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 ...

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

Cathy Alexander

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

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."

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

  1. Andybob

    Hoist on his own petard. My fear is that he will change his course and avoid the catastrophe of biblical proportion that would result from implementing his’deficit levy’ thought bubble.

    I have never met a single person who voted for Gillard who would have changed their vote had they been told about the ‘carbon tax’ before they voted.

    I suspect there are many, many people who voted for Abbott, who would have changed their vote (perhaps to PUP, or the Nats) had they been told about the ‘deficit tax’.

  2. Dogs breakfast

    I am both appalled at their hypocrisy, and hope that they carry it out, and that perhaps Labor only points out that when they tried to do the same thing with the medical benefits rebate and other measures they were pilloried by all and sundry, that when they tried to enact responsible budgetary policy they were blocked at every turn.

    This tiresome debate, this non-sequitur that doubles for coalition policy (and republican policy in USA) that all taxation is bad is just the most brain-dead debate currently in public life.

    “No country ever taxed itself to prosperity”, oh except for Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, god knows, there are a thousand examples of countries raising taxes and being prosperous, so many more than the examples of those countries dropping all their taxes and becoming prosperous. In fact, there is almost no certainty of a link between tax rates and prosperity, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of complete bullshit.

    The ole US of A republican mantra that reducing taxes actually increases tax revenues never, repeat, never occurred. The ‘trickle down’ effect never, repeat, never occurred.

    Let’s grow up, finally, and face reality. Taxes pay for our way of life, they don’t get in the way of it. The only debate worth having is about how efficiently tax is spent, and to a lesser extent how efficiently it is raised.

  3. Jimmy

    That is all well and good but we can’t just add a letter to his name to have it include the word L- i a-r.

    When the Libs break a promise their supporters just say “All politicians do that” when the ALP do it is a capital offence.

    The worst part is I can live with extra taxes and some trims to middle class welfare if they wree going to worthwhile programs but all this slashing and taxing is simply to replace revenue lost from cutting the mining and Carbon taxes and pay for the PPL and Direct action.

  4. Recalcitrant.Rick

    Tonyliar doesn’t sound right, but Tony,Tony,pant’s on fire, seems to work for me! Of course Slimy, hypocritical scumbag works better!

  5. Jimmy

    Dogs Breakfast – I am with you – I’m happy nto taxes and pay a little bit more to get the services we need but at the moment it looks like I will pay more tax, get less services and my extra tax will go to pay high income women a parental leave, allow big miner to be taxed less and pay big polluters to carry on business as usual.

  6. paddy

    Watching the Abbott trainwreck in real time, feels like the planets are aligning for a spectacular explosion.
    I just hope there are enough casualties, so the “one term” moniker actually comes true.

  7. Bill Hilliger

    Cathy excellent article. Please send a copy of your article to the Australian and Tele and other MSM with written permission to plagiarise in full …especially I respect to the Tele. It would be interesting to see if it were to be printed in any of the MSM.

  8. Jimmy

    Paddy – The problem is Abbott still has News Ltd onside – if the ALP had of done half what he has already they would be calling for a revolution – but instead the try to play up the budget emergency as much as possible.

  9. seriously?

    It’s pretty breathtaking stuff – takes hypocrisy to a whole new level. I consider myself mature enough to accept that things can and do change, and that taxes may or may not need to be increased (on a “temporary” or “permanent” basis, as needs be) and governments should get on and govern and be judged every three years – they are elected to make decisions, not slavishly execute a checklist of things they run past a largely ill-informed and ignorant mob.

    So on one hand I have “sympathy” for Tony & Co and would rather they just be left to get on an run things as they see fit. HOWEVER, given the base, cynical politics he has played since becoming opposition leader, and saying or doing whatever it takes to get in power, I hope he cops a massive whack over all this, if for no other reason to (perhaps in vain) serve as a lesson for others what can happen if you try and emulate his gameplan.

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