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Let’s get real here

Image source: brw.com.au

Image source: brw.com.au

“TONY Abbott and Joe Hockey are convinced the government will be punished electorally if it does not produce a tough budget, and they believe there is a “public appetite” for decisive action to get the economy back on track.”

Sounds good? Well let’s get real here. Nothing pisses me off more than getting lied to and you, Mr Hockey, are really pissing me off. Listening to you rail at Labor this week, exhorting them to tell the truth as you told lie after lie, nearly made me choke. There is a “public appetite” for the truth so time for a reality check.

Firstly, to label MYEFO as Labor’s last budget fools no-one. It was produced over three months into your term. You were elected because you said you could fix the problems. The blame game is over sunshine, it’s on your shoulders now and you have wasted one sixth of your term in office crying.

The PEFO report is an independent report by the Secretaries to the Treasury and the Department of Finance that provides updated information on the economic and fiscal outlook. These are the same people who advised you for your MYEFO report so to accuse Labor of lying about the figures is rot.

PEFO showed the cumulative projected budget deficit for the years 2013 to 2017 as $38 billion. MYEFO, prepared under your watch, shows a deficit of $106.6 billion. To quote your own document

“The $68.1 billion deterioration in the budget position since the 2013 PEFO reflects two key factors:

  • the softer economic outlook; and
  • essential steps to address unresolved issues inherited from the former government”. (otherwise known as YOUR spending decisions).

You go on to say:

“Firstly, a softening in the economic outlook has resulted in significantly lower nominal GDP, which has largely driven the reduction in tax receipts by more than $37 billion over the forward estimates.”

In the face of falling taxation revenue how does the Coalition react? They forego $2.9 billion revenue in tax and superannuation measures announced by the previous government.

Getting rid of the moves to tighten the requirements around tax benefits associated with salary packaging a car under Fringe Benefits Tax rules cost us $1.8 billion. All that was required was for FBT claims of business use to be legitimate, verified by a log book filled in for 3 months once every five years – hardly an onerous task.

Joe and Tony said it would cost jobs in the car manufacturing industry. Well subsequent actions by the Coalition show that concern to be a sham as they went about dismantling the industry from their first day, so I can only conclude that they support fraudulent claims of vehicle business use as a legitimate form of tax avoidance.

Moves to tax earnings of more than $100,000 on superannuation pensions and annuities at 15 per cent instead of being tax-free have also been repealed. This move cost us $1 billion to allow the 16,000 wealthiest superannuation recipients to pay no tax at all on an annual retirement income of over $100,000. These would include the people that John Howard permitted to put $1 million into superannuation tax free in 2007 as a vote buyer.

The cost of tax concessions for superannuation continues to grow by about $5 billion per year and will soon top $50 billion.

The revised projections for revenue from the mining tax showed it raising $3.3 billion over the forward estimates. You may call that nothing but think what those charities you have cut funding from could have done with that. Perhaps the childcare and aged care workers could have got that pay rise after all. You cannot say, on the one hand, that it raises no revenue and then on the other, say it is a burden on business that is costing jobs and investment. All this at a time when record mining industry profits have outstripped growth in taxes and royalties.

The Coalition have also pledged to reduce company tax by 1.5% which will cost us $5 billion. One reason given for this is to offset Tony’s paid parental leave scheme levy. Tony and Joe assure us that PPL is fully funded by a 1.5% levy on businesses with a turnover of over $5 million – they neglect to mention that the country loses $5 billion which will now be diverted to pay wealthy women to breed. Let’s just imagine that we had someone sensible in charge, scrapped Tony’s PPL scheme, scrapped the reduction of company tax, and kept the 1.5% levy on the top 5000 businesses. We would have an extra $10 billion a year to spend on, oh I don’t know, renewable energy perhaps?

The carbon price raised $6.6 billion in its first year which was passed on to households, trade-exposed industry, and research and development grants. Repealing it could punch a hole as big as $7.6 billion a year in the budget. Compare that to the Coalition’s Direct Action fiasco which will not raise revenue and cost the budget $3.2 billion over the next four years. Instead of collecting about $30 billion and taking action on climate change we will be paying over $3 billion to polluters – makes sense, NOT.

Moving on from the revenue side to spending, MYEFO tells us that the majority of the $17 billion deterioration in this year’s budget is due to Coalition spending decisions.

As soon as Joe Hockey got the keys to the safe he borrowed $8.8 billion and gave it to the Reserve Bank of Australia in what has been described as a gamble on the foreign exchange market. The RBA certainly didn’t ask for Hockey’s $8.8 billion capital injection and didn’t think it was necessary. It wanted to rebuild its capital over several years by retaining its profits and not paying the government dividends. Hockey’s $8.8 billion injection this year means dividends will be paid to the government over the next few years.

