Love him or loathe him, Treasurer Scott Morrison certainly knows how to get a point across. Yesterday he staged a press conference to repeatedly hammer Labor for what he calls their ‘war on business’, ‘war on growth’ and even ‘war on mums and dads’.
Subtlety is not the Treasurer’s strong suit. As has been widely observed, he used the word ‘war’ a total of 14 times, and even went so far as to accuse Shorten of using “tax as bullets”.
It was pure hyperbole, and has led many to object to the nature and timing of the ‘war‘ remarks, given they coincided with a repatriation ceremony for Australian soldiers involved in the Vietnam War.
Regardless of the accusations of insensitivity, Morrison achieved his aim of shifting focus to Labor’s tax plans in addition to its opposition of the Coalition’s company tax cut.
Morrison’s ‘war’ press conference came on the back of Wednesday’s release of Australia’s GDP figures, which showed the economy growing at its fastest rate in years.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the economy grew 1.1 per cent in the first quarter, and 3.1 per cent over the past year.
The figures were a relief for the Government – who would have no doubt been sweating on the release of unpredictable economic data in the midst of an election campaign, especially given their slogan of jobs and growth.
The solid numbers were driven largely by a big surge in Australian exports, masking the fact that the nation’s income is actually going backwards. This led to Labor noting the ‘fragility’ of the economy moving forward.
Not all rosy
However, it wasn’t all rosy economic news for the Government this week.
Goldman Sachs, the investment bank formerly chaired by Prime Minister Turnbull, noted that much of the benefit from the Coalition’s proposed company tax cut could flow offshore.
Opposition Treasurer Chris Bowen also questioned the alleged benefits from the tax cut, claiming the economy would grow at just 0.1 per cent per year as a result of the Coalition’s plan.
The intricacies of the arguments on either side of this issue are quite complex and may be lost on the voting public.
The official halfway point of the election campaign will be reached at 3.30am this Sunday morning. It hasn’t been labelled a ‘marathon’ campaign for nothing.
The halfway mark of the campaign also signals that early and pre-poll voting is just around the corner. With more voters than ever choosing to cast their vote ahead of Election Day, we can expect a sharp increase in political advertising as we enter the second half of the campaign.
Finally, with the close of nominations taking place next Thursday 9 June, we can expect more dirt to be dug on candidates from all sides with the objective to have them resign or be disendorsed, leaving their party unrepresented on the ballot paper.