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Josh Frydenberg – the smiling conman

When Josh Frydenberg gave his budget speech a few weeks ago, he grandiosely proclaimed “This is what we deliver tonight. The largest and fastest improvement to the budget bottom line in over 70 years.”

Now to most people, an improvement in their budget bottom line would mean they had more money, or at least owed less.

But that’s not the way this treasurer works.

He went on.

“By the end of the forward estimates, the budget is $100 billion better off compared to last year.”

Wow. That’s some achievement. If it actually meant anything.

So let’s have a closer look at that claim.

Firstly, you’ll notice that Josh says “by the end of the forward estimates” and “compared to last year”. That means his guess last year as to how much the budget deficits would add up to in the coming four years was out by $100 billion. That’s a pretty big mistake to make.

It also shows that the Treasurer has no idea what will happen next year, let alone in 4 years’ time.

In the first budget of the Morrison government for 2019-20, Frydenberg told us that, over the forward estimates, we would have surpluses totalling $45 billion. A year later, he was projecting deficits totalling $480.5 billion. That’s a negative turnaround of over half a trillion dollars in the space of a year.

The next year, the cumulative deficit total was estimated to be $342.4 b and now he is saying it will be $224.7 b and claiming the credit for the improvement when he hasn’t been close to being right once in his four attempts so far.

It’s fair enough to use the pandemic as an excuse for the change in fortunes but any suggestion of an improvement in the budget bottom line is ridiculous – it’s based on compounding bad guesses about the future, none of which have come to fruition, and ignores the fact that we have deficit budgets for the foreseeable future.

Josh’s other trick is ‘lowballing’ where numbers are manipulated to present favourable outcomes as explained in this article by Satyajit Das.

“Budget forecasts have repeatedly underestimated revenues, overestimated outgoings and understated commodity prices to make the actual outcome better and demonstrate competence.”

Some might call that being conservative but when Frydenberg then claims credit, it’s just dishonest.

To demonstrate just how “conservative” Josh is being in this budget, you only need look at commodity prices. The price of iron ore was $US134 a tonne – the budget assumes a price of $US55 a tonne. Thermal and metallurgical coal prices were $US512 and $US302 a tonne – the budget assumes US$130 and $60 respectively.

Whilst the prices may well drop from these historic highs, Josh has been doing this in every budget. A similar assumption for iron ore in last year’s budget ensured an upside surprise in revenue this financial year and the next of more than $6.5 billion. Claiming credit for improvements resulting from nothing more than poor, or deliberately manipulated, assumptions is very lazy.

Frydenberg has the smile of a confident man – the heir apparent to the Liberal party leadership representing a safe seat that will always vote Liberal.

The only possible risk to the path Josh envisages for himself might come from taking the people of Kooyong for granted when many of them seem to be more concerned about actual action on climate change and weeding out corruption in politics than they are about rubbery figures that mean nothing real. As Bobby Kennedy famously said, GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.

Josh has a nice smile. Then again, so do most conmen.

 

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22 comments

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  1. Kathryn

    Just one glance at the smug, disingenuous smirk on the faces of these two diabolical, political psychopaths is enough to make anyone with an IQ >10 realise just how truly depraved and contemptuous of ordinary Australians the diabolical pathological liars in the LNP really are! Neither Morrison nor Fraudenburglar have EVER held down a decent job out in the REAL world in their long, useless and non-achieving lives as the worst, most prolonged political parasites this nation has ever seen!

  2. GL

    Like I always say: Everything the LNP promises happens in the future except when it is to the benefit of the 10% and their corporate mates. Joshie gives used car salesmen a bad name.

  3. Terence Mills

    It seems that Matt Canavan is the only one in the coalition actually telling the truth !

  4. Ill fares the land

    Hallelujah. I see virtually no attention being paid to Frumpenbluster’s lies and exaggerations. HIs proclamations that Australia is the best performing economy in the world post-Covid is a lie of staggering proportions – he’s not even close. What he does is cherry picks countries doing worse than Australia and self-proclaims his brilliance. Of course, Michael Pascoe, Richard Denniss et alia see through this immediately and can easily show the extent of the lies, but this is how stupid we are, because we blindly accept Frumpenbluster’s claims. Worse, this is how stupid Frumpenbluster thinks we are. One of the things that really, really stands out to me is just how polished and smooth so many of the LNP are when it comes to telling blatant lies. Even when the evidence is readily available to shoot down their porkies, to many, in particular those who hate Labor regardless of how bad the Coalition is (and this Coalition is beyond bad), they want to believe, so that the LNP liars sound so confident and plausible is all that matters. It is a very human failing that we trust a confident liar before we trust a cautious truth-teller and the Coalition has some masters – Frumpenbluster, Rustedon, Ley, Birmingham, Taylor, Barnyard Beetrooter – all lie with aplomb and are never challenged. Canavan lies, but then I suspect he is such a total idiot that he actually believes what he is saying. I recently saw Rustedon on Q&A provide a long and detailed answer to a question about climate change – and EVERY proposition she spouted was false and can be proven to be false very easily. I see that the independent in Kooyong is running a strong campaign and hope she does kick Frumpenbluster out. To show how he lies, her wish to debate Frumpenbluster before an audience of Kooyong voters, something it seems Frumpenbluster doesn’t wish to do, is re-cast as her running from debates with him!!

