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Hapless Hockey’s Hyperbole

Watching Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey the other night on television sitting together in one of their offices pretending to look over their latest brainchild, the 2015 budget, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

To see our two most senior government members, one so stern faced, trying to look so accomplished, the other like he didn’t have a clue, parading in front of a compliant media, was near laughable.

I remember the very same stunt last year which, we all know, ended in disaster. The repeat performance this year proves that they have learnt nothing. They still play the same old game, without any variation, without any sense of vitality or optimism. They are such ham actors.

The budget is looking increasingly like a ham act as well if we are to believe what we hear. We are told additional money will go to childcare, well, I’ll wait for the detail on that before commenting. Tightening the aged pension asset test from $1.1m to $820K not including the family home will reverse one of the Howard/Costello excesses. It’s a step in the right direction but there’s a lot more where that came from.

Refusing to touch superannuation concessions though, shows how strong are the top end of town and how weak our fearless duo. The bullies who tried to belt the weak, the poor and the disadvantaged have themselves been bullied by their masters.

rate But it’s Joe Hockey’s flip flop reaction to the interest rate cut that once again, demonstrates his lack of expertise in economics. The cash rate is now 2% which he regards as good news. Really? That wasn’t what he was saying a few years ago. Wasn’t it a budget emergency?

Now he wants us to get out and borrow money in the mistaken belief we will reactivate the economy. Hyperbole in spades. He wants us to go into debt so the government can get out of debt. Does he realise that his ambition to bring down a surplus budget must, of mathematical necessity, mean we, the people, must increase our debt, our deficit?

Any business owner or corporation CEO, when looking at an expansion proposal, would want to be wary when interest rates get this low. It translates to sluggish, almost stationary activity. Yes, money is cheap to borrow but that must be balanced against the backdrop of a risky business model fraught with uncertainty.

This is not what corporate CEOs are looking for and they are unlikely to be convinced by Joe Hockey that they should be the ones to borrow. In fact, the reverse is the case. Government should be investing in infrastructure. Government should be leading the charge.

The single biggest threat to our economy today is unemployment. Hockey says the budget on Tuesday will be about jobs and opportunity. Nearly 800,000 workers are officially unemployed. The real figure when you add in those who have, for the time being, given up looking for work, is probably closer to 1.2 million.

jobs Add to that the underemployed and we are looking at a 16% rate of underemployment! A tragic loss of man hours, a loss of wages, of taxes and Gross Domestic Product. Why is this not the major political issue of the day? Where is the outrage?

It is hard to imagine what Hockey’s plan is to tackle this disgraceful situation beyond some petty incentive scheme to encourage employers to take on staff. Such schemes have never worked in the past and today they face the contradictory obstruction of an ever increasing number of 457 visa approvals.

Scott Morrison’s new childcare program will include a test to determine if the applicant is working, looking for work, in study or involved in some form of voluntary capacity. The devil is in the detail but the result will be fewer people receiving childcare support and more people looking for work.

hyper The evidence suggests unemployment is not a serious concern of this government, yet it is the only sustainable answer to our economic ills. They just don’t get it. That’s why Tuesday’s budget will offer no solutions. It will be the hyperbole emergency.

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  1. stephentardrew

    All too bloody sensible John.

  2. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    On January 28 2013 the SMH reported: ‘Mr Hockey told the National Press Club last year: ‘‘Based on the numbers presented last Tuesday night we will achieve a surplus in our first year in office and we will achieve a surplus for every year of our first term.’’’ His get out clause was at the beginning. His lie is that he now claims he did not say this. As an economic manager he is a dismal failure and his next budget will quite possibly be his last.

  3. john ocallaghan

    I remember Costello and Howard pulled the same trick just before the election in 2007,sleeves rolled up and looking intently at the budget papers,and we all know what hapened after that,so i hope history repeats.””””
    A very bad bunch og B grade actors.

  4. David

    While on this document named ‘Budget’ a title that seems to have completely lost its meaning, the ever vigilant Laura Tingle posted this morning…Changes to seniors’ at-home care packages to see thousands worse off – via @abcnews

  5. Möbius Ecko

    Several media commentators have picked up on the ham act and stated it was a very bad look for Hockey further cementing his deserved reputation as a Treasurer who is out of his depth and doesn’t know what to do.

