Should Bozo Joe Hockey keep his job?

There has been a lot of invective heaped upon Bozo Joe Hockey in recent days by the loon pond right as it sought to save its inept prime minister. Mr Hockey is clearly going to lose his job but it’s worth exploring whether Bozo was as bad as he’s being made out to be (and as responsible for the Abbottalypse as he is being accused of).

Hockey came to the job of Treasurer offering a clear vision for “ending the Age of Entitlement”. It was the only economic vision that the government ever had so in that sense it was vastly superior to anything offered by the “open for business” Tony Abbott. It ran into a lot of problems very quickly, and became a petard upon which Hockey was hoisted over and again, but not specifically because of his ineptitude. Indeed, it was usually Abbott captain’s calls based upon political calculation, that saved this company or that sector via government intervention, that punched holes in the vision. The Hobart chocolate factory and salary sacrificing sector saves are prominent examples.

Hockey also swept into Treasury with the very admirable goal of hammering some realism into its forecasting machinery, which had been delusionally bullish for years. That legacy is still embedded in the Budget with what are at last at least semi-believable commodity price forecasts. True, he back-flipped on that in his last Budget by inflating other inputs but the return to dumb optimism was based upon a push to save the sinking Tony Abbott (and he was rumoured to have overseen them) so it’s not fair to lump that on Hockey. His 2015/16 Budget is on track to meet deficit targets. After that it’s a disaster of course.

As well, it was Joe Hockey that mastered two very important structural policy shifts and probably the Abbott Government’s only real achievements. It was Hockey that framed the intellectual debate around the need for a “Son of Wallis” inquiry. It was he that picked the personnel that delivered an excellent result, despite the great of skepticism from peeps like me. The Murray Inquiry will appear prescient in the rear vision mirror of history. Even if its timetables are too slow and targets too low, it traced precisely what is wrong with the Australian economy and will be the blueprint for much tougher rules around banks for many years to come.

The second top-shelf policy effort was the foreign investment rules renovation. The push to enforce FIRB rules around illegal Chinese property buying was long overdue and excellent policy-making. It will likely stand the test of time now that it is in the hands of ATO and is a money making regime. Just as importantly it shifted the normatives around giving houses to foreign criminals to the detriment of local youth, making it much more difficult for Labor especially to loosen them again. The reform of significant investor visas was also excellent.

Both of these structural policy reforms are structural in nature and material blows to the politico-housing complex.

Joe Hockey also took a very sensible agenda to the G20 and performed solidly while his prime minister projected the dignity of self-appointed cult leader.

Turning to the negative ledger, Bozo did egg on the housing bubble rather stupidly. And he was prone to bluster and gaffes. He also oversaw, with Mathias Cormann, the disastrous first Budget. It contained some solid undertakings to reform entitlement in pension giveaways and the like but it also interpreted the “end of entitlement” as not much more than a chance to rip welfare out of the lower classes while the rich galloped to the bank laughing all the while. That was a fatal blow to the government.

It is true, too, that Joe Hockey could never carry a convincing economic narrative. But that did, in great part, result from being undermined by the political calculations of his useless boss over and again. The End of the Age of Entitlement was a framework that could have stood up to the rigors of the troubled times of a busting mining boom and, if expressed right, woven together Australians in a new project of national prosperity. But Hockey was never honest enough about declining circumstances, was caught up in too much Liberal Party entitlement with its mates and was lumbered with politicised PM that kept embracing entitlement to the full to save his own skin.

Even so, when the dust of history settles, Bozo Joe Hockey can look to his tenure as treasurer with less shame than Tony Abbott can as prime minister. Hockey’s imprint on the economy will be lasting to the good despite failures large enough to send him packing.

Comments

  1. “The second top-shelf policy effort was the foreign investment rules renovation. The push to enforce FIRB rules around illegal Chinese property buying was long overdue and excellent policy-making. It will likely stand the test of time now that it is in the hands of ATO and is a money making regime. Just as importantly it shifted the normatives around giving houses to foreign criminals to the detriment of local youth, making it much more difficult for Labor especially to loosen them again”

    lol

    1. Without proof of purchasers FIRB compliant residency status/approval required to register the transfer of title, there is no enforcement
    2. Real estate transactions are STILL exempt form AML laws.

