Journalist Laurie Oakes’ recent reference to Tony Abbott ‘abandoning economic reform in favour of shameless populism’, is an issue that is given very little current media coverage. In less than two years, the Abbott government has doubled the deficit and added nearly $100 billion to Commonwealth government debt.
Consumer confidence has dropped back to pre-budget levels, despite the government having abandoned $2.5 billion in savings to produce a more amenable budget.
Productivity is falling, taxes and spending have increased and some $25 billion of the $34 billion expected to be added to the budget bottom line will be raised by bracket creep. This means lower and middle income groups, as a percentage of their income, will be impacted far more than upper income groups.
Obvious reforms such as taxing wealthy superannuants and clamping down on multi-national profit-shifting have been ruled out in the first instance, and barely tinkered with in the second.