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The Conservative ‘Brains Trust’: Joe Hockey, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, Warren Truss ...

“The economy, stupid”.

Remember that phrase that propelled Bill Clinton to a successful US presidential campaign against the incumbent George H W Bush in 1992?

Well this phrase will come to haunt Tony Abbott, who will have to beware of the drover’s dog.

His government has unfortunately worsened the budget bottom line and endangered the economy after 11 months of inaction, and for introducing a harsh and failed budget that has alienated large sections of the community: the retirees, the sick and disabled, the school leavers thinking about a university education, the young about to enter into the workforce and those aged 50 plus looking for non-existent jobs, those from the public service and sunset manufacturing industries about to join the growing legion of unemployed, the parents of schoolkids, small business owners, multicultural Australians, ADF personnel losing danger pay in operational theatres overseas, and I probably forgot a few other groups – all who have to compulsorily vote.

I know first hand because in three years, our very successful awards-winning business has never experienced tougher conditions than those since after the federal budget was delivered. Despite increasing staff, we have not collected payroll tax in months, because of the softening economy – which is bad news for the government.

When discretionary spending tightens, retail and service providers get hit first. Even corporates tend to cut down on meetings and travel expenses. Airlines, car rentals, accommodation providers, restauranteurs and so forth down the line, all feel the pinch.

In his article ‘Clueless Coalition floundering while budget bottom line worsens’, Stephen Koukoulas confirms the gist of my previous writings on the subject. ( http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/18/clueless-coalition-floundering-while-budget-bottom-line-worsens )

Where is the leadership on the economy, Mr Abbott?

For every happy Gina Rinehart, who wants Australians to experience third world salaries and conditions, there are probably hundreds of thousands of disgruntled voters with brickbats.

No matter what Tony Abbott does, voters will only remember his government as one of inactivity, incoherence, and one that has drifted for ideological reasons, all at their expense.

Unemployment is only going up over the period that Abbott has to announce an election.

It is too late to stuff money in their wallets, for voters have had 11 months to realise they have been sold a dud.

In future, classes will be taught ‘How not to develop and sell a budget’ in Politics 101, using the Abbott-Hockey budget as exhibit number one.

Take note, Peter Gutwein.

On election day, Abbott and Hockey will lose their sense of entitlement.

And probably broken the Liberal and Labor stranglehold in Australian politics.

*Drovers dog was a term made famous by former Labor Leader Bill Hayden when deposed by Bob Hawke ( Wikipedia here )

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Phil na Champassak owns The Madsen Boutique Hotel in Penguin and is a founding board member of the Cradle Coast Innovation Inc fostering enterprise facilitation. He is also a board member of the Cradle Coast Tourism Executive, the regional tourism organisation for NW Tasmania. Formerly a diplomat and DFAT policy analyst, Phil has worked on trade, aid, public diplomacy, consular, international security, and bilateral relations with PNG, the US, and NZ, and was most recently DFAT State Director for Tasmania. Prior to that Phil worked for the UN Development Programme in New York, West Africa and PNG. Phil also served as election monitor to the first elections in Cambodia (1992) and South Africa (1994) and was a peace monitor in Bougainville (2002). He has contributed to publications on human rights, election monitoring, and UN issues. Awarded in 2003 a Australian Service Medal. Phil was a guest of ABC Radio Richard Fidler’s ‘Conversations’ in November 2013.

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