  6. flohri1754

    “Watching Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey the other night on television sitting together in one of their offices pretending to look over their latest brainchild, the 2015 budget, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.” Our household’s exact same sentiments upon seeing that news clip ….

  7. diannaart

    I just wish our (not-so)esteemed leaders would speak to us in an adult fashion; “boring budgets” is supposed to counter tension from the 2014 “tough budget”?


  8. Colin

    John, I wasn’t quite sure which one of them in that photo you thought did have a clue

  9. DanDark

    I don’t read the news now, I havn’t turned my TV on for a couple of months
    because the whole lot of the Neanderthals are backwards and brainless and it was and is depressing.
    It dosnt matter what the little people say or do this country is stuffed, Liberal ,Labor dosnt really matter
    all politicians are sociopaths and bad actors,
    Remember when Julia Gillard did the big spread about how she was a knitter
    and we the woman of the country would empathize with that little bit of backward thinking by her strategist and herself
    I still laugh about that little bit of PR by her and the so called experts govs hire to help them look human LOL
    But yep Laurel and Hardy eat your heart out we now have Tones and Joe as the show stopping comedians/actors…

  10. Peter F

    I note that any mother who needs a break for herself must now be ‘working’ to get any help. They show their misogyny with ever step they take, these fools.

  11. mars08

    Are they doing anything worthwhile … or anything at all, about raising tax revenue?

  12. diannaart

    Indeed, Peter F, a more transparent approach would be to specify ‘paid work’ – mothers already work full-time. However, that require honesty from the deadly duo…

  13. stuff me

    I was hoping J.K. for a bit more humour, we need humour John!

  14. Pingback: Hapless Hockey’s Hyperbole | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  15. John Kelly

    @Stuff me, yes we need to laugh more…….but when I start laughing, I finish up crying.

  16. kerri

    John I love the fact that the first paragraph of this piece leaves it open to speculation as to which of these idiots knows what they are doing! I note too that the comments above and some of your piece elude to the fundamental fault in the way we see Abbott, Hockey et al.
    We tend to regard them as adults?
    11 years in the secondary Government school system as a Drama teacher and I am seeing day by day the same performances given by my weakest pupils! They are indeed ham actors but the truly frightening part is that in their constant repetition they actually believe we will believe them? The dog ate my homework over and over. The pathetic teenager who defies both teacher and parent with the most transparently flimsy excuses. The perpetual rewriting of history as though recorded archives don’t exist? In fact they are so convinced they’ve got such a good spiel this time the original footage doesn’t even make it to the archives. These people are fools. The elderly chap they trotted out in the media 2 weeks ago saying how great it was going to be to strucutre his own home help without a mention of how much it would cost him? Did anyone seriously fall for that? As PT Barnum once said “There is a sucker born every minute” and as the song goes on to say
    “and the biggest one, excluding none, is me!”
    Dumb and dumber.

  17. Florence nee Fedup

    I do not want a dull budget. I want to see one that is creative in it’s thinking.

    One that invests in the physical and human infrastructure needed for the future.

    Yes, the exciting future that awaits this country, if our government has the foresight and nous to believe this could be possible.

    I do not want to see a accountants ledger page, showing profits and losses for the next year. That tells us little.

    I do not want to see it portrayed as being all about deficits and debt.

    Good governance and good financial decisions will take care of debt.

    There used to be a common saying, very basic. One has to spend money, to make money. Still true today, I believe.

    By the way, this government is a bigger taxing government than the previous Labor one.

  18. Dandark

    Florence said “There used to be a common saying, very basic. One has to spend money, to make money. Still true today, I believe.”
    That is so true that saying and another common saying is
    “You can’t make strawberry jam out of pig shit”
    and if I have ever seen pig shit it is this Federal Gov
    and the mainstream media dress them up to look like strawberry jam,
    but the stench coming from Tones and smoking Joe precedes them 🙂

  19. Kaye Lee

    I know what you mean John. Maurice Newman’s climate change piece gave me a real chuckle until I remembered that he is our government’s chief business adviser.

