Are we there, yet? Scott Morrison of the never-never meets Thelma and Louise.

1. morrison wombat wobble

“The MYEFO confirms that tax revenue will rise to 23.1 per cent of GDP in 2018-19…Not Whitlam, nor Keating, nor Rudd, nor Gillard ever taxed this high. The only government to have a higher tax-to-GDP ratio was John Howard, who exceeded this rate in eight of his years in office.” 

Stephen Koukoulas, former adviser to Julia Gillard.


It’s in and what a shocker it is! P-plate treasurer, Scott Morrison’s morally bankrupt, fiscally inept MYEFO statement, shows our national income shot to buggery while expenditure goes through the roof.

Our deficit rockets to $37.4 billion. The net debt savings the Coalition had earlier claimed by slashing Australia’s foreign aid in half and shifting $80 billion of hospital and school bills to the states is now pretty well all gone.

Morrison, naturally, quietly leaves in all of Joe’s earlier cuts to Education and Health, while slashing $200 million more from agencies such as Health and the Attorney-General’s Department. Tassie also loses funds for inessential stuff like protecting forests. Bugger the environment. But, then, Hunt’s doing a good job of that already.

However, everything is OK with most of the MSM. The rest of us kids are all being taken for a ride. Everybody loves a summer holiday. Dad Morrison always drives without any sort of map. Never checks the gas gauge. He’s running on empty.

Mum jokes we are from the Fockawi tribe, always driving around in circles and off cliffs shouting, ‘We’re the Fockawi!’

Mismanagement and duplicity masquerade as budgeting yet again. Too be fair, Morrison can’t see past those bulging tax cuts for corporations up his sleeve, or as he loves to say ‘on the table’ despite the fact that according to the ATO, 40% of our ‘good corporate’ citizens are having a free ride. They pay no tax.

Corporate tax evaders are not in ScoMo’s sights. Nor are the wealthy who enjoy $25 billions of tax breaks per year via Super. Nope. Nope. Nope. it is the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable who must bear the brunt of  $10.6 billion worth of spending cuts, including reductions in bulk-billing incentives for pathology, funding for aged care providers and tougher means-testing of childcare benefits.

Morrison’s con job, his innumeracy and incompetence, raise barely a murmur from the ‘Chuck this mob out’ squad, of course. News Corp hounds would be baying for blood if his, high-taxing, high-spending, deficit-blowing-out, living beyond its means government were not Liberal, not an branch of its head office; an arm of its own franchise.

Shock and horror, the iron ore price is going through the floor. Well, who would believe? Lordy, lordy, lawks a mercy. We are told all about the dreadful fall in commodity prices as if it just took us all by surprise. Shocking! No-one could see it coming.

Of course the budget’s buggered. This mining boom was going to be everlasting, unique and unlike any other this country has experienced. Unprecedented? What is unprecedented is what we are expected to swallow. His analogy is so bad it’s good.

‘There are no short cuts; there may be some delays on the way with road works and the like,’ Morrison muses. “There will be plenty of people in the back seat – which often happens when I’m driving the family – saying, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’

No, ScoMo, they are saying that you are all over the road. You have no clue where you are going. No good just saying ‘follow that car!’ Chasing falling revenue by cutting government spending is going to get you nowhere apart from back into recession. What’s that? Move it?

Of course! Brilliant!  You can always push out your ‘back in the black’ fantasy estimates. You can’t do it forever, however and Peter Martin notes another teensy problem with the are we there yet going on holiday analogy. We never get to come back. That date for return to surplus keeps on getting postponed. Still, you always get a few smartarses.

Some are asking the right questions. How did we put all our revenue eggs in one basket? How could we have been so dumb? How could we accept such wilful blindness, greed, short-term political myopia and a cheer-squad of vested interests only too happy to take over the driver’s seat. Voting Liberal because we thought Labor was worse. It’s cost us. And it will continue to cost us.

But we don’t have a revenue problem claims Blind Freddy Morrison who is happy that forty per cent of corporations pay no tax at all. Nothing to see here. Just as we never had anything to explain in our offshore processing centres. Nothing to see in the collapse of commodity prices.

Look over there! Export volumes went up in the last quarter. We are on track. Morrison is rabid with spin; barking mad. Reasoned discourse is impossible, Leigh Sales discovers – yet again. Don’t even try to reason with the mongrel. Your job is to nod agreement and offer the odd Dorothy Dixer he’s thoughtfully supplied.

The laughable ‘credible path to surplus’ slogan gets a rest and the ‘target’ is shifted forward into infinity. Instead transitioning gets a workout. Exports show we are transitioning, a buzz-word for our times that covers changes we don’t understand that we have Buckley’s of controlling. Exports? Our miners’ last-ditch attempt to turn a profit is responsible for the increase in exports, not a sign of any diversification or restructure. A last gasp transition?

