Hawkie steals the thunder of the Liberal backbench dries

Amidst the hymns of praise for Hawke and especially the long-awaited economic reforms that he achieved with bipartisan support – now there’s a thought, does anyone give the Coalition credit for that – spare a thought for the long march of liberalism and the shit they copped from both sides of politics when the debate warmed up in the ’80s.

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104 Responses to Hawkie steals the thunder of the Liberal backbench dries

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    It’s generally regarded by the Left that Hawke was the greatest PM that Australia has ever had.
    Yet the Left today refuses to actually do the policy stuff that made Hawke great.
    Go figure.

  2. Botswana O'Hooligan

    Well RJL Hawke deregulated the banking system and floated the dollar much to the delight of the banks and overseas money market players, we saw effective interest rates of around 12% after allowing for inflation, Labor delivered a surplus for the first time ever, he deregistered the BLF, and he emasculated the AFAP for all time in 1989 by having a twenty million fine imposed on them if they broke one of his Alice in Wonderland rules. So much for a “great” man.

  3. C.L.

    It was the Drys in the 1970s who introduced economic libertarianism into parliament. At that time, Hawke was still a Keynesian neanderthal. Between 1969 and 1983, Keating spent 11 of those 14 years on the Opposition benches doing nothing in particular. The Campbell Report gave Fraser the opportunity to lead the practical agenda of change but he blocked it entirely (being an old Settlement socialist). By the early 1980s, the world had moved on and Hawke and Keating had no choice but to get on board.

  4. Neil

    Govt debt went from 6% to 18% of GDP under hawke/keating and we lost our AAA credit rating. Unemployment was high from 1983-1996 and was at 11% when Keating became PM. Several financial institutions collapsed and Victoria almost went bankrupt.

    What useful things did hawke/Keating do?

  5. Shy Ted

    Reliable as always, Gerard Henderson advises that Hawke merely continued to implement the policies initiated by John Howard when he was treasurer. Eventually along came JH and showed them how it was done properly.

  6. Behind Enemy Lines

    Apart from policy decisions, under Hawke and Keating the Australian Public Service was heavily infiltrated by partisan hacks who made it their business to prevent the recruitment or promotion of conservatives, and drive out any who managed to get in or stay on. The politicisation of the public service was no accident, nor any secret. It remains a shameful stain on the Hawke / Keating record.

    While a lot of these left after 1996, especially ones who’d been parachuted in on the basis of party- and union ties, others with fewer options stayed on and undermined the Coalition’s policies. As the Whitlam generation started retiring things improved, but they got to pick their own replacements.

    It is impossible to b*ll*ck the LibNats enough for failing to fix this. Putting a fool like John Lloyd in place as APS Commissioner just made it worse – he crapped all over the good, along with the bad.

  7. Rafe Champion

    The politicization of the public service started under Whitlam in Canberra and Wran in NSW. It was just the thing for the rising generation of newly graduated uni students who shifted to the Left and the ALP during the Vietnam debate and especially the Coalition conscription policy that destroyed its moral credibility.

  8. Behind Enemy Lines

    Rafe Champion
    #3043288, posted on June 15, 2019 at 1:38 pm
    The politicization of the public service started under Whitlam in Canberra and Wran in NSW. It was just the thing for the rising generation of newly graduated uni students who shifted to the Left and the ALP during the Vietnam debate and especially the Coalition conscription policy that destroyed its moral credibility.

    Yes. By the early 90s, it was the Whitlamites who were making the mid-grade selection and promotion decisions. While under Hawke, the senior ranks had been thoroughly stuffed with displaced staffers and other would-be lefty politicians. Their acolytes are still in place, running things into the dirt.

    The LibNats could have fixed this. Never did, still haven’t, aren’t now, probably won’t ever.

    We really do seem to be stuck with either the evil party or the stupid party.

  9. Pyrmonter

    I’d have more time for the ‘Dries’ if so much of it hadn’t been simply a factional play. When the supposed ultra-Dry, Howard, held office he taxed and churned as much as had the man he derided as hopeless, Fraser. Lately, his fellow Dry, Nick Minchin, having delayed the sale of state owned enterprises as Finance Minister, has been slagging off at his factional opponents for having withdrawn tariff support for the car industry.

    Market liberalism is a great thing; the Liberal ‘Dries’ have been, at best, fitful exponents of it.

  10. Behind Enemy Lines

    Pyrmonter
    #3043330, posted on June 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm
    I’d have more time for the ‘Dries’ if so much of it hadn’t been simply a factional play. When the supposed ultra-Dry, Howard, held office he taxed and churned as much as had the man he derided as hopeless, Fraser. Lately, his fellow Dry, Nick Minchin, having delayed the sale of state owned enterprises as Finance Minister, has been slagging off at his factional opponents for having withdrawn tariff support for the car industry.

    Market liberalism is a great thing; the Liberal ‘Dries’ have been, at best, fitful exponents of it.

    Now, there’s the truth.

    It’s been a very long time since I expected the LibNats to have any enduring principles other than all-four-hooves-in-the-trough.

  11. Rafe Champion

    John Hyde was a fitfull exponent…?

  12. Rafe Champion

    Fair point but.
    A battle had to be fought in the IPA☺

  13. Neil

    When the supposed ultra-Dry, Howard, held office he taxed and churned as much as had the man he derided as hopeless, Fraser.

