Cross Post: Marcus – Has Mr Jingles Had a John Hewson Moment?

Have you ever played fetch with a dog and pretended to throw the ball for the dog to chase? The first time you do it, the dog cheerfully bolts off to ‘retrieve’ the ball. Then, after about 20 metres, it stops – confused as to where the ball is. After a bit of sniffing around, it ruefully trots back to you with no idea of what happened and how the ball ended up back in your hands.

Amused by the whole affair, you do it again with the same result. However, after about the third or fourth time, the dog is on to your charade. As you ‘throw’ the ball, it now just sits there looking at you – wondering when you’re going to stop taking it for a fool and just throw the damn thing.

 

This is where things currently stand with Malcolm Turnbull after his latest ill-conceived thought bubble. The problem for Turnbull is that he’s jingled his keys one time too many. This time, instead of fetching, the public is now curiously watching – and it doesn’t like what it sees.

We’ve heard this song before

On 9 February 2016, I described how Turnbull was twisting in the wind:

For the last five months, the following manual could easily have been crafted for Turnbull:

  • Step 2 – let it sit for months without giving any specifics of what you would actually do or what you actually believe in. Don’t say crazy things like ‘raising the GST’, let other people do that. Instead, repeat words like ‘exciting’, ‘agile’, ‘opportunity’ and ‘reform’. It’s not a slogan if it’s only one word.
  • Step 3 – see how much of your piddle lands back in your face.
  • Step 4 – if it all gets too hairy with the focus groups, loosely abandon ship with words like ‘yet to be convinced‘ and and then jingle your keys in another direction (like negative gearing). 99.9% of society’s total collective memory of the issue will be erased within about 48-72 hours.
  • Step 5 – if people notice that nothing worthwhile is getting done, you can always say that you’re being ‘measured’ and ‘consultative’. Political writers like Malcolm Farr will eat this kind of stuff up and lick the bowl for you.
  • Step 6 – go back to step 1 and repeat.

Turnbull has used this blueprint on at least four major concepts: raising the GST, reducing the capital gains tax discount, reducing/eliminating negative gearing – and now, ‘giving’ income tax responsibilities to the States.

As usual, Turnbull’s latest idea is bereft of essential details and any signs of benefit analysis.

What to make of it

In principle, the idea of handing all income tax collection to the States is one worth discussing. Indeed, income tax used to be a State responsibility before World War I. However, this is far from what Turnbull has in mind.

As Graham Richardson (quoting Jack Lang) beautifully put it‘You can always back self-interest. It’s the one horse in the race that’s always trying’. In this context, there isn’t a Scotch bottle’s chance in an AA meeting that Turnbull or any Federal government would ever hand over complete control of that kind of money and power to the States. No, no, Turnbull wants to ‘share’ the responsibility and take us back to the days of 1915-1942, when this kind of system was last in place:

Mr Turnbull declared the only thing in ample supply in the current system, which is beset with overlapping federal-state responsibilities, was “finger pointing and blame”.

“We’re all sick of it,” he said.

“What we are proposing to the states is that we should work together on this basis: that we, the federal government, will reduce our income tax by an agreed percentage and allow state governments to levy an income tax equal to that amount that we have withdrawn from.

In other words, Turnbull wants to fix the finger pointing and overlapping with more complex tax legislation, more overlapping and nine income tax jurisdictions (*) – all with the intention of collecting essentially the same amount of income tax, just with more government administration and double handling:

“From a taxpayers’ point of view, he or she would pay the same amount of income tax but the states would be raising the money themselves. We would obviously administer it and collect it for them so again there’d be no compliance costs.”

Yep, that should definitely do the trick.

(*) Six States, two Territories plus the Commonwealth.

Turnbull’s prophecy

If Tony Abbott were more spiteful (than he probably already is), he would hold a press conference and simply read out the following parts of Turnbull’s leadership challenge speech word for word – not to mount a challenge, but simply with the intention to walk off laughing:

I have consulted with many, many colleagues, many Australians, many of our supporters in every walk of life.

This course of action has been urged on me by many people over a long period of time. It is clear enough that the government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need. It is not the fault of individual ministers.

Ultimately, the prime minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs. He has not been capable of providing the economic confidence that business needs.

Now, we are living as Australians in the most exciting time. The big economic changes that we’re living through here and around the world offer enormous challenges and enormous opportunities. And we need a different style of leadership.

We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities … and how to seize the opportunities. A style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it.

We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people. Now if we continue with Mr AbbottTurnbull as Prime Minister, it is clear enough what will happen. He will cease to be prime minister and he’ll be succeeded by Mr Shorten.

Our values of free enterprise, of individual initiative, of freedom, this is what you need to be a successful, agile economy in 20152016. What we have not succeeded in doing is translating those values into the policies and the ideas that will excite the Australian people and encourage them to believe and understand that we have a vision for their future.

We also need a new style of leadership in the way we deal with others whether it is our fellow members of parliament, whether it is the Australian people. We need to restore traditional cabinet government. There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls.

