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The Liberal Party’s list of “key achievements”

For those of us who wonder what this government has actually achieved, the Liberal Party have provided a handy list of “key achievements”.

They begin by telling us that “403,100 more jobs were created in 2017.”

Aside from using the seasonally adjusted figure rather than the more commonly used trend estimate (393,400), they left out the part that says “The number of unemployed persons was largely unchanged, increasing by 100.”

Next comes the small business tax cuts “for 3.2 million businesses employing 6.7 million Australians.”

Firstly, according to the ABS, at the end of 2016-17, there were 2,238,299 actively trading businesses in the market sector in Australia in total, not 3.2 million, and they aren’t all small businesses as that would imply.

Secondly, 61.2% of all businesses don’t employ anyone else. Of those who do have employees, 70.1% employed between one and four people.

As Adam Creighton pointed out, those small businesses created 5% of the growth in private sector employment since 2010, while businesses with more than 200 employees (0.5% of employing businesses) created 65% of that growth.

Small business tax cuts might sound nice, but they do little to boost employment.

The next “achievement” on the list was the instant asset write-off “used last year by 300,000 small businesses to invest in new equipment and machinery.”

According to Treasury data, in the first year of the scheme, 99,000 businesses took advantage of the write-offs, claiming a total of $415 million, up from the $165 million claimed in write-downs before the scheme was introduced.

In October 2017, then Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said the most recent Treasury data revealed another 50,500 businesses took up the scheme in its second year, with the average amount claimed increasing from $4000 to $9000.

Aside from 300,000 being a fabrication, if it’s such a good idea, why are they scrapping it on July 1 this year?

The next claim of “affordable, reliable energy” is more a wish than an achievement.

“National Energy Guarantee will ensure reliability and reduce bills. More gas supplies have been secured. Snowy Hydro 2.0 feasibility study has been completed.”

Anyone’s electricity bill gone down yet? And how are those emissions going? One part of the “trilemma” seems to be missing.

Then comes the “record infrastructure investment” of “$75 billion” which hasn’t actually happened yet but is sure to some time over the “next decade”.

Do promises count as achievements?

Next, they claim to be “fixing the budget” by “halving the growth in spending”.

That is double-speak for we are still running deficits and increasing the debt.

Then we move on to “more exports” which are “locking in benefits from landmark trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea.”

Budget papers estimate the loss of revenue from tariffs over the forward estimates to be $6.375 billion.

The Productivity Commission released a scathing report on the value of free trade agreements, saying they just added to the “complexity and cost of international trade through substantially different sets of rules of origin, varying coverage of services and potentially costly intellectual property protections and investor-state dispute settlement provisions.”

They were harshly critical of “the continuing absence of two critical areas of transparency. First, the lack of contemporaneous transparency of the provisions being negotiated. Second, the absence of any rigorous and transparent assessment of the negotiated text of an agreement before signing.”

The report also contains specific criticism of the TPP, which the achievements list boasts “Australia took a lead role in negotiating”, over the risks it poses around issues such as intellectual property.

Of course, what would a Liberal list of achievements be without reference to “tackling union lawlessness”.

“Australian Building and Construction Commission restored to protect small businesses and the economy from CFMEU lawlessness. Secret payments banned between businesses and unions.”

It only cost us a double dissolution election to establish the ABCC whose boss then had to quit for breaching the Fair Work Act, but not before taxpayers coughed up $400,000 to cover his legal bill.

Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of the Banking Royal Commission. Nor any attempt to stop “secret payments” between businesses and politicians or government and media moguls.

They then remind us how they are keeping us safe through “secure borders, fighting terror, deporting criminals, tackling the scourge of ice, a stronger defence force, and cracking down on paedophiles.”

They are good at imposing very expensive reactionary punitive measures but not so good at the compassion and support necessary to forestall problems or to help victims.

Next achievement – “more affordable child care” with “Landmark reforms targeted to working parents.”

The kicker is that, under the new package, to qualify for subsidised care both parents must be working, studying, training or volunteering for at least four hours a week. Families earning less than $65,000 who do not meet the test will be able to access 12 hours a week of subsidised care but anyone earning over $65,000, regardless of their circumstances, must satisfy the test every week or they are ineligible for subsidised care.

The early childhood sector wanted the 12-hour limit increased to 15 hours and wanted the activity test to only apply to families earning more than $100,000 a year. After wide consultation and providing compelling evidence for their stance, they thought they had agreement with Simon Birmingham, but they were sorely disappointed.

Simon Birmingham also claims the next achievement, “more schools funding”, which is a fairly easy claim to make because, due to increasing population, schools get more funds every year anyway. As we have seen, making claims about funding in a decade’s time is meaningless.

