think I’m exaggerating.

4 Not to be outdone in the ‘poor taste’ stakes Peter Dutton confirmed to all and sundry that he is the uncouth vile self-delusional fool that everyone thinks he is. At a press conference he said:

“I have previously expressed my frustration and anger at advocates and others who are in contact with those in regional processing centres and who are encouraging some of these people to behave in a certain way, believing that pressure exerted on the Australian government will see a change in our policy in relation to our border protection measures … We are not going to change those policies, and the advocates, by providing false hope to these people, really [are] to be condemned. They can provide offers of support that is reasonable. But to provide advice otherwise is very dangerous”.

Not one iota of evidence to back his claim. Not an ounce of compassion. The veracity of his claim is untested. It is a serious allegation that requires substantive evidence and not just vague references to “advice” and “intelligence”. Such remarks are cowardly but not unexpected from a Minister of dubious integrity.

His predecessor made similar unfounded claims against a charitable organisation which proved to be untrue. Not even an apology.

This Government has a petulance for blaming everyone else but its own policies. When will they admit that they have condemned theses people to spend the rest of their lives in captivity? Shame shame shame...