Tuesday, 17th December 2013


At the National Press Club today, Joe Hockey will present his government's first major economic statement, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

The annual deficit is now expected to blow out from $30 to $50 billion. Hockey and Abbott are presenting this as Labor's last budget statement, and arguing that it is primarily a structural deficit that has been handed to them by Labor – their spin is half true.

What they won't tell you is that over $10 billion has been added to the deficit by the Coalition, through the decision to boost the Reserve bank's capital, as well as tax hike cancellations (super and fringe-benefits) and public service redundancy backtracks. They also won't disclose what changes have been made to Treasury forecasting parameters under their leadership.
There will be a lot of talk from Hockey about the need to fix Labor's mess, and the fact that Labor is blocking cuts the Coalition wants to university funding and to mining tax-linked spending programs.

The 'budget emergency' is back, but henceforth all eyes will be on the Coalition to fix it.

Finally, there are two asylum seeker-related stories that cannot go by unremarked. The first relates to a code of conduct quietly introduced by the government, whereby asylum seekers in Australia can be indefinitely locked up or have their visas cancelled if they contravene arbitrary rules prohibiting anything from traffic offences to "antisocial behaviour." The second is a report of the horrific conditions on Manus Island, describing a scene that history will record as indistinguishable from a particularly brutal prison camp, but for refugees.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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