tip off

The real cost of opposition policies … or lack thereof

Refusing to release policies ahead of an election is sensible for an opposition. But there’s a terrible cost when they return to government — the muscles need stretching first.

While Penny Wong was yesterday lamenting how irresponsible the opposition is in not detailing its fiscal policy nine months out from an election, the government was demonstrating exactly why any sensible opposition declines to do so. This morning, via Peter Martin in Fairfax papers, we got a partial analysis of the costs of three opposition policies, which would cost business $4.6 billion immediately.

The three policies are the levy for Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme, the removal of small business tax breaks as part of the carbon pricing package and the removal of loss carry-back provisions.

The analysis was prepared by Treasury. It is standard for government departments to prepare analysis and briefing on opposition policies at the request of ministers’ offices. I recall discovering, as a young Department of Transport graduate in 1994, an entire drawer full of “confidential” files devoted to assessing the impact on transport of the Fightback! package and briefing ministers on it. It’s one of the privileges of incumbency that not merely can you get an army of public servants to dissect your opponents’ policies, you can then pick and choose what part of that dissection you release to the media, with public servants prevented from ever pointing out that you have cherry-picked or willfully misinterpreted their analysis.

Today’s analysis, for example, didn’t include anything on the impact on business of removing the carbon price. Bear in mind, also, these are policies that actually increase government revenue, although in the case of paid maternity leave it’s to fund middle class welfare by transferring money to middle and higher-income working mothers.

The message from the government is thus: the opposition is irresponsible in not giving us fiscal policy detail, but it reserves the right to misrepresent what little detail the opposition does release. In which case, Joe Hockey is being eminently sensible in refusing to release any detail until the election campaign.

While Fightback! was at the extreme end of political suicide notes, we’ve now gone to the other extreme. There is no benefit for oppositions to release policy detail outside the hurly-burly of an election campaign, when analysis gets lost in the flood of policy detail.

And this is a broader, cross-partisan version of the problem that first plagued the Labor Party and now looks set to trouble the Liberal Party.

As Labor has found to its immense cost, if you elect to abandon public discussion of policy your capacity to effectively prosecute policy when in government atrophies. For 20 years, Labor preferred to keep policy debate to a minimum, especially at national conferences, for fear of being portrayed as divided. In opposition, it adopted a small-target strategy to prevent the Howard government using incumbency to attack it. The result was that its capacity to sell its policies, to debate and explain them, withered through non-use. The party of Hawke and Keating, of Button and Walsh, “good policy can be good politics”, became the party of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, too scared to take on Abbott at an election over an emissions trading scheme.

The same thing is now occurring to the Liberals. An extraordinarily effective negative politician, Abbott is, on the few occasions he has tried to be one, a dud positive politician. Sometimes this is because his policies themselves are rubbish. His speech about deregulation last week, for example, was a juvenile collection of right-wing nostrums that betrayed a complete absence of awareness of how government operates.

But Abbott struggles to explain the most basic policies. Amazingly, voters male and female actually prefer Labor’s paid parental leave scheme over his despite it being vastly more generous. His approach to media management makes things worse. Shadow ministers are discouraged from giving long-form interviews in which they can be grilled at length. And there are rarely detailed policies to discuss if they do them. The emphasis is on the day’s talking points.

Skills unused atrophy. It’s what happened to Labor, right across the party, after 1996. It’s what’s happening to the Liberals under Abbott. And the real consequences won’t be felt until they’re back in government, where being negative won’t help and you actually have to explain policy to voters.

What to do? They’d be mugs to subject themselves to more headlines like today’s. And yet the longer they go avoiding putting policies out, the worse they’ll be when they return to power.

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  • 1
    GeeWizz
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Abbott should dump the Paid Paternity scheme as it’s not a vote winner and the Labor minimum wage scheme is more economically responsible.

