tip off

Eventually reality will hit the opposition’s fiscal frolic

The sporting cliché is you only play as well as your opponent allows you. The alternative is occasionally true, too: sometimes you play as badly as your dud opponents.

With the spotlight on the Labor leadership stoush and the Carr-for-Canberra reverse wedgie (© Andrew Probyn), the pressure, to the extent that they’ve been under any pressure since April 2010, should have been off the Coalition. Instead, there’s been a series of fumbles and unforced errors.

There was Abbott’s “I’ll be prime minister” line, the sort of thing not so much hated by voters as claimed by press to be hated by voters, and covered accordingly. Then there was the reaction to Bob Carr’s appointment, after the Coalition had spent last week basing its entire political attack on the government over his non-appointment; the indefatigable Christopher Pyne was sent onto Lateline on Friday night to perform the alarums and excursions necessary to cover the retreat on that front, only to be forensically dissected by Emma Alberici.

And then there’s the Coalition’s budget problems. The Coalition is in a deep, deep hole on its budget plans, but judging by the noises coming out of the darkness, they’re still digging.

As former Gillard adviser Stephen Koukoulas pointed out this week, Joe Hockey, in committing to have a lower tax:GDP ratio than Labor, casually signed up to finding an extra $80 billion-odd in savings over forward estimates. Even if it’s delayed until the first Hockey budget in May 2014, it’ll cost an extra $24 billion.

Yes, that’s on top of the current $50-70 billion they need to find. If you had some magical combination of Peter Walsh c.1987 as finance minister and Peter Costello c.1996 as treasurer, you’d still be struggling to achieve that level of savings.

Then there’s paid parental leave, Abbott’s totem for his conversion from a 12th to late 20th century view of women. It’s hard to avoid the impression that Andrew Robb, despite subsequent backtracking, let the cat out of the bag on the scheme this week when he said nothing had been finalised. At the very least, it’s a preview of the stoush likely to happen in ERC and budget cabinet in the lead-up to May 2014.

The problem for the Coalition scheme isn’t just its huge cost compared to Labor’s scheme, which is based on the national minimum wage: the minimum wage will be the baseline of the Coalition scheme, but anyone earning above that will receive up to $75,000. It’s that the scheme will grow much faster than Labor’s.

That’s because the national minimum wage grows more slowly than average weekly earnings for women. The minimum wage has grown on average 2.7% per annum since 2008 — although it wasn’t increased at all that year. Full-time adult female earnings grew on average 4.7% per annum over the past five years. In 2007, it grew at 5.4%. The Coalition, correctly indexed the scheme cost at 4.7% on its 2010 costings. On that basis, the scheme will cost $4.7 billion in it first year and total about $20 billion over forward estimates and keep growing rapidly. In years with high jobs growth, faster wages growth will accelerate that growth.

That $20 billion figure is a lot of money to fix Tony Abbott’s problem with women voters. There are image consultants who’d charge a lot less and, judging by Abbott’s current unpopularity with women voters, do a better job.

There remains, too, the problem of the Coalition’s costing of its direct action policies on climate change. This is grossly underfunded in terms of the price per tonne of abatement, if we assume the Coalition is at all serious about achieving a 5% reduction target by 2020, let alone any more ambitious targets. The fact that few in the media other than Lenore Taylor have focused on the profound problems of this policy doesn’t mean a Coalition government won’t have a serious funding problem with the policy. For the moment, however, the opposition’s stance on this revolves sticking its collective fingers in ears and chanting “not listening.”

Joe Hockey is giving an economic speech early this afternoon intended as The Australian Financial Review declared today, to be a “spine stiffener” for the opposition. The real job the Coalition’s economic team needs to do is start giving comfort it’s not totally at sea on its fiscal strategy. Sooner or later reality will hit.

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  • 1
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Anyone with half a brain can see the coalitions economic policies are a poularist shambles that will be seriously damaging to this country and if the debate stays on economic grounds the govt will be much more of a threat in the next election than many expect.

