Julia, dump Bob!
by Peter Switzer
In over 25 years of business, economic and political commentary, I have always strived to be unbiased. It means I have offended both Labor and conservative politicians equally. That said, if a government of one persuasion gets it right or wrong for a sustained period, I do let them have it and so it could look like I’m biased.
I’m not — they’re just victims of sustained dopiness.
Keating and Howard
For example, I was a great Keating fan during his crusading deregulating days, but he mismanaged the economy and interest rates going into “the recession we had to have”.
I gave it to John Howard over aspects of the GST and how it was explained and applied to small business. He and Peter Costello, like most leaders, gave into Treasury who don’t understand business, but all up the policy proved to be a ripper.
I often criticised Costello for being unsympathetic to small business but praised his economic achievements. He still seems pissed off and won’t come on my TV show.
At least, Keating hasn't decided either way. Mr Keating’s assistant sent me an email which said: “Mr Keating has not ruled out coming on your program”. That’s at least something.
Now for Labor right now.
Listening to Bob Brown of the Greens yesterday confirmed that Julia Gillard has to dump Bob and his loony left ideas if she ever wants to dream of winning an election.
Bob is a man with a mission, and I believe he has the best of intentions, but he’s out of touch with the rest of Australia. Wanting to shut down the coal industry — our biggest exporter — is crazy. Reducing its importance is understandable but shutting it down?
The Greens, when you look at their wider agenda, do look like watermelons — green on the outside and red on the inside!
Let me admit that my bottom line would be enhanced if a carbon tax comes in as I have a book called The Carbon Crunch, which was shelved after Kevin Rudd dumped his ETF. However, Carbon Crunch Mk II will eventually be printed when a carbon policy is imposed on Australia.
And that’s my point — OK policies at the wrong time can be dumb policies!
If the world was signing up to a carbon tax, then I could see the merit of such a policy here as there wouldn’t be a terrible competitive issue for our economy. But they’re not, and that’s because most economies are worried about their growth and their jobless rates and their politicians are worried about their jobs. It’s all quite rational.
However, here in a two-speed economy, many sectors are in a downturn or a recession and Labor thinks it’s a good idea to try on a tax. Economics recommends cutting taxes to deal with downturns, not raising them.
Labor has got its timing wrong and has run to the Greens because of the lack of numbers in the hung parliament, but they might be only buying a short amount of time and ruining their chances for the next poll.
The best tactic for the PM would be to play hardball with Bob Brown and the Greens and make them understand the majority of Australians. That’s what a democracy is all about — has Labor forgotten this? Of course, Bob doesn’t care because he’s a minority man and that’s his right but it’s our right as the majority to reject his policy ideas.
I know Labor will hope that excessive compensation will win back Labor supporters, but it might be cheaper and smarter if you, Julia, simply dumped Bob.
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Published on: Thursday, June 30, 2011
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