Budget 2017: Has the Treasurer gone all cuddly?
Remember Scott Morrison 1.0 – the guy who railed against refugees and, when in government, seemed willing to climb over anyone to get further up the ladder? Remember those combative press conferences regarding Operation Soverign Borders where everything appeared to be an ‘on water matter’?
Well, that was the old ScoMo. Of course, we’ve had different versions over the last couple of years, but this morning, with the first budget of the current parliament only hours away, we’re seeing a more conciliatory Treasurer.
Today’s Scott Morrison appears conciliatory and almost circumspect. Clearly the government one who is desperate to reclaim the centre and wipe away any memory of the 2014 Budget that focussed on ‘lifters and leaners’.
The quote below (via The Guardian) is from Morrison on the morning of the Budget. It’s a little lengthy, but is fascinating in that it displays a sense of empathy we’re not used to from the Treasurer. Tune into telly at 7.30pm to see if it follows through into his parliamentary address.
We have been listening. We understand that while Australia has grown, ahead of the large advanced economies in all the world, and that our national growth against strong headwinds has been impressive, we understand that not all Australians have felt the experience of that growth personally.
We understand that many other Australians feel frustrated that they’re not getting ahead in the way they would like to. We understand that. And we understand that when wage growth has not been strong, that you feel the pinch of costs of living more, that the services that you rely on, you feel more. And it’s important that a government understands those pressures on Australians and families.
But in addition to that, Australians have been making big sacrifices to ensure that we’ve achieved the growth that we’ve had. And I want to tell them that it’s been worth it. And to get out of bed today, many of them would have been long up before now. And it’s worth it. It’s worth it.
Because the second point I wanted to make is, as we look around the world and we look here at home, I am responsibly optimistic that there are better days ahead. We can see them. But we have to secure them. Those opportunities are there.
Australia has worked hard to be well-positioned, and those better days are ahead. And we need to secure them.
And the third point is this. Tonight, what you’ll see, what the prime minister and the government have sought to do, is to be incredibly practical. There are issues that we need to address that Australians face every day ... Some of our politics, it’s not about any of those things for Australians. It’s about just honestly and practically trying to deal with the challenges and the opportunities that are ahead.
And so what you’ll see tonight is that we’ve sought to be practical about that.
And we’ll be inviting the parliament to join the government in the middle, in our bid to ensure that we can address these challenges together.