It’s been quite a week for the Coalition government what with China calling us a joke after cancelling some of our exports, Peter “He Who Must Not Be Named” Dutton calling for the opening of borders, and Stuart Robert trying to shut down the Abbotsford Centrelink office. In the case of the Centrelink office, it was announced that they were being evicted the next day because of an inability to reach agreement with the landlord who – according to reports – had offered them an extension of the lease at the same rent. Evidently, the people in charge of Centrelink hadn’t heard that the Morrison government had announced a six months freeze on evictions.
Of course all that fades into insignificance when it’s put beside Josh Frydenberg’s remarkable achievement. He has improved the Budget bottom line by $60,000,000,000 in just twenty four hours. To give you some perspective, this is more than Rudd spent in total on his stimulus package. It’s ten times more than the entire federal Arts budget. Why it’s even more than Bridget McKenzie spent on girls’ change rooms prior to the last election.
While many people are asking how this could happen, I don’t think it’s the time for laying blame or contributing to the GoFundMe campaign to buy Josh a calculator, I think we should all just be happy that we’ve managed to save so much money… Of course, when I say “save” I don’t really mean save because after all, as our great Treasurer pointed out, “This is all borrowed money.”
That’s right, the money we haven’t spent isn’t saved, it’s just not borrowed from wherever it is that government’s borrow money. Some of it comes from bonds where the government borrow money from people who want to put their money somewhere secure. For example, your superannuation fund might be buying it up if you hadn’t just accessed your super because the government said you were allowed to. Now if you’re one of the the people who hasn’t done that then there’s a very good chance that you’re getting interest from the government bonds and you’re the sort of capitalist bastard who’s squeezing money out of the taxpayer.
For those of you who still insist on holding someone to account, let me quickly explain what happened. When the government announced that JobKeeper would cost $130 billion, they were working on a figure of $1500 per fortnight multiple by thirteen fortnights for the six months multiplied by six million workers. The only mistake they made was the assumption that six million workers would be on JobKeepeer. Now, in hindsight, it’s easy to say that six million workers is a rather large number to be on JobKeeper given that Australia’s entire workforce was only about twelve million, that some of them would be put on JobSeeker, that, not only would some businesses not be eligible or fail to apply, but some people would be essential workers who didn’t lose their jobs, that some of them were casuals who didn’t fit the criteria, that some of them worked for universities and didn’t deserve money because they think they’re too clever by half, that others worked in the Arts industry and still others had decided to jump on a cruise ship and take their chances rather than stay in the country. However, like I said, who could have predicted all these things unless they looked up the statistics on the ABS website and tried to make a more accurate estimate. I mean time was of the essence and slowing down to look up numbers and calculate a more realistic figure would have delayed the announcement to the next news bulletin.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that it was the businesses themselves couldn’t understand that how many employees do you have meant exactly that and not how much do you expect to get. I mean, who hasn’t made a simple mistake like that. When I’m filling out a form which asks how many children I have, I frequently write the cost of raising him rather than “1”. One could blame the people designing the form for not stressing that number of employees meant exactly what it said. Fortunately though, nobody who wrote 1500 was actually sent the $2 million plus in that first week, because we were told that there were no overpayments.
Clearly this is nobody’s fault – apart from the aforementioned business people and the people who designed the form and they’re not really to blame – so we should all just congratulate the Liberals and say that thank god the adults are in charge because there’s no way Labor would have done anything like this.
Yes, Josh Frydenberg is right. Liberals are there to take the credit but never the blame.
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