    The concept that their policies on the carbon tax & MRRT of keeping all the compensation while cutting the revenue (and in the case on the carbon tax then spending billions more of their own policies) don’t add up will be grasped by even the most economically illiterate voter as they don’t pass the commmon sense test. Raising the company tax rate to pay for their parental leave scheme is hated by business and most of the liberal party itself and the massive amount they will have to cut from govt spending to achieve a budget surplus will salm the breaks on economic growth.

    Add to that today’s pronouncement from Barnaby that the Nationals will support the parental leave scheme if Abbott commits to zonal taxation (I assume code for tax cuts in marginal National party seats) and you really do have an absoulte mess.

  • 2
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Hang on, what’s going on here?
    Am I in the right place?
    Am I actually reading an article at Crikey that is daring to criticise the parliamentary Opposition, that is stating, finally, belatedly, the bleeding obvious?
    Actually putting a modicum of pressure, shining a murky spotlight on the shambles that is the COALition, drawing some minimal attention to its many levels of incompetence?
    Yikes!
    What next - an admission that they have no sensible policies, that there are deep rifts within their self described ‘unity’[sic], that they are ethically challenged? That they are not an alternative to the existing government?
    Perhaps just hinting, softly of course, no screaming rants, that the COALition is plain wrong on just about very major issue relevant to Australians.
    Nah. Won’t happen.
    We’ll be back to the standard Gillard/ALP bashing soon.

  • 3
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Fredex - I wasa amazed to, just goes to show what can happen when people stop focusing on Rudd V Gillard!!

    BK did still assume the Libs will win the next election though.

  • 4
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Gidday, Jimmy.
    For a person by person comparative evaluation of the government team versus the Opposition media mouth pieces of the COALition its worth checking out Andrew Elder’s blog “Politically Homeless’.

  • 5
    Scott
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Come on Jimmy, you know how it will work.

    The week after the election, Treasurer Hockey will state that the budget is in a worse state than even he had imagined. There a “budget black hole (TM)!!!” Thus the Coalition will not be able to pay for all it’s promises as it had previously stated.

    Because of this, Hockey et al have had to make some tough decisions. To keep the MRRT (but remove the company tax cut), remove the Carbon Tax Scheme (and it’s assistance) and sell off Medibank Private and the ABC. Abbott’s Parental leave will be capped at $50,000 instead of $75,000 and the Environmental Direct Action plan will be shelved (which is basically what it was designed for).

    All new governments get one opportunity in it’s early years to blame the previous ones for “non-core” promise breaking. That is why the coalition is not worried about the finances at this stage.

  • 6
    Holden Back
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Where are the spambots?

  • 7
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Scott - I am sure that is what Abbott & Hockey are hoping for, I just hope the voting public aren’t stupid enough to fall for it.

    Whichever way you look at though Scott the Libs economic polices are rubbish.

    Good to see though old Sloppy Joe saying the Libs will slash all sorts of govt subsidies for business, apparently if you business is threatened by the carbon tax that is terrible but if your business goes under because the govt pulled it’s assistance the that’s good policy.

    I also wonder that given the “core” nature of some of those “non core” promises whether Abbott would be branded a L i a r?

  • 8
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Holden - Give them time, they are still trying to figure out which irrelevant distraction to go with today - Anyone want to have a stab at it, maybe Craig Thompson and the corrupt unions, Mark Arbib and the faceless men, the ever popular julia l i ed or maybe Carr for PM or Ruddy to challenge before June 30 for tax purposes, basically anything to get off the topic of coalition economic policy.

    Oh and stand by for the “the coalition doesn’t need to have costed polices” line.

  • 9
    Steve777
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe the Coalition actually intends to implement most of its policies. When it takes office next year, we’ll hear the cry “Oh woe is us! The Labor black hole is even bigger than we feared. We’ll have to ‘postpone’ some of our policies”, including the parental leave scheme. And given that most Coalition members don’t believe that we should be taking action on climate change, the 5% reduction target for emissions will be quietly ignored. I don’t believe that ‘Direct Action’ was ever a serious policy. All we’ll see will be a few token hand-outs to buy votes here and there. It was only ever a fig leaf dreamed up when the Coalition thought they needed a Climate Change policy to keep on side with its constituency.

