Mr Morrison, would you please stop lying?

Bernard Keane at Crikey has done some fact-checking (paywalled) on Scott Morrison’s the statements on the government’s fiscal policy and has found the Treasurer telling a few porkies.

First, Morrison said:

    “Australians will be relieved to know the government doesn’t take this as a licence to tax Australians more, that’s what the Labor party sees this as…”

“This” was ratings agency Moody’s warning about the need for tax rises to stave off a possible downgrade in Australia’s credit rating.

The truth is in Table D4 of Morrison’s own Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Keane says:

    As a proportion of GDP, the tax burden on the economy has risen from 21.5% of GDP in the last full year of Labor to 22.3% this year and is planned to be over 23% in 2018-19 — putting the Commonwealth tax take at $113 billion more than the final year of Labor.

Morrison will be the highest taxing treasurer since Peter Costello.

Second, Morrison says the government is showing expenditure restraint.

See Table D2 of MYEFO. This year spending will be 25.9% of GDP, significantly higher than Labor’s last full year of just 24.1%, and approaching Labor’s GFC spending of 26% of GDP in 2009-10. Morrison says spending will be limited to 25.8% of GDP next year. Basically he’s presiding over a boost to government spending.

Third, the fiscal challenge is because Labor won’t pass savings measures.

Labor under Gillard got spending down by negotiating in both houses. But Keane says that:

    even if Morrison had his way and got every savings measure through the Senate unamended, he’d still be trying to lift the tax burden and lift spending.

Some of the unlegislatable nasties will stay on the books. Simon Birmingham has said the the policy on university funding will remain. That is, a cut of 20% will be included as ‘savings’ even though they know there is no hope of implementing them.

Unless they get control of the Senate.

On related matters, modelling by Janine Dixon of the Centre of Policy Studies at Victoria University shows that company tax cuts, favoured by the LNP, are ‘not in national interest’:

    Cutting company tax boosts the economy as a whole but not national income, the best measure of living standards, new economic modelling shows.

Cutting company tax would “lead to a fall in real incomes in the range of $800 to $2000 per person”.

Using different reasoning Bernie Fraser and Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty head up 50 academics and community leaders who have penned an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull urging him not to cut company tax and to prioritise fairness in his tax reform package. Fraser said:.

    “History shows it doesn’t work that way,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday, adding that it did not lead to more jobs and cuts would come at the expense of necessary spending programs.

    “That would be the unkindest cut of all.”

Elsewhere John Quiggin posts on the Oz response (see also his Cruising for a bruising) and Michael Potter argues against Moody’s notion that we should increase taxes.

36 thoughts on “Mr Morrison, would you please stop lying?”

  1. Point scoring over taxation and balancing the budget is just gives us a country where governments are not doing their job properly and the people at the bottom of the pile are not being treated fairly.

  2. John, point scoring is pretty much part of the job as a pollie if we are not going to have mature argument. Turnbull with his scare campaign over negative gearing unfortunately set the tone for this year and up to the election. However, pollies don’t need to tell lies to score points, and that’s what we’ve been getting from the LNP.

  3. Brian: The point I was trying to make is that we are not having a sensible conversation about revenue because pollies think that taxes are political poison. Remeber the mindless argument over whether the ETS was a tax and therefore automatically evil.

  4. Fair enough, John. Of course now only Labor has taxes, the LNP has “revenue measures”.

  5. Brian: “…. only Labor has taxes, the LNP has “revenue measures”.”

    What a terrible thing to say. Professor B. Mussolini had, as his party’s motto, “Believe! Obey! Fight/Brawl!”; wonder how long it will be before that replaces “Labor has Taxes; LNP has Revenue Measures”; after all, the copyright on that motto has expired and the original owners are unlikely to litigate against its use in Australia in 2016.

  6. Jumpy, you really don’t get it. Labour actually had deliverable path back to a balanced budget.

    The LNP got in on a trail of lies, blew a lot of money feeding their friends and blamed that on Labour, demolished industries on an ideological whim (car industry), proposed ridiculous expensive policies (parenting leave for the rich), abandoned installed policies that were delivering real revenues to the treasury (carbon price abandoned on an ideological whim), downgraded one of the most useful economy future proofing infrastructure programmes and doubled the price (NBN), dumped the architects of that horror show and installed the architect of the coming LNP exit from the government benches, abandoned parliamentary protocols on an ideological whim, and are now delivering a budget on drip feed which confirms Labour as the new good economic manager, with a budget that follows mostly Labour’s advice.

