Topic: election Oz 2007
What to make of this reprise today of the mid year Costello budget "master class" which was supposed to turn the dismal polls for the Howard Govt earlier in 2007, but failed back then too?: Here is the story today 5 months later
Samantha Maiden and AAP THE Coalition has sought to ambush Labor over tax reform by announcing a five-year plan to cut tax worth more than $34bn.
It seems to us like a very expensive valuable form of financial public policy vomit perhaps like the fabled ambergris prized for its perfume qualities regurgitated by the leviathans.
Is that the point? To perfume a dying political regime that barely had any political momentum or oxygen after 12 hours of the official election campaign?
Will the polls flatline like every other time? Will voters be spooked by the erratic vibe by Team Whacky (and refer Michelle Grattan, p63 "Howard rounds the bend" Sun Herald 14/10/07) of money being bounced around when health and education are obvious candidates of good value investments in our country's future?
Will the Reserve Bank in the middle of the election campaign respond with an interest rate rise due to this pre emptive pump priming of the consumption side of the economy, rather than investment say in human or physical infrastructure of the economy? In fact will the Reserve fear an inflationary effect, as suggested by an economist on the PM show tonight in an interview with sharp tool Stephen Long?
Is this an attempt to cruel any available funds for a future ALP Govt? If all this tax revenue should be returned surely it's a failure to collect it all in the first place? Should the GST actually be 7.5%?
Perhaps beached political whale - to evenutally expire over the coming days and weeks - is the wrong metaphor, more like a poll (!) axed threshing whale with a tail thumping in every direction, a Mersey hospital boondoggle 2 weeks back, reconciliation backflip last week, massive tax cut today, who knows what surprise tomorrow?
Chris Uhlman needled the PM from memory on the namesake PM show yesterday about the "desperation" of releasing the govt tax policy on the second day, that is so early. Maybe or maybe cut throat chess too. Because if the ALP matches the govt as Peter Hendy a Lib barracker wants (with Fran Kelly 16 Oct 07), then as Laurie Oakes points out on 9 last night, the ALP will have very little money to play with for other programmes.
In other words Costello's "big hit" is a daisy cutter attempt to neuter the rest of the ALP campaign movement by spooking them into cramped financial opportunities. That's brutal but also high risk politics with 6 weeks to fill the free media void.
The ALP might respond it's a bad investment to just bribe the electorate with tax cuts for plasma screens, new 4WD holidays and other frippery, when it might be better to say build a solar power, geothermal or wave power plant.
Take the GST itself - the govt won the argument eventually with much pain that people will overall support a tax increase if its demonstrated as value for money in reforming the financial system. The ALP might well win the argument declining such high tax cuts and keeping the revenue for good value investments in the country's future as a better way forward. Otherwise why collect the full 10% GST in the first place?
The ALP are buying time about a small gaff by Howard on ACA last night which we saw, and the irate 7.30 exchange with Kerry Obrien would give them heart too, but they will have to meet the tax policy challenge sooner or later.
Here's an idea. How about good boring policy about steady infrastructure of human and physical capital and a painless hand over to reinvigorate the democracy so the country is the winner?