    And most of the mainstream media will allow them to get away from it. Either I’m right or the Coalition really are a bunch of economic illiterates. And they accuse Julia Gillard of being ‘economical with the truth’.

    What we will get is: a return of Workchoices under a different name; a gradual winding back of Medicare; a reduction in funds for Tertiary eduction and Social Welfare; privatisation of the ABC and anything else the Government still owns; and pretty much open slather for moneyed interests.

  • 10
    Scott
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Of course Abbott will be branded as deceptive…all politicians are. Goes with the territory. But it will be “Phoney” Abbott, instead of “JuLIAR” Gillard.

    I agree that the coalition’s policies have a slight wiff of populism to them. But let’s be honest…there are a lot more “thought balloons” than actual economic policies coming from the coalition at the moment. You don’t have to pay for an idea.

    But it is working in the polls, so I don’t see them stopping any time soon. Especially when the public have stopped listening to Labor.

    The real action will be in the election year.

  • 11
    SimsonMc
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to see which Accounting Firm will be stupid enough to *Audit* their costings.

  • 12
    David Allen
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Have I come to the right place? If there’s more policy analysis I might have to fork out for another subscription. 3 months to make my mind up.

    Thanks for the “Politically Homeless’ link Fredex.

    Have the trolls got the day off?

  • 13
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Simsonmc - My money is on whichever one Suzanne Blake works for!!

  • 14
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy

    Anyone with half a brain can see the coalitions economic policies are a poularist shambles that will be seriously damaging to this country

    Sorry to correct you Jimmy, but anyobne with half a brain can see that the LNP will NEVER implement any of their brainfart policies. Even if they are elected :wink:

  • 15
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Scott and Steve777.

    I add that the Coalition will claim in its first budget that it is scrapping the NBN to save $ … billions (insert the sum needed to balance the budget). Only later will it transpire that the Coalition’s attempted hobbling of the NBN will save a small amount of government expenditure at the country’s cost of much higher internet prices, less convenience and lost productivity improvements.

  • 16
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Gavin, Scott & Steve777 - While I agree that this is probably what the Libs will attempt to do given they can’t actually pay for any of their policies it isn’t as easy as it once was given the tightening of the rules and the advent of the PBO.

    And if they did try this how many treasury officers would leak against them?

    Also it is strangely quiet on here today, is ti that not even the most die hard Liberal can defend their economic policies?

  • 17
    The Pav
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    When Menzies won power after the war he did it on a high spending platform

    It was the incumbent Labour govt that continued to prosecute austerity programs.

    The Howard govt was the highest spending/taxing govt in our history. If they had been investing in needed infrastructure then that would have been OK but mainly they invested in things like paying FTB to the wives of high income earners, Heath Insurance rebates for the wealthy that didn;t actually help the health funds, &0% of the education budget on 30% of the students. Many at the wealthy schools and so on.

    Selling off things like the airports which went frrom being accountable govt monopolies to unaccountable private monopolies , The stuff up of the Telstra sale

    Appalling waste and mismanagement

    Hockey , Abbott etc were senior members of that.

    Waste and incompetence are in their DNA yet they countinue to shout the lie they have any degree of economic competence and a compliant, spineles andwitless gallery lets them escape without serious examination.

    Hockey can’t even add up for gawd’s sake. He should have been laughed out of public life but no he hasn’t and this can only be because of the failure of Australia’s jopurnalists to make a true contribution to our democracy and instead focus on the ego enriching games of insider speculation

  • 18
    Joyce Parkes
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bernard Keane for yet another insightful analysis.

  • 19
    JMNO
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    What no-one seems to talk about with Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme is its massive inequity. In a non-contributory scheme why should some women get more than others from the taxpayers’ purse? In schemes overseas, women get paid a proportion of their salary because they have made a contribution through their national insurance payments. Here it is not proposed that women pay anything, apart from their taxes, yet get more if they earn more. Another massive Abbott transfer to the better off.

  • 20
    tinman_au
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    jimmy said “I also wonder that given the “core” nature of some of those “non core” promises whether Abbott would be branded a L i a r?”

    Phoney Tony” more likely, folks like catchy sound bites!

