“The age of entitlement is over, the age of personal responsibility has begun.”

So said Treasurer Joe Hockey on Monday. Fine sentiments. Hockey is to be congratulated for them, and for being willing to take tough decisions on General Motors and SPC Ardmona to illustrate them.

But like any salesman’s pitch, there were some hidden terms and conditions in the declaration, some fine print that you won’t find in the media articles or transcripts. What Joe actually meant was that the age of entitlement is over — unless you’re:

  • Building “tourism infrastructure”;
  • Getting a grant and not a “co-investment”;
  • Not operating in a perfectly free market;
  • In a marginal seat;
  • The financial planning industry;
  • A high-income earner;
  • The big banks;
  • A private school;
  • A private health fund;
  • Redeveloping the Prime Minister’s local footy ground;
  • Rorting fringe benefits tax;
  • A major carbon emitter;
  • A transnational mining company; and
  • An MP or senator.

In which case it’s fine — you’ll be looked after.