Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Henry Review and Liberal Party Logic

A quick post on how hard things are when you’re in opposition, you’re the Liberal Party and you’re trying to make a logical point.

Firstly we have Malcolm Turnbull in his press conference announcing his return (not that he went anywhere) to politics taunting Rudd for being too gutless to hold a Double Dissolution on the ETS.

The problem is, if Rudd were to hold a Double Dissolution on the ETS, given that Turnbull actually voted for the ETS, he would logically have to support the Government on the main issue of the election, which would mean his position wouldn’t be tenable. So Turnbull wants Rudd to do something that would force Turnbull to attack the Liberal Party and actually mean he couldn't really campaign for his own party at the election. His lack of logic on this issue isn’t all that surprising, given that in dumping the ETS, Rudd is doing what Abbott wanted to happen to the ETS, but Abbott is criticising Rudd for doing it.

Rudd deftly turned the Turnbull “return” quite nicely into an effective attack stating:

"I think it's terrific that Malcolm's going to be back in the thick of it, because if and when he returns to the Liberal leadership, there's a prospect then of returning to some bipartisan consensus on key elements of emissions trading”

Actually Turnbull’s “return” gives Rudd a very easy response whenever the Libs try to attack him on the ETS backdown in Question Time. He can merely say, well if you want an ETS to be introduced, just honour the Turnbull deal – in fact bring him back to the leadership (at this point Rudd will call out to the “member for Wentworth”) and we’ll pass the Bill. Everyone knows Turnbull isn't back just to be a good loyal local member, so whenever the Libs ask about the ETS he’ll make it into a leadership issue. 

The next bit of “Liberal logic” came today when we had the Liberal Party’s response to the Henry Tax Review. The heading is:

Another Kevin Rudd Tax Grab

Then they proceeded to label Rudd as gutless. Why?

Kevin Rudd’s response to the Henry Review is more spin than substance. He’s accepted just two and a half of 138 recommendations so, yet again, there’s more talk than action. Typically, the action involved is a tax grab, not tax reform. He’s put higher taxes on easy targets but put off the hard decisions on cutting out-of-control government spending.

So they’re attacking Rudd for not implementing all (or at least a majority) of the recommendations. But then what do they do? They demand that Rudd categorically rule out introducing a number of the recommendations! For eg:

Will Kevin Rudd rule out a tax on Australians driving to work? (Recommendations 61-68)
Will Kevin Rudd rule out introducing new taxes on business activity? (R26)
Will Kevin Rudd rule out scrapping entirely the private health insurance rebate? (R7(b))
Will Kevin Rudd rule out means testing the childcare rebate? (R100)

So according to Abbott, Rudd is gutless for not implementing enough recommendations, but then he states that he wants Rudd not to implement the recommendations.


In effect Abbott is complaining that Rudd is not implementing recommendations that Abbott opposes, because Abbott wants to be able to oppose Rudd for implementing the recommendations.

I hope you enjoy this, because the budget is next week, and I fear the depths of illogic from Tony Abbott and his merry band of Liberal Party MPs are only just beginning to be plumbed.


Dave from Albury said...

I wonder if our 'left wing media' will manage to point out Abbott's inconsistency on this?

Not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

What a tangled web they weave. Your description of the tangle is most efficient.

Agnes Mack said...

I particularly enjoyed Joe Hockey's thunderings that the rise and fall in miners' super profits would be disastrous - we'll all suffer when they fall and tax receipts go down. Isn't that true of all taxation - high returns in the good times and falls in the slumps?