His other claim that “Our agreement replaces 27 secret deals and will provide needs based funding for all students” has already been shot out of the water with many disadvantaged schools being worse off whilst a secret deal with the wealthiest schools has already been struck to ease the shock.

The Liberals then claim to have provided “better health care” with “86% of GP visits bulk billed last year, hospital funding at record levels and new reforms introduced to improve private health insurance.”

But according to RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel, the percentage of patients who had all their GP visits bulk billed during 2016–17 was actually around 66%. While the Federal Government’s Medicare spend has risen, so have patients’ out-of-pocket cost for GP visits, reaching an average of $34.95 over the July–December period in 2017–18. This represents a 4.5% rise in out-of-pocket costs compared to a 0.5% rise in bulk billing over the same period.

Between 2012–13 and 2016–17, additions to public hospital elective surgery waiting lists (patients placed on a waiting list) increased by 3.2% on average each year.

And private health insurance costs continued to soar while the things they covered got less.

The Libs also spruik their immunisation program, saying that “From next year all 12 and 13 year olds will get free protection against HPV virus and cervical and other cancers.”

It wasn’t that long ago that their leader was saying he wouldn’t get his daughters immunised because it might lead to promiscuity.

We are next regaled with the wonders of the Work for the Dole program, new compliance rules, the cashless welfare card and drug testing of welfare recipients, all of which participants and welfare groups agree are soul-destroying.

They then congratulate themselves for removing gambling ads “during televised sports before 8.30pm on free-to-air television.”

This from the party who, as one of their first acts on winning office, wound back the modest gambling reforms introduced by the previous Labor government. This from the defenders of poker machines as demonstrated in the recent Tasmanian election.

Rupert Murdoch will, of course, still be free to cash in on the lucrative advertising dollars on his pay tv.

And to round out the list of “achievements”, we have same sex marriage where they wasted over $100 million dollars to appease the hard right Christians and homophobes in their own party room.

All in all, we are given a list of aspirations, promises, exaggerations, lies and waste.

If that’s the best they can come up with after two terms in office, they certainly do not deserve a third try to get it right.


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  1. townsvilleblog

    Their internal assessment would be that they have successfully created an under class of people in Australia that now number more than 3 million people. These people are the unemployed and the underemployed who work, but are not given enough hours to earn enough money to sustain themselves or their families. Over the past 5 years of this government they have created this underclass by using tory (L’NP) policies which have seen the current generation have lower living standards than their parents, absolutely disgusting in my humble opinion.

  2. diannaart

    Let’s never forget the efforts which continue to be made by the LNP to strengthen ties between Australia and the USA on all things environmental … well at least until an unexpected environmental event cancelled the proposed meeting of Trump’s Environment Protection Agency head, Scott Pruitt – Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas gulf coast … best laid plans and all that …

    However, Josh Frydenberg’s good buddy, Matthew Freedman is working hard to link up those climate mavericks, James Cook University geophysicist, Prof Peter Ridd and the IPA senior fellow Jennifer Marohasy, the LNP’s own Malcolm Turnbull (listed as “Malcomb”), the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, the trade minister, Steve Ciobo, and the then resources minister, Matt Canavan, aforementioned Frydenberg with the very best of Trump’s environmental, um, something.

    Hopefully, the following link will explain all the achievements a little more clearly than I have thus far:


    That the CSIRO, the BOM and other relevant agencies have not been included in the proposed but now cancelled meetings, signals the independence of thought which passes for knowledge in the LNP.

  3. Kronomex

    Until I see Malcolm and Scottie and Julie and the rest of the gang (the same goes for Billy and crew if they were in power) physically out there in the workplace with unemployed people in tow and getting them jobs I will continue to call it all bull faeces.

    “Affordable, reliable energy” at the moment is right up there with praying to whatever deity you believe in, just before you go to bed, to wake up to find a million dollars on the floor next to you.

    The LNP are past masters of things like “infrastructure investment.” It sounds terrific when it’s first talked about BUT it is almost always in the future, so it’s just weasel words.

    The LNP lives up to it’s name Lying is second Nature Party, the “is second” is silent.

  4. New England Cocky

    Perhaps the LNP could use the following slogan to cement their position in Australian political history:

    “The NLP, standing for Nasty Loathe Persons, took a country of considerable ability and resources and turned it into a third world economy kow-towing to each and every foreign banker or investment corporation to attract venture capital that they were unwilling to invest themselves and unwilling to allow the Australian Reserve Bank to generate within Australia under our own rules. For this kindness the Australian Taxation Office charged no tax to benefit Australia citizens while the politicians allowed the export of natural wealth to foreign ports without receiving any remuneration for Australian citizens.

