Scott cares for our most vul­ner­a­ble – MPs

Life & Style Weekend - - TREND - Pol­lie Tick­led WITH Michael Burlace Pol­lie Tick­led is a satir­i­cal col­umn

We tried some el­e­ments of the Amer­i­can model here. We freed up or sold off in­dus­tries that were over­reg­u­lated. We tight­ened wel­fare. You know the stuff.

THE old joke went like this: What the good Lord giveth, the gov­ern­ment taketh away. And the lib­er­tar­ian right saw that as an ar­gu­ment for smaller bud­gets, less state and fed­eral in­ter­ven­tion and more freedom for the es­tab­lished mem­bers of so­ci­ety to get on with their busi­ness un­fet­tered.

We never quite got to the fron­tier men­tal­ity that led to Trump’s elec­tion and the in­evitable back­lash from the fringe of the world’s largest gun-oc­racy: Still too big a gov­ern­ment.

But now the smarter Amer­i­can busi­ness peo­ple are look­ing for­ward and try­ing to get bet­ter gov­ern­ment, not nec­es­sar­ily smaller or big­ger, just bet­ter for peo­ple, bet­ter for con­sumer spend­ing and thus bet­ter for busi­ness. And co­in­ci­den­tally pro­duc­ing a more hu­mane so­ci­ety.

The Fortress Amer­ica idea wins an elec­tion but doesn’t support eco­nomic growth, par­tic­u­larly when the coun­try teeters near a re­ces­sion.

We tried some el­e­ments of the Amer­i­can model here. We freed up or sold off in­dus­tries that were over-reg­u­lated. We tight­ened wel­fare. You know the stuff. Then the Ab­bott gov­ern­ment de­cided to tighten the screws, bring the deficit down. But they also in­creased the gov­ern­ment’s bor­row­ing (deficit) lim­its and let the coun­try’s credit card max out. Dunno how they did that while say­ing the op­po­site. But ... politi­cians.

Then the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment looked like it would con­tinue that crack­down on the peo­ple at the bot­tom – be­cause of the deals that got our present leader to be Prime Min­is­ter.

So La­bor was on the rise, or tem­po­rar­ily less on the nose than the Coali­tion. Right-wing MPs were still not happy in Lib/Nat party meet­ings and the rumblings were get­ting stronger.

Scott Mor­ri­son has pulled rab­bits out of his hat be­fore. The man who can be as tough as they come on borders also be­lieves borders should be open for trade and im­mi­gra­tion.

So, while Turn­bull can be smug as he rides the wave of pop­u­lar­ity this bud­get brings him, he is aware that his job is now at the mercy of his most ca­pa­ble min­is­ter.

Straight after the bud­get was de­liv­ered, the cor­ri­dors of par­lia­ment were full of the usual and in­evitable ru­mours of this be­ing a tilt for the top job (which it surely is). But there was also a lot of scut­tle­butt that sev­eral of the La­bor Party’s more se­nior mem­bers had of­fered the lead­er­ship of the ALP to Mor­ri­son.

A lit­tle dig­ging con­firmed my sus­pi­cions. The of­fer was not from the other side but from the Ab­bott gang.

Now all the gov­ern­ment has to do is get the bud­get passed. The Coali­tion will have to back its Trea­surer. The La­bor Party might be up­set that the Libs stole their best ideas, but it would be churl­ish to block a Lib­eral bud­get be­cause it looked too La­bor­ish. So it should be a bud­get of na­tional agree­ment, apart from the stri­dent ends of the spec­trum.

But ... politi­cians. As Mor­ri­son es­caped the throng after his de­liv­ery and walked to his of­fice sing­ing, I caught the tune – Rocky Hor­ror’s Time Warp. He sang: “As I jump to the Left, and give a snub to the Right, I’ll do the Elec­tion Warp again”.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

We have tried some el­e­ments of the Amer­i­can Bud­get model in Aus­tralia.

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