jacqui lambie tax
Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie (Image: AAP/Sam Mooy)

Well that didn’t last long. Forty-eight hours after suggesting some major misgivings about the stage three tax cuts, newly returned Senator Jacqui Lambie has waved through the Morrison government’s tax cuts, with the vague promise that the federal government will forgive $157 million in housing debt. There are even vaguer intimations around the traps that a few other things were got for the Apple Isle, but nothing on the record.

They’d have to be prrrettty good to make this deal a good one, for Tasmania, for Australia and for the low-income people Lambie claims to represent. The $157 million "debt" is, of course, nothing of the sort. It’s simply an extra transfer of cash from the Tasmanian government to the federal government. It’s not even chickenfeed; it exists only as a ledger sheet ghost, which legitimates the federal government cutting $15 million from a $28 million dollar housing payment. The state has a $6.4 billion budget, 40% of which comes from GST, around $30 million of which has been cut recently.