Remember a few weeks ago when Malcolm Turnbull announced what was meant to be his brilliant cunning plan to bring back Parliament for two weeks, bring the budget forward a week and then move into the longest campaign in living memory? It’s not unfolding precisely the way he hoped. The expressions on the faces of his backbench this week showed they were all thinking the same thing: Winter is Coming.
1. For the last three years, Bill Shorten and Labor have been leading the economic and policy debate in Australia. So with an election imminent, it's only fitting Bill had the last word of the 44th Parliament in last night’s Budget Reply speech.
2. On Monday, the father of reconciliation Patrick Dodson was sworn in as the newest Senator for Western Australia. Senator Dodson’s stature, wealth of knowledge, his experience and passion are a rich addition to the Australian Parliament. It's only fitting that Bill immediately appointed him as his Parliamentary Secretary. It’s wonderful to have Pat in the Labor team, but I hope he won’t be the newest member for too long.
3. While budgets often deal with the nationwide economic agenda, Tanya Plibersek explained how Malcolm Turnbull’s decisions will have long term lasting affects on the lives of individuals. In Government, Tanya oversaw the introduction of the kids dental program and explained precisely the damage that will be caused by Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to abolish it.
4. Of all the things the Government might forget to cost in the Budget, it turned out they forgot to include the ten year cost of their ten year centrepiece policy. Chris Bowen wasn’t going to let them get away it and tore Malcolm Turnbull’s fiscal credibility apart. As Chris said: “This is a Prime Minister who does not trust you. This is a Prime Minister who will not tell you the truth.” I seconded Chris’s motion.
5. You don’t build productivity by cutting a billion dollars from infrastructure. As Albo made clear in this speech: “Malcolm Turnbull’s 30 minute cities policy didn’t even last 30 minutes."
1. Within two days of Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison handing down their first Budget, it fell apart. On Budget night, Scott Morrison proudly announced a ten year big businesses tax cut. The only problem? The Government has no idea how much it costs over ten years. In an interview on Thursday, which was worse than the George Brandis’ metadata interview and nearly as bizarre as Christopher Pyne’s ‘Fixer’ interview, Malcolm Turnbull refused 17 times to answer how much his ten year tax scheme will cost over ten years.
2. But that’s not the worst thing about this ten year tax scheme. Malcolm Turnbull is so desperate to give big businesses a tax cut, he’s renaming big businesses “small businesses”. In Malcolm Turnbull’s Australia, a business with turnover of $1 billion will be considered a small business for tax purposes. It’s no wonder the Parliamentary Budget Office estimates this tax cut for the big end of town will cost $49 billion over the next ten years. As Bill rightly pointed out: Coles is not a small business; Goldman Sachs is not a small business.
3. At the same time Malcolm Turnbull is giving big businesses a tax cut, he’s also giving people on high incomes a tax cut. Mr Turnbull's been spruiking an income tax cut, but who really benefits? For a working mum earning $87,000 a year with two kids in high school, even with Malcolm Turnbull’s $6 a week tax cut, she’ll lose $4,500 a year in this Budget. At the same time, by giving a two per cent tax cut to people earning more than $180,000, someone earning $1 million a year will be given a $17,000 tax cut. This is where Malcolm Turnbull’s priorities lie.
4. Remember when Joe Hockey told people who want to buy their first home to “get a good job that pays good money”? This week Malcolm Turnbull decided Joe Hockey wasn’t out-of-touch enough. On Wednesday, he said parents should “shell out” to buy their children their first home. Every time you think they couldn’t get more extreme, they go one step further.
5. Finally, just when you thought you’d seen the back of Tony Abbott, his legacy lives on. They didn’t draw attention to it, but on page eight of the Budget Overview, it clearly states Malcolm Turnbull made Tony Abbott’s cuts to schools, hospitals, family payments and Medicare his own. Yet, despite these cuts, the deficit, debt, spending and taxes are all up. This financial year the Liberals have tripled the deficit from $10 billion to $37 billion. It kind of makes you understand how Bill Murray felt.
The graphic below is directly from the Government’s Budget papers. No, really, it is. They haven’t named which island tax haven the graphic is referring to, but I reckon there’s a graphic designer somewhere Malcolm Turnbull’s pretty unhappy with.
Thanks for sharing the parliamentary term with the Labor team and for never wasting a conversation with your friends about our plans for Australia. When I first sent you the #5and5, there was a different Speaker, a different Prime Minister and a different Treasurer. By working together over the next few weeks, we can ensure when Parliament returns, there’s a different Government; a Labor Government that puts people first.
PS: The #5and5 song of the week is dedicated to everyone who has contributed their time to Labor over the last three years, here’s Eddie Vedder singing Bob Dylan's The Times They are A-Changin’.