Jess Irvine on the Rudd-Gillard economic legacy

… Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Swan have created a holy trinity of policy bungles: The carbon tax that cost more in compensation than it raised while doing little to cut emissions; a mining tax that, again, cost more in associated spending than it raised; and a Budget surplus promise that was foolish from the outset, potentially counteractive while it lasted (by dampening economic activity) and humiliating in its abandonment.

But policy on the run didn’t start with Gillard. So much of former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s policy agenda lacked rigorous analysis.

Think FuelWatch, Grocery Watch, home insulation, set-top boxes for pensioners, the alcopops tax and the ambitious National Broadband Network – all conceived and implemented with no public cost/benefit analysis.

It suddenly just feels like one bungle too many.

Now I don’t agree with her entire argument but that is a very nice summary.

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36 Responses to Jess Irvine on the Rudd-Gillard economic legacy

  1. wes george

    Interesting that the Libs are prepping the memes to do battle with a little ol’ backbencher in cryo somewhere up in QLD.

  2. Jarrah

    She’s on the Drum with Tim Wilson and someone else at the moment.

  3. faust

    The part where she said business once understood the need to cut carbon emissions to “ensure continued economic growth” was sadly and paethetic.

  4. Bruce

    It suddenly just feels like one bungle too many.

    Suddenly?! I think Jess has been living on the kolkhoz too long.

    Oh no, has News Corp has just infected her with this disease called reality?

  5. H B Bear

    Yes – I think Sinc was cutting Our Jessica rather a lot of slack.

    The KRudd-Gillard Policy Bungle camel is labouring under rather more than 3 straws. The poor bastard is probably looking forward to September 14 more like the rest of us.

  6. Mining companies, which make a crust exploiting minerals owned by the Australian people, deployed tens of millions of dollars campaigning against a tax that would have seen a fairer return to Australian taxpayers.

    Since when did the business community have a responsibility only to shareholders, not the communities in which they exist and society as a whole?

    Since when was it OK to make a buck by screwing customers, government and small business suppliers?

    Since Monday 10 November 4004BC, if you’re Bishop Ussher.

    For the rest of us, I’ve already been angrily demanding my cut of the gate at Uluru, which is around $25 million a year. That’s one big mineral, and it’s owned by me, the Australian people. Is anyone listening? I think not.

    Ms Irvine falls into the usual lefty tunnel vision. All profit comes from ‘screwing customers, government and small business suppliers’. All businesses simply think of their shareholders and nothing else (not even their customers, apparently).

    In this particular stunted little world, all profit is evil; all business transactions are exploitation. The only possible solution is to take the money away and give it to someone else, quickly, before the Bogeyman sees you and comes out from under the bed and punishes you for your lack of grooviness.

    Money made by Ms Irvine, of course, is exempt from this, because she’s a journalist, and her bosses and owners never exploit anyone, or sell any advertising, or do anything to ‘make’ money in any way. It just appears magically in her bank account every fortnight, so that she can buy all those lattes at all those nice cafes in the inner city.

  7. Lloyd

    Nothing holy about that trinity unless she’s talking about the holes in the nation’s accounts.

  8. JamesK

    Look at the airhead’s intro:

    IF the polls are to be believed, Australians are about to boot out a government that has delivered an economic holy trinity: Unemployment with a “5” in front, inflation with a “2” in front and low interest rates.

    Ungrateful bastards, Treasurer Wayne Swan no doubt thinks. What more do they want from me?

    Conventional political wisdom used to have it that governments change only after some dire economic failure or recession.

    But Australians have started kicking out governments with strong economic credentials.

    Just ask Peter Costello.

    Perhaps it’s because these days the Australian economy largely runs itself.

    So it doesn’t matter if Australia has a government spending a $100 billion more per annum than the last apparently.

    The economy always ran itself bur government can significantly slow it with tax and regulatuon.

    Moreover there is inevitably lost opportunity and limited response with a government with a debt of $300 billion than one with a liquid asset of $70 billion.

    It’s not an auspicious start to an article where some separate reasonable points – related to the poor quality of the dramatically increased spending – may have been made later hidden on the body of the article.

  9. jupes

    From the link:

    Business groups, which once sensibly recognised the need to reduce carbon emissions to ensure continued economic growth …

    Anyone who believes that statement is a moron.

  10. Honesty

    Nice pick up Sinc. So many bungles to report – it really needs a graph to say a thousand words. Can we have a competition for the best “Government Bungle Matrix”. I would put incompetent implementation on the x axis, incompetent policy on the y and spheres to represent waste (maybe opportunity cost but I am not sure how to do that it might need a log scale). Is it ok to offer an online gift voucher to the winner as judged by you? I am happy to send it in.

  11. Mick H

    Poor Swanny, getting dud forecasts from Treasury “experts” on the federal budget and MRRT revenue. Wonder what the problem was… maybe the science wasn’t settled or maybe we didn’t have consensus. I mean, this couldn’t possibly happen with forecasts on climate, which is so much easier to predict.

  12. Honesty

    What about the “Expert Panel” on boat arrivals that never gets a mention now but was bigger than a second coming at the time? Where is the accountability on that? There are just so many bungles they just slip through!

  13. H B Bear

    Yeah, dismantling a policy that has allowed 30,000 irregular immigrants into the country, was a contributing factor to up to 1,000 deaths and is presently costing taxpayers over $1bn a year only to reverse it takes some topping.

    When the final bill for the NBN is in, that might just do it though.

  14. jupes

    What about the “Expert Panel” on boat arrivals …

    Yea three clowns picked by Gillard so she could save face while backing down on her ridiculous policy. They were especially selected so they wouldn’t go the full ‘Howard policy’ on her.

