April 2016 – Liberals have a lot to lose.
According to polls published last week, the Liberals for the first time, since Malcolm Turnbull took over government, are behind labor.
As an independent (and foreign) observer I sometimes get the impression there is no real concept no plan down there in Canberra. It looks like they ran out of visions, out of ideas. Or maybe they have a plan but don’t know how to get it across.
The slogan “Continuity and Change”, which was used by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently and almost became his campaign slogan, is indicative of the current lack of planning in Canberra. Consider that “continuity” and “Change” are two contradictory statements. The key words “continuity with change” come from the US comedy series “Veep“. A TV production on a (fictional) vice president. One of the series’ script writers said: “We needed it to be hollow and oxymoronic, to say absolutely nothing but seem to have depth and meaning,”. Well. That’s what it is.
What did the government change to the better, what kind of success did they have since they won the election in September 2013? The tax burden for mining companies was lowered and they almost stopped the influx of refugees. But why did nobody notice that for every tax reduced or removed, a counter-financing has to be found? The result: when Tony Abbott took over responsibility in 2013, the national debt stood at around 153 billion dollars. To date, it has risen to about 280 billion. Debt almost doubled although spending on health and education has been reduced by around 80 billion dollars.
Who will pay? No doubt, it will be taxpayer. In a situation like this experts agree that the tax system needs to be rethought and reformed here in Australia, to stop further public debt. This might well mean that the GST has to be adjusted. In this case “adjusted” does not necessarily imply that there has to come an increase up to 13 or 15 percent. Another was to gain money from GST would simply be to charge tax on imports. After all, it is almost unique worldwide, that for an item I buy from China, I don’t have to pay GST at all, while exactly the same item (maybe even from the same manufacturer) is subject to tax if I buy it on the domestic market.
But maybe much easier, the experts continue, it might be to simply reintroduce the so called “Mining Tax”, abolished in September 2014. This tax was only charged to companies whose annual profit exceeded the amount of 70 million dollars. And the tax had only little impact on the small-scale taxpayer.
The problem is: we are in an election year. A government, short before elections come up, talking about something like “tax increase” might commit suicide. So the Prime Minister will most probably wait with the bad news until (and if) he is re-elected. Meanwhile the debt will continue to grow.
It is not yet entirely clear when election day will come up. Campaigning already started but no concept, no agenda is visible. But the Prime Minister is not alone with this problem. On the other side of the benches, with Labor I don’t see anything they might be able to convince the voters with.
There is another problem the Prime Minister seems to have. It looks like he didn’t understand the so called refugee-crisis in Europe. It looks like he thinks, that ISIS was sending terrorists to Brussels to conduct these bestial attacks. What he maybe did not realise is that all these terrorists were not only citizens of Belgium but most of them even born in the country. So there is simply no connection between the influx of asylum seekers or refugees and terrorists’ attacks in Belgium and France.
And writing about refugees: The Australian government towards the international community obliged to accept 12,000 refugees from Syria. Certainly a big step towards humanity. The point is that only 26 of these 12.000 people arrived to Australia until the end of March. The Prime Minister justifies this “delay” with the excuse of “security checks” that have to be done before a person coming from a life threatening situation will be accepted.
What is it? Is it the evidence of incapacity or indeed a sign of emotional poverty? Last week in the media I read that this might be a long road to ruin.