    I think Abbott should take a fully-funded pledge of a NDIS paid for by an increase in the medicare levy to the election as well, because as we know Gillard has been all talk about this topic, whereas Abbott could be seen as the guy who actually will make it happen. Most people will support the policy, afterall who doesn’t want to help disabled children?

    Just make sure unions and their heavies are legislated out of the new money pit.

  • 2
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    And the Australian voters certainly can’t rely on the print and electronic media to ask relevant questions of opposition policies. Afterall that’s what an aspiring mediocre media is all about - all fluff and no substance. Isn’t that Tony Abbott and his government in waiting spokespeople lucky …what an easy ride into government. Have no policies and say nothing as the media asks for nothing, no please explain …three of four word slogans are published with glee no questions asked. We the Australian public are less inclined to pay for their respective media products and tend to regard many media commentators with an increasing level of contempt. No-one has ever asked Tony how come Whyalla is still there and how come the sky hasn’t fallen in?

  • 3
    David Hand
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The “real cost of opposition policies” is an oxymoron. Because they are not in government their policy costs can’t be real. They can be analysed, criticieed, disagreed with but cannot be actually paid for.

  • 4
    Jimmy
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    For once I agree with Geewiazz - “Abbott should dump the Paid Paternity scheme as it’s not a vote winner and the Labor minimum wage scheme is more economically responsible.”

    However I can’t see how Abbott could take a fully funded NDIS to the election because he can’t even fund the anouncements he has. Just removing the carbon tax, keeoingthe tax cuts and pensions increases and spending billions on top of that for his direct action plan creates a massive black hole, and that is before he scraps the
    MRRT, means testing of numerous things and winds back the health insurance reforms.

  • 5
    Observation
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Abbott and the Liberals haven’t needed any policies as they have their media mates to have us focus on crap. There is no substance in what they say except for this “holding the government to account” line which is wearing very thin.

    Come on boys, come up with something other than “this is a terrible government and things could be done better”. I fear if the government had no policies, just like the Liberals, then Abbott would have nothing to say!

  • 6
    Hunt Ian
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    It is hard to work out what Bernard is saying here. With a commitment to democracy one would expect that policies be put forward so that the electorate can think about them. The problem Bernard sees in this is that the other side can misrepresent policies and exploit the help of the public service. This would not be such a problem if the opposition could also get help from the public service and was able to point out the misrepresentation. Bernard is really saying that the opposition does not have any commitment to democracy. He could also have added that it does not need to because MSM will help if its real policies, which it keeps from the public are seen by media owners as being more in their interests than the government’s.

    Bernard then contrasts the Hawke-Keating style with Labor under Rudd and Gillard. The problem with the comparison is that the policies being put forward then were very different. Hawke and Keating won support from the media and a less than totally hostile opposition because they proposed to follow Thatcher and Reagan in boosting the share of profits in the economy. They did it through the “Accord,” which cost the trade union movement more than it cost the government. They also did it through privatizations, which got “privatization” a bad name, and by enthroning neo-liberalism as the source of “evidence based” policy for government. On the positive side, they also freed up trade and finance and removed rigidities, which improved the Australian economy.

    The increase in profit share was fundamentally based on a huge increase in productivity achieved by transforming Australian workers from among the least hard worked to the second most hard worked workforce in the world, in circumstances where business pocketed nearly all the proceeds of this productivity improvement. This style of productivity improvement is limited. It ran up against its limits years ago, and the Howard government took no steps to replace it with other forms of productivity improvement that relied on increasing the sophistication of capital equipment. Instead, the Howard government committed to still increasing the profit share in national income but this time by restraining wages and dismantling benefits

  • 7
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I understand that it is now orthodox that the Coalition lost the Fightback! election because Fightback! was too detailed. But as I recall the Coalition nearly won that election. I suggest that it lost not because of the Fightback! detail but because of 1 of its proposals, for a gst.

