$11 billion is quite a hole, Tone.

Well, we know why Tony Abbott didn’t want independent costings of his policies before the election, before punters were asked to judge him as a potential PM, or even after the election – because there’s an $11 billion hole in them. (Or $10 billion, if you’re News Ltd and incorrectly round $600 million down.)


Look, there’s some complicated smoke-and-mirrors bullshit justification for how this isn’t really as bad as it looks, but I’m not all that good with economics. Ask Robb or Joe.

The party of “economic managers”, indeed. If there isn’t a national asset to flog off, or a mining boom over which they have no control, all the Libs can offer is tax cuts for the biggest business paid for by cutting services for the poor. Which services they’ll cynically decline to specify before the people affected get to vote on them.

God help us all if the independents install a Tony Abbott minority government.

ELSEWHERE: David Penberthy at The Punch tells us what the election “was about“:

Well silly old me. There I was thinking the 2010 federal election was about economic management, border protection, broadband and leadership.

Silly old you indeed. You must have missed all the media coverage of leaks, boyfriends, hair, the whether we’d have a debate debate, ex-PMs, ex-leaders, etc. (I don’t know how, it was the vast majority of it.) Many of us made our decisions for other reasons, David, and who are you to tell us they were illegitimate?

As for “Sorry, can’t remember voting for [a price on carbon] either” – well, mate, at least 12% of us did. And many more support it, according to polls.

I also like how Penbo marginalises Wilkie’s demands by excluding the big national ones like dental care. HONEST.

UPDATE: Via @mjcp, @MichaelTurtle, and @LeslieCannold, the perfect description of the Liberals – “budget smugglers”. Oh, to be a sub-editor at a major metropolitan newspaper.

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24 responses to “$11 billion is quite a hole, Tone.

  1. C’mon! Like Hockey and Robb claim, it’s just a matter of opinion. LOL – They must think the electorate are stupider than they actually are!

    Looking forward to seeing how the Boltards spin it. 🙂

  2. It’s his own fault for putting such a large emphasis on a negative fiscal balance. Anyone knows that Treasury has access to more experts and data than any private accounting firm. This is surely a chicken that has come home to roost. One that the coalition desperately tried to keep out of the coop.

    I’ll also note that there have been some “economic commentators” (whoever the hell they are) arguing that the stimulus should be withdrawn because of the current GDP numbers. Even though the current situation is estimated for the stimulus to reduce nominal GDP by 1%. So, as opposed to what they are saying, they are actually arguing for another stimulus (i.e. that of workers out of public projects into the private sector) which removes this reduction. These are very confused people indeed.

  3. Here we go, from Bolt’s:

    “Ken Henry and Treasury have lost all sense of credibility.

    Ken Henry ought go and Treasury should go back to fundamentals instead of blatant politics in support of the ALP.

    Tony Windsor is a clown. Oakshott is worse. We are all screwed!”

    Riiiight – The Liberals are always right and anybody who says otherwise, ever lacks credibility.

  4. Ahh… is that the whiff of despair from the Bolta I hear?

  5. “C’mon! Like Hockey and Robb claim, it’s just a matter of opinion. LOL – They must think the electorate are stupider than they actually are! ”

    yeh i read that and laughed out loud. next time i get a bill in the mail, i’ll just ring the company and tell them “not in my opinion!”

    how shonky is this whole business… it took an independent MP to reveal it AFTER the election was held.

    at least Abbott could have cooked the books properly and made the balance sheet actually balance. then later just renege on the non core promises. you’d think he’d know how its supposed to work by now

  6. To be fair to Abbott, this is the exact outcome he predicted when he refused to hand over his costings to Treasury – i.e. the costings would be attacked and leaked to the media.

    People’s view of this issue will be informed by whether they believe the Treasury analysis, and that will in turn be informed by whether they see Treasury as genuinely independent or an instrument of Labor. Bolt thinks its an instrument of Labor, whereas those above appear to think it is independent.

    Personally I’m not sure. I can’t say with any certainty that Labor wouldn’t put pressure on their Treasury allies to distort their findings, but by the same token there’s no evidence to suggest they did.

  7. 1 or 2 billion, well hey, he doesn’t have the benefit of the public service checking his figures before going to treasury, and the incumbent do have an advantage in this respect, but $11B, yeah, no wonder he didn’t want treasury looking at the numbers before the election.

