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Malcolm Turnbull and ‘the $100 Billion Porker’

By Michael Griffin

One would expect that the Treasurer of a nation entrusted with the duty of protecting a nation’s accounts and economy would be capable of performing the basic arithmetic involved in formulating a Credit/Debit balance sheet such as a national budget. When it comes to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s chosen Treasurer, Scott ‘the hypocrite Christian’ Morrison, one can’t be so sure that is the case.

Despite his semblance of training in economics at NSW University, albeit in economic geography, Treasurer Morrison seems to have underestimated the cost of his government’s proposed personal tax cuts to the bottom line of the budget over the medium term by nearly $100 billion. Such a large miscalculation is a concerning and astounding error by a national Treasurer who claims to have some understanding of economics. Put in perspective, $100 billion is almost one third of the gross Australian national debt.

On the day of the release of his 2018/2019 budget papers, Morrison announced to members of the press, in the lock up at the release of his budget, that the total cost of his Government’s proposed personal tax cut was $140 billion or about $14 billion per year over the next ten years. Morrison is reported to have stated:

It is not the practice of any government to provide itemised year-by-year costs over the medium term because they’re not reliable. You do it over four years and that’s what we’ve done, $13.4bn, and that is covering completely step one of that process, because as you know the remaining steps actually come in over the medium term and the overall cost over the medium term is $140bn. That is the standing practice for budgeting in this country and we haven’t departed from those transparency rules.

When quizzed in Parliament about the $140 billion cost quoted to the media both Morrison and his leader Turnbull refused to produce any official costings or any documents whatsoever to verify their claims and merely reiterated the $140 billion cost earlier quoted to the media.

However, recently produced Independent Parliamentary Budget Office costings indicate that the cost quoted by Turnbull and Morrison in Parliament and to the media was incorrect by nearly $100 billion dollars. The Independent Parliamentary Budget Office official costings indicate that the total cost to the budget bottom-line was closer to $24 billion per year for ten years or $240 billion in total for the ten years and not the $140 billion represented to Parliament and to the media by Turnbull and Morrison.

The huge discrepancy between the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office official costings and the costs (mis)represented to Parliament by Turnbull and Morrison also indicates the reasons why Turnbull and Morrison were reluctant to release any documents or official costings to Parliament when requested to do so and, further, the reason why Turnbull and Morrison wanted the Budget Bills passed so quickly. Passing the Budget Bills quickly would give little opportunity for other members of Parliament or the media to scrutinise them and Turnbull could then sneak his tax cuts through without anyone noticing their true cost to the bottom line in the future. Of course, once it was too late to realise that the cost was actually greater than what was represented in Parliament it would then be too late to reverse the cuts and, when the costs subsequently ‘blew-out’, Turnbull and his cronies would then argue that the nation was again ‘living beyond its means’ and that austerity measures, that is, further cuts to services and programs, were necessary to bring the budget back into surplus.

Given his qualifications and ministerial standings, one must consider that Scott Morrison is adequately competent and professional and that such a qualified and competent person simply does not make mistakes to the magnitude of $100 billion. On that basis, the only possible explanation for the discrepancy between the cost of the proposed personal tax cuts, as represented to Parliament by Turnbull and Morrison, and of their true costs, as represented by the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office, is that Turnbull and Morrison have lied.

It now seems that Turnbull and Morrison, and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, have conspired to mislead the Parliament and, via the media, the Australian people about the true cost of their proposed tax cuts in order to get consent for their tax plan and to have the cuts passed into law by Parliament as a matter of urgency to avoid scrutiny.

A $100 billion misrepresentation to Parliament would count as one of the most serious attempts to mislead Parliament, and of contempt of Parliament, in Australian history. It is a porker of such magnitude that charges of misleading Parliament and of contempt of Parliament against Turnbull, Morrison and Cormann should now be necessary. If that does not occur, the Australian Parliament is a sham of a democratic forum and the whole system under which Australia is governed is in drastic need of ‘renovation’.

However, with few mechanisms in the current system by which dishonest Governments and politicians can be held to account in Australia, for instance, without a mechanism facilitating impeachment, it is most unfortunate that none of the co-conspirators involved will ever face any judgement or penalties now or in the near future.


