Usually in an election campaign the leader of the party makes individual policy announcements and is supported by the relative minister. In the 2010 campaign Tony Abbott (as if to confirm Costello’s opinion of him as an economics illiterate) shirked the presentation of his party’s economic policy and hand balled it to Joe Hockey. Now Joe wasn’t up to the task making a complete balls-up of presentation so he in turn hand balled to Andrew Robb. He decided to give the assembled press an economics lesson and in doing so confused both himself and the press. Watching it on television was excruciating and that cringe factor came over me. You know the feeling one gets when you watch someone making a fool of themselves without knowing it. Andrew did such an appalling job that he had party advisers giving him wind up signals from the back of the room.
As if to make matters worse they then neatly side stepped treasury and had their policies costed by some fifth tier accountancy firm in WA. It in turn was a balls up of monumental proportions and a black hole of even greater proportions was picked up. They were later fined for their incompetency.
All this brings me to Joe Hockey’s latest announcement that he intends to again side step the Treasury Department because in his words ‘he cannot trust them.’ Instead he says he will use a variety of outside sources (all assuredly sympathetic to his parties world view of economics) to cost his parties policies. This is of course totality unprecedented and raises questions of ‘’what is he trying to hide?’’ And if he cannot trust them now, how would he do so in government.
As we say in Australia. It all sounds a bit sus. I mean it was their own economics champion who founded this “Charter of Budget Honesty” so why won’t he play by the rules?
Is he seriously saying that the Coalition will not recognise the Treasury Finance statement, PEFO?
In other words, he is preparing to reject the statement from the only authorities that have possession of the facts. It is a rejection of the umpire’s call. He seems to be running away from the rules the Coalition instigated itself. That being the disclosure of honest national policy costings and budgeting.
One cannot help but think that this is a deliberate attempt to muddy the policy waters. He is seeking to reject the department’s figures so as to allow him the flexibility to make things up as he goes without scrutiny. In other words he is asking the public to trust the people he anoints to cost his policies and reject the official body that has all the facts at its disposal and is giving the same advice to both parties.
Two months ago, Hockey said: “We have always said that the only numbers we can actually rely on are the numbers released by the secretary of the Department of the Treasury and Finance, 10 days into the election campaign. Because they belong to the public servants rather than these numbers which belong to the government.”
Sorry but Joe is simply not credible. We should be demanding that Mr Abbott deliver his party’s economic policy and that Mr Hockey stand beside him with properly documented and costed policies according to the charter of honesty that his party introduced. And I might add in plenty of time for the electorate to digest it.
There is really no excuse. The Government is expected to release an economic statement late this week and it will be backed up by the PEFO report 10 days into the campaign. Common Joe give us the truth. It does matter.
Otherwise it’s all a bit sus.
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