We all know that the Liberal party MPs are in a world of pain. The polls are diabolical. Political death stares many of them in the face. Whole dollops of the party base, like me, simply will not forgive Mr Turnbull and the 54 defenestrators who tossed out a first term prime minister who had delivered a massive election win so they could hand the leadership over to one of the most left-wing members of the party room.
It was pretty obvious to everyone outside the Ultimo bubble that this was a recipe for disaster, and plain-out stupid for those who complained (rightly in my view) that Mr Abbott had not been right-wing enough. (Think of his sell-out on Section 18C, his tax increases, and his big government Paid Parental Leave Scheme.)
But who in his or her right mind in a supposedly right-of-centre party goes from that, which included big wins in stopping the boats and getting rid of the carbon tax, to Mr Turnbull the failed opposition leader, the global warming zealot, and the man far more at home in an ABC studio than on talk-back radio (if he even knows what the latter is)? …
WA voters are just waiting, with baseball bats in hand, to deliver an electoral drubbing to the Libs. It could be a massacre. And a principal reason is the Coalition’s inability, or refusal, to fix the GST distribution.
Let’s be clear. This is political poison, and rightfully so. If I lived in WA I’d be inclined to threaten to vote for a secessionist party, so egregiously idiotic is a system that for every dollar it takes from Western Australians delivers back only 30 cents, possibly now 34. And let me assure all readers that if WA had a separatist party even remotely like the ones in the province of Quebec in my native Canada then the GST problem would be fixed pronto.
The basic problem is that the GST distribution operates on some sort of 1970s Kibbutz/Marxist principle whereby states ‘give according to their ability to pay and receive according to their need – though measured against the fiscally strongest state so that this goal of equalising up is both absurd and literally impossible’. This is incentive killing idiocy. It rewards failure and economic mismanagement no matter how self-inflicted. Just about the only thing it doesn’t take account of is the desire to limit gambling, so even there WA is bizarrely punished. …
And don’t tell me how WA for years was a net redistributive recipient because since the GST the monies being redistributed are on a vastly different scale, not to mention that historical support for WA was explicitly to compensate them for the tariffs that hurt export-focussed WA and only benefitted the East. If you live outside WA you have to face the fact that WA is being shafted.
So when WA Liberals go for pre-selection and promise that fixing the GST will be their main focus, and then once in Cabinet come back to Perth and plead ‘it’s all too complicated and tricky’, well, you can imagine what the response will be.
hat-tip Stephen Neil