When David met Joe

“My morning with Joe” David’s Fin Review column from last Friday.

There seems to be more interest in Joe Hockey’s meetings with the cross-benchers than Blake Garvey’s dates with the ladies on Channel 10’s reality TV show the Bachelor.

So here’s the scoop – while we had a lovely chat, Joe Hockey did not give me a rose. And luckily for me, I can’t be ejected from the Senate as easily as the ladies can be kicked out of the Bachelor’s mansion.

I’m not one to kiss and tell, so I won’t divulge what Joe shared with me. But I’ll let you know what I raised with him. And I’m happy to report that Joe responded to each of my points with interest. You can interpret that as the Government doubling down on its push for less government spending and a return to surplus. Or you can just interpret it as Joe being polite.

I agreed with Joe’s view that, while we don’t currently have a Budget emergency, if we continue on our current path we will have one soon enough. As we see in Europe, when a Budget emergency comes there is no choice but to introduce draconian taxes and make deep cuts to spending — ranging from defence to welfare for the least well off.

I told Joe that his Budget was timid and he should be aiming for a surplus this year, or at least next. Whether he found it refreshing to be attacked for being too soft I don’t know. He was smiling at the time.

I admonished Joe for not having read the Budget I released the day before his own Budget. Perhaps he was busy at the time, and for some reason my Budget didn’t receive the same fanfare his did.

For those who somehow missed it, my Budget outlined savings of $1 billion a year from selling off (or allowing advertising on) the ABC and SBS, $2 billion from cutting the extraordinary salaries of politicians and public servants, $5 billion from making owners of million-dollar houses ineligible for the age pension, $5 billion from cutting subsidies to universities, and $7 billion from cutting corporate welfare.
With a Budget like that, I would have had great difficulty getting it through the Senate. So I sympathised with Joe about the task before him.

In the full knowledge that I’m a political novice, I offered the following advice: avoid gimmicks, avoid all-or-nothing arguments, and compromise.

The Budget has its fair share of gimmicks. Linking the proposed Medical Research Future Fund to the Medicare co-payment is a gimmick. Promising to direct the additional revenue from a fuel tax increase into road building is a gimmick. And linking privatisation with new infrastructure spending is a gimmick. Rather than using gimmicks, the Government should argue for each policy on its merits.

Avoiding all or nothing arguments means putting each Budget saving proposal to a separate vote in the Senate and accepting whatever victories result. The Senate rejected half the Budget-boosting proposals linked to the Mining Tax Repeal Bill, including the proposal to abolish the poorly-targeted Schoolkids Bonus. But it agreed with the other half of the Government’s Budget-boosting proposals, consisting of proposals to increase business taxes that I tried in vain to kill off. The Government’s current stance is to reject the Senate’s watered-down boost to the Budget, but the pragmatic approach would be to take what you can get.

Compromise is something we all have to do. For instance, I’m not a huge fan of the regulations that prescribe the types of reverse mortgages that people can and can’t enter into. But if these regulations make people comfortable with drawing down the equity in their home, and if that makes it politically possible to remove age pension eligibility from people with million-dollar homes, then I’m willing to support them.
The Government will have to compromise in a similar fashion. If it can’t abolish the Schoolkids Bonus, it might be able to properly means test it. If it can’t increase co-payments for visits to the doctor and prescription drugs at the same time, perhaps it should negotiate to do one but not the other. And if it can’t reduce eligibility for the dole while employers face barriers to taking on new staff, perhaps it should bring forward workplace reforms to reduce these barriers.

Joe Hockey and the Government have a tough job getting their plans through the Senate. I’m happy to help. And hopefully it will work out better than reality TV.

David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrat’s senator for NSW.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to When David met Joe

  1. Roger

    On the basis of this and his performance in parliament so far I have to say Senator Leyonhjelm is performing much better than I expected. Now, if he would only leave same sex marriage alone…

  2. Baldrick

    And luckily for me, I can’t be ejected from the Senate as easily as the ladies can be kicked out of the Bachelor’s mansion.

    You’ve got 6 years Mr. Leyonhjelm … but the way this government is heading, they’ll be lucky to make another 2 years intact, and because of their incompetence in being able to sell a pie to a starving man, Labor will return in full triumph handing out more borrowed money to more moochers.

  3. In the full knowledge that I’m a political novice, I offered the following advice: avoid gimmicks, avoid all-or-nothing arguments, and compromise.

    A political novice – excuse me, i think not. You’ve worked in the real world.

  4. Empire

    Sound advice from the Senator.

    I fear the political class is deaf to his message. Free stuff for favourites is all they know.

  5. Diogenes

    Seeing that the govt is stuck with the School Kids Bonus I have suggested that the government pay the 1st of the 2 payments to the parent, and the 2nd to the school, with the funds identified as belonging to a particular student. The school may apply that money to pay any outstanding fees or charges (lost library books etc) That way for many of our students at least their subject fees are paid – half my year 9 class still owe $30 for the year. For the parents that do the right thing, if there is a positive balance at the end of year 12, the balance is paid to the parents. Anybody that leaves before the en of year 12, the school gets to keep the money.