  • 8
    Hunt Ian
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The real problem for Rudd and Gillard is firstly that business still wants an increase in the profit share and it sees that this can be done by dismantling the welfare state. This dismantling is already going on in Europe, although Europe is also to some extent introducing the speed up policies introduced in Australia in the Hawk era. It is what the Australian Financial Review editor supports. Tony Abbott does not want to talk about it because it might not seem attractive to the electorate as opposed to most of business. The second problem for Rudd in particular was that no attempt was made to explain policies. They were simply dropped on the public with the hope that they would get media support because they were “evidence based”. Why Rudd did this is a bit of a mystery but it possibly reflects his lack of proper sleep, which rendered him less and less effective, and his confidence in his ability to keep in touch with the public. Gillard was initially stuck with the problem of working through the legacy issues, including the carbon tax to be followed by an emissions trading scheme. Now she is hitting her straps with a policy of productivity improvement through up-skilling the Australian workforce and engaging with Asia to trade in complex manufactures, including agricultural products like wine, cheeses, etc etc. So Bernard, the lack of explanation might soon become a thing of the past, although the difficulty of getting explanations into the MSM might continue, as was illustrated in its assumption that opposition to sacking Slipper by parliamentary vote equalled support for his remaining speaker. A fair section of MSM might get on the bandwagon of dismantling the welfare state because the “evidence based’ theories of neo-liberalism tell us that it is “efficient’ even though any such assumption is entirely baseless.

  • 9
    gruy fghyu
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    when are we going to hear then end of this “we the people” fantasy? there is no “we the people”. there’s you the plebs, and those with money and power. examine the mining tax, those with money and power got to negotiate their own tax regime and now end up paying nothing. and now “they” talk of raising the gst to make up the short fall. we the people indeed…..

  • 10
    tonyfunnywalker
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    The opposition is in a policy gridlock. The decision to use every tactic imaginable to gain early government has put the opposition into a time-warp as the campaign against the carbon tax dissipates.
    Voters need to see hope and progress for all.
    The Liberals are not helped by inept governments in NSW and Qld and a government of shame in Victoria (at least Troy Boswell was sacked).
    The Liberals in SA has its umpteenth re run of the “night of the long knives” Brutus(Pyne) misses the mark badly, he will stab himself soon.
    The Liberals in WA are a mind all to themselves.
    The electorate is fed up of Slipper/ Thompson/ Gillard/ Rudd/ they are non issues, but perpetuating these issues is causing a polarisation which is damaging Abbot as Liberals scream out for change of direction
    Policy release now is a little late as the anti Abbott sentiment takes hold in the quagmire of early success turning to failure.
    Gillard has taken the high ground and at the same time the Opposition oxygen.
    Gillard has delivered the undeliverable with a minority government in a hostile political and economic climate.
    Peoples living standards have been maintained and to many that’s all that matters.
    Gillard can now afford a policy hiatus leading up to the election and watch the Liberals implode as polls become polarised and the re-election of a Labor government becomes more likely.
    Like a poorly coached football team they claimed victory at 3/4 time. But the self anointed Full Forward for the Dogs (Gillard) has thrown off the “Taggers” ( that was what her mysogony speech was all about) and is slotting goals from the boundary lines often outside 50.
    The Liberals will now need to go direct if they have any chance at all and I don’t think a shuffle in the forward line will make any difference.
    The Liberal coaching staff have lost the game plan and to have the misfortune of the National Party making up the numbers. They have no game plan at all and argue amongst themselves too much on the field.
    There is too much ” handball ” and ” kicking backwards” to retain possession.
    And this is where the Liberals lost the game plan, they thought that the 5 minutes to full time started at the first bounce. There are 4 quarters in every game and you cannot guarantee wining at the first bounce.
    There is 12 months to go the election and the Liberal Forward line is tired, bored and boring as they parrot issues long dead or have been neutralised.
    And the voters who may have voted Liberal in the first quarter like any Footy crowd are heading for the car parks and the train station in the forth.

  • 11
    GeeWizz
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy,

    You’ve got your selective reading glasses on again.

