A certain email has been festering at the back of my inbox since 23 November 2007. It was received just one day before the election of the Rudd Labor government ended eleven and a half years of Tory rule. It was written by a beloved family member and is only made public with his approval. The text is as follows:
Disclaimer: I think you are a great Brother and I love your style, but this must be said:
Mate! Reality Check!
I want Howard & Costello to keep the economy the way it has been going for the last 10 years or so, however this will clearly not happen. Rudd will unfortunately win the election by about 3.2% remember this number!!!!!!!! I am good with numbers.
Anyway, If “Rudd-erless-boat” docks in as I predict, the economy will die and mark my text … interest rates will become too unpredictable – and climb higher to again – (I’m good with the numbers) 12.5% within 3 years… again mark my text.
If I am wrong, please print this email in ten years time from now and “let me have it.”
Well I haven’t waited ten years, however, I have waited long enough to see these predictions prove to be completely false and evidence of the popular fallacy that the ALP are poor economic managers. Rudd, of course, won the 2007 election by twice the margin suggested and interest rates, nearly three years on, are only a third of what this doomsday email imagined.
Over the Howard years this message that Labor are poor economic managers was drilled into the Australian public, but what does good economic management even mean? Under Howard, with Tony Abbott as Health Minister, over $A1b was taken out of the public health system. With Julie Bishop as Education Minister, Australia distinguished itself as the only OECD country to reduce its spending on education, despite facing a skills shortage! Budget after budget Captain Smirk would boast of the great surplus he presided over and offer a tax break of such miserable proportions it would pay for a packet of chips and a chubba chub. In the meantime, riding on the back of a resource boom, where was the investment in infrastructure, where were the grand projects of nation-building? The fact is, Howard played a selfish game of party politics with the treasury and refused to do anything which may help the Labor states. Instead he financed Australian involvement in an illegal and unjust war in Iraq. He paid bribe money to our Island neighbours so that we could avoid our international humanitarian responsibilities. Sadly, this is typical toryism. No money for health and education but plenty for war and terrorism. Is this economic management or is this economic management burlesqued? That money belonged to the Australian people, but it would not be spent for their benefit till 2007.
The Australian Tories finally revealed their ignorance and economic imbecility on a grand scale in the wake of the global financial crisis. The Rudd Labor government quickly and effectively implemented a stimulus program with the two fold benefit of giving the economy an immediate injection of capital while also directing the majority towards infrastructure and schools. The Tory response was initially to do nothing (a conservative position indeed). Peter Costello led this argument, still considering the taxes of the Australian people to be his personal plaything. Then the Tories changed their minds and Turnbull suggested virtually the same stimulus package. Then Joe Hockey began arguing for a scaled back package. This confused and clearly leaderless coterie of pen-pushing blotter jotters, completely unable to come to any decision how to respond, then had the audacity to complain of the 5% national debt incurred by the ALP!
And what did we get in return for this 5% debt, which the independent Reserve Bank of Australia predicts will peak at no more than 10%? Did not Australia distinguish itself among developed nations by avoiding technical recession and at the same time enjoying a lower national debt than the UK, USA or Japan? Are not public schools receiving quite possibly the only substantial injection of capital they will see for fifty years? Has our unemployment rate not stayed stubbornly low in stark contrast to world trends? When a person buys a house do they not incur a debt against their wage in the order of 300-400%? By this logic, the Tories would suggest virtually every home owner in Australia is a Labor style, big spender intent on ruining the economy. This is, of course, laughable. The stimulus package worked, the debt is well manageable and it is the Tories not the ALP who appear completely incapable of managing the economy.
So with an election looming, the question as always is who will you believe? Is it possible to still believe the tired stereotype that Labor can’t handle money? Is it possible after weathering the financial tsunami to believe that the Tories are inherently better at economic management? This Tory propaganda, as shown in the email I received claiming under Labor the economy would ‘die’ and that ‘interest rates will [be] too unpredictable’, is plainly wrong. As if any further evidence were needed, consider the Tory choice of Opposition Finance Minister, Barnaby Joyce! A man who, were it not for Steve Fielding, would stand alone as the most mentally inept person to ever shame the halls of parliament. It is no surprise that he has already been sacked. Lacking the ability to count must have been a serious impediment to his role.
The Tories were not good economic mangers under Howard and they aren’t good economic managers now. The current opposition led by the Vampire of Warringah are the most miserable brutes G-D ever put guts into. They are the nefarious representatives of the Australian business oligarchy and the flagitious bourgeoisie who fight still against every egalitarian principle the Australian people have found to be good, just and noble. They have fought every Labor initiative to raise the dignity of Australian workers choosing always to crawl meekly into the black hole of elitism and fear; the Tory base.
So let us not be surprised when the old mantra comes out this election year that Labor can’t handle the economy and apparently has been doing a poor job for three years. The truth is there for all to see. The Mad Monk and his Tory acolytes may venture to dream that their economic credentials will see them over the line in the forthcoming election. I, for one, wouldn’t put money on them.
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