Malcolm Turnbull now has quite a number of thought bubbles that are going – or have gone – nowhere. A running list is clearly needed:
- November 2015 – Super Tax (Episode I): Turnbull thinks about changing the super contribution tax rate from a flat 15% to a 15% discount on the contributor’s marginal income tax rate, which would have impacted all workers earning over $36,000 per year.
- March 2016 – Turnbull thinks about introducing a negative gearing cap and reducing the CGT discount before taking them ‘off the table’ in April 2016:
After weeks of suggesting the government might make some changes to negative gearing at the higher end of the income scale, Mr Turnbull said it was “common sense” to make no adjustments to existing arrangements.
- 30 March 2016 – Turnbull thinks about building the taxation revolution, by having the federal government share income taxes with the States – an utterly hopeless proposition:
In other words, Turnbull wants to fix the finger pointing and overlapping with more complex tax legislation, more overlapping and nine income tax jurisdictions (*) – all with the intention of collecting essentially the same amount of income tax, just with more government administration and double handling:
“From a taxpayers’ point of view, he or she would pay the same amount of income tax but the states would be raising the money themselves. We would obviously administer it and collect it for them so again there’d be no compliance costs.”
Yep, that should definitely do the trick.
(*) Six States, two Territories plus the Commonwealth.
- 1 April 2016 – two days later, Turnbull thinks against building the taxation revolution, even though it was supposed to be the ‘the most fundamental reform to the federation in generations’. The date couldn’t have been more fitting.
- April 2016 – Super tax (Episode II) – Turnbull tries to out-left Labor by increasing super contribution taxes for anybody earning over $180K.
- April 2016 – Turnbull thinks about building the high speed rail revolution.
- May 2016 – Super Tax (Episode III) – Turnbull and Morrison have another go at trying to raise more revenue by fiddling with people’s super. Everybody is left utterly confused, including Julie Bishop.
- May 2016 – Turnbull and Morrison announce corporate tax cuts over a period of 10 years – something which has absolutely no chance of happening. Turnbull then crashes the plane into the mountain with a complete disaster of an interview regarding the costings.
- July 2016 – somehow, Turnbull thought that Rudd’s UN candidacy was a top priority for consideration immediately after the election – while dealing with section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was not.
- August 2016 – Turnbull announces that he wants to change the GST distribution system. Many misinterpret this to mean that Turnbull’s proposed change will improve Western Australia’s GST share. A review of what Turnbull actually said shows otherwise:
“We believe that we should take that opportunity, as the West Australian share of the GST increases under the current system, to change the arrangements so that we set a percentage floor below which no states receipts can fall,” he said.
“Setting a floor below which a state’s share of the GST cannot fall, immediately after it has been exceeded in this cycle, means that no other state will be disadvantaged based on their projected GST shares.”
In other words, once the current system has finished screwing over Western Australia, Turnbull will introduce a floor so that no other state suffers the same problem. In the meantime, Western Australia is free to continue suffering under the current flawed system.
I would have put together a list of what Turnbull has done as Prime Minister to make Australia a better place. However the laws of physics prevent this. This leaves the following questions which are still getting asked to this day: what does this man stand for, what has he done and what will he get done?
Even Nikki Savva is shriveling up at the prospect of continuing her hopelessly conflicted support for Turnbull, which is quite an achievement on her part.
Here is some of what TMR had to say about Turnbull in February 2016. Six months on, nothing has changed:
Does anyone have even the faintest idea of what is coming next?
You would have to be intellectually amputated to think that Turnbull is simply being ‘measured’ in his policy approach. He’s not some run of the mill new employee. To the contrary, he’s:
- already spent many years in his current workplace;
- clearly spent significant time in recent years considering why he would make a better Prime Minister than Abbott; and
- spent a lifetime aspiring to be Prime Minister.
He’s had plenty of time to ‘measure’ the ‘course of action’ he thinks Australia needs and it’s not asking too much to be clearly told what it is.
Turnbull’s very own words used to attack Abbott five months ago have now become ironically prophetic:
What we have not succeeded in doing is translating those values into the policies and the ideas that will excite the Australian people and encourage them to believe and understand that we have a vision for their future.
There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls.
Australia is experiencing its worst generation of politicians since the Whitlam-Fraser era. A highly compelling case could be made that it’s even worse this time – particularly given that it’s Shorten, Albanese or Plibersek around the corner and not Hawke.