Who picks up the tab for this marriage of convenience?
Not so happy ... the Labor-Greens marriage is costing this nation billions according to Barnaby Joyce.
From my experience there are three forms of wedding ceremony. The bipartisan civil ceremony is between two in front of a few, with a few vows, and a simple, sober celebration afterwards. There is the tripartite religious ceremony before God, with more people, more vows and quite a celebration afterwards. Then, there is the Greens-Labor-independent ceremony which includes all the country with hundreds of vows, and a party that goes for years. What it all means, who would know, as none of the promises are taken very seriously.
As a nation we are only $35billion away until we max out the nation’s credit card again. Wayne Swan promised that we would not get close to our $300billion debt limit. Indeed, he said that at the end of each year we would be below $250billion. We now know he won’t keep that promise, just like he has not kept many others.
Before the $300billion limit, we had a $250billion limit that we were never going to exceed. Before that, our debt was not going to go beyond the ‘‘temporary limit’’ for the ‘‘GFC’’ of $200billion. That level was an increase from the initial limit of $75billion set by the Treasurer of The Millennia, Wayne Swan.
All promises are not worth the paper, or digital transmission device, they are written on if you cannot pay for them.
So now that we are no longer going to have a surplus, even though Swan tried every clumsy accounting trick to fudge one, is our next little necessity a further extension of our nation’s credit card limit?
If this is not infuriating enough, it always comes adorned with the embracing platitudes, whispering to each that ‘‘the GFC made us do it’’ and ‘‘this is not as bad as it looks’’. Make no mistake though, the kid is going to be sent to the taxpayer to bring up.
We are racking up debt without building anything, just supporting well meaning but in reality totally naive frolics. Heaven help us if circumstances force a nation-threatening expense on us. In the meantime, necessary infrastructure is designed, promised, but not built, filing cabinets full of great ideas all just waiting for a little money miracle.
No doubt, come May there will be a new budget with new promises of a surplus very similar to the previous ones they never kept.
The Nindigully Pub, located between St George and Mungindi, has a permanent sign out the front saying ‘‘Free Beer Tomorrow’’. Swan could use them in his economic team.
Modelling released by the firm Macroeconomics last week projected another $50billion in deficits over the next five years. But this hides the high price that others are paying for our exports. If we instead correct to more normal economic conditions, our deficits over the next five years could amount to more than $100billion.
So instead of being in Canberra to fix this budget bungle of their making, the Prime Minister has decided to camp out in Rooty Hill for a week to explain how she really can be trusted now.
Surprise, surprise the last time the Prime Minister visited the Rooty Hill RSL Club was during the last election campaign at a community forum event.
At that forum the Prime Minster promised a bevy of benefits for all; tax cuts for small businesses; thousands of trade training centres; cuts in emergency waiting times; a rail link from Parramatta to Epping, automatic tax deductions; net debt of 6 per cent; cash rewards for schools that improve and continuing to provide computers in schools to students.
None of these promises have been delivered.
Instead, Gillard has delivered a carbon tax; $265billion in gross debt; the lowest defence spending since 1938; the shutdown of large sections of our forestry, irrigation and fishing industries; weaker relations with Indonesia after they halted food exports overnight; a mining tax that raises barely any money; laws to restrict our free speech, and 80,000 fewer manufacturing jobs.
If you are not serious about your relationship with Australia, then the Greens-Labor-independent ceremony has much to offer. It is a lot of fun at the start and someone else will pay for it.
• Barnaby Joyce is the Nationals’ Senate leader and the opposition spokesman for regional development, local government and water.