      • Not inept.
        Hockey knew exactly what was required. He chose not to do it.
        It is a sham.
        A top-shelf sham.

    • The regime may not be perfect but you’re a one-eyed housing bear nutter (Patrician) that will never be satisfied. It was a big improvement on what we had and is the foundation for more tightening.

      • Secondly in the grand scheme of things, foreign investors may not be that big of an influence of house prices. The rise in house prices correlate closely with the increase in investor debt, so the main driver of prices are firmly Aussie investors.

      • HnH
        Your personal attack neither does you nor your claim any credit
        BTW why have you not responded to repeated requests from long-term subscribers for an explanation on the removal of the very useful “recent comments” function and why the “reply” box has been detached from the relevant comment?

      • @kevin, the rise in houseprices is flat in USD. so its possible the falling AUD is giving OS buyers more money to push our buubble with.

      • Calling Patrician “one-eyed housing bear nutter” does you no good HnH. High housing prices are at the root of the evil that will cause unending economic and social malaise. Sorry if it does not gel with your economic ideology, but it is a sad reality.

        Heck, even in your monicker the holes part is long gone, houses is the only thing left. And you are castigating people for highlighting this? With respect, that is a bit rich.

      • It’s not personal, it’s true. It does not matter what subject we choose, Mr Pat will twist it into a sour housing story. That’s fair enough but I gotta call a spade a spade this once.

    • Plenty of room for improvement, especially those 2 points you raise.
      That said I am really looking forward to some heads on pikes from November 1 for what Hockey started – both foreign and local crims… actually especially the local traitorous facilitatory scum crims. Hopefully momentum around this continues to things like your suggestions.

      • I think I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. in ye olden times the worst punishments were not for murder, rape, etc. It was for treason against the tribe/nation/king.

        One should always expect wealthy foreigners to do whatever they can to take advantage of our lax laws to wash their money and buy themselves passports in non-extradition countries. But the facilitators and fifth-columnists on this end deserve and need to be dealt with harshly.

      • @Patrician I’ll latch on to any slither of hope/optimism around the possibility of an affordable place to call home. I need to.

        @Tony Right on. I would happily watch and cheer on medieval/tribal punishment techniques for those responsible. Hatred is a strong word but accurate for my feelings towards such “people”. Their actions have devastated far more people than the other severe criminals you mention.

  2. What concerns me is…yesterday.
    Malcolm Turnbull knew what was coming, and yesterday was as prepared as he could be? Was that it?! I had the same feeling after Jeremy Corbyn was elected and watched his first outpourings with unease.
    So to answer your question – Who would/will replace Joe Hockey…and why?

    • Ditto. His remarks about Sydney houses being affordable because people were buying them and that the poor didn’t show him to be a massive political liability. He is a poor salesman, is a thin skinned sook that can not take criticism and he is unable to explain to people in plain terms what reform means and why it is needed.

    • Agreed. Just because he was standing next to Abbott, one of the true asshats of Australian history, doesn’t make him any better. Abbott was so bad he even had some people thinking Shorten could be PM

  3. I never rated him but I do feel a little sorry for the man. Through shocking captain’s calls he was robbed of all of the low hanging fruit to repair the budget (tax reform focused on superannuation). And it is widely reported that the 2014 Budget was Abbott’s work. So he was done over in some ways. But he always struggled to communicate and deserves to go.

    • Then he is incredibly stupid.

      He should have not sat in the role/refused it/seen what was coming.

      Gone to the back bench, stopped eating so many scones and cream, and done some solid background work for Malcolm’s rise.

      THEN he could have seen off the horrible ScoMo (I actually think Hockey would be fine to have a beer with. Morrison just seems like a nasty piece of work).

      The fact he laboured in that environment showed the cachet/seeming power was more important that, you know, actually making a difference.

      • It’s not as simple as that. Anyone who worked under an idiotic boss would sympathize with Joe hockey. The most common symptom of an idiotic boys is making employees look bad.

      • Why isn’t it as simple as that.

