Joe Hockey responding to journalists asking him about broken promises:
Treasurer Joe Hockey got fired up about reports the government might break its promise not to bring in new taxes by introducing its deficit levy.
“Frankly, can I say to you something – I mean, all this talk about broken promises and so on, of course we are endeavouring to keep our promises and we will,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Parliament House.
“But the bottom line is the Labor Party promised the Budget would get back to surplus and it never will. It never will,” he said.
“So please this idea, somehow, that everything we have ever said is going to be held against what has moved on us because the previous Government basically misled the Australian people about the state of the budget, is kind of ridiculous.”
“However, we are keeping our promises, we are keeping our solemn promises.”
No Joe – that doesn’t carry any weight as an argument.
What the Labor Party did or didn’t promise is entirely irrelevant – they were tossed out of office at the last election and you were elected to office on the promise of no new taxes. To be fair, if circumstances had changed so that your previous promises – your solemn promises – were now impractical or unobtainable or even irresponsible then I might have more sympathy your position.
But here is the thing: The Labor Party had absolutely zero credibility on budget issues. We know this because of the laughter that greeted Wayne Swan’s budget speech announcement of a return to surplus. We know this because you, Joe Hockey, kept telling us about the budget crisis being driven by irresponsible spending. We know this because we here at The Cat documented the irresponsible spending and even analysed the Budget Papers showing that it was spending driving the debt and deficit crisis.
So maybe the Australian people were mislead – I doubt it, but okay – you weren’t mislead about the state of the budget. In full knowledge of the budget situation you promised to repair the damage while not increasing taxes. To renege on that promise is simply to have told a lie. You will have lied when you promised to not increase taxes, and you will have lied about why you lied in the first place.
Now I understand that politicians don’t like being labelled as liars – indeed, many such accusations are unfair – but this broken promise is a lie. You can still walk away from it.