Read like a book
Posted by Possum Comitatus on October 15, 2007
Last night on one of the threads running here, I was chatting away and said:
“Reading between the lines of his [Howards] speech today (and this is me breaking out the electron microscope to read between the lines), something like banning traditional law across the country looks to be on the cards, probably using the foreign affairs power via human rights treaties to get around the States where necessary. It will be one of those duel message things, where its sold to the regions as making everyone equal and sold to the leafy Lib heartland as increasing the human rights standards of indigenous Australians.
More welfare pork for low income working households, probably including Childcare funding and possibly even a tax free threshold adjustment(or tax credit equivalent). More anti-terrorist dog whistles and more hospital funding arrangements.There will also be tax cuts – its one of the few issues the coalition is well positioned on according to the CT research, and that has a fairly decent influence on the vote.”
Since Costello is announcing this very thing at the moment, it’s tick number one and two.
This “aspirational tax plan” also plays into the new Going For Growth slogan of the Liberal party. Howard is saying that they prefer to deal with policy issues by broad measures like “putting more money into peoples hands” rather than by running specific policy responses to things like housing affordability.
This is all quite amusing when you consider that the Future Fund is the opposite of “going for growth”, and is one of those “specific policy responses” to an issue that is apparently now a non-preferred approach. Its particularly ironic if you consider that the apparently new “preferred approach” to these things, putting money into the hands of the people themselves to get a better return (or in the case of the future fund, into the broader economy via physical investment rather than tying it up in share ownership) was derided as irresponsible by Costello when he was trying to justify tying up budget surpluses so his political peers couldn’t get their paws on it.
This “aspirational tax plan” also is a play to female part-time workers with kids getting the rough end of the pineapple with Workchoices…. but there will be lots of policies that try and do that over the next 6 weeks.
I was surprised that Howard and Costello would launch a large piece of policy like this on day one of the campaign.They must be pretty desperate to get some traction – I suppose it keeps bad polls out of the headlines. In 6 weeks time, this will have blown past most punters and have been overtaken by more recent events. It looks like an attempt to define the issue narrative for the election, the “this is what the election is about” line.
“Low Taxes” is their best issue to use for this, as it’s one of their best positioned issues with a relatively high influence on the vote according to the Crosby Textor OzTrack 33 research.
The press conference was also interesting, I havent seen journalists treat politicians with such cynicism for years and years and years. Howard and Costello were almost getting heckled, and looked all rather grumpy about it at times.
So, peering into your crystal balls and doing some reading between the lines yourself, what policy announcements do you guys see on the horizon and what political purpose do you see behind them?