        It’s not like private industry where you have to resign/make a complaint to HR (I’ve been in the position you describe with bullying/bad boss).

        He could have gone to the backbench and still earnt a wack load of money and done background work/policy formation.

        Why could he have not done that.

      • Kevin can you read my comments properly?

        I said “The fact he laboured in that environment showed the cachet/seeming power was more important that, you know, actually making a difference.”

        Your comment is redundant.

        I know they make more money. I already answered your question.

        I should make the rhetorical aspects of my comments more obvious, plainly.

        Allow me to spell it out.

        Hockey is a moron.
        He is more interested in money/power, than actually making a difference. (Probably the same as 80% of politicians but we’re not talking about politicians, we’re talking about Joe.)

        Again, he could have EASILY rebuffed the Treasury and gone to the backbench. He is a multi millionaire by all accounts. Money not an object. He is clearly a stupid buffoon.

        PLenty of others saw the writing on the wall ahead of time (the polls even made it clear in a data driven manner).

      • Thanks AB
        there you go.

        Hockey was too stupid to see the writing on the wall.
        He had a bullying interfering boss.

        He didn’t have the balls to go to the backbench where he’d still earn BUCKET LOADS of cash (and it’s not like money is a problem for him anyway).

        Do the policy work.

        Wait for Abbott’s replacement.

        This betrays his lack of judgement and general buffoonery.
        Though that is already clearly established with his poor people don’t drive as much, lifters/leaners, get a haircut and get a real job, eat dirt and puddle water if you’re young and unemployed schtick.

        The more I think about it, the more I realise he was a victim of his own stupidity and ineptitude.

        Now who would you like me to lampoon next.

      • Well said @tmarsh; and also agreed on Morrison being a real piece of work. His contribution to the shocking mess in Nauru requires a royal commission.

      • Unfortunately Joe is still very much the fat little wog that was teased at school he is an outsider who has not been able to rise above the need to punish the majority who hurt him as a child, this me against the world attitude informs his every move whether it be treating the electorate like fools or rorting the system for all he can. It is a pity that so many in Canberra operate on the same frequency particularly on the conservative side of politics they are still scared little children lashing out against the world who has treated them badly, a major change of consciousness is needed in this country if we are going to handle the changes coming our way unfortunately I don’t see much evidence of this occuring.

      • I didn’t want to mention his weight but I think his weight post operation speaks volumes of his application and can do.

        I say this based on the fact I was a fat kid/young adult but lost circa 30kg off a 5’7″ frame and am sitting around 61kg/7% b/f at 36 years of age. Just so we’re clear I am not fat shaming with no basis for doing so.

        I agree re: your other comments.

        The slovenliness and rotundity of our representatives in general tells me a lot about their application, focus and general disposition.

        As opposed to a cadre of clear minded, intelligent, healthy fit and focused, can-do go-getters.

  4. It’s fair to say he was operating with one hand tied behind his back by abbots leadership, but there was no need to keep custard pieing himself with his free hand!

  5. From Wiki….’Hockey attended St Aloysius’ College, Milson’s Point and the University of Sydney, residing at St John’s College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws.’

    Hockey doesn’t have an economics degree. The age of lawyers being offered any portfolio is outdated and anachronistic. Can you imagine an Attorney General who wasn’t a lawyer? It would be universally condemned as absurd. Economics is increasingly central to politics and public policy. The federal treasurer is no role for an amateur.

    • Sth Korea and Japan planned their economies without professional economists and it might be argued with evidence that economists follow their models and ideologies. That does not excuse Hockey’s own ideological bents but being a lawyer would not necessarily preclude him from working with competent advice.

    • I personally think the treasurer need not have an economics degree (there are plenty of rubbish economics talking heads COUGH Craig James, Pascoe etc Krugman COUGH but needs to have half a brain.

      Think, John Mauldin, Grant Williams.

      Having run a business might be a useful selection criteria.

      And good communicator.

      • Kevin, read my comments more carefully.
        ” but needs to have half a brain.”

        The US Neocons don’t have brains.
        They have lizard brains.
        Ok technically they are brains.
        You know what I mean though.

    • MM – exactly – why do lawyers get non-lawyer roles but not the reverse – maybe we could have an inquiry into it run by guess who – lawyers!

