Who’s the real economic freak show?
The Rudd Government claims to be superior in economic management. How so?
The real reason Australia did better than most developed countries in the recent financial crisis was that the Coalition had by 2006 repaid the $96 billion debt run up by Labor, left a $5 billion Education fund, a $60 billion Future Fund and a $22 billion surplus!
Add to this a virtually strike free environment, whereby employment grew, wages grew and exports grew.
Our economy expanded in GDP terms from $530 billion to $1.1 trillion, and our national birth rate increased from 1.7 to 1.9 – One for mum, one for dad, and one for the country, was backed up by a baby bonus that did not discriminate between working and stay at home mums.
People did feel relaxed and comfortable and able in 2007 to take a punt on Kevin Rudd – that nice cheery chap from Sunrise.
He promised more of the same. He promised a new industrial relations system where nobody would be worse off. He promised to keep the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate for everyone who takes out private health insurance, just like Medicare is for everyone who pays the Medicare Levy. He promised to turn back the boats carrying illegal asylum seekers to Australia and he promised to fix our public hospitals, having a referendum if necessary. And he promised to reign in grocery and petrol prices.
But what did we get?
A new industrial relations system taking us back to the strike prone 1970s and 80s, a system that will cut the wages of nurses in aged care by $300 a week; see young people with after-school jobs lose those jobs by insisting the employer pay them for a minimum of three hours, which it is not possible for them to work or for him to afford.
So much for nobody being worse off! The so called ‘modern awards’ has delivered old fashioned inequities.
He didn’t repeal WorkChoices, as most people expected. He amended it to create his so called Fair Work regime. Had he simply repealed WorkChoices and re-enacted the provisions that existed prior to WorkChoices, we would had retained the benefit of the Keating and 1996 Howard reforms.
Mr Rudd would then not be in the position he now finds himself of having broken his promise that nobody would be worse off under his Fair Work regime, and have to wear the approbrium of the Nurses Union saying that the Fair Work law is worse than the WorkChoices law.
To add insult to injury, the Maritime Union boss has, with the threat of more strikes, forced a maritime employer to give their employees a $50,000 pay rise. That is $1,000 a week, resulting in an annual income of $180,000 a year to maritime workers with no productivity gains!
With regards to private health insurance, that nice cheery Mr Rudd wants to take away the 30% rebate from ordinary Australians who believed his promise that he would do no such thing. Thousands of Australians will lose out.
If you earn $75,000 Mr Rudd says you are rich and should lose your rebate. If as a couple you earn $150,000 you lose out. If you earn less than these amounts you might be ok this time, but what about next time? Teachers, police, nurses are hit this time; are you next?
As for the hospital promise - delivery NIL.
And then there is the U-turn on the promise to turn around the illegal boats. Not only does Mr Rudd not honour his promise, but he adopts a policy which encourages people smugglers to put asylum seekers lives at risk to get them to Australia by dropping Temporary Protection Visas and giving preferential treatment to asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking. Since then, 79 boat carrying 3,618 asylum seekers have arrived and Christmas Island is overflowing. Australia is now seen as a soft touch.
As grocery and petrol prices have continued to rise we remember the failure of Grocery Watch and Fuel Watch. Not only has Mr Rudd failed to honour this promise, but now plans to give us a big new tax on everything – the ETS. This will force further price rises for groceries and a 20% rise in electricity prices. Thanks for nothing!
Meanwhile the poor man’s Costello, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, told ABC radio’s Fran Kelly on 4th February that he did not know how much of the $42 billion stimulus package remained uncommitted.
“Oh look I can’t give you a precise figure Fran, because of course these things are a little bit complex”. Really Mr Tanner? You are of course the Finance Minister. It’s your job to know! Complex is the standard response from Government Ministers when they don’t know the answer. You will hear it ad nauseum.
We were indebted to Senator Conroy later in the day when he told the Senate that $21 billion remains unspent. That is half of the package, not the ‘bulk’ as claimed by the Finance Minister.
Back to my first point of who is better to manage the economy. Mr Rudd has already run up a debt of $120 billion which has to be repaid and every additional cent he spends on the stimulus above what has been committed has to be borrowed. This plunges us into a sea of further debt.
A combination of borrowing and spending and high taxation is traditional Labor behaviour.
Hands up if you think this is good economic management??
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