Why did we vote Labor out of office? Was it because we like Tony Abbott? All the polls then and now would say ‘No’.
Equal top of the list for voting Labor out was the fact that the country’s finances were in an unholy mess, and our economy moved from one of the best performing in the world to one of the worst in the space of three years.
Today there is talk of a recession. Hard to believe.
The Howard government left coffers full with little debt but, according to the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook, when Labor left office the deficit was $30.1 billion.
Worse, the debt was not exclusively from one-off expenditure programs to get us through the GFC but rather ongoing new government funding programs that, once established, were hard to take back from the public.
But Labor will not acknowledge that they created this debt mess.
This week Bill Shorten, as Labor’s leader, appeared on the Neil Mitchell 3AW radio program to comment on the budget. After seven minutes of bagging Tony Abbott and his government on their reckless financial management, Mitchell asked Shorten once, then twice and then 13 times, if Labor bore any responsibility for the deficit they left in 2103.
Shorten refused to answer directly 13 times, obfuscating with renewed criticism of the Abbott government.
Close to the 13th direct question, Mr Shorten did say the deficit was between $16 and $17 billion at the end of the Labor reign.
(The correct deficit, remember, was $30.1 billion.)
Mitchell then asked him “So do you wear responsibility for that?”
His response: “When you talk about responsibility, how is it, for a whole year, you know, you have Liberal ministers on your show saying we’re cutting the pension”.
And so it went on. Listeners were screaming. And so we all should.
We don’t want to be maniacal about reducing our national debt but we do have to be responsible, like any household.
Bill Shorten, if he is a true leader and if he truly has the nation’s interests at heart, would be constructive in his recommended programs for the country, rather than rejecting every program to reduce debt out of hand, undermining our future for his own end.
He would have vision, balance and demonstrate an ability to act. Think of Paul Keating. Labor could then be a sensible alternative to the Conservatives.
His performance on 3AW laid bare in under 10 minutes that he has none of these and neither does he have the country’s interest at heart. Perhaps only his own.
He is not a leader in my opinion.
What do you think?