3Ps and the economy

Niki Savva reckons the Liberals are ready to run against either Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd:

The Liberals are ready to zero in with a potentially devastating assault on whoever leads Labor into the election, whether it’s Mr Arsenic or Ms Old Lace, focusing on the three Ps. They are the personality defects, the political faultlines and the policy failures.

The personality defects are well known, thanks to the private and public character assessments of their respective supporters and detractors.

Rudd is an evil control freak who betrayed his own side during the 2010 election, was a bad-tempered prime minister who treated underlings, ministers and senior public servants with contempt, and couldn’t deliver anyway.

Gillard is stubborn, refuses to heed advice or accept responsibility for mistakes, uses her gender as a crutch, then when she has to make a call it’s invariably the wrong one. Other than that, she’s a nice person.

I suppose that’s all true and the policy failures have been spectacular.

Gillard nominated four – not three as everyone keeps saying – on the day she assumed the leadership that caused the government to lose its way and required Rudd’s removal.

They were: asylum-seekers, global warming, the mining tax and the deficit.

It is safe to say that things haven’t gone to plan.

What worries me though is that the Liberals plan to campaign hard on these issues but leave a large part of the policy infrastructure in place. That is the public service in general and Treasury in particular. David Uren explains:

One reason a Coalition government might keep Parkinson in place is that the Treasurer needs the institution of Treasury to work for him, something that would not be achieved by starting out with a decapitation.

The other is that Parkinson has great strengths. He is seen as a good administrator and is an outstanding economist. The sophistication of his understanding of the challenges Australia confronts is on regular display in Senate estimates hearings.

I understand the argument but I don’t believe it. Here is the challenge:

Hockey will be looking for a cultural change at Treasury. While the decision on Parkinson’s future would be Abbott’s, not Hockey’s, they would both be asking whether Parkinson was the person to deliver it.

If you’re having the ask that question of an incumbent then they are not the person for the job.

The problem with Treasury goes back to, at least, 2007 when the Howard government failed to assert its authority by firing Ken Henry. To make that same mistake twice will be an adverse indicator of the depth of talent the Liberals will be bringing to office.

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26 Responses to 3Ps and the economy

  1. Rabz says:

    They were: asylum-seekers, global warming, the mining tax and the deficit.

    It is safe to say that things haven’t gone to plan.

    Call me a cynic, but I’d say things have gone exactly to plan on two of those matters above.

  2. Robbo says:

    I couldn’t care less who leads Labor into the election. I’m sitting here with my brand new baseball bat just itching to use it (figuratively speaking of course) on those hopeless idiots, and whether it is Gillard or Rudd is irrelevant. They are both culpable for the mess we have and they both should never be allowed to re-enter parliament.

  3. Milton von Smith says:

    his understanding of the challenges Australia confronts is on regular display in Senate estimates hearings

    Really? In the latest senate estimates, Parkinson said that he didn’t know how to define a recession.

  4. Token says:

    Call me a cynic, but I’d say things have gone exactly to plan on two of those matters above.

    x2

    I apply the logic that if they crowed the success of a strategies when Obama won (change mining tax to the “fair share” tax increase), only a moron would not believe they are implementing the same strategy for long term electoral domination here.

  5. JamesK says:

    Nikki Savva is on fire

  6. Ant says:

    When the Left are in power they’re like Dobermans eyeing their enemies as prey to be ignored if not provoked or otherwise savagely attacked. Hence, their ruthless campaign to strangle freedom of expression, the assault on the “Hate Media” and labelling anyone who has reservations about the asylum sneaker circus as waaacist.

    When the Libs are in power, they’re like Labradors wanting to be everyone’s friend but slinking back into their kennel when scolded.

    In an ideal world, Abbott would go feral in the first 12 months slashing spending, gutting the public service to the (real) bone, throwing useless regulations into the trash, cutting taxes on working people to a fraction of what they are today, etc.

    I expect, however, that we’re about to be coddled and have Labbie slobber all over us.

  7. . says:

    We need the Neville Bartos regime. Feed the doggies a bit of goey.

    “They love it chop!”

  8. candy says:

    More like J Gillard is Mrs Arsenic after the misogny speech.

  9. Andrew says:

    In an ideal world, Abbott would go feral in the first 12 months slashing spending, gutting the public service to the (real) bone, throwing useless regulations into the trash, cutting taxes on working people to a fraction of what they are today, etc.

    I believe he will be forced to slash spending post election. I think they already have planned what they are slashing.

  10. mihaelc58 says:

    Abbott should realise the left will hate him no matter what he does, while the middle expects strong action. Also, after so much (justfiable) criticism of labor policies from opposition, not ripping them out will make Abbott seem a hypocrite.

  11. John Comnenus says:

    There is a fifth ‘P’ involved, and it is the ‘P’ destroying the West, it’s wealth and its standard of living: PROFLIGACY.

  12. lem says:

    Niki Sava is wrong on one thing. Gillard is not a nice person.

  13. Greg Byrne says:

    Sinclair you should know as well as I do that the Liberals have very little depth of talent. If they did they would implement US style political heads which has been needed for decades. For too long public servants have had too much say in policy matters. Nobody voted for them.

    We used to have an apolitical public service but that changed dramatically after the Whitlam era.

