I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: these are crazy times we’re living in, readers. It’s not just the nuttiness of Frankenfemmes pretending that men can have babies, or a goodly slice of the political class pretending that gibbering teenage dropouts are scientific experts, or half the world being panicked into never-ending house arrest by a fairly run-of-the-mill virus.

Although the last one is certainly linked to the world-turned-upside-down of Australian politics, right now.

For starters, who would have thought that the Coalition, the party of dry economic conservatism, would be the ones throwing money around like a prime minister’s partner out on a bender with Hunter Biden?

After joining in with the state premiers in throwing the Australian economy into the freezer for most of 2020, the Morrison government is turning to Keynesianism-on-crystal-meth, and priming the pump as frantically as a teenager with a 24/7 Pornhub feed.

Josh Frydenberg has drawn ­election battlelines with Labor over his $130bn phase three tax cuts, warning that a failure to support them would leave middle-­income earners hundreds of dollars a year worse off.

As the Treasurer pressured Labor to support the tax cuts due in mid-2024, Anthony Albanese said the budget failed to predict a boost to real wages ­despite record spending, and the nation would be left with “a trillion dollars of debt but nothing really to show for it’’.

Albanese is right about the trillion dollars of debt. Although not quite the free-spending lunacy of the Biden administration, which is set to push the national debt higher than its GDP, it will be the highest Australian debt level since the aftermath of WWII. The Morrison government is clearly hoping that it will spark a post-pandemic boom similar to the post-war one.

Meanwhile, the Treasurer is swearing that the spending spree is totally within the Liberal tradition.

In a National Press Club ­address at Parliament House, Mr Frydenberg declared his big-spending economic statement, headlined by a $31bn services package for the aged-care sector and ­National Disability Insurance Scheme, as a “Liberal budget” that stayed true to the Menzian tradition of getting more Australians into home ownership[…]

The budget received mixed ­reviews from some business leaders and economists who argued that the government must do more to drive private sector investment and attract new businesses to Australia[…]

Credit ratings agencies and the Commonwealth Bank raised ­concerns about the long-term budget position.

Labor is left kicking around whether they will support the tax cuts or not.

“People in that bracket vote for us and I would say 99.9 per cent of them want a tax cut,” [a Labor] MP said. “The Left want to spend it, and so do a whole lot of people in the Right.”

The Australian

The big difference is what Left and Right want to spend it on. Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg are gambling that their big spend is an investment in future growth. Our kids and grandkids will be hoping they’re right.

On a much smaller scale, the political topsy-turviness has hit Tasmania, too.

The state election result has finally been officially declared: Peter Gutwein has indeed won a record third-majority-government term for the Liberals – thanks to a Labor defector. A Labor defector who has, as a newly-minted Liberal, kicked a Liberal defector to the kerb.

Tasmania has a majority Liberal government after a nailbiting preference count delivered the party a crucial 13th seat — thanks to a former Labor MP.

Madeleine Ogilvie, a former Labor and independent MP who joined the Liberals at the start of the election campaign, late on Wednesday secured her seat in the Hobart-based division of Clark.

Her win, effectively at the ­expense of Liberal-turned-independent Sue Hickey, means the Liberals have 13 seats in the 25-seat House of Assembly and will govern in majority.

Hickey may have called herself an “independent”, but the reality was that, even as an ostensible Liberal, she was a Labor lackey. When Hickey was elected to state parliament as a Liberal, her very first act was to side with Labor in order to award herself the lucrative Speaker’s job. From then on, she steadily sided with Labor and repeatedly undermined the Liberal government.

Suffice to say, I don’t think many Tasmanians will be sorry to see the door hit her arse on her way out.

The outcome was hailed by Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein, whose gamble of an early May 1 election finally and narrowly paid off after a tense wait for postal votes and preference distribution.

The Australian

The left-media, the ABC in particular, are trying to spin this as a non-win for Gutwein. But, while he indeed remains on the same one-seat majority as before the election, the more pertinent reality is that he no longer has to deal with a treacherous bomb-thrower in the Speaker’s chair.

Not, I suspect, that it’s going to be a straight and even flight from here. Politics in Tasmania, as in Australia more broadly, will surely continue its wild and wacky recent ride.

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Weird Times in Oz Politics
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Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...