    What a load of garbage. Howard ran surplus budgets. Furthermore Howard/Costello have been accused of destroying the budget because they lowered taxes. Lefties like to say that the Howard/Costello tax cuts destroyed the budget when an economic downturn occured

  14. Pyrmonter

    Rafe, John Hyde was a decent exponent, though not always sound in my recollection on other issues of liberalism; Bert Kelly was another. But reviewing the past 30 years of coalition politics, you can find as many liberals among those whom the ‘Dries’ targeted as among them: people like Brandis and Hill (and, to a degree, Reith and Hewson) earned ‘Dry’ scorn, yet were more substantial liberals than most of those who donned the title ‘Dry’ on the back-bench and in opposition, but welched when given the reins of power.

  15. Pyrmonter

    @ Neil

    Howard barely lowered taxes, though he did change their composition (in ways that were accepted as fairly good policy). What he did importantly was ramp up the Feds’ direct outlays and tax expenditures like the ‘Baby Bonuses’. After 1998 he made no further major economic reform, and in some cases delayed implementing them – above all, motor vehicle tariffs. He was no better than Fraser, the man whom he had spent so much time placing distance from.

  16. egg_

    Reliable as always, Gerard Henderson advises that Hawke merely continued to implement the policies initiated by John Howard when he was treasurer. Eventually along came JH and showed them how it was done properly.

    Particularly Keating, with “Banana Republic”.
    Too late now: CO2 sh1thole.

  17. Neil

    Pyrmonter

    Then why do lefties say the Howard/Costello tax cuts destroyed the budget? And your story has changed. It went from Howard taxed as much as somebody else to he barely lowered taxes. Not a big difference but you seem to have an agenda. Fit the data to what you want to believe.

    But Howard ran surplus budgets something hawke/keating rarely did and nobody has been able to do since 2007. I do not care what Howard spent. He ran surplus budgets, something a person like you could do and nobody since 2007 has been able to do

  18. Nob

    It’s depressing to see that so much leftwing nonsense, including smearing anything right as “hate”, was prevalent, but at least called out for what it was in the mainstream Australian media by the likes of John Hyde 30 years ago.

    I guess it must be taken as a given that this rubbish will surface in every generation.
    It used to diminish with maturity, but with the stacking of the bureaucracy and the scaling down and delaying of family, maturity comes late, if it ever does.

    I’m not sure if you retired or more academic people realise how much of this bureaucracy is now thrust on business with the remorseless grind of ever-expanding compliance requirements.

  19. Grigory M

    The politicization of the public service started under Whitlam in Canberra and Wran in NSW. It was just the thing for the rising generation of newly graduated uni students who shifted to the Left and the ALP during the Vietnam debate and especially the Coalition conscription policy that destroyed its moral credibility.

    Rafe – please correct me if I’m wrong, but – weren’t you one of that rising generation? In Wran’s Premiers Department in NSW – when Gerry Gleeson held the levers of power?

  20. Tim Neilson

    Several financial institutions collapsed and Victoria almost went bankrupt.

    True, but Victoria’s voters did that to themselves* by persistently re-electing John Cain Jr, a decent enough individual but way out of his depth as Premier, and presiding over a conventional Labor rabble of troughers, loonies, crims and thugs.

    [*I didn’t, but I was unfortunately in the minority.]

  21. Squirrel

    The people who are falling over themselves to praise the economic brilliance of the Hawke and Keating years always conveniently overlook the inconvenient fact that the Hawke Government actually got a helpful start thanks to Fraser’s Salaries and Wages Pause Act 1982. Along with the breaking of the drought, and the winning of the America’s Cup, that was a handy piece of unearned good fortune for the new government.

    It’s also amusing, and at times more than a little aggravating, to note that the same people conveniently overlook the deliberate policy, applied over many years, of the Hawke and Keating governments, to apply maximum income restraint at the middle and above levels – with the lower paid generally keeping pace with CPI, and the higher paid getting raises up to a (fairly low) flat dollar amount. I recently pointed this out to a very influential (and commensurately remunerated) person and the response was stony silence.

  22. Neil

    The people who are falling over themselves to praise the economic brilliance of the Hawke and Keating

    What economic brilliance? Unemployment was high from 1983-1996. We had more than 2 years of double digit unemployment in the early 1990’s. Unemployment was at 11% when keating became PM.

    Govt debt went from 6% to 18% of GDP from 1983-1996 and we lost our AAA credit rating. Several financial institutions went bankrupt. Beats me why people think hawke/keating were great. What did they actually do?

  23. Perth Trader

    I’ve always thought that Hawke spent the last half of his life turning around the mess he helped inflict as president of the ACTU. And none of Hawkes economic policies where original , they came from The Cambell Recomendations’ and implemented with help from the Liberals. Hawkes policy to help ‘The Refusenics’ leave Russia and resettle in Israel was pressured on him by the jewish community .

  24. Herodotus

    If Hawke and Keating had an opposition so blindly opposed to any legislation that the government introduces as this Labor/Green mob are, they’d have achieved little.
    It’s time that Labor realised the way ahead: rob the greens and the cross benches of their power by agreeing with any/all government legislation which has merit.

  25. Percy Popinjay

    Then why do lefties say the Howard/Costello tax cuts destroyed the budget?

    collectivists know absolutely nothing about basic economics, just as they know absolutely nothing about anything.

  26. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    What did they actually do?

    Your criticisms are valid, but you appear to think economic policy consists solely of monetary and fiscal policy.

    Now imagine how fucked we would have been without a floating exchange rate, lower tariffs, much lower personal income taxes and lots more government owned business entities?

    It would have moved from a mere shitshow to a goddamned dumpster fire.

    Some of the mistakes they made with respect to monetary policy had highly technical causes. Unlikely apparent to most back then, unless they had a copy of von Mises on the shelf.

  27. Neil

    Now imagine how fucked we would have been without a floating exchange rate, lower tariffs, much lower personal income taxes and lots more government owned business entities?

