Liberal MP Dennis Jensen is two months away from winding up his 12-year stint in parliament, dumped after losing a pre-selection fight for his West Australian seat of Tangney.
And while the MP has floated the idea of standing as an independent at the July 2 election, he’s not making life easy for his Coalition colleagues as he heads for the door.
On Monday night in parliament he excoriated his own party, saying “what matters to the Liberal Party is conformity, fundraising and branch stacking”, going on to deliver a pre-election gift to Labor’s advertising team by saying “the Coalition are the worst economic managers” – with the caveat “apart from all others”.
Today he took a swipe at finance minister and fellow West Australian Mathias Cormann (misspelling his name in the process).
If Corman was more focussed on his job as finance minister, and less as powerbroker arranging preselection, would be less deficit #auspol
— Dennis Jensen MP (@DennisJensenMP) May 5, 2016
Jensen is regularly outspoken. Last year he was among the first Coalition backbenchers to break ranks and call on Tony Abbott to resign.
He’s also been busy on Facebook, calling the budget “a fudged opportunity” that’s done “nothing in particular done to reign in rampant spending”.
Jensen also shoots down a key part of Scott Morrison’s budget strategy, the small business tax relief, calling it a “dream”.
“Labor was rightly criticised for going two years beyond the forward estimates with Gonski and then accusing the Coalition of not funding to the same level as Labor, but you only lock in funding for the forward estimates, not beyond. So this big tax break in 10 years’ time is a dream,” he writes.
Jensen doesn’t believe surpluses will arrive either because of “heroic growth assumptions”.
And then there are the promised micro surpluses promised in a few years’ time that won’t eventuate, given the heroic growth assumptions. You would think after years of treasury being way too optimistic on growth there would be a tendency to be pessimistic and discount the bullish growth figure and be realistic. No, just use the bullish figure and even so the deficit is $37.1 billion!
We simply cannot go on like this. This is just like Wayne Swan and the “four years of surpluses I announce tonight”. Where is someone like a Peter Costello when you need him? I contrast this term in government with the first term of the Howard government, where very real things were done to bring down the debt. Here it is being added to… shame
Jensen was on a bit of a roll yesterday, also accusing the Turnbull government of being just as stubborn and unwilling to compromise as Tony Abbott when it came to dealing with the Senate crossbench.
His assessment of the current situation is scathing:
At the moment, the crossbench senators are treated with contempt, and told to take it or leave it. No wonder they often say “we’ll leave it, thanks”.
Instead of whinging about what the state of affairs is with crossbench senators, realise that this is the senate that the Australian people voted for, and learn to deal with it in a positive, productive manner, rather than just complaining and blaming the senate crossbench for all the government’s failures at getting legislation through.
Jensen lost preselection for Tangney in 2007 federal election, but prime minister John Howard intervened to save him. It happened again in 2010 with the state executive stepping in.
This time he knows there will be no intervention and he’s not going gently into the night.
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