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Having a go

It made my heart sing last night to hear Emma Alberici tell Mathias Cormann a few home truths in one of the best interviews I have seen in recent times.

Alberici asked, if an $18 billion deficit was a “budget emergency”, what do you call a deficit of $35 billion?

Cormann launched into his “they lied” spiel which seems to miss the point entirely. Under pressure he went for the economic security blankie, “Labor was taking Australia to a debt of $667 billion within the decade.”

Here was my hallelujah moment when Alberici replied “They were your figures. With respect that is a nonsense figure that you continue to trot out that you made up yourselves. In the PEFO (Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook) figure, which is the one you really should be referring to, it was about $370 billion.”

Cormann’s flustered response was ‘was not…did not…you leftie Labor apologist you’, or words to that effect. He said that he didn’t “create the figure” and that “we absolutely stand by it.”

As has been pointed out countless times, not only was the figure of $667 billion debt a guesstimate for a decade hence, not only was it gross debt instead of the more often quoted net debt so it contained the $58 billion gross debt that Howard left, it also contained a whole lot of Coalition revenue and spending decisions and economic assumptions, so could hardly be attributed to Labor. It is such a spurious claim it won the Golden Zombie Award for the lie that just won’t die.



Cormann admitted that, since coming to office, taxation revenue has been written down by $90 billion. If revenue is that volatile in the space of less than two years, what validity can be given to a purposely inflated figure in ten years’ time?

In August 2013, the Labor Party published the updated Economic Outlook and shortly afterwards, the Secretaries of Treasury and Finance published the Pre-Election Fiscal Outlook which largely agreed with the state of current affairs and projections in Chris Bowen’s document.

Four months later, Joe Hockey produced his first fiscal document with his December 2013 MYEFO.

Both Bowen’s Economic Update and PEFO estimated nominal growth in GDP for 15-16 and 16-17 to be 5.25%. Hockey slammed this as unrealistic and revised the projections for these two years down to 4.75%, leading to a write-down of $37.8 billion in tax receipts over the forward estimates.

By the time of his first budget in May 2014, despite saying that nominal GDP growth remained weak (3% estimated for 2014-15), Hockey upgraded the 16-17 growth to 5%.

Moving along to yesterday’s budget, we are told that nominal GDP is now expected to grow by 3.25% in 2015‑16 before picking‑up to 5.5% in 2016‑17.

So despite results showing that both parties overestimated nominal GDP growth, and the unexpected rapid dive in commodity prices, Joe has now declared anticipated growth to be even higher than what he slammed Labor for and what Cormann described as “a lie”.

Write down future projections, write them up again, and all’s well.

Talk about “having a go”!


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  1. Annie B

    Interesting and well written article Kaye.

    Noticed that out of the 21 major objectives of Tuesday’s ‘budget’ from the ABC News ( and later by email, from a forwarded .pdf from a Financial Advisor ) …. 7 were winners, 4 were neutral ( going nowhere either way ) and 10 were losers. …. Which means just 1/3rd of this years glorious budget – made it ??? …. What a laugh. … Actually not – it is a crying bloody shame. … Shame on this gross excuse for governance.

    And not a good result for the darling of darlings – the LNP !!! ( choke )

    So the Babbitt finds himself yet again, between a rock and hard place ( which is precisely where he deserves to be on a personal basis ) …. ” do I, or do I not – call a double dissolution”

    Any bets on that here – anyone ?

  2. Annie B

    @ DanDark – great post of a link. …. Read it all, watched the video clips.

    Sales vs. Hockey

    Hockey argued about having .01% less than GDP expenditure during the GFC of the previous Government …. WOW !! What a great reduction that is ! Bearing in mind that the Labor Government ploughed its way through the GFC – and did it well, better than anyone else in the world ? This Government would have done a ‘lemmings’ – over the cliff and gone, if faced with a GFC. !! Would NOT have a clue.

    Export growth for the future – Japan, Korea, China – we have nothing to sell that is attractive to ‘buying customers’ these days – unless some alien bods arrive and announce they want our iron ore, and our coal ???? phfft.

    Getting rid of rorts ????????? LOL …. how does that sit with the tax concessions to mining – the miniscule tax $ obtained from very big businesses ( mainly mining ) …. ?

    Almerici vs. Cormann

    All we heard was Labor this, Labor that – and little else, except for blaming the Senate on a couple of occasions …. well done Emma Alberici. … She sure exposed the natural aggressiveness of Cormann. …. He was putty in her hands.

