Shorten fuels the voters’ illusions

In The Australian today:
“In the house of the hanged, said Cervantes, it is unseemly to talk about the noose. But someone needs to remind Bill Shorten of Labor’s fiscal record. From 2010 on, every day brought pledges of a speedy return to surplus; in the end, all Labor left was a sea of red ink.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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28 Responses to Shorten fuels the voters’ illusions

  1. Blogstrop

    Instead of a contrite and constructive conteibution we get Bust The Budget.
    It’s what they did for years.

  2. Andrew

    Oh? I thought the sight of Blabbersac etc in front of those signs was an admission, and a film studio for the next Lib election ads. It certainly seems a good 3 word slogan to hammer Senior Labor Figures with since they have opposed any budget measures.

  3. Grace

    And the left wing media adds more fuel to the voter’s illusions…..
    I just don’t understand what’s going on in the eyes of the voting public, why can’t they see they are being duped by Shorten, Fairfax and the ABC?

  4. Tel

    Seems Abbott and Hockey are thinking along the lines, “If we fix it, they will just break it again.”

  5. Craig


    Those were my thoughts as well. Im beginning to think that future liberal governments will not be so keen to do the right thing and just allow Australia to slide further into the quicksand of red ink after a period of labor government power. I dont think the average aussie punter gives a shit about our future generation and its all about ‘me me me’ and ‘now’.

  6. candy

    It’s a very worrisome situation when crassly spoken individuals like Jacqui Lambie and Clive Palmer can abuse the prime minister publicly and people think this is good.

    I can’t see how the budget measures, and they are only mild, can get public approval, if that’s the type of people the media build up as superstars to run Australia better.
    If the Libs give up the ghost, you can’t blame them.

  7. laugh out loud

    The current government is not promising a surplus even if they get all their measures through the Senate until, what, 2017? Usual boring partisan stuff from Ergas. Re abuse of PM – didn’t see many caring much about this when Gillard was PM.

  8. H B Bear

    Tits is obviously happy to keep the Green-Labor coalition alive in Opposition too. Tits has been a chancer his whole career and is taking a chance Shit Happens, Jabba, Bungjourno and the media will make Abbott unelectable in 2016. Like everything else in the past six years they will be wrong about that too.

  9. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    So much of the financial mess left by Labor has gone into the forgettery.

    Most people I speak to around and about the place think that ‘the Government’ has unlimited funds. In Britain, when I said Australia needed investment to develop our mining enterprises, one woman said ‘but why don’t you develop them yourselves with government funding?’ There should be a module in schools, from primary school onwards, called “Where does the government get its money from?”. Nah, I suppose not. It would just turn into something called ‘Socialism and Society’, with Lesson One being ‘Eat the Rich’.

    Sometimes I despair.

  10. candy

    Re abuse of PM – didn’t see many caring much about this when Gillard was PM.

    laugh out loud
    Jacqui Lambe said Tony Abbott “paraded” his daughters in front of the cameras, that he was a psychopath. She was basically insinuating he was prostituting his daughters for the campaign.

  11. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Re abuse of PM – didn’t see many caring much about this when Gillard was PM.

    Utter nonsense, LOL. (That’s a good handle for you, btw. Everything you say elicits a big LOL).

    Gillard was given a dream run by the mass media and offered the usual and expected respect in her role as PM by all formal participants in our polity.

    The fact that the populace in general sent her up in clubs, pubs and social media was not due to her gender but her policies.

  12. john constantine

    if the poor old madwoman from the train had walked up to tony abbott, and subjected him to exactly the same length and intensity of abuse, the media would have responded by making her a hero.

    “you go girl”

    ” we must not be silent”

    the disabled lesbian pensioner phone sex prostitute and the train ranter seem to be the same demographic, but one was lucky enough to pick a target to abuse that the swampies hated too.

    the swampie hate media, normalising abusive rage in the australian political ‘conversation’, if it moves us closer to swampie-world.

  13. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Never mind billy,your meejawill make you look like goff,you were supported at the weekend by crowds of between 12,000 and 475,000 comrades,sent by the alp economic advisory comisariat,led by comrade swan!

  14. 1234

    Bullshit Lizzie B. Would those “formal participants” include Pyne and Hockey who heckled her as PM in the corridors of parliament house? Would that dream run also include constant comment on poor polling? Not much of that now, I wonder why when the PMs ratings are in the toilet.

  15. sabrina

    While constantly reminding us of $61.8 million SMART facility that Henry is involved, it will be good for him to write once what it has accomplished if it is using taxpayers money. If not, SMART can do whatever they do.

  16. iamok

    The way things are going our dear old country is stuffed. All that needs to be done is for it to be put in the oven and basted.

    Who will stand up in the meeja – other than the usual suspects – and in parliament, and in aboriginal Australia to say “enough is enough”? Self interest was taken into the stratosphere by the previous gummit, cheered on by a hyperventilating meeja and the layabout latte graspers.

    It is now the norm, the “national interest” only gets a fair run when it coincides with personal gain for the LLGs.

    “Why not, everyone else is doing it?” is the new mantra.

  17. thefrollickingmole

    Except the Australian today has a front page piece on the Libs poor poling, just as scathing as some of their ALP stuff previously.
    And its not the first.
    You seek bias but its not there, either you are being deliberately misleading or you are engaging in a falsehood, which is it?

