Now for hiding tax changes. Whether it is real or imaginary does not really matter. Kevin Rudd has achieved enough at his COAG meeting to defuse health and hospitals as an election campaign negative for Labor. If the scheme falls over it will not be his fault but that of a recalcitrant Senate or a stubborn West Australian Premier. The allegation that the Prime Minister is all talk and no action when it comes to ending the blame game on this issue is now well and truly blunted.
Which leaves one major problem: taxation. Getting the Secretary of the Treasury Ken Henry to review the whole sweep of taxation measures is one of those things that might have seemed the right thing to do at the time. When the pressures of an enlarged budget deficit make actually reducing the tax burden impossible, releasing the report becomes something of a horror. Changing taxes in this environment means creating losers and almost certainly more losers than winners. And losers vote against you.