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The phoney war has started. Expect a savage campaign to follow.

The phoney war has started. Josh Frydenberg’s budget speech, Tuesday, is a fraud. It’s more a campaign launch than a real budget. Yet when Barrie Cassidy, on ABC Insiders, Sunday, asks the Treasurer to confirm Laura Tingle’s tip-off that the government is spending $600,000 per day on advertising, Frydenberg demurs.

“The process is transparent” is the best he can manage. “So transparent”, Barrie persists, “that you can’t tell me.” Exposed is the essence of Coalition accountability.

And why the delay? A government which dips into the nation’s housekeeping kitty to conserve its campaign war-chest will alienate voters before the official launch. Dud judgement and poor politics dog Morrison’s every move. Frydenberg is challenged to defend the Morrison government’s spending $185 million to open Christmas Island. And close it again. “It’s a deterrent” is the best the Treasurer can manage. “It prevents refugees gaming the system.”

Gaming the system? Seriously? You have to flee your homeland. You spend thousands to risk your life on an unseaworthy boat to travel to Australia knowing that you will be caught by Border Force; put on Nauru or Manus. Then you fake an illness serious enough to get yourself transferred to a soon to be closed Christmas Island?

The explanation has as much plausibility as Frydenberg’s promises and projections pretending to be a budget.

“Back in black”, Josh Frydenberg’s budget fantasia is a pack of lies. In part it’s a specious hymn to thrift, self-reliance and the God-given right of the rich to be selfish. Pay less tax. Our everyday heroes, the story goes, are those who can stand on their own two feet. They have a go. Hence they merit the lion’s share of “tax relief”.

Wealthy people will pay less tax, because the government is “incentivising and rewarding hard work”. The uplifting narrative is marred only by the nagging afterthought that some voters see the poor as deserving. Hardworking. “Incentivised”, whatever that is. Flat taxes, in fact, continue the war on the poor. The problem is fixed a day later by promising unemployed workers and pensioners seventy dollars, a “one-off” energy supplement; a handout Genius.

“We are delivering a surplus. In 2019-20, the surplus is $7.1 billion. Over the forward estimates, surpluses will be $45bn.” The Treasurer lies to The National Press Club in Canberra this week. How does he get away with it?

Delivering? Try projecting. ScoMo lacks the bottle to deliver a budget; risk putting his rubbery figures to a vote in parliament. Everyone knows you can’t trust Bill Shorten. Shorten obliges by outwitting the government on its tax cuts in his well-pitched budget reply speech which invokes hope, promises fairness and a big boost to Medicare.

“Do you want the best health care system in the world? Or the biggest tax loopholes? Do you want your children to get a world’s best education? Or the world’s most generous tax subsidies? Do we want a fairer, more equal country where the economy works in the interests of everyone? Or do we want another three years of drift, with the top end of town profiting much better than everybody else?”

Labor cleverly frames the election as a contest about fairness. It’s quick to repudiate the radical flattening of the tax system proposed by the Coalition, which would slash $95bn from public revenues in five years, while enriching covetous, upper-income earners in inner-city electorates, according to National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) analysis.

Research by The Australia Institute, reports Max Grudnoff, shows that when the tax rates are flattened in 2024-25, a third of the benefit of these tax cuts will go to the top ten percent of taxpayers and more than half go to the top twenty percent. By comparison those on the bottom twenty percent only get three percent of the tax cut.

Lies? Everyone knows budget projections are bodgie. The last decade’s budget projections were out by $12.76 bn on average; half the budget balance. Alan Kohler notes, “The 2019-20 fiscal balance could end up being anything. We’ll find out in 18 months, and the only thing we definitely know is it won’t be a surplus of $7.1bn.”

But Frydenberg’s on a roll. He gives out racy photos of himself in tennis rig back in 1984 when he had a mullet and Labor was in the black. Laugh? It’s another hilarious dig at Bill’s apostasy over surpluses if not the neoliberal faith itself. Just another reason not to trust Bill Shorten. The stunt confirms Frydenberg’s narcissism to anyone in doubt. Number one funster, ScoMo, just about wets himself. Calls Frydo “The Member for Mullet”. What a crack-up.

