Abbott abandoning his Action Contract

Posted on August 4, 2010

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Tony Abbott is offering Australia a faith-based economics policy – because there’s such a lack of vital detail that it requires deep belief in Abbott and his team.

And that’s hard, because none of the Coalition economics team has even one day’s experience managing a national economy.

Together with national defence, managing the economy is one of the two great responsibilities that fall uniquely to the federal government.3

Abbott chants a sacred daily mantra: “End the waste, pay back the debt, stop the big new taxes and stop the boats.”

Yet when he was asked yesterday when he would return the budget to surplus, he had no answer. Pressed by a reporter – “You don’t know when the country will be back in surplus under a Coalition government?” – he dodged.

Abbott told a news conference in Brisbane that he couldn’t nominate a time because, “I don’t know what I will inherit” from Labor.

Two problems. First, it’s unconvincing. If he wins and discovers Labor has lied about the public accounts, he need only say so and he would be held blameless.

Second, his answer is very odd because on the same day, Joe Hockey told reporters in another part of Queensland: “It’s the Coalition that will deliver a surplus in three years’ time, a real surplus.”

In fact, it’s point one in Abbott’s “Action Contract” with the Australian people: “Restore the budget surplus within three years”.

So is Abbott abandoning his Action Contract? Or does he not know his own policy? Is “pay back the debt” not really a policy, just a slogan?

The relentless media attention on the Labor Party’s woes has allowed the Opposition Leader to come within three weeks of winning power just skating on economic policy.

Abbott promises to “end the waste”. OK, but what policy framework would he impose? Where will the discipline come from?

The government has committed itself to a limit of 2 per cent annual growth in real spending as it restores the budget.

The opposition has not committed to match this, nor has it proposed any other fiscal rule. So “ending the waste” is just a slogan, too.

What about the third economic leg of the Abbott mantra, “stop the big new taxes?”

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Sourced : http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/surplus-blunder-reveals-coalitions-economic-woes-20100803-115g5.html

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