I tried to get an interview with Tony Abbott today, but he was busy. Then I sent a message to Hockey’s office asking if I could get some detail on the debt tax. He was also unavailable. I even asked if Peter Reith could spare some time to talk – even if only by phone – but apparently he no longer has access to a phone card. However, there was one Liberal who’s always available: The wonderful Al Simer. I recorded the following interview today.
Me – Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
Al – I don’t recall that.
Me – Anyway, you’re here and that’s what’s important!
Al – No, what’s important is cleaning up this mess that Labor left.
Me – Yes, that’s what I want to talk about. Before the election, your party made a number of ridiculous promises.
Al – I have no memory of that.
Me – Now this isn’t an ICAC interview so you can actually tell the truth.
Al – I always tell the truth.
Me – So, before the election, Tony Abbott said that there’d be no new taxes, and now we’re hearing rumours of a “Deficit Tax”. Isn’t that a broken promise?
Al – Look, it’s a temporary thing. And it’s a levy, not a tax.
Me – So what’s the difference?
Al – Well, a levy rises in order to discourage people from doing the thing it is your levying, whereas a tax can be applied to everyone.
Me – So you want to discourage people from earning more than eighty thousand a year?
Al – Can we talk about the enormous debt we inherited from Labor?
Me – They’re not dead yet.
Al – Sorry.
Me – Don’t people need to be dead before you inherit something?
Al – Well, they sort of are, aren’t they? I mean, Julia, Kevin. They’ve all retired. And that “Short Memory” guy who looked like he belonged in…
Me – So what they did is sort of irrelevant, is that what you’re saying?
Al – No, I was saying that the most important thing is that we fix this mess we’ve inherited. That was our main promise.
Me – And you’ll fix that before you go to the next election.
Al – No, that would be impossible. We’ll need to be in power at least ten years before we can fix that.
Me – So there’s no promise that we can hold you to before the next election?
Al – Yes. We stand by all our promises.
Me – Except that you’re not actually keeping any of them.
Al – Sorry, that’s not a question.
Me – Ok, let me just ask one last time why the “levy” is not a broken promise like the “no carbon tax”?
Al – Well, this only temporary.
Me – But the carbon tax was always going to end in 2015.
Al – Yes but it was going to be replaced with something else.
Me – Yes, but it was always going to end.
Al – Yes but… Sorry what was your question?
Me – Ok, it’s a structural problem. The Budget deficit. How does a temporary levy fix that?
Al – When do I get the bottle of wine you promised me?
Me – I already drank it.
Al – Typical.
Me – So, what’s your answer?
Al – What was the question?
Me – How is it not a broken promise, how does it fix the structural problems in the Budget and…
Al – Ok, at this point I’d like to point out that you’re making fun of a serious problem with my name. Alzheimer’s is a serious thing and it’s not something that you laugh at.
Me – No, but you figure that you can strip their entitlements away and they won’t remember.
Al – We can strip everyone’s entitlements away and they won’t remember.
Me – Yeah.
Al – Hey, don’t print that.
Me – Don’t print what?
Al – Don’t print what I just said… Ah, actually you can. I’m fictional, after all.
Me – Nah, the sad thing is that you’re all too real.