Hockey: SPC declares “age of entitlement” dead


From the Treasurer today via the AFR:

Treasurer Joe Hockey says the government’s refusal to assist SPC Ardmona was a signal to the rest of the country that “the days of entitlement are over and the age of personal responsibility has begun’’.

In Brisbane campaigning for Saturday’s federal by-election for the seat of Griffith, the Treasurer told ABC radio that Cabinet refused the request from SPC Ardmona because its parent company, Coca Cola Amatil was profitable and the workplace arrangements at the Victorian fruit processor were too generous.

He said the government was no longer prepared to entertain requests for help when those companies negotiated inefficient workplace conditions, nor when those companies were profitable.

“Everyone in Australia must do heavy lifting now,’’ he said.

“The age of entitlement is over, the age of personal responsibility has begun.’’

All very dramatic.  And I’m strongly in favour if it proves to be true. But as UE showed earlier today, some decisions are better assessed in pragmatic cost/benefit terms. Making an example of SPC  that will cost tax-payers more in the long run isn’t good policy, it’s grandstanding.

As the IMF highlighted last week, Australia is the global home of the tax rort. For the Treasurer to meet his pledge to end entitlement, rather than killing a country town in a symbolic gesture,  he will need to embark on a politically hard road that cuts:

  • negative gearing
  • exemptions for the family home from the pensions means test
  • superannuation concessions that disproportionately benefit the wealthy
  • paid parental schemes that disproportionately benefit the wealthy
  • baby bonuses
  • fringe benefit concessions on company cars
  • diesel fuel concessions for miners
  • free guarantees for offshore bank borrowing

To name just a few off the top of my head! Bring it on, Joe.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. General Disarray

    I’m assuming the end to the age of entitlement will stop at the doors of parliament house.

    • Actually Tony has been flying economy and has issued a directive that there will be no more first class and in some cases business class flights, so they are in some cases cutting back on just a wee bit of the excess in pollie town.

      • casewithscience

        I was on a flight from Canberra to Bris recently and saw Tony Abbott and his entourage.

        They were in the second row (though the 767(?) doesn’t really have “classes”).

        I note he left a ton of isentia papers all over the floor which was a lovely gift for the cabin crew to clean up.

  2. Let more closure announcements begin…

    Word on the street (I am one of them) is that manufacturing is receding quickly, and is hurting; so are the suppliers to manufacturing.

    Engineers and technicians are, all the more, scratching their heads wondering where to go and what to do, in an increasingly competitive marketplace (read: shrinking customer base).

    • Baked Beans are like gold in a recession/depression.

      My plan was to buy tons of this sort of company in a few years. Now what?

  3. Sounds like the Government is going to try the old routine that Howard managed so well with boat people. Use localised tough talk to distract from rapid migration program.

    SPC is shaping up as high profile – We are tough guys – roadkill while doing SFA to address any of the real issues going to the heart of Australia’s lack of competitiveness and economic inefficiency.

    * Exchange rate bloated on debt, asset sales and excessive mining

    * Land prices

    * Inefficient and poorly performing education system

    * Taxation system

    * Incoherent approach to distribution of tax revenue.

    * Mindless dependence on monetary policy.

    and all the other things on HnH’s list.

    • You are quite right. They will touch nothing that matters or more importantly will upset the narrow cabal of vested interests that benefit from entrenched inefficiencies.

  4. Everone in Australia must do the heavy lifting now, hey ? Wow, that really sounds like they’re serious. Does that include some more heavy lifting in the form of sustainable taxation and competition for favored business sectors and trading partners ? Pension and aged care payments to asset rich beneficiaries ? The tax free status and regulatory free pass gifted to this country’s billionaire Churches, beneficiaries of a fortune in government largesse ? The superannuation benefits for senators and members should quite easily fall under Hockey’s definition of inefficient and overly generous, it would seem.

    That is, if we really are all in this together. Which, of course, we are not.

  5. Diesel fuels concessions for miners only? What about the rest – agribusiness, transport, heavy haulage etc. It’s a big country. Think of the rebate as simply a lower excise on fuel. Fair enough I reckon.

    • Absolutely, we should end the diesel rebate across the board.
      And also drought assistance, if we are ending corporate welfare.

      Farmers are business people and should be treated equally to other business people.

    • ‘xactly, brother. People are viewing entitlement seeking through a prism of baddies vs baddies. We must be careful to discern between those ‘good’ entitlement seekers whose receipt of government generosity comes within the context of contributing to a greater economic good or who form part of an important social narrative; and those entitlement seekers who are just plain bad, a drag on the productive capacity of the economy, and who no-one really gives a s**t about (after they’ve been appropriately characterised by the political narrative). Any alignment of said goodies and baddies with the majority of the Coalition’s supporter base is purely coincidental.

      Don’t go quiet on this issue, 3d. People need to understand the reality of the situation, and there is no-one better placed to inform them.

      • ‘xactly Spleen. No question, resources, agri and transport – each essential to our economic wellbeing – clearly are first class goodies in the current economic narrative. Some small respite from excessive fuel taxes a worthy endeavour.

    • Transport & Heavy haulage? I was under the impression it was for miners and farmers only.

      The diesel excise is to pay for roads. Miners and farmers don’t drive on roads, public ones anyway.

      I’ve got plenty of gripes with the other subsidies for both groups, but this isn’t a subsidy, it’s reasonably fair tax treatment.

  6. The buffoon speaks. It is the end of entitlement for those that the government deems not worthy.