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Playing Political Football with the Economy

Political football. Getting rid of the ball as soon as possible.

Political football. Getting rid of the ball as soon as possible.

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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44 comments

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  1. Cass Silva

    Dodge Ball – more like it! The Libs policy is ‘if you can’t offer a solution, blame someone else”

  2. Rob

    Joe Hockey would be more of a disaster as Treasurer than Tony Abbott as PM.

  3. PeterF

    A friend, retired economist in Canberra says that the Treasury somehow seemed to tell Howard/Costello that they had less money to play with than turned out to be the fact, and managed to tell the ALP that they had more. IF this is correct, it is the ALP who should be more wary of Treasury. Still, your point about Hockey not wanting to be checked is spot on.

  4. Kaye Lee

    I saw Joe speaking at a presser at a car dealership yesterday and when asked about this he very quickly brushed it aside. Every question he was asked he somehow answered with “This government is corrupt” referring to the ICAC investigation into the NSW Labor party and implying that ALL Labor politicians and governments are part of this “corruption”. Does he feel Obeid runs Treasury too?

  5. Möbius Ecko

    Worse than anything else Hockey is indirectly accusing the Treasury Department of being corrupt.

    Of course if Treasury attempts to call Hockey out on this they will be accused of being political and under the control of the Labor government.

  6. Pingback: Playing Political Football with the Economy | lmrh5

  7. Peter Stevenson

    I have an appropriate name for Joe Hockey ECHO JOE he repeats what has already been said previously by others.

  8. Truth Seeker

    John, well said 😀 and the question you raised is an extremely valid and important one; “What have they got to hide?”

    I think they know that any credibility that they might have had left is quickly evaporating, on all policy fronts, and are clutching at straws now, in the hope that they won’t drown in this quagmire of their own making. 🙁

    With their glossy comic books, and numerous brain farts, it really does appear that they are trying to sell policy vacuum, as the preferred option for a government in waiting? 😯

    Sadly the MSM, in the main, continue to be complicit in this great deception, as they keep trying to sell the same LNP spin. 🙁

    Keep up the good work mate 😀

    Cheers 😀

  9. Kaye Lee

    “The head of Treasury has hit back at the Coalition’s claims that the federal budget forecasts were fudged to suit the Government.

    Coalition MPs have accused Treasury of being politicised and implied the budget forecasts are deliberately optimistic.

    The Coalition argued that the Australian public would get the real numbers, untainted by the hand of the Government, in the Pre-Election Fiscal Outlook (PEFO).

    But Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson has hit back at those claims, saying had the PEFO been released on budget day it would have contained the same numbers as the budget.

    Dr Parkinson says the Government makes its own decisions based on the estimates Treasury provides.

    He says the department is not swayed by its political masters.

    “Let me be very clear: Treasury does not provide the Government with a range of numbers; Treasury provides its best professional estimate to the Government,” he said.
    “It is up to the government of the day – and this applies back through history – to do what it wishes with those forecasts.”

    The Opposition has poured scorn on treasury’s figures, saying they are “Wayne Swan’s numbers”.

    The morning after the budget was handed down, the Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said he did not believe the budget forecasts.

    “Well I don’t believe they’re Treasury’s numbers,” he said.

    “I think they’re Wayne Swan’s numbers and that’s a starting point because his name is on the front of the document.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-21/treasury-secretary-martin-parkinson-defends-department27s-fore/4703892

  10. Möbius Ecko

    Kaye. Hockey turns every comment and happening anywhere into something bad about the government.

    Interest rates go up or down. Bad government
    Employment goes up or down. Bad government
    Dollar goes up or down. Bad government
    Trade declines or improves. Bad government.
    …and so on.

    No matter which way any indicator moves or what the story is Hockey red faced and angry announces it as the sign of a bad government. He’s done this so often it’s lost all significance and relevance, thus making him irrelevant to any lucid discussion.

  11. Kaye Lee

    ME that is exactly what frustrates the hell out of me. How can you have a coherent discussion when the other side completely ignore any facts and just keep repeating today’s mantra. I watched a whole day of interviews with various Coalition MP’s on ABC 24 the other day. I wish I was clever at editing videos because they ALL repeated the exact same phrases…would be hilarious to set it to music with a different MP singing the same chorus, or perhaps a catchy rap number.

    The same thing happens if I try to discuss anything with my conservative friends (whose numbers are dwindling because they give me a tummy ache). “Our children will be paying this debt for the rest of their lives” , “They are NOT asylum seekers, they are illegal immigrants”, “There will be no carbon tax…”. They can’t go beyond the oft-repeated phrases and the trite slogans because they have no understanding of the issues.

    Sadly I believe the same applies to the Coalition MP’s.

  12. Truth Seeker

    ME, sadly it’s not only Hockey, but across every portfolio, as Kaye rightly points out.

    They talk about the need for “adult” government, and then proceed to carry on like spoilt brats… Go figure?