Poster-boy for post-modern conservatism, Josh and his mob love their hyper-partisan avatars and emotions far more than truth and reason. As the Coalition climate change debacle shows, what matters is their version of reality – not what experts say is happening, contend Deakin University’s Geoff Boucher and Matthew Sharpe in their prophetic 2008 work, The Times Will Suit Them. Postmodern conservatives turn our culture into a war zone.

What is unlikely to happen is whopping growth say NATSEM. “The budget predicts an average growth in revenue of 6.2% over the next four years. To put this into historical perspective; that is almost double the average revenue growth experienced by the Labour governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and the Abbott government.”

Our record is fabulous. Frydenberg insists.” Growth is higher. Unemployment is lower … fewer people on welfare. There are a record number of Australians with a job. School and hospital funding are at record levels. And the budget is stronger.” It’s all spin and cherry-picked puffery. A few examples will suffice to illustrate.

Growth? Annual GDP growth was 2.34 per cent for 2018. This ranks 112th out of 183 countries in the world, and 19th out of the 36 OECD members; Australia’s lowest rankings ever, reports Alan Austin

Unemployment lower? 664,000 workers are unemployed. Over one million are underemployed.

Record jobs? Since the Coalition came to office, TAI chief economist, Richard Denniss points out, population growth of 1.7 million people (over 15 years old) during the same period “created” those jobs.

Lack of evidence does not stop Frydenberg’s spruiking. Again we hear the Coalition’s favourite fantasy about wages rising in a flood of prosperity that will bucket down as rich bosses get buckets of money to tip all over the poor.

Trickle-down trickster, pin-up for narcissistic personality disorder ScoMo, provides Dooh-wah-diddy gospel fusion backup. Belts out one hell of a hallelujah chorus for those who stand on their own two feet. Having a go. Unlike the rest of the nation’s wage slaves, or the multitude trapped in welfare and pension penury.

Even Peter Van Onselen is disgusted with the Coalition’s budget hoax. He provides an acid critique.

“It crows about a surplus it hasn’t actually achieved yet. The forecast surplus for next financial year is built on the back of better-than-expected commodity prices and less spending than was anticipated on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, while the out year forecasts predict wages growth that won’t happen and economic growth numbers that certainly won’t be achieved. Throw in the dodgy numbers ­projected for the birth-rate and immigration flows, and clever accountancy is as responsible for the “return to surplus” as any claim to “strong economic management”.

Brazenly, the Coalition rolls out a massive pork barrel. An eye-watering $22 million is splashed out on the bijou Bundanon arts foundation, Arthur Boyd’s old joint, a sandstone prison for art, set on the lower NSW coast amidst 1100 hectares of bush-land, stolen from the Yuin nation, along with their fishing rights, near Nowra in the Shoalhaven region and smack dab within Gilmore, the Coalition’s most marginal seat.

Captain’s pick Warren Mundine, Gerard Henderson’s son-in-law, a former Labor Party President and newly re-birthed Liberal has been parachuted into the contest, much to the chagrin of Alby Schultz’ son, Grant, who will stand as an independent, narrowing Wokka’s chances, although he has emailed all electors with his manifesto,

“I’ve spent my entire life in regional Australia, helping to create jobs and build communities. I’ll fight for you and stand up for our region’s needs.”

Curiously in his autobiography, Warren Mundine, in Black and White, Wokka says he’s lived variously at Auburn, Cabramatta, Darling Point, Haberfield and Lidcombe. A spin on “regional Australia” worthy of a Frydenberg?

Soft corruption upstages the rubbery figures that fluff up the rest of the Budget 2019. Two billion dollars for a Very Fast Train is promised to the lucky punters in Corangamite where Liberal Sarah Henderson, the nice lady who used be on the 7:30 Report and who won a Walkley for her 1999 coverage of the Port Arthur massacre, faces a challenge from Labor’s Libby Coker, a former teacher, making her second bid.

