The more readily Murdoched portions of the daily press are gunning hard for the Rudd Government over leaks that put sensitive examples of Howard Government largesse under stern razor gang scrutiny. Take money away from pensioners? Shameful. From carers? Disgusting. Or mealy mouthed as Malcolm Turnbull puts it. The Government should just pledge to renew the late term gifts of John Howard.

“They didn’t do that and now we get this mealy mouthed statement from the Prime Minister from the Solomons: ‘I won’t leave you in the lurch’. It’s meaningless,” Mr Turnbull told Channel 9’s Sunday program. “It’s weasel words.”

Which ignores the fact that the Howard administration never committed those funds for this budget period either: they were one-off bribes. So which is the worse offender: the government that clings to its majority through well-targeted, cynical profligacy, profligacy that manipulates the dire needs of the most disadvantaged for electoral benefit, or the government that questions those particular magic puddings while clinging to its own version of lavish voter inducement, the looming $31 billion in Rudd tax cuts? Your call. Chances are we shouldn’t have either.

Peter Fray

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