The Opposition made a hash of its response to the government's mid-year budget update.
Tony Abbott made headlines with another unfortunate slip, to give the charitable interpretation: "If the government was a bit more experienced in this area," he said, questioning the government's proposed cuts to the baby bonus. He later insisted that he was not referring to the Prime Minister's childlessness and offered an ungracious apology, but the damage had been done (and indeed, who else could he have been referring to, given the many parents on the front bench?).
Joe Hockey only added to the Coalition's terrible day. He likened cutting the baby bonus to China's one-child policy: "Now the government seems to want to penalise anyone that has a second or third child," he told ABC television. "I think that worked quite well in China, didn't it?"
Reducing a benefit is clearly not a penalty, but only months ago it was Hockey who was calling for an end to the 'age of entitlement'. Only hours earlier the focus of his attack had been government over-spending.
The Opposition will be happy to see Craig Thomson back in the spotlight today.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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"South-East Asia’s top diplomat has rejected as 'counterproductive' the Liberal policy to tow back asylum seeker boats to Indonesia, warning the plan could jeopardise Australia’s ties with its neighbours. But Surin Pitsuwan, head of the 10-nation association that covers south-east Asia, has cast doubts whether an Abbott government would actually carry out its threat to force asylum seekers to return to Indonesia."
Stop Grumbling About Tax, We All Benefit Along The Way
"What's the point of all this churning? Wouldn't it be a lot simpler and cheaper to have lower taxes and lower spending? If we each got back pretty much what we put in, it would indeed be a pointless, wasteful exercise. In reality, high-income earners put in a lot more than they get back, whereas low-income earners receive a lot more than they pay in taxes. But even that doesn't adequately describe the rearranging brought about by the budget."