When Scott Morrison took over as Treasurer, he took waffle to a whole new level.
“It’s like going off on that summer holiday,” he told us. “You get in the car; you know where you’re going; you don’t put the passengers at risk; you get to your destination safely. Of course there will be people chiming in from the back seat like my kids always do, saying, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ Well, we are going to get there and we’re going to get there with everybody on board.”
What has seemed an interminable trip along a pot-hole ridden track, with innumerable unexpected detours and passengers being thrown out the door along the way, is finally drawing to a close and the kids are getting excited about being able to get out of this old clunker and into some fresh air.
There has been spirited debate here at the AIMN about what Labor and their supporters should be doing right now.
Should we refrain from saying anything that could be perceived as critical of Labor, particularly of Shorten? Should Bill go quiet and save any policy announcements for the campaign? Valid questions with reasonable arguments for and against.
But we are actually running out of time.
Parliament resumes for a dreadfully onerous seven sitting days between February 12 and 21. Should Labor leave it to the crossbenchers to pressure the government on tricky issues? Will the bullied and ignored women in the Liberal Party fall in behind the propaganda that female enablers are trying to spin about the Liberals being wonderful to and for women?
The December quarter GDP figures are scheduled for release on March 3rd. Might that influence the election date? We keep getting told how wonderfully well the economy is doing but they always leave out the bad bits.
Whilst the headlines for the September quarter figures showed the Australian economy grew 2.8% through the year, it also showed a concerning drop in household saving.
“The subdued growth in gross disposable income coupled with an increase in household consumption resulted in the household saving ratio declining to 2.4 per cent in the September quarter. This is the lowest saving rate since December 2007.”
Presuming they stick to delivering a budget on April 2, Morrison will have to call an election immediately which gives Bill the last word in his budget reply speech.
After the House is dissolved or expires, writs for election must be issued within 10 days and the election must be held on a Saturday between 33 and 58 days after the writs have been issued.
That means the writs must be issued by Monday 15th April at latest for a May 18 election.
Realistically, the campaign has already begun.
An effective debating technique is to anticipate the other side’s arguments, concede the undeniable before they can make their argument, and be ready with a substantive “however”.
The Coalition are entirely predictable so that makes the job even easier.
They are manoeuvring to attack Labor on taxation but that angle is easily rebuffed.
The OECD’s annual Revenue Statistics report found that the tax-to-GDP ratio in Australia (27.8% in 2016) ranked it 30th out of 36 OECD countries where the average was 34% of GDP.
It is true that, relative to the OECD average, the tax structure in Australia has substantially higher proportions of tax revenue from income taxes and a somewhat higher proportion from corporate taxes. However, we pay much less GST and, more significantly, we pay no social security contributions which makes up, on average, 26% of tax receipts in other OECD countries. We are not a high-taxing nation.
The Coalition proposed changes to income tax in the last budget. Grattan Institute analysis shows most of the revenue reductions to government from the plan are the result of lower taxes on high-income earners.
“Once the three-stage plan — including removing the 37 per cent tax bracket — is complete, $15 billion of the annual $25 billion cost of the plan will result from collecting less tax from the top 20 per cent of income earners.”
This sets up a significant challenge for future governments to cope with less revenue and greater inequality.
I know many disagree and make good arguments for a different course, but if I was Bill I would be pre-empting the budget, making as many announcements as I could coupled with rebuttals for expected Coalition policy.
Have the figures at hand for how much cheaper power prices will be with more renewables in the mix. Have an answer for the reliability discussion which, along with storage, could be largely overcome with targeted transmission and interconnection investment and demand management.
It’s too late for the Coalition to come up with anything new and if Bill announces a good plan, they are too silly to adopt it. Their raison d’etre is to oppose anything Labor says or does.
Whatever the strategy, we are in the home stretch.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!