Leading article Australia

Coughing fit

16 May 2020

9:00 AM

16 May 2020

9:00 AM

Well might the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg choke on his words in parliament when detailing the horrendous debt currently being imposed upon this country in the wake of the corona panic, sorry, pandemic. The hundreds of billions of dollars being frittered away have not only removed the single most important commitment upon which the Morrison government was elected — to return the nation to surplus — but it has entrenched a ‘big government to the rescue’ mentality that will prove very hard to shrug off.

Fortunately, Mr Frydenberg’s tickle in the throat was not serious and he is in robust health. He will need to be. Having let the socialist genie escape out of the Treasury bottle, he will require all his strength over the next eighteen months to try and shove it back in. Make no mistake, the government’s success in suppressing the virus will not be rewarded at the next federal election. On the contrary, it will most likely be punished for having allowed people’s lives to be ruined financially when there was no need to do so. This may be unfair, but alas, it is the most likely scenario given what we now know about the gross exaggerations of the medical models upon which the business restrictions were based and the gigantic Rudd-style JobSeeker/Keeper structure was built.

The imperative now is for the government to do everything it can, as drastically and decisively as possible, to limit the self-inflicted carnage. There is only one antidote to this particular disease, and it is solid economic growth.

First up, the government must steel itself for an uptick in the corona death toll during the winter, at which point the cry will go up from the Left to reimpose those restrictions that have already been lifted and to further extend government handouts. Such insanity must be resisted.

Secondly, the government needs to prepare the October budget along classic conservative lines in order to rapidly encourage growth; not through phony government stimulus and handouts but by dramatically lowering taxes and slashing red and green tape.

Thirdly, the government must, along with everything else on its plate, slay the climate change alarmism dragon for once and for all. We must pull out of the Paris Agreement before the end of the year on the self-evident grounds that climate alarmism is a job-destroyer and we can no longer afford to indulge the renewables fantasies of teenage girls, SUV-driving northern beaches MPs and teacher’s unions.

The fact that China does so well out of its ‘increase emissions until 2030’ Paris commitment whilst we do so poorly out of ours should be enough to persuade most ‘quiet’ Australians that it’s time to give it the flick.

We’ll miss you, Mr Jones

The resignation of Alan Jones from his top-rating morning radio slot has rightly been greeted with dismay and sadness by his army of loyal fans. For the best part of four decades Mr Jones has been a linchpin of conservative thought and politics in this country. Not only have his robust political views, so clearly and articulately stated, helped keep alive the ideals of Thatcher, Reagan and Howard at a time of encroaching socialist tendencies even among the Liberals and Nationals, but his unique ability to read the mood of ‘Struggle Street’ has given a voice to many who would otherwise have been left behind. His audience will miss him sorely. That Mr Jones will continue to appear on Sky News with Peta Credlin and Graham Richardson is terrific news for his fans, and no doubt he will continue to provide a strong voice in the national ‘conversation’.

But there is one deeply disturbing aspect to his departure, and that is of course the role played by online activists in persuading bed-wetting advertisers to boycott his show over the last couple of years. Advertisers are of course free to place their ads wherever they please. But a fraudulent campaign using dubious online tricks has persuaded many poorly informed marketers that they risked a consumer backlash if they advertised on Mr Jones’s show. Indeed, some disgracefully made a point of trying to curry favour with the Left by announcing their decision to boycott him. Yet in all likelihood, it is these very same companies that will miss his advocacy and principles the most when the baying mob turn on them — which they will surely do in time.

What is clear is that these activist campaigns and those who promote and organise them are intentionally seeking to interfere in the commercial arrangements and contracts of third parties, an action which is arguably in breach of the law. It is high time this proposition is tested in court.

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