Just when I had given up on the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull made a surprisingly good speech to parliament in response to Wayne Swan’s budget speech.
To put it mildly, Turnbull has been quite disappointing as a Leader of the Opposition. He was terrible at commenting on government policies and was sadly lacking in sensible suggestions as to what the Opposition has to offer instead.
Last night, however, we witnessed a barrister at work. He spoke well and he had some excellent suggestions about small business. He is correct in claiming that the recovery depends on small business having more confidence to invest. That is where the government’s budget failed. There was hardly any mention of this most important part of the economy in Swan’s budget speech and that was