    Funnily enough the compromise solution that they came up with was too little too late.

    Meanwhile the policy (IIRC not recommended by the ‘expert’ panel) of sending Sri Lankans straight back on a plane without assessment seems to be working its arse off.

    Who’d have thunk? Hey here’s a non expert idea: why don’t they do the same to asylum shoppers from the Middle East?

    You can send me the cheque later Julia.

  15. Honesty

    What about the first vote on the UN Security Council, we just couldn’t spend enough to get there and then… We abstain??

  16. blogstrop

    The Australian has become a bit of a zoo, and the blonde economist* cage is now occupied.
    (*Bunyips term of endearment for Jessica)

  17. Honesty

    What about Rudds Federal Government takeover of public hospitals, that doesn’t get a mention any more. So many bungles how can we ever keep count?

  18. Jarrah

    Perhaps it’s because these days the Australian economy largely runs itself.

    These days? These days? Earth to Irvine – economies have always ‘run’ themselves. Government can only ever play a supporting actor role, for good or ill.

  19. Honesty

    It all changed at News when Kim came to town. Holt street went limp they didn’t need to be so right (unbiased really) but needed insurance against Bob Downs hate media pitch that the ALP could hide behind but scare the fuck out of Rupert.
    Thus the blonde economist is cheap, in terms of insurance as well.

  20. Rococo Liberal

    Since when did the business community have a responsibility only to shareholders, not the communities in which they exist and society as a whole?

    Since always

  21. Mother Hubbard's Dog

    Government by thought bubble.

  22. Dexter Rous

    Any idea where the perfesser is? No post it seems since 1/1/13. I’m really concerned.

  23. MikeDee

    What does she ignore the fact that the holy trinity of KRudds Krew included the Goose and Juliar?
    A convenient omission of fact in defense of the indefensible.

  24. Rabz

    As I’ve already noted today, the employment by News of irvine is going to cost them my electronic subscription.

    While I can’t vote against these labor dullards for a while yet, I can make my displeasure with News known very shortly.

    irvine is an irredeemable idiot and if she’s an economist, I’m an african tribal chieftain.


  25. Rabz

    BTW, Dexter, the Bunyip was commenting on this very blog about two days ago. He’s alive and well, apparently.

  26. Andrew

    Irvine was on The Bum tonight? I might avoid watching that now.

  27. dan

    She is an economist?

    low interest rates.

    How is it so hard for so many people to understand that low interest rates might well be associated with anemic growth and economic underperformance (check out the rates in the US and UK and how about Japan for the last few decades).
    Disciplined government borrowing and spending could also contribute I guess but that hardly seems relevant to the current Australian situation

  28. .


    The same people would be too conceptually incapable of understanding wave-particle duality.

    I blame the credentialing of such people to the influx of excess university places since Whitlam made it free for any old deadshit to go and scrape through.

  29. Tom

    Since when did the business community have a responsibility only to shareholders, not the communities in which they exist and society as a whole?

    Since when was it OK to make a buck by screwing customers, government and small business suppliers?

    We’re dealing with a fruitcake who has never had a real job in the real economy outside the padded cocktail lounges of Fairfax and News Ltd.

    The Government may be lily-livered in not standing up to the interests of big companies, but big business has gone feral.

    Because the non-mining economy has been so battered by this government’s rapacious policy settings it is slipping in and out of recession. Has she ever been to a place where they make stuff or sell services and asked what’s going on?

    Do what Terry McCrann does, sugar. Footslogging. Talking to the people in business making the decisions. The economy doesn’t happen in an economics textbook. FMD.

  30. John Mc

    Irvine in the background shakes her head on the Drum when the presenter offers to bring her into the discussion on freedom of speech.

  31. MichaelC58

    I agree with almost nothing Jessica wrote:

    Jessica, this is a very poor attempt to sanitise Australia’s worst government in history. What you omit to acknowledge is that Labor has been a wall to wall disaster on every front with the economy holding up only because it inherited the only economy with no debt and China pulled us through with a resources boom.

    It has been the most arrogantly incompetent, mendacious, corrupted totalitarian-minded, anti-Australian government in our history, which is not surprising as its made up of a bunch of incompetent corrupt union thugs with a previously stated aim of making the unions run Australia again.

    “Government debt is low and manageable”: Yes but what did we get for $200 bil? Absolutely nothing, and that debt was incurred during a boom – absolutely unsustainable

    “It suddenly just feels like one bungle too many”: No, it’s about 50 bungles too many, It’s nearly 100% bungles.

    “But it’s not all their fault…big business has gone feral.”: Ha ha, blame business for being ambushed with an insanely designed mining tax, just after imposing an insane carbon tax.

    …and make the carbon tax work? To do exactly what, Jessica? Lower global temperature?

    And you’re an ‘Economics Editor”? This article is nothing but an attempt to airbrush Labor legacy even before it’s completed.

  32. Poida

    Perhaps it’s because these days the Australian economy largely runs itself.

    As opposed to when unicorns ran the show??? Show me an economy that DOESN’T run itself in spite of government intervention.

    And here

    the heavy lifting of day-to-day management of the economy resides with the independent Reserve Bank setting interest rates

    As opposed to individuals making decisions on the allocation of scarce resources? I understand (and don’t approve of) the role the Reserve Bank plays in manipulating those choices, but the choices still belong to the individuals.

    And you’re the News Ltd National Economics Editor???

  33. Pingback: Australia’s economic good management … blown away | pindanpost

  34. Luke

    “policy on the run, is policy underdone”.

    It’s a line from the Hollowmen but we through it around in government becasue it’s also so true.

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