Like a criminal in the dock: there’s no other way to describe how Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey appeared at his press conference today, delivering the Coalition’s long-awaited policy costings.

The man most likely to be in charge of the country’s finances next week showed all the telltale signs of a guilty party: sweating profusely, covering his mouth and constantly dropping his gaze to the floor as he devised his answers.

In a world where perception is fact, and appearance guides perception – particularly during an election when this is exponentially the case – Hockey epitomised the complete opposite of the economic competence he was trying to convey. And on which much of the Coalition’s campaign has been built.

Yet there was little wonder why Hockey looked guilty and ashamed, for he had just produced a mere eight pages of costings for the Coalition’s sixty policies and the means by which they would pay for them.

Eight pages.

What a slap in the face for the (admittedly small in number) Australian voters who are genuinely interested in what a policy might cost and how that cost would be offset elsewhere. I’m accustomed to voters being treated like ignorant fools by politicians, their staff and their campaign teams, but this tactic is one of the greatest insults to our intelligence that I can recall.

I’m not suggesting the Coalition’s costings are material to the election outcome. Voters have pretty much decided to choose the Liberal brand and at this stage it would require something like Abbott being caught with the proverbial goat for them to be persuaded otherwise.

I’m not even particularly fazed by the last minute release of the costings, considering the tactic has been employed by Opposition Leaders from both sides for at least the past four federal elections.

No, what gets MY goat is the contemptuous lack of anything that appears to be detail in the costings document – there’s not even a superficial attempt to satisfy those of us who want more than lowest common denominator information.

I wasn’t expecting the Coalition to produce an alternate version of the Federal Budget Papers, but I did expect a greater breakdown of the spending initiatives and the savings. How hard can it be to slap all the policies together in one publication accompanied by their costings? (That’s a rhetorical question – I know it’s not that hard).

The Coalition missed an opportunity today to shake the cynicism of a few doubting Thomases. A professional-looking publication showing a costings breakdown for every policy and the accompanying savings would have set the tone for the first week of a new Abbott Government, conveying: they’re professional and they’re competent.

Today’s exposition by Joe Hockey from the witness box has done just the opposite, conveying: they’re shonky and they’re hiding something.

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Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. A Big Fat F from the Intro To Economics 1st year. Where is Jaymes Diaz when you need him?

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  2. I haven’t witnessed so much flop sweat since Nixon v JFK in ’60!

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  3. Gee we didn’t see that coming. Its like watching zombies walk over corpses at the apocalypse. Abbott as PM? The thought beggars belief as a sad indignation of the state of political discourse in a very faulty society where greed and spite has replaced compassion and hope.

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  4. A fewe years ago, I used to have some respect for Hockey. After a while it turned to pity as he continued to cover up Abbott’s gaffes and looked so uncomfortable in doing so. Then it turned to disbelief as he got caught up in proporgating the misconseptions, scaremongering and down right lies Abbott and Murdoch were spruicking. After the 7.30 report and the sham costings (just 8 pages? my granddaughter could do better then that about her allowance) all I felt was disgust. Disgust that this man, who used to be so likeable and honest (for a politician) has become a puppet, a paper doll whose strings are being pulled by Abbott and Murdoch.

    I have complained to the ABC about the 7.30 report and their complete lack of fair coverage in this campaign. I know that I for one, will not be watching ABC again,

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    • Dear Viewer,
      Our Report Team fiercely compete with Today-Tonight, A-Current-Affair and Boltreportland to deliver as fact-free reporting as humanly possible. While each Viewer will have their own perspective, the Report Team have been completely `fair` in their reporting of polls, leadership speculation and boat-people, ensuring that these topics were reported on a near daily basis. Our complaints department, also known as the shredder, has no record of your complaint. Our Report Team thank you for your input, and hope to maintain our Viewer dis-satisfaction levels into the future.

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  5. In a world where propaganda is propaganda, fact is fact and the Canberra Press Gallery can`t tell the bloody difference, Hockey epitomised the complete opposite of the economic competence he was trying to convey. And on which much of the Canberra Press Gallery`s faith has been built.

    What a slap in the face for the (admittedly small in mind) Press Gallery who are genuinely interested in what polling might result and how that poll would be reported elsewhere. I`m accustomed to the gallery being ignorant fools with politicians, their staff and their campaign teams, but this tactic is one of the greatest rewards to their ignorance that I can recall.

    I’m not suggesting the Coalition’s costings are material to the reporting outcome. The Gallery have pretty much decided to choose the Liberal brand and at this stage it would require something like Abbott being caught with the proverbial goat for them to be persuaded otherwise.

    No, what gets MY goat is the contemptuous lack of anything that appears to be factual in the reporting document – there`s not even a superficial attempt to satisfy those of us who want more than lowest common denominator information.

    I wasn`t expecting the Gallery to produce an alternate version of reality in newspapers.

    How hard can it be to slap all the facts together in one publication accompanied by their sources? (That’s a rhetorical question – I know it’s not that hard).

    The Press Gallery missed an opportunity today to shake the cynicism of a few doubting Thomases. A professional-looking publication showing sources for every story and the accompanying interviews would have set the tone for the first edition of a new look publication, conveying: they`re professional and they’re competent.

    Today`s exposition by Limited-News from the witness box has done just the opposite, conveying: they’re shonky and they’re hiding something.

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  6. simple . Don’t sign a contract where the small print isn’t presented to you .

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  7. You do know that Hockey has a serious case of the flu don’t you? His sweating was not because of fear or deception but battling against illness, frankly that sort of determination is most admirable.

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About Drag0nista

Political blogger and columnist on the interwebs. Former Liberal staffer and industry lobbyist. Studying the entrails of federal politics since 1989. Otherwise known as Paula Matthewson.

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