Bitter medicine for starters: Hockey must now finish the job

In The Australian today:
“Having failed at the art of fiscal management, Labor has now descended into its kitsch. Time and again, Labor heralded a return to surplus, only to leave the country drowning in red ink. Reduced to the last refuge of the profligate, Bill Shorten’s budget reply speech ignores the problems altogether, offering yet more promises built on a marsh of unreality.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas is a columnist for The Australian newspaper and the inaugural Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. The SMART Infrastructure Facility is a $61.8 million world-class research and training centre concerned with integrated infrastructure solutions for the future. Henry is also Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia. Prior to these concurrent roles Henry worked as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Henry's previous career was as an economist at the OECD in Paris, where amongst other roles he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment and was Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Bitter medicine for starters: Hockey must now finish the job

  1. Squirrel

    Thursday night’s half hour performance from Bill “yes we can” Shorten amounted to “let 100 unicorns bloom” – lovely, stirring stuff for what now passes for the True Believers, but the detachment from fiscal reality was pathetic.

  2. Robert O.

    I don’t think I heard any alternative policy to the governments in Mr. Shorten’s speech: it was just about the broken promises taken out of context, and little else. He will have to do better if he wants thinking Australians to vote for him, and if the rest support him, and are in the majority, we are serious trouble.

  3. pete m

    Robert – a govt which hands out $ will always find support from the recipients.

  4. CatAttack

    We know it’s bullshit but this stuff works with the feeble minded.

    The $7 co-payment for examples had started a 1000 different irrational conversations which end in ordinary workers eating out of garbage bins and queues at the hospital. The argument was not helped by the beer and cigarettes allusion which implies everyone is a substance abuser. Hockey needed to shut this down right away by moving away from the the $7 is nothing to rich folk like me arguments which has the spinmeisters multiply 20 visits to the doctor each week for a family of 4 into an argument that the most vulnerable will pay $YY a year maximum and the safety net has been improved for all.

    This is the stuff that the Libs do badly on social media. Labor have a hundred images of forlorn single mothers with calculators crying over their weekly bills telling their kids they will be sold for scientific experiments.

  5. CatAttack

    PS Just made me wonder. Do advertising agencies have a ready supply of harassed single mothers, crazy cat ladies and concerned old fogy on standby for the budget because this stuff gets turned around really quickly.

  6. sabrina

    Do you condone lying and blatant breaking of the promises by politicians (of any persuasions) Professor?

  7. Notafan

    I have discussed the copayment with a number of people, most don’t know it’s not available at all to most people in rural areas. When the likelihood of overservicing under the current regime is raised no one then claims it doesn’t happen.
    The belief that government has access to a bottomless pit of money, when Labor clearly made that seem to be true, is hard to combat.

  8. Senile Old Guy

    Do you condone lying and blatant breaking of the promises by politicians (of any persuasions) Professor?

    Exactly, Sabrina. I’m sorry but I now regard Ergas as a Liberal cheerleader. I’ve read two of his columns written since the release of the budget and there is no criticism whatsoever of the fact that the Liberals have told enormous lies (or broken promises). Add to this the fact that two-thirds of their debt decrease come from raises in taxes, rather than cuts in spending. Also, some substantial changes are pushed out to beyond the next election: in other words, they are fairy land changes. Finally, the Liberals have declared that this is a “crisis” but still plan to spend $80 billion on roads and $20 billion on creating the “world’s biggest medical research fund”. Fail.

  9. john constantine

    did i miss the abc fact check department reviewing the labor “we have delivered a balanced budget” thing. i probably wasn’t paying enough attention at the time.

  10. Grigory M

    Henry has not mentioned probably the best thing that was put forward in Tuesday’s Budget.

    Government Grants to Artists and Film-makers Slashed.

    Hopefully, this will not be changed.

  11. Baldrick

    Of course there’s no problem with the economy, if you listen the Dolly. Not that his team of Swan and Gillard could ever deliver a surplus … ‘come hell or high water’ … even after breaking that promise so many times.

  12. Notafan

    The arts funding cuts were the best thing in the budget, and the funding for a boarding college for ballerinas has caused multiple head explosions.
    Ballet has apparently got some requirement of excellence, whereas the visual arts, including writing is ‘I’m an artist, give me money’.

  13. john constantine

    i spent a lot of years trying to get a young leftie to understand that the government can’t just print more money and give it to people to make them happy.

    then along comes the labor party free money handouts and leftie triumphant gets to yell “that is all the tories had to do, and they were too ignorant”.

  14. johno

    Do you condone lying and blatant breaking of the promises by politicians (of any persuasions) Professor?

    It is true that Abbott has broken some of his electoral promises. Worse, he broke the wrong ones. (he should have slashed the Left’s ABC budget, or sold it.) . . .

    it is also true that this budget is a bit of a damp squib of fiscal repair. Too much new spending on what will turn out to be wasteful spending is Medical Research Future Fundy thingy . . .

    but, despite all that, it is still a much, much, much better budget than anything Green Labor has delivered or could deliver.

    That’s the really sad bit. There is no better alternative!

  15. ChrisPer

    Senile Old Guy:

    sorry but I now regard Ergas as a Liberal cheerleader. I’ve read two of his columns written since the release of the budget and there is no criticism whatsoever of the fact that the Liberals have told enormous lies (or broken promises). Add to this the fact that two-thirds of their debt decrease come from raises in taxes, rather than cuts in spending. Also, some substantial changes are pushed out to beyond the next election: in other words, they are fairy land changes.

    Your criticisms of the budget are excellent but I reckon Ergas is better than you make him out . I rank him higher than other commentators because he doesnt ‘me-too’ , and he takes a big perspective. No need for him to whine about ‘promises’ when Sinc is already on the case. And in his article he makes the point that the economy may be more downside-sensitive now than they were when Hawke and Howard’s first budgets came down, so keep ing the slash and burn moderate may be wise.

Comments are closed.