In 2013, Joe Hockey was sworn in as Treasurer under an Abbott Government and over the next two years the buzz words were debt and deficit.
As a nation, we were told to tighten our belts. The surplus left by the previous hard-working Liberal Government had been gobbled and spat back at us by the Gillard-Rudd-Gillard years in the form of $250 billion debt.
Yet, as a nation, we wince at any efforts to control spending, we zone-in on the loudest voices, afraid of the political fall-out, and assume a general consensus that everybody wants more and more debt.
But that is not true. In fact, many people I speak to are extraordinarily alarmed at the rate of spending and the promises that the Andrews Government in Victoria is signing us up to.
Some may call it fiscal confidence, but I’m inclined to believe it is more akin to fiscal irresponsibility.
The Andrews Government is spending like a drunken sailor – budget blowouts have hit $26 Billion and net debt forecasts show an increase from $18 Billion to $29 Billion.
I guess Labor hopes people get lost in the blur of zeros and it becomes too much to comprehend, and for many, too much to even care about.
Given thousands of Victorians can’t even recognise who our Premier is, why would they even care about how far he has pushed the debt-laden ship out to sea?
This is a state Government giddy on debt, euphoric in the wake of burgeoning stamp duty coffers and the 12 new taxes it has dumped upon the very people to whom it so solemnly promised that there would be ‘no new taxes’.
The Good Ship Dan is taking on water, as the fiscal seas rough up in the winds of change.
As banks begin their interest rate climb and the housing market flattens, the stamp duty gravy train will begin to slow. Wages growth is battling inflation and total personal debt in Australia is about two trillion.
But what isn’t slowing is the spending. Labor is determined to blow billions to hold the reins.
Spiraling debt is a reckless and crude gift to hand our children.
A Coalition government will plan its way into Government, not spend its way.
The financial warning signs are staring back at us. Ignorance is not bliss. It is a burden for which we will all pay.
It will take brave leadership, particularly during an election campaign to take a responsible tact on spending and election commitments. Given Labor’s history and track record, that responsibility will have to fall to a Liberal Government led by Matthew Guy.