    How bad is it when a university knock’s back $4 million for research because they are being forced to let a charlatan with no credentials direct it. With all the funding cuts to real scientists. And what a sad indictment of Julie Bishop who fell for the charm offensive so far as to let this guy decide to whom we will give foreign aid and for what. Body language experts may be able to shed some light on that decision.×349.1mek81.png/1430699375504.jpg

  20. Pingback: Hapless Hockey’s Hyperbole – Written by JOHN KELLY | winstonclose

  21. JeffJL

    John. Why did you not point out that when confronted with a question from a reporter regarding his “emergency rates” statement during opposition and his now “good news” that he denied even saying it.

    Yes this government lies all the time but it is not appropriate to start letting huge lies like this go through to the keeper.

  22. crypt0

    “one so stern faced, trying to look so accomplished, the other like he didn’t have a clue,”
    Now that bit really threw me … I just couldn’t figure out which was which .
    In the end, I decided both descriptions fitted both these two morons.
    Poor fella, my country.

  23. eli nes

    It’s a team effort. It’s my budget, it’s Joe’s budget, it’s Mathias Cormann the Finance Minister’s budget, it’s Scott Morrison the Social Services Minister’s budget, it’s Warren Truss the deputy prime minister’s budget, it’s Josh Frydenberg the Assistant Treasurer’s budget because we’re all on the ERC together and we all play an integral part in making the thing work.” no bishop turnbull??
    ps Di Natale’s hero? Tony abbutt?

  24. Terry2

    A few statistics courtesy CRIKEY that will probably lead Joe to fall on his sword when delivering the budget. Or will he play the old 2055 trajectory card ?

    1. Economic growth

    The rate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth through 2014 was 2.5% This is below 2.7% in 2013 and well below 3.1% in 2012. Significantly, Australia has fallen behind many comparable countries, including Canada (2.63%), Sweden (2.7%), USA (3.0%) Norway (3.2%) and New Zealand (3.5%). Australia was well behind regional trading partners Indonesia (4.71%), Malaysia (5.8%), the Philippines (6.9%) and China (7.0%).

    2. Income

    Alarmingly, Australia’s real gross domestic income has dropped for the last three quarters. From $387.9 billion in March last year, it has slipped to $386.5 billion in December. (ABS trend figures, Table 1, column V).

    The only previous times there have been three consecutive quarterly declines since the 1950s were during the 1961 credit squeeze, the 1977 downturn, the global recessions of 1982 and 1991, and the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009.

    3. Gross domestic product per capita

    More alarmingly, Australia’s GDP per capita has declined for two straight quarters. One of the most resilient upward curves, this indicator has only deteriorated for two or more consecutive quarters twice since the series began in the Whitlam years. They were the 1991 global recession and the GFC in 2009. (ABS trend figures, Table 1, column AA. The seasonally adjusted figures, column BK, show December marginally above the September quarter, but still below March.)

    4. Debt

    Net debt in Australia left by Labor in 2013 was $178.1 billion. At the end of March this year, less than 18 months later, it had blown out by 40.4% to $250.1 billion.

    Debt is still nowhere near worrisome levels, but it is moving swiftly in the opposite direction to that promised.

    5. Deficits

    According to the ABC fact checkers, deficits over the forward estimates had doubled by April 2014 over the levels bequeathed by Labor. Since then, revenue losses and increased spending suggest the deficits may have deepened further. We await confirmation in next week’s budget.

    6. Interest rates

    By Treasurer Joe Hockey’s own reckoning, this is a major failure. He said in 2013 “if interest rates come down today, it is because the economy is struggling, not because it’s doing well”. That was when the rate was cut to 2.5% — where it remained for 19 months. Within six months of Hockey taking charge it fell to 2.25% and was cut again to 2.0% this week.

    7. Unemployment

    Seasonally adjusted, the jobless rate has fluctuated between 6.1% and 6.3% for the last 10 months. This is well up on 2012-13 levels between 5.1% and 5.7%. (Table 2, column AB).