  • 21
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I suspect you’re right Jimmy. But I expect the Coalition thinks it can still get away with this tired and predictable move. It will fail, as you suggest, and that with its other disfunctions and the growing realization of the Gillard government’s achievements will result in the Abbott government lasting only 1 term and making its return from opposition that much harder next time.

  • 22
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    JMNO - The other issue isthat it isn’t maternity leave, it is parental leave, meaning that the higher income earner can take the 6 months.

    Gavin - The other thing the that Abbott might be hoping for is that as the senate will still have the greens in the balance of power (more than likel y) they will block all his ridiculous policies, he can sya he tried and blame the greens and then move on.

  • 23
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Jim,

    It’s not that this astroturfer is pro-liberal - he is anti-labor. They can’t defend Joe Hockey or Abbott. They don’t know about any of that sort of thing like budghets and numbers or facts.

    All “they” know is we pay too much tax, guvvermint is stealing our Constitutional freedoms, that Rudd was a defender of democracy and that Juliar Hussein Gillard was born in Pakistan and works for al Quaeda.

    Poor old Joe - the best thing he can do for the next 18 months is spend a lot of time with his family and with the mobile switched off. Trying to explain or defend these whims is embarrassing and rather pointless. And, of course, as others have so cynically pointed out, it’s not like they’ll actually be implementing any of it - not when that vast enormous huge black hole opens up … all bets are off. Core promises, non-core promises and outright fibs.

    But underneath it all is a deep and thorough contempt for Australian voters.

  • 24
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    If the Media-Abbott-COALition coalition gains government at the next election it will last longer than one term.
    The COALition’s incompetence will be ignored by the media, excuses and distractions will be found, their [non] performance will be spun as ‘masterly’ [Bernard has already said that sort of thing about Abbott here] the ALP and the Greens will continue to be denigrated mindlessly.
    People will suffer and the victims will be blamed.

  • 25
    Wombat
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most of the comments here, but I think we need to keep political and contract realities in mind. Namely, that the Coalition will find it very, very difficult to abolish the Carbon Tax given the Lab-Grn block in the Senate (even with a DD election). Also, a lot of the NBN will be locked in by contracts, which the Coalition won’t be able to break.

    I doubt that they’ll try to privatise the ABC - I think the voters would be incredibly hostile to that after the Telstra debacle.

    Which leaves them with basically just the post-election budget black hole claim (inevitable, regardless of real circumstances). What scares me is the horror policies the Coalition will have to invent AFTER winning the election to distract voters from their complete inability to deliver on any promises.

  • 26
    jeff holland
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Julia will try honesty/

    We’ve been pretty rubbish, but the other mob are not just going to be worse, but they are going to scrap all the policies the people actually like just to cover their arse.

  • 27
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Wombat - “What scares me is the horror policies the Coalition will have to invent AFTER winning the election to distract voters from their complete inability to deliver on any promises”

    We just have to hope, pray and do as much as we can to ensure Abbott doesn’t win the next election!!!

    I still have hope that the electorate will eventually focus on policies and see the massive risk in voting Liberal.

  • 28
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the Senate is likely to block the Coalition’s most destructive Bills, which would provide some cover for the Coalition. But that doesn’t cover it for the budget, where of course the Coalition is weakest and its potential damage is greatest.

    I hope a lot of the NBN is locked into contracts, but it would be a very prescient government which managed to provide for all of a new project’s contingencies in its contracts. A Coalition Government could decline to consider the adjustments needed to make a contract workable, thus hobbling that part of the network.

  • 29
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Gavin - The other issue for the Libs on the NBN is that the ALP’s spending is on the acquisition of a income generating asset so “off budget”, if the Libs scrap it and bring in their policy which is simply infrastructure spending (similar to roads) which doesn’t return income it will be “on budget” making their black hole even bigger.