    OK someone has told me what hawke/keating did. But how come no great economic results happened? Unemployment was high from 1983-1996. It was at 11% when keating became PM. Govt debt tripled and went from 6% to 18% of GDP and we lost our AAA credit rating. Remember when keating said we were in danger of becoming a banana republic?

    ALP supporters like to say that all the hard work was done by hawke/Keating and then when the results of their hard work was about to happen, Howard got elected.

  28. Percy Popinjay

    In the grater scheme of things and with the benefit of hindsight, the seemingly interminable hawke/keating goat rodeo clusterf#ck was an absolute disaster for this country.

    In addition to what Neil has pointed out above, that pair of narcissistic treasonous imbeciles massively ramped up immigration, which combined with the disastrous stock market crash of October 1987 did so much to place home ownership out of the reach of so many.

    Not to mention 24% interest rates, the recession we had to have and labore birthday cake tax plant* Perfesser Hewson, peons.

    Finally, all of labore’s so called reforms implemented between 1983 and 1996 have effectively been reversed.

    *Or vegetable, if you prefer.

  29. Percy Popinjay

    The Buttons local car manurefacturing plan.

    Legendary stuff.

  30. Percy Popinjay

    That fat waffling windbag with the spaghetti diagram.

    Inspirational.

  31. tgs

    Good stuff, Rafe. Glad you’re not letting these things be forgotten.

  32. Roger

    In addition to what Neil has pointed out above, that pair of narcissistic treasonous imbeciles massively ramped up immigration, which combined with the disastrous stock market crash of October 1987 did so much to place home ownership out of the reach of so many.

    Absent reforms at the state and local council level to increase housing stock, yes indeed.

    Keating’s high interest rates also saw many working people lose their foothold in the market, never to return.

    Yet they are both still lauded as Labor heroes.

  33. Old Lefty

    Sandy then there’s the hypocrisy of the ABC paying tribute to Hawke. When he was in office, we had Four Corners and Jane Singleton on the 730 report vilifying him as a corrupt criminal fascist who had sold out to US imperialism and capitalism. Remember when they were promoting the Pilger theory that Hawke had been a CIA plant in the Labor party since his teens?

    O jow I wish Peter Walsh was still with us!

  34. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Neil check out how “gross fixed capital formation” changed after 1985.

    This was very important. Menzies got criticised for liberalising the economy to investment as well, both times the arguments were fallacious and unqualified.

    ALP supporters like to say that all the hard work was done by hawke/Keating and then when the results of their hard work was about to happen, Howard got elected.

    Actually Keating had the economy turn around on him. He had a really, really good thing going for him after 1992. If he passed the infamous, never put into LAW tax cuts; as well as not going on an insane Keynesian binge post 1993, he likely would have won the 1996 election.

    The Keynesian madness he went full retard on at the time was shaping up to start another recession, arguably we had a small one from 1996-1997. If he had followed his promises and not gone mad, the trend unemployment from the very good year of 1994 would have seen the 1996 election possibly contested with unemployment starting with a 6 point something, not 8.5%.

  35. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Finally, all of labore’s so called reforms implemented between 1983 and 1996 have effectively been reversed.

    What? There are some on this forum that credit them to the LNP.

    If we’ve gone back to Gough era policies, god help us all.

  36. Neil

    This was the unemployment rate in the early 1990’s

    Jan-Dec 1992- 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 11.0, 11.0, 10.8, 10.7, 11.0, 11.0, 11.2\
    Jan-Dec1993- 10.9, 11.0, 10.8, 10.7, 10.8, 11.0, 10.8, 11.0, 10.7, 10.9, 10.8, 10.6\
    Jan-April 1994- 10.4, 10.3, 10.3, 10.1

    More than 2 years of double digit unemployment. If that had happened under a Coalition govt it would be mentioned every second week

  37. Nob

    A good cleansing recession.

    No wonder the young’uns all fucked off to work in London pubs.

  38. Entropy

    Pyrmonter

    I regard the baby bonus as a “market based instrument”.

  39. Perth Trader

    Neil…Out of curiosity, has the definition and ways of calculating the unemployment figure changed since the 1990’s?

  40. Neil

    Neil…Out of curiosity, has the definition and ways of calculating the unemployment figure changed since the 1990’s?

    My understanding is no. Method of determining the unemployment rate is an international definition codified by the ILO (International Labour Organisation). My understanding is that it has not changed since 1966. BTW one hour per week as a definition of being employed is used in all OECD countries. It was not introduced by any politician.

  41. Neil

    This from Pommyland

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46264291

    But why does the ONS use one hour as the definition?
    Choosing whether to define someone as being in employment or not can be a bit of a conundrum, says Tony Wilson, director at the Institute for Employment Studies.
    “Why pick one hour? Well, because if you put the bar higher, you might end up classifying people as unemployed even though they’re working.”
    “You have to draw the line somewhere,” he says.
    The ONS definition is also an international one – drawn up by the International Labour Organization (ILO). By choosing to use the ILO’s definition, the UK’s employment data is consistent with other countries, making it easier to draw international comparisons.

  42. Ubique

    Hawke was a better PM than Fraser. But that ain’t saying much. Otherwise, Hawke lacked character, honesty (as Hazel knew all too well) and decency.

  43. Mark A

    Ubique
    #3043660, posted on June 16, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Hawke was a better PM than Fraser. But that ain’t saying much. Otherwise, Hawke lacked character, honesty (as Hazel knew all too well) and decency.

    Precisely, he was a ‘character’, not the same thing at all.