  25. Annie B

    …. your article John, was spot on but I almost laughed ! as it occurred to me – particularly about Hockey, and his about turns and ‘flip-flops’ on interest rates, that I had seen this all before – somewhere.

    Way back when my kids had done something wrong, and tried to get out of admission to it, by telling porkies, by re-inventing the scenario, adding possible culprits that weren’t even there, making excuses and generally trying to side-step the issue. …. The ‘adults’ in the situation saw through all that, and got to the truth eventually – by fair means mostly but occasionally by sneaky means 🙂

    The voters surely have to be the adults here, against these two ( in particular ) puerile and obstructive idiots.

    The Easter Bunny revisited ? …. Chockie Hockey and the Rabbit.
    “Put ’em together and what have you got ?
    Bibbity bobbity boo.”

    And that’s about all they’re capable of – fairy-tales, fit only for children. ,,,,, we, the voters, must educate these silly little infantile bods that inhabit the LNP.

    And the sooner, the better. ( hopefully, the Rabbitt will have a conniption and call a DD one day soon ? but sadly, I wouldn’t bet on it ). … ‘Twould be good though – eh ? .. Not to mention interesting in the extreme. !

  26. donwreford

    The government having let the car industry run down causing unemployment as with many other industries, the increasing restrictions on those who become unemployed in no or little social benefits for many, yet the CEOs are increasing their salaries by putting more on unemployment and savings money on wages no longer paid, I note in America a CEO has been paid a salary of eleven billion dollars for the year? and this is a bad year for this CEO remuneration of managing hedge funds? this payment is what many countries are their yearly economic income, considering we follow America? is this a blue print of what is our future? something is seriously wrong with our leaders, to increase workers being dumped on the unemployment will reduce wages of those who now are employed, and increase the riches of the rich, the rich have little integrity as to the healing of our planet, on the contrary they are on the drug of money and more money, they are a curse to our planet and this government are all part of the depravation of all taxpayers other than the 1% rich, who pay no tax or little, why are the government working for the 1%? for their own benefit of being the insiders who have the perks of insider trading.

  27. Chris Andersen

    The globe is apparently in a ‘managed depression’. Governments and their media allies can only lie and obfuscate about the situation. The smart money left the market months ago and only the high frequency algos and a few mugs remain to create the illusion of activity. Global vital signs like the felocity of money and the Baltic dry goods index tell the real story. Most businesses and intuitive people know what’s going on and continue to deleverage rather than invest. Glen Stevens cuts are just inflaming a housing bubble that will end in tears, as usual. Perhaps Tony & Joe are just looking at chicken entrails.

  28. Annie B

    “Perhaps Tony & Joe are just looking at chicken entrails”.

    Yep – they are in fact just looking at themselves ( as usual ) !! ….. they sooo resemble chicken entrails, from where I sit !

    ( oops ? ).

  29. Annie B

    My previous tongue-in-cheek comment about a double dissolution might have been a ‘sensitive’ observation after all.

    I take absolutely NO plaudits for that …. it was a throw-away kind of line, with some hope attached to it :

    ” ( hopefully, the Rabbitt will have a conniption and call a DD one day soon ? but sadly, I wouldn’t bet on it ). … ‘Twould be good though – eh ? .. Not to mention interesting in the extreme. !”

    Apparently the Sydney Morning Herald, has similar thoughts. ….

    Not sure what Facebook is doing on the end of that URL but ……… ??

    Perhaps the Greens have put the wind up them …. I sure as hell hope someone has – and a DD is called.

    Abbott is currently between a rock and a hard place – and he knows it.

    Oh how troublesome being the “supreme” ??? leader of a country, can be. …. Poor wee diddums. !!

  30. Dion Giles

    Let’s hope the hordes of vindictive, misogynistic bogans that followed Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt and the Daily Smelly’s hate campaign against the highly talented team led by PM Julia Gillard, and elected the Santamaria-Pell-Abbott Mafia, are high among those to suffer from their impoverishment programme which masquerades as “austerity”.

  31. Ned

    Joe and Tone are bad Ham actors which is why Politics is show biz for ugly people. Where theirs Ham theirs usually Pork-barrelling by Joe and Tones of their Tory North shore mates.

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