    When watching any of the LNP doing a presser, I find myself waiting for that old classic line “Always… no wait, it was never!” they are a walking (or in Abbott’s case a running) contradiction!

    Cheers 😀

  13. Brendan Cox

    How can you trust Hockey with economics, when he has to get his stomach stapled because he can’t count calories?

  14. Geoff Of Epping

    Is anyone certain that the “lap band” was not accidentally put around his brain? Just asking you know……..

  15. rossleighbrisbane

    When someone talks about the Liberals’ financial management remind them of this one from their finance spokesman.
    On the $70billion they supposedly need to save:
    “ANDREW ROBB: That was put forward as the order of magnitude. Start to strip that away. If you take off $31 billion of carbon tax and then you take off $9 or $11 billion, whatever it is, of mining tax, and you don’t replace most of that spending, already you’ve cut that figure well over half.”

    So cutting taxes saves the Government money???

  16. Fed up

    I might have it wrong, but when Treasury puts out predictions, they also put out the figures, data and workings that bought them to the predictions. I also though, that it is normal for others not to agree with Treasury predictions, reading the information another way.

    Is Hockey saying the information is wrong, or just that the predictions are. We know in good times, as under Costello, they were under predicted, with Labor, over predicted.

    Could be, that in times of global stability, they are easier to be on the mark. When the global economy does not act as is expected, figures are way out.

    Unless Hockey has a crystal ball, I suspect Treasury is still the best bet.

  17. Natasha

    Joe Hockey Coalition’s position has been misrepresented in this article. They are going to use Parliament budget office as well other agencies for their election policies costing.

    What Hockey said is he is very doubtful about the treasury figures because of potential Labor bullying to the treasury.

    Since treasury’s figures and predictions have been wrong every time under this Labor, coalition is right to be cautious.

    For example, budget deficit was announced to be $19,4 billions in May budget by Wayne Swan, now only 2 months later, it is going to be $27.4 billion deficit because treasury/government found $8 billion less revenue.

  18. Terry2

    Phillip Coorey Chief political correspondent AFR :

    “Many big businesses will benefit from a small increase in company tax under a Coalition government because they will be able to abandon their own in-house paid parental leave schemes, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.”

    This one by Abbott is a doozie; so if you have a paid parental leave scheme, as a good and responsible employer, you can abandon it when the coalition’s PPL scheme comes in and this will offset the tax that the coalition will impose on you. You just pass your obligations as an employer to the government and ultimately the taxpayer.

    Abbott and Hockey (Robb has been told not to speak unscripted on anything) have steered away from Paid Parental Leave since this clanger but ultimately they will have to come clean but you won’t read about it in News Ltd publications.

  19. johnlord2013

    Economics is not a finite science. If it was we wouldn’t be discussing the issue.

  20. johnlord2013

    Natasha. The Coalition would be getting the same advice. And in highly volatile economic times. So, In essence what you are saying is that we should do away with treasury.

  21. J.Fraser

    According to Mungo, Robb (the drinks waiter) has to drop his pants to count to 21.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Natasha you DO realise I assume that Treasury has to estimate income for the forward estimates. If you know someone who can exactly predict what will happen in world markets for the next four years I would be very interested in hooking up with them. Also if you know anyone who can accurately predict their income and expenditure for the next 4 years then I would be astonished. To suggest that Treasury is “bullied” by Labor is utterly ridiculous.

  23. lefturnahead

    I saw Joe interviewed this afternoon by David Speers and I couldn’t believe how down and washed out he looked. He had no spark,no passion,no solutions ,and he looked dejected and beaten and I almost felt sorry for him,””’ I said almost””, he looks like a man under enormous pressure and I could tell from his body language that he knew he was sprouting bullshit,the interviewer knew he was bullshitting and myself and everybody watching knew it as well. I think deep down he’s probably a decent bloke but has been told by Abbott to go out there and get as far down into the gutter as you can and make the rest of the storm troopers proud. Don’t worry about Asylum seekers Joe cause the path you are heading down to will lead you right into one and you will end up climbing the walls screaming 3 word slogans while wanting to kill the man who put you there.

  24. atkenos

    So Tony, Joe et al. When it suits you, these are the rules. But when Mr Rudd actually does a bloody great job with the economy you fudge, squirm and out right lie. Tonight I saw one of yours on TV say that comparisons with other nations’ economies were “:irrelevant comparisons” WOW! Imagine if you were in power and Labor said that…

  25. JohnB

    Dodge Ball wrote “The Libs policy is ‘if you can’t offer a solution, blame someone else”

    What – is this like Kevin Rudd who blames the electorate for giving him a mandate to roll back the Howard “Pacific Solution”, resulting in the loss of over 1000 lives and billions of dollars ?

  26. johnlord2013

    John B. before I answer. Am I to assume you are saying that Rudd is personally responsible for the deaths of 1000 people.

