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A gift or two from the government now, but you will pay later

Election diary No. 24: Saturday, 2, April 2022.

Before I even begin to comment on this year’s budget, I must point out that I am not an economist. In reality, I have no training in finance whatsoever.

Having said that, let me say this: Most goodies are handed out to maximise the “vote for us” value during the upcoming campaign. Even Blind Freddy could explain why this is a short-term formula for winning an election.

Wages are stagnant with consumer prices steadily rising; the Coalition’s election gift to voters is cash for Australia’s low-and middle-income earners. It is a blatant attempt to buy their votes. Will it buy them enough? Well, that’s anyone’s guess.

I have picked up over many years of more than an average interest in politics and a lifetime in marketing the ability to read the spin of politics. After all, we, the voters, pass judgment on a budget’s worthiness. Therefore, our opinions are the most consequential.

As the Treasurer was reading his speech, I was with a glass of red in one hand and the volume control in the other, asking myself all the relevant questions pertaining to a national budget. It was not by coincidence that the handouts all happen during the election.

What is its intention, how forward-looking is it? Does it look after our most vulnerable? How does it address the health of its people or the condition of our infrastructure and our education? Does it endeavour to make right our inequality? These are the sort of questions a layperson like myself asks.

Indeed, many questions are asked of a budget. However, they are always constrained by the politics of the day and the proximity of an election.

As a layperson, l see this budget as driven by the requirements of an election that is just around the corner, nothing more, nothing less. Politics takes precedence over everything.

It seeks to succeed by addressing the immediacy of our society’s cost of living problems. To this end, it is wholly devoted. But all the gifts our Government offers have a use-by date and will expire in six months. There is no longevity. No thought for the future. No climate change crisis. In fact, every agency dealing with the climate had its funding cut.

In Katharine Murphy’s article in The Guardian; “At this gravest of times the Coalition has served up an election budget designed simply to keep itself in power” she reported that:

“With wages stagnant and consumer prices on the march, the Coalition’s primary pre-election gift to voters is cash for Australia’s low-and-middle income earners.

As well as cash, the government will cut the fuel excise in half in the hope a price cut at the bowser isn’t swallowed immediately by another adverse shift in the global oil price or an interest rate rise between now and September, when the excise is supposed to revert to its full rate.”

Don’t hold your breath.

Anthony Albanese has commented that supporting climate change has not won them an election (paywalled). Just when people have been sufficiently aroused to take it seriously. What a shame it would be if he walked away from it now.

And am I to seriously believe that in the next 20 years, when the whole world is driving electric cars, Australia will have to import them with all our manufacturing knowledge? This budget failed to give them a mention.

What will eventually happen when electric vehicles eliminate the petrol excise altogether. What will replace this massive source of Government revenue?

The words ‘childcare’ and ‘aged care’ hardly ever get a mention, but a wage rise so often predicted, but it never actually happens. Also ignored are those front-line workers who put their lives on the line during the pandemic.

It is a budget based on hope. The hope is that China will continue to pay the top price for our iron ore and coal commodities and that our wheat will continue to bring in record prices.

The politics of survival and the retention of power have taken over this budget, and it is about nothing else.

Remember those historic levels of debt that Abbott and Morrison threw at Labor? Now the shoe is on the other foot.

The way this budget seeks to give cash handouts in exchange for people’s votes is typical of this Government.

In fact, the value of the pension is likely to diminish over the next few years as the cost of living rises. The periodical increases are measured against movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whereas previously, they counted them against a set of articles related to pensioner’s actual costs.

The much-muted low unemployment figure is only because immigration stopped during the pandemic. Unemployment will rise when it resumes.

The Coalition government plans to spend $10bn on 120 projects not recommended by Infrastructure Australia. In fact, a closer analysis by Sarah Martin of The Guardian reveals that:

“… of the 144 projects being funded by the Government in Tuesday’s budget shows that just 21 are included on Infrastructure Australia’s current list of priority projects, accounting for $5.7bn of the approximate $16bn in new funding. The analysis also shows that of the $6.4bn that is allocated to projects within a single electorate, more than half – $3.4bn – is directed to marginal seats.”

If we were to forget Josh Frydenberg’s dour introduction to this year’s budget, “Tonight, as we gather, war rages in Europe,” you would miss any plan for the future and instead find one for the next six months. After that, it’s all about hope.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has outdone himself yet again to prove how out of touch he is. This time telling renters to just buy a house if they can’t afford soaring rent prices. Anyway, just to cap off its silliness, Morrison finally did it! We didn’t think it was possible, friends, but here we are.