      • At root, most lawyers are the ultimate ‘yes’ men. They will swing either side as long as they are getting paid, wrapped it in a blanket of ‘ethics’. Zero conviction or principle, just whatever can be argued and gotten away with.

  6. Hockey was a former moderate who consistently supported a carbon ETS and who sold out his principles in his pursuit of power. Sure he got screwed over by an idiot leader but he gets absolutely no sympathy from me.

  7. Hockey can be a good performer. However, any Treasurer in the current environment is stymied by overwhelming reluctance to accept the need for meaningful reform or agreement on the type of reform by the other Parties and elements of the MSM and fifth estate -need a Treasurer who can sell the message, even to a hostile audience. I wonder if everyone has simply stopped listening to Hockey. Perhaps when no longer tethered to Abbott, given a freer rein by Turnbull and with Turnbull to support Hockey’s position, miracles can be achieved.

    There are other potential candidates, ScoMo, Sinodinos, Porter. All very capable individuals. New broom…

    • Sinodinos comes across well (QandA in particular, he came across very, very well)
      Unfortunately tarnished by, what was it, NSW ICAC?

      Dirty business that. Even the mere implication doesn’t look good.

      Don’t rate ScoMo, nasty, nasty, rude and obnoxious.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        The little respect I had for ScoMo vanished when it was revealed he had sent texts with assurances he would support Tone to Ray Hadley. That was weak.

      • “Unfortunately tarnished by, what was it, NSW ICAC?”

        Tarnished by his greed and…let’s call it naïveté for legal reasons shall we?

        http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/icac-arthur-sinodinos-stood-to-make-tens-of-millions-from-australian-water-holdings-deal-20140317-34×89.html

        Labor and Liberal figures including federal Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos stood to make tens of millions of dollars from a company linked to the family of crooked former powerbroker Eddie Obeid, a corruption inquiry has heard.

        Senator Sinodinos, then NSW treasurer of the Liberal Party, was installed on the board of the Obeid-linked Australian Water Holdings (AWH) in 2008 ‘‘to open lines of communication with the Liberal Party’’, the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard on Monday.

        ‘‘There will be evidence that he tried to do so,’’ counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, SC, said in his opening address.

        The former AWH chairman was earning $200,000 a year for ‘‘a couple of week’s work’’ and would have ‘‘enjoyed a $10 or $20 million payday’’ if Australian Water had won a lucrative contract with the state government.

    • Sinodinos being a Senator is a problem. I would also put Andrew Robb in that list. An economist and a veteran of many years advocating free market economics.

    • Actually, I blame the ALP to a large extent for caving into the mining and gambling lobbies.

      That gave every other lobby a template for opposing reform.

      The ALP would have been better to have developed a spine, and increased substantially the proposed reforms to the detriment of the lobby groups.

      • Oh, it was an excellent campaign I agree 100%.

        But by caving in to the “excellent campaign”, the ALP ensured that anybody and everybody who ran an excellent, or even average, campaign could scuttle reform.

        Having applauded such a campaign, you really shouldn’t be surprised at the fact that reform is now difficult.

    • Scott Morrison is good at stonewalling, but terrible at advocating. He approved the ‘where the **** are you’ ad campaign, demonstrating he has no idea how to sell anything. As Treasurer, answering all questions with ‘no comment’ won’t work.

    • Hockey can be a good performer. However, any Treasurer in the current environment is stymied by overwhelming reluctance to accept the need for meaningful reform or agreement on the type of reform by the other Parties and elements of the MSM and fifth estate -need a Treasurer who can sell the message, even to a hostile audience.

      No, they don’t need a better sell.

      They need a better message.

      But as outlined in the article above, all the options for a better message were taken off the table.

      Rolling the turd in more glitter won’t make it smell better, and you still won’t be able to fool the Senate into accepting it.

  8. If Joe Hockey could not persuade his “boss” and his party of the need for real economic reform then he should have resigned.

    That he tied himself to the mast on Monday night as the ship went down is a fair indication that Joe Hockey was a willing participant in the economic ‘dumbness’ of the Abbott government. While he appears to be doing something on illegal foreign investment in existing housing – until the regulations bite and are enforced he deserves NO credit. The ALP made similar grand gestures about data matching and vigor that came to naught.