  • 30
    guytaur
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition do not have long to regain the lost mantle of better economic managers. For all the reasons above.
    I believe they will not. This beause the party is split down the middle between moderate and extreme factions.
    All the while with a leader who thinks he is a member of the American Republican Party. A party famous for its small government claims when it comes to social policies. However, one that believes in largesse with government money when it comes to the well off.
    As for Mr Bbotts Parentel Leave Scheme women are not buying. They know it is not practical. They understand it is not a change towards woman by Abbott. They know it is a expensive vote buying exercise.
    A pattern following Mr Howard. People remember. All this with no Industrial relations policy because thespectre of “Workchoices” persists due to refusal to rule out the very things that got the Coalition turfed out last tme.
    This Parliament has had a massive legislative accomplishment in one session. Last seen in Whitlam days. There is going to be much more legislation passed before election time. Labor is goint to have a small book to point to and say “What you going to undo MR Abbott”. We know the nasties have happened. The good is to come.

  • 31
    Harry1951
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I doubt that the coalition’s budget proposals ( if one can dignify the incoherent mess that it is with the term) will never be implemented. It seems predicated on the warranted assumption that the main stream media (Herald Sun and probably other outlets of Murdoch) will not closely scrutinise them.

  • 32
    SBH
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    wheres a forensic auditor when you need one?

  • 33
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I prolly have to concede that the Coalition won’t proceed with its promise to ‘scrap’ the NBN.

    It’s just that I suspect that part of the Coalition dries’ opposition to the NBN is that it would be another public asset, like Medicare, which demonstrates the value of government action but which they’re stuck with because it is so successful. So I fear that the Coalition will try to hobble the NBN before it proves its worth.

  • 34
    guytaur
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    @SBH

    Maybe at Menzies House trying to work out credible economic policy for the right.

  • 35
    guytaur
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Another example of Coalition problems with economic credibility. Today Wayne Swan said “I have a message for the world. We are in good nik nnand we are”
    I did not hear one journalist contradict this statement.

  • 36
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    SBH - Don’t poke the bear, it has been great to follow this thread without the inane rantings of the great unhinged one.

    Guytaur - “This Parliament has had a massive legislative accomplishment in one session. Last seen in Whitlam days. There is going to be much more legislation passed before election time. Labor is goint to have a small book to point to and say “What you going to undo MR Abbott”. We know the nasties have happened. The good is to come.” You are correct and it is also an example of where Gillard has performed better than Rudd, get the unpopular decisions out of the way as soon as possible and then you are able to go into the election focusing on education and health.

  • 37
    Microseris
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Non core worked for Baillieu in Vicco. Just about the only promise he honoured was to put the cows back into the Alpine national park.

    A gesture of appreciation to his brother in law who was ED for the Mountain Cattleman’s Assoc, who he then put on the board of VicForests so the plunder of our state owned asset can continue for the benefit of vested interests.

    Sorry folks bit off topic, got carried away..

  • 38
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I hate to quote the polls cos they partly function as self fulfilling verification of media spin but … plug in the current state of play, say 53/4 [COAL] to 47/6 [ALP/Greens] and do a rough [cos nothing else is possible at this stage] count of the Senate after the next election assuming [and its a big assumption] that the population votes as polls suggest and the Senate is a wee bit more complex than the other house.

    You will find that its not a given absolute that the Senate would be hostile to a COALition government.
    It could be a hung Senate or even a pro-COALition one .
    Note I’m giving Xenophon to the COALition, after he extracts a pound of flesh, and similarly I wouldn’t be surprised to see a DLP [again] or Family First senator - or 2 or even more.

    In 2010 the rightists got 36 senators [inc X and DLP], the Greens got a couple in by the thinnest of margins. If there is a popular swing to the COALition, compared to 2010, of a couple of %, or more, then a couple of Greens can be excluded, with their place being taken by the religious fanatics and the ALP could decrease by 1 or 2.
    That could give the COALition, and allies, a majority overall.
    Its possible, I would suggest we don’t automatically discount such.
    Its a scary scenario.

  • 39
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Scott - “Of course Abbott will be branded as deceptive…all politicians are. Goes with the territory. But it will be “Phoney” Abbott, instead of “JuL I A R” Gillard.” Os Why is a lot more made of Gillard’s dishonesty than Abbotts?

    I agree that the coalition’s policies have a slight wiff of populism to them. But let’s be honest…there are a lot more “thought balloons” than actual economic policies coming from the coalition at the moment. You don’t have to pay for an idea.” Slight whiff, try pungent odour, and the paid parental leave was guaranteed again today, the opposition to the MRRT & Carbon tax is set in stone and so is retaining the compensation and super increases, and Abbott has also guaranteed further tax cuts in the first term, these are more than thought bubbles and do need to be paid for.