  27. Kaye Lee

    JohnB I don’t think saying “we went to the election with a policy” constitutes “blaming” the electorate. You may also want to check your facts.

    Between 2000 and 2007 (the period which includes the introduction of the “Pacific Solution” for asylum seekers travelling by boat under the Coalition government), the database documents 746 reported deaths of asylum seekers. Of those, 363 asylum seekers died at sea while on their way to Australia. As well, 350 were presumed dead (their status is missing at sea with status unknown); 22 died in detention (the majority of those cases were suicide, but there were some deaths of natural causes); and 11 people were returned to Afghanistan and reportedly murdered for being “Australian spies”.

    Between 2008 and July 2013 (under Labor), 877 asylum seekers have reportedly died. Of those, 15 committed suicide or died of natural causes in detention centres. So during this period, approximately 862 individuals died trying to reach Australia’s mainland to seek asylum.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Could I add that those 11 people who were returned to Afghanistan and immediately denounced as spies and murdered included two young girls, 9 and 6 years old.

  29. J.Fraser

    Tried 4 or 5 times to get this on Fairfax:

    “Slick” Abbott and squad are so proud of Howard’s solution to “stop the boats”.

    Stopping asylum seekers from seeking asylum.

    Nothing to be proud of there.

  30. richo

    It has seemed to me that ever since the Howard government got chucked out that Abbot, Hockey, Pyne and Bishop in particular have been like spoiled little brats that did not want to concede they had lost the election and so have just tried to continue to act as though they are still in charge.

    It would be comical if it were not so scary and sad. What a shame they could not just accept it and get on with the job of being an alternative option and encourage intelligent debate of the issues. – Oooops Intelligent debate I guess that would be an oxymoron in this case.

  31. Cass Silva

    In response to Kaye Lee re the killing of the two little afghanistani girls. How do you know this? Where were their parents? I doubt very much that our government would return these children without their parents.

  32. Cass Silva

    lol Joe must be thinking, not another four years of Abbott as opposition leader!

  33. Kaye Lee

    Cass here is the link you requested. Check September 9 2006. Doubt all you like…the facts are there.

  34. Brendan Cox

    Kaye Lee, how dare you start baseless scare mongering, that is Abbott and his mobs job. Please refrain from citing facts, it is just so Un-Australian. I seriously hope I am being too harsh and generalist in my sarcasm towards my fellow Australians.

  35. Ricky Pann

    I’m not an economist and like many complex issues i’m not prepared to take anything at face value. When I see the fiberals spouting the words like surplus and irresponsible…I cast my mind back to the fire sale that fueled the lie of prudent fiscal management perpetuated by the fiberals with Costello as treasurer.
    Liberals deliver surpluses…
    How did you do that?..
    Never you mind…we delivered a surplus and that is good….
    Ah what happened to the telecommunications system We owned?…
    It was surplus to your requirements….let Labor buy it back

    Its like the Howard stopped the boats myth,

    Do you realize that the broadband solution spouted by Turnbull will at best deliver 10th the speed and end up costing 5 times more in maintenance costs?

    NBN co like Google Fiber are rolling out nbn to roll out gigabit modems now. Thats 1 gig up and down…not the theoretical speed of FTTN of 200 mbps at best…Lies
    Then again…Malcolm invented the internet in Australia right? ..errr cough :Roll:

    Just simply more lies that is preposterously ridiculous in premise….

  36. Cass Silva

    With respect Kaye Lee, but the link documents the people who died in Australia. There is nothing about those that were murdered after returning to their home country.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Who do you trust with the economy

  38. Cass Silva

    What is becoming more and more apparent is that Tony Abbott is unable to think outside the rhetoric and sound bytes that he relies on to repeat the same answer to a variety of questions. Not unlike a puppet whose cord is continually reactivated. Either someone else is pulling the strings or Tony simply is not up for the job of the next Australian Prime Minister. Is Tony our own Ronald Reagan!

  39. Bacchus

    With not much respect Cass Silva, look at 9‐Sep‐06, Case ID # 386‐396, 11 deaths, Unknown, Afghans, two females aged 6 and 9, and nine males => All eleven victims murdered in their homes in Afghanistan by locals calling them ‘spies’, after being deported as a group from Australia.

  40. Kaye Lee

    Thank you Bacchus for actually reading the date I directed Cass too.

    Back to the economy. This is interesting.

    “The head of one of Australia’s biggest banks has slammed the quality of debate about debt in this country, labelling it ”very immature”.

    National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne said we had a ”unique window” as a AAA-rated country to issue more government debt to fund desperately needed infrastructure.

    ”Australia has a debt problem: we don’t have enough,” Mr Clyne said on Thursday.

    ”If we continue to have the debate that suggests that all debt is bad, and not a debate on the productive use of debt, we will simply not be able to fund the infrastructure this economy needs to thrive into the future.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/we-have-a-debt-problem-says-nab-chief-20130801-2r29e.html#ixzz2algAbWX9

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