Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be on Q&A tonight and let’s hope that at least a few of the questions cut to the key points of economic management. With the economy confronting a range of economic challenges, here are nine questions that Mr Turnbull should be asked.
- When Mr Hockey brought down the 2014 budget, the 2017-18 deficit was forecast to be $2.8 billion. When Mr Morrison delivered the budget last month, the budget deficit had blown out by 825% to $26 billion. What went wrong and I note measures blocked in the Senate account for less than $4 billion of the $23 billion blow out.
- Since the last election, company profits in Australia have fallen by 11 per cent. Why, when the carbon and mining taxes are gone, are businesses hurting so much? What went wrong?
- Since the last election, the one which meant ‘Australia is open for business’, private sector business investment has fallen by 28 per cent. What went wrong and why has business reacted so poorly to the policies of the Liberal government? What went wrong?
- Since the last election, the unemployment rate has gone up. What went wrong?
- Since the last election, real per capita incomes have fallen by around 3 per cent. What went wrong?
- Since the last election, wages growth has fallen to the lowest on record. What went wrong?
- Since the last election, net government debt has risen by $113 billion and is on track to reach the highest levels since the aftermath of World War 2. What went wrong?
- I note that since the start of 2015, Perth house prices have fallen by 9 per cent. House prices are being hit, as you like to say, by a ‘sledgehammer’. Mum and Dad investors are, again as you like to say, being ‘punished’ despite trying to save for their retirement. Negative gearing is still in place, so what went wrong?
- You said the other day that Australians need to ‘living within our means’. Since the election, household debt has risen by $247 billion, business debt has increased by $114 billion and Australia’s net foreign debt has risen by $196 billion to be over $1 trillion for the first time ever. What do you mean Australians need to live within our means?
Here is hoping the questions cover at least part of this ground. These are critical economic management issues that so far have not be addressed in any material way during the election campaign.