Labor’s 10 Year Plan For Making The Shit Up

bill

Earlier today, Labor have released a 32-page booklet called “10 Year Plan for Australia’s Economy”, probably because “5 Year Plan for Australia’s Economy” is no longer considered a thing on the left. Still, a 10 year plan has just about as much substance and as much chance of being realised. On the flip side, I have perused the document and it is my best judgment no kulaks should need to be starved to death during the implementation stage. So that’s something.

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Many pages of “10 Year Plan”, in between all the big colourful stock photos, which take up most of the space in the booklet, bear an impressive, official-looking seal “Fully Costed. Fairness Tested”. I find this quite reassuring. I’m not quite certain how fairness is tested – I hope there’s no lab somewhere out there where cute fluffy bunnies and cheeky monkeys are restrained, immobilised, and subjected to Chris Bowen reading aloud the manifesto over and over again – but I’m pretty sure that “fully costed” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Apparently the Shadow Treasurer admitted today “the deficit would be larger under Labor in the short term, though he argued that “based on the government’s figures, we would get back to budget balance in the same year as the government, 2020-2021”.” Sorry to break it you Chris, but borrowing even more money to pay for all your spending promises (more infrastructure! more on education! small business relief! innovation! renewables! better broadband!) does not make them fully costed. “I’m planning to go on a year-long around-the-world holiday trip with two hookers, one blonde, one brunette (investing in recreation!), a private masseuse and a photographer to hold the selfie stick, and I’m going to pay for it by getting ten more credit cards and maxing them all out. So the trip’s fully costed! And after I return my budget will return to balance!” See what I did there? Yeah, it doesn’t work.

As I wrote elsewhere not that long ago (George Bernard Shaw used to say, “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation”) “Any promise or a plan made beyond the forward estimates – and therefore beyond two federal elections – is completely meaningless.” That makes any “10 year plan” particularly tiresome and pointless, except perhaps as an exercise to further muddy the waters as to when you’re going to deliver all the promised goodies and when the electorate is going to see any outcomes. If you think that a decade has any meaning in politics, remember this: ten years ago John Howard was the Prime Minister, Australia had zero government debt, and Bill Shorten was a private citizen still married to a woman who was not the Governor-General’s daughter.

Oh, did also mention that my “around the world with two hookers” plan has also been “fairness tested”? I’m designing an appropriate seal right now.

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