One can only imagine the level of surprise and disgust an enormous backlash could wreak within the Liberal Party of Australia about a much-vaunted “coalition” breaking up. Loading Australia for the past eight years has endured an unprecedented credit meltdown engineered by the very folks who promoted the 9.0 Percent Bond that has given them $666 billion (actually $600 billion) in debt. Yes, Australians have to pony up more in government expenditure than all the other income countries on earth combined, but we put it back in the treasury by slashing taxes. And it has cost us more than $100 billion in national debt – and counting. Because of the failed attempts to reform the tax system, we have sustained some form of debt over $100 billion. And that is before the case for a higher than necessary 10 percent rate of income tax. The tax cuts cost the Government $68 billion. According to Vote Leave, the Great Recession and post financial crisis waves of austerity meant that Australians spend only three percent of their disposable income on health, leaving $55 billion to ring-fence the health system for local hospitals. With the state coffers protected for the Commonwealth, we now find ourselves with debt of $79.5 billion (estimated post the financial crisis). Despite that, the Turnbull Government insists we are a high welfare country and get $28 billion each year from taxpayers for our entitlements, with nothing to actually support that expenditure.
We ignore our entitlement debt to such an extent that it causes us to submit to the US Affordable Care Act – a tortuously slow, lengthy and costly undertaking – and we hear about wage freezes on our state governments as they seek to reduce the numbers of people they will have to pay as health, education and social welfare costs. Almost every levy has its detractors. The idea of abolishing an additional 2 per cent stamp duty surcharge on overseas property transfers is anathema to those who feel it is oppressive in order to raise around $1 billion a year from overseas buyers, thereby spending $500 million more on the Australian taxpayer to assist with the 30 per cent tax on purchases of property in Australia. And of course, there’s the curious parallel with the US Democrats and the National Rifle Association, which vigorously oppose sensible gun laws in order to make it easier for guns to be owned and possessed. Are these the sort of people who would sit back with glee in front of a screen while politicians try to replace the Australian economy with a basket of things called the “Trump economy”? When the poor get clobbered by higher petrol prices or cuts to the sugar rebate, nor is unemployment jumping. The combined revenues we spend on services and liabilities are more than $22 billion less than we get back. By the end of the next parliamentary term, a poll will be conducted on how our “community organisations” could respond to rising spending pressures. What we can expect are some attempts to fast track tax cuts that pay no heed to international developments (such as the social upheaval of the Trump era), to dumb down the budget, and to fund only to help us pay for wars and tax cuts.
Loading As one Australian once wrote in response to the Great Depression, “At least there were so many families left to support.” Philip Gleeson is from Armidale.