At least the new Treasurer, Chris Bowen, is prepared to admit there are hurdles ahead for the Australian economy. This is a change from Wayne Swan who accused people of “talking the economy down” if they found themselves unable to ignore the damning results of this rampantly extended period of rent-seeking. No, we shouldn’t shut up about it, Wayne: it has to be stopped.
But I doubt the Rudd-Bowen combination has the fortitude to tackle rent-seeking head-on before the election, despite Australians earnestly seeking a political leadership that is guided by principle instead of opinion polls.
If the government wants to demonstrate it has a spine, the first thing it should do is to scrap Julia Gillard’s minerals resource rent tax (MRRT), designed in a back room deal with the big miners, and replace it with Kevin Rudd’s original resource super profit tax (RSPT). The MRRT is a shocker and yields nothing.
It would be a bold statement that Labor is prepared to address the real economic problems confronting Australia.
If it’s a difficult call for Labor, it would be an even more remarkable initiative for a new Liberal government under Tony Abbott.
It’s one policy for which the Greens should be admired.