So the truth of this exercise is Hockey wanted Labor’s deficit to look bigger and he is happy to blow several hundred million dollars interest a year in an attempt to make his performance as Treasurer look good.

After years of abuse about the cost of Labor’s asylum seeker policy, Hockey added an extra $1.2 billion for offshore processing. Presumably this will be spent on extra guards and orange life rafts and bribes to other countries to see to our problem.

An extra $1 billion was allocated to fund eight infrastructure projects that were to be funded from the former Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund which was paid for by the mining tax. Instead of the MRRT providing the funds, they will now come direct from the taxpayer as the Roads Prime Minister fulfils his dream. And now we have Matthias Corman telling us that the possible $4 billion raised from the sale of Medibank Private will also be spent on roads. Enough with the roads already – we don’t want to become another Beijing. How about another airport for Sydney or high speed rail or urban public transport?

Hockey goes on to say that “Without any policy changes, the budget is projected to be in deficit in each and every year to 2023‑24.” A little further down the page we read that “The Government is committed to returning the budget to sustainable surpluses that build to at least 1 per cent of GDP by 2023‑24.” Ummmm, what’s the difference? Does that mean that you intend to make no policy changes, or that your policy changes will make no difference?

Much has been made of the promised Commission of Audit. MYEFO stated that:

“The Commission of Audit will be guided in its work by the principles that government should:

  • live within its means;
  • have respect for taxpayers in the care with which it spends every dollar of revenue; and
  • do for people what they cannot do, or cannot do efficiently, for themselves, but no more.”

Considering what you are prepared to spend money on – fleets of joint strike fighters, submarines, unmanned drones and one-use orange life rafts, $10 billion to keep asylum seekers locked up, gold plated paid parental leave, grants to polluters, billions a year on fossil fuel subsidies, endless reviews, audits, white and green papers, and Royal Commissions, bigger new planes so Tony can accommodate the film crews in VIP luxury, a $70,000 pay rise for Campbell Newman, $16 million for Cadbury – I think it is YOU who should be fearful of what the Commission has to say.

Rather than telling all of US to tighten our belts and prepare for big cuts, how about you think about your priorities. You are throwing away money by your tax cuts and your spending priorities are crazy. I will be interested to see if the Commission of Audit agrees with me, or will those bits be excluded from the censored version? It’s amazing how this government, champions of free speech, refuse to release documents and information and when they do, they redact so much it reads like a tv guide.

At the risk of sounding sexist, perhaps having a few more women in Cabinet might help. They are often better at seeing the big picture and making the most of the income you’ve got.

Stop the theatrics Joe. We are on to you. The dispatch box is your stage, but your script of blaming Labor and giving misleading information is becoming very tired. Every time you and Tony spoke this week, in your softening us up for the budget, you said Labor left us with a debt of $667 billion and cried shame shame at the Opposition. Well shame on you for your purposeful distortion. To counteract your manipulation, and to make sure the public understands the truth I will once again quote from your own document.

“Net debt is forecast to be $191.5 billion in 2013-14 and reach $280 billion in 2016-17.”

Let’s get real here!

24 comments

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  1. Geoffrey England

    Joe has never been afraid of porkies, the verbal kind or the edible kind.
    His lap band surgery may have reduced his weight but it has done nothing to slim down his lies and deceits.
    I did have some hope for Hockey prior to September, but since being elected, he has turned into Chief Lying Turd at the despatch box.

  2. w ch

    “At the risk of sounding sexist, perhaps having a few more women in Cabinet might helpThey are often better at seeing the big picture and making the most of the income you’ve got.” You are not sounding sexist, just really ignorant. The inspiration for these crazy policies is Margaret Thatcher, a woman. If you think someone who led Britain 30 years ago is not the number one idol of Abbott, Hockey and Co you need to start a politics 101 course. Do a search on Corey Bernardi and look for that picture of him with the Thatcher memoirs. For the record, she was a woman, the leader of the ideology that we are burdened with today.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Thank you for your comment w ch which has much truth in it. I am not actually “really ignorant” about the influence of Thatcherism on this government and I don’t need to search as I am fully aware of everything you so condescendingly shared. Your point is valid, your delivery is unnecessarily patronising.

  4. marionr7

    posted on joe hockey FB page

  5. Pingback: Let’s get real here | lmrh5

  6. lmrh5

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

  7. Stephen Tardrew

    Kaye it seems that to make way in the LNP women either have to become clones of their male counterparts or remain on the back benches. Furthermore I think that women in cabinet support this type of selection process. If you do not compromise with the type of macho aggressive male dominated arrogance you have little chance of promotion. The culture is bereft of diversity and reasonable criticism. Of course they laud Thatcher she was, in many respects psychologically, one of the head butting boys.

