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Murdoch massages Abbott message

By Alan Austin - posted Friday, 31 January 2014


The Abbott government is experiencing more challenges in its early months than many supporters had hoped. Hence Rupert Murdoch has been obliged to expand efforts to conceal some difficulties.

Writers paid to massage the truth about the government include several who effectively distorted the record of the Rudd and Gillard administrations.

Professor Ross Fitzgerald penned a piece last weekend for The Australian headed “Nation better off under an economically astute Abbott”. This was immediately arresting because of the PM’s legendary economic illiteracy.

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It contained the bold assertion, “Abbott has a clear economic commitment and a very definite plan of action.”

Again, a surprise after Tony Abbott’s curious speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last week. For if indeed he had a plan, that would have been the place to reveal it.

So what was the definite plan of action Fitzgerald has detected?

“This includes reducing the tax burden, deregulating the labour market, reducing Australian government debt, promoting free trade, increasing competition via the Productivity Commission review, privatising Medibank and boosting national production by cutting back a vast number of unnecessary regulations.”

Sorry, Ross, that is not a plan. That’s a list of campaign slogans. Precisely the reason the PM was criticised at Davos.

A plan sets out a strategy in detail, showing how it achieves specific desired outcomes. It explains quantitatively how new policies will yield better results than the previous policies –which delivered the world’s strongest economy.

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Fitzgerald again:

“Abbott’s economic agenda is likely to help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”

According to whom? How, exactly, will more jobs follow labour market deregulation, reducing government debt, promoting free trade, increasing competition and cutting regulations? Why has this not happened anywhere else?

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About the Author

Alan Austin is an Australian freelance journalist currently based in NÓmes in the South of France. His special interests are overseas development, Indigenous affairs and the interface between the religious communities and secular government. As a freelance writer, Alan has worked for many media outlets over the years and been published in most Australian newspapers. He worked for eight years with ABC Radio and Televisionís religious broadcasts unit and seven years with World Vision. His most recent part-time appointment was with the Uniting Church magazine Crosslight.

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