  5. Kaye Lee

    In this year’s budget, the phrase “funding for this measure has already been provided for” appears 51 times. The phrase appeared 30 times in last year’s budget, just a dozen times the year before that, and it didn’t appear at all in Wayne Swan’s last two budgets or in Joe Hockey’s first after Tony Abbott led the Coalition to victory over Labor in 2013.

    It is very difficult to tell if money for a program is “new”, or additional, or whether it is “old” and has been recycled from somewhere else or simply been re-announced, and if the money will be spent within the next four years, or whether it’s all way off in the future.

    For example, of the billion-dollar increase in funding to protect the Great Barrier Reef, announced publicly with much fanfare in late January, the budget forward estimates only show $12.4 million of tourism operator fee relief slated for 2022-23.

    The $9.9 billion in funding announced for REDSPICE (boosting cyber and intelligence capability), is mostly a reallocation of existing Defence funding rather than extra money being provided for national security by the government.

    There’s a growing history of funding for the same dam or road/rail upgrade being announced ten times.

    More and more things are being classified NFP using the excuse commercial in confidence or national security.

    The whole bloody thing is a con job.

  6. pierre wilkinson

    and when the MSM is complicit in accepting these lies, what can we do?

  7. Harry Lime

    It’s been a long time coming,but the chickens are coming home to roost for Mr these, that, this and those.His act has gone stale with more of the voting public, and his arrant bullshit is falling as flat as a paddock pancake…no coincidence.As for the ‘smiling conman’..he better start looking for a new scam..the polling is only getting worse with every panicked utterance by the Guilty Party.They are going to get deservedly smashed.
    Be of good cheer ,the end is near.

  8. Michael Taylor

    I don’t think Josh will be smiling so much between now and the election. He’ll be a conman with a frown.

  9. L. S. Roberts

    My wife had a theory that the reason Costello never challenged Howard for The Liberal Crown was because he couldn’t stop smirking. My wife’s theory was that people in general and women in particular don’t like smirkers and someone must have told him.
    Mr Costello in fact found much more lucrative work supervising Australia’s very own sovereign wealth fund which in fact is the superannuation pool for The Australian Establishment; retired high court judges, has-been politicians and the like.
    Mr Costello also helps manage an influential TV and media network. The media are against We of the left
    even the ABC has been seeded with biased quislings. The motormouth mountebank Morrison probably has an advertising budget in excess of Clive Palmers and I’m not contributing any more to Labor, The Unions and GetUp etc. because their advertisements are embarrassing rubbish.

    This really is the most important election, if we loose, I’ll see you all in N.Z. but we can win it. Just for a month talk politics. Don’t push it, just be honest.

  10. Kaye Lee

    L.S. Roberts,

    I have been practising my haka just in case. Kia Ora. Fush and chups.

    I have been typing my fingers to the bone since Julia Gillard was PM and having political conversations with everyone I come across. I think the tide is turning….and then I go to a large country funeral and realise we are a very politically divided nation.

    We can only do our best to try to help people find the truth and then judge for themselves. It’s the lies that are killing me.

  11. Michael Taylor

    I’m working on my Scottish accent. I have “a broon Heilan’ Coo” is rolling off my tongue.

    It’s a sad state of affairs when moving to another country has juicy financial advantages. In Scotland the pension is more and all healthcare and medications are free (even for tourists).

    Imagine not having to pay a fortune for health insurance or to pay surgeons who charge double what the Medicare rebate is just for an appointment.

    The system here is broken. I’ve been referred to a specialist and the first question the receptionist asked when I phoned for an appointment was “Do you have health insurance?” I do, but if I didn’t have the insurance there was a three-year waiting list.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    When I went to a specialist when I found I was pregnant (at age 32, having had private health insurance since age 18). I had to pay over $1,000 out of pocket upfront (over 30 years ago) to “secure his services for the duration of the pregnancy”, the obvious unsaid rider….however long that may be/whatever the outcome….or was that just my overly sensitive hormonal self that read it that way?

    There is a great deal that could be done to improve medicare, gap fees, and the PBS but the government are gutless wonders.

  13. wam

    Josh is able to attacked for his budget and that could count federally. The city kaye mindset, as seen in comparing kooyong 2016 with 2019, is a worry to labor.
    Although this time, with neither a caravan nor a burnside, the result will be more revealing for albo and the bandit?
    ps Insurance is an extremely profitable business with variable results. In 2000, insurance covered all but the specialist. So whilst I paid nothing for the surgeon, operation etc it cost $600 for the specialist assessment before the op and $400 after cash on exit.
    If you are on an indue card and have to pay $90 up front and wait for indue to put scheduled fee back. You wouldn’t go to the Dr on Thurs or Fri and risk 3/4 days without that money. I suspect any welfare recipients, including the once called pensioners, would be wary about going on Wed?

