Keeping up with what the Coalition is trying to do requires daily updates as they swing wildly from one direction to another.
Forward backward cha cha cha and backward forward cha cha cha.
From the outset they have been contradicting themselves, telling us something is either a disaster or a great idea until it’s not, enacting contrary legislation where one hand works against the other, doing things they excoriated Labor for doing.
When Labor raised the debt ceiling to $300 billion, the Coalition were outraged – until they won office and abolished it altogether. The debt incurred to keep the economy growing and people working during the global financial crisis was ‘bad’ debt whereas the debt raised to pay foreign arms manufacturers is ‘good’ debt.
There was similar outrage when Labor took a one-off dividend from the RBA in 2012-13. The Coalition have been ripping billions out in dividends ever since.
They screamed endlessly (literally in Michaelia Cash’s case) about Labor knifing sitting Prime Ministers and then did it themselves. Not content with that, the party of family values then got rid of the deputy PM too for getting a young staffer pregnant.
The Gonski school funding reforms went from unnecessary to a unity ticket to only funded for two years to a whole new rebranding exercise called Gonski 2.0 complete with special deals for rich schools to adjust to the shock.
On climate change and energy policy, they have been all over the shop.
The free marketeers went from a system where the polluter paid the government to where the government pays the polluter. The emissions reduction fund is all but spent with the result being rising emissions.
An emissions intensity scheme was the best solution, until it wasn’t. Then, after extensive consultation and research, a clean energy target was recommended. And rejected. Now we are running with a national energy guarantee which is an idea with no detail other than a goal to keep coal going. The NAIF is a slush fund waiting to make that happen.
They object to any subsidies for renewables whilst committing the government to paying for Snowy-Hydro 2.0 – a hugely expensive exercise which will take many years to come to fruition.
We had a Green Army, and then we didn’t. As they planted seedlings, Newman called open slather on land clearing in Queensland. (The Qld govt are attempting to change that this week with the LNP opposing them of course)
We were to have a million solar roofs until they abandoned that policy with their first fiscal statement.
The renewable energy target they introduced and agreed to with much bipartisan flourish was then cut causing a halt to new investment.
They stripped funding from ASIC, the ATO, the CSIRO and many other government bodies, and then gave some of it back after we lost many talented experienced people.
They talk about domestic violence and fund advertising campaigns, whilst closing refuges and cutting legal aid funding.
They were dragged kicking and screaming to allow the rainbow community the same right to marry as we all enjoy, a reform they now embrace and claim as their own, but we can’t pretend they are normal by including Safe Schools as part of our education about inclusion and respectful relationships and we must preserve the rights of people to discriminate against them.
A banking Royal Commission was a populist Labor stunt that would achieve nothing. Oops, sorry, pulled the wrong political rein there.
They said the NDIS was unfunded so we all agreed to an hypothecated increase in the Medicare levy – until lo and behold, there was sufficient funding after all.
They imposed a budget repair levy and then removed it before the budget was repaired.
They opposed Labor’s refugee resettlement deal with Malaysia and then spent $50 million on an abortive attempt to make a couple of people go to Cambodia.
All infrastructure projects over $100 million were to be subject to a cost-benefit analysis, until they weren’t. Porkbarrelling is far too valuable a resource to be constrained by any comparison of relative benefits.
They encourage Indigenous people from around the country to come together and form a plan to address the problems of disadvantage, reconciliation and self-determination that governments have failed to solve, and then completely ignore them.
We are told we are the innovation nation and yet most of us are saddled with internet access limited by sharing last century’s infrastructure with those between us and the box down the road. (Have I mentioned how much I hate FttN?)
They fund research into diabetes and programs to tackle obesity but staunchly resist a sugar tax. They strip funding from preventative health and primary care agencies and then tell the states to find the money for rising hospital costs.
Joe Hockey and George Christensen really exemplify the Coalition philosophy.
Indulge yourself without any restraint until the only option left available is urgent taxpayer-subsidised surgical intervention.
The time for such intervention has come.
Bring on the election.