We need to be truly consultative with colleagues, members of parliament, senators and the wider public. We need an open government, an open government that recognises that there is an enormous sum of wisdom both within our colleagues in this building and, of course, further afield.

But above all we have to remember that we have a great example of good cabinet government. John Howard’s government most of us served in, and yet few would say that the cabinet government of MrAbbottTurnbull bears any similarity to the style of Mr Howard. So that’s what we need to go back to.

The fact is we are maybe 10 months, 11 3 months away from the next election. Every month lost is a month of lost opportunities. We have to make a change for our country’s sake, for the government’s sake, for the party’s sake. 

Please, you’ll understand that I now have to go and speak to my colleagues…

(PS: I was going to highlight the good bits, but there are far too many).

Labor could be a chance

As for Labor, despite Turnbull’s best efforts, it still doesn’t have a hope of winning the upcoming election under Bill Shorten. A trip to any bookie confirms this.

However, if Labor is serious about having a real go, then it would replace Shorten with Anthony Albanese and tell him to stay away from the massage parlours. From there, a Steve Bradbury moment would be eminently possible:

Originally posted here.

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32 Responses to Cross Post: Marcus – Has Mr Jingles Had a John Hewson Moment?

  1. Baldrick

    As usual, Turnbull’s latest idea is bereft of essential details and any signs of benefit analysis.

    Kevin Turnbull MkII, big on show, small on detail.

  2. Stackja

    MT is MT.
    Always has been MT.
    Charades!

  3. Lloyd Dobler

    Turnbull is Rudd Mk II.

    Celebrate the announcement not the delivery.

  4. egg_

    Turnbull is Rudd Mk II.

    Yup, KRuddbull.

  5. mundi

    We seem to be on the threshold of a gigantic money grab.

    I see the qld premier begging Turnball to increase Medicare Levi to 4%…. Because she is drunk on money.

    Endless talk of tax tax tax tax.

  6. Farmer Gez

    Am I mistaken or does Disraeli’s description of Gladstone sum up a certain someone perfectly?
    “A sophistical rhetorician inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and to glorify himself”.

  7. H B Bear

    As Graham Richardson likes to say, “The mob will work you out.”

    After a month of fellating by the ADS (Abbott derangement syndrome) media Lord Waffleworth stands there naked, clad only in his agility, innovation and most exciting time to be alive garb. It is Peanut Head’s to lose from here.

  8. Cannibal

    In other words, Turnbull wants to fix the finger pointing and overlapping with more complex tax legislation, more overlapping and nine income tax jurisdictions (*) – all with the intention of collecting essentially the same amount of income tax, just with more government administration and double handling:

    You didn’t mention the massive burden put on the tax payer to keep track of all this, when they will likely have deal with not just double handling.
    Eg. I derive income in three states at present. That makes (counts on fingers) four taxation dung heaps I will have to deal with. Imagine what will happen if you have a dispute as to your liabilities with just one. All the rest would potentially have to agree. I would spend my life on the phone. It’s enough to make a bloke give up, or is that the point ?
    Moocherville, here I come.

  9. Simon/other

    Yes the problem with style over substance political leaders is that style suggests you always look more dashing leading from the front, it also where heaviest casualties are inflicted. After a while even your most fanatical adherents want to be anywhere but with you throwing their bodies in the way of blows directed at you. You might win an election or two that way but only at the expense of your supporters, you have no long term survivability.

  10. Dr Faustus

    However, if Labor is serious about having a real go, then it would replace Shorten with Anthony Albanese and tell him to stay away from the massage parlours.

    For this to happen the AWU/Labor Right would have to give up their unpopular manikin for a candidate from the Left – and the parliamentary ALP would have to boot Plibersek as Deputy, because Left/Right balance.

    The ALP is doubling down on a Coalition Bradbury Event rather than a roots and boots revival. The alternative is the twin terrors of misogyny and factional disunity with a scale and timing that even the ABC/Fairfax couldn’t ignore.

    Albanese seems to be taking it like a champ – I guess he must be on a promise of a happy ending.

  11. Robbo

    “We also need a new style of leadership in the way we deal with others…”

    “We need to be truly consultative with colleagues, members of parliament, senators and the wider public.”

    “There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls.”

    How inspiring Malcolm. Pity none of that has happened. No wonder so many are declaring they will never vote for a government led by you. You are a hypocrite, you are disloyal, you are a liar and you are incompetent.

  12. Stackja

    Robbo – We were assured by some that MT was the messiah.

  13. Old School Conservative

    Well argued Marcus.
    It would appear that some of the league players at Malcolm’s press announcement had a better grasp of communication skills and managing State Premiers than our fearless leader.

  14. Norma

    Thanks for the laughs!
    I quite like the state tax idea, then there is Tasmania. Sort of makes it tricky.
    The LNP was at shorter odds to win the last election in Qld. $1.08 with 2 weeks to go at Sportsbet, so don’t take too much notice of the odds.
    A pollster phoned me last night, I said I’d vote Labor, then after a heap of other questions, they asked if I’d like to work for the Party’s election campaign. Couldn’t hit 2 for “no” fast enough. Labor are certainly gearing up. I enjoy playing with pollsters. I can’t vote for Turnbull, so it will be some indi in the lower house, with ALP above LNP in preferences. Conservative in the upper.

