Abbott downgrading promises to aspirations
You were always going to hear a lot about disability insurance over the next few years and Tony Abbott today made sure you will hear a lot more. There are some one million disabled Australians and the Opposition Leader told them that under an Abbott government their insurance scheme would be deferred.
In addition, pensioners and low-income families were told that their welfare increases and tax cuts were on the way, but please don’t ask when because Mr Abbott doesn’t know.
In his speech to the National Press Club he logged the disability insurance and a significant number of other economic elements under ``aspirations’’ column, rather than as imminent certainties.
Mr Abbott has accepted two important political points. One is that the Coalition must take on the Government’s posture as the superior economic managers. The second is that managing the economy will be bloody hard.
That’s why when he addressed his broad, earlier promises to cut spending he had only a few workable options, and one was to delay programs which could not be dropped completely. The proposed national disability insurance scheme was one.
Labor sees itself as the champions of those one million disabled people and their carers and in the next election will depict Mr Abbott’s vague timeline as a betrayal.
The Opposition wants to put off the scheme until the Budget is in surplus—as does the Government, which expects a surplus next year—but Mr Abbott’s comments will be seen as a weakening of his commitment to the scheme itself.
Meanwhile, he has maintained his depiction of the Government as incompetent and untrustworthy, by one minister’s count referring to these identifiers once every 35 seconds in his half-hour speech.
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