Treasury Secretary Parkinson: We Could Have Sold The Budget Better

Getty/ John Moore

Joe Hockey has handed the budget sales job to his colleagues this week and last night even one of his reports, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson, joined the selling party.

The SMH reports that Parkinson was addressing the ACT Young Economist Network last night and said:

“Perhaps it (the Budget) could have been clearer to say that everybody is going to contribute, this is the budget dimension of it and there will be more coming with the tax white paper.”

It’s doubtful this would have helped in the short-term given the budget is widely seen as unfair by voters. But Parkinson highlighted the message that there was a looming budget problem – not using the “emergency” word – saying that:

“If you start from a presumption that you have a problem on the outlays side, and you have a very highly targeted welfare system and you think you need to take action on outlays, inevitably the people who get most from that system are going to complain.”

To some ears this might sound very harsh but Parkinson said there are always going to be losers and if “the discussion is always about whether anyone loses then society as a whole can never be better off”.

So far not the best sales job but the key message that seems embedded in the Government’s budget strategy and Parkinson’s comment on that is:

“If Australia gets the same productivity growth as its long-term average, then living standard growth will be about a third to a half of what the Australian public has gotten used to over the past 10 years.”

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