Flat White

Budget 2017: an invitation to vote Labor

9 May 2017

8:43 PM

9 May 2017

8:43 PM

Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull have been far too clever by half with year’s budget.

Yes, they’ve moved to blunt the ALP’s attack. Dennis Shanahan was right to observe in The Australian:

Bill Shorten was enormously pleased with himself when he ran a successful Medicare privatisation scare campaign against Malcolm Turnbull and almost won government. The Opposition Leader has persevered with this tactic, and raised others as part of a relentlessly negative and opportunistic campaign to keep the Coalition off balance and expose Malcolm Turnbull’s political inexperience.

It has worked … but this budget may very well make Shorten regret the Medicare scare success, or at least his continued efforts to keep it alive and pursue the Coalition over the NDIS, Gonski school funding, negative gearing, housing affordability, savings measures blocked in the Senate and a banking royal commission.

After too long, the Prime Minister has stirred from a fog of overconfidence, vacillation, unreality and delay to strike back at Shorten in the all the areas where he has hurt the Coalition most.

All true – but the government has struck back at Labor by stealing its clothes.

They have handed down a big spending, big taxing government.

It’s populist.

It whacks the banks.

It whacks them dirty foreigners.

It also, though, whacks each and every taxpayer with an increase in the Medicare levy.

Indeed, the Australian Taxpayers Alliance says it increases taxes by a staggering $12 billion over the four years of the forward estimates.

And look who loves it. This is from the ABC’s Ian Verrender, their anti-business business editor:

Scott Morrison has seen the future. And it’s unsettling enough to have prompted a radical overhaul in Coalition thinking.

It’s a future where the government will drive economic growth, austerity has been replaced by spending, and taxpayers and banks will be press-ganged into helping foot the bill.

In the process, the Treasurer has jettisoned decades of conservative fiscal orthodoxy around deficits and, particularly, debt.

In other words, Turnbull and Morrison have jettisoned a whole lot of traditional Coalition strengths to deliver a Labor budget. Or a largely Labor budget, anyhow.

The PM and Treasurer obviously think it’s what the punters want.

They’ve forgotten just one thing.

Only Labor can deliver a true Labor budget.

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are encouraging voters to go the whole hog.

Why should they vote for the Coalition and their Labor-lite economic package when Bill Shorten can deliver the real thing?

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