    The major beneficiaries of NLP misgovernment have been the politicians themselves rorting the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme with impunity while significantly increasing sovereign debt for the benefit of foreign bankers. Consequently, more fire sales of the declining number of national public assets to foreign cashed up entities are expected to offset this extraordinary debt load created by the alleged “Better financial managers”.

  5. Presser#1

    Thank you Kaye Lee for your forensic fact-checking. Once upon a time the MSM used to do a bit of this- especially when Labor was in power- but these days they have neither the time, the ability nor the inclination to be more than echo chambers for the PR spin doctors. And then wonder why they are losing relevance.

  6. Kaye Lee


    To a degree, the audience is to blame. Even here, where readers are more politically informed than most, our most read stories tend to indicate that we prefer scandal and venom to facts and figures. Luckily, profit isn’t our motive so we can indulge ourselves and not have to worry about pleasing an audience (though we do rely on the generosity of our readers to help cover costs).

  7. Pierre Wilkinson

    I just wish that the opposition parties had a researcher half as good as you, Kaye Lee, and that they would promote these logistics at every opportunity.

  8. MikeW

    I find it incredible that the polls between labor and the coalition are so close, surely they should be more like 60/40 or even 70/30 to labor. What is wrong with Australians? Do they all read and watch Newscorpse?
    I used to read and comment on Andrew nut Bolts blog just to wind up the rwnj’s that frequent the site, some of the replies I received were insane, people unable to think for themselves or do any research that just hang on every word this nutter says. Oh, and so much for the champion of free speech appears I have been banned from the site.
    Seems to me the bigger the liar a right wing politician is the more the rwnj voters like them eg. Abbott the biggest liar in our political history, Turnbull, Morrison, Bishop, Barnaby, Pyne, Cash to name just a few as for Dutton Lord help us (not you John) if this evil piece of garbage ever becomes PM.

    Meanwhile the number of homeless people keeps increasing along with poverty on the increase, underemployment increasing, casual jobs increasing, cash in hand underpayments. I could go on but it’s time for a glass of red or six to calm me down.

  9. GrumpyT

    But Pierre, who would print it or put it on TV/radio (aka MSM)? Methinks that the opposition parties are fighting against the immovable object. We are fortunate that we can access sites like this great, informative one but we are but a few. I stumbled across it somehow and am most glad that I did.

    One can only dream.

  10. Andrew Smith

    The Sierra Club (similar to the ACF) has been aware of these types of machinations for generations, from the LA Weekly 2004:

    ‘More than 30 years ago, three men worked together at Zero Population Growth, a Washington, D.C., environmental group founded by scientist Paul Ehrlich. In 1969, Ehrlich’s best-selling Malthusian rant, The Population Bomb, had alerted the world to the dangers of overpopulation. The Stanford biology professor was enjoying his 15 minutes of celebrity, cracking wise on the Johnny Carson show. Zero Population Growth captured the spirit of the times with bumper stickers like “Control Your Local Stork.” Ehrlich left the running of the organization to others.’

    Firefighters Rescue 3 Hikers and Dog At Runyon Canyon Trail

  11. Alpo

    I concur with your shock about the polls. On the other hand, don’t forget that, appropriately targeted, even a small difference in the 2PP may translate into a large difference in the number of seats. In addition, the 2PP remains favourable to the ALP in spite of the incredible somersaults of Morrison, Truffle, the rest of the gang, Murdoch, etc…. They clearly seem to be losing capacity to turn the people around at will. Finally, the betting agencies are nailing this government to a loss.
    …. There is much room for real hope!

  12. Glenn Barry

    Great article Kaye Lee – realistically speaking the LNP’s time was up even before Abbott and the ideologically twisted zealot’s even took the oath of office – from that point forward it’s just been one long excruciating test of patience and good will.
    Given that the Lying Nefarious Parasitic COALition think they are doing a good job in office speaks to the level of their delusion – I truly believe they do not grasp the reasons why they are losing in the polls, and those poll results persist even with all of the support of the MSM.

  13. Kaye Lee

    I have to say, fact checking these people is exhausting. Not just because it is time-consuming – it is more that the disappointment at being continually lied to is draining. How can we decide on the right course of action unless we have the real facts? Time and again, report after report, the National Auditor has criticised the government for a lack of oversight. It should not be up to us to have to provide it.

  14. Presser#1

    Kaye Lee: yes, exhausting being lied to but what we all love so much is that YOU DONT PUT UP WITH IT. And after you publish here, it is a matter of record. You are very very good at what you do. Please keep doing it as long as you can.

  15. Peter F

    Kaye, you are so good that I have thought for a long time that you must be in an ALP office with a considerable workforce researching this data.