    Plus it looks like the Chinese government are acting and demonstrating quite clearly that if a government wants to stop unwanted and unproductive capital flows it can do so very quickly – but only if it wants to. No surprise that real estate agents were mocking the idea that Joe’s actions will amount to a hill of beans.

    The only fair question is whether Joe should go if the party has no intention of changing its economic policy spots.

    If it doesn’t and intends to plough on with perhaps just some more silver tongue work, then Mr Hockey is the perfect man for the job.

    But the need to sprinkle some glitter about and put on some fresh sheets will mean that Joe will need to find other outlets for his abundant talents.

    • +many

      I am actually quite saddened to see Joe go out this way, but he was not a man of his convictions. Certainly he was hamstrung by an inept PM, but poor salesmanship (although, noone wants to buy a shit-sandwich), poor execution and poor political judgement saw him hitch his wagon to a regime that was ultimately doomed to fail.

      Word is that IF he remains in cabinet, he’ll get Communications, but he’ll probably have to beg for it.

  9. It is a fair question to ask, whether many of the disastrous Coalition policies, such as the FTTN of Turnbull and the 2014 Budget were actually imposed by Abbott, and therefore had to be carried by his Ministers, like it or not.

    Perhaps Abbott gave them turds, and they were obliged to be seen to be hard at work with the polish.

    If that were the case, then with Abbott gone, those Ministers deserve a chance to redeem themselves.

    BTW, a petard is a bomb. One is blown up (hoist) by one’s own bomb.

  10. Hockey’s first budget contained the policies that destroyed the Abbot government. He and Abbott betrayed the standards they had set for others and the electorate. Their war on the less fortunate was a disgrace.

    • “Morrison went on to the University of New South Wales, where he received an honours degree in applied science, studying economics and geography.”
      “…he served in senior executive roles in the tourism and property sector in Australia and New Zealand, including… the Property Council of Australia …”

      Uh oh.

  11. “Hockey also swept into Treasury with the very admirable goal of hammering some realism into its forecasting machinery, which had been delusionally bullish for years. That legacy is still embedded in the Budget with what are at last at least semi-believable commodity price forecasts.”

    Really?

    Didn’t Joe say that the IO forecasts in the last Budget were derived through highly rigorous and scientific modelling, which involved taking the average IO price over the 4 weeks preceding the Budget?

  12. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Given scomo did good job at stopping the boats …..perhaps he should be appointed special minister for stopping the money that has helped to corrupt the price of Homes in Sydney and Melbourne ………I know it’s not the only reason for the ridiculous bubble prices …..but it does affect it at the margins …..every 100 k over the reserve paid resets the price expectations for next weeks auctions ……..perhaps he could put money launderers in those nice orange life boats that we no longer need and send them packing ………nice thought that …….

    • Really? He stopped the boasts by stopping all reports of such matter. Just make it a classified military operation. So the way to fought corruption money is to just stopping all reporting of such incidents? I think we are doing that just fine these days.

  13. to counter all the vindictive trash on this site I think this is the most balanced article I’ve read on Abbott http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11513505
    basically he was great in opposition, oversold to get into power (who doesnt these days?) , got a few good things in (stopped boats, trade agreements, FIRB laws, budget trimmings, recent refugee intake), the odd gaffe (eg prince william knighthood, but its kind of trivial) but mostly failed to get stuff through a hostile senate. I think unlike most he wears his heart on his sleeve, which is kind of refreshing.

    Personally I think the guy has a good heart. the antagonism towards Abbot possibly says more about mainstream media’s hatred of a certain personality type than anything else. When for example did Abbott say he hated women? Yet everyone cheered Gillard when she adopted the lazy mysoginy charge in her ridiculous speech. Many want to believe the worst about white, male, christian, rugby loving hetrosexuals so give them a sniff and the feral press is let loose.