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  1. Wun Farlung

    It’s never too late to reverse Legislation/ policy, the ‘great big tax on everything’ and the MRRT are recent examples


    Impossible if u dont have the numbers in the senate which most govs in recent times have not had

  3. townsvilleblog

    It’s about time that the ALP made a huge noise about some of these lies that the general public is told. If they are fair dinkum they have nothing to lose and everything to gain and I can’t for the life of me understand why they wouldn’t do so?

  4. Josephus

    Urgent to ask experts to do a fact check and publicise in all ways possible assuming the above is beyond doubt. Use media, populist TV, radio talk back etc, newspapers, FB not just AIM.

  5. Steve Laing

    And unfortunately the MSM are complicit in keeping this under wraps…

  6. Prough

    Townsvilleblog, Bill Shorten gave a wonderful, passionate speech defending the ABC, saying a Labor government would ensure it was fully funded in Parliament last Thursday. This was not reported by any media outfit, except in the Gaurdian as part of a live politics blog. You cannot find it via Google.
    So even if the ALP do make a noise, they are ignored by the msm. You only find negative articles using emotive language of dissaray, brawling, etc. If the ABC speech was given the coverage it deserved, Bill’s PPM figure in the polls would be a lot higher.
    PS I can find no mention of this speech on the ABC website.

  7. economicreform

    All governments tell lies to their own citizens. However oppositions also tell lies. Modern politics is organised lying.

  8. Wam

    Great read, thanks, Michael. (Recently produced?? when did the IPBO release the $240b figure?)

    Wonder, considering labor avoids direct action on evidence like this, if little billy will decide he is not up to PM.
    Sadly he comes third behind the rabbott and the trumball. (but he is sneaking up on the lemon)

  9. John O'Callaghan

    One of the commentators on this blog mentioned something about Labor not making enough noise re Govt policy,but as someone else mentioned the media just ignore him,and when they dont it is to rubbish him.
    Think back when Abbott was opposition leader,he was in the media spotlight 24\7 he was their darling,their “boy” the noise the cameras the lights the put down of Gillard again 24\7, the fawning over Abbott,the interviews of him,the breakfast shows the shock jock radio.the headlines it was all lights camera action for “Tony” “Kick This Mob Out” “Australia Needs F*cking Bloody “Tony” get the mike closer so we cal all hear friggin”Tony” Liberal Good… Labor “Bad”

    Now compare all that frentis manic media noise and mayhem over "Tony" compared to what we have now for Bill Shorten................................................................................................................................................................................................ yes thst's right.. SILENCE... [ wisper ] can you hear it? no i cant either..ssh! be quite! be verwe verwe quite..... ssh tippe toe now,, that's a good media now isnt it?

  10. Yvonne Robertson

    Thanks for the link Prough. There was nothing anywhere else which even referenced it, including, as has been pointed out, on the ABC!

    Yes indeed, our media has a lot to answer for. Anyone who watched the debates at the last election would have seen with their own eyes that of the two contenders, Turnbull is all feathers and no bird. It’s quite obvious that he doesn’t even like getting too close with Australians, particularly if they look to ask a question he can’t waffle on about. Shorten has been demonised beyond belief. No he’s not charismatic but I’ll take substance over lethal, lying sham any day of the week.


  12. Michael Taylor

    Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this, Michael.

  13. Barry Thompson

    Michael, thanks for the article. If the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office arithmetic is correct,
    why have the MSM ignored this almost 100 billion dollars additional cost?
    It is outrageous and needs to be attacked by the Opposition..
    I hope AIM will pursue this in an attempt to bring the PM and Treasurer to account.
    I have always considered the current Treasurer to be out of his depth, but this is either sheer incompetence or subterfuge.

  14. my say

    We have a MSM who will never hold the government to account ,and one that will never report all the good things Labor are doing ,We have them to thank for all that is wrong in Australia ,


    my say ‘We have a MSM who will never hold the government to account ,and one that will never report all the good things Labor are doing ,We have them to thank for all that is wrong in Australia’. Absolutely agree my say. Recently it was said that ‘Murdoch is a threat to democracy’. He has proved to be just that in the UK where he is banned from being the director of any corporation in that country

  16. Florence Howarth

    I think you might find the speech ABC from MPI on Parliament site. Sometimes they end up on Utube.