Then at the end of play, Tammy Wolffs tweeted:

 

My thought for the day

At the time of the election, the Coalition will have been in power for nine exhausting years and want you to give them another three. What, as a legacy, do they have to show for it? Has this Government raised your standard of living?

 

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10 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    Courtesy of The Shovel it has now been revealed something we have long suspected : the Morrison government is an elaborate April Fools day Joke.

    “I can’t believe you guys fell for it actually,” Josh Frydenberg said on behalf of the government, describing what is thought to be the longest set up ever for a joke.
    “We’ve been giving so many hints along the way. Bringing pieces of coal into Parliament, promising to build carparks in marginal electorates but then not actually building them, nipping off on holiday when the country is in crisis. I thought we were being too obvious to be honest.”

    Barnaby should have been the give away !

    https://www.theshovel.com.au/2022/04/01/morrison-government-revealed-as-elaborate-april-fools-day-prank/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=government_revealed_as_elaborate_april_fool_s_day_prank&utm_term=2022-04-01

  2. GL

    It’s a slowly inflating six week balloon budget and when they get back in Scummo will deflate it. And if you listen carefully as it’s being slowly deflated you will hear the words “Suckers.” and “Losers.”

  3. New England Cocky

    The lack-lustre Scummo & Co gang of corrupt and inept bottom of the sewer politicians are happily preparing Australia for a 19th century future. This has been the Beetrooter Plan for Australia since he scrapped in as the last Senator for Queensland, was forced out of Queensland down to New England where his compatriot in backward social thinking, John Anderson, stepped away from his CSG interests to become his Campaign Manager.

    The borne to rule Anderson has a long political history of attempted blackmailing of his Gwydir electorate, now abolished, because too many voters departed for jobs & life in the 21st century. City folk probably do not remember the 2004 ferlal elections when $2.4 BILLION of rural road funding was withheld to ”encourage” country people to vote for the Nazional$. And what questions have you asked about Australian taxpayers funding the now $14+ BILLION unfinancial White Elephant extended by Beetrooter & Scummo with a mere $500 MILLION financial supplement to carry Narrabri Pilliga Scrub CSG to the world through the Port Gladstone export terminal?

    There is only one legal solution; a land-slide victory at the May 2022 feral elections for political parties having a track record of promoting the best interests of Australian voters. That EXCLUDES any COALition candidate, especially sitting incumbents, One Nation and Palmer’s UAP.

    THINKING VOTERS WILL VOTE BELOW THE LINE by numbering every square ii your preferred ascending order of preference, ensuring that the largest numbers are against COALition candidate. Then we may just be able to save Australian democracy for our grandkids.

  4. Keitha Granville

    The gullible disinterested voter will just put their hands up for the handouts. It’s always the way to their hearts.

    There will be no hope at all if this mob is reelected.

    VOTE LABOR

  5. Phil Pryor

    Laziness, stupidity, inaction, policy paucity, vileness of vision, ignoble ignorance, Morrison’s maggoty muckheap of misfits. This is not a budget to embrace a better path for all, for the future and the environment; It is a scruffy party’s plug for continuing existence to root, rort, lie, cheat, double cross, backstab, selfdeceive. Morrison’s chronic mental masturbatory mouthing is on now, talking up a deal with India. The Poor Villagers of India will be snapping up our lobsters and wine, ho ho, and choking on our coal emissions. Onanism is not honesty, trickery is not truth. Remove this rubbish…

  6. James Robert LEONARD

    To Lord Scummo at work.
    You are already seeing that in NSW. The illiberal party doesn’t believe in its members having a choice in preselections, as it’s so necessary to “look after your mates” ahead of party branches and the voting public should never be offered a local as a candidate when a needy party apparatchik is waiting hungrily to get on the gravy train.

  7. Harry Lime

    Caligula made his favorite horse a Senator ,and there are a few disturbing similarities here, as both ‘Little Boots” and the” Liar from the Shire” are/were /is demonstrably fucking mad.Looking head on in to the abyss,the Liar is behaving like a whirling dervish in a terminal spin,with chunks of his facade flying off in all directions.It’s a beautiful thing,this thing called karma.GL,He is fucked.

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