On all recent polls, it appears that the Coalition is still unbeatable. But Newspoll suggests that Abbott’s leadership of the Liberal party is viewed with suspicion by the electorate – for good reasons.
First, Abbott has still to reveal how he is going to close the budget black hole of $50 to $70b, without creating a mini-depression and abandoning most of the big handouts to low income and middle income earners. .
Secondly, Abbott is clutching at straws when he says that, under Howard, Australia had a lower public debt than it now has. That is true but it is our relative debt levels which count. Since the financial collapse in 2007, Australia’s public debt has risen much less than in Europe, UK and USA, while the economy is still showing stronger growth and lower unemployment and inflation. And we are still aiming for a budget surplus in a year’s time.
Thirdly, it should be relatively easy to address Abbott’s principal objections to the Government’s minerals and carbon tax. The Government can stress that the minerals resource rent tax is helping to spread the welfare benefits of the mining doom across the nation (giving everyone a fair go) and that the carbon tax will help to minimise welfare losses for future generations (inter-generational equity).
These counter arguments can at least narrow the gap which now exists between the two parties.