Transitioning works so well for the Turnbull government, however, it just can’t leave the buzz word alone. You’d swear they had invented it. So perfect to claim things are going your way when the truth is that you don’t have a clue where you’re going. Scott ‘Are we there yet’ Morrison’s dumb analogy of the federal budget as family car trip

Today’s favourite buzz-word was, however, around well before a few right wingers and a mob of failed farmers and agrarian socialists, the Nationals threw in their lot with a few right wing odds and sods, including the politically conflicted mutual self-delusion that is the ‘broad church’ Liberal Party to transition into a coalition early last century. They are still back there.

Transitioning into a coalition made political sense, numbers-wise, even if some hayseeds later turned out to be diabolical liabilities and fair-weather friends. Populist nut-job Bob Katter, for example, sensibly became an Independent in 2001 and the often less than sensible Barnaby Joyce, goes barking mad with pistol envy from time to time as he did at Johnny Depp. Barnaby will come right. He is set to transition into Deputy PM when Wokka Truss retires.

Since a conservative rabble transitioned into a Coalition they have never looked back. Or ceased to look backwards. And sidewise, under the bed and behind the wardrobe. In place of a coherent ideology, the coalition is fuelled by a mutual mistrust bordering on paranoia. But it works. Australia is safe from Boo and Pistol. A transition can do that. And more.

The arse falls out of mining. You’ve spent all the proceeds of the boom years on buying votes with tax breaks and benefits. You’re skint. Forty per cent of your companies pay no tax at all. No problem. Tell the punters the economy is transitioning. Approve massive coal mines like Adani’s Carmichael mine while you bugger the renewable energy business but, hey, your energy policy is transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables. Transitioning even works with your human resources.

You recycle your rejects. There’s Joe Hockey, transitioning effortlessly from dud treasurer to top show pony. He also gets free rent and utilities in Washington as Australia’s Ambassador to the US and he gets to pool his $90,000 PA parliamentary pension with his new diplomatic salary of $360,000. A few bargain-priced running repairs costing a mere couple of hundred million should tide him over, as Australia transitions towards a new, more appropriately upmarket mansion.

Joe has never shown a shred of diplomatic potential but his grasp of the economy wasn’t that flash either. You have to bury your corpses somewhere. And opportunities abound in these exciting times. There has never been a better time to be Joe Hockey.

Joe may even team up with Donald Trump. They are made for each other.  Joe could put his foot in Don’s mouth and vice versa. Transition into stand-up comedy. Anything. Just not politics.

Malcolm Turnbull, too, was once a lowly Communications Minister who couldn’t, well, communicate. OK he landed a hard gig. In Opposition, he spruiked a bogus NBN but after the election when the opposition transitioned into the government things were looking crook even for the man who could talk his way out of an HIH collapse.

Once his mob was in power, no-one understood Mal any better, but now people expected him to make his NBN fraudband work. Walk the talk. Was the NBN Tony’s (or Peta’s) hand-brake on the over-ambitious, underperforming silver-tongued silver-tail? Not even Tone thought it could work.  But in the bigger picture it was just a stop-gap until Mal transitioned to Prime Minister when it could be someone else’s problem; someone else’s fault.

Because Abbott was so widely and well hated, Turnbull as PM has had a dream run although hazards are ahead.  One is his fat head.  Consistently being overrated in politically useless popularity polls can do that even to a narcissist.

Popularity as ‘measured’ in public opinion polls has stuff-all to do with actually being a PM, although it cranks up expectations. Can Malcolm transition from pop-star to real politician? Will Abbott and the lunatic right’s monkey pod push let him? All bets are off.

Being PM involves practicalities like showing backbone and getting projects finished. Anyone can waffle about innovation but if all you can show for it is a buggered NBN and a lot of hot air about innovation, then the honeymoon will eventually be over. And while the not-being-Tony-Abbott halo effect elevates Mal above his station, it will also more powerfully illuminate his deficiencies. Mal’s popularity is in inverse to his capacity to achieve anything. Or his bottle.

Scott Morrison is in the same sort of fix. He’s clearly hopeless as treasurer. He got the job because he was ambitious and Mal wanted to keep him busy and out of trouble. ‘The Fixer’ was fixed up.

OK Morrison was hopeless at his first cabinet post but he could make it up as he went along. Best of all he could refuse to answer any questions about his stuff ups. Or anything really. Then there was the ‘on water’ and the ‘operational matters’ analogy, as if we were at war with our own humanity and compassion. Genghis Khan was more accountable.  And he had a real budget.

Fear not. Fee, Fie, MYEFO Fum Scott ‘Are We There Yet’ Morrison is merely in transition from head of Tourism Australia, an unhappy appointment which was terminated by mutual agreement.  His transition into politics was set with a bit of help from his friends in the form of a job as NSW Liberal Treasurer. Scott, Where the bloody hell are we? Morrison of Tourism Australia has transitioned into ‘Are we there yet?’

So that’s it, then, kids. MYEFO is really just a children’s story about a family trip in the car. Just don’t expect it to have anything to do with real Federal budgeting. Or a happy ending.