The Government's Key Business Adviser Says Abbott Needs To Have A Major Talk With Australians

Image: Paul Kane-Pool / Getty.

The government is in a bind at the moment: a budgetary, opinion poll and communication bind.

Some argue the Coalition is hoist on its own petard, while others say it is the victim of market whims and crashing oil and iron ore prices.

Regardless of where you sit in the politcal spectrum, the Government’s problems are also ours – all 23,700,931 of us.

Business Insider recently sat down with Maurice Newman, the head of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, to talk about Australia’s future and the difficult choices the nation faces.

With the population aging, people leaving the workforce, wages falling in real terms – or at least rising at the slowest rate for a generation – Newman believes it’s time for Australia’s politicians to engage the population in a discussion about our economic future and make decisions about what we want it to look like.

Newman’s point is that high wages and high taxes to pay for a generous social safety net go hand-in-hand and Australians need to have a conversation about what entitlements they want from the government. In doing so they could address a large part of our global competitiveness problem.

He said that the the type of economic future Australians experience will “depends on what you want.”

“Over time, unless we’re able to significantly improve productivity, with more job-substituting capital investments, through wage standstills, through further reductions in the exchange rate, or some combination, then if we are to become competitive, these things have to happen. And it’s not just a question of what Maurice Newman is saying, it is a question of what the market will ultimately sustain,” he said.

Joe Hockey can see the issues in his budget. Both sides of politics know it and it’s time to do something both Labor and now Coalition has so far been unable to do.

Engage the Australian public in a convesation about their future. Perhaps then, like the reforms of Hawke and Keating 30 years ago and John Howards GST, Australians might understand what some of the pain is all about.

We’ll have the full conversation with Maurice Newman here at Business Insider tomorrow.

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