I hate Mondays – the Coalition’s bad day

This may not be a good week for the Coalition. At the very least, it’s been an awfully bad day.

First, Joe Hockey, Shadow Treasurer, started off his debate speech sounding a lot like he was praising the government. ‘Our destiny is bountiful … the world wants our services … agriculture … innovation’. It’s one thing to include love of country and hope for the future in an opening argument – it’s quite another to give every indication that you think the country is in a wonderful situation. Once you do that, it’s hard to then make the point that things are so dire that your party needs to step in and clean up the mess.

Then there was the matter of expenditure figures. First, Tony Abbott said that the Coalition has planned to spend $18 billion. Later, Joe Hockey announced the figure was nearly $26 billion.

Asked to account for the discrepancy on Sky News’ PM Agenda this afternoon, Senate Opposition leader Barnaby Joyce stammered, stuttered and blustered. He protested that the Coalition’s costings would be given to Treasury to evaluate. He excused himself on the grounds that they didn’t have access to the latest figures. He accused Labor of destabilising the country to the point that the Coalition was having difficulty even working out its costings. And when reminded that he was being asked about expenditure, not costings, he took on a faintly alarmed expression and went on the attack.

At which point he rewrote history, and elevated Mark Latham to a position he once coveted (and may still do so). He referred to Julia Gillard being confronted by ‘a former Prime Minister’.

Andrew Robb, the Coalition’s putative Finance minister, was quickly rolled out to clarify the situation. There is no discrepancy, he explained. Hockey’s figures simply include Labor’s mining tax. Abbott’s did not.

Hold on a minute. Back up there.

This was a discrepancy in the Coalition’s expenditure figures. Why, then, would Hockey’s numbers include an as yet non-existent mining tax which is their opponent’s policy? A tax, moreover, that the Coalition have promised that they have no intention of ever implementing?

So as Monday draws to a close, we have: a Shadow Treasurer waxing lyrical about a bountiful life under Labor; that same Treasurer, his leader, his Senate leader and his colleague in Finance unable to explain a $7 billion discrepancy in expenditure figures; and the aforementioned Senate leader apparently unaware that his party defeated Mark Latham.

Tony Abbott could be forgiven, right now, for thinking that he has a lot in common with Garfield – that Monday is out to get him. I imagine he’d dearly love to draw a line under today, and hope that this doesn’t carry over into tomorrow’s news cycle.

There are some very important unanswered questions, though – and we can only hope that those in the media with access to him don’t forget to keep asking them.

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3 Responses to I hate Mondays – the Coalition’s bad day

  1. Stevie Shiro says:

    Thanks this made for interesting reading. I love your wordpress theme!

  2. Fergie says:

    At the end of the day, I think Abbott’s biggest failure as the leader of the Libs in this election campaign, is that he’s completely failed to give his party a cohesive direction. They’re all firing off at cross purposes with the only real underlying direction of “Not Labor” to bind them together.

    Funnily enough, it doesn’t really inspire confidence. What we’re seeing is a fractured party. Still as factured as was suggested by the leadership ballot that ousted Turnbull. I was just listening to a webcast that Nikki was looking at in the background, and when asked the hard questions, Julia usually has an answer. It’s an answer she’s sure of, and the rest of the party seem to be on the same page when asked similar questions.

    I still won’t be voting for either of them though. I’m currently wavering in favor of Labor, but frankly, the big issues for me were internet censorship, and their half assed scrapping of the plan leads me to believe that it will be back with different window dressing sometime after the election, and the fact that neither of the people in the major parties seem to have any interest in actually representing their electorate. I think they both need to be given a time-out, so that they can learn that the Australian voting public are not toothless tigers. But I guess only time will tell if that lesson is served.

    For the first time in my life, I will likely be voting either Greens, or one of the other minor parties. (I like the idea of senators online, and I hear good things about the Australian Sex Party. Although I haven’t looked in to them myself as yet….)

  3. This whole election is upside down.

    We have the ALP preaching economic liberalism and annoying the teachers union, we have the Coalition stuffing up their economic policies, wanting to raise company taxes and force companies to pay for 6 months paid parental leave.

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