It’s that time of year. Budget night.
It’s Christmas for policy wonks and political junkies. It’s like Grand Final Day for political pundits and columnists who get their moment to pontificate and prognosticate in prime time.
And it’s like headlining Coachella for the Treasurer of the day, who gets his or her turn (so far, it’s only ever been him) to indulge in a splash of soaring rhetoric, self-congratulation and a heavy dose of bluster and old-fashioned bullshit in the full gaze of an anxious nation.
When it comes to Liberal Governments delivering budgets, it’s safe to say they never sing a tune that any worker is thrilled to hear.
As we prepare for another night with Josh Frydenberg in the spotlight, I thought it would be useful to run through a list of Liberal Party classic hits, those tried and true old favs they love to drag out each budget night to justify the slash and burn, trickledown, blame and shame budgets that they seem to love.
It’s time for Liberal Party Budget Bingo!
Back in the black
Without doubt, Josh Frydenberg thought he was on a winner when he got the merchandise sorted (remember those coffee cups?) and strutted around like an ostrich who had just been plumed, declaring in 2019 that “Australia was back in the black.”
Of course, everything this government does, it had about as much relationship with reality as Craig Kelly’s Facebook page, and disappeared just as quickly.
Funnily enough, Frydenberg has ditched the balanced budget boast for now due to the COVD-19 pandemic. His later day conversion to the notion that governments can and should be in the business of spending money to support families and communities in distress is sure to be short lived.
They love this one on the government benches. What they really mean is a return to a time when large corporations and the well-off were free to consolidate their wealth and power, whilst those at the other end of the economic spectrum were left in a daily battle to stave off poverty and despair.
Another Tory anthem, designed to gaslight the unemployed. If you don’t have a job, it’s your fault, and we’re here to tie you up in an exhausting routine of meaningless bureaucratic exchanges, pointless activities, and humiliating assessments to make your life as painful as possible.
Oh, and for us – the politicians putting you through this miserable circus act – our only obligation is to get elected for another term. If that means vilifying the unemployed, well, you deserve it anyway.
Lifters and leaners
It sounds like the name of the worst aerobics class you’ll ever go to, and it’s just as bad.
This is a Scott Morrison classic, where he divides the community down the middle between those who deserve their place in our community (people who look, work and sound like him) and everyone else who doesn’t.
Struggling with your mental or physical wellbeing? Parenting alone and needing support? Can’t find a job and want to pay the rent and feed your family?
That makes you a leaner. In the world view of Scotty from marketing – leaners are losers and bad PR for his thumbs up, photo-op, Instagram vision of Australia.
If you’re good at your job, you’ll get a job
Another magic moment from the Morrison back catalogue, where the gaslighting guru told us the reason many Australians were struggling to get enough work was because they were rubbish at their job.
This self-affirmation philosophy has all the hallmarks of crackpot pop psychology like The Secret, which sells people the nutty notion that if they want something bad enough, they can just wish it into existence.
If you don’t have a job, you can’t be good at your job. If you can’t be good at your job, you can’t get a job. And on it goes, in seven layers of self-righteous hell and indifference.
Now that you are armed with your glossary of Liberal Party Budget classics, I hope you can survive budget night intact.