The promise is too little, too late – not because the redrawn seat may shrink former News Corp lawyer Henderson’s estimated margin to 0.3% – but because the funding will not be available for two years and work may not begin until the mid 2020s.

Former Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks is adamant that $20bn is a fraction of what a VFT would cost but let’s not confuse spin with substance. Sadly the VFT memo doesn’t seem to have got through to all MPs on the Coalition team.

Alan Tudge insists the VFT could start in eighteen months but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews shunts Tudge into a siding by noting that forward estimates allocate only $50 million. Geelong will be lucky to get a VFT feasibility study group.

Yet Budget 2019 is more than an outrageous assertions built upon false assumptions and shameless pork-barrelling. A surplus is not inherently good. It’s a failure to invest responsibly in the greater good. Our nation was built on deficit spending. Labor and Liberal. Menzies’ deficit spending in the 50s and 60s stimulated economic growth and built public assets.

Budget surpluses, moreover, increase private debt and are a bugger to run. Ultimately they are unsustainable. As Per Capita economist Warwick Smith reminds us, somebody’s surplus is always someone else’s deficit – and this includes the federal government.

At the end of last year, household debt was equivalent to 127% of GDP, or 189% of disposable income. Both ratios are near record highs and are very high on any global comparison, reports Michael Blythe.

Given that Australia’s private sector debt is at least 200.00% of GDP compared with government debt of around 30%, the Coalition needs to explain why they think we should increase the record level of debt we already hold in our homes and businesses.

Surplus fetishists pose as virtuous, responsible civic-minded money-managers. It’s a hoax. What does it mean to run a surplus? The budget papers say it requires ‘continued fiscal discipline’ a bit of self-congratulatory jargon.

What it should say is, “Our plan is to tax you eighteen to twenty billion dollars more than we need just to cover government spending,” as The Australia Institute’s Dave Richardson translates the budget’s econobabble.

“Fiscal discipline” is rich from a government which says it will blow five billion dollars just on getting re-elected. Or $185 million on its Christmas Island back-flip. Or is said by Laura Tingle to be now spending $600,000 a day on campaign advertising.

Back in black? This government’s never been in the black. Flattening the tax system, moreover, is not “highly progressive” as Frydenberg proposes, It’s regressive; a retreat from fairness. It abandons the principle that how much tax we pay depends on how much we can afford to pay. A flatter, simpler, tax system, as the government chants, is a recipe for creating a more unequal society with fewer hospitals, roads and schools.

The unvarnished, unspoken truth is that every tax cut means less government spending on health, education, aged care and all other services that Australians have every right to expect. Along with the right to fair dealing.

Abandoned also is good faith. Frydenberg fudges; adds last year’s tax cuts to this year’s pocketful of promises.

Few notice. We are Waiting for Godot as the forty-fifth federal parliament fizzles out and we begin the protracted, ritual theatre of the election of its successor. The process is a spectacular distraction. It includes incessant guessing when the PM will call on Her Majesty’s representative, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, General, The Honourable, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Pete was due to retire last month; make way for David Hurley, another old soldier, ScoMo’s captain’s pick, but will now be kept on and on for the election, which pundits predict could be called next weekend, with polling day either 18 or 25 May. Hurley’s appointment is keenly awaited, especially given his wife Linda’s revelation.

“I hula-hoop every morning and I like to read the Bible or a devotional book while I’m doing that.” Don’t we all?

Polling day, meanwhile, is rapidly morphing into polling days and weeks, a “Netflix effect” which taxes our politics and media’s capacity to get and keep our attention. The Australian Electoral Commission speculates that,

“… electors consider the inconvenience of ordinary voting at a polling place on the Saturday as an infringement on their time and are prepared to avail themselves of other voting opportunities that may be more convenient.”

It’s not just convenience. More than a third of Australian workers now work weekends. And workers are busier: at least two million Australians now work two jobs. Little wonder that in 2016, 4.5 million votes were cast prior to election day — a stark increase on the 26% (3.6 million) early votes in 2013’s general election. Postal votes also rose from 1.1 million in 2013 to 1.2 million in 2016. Then there’s convenience, The Netflix Effect, which means that political campaigns must not only gear up quickly to reach early voters, they must be “always on”.

