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Marketing 101

The federal government’s budget is due to be released on 9 May. Since assuming power in May 2022, the government released a budget in October that removed a lot of the excess and pandering to special interest groups that was inherent in the aptly abbreviated ATM (Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison) Coalition Government’s budgets of the previous decade. However, as they say in the murder mysteries, ‘investigations are continuing’ as other rorts and ideological funding decisions are being uncovered.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has been leading the discussion around the number of ‘booby traps’ left for an incoming government by former Prime Minister Morrison and his Treasurer Frydenberg. They include the ‘Stage 3 Tax Cuts’ that are legislated for introduction from 1 July 2024. The ALP promised they would be implemented on time at the 2022 election which could be more an own goal than a booby trap. There has been some discussion about other issues including essential federal agencies that have had no funding in the forward estimates, declining Medicare bulk billing rates, clearly inadequate social security payments and blow outs in the NDIS – to name a few.

Chalmers and the Finance Minister, Katy Gallagher, undoubtedly do have a number of competing priorities they have to balance. As is normal practice, neither Chalmers, Gallagher or any other minister that might have an idea of what is in or out certainly won’t telling us ahead of time.

But the ALP came to power on promises of looking after the poor and dispossessed rather than the well off. They even agreed to a proposal from independent ACT Senator David Pocock to establish a committee that reports on the adequacy of social security payments prior to the budget, in order to get Pocock’s vote on industrial relations legislation.

So when the government’s finance ministers are saying the government cannot afford to do everything it wants but ‘hasn’t changed its view on the ‘Stage 3 Tax Cuts’, commits billions to the construction on the latest version of Australia’s new submarine fleet or promises millions for football stadiums, there is at least a marketing problem. If you were spending your days wondering if you can afford to buy food and pay the rent this week on your clearly inadequate Jobseeker payment the ongoing funding announcements for big ticket items would be soul destroying. You can understand the calls of ‘what about us?’.

The Albanese Prime Ministership and Government are still enjoying considerable popularity according to the poll numbers. Most of us are not in the select group of people that know what is in the 2023 Budget ahead of time, for all we know the ‘Stage 3 Tax Cuts’ might be getting taken down the dark alley and disposed of so that a more equitable society can be created. Heaven knows that the government has been given plenty of opportunity to imply that is the case should they want to suggest it might happen on 9 May. They haven’t.

Regardless, it would be good policy to discuss with the Australian public why financial decisions are being made such as why there is a need for a football stadium in Hobart while there is a shortage of affordable and social housing around the country. Typically, people aren’t allowed to routinely live in football stadiums, conversely there may be solid economic reasons why the construction of a stadium in Hobart makes sense. The point is – we don’t know and the government’s not telling.

As demonstrated in this ABC Online presentation, the value of the proposed tax cuts alone could increase social security payments to a level where people don’t have to make a decision if food or rent can both be paid this week, alleviate the issues that plague the NDIS as well as driving a concerted push towards electrifying everything which would reduce our net emissions to almost nothing. It’s not hard to argue that all or any of these outcomes are better for the country that tax cuts to those that have a reasonable income already. Who knows, there may be good economic reasons for giving the better off tax cuts rather than spending the money on lifting others out of the poverty trap. We need to have the discussion rather than just a conga line of spending announcements that contain the word Billion. Everyone else that is the business of selling intangibles can do it – why can’t the Albanese Government?

The government is in a fortunate position where the Opposition Leader doesn’t seem to be able to cut through on any issue and their current popularity gives then a reasonable amount of political capital to use. While some should be reserved to ensure that the ‘Voice to Parliament’ referendum is a resounding yes vote, arguably those that are living well below the poverty line (according to the government’s own research) deserve more help – regardless of the views of the entitled and well off. The political capital will gradually evaporate in any event, so you have to use it while you have some available.

At the very least, the government should be having a conversation with us why they are making choices. Claiming they are implementing an eye watering value of tax cuts because the previous government thought it a good idea isn’t likely to generate understanding in a section of the community where the real concern is if they can afford the $3 bus fare to the only doctor within 50km that will bulk bill their consultation tomorrow.

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has a popularity poll rating above 70% of the population at one stage and it didn’t last. At least his government did some marketing to lead discussions with us why they through various decisions were for the public good. If you’re old enough you’ll remember the ‘recession we had to have’ and the ‘J curve’. If you’re not old enough, search is your friend. They were prepared to burn a bit of political capital where necessary before they lost it anyway. It’s a policy the Albanese Government should follow.

