Election sloganeering becomes a cottage industry at election time. How well we remember, moving forward, who do you trust, go for growth, hope reward opportunity, a new way, stop the boats, real solutions and on it goes.
If you like them, hang on to your hats because in the coming months there will be more.
But if you are looking for substance you need to go behind the slogans to find the policy detail, if you still believe policies will be implemented as promised. The current government has so trashed the concept of honesty in its promises that we must cast doubt on their intention to deliver.
The Coalition promised a lot in 2013, yet in the two and a half years since becoming the government, they could not boast one measurable statistic that shows improvement since September 2013. They are, as they always have been, a policy vacuum.
After boasting that the adults were back in charge, we have witnessed a deterioration in employment, in education, in health, in childcare. We have witnessed increases in debt and in deficit spending, the two areas where the Coalition claimed they could improve upon immediately.
Their only claim to fame is stopping the boats and even that is not true. The boats keep coming but get turned back. What a pathetic act of bullying. Sending our Navy out to stop a boatload of defenceless asylum seekers and claiming victory over the smugglers who traffic them.
Additionally, they want to continue to imprison those that did arrive, along with the children subsequently born to them, as a message to the people smugglers who they have paid to turn back their boats.
Domestically, they have failed to produce one policy initiative that directly improves the lives of the average Australian. Every proposal they consider seriously and float across the electorate, is targeted to impact negatively at the lower end of the income scale.
They have spent months targeting an increase in the GST but have now dumped it for fear of an electoral backlash.
On managing the economy, they deserve to be dumped, lock, stock and barrel into the middle of the Timor Sea. They bluff, they bluster, but on every measurable scale, they have made things worse than they were in September, 2013.
They have butchered a planned world’s best NBN and turned it into a second rate product. They are now hounding the disabled and the aged, intent on marginalising them as a social burden, while striving to secure tax cuts for the top income earners, the biggest donors to their party’s fund raising and to those who use what influence they have to support them.
Their strategy is always to benefit the lives of the well off. It is extraordinary that Malcolm Turnbull who has a salary of over $500,000 and reported to have a net worth of $200 million, is leading a campaign trying to stop a low paid waiter from earning an extra $50 on a Sunday.
Rather, they want to lower the company tax rate for companies that pay no tax.
Comments coming from senior ministers trying to score a few cheap points on welfare, ignore the hurt they cause people with severe disabilities who, but for the meagre pension they receive and the unpaid assistance given by family members, would be dead.
Latest polling figures from two sources suggest the gloss is coming off Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. Let’s face it, he is the only thing the Coalition has got going for it and even he is now looking decidedly unsure of himself while the neo liberal juggernaut rolls on.
Yet, 52% of voters plan to keep him there.
As if adding insult to injury, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has released its pre-budget submission urging the government to curb spending.
“If Australia waits until the system breaks, we will consign the next generation to painful readjustments similar to those taking place in southern Europe,” the submission says.
What an unbelievably stupid comment! Who would write such rubbish?
As a sovereign currency issuing nation, our “system” (whatever that means) can never break. Furthermore, to align our economy with that of southern Europe (presumably Greece and Spain), shows a staggering ignorance of the “system” within which the Eurozone operates.
But it is the targeting of the tax reforms the ACCI has in its sights that really exposes the ruthlessness of its neo-liberal manifesto.
“This year, $44 billion will be spent on the Age Pension. The chamber wants the government to consider converting pension payments to elderly homeowners into a loan that is repaid when the property is sold,” Anabel Hepworth writes in The Australian.
“The chamber also says abolishing Family Tax Benefit Part B could save $13.9bn across four years, while means-testing the Child Care Rebate could save $250 million a year.”
So, to provide company tax cuts to companies that pay no tax, the ACCI wants to hit aged pensioners, childhood education and working parents of pre-school children. What a loving, caring chamber it must be. I wonder how many of its employees are imprisoned within its target recommendations.
This is what the Coalition will be asking voters to endorse at the next election. Never mind the slogans, they will count for nothing. Look at the detail in their policies and you will discover the contempt for which they hold the average Australian.
As for the 52% still keen to support them, one can understand the top 20% who will no doubt benefit from the Coalition being returned. The remaining 32% must be living in fantasyland.