“Politicians need to shift and understand that they need to sell to voters at every moment in the campaign, especially in the early days,” argues Marcus Phipps, lecturer in Marketing at the University of Melbourne.

So does media need to shift. Our mainstream media often resemble those hired actors who hold up placards flattering Trump at his mass rallies, an ancient tradition which includes such potentates as the wanton, profligate Nero, who paid groups to applaud his singing. Yet a few lynx-eyed independents such as ABC’s Laura Tingle scoff at the Morrison government’s vapid yet “spectacular pretension”; a budget is not a budget until enacted in law.

Dazzled by the sound and light of Frydenberg’s forecasts – for that is all his budget amounts to – most of our ABC struggles to keep up; its editorial independence crushed by budget cuts and relentless government bullying – reduced, after long abuse, to “a punching bag by narrow political, commercial or ideological interests”, as former Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Guthrie laments. Look over there! Frydenberg cries.

All miss his duplicity; how our P-plate treasurer inflates projected tax refunds by adding in cuts from Budget 2018.

Intrepid investigative news-hound, Michael West, alone, is on to Frydenberg’s fiddling. Low income earners, he writes, “really get a boost of $55, not $255, as $200 has already been legislated. The Treasurer’s trick is to inveigle the press into counting the tax cuts in last year’s Budget in their numbers for this year’s Budget, a ruse which inflates tax cuts for low income earners by a factor of five and medium income earners by a factor of two.”

Of course, it’s not a real budget until it passes parliament and Morrison’s government is not up to that. The budget is a bit of puffery, a campaign pitch about as real as Frydenberg’s guarantee of transparency around funding and election expenditure Sunday. Or the government’s chances of having to follow through on its pledges.

Bookies quote the ScoMo government a one in five or 20% chance of being returned. Labor, by contrast has, on average, an 80 percent chance of winning next month’s election. Tony Abbott, on the other hand, looks set for a defeat if what Nine Newspapers’ Michael Koziol reports is “diabolical polling” proves an accurate indication of his vote. Abbott’s currently lagging independent challenger, Zali Steggal, by twelve percent.

There is no doubt overall, however, that the Netflix Effect, which extends voting in ways parties have yet to fully adapt to – if they ever can, combined with the weaponising, the ruthless pragmatism of campaign strategies by our hyper-partisan postmodern conservatives will make this election harder to call and more savagely contested.

The dirt unit deployed so successfully in the recent NSW election is already being mobilised for the Coalition.

The emergence of an organised, disciplined Labor Party with a platform which lures the Coalition on to Labor strengths, education, health and low income earners can only increase the government’s sense of desperation. The phoney war will soon go ballistic.

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  1. Keitha Granville

    When when when will we have a system that punishes MPs , government especially, from telling barefaced lies ?

    Far too many people in the general population believe them and that makes their votes a sham, they are voting for a lie.

    It ought to be a criminal offence.

  2. Alcibiades

    Excellent roundup. One of your best yet. Bravo, sir, bravo.

    Of note is their faux budget is squarely aimed at attempting to recover lost LNP voters from the ‘base’. It is not designed to attract swing voters or convert others. Saving some furniture. Also, it’s a fanciful fairy tail about a fiction a decade hence.

    The Crowns Loyal Opposition on the other hand is delivering specifics for the immediate future, the coming term of Parliament. Hm ?

    Lastly it’s a forecast budget, cannot be back in black ‘in advance’, and is in in reality unnecessarily selectively imposed austerity for tightly partisan benefit. For this voters should be pleased ?

  3. Henry Rodrigues


    Dangle a few, less than juicy carrots, in this case $75, and some idiots will vote for their own humiliation. I put it down to a lack of education and ordinary greed. At least they end up with $75 more than they had before, or so they think.

  4. Kaye Lee

    These guys are ridiculous.

    In the lead up to the last election, Tony Abbott was carrying on about Bill’s “five new taxes” one of which was Labor’s proposed four annual 12.5 per cent increases in tobacco excise, to begin on September 1, 2017.