  8. Pingback: Wilkie supports “least unethical” party, not the one that offered his electorate the biggest bribe | An Onymous Lefty

  9. All this talk about the Treasury being biased is pure bullshit. There is NOT ONE SHRED of evidence that it is. I can’t believe there are morons who are actually being swayed by this. It is a completely unprincipled attack against the public service. What next? The reserve bank?

    Labor never questioned the treasury’s independence when they were in opposition. Even if they did, they did they would have been crucified by the press.

    I simply cannot understand this soft treatment that the Coalition gets when it spouts ridiculous conspiracy theories.

    As for the $7-$11 Billion dollar black hole, I would have understood being a few billion out because the opposition is at a disadvantage. But 11 BILLION!?!

  10. BTW, before anybody calls me a left wing hack. I dislike the greens and don’t like this Labor government. I would have voted for Malcolm Turnbull if he ran.

    However, Tony Abbott has lied on such a scale I can’t feel anything but utter contempt for him and slight majority of the Liberals who voted for this clown. To throw out such talent and intelligence for this idiot is unbelievable.

    If the electorate knew of this gigantic black hole before polling day, I’m sure Labor would have managed to hold onto a reduced majority. This is disgusting deceitfulness that does beyond the norm in Australian politics.

  11. All this talk about the Treasury being biased is pure bullshit. There is NOT ONE SHRED of evidence that it is.

    Well, there is the fact that Treasury leaked the Coalition’s previous budget papers to the press.

    I think you might be confusing ‘evidence’ with ‘proof’.

  12. sirboozebum – Tony is exactly the talent the Liberals need. The party room caucus said so, therefore it must be true.

  13. treasury is just another government dept, why wouldnt it be involved in factional struggles?

  14. “Well, there is the fact that Treasury leaked the Coalition’s previous budget papers to the press.

    Has this been established as fact? I ask because I don’t know, I might have missed something.

    “I think you might be confusing ‘evidence’ with ‘proof’.

    Now I’m confused????

  15. The leak would be evidence that Treasury is biased, but not proof that it’s biased.

    The two words do not mean the same thing.

  16. Has this been established as fact? I ask because I don’t know, I might have missed something.

    To be honest, I don’t know. I think it has, but regardless it wouldn’t be the first time someone in Treasury had leaked material for partisan political purposes. Godwin Grech comes to mind as strong evidence that Treasury officials can’t always be trusted to be impartial.

    Having said that I broadly agree that it’s unlikely that Treasury as a department would knowingly campaign for one party over another, and that Abbott’s position is almost untenable now given the budget hole. I’m just not as certain as other commenters here that it is an impossible scenario.

  17. For all we know the Libs could’ve leaked it to make treasury look bad? We just don’t know. Any public servant that leaked would be a fool, after all look what happened to Godwin Grech, a career in ruins, sanity in ruins….

  18. For all we know the Libs could’ve leaked it to make treasury look bad?

    Think about what you’re saying Rob. Both leaks have damaged the coalition’s economic credibility – it’s a bit unlikely that the Libs would have done this just so that they could accuse Treasury of being partial towards Labor.

  19. I didn’t realise that budget costings were a secret to be kept from the Australian public.
    Makes you wonder what other policy issues the Coalition wishes to keep secret.

    Cheers.

  20. “Both leaks have damaged the coalition’s economic credibility ”

    So they fucked up, why would that be unbelievable? Look how they utterly fucked up with the Utegate affair.

    My point is that we do not know.

  21. I didn’t realise that budget costings were a secret to be kept from the Australian public.

    They’re not – but Treasury’s analysis of them arguably should be.

    If you operate from the assumtption that Treasury is in the pocket of the Government of the day then it is quite rational for the opposition to withhold budget costings from it. If those costings are provided then the opposition party runs the risk that Treasury will trash the costings for political purposes and then leak its analysis to damage their credibility.

    I’m not saying that this is what’s happened, I’m just saying that the position taken by Abbott is quite rational and sensible IF you operate from the assumption that Treasury is in the pocket of the Government.

  22. Wisdom Like Silence

    Offices like Treasury should be compelled by law to release all costing analysis’ unless directly related to ADF, ASIO, other miscellaneous intelligence offices, Fed Police etc.
    There’s no reason why our elected officials should be allowed to put forward ideas that could run into billions, and not let us know about it before it happens. And it would mean punters get the info and trollumists, lead by their chief flying monkey, Andrew, would maybe finally be seen as truly insane.

  23. mondo rock,

    There is no evidence that the Treasury leaked that either.

    Try again.

  24. Um, sirbooze, the Independents leaked the costings this time around. Treasury is not accused, and not one part of my argument assumes that they were.

    Do try to keep up.

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