  44. Texas Jack

    Unsure how to rate Hawke in the grand scheme of things, I guess we can be thankful that he didn’t go down the path his inner socialist might have been expected to take the country – probably because the ALP had somehow licked its post-Whitlam wounds and learned some lessons by the time he made it to the Lodge. In a sense he adopted triangulation well before Clinton, and this did him no great harm. The Left of the ALP let him get away with it because at least they were in the government (and could put years of opposition behind them).

    As some have pointed out, Hawke got lucky because Fraser’s Government had already launched the Australian Financial System Inquiry 1979 (Campbell), and it was ready to implement as he came to power. Howard supported the implementation of its findings despite being in opposition. All Hawke and Keating did was take the advice of those that saw the need for liberalisation (particularly the float). Beyond that – the way Keating manipulated the economic settings in the manner of someone driving a dragster and its hard to recall any grand reforms that advanced us beyond the design of boat keels.

  45. Rafe Champion

    Thanks tgs.
    The point of the post is to recall the kind of language used to tefer to nice people like us from right and left alike.

  46. Eyrie

    “It was just the thing for the rising generation of newly graduated uni students who shifted to the Left and the ALP during the Vietnam debate and especially the Coalition conscription policy that destroyed its moral credibility.”
    Precisely, Rafe.

  47. Fat Tony

    As a sincere question, have we ever had a government that actually put Australia and Australians first?

  48. Pete of Freo

    Hawke’s “success” explains Rudd/Gillard’s failure. Hawke was able to plunder the economic policy of the Liberal dry faction which the useless Fraser didn’t have the sand to introduce. By the end of Howard, the Liberals were so compromised and denuded of policy that Rudd had to rely on his imagination thereby beginning the snowballing cluster-fuck that became Gillard, who hadn’t ever grown out of university politicking and gutter-slut moneygrubbing.

  49. Iampeter

    Amidst the hymns of praise for Hawke and especially the long-awaited economic reforms that he achieved with bipartisan support – now there’s a thought, does anyone give the Coalition credit for that

    So, you want the Coalition to receive credit for not stopping policies they themselves never enacted, but at the same time you refuse to hold the Coalition accountable for policies they DID enact, like creating the green bureaucracy that is now destroying this country?

    There has indeed been a long march for classic liberal ideas, but the Coalition has been nothing but a hindrance. Just religious/traditionalist collectivists trying to have their cake and eat it too.

  50. max

    Fat Tony
    #3043842, posted on June 16, 2019 at 11:37 am
    As a sincere question, have we ever had a government that actually put Australia and Australians first?

    What, then, do they want a government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion; not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways; but simply to defend the natural rights of man–to protect person and property–to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak– in a word, to administer justice. This is the natural, the original, office of a government. It was not intended to do less: it ought not to be allowed to do more.

    Herbert Spencer

    Once “Government” get out of its rightful purpose than you get what you have today — lawlessness

  51. Iampeter

    Max, you’ve previously said:

    He is sovereign and he is source of all law.

In non-Christian systems, the source of ethics and of law is the state; it is the polis, the empire or the kingdom.
    Western nations abandoned Gods limited and simple laws for humanist unlimited laws and regulations.

    Either the function of government is to protect individual rights or it’s to impose gods laws.

    This is what I mean by you religious collectivists trying to have your cake and eat it too.

  52. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Either the function of government is to protect individual rights or it’s to impose gods laws.

    Protection of individual rights is divine law. There is nothing collectivist supported in the old or new testament. Buddhism eschews coercion so collective action can only be justified on grounds of protection or cooperation. I am sure others can add to how religions support individualism over collectivism.

    Anyway, Crom laughs at your four winds.

  53. Hawke enabled the Bob Brown Greens Monster.
    Nothing but nothing has done more everlasting damage to Australia than that.

  54. Bad Samaritan

    All this shyte gets tiresome….

    Hawke and Keating did not have a clue. Putting the entire nation into a massive recession is not ‘good economic management” but it certainly enabled them to become multi-millionaires, as they helped their mates become even richer…..for a few backhanders.

    Meanwhile, Howard/Costello cleaned up the mess, sent the entire Aboriginal Industry into meltdown, smashed the unions in the waterfront dispute, threw the country-shoppers into prisons, told the bleeding hearts to f’ck off, faced the Indos down in East Timor, and generally was our very own Donald J Trump.

    Can any of the resident trolls and concern trolls (that guy from Sydney’s inner west, for example; the Ultimoer…Glebe Islander…whatever) name any other Aussie pollie with the guts and gall to laugh at the fake Aborigines turning their backs on his speech, or sending the SAS (FFS!) to let the globalists know that Australia was having none of their crap?

    Nah, this junk about the silver budgie-smuggler being a ‘good bloke’….and somehow an economic literate is BS x 100!

    BTW; the emblem of everything that was wrong with H/K was/is that absolute dope-of-a-minister Ros Kelly. So stupid that she was laughed out of parliament…and yet, did enough financial favours at our expense…while Hawkie and Paul cheered her on….that she ended up marrying a Big-4 bankster Chief…and got onto the no-work-for-half-a-million-bucks board of Thiess. The entire ALP is nought but a huge self-enrichment scheme…no matter who they are…or who they were! F*ck Bob!

  55. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    and generally was our very own Donald J Trump.

    A very bad take to close off that paragraph.

    Otherwise very good.

    Howard put spending up to record levels and implemented our stupid, childish gun laws that left adore. This does indeed get tiring. Hawke and Keating implemented some good policies but were still plonkers. Howard ad Costello cleaned up their mess but were socialists and worse. None of them were champions of small government but they’re the best government we’ve had since Menzies. The LNP is a dead party and there is no point in being offended about this whole discussion.

    or sending the SAS (FFS!) to let the globalists know that Australia was having none of their crap?