    I said quite clearly the NDIS would be funded by an increase to the medicare levy.

    Also scrapping the Carbon Tax and Mining Tax is budget neutral. This is because the Carbon Tax has Billions of Dollars of welfare handouts, which means if you scrap the tax you can scrap the compensation. As for the Mining Tax, it has failed to raise 1 red cent. So scrapping it won’t cost the government a cent. Also there is a legal challenge to it’s constitutional lawfulness and it may be scrapped anyway.

  • 12
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Adding to Hunt Ian’s incisive analyses, high profits also allow business to borrow at higher interest rates.
    Paid out of profits at the expense of wages as pointed out in the Accord.
    And Howard’s Golden era goose has, since 2007, laid a cool $300BIllION interest egg, care of the mortgage slaves whose wages and salaries (and the above interest bills) are paid for by Business, thus compounding the problem.
    Productivity, presumaby measured in wealth, is deeply devoted to employee housing debt interest as well as the interest costs of reasonable borrowing for business expansion.
    Yet, in the face this massive and exorbitant private sector drain on the economy, all voters get from Heckle and Jeckle is a massive whine about government debt.
    A recipe for Recession; the wages of the sin of greed by Adam Smith’s Idle Rich, which surely should be recognised by those,( such as Abbott and company claim to be), of a religious bent?
    Rank hypocrisy as well as economic vandalism.
    But this problem is so massive and entrenched that it takes on the proportions of the propaganda technique of the”Big Lie”.
    Hence those voters who should be heeding the problem quite simply find it unbelievable that the “nation’s self proclaimed best economic managers” could get it so very, very wrong.
    The Abbott lovers are simply irrational and immune to argument clinging to their emotional hatred of a Labor scapegoat to be driven into the wilderness come election day.
    The only avenue of rational appeal is to the business sector who, for their own survival, ought to be imposing a complete embargo on political donations to the conservatives.
    The Idle rich are getting enough of business’s hard-earned without feeding even more interest the the political employees of the “Idle Rich”; Abbott and friends.

  • 13
    John64
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    This morning, via Peter Martin in Fairfax papers, we got a partial analysis of the costs of three opposition policies, which would cost business $4.6 billion immediately.”

    Wait a minute… You mean to say that the Liberals have a tax policy that will /actually raise money/? No wonder the Government are worried! None of their taxes do that!

  • 14
    drsmithy
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    The real problem for Rudd and Gillard is firstly that business still wants an increase in the profit share and it sees that this can be done by dismantling the welfare state. This dismantling is already going on in Europe, although Europe is also to some extent introducing the speed up policies introduced in Australia in the Hawk era. It is what the Australian Financial Review editor supports. Tony Abbott does not want to talk about it because it might not seem attractive to the electorate as opposed to most of business.

    Especially if someone shows the electorate the graphs here under “Income from GDP”.

    http://www.abs.gov.au/AusStats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/5204.0Main%20Features22011-12?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=5204.0&issue=2011-12&num=&view=

  • 15
    Achmed
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I would happy enjoy seeing some policy ‘meat’ from Abbott and Co. The are many questions that I would like to see answered.
    When he repeals the CT how will he ensure the prices rises associated will be removed? How will he distinguish between a normal business cost increase and the CT price rise?
    How much taxpayer money will he be donating to the polluters? How big a Govt Dept and what will it cost to oversee the spending of taxpayer money by the polluters?

  • 16
    geomac62
    Posted Monday, 5 November 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    As for the Mining Tax, it has failed to raise 1 red cent. So scrapping it won’t cost the government a cent.
    The tax is based on profits over and above the norm and will only get revenue when those conditions apply . To scrap it means that when commodities rise no revenue . On the basis of your comment about nil revenue so far what is the imperative to remove it ?
    On welfare handouts the question to consider is the welfare for those in real need or handouts such as the baby bonus ? Handouts is correct in the latter example and incorrect in the first . On a similar theme but not under the welfare name is the diesel subsidy to very profitable mining firms , some 2 billion dollars .

