In October last year, Josh Frydenberg said “calls from Labor for a GFC-type stimulus are just ridiculous.”
“There is a spending story that is underway across the economy but it’s very targeted and it’s in the areas that need it most. And it’s not a scattergun approach where you write cheques willy-nilly to the last person who asked you.”
Josh said what was needed was long-term structural reform to boost competition, cut red tape and reform workplace relations.
That’s the sort of stuff Liberal treasurers always say – it’s the IPA mantra.
Five months later, with the uber-confident grin fading, Josh was sticking to the “Labor bad” line.
“We won’t repeat the mistakes of the past with cash splashes,” Frydenberg told Sky News – a week before announcing a $750 payment to welfare recipients.
It is ironic that the government is being praised for leadership when they have actually realised they are entirely out of their depth and handed over the reins to medical and financial experts rather than the marketing crew.
The maladministration of funds through grants systems and the inability to disperse relief funds in a timely manner are the consequences of purging the public service of those with the experience and know-how to administer programs.
How many times must it be shown that the Minister does not know best?
If I believed in some guiding supernatural force, I would suggest they are trying to tell us something. Personally, I prefer the scientists who are most definitely trying to tell us something.
Liberal governments have enjoyed the good times that have led to them being full of political animals and fundraisers. Winning elections by whatever means has been the goal.
In the George Winterton Lecture in 2012, Malcolm Turnbull said:
“How often do we hear Australian politicians discuss these challenges in a genuinely open, honest, spin-free and non-adversarial way? Where the intention is to clearly explain the problem, accept responsibility for past misteps if appropriate (rather than apportion as much blame as possible to the other side), allow a non-ideological discussion of possible remedies, and see if there is any common ground for bipartisan work?
Seldom, and even more rarely if a camera is rolling.”
Far from claiming credit, it has taken a global pandemic to expose the shallowness of our supposed leaders. All the things they railed against, they are now being forced to concede are necessary – renewable energy, emissions reduction, water management, fiscal stimulus, increased hospital funding, boost to welfare payments, a deficit budget and increased debt, increased preparedness to tackle bushfires, money to keep people employed (though how successful those measures will be is questionable).
Free trade agreements aren’t much use when there is no international trade.
Perhaps they will finally realise that there are better people to advise them than the Murdoch press and conservative “think tanks”.
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