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An Election Promise Is An Election Promise, Says Angus “Gertrude Stein” Taylor…

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”

Gertrude Stein.

“An election commitment is an election commitment.”

Angus Taylor

Politics has always been a bit theatre and a bit reality.

I mean, we all know that there have been friendships across the political divide and we all know that certain people who campaign on “family values” have a private life that tends to suggest that they love families so much that they are doing their best to start several.

Whatever, I must say that the “Budget” delivered by Jim Chalmers was a rather dull first act…

First act? Well, I was a wee bit torn between concentrating on the micro economic problem of certain people freezing because they can’t afford heating, and discussing how the macro economic problem of doing anything about it may lead to the financial markets and the Reserve Bank and saying, “Oh dear, that’s inflationary… We need to add a couple of points to what people can earn if they just bank their money instead of wasting it on keeping themselves warm…”! However, then I realised that the whole thing – like nearly all politics – was a piece of theatre and that this was just a rather pedestrian first act in order to set the scene.

To succeed in the theatre, it’s not just a question of having a great play; you need to keep the critics onside. Poor reviews can destroy a show more quickly than a poor show. And so Labor have elected for a safe, steady first act which sets the scene but doesn’t actually do much else. Ok, there were a couple of election promises kept and there was an acknowledgement of the difficulties of the future without any suggestion of how they intend to solve them.

The NDIS will continue to blow out, we’re told. Oh no, say the critics. Something must be done. This is unsustainable.

Of course, as I pointed out before this is just the first act. If Hamlet had been told by his ghostly father to avenge his murder and the protagonist had immediately killed Claudius, Shakespeare would have had a play that was far too short and everyone would have wanted their money back. Similarly, when it comes to the NDIS, it’s obvious that there’s a great need, but it’s also obvious that there’s some efficiencies that can be found. I read recently about an ex-AFL footballer selling his NDIS business for $40 million. This does tend to suggest that private industry is doing quite nicely, thank you, and maybe, just maybe, if one NDIS business is worth that much then it’s charging too much for what it actually does. However, if Jim Chalmers had said something like the Coalition have let NDIS balloon due to poor decisions, but we’ll get this under control in no time, then where’s the dramatic tension?

The Budget also told us to prepare for a fifty percent rise in power prices, which has led to enormous cries for the government to do something about it. Fair enough, but that’s clearly something for the second act. This is when the protagonist will take action only to be thwarted by the evil deeds of those who are causing the problem. It’s only in the third act after a valiant struggle that the hero wins out against the forces of darkness… Unless it’s a tragedy in which case, the hero dies.

Whatever, this Budget was all about keeping the critics happy and establishing that the rising energy prices are really all the result of the evil Putin and Liberal inaction. Either way, the endless carping of Liberals such as Angus Taylor quickly sounds petty as soon as they’re asked what they’d so about it and they shrug their shoulders and say that they’re not the government.

So having established itself as a dull and cautious government, will Labor be able to make some more controversial decisions later? Will they be able, for example, to raise the unemployment rate or modify the Stage 3 tax cuts?

As an aside, I loved Samantha Maiden’s take on the Stage 3 cuts this morning, when she basically said that Labor had made a big song and dance about possibly changing them, but grown timid and backed off. I don’t remember any comment from Labor other than statements to the effect of they’re costly but we haven’t changed our policy. I thought that it was all the media speculating, rather than Labor kite-flying, but I keep forgetting that political commentators never get things wrong, it’s just that the reality doesn’t match their predictions because of some person or persons doing something or nothing, which altered the events that had already occurred in the mind of the commentator.

Of course, the analogy of this budget being the first act of a play has certain problems. For a start, critics don’t review theatre after one act; they wait and see the whole thing. But leaving aside that, there’s one very important point that Labor need to remember.

While a positive tick from the critics may get people into the theatre to watch the performance, it’s ultimately the audience who make the decision about whether the experience was worthwhile. And some of the audience reaction from potential Labor supporters suggests that they’d better have a more exciting second act planned.