  • 17
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Abbott should dump Treasury department from top to bottom and start again. They make too many mistakes, are political and leak. Start again and send a message.

  • 18
    Achmed
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Watched an interesting debate by some “econmists” that a version of the MRRT would have been of more benefit to Australian taxpayers if it had been introduced firstly during the Howard era and the second chance was in Rudd’s first year of office.
    It was their view it has been an opportunity lost and that it could be several years before we see any benefit from that tax.

  • 19
    Achmed
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Geomac62..Perhaps instead of the MRRT the Govt should have simply removed the diesel subsidy and reduced other tax breaks.

  • 20
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Geewizz - You did say that but Abbott has categorically ruled out any tax increase to pay for it (although it makes perfect sense, even if the renamed and brought back in the flood levy).

    As for the carbon tax & MRRT removal being neutral, bedside the fact that Abbott’s direct action policy w ould at the very least add billions of dollars Abbott has said he will keep the tax cuts and pension increases so it cna’t be neutral.

  • 21
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Geewizz - This is from the SMH today “Starting from the same point as Labor, he must account for abolishing the carbon and mining taxes, but keep some of the policies they pay for, personal tax cuts (they cost at least $3 billion a year), his $3 billion a year paid parental leave plan, the $3.2 billion Direct Action plan on climate change and other promises besides. But he has opposed cuts to so-called middle-class welfare, and won’t introduce new taxes or broaden the GST.”

  • 22
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Abbott’s basic policies rely upon the economic truism that low wages allow higher profits which in turn allow business to compete for capital by paying higher interest rates.
    So higher profits are diminished by the payment of higher interest rates and when the idle rich revel in unearned income, those higher interest rates unmatched by higher productivity(The idle, as the critics of welfare recipients remind us, produce nothing; neither do the idle rich) produces inflation.
    Why should business wholeheartedly embrace such a losing game?
    Why should any productive industry, primary, secondary or service, destroy their own capacity by buying this low wage nonsense?
    Thanks to a feckless mainstream media, key voting groups remain in thrall to their debt peddling captors, the classic Stockholm Syndrome in action.
    Have no doubt, the beneficiaries of Abbott’s low wage policies have it already worked out.
    They could not care less about about “productivity”.
    Abbott’s employers want Australian assets at fire-sale prices and they and their flunkies will float above the inevitable Abbott Recession, buying up for a song what Australian businesses can no longer afford to own.
    Wake up, does James Packer have any Australian customers?
    Find out how the game is really played.
    And it is all Julia’s fault?
    Howards midlle class welfare dissolved whatever backbone these self-centered fools ever had and now they are reduced to whining worms about to be squashed underfoot as “Other” people take over their assetts, with Abbott’s henchmen taking their service fees for the transactions.
    All too hard? Ask the self funding German industrialists how much they borrow from the “Idle Rich”?
    Australian industry has a choice, starve Abbott and company of election funds or die.

  • 23
    Achmed
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Jimmy - Abbott’s plan is to fund all this by cutting the public service? can’t see where else the money will come from. He plans to do away with the “income” (taxes) but continue the spending.

  • 24
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Achmed - And cutting the public service never saves as much money as they think, big redundancy payouts then they end up re-hiring most of them after 12 months anyway.

  • 25
    James Munro
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Abbott was foolish to guarantee removing the carbon and mining taxes. He should’ve simply berated the govt and voted against them. That would’ve been enough to cause the govt pain. Now he’s got to fund the removal of policies which are somewhat accepted by the electorate (still not liked, but of limited political value to the Coalition). The simple way out would be to replace Abbott with Turnbull closer to the election. Then Turnbull could do a Rudd (pretended to be a smaller version of Howard in 2007). That is, copy almost every single govt policy with just a touch of tweaking at the edges to make provide the illusion of difference.