    “There’ll be a workers tax ‘cos he’s going to slug smokers,” Mr Abbott said on March 4, 2016. “And as my grandfather used to say, ‘it’s the only pleasure I’ve got left, son’. I don’t much like smoking, but nevertheless why single out one particular section of the community for yet another slug?” He kept on about it calling it “a tax on every worker having a smoko”.

    Two months later…

    In his budget speech, Treasurer Scott Morrison announces four annual 12.5 per cent increases in tobacco excise from 2017 to 2020, estimated to raise $4.7 billion over the next four years.

    “The increases will take place on 1 September each year and will be in addition to existing indexation to average weekly ordinary time earnings,” Budget Paper No. 2 said.

    “These four annual increases will take Australia’s excise on a cigarette to almost 69 per cent of the average price of a cigarette (assuming no other changes to cigarette prices over this period), close to the World Health Organisation recommendation of 70 per cent of the price of a cigarette.”

  5. Alcibiades

    Frydenberg’s budget: if it looks too good to be true… Ross Gittins SMH

    … Reading the budget papers’ fine print makes it clear the creative department had to put in much furniture shifting to come up with the predicted surplus of $7.1 billion – an amount Frydenberg has been able to assert is “substantial” rather than “wafer thin”.

    Think about this: in the old year, government spending is expected to leap by 4.9 per cent in real terms, whereas in the new year it will grow by just 0.1 per cent real. Do you reckon that discontinuity happened by chance? … and – get this – that the government’s financial assets will grow by almost 3 percentage points to 12.8 per cent of gross domestic product(GDP).

  6. Alcibiades

    Post budget (sort of)) polls.

    Galaxy : ALP 53 v 47 Coalition
    IPSOS : ALP 53 v 47 Coalition
    Newspoll : ALP 52 v 48 Coalition

    But … polling for IPSOS and Newspoll began after the Budget but before Shorten’s Budget Reply Speech. This Newspoll is the 51st LNP Newspoll loss in a row, yet the last fortnight poll was skipped. Hence miraculously tightening from 8% to a 4% 2PP margin, based on, what ? Truly remarkable …

    A single rogue & anomolous ‘manufactured'(?) poll ? It is especially anomalous in isolation, against the sustained trend all term, in particular re the Newspoll State by state Quarterly Poll conducted from Feb through March which resulted in 4.4% margin 2PP, historically the most accurate compared to individual polls. A real 4% margin boost as a result of a budget would be an historical first … any poll bounce at all other than a minor blip actually. A 4% margin change is well outside the Newspoll Margin of Error(MOE) of asserted ~2.5%(IIRC), especially without a profoundly dramatic event to, ahem, trigger it.

    Bookies had stabilised on ALP 1.14 v LNP 4.50 prior to and post budget, briefly jumped to ALP 1.14 v 5.50 LNP Sunday arvo into night, then fell back to ALP 1.14 v 5.00 LNP post initial Sunday late night poll releases. Also therefore contradicting this latest anomalous Newspoll, an outlier.

    Not wholly speculative : Was the month prior Newspoll ‘buffed’ within the Margin of Error(MOE), then skipped, to allow for this ‘dramatic’ poll to create a ‘rhetorically convenient’ 4% wave crest to ride upon ? Inquiring minds wish to know … Murdoch ?

    PS Labor wins majority government on only a ~1.1% 2PP swing, potentially even less.

    PPS Bookies have opened odds for the Leader of the Opposition post election. Best odds are :

    Scott Morrison 1.50
    Josh Frydenberg 3.00
    Peter Dutton 4.50

  7. Keith

    Thank you, David, a great article.
    While Abbott might hopefully get knocked out at the election other extreme right wing politicians will be re-elected.

    An analogy for the LNP “never never” type budget is that it is like a balloon sitting on top of a very sharp pin, a knock, and poof it’s gone.

    In comparison the Shorten budget carries a vision for the future. Should we have a future; we have a fearsome dragon in the background beltching out more and more fire … climate change.

