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Coalition: in the spotlight « Previous | |Next »
May 13, 2010

Now it is the Coalition's turn to establish their economic narrative about Australia's future, given the emergence of economic recovery. What kind of Australia does it envision. What kind of reforms does it propose to facilitate this? Will Abbot spell this out in his budget reply speech? They've promised to give voters a "clear direction" of their economic strategy. What would that be, now that their debt’n’deficits rhetoric has been effectively neutralized by Swan?

Judging from the comments this morning in the media can we expect anything more than the standard lines about "tackling with conviction", the budget deficit, government waste and mismanagement, the new resources tax, and returning the budget to surplus quicker than Labor?

Will there be any "real action" on health? Education? Or climate change? Or tax reform? Or will Fortress Australia make a comeback? Along with we love miners. They are hurting badly.They need to be defended etc. etc:

MoirA.Minersstockade.jpg

How about something substantive on workforce participation, which is strongly influenced by incentives in the tax and transfer system, and by the affordability of child care.

Will they address the strong disincentives of the high effective marginal tax rates around the withdrawal of benefits plus payment of tax? They could address this by lifting the tax-free threshold to $25,000. It's very expensive, sure, but a mining boom is underway. Super profits will be made. So why not use the proceeds to pay for such a tax reform.

This is not likely though. Abbott is about politics not policy reform. So the Budget reply will probably be about looking after the poor miners who are carrying an ungrateful Australia on their backs.

Update
Abbott's budget reply speech was all about we love the miners and we''ll fight for them cos we need their money. Okay, he didn't say the last bit. But he made sure that the super-profits-based tax of the mining sector was the core of his election strategy.

The Coalition will oppose the mining tax in the Senate and rescind it in government. Simple. Abbott finishes thus:

In the end, it’s a judgment about who can be trusted with the fate of the country that decides elections. This budget rests on the government’s new mining tax and the election should turn on this too.
Australia’s future depends on the bulk carriers travelling to Asia just as surely as it once rode on the sheep’s back. This election, like the budget, will pit a party that thinks it’s reasonable to make Australian miners the world’s highest taxed against one that doesn’t.The die is cast. Neither side will retreat. The only way to stop this great big new tax on the people who saved us from the recession is to change the government.

There was lots of negativity and attack at the beginning of the speech with little policy substance in the rest apart from slashing the public service and recycling WorkChoices. They can kiss Eden-Monario goodbye.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:54 PM | | Comments (10)
Comments

Comments

"straight talking" Abbott should come out and say it: we love coal. Coal is our future. Stuff renewables. That's girly stuff. We Marlboro men know that baseload, coal-fired power is what powers the nation. Get real. We need more coal fired power stations.

Yes, the mining industry is the hymen of the nation and should be preserved.

"Yes, the mining industry is the hymen of the nation and should be preserved."

Nice one centurion.

I think the opposition is bound to have one go at the message 'There you wanted a change and this shower of rubbish is what you got, just admit you miss us and vote us back in and we'll forget the 2007 unpleasantness ever happened'. In other words, having flirted with with Nelson and Turnbull, they've decided to give Howardism one more go. And why not? The polls suggest it's working.

So I don't expect much substance, just lots of reminders of how good we had it from 1996 - 2007 and how Labor stuffed it since. Expect lots of very dodgy arguments and outright lies. Abbott strikes me as one of those Buckley conservatives who believe the elite is perfectly justified in lying to the masses for their own good.

The message would be a lot more persuasive if it was being delivered by the bloke who was 2i/c during that golden period. Future historians will surely conclude that Peter Costello was one of Australian politics greatest conundrums.

Ken,
it sure is a return to the golden years of Howard to counter the decline under Labor.

I also agree with your observation that:

Abbott strikes me as one of those Buckley conservatives who believe the elite is perfectly justified in lying to the masses for their own good.

Abbott lies all the time. He covers it by saying that he is just a weather vane.

Lyn, your post has me in mind of so many things.
The only trouble is, most of them are unprintable as well as pessimistic.

Bingo Ken.

I work with the 25yo son of a miner. His dad recently moved from NSW to QLD to start a (very rewardings) job in a mine. Junior's opinion (shared by dad, no doubt).... is that the proposed resource profit tax is a really, really bad idea.

Could the voters soon be looking at a battle of the scare-campaigns??? The resource profit tax vs WorkChoices? Wouldn't that be just bloody awesome?

Mars over at LP, some bloke is already whining that Rudd's resource rent tax has caused the value of his house in the north west to drop tens of thousands of dollars. Such is the cool dispassionate way in which Australians consider what is best for the country.

The type of Australia Abbott wants to create is a return to the Howard-Costello era.

The message was pretty clear that Australia is a quarry: the mining companies are the economic backbone of the nation and that, without them, Australia would be in financial disarray.