    This Liberal government has been a fiasco, and unmitigated disaster. And worse than all of that, they are ideologically blinded to the dramatic deterioration of our climatic stability, and they don’t even know why they are, only that some one told them to think that way.

    I was horrified to listen to the ball bustingly imbecilic statements being made by an LNP senator in the senate estimates committee yesterday afternoon before Corman insisted on butting in to carry on the stupidity. This senator’s whole platform on climate change was that “I don’t know anything about it but I get told by a mate what to say, and if the debate on CO2 is settled then why do we still need scientists”.


  7. Jumpy, you really don’t get it. Labour actually had deliverable path back to a balanced budget.


    “I don’t know anything about it but I get told by a mate what to say, and if the debate on CO2 is settled then why do we still need scientists”.

    You are lying, he didn’t say that.
    The transcript please….

    ( Oh, loved the rest of you hysterical, fiction based rant. Please, may I have another which had sweet fa to do reality ? )

  8. Hi BilB

    Could you please translate IGOIC ?
    Haven’t been able to guess.
    If it’s obscene, never mind, I can do without amplification.

    I understand WTF and “separation of powers”

  9. Yes I have paraphrased but that is pretty much it. A friend working next door also heard this buffoon and came in after work, and the first thing he spoke about was this. He couldn’t believe it either.

    I am not going to jot it down word for word for you, Jumpy, but if you go to the senate debate at about 15:40 yesterday you will here George Brandis demonstrate what a dumb person he really is as he says his source of great knowledge on climate change (a debate he has followed closely) is solicitor Ian Macdonald.. Don’t take my word for it, Journalists also heard Brandis’s brain dump

  10. I am not going to jot it down word for word for you, Jumpy,

    Transcript, Corman, Senate Estimates, Hansard.
    You have all the info you need to backup your own words, have at it.

    After that we can deal with Swans BS and, in time, Brandis BS.

    (BTW, could you watch all of Swans 2012 Budget speech without laughing out loud? )

  11. Oh no, I clicked your link and almost got a cramp with laughter.
    So Fairfax attacks a Lib for stating a fact.

    After you finally get transcript of Corman saying what you said he said, please explain why we need to continue with scientific research if it’s all settled, completely settled, no grey areas.
    Then Swan BS.


    move the pointer here it lines up with the left side (viewer) of Corman’s tie.

    So here we have the Attorney General, the guy in charge of seeking out the truth, saying one day that he supports climate action, then later he is agnostic, minutes later he doesn’t believe, but all along he has followed the matter closely by outsourcing it to a dodgy “friend”.

    One have got to hope that you never come before the courts in this country while the system is run by this Bozo, which means you should stay out of pub brawls for just a couple more months, Jumpy.

  13. Not working for e BilB, perhaps you make a youtube of it to share.

    But how have you managed to go from Treasures lies, though your lies on what a Corman said, to AGs ? In a pub brawl you’d be punching the smoke machine.

  14. I’m not talking about what Corman said, Jumpy, it is about what Brandis (the AG) said. It all adds to the Toxic Cabinet Culture of this bunch of oomper LNPers. It is time to clear them out and get some competence back into the parliament.

  15. Under current economic conditions a lot of damage is being done by all the hysteria about budget emergencies and the alleged need for balanced budgets.
    Countries that have their own currencies are not the same as families because they will always have the money to pay for what they spend in their currency. Under current conditions (overpriced currency, unused capacity and unusually low inflation and interest rates) it makes sense to run the federal budget at a deficit without being obliged to balance this with later surpluses. (However, taking this approach to extremes can end up with economic disasters such as Zimbabwe and the Wiemar Republic. )
    The SMH recently ran an article on Modern Monetary Theory, a theory that is more supportive of deficits than traditional theories that aren’t really working at the moment.

  16. I don’t have a problem with deficits, John D, as long as the money is spent in a way that will generate far greater throughput.

    The LNP obsession with infrastructure such as roading is a bad reason for taking on debt.

    The one that really made sense was the NBN in its original form. Roading requires billions of dollars being spent on materials and expensive machinery hire, with very little increase in employment and then only for a very short period. Then the end result is of use to a relatively small percentage of the population an usually for a short portion of the day.

