Features Australia

Budget conjuring trick

19 May 2018

9:00 AM

19 May 2018

9:00 AM

The Federal Budget process is no more than a conjuring trick to ensure the next election results in a high-taxing, high-spending government, led either by LINOs (Liberals In Name Only) or Labor, with the real problems facing Australia ignored.

Fortunately, recent events have demonstrated a desperate need for Australians to have the real choice Americans enjoyed in their election.

One event is yet another round of expensive and pointless by-elections foisted on the country because of rogue interpretations of the constitution, lacking common sense and contrary to the clear intention of the founders and of the people (see ‘Citizenship Notes’, The Spectator Australia, 18 November 2017.)

A real leader would not have again meekly referred these to the Court of Disputed Returns. He would have ensured the issues were decided by each House, just as the constitution provides.

The other events were the US President’s actions concerning North Korea and Iran, applying what will no doubt be known as the Trump Doctrine, ‘peace through strength’. As to no longer appeasing the mullahs, the Turnbull government inexplicably declared its ‘disappointment’ in our principal ally. Why didn’t they just keep their mouths shut? Having no qualms whatsoever about bequeathing their massive debt to the next generation, both LINOs and Labor have demeaned what was once an exercise in the careful management of the nation’s finances.

They have turned the Budget into a tool to distract voters from the real issues, hoping the choice will be narrowed down to the one which best provides the silver bullet which will be an election winner.

The Budget centres on a clumsy conjuror’s trick, confirming the view that magicians and politicians often have much in common. Both aim to draw your attention away from what they’re actually doing to what they want you to think they’re doing. The difference is the magician doesn’t deny that he’s trying to deceive you. This downgrading reflects what the politicians have done to Question Time. At Westminster, the speaker still decides which member will ask the next question. But in the Canberra swamp, the whips provide the questions, instruct the speaker whom he must call and even in what order. The result is almost unwatchable, low-grade theatre.

As to the Budget, why do we still pay a fortune to protect its secrecy if ministers must insist on so blatantly doing the leaking? And did we really need the vaudeville act of a suspiciously over-indignant Treasurer reprimanding his superior, the Acting Prime Minister, for likening him to Santa Claus?

And just as a magician entertains us with something we know is not happening, like pulling an impossibly long scarf out of his mouth, so does the Treasurer. This year it was a fake ‘gift’ of up to $530 of borrowed money the taxpayers will have to repay. Then the Shadow Magician, Bill Shorten, supported by an out-of-control noisy claque in the gallery, dragged a twice-as-long scarf out of his not so capacious mouth to reveal yet another fake ‘gift’, this time of $940.

A central part of the exercise is to confuse. So figures are mixed up relating to this year or up to ten years hence. Others are ‘over the forward estimates’, a term meaningless to the rank-and-file, which is precisely why the politicians use it. And do they really think anyone still believes that the Treasury has the predictive capacity of the Delphic Oracle? The Treasurer revealed an unpredicted windfall of almost $64 billion just before the Budget but then announced a precise but totally unbelievable surplus of $2 billion for 2019-20. Does he think the public are fools?

In this process, the LINOs have shown they’ve learned and improved on at least two of Labor’s rorts. The first is to declare an increasing number of activities to be ‘investments’ and therefore ‘off-budget’. These are then not counted in the debt. Embarrassing facts, such as those probably in the business plan for Turnbull’s Snowy 2.0 folly, are kept secret on the laughable ground that they are ‘commercial in-confidence’.

The likelihood of any of the almost $80 billion ‘investments’ being recovered is very low. As with Badgerys Creek airport, no real investor is interested in what is expected to be a white elephant. They can buy it later at a knock-down price with the taxpayer paying the difference.

The second Labor rort the LINOs love is to raid the defence budget for electoral purposes. Hence the $50 billion deal to buy twelve French submarines to prop up Christopher Pyne’s and others’ seats.

In what can only be called a conspiracy, both sides hope that voters will be dazzled by their respective magician’s tricks and ignore the far more serious problems which, absent a return of a leader of the calibre of Tony Abbott, are doomed to continue. If not corrected, these will inevitably end in tragedy.

The most destructive trickery has been to turn what once was a country rejoicing in the cheapest electricity in the world to one with the most expensive, and without the benefit of a domestic gas reservation policy. Another is to continue to tolerate the gouging at the pump by the oil companies’ oligopoly. With no interest in harvesting water, another is to impose a rate of non-skilled immigration far beyond our capacity.

Apart from their debt, both LINOs and Labor are united in continuing the scandalous waste which results from Canberra moving in on areas constitutionally the preserve of the states. On one expert calculation, this means they are pouring around $190 billion down the drain not once but in each and every year.

Education is a woeful example. It’s like having two drivers for the one car. In the bickering and confusion, the cultural Marxists have slipped in to take control with their increasingly outrageous and degraded curriculum. In comparison even with poor countries, standards are collapsing. The voters see little difference between the LINOS and Labor. Although they trust neither, they are tempted to give Labor a go without realising Shorten will be worse.

The solution is bring back the great campaigner, Tony Abbott. Crucially he’d offer a significantly different, superior and electorally attractive agenda.

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