    Stefanovic vs. Abbott

    Cutting taxes on small business ? …. Since the past 12 months or so, let anyone go to a large extended Shopping Centre, and find out how many people are prepared to put their lives on the line for ‘small business’. ?? …. there are shops aplenty that are empty and attempting to be filled through negotiations, for a ‘good deal’ by the big wigs that own the Centres. Some brave souls attempt it – and a very very small % achieve it. ….. Go looking for some shop you enjoyed 6 months ago, only to find it closed – defunct, or in other words ‘f*cked”, with the owners of that small business licking their wounds, and wondering where their next $ might come from. !!! I DO know what I am talking about, having been management to the leasing of shops in a 2nd stage extension of a large S/C in Victoria … and now seeing how many have bailed out, and how many shop fronts are empty. … there is an abominably quick turnover evident.

    I don’t think anyone who runs a small business, will believe the current crap. …. Once burned etc….

    And OMG – ‘we have stopped the boats’ came into it – yet again ???????

    Karl Stefanovic should expand his endeavours – become another “Laurie or Emma ” perhaps, although with more clout and pizzaz than Laurie Oakes has. …. He’s damned good at ‘having a go’ and sure dished it up to Abbott – including getting him to follow a ‘laugh’ ….. easily led by the nose, is our esteemed PM. !!

    I, and so many others, have had enough of this Governments’ shit.

  3. stephentardrew

    Kaye this bullshit is really wearing thin.

    These dumb arses put me to sleep.

    Please Shorten give me a wake up call.

    I sometimes find the crap and lies absolutely tiring going from attack mode too just plain over it all feeling like I want to hide in a nice warm cupboard for a while.

    I think my mind is beginning to glaze over through the weight of extreme perfidy.

  4. DanDark

    Annie said ‘Bearing in mind that the Labor Government ploughed its way through the GFC – and did it well, better than anyone else in the world ?

    Nailed it Annie and Rudd was captaining the ship then and sailed it through very rough seas, but do the Liberal party ever give credit to labor/rudd for that great leadership… they don’t and never will because the Libs see the country as us and them, but Rudd saw the country as a WE and acted accordingly some might say some measures were done in haste, but for some negatives the positives were overwhelming and we as a country should of thanked and recognized the effort it took for the Rudd gov to keep this friggin country floating, not even labor would or will recognize Rudd and themselves for this remarkable feat which is quite astonishing really……

  5. Annie B

    @DanDark ….

    Isn’t it strange. … while I give thanks for the guidance of the Labor Party through the GFC with astounding results, when it came to 2013 voting, I could not vote for Rudd … for several reasons. And I didn’t in ANY way want to vote for Abbott – so they were both out in my book. I therefore cast a very strange vote, which may indeed have become an informal – ( it was all over the joint, like a dogs’ breakfast ) …. although I didn’t set out to deliberately vote informal.

    I think I was hooked more on the way Rudd took over from Gillard ( who had done a super job with a minority government and had set the stage for handling many horrors ) …. that made me turn my back on him at that time. …. and sadly, now, I think a lot of people did the same.

    I thought that was politics in its’ darkest hour, but have SINCE learned that Bill Shorten along with others, were instrumental in those Rudd / Gillard / Rudd shifts of power. And have since learned a lot about the vagaries of politics and it’s ultra dark side. …. If pushed, they are all painted with the same brush.

    Still and all, you are right – it was Rudd who was at the helm throughout that GFC turmoil.

    I kind of wish I could revisit September 7th, 2013. … Perhaps a lot of us wish the same. ?

    But we can wish in one hand, and spit in the other – see which one first becomes full ??

  6. mark delmege

    Once upon a time a government ‘Cash Splash’ could be expected to help out the economy with a high multiplier effect – (much the same as when governments subsidised local industries like the auto industry – where it got back through taxes, employment and a bigger economy more than it ever invested in the industry itself) – as local products are made and sold but not anymore. The neoliberal globalised economy has ended all that. The beneficiaries of Hockeys cash splash to small businesses will for the most part be the Chinese and other offshore producer economies – as cars, computers, electronic and other business equipment and tools will be imported. It might make people feel good but the benefits are no greater than Rudds $900 flat screen recovery. Sure some stores will be more profitable from a higher turnover but I’ll betcha not many new staff will be employed and it won’t help our balance of payments one iota.

    Maybe the tip shops recycling the still useful but discarded goods might turn a buck and just maybe Rio and BHP might increase exports to China or where ever by 0.00001% to cover their extra production of export goods – maybe.

