Budget Justifications Still Needed
Treasurer Hockey seems to have escaped any censure from Abbott or any denial that he (Abbott) gave the nod of approval to Hockey publishing a biography (did Abbott ask to see the final draft, or was he offered a look, one wonders).
And now, incredibly, Hockey has said the budget is “about right”: yesterday it was not tough enough. How does he justify this when the Treasury has suddenly stated that structural savings are needed in health and education (presumably this refers to more than is already proposed)? Did he not receive such advice when the budget was being framed?
Nor has Hockey varied his selling-the-budget strategy by focussing on the problem of deficits and debt. This is of course is an appropriate part of any budget selling strategy. But it completely misses on how the average citizen might be helped understand that the large increase in real incomes over the past 20 years warrants reduced government spending in various areas or why it is equitable to do so.
Hockey’s maintenance of the same strategy badly needs changing. Parliament should be presented with a revised budget and set of explanations when it resumes in August. It should be a joint presentation by Abbott and Hockey.
One of the surprising aspects of the publication of the Hockey biography is that it has received
limited criticism outside The Australian. I have already reported some of the critiques. Below is an excellent one by Judith Sloan, with the concluding advice to Hockey that “sometimes it is better simply to shut up”.
According to The Australian’s environment editor, Graham Lloyd, “global average surface temperatures have not increased dramatically for more than a decade despite steadily rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere” (see article below). But why the understatements? It is generally agreed that average surface temperatures have not risen at all over the past 15 years or so and that the growth in emissions has been more than “steady”.
Lloyd also fails to mention the significance of the research by two Americans accepted for publication. This research suggests that deep oceans actually cooled slightly over the past 20 years and the researchers state that this creates uncertainties which “remain too large to rationalise”. Lloyd should surely have pointed out that this potentially knocks on the head the explanation offered by the IPCC (and others) that the heat from radiation has been hidden in the depth of oceans.
In short, the IPCC and its followers now appear to lack any credible explanation for the so-called pause in temperatures. At the least there needs to be an inquiry independent of the IPCC and, as I have suggested, there are enough “uncertainties” for Abbott to do that politically. He could also point out to the G20 that, if those uncertainties warrant a reduction in public expenditures and public sector employment on emissions reductions, that would be consistent with the objective of increasing the rate of growth by 2 per cent pa.