You have made promises to your colleagues to be more “consultative and collegial”. Will you make the same assurances to the Australian people?
You said in your speech to the National Press Club “I hope that in 2015 we will see a much more honest national conversation.”
How can we have a national conversation when you won’t let us in on it?
Why won’t you release the tax discussion paper finalised late last year, or Treasury’s intergenerational report?
Why are the free trade agreements and negotiations for the TPP so secretive? We have a right to know what is being given away before you sign on the dotted line.
Why are journalists and human rights groups not allowed access to our refugee detention camps?
Why did Mr Hockey purposely omit Treasury’s calculations showing the households that won or lost in the budget?
Why have you taken away our right to appeal development and mining decisions on environmental grounds and the right of refugees to appeal negative decisions about their status?
Why are you refusing Freedom of Information requests that do not affect national security?
Why, after commissioning one extensive (Productivity Commission) and one expensive (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) report into childcare do you now promise to consult? Isn’t it time to act?
Why was the GP co-payment policy developed without any modelling as to its impact and without consultation with health providers?
When one of our greatest assets and productivity drivers is education, why abandon the recommendations of the very well-researched Gonski report, and the implementation of the National Curriculum which was the result of extensive consultation and thousands of submissions from educational experts and stakeholders, and give two men with extreme ideological views a few months to come up with their version of what should be taught in our schools?
And if we are going to have an honest conversation then you need to start being honest with us. When you and your Ministers all repeat the same lines it shows lazy group think and collusion to mislead.
Over the last few days many government MPs have repeated the line that job creation in 2014 was three times that in 2013. A spokesman for Mr Hockey told me the figures supporting that assertion came from the ANZ survey of job vacancies and the ABS Labour Force survey.
ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said new job opportunities were not keeping up with the number of new entrants to the workforce or job losses in certain sectors.
Although job ads were growing at a brisk rate compared with the previous few years, new opportunities were not keeping up with the rise in unemployment, said Scutt Partners market strategist David Scutt.
The ABS told me that they do not measure job creation and that figures relating to job ads do not identify new jobs as they include existing jobs which are currently vacant.
The trend figures from the ABS are as follows:
Number of employed persons
December 2012 (11, 541, 500)
December 2013 (11, 636, 600 )
December 2014 (11, 646, 800)
December 2012 (653,800)
December 2013 (716,000)
December 2014 (770,900)
Aggregate monthly hours worked
December 2012 ( 1,622.9 million hours)
December 2013 ( 1,636.0 million hours)
December 2014 (1,602.0 million hours)
You have also been saying that Labor said the deficit was $18 billion when it was actually $48 billion.
It is true that Wayne Swan projected a deficit of $18 billion in the May 2013 budget. In August 2013, due to falling revenue, this was revised to show a $30.1 billion deficit in the Economic Outlook produced by the Labor Party. This was confirmed by Treasury and Finance a week or two later in PEFO. By the time Joe Hockey brought out MYEFO in December 2013 the deficit for 2013-14 had blown out to $47 billion.
“The deterioration in the underlying cash balance since the 2013 PEFO is $16.8 billion in the 2013‑14 financial year.”
This included the $8.8 billion gift to the Reserve Bank of Australia, $1.2 billion extra funding for offshore detention camps, and $2.9 billion revenue lost by not implementing tax and superannuation measures proposed by Labor.
When you talk about the unsustainability of health spending, telling us that in ten years the cost of Medicare had climbed 124 per cent, the cost of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme 90 per cent and the cost of public hospitals 83 per cent, you neglect to mention that Australia’s gross domestic product also climbed by 94 per cent.
You talk about intergenerational theft whilst letting foreign companies take our finite resources and pay virtually nothing for the superprofits they make. They degrade our environment and pollute our air and water while you assure us that coal is good for humanity and that action on climate change would hurt business. This is the ultimate burden you will leave our children and grandchildren.
As everyone is trying to tell you . . . well everyone outside your party room and office at least . . . we don’t want better spin. We want the truth. We don’t accept that yours is the only way. We want fairer alternatives.
Stop thinking spin will save you. It may have got you the job but, as you can plainly see, it is not going to keep you there. You have created a trust deficit that will be impossible to heal while you continue to treat the electorate with such cavalier disdain.