Julie Bishop and economic management in Australia

In a news interview with Chris Ullmann on the ABC, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop highlighted the problem that many Australians have with politicians nowadays.

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Ms Bishop was asserting that Labor were not good economic managers. But hadn’t Labor guided Australia through the financial crisis asked Ullmann with many economic measures that Malcolm Turnbull approved at the time?  Oh yes, said Bishop, but they inherited a $20 billion surplus from Peter Costello then we had the pink batts fiasco and all the debt and deficit that we now have to deal with as a  group of responsible financial managers.

There’s one thing we should understand about the current deficit. It was the price of Australia paid for surviving the global financial crisis. And you must realise that it wasn’t a terribly high price in the greater scheme of things. It didn’t represent fiscal responsibility on the part of the Labor Party and it didn’t represent travelling the budget deficit on the part of the Liberal party. So both parties should stop trying to kid the Australian public.

If Scott Morrison or Chris Bowen were to explain it for what it really is, rather than as the other guy’s fault, their credibility would increase and our confidence that they would be able to get us through a similar crisis in the future would also increase.

In her brief period as opposition treasurer, Julie Bishop demonstrated a complete unfitness for that position and rather unceremoniously dumped. She’s a good Foreign Minister but she was never going to be any good as a Treasurer and she again demonstrated a lack of some of the fundamentals of economic management.

Why can’t politicians simply be honest with us?

Certainly the Rudd government inherited a good financial situation from the Howard government. But many of those benefits had been squandered by the Costello tax cuts. Despite the Liberal party rhetoric, Costello was really not a very good treasurer. He was a lucky treasurer.

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However, there is no doubt that the triumvirate of Rudd, Henry and Stevens steered Australia through a crisis that almost no other first world nations survived and which many are still struggling with.

All of us, including members of the current Liberal administration should recognise this.

It is called honesty in government. Giving credit where credit is due.

 

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