$50b deficit and a surplus of spin in tonight’s budget
Ahead of the federal budget, the government has selectively leaked some details to the mainstream media. This is part of the ‘conditioning’ process that softens up the public for the budget bad news. And bad news it seems to be.
The government is forecasting a $50 billion deficit this financial year. In layman’s terms it means your government will spend nearly $1,000 million more every week than it gathers in taxes. In the year ahead Labor will be borrowing nearly $140 million per day to pay for their lack of spending restraint.
The interest costs and repayment legacy of that alone will cost us all for decades to come.
It will also be felt in interest rates being higher than would otherwise be the case. This will strike at the financial heart of every homeowner and business operator – making it even harder to make ends meet.
The government maintains that this budget is about jobs – creating half a million of them to be precise.
I am willing to wager that at some stage in the near future, that “job creation” mantra will officially morph into “protecting jobs” in order to prevent the exposure of yet another embarrassing policy failure.
You see, no matter if the unemployment rate goes up or down, things would always be worse if the government weren’t “protecting jobs”. However, unlike job creation, the effectiveness of the “job protection” policy can never be quantified with any accuracy.
It is just more sophistry from a government that has a limited grasp on political reality.
The reality is that this government no longer enjoys the confidence of the Australian people. We are all sick of the spin they have been peddling for too long.
Refugee swap lacks credibility
Aside from their fiscal jiggery pokery, nowhere is this more evident than in how Labor have handled Australia’s border protection laws.
After a decade of condemning effective border protection policies, they now expect us to accept their convoluted refugee swap with Malaysia as a remedy.
Once again, while the financial cost could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, the credibility cost is much higher. At a time when welfare dependency is growing, many parts of our economy are slowing and cost of living pressures are rising, why would we entertain the notion of increasing our refugee intake by a third?
On top of that, there is a suggestion that 16,000 new migrants will “flood regional areas to maximise the payoff from the resources boom”.
Dear me, I thought Ms Gillard had committed to a smaller and more sustainable Australia as a key policy at the last election.
Put simply, this government is in a world of political trouble that they are desperate to turn around regardless of the long-term cost to the country.
We are seeing the same political approach from the federal government that NSW Labor used to do so much damage to the premier state.
Unfortunately the consequences of this batch of Labor incompetency will be much more widespread than simply one state.
With so much at risk, and so little leadership shown by the government, it is time to go back to the polls and let the Australian people render their verdict.
Cory Bernardi is a South Australian Liberal senator. His columns and essays are available at his website.