May 23, 2014

How the government bumbled into a budget disaster

A series of errors by the government's strategists have turned the 2014 budget into a political disaster. The narrative has gotten away from Tony Abbott.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Until last week, the worst budget in political terms in the modern era was John Dawkins’ 1993 budget, delivered after “the sweetest victory of all”, which lifted indirect taxes, cut spending and delayed the L-A-W tax cuts. It was called “indefensible” by the then-ACTU president Martin Ferguson and sparked a caucus revolt, led by a newly elected Wayne Swan.

The 2014 budget has yet to spark a party room revolt, but in political terms it makes 1993 look like a masterwork. And it’s the product of a series of errors that will need to be fixed if the government is to get back on course.

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29 thoughts on “How the government bumbled into a budget disaster

  1. paddy

    [None of the errors reflect fatal flaws in the government’s decision-making process.]

    I think you let the Govt off a bit lightly there Bernard.
    Fatal is exactly what it looks and smells like.
    They’re simply not equipped to govern.

  2. Dez Paul

    Exactly what paddy said. Can’t see Abbott recovering from this, and Hockey’s ambitions (assuming he had them) are mow completely cruelled. Awesome.

  3. klewso

    Let’s face it, Shonkey and Shagger Cormann had help selling that negative message.
    [Open a paper every day, for 6 years, to negativity – when it’s 4:1 on that the paper you read is one of Murdoch’s. Or listening to rodeo shock-jocks like Singo’s “Cock-or-Two Circus” feeding off their dregs?]

    And I loved Tony Shepherd reported as criticising “sectional interests” – as if he isn’t one? How much did he donate to this Limited News Party?

  4. Repete

    Klassy Klewso “Limited News Party”, Haha!!

  5. Steve777

    Even if there is a budget problem, Abbott told us everything will be fine if we stop the boats and stop the ‘waste’. When asked to give examples of waste, opposition spokesmen muttered about batts and cheques to dead people. They forgot to tell us they regarded spending on Medicare, Hospitals and education as wasteful.

  6. Paddy Forsayeth

    How come there is no examination about the “prosetylsing program” being increased in schools (the so called school chaplains.) As a retired teacher I can say that the school chaplain is simply a front to pushing religion. No comment on the amazing contrast between the reduction in funding for say the CSIRO and the increase in the ‘religion for schools’? Is it coincidence that Abbott and the Cabinet are catholics in the majority? Abbott will blurr the separation of Church and State. Will we also have imams going into our schools? The BOHICA model is well and truly alive and well.

  7. zut alors

    ‘… over half of voters believe there’s a “budget emergency” of some kind, according to this week’s Essential poll — including 39% of Labor voters…’

    My elderly mother believes this tosh. I put the case that Australia is one of only eight countries boasting a AAA credit rating & asked her how that tallies with an economic crisis. Silence…it’s easier to read a Murdoch headline than to apply logic or engage thought.

  8. AR

    Why does Crikey keep repeating the “repeating ad nauseum” error which would ad nauseam?
    And, “News Corp might … demonise what’s left of their readership“… what part of their ‘readership’ would that be, the ones that moves their lips when they think?

  9. JMNO

    The budget is awful. There are no two ways around it. Not only is it mean, it is myopic and mindlessly ideological. It is poorly conceived and poorly thought through. The cuts will adversely affect the economy as well as the social fabric.

    This might be their first budget but Abbott and Hockey have been in parliament for a long time and have been in government before. They should be able to do this by now.

    I am wondering if Abbott has the flexibility to change. He has always been a tribal warrior. He’s good at wars but as with other fighters, is he capable of running the peace? I am not sure he is. And his response to criticism is not to take on board a widely held sentiment that it is mean but to think that his critics are all supporters of the Opposition. If he thinks like this, he isn’t going to have the skills to negotiate.

  10. tonysee

    The answer is becoming quickly apparent, JMNO.

    Labor, for all its faults presided over a very productive parliament despite its minority status. They had to negotiate ad nauseam (thanks AR) and deal with an aggressive, snapping opposition.

    Now the Libs, in a very workable majority early in their term, are bleating on social media about Shorten ‘sabotaging’ democracy. And the evidence? A op-ed from the Daily Smellegraph.

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