This week we note the sudden and mysterious reappearance of Joe Hockey. Where have you been for the past month or two Joe?
Joe, your last materialisation was in December when you promised that a Coalition government would:
..”press ahead with fresh income tax cuts if it wins the next election and as noted in the article “despite a blowout in the budget deficit as a result of the global economic crisis”.
“..generate a larger surplus than Labor’s targeted $1.5 billion next financial year.”
Penny Wong’s response included that you cannot abolish the revenue sources, being the carbon and mining taxes, “while funding tax cuts without hacking into social security, health, education, welfare and defence . . . that’s 80 per cent of the budget”.
“That just doesn’t make sense,” Senator Wong said.
And so we start the new year with Tony Abbott’s “aspirations” at the National Press Club, and as reported by the ABC on the 31st January:
Tony Abbott described a national disability insurance scheme and Medicare funding for dental services as worthwhile aspirations, but he said neither could be implemented before there’s a strong budget surplus.
However, in spite of the firm commitment from Joe Hockey that he and a Liberal government would generate a larger surplus than Labor “next financial year”, Andrew Robb enters the scene and states, “Well, it just depends. As I say there’s so much uncertainty around the numbers.”
I get the distinct impression that Hockey has the unenviable task of trying to explain both Tony Abbott and Andrew Robb, plus their interpretations.
Joe has to firstly contend with whatever is Tony Abbott’s latest “looks good, feels good and so it must be good” attitude towards responsible financial management, and then attempt to explain these whilst keeping a straight face.
Joe to Tony: “Tony where’s those farkin’ papers you’re reading from?”
Joe often wishes that he has the scissors to chop the aforementioned papers into tiny little pieces before Tony has a chance to read from them. Not that it would make very much difference, given that Tony has a tendency to make it up as he goes along.
Joe to Andrew: “Andrew do you have to be so truthful. Give us a break mate.”
We therefore enter the start of the new political year with a Shadow Treasurer whose economic credibility is constantly challenged. Will Hockey last the distance or will Robb mount another challenge? Robb seems to perform a substantial amount of contradicting of Joe Hockey’s statements and clearly sees himself as being Hockey’s superior in his grasp of the economy. Abbott on the other hand appears content to make statements, and then allows the kiddies fight it out between themselves.
Update: With thanks to Tom R for the pic 🙂