Who knows, finding someone in the government that passed a Marketing Course and tasking that person to explain the thought process for the government’s spending decisions might gain the current government another term or two in power. Then they can really deliver on their implied promise of a better society for all.


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  1. Terence Mills

    The stage three tax cuts, scheduled to come in in 2024 were legislated by the Morrison government in 2018 as part of an omnibus tax Bill.

    The tactic to get it through the lower House was to tell the then Labor opposition that it’s all or nothing, meaning lower paid workers would not get the stage one or two cuts if the whole Bill was not passed : Labor waved it through although several commentators noted at the time that scheduling tax cuts so far into the future was fraught with potential problems and, as we have seen, the COVID pandemic lurched into our consciousness in 2020 bringing with it a global economic slowdown and the acquisition of massive debt. As Scott Morrison has noted since, “had we known about COVID of course we wouldn’t have legislated tax cuts so far into the future”

    In fact Morrison has said nothing of the sort and neither has his hapless successor but secretly that’s what they must be thinking but they will continue to call it sound economic management so that when Labor say we can’t possibly support the stage three tax cuts in view of the prevailing economic and debt conditions, the now Liberal opposition can swing out of the trees screeching ‘broken promise, broken promise by Albanese’ – such is their mentality, it’s baked into their DNA.

    Of course we can’t afford the stage three tax cuts, point to any reputable economist who says otherwise. It would just take one columnist in The Australian or a spruiker on Sky to acknowledge the truth and this farce would be put to bed.

    PS: it’s Jim Chalmers not Chambers !

  2. 2353NM

    @Terence Mills – Ooops! Fixed. Thanks.

  3. Michael Taylor

    Don’t worry, 2353. I missed it too.

  4. pierre wilkinson

    as Terrence pointed out, if Labor announces that the stage 3 tax cuts won’t go ahead then it will open the doors to claims of Lying Labor true to their wealth hating ways and the MSM will have a field day despite it being a no brainer.
    I am hoping that Labor might do a sneaky liberal coalition decision to “postpone” the tax cuts until more favourable economic times, which will take the pressure off until the indefinite future…
    but meanwhile, sadly, Labor are becoming far more centrist than traditional Labor voters will be happy with

  5. New England Cocky

    I am fast losing interest in the Albanese LABeral$ misgovernment. The chronic needs is renovating Australian egalitarianism by increasing the Jobseeker allowance to at least $80 per day, increase building social housing immediately, and slashing the Stage 3 Tax cuts for the undeserving wealthy, including politicians, increasing Medicare payments to GPs and adequately funding health needs of Australian voters.
    Funding these improvements can occur by grandfathering negative gearing, slashing state funding for private schools, terminating free handouts to fossil fuel exploration corporations, introducing a foreign financial transaction tax on all international money movements, deeming a maximum loan cost for multinational corporations charging subsidiaries interest costs greater than prevailing Australian interest costs.
    Balancing the Budget is NOT rocket science, simply cut the free handouts to foreign owned multinational corporations and legislate to require them pay 10% taxation on deemed gross income before accountancy tricks.

  6. Stephengb

    chalmers (lower case intended) is your classic orthodox Neoliberal economist, trained in deceit, disinformation, misreprentation and the occasional stretch of the truth that most of us recognise as a bare faced lie.

    I have been saying this from the very first time chalmers opened his mouth on tv, yes I have been pilloried, and called a Right wing troll ( nutter).

    But I have voted Labour/ Labor all my life, the deceit emanating from this centrist version of centre right Labor, is just too much.

    Time for others to join me in calling these Right wing yank loving charlatans for what they are

  7. Ross

    Government is all about priorities, Labor’s pre-budget priorites are:
    Persevere with the catastrophic failure of the discredited neo-liberal agenda at all costs.
    Gift $240 million to build an AFL stadium in Tasmania, in the midst of a severe housing crisis.
    Billions for Nuclear subs to benefit the Yanks, the unemployed and those on benefits left to rot.
    It seems voters are not going to get the Labor government they thought they would get.
    In the opinion of this correspondent:
    Fuck Anthony Albanese,
    Fuck Jim Chalmers,
    Fuck Peter Dutton,
    Fuck Angus Taylor,
    Fuck David Littleproud,
    Fuck Barnaby Joyce, just because.
    A pox on all their houses and a pox on all the other dipshit political parties.
    And while I’m on a roll,
    Double Fuck the Murdoch’s as well.
    Apologies for the rant.