    Our kids have discovered the lurk of not wearing leather shoes for practical lessons (science , cooking, and Industrial Arts) and sitting out the class. The school could have supply of real cheap & nasty KMart shoes and issue those deducting the cost from the account, and student des nt avoid class – and if little Johnny or Mary end up with $400 worth of shoes so be it.

    Lets make a virtue out of necessity.

    PS I am still mightly impressed with DL – he will have my vote for as long as he decides to stand.

  6. candy

    The Senate is not going to compromise. Clive Palmer has said they won’t. He and Bill Shorten have agreed on that.

  7. struth

    Yeah and ( hiccup) here’s to pushing shit uphill with a needle.
    D L was earbashing the deaf.

  8. sfw

    Good stuff. I don’t know why the marriage stuff matters. The government should not have anything to do with marriage. It should be a thing between those concerned and if three blokes and a cocker spaniel can get someone to “Marry” them, good luck to them. However the government should also keep right out of religion and let churches decide who they will and won’t marry. Get rid of civil celebrants (or government authorised ones) and let people “Marry” who or what they wish if they can find someone to do it.

    Keep it up David!

  9. Dave Wane

    Another good piece from David.

    In fact there is nothing I really disagree with, other than abolishing pensions for people with “million dollar houses”.

    The value of property is not necessarily an indication of income or even wealth. And of course, when someone sells their “million dollar property”, after paying taxes all their working lives, they may well find that their income from the return on the proceeds of that sale property will rule them out of a pension anyway.

    So I guess ( especially given our fiscal challenges thanks to the RGR labor wreckers) we should have a cut-off level where any income over a designated amount deems a prospective pension recipient ineligible.
    But not simply on property values.

    Million Dollar properties already attract ridiculously high council rates. Isn’t that enough penalty for building or buying a good property in a good area?

  10. Chris M

    $5 billion from making owners of million-dollar houses ineligible for the age pension

    So basically a more socialist position on this one.

  11. Tel

    How about getting the Federal Government out of the education business?

    That would save money.

  12. MemoryVault

    How about getting the Federal Government out of the education business?

    FIFY

  13. Haretrigger

    IMHO the requirement to take out a reverse mortgage is nothing more than pre-paid death duties, penalising people who have done nothing other than provide for themselves. Many people who live in “million dollar” houses still have a mortgage after retirement (more and more boomers fall into this category).

    The idea reeks.

  14. Clam Chowdah

    Yeah that’s a miserable socialist idea. For shame.

  15. wreckage

    Ditch the bit about selling pensioner’s houses, IMO, but apart from that, gold.

  16. custard

    I appreciate that DL was not prepared to reveal what Joe said….private meetings should be so, it’s OK for him to reveal what he said and I like what I read.

    I think this new parliament will have many more surprises in store before we vote for the next one. Bob Day wanting to have a go at 18c and DL wanting gay marriage……who would have thought?

    It was interesting to hear Hendo today when he said that “has there ever been a more opposed government” or words to that effect. Opposed by Labor and the Greens and Madigan from the left and Palmer from the right.

    Hendo said it was a first, I’ve only been here 50 years but I think he might be right.

  17. Yobbo

    The value of property is not necessarily an indication of income or even wealth.

    Property is a form of savings. Someone with a million dollar house should be treated no differently than someone with a million dollars in a bank account.

  18. Oh come on

    penalising people who have done nothing other than provide for themselves

    But they aren’t providing for themselves if they’re drawing a government pension in retirement.

    And the ‘I’ve paid taxes my entire working life’ argument might be convincing if they paid in more than they took out over a lifetime, but this isn’t the case for the average OAP.

  19. Clam Chowdah

    Property is a form of savings. Someone with a million dollar house should be treated no differently than someone with a million dollars in a bank account.

    There are suburbs in Sydney that aren’t special where the land alone is a million bucks. There are plenty of older folks living in those places who bought when the land wasn’t so pricey. Forcing those people to all sell strikes me as a douche bag move.

  20. rebel with cause

    If government wants to penalise pensioners when the value of their home inflates above $1m then they should stop pursuing policies that encourage that outcome.

    Release more land for development and junk most of the ridiculous building regs to bring housing prices back to normality.

  21. Grumbles

    Clam Chowdah, They are by no means forced to move… this condition is only if they want to remain dependant on the public teat. SFRs can live and do as they choose. Asking people to move in order to continue to get looked after by the state, is hardly an imposition.

  22. Speedbox

    I think that the LDP has a half reasonable chance of being a major political party come the next election, but their policy plattform may require a little massaging if they really want to capture large numbers of disaffected LNP voters.

    The freeing up on gun control, decriminalising cannabis usage, accepting assisted suicide practice and endorsing gay marriage are four hot political potatoes. Will an LNP punter shift to the LDP under those policy circumstances? Does the LDP have the resources to mount a full-scale attempt at the next Federal election?

    I don’t know the answer to those questions, but this blog and a variety of others all display a conservative electorate who are mighty pi**ed off with the PM and his Government. The Government needs some wins to restore confidence in the LNP. I can only imagine the disquiet in the LNP as it watches the trickle of dissatisfied voters to the LDP knowing that further stuff-ups will only open the fawcet a little wider.

Comments are closed.