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Apr 30, 2014

Coalition hypocrisy? Abbott and Hockey in their own words

As the budget looms, we compare what Coalition leaders said in opposition with what they're saying now. There's quite a difference ...

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As Tony Abbott’s government prepares to hand down its first budget next month, there are surprise plans for a new “deficit tax” or levy, plus cuts to welfare payments for families earning over $100,000. Neither plan was mentioned before last year’s election. We compare what Coalition leaders are saying now with what they said before getting elected. Will there be some “nasty surprises and lame excuses” from Abbott after all?

On increasing taxation …

Then-shadow treasurer Joe Hockey in a media interview, June 29, 2010:

“Because under us, let me tell you, Tim, I say it with absolute, absolute conviction and with no qualifications, we will always spend less than Labor, and we will always tax less than Labor.”

Then-opposition leader Tony Abbott, February 10, 2011, in a speech to Parliament on Labor’s temporary levy after the Queensland floods:

“Why should the Australian people be hit with a levy to meet expenses which a competent, adult, prudent government should be able to cover from the ordinary revenues of government? … The one thing [people] will never have to suffer under a Coalition government is an unnecessary new tax, a tax that could easily be replaced by savings found from the budget.”

Then-opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, January 25, 2011, on the flood levy:

“This is a dumb idea … It will indirectly affect everyone because there will be less money and less spending in the community …”

Hockey on the flood levy, January 26, 2011:

“It’s just plain stupid, dumb stuff.”

Abbott to a No Carbon Tax rally, August 16, 2011:

“No tax collection before an election.”

Abbott speech to Parliament, September 14, 2011:

“I say to this Prime Minister there should be no new tax collection without an election.”

Abbott, media conference, March 12, 2012:

“What you’ll get under us are tax cuts without new taxes.”

Abbott media conference, November 20, 2012:

Abbott: We are about reducing taxes, not increasing taxes. We are about getting rid of taxes, not imposing new taxes.

Journalist: Is that a promise?

Abbott: This is my whole reason for being in politics, in the Parliament.

Liberal election policy, 2013:

“But only the Coalition can be trusted to actually deliver tax cuts and genuine tax reform that will boost the economy and ease cost‑of‑living pressures for Australian families.”

In April 2014 it was revealed the Coalition plans to bring in a new “deficit tax” to get the budget closer to surplus. According to media reports, the tax would likely take the form of a direct levy or an increase in income tax rates, which would kick in for people earning $80,000-100,000. 

Abbott in a radio interview, April 29, 2014:

“I think if there was a permanent increase in taxation that would certainly be inconsistent with the sort of things said before the election … I am committed to lower, simpler, fairer taxes. Do I say that no charges will rise? No, I don’t.”

On whether families on $150,000 should get social security …

Abbott, May 2011, on Labor’s move to freeze the indexation of welfare payments to families earning $150,000:

“These are class-war cuts that the government is inflicting on people.”

Hockey on Labor’s move, 2011:

“… the politics of envy.”

Abbott in his budget reply speech, May 10, 2012:

“The fundamental problem with this budget is that it deliberately, coldly, calculatedly plays the class war card … families on $150,000 a year are not rich, especially if they’re paying mortgages in our big cities.”

This week, Abbott said families earning over $100,000 should no longer get welfare payments, a surprise announcement that experts say probably means cuts to the Family Tax Benefit system and the paid parental leave scheme.

Abbott in a speech on April 28, 2014:

“But the best way to help families on $100,000 a year is long-term tax relief and more business and job opportunities, not social security.”

On keeping election promises …

Abbott at the Coalition’s election campaign launch, August 25, 2013:

“We will be a no-surprises, no-excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future.”

