Lift our Politics out of the Ideological Mud

Posted by Mike Kaaks

26 May 2020

I wrote the prompt for this article on the second of April 2020. Little did I know how prescient I was being.  Here we are on 25th of May and the headlines are all about our government NOT spending money we had happily accepted would be spent. WE. US. The population. Not the government. Clearly the government had proposed the plan. Appropriately we applauded, not the least because they had showed a compassionate response to the challenge and had acted outside their comfort zone.

There were some administrative bumps along the way; the world is not made for such large scale change to happen overnight. Then came the report that there was more than a bump. A commitment to spend $130 BBBBillion now seemed only to be subscribed to 70 billion. In an instant the leopard reappeared in its spots or if you prefer fairy tales the wolf abandoned it’s sheep’s disguise. It is no longer about supporting the society and as a consequence supporting it’s economy. All we hear now is it was going to be borrowed money, it wasn’t ours to spend, we should cut off the programme. By the way, where was this $130 BBBillion that was to be borrowed sitting? Surely it wasn’t under someone’s mattress. Let’s come back to this. Is it all Australian money?

For me the question is what argument should drive what happens next. Is it “we are happy to spend that much money so lets spend it even though the target has changed. In the end of course the target is the same. It the sum of all the people. The society. Borrowing the $130bn would take aggregate borrowing to around 25% of GDP and whilst this is ip from YE 2019 numbers, it is nowhere near the UK and US who live around 80% and seem to manage ok.

Then today 26 May we saw a very positive announcement from the PM that he has announced a review of Industrial Relations in Australia. It can stand on its own as a positive move, however one can’t ignore the politics at play as this pushes public debate about the Job Keeper issue to the inside pages. Just as Covid19 pushed sports rorts out of the spotlight. We deserve better. Positive initiatives should not come at the expense of dealing with the dark side of politics.

After Covid