They can’t rely on Peter Dutton making them look good forever. I mean, what if the Liberals change leader and put Sussan Ley in charge?

Mm, maybe if the Opposition adopt a new strategy and don’t appear on any media or make any comment, they’ll have a better chance of picking up seats at the next election!

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7 comments

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  1. Leon Moudakis

    High energy prices are killing the country, why isn’t anyone questioning Angus Tailor for signing an agreement prior to the elections to for gas companies to increase prices after the election, which he frantically denied even tough Albanese tabled in parliament the document with his signature on it, permitting energy companies to increase energy cost after the elections, why are his destructive actions being dismissed by media. For Labor to break Angus’a contracted arrangement with energy companies, the tax pay would have to pay energy companies compensation for loss of profits. It’s not rocket science, Taylor F up the country so they Libs can win the next election, wake up journalists. The tax 3 wage cuts are not due till 2025 it’s not happening for a couple of years, media stop pushing an agenda that not happening today or tomorrow.
    Wake up Australia

  2. New England Cocky

    Ah shucks Rossleigh, there you go again overlooking the facts that in NSW it was the COALition that sold off the electricity generators and so lost control of the price of energy. Then to make themselves look good they sold off the power lines because having built second (duplicate) lines across the state at public expense, then their corporate mates only needed to rake in to financial profits.

    This was the preliminary dry run of the policy to sell off the biggest money machine in NSW, the metropolitan road tollway system to a consortium of banks after building was completed. Reminds a political sceptic of the dirty deal done by a former failed Premier, failed politician and failed man who sold of the NSW Land Titles Office to a consortium of banks in exchange for a short term customer service job reported as paying a mere $2 MILLION PER YEAR. Now why would you want to be a politician?

    I look forward in some hope of LABOR politicians reminding Australian voters of all the misdeeds by individual COALition politicians from the last nine (9) years of political stagnation; remember the $80 empty glass of MDB water; the destruction of protected grasslands, the MDB water theft by family members?

    Australian voters need to be regularly reminded that contrary to their own propaganda, the Boofhead COALition are the worst financial managers in Australian politics since 1901.

  3. Rossleigh

    But the Coalition ARE excellent economic managers;
    In the 1970s, they MANAGED to lose office before the oil shocks created stagflation.
    In 2007, they MANAGED to get voted out just before the GFC hit.
    And again, they’ve MANAGED to dodge the problems caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the world-wide inflation which Labor have somehow caused.

  4. RomeoCharlie29

    Damned with faint praise. Yeah Rossleigh, my reaction to the budget: lots of issues identified, few actually tackled. The previous set of scum loaded us with debt and yeah the interest bill is huge, but as Alan Kohler says, so what? It’s all so big that adding a bit more really doesn’t matter, especially if it was to help the poor but NO they keep on subsidising the fossil fuel industries with, among other things a huge plan for a dirty petrochemical complex three km from Darwin and it’s satellite city of Palmerston that no ( well maybe a few) locals want. The promises all start sometime in the future ( housing, aged care, NDIS, childcare, parental leave ) and meanwhile the poor, the homeless, the pensioners and even the ordinary workers, are left to cope with 7% inflation because helping them is too hard and, too expensive. Meantime we let the gas industry continue to rip us off, the tax avoiders continue their rip-off’s (until the extra ATO staff come on board). I don’t think this was a cautious budget, I think it was gutless.

  5. L. S. Roberts

    Give the comrades a chance, we live in ridiculous times and the electorate has given us the best government of the day. Unlike the last government of conniving knaves which was the best government money could buy. Rupert’s money, that is!

  6. Keith

    Where is the Integrity Commission that the LNP had promised In pushing for tax relief the LNP are helping out their well off mates, people on low wages hardly benefit at all. The tax relief promised could be better used in other areas. Or, provide tax relief to people on low wages and bring down the cut off point for those earning large salaries.

  7. Max Gross

    “If Hamlet had been told by his ghostly father to avenge his murder and the protagonist had immediately killed Claudius, Shakespeare would have had a play that was far too short and everyone would have wanted their money back.”

    GOLD!

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