Australian Coalition strays from its brand

Australian Coalition strays from its brand, by Alan Kohler.

It’s hard to imagine anything more ridiculous than a hard limit on tax receipts as a percentage of GDP, especially an arbitrary one like 23.9 per cent. …

Tax receipts have only gone above 23.9 per cent of GDP four times out of the past 47 years, and the ratio was forecast to stay below it for the next four years as well.

But those four years — 2000-01, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2005-06 — paid off the national debt entirely and established the Future Fund with capital of $18 billion, which the FF has turned into $140.8 billion in 12 years by being left alone to get on with the job good long-term investing. …

The Coalition inherited a payments [not tax] to GDP ratio of 24 per cent and quickly ran it up to 25.6 per cent. It currently sits at 25.1 per cent …

Which is the point: government expenses are rising because of the infrastructure needs of a growing population, the health needs of the ageing population and the NDIS. …

As for the first reason, the Coalition’s “branding” as a low-taxing party does not actually match reality. It is, to be clear, bulldust.

Using the historical data in last year’s budget paper no. 1, we find that the average tax to GDP ratio under Coalition governments has been 22.1 per cent and under Labor governments it has been 20.6 per cent.