Feb 5, 2014

How the age of entitlement is being restored for the Liberals’ friends

Declaring that the age of entitlement is over makes sense as long as voters believe it's fair. But the government is being anything but.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Treasurer Joe Hockey has emerged as the spine of a government that, a little like the Howard government, has arrived in office on the back of community unhappiness with its predecessor but unsure what it actually wants to achieve once it’s finished pulling down Labor’s work. Hockey’s resolute holding of the line on rent-seeking, after the disgrace of the GrainCorp decision, is welcome. But his salesmanship is letting him down. And, worse, so is his consistency.

Having tolled the bell yet again on “the age of entitlement”, Hockey has left the government open to allegations that entitlement is actually only over if the government wants to target the unions involved in your business. Otherwise, the spigot of taxpayer money is still open. No one in the government has been able to explain the difference between SPC Ardmona and the handout to Cadbury’s Hobart factory except Sharman Stone, who pointed out it was in a marginal seat, nor the difference between the SPC and another handout to a Tasmanian seafood processor (announced by rugged individualist Jamie Briggs). And that’s before you get into tax expenditures, which are a mishmash of generations of often conflicting policy objectives.

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40 thoughts on “How the age of entitlement is being restored for the Liberals’ friends

  1. Jimmy

    And this article didn’t even cover the winding back of means testing on the private health insurance rebate or the all to generous Paid parental leave scheme or the ambitions to get more money into private schools.

    Since months in and this govt is already living up the fears most had.

  2. Dez Paul

    I think you’re being too kind to Hockey, Keane, but at least you achieve some balance. I would urge Peter Hartcher from the SMH to read this after the huge steaming pile he excreted the other day:

  3. bluepoppy

    Perceptions are not always reality however the Liberals record and current behaviour indicate a real preference for governing for benefit of the rich and influential. In this aspect the perceptions reflect reality.

    Examples include an almost complete disregard for the environment and for applying pressure to get rid of the Super Profits Mining Tax. A tax that would ensure a fairer share of the benefits of our resources. It was politicised and took priority over good government. Coalition comments about workers and low income employees having to bear the burden of economic prosperity (so the rich can become richer) is all the evidence requird to see where this Party’s priorities lie.

    This Coalition government is not shaping up and the inconsistencies in decisions reflect a party about power and politics not about doing what’s best for the electorate. The lack of transparency around the TPP is another area of great concern, albeit the Labor government was also remiss in this area.

  4. Hamis Hill

    Treasurers “skilfully… bringing the electorate along with them”; in the face of a vandalistic media intent destroying those same treasurers?
    How’ll Joe go?

  5. Scott

    “fringe benefits tax on novated leases. Note that this wasn’t a tax rise, as widely portrayed, but merely a requirement that people currently avoiding, or possibly in some circumstances evading, tax demonstrate they are doing so for the legitimate reasons they claimed”

    Incorrect. And I thought Jimmy would have picked this one up.
    To go from a sliding scale based on km’s to a flat rate of 20% (when previously <15,000 got you 26%, 15,000-25,000 got you 20%, 25,000 to 40,0000 kms got you taxed at 11% and over 40,000 kms at 7%) is a tax increase for those travelling over 25,000 kms a year.

    FBT is about the value of the car the user receives. Obviously the more you drive a car, the less it's value so, in theory, the less you should pay in FBT. The changes were bad policy and pure environmentally rather than tax related.

  6. Jimmy

    Scott – The issue is that the FBT on cars is a complete rort – the sliding scale is completely abused because no one ever gets checked that they did the Kms and none of the KM have to relate to work.

  7. Jimmy

    Oh and technically Scott tha amounts you are talking about aren’t “tax” they are the employee contribution amount which is income in the hands of the employer.

  8. Honest Johnny

    The behaviour of the salary packaging industry and the L/NP opposition in response to the long overdue reform of the statutory formula method of car fringe benefits was an absolute shameful disgrace. God knows this government will need to raise every dollar of tax it can to fix the structural problem (not enough revenue) in the budget. Allowing the car FBT rort to continue will cost the budget $350 million per year.

  9. Jimmyhaz

    ‘Joe’s just been good at the former.’

    I’d argue heavily against this as well. None of the cuts that Hockey has made, and is going to make, are required, or even slightly beneficial, for Australia as a whole. They’re merely born out of an ideology that ignores reality.

    I do find it laughable that they claim that taxation won’t bring us into surplus though, even if that is correct (and it is), why have they increased the tax burden on the lower classes then?

  10. Malcolm Street

    Money for GMH – no
    Money for SPC – no
    Money for two Tassie producers – yes!

    Hockey has his work cut out when all we’re seeing is blatant pork-barrelling ahead of the Tassie state election.

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