Who would deny that the process by which the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, his Treasurer Scott Morrison canvassed budget options has been, agonising, trying out ideas which when run up the flagpole, nobody saluted.
But, in the end, they got it right. The 2016-17 budget is a springboard for success. The coalition should get back in July when the double dissolution election takes place.
There are problems: there always are, but they are inherited from the Gillard-Rudd years. The figures are getting better, albeit slowly. Economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product is steady at 2.5 per cent, likely to rise to three per cent and likely to stay there. Good enough because although internationally, growth is 3.5 per cent, our major trading partners are growing at a forecast four per cent, which augurs well.
The deficit is down a bit to $37.1 billion, but is forecast to decline steadily.
Financing it will cost $14.4 billion, and it will still be close to $14 billion in three years’ time, compared with nothing when the Howard-Costello government was defeated.
Scott Morrison will continue to have his work cut out. The budget has to accommodate $124.5 billion for social security, $33.9 billion for defence, $43.9 billion for education, and $64.3 billion for health, all of them increases in expenditure.
Morrison called it an economic plan, not just another budget. He might just as well have said an election manifesto. Business tax has been eased in the cause of controlling unemployment, which is forecast to fall slightly to 5.5 per cent, and the roads and rail infrastructure programmes have been retained.
Abolishing negative gearing – the right of people buying a second house as an investment and to deduct their losses against their taxation liability – has been rejected. That’s a fight Bill Shorten must lose.
Morrison is tightening the laws on multinational corporations to make it hard to shift tax liability from one country to another where it might be lower, and reducing the concessions for superannuation.
Morrison ended his budget address on a rollicking note. The Australian economy grew by $40 billion, adding 300,000 jobs. Jobs growth since the last election was 440,000. Youth unemployment has fallen.”
The Australian economy grew faster than those of the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Germany, New Zealand and Singapore, and twice as fast as the Canadian economy.
“We must stick to our national economic plan for jobs and growth, fix the problems in our tax system and ensure that government lives within its means, the Treasurer declared.
The budget, which was supposed to be boring, is a turning point. The political dialogue will now be different, and the spirits of the coalition have lifted.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.