Scott Morrison addresses the IPA in 2015

When you try your best but you don’t succeed … When the Institute of Public Affairs gets some of what it wants, but not what it needs …

Crikey has previously checked how many items on the IPA 100-point wishlist the government has delivered here, here, here and here, but now we are looking at where the government has tried, but ultimately failed, to do something the IPA desired from its government.

3. Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

It was the plan of the Abbott government to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), and it tried really hard. The bill to kill the CEFC failed to pass the Senate — twice. It could have been used as a trigger for a double dissolution election if the Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation ended up passing. But, alas conservative libertarians, it wasn’t to be. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced he would be saving CEFC and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) with a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

4. Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

Such promise. Dumped so very early into the Abbott government’s term.

7. Return income taxing powers to the states

A late entry, Turnbull in March flagged the idea that the states could raise their own income taxes. It didn’t even last a week, with the state and territory leaders telling the PM a polite but forceful “yeah nah” at a Council of Australian Governments meeting just days after.

11. Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

It has tried this a few times, but no luck yet. This could be the government’s election policy.

20. Means-test Medicare

Tried and failed. Abbott attempted to introduce a $7 co-payment, but the Senate was having none of it. The policy is now considered “dead, buried, and cremated”. But this wish could potentially return depending on the audit of bulk-billing services.

56. Abolish the Baby Bonus

It was technically abolished, but it was replaced with other subsidies.

66. Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

Although the Coalition went to the last election with an opt-out internet filtering policy, which it scrapped within hours of it being revealed, the party attempted to keep a strong opposition to internet filtering. This wasn’t reflected in its policies, however. The government implemented website censorship through the e-safety commissioner, allowing government agencies to keep website-blocking powers, and making it easier for copyright holders to get court orders to block piracy websites.

72. Privatise the CSIRO

There have been massive funding cuts and job cuts, and a strategic change of direction for the CSIRO, but it’s still there. Sort of.

78. Extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes

Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison dabbled with the idea of either increasing the GST or broadening its base to cover all goods and services in exchange for cuts to other taxes, but it was dumped when the government realised it wouldn’t bring in enough revenue to justify the change — not to mention the political nightmare of running another campaign on the GST.

83. Have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight

ASIC won’t be responsible, but this is the idea behind one of the pieces of legislation that will be the subject of debate in the extra three sitting weeks of Parliament. If the Senate doesn’t pass it? Double dissolution election.

Peter Fray

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