Joe Hockey is having a really, really hard time getting people to like his Budget. It might be ugly, disfigured, foul, odorous, and needlessly rude to everyone it meets, but it’s got a lot of inner beauty that only Joe can see, and that’s the most important part. He loves it, and can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t.
The Federal Treasurer has spent the past couple of weeks high-stepping it across the country, meeting with the pesky, rag-tag bunch of crossbench senators who hold the key to actually getting the budget through Parliament. And Joe’s knees actually do seem to be buckling on a few of the tougher points of the budget. The $7 GP co-payment, for example, is one of the issues looming as an area of compromise.
But the flipside to that, is that Hockey is just about at his wit’s end. He threatened that if the some of the Budget measures aren’t adopted, and structural Budget reforms are not made, then he may have to take emergency action and implement Queensland-style austerity measures. Which is kind of like threatening to withhold dessert if a child doesn’t eat their greens – you know that kid’s gonna get some mf-ing ice cream either way; it’s an arbitrary, baseless, ridiculous threat.
And then there was this little cracker of a quip, during yet another spiel about how everyone – even high income earners, heaven forbid – has to put in and do the heavy lifting.
On ABC Radio in Brisbane, he cited the increased fuel excise as a prime example of this. And then his logic more or less got away from him.
“The people that actually pay the most are higher income people. Yet, the Labor Party and the Greens are opposing it. They say you’ve got to have wealthier people or middle-income people pay more.“
“Well, change to the fuel excise does exactly that; the poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases.“
Yep. Sure thing, Joe. The poor will not be affected by the increased fuel excise because fuck them, they don’t own cars. And the ones that do only roll down to the shops on a Sunday, so it doesn’t matter, right?
It’s the higher income earners – defined in this instance as people with cars who drive them places – who will be slugged hardest.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten possibly put it best: “Are you serious, Joe Hockey? Are you really the cigar chomping, Foghorn Leghorn of Australian politics where you’re saying that poor people don’t drive cars?“
Joe, I say Joe. Words like that are lower than a snake full of buckshot.
Photo: James Alcock via Getty Images.