  • 26
    James Munro
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Oh, and Turnbull would not be constrained by Abbott’s promises.

  • 27
    Person Ordinary
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Some really good posts here … Hunt Ian especially

    The Liberals cannot put substantial or practical policy to the public while Abbott is the leader - he is essentially, in policy and economic terms, retarded. And all his crew can do nothing but follow his strategy, the smarter ones reluctantly.

    If a transition to Malcolm Turnbull can be effected, and soon, then the election can be fought on policy, and maybe even the mainstream media can finally participate in proper debate (and that’s a pretty big “maybe”).

    But the problem with Turnbull is that the working class Right, the rednecks, just can’t be convinced he represents them. So the Liberals are stuck, and probably doomed, unless the opinion polls start to favour Labor and force them, finally, to dump Abbott …

  • 28
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Person Ordinary - The problem with Turnbull is that the Libs and News Ltd and A lan Jone s et el have invested so much time now demonising every govt policy like the carbon tax that should Turnbull take over and try to take the party back to it’s more moderate traditions and support market based mechanisms and cut back middle class welfare they would lose what has become their base.

    I suppose your statement of “But the problem with Turnbull is that the working class Right, the rednecks, just can’t be convinced he represents them” is accurate but it is because the conservatives have done such a good job doing the convincing.

  • 29
    Person Ordinary
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    @Jimmy - agreed, that’s why the Libs would need to be “forced” by the prospect of an inevitable election loss

  • 30
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Peson Ordinary - I don’t even think the threat of an election loss would make them go back to Turnbull, which is unfortunate. He isn’t conservative enough and has his postion too well defined.

  • 31
    Sally Wills
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    ((((Like a poorly coached football team they claimed victory at 3/4 time. But the self anointed Full Forward for the Dogs (Gillard) has thrown off the “Taggers” ( that was what her mysogony speech was all about) and is slotting goals from the boundary lines often outside 50.
    The Liberals will now need to go direct if they have any chance at all and I don’t think a shuffle in the forward line will make any difference.
    The Liberal coaching staff have lost the game plan and to have the misfortune of the National Party making up the numbers. They have no game plan at all and argue amongst themselves too much on the field.
    There is too much ” handball ” and ” kicking backwards” to retain possession.
    And this is where the Liberals lost the game plan, they thought that the 5 minutes to full time started at the first bounce. There are 4 quarters in every game and you cannot guarantee wining at the first bounce.
    There is 12 months to go the election and the Liberal Forward line is tired, bored and boring as they parrot issues long dead or have been neutralised.
    And the voters who may have voted Liberal in the first quarter like any Footy crowd are heading for the car parks and the train station in the forth.)))))

    Bwaaaahhahahahahahaahahahbwaaaaahahahah.

  • 32
    Person Ordinary
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy, you are probably right about the thinking of those currently with the numbers. But just as the Republicans in the US can rely on the tea party nutjobs, the Liberals can rely on the rednecks, even without blatantly pandering to the self-interest of the intellectually challenged, because there is nothing else on the Right …

    To one point Hunt Ian made: Rudd’s problem was not a lack of sleep, but an unshakeable belief in bureaucratic efficiency - that if we just work hard enough, wisdom can prevail. The reality, of course, is a little different, and as he struggled against the forces of self-interest and anti-wisdom, he pushed those under him to work even harder, to the point where they just couldn’t take it any more …

  • 33
    Joe Sony
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    What he should do, in the name of political expediency and to the detriment of the nation, is create fairy tale, make believe policy funded by budget savings that he can point to in a futile attempt to claim the moral high ground. Granted it wouldn’t put him in much of different position than he is now, but it would make some people feel better.

  • 34
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy,

    provide 1 quote… 1 single quote… where Abbott has said he would keep Labors welfare handouts when the Carbon Tax is axed.

    Just 1 quote will do thanks.

