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Coalition blaming Labor for deficit merely passing the buck

Coalition blaming Labor for deficit merely passing the buck

Friday 23 December, 2016
Despite the news of the deficit, we've somehow kept our AAA rating. However, I contend that the finger the Coalition points in blame should be upon its own chest.
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Despite the news of the deficit, we’ve somehow kept our AAA rating. However, I contend that the finger the Coalition points in blame should be upon its own chest.

It’s been a rough year for the Coalition. Entering 2016 on the promise of pragmatic government, the Turnbull team stumbled, before shedding 14 seats and subsequently losing multiple votes on the floor of Parliament.
All was fine, as long as Australia got its jobs and growth.

After all, the Coalition is the party of sensible fiscal management, is it not? Not like those fiendish economic vandals in the Labor party, who foolishly wasted the hard-earned surplus left behind by the shrewd, skilled Howard-Costello government.

Only the Coalition would have the foresight and monetary genius to save a nation literally, not figuratively, crumbling under the weight of debt.

Never mind Howard being the biggest spender in Australian political history; leave it to the dastardly Labor party to waste away our precious savings.

“There was a global financial crisis,” they bleat, as if to say keeping tens of thousands of Australians employed and markets out of recession are fair trade-offs for debt.

Thanks to Labor, we had a budget emergency. That’s “had”, in that the emergency seems to have evaporated at this point in time. But still, they had to go.

Those darn Labor rats, not passing Hockey’s 2014 budget measures. How dare they block a co-payment on universal health care and deregulation of fees for those financially secure uni students.

Australia needed the Coalition to declare the nation once again open for business, for the adults to be in charge – to bring an end to the age of entitlement. Only the Abbott government (and its fast, sexier Turnbull remake) could help us tighten our belts and save our children from intergenerational theft.

No more budget blowouts, no more delays to a bloated NBN rollout, no more short-sighted taxes slugging households, aimed at tackling “climate change” (whatever that is). “Good government starts today,” they said.

That was, until the deficit doubled, with no financial crisis in sight.

Sound, conservative economic management be damned, the road to surplus hit another roadblock today. Deficits over the next four years are set to climb another $10 billion, peaking in 2018-19.

How on earth could a grown up government built on financial thinking fail to curb a widening debt burden? Well, it didn’t. Don’t be fooled by Liberal faces delivering the bad news from government benches; this financial downturn is all Labor’s fault.

Yes, four years in government and it’s still Labor’s fault. In fact, Labor doesn’t even need to be in government to be causing damage.

Presenting his Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook yesterday, treasurer Scott Morrison trumpeted that the worsening conditions were further proof that their austerity measures “to repair the budget and restore it to balance” pass parliament.

The proposed $50 billion tax cut to businesses having nothing to do with a worsening deficit, of course.

It’s Labor’s fault. Even with much of its political legacy gutted – from climate change, to education funding, to the NBN – Labor is solely to blame for the financial wrecking ball heading our way.

Despite the debt and deficit legacy left by Labor, we continue to make progress in getting the growth in government expenditure under control and arresting the growth in Commonwealth debt,” Morrison said. “However, there does remain an air of unreality about the scale of the fiscal challenges we face as a nation and the preparedness of the Parliament to support the government’s efforts to restore the budget to balance despite the progress made since the election.”

Those darn Labor rats, not passing Hockey’s 2014 budget measures. How dare they block a co-payment on universal health care and deregulation of fees for those financially secure uni students.

“The fundamental problem you have now in the political debate is that the Labor Party is not operating in the real world,” he said to The Australian, lashing the opposition for “inconsistency, hypocrisy (and) gall,” and calling out their actions as ideological and populist.

Perhaps, with a shred of confidence and responsibility, the Coalition could have the chutzpah to accept blame for its failure to secure Australia’s economic future. It could own the fact that it has had bad policies knocked back. It could drop its shameless big business pocket lining measures, and save a cool $50 billion in the process.

But instead, as always, it’s Labor’s fault. Even with much of its political legacy gutted – from climate change, to education funding, to the NBN – Labor is solely to blame for the financial wrecking ball heading our way.

It’s a statement that’s as damning as it is ridiculous. It’s an admittance of a government that stands for really nothing at all. A Coalition that has left little to be proud of, with no real vision for the future; nothing beyond replacing the three-word slogan with its gymnastic cousin, the four-word slogan.

What is the goal, the big picture? No grand infrastructure investment for future generations, nor strengthening of infrastructure already in place. The only thing we ask is something. Even if that takes the form of their superior economic management team actually speaking frankly and honestly with us about the political pitfalls and the actual road ahead, not the pockmarked boulevard dressed with fairy lights.

Do that, then we’d know. And they’d perhaps earn themselves a little bit of respect back in doing so.

 

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