The GST debate has always been about politics as well as economics, and Malcolm Turnbull’s pivot away from a rise might just feed a growing line of attack about what it is he actually stands for. Weekly column for The Drum.

The first stanza of this election year will be characterised by political parties trialling election strategies to see which have traction with voters and which are a waste of precious campaign funds.

If the past week in politics is any indication, politicians have no idea whether voters pay attention to politics.

Are we the political equivalent of goldfish, needing to be constantly reminded about what is good and bad about politicians and their policies? Or are we more like elephants, never forgetting the vices and virtues of the passing political parade?

Business leaders may like to feel all-powerful by pressuring the Government for reform, but if there isn’t public support or political capital to back it up then they’re just shouting into the wind.

Tony Abbott would be crazy-brave and bordering on foolish to take proposals to expand the GST and change workplace relations laws to the next election.

It appears Tony Abbott will try to expand the GST by replicating the campaign blueprint used by John Howard to introduce the tax in the first place. But what worked then might not work now.