    The SAS are overutilised. I had no idea that the Taliban were globalists, but that does make sense.

  56. Bad Samaritan

    Frank. maybe you are too young to get tha SAS reference. Howard ordered the SAS to take control of The Tampa and then sent it back to Norway, while telling the globalists that Australia would choose it’s own immigrants…well before the Taliban were our concern. Google it!

    Also, this furphy about the excessive spending….. didn’t the hundred billion debt get turned into a fifty billion dollar interest-earning-deposit whilst the H/C “socialists” were spending up so big? Never saw that in any other socialist region, but maybe you can name a few such cases to refresh my memory.

    And, the guns. An over-reaction to be sure, but since Oz is not a constitutional republic, the very short and volatile electoral cycle needs to be born in mind. Cheers.

  57. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    The convention at the time as to send it back to Indonesia (nearest capable port). That would have been a better option.

    The Tampa Bill was poorly written law. It absolved the Crown of liability and was also a retroactive law.

    Also, this furphy about the excessive spending

    No.

  58. Neil

    Howard put spending up to record levels

    Howard was handed a budget in large deficit and within 12 months of winning govt in 1996 was running surplus budgets. Howard/Costello did this by cutting spending. In fact Labor supporters say Howards spending cuts were bad and resulted in reduced govt services. Don’t know where you get this Howard was a big spender garbage. Howards last budget was a $20B surplus. In fact we have not run a surplus budget since 2007

  59. Bad Samaritan

    Frank. That second “no”…….In twelve years (about) a $150 billion turn-around indicates no socialist profligacy. Any claim to the contrary is all-too-obvious leftist chicanery. You can’t get secret commissions on borrowed funds when nothing extra needs to be borrowed!

    As some smart pommy guy once noted; living within one’s means leads to happiness, whilst blowing the budget causes sleepless nights. Under Howard the nation was both relaxed and comfortable.

    People getting something returned from their tax over-payments are not on middle-class welfare. and the govt returning it is not over-spending.

  60. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Howard was handed a budget in large deficit and within 12 months of winning govt in 1996 was running surplus budgets.

    Pretty sure Costello struggled to balance the books off the technical recession Keating created. He might have actually had a deficit in 1997 or 1998.

    Under Howard the nation was both relaxed and comfortable.

    The government should not run deficits. That in itself isn’t a measure of well being.

    Taxes were too high and so was spending. These lower outcomes.

    Tax reform and spending cuts in this country are damned ridiculous. Cutting the corporate tax rate to 25% would cause conniptions, as would halving excise taxes.

  61. Tel

    Howard was handed a budget in large deficit and within 12 months of winning govt in 1996 was running surplus budgets. Howard/Costello did this by cutting spending.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/government-spending

    There’s the chart, no spending cuts visible around 1996, same ramp up throughout. Unfortunately they don’t have a per-capita inflation adjusted chart, maybe that’s available elsewhere.

  62. Tel

    https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/government-budget

    This chart shows that the budget as compared with GDP went from negative to positive in 1998. There were a number of privatizations and government asset sell-offs around the same time. The big ones were Comm Bank, Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, and eventually Telstra of course. A bunch of state government asset sales came along not long after, which did not directly help the Commonwealth budget but took some pressure off the constant state demands for money.

    NOTE: I’m not opposed to asset sales, but while you are selling off the family silver, don’t get confused and think that your boss gave you a raise … even if it might be convenient to allow your wife to think that.

  63. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    They are in 2016-17 constant prices, seasonally adjusted.

    Per capita and vs GDP would be interesting, but Howard and Costello only had two quarters with lower spending than Keating – calendar year Q2 and Q4 of 1996.

  64. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Yes Tel, Costello still spent like crazy. They’re still doing it now!

  65. Neil

    There’s the chart, no spending cuts visible around 1996, same ramp up throughout.

    I think you will find that is total govt spending ie Federal and State govt spending combined. Since we are a Federation you have to be careful about what govt spending, taxation, debt people are talking about. For example your link gives govt debt/gdp at 40.7%. That is not the Federal govt debt but combined Federal and State govt debt.

    Table 1 gives a spending increase of only 0.6% in 1997-98. which is a much smaller increase than the previous 6 years. Anyway Howard was running surplus budgets within 12 months of winning govt with unchanged economic numbers. Unemployment was at 8% and mining boom did not start until 2004.

    https://www.budget.gov.au/2019-20/content/bp1/download/bp1_bs10.pdf

  66. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    I think you will find that is total govt spending ie Federal and State govt spending combined.

    No. There is no way all government spending was 354 bn AUD for the last 12 months.

  67. Neil

    If you were quoting govt spending why would you leave out State govt spending? Same goes for debt. Since we are a Federation, Trading Economics combines Federal and State govt debt.

    Anyway the percentage increase in govt spending was much lower in Howards first budget compared to the previous years which got the budget back into surplus

  68. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Neil
    #3044190, posted on June 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    If you were quoting govt spending why would you leave out State govt spending? Same goes for debt. Since we are a Federation, Trading Economics combines Federal and State govt debt.

    No, you are wrong, please stop.

    You are literally White Knighting for the Liberal Party.

    They are a rotting corpse. They have nothing to offer.

  69. Neil

    OK. But why does Trading Economics give Australian govt debt/gdp as 40.7%? Neither net or gross Federal govt debt is 40.7%. That number has to include State govt debt.

    And fact is Howard got the budget back into surplus by cutting spending and mainly ran surplus budgets by not spending more money than they received. Something no govt has done since 2007.