  15. It’s not enough to call for a new state-federal relationship. Anyone can “call for” changes. You don’t unseat a first-term PM to “call for” stuff. You have to do stuff, especially if you’ve touted economic change and leadership as the reasons for the coup.

    After three quick swings at tax and three strikes, Malcolm is still at bat. Should he be allowed another strike on the grounds that he is just floating ideas which his mushroom colleagues thought he was actually advocating? Nope. he has to hit the ball this time.

    Let’s start referring to the new state tax arrangements as the Malcolm Bligh Turnbull Tax Arrangements. Make him OWN his initiatives. Don’t let him change the subject to flags or smoking ceremonies or agile vertical innovations.

  16. dan

    And surprise surprise somehow showed some skepticism and instantly the whole thing is dropped.

  17. Roger

    In other words, Turnbull wants to fix the finger pointing and overlapping with more complex tax legislation, more overlapping and nine income tax jurisdictions (*) – all with the intention of collecting essentially the same amount of income tax, just with more government administration and double handling

    It is now apparent, beyond doubt, that Malcolm Bligh Turnbull is an idiot.

    A very well spoken and quite presentable idiot.

    Those who continue to support him are fools.

  18. stackja

    Roger
    #1992819, posted on April 1, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Fools gave MT what he wanted.

  19. Roger

    Fools gave MT what he wanted.

    Twice.

    ‘As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.’
    Proverbs 26:11

  20. 2Be Perfectly Frank

    It is simply astonishing that with the umpteen tens of thousands of Accountants, Treasury officials, Monetary budget advisers firmly all attached to the Taxpayer nipple, not one of them it appears has the capacity, daring-do, brains or the Balls to put forward a plan to balance the Budget.

  21. H B Bear

    Turnbull gets to fulfill his manifest destiny and get his head on the Liberal Party room wall as a PM.

    The electorate might have other ideas and will deliver Turnbull’s head to the Liberal Party room on a platter.

  22. John L

    Have you ever played fetch with a dog and pretended to throw the ball for the dog to chase? The first time you do it, the dog cheerfully bolts off to ‘retrieve’ the ball. Then, after about 20 metres, it stops – confused as to where the ball is. After a bit of sniffing around, it ruefully trots back to you with no idea of what happened and how the ball ended up back in your hands.

    Amused by the whole affair, you do it again with the same result. However, after about the third or fourth time, the dog is on to your charade. As you ‘throw’ the ball, it now just sits there looking at you – wondering when you’re going to stop taking it for a fool and just throw the damn thing.

    Some dogs are smarter than their owners. Malcolm Turnbull has the dog like that.

  23. Clam Chowdah

    Bu-bu-bu-bu-but Sinc says he’s awesome!

  24. mr skeletor

    As for Labor, despite Turnbull’s best efforts, it still doesn’t have a hope of winning the upcoming election under Bill Shorten.

    Yeah, just like Abbott was supposedly unelectable.
    After this last fuck up im calling it – Turnbull is fucked, Labor will win.
    I mean this latest retreat shows that the Budget isn’t anywhere near ready. What the fuck are they going to present?

  25. That’s it? The new tax arrangements are dead after three days?

    Because some premiers and commentators didn’t like the idea? Turnbull didn’t know that would be the case before he proposed the idea?

    Really? That’s all there is? The New Federalism has run its course after three days?

    Let’s be fair. It could have been four days.

  26. JohnA

    (*) Six States, two Territories plus the Commonwealth.

    There are more Territories than two, good sir. Try Antarctica – where will those research scientists be defined to earn their income? I’ll bet Tasmania will want it because the ANARE base is there, but then what about Norfolk Is, Christmas Is, Cocos Is, Heard and McDonald, and the fact that Jervis Bay is its own territory, even though it is the port of Canberra, hmm?

    Wikipedia lists ten territories and six States.

    And don’t start on things like where do ADF personnel – on deployment, or Navy at sea – lodge their returns?

    Efficiency? Bah, humbug!

  27. Clam Chowdah

    Sinc, this seems appropriate:

  28. min

    Malcolm Bligh Turnbull where the hell is Fletcher Christian who will put you out of the ship and let you float by yourself.?

  29. Blair

    “we, the federal government, will reduce our income tax by an agreed percentage ”
    Agreeable how and to whom?

  30. johno

    I think you are being too harsh on Turnbull.
    I still believe that he can get Bill Shorten elelcted as PM. Given Turnbull’s skills and abilities that we have seen to date, there is a very good chance that Shorten can win. I have that much faith in Turnbull. 🙂

  31. Andrew

    So A666ottSatan talks about a “tax increase” of $7 with the Medicare copayment. World ends.

    Palacechook calls for a 4% MCL, representing an impost of thousands. World yawns.

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