Before the budget came down, Campbell Newman described it as a “once in a generation budget”. That is certainly what Queensland needed. Our long-term budget position is actually worse than the audit report or old budget papers claim, since they don’t factor in the growing fiscal pressures over the coming decades caused by an aging population. Put simply, current policies are unsustainable, and some tough decisions are needed.
The first thing to note is that the government decided to give up on fixing the 2012/13 budget.
They have allowed the operating deficit to increase from an estimated $4.9 billion (Audit) to $6.3 billion, and the fiscal deficit to increase from an estimated $9.5 billion (Audit) to $10.8 billion. This is perhaps understandable since the federal government has been playing games with their grants (shifting money around to try and manufacture a federal government surplus) and the lag time involved in reforms. So the real place to watch is the estimate for the 2013/14 budget balance.
The recent Queensland budget audit showed an expected 2012-13 operating deficit of $4.9 billion (up from $4.2 billion), and proposed a range of tax increases and soft spending restraint over several years, with serious structural reform only briefly hinted at in a few sentences on page 203. We can do better.
This document shows how we can immediately return to surplus, fundamentally reform hospitals & schools, cut taxes in half, and slash regulation to get the economy booming.
The below reforms are a clear break from “business as usual” and would require brave political leadership. The spending cuts will be unpopular, especially from those people who previously received the “free” money.
However, while these reforms introduce some short-term pain, the long-term benefits are clear and significant. A more competitive hospital and school system will lead to better quality health and education. Dramatically lower taxes and fewer regulations will spur new investments and productivity growth – leading to more jobs and higher wages. And importantly, these reforms ensure the budget position is sustainable so that we do not leave a legacy of debt and deficits for future generations.
Last Monday night was the first meeting of the “liberal club (Qld)“, which has attracted a bit of media attention. The club was started by a handful of people who used to be centrally involved with the former Qld Liberal Party — namely Gary Hardgrave (former federal Liberal MP for Moreton), Bob Carroll (former President of Qld Libs), Geoffrey Greene (former State Director of Qld Libs) and Santo Santoro (former state MP & Senator for Qld Libs). I don’t really know any of these people.
The formation of the new group led to a bit of excitement, and VEX news reported them as “splitters” and “rebels” who are against the merged Liberal National Party (LNP). Others claim it is just a group for like-minded people to eat & chat.
The best parts of this State Council happened in the closed session… so if you want to know the good stuff in the future you should join the party and come along to our meetings. :p
But given that the open sessions are called “open” I assume I’m allowed to talk about them. First, it was a good weekend, helped significantly by being in fun-filled Cairns. That meant it cost a bit more money, but it also meant I got to run into a few people who I otherwise wouldn’t have met (hi Jake & thanks for the scotch) and got to visit a few new streets & pubs.
I’m not sure whether a hung parliament is good or bad for the country, but it’s great for political tragics who get to pontificate about the various twists and turns.
The situation as it stands is 73 for Lib/Nat, 72 for Labor, 1 Green, 1 left-leaning independent (Wilkie), and 3 rural independents (Katter, Oakshott, Windsor). It is reasonable to assume that the Green and Wilkie will side with Labor, which means that the 3 rural independents will decide the outcome. While all come from the conservative side of politics, they do not have a good relationship with the National Party and in many instances their interests seem to align more closely with Labor (they all want more NBN funding and two want a carbon price). In all the confusion about the eventual winner, there has been less consideration about whether winning is a good thing. It may be that the forming government for the next year is a poisoned chalice. Time will tell.
How will Queenslanders vote in the 2010 federal election? I don’t know. Election watchers love to over-analyse events and make detailed predictions based on their reading of the tea-leaves, but in my opinion the best indicator of what will happen comes from the betting markets. So I will spare you my own guesses, and instead outline what the markets are saying about how Queensland will vote.
Barnaby Joyce nominated a five seat gain for the LNP in Queensland – mentioning Longman (s/e Qld), Flynn (rural), Leichardt (rural), Dawson (coastal) and the new seat of Wright (s/e Qld). Centrebet agrees with four of these, with the exception being Longman (which is being contested by 20-year-old Wyatt Roy for the LNP).
I will no longer be standing as the Liberal National Party candidate for Griffith.
Last week Aidan McLindon and Rob Messenger quit the Liberal National Party (LNP), and have decided to stay in the Queensland parliament as independents. I don’t know the people involved, and I don’t know the background, so I’m not going to comment on that.
But one thing that did catch my attention was Aidan’s “seven principles” of government. In summary, his “philosophy” is that the government should help people and do good stuff. Amazingly, those fluffy buzz-words were actually reported with a straight face. I think Aidan missed a few, so I thought I’d help him out…
I don’t always agree with Malcolm Turnbull, and I disagreed with him regarding the ETS (which I think is poor policy), but I am happy that he has decided to stay in politics. He is a smarter than the average politician and I think he has good instincts on economic and social issues.
I know not everybody agrees, but I think Turnbull is a real asset to the Liberal Party. We are not a party with a strict ideology, but include a “broad church” with a range of views on a range of issues, inspired by a broadly liberal & conservative philosophy. The views of Malcolm (while not quite the same as mine) certainly need to be represented, both in our Party and in our Parliament.
While the Liberal Party doesn’t have formal factions, that doesn’t mean that everybody in the party thinks the same. Indeed, internal philosophical debates are a big part of party politics, providing some of the colour and excitement of democracy.
For the casual observer, the most obvious two groups are the “conservatives” and the “moderates”. However, I would suggest that a more complete taxonomy of Liberal Party philosophy included four groups. Of course, any taxonomy of views is going to be imperfect due to some degree of over-simplification, but I think the four philosophies outlined below give a fair overview of the competing views of Party members and supporters.