    I do not care if I am correct, the information you present should be spread as wide as possible.If I am wrong, then, as someone has said above, you SHOULD be working for the opposition.

    Thank you for your excellent apparently tireless efforts.

  16. James O'Neill

    Interesting that there are no foreign policy “achievements “ in their list. They could have cited enthusiastic participation in a series of illegal wars; occupying other people’s countries where they are not wanted; bringing relations with our largest trading partner to a generation low; spending $105 billion on a useless fighter plane; and breaching a whole series of international agreements to which we are a Party, all the while proclaiming our belief in the “rules based International order “. Just a sample of their “achievements.”

  17. Keith

    Another great article, Kaye.

    Supporting predators in Banks and other Corporations would be at the top of any list of LNP achievements.

  18. Kaye Lee

    I am not a member of any party and I have no workforce. If I did they would be doing the housework. Lord knows someone should be. I am just a grumpy 60 year old woman who would like to get on with thinking about how to fix things rather than wasting time trying to find out the real information.

    The really annoying part is that all this information is publicly available which makes the lies and cherry-picking even more brazen. I don’t get fed media releases. All you need is a good memory, google, and some experience in knowing where to look.

    There’s a great article by Greg Jericho today in the Guardian.

    “This is what happens when the budget policy is framed more by politics than economics”


  19. Kronomex

    Now Scotty wants us to feel sorry for the 400,000 or so poor people (which oddly enough includes lots and lots of politicians, strange that) that earn $180,000 plus a year. They’re unfairly burdened –


    Gads, that means we should hang our heads in shame the way we treat the even poorer people who are on multi-million dollar pay packets. It’s sackcloth and ashes time for us because of our mistreatment of them.

  20. Max Gross

    My local GP used to bulk bill. He moved on. The replacement GP does not bulk bill. I have stopped going because – being on an extremely short, thin and fraying fiscal string – I cannot afford to pay cash on the barrel for ongoing medical treatment. Thanks, Mal!

  21. Stephen Bowler

    Kaye Lee,
    I skip to the end of the comments just to say that I get exhausted reading the facts that you find, but every day I look eagerly for another of your great articles.

    You can be rest assured that your work is not in vain, without your work so many of us would, remain ignorant.

    I have to say – thank you very much!

    In awe,
    Stephen G B

  22. guest

    Kaye, your amazing indictment of the Coalition must be made available to every politician and political reporter in the country. It should be written in the sky daily between now and the election. It should be the basis of Bill Shorten’s reply to the Budget.

    It should be inscribed on the walls of Parliament. It should be read out at the beginning of every Parliamentary session between now and the election. Listening by the Coalition should be compulsory. It should be at least referred to in every news bulletin on every tv channel. It should be published on a double spread in every newspaper.

    After the election, when the Coalition is swept from office, they should be reminded frequently of the falsity and incompetence of their incumbency.

    Libraries of books are going to be written about the incompetence of the this Coalition, and a major reference will be this article and any number of others you have written. I would like to see all your writing gathered into one big volume and spread around the country.

    You are a treasure.

  23. Zathras

    Increases in homelessness, suicide rates, youth and long-term unemployment and the number of people living in poverty are also the result of this government but they never seem to mention those statistics.

    Not surprisingly, environmental degradation for the sake of profit is also a casualty, plus their trademark penchant for social division and scapegoating continues.

    The bottom line is to ask average people if they are better off or feel more confident or optimistic about the future after 5 years of Tory rule (actually only about 4 years because “good government” was decreed to have started a bit late).

  24. listohan

    And no mention of problems with the NBN. Are they such a constant they are no longer remarked upon?

  25. Kaye Lee

    They left a lot of things off their list of “achievements” listohan. The list of failures would be much much longer.

  26. Glenn Barry

    I’m ashamed to admit it, but I missed the most magnificent oxymoron in the title – it’s as good as Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership

  27. Kaye Lee


    If I was to collect all the articles I had written together, I would call it “How can they not see?”

  28. John O'Callaghan

    Labor Governments build things
    Conservative Governments wreck things!….. Lets keep it simple here.

  29. Peter F

    Kaye: ‘I am not a member of any party and I have no workforce’. Then, congratulations.

    I have always hoped this was the case, but could not see how you could achieve such an amazing amount of work.

    Well done.

  30. DrakeN

    Thank you Kaye.

    These are indeed real L’NP successes – they help to secure better returns for their wealthy mates, a greater movement of the Nation’s wealth into their pockets which, in turn, help to secure remunative occupations on their retirement from politics.

    I recommend a read of https://gameofmates.com/

    “Game of Mates – How favours bleed the nation.”

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