Shame, Labor, shame. So after years of following the Liberals’ asinine lead, against the advice of pretty much every economist, and sacrificing jobs and growth at the altar of the hallowed budget “surplus” – you’ve now realised that it’s so bad an idea, and the consequences of maintaining this obsession so obviously serious, that you are finally pulling back from it.
Well, better late than never, I suppose.
And at least you’ve finally realised how stupid the attempt was, unlike your opponents in the Liberal party who still like to pretend there was no Global Financial Crisis but who want to be taken seriously (yes, such brilliant economic managers that apparently they didn’t notice the most significant phenomenon to hit the world’s economy in the last thirty years – imagine where we’d be if they’d been in charge).
At least you’ve recognised that it’s idiotic to consider yourself bound to an economic goal several years later when changed circumstances clearly require revision, and make destroying the country in order to “keep your promise” about the least responsible thing you could do.
But now you’ve given up the stupid attempt, could you please also wind back the devastating attacks on the poor and vulnerable that you attempted to justify on the basis of it? The PM concedes that Newstart is below subsistence. You’ve slashed funding of chemotherapy. Taking money from aid to fund paying prison guards to lock up refugees on hot, remote islands is adding insult to injury.
I look forward to the media calling you out on this. I look forward to the editorials slamming you for making the irresponsible promise in the first place, and calling on the Opposition to abandon their reckless obsession and contribute rationally to economic debate in this country. I look forward to their re-examining your most destructive cuts and asking each Labor minister how on Earth they can justify them now that the fig leaf of “protecting the surplus” has disappeared.
Yeah, I know. That’s not not what we’re going to get at all. What we’re going to get is nothing more than the repetition of the Liberals’ ridiculous “a broken promise is a lie” primary-school level political “debate”. No analysis of whether it was actually in the interests of any of us to keep it. No persistence in questioning just exactly what the Liberals would be slashing to keep a surplus if they were in government, as they keep telling us they should be.
There will be no analysis of the merits of a surplus at this time. Just endless back and forth on the “political implications”, by which they mean whether it will enable them to pretend the Liberals have actually won something, and just how important that “victory” will be to voters.
No wonder you made the idiotic pledge in the first place. No wonder you held onto it for so long, long after reason would have suggested abandoning it.
But the incompetent national political media aren’t going to change. At least, for a brief moment, you have. A little. Back towards the realm of sanity and responsible government. Here’s hoping you take the next step.