  14. Michael Taylor

    Kaye,

    The gap fees are ridiculously extreme. How on earth are they allowed to get away with it?

    I had major surgery 4 years ago, that without health insurance would have cost $98,000 (five bypasses). Yet the surgeon still charged $3,000 over what the health fund paid him.

    The moral of the story is if you want to have surgery (or a baby) then coincide it with a holiday in Scotland.

  15. Bert

    I had an emergency operation on Easter Saturday with all the bells and whistles including 24Hrs in ICU. All up cost? About 20 rabbit skins for medications.

    Medicare and the current state of health care are far from perfect but it’ll do me.

    Hopefully with a new government and new health minister we get someone who grabs the current situation by the scruff of the neck and shakes three shades of shite out of the system.

  16. Kaye Lee

    FACT CHECK

    Jim Chalmers says the current government has taxed, borrowed and spent more than Labor did. Is that correct?

    The verdict

    Mr Chalmers’s claim is correct.

    Figures on tax, debt and spending as a proportion of GDP have been higher on average under the Coalition government since 2013 than under the last Labor government.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-28/fact-check-jim-chalmers-tax-debt-spending/101018582

  17. Kerri

    Kaye Lee you have belled the cat as usual. Although I will disagree on one point!
    I live in Fraudenberg’s electorate and I am so sick of seeing his smug smile on so many houses.
    They have been up for months so we paid for them.
    I have emailed him for information about privatising the ABC twice. He has replied once.
    And that was 3 years later. For context I emailed Doug Cameron (not my local MP) for a query about a topic not in his portfolio and received a reply within a week. So there you go!
    Independant Australia has some good articles and Links exposing Josh’s many lies and scandals.
    There are also many billboards for Monique Ryan but the territories are predictably biased.
    Wealthier areas sport more Josh. Middle class areas sport more Monique.
    Another interesting difference between the two candidates billboards?
    Josh’s face is regularly “decorated”. Cleaned. And decorated again. Cleaned. And so on.
    I am yet to see graffiti on Monique.
    I intend voting ALP, then MR and JF absolute last. I don’t think ALP has a chance but I want to give the message to MR that her electorate will be left leaning not right.

  18. Barry Richards

    I think its time these Jokers Morrison and Frydenberg got their comeuppance,and are kicked into touch,its lie after lie,im just so over the bullshit all the time,and what do we get from their other compadrey Peter Dutton get ready for war with China,total psycho.Im not a big fan of Labor but for Christ sake im willing to take a chance just to get a change,if this mob get back in God help us.I do hope God is listening and tells Morrison that he was not realy talking to him when he managed to fool a nation into voting for him last time,if he wins again it will be interesting what bull he tells us this time,maybe he heard from the Virgin Marry,anyway that’s enough from me,im of on my vacation to Hawaii and i wont be holding a hose

  19. Michael Taylor

    Canguro, the Umoona Aboriginal community’s opal museum in the main street of Coober Pedy is absolutely stunning. It wins tourism awards year after year.

    Given time, I would have done a bit of noodling if I could

    And here’s a great story (apologies to Kaye for drifting off topic):

    I was at an old pastoral station – now an Aboriginal homeland – just out of town and the traditional owner was telling me he came across a white fella down a shaft he’d dug, looking for opals. He told the fella to move, as he was on Aboriginal land.

    The bloke responded with a tirade of abuse, adding that it was within the law to claim mining rights and he ain’t going to move because some black fella told him to.

    The traditional owner looked at me, and with a wink said that three dead sheep accidentally wandered into the shaft. He never saw the white fella again.

  20. Canguro

    Michael, I’d previously mentioned my brief time at Coober Pedy… that pastoral station was the property I worked on; my introduction to the world of work and mens’ lives & behaviour.

    My arrival, in July ’69, on the same day as Armstrong walked on the moon, with a suitcase with a couple of changes of clothing, to be shown an iron cot in an uninsulated corrugated iron hut, sans bedding and asking the manager where were the sheets & blankets, to be told I had to supply them myself, or he could sell them from the station’s store, $35 for a pair of singles… I had no money, I was netting $12/week, so for the first month I slept under newspapers & cardboard, dressed in all the clothes I had to stave off the cold from the freezing nights… it was a pretty rugged intro.

    I lasted three months, was sacked without notice and dropped off at the Stuart Hwy and told to flag down the bus from Alice Springs. It was raining, and as I waited, perhaps two hours by the side of the then dirt road, a motorbike came over a sandhill, ridden by an Aboriginal man… he rode over to me and asked what I was doing there.

    I told him what had happened, and he said “Yeah, that [manager’s name], he’s a real c*nt”

    .Still fresh in my memory, now more than fifty years ago.

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