Aug 25, 2015

Hockey’s ‘moral imperative’ fades into lame cynicism

Last year Joe Hockey claimed returning to surplus was a "moral imperative". Now it's all about tax cuts, despite the budget deficit worsening.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

This is why the Abbott government has difficulty achieving anything, why it has had to abandon the field on tax reform, on reform of any kind, why it has spent most of its short life untrusted and unliked by voters.

Ahead of last year’s budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey got moralistic. As the fiscal disciplinarian of the government, he wanted to prepare voters for a tough budget, and he decided to do so in moral terms. “There is a strong economic and moral imperative to change course and to put the budget back onto a secure and sustainable footing,” he said at a conservative media event in April. Returning the budget to surplus was a matter of intergenerational equity — and morality. “This intergenerational aspect to the budget repair challenge has an inescapable moral dimension.”

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11 thoughts on “Hockey’s ‘moral imperative’ fades into lame cynicism

  1. Keith1

    “Bracket creep… is actually straightforward and easy to fix — you just index tax thresholds, and it will never be a problem again.”
    Quite so. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to why there isn’t constant and strong pressure (from non-politicians of course)to do it.

  2. [email protected]

    The ‘Lifters and Leaners’ seem to have vanished into the updraft of a Chopper as well!

  3. Chris Hartwell

    And now even Very Serious People (Chartered Accountants) are criticising poor Joe. No longer just lefty luvvies. Oh dear.

  4. Honest Johnny

    The so-called “budget crises” was a very big thing for the Coalition. They had a lot of people across Australia convinced that the National Debt was something to worry about, otherwise their “grandchildren would forever be saddled with the debt”. Now if they cut taxes before they fix the problem (that they talked up), any ounce of credibility they may be hanging on to will be shredded. Hyberbole or not, we cannot allow them to walk away from their own narrative as if it never meant anything.

  5. Jaybuoy

    Remember when Joe still had the baton in his knapsack pre-peta and the bariatric band the only discernable loss is the baton..

  6. John Newton

    As pointed out in The Conversation today, with wage increases at near-zero – 2.5% – bracket creep is a non-problem. Unlike Hockey

  7. Lubo Gregor

    Oh, I thought that everything that the politicians of the Australian party-dictatorship duopoly say is just a cynical, pre-calculated propaganda designed to further their party’s interest. But are THEY to blame? It’s a simple equation of offer and demand.

    It seems that the LNP did not even wanted to be in power (as they really don’t know what to do with it), they just wanted to keep the other side away from it.

  8. Dogs breakfast

    “They’re not mutually exclusive.”

    Actually Treasurer, they are.

    The theory of tax cuts leading to increased revenue was soundly and completely disproved by the USA. I’m sure Hockey was alive when that experiment failed through the 80’s and 90’s.

    He’s the same age as me, and I was alive. was Joe sleeping through those decades?

  9. AR

    So many cliches come to mind re this abysmal lot but ‘hoisted’ and ‘petard’ spring readily to mind.
    Enjoyable as that prospect is, there is the weal of a nation to consider, something so far beyond the ken of most pollies (of both majors) that it is irrelevant.

  10. David Hand

    Mr Breakfast,
    The theory of tax cuts leading to increased revenue was never soundly and completely disproved by the USA. The tax changes in the USA gave a massive windfall to the ultra-wealthy not the middle class.

    Hockey is talking about reducing tax for the middle class in Australia and reducing their tax burden has been a significant boost to economic growth.

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