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The trust deficit

Mr Abbott,

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)

Unemployed persons

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.


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  1. Win jeavons

    And ‘misleading ‘ is now called unparliamentary language ? I must need a new dictionary.

  2. Matters Not

    Peter Martin reckons that it’s the government that’s the brake on the economy. He provides actual evidence.

    Take a moment to consider the achievements and the direction in which things are heading. That year began with a quarterly rate of economic growth of 1 per cent. After the budget, it slid to 0.5 per cent, and then to 0.3 per cent. It’s falling, rather than rising. The direction is down.

    Not telling us lies again. Unsuccessfully as always.

    And he (Hockey) made up stuff. He said Treasury had told him that fuel excise was “a progressive tax”. It hadn’t. He said the poorest Australians “either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases,” something many of them know to be untrue. Petrol takes up a much bigger share of a low-income budgets than high-income budgets.

    And then we have:

    He said his own wealthy electorate of North Sydney had “one of the highest bulk-billing rates in Australia”. It had one of the very lowest in all of Sydney. He said “higher income households pay half their income in tax”. They pay nothing like half. Even those on $200,000 pay just 36 per cent. Back from his holidays this January, he revived the claim and went further saying typical Australians pay nearly half their income in tax.


  3. John Fraser


    "Intergenerational theft" …. the new buzzword for the Abbott gang.

    And "tricky" is unparliamentary language.

    Thankfully we are out here in the real world and we can say that Abbott is a …. liar !

    Abbott does …. mislead !

    And Abbott is ….. tricky !

    Trickier than Nixon.

    As always thanks to Kaye Lee for dossier of Abbott’s misdeeds.

  4. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Kaye – you are a gem.
    “Matters Not” – thanks for including that extra information.
    Coalition members – do the honourable thing and force your stupid leader to call an election. After all – if you believe in him, you can be confident of winning the election. If you are doubtful of winning then you should not be in government peddling policies which which you know are severely damaging this country and its people.

  5. Graeme Henchel

    They’ve lied in the past and they’re still lying now
    They’ll lie in the future, it’s all they know how
    Distraction, distortion, deceit and derision
    Falsehoods to hide their complete lack of a vision

    “Debt and deficit” and “Stop the boats”
    “Team Australia” the lead liar gloats
    Pithy slogans and glib one liners
    These people aren’t adults they’re mendacious minors

    They don’t want to govern they just want the perks
    They outsource their ideas from the IPA jerks
    but now it’s all gone in the shape of a pear
    The public are saying “you’re being unfair”

    The backbench are nervous, shaking with fear
    Their leaders a dud with terminal tin ear
    “The people aren’t listening we’re down in the polls
    They think we’re a bunch of lying arseholes”

    So Tony’s got problems and Peta as well
    get rid of them and all will be swell
    It’s not the policy just the way it is said
    get a new leader or we’ll all be dead

    But a slight problem, there’s no-one to stand
    They needed a spill to force someone’s hand
    But Tony was sneaky he got in early
    Saved, but now hanging by the short and curly

    For now we continue the same tired routine
    Blame labor, more slogans, just like we’ve seen
    Lip service to listening and cosmetic change
    Not even a thought of deck chair re-arrange

    But there’s nary a chance that they’ll see the light
    This ship has shifted too far to the right
    It’s not just the captain, it’s all of the crew
    They’ve gone up shit creek in a barbed wire canoe

  6. diannaart

    Wish they’d listen.

    It is not HOW you say it, you bunch of neo-cons, it is WHAT you say.

  7. Annie B

    A concise factual account, well written – of all that is wrong with this Government.

    Addressed to “Mr Abbott” … unless you send it to him – he will never see it. …. However, if he did – he wouldn’t answer a darned thing; and if asked directly, he would just avoid and evade as he always does. … Most likely would again throw in ” Labor ” as the biggest excuse for it all.

    Good though to remind us of Abbotts’ heinous acts, his indiscretions, his lack of understanding ( of anything ) and his very transparent, very large … EGO.

    He should be put to work creating meme’s …. that is me .. and me … and me me me. … He is completely enthralled by his own visage and his own very warped ideologies. …. I doubt that he even acknowledges he HAS a Cabinet – he obviously doesn’t take too much notice of them – OR … are they maybe, just a little afraid of him ? …… A loose cannon can be a very dangerous piece of work.

    Peta seems to have disappeared somewhere, so perhaps he can no longer blame HER ( “well – she’s the boss ” he’s been known to say ! ) for his inadequate ideas and responses.