  8. Dan Rowden

    “head butting boys”? John Edwards just emailed me to say Thatcher is asking for your full name and address, Stephen …

  9. Stephen Tardrew

    Now as for the Hokey Budget the lies and obfuscation are giving the opposition parties loads of ammunition because double speak will only protect your as long as you can avoid responsibility: however the day of reckoning is coming.

    Howard died on Work Choices and given that Abbot is even more of a rabid conservative he will eventually fall on his own petard. When wages and conditions continue to fall there will be a back lash. Abbot and Hokey make Howard look like a middle roader so that may very well accelerate their demise.

    Their deficit is growing and they will not increase taxes just sell of the silverware. Not a lot of that left. Hit working class welfare and see how that works out. There is always a threshold of pain nevertheless the LNP don’t really care as long as the pain is not theirs. Dangerous strategy that.

  10. Stephen Tardrew

    She’s welcome Dan. Bring it on.

  11. mikestasse

    Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne are trying to cut 2.3billion from Australian universities. This will be the biggest cut to university funding in 18 years.

    La Trobe university has just announced 350 staff will be sacked and that their 5 faculties will be merged into two. Similar things will happen at universities everywhere because of these cuts.

    But Abbott and Pyne have more in their sights. They want to:
    -Privatise your HECS
    -slash funding to TAFE
    -slash funding to public schools
    -slash student welfare
    -bring back the history wars.

    The National Union of Students gathered all across Australia for a National Day of Action on Wednesday 26 March to protest the Abbott Government’s repressive agenda for higher education.

    And this is Melbourne not Queensland! More police than students. Unbelievable! Good onya students!

    A taste of what’s to come for all of us with Tony Abbott’s oppressive Government.

  12. lawrencewinder

    Good angry article… Perhaps we can save some money by taking away the IPA’s status as a charity or diverting funding to Catholic schools to pay compensation to those who have been victims of abuse?

  13. E

    Joe Hockey has me terrified about the state of the economy!

    What to do?

    Maybe we could do with less politicians, say 20% less.

    Oh, and we could reduce the number of States. Tasmania could become part of Victoria. Queensland?

    Or maybe we could just tender out all government. There must be plenty of big corporations easily qualified to run the country.

    Pooof. So much red tape eliminated.

  14. w ch

    “”Thank you for your comment w ch which has much truth in it. I am not actually “really ignorant” about the influence of Thatcherism on this government and I don’t need to search as I am fully aware of everything you so condescendingly shared. Your point is valid, your delivery is unnecessarily patronising””

    I apologise Kay Lee if you found my comment patronising but to say you are aware of Thatcher and then say more women in the cabinet would somehow make it better simply does not add up. What evidence do you have exactly that a woman would do a better job than a man seeing that the United Kingdom has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher, whose legacy this day causes misery to millions. If you are aware of Thatcher I struggle to see how you then could have expected your statement could be taken seriously. It is not about the gender of a person, it is about class. You yourself said your comment could be interpreted as sexist. As a man I would never say we need more men in a cabinet as men would do a better job than women. I would never countenance the thought. That is an infants school playground view of the world I might say. I dont know any male writer on the left who dare say such a thing, nor I think believe it.
    If you had mentioned Mrs Thatcher in your article when you mentioned women in the cabinet, I would have realised your awareness. As you did not, my powers of clairvoyance, such as they are did not tell me you had that knowledge and I made the comment I did, patronising as you found it.
    What we need is more people in the cabinet who represent the working people in this society because this is about class and not gender. And that goes for Labor too, who are mostly upper class lawyers, Julia Gillard included or well paid union bosses who last earnt the average wage in their early 20s, if ever.
    Too many lawyers, not enough variety of working backgrounds these days. Long gone are the days of Whitlam’s great minister Clyde Cameron, a shearer by trade. To suggest that having more upper class women in the cabinet will make this country a better place is not right. The LNP women in there are a joke already – Bishop, Fiona Nash, Susan Ley. And Sophie Mirabella would have been in there if she had won. Kelly O’Dwyer is on the verge. Am I seriously expected to believe she would do a better job just because she is a woman? Because I can not.
    The issue is class, not gender. No amount of Liberal women in the cabinet is going to make it better. You may well be aware of the influence of Thatcherism on the Government. That only increases my incredulity at your comment, that somehow having more women in the cabinet is any solution when in fact it was a woman, Thatcher, who is inspiring this mess in the first place. She did not do a better job at all and to boot she destroyed the union movement and the progressives in the Labour Party.
    The notion that gender balance is somehow the only factor is a self interested one. You favour women rights but to the extent you want to see more Liberal women wreaking havoc on this country. I am sorry but I do not see how that advances the cause of women. I think it would have the opposite effect. The relevant factors are class, indigenous background, non English speaking background in addition to gender.
    I am all for women in the cabinet. just not for Liberal women as they obviously have had an empathy bypass. The women we need in a cabinet are women like Alannah McTiernan who I like a lot, Penny Wong and Catherine King amongst many others. Who are champions because they stand for working people, they are not champions just because they are women.

