There’s a transition underway in politics that was quite unexpected a few years ago. Labor leader Bill Shorten, backroom political hack and hollow man par excellence, has become the substantive policy leader in Canberra.
This is obvious in both political and policy terms. The Labor Party is rolling out the largest and most comprehensive taxation reform agenda from opposition since John Hewson’s disastrous Fightback:
- negative gearing is to removed from existing property and left on new;
- property capital gains concessions will be removed;
- family trust loopholes will be closed;
- superannuation concessions that favour the aged and wealthy will be cut;
- the corporate tax rate will be leavened with accelerated write-offs for capex.
These policies are all well thought through, progressive, pro-growth and productivity, as well as embracing inter-generational equity and Budget responsibility. Moreover they are transparent and the polity will be free to judge in advance which will give the incoming government a genuine mandate.
On the other hand, we have the always charming Malcolm Turnbull who built a career on persuading middle-Australia of his progressive values and reformist credentials doing absolutely the opposite. He has betrayed every statement in his past to defend vested interests and to put forward a grotesquely regressive Trump tax agenda:
- cut the corporate tax rate to boost foreign shareholders not investment;
- cut personal taxes (which is good if they are fair);
- scare-monger and protect negative gearing;
- scare-monger and protect superannuation concessions, and
- scare-monger and protect family trust loopholes.
Most of his positions are brain fart moments, regressive, growth neutral, inter-generational theft and Budget irresponsible.
In short, Shorten’s policy leadership has applied a stinging wedgie to Do-nothing Malcolm’s empty crotch. And he is likely to take on Turnbull’s only good policy too, in personal tax cuts.
So, who’s the backroom political hack and hollow man par excellence?