    Australia deserves to go broke, there will be no stopping the sense of entitlement until they have “Argentina’ed” the nation.

  18. ChrisPer

    Get on topic: WHAT ABOUT THE NOOSE?
    The problem with hung Parliaments in Australia is that there are far too few lamp-posts involved.

    The failures of the political class as a whole are starting to get to me. Why should I vote for responsible government, and give them my money to ensure the irresponsible one is chucked out, when the Libs only do what a slightly less dishonest Labor would have done? PPL, Swan’s Budget, still got Carbon Tax and Section 18C. On top of that they are doing what Gillard did over the cattle revelations, by attacking hunters for the sake of moral posturing.

    String the lot up and start again.

  19. sabrina

    Interestingly, three outlast ten articles from Henry attracted 24, 75 and 154 posts. The other seven attracted less than 19 posts. Perhaps Henry should consider raising something more interesting, less biring and less partisan in this forum.

  20. outsider

    ‘Sometimes I despair.’
    Only sometimes? When I see an admittedly flawed and timid bunch of otherwise mostly acceptable do-gooders getting bashed from pillar to post, delirium at marches opposing the productive sector, a ten point deficit to the brain dead authors of our incipient penury, a populace seemingly addicted to the good times as their birthright, I have reassessed and now expect the worst.

    The fellow countrymen need a Grecian lesson – good, it won’t damage many of us personally. I hope their kids don’t need jobs in ten years time. Australians used to be much smarter than this.

  21. .

    Sabrina honey, you’re tolling again. It’s hard for you to keep the act up, isn’t it?

  22. Leo G

    “In the house of the hanged, said Cervantes, it is unseemly to talk about the noose.

    Sooner or later, it will occur to the rank and file (the House of the Hanged Man) that Sancho Shorty’s braying (calling for the rope) is a mockery.
    At what point will the quixotic ABC decide that their best defence is to leave the man backed by donkeys and distance themselves? Just like Quixote, it will understand that the cudgel is the likely counterpoint to Shorty’s braying.

  23. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Governments produce absolutely Nothing ,and it takes 1,9 million public “servants”to do it.

  24. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Would those “formal participants” include Pyne and Hockey who heckled her as PM in the corridors of parliament house?

    We are speaking of the woman who ‘heckled’ Tony Abbott in Parliament for looking at his watch and flung much other deeply personal abuse at him, delivered in a Parliamentary context. This is also the woman who tried to intimidate media proprietors (and succeeded in that) from running a legitimate though unwelcome story about her. This is the woman who delivered the unfair, whinging and confected ‘misogyny’ speech, which for many people was the ‘last straw’ in granting her respect; a speech an outstanding female politician such as Margaret Thatcher would have been ashamed to have even thought of, and which our current well-performing Foreign Minister would also find very foreign to her own thinking and reception. As a role model of female political performance, Gillard was a total dud.

    I suggest you check Tony Abbott’s very generous and sympathetic Parliamentary comments about her achievement in becoming Prime Minister, made during genuine consolations on the death of her father.

    There is cut and thrust in politics (corridor talk, and she gave plenty of it herself), and there are also good manners. In a formal sense, Gillard received appropriate and mannerly recognition for the esteemed position she held. That she disgraced and demeaned this High Office by her clunky undergraduate behaviour and disastrous policies is her problem; all her own work.

  25. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Would that dream run also include constant comment on poor polling? Not much of that now

    1234 (oh dear me, another Numbers, why are we so blessed?)

    I have not been in Australia for the past two months, but from what I have managed to read the mass media here have been in a frenzy of delight at Tony Abbott’s recent low poll ratings and have been doing all that they can to spread the Left narrative of Abbott666 both far and wide. Gillard’s poor poll ratings were sheeted back to ‘misygyny’ and ‘poor communication’, with no thought that her policies might require analysis or even (shudder) be misguided or perhaps downright looney.

    You really are a boring person, and I don’t know what you are doing on this blog. Troll, troll, troll.
    You are wasting good pixels for which I could find a much better use discussing my hair and fingernail issues. There are only so many pixels available for general burble, and I have my dibs on some of them. There is thus only very limited room for trolls, and in general a longer set of Numbers has booked all availability. Even Hammy finds it hard to get a look in; so go away.

  26. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    oops. Misogyny.

    Not Misy Gyny. That’s another girl altogether. 🙂

  27. Stephan

    Meanwhile the Coalition’s prmosing .3% or so of GDP savings above Labor. Wow, such an amazing difference for all that pointless misery across health, education and welfare.

    Ergas is a smug, rusted-on twerp.

  28. Leo G

    Meanwhile the Coalition’s prmosing .3% or so of GDP savings above Labor. Wow, such an amazing difference for all that pointless misery across health, education and welfare.

    The underlying cash balance was around plus 1.5% of GDP in the latter Howard government years, troughed at worse than minus 4% in the following period of Labor government and the Abbott government expects an improvement to minus 1% by midyear 2016.
    Labor always promises that surplus, but rarely delivers.
    Labor delivers plenty of abuse though, which seems to be enough to satisfy its own smug rusted-ons. The kind of rusted-on who needs to believe that only other people are contemptible and insignificant.

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