    • i don’t particularly approve of how Abbott was treated by his party and parts of the media, but Abbott and his party saw how tough the media was on Gillard. Maybe instead enjoying the spectacle so much Abbott and his leadership team could have been better preparing themselves for government. They had the benefit of hindsight, they could see how unforgiven the media and political landscape had become (Abbott helped feed that hostility). The harsh fact is they were arrogant and unprepared for government.

    • Count the number of woman in Abbott’s cabinet. You don’t even need one hand!!
      “Stop the boat” is a slogan. The reality is Australia is spending billions on housing asylum seekers in the PNG and Nauru, and all the ‘relocation’ plans to Cambodia/Malaysia ended up as expensive fiasco. Australia provideds over 100 million dollars in aids to East Timor annually, but we can’t get them to even accept a few refugees? The current policy is a huge waste of money and terrible to everyone except for Transurban who is running the camps.
      The ‘Free Trade agreement’ is a sell out of Australians for almost no gain.
      The ‘Captain’s Call’ on no change to superannuation and negative gearing makes meaningful repair to the budget impossible. Also, the LNP government is spending MORE than the ALP government!! Anyone who still believe Abbott’s ballooning deficit is a result of a hostile senate is being deceived. When ALP left office, the budget expenditure is just under 400 billion a year. (2013). Abbott’s 2 year is 412 billions in the first budget, and 435 billions in the second!!
      Abbott didn’t wear his ‘heart on his sleeve’. He LIED.

    • “… but mostly failed to get stuff through a hostile senate”

      Look I realise that the “no excuses” PM has gone but it’s solely the government’s fault that it couldn’t negotiate with the Senate. A “hostile” Senate is the rule, not the exception, so if you can’t work with one then you shouldn’t be in government.

      http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/FedElect

      “Since the introduction of proportional representation (PR) for Senate elections in 1949, the government of the day has only had control (a majority) in the Senate during 1951–1956, 1959–1962, 1975–1981 and 2005–2007. On each occasion the Liberal/National (Country) Party Coalition was in government. An ALP government has not controlled the Senate since 1944–1949, though the party did control the Senate during the period 1949–1951 while in opposition.”

      And when a Senator that has voted with you 90-% of the time and is telling you that you have a problem with negotiations, then you clearly have a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.

      http://www.skynews.com.au/news/politics/national/2014/12/02/leyonhjelm-slams–hopeless–govt-negotiations.html

      “A cross bench senator considered most closely aligned with the Liberal Party says the government is ‘hopeless’ at negotiating.

      NSW Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm has voted with the government on 90 per cent of occasions since taking up his seat in July.

      His vote is one of six the government relies on to pass bills through the Senate.

      ‘They’re hopeless at making clear what their objectives are, they’re hopeless at convincing me to vote for their legislation,’ Senator Leyonhjelm told Sky News on Tuesday.”

    • I think the guy has a good heart

      You would, as one of the devout Christians. You conveniently overlook his hateful attitude to gays and condescension to women, his denial of science (for the benefit of his coal sponsors), and his suppression of RU486 for years because HE didn’t like the idea and he was prepared to let his religion interfere with his role in government

      F HIM AND U 2, COBBER 😈

    • Thanks Squirrell. About time some balance was brought to the Abbott saga. Basically a good bloke who for some reason triggered the ugly in people in certain circles.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “Basically a good bloke who for some reason triggered the ugly in people in certain circles.”

        100% correct 3d1k he very much did trigger the ugly in certain circles.

        I can think of many occasions at work and the pub when racists arseholes would praise Abbott for “stopping the boats” and keeping out all the “fucking wogs, gooks and Mussies” that were taking over their jobs and suburbs.

        I would usually attempt to point out to these people, that it was immigration policy that has brought about the demographic changes that they so despise and that Abbott was tricking them into thinking he was working against this demographic change by cruelly beating up Reffos and “stopping the boats”, whilst at the same time jacking up immigration and foreign work visas numbers steeply.

        I would always go on to say “that’s how the LNP con working people, like you, into voting for a party that doesn’t give a fuck about you, and actually works against your own interests.”

        Sometimes the message seemed to get through, but but usually not.

        Your post 3d ,made me think of the an angry guy on talk-back radio last night (2GB), his comment on Abbott getting the boot was, “Hes a good bloke who knows how to stick up for his OWN KIND”

        The Ugly in certain circles indeed.