    None of this will save Hockeys bacon. His growth forecasts are more flaky than Gillards projected surpluses and one has to wonder if he is really planning for an early election before the real figures materialise or if he just doesn’t care anymore.

  7. Gilly

    There is no problem about having a go. Today, the day after the budget, I have already fielded nearly a dozen queries on how to game the immediate write offs for small business. For a mob that games their “entitlements” this government are in la la land.

  8. mark delmege

    took me a while…. but ‘Having A Go’ is just another three word slogan.

  9. John Fraser


    Kaye Lee

    Yes it was a very good interview …… seems a few Journalists are kicking back at the lies.

    Although not many are fighting for the stay at home mothers who are the hardest hit in Cocky's Budget …. and of course domestic violence campaigners get 3 quarters of bugger all but Cocky has an announcement outside of his Budget …… a bit like Packer's Barangaroo Modification 3,251.

    Here's that old favourite in relation to violence ….. from Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Affairs.

    How lucky are Australian woman to have this bitch in the Prime Ministers office.

  10. paul walter

    To me, the key question concerned Corman himself forced to admit how many $billions had been offshored to avoid tax by big business, after blaming the former government for the deficit.

    Someone refresh my memory.. who was it that went soft on Rupert Murdoch for a $billion after Murdoch had sunk the Gillard government? Does all else follow from this?

  11. mars08

    So…. “have a go” sez the mod who came to power on the back of an relentless campaign of negativity…!

  12. mars08

    …the mob…

  13. paul walter

    Yes, Mars…as in sheep (Joyce blushes).

  14. Zathras

    Rudd’s cash handout stimulus wasn’t so much about keeping local manufacturers afloat but keeping people in work.

    The stores selling those Chinese-made products stayed open and the staff didn’t lose their jobs.

    Likewise the much maligned “School Halls” strategy stopped the Building Industry (and its suppliers) sliding into recession because once it starts it spreads throughout the economy and is difficult to stop.
    Growing unemployment snowballs and leads to recession.

    The Libs would typically have cut wages or handed more money to the rich and waited for it to trickle down.

    However, give somebody on “Struggle Street” $900 and they will almost certainly spend it all. Give the same to the already wealthy and they will put it toward a deposit on another rental propery or an overseas holiday and “the buck stops there”.

    It was about keeping money moving through the economy and worked brilliantly and deserves credit, no matter how much history has been rewritten since.

  15. DanDark

    Zathras said “It was about keeping money moving through the economy and worked brilliantly and deserves credit, no matter how much history has been rewritten since.”

    Yep it did work brilliantly and I for one will always let people know it was Rudd yes Rudd who got this country through the GFC not Gillard,
    Gillard made some good policy decisions but she also made a few bad ones
    I wonder what would of happened if Gillard hadn’t of rolled Rudd and then came out with a nonsense explanation the next day” a good government that has lost its way”….
    WTF she never did really explain, it just seemed to me he was smarter than the rest of the backstabbing laborites and their own personal vendetta against him helped bring their own gov down, someday the whole truth will come out about how they treated Kevin Rudd….

  16. mark delmege

    Surely apportioning all the good or bad to the leader is rather simplistic and WRONG

  17. Lee

    Well it’s about time some MSM journalist called them on their BS. Matthias Conmann needs to be deported, back to the cesspit where he came from.

  18. Ruth L

    I am still savouring this interview Kaye.It was a doozie.

  19. John Hermann

    Politics is organised spin and lying. The problem for this particular set of clowns is that they are incompetent at lying (i.e. their bread and butter), in addition to being incompetent at formulating coherent economic policies.. .

  20. mars08

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the strong questioning by Alberici and Sales was an indication of a change of heart by the MSM? Wouldn’t is be nice if others smelled the blood in the water?

  21. Annie B

    @mars08 ….

    Am hoping for some roll-on effect from the Alberici, Sales, Stefanovic handling of these pack of liars. … And, if the MSM smell the merest hint of blood, they will go after it. So often said, their mantra is ” if it bleeds, it leads” … and that applies to reporting politics as much as to anything.

    The MSM cannot help but go for the throat, when the opportunities present themselves. – So here’s hoping for a change across the board of news reporting on politics, asap.

  22. mark delmege

    meritocracy is where people get promoted above their station…Abbott (who I think is growing into his job but is still a fool) Shrek, still a bully and Shortie who looked good during a mine disaster but has done nothing since…..

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