Debt. We all have it. The question is, who in Canberra wants to drag us out of it? To seek an answer, we tasked a corresponded to lurk the murky corners of parliament.
A Fake News feature from Canberra correspondent Frank Rarely
Is anyone in Canberra serious about a budget surplus?
As realisation dawns that the national debt is on course to break through the trillion dollar barrier, are our politicians truly dedicated to delivering us from austerity?
You’ve got to wonder about Malcolm. While his proposed withdrawals from the banks were encouraging, his withdrawals from increasing the GST, raising playing fees for multinationals and being unfair to anybody were not. The fact that such measures would attract strong support from Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi was obviously a strong deterrent.
Bill Shorten shows no interest whatsoever in a budget surplus in case it’s unfair to anyone who votes Labor. As the creators of the NBN, the NDIS, Pink Batts, Gonski and the GFC, he believes that Labor shouldn’t have to take responsibility for ensuring their soaring costs don’t eliminate all hope of budget surpluses because that’s the Coalition’s job.
Labor hasn’t delivered a budget surplus since 1989 because to them it represents a fiscal policy that’s too old-fashioned and anti-union for the current economic climate. There is talk however of a long-term plan for a token surplus in 2089 to mark the 100th anniversary of their last one.
The Greens have never been interested in budget surpluses because they’re not as sustainable as deficits and are just as anti-social as profits. It is impossible to reconcile the Greens’ vision of giving everything away to everybody with maintaining an economy let alone a budget surplus.
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Nick Xenophon is committed to blocking any economic measures that don’t address the ill winds blowing through South Australia and of course Jacqui Lambie is vehemently opposed to any move to create a budget surplus by forcing Tasmania to secede and become part of NZ.
Australians are universally in favour of a budget surplus that is unfair to everyone else. Any feelings of guilt they may have had about leaving a huge debt for future generations to pay off have been assuaged by ScoMo’s assurance that it will be good debt. And if Labor has a lead in the polls after 28 surplus-free years then who really gives a stuff?
It seems our best chance for a budget surplus in the foreseeable future is either to promote the Reserve Bank to a place in the starting line-up or pray for an economic miracle brought about by the second coming of Peter Costello.
Meanwhile, it seems that the only thing that can prevent Australia joining Greece in abject austerity is higher-calibre politicians.
It’s been ages since we had a surplus of them.
Frank Rarely is one of Australia’s leading Fake News commentators. Before joining The Big Smoke he enjoyed a career as a spin doctor with One Nation, a fake doctor in a breast implant clinic and doctoring budget papers for the government.