  8. Kerri

    And given the stage 3 tax cuts will mostly benefit people who would rather die in a ditch than vote Labor, there isn’t even any voter gain in implementing the Morrison policies!

  9. andyfiftysix

    the signs are not good from my perspective but really, we wont know till budget day. Could be promising less and over delivering, but as i said we wont know. i will judge by their actions, not by what they say.

  10. Patricia

    It seems to me that the ALP government has an easy out for the Stage 3 Tax Cuts.

    The LNP legislated them after the 2019 election to take effect after the 2022 election. The fact that the LNP was voted out of government in 2022 should be reason enough for the ALP to say, they took these tax cuts to the election and the voters rejected them, therefore the Stage 3 Tax Cuts can be de-legislated as it is obvious that voters do not think that they are a good idea.

    This is the same type of thing that the ALP has done with the superannuation changes for superannuation balances over three million dollars, the voters will have the opportunity to say whether they agree or disagree with this change at the 2025 election, should the ALP be voted out of government the LNP would immediately reverse the legislation on the basis that the voters did not agree with them.

    The fact that the ALP agreed to the tax changes is immaterial considering that the LNP refused to break the tax package up into three pieces of legislation in order to wedge the ALP on the tax changes to lower income earners.

  11. Phil Pryor

    Patricia is on track, quite right and clear, and many others who would seem to be loyal old “lefties” of a type or stance, are hot and cranky at what is fundamentally a betrayal. But, the ALP vote for these tax adjustments was based on a need to lie low, (hardly noble) and a wedge scare of old, whereby they would be a pass the parcel victim of being disloyal and untrustworthy. However, the election of 2022 sank any general community support for Morrison the brown stinking log, and his policies. Equally putrid B Joyce the inserting drunkard has been dropped, binned, rejected.., so, all deep support for this has evaporated and that can be strongly argued. Only the greedy, brainless exploiting types, a few old male turds mostly, the Gerry and Solly types, can yell about this “shame.” But Austtralia and its struggling sections need money support, programs, survival help, and Subs and cashback to conmen corporate connivers is not right now. This nation needs progressive sense and is not getting it from government, from rejected opposition, and certainly not from the filthy maggots of media. So let us fight, here and everywhere, for more sense, decency, adjustment and some success for society.

  12. New England Cocky

    @ PP: ”Putrid” could be an unusually inaccurate description for Beetrooter. Certainly ”rotten, foul, noxious, of very poor quality, very unpleasant” but never ”decomposed”. How could that be possible given the brewery volumes of alcoholic consumed at any opportunity?

    Still, the Tamworth ladies embrace his personal philosophy of adultery, alcoholism, bigotry, corruption, deceit, sexual harassment & misogyny and re-elect him repeatedly for no good reason. Perhaps their spouses direct their votes ….. still.

  13. Clakka

    The Albo ALP’s marketing seems to be via implication, tinkering and wearing moccasins until a head of steam and demands build via the commentariat and the cross-bench and ‘opposition’ (an opposition whose specialty is ‘nah’ followed by ‘blah’). Then they either rapid-fire implement a pre-constructed, pre-scripted public gabfest whereafter they announce an outcome and a derived consensus and their policy for urgent legislation, whilst also shivving the ‘opposition’ – magic. Or, they float a policy of good intent as a fait accompli, but with enough fuzz and financial ambiguity with ready-to-go, but room-to-move bills to draw in the cross-bench – consultative, and of course again shivving the ‘opposition’.

    On the Stage 3 Tax Cuts, I’m with Patricia. To that end, there’s been the equivocations as to what Albo ‘actually said or didn’t say’ at the time of the passing of the bill, the continuing ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ from Chalmers and others from the ALP, the most recent Chalmers’ “… We will only do what we can afford’, and pushes from the backbench on Jobseeker, and the revelation of the LNP’s funding booby traps.

    They have been playing around the fringes with innumerable announcements on the health / GP system, the NDIS, the affordable housing crisis, and cost of living (welfare) relief. Pump priming for things yet to come? Given their m.o. and the vagary of Chalmers’ “… We will only do what we can afford’, is the stage being set for amending the legislation or kicking the can down the road on Stage 3 Tax Cuts to provide for a win in these other areas? The timing is right, and the payoff will be tangible for the community and for trust.

    But I guess we’ll all have to wait until the show on the 9th to find out.

  14. leefe

    btw, there is no valid case in favour of the new AFL stadium in Hobart. It will provide a mere 3,500 seats more than Bellerive, and will host probably only eight games per year. It’s a ludicrous waste of money, land (which should be used for social housing and a public park) and effort.

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