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'A whopping disappointment': How the Coalition has wasted six years in power

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06.09.2019

Today is the sixth anniversary of the Coalition’s election to power in Canberra … and what a whopping disappointment it has been. In her memoirs Margaret Thatcher described the Conservative Party governments preceding hers: “Rhetorically they opposed these doctrines (i.e. socialism) and preached the gospel of free enterprise with very little qualification. But in the fine print of policy the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the left.” This government has emulated, not Thatcher, but those she rightly disparaged.

This government does have four achievements. It "stopped the boats" (thanks Jim Molan) and thrice prevented a Labor government. But surely the purpose of government is more than defeating Labor? And surely there is room in the political landscape for a right-of-centre government with no backbone to be critiqued from the right?

Replay

But, but, but … what about the budget surplus projected for this financial year? Oh please! Six years ago the government had a debt of $257 billion. In opposition, Liberals mercilessly and rightly attacked Labor’s wasteful spending. Government debt has now more than doubled to $541 billion. To get the debt off the front page one of the first things this government did (with votes from the Greens) was remove the debt ceiling so it was unconstrained when ratcheting up the national credit card limit. "Surplus" sounds like we've balanced the books, but it simply means in this financial year the government is forecast to spend a fraction less than it receives in tax revenue. Phew! But the underlying debt that has........

© The Age