Monday, 21 March 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: John Stone points out that Malcolm Turnbull is the same as Tony Abbott

Turnbull & Abbott morph courtesy of 

Former Shadow Minister for Finance and Leader of the National Party in the Senate (1987-1990) and former secretary to the Treasury (1979-1984), John Stone, is not a happy man.

He has joined a growing number in Liberal-Nationals ranks who are publicly pointing out the disappointing co-joined nature of those political bedfellows, Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and former prime minister Anthony John Abbott MP.

This excerpt is from an article he wrote in the Australian Financial Review on 7 March 2016:

Before the successful conspiracy against him, Abbott had made four decisions. One, under no circumstances would the Coalition raise the GST. Two, it would not meddle with the basic taxation principle that investment income qualifies for deductibility of costs incurred (so-called "negative gearing"). Three, established superannuation arrangements would remain. And four, he would take income tax cuts to 2016's election.

Neither Abbott nor his lazy Treasurer Hockey mentioned that the fourth undertaking could be achieved only through significant spending cuts. On those, Hockey's 2015-16 budget was virtually silent…..

in September 2015, Turnbull spoke eloquently about our needing "a new economic narrative", were there grounds for hoping for a government that would now mend its ways?

Well, no, apparently. After five months of dithering, Turnbull has emulated Abbott's first decision. He will arrive soon at Abbott's second decision. He and Treasurer Scott Morrison are still havering over Abbott's third decision. Both agree with his fourth decision. But as for the spending cuts without which that can't happen responsibly, they are silent.

On usurping the prime ministership Turnbull was endowed, justifiably or not, with plenty of political capital. Rather than expend that capital by taking an axe to what was now his government's wasteful spending he has chosen instead, in John Howard's recent words, to "dissipate it by sitting around and doing nothing".

Let's see, come July, what the electorate thinks of that.

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