  70. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    You are slowly getting there Neil.

    OK. But why does Trading Economics give Australian govt debt/gdp as 40.7%? Neither net or gross Federal govt debt is 40.7%. That number has to include State govt debt.

    It would be nice if they were consistent I agree, but it is a good source for free second hand data. I would say that includes some State data but not all – Federal debt is near 592 bn currently (see the AOFM for more). Gross debt is what matters because it is what the accrued interest is paid on. Queensland’s debt alone is at least 80 bn now.

    The spending data they used for the last four quarters was only 355 bn AUD in 2016-17 prices.

    I can guarantee you the last budget was roughly 450 bn for the entire year.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-03/federal-budget-2019-sliced-and-diced-interactive/10959808#spending/breakdown/2020/other-purposes

    The Government expects to spend $500.87 billion in the next financial year.

    So the trading economics website discounts off transfers to states, I am not sure I can reconcile the figures; but if you go back to the last year and take out “other purposes” (chiefly grants to States) then they come close to lining up

  71. BorisG

    Hawke led the way. Bedsides he has just died.

  72. max

    Iampeter
    #3043993, posted on June 16, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Either the function of government is to protect individual rights or it’s to impose gods laws.

    “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”

    Now some people call that Creator God and some Nature.

    God endowed man with these rights and no man, no ruler, not government can deprive him of them.

    In this case it is the God assigned duty of the government to protect the individual in the exercise of these God given privileges.

    It is obvious from this Justice mean God laws.

    Church and State are both under God laws.

  73. max

    External Debt in Australia increased to 2,095,650 AUD Million in the first quarter of 2019

    a record low of 147,312 AUD Million in the third quarter of 1988.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/external-debt

  74. Neil

    This chart shows that the budget as compared with GDP went from negative to positive in 1998. There were a number of privatizations and government asset sell-offs around the same time.

    Yes but what is not well known is that Howard/Costello asset sales had no effect on the Costello surplus budgets (almost). H/C removed asset sale money from the Commonwealth revenue figures so that nobody could say that asset sales were the reason for the surplus budgets.

    H/C paid off $96B of debt, started a $80B Future Fund and left $40B in the kitty when they lost office. Saved more than $200B in just 11 years. Asset sales contributed $70B to that. The rest came from the surplus budgets.

  75. Fisky

    The convention at the time as to send it back to Indonesia (nearest capable port). That would have been a better option.

    Actually, that wasn’t the convention at the time. We did not have policy of turnbacks at the peak of the 1999-2001 influx. However, the Australia government did try to send the Tampa to Indonesia, and the Indonesian government refused to take it. That is why the Howard government negotiated with the government of Nauru to open a detention centre. This is very basic history, and libertarians should be across this stuff.

  76. Fisky

    Anyway, if the Australian government had successfully negotiated with the Indonesian government to take the Tampa, the libertarian movement would have angrily denounced it. They believe country shoppers have the right to arrive in Australia even in their hundreds of thousands. Is that not right, Iampeter?

  77. Iampeter

    I am sure others can add to how religions support individualism over collectivism.

    To say such a thing means you either know nothing about religion, or are utterly incapable of abstract thinking, or simply lying. In any case, no discussion of politics is possible.
    Which is why you’re left talking about Howard, the Tampa, Costello’s budget, etc.
    All interesting topics in and of themselves, but not relevant to understanding anything about politics.

    God endowed man with these rights and no man, no ruler, not government can deprive him of them.

    Except for God, right?
    What you’ve said there is a contradiction. If you believe rights come from God that is the same as believing rights come from the state or a ruler.
    You’ve conceded that rights are not an ethical concept, arrived at via reason, but something that is granted to you by authority from on high.
    In other words, you’ve conceded you are leftist and quite an authoritarian one to boot.

    Trying to reconcile religion with a political ideology counter to the left is a logical impossibility and cannot be done.
    Trying to do so has destroyed the conservative movement.

  78. Iampeter

    Anyway, if the Australian government had successfully negotiated with the Indonesian government to take the Tampa, the libertarian movement would have angrily denounced it. They believe country shoppers have the right to arrive in Australia even in their hundreds of thousands. Is that not right, Iampeter?

    Well, I’m not a libertarian so can’t speak for them.
    But I’m also not a politically illiterate leftist such as yourself.
    I don’t need to make up nonsense, non-issues in order to LARP discussing politics.

  79. Tel

    OK. But why does Trading Economics give Australian govt debt/gdp as 40.7%? Neither net or gross Federal govt debt is 40.7%. That number has to include State govt debt.

    http://www.australiandebtclock.com.au/

    706 / 1777 = 0.39729881823297692740

    That’s using their “National Government Debt” figure (top center) and their GDP figure (bottom left). They itemize state debt separately so if you use “Total Government Debt” you get this one:

    876 / 1777 = 0.49296567248171074845

  80. Neil

    Table 4 gives NET debt which is 18% of GDP and Table 5 gives GROSS debt which is 28% of GDP. Don’t know where Trading Economics or Australian debt clock get their debt figures from. And Table 1 shows a smaller increase in govt spending in Howards first years which is why the budget got back into surplus within 12 months. Not sure if spending as a % of GDP means anything but Table 1 shows govt spending was 26% of GDP in 1993 and had dropped to 24% by 1997.

    https://www.budget.gov.au/2019-20/content/bp1/download/bp1_bs10.pdf

  81. max

    Iampeter
    #3044328, posted on June 17, 2019 at 7:20 am
    If you believe rights come from God that is the same as believing rights come from the state or a ruler.

    If rights coming from “reason”, than you get what you have today –your reason vs mine vs his vs ours — basicaly law of Nature — might is right.