  8. corvus boreus

    Poli-linguistics and beaurocratese are an amusing study.
    As demonstrated by Ms Ley and the ‘co-payment/price signal’ you can tell when a policy has become odious to the electorate by the fact that a new jargonese euphemism is employed to refer to exactly the same thing.
    Privatisation has now become ‘asset recycling’, because people have broadly realizedthat the P word means increased prices and reduced services.
    Funding cuts (as in “no cuts”) suddenly become ‘efficiency dividends’ when they are implemented as policy.

    There were a couple of revealing linguistic devices shown by Mr Abbott over the last few days.
    At Tony’s recent press gig after his Pyrrhic victory over his own shadow, the PM repeatedly referred to mistakes “we” had made, then immediately switched to the first person “I” when vowing to improve. A classic tactic of collectivisation of blame and individualisation of credit.
    I wonder if his colleagues noticed.

  9. June

    Thank you Kaye for another excellent article. Though may I say, a more depressing collation would be hard to find. How does Abbott maintain any support from the electorate – that’s the big head scratcher for me.

  10. DanDark

    The only way they will get it is when they are all kicked to the curb, never trust anyone who says ” trust me” like Tones tooted before the election plenty with the adults in gov crap to all who would listen.

    Another 18 months of this shit, and the people will kick, belt and slam them to the curb so hard they won’t know what has hit them, the collective bullshit / spin is comical, wind up preprogrammed robots pushed out to spin the lies day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year now
    the more they spin the more they are spinning themselves into oblivion

    Ol’ Kev went into a spin when the journos wouldn’t take his take on the submarine bullshit,
    Some journos seem to be losing patience with Mr Pasty Face….

  11. Geoff Andrews

    You’ve got to feel sorry for the South Australian senator who believed Abbott’s promise to open tender the submarine contract to secure his vote. Now he knows how the rest of us feel.

  12. Owen Snelten

    I have been leaving a standard statement of late” I don’t trust people that lie! Do you?……anything a liar says is dubious at best!”

  13. Kaye Lee

    Yes Geoff….open tender has now become “competitive evaluation process” after their votes were cast.

  14. paul walter

    On the subject of “Trust Deficits” what is that the ALP thinks it is up to, joining with the Tories to SUPPRESS release of details of the latest FTA???

    Why the monumental silence throughout most of media, what’s more.

  15. diannaart

    Just one little thing Abbott could do:

    If Abbott would stop this knee-jerk comparison with Labor on nearly his every utterance, he would, maybe, have up to a further 50% of the people listen to him.

    Just this one thing – let’s hope he never realises…

  16. paul walter

    Now, do people remember when they were kids? If the wrinklies boasted something was good fun, they’d tell you.

    But, when were the times they kept silent?

    When they were trying to trick you, when some thing shitty was going down?

    Now why on earth would a GENUINE Labor person NOT want theses details out in the public forum?

  17. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott said….

    “It’s my job between now and polling day to remind the Australian people just what a hopeless, unreliable, untrustworthy, dishonest, deceptive Government this has been. It just doesn’t get democracy.”

    -Interviewed by Alan Jones, Radio 2GB, Sydney, 21 July 2010

    Tony and I now have the same job 🙂

  18. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    There was actually a further layer of spin to Ms Ley’s announcement.
    The phrase she used for ‘co-payment’ was not ‘price signal’, but the new and improved terminology of ‘value signal’.
    ‘Value’ sounds much nicer than ‘price’, even if they both cost exactly the same.

  19. Kyran

    Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to me twice, shame on me.
    I have heard the rumours that Bronwyn was the propagator of the immaculate (or inarticulate) misconception that is Tones. I think the “other half” was none other than Joh Bjelke Peterson. If memory serves me, he was still saying “Youse, youse, youse just go away” to the media, whilst his ministers were being carted off by The Commission.
    The MSM didn’t get it then, and they don’t seem to have improved much. At least now, this electronic graffiti thing has the potential to level the field, just a little. Take care

  20. paul walter

    The silence continues…

  21. Kaye Lee

    Seems like the kouk was also annoyed with the lies getting a free run….

    In 6 years, the Labor government saw gross debt rise $223 billion (up $3.2 billion a month, on average), in the 17 months of the Abbott government, gross debt has risen a further $82 billion (up $4.8 billion a month, on average).

    When Rudd lost, net government debt had, according to Department of Finance data, risen to $161 billion, an increase of $210 billion (this is $3.0 billion a month, on average). As at the end of December 2014 (latest data), net government debt had increased to $239 billion, a rise of $78 billion (an increase of $5.2 billion a month, on average).

    When Mr Abbott won the election, using September 2013 labour force data as a base, total employment was 11.4751 million people. The latest data for December 2014 has employment at 11.6794 million (seasonally adjusted). Level of employment is up 204,300. Looks good at face value. But during this time, the working age population has increased from 18.7801 million to 19.2099 million people, a rise of 439,800.


