Committing To Core Principles

A couple of weeks ago, the Prime Minister committed to ‘removing a few barnacles’ from the hull of the ship of state.

This past week has confirmed that the good vessel Australia is now in ‘dry dock’ for a thorough scraping!

First to go was the expensive Paid Parental Leave scheme in favour of a yet to be determined family care package. I am reserving judgment pending the final policy detail to be released early in the new year but the change is certainly welcome.

There was little public appetite for the previously announced scheme and given the state of the national accounts, persisting with it wouldn’t have made economic sense.

Our country simply cannot afford to raise taxes if we want our economy to grow. I have already lost one battle over my opposition to lifting the top marginal tax rate earlier in the year but remain vehemently opposed to increasing company taxes as well.

Whilst making sure every company pays their fair share (that means you, Google, Apple et al) we should be looking to reduce company taxes to stimulate employment, investment and profitability.

History demonstrates that lower taxes often produce higher revenues for government as a result of their economic stimulus. That’s the lesson we should heed.

It’s also welcome news that the GP co-payment has been modified. In this case, I supported the original plan but it certainly wasn’t publicly popular and had zero chance of getting through the Senate.

Time will tell whether this latest attempt at making Medicare sustainable will meet with a greater measure of success.

It would be remiss of me to not pass comment on the recent electoral failures in Victoria and South Australia.

The Victorian Liberal government was tossed out after only one term whilst the SA Libs lost the ‘unloseable’ election in March. Now, after a by-election last weekend, a nominally Liberal seat hangs on a knife-edge after a significant swing towards the 12-year-old Labor government.

These results tell me two things.

Firstly, something is amiss with the Liberal campaign tactics and their ability to carry a political case that wins support from the broad mainstream.

As I have repeatedly said over many years, the Liberals can never succeed by becoming a pale imitation of Labor. We need to be resolutely committed to the core principles of limited government, lower taxes, increasing personal responsibility and advocacy for traditional values.

Following through on those principles is what builds public respect and electoral support.

The second lesson is something I outlined at the Press Club earlier this year. We need to restore faith in politics and politicians. People are disenchanted with the political process and are increasingly looking for alternatives to the major parties.

Australia’s most popular independent Nick Xenophon has seen the same thing and has even launched his own political party. What he said at the launch and what I said some months earlier are eerily similar.

It remains to be seen if it will build into a substantial movement but once again I say that the Liberal Party will ignore such sentiment at their peril.

In closing, this will be my last email missive for the year.

I have a final week or so of regional meetings in South Australia and then I’ll be taking a Christmas break with my family.

May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and encouragement over the past 12 months. It’s been a pleasure writing for you all each week and your feedback always keeps me informed, grounded and entertained.

In wishing you and your loved ones the peace, joy and blessings of Christmas I look forward to being back in touch in mid January.

Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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