opinion

Ben Harvey: Federal Election 2022: My 10 commandments for the new Prime Minister

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Ben HarveyThe West Australian
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The 41 days of campaigning was long enough for me to grow a beard that would make Moses look twice, so in biblical audacity I now hand down my 10 commandments to the new Prime Minister, whoever it is.

Thou shalt not call a mistake an “error of judgment”

When you do that you sound like a wanker that made a mistake instead of a person that made a mistake. Who came up with that nonsense? I bet it was the same tosser that invented the phrase “going forward”. What a refreshing change it would be to hear a Prime Minister say “I made the incorrect call on that. I was wrong”.

Thou shalt not say “I apologise if anyone took offence”

Just say “sorry”. No qualifications, please. We teach our kids the value of saying sorry very early in their lives but forget the lesson when we make “errors of judgment”. Imagine hearing a politician say: “I made the incorrect call on that. I was wrong. And I’m sorry”. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of someone confident in their own skin.

Thou shalt not call budget cuts “efficiency dividends”

No amount of lipstick will disguise that pig. The term first appeared in The West Australian on July 25, 1991, in a story about budget cuts at the ABC. It was a ridiculous term then and 30 years later it’s still ridiculous.

Thou shalt not use your family in political advertising but then claim your wife/husband/partner and kids are off limits for media

I’m sorry, but you can’t have your cake and eat it. If you pose with your partner or children for political gain or trot them out at press conferences you forfeit their right to privacy. Think about whether that photo opp is really worth it.

Thou shalt not say we can achieve net zero by 2050 without any risk of a rise in the cost of living or a slowdown in economic growth

If our power bills will be smaller and our air cleaner — and we’ll be richer and with better jobs — what are we arguing about? Why would any business think twice about going green if it means instant sustainable profits? You can’t slide a cigarette paper between an ASX executive and a sliver of revenue so why are they reluctant?

Thou shalt not ever say you are going to “speak your truth”

You can, and should, speak the truth. But your truth implies there are different versions of truth. There are not.

Thou shalt not keep adding to the $1 trillion debt pile

Earning a dollar and spending 99 cents is the key to a happy life. We are earning a dollar and spending $3. It simply cannot go on. At same point the music will stop. And this theory that if we grow the economy we won’t need to pay it off because the debt will be a smaller proportion of income is bollocks. $1 trillion is a crap-load of debt regardless of how big GDP is.

Thou shalt not keep categorically ruling out a mining tax

Why should wealthy mining companies be immune from any form of tax increase? How come other industries don’t get that guarantee? Hell, why don’t I get that guarantee? I don’t have anywhere near as much money as BHP. We seem to be so enthralled by resources companies that somewhere we lost sight of one important thing: they don’t own the iron ore, or gold, or oil, or gas, or lithium they sell for handsome profits, we do. We don’t need to be thankful, they do.

Thou shalt not tell us there is any solution to housing affordability other than building more houses

This is basic supply and demand. Every other “solution” is window-dressing at best and a price-rise trigger at worst.

Thou shalt not attribute the low unemployment rate to astute economic management by Government but blame rising unemployment on international market movements out of your control

Ditto wages. Have you noticed low wage growth is due to subdued trading conditions caused by the pandemic, but rising wages come from Government investments in training and skills? Ditto cost of living. When that goes down it’s because the Government has managed supply and demand but when it goes up? Well, that’s because Russia invaded Ukraine!

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