    The NBN is a system that every Australian will use throughout their life and in a huge number of ways throughout the day. Further, users will never expect it to be free after a number of years use. Conclusion? Turnbull stuffed it up. To be fair to him though it was at the demand of his then overlord Toxic Tony Abbott.

    Roads still have to be made, but they are best made with the proceeds of a healthy economy, not a sick one. Solar energy infrastructure, power cables, trades education, ports (air and sea), tourism access, communications infrastructure and agricultural/industrial/environment/chemical research are all enabling expenditures that promote ongoing employment on the production income side of the ledger that can be funded to a degree from borrowing. It is only when your production is performing strongly that the overheads industries needs can be effectively serviced, and then from cash flow (taxation of a healthy productive sector and population) rather than borrowing.

  17. Jumpy, Wayne Swan was a hard-working competent treasurer who cared. He had a serious crack at bringing the budget back to surplus ASAP. He got dealt a rum hand by the figures about revenue given to him by Finance and Treasury, but he could only play with the cards dealt.

    Over the course of six budgets he made savings of over $180 billion, and taxed at a lower rate than Howard/Costello. If you want to make cheap shots you might like to comment on each of the LNP lies identified by Penny Wong back in 2014.

  18. Brian
    Over the course of six budgets he made savings of over $180 billion, and taxed at a lower rate than Howard/Costello.

    Nonsense, did he say that in his book ?.
    “Savings ” are on the spending side of the ledger, his spending never reduced ( in dollar terms ), in fact rocketed as only a Keynesian would.
    On the revenue side, over his tenure ( in dollar terms ), rise slightly.

    Abracadabra, deficits and debt for our kids to pay off.

    Two things to remember:- 1) GDP is a BS number and 2) Treasury figure are influenced by Treasurers, always.

    That said, and in the interest of balance, Smoking Joe was almost as bad.

  19. Just so we’re clear on the GDP thang,

    GDP = C + G + I + NX
    C is equal to all private consumption, or consumer spending, in a nation’s economy, G is the sum of government spending, I is the sum of all the country’s investment, including businesses capital expenditures and NX is the nation’s total net exports, calculated as total exports minus total imports (NX = Exports – Imports).

    So Govt spend (G) inflates the outcome, Mega foreign investment (I ) on his watch and the highest terms of trade ( NK ) ever. Plus some borrowed stimulus ( C ).

    Do you see ? The spend and tax as a % of GDP is a crap figure in formulating performance .

  20. I think you will find Jumpy that Howard had the golden years and no GFC to contend with and a favourable dollar exchange rate throughout. Furthermore the GFC expenditure approval was bipartisan. ie LNP approved the stimulus expenditure measures.

    I suspect that Turnbull’s NBN is so slow in your area that the real news up there is very slow getting in.

    So how are your business prospects looking now that LNP policy has bleached the reef all over? May as well send in the bulldozers and pile up the dead coral to make islands as the Chinese are doing? Be good for jobs, eh?

  21. Headlines: POLITICIAN LIES THOUGH HIS BACK TEETH …. and the papers were sold out in minutes.

    It is our fault that we have a Liberals that have abandoned free enterprise and turned into a bunch of near-communist ideologues. (Don’t fret over not using the term, LNP, because the Nationals surrendered and so are merely the rural bureau of the Liberal Party).

    It is our fault too that we have a Labor Party that has abandoned the workers and the vulnerable in favour of big business.

    We can do something about it. Vote against both parties – unless you have an outstanding local Member or know of an excellent Senator. If reason, justice and decency trouble you in voting for, then vote against.

  22. BilB, it looks as though little of the reef in the tourist spots has died, though a fair bit got sunburnt. The future prospects over the next few decades, however, are not good.

    Jumpy, I know GDP is a human construct. Some countries have tried to change it, eg. Norway adding voluntary work. They’ve given that away, however, precisely because it is the accepted international benchmark to assess performance.

    It’s simply a fact that Labor taxed less than Howard/Costello as a proportion of GDP.

    The $180 billion of saves is in Swan’s book and in the Wong piece I linked. The source seems to be Swan’s 2013 budget speech, so you can have a cackle over that if you wish. To me Swan was about as honest as you get for a politician.

    There is no doubt that he had a red hot go at bringing the budget back to surplus without increasing the overall tax take. You can’t say the same about Hockey. We’ll shortly see what ScoMo does.