    Many people can see through the tactic of not calling an election straight away, it allows for use of government resources to part pay for the election. It might be legal, but can hardly be said to be ethical. Politicians need a code of ethics, and Australian citizens need a strong ICAC to protect them from politician’s excesses. Blatant lying needs to have meaningful consequences.

  8. Kaye Lee

    On the headline is “Scott Morrison enjoys poll boost ahead of election call. The Coalition has been sweeping towards an election disaster. But this graph has finally revealed some good news for the PM.”

  9. whatever

    What determines this ‘War Chest’ pile of money, this discretionary spending bonanza suddenly available from public funds?
    Frydenberg will not be re-elected by the citizenry of Kooyong.

  10. Kronomex

    I’m in a fairly bad mood this morning so all I’m going to say is,

    “Excuse me Mr Friedeggburger, is that a used car in your pocket or just the budget papers rolled up with your dick shoved in the centre hole to give you a thrill as you walk around?”

  11. Kronomex

    LNP election video –

    Sort of.
    My mood just brightened a bit after watching that clip.

  12. Barry Thompson.

    One of your best efforts David. If only it could appear in all the major newspapers.
    It concerns me that a lot of voters really believe we are back in surplus when in fact that is but a projection for the next financial year.
    A government is not in office to balance budgets, it is in office to provide the infrastructure and services required for the welfare of the citizens. Concentrating on surpluses is not doing that.
    It is frightening how many voters are swayed by massaging their hip pocket and how many swallow the blatant lies that are being dished up by the LNP on a daily basis.

  13. helvityni

    Some people must have a very low self-esteem, if they are willing to sell their soul to the devil for a mere 75 bucks….

    Our leaders have not mentioned the ARTS,painting, literature, movie-making, sculpture since Whitlam or Keating, they are too busy honing up their skills in the art of abuse….and lying, not very Christian….

  14. New England Cocky

    Excellent article, thank you. Even I could understand the economics of the faux “Budget” as you explained it.

    However, we will only rid ourselves of these self-serving political parasites by taking action: join a political party, volunteer for a shift on a pre-poll booth, vote according to your conscience, and remember “We get the politicians we deserve” ….. and we surely deserve better than this Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment.

  15. Terence Mills

    This delay in announcing an election may just backfire on Morrison .

    Listening to talk-back radio in my local area this morning, some alert callers have been having a closer look at the infrastructure promises in the coalition’s budget and have noted that many of the projects will not be getting any funding for at least two election cycles and in many respects are just pie in the sky announcements.

    The other thing I have noted is that the Nationals are very much on the nose and people remember that Barnaby Joyce’s philandering was kept under wraps at the 2016 DD election mainly to protect him in the seat of New England.

    There is also a lot of talk-back frustration about the level and cost of government advertising.

    We are as a nation very tolerant of political shenanigans but people don’t like to be taken for suckers !

  16. Rossleigh

    In local news, the Nunawading won a football game in several years. It was on the news. Strangely it wasn’t considered news when they had a narrow loss.
    I bring this up because it seems that “good news” for the Liberals is an opinion poll that only has them significantly behind instead of devastatingly behind…

  17. totaram

    ” Budget 2019 is more than an outrageous assertions built upon false assumptions and shameless pork-barrelling. A surplus is not inherently good. It’s a failure to invest responsibly in the greater good. Our nation was built on deficit spending. Labor and Liberal. Menzies’ deficit spending in the 50s and 60s stimulated economic growth and built public assets.

    Budget surpluses, moreover, increase private debt and are a bugger to run. Ultimately they are unsustainable. As Per Capita economist Warwick Smith reminds us, somebody’s surplus is always someone else’s deficit – and this includes the federal government.

    At the end of last year, household debt was equivalent to 127% of GDP, or 189% of disposable income. Both ratios are near record highs and are very high on any global comparison, reports Michael Blythe.

    Given that Australia’s private sector debt is at least 200.00% of GDP compared with government debt of around 30%, the Coalition needs to explain why they think we should increase the record level of debt we already hold in our homes and businesses.

    Surplus fetishists pose as virtuous, responsible civic-minded money-managers. It’s a hoax. What does it mean to run a surplus? The budget papers say it requires ‘continued fiscal discipline’ a bit of self-congratulatory jargon.