  15. DC

    I think (and hope) you are right Stephen about Abbott falling on his own petard. Being aware of how insane Coalition policy was before the election I still found it hard to believe Australians could have elected them but we collectively did.

    Many will still follow the spin about any future pain being due to “paying back Labors debt” but when people start to catch on to the fact that the budget continues to deteriorate in spite of all the sacrifices, they wont have much of a leg to stand on. Rupert may turn his back on them like he apparently did to Howard in 07, this might unfortunately be due to some deal making with the ALP relating to media cross-ownership laws.

    The question is, what kind of victory will the ALP achieve? Hopefully not one of a timid apologetic ALP that mimics Coalition policy.

    In 07 for a while there it seemed (at least to my younger and more naive self) like the Rudd victory had ushered in a new era where climate change would be addressed much more seriously. Both Coalition and ALP promised to price carbon (Howard’s line was “who do you trust to deliver an ETS for Australia”), but both were short on details. When Rudd won he kept us in the dark about his actual targets for some time and the Coalition seemed to be in tatters. I thought this would be their time to reform and get with the science. How wrong I was. Then came Rudds announcement of a mere 5% reduction of C02 emissions by 2020. To me that was Rudds’ biggest betrayal. But what the Coalition want to do with climate policy is beyond words.

    I really hope that the lack of restraint by the Abbott Coalition leads to a mass awakening.

  16. Kaye Lee

    I agree with everything you just said w ch. You have justifiably called out my throwaway dig about the lack of women in Cabinet with an informative articulate response. I do think it somewhat unfair however, that you ignore the substance of the article. If there aren’t any women of merit in the Coalition it may be because their policies suck.

  17. DC

    Kaye I think your point about a lack of women in the ranks is valid regardless of what one single woman (Thatcher) did during her time in power. It is something in the culture of the Liberal party that everyone knows to get to the top you have to be a clone of the person(s) already there. Therefore anyone with a different view is held back and the women who do rise in the Liberal party know this

  18. James

    The economic outlook wouldn’t be so “Soft” if Joe and Tony weren’t Continually trash-talking the economy everytime they opened their gobs. If Business and Consumer confidence are low, there’s only one way the blame can, and should go.

  19. rangermike1

    Poor old Elevntey Joe, Can’t count pass that number. Like all Lib’s he just shuns the Budget numbers.

  20. rangermike1

    * Eleventy

  21. Fed up

    “Or maybe we could just tender out all government. There must be plenty of big corporations easily qualified to run the country.”

    Is not that what this government has done. To IPA and business leaders.

  22. Paul Raymond Scahill

    It is painfully obvious that many Australians think this government, especially including the orchestrators of all the so-called LNP policies, Abbott and Hockey have got it wrong and have absolutely NO IDEA how to fix the problem. There mantra has been to destroy everything that the Labor Government had put in place without ever considering the benefits to the nation or its inhabitants. Such an “Adult Government” and dont worry I have met a number of people that voted indirectly for “The Mad Monk” and they are morons. The majority were opposed to the carbon pricing and assylum seekers, purely fear, absolutely no knowledge of either. One only has to look at Abbott, Hockey and Morrison to know that the combined IQ of all three would not total the lowest of the low Labor politicians who have been elected to the 44th Parliament of Australia. Not to forget Bishop (both). So Australia LETS GO.

  23. Pingback: So, we’ve all got to help do the heavy lifting?… WTF? | Truth Seekers Musings

  24. abbienoiraude

    Thanks Kaye for expressing your anger and disgust so eloquently.
    It helps me to know that it is not just me as you write so clearly what I feel.

    Why is there no screaming about the real numbers from Labor when they left office to what those numbers are now nearly 7 months after the election? I would always call it ‘over half a Trillion dollars’ to get the deaf public to hear what Joe and Abbott have done to the future.

    All those numbers and that cutting, then all that spending for a very small group/number/purpose is so shocking. I can’t get my head around them, let alone hold it on tap to regurgitate to those I know who voted for LNP because of the ‘great big debt Labor got us into’.

    Sick of the lies.
    Sick of the spin.
    Sick of the selfish stupidity.

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