  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    Tread softly and carry a big stick. It is not in the bag yet.

    Too much speculation about Treasury does little to help, let’s just concentrate on the campaign.

  15. Makka says:

    “One reason a Coalition government might keep Parkinson in place is that the Treasurer needs the institution of Treasury to work for him, something that would not be achieved by starting out with a decapitation.”

    This is utter BS. You WIL NOT get Treasury working with you UNLESS there is a decapiation.

    Parkinson is the worst kind of Lefty. He is a GREEN Lefty. His contortions last month trying to explain dodgy Treasury accounting and forecasting were pathetic. He and all Lefty appointments are there as a 4th Column set to undermine the Coalition. Wholesale sackings of them are required and start afresh especially at the top with like minded Conservatives. All these guys will do is bring in yet more of their Lefty mates at our expense.

    If this is true it is a stupid position to hold by the Coalition. No Balls!

  16. I believe he will be forced to slash spending post election. I think they already have planned what they are slashing.

    Andrew, what you think and believe are just pipe dreams. Abbott666 will do the absolute minimum to get pats on the head from the Left and the MSM.

  17. ralph says:

    Here’s an idea. Given that “everyone’ knows about Labor’s faults (and will vote accordingly), the coalition could actually promote its policies and explain how they will benefit Australia rather than pursuing yet another negative campaign. As yet no coalition health or eduction policies.

  18. Samuel J says:

    Touché. When new owners take over a company, they frequently change the management. Uren’s argument that only the incumbents can run Treasury is nonsense.

  19. Rafe says:

    “As yet no coalition health or eduction policies.”

    ralph, agreed that the Coalition needs positive policies but delivery of health and education are state responsibilities, the Cwth depts need to be reduced to shells and pressure applied to State governments to do better, in the face of the teachers unions.

  20. ralph says:

    “agreed that the Coalition needs positive policies but delivery of health and education are state responsibilities, the Cwth depts need to be reduced to shells and pressure applied to State governments to do better, in the face of the teachers unions”.

    If that is indeed their policy then we need to hear about it and the reasons why it is a good idea. Also what might be the transition arrangements – Qld would potentially face much a higher impost for health due to the higher relative number of retirees.

  21. Jannie says:

    The commentariat seem to be convinced Rudd is going to challenge. But Rudd does not have the balls, he is a proven bully so he is probably a coward as well. But he is also a narcissist, and will not want to do anything to blot his page in the history books.

    I wish he would challenge, I am over Gillard, and look forward to the sound grabs on Rudd taken from his mates in the ALP, like Swan, Gillard and Latham.

    But the obsession by the commentariat is getting a tad silly. I reckon they are being used by Rudd just to put pressure on Gillard, he enjoys that part.

    The most interesting thing that this sordid affair highlights is how gullible and simple so called senior journalists are, even those who are on the right side.

  22. Bons says:

    The most interesting thing that this sordid affair highlights is how gullible and simple so called senior journalists are, even those who are on the right side.
    So pleased to see someone say that. The senior political commentators of the Oz are as far out of touch with the electorate reality as are the ‘fellow travellers’.
    If I see these clowns say once more that Abbott is not liked I am going to convert to Islam. At least then I can indulge my most extreme obsessions and not be criticised or sanctioned. Moral equivalency – gotta love it.

  23. Empire Strikes Back says:

    If that is indeed their policy then we need to hear about it and the reasons why it is a good idea. Also what might be the transition arrangements – Qld would potentially face much a higher impost for health due to the higher relative number of retirees.

    It is a good idea because the Commonwealth have an army of education and health employees who do not deliver any service. The reason for their existence is to make work and prosecute the trashing of the constitution by centrists.

    Taxing power remains with the Commonwealth and funding is based on per capita needs (with much redistribution along the way), so your point about transition does not apply.

  24. vlad says:

    Another big campaigning point for the Libs – especially if Labor switches back to Krudd – is that nobody knows who’ll be leading the Labor party six months after the election if they win. There’s no reason why they couldn’t switch back to Jules after they tire – again – of Kev; or switch (again) to someone else entirely. They’ve shown us that if nothing else.

  25. perturbed says:

    I’d be taking the line that none of these idiots in government said “boo” to anything Rudd and Gillard did until the handbasket was almost in Hell, so there’s not one of them who deserves to be Prime Minister and so throw them out.

    Abbott will, to a certain extent, be running on the Howard Government’s record – but it’s a damn good one, and certainly streets ahead of this lot.

  26. ralph says:

    Empire Strikes Back wrote: “It is a good idea because the Commonwealth have an army of education and health employees who do not deliver any service. The reason for their existence is to make work and prosecute the trashing of the constitution by centrists.

    Taxing power remains with the Commonwealth and funding is based on per capita needs (with much redistribution along the way), so your point about transition does not apply.”

    This may well be true. But I would like to hear it from the shadow minister/s. BTW centralism did not seem to be an issue for the previous coalition government (viz high court and workplace laws) and so I would like to know the reasons for their change of mind.
    If “the trashing of the constitution by centrists” is such an issue of principle, why shouldn’t the tax powers to provide these services also move back to the states? Otherwise only half the job is done and not much will really change.

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