  17. Pual Onions

    I could have told you the government cant add up there figures have always been misleading especially how much tax is being collected and whom paid pay the most tax,

    its like there con over welfare the current program is based on this 1910 England welfare reform program

    While the Liberal reforms were one of Britain’s most ambitious welfare reform programmes, there were several limitations to the reforms they passed. Free school meals were not compulsory. Pensions were refused to those who had not been in work most of their life and life expectancy at birth at this time was only 55 so relatively few people lived long enough to receive a pension. The labour exchange programme often managed to find people only part-time casual work.

    Does not this sound familiar of Howard, Abbot, Turnbull policies.

    The Labour Exchanges Act 1909 was an Act of Parliament which saw the state-funded creation of labour exchanges. The stated purpose was to help the unemployed find employment.[1]

    Prior to the creation of these government-funded labour exchanges, workers would have to search for jobs themselves; the first labour exchange was established by social reformer and employment campaigner Alsager Hay Hill in London in 1871.[2]

    The act also wanted to improve the mobility of the workforce, which until then had not been achieved. However, the exchanges were not very effective since only 25% of those listed on the labour exchange workforce found employment through them.

    another liberal act in Britain adopted by Howard called government job agency and work for the dole.

    What we are not being told all these work place welfare reforms hurt small business in the long run cause workers get under paid and distrusting of there employer and liberal governments cause they fake there figure and estimate in order for there business mates and most of whom signed on to free trade deal knowing full well it does not benefit the host nation.

    It leaves more people in debt as the are unemployed longer and or have casual employment working longer hours for nothing more wages are reduce through hidden taxes on low to middle income earn and bills such as electricity, rents, fuel, medication and food skyrockets to pay for the lost government revenue cause of tax cuts for wealthy end of town and to business owners whom are getting rich off tax payer hand outs and reduce wages.

  18. benway

    Regarding MSM bias – it extends to radio. Here in Qld, I notice the Macquarie radio news constantly reports soundbites from Frecklington instead of any actual Ministers, even when the story is about a Govt announcement. Constant drip drip of the oppositions response and propaganda instead of the initial story. The past two years especially, the blatant bias to the Federal Govt is astonishing and worrying.


    Pual Onions. Thanks for that info was not aware of th history u refer to. Free trade deals generally add to inflation because they increase demand for the same quantity of goods. Example th prices of beef & lamb in Aust over the th last 10 years have tripled. They do not help local consumers unless they are reciprocal on th goods & services traded to allow competition. Eg. Aust beef to japan korea china etc in exchange for beef from those countries to Aust. But thats not how they have been structured. They are as u say protective of th interest groups of th political parties implementing them. As such they r just another neoliberal globalist con.


    Pual Onions. Thanks for that info was not aware of th history u refer to. Free trade deals generally add to inflation because they increase demand for the same quantity of goods. Example th oprices of beef & lamb in Aust over the th last 10 years have tripled. They do not help local consumers unless they are reciprocal on th goods & services traded to allow competition. Eg. Aust beef to japan korea china etc in exchange for beef from those countries to Aust. But thats not how they have been structured. They are as u say protective of th interest groups of th political parties implementing them. As such they r just another neoliberal globalist con.

  21. Hilde Rombout

    Thank you for sharing Bill Shorten’s speech on the ABC. It is well worth a read. I wish i knew how to put this on Facebook so it could be shared more widely but at the moment i am ignorant of how to do so. Thanks again Prough June 7, 2018 at 11:55 am.

  22. townsvilleblog

    Prough and John Callaghan yes that is the dilemma that we face, however, I am hopeful that sharing the story on the many internet sites and getting social media with AIM and other like-minded organizations we can raise public awareness of the issues. The situation from my perspective means that those of us who support Labor must work as hard as we can to bring this tory mob down.

    Hide, I will put the speech on facebook mate.

  23. Hilde Rombout

    Thank you townsvilleblog. Much apreciated. One day i might learn how to do so myself. Here’s hoping!


    I tend to agree with some of the comments above. Labor under th right wing shorten and bowen do not make enough noise on this & other issuesm


    ‘Responsible Government’? The Aust Constitution is said to enshrine responsible and representative gov. How is it ‘responsible’ for a gov and parliament to cut 240 bill from the bottomline of the national accounts without the express consent of the people, without proper costings and without debate? Aust’s Constitution & the system of ‘democratic’ gov it mandates is deeply flawed and inadequate.It always has been.

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