Tony Abbott came to power promising to be a “no surprises, no excuses” government.
REPORTER: “The condition of the budget will not be an excuse for breaking promises?”
TONY ABBOTT: “Exactly right. We will keep the commitments that we make. All of the commitments that we make will be commitments that are carefully costed.” –Joint press conference, Colo Heights, NSW, 13 August 2013
This statement was made 11 days after Chris Bowen’s Economic Statement was released (Aug 2) and the same day that Treasury and Finance released the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Both of these documents updated the current year deficit estimate to about $30 billion so Tony was well aware of the state of the books when he made this statement. Yet on the 7:30 report a couple of weeks ago Tony said:
“the then Government was saying that the deficit would be $18 billion. It turned out to be $48 billion. There was a $30 billion budget black hole that the Labor Party had created, should’ve known about and wasn’t telling us about. Obviously, when the circumstances change, there are some things that have to change with them.”
But when we look at Joe Hockey’s MYEFO from December 2013 he says:
There has been a marked deterioration in the fiscal outlook since the 2013 PEFO.
The underlying cash balance has deteriorated by $16.8 billion in the 2013‑14 year
The deterioration in the budget position since the 2013 PEFO reflects the following key facts:
##Slower growth in real GDP, together with softer domestic prices and wages, have resulted in significantly lower nominal GDP, which has largely driven the reduction in tax receipts by more than $37 billion over the forward estimates.
##The softer economic outlook, coupled with changes in demand‑driven programmes and the revised assumption for projecting the unemployment rate, has increased total payments by $11.3 billion over the forward estimates.
##Actions by the Government to address the legacy issues inherited from the former Government have impacted on the budget position over the forward estimates, with the largest of these elements being the $8.8 billion grant to the Reserve Bank of Australia.
In order to blame Labor for his broken promises, Tony has completely ignored two fiscal updates and his own Treasurer’s admission of adding almost $17 billion to the deficit.
Before the election, Abbott was so watertight on never breaking a promise that he even denied himself any wiggle-room on the question of not getting his legislation through the senate:
“The government knew going into the election that we didn’t support any spending associated with the mining tax. So, she knew that we were going to be opposing this because we said we were going to oppose it. Now, she shouldn’t have made a promise that she couldn’t keep.” -Joint doorstop interview with Craig Laundy, Auburn, 4 March 2013
Yet when he struck resistance in repealing the carbon tax, Abbott blamed the inexperience of new senators for the repeal’s defeat. A couple of days later, realising that he should not alienate the cross-benchers, Tony swung the blame to Labor.
Mr Abbott told a Liberal National Party conference in Brisbane yesterday that it is Labor that is keeping the Government from fulfilling its commitment to repeal the tax.
“When you look at things in the Senate, sure, Mr Palmer has three senators, but Mr Shorten has 25 and we know that Mr Palmer will change his mind come Monday, but Bill Shorten will still be there supporting putting your power prices up,” he said.
Funny, I thought Labor went to the election saying they would not repeal carbon pricing so Tony shouldn’t have been making promises predicated on their support.
Having eventually won that battle, Tony is now blaming the Senate for not passing the more draconian measures of the worst budget ever, and for the rapidly increasing debt and deficit. As one commenter at Crikey put it:
Blame it on the “opportunists” Labor. Blame it on the “economic vandals” Greens. Blame it on the “recalcitrant” Senate. Didn’t Abbott say that putting the adults back in charge would mean an end to the blame game?
And it’s not just on economic matters where Tony seeks to apportion blame. In yesterday’s speech on national security, Tony seemed to blame terrorist atrocities on Muslim leaders not speaking out.
“I’ve often heard western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’. I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.”
Unsurprisingly, Muslim leaders were furious
Even Tony’s own leadership woes also had to be someone else’s fault so Philip Ruddock had to field the blame for not telling Tony what every person in Australia already knew – he was unpopular and Credlin was too controlling.
When it comes to corruption, Tony blames the rules.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has blamed confusion over the former NSW Labor government’s ban on political donations from property developers for some of the Liberal Party’s woes at the Independent Commission Against Corruption, including the resignation of two state MPs last week.
“Who exactly is a developer?” Mr Abbott asked. “That can sometimes be a difficult question.”
Even when Tony was caught fraudulently claiming expenses for his book-signing tour, he blamed it on an administrative error, repaying the money only after being contacted by Special Minister of State Gary Gray after an article appeared in the Drum.
The repayment occurred after Mr Abbott publicly denied the allegation through a spokesman, who stated: “All travel undertaken by Mr Abbott has been within the entitlement. This is a blatant attempt by Labor to smear and mislead.”
Ahhhh….back to it being Labor’s fault – regardless of it being Tony who had lied.
And if it’s not Labor, it’s the media’s fault.
When Mr Abbott was asked if he owed Mr Newman an apology for creating the knighthood distraction with his captain’s pick during the last week of a tight state election campaign, the Prime Minister shifted the blame elsewhere.
“He wants to focus on his strong team with a strong plan,” he said. “I suspect it’s the questioners that have stopped him from doing it.”
When my children were little I stressed to them the importance of personal accountability. Don’t come and tell me what he did…tell me what you did. When they squabbled I would say I am not interested in who started it or who is to blame – sort it out or, instead of going to the beach, you will be going to your rooms.
Someone should have sent Tony to his room a long time ago.
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