Perhaps it's laziness, but much of the coverage of the government's suddenly discovered extra tax revenue, which has enabled it to ditch last year's NDIS-linked Medicare levy increase, has focused on the politics of which side can propose what personal income tax cuts. True, the government has traded the eccentricity of abandoning what it paraded as a moral duty just twelve months ago -- paying the increased levy was each Australian's responsibility to their disabled fellow-citizens -- for the arguably greater eccentricity of telling everyone in two weeks' time they were getting a tax cut while also having a tax increase left over from the 2017 budget.

But the whole discussion starts from the wrong point -- a point created when journalists accept the Liberal Party's claim to be the party of lower tax. It's not merely that, under Hawke and Keating, tax as a proportion of GDP only exceeded 23% in two years, while under Howard it exceeded 23% in seven years. It's that, under Tony Abbott and then Malcolm Turnbull, tax has averaged 21.8% of GDP (including this year, which is likely to see a rise from the MYEFO forecast) compared to an average of 21.3% for the Labor years, if you include 2007-08, which saw the last strong tax revenue before the financial crisis. Maybe 0.5% doesn't sound much, but in current dollars that's over $9 billion a year.