    What it should say is, “Our plan is to tax you eighteen to twenty billion dollars more than we need just to cover government spending,” as The Australia Institute’s Dave Richardson translates the budget’s econobabble.”

    All hail! Hurrah! Why does no one else get this? Why does Chris Bowen repeatedly tell us he will deliver bigger surpluses than the coalition? He is just painting himself into a corner, ripe for lampooning by the MSM just like they (even the ABC recently) showed Wayne Swan repeatedly promising his surplus, which never arrived.

  18. Kaye Lee

    They don’t really get the whole investment thing.

    Investing in education brings a significant economic and social return, as does lifting people out of poverty. Better health outcomes save the high cost of hospitalisation, Incarceration for default on fines or for addiction-related problems is a hugely costly exercise. Enabling older people to remain in their own homes for longer saves an enormous amount of money and improves the lives of older people. Investing in public transport, renewable energy, population planning, waste management and sustainable practice now is the only way to try to stave off catastrophic climate change, pollution, and resource scarcity.

    Alternatively, your plan can be to give people $1.44 a week to “pay for their energy bills and their insurance payments” and their trips to the Bahamas to check on their investment portfolios.

    And you can let small businesses spend $30,000 as many times as they want and claim an instant asset write-off. Like those fair-dinkum small family businesses have tens of thousands lying around waiting to buy new appliances despite consumption (and presumably customers) taking a nose-dive.

    Self-funded retirees will be able to get a payment for any excess franking credits they may have but those receiving low income or seniors tax offsets will not be afforded the same benefit.

  19. Alan Nosworthy

    The $75 bribe has been enacted, and in many cases already paid out.
    The carrot has been eaten leaving only the sour taste of business as usual.
    No vote winner there, just a filmy figleaf of faux compassion.

  20. Kronomex

    “With an election expected to be called within the coming week, Mr Morrison told radio host Alan Jones the Coalition would not resort to a “fear campaign” but would run a “truth campaign”.”

    Well that screws up Scummo’s “truth campaign” before it even gets off the ground.

    “Asked by Jones whether he would run a fear campaign about Labor’s policies ahead of the election, the Prime Minister said, “It’s not a fear campaign, it’s a truth campaign”.” The prick and the prickettes have been running with lies and fear for months NOW, suddenly, they’re going to tell the truth, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me Rupert? Bwahahahaha…

  21. Keith

    Truth campaign, such as attacking Labor for promoting electric vehicles, and having some Liberals promoting electric vehicles!

    If truth is being promoted, the LNP can no longer say that emissions are going down in a canter.

  22. Alan Nosworthy

    to wilfully misconstrue a wish for 50% of New vehicles to be electric powered in a decade as 50% of all vehicles on the road to be so.
    Look out boys Bill’s coming for your ute.
    I suppose that is relatively truthful for scummo. Truth apparently is not an absolute just a marketing label like “new”, “improved”, or Liberal.

  23. David Tyler

    Just love ScoMo’s idea of a “truth campaign” – and the claim that Adani will be decided on “science”. Science? That would be a first. If it’s true that’s the last we’ll hear of the amazing Adani brothers, accomplished con artists who came to Australia with grand plans to trick the federal government into lending them the money to build a massive coal mine that neither they nor the planet nor the local coal mining industry could afford. A coal mine that Canavan and co seem unaware would put other local mines out of business.

    Electric cars? Clearly a transport of delight in mobilising Morrison’s truth campaign. Keep this historical snippet under your bonnet.

    “The Morrison Electric was an American Automobile produced by William Morrison in 1887. Morrison was a chemist who became interested in electricity as a young man. Some reports credit him with the first automobile in the world and others first electric automobile. William Morrison was also considered as an electric battery whiz kid that was constantly experimenting with storage batteries.”