Cathy Alexander —

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

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41 thoughts on “Coalition hypocrisy? Abbott and Hockey in their own words

  1. tonyfunnywalker

    The Abbott government will be a one term admintration. The Method of winning was Negativity — supported by the press corps which took the profession in to the sewer of malice, beatups to oversell a party unprepared for governemnt – one advised by Murdoch not to upset the electorate and we will elect you, build up expectaions by saying “wait till we are elected and then we will announce policies” . ( Note the front page ” exclusives in the Australian ” — all part of the deal). Elected with a cupboard bare of policy; other than to dismantle the last 6 years of Labor legislation and the implement the 75 point IPA policy “wish list” so well illustrated by various Crikey articles and blogs.
    The outcome is the the electorate is being subjected to the worst government since federation. It is so niave so rather than gain control of the Senate post July it has so antagonise the electorate that in fact it has now lost complete control of the policy agenda. Palmer and the Greens now determine the passage of legislation. No government has in 8 months has broken every UN human rights convention of the processing of refugees, trashed the efforts to combat climate change; trashed the education curriculu; intends to allow bigotry dressed up as free speech — trashed a sound economy and with the scare mongering of the Commission of Audit any recovery of consumer and business confidence is expected to fall to an all time low. “Calling” the car industry to go — so they left —without a plan for providing employment for the 100,000 in the supply chain that will be put out of work by their exit. The list is endless and the Liberal political rhetoric purile for the last 3 years whether it be on economics or anything else for that matter. The electorate is betrayed – treated like fools — lied to — but even worse than that — any reasong or engagement has been absent. ” We know what is best for you’ so grin and bear it” and bit like Macmillan in the UK with and and equal purile slogan of ” You have never had it so good”.
    If Abbott wants to redirect government policy then there needs to be a open debate with the electorate so that the electorate can be convinced and thus adjust percptions accordingly.
    The Abbott Government does not even have the decency to consult its own Party Room, let alone the Parliament as they hide behind a biased speaker and the doctrine minders in the PM’s office who intimidate members to maintain the party line and to protect an incompetent PM.
    Let this be the end of media driven populism and the corruption of democracy by dollarocracy as is now manifest in NSW and smouldering in Victoria as Australia cannot afford to elect an inept administration that promised much and has delivered absolutely nothing constructive but has excelled all expectations in delivering malice, and good old self serving bloody mindedness.

  2. Noelene Turton

    Abbott is trying to court the labor voters by saying he is taxing the big end of town. He will lose both because those who can really afford it and companies that should be paying tax in Australia have means not to do so. What Abbot needs to do is forget the paid parental leaves scheme and cut spending. The government is funding many projects we can’t afford as well as his idea of paying working woman to stay home to have babies, single mother’s pension. Yes pay for one mistake but why does it increase with more children until it is unprofitable for the women to go out to work. Make childcare affordable so these women can work. Create projects projects so that unemployment and single mother’s pensions are not free. It is bad when it is more profitable to live off the government that get a job. Money for counceling for couples- what a waste. We have too many public services. Working in the public service I have been appalled at the increasing unproductive paper work over the years that really does little but to keep people in jobs. Half my day is reading emails about policy changes and things I have to sign to say I understand rather than doing my job. Most of these don’t relate to me.

    If Abbott wanted to break his election promises he should break the GST one. Increase the GST to a reasonable level and have no exceptions services, food, rents collected, etc. All goods coming into Australia should be subject to the same GST. Companies however could claim this back. By increasing GST those who use the services pay for them.As one person said on business spectator set it at 20%. Have 10% set aside to be run by a separate body to look after our pensioners(who we obviously can’t afford as the numbers increase and 10% for the states, but it would be more cost effective to abolish the states and cut down the number of public servants. We are already overtaxed and our highest tax rates cut in at one of the lowest levels in the world. There should be a flat tax, perhaps 15% for those on less than $250,000, and 20% for companies and those with no deductions. Make money earned in Australia subject to Australian tax. eg companies expenses incurred outside of Australia eg management fees and outsourcing should be subject to the same rate of personal or company tax rather than being straight deductions. That would encourage companies to keep the jobs in Australia where they didn’t have to pay that tax. However to protect the unemployed and those on social services there should be an increase of 20% in all benefits- an increase of 10% in the GST will be more in the long run for those on lower wages.

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