Goldstein News – 1 December 2009
THE Rudd Government is truly blessed because nothing is ever its fault. More people‐smuggler boats arriving on Australia’s shores? According to the Rudd Government, this is not caused by them softening our formerly tough border protection regime, but due to push factors completely outside their control.
The Australian Medical Association releases a report slamming the performance of public hospitals? Of course that could not possibly be the Rudd Government’s fault, despite their promise to fix hospitals or take them over. Apparently it is the fault of the State (Labor) Governments, again despite Mr Rudd’s pledge to end the “blame game.”
Record deficits and ballooning debt? Apparently that is all the fault of the ‘GFC.’ Apparently it is nothing to do with cash splashes, nothing to do with reckless political spending, nothing to do with outrageous pork‐barrelling, nothing to do with money wasted on bicycle paths, nothing to do with the money wasted on pink batts. Apparently it’s all global factors outside their control.
Rising inflation and rising interest rates: are they the fault of this government? Not on your life. Again, nothing to do with this government. Rising inflation is apparently all the fault of electricity retailers increasing prices in some states.
But there is a real problem. As Michael Stutchbury, the Economics Editor of the Australian pointed out on 29 October:
“at 3.5 per cent, core inflation remains above the Reserve Bank’s 2‐3 per cent target, partly because of domestic price pressures” and “on this basis, inflation is not ‘subdued’, as Wayne Swan suggested yesterday, even though headline inflation has slipped to 1.5 per cent. Backing his budget stimulus, the Treasurer again preferred to emphasise the economy’s negatives.”
Once upon a time, Treasurers used to focus on the strength of the Australian economy, on our economic fundamentals. But not this Treasurer. He always prefers to focus on the negatives.
We’ve had some relatively positive news in the month of November. Unemployment remains low at 5.8%, with an increase in overall employment of 24,500 jobs over October. Although interest rate rises are never welcomed by home‐owners, the Reserve Bank was so confident about the strength of the economy that they increased rates in November, and economists predict they will do so again in the New Year.
The Mid‐Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, released by the Government in early November, also showed positive signs. Australia will not enter a technical recession, despite all the apparent doom and gloom on the international stage and despite Wayne Swan’s negative rhetoric.
Some people would say this is good news. It might even show that spending billions of dollars on economic stimulus to be excessive, unnecessary and wasteful. But not this government.
Despite the good news, despite the threat of rising inflation and interest rates, this Government has refused to review its economic stimulus. We’ve all heard tales of waste and mismanagement with the stimulus package.
The Coalition has said that it was excessive and poorly targeted from the start. We’ve said the debt and deficit will burden Australians for years to come. The Government did not listen then. They ploughed ahead with record spending, they racked up record debt.
But they could listen now. The Coalition is calling for the stimulus to be wound back. We don’t need more pink batts. We’ve had more than enough good classrooms torn down to build Julia Gillard Memorial Halls and gymnasiums. It’s time to wind it back, saving billions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds.