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.

About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.