When Malcolm Turnbull took the leadership last year from Tony Abbott, he reasoned his predecessor just wasn’t up to the leadership the country needed.
“The big economic challenges that we’re living through here and around the world offer enormous challenges and we need a different style of leadership … a style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence.
He's right, that was what we were looking for.
Where are we now, well, Turnbull and his treasurer, Scott Morrison don't seem to respect one another– they seem to want different things just about every time they open their mouths.
We actually just want them to get on with delivering what Turnbull promised, which was a serious conversation about economic policy and respect for voters.
Voters have had more than a gutful of political discussion, because dealing with substance is just too hard, both for politicians and for political reporters.
So far all we've seen nothing but a soap opera and its been topped off with guess what, a new federalism. Then there is also a near meaningless formulation that Australia just has to live within its means.
Does it mean we would not borrow for infrastructure, we would not build for the future, we would not allow students to borrow money to fund their education. So what does this living within your means concept actually mean?
The treasurer says “It means you manage your finances responsibly, it means if you do need to spend extra money then you find savings.”(No borrowing, come on,everyone needs to borrow at some time)
Is he suggesting Australian households don’t borrow, or seek supplementary income, in order to provision productively for their future. Its an absurdity, and one really unworthy of an occupant of the treasury portfolio.
If I hear the term “economy in transition” again I think I'll puke. It sounds as if Australia has a virus, it isn't a malignant cancer, its just the economy stupid.
If Malcolm Turnbull is to reset the budget debate, he has to abandon the old Liberal mantra that taxes must always be cut. Both sides of the budget have to be deployed in the search for fairness and efficiency, and in the present climate that means an active search for ways achieve that.