Life in Oz just got a little more taxing

 

In keeping with this nation’s proud history of thumbing its nose at – and having a healthy contempt for – authority, it’s perfectly understandable the Australian people have voted back in a government that doesn’t really want to govern.

With compulsory voting meaning you have to back someone, what better way to get rid of a government you detest than to support one hell-bent of getting rid of itself over time anyway?

A coalition that proudly campaigned on the notion of it getting smaller and smaller. Well, apart from funding private schools, that is.

That had as its economic centrepiece for the 2019 campaign a massive forfeiture of $230 billion in income tax revenue in a few years’ time through a major flattening out of the tax scales.

And a campaign pledge by Prime Minister Morrison to Australians that “you’ll get to keep more of your money in your pockets because you’ll spend it far more wisely than the government would”.

So when it’s all boiled down, why wouldn’t voters back a government that’s committed to shrinking itself into total insignificance?

If you detest a government, why not support one committed to sooner or later disappearing up its own fundamental orifice?

One that believes health and public education should be increasingly funded by the states, that public service tasks are best farmed out to private enterprise mates and public utilities are better run if they’re flogged off.

It’s all just logical stuff as your coffers dry up over time, exacerbated by throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at shadowy, shonky or undeserving private enterprises for dubious activities or little return.

Across the aisle, of course, we had Labor with its big spending agenda driven by reining in all sorts of tax rorts, concessions and unsustainable lurks and perks.

Well, weren’t they fucking stupid for not only having policies but declaring many of them years ago? Never again, eh?

By making a big target of themselves, Labor was open to the mother of all tax scare campaigns, some based on major distortions of reality, some bare-faced lies that any devout Christian would never allow to pass their lips.

Early in the campaign, we had Michaelia Cash screeching, with the PM’s nodding approval, that tradies should lock up their utes, small business owners their work vehicles, because Labor was going to take them away. Decent folk everywhere would have their petrol cars taxed under Labor and be forced to buy expensive electric cars that didn’t have recharging stations anyway.

The LNP then manufactured rumours of Labor plans for death taxes that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg then whipped up in a frenzy. All those vehicles driving around with “Labor will tax you to the grave” on the back. Nudge, nudge, wink wink.

Retiree taxes. Car taxes. Property taxes. Death taxes. Tax on taxes.

Yet read the papers today and it’s clear that those scare campaign worked a treat.

On the plus side, Labor has learnt a very cruel and expensive lesson. There’s no way the new Opposition Leader will be going to the next federal election in three years’ time with anything that even resembles a policy.

Labor will run a very subdued, inexpensive, policy-free campaign under the simple slogan “We’re not the LNP”.

***

WHILE I have egg all over my face with my predictions over time of a comfortable Labor win and have this very morning taken down my “amateur psephologist for hire” shingle, is there anyone out there who can claim they got the result anywhere near right?

And my guess is that it will be of absolutely no consolation to just under half of Australia when the next #newspoll shows Labor leading the Morrison government 52% to 48% two-party preferred.

In the meantime, for me it’s back to the New Zealand government website to learn more about their migration policies.

While I’m rather depressed and feeling very sorry for the future of Australia right now, the idea of having Jacinda Ardern as my prime minister is proving an enormous fillip at this time of great need.

Don Gordon-Brown