Economy still weak under Coalition

Many trumpet the economy as a strongpoint for the Coalition.

But what is the reality?

They took gross debt to 28% of GDP, before the pandemic hit, registering the worst fiscal record of any government since the Second World War.

Now, following the pandemic, gross debt is at 42.5% of GDP, more than twice the 20% of GDP left by the Labor government in 2013. It currently projected to rise to 44.9% in 2024.

Inflation is rising and interest rates will go up very soon. Consequently, cost of living is a talking point at almost every kitchen table.

The Morrison government may point to its low unemployment rate but we know that the closure of our borders has taken pressure off those competing for jobs. We also know that ‘employed’ includes people working just one hour a week. Many have been forced to work multiple jobs each week. Half a million people are still unemployed.

If the Coalition does win the election because of perceived economic prudence, it will be on a very false premise.

The past catches up with Morrison

It is very inconvenient for Mr Morrison to face allegations on the eve of the election of making racial slurs against a former opponent. This assertion compounds the multiple attacks made on his character from those who have worked closely with him as well as from the president of France.

Those who rush to his defence plead for a quasi-statute of limitations. After all, they say this happened in 2007. I don’t recall the same people rushing to the support of Julia Gillard when she faced home renovation allegations of impropriety, something that occurred in 1994, and something of which she was cleared.

Furthermore, this is not the only issue for Morrison when it comes to alleged smears on Muslims. Respected journalist Lenore Taylor reported in February 2011 that, at a meeting with his shadow cabinet colleagues in December 2010, Morrison urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate. Both Julie Bishop and Philip Ruddock demurred saying that that was not an issue that should be pursued.

In 2011, following the tragedy of asylum seekers who drowned while trying to make it to Australia, Morrison objected to the government paying for their kin to attend their funerals in Sydney, saying it was a waste of taxpayer’s money. After facing a backlash, he backed down saying his comments were ‘insensitive’.