  82. max

    Iampeter
    #3044328, posted on June 17, 2019 at 7:20 am
    If you believe rights come from God that is the same as believing rights come from the state or a ruler.

    It is not same, in my book God rights are eternal – lasting forever; always existing and unchangeable.
    states and rulers come and go religion last forever ( at least longer than states and rulers ).

  83. Tim Neilson

    You’ve conceded that rights are not an ethical concept, arrived at via reason, but something that is granted to you by authority from on high.

    Poor old Iamashiteater, Mr Irrational strikes again.

    “Reason” can be applied only on the basis of premises identified as “true” (or at least prima facie accepted as such).

    How exactly do you “reason” that individuals have rights? It certainly can’t be by inductive observation of how humans have actually behaved. It can’t be on the basis of claiming that “individual rights” give better outcomes for society in general because that places society’s interests above the individual’s. It can’t be because that’s best for the individual exercising those rights because that doesn’t explain why any other individual should be obliged to observe that individual’s rights. Some kind of “social contract” theory may fit the bill but that invites the question of what kind of surrender of rights each individual is obliged to make as part of the bargain.

    When the signatories to the Declaration of Independence declared certain “truths” about basic human rights to be “self evident” they weren’t disclosing the conclusion of a chain of reasoning, they were declaring an a priori belief.

    The grounds for that belief may have varied among the signatories, but for many of them it was their Christian faith. Acceptance of the historical truth of Christian assertions inexorably led to acceptance of the instructions of God including respect for all other individuals – e.g. “love thy neighbour as thyself” includes respecting thy neighbour’s liberties as you demand respect for your own.

    So what’s the grounds for your assertion that each individual’s rights are real and respect for them is a moral obligation on other individuals?

  84. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Actually, that wasn’t the convention at the time.

    Yes it was and it would have exploded the heads of leftists. The law was – Australia can do what it likes (royal prerogative). AG Ruddock – WON the Ruddock v Vardalis case.

    Neil
    #3044392, posted on June 17, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Table 4 gives NET debt which is 18% of GDP and Table 5 gives GROSS debt which is 28% of GDP.

    Neil gross debt is 592 bn Federally. YOU PAY INTEREST ON THE GROSS DEBT. THAT’S WHY IT MATTERS.

    Saved more than $200B in just 11 years.

    You mean they over taxed us 200 bn and left the money for the ALP to waste later on.

  85. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    How exactly do you “reason” that individuals have rights?

    It is simply an axiomatic choice like deriving them from theology. Neither is wrong, just the consequence of a choice.

  86. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    FFS max, you read von Mises and you bring up foreign debt? It is bloody irrelevant.

    Counting FDI (which turns out to be things like immovable capital) as “debt” is bluddee mad and just an artifact of the way gold specie flow was accounted for.

  87. max

    Frank Walker from National Tiles
    #3044599, posted on June 17, 2019 at 12:17 pm
    FFS max, you read von Mises and you bring up foreign debt? It is bloody irrelevant.

    debt is newer irrelevant, if foreigners do not buy than some else will ( in normal household you will get bankrupt and bad credit — no more lending to you ).

    Do you know who is going to lend to us –Reserve bank will — and your currency will become dross.

    Repudiating the National Debt by Murray N. Rothbard
    https://mises.org/library/repudiating-national-debt

  88. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    max

    FDI is not debt. The BOP accounting system is really stupid.

  89. Neil

    Neil gross debt is 592 bn Federally

    Australian debt clock says its $706B, Table 5 in the budget says its $560B. Don’t know where ADC gets its numbers.

    You mean they over taxed us 200 bn and left the money for the ALP to waste later on.”

    Perhaps. But one alternative is that H/C taxed the same but spent less than Keating so ran surplus budgets. Lefties used to say that Howard spending cuts affected Medicare, Research funding etc. But people hate Howard so much the story keeps changing depending on which side of the bed a Howard hater gets up on.

    But net govt debt went from 6% to 18% of GDP under Hawke/Keating ie tripled. H/C reduced it to zero by 2006 and less than zero by 2007. You do not do that if you are reckless spenders. Asset sales helped but Costello surplus budgets provided the bulk of the savings

  90. max

    Concepts

    Foreign debt is defined as all non-equity liabilities by residents of Australia to non-residents. It is not to be confused with external debt which excludes financial derivatives[2]. Foreign debt is distinguished from other forms of foreign investment capital inflow such as foreign ownership, because it carries with it the obligation to pay interest and repay the principal. It should be noted that foreign debt does not equal national debt . The latter is the total government debt which comprises government borrowings from overseas residents and government borrowings from Australian residents and thus excludes overseas borrowings by the private sector.

    Gross foreign debt is the sum of all non-equity liabilities by Australian residents, the major component of which is the total amount of borrowings from non-residents by residents of Australia. It includes securities issued such as bonds as well as loans, advances, deposits, debentures and overdrafts.

    Net foreign debt is equal to gross foreign debt minus lending by residents of Australia to non-residents and non-equity assets such as foreign reserves held by the Reserve Bank. Reserve assets held by the Reserve Bank comprise gold, foreign exchange, special drawing rights and Australia s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund.

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment made by a firm or individual in one country into business interests located in another country.

  91. max

    I think buying private investment is different than buying government bonds.

  92. Tim Neilson

    Neil
    #3044641, posted on June 17, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    And H/C set up the Future Fund to mitigate the off-balance sheet unfunded pension liabilities of the APS, and the assets of the Future Fund are in addition to the elimination of recognised debt.

  93. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    But net govt debt went from 6% to 18% of GDP under Hawke/Keating ie tripled. H/C reduced it to zero by 2006 and less than zero by 2007. You do not do that if you are reckless spenders.