  22. paul walter

    What is, the kouk?

  23. CMMC

    Abbott fails every ‘competitive evaluation process’ I can think of.

    He would have trouble passing the ‘Empathy Test’, as in the movie ‘Blade Runner’. They had to test whether a subject was human or cyborg, so they talk about a turtle that has flipped over in the scorching Arizona desert, it has only minutes to live, what do you do?

    The cyborg has no empathy, so he cannot see any reason to help the stricken creature.

  24. thevenerable1

    Dunno what we’d do without you, you pyjama-ed person.
    This post is what the MSM deserves to have screwed up and thrust down its collective throat, to the point where it expires. Horribly.
    In my rather lengthy lifetime, I’ve never known so one-eyed a group of MSM players.

  25. Kaye Lee


    the kouk is Stephen Koukoulas, an economist who was an economic adviser to the Gillard government. The link goes to his blog

  26. paul walter

    Thx..Kohler and his gang are bit more ” Rennaissance” than most economics commentators.

    You must realise, Kaye Lee that I have, not so much a quarrel with agreements that are out in the public forum and discussed openly, with people given an option to plan their lives.in the light of information that is (surely??) rightly theirs.

    My issue is with the a) the Secrecy
    b) Labor’s collusion.

    Surely the suppression is the issue.
    Surely the suppression (and colllusion) is a Quintessential dagger at the very heart of Democracy itself?

    Am I wrong to hark back to my understanding of what defined the Europe of the Thirties of last century?

  27. Kaye Lee

    Joe Hockey said on 7:30 report tonight that they had had huge unexpected increases in national security and defence spending which is why he has to make cuts. Can someone tell me what is this great threat to our nation that requires this?

  28. paul walter

    Do you think you will get an answer.
    No one answered me.

  29. stephentardrew

    National Security Alert.

    The big bad boogy man of fearful invisibility and non-existence is on the move. He is the snot ball God collecting the accumulated sticky balls that are expelled during sleep. Rumors have it that if you build a complex of a thousand coffee grinder centrifuges you can enriched snotonium to produce a super massive fart big enough to blow Abbott’s brains, oops vacuum, out. Don’t worry Brandis is onto it and want’s to be first fart arse brain cloud. Though he doesn’t realise it he already has that award sewn up. Joe doesn’t have to worry the brainless coot.

  30. John Fraser


    Kaye Lee

    Australian citizens throwing rotten fruit at phoney Tony.

    Necessitated the purchase of 9 armour proof BMWs.

  31. John Fraser


    The "competitive evaluation process" needs submarines in case Putin sends his nuclear powered, nuclear armed cruiser back to shirtfront phoney Tony.

    F*Ck knows what we will do until the arrive in 2025.

    Perhaps we are all supposed to wait until phoney Tony bends over and we can kiss his arse goodbye.

  32. stephentardrew

    Be nice people I want to be able to play with the new lemony subs, screamy fast, not quite up to it yet, jets and unsinkable barbwire canoes.
    I’ll be a good boy if you let me play Admiral clever dick..

  33. John Fraser


    I have to wonder if Abbott has done a deal with the Japanese to build the subs and sign the Free Trade Agreement.

    A $20 billion deal to make Abbott look good.

  34. paul walter

    At last….

    But we mustn’t talk about it.

  35. Annie B

    Corvus B said ……. ” the PM repeatedly referred to mistakes “we” had made, then immediately switched to the first person “I” when vowing to improve. A classic tactic of collectivisation of blame and individualisation of credit. …… I wonder if his colleagues noticed.”

    I would like to lay a big bet on the fact that they DID notice ( except maybe for Christopher Pyne …. he is truly away with the fairies !! ) … They might spout and spruike loyalty, but brain wheels ultimately turn …. and many of his alleged ‘colleagues’ would be quick to pick up on his many mistakes, blunders and utterly inappropriate comments. AND, if they have a modicum of decency, they will again act to rid themselves of this pariah.

    Decency and good sense, do not always go together hand in hand – more’s the pity.

  36. Kerri

    At the very least Annie B for the next “spill motion” one SA MP will see fit to apply a “competitive evaluation process” before voting!

  37. Kaye Lee

    In that same interview Sales said to Hockey how can you increase funding to childcare when you say you have to cut spending. Joe replied that there are some things that you just have to spend money on. I would suggest that childcare has been chosen as top priority purely to try and save the government’s bacon come next budget. Unfortunately health and welfare will take a back seat to surveillance and war toys.

  38. David Bruce

    Mr Abbort is getting his script direct from London (City of), same as Mr CaMORON and Mr HAARPER…

  39. Judith W

    My father once made the observation “It’s not clever to deceive someone who trusts you – it’s dead easy”.

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