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Editor Paul Bugeja can think of a few “F” words besides “fair” and “future” he would use about Budget2015, but he’s too nice a feller to do so…
Politicians tend to avoid the “F” word, at least in public, but Budget2015 became all about it. (except #OneKayRudd and that unfortunately video which admittedly was in private but got leaked…if you missed it, see below. I couldn’t help myself, and it’s Friday after all so you need a laff to wind up the week, right?)
From the government’s perspective, it was the word “fair“, which we heard over…and over…and over…from both PM Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey, with a conga-line of other Coalition MP’s also wheeling the word out during the days pre and post #Budget2015.
They also pushed the idea to all of us, but particularly small business, to “Have a go“…which once again links to the notion of the “fair go” and yet what comes to mind to this commentator is the old Aussie slang “Have a go ya mug”, which the more astute might see as the appropriate response to Hockey’s second budget given that he and his colleagues are still treating Australian like “mugs”.
Budget2015 is a quite obvious weak attempt at winning back votes after the disaster of Budget2014 from which Hockey’s political capital has never quite recovered. The Coalition are essentially trying to shore up their vote should they be pushed to either a double dissolution and subsequent election if large chunks of their supposedly 2014 economy-reforming legislation are again rejected by the Senate (cue: C Pyne and his nonsensical Higher Ed reforms), or because Abbott and co bring on an early election for fear of another slide in their polling when the public realises what a shambles they still are (this is not as unlikely as you think…watch this space…)
The sad thing is there are a few solid aspects in Budget2015, for example, requiring overseas Aussies to repay HECS debts at long last; clamping down on the tax-avoiding multinats, something that has bi-partisan support; and trying to level the playing field for Aussie retailers by introducing GST on international online purchases.
But generally Budget2015 makes a mockery of the “lifters and leaners” rhetoric of last year, shows the hypocrisy of Hockey’s 2012 “end of age of entitlement” speech and is the government saying to Aussies, “Have a go, ya mugs.”
This is NOT to let Opposition leader Bill Shorten off the hook either, who also slipped the “F” word into his Budget2015 reply, although in this case it was the word “future“.
Let me be upfront about this – I’m no fan of Shorten, and given the choice at an election between him and Abbott, I actually struggle to know who I would vote for…which is saying a lot as I can’t imagine ever voting for Abbott. Like ever. Like not if my life depended on it. Or if he paid me. Or if he was Kevin Spacey. Ok, maybe if he was Spacey, but not Spacey from House of Cards. No.
However, as positive and “IT-is-the-new-mining-boom-sexy” and future-looking Shorten’s shiny reply was (and granted, it was one of the better speeches he has given, which isn’t saying much because he mostly presents as one of the most beige politicians I’ve ever seen or listened to), it was “short on” (did you get that? #boomboom) detail as to how the hell he is going to pay for it all.
This isn’t to say I buy into the nonsense that the Coalition are better economic managers than Labor. That old myth has been debunked by impartial economic commentators to the point that anyone who still believes it either owns shares in NewsCorp or is a relative of Murdoch.
However…Labor can’t keep promising the stars and offering a financial black hole when it comes to how it will get us to those stars.
We want to know how Labor will pay for its promises.
That’s about the “future”.
And it’s about “F#ucking” time they did.