    Yes they were reckless spenders, not careless though to totally trash the joint with debt caused recessions. You don’t remember paying a lot of tax? No waste back then? The baby bonus was responsible spending?

    Maximising GDP per capita, not “running a surplus” is the overarching policy objective.

    It isn’t a bragging right…”we paid off the debt”… millions of mothers nationwide handle finances better than most socialist and conservative lite governments. It is merely something to be ashamed of if you cannot do it.

  94. Fisky

    Well, I’m not a libertarian so can’t speak for them.

    Sure, you are a weirdo Randroid. To Rand’s credit, she did have one valid insight, which is that consistently applied libertarianism would lead to the destruction of liberty. But every other crackpot idea of hers deserves mockery.

  95. Neil

    Yes they were reckless spenders

    H/C consistently ran surplus budgets. That is good enough for me and most probably the best we could expect given the pressures to spend. Their last budget was a $20B surplus. Any bigger and their would have been rioting in the streets

  96. Iampeter

    If rights coming from “reason”, than you get what you have today –your reason vs mine vs his vs ours — basicaly law of Nature — might is right.

    It’s exactly the other way around. Reason is the means by which we discover objective reality, which in turn provides the alternative to force. It’s not subjective.
    On the other hand, religions IS subjective. You just have your arbitrary statements with no basis in reality vs other arbitrary statements with no basis in reality. This necessitates the use of force to resolve disputes and leads to the might makes right way of doing things that you claim to oppose.

    It is not same, in my book God rights are eternal – lasting forever; always existing and unchangeable.
    states and rulers come and go religion last forever ( at least longer than states and rulers ).

    You’re missing the point. Whether your dictatorship is supernatural and eternal, or merely a thousand year reich, you’re still appealing to authority to justify rights. This makes you an authoritarian and contradicts your supposed support for rights protecting government and capitalism.

  97. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    To Rand’s credit, she did have one valid insight, which is that consistently applied libertarianism would lead to the destruction of liberty.

    This is just a deep state loving, ridiculous Orwellian turd sandwich. Crap like the PATRIOT Act, high taxes, reckless spending, retrospective laws, unexplained wealth laws, minority jury verdicts and the surveillance state DO NOT make you free at all.

  98. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    . That is good enough for me and most probably the best we could expect given the pressures to spend.

    No.

    It isn’t good enough.

  99. Iampeter

    How exactly do you “reason” that individuals have rights? It certainly can’t be by inductive observation of how humans have actually behaved.

    That’s exactly how it’s done.
    Just because millions of immoral drones like you don’t want to go to the effort of thinking, doesn’t mean the method is invalid.

    When the signatories to the Declaration of Independence declared certain “truths” about basic human rights to be “self evident” they weren’t disclosing the conclusion of a chain of reasoning, they were declaring an a priori belief.

    That’s totally correct! The American Founders had no idea what they were doing and had no logical arguments for their positions, they just operated on mindless instinct. Like animals, right?
    The legendary feat of creating the worlds first, rights protecting republic, was achieved not by a deep understanding of political theory and the fundamental philosophical ideas that underpin it, but just because they felt like it.
    This is pretty convenient for you too, isn’t it?
    I mean, if it’s true, it means Tim Neilson is on the level of America’s Founders. They were mindless drones, just like you!

    Keep dreaming.

    So what’s the grounds for your assertion that each individual’s rights are real and respect for them is a moral obligation on other individuals?

    LOL!
    Oh, so now you DON’T want to take it on faith?
    LOL!

  100. Iampeter

    Sure, you are a weirdo Randroid. To Rand’s credit, she did have one valid insight, which is that consistently applied libertarianism would lead to the destruction of liberty. But every other crackpot idea of hers deserves mockery.

    Us weirdo Randroids are not Libertarians.
    As always, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
    Like your mate Infidel Tiger, you’ve spent years on political blogs pretending to be an aficionado, but spout stupider babble than Marxist teenagers. You’re an embarrassment.

    It’s YOU who is the crackpot, deserving endless mockery.

    Which I think you know…which is why you’re so triggered…

  101. Rafe Champion

    Back at the desk after spending some time at Cooma and passing through the swamp, so much to catch up.

    The point of the post, badly labelled in retrospect, was to indicate the headwinds that desirable economic reforms encountered from all sides of politics and the difficulty for anyone in party politics to hew a consistent liberal line.

    Good to see a mention of the launching pad that the Hawke administration provided for the Greens, that was brokered by Graham Richardson and it sticks in the throat to see how matey he is these days with Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt.

  102. Rafe Champion

    The way this thread has evolved reminds me of my first climate post on Troppo (centre left) that triggered 685 comments and my expulsion from the roster.

  103. Iampeter

    The point of the post, badly labelled in retrospect, was to indicate the headwinds that desirable economic reforms encountered from all sides of politics and the difficulty for anyone in party politics to hew a consistent liberal line.

    Yes and I would say that it’s innacurate to characterise what is happening as encountering “headwinds.”
    That suggests some kind of occurence outside of anyone’s control, when in reality, the inability to maintain a consistent liberal line from so called liberals, is a consequence of the serious contradictions at the very fundamental levels of their ideas.
    Chief of these contradictions is the attempt to base the rational and individualistic ideas that classic liberalism is based on, in the mysticism and collectivism of religion.
    This is also why I think it’s innaccurate to pretend their are different “sides” in politics. Whether you want to regulate, trade, immigration, coal power, or tech companies, is a non-essential technicality.
    All movements in politics today are collectivists of one type or another, so all are on “the left” side of politics.

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