    The polls aren’t hurting them because the focus has been elsewhere, but the closer the election comes the greater the focus.

    And even if they do win the election is that the govt you want?

  • 40
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Baillieu is a good guide to Abbott:

    1 he wasn’t expected to win;

    2 he’s moderate;

    3 he made some silly promises, but not as many as Abbott.

    And I think Baillieu is implementing more of his promises: he increased pay for the cops (while strenuously resisting increased pay for nurses), he increase police numbers, and he is puting those faux security people on the trains (guards and conductors, anyone?).

  • 41
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Moderated.
    Basically what I said is that if we look at the 2010 Senate results, extrapolate from a current poll situation of COALition 54% 2PP then a Senate that is COALition friendly after the next election is possible.

  • 42
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    True, but most expect the polls to tighten in the lead up to the election.

  • 43
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Gavin Moodie - I agree on Ballieu, he never expected to win and so promised the earth thinking he would never have to deliver. And while his promises were silly they were generally in the communities best interest, ie more cops, more pay for cops, teachers & nurses. They still should of been properly costed though.

    Abbott is is completely different.

  • 44
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Abbot and the Coalition play a dangerous game with their constant ability to avoid talk of policies combined with endless negativity and come an election you will see the polls dramatically change.

    If the Libs leave it to the last minute enough voters may choose to stay with the devil thy know given Gillard & Co will have had 3 years to demonstrate whatever internal Labor ructions, they can at least steer a steady ship.

    Abbott and his media fellow travelers might just cry ‘wolf’ too many times and the electorate only has to be reminded of his work choices’ fiasco. The media has written off Labor too many times and they simply will not look at the history of the party and it’s ability to re-group and attack again. The first Howard wipe-out and the dramatic claw-back by Labor withing 3 years should have taught the Coalition (and media) something, but it hasn’t.

  • 45
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Labors economic plan is to tax Australians into prosperity…. well thats the claim by Labor anyway.

    22 New taxes and counting under this incompetent Labor government, yet not a single budget surplus to be seen.

  • 46
    Merve
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    The Liberal party wants to have an election tomorrow, it will release it’s policies at the appropriate time.

  • 47
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Actually Troofie, Labor’s secret plan is to impose incredibly harsh and punitive taxes on anyone wot doesn’t know what an apostrophe is… we will drive out ignorance, like the moneylenders from the temple.

  • 48
    James K
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    It is simple: the Opposition, if they win the next election, will simply forget all their ridiculous promises that they have made to help them win the election. They wont be talked about again.

    The conservative media will not hold them to account.

    And if anyone actually does asks -then they will blame labor for “fudging the figures” and “more cut backs are needed” because of them. “it their fault!”

    And a lot of coalition voters will just accept that as gospel truth from their religious abbott. After all, he is a good relisious man. He would never lie.

    Boringly depressing really.

  • 49
    The Pav
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Reality check here GeeWhiz.

    If the current govt taxed at the same rate as Howard there would have been a surplus. It’s just that they are a lower & more equitable taxing govt plus have taken a longer view of things in face of the GFC that we have a deficit.

    I call this good management and far better than anything Abbott/Costello/Howard achieved in the easy economic conditions that prevailed for the vast majority of their tenure.

    I think you should use your full nom de plume, namely

    Geewhiz aren’t I stupid and brainwashed by Abbott and co”

  • 50
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - Took you a while today but you obviously didn’t put that extra time into thinking about what you would write.

    Is it you assertion that contractionary budgetary policy (ie running a surplus) would of been the best way to manage the economy during the GFC and subsequent lingering global uncertainty and if so how would this have iompacted Australia’s economic growth?

    Also if why do you exclude the income & corporate tax cuts (both implemented and planned) from you analysis of the ALP govt?

    And why isn’t the Liberals plan to increase the corporate tax rate bad under the same rationale?

    And could you explain how Abbott’s announced and guaranteed policies will assist in delivering budget surpluses?

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