Malcolm Turnbull’s Prime Ministerial Obituary

‘If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined’

(Pyrrhus of Epirus)

One of the first posts ever written on TMR was Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministerial Obituary.

Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t need a similarly written obituary: he’s done a perfectly good job of writing his own.

Building Turnbull’s PM Obituary Guarantee

During Turnbull’s first year as Prime Minister, Australians were treated to Turnbull and his leather jacket at their barnstorming best:

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

Budget 2016-17

  • 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).

Turnbull keeps winning

Proving that his first year was no fluke, Turnbull kept racking up the victories:

  • 16 March 2017 – Turnbull announces the Snowys – Mark II. Although no feasibility study has been completed, a rigorous back on the napkin analysis was probably done. The original $2 billion estimate doesn’t take long to blow out to $4.5 billion.
  • 29 March 2017 – faster than a fornicating rat, Turnbull jumps ship on the ratification plan.
  • April – June 2017 – Western Australians realise that Turnbull had no clothes on when talking about GST reform.

Budget 2017


GDP Graph

  • 14 August 2018 – Turnbull attempts to rub his party’s nose in NEG. On achieving a meaningless party-room vote in favour of the policy, many of the left-intelligentsia conclude that Turnbull has achieved a ‘major victory’ – despite the fact that:

(a) numerous Liberal MPs have long been threatening to cross the floor if the NEG is tabled in parliament;

(b) we’ve all heard this song before;

The federal Liberal Party has elected Tony Abbott as leader and in an unprecedented secret ballot voted overwhelmingly to defeat the Government’s emissions trading scheme.

Seconds after Mr Abbott beat Malcolm Turnbull by one vote, he then declared a secret ballot on the ETS.

The motion proposed that the legislation should be delayed for three months, and if this could not be secured, then the legislation should be defeated.

The motion was carried by 54 votes to 29, guaranteeing the death of the Rudd Government’s ETS.

(c) everyone knows how it ended last time…

  • 20 August 2018 – Turnbull concedes defeat on his signature ‘National Energy Guarantee’ policy.
  • 21 August 2018 – using all of his political judgment and ‘smartest person in the room-level’ intelligence, Turnbull calls a leadership spill without notice – only to find out that 35 out of 83 federal Liberal MPs aren’t very keen on him continuing as leader. The vultures begin to descend.

Jon Kudelka 20180820


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