  23. BilB

    Furthermore the GFC expenditure approval was bipartisan. ie LNP approved the stimulus expenditure measures.

    The first $10 Bil one, yes but not the 2nd $40 Bil one.

    Graham has a good grasp of the situation.

  24. The LNP approved the principle of an economic stimulus, ie a rolling action against economic collapse. What you are saying is that for an LNP government that goes to war one week will want to pull out the next. That is not leadership.

    The new war is the battle against destructive climate change. This is a battle that will dominate the rest of this century and probably all of the next. The kind of greed driven “leadership” that you aspire to will fail at every step. We are now seeing how that plays out in Tasmania with Hydro Tasmania where executives cashed in Tasmania’s reserve water storage assets for large personal bonuses leaving the state vulnerable to a variety of failures, all of which occurred at the same time.

    LNP climate policies are all failures.

    Abbott belligerently abolished the Carbon Price, and now the Barrier Reef is dead. Abbott’s influence began more than twenty years earlier, I’m calling Abbott “the Reef Killer” from here on forward. What? you reckon nothing Australia could have done would make any difference??

    It is called leadership. Leaders are individuals the personal actions of whom do not count for much physically, but it is how they inspire others to take action that makes great things happen.

    Hanson of course is right in his concerns, the only variable is the time frame. What will be of major concern for Australia is the certainty of super storms around the equator and their influence on shipping across it. That affects us, Africa and South America. Shipping cannot survive storms with 300 kph winds. That means that trade with Australia will become a seasonal activity. Trans Atlantic shipping will require heavily reinforced ships with nuclear powering to increase their speeds, and the North West Passage will be vital. Trans European trade will be done overland mostly. Australian resources trade will wind down due to shipping losses as the century progresses, and being “remote” will be a crippling economic disadvantage.

    Lucky that we will have divested all significant manufacturing by the time these influences take hold.

    LNP ideology is totally incapable of addressing the challenges of the future.

  25. Bilb, can’t you just say ” oh, that’s right Jumpy, thanks for the correction ” ?

  26. Why would I say that, Jumpy, when you are completely lost in the forest of reality.

    I’ll be only too pleased to applaud you, Jumpy, when you say, yes, Global Warming threatens the present and future kids of Australia, and we must join the world, even lead the world, in CO2 emission reduction policies and aggressively advance our uptake of renewable energy technologies at every level.

    Can you say that, Jumpy? If you can’t move forward to the present reality now, you will eventually. Until then the applause will have to wait.

  27. You were wrong on the LNP support of ALL the stimulus Bilb. That’s all.
    You going all Armageddon doesn’t change that.

  28. Jumpy the LNP supported the need to stimulate the economy in the face of the rolling global economic train wreck. Had they been the government they would have had the responsibility of determining what that required in the face of public expectations. Their choice once Abbott became the LNP leader in December of 2009 was there after to attempt to destroy every action the government undertook. The methods utlilised were almost treasonous given the gravity of the global economic situation. If a movie is ever made of the Abbott leadership it could well be titled “Dumb and Dumber, the Tactics and Politics of Stupidity” a saga in which the final words are “and the he was resoundingly dumped”.

  29. BilB: You are right about the nature of war changing.

    At present, we are not doing spectacularly well on four battlefields:

    (1) The Climate and everything that spins off from it: crop collapses, food shortages and outright famine, mass forced migration. Sea level rises and, worse yet, disruption of ocean currents. We have had defeat after defeat – mostly self-inflicted because we keep on fighting yesterday’s war with yesterday’s weaponry and organization.

    (2) Terrorism. Not only because they are utterly evil people committing appalling cruelty – but because our news merdia keeps portraying them as great guys who can save young people from the current defunct financial and social system.

    (3) Epidemics. You think Ebola was exciting? Wait till you see in the surprises that will pop up to remove an excess 6 000 000 000 + human beings from the system. We should be very well prepared but are not.

    (4) The tangle of tax-havens, pelf, drugs, ghost economies. Not any concern of military forces? Well, if the job of a military force is to protect us from conquest, oppression, death, injury, enslavement, degradation, impoverishment and the destruction of our culture …. then why the blazes are we continuing to feed and pay the uniformed ornaments?

  30. Our media are even kidnaping now for ratings.
    Can you imagine Fox paying kidnapers to smuggle a Fathers children out of Australia ?

    Nine will do a story condemning bribery next.

    Our MSM as rotten.

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