  24. king1394

    Great article, thankyou. Please note, Arthur Boyd’s old property which receives the $22 million is ‘Bundanon’ not Bundanoon (a town on the Southern Highlands line south of Moss Vale)

  25. Alcibiades

    Well, 24 hours after da polls were released, and the rampant breathless propaganda of the corporate MSM, there has indeed been some movement … wait for it ! One whole basis point :

    Bookies were :

    ALP 1.14 v LNP 5.00


    ALP 1.15 v LNP 5.00


    Labor to win 81 to 85 seats @ 2.65
    Labor to win 86 to 90 seats @ 3.00

    Hm ?

  26. Paul Davis

    Alan Austin writing in Independent Australia listed the following from the LNP budget.

    Budget lies from Josh Schadenfreude.

    “The Budget is back in the black”
    Not quite. In June this year, the deficit will still be $4.16 billion. All the Coalition did last Tuesday was declare their faith in a surplus in June 2020, nearly 15 months away.

    “Australia is stronger than it was when we came to Government six years ago — growth is higher.”
    Not true. Relative to Australia’s trading partners and competitors, the economy is weaker than it has ever been.

    “Unemployment is lower”
    Yes, the jobless rate at 4.95% is lower than the 5.71% at the time of the 2013 Election. But since then, the world has enjoyed a phenomenal boom in investment, growth, jobs and profits. But whereas jobless rates fell dramatically in most countries, Australia’s limped below 5% painfully slowly. This now ranks a lowly 17th in the OECD, down from sixth in 2013.

    “We are reducing the debt and this interest bill”
    This is the opposite of the truth. Debt has increased every year under the Coalition — despite promises in Opposition of “a reduction of $30 billion in net debt”.

    “Only one side of politics can do this [eliminate Commonwealth net debt] because only one side of politics has done this; John Howard and Peter Costello paid off Labor’s debt”
    This is nowhere near the whole truth. The first government since Federation to substantially reduce gross and net debt was the Hawke/KeatingGovernment from 1987 to 1990. They did this after a complete restructuring of the economy. Peter Costello continued that task on Paul Keating’s coat tails.

    “Following these changes, our tax system will remain highly progressive”
    No, the top marginal rate in Australia will be 45%. Progressive, but not highly so. Top marginal rates are 48% in Ireland, 50% in Israel, 52% in Finland and the Netherlands, 56% in Denmark and Japan, and 61.85% in Sweden.

    “Under the Morrison Government, tax as a share of the economy will not rise above the 23.9% cap … taxes will always be lower under the Coalition”
    History disproves this comprehensively. The tax take in Whitlam’s last year was 19.9% of GDP (Labor). This rose to 21.6% at the end of the Fraser years (Coalition). After 13 Hawke/Keating years this fell to 21.2% (Labor). This rose dramatically under Howard to finish at 23.8% (Coalition). It fell again during the Rudd/Gillard years, ending up at 21.3% (Labor). The tax take increased markedly after the Coalition won the 2013 Election, up to 23.3% in last week’s Budget.

    “Additional tax relief for small and medium-sized businesses … the engine-room of our economy”
    Cutting company taxes does nothing whatsoever to help unprofitable businesses. It only hands money to those already making strong profits. Struggling businesses need lower operating costs and higher revenue, which requires more spending money in customers’ pockets.

    “This Government has been at the forefront of global efforts to crack down on multinational tax avoidance”
    Completely false. In its first year, the Coalition axed 4,400 Tax Office jobs, including many in audit roles. The Tax Office’s transparency report and other documents confirm avoidance has soared under this Government. Company tax is now virtually optional for the large, highly profitable, foreign corporations.

    “Six years ago when we came to Government, the economy was weakening … Since then, we have made the right choices … and our economic plan is working”
    Again, the diametric opposite is true. In 2013, Australia’s economy was the best-performing in the world by a significant margin. It now ranks 21st in the world on the IAREM.

    Deteriorations since 2013 in OECD rankings include:
    the rate of annual wage rises, down from seventh to 21st; gross national savings, down from ninth to 19th; gini coefficient (equality of wealth distribution), down from 12th to 29th; budget deficit as a percentage of GDP, down from ninth to 25th; and growth in the volume of exports of goods and services, down from fourth to 18th.

  27. David Tyler

    My typo. Fixed now. Thanks Lyndal.

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