  14. “Hockey came to the job of Treasurer offering a clear vision for “ending the Age of Entitlement”. ”

    Yes, he did a couple of good things (like means testing the pension a bit better) and he certainly seemed keen to cut entitlements to the poor (the only group in our society that actually needs it), but he didn’t seem too willing to touch much of the middle class welfare set up during the Howard era. Maybe my biases are blinding me on this one, but it seemed more like class warfare (against the most vulnerable) than a genuine reform agenda.

  15. Back in the days when Jo Ho was Human Services Minister in the Howard Government, the requirements for any briefing to him was required to contain either a graph or map or diagram (so his QTBs were nicked named “Hockey’s Picture Book”). He could not handle tables of numbers which is fine for most people but not for a treasurer.

    • That’s quite misguided.

      The whole Westminster system is set up so that anyone can do the job of Minister of the Crown.

      It’s fundamental to the system that Ministers be able to come from all sorts of backgrounds and do the job. The technical stuff is for the permanent public service. Ministers tell the bureacrats what policies to adopt, and directions to head to. They also are responsible to Parliament to account for issues in their portfolio. It is therefore quite appropriate for a Minister to demand QTB that are as simple as possible.

      There is a respectable school of thought that says Ministers should be as unqualified in their portfolio area as possible, to avoid professional group think. That’s a bit extreme imo, but nonetheless, ministers not having expertise in their ministry is a deliberate feature, designed into the Westminster system.

      Now, if you think that the system needs to be overhauled into a technocracy, where only experts in the field can become ministers, that’s an argument that is worth having for sure, given how complex things are today.

      • Except the Public servants are not given the scope anymore and attempt to micro manage projects.

        Anyway I was happy with the situation as I was making the Maps.

      • True cf. Further, part of the deal was that public servants were to warn ministers of the consequences of bad policy, so they could avoid sticking their heads in a noose. Now, PS chiefs just nod their heads and agree with everything. This means that fucked up policy that previously would have never seen the light of day, now come out with disastrous consequences for the Ministers, and often for the nation.

        That, of course, is the argument for a technocracy where ministers know wtf they are doing.

  16. “Former West Australian state treasurer Christian Porter has also impressed colleagues and is a candidate for promotion to the ministry. He is currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister….”
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/malcolm-turnbull-cabinet-reshuffle-coalition-ministers-in-waiting-game/story-fn59niix-1227529802774?sv=466e976aa71ecbb818a04e2578caa913

    CP also had a stint in WA as State AG, Porter walked out of this revered position before a State election to ‘go’ Feral/Fed……..an electoral region was even ‘invented’ for him (Pearce) which he conveniently walked into…..his ancestors are blue bloods through and through. He has a triple degree number (law, economics and politics i believe). It’s all part of the Big Plan and scheme of things that CP will no doubt be ‘given’ Treasurer role, this weed is earmarked for glory.
    I would like to see a capable woman given the Treasurer role. There is a competent female there.
    Joe Hockey just does not cut it for all the reasons mentioned already. Joe needs to curl his chubby little counting digits around his Cuban Cigar box and exit left

  17. I agreed about placed a straight jacket on JoHo, but if he’d been a decent treasurer he’d have got Abbott to realise what a mistake he was making.

    At some point JoHo should have said he would resign unless Abbott allowed him to bring in policy change that wasn’t based on neocon ideology.

    The fact he out keeping his job in front of ending the age of entitlement says it all really.

  18. In politics, one can be an achiever, but all it takes is few blunders to bring one down. Hockey’s comments that “poor people don’t drive” and “if the real estate market is not affordable, no one would be buying” (and the smugness he displayed when making that remark) are legendary blunders and overshadow whatever good work he might have done in other areas.

  19. I watched a few minutes of question time to see how yesterday MT performed and stayed on when Hockey was asked a question concerning macroeconomic factors around climate change. He repeatedly referred to climate change as “microeconomic reforms” spending more time trying to demonstrate his credentials rather then answer the question. I thought he had a brain fart for a moment, but no, he continued blithering. Should he be Treasurer ? NO!