  • 35
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    If you accept Adam Smith’s teachings that “capitalists have an interest to deceive and oppress the public” then Abbott’s policies become clear.
    Deceive and oppress voters to go against their own best interests.
    Picking on the rednecks seems almost too easy.
    It helps to know that industrialists are not capitalists, Financiers are capitalists.
    The union part of the capital versus labour argument usually have the wrong target, their “bosses” when it is actually the banks dictating the fortunes of capital.
    What masquerades as democracy is just a cynical charade.

  • 36
    drsmithy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    provide 1 quote… 1 single quote… where Abbott has said he would keep Labors welfare handouts when the Carbon Tax is axed.

    What other interpretation would you suggest for Abbott’s vociferous attacks on, say, the reduction in the baby bonus or private healthcare rebate ?

  • 37
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - Now by Welfare handouts do you mean the tax cuts and pensions increases? Because as Lenore Taylor points out above he has committed to the tax cuts, in fact Hockey committed to a tax cut in the first budget.

    As far as other “welfare handouts” Abbott is opposed to the Means testing of the Health Insurance rebate this govt brought in & the tightening of the FTB. In fact every time the govt tries to cut back on middle class welfare Abbott cries “Class Warfare”.

  • 38
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - Just because unlike you I actually answer the challenges put to me this is from insiders on the 8th of July 2012

    BARRIE CASSIDY: Now you’ve got a problem repealing it of course, but the other issue is compensation. Your approach seems too good to be true. There will be no carbon tax, so therefore there will be no price rises, and yet people will get tax cuts anyway, and presumably the pension increases will stay?

    TONY ABBOTT: We will pay for tax cuts without a carbon tax, and for pension increases without a carbon tax through sensible savings in unnecessary and wasteful government expenditure.

  • 39
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Tax cuts aren’t welfare Jimmy.

    This is where you have been going wrong in life.. you’ve been thinking you are a hard working taxpayer when in fact you’ve just been receiving welfare payments.

  • 40
    Achmed
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    While Abbott and others standing behind him yelped and carried on when the baby bonus was reduced it was noted he never said he would reinstate it.
    For this deceiver it was a win-win…crticise the Govt for doing it, but take advantage of the reduction in the middle income welfare,his party created, if he is elected

  • 41
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    How does an “extraordinarily effective negative politician” lose an unloseable election, assisted by the obsessive treachery of a recently ousted John-Howard Light?
    Because the man is the worst opposition leader in the Nation’s history.
    Rudd’s ousting should have handed Abbott government even without that other loser’s assistance at the election.
    But no, all by himself Abbott lost.
    What has changed to make this loser even more electable now?
    You have to doubt the very sanity of his supporters; mindless with hate?
    It’s like some Greek Tragedy, with the former doses of hubris and nemesis to be doubled up again at the next election.
    Abbott, a Sisyphus rolling his election rock up the hill once again, doomed to fail.
    Or a Freudian tragedy, sissified by an abundance of female company he overcompensates to the point of parody.
    And we are asking this poor, tormented prick for policies?
    That’s just too cruel.

  • 42
    Person Ordinary
    Posted Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Hamis Hill, well said, I actually laughed out loud.

    And it is not “hate” so much as ignorance, or more revealingly, ego driven deluded self-interest, which arises whenever positive intellectual experience is in short supply.

    As you already posted, “Picking on the rednecks seems almost too easy.”

  • 43
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 7 November 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Geewizz - I know tax cuts aren’t welfare but they still have to be paid for without the proceeds for the Carbon tax and he also said “and for pension increases without a carbon tax” are pensions not welfare?

    And they voted against the means testing of the private health insurance rebate and tightening of FTB and as Achmed points out he complained about the reduction in the baby bonus hurting famil ies.

    So at the very least Abbott has to come up with $3b to pay for the tax cuts, $3.2b for his direct action plan, $3b for the paid parental leave (this is paid for by increasing company tax), $4b for the promised road infrastructure in capital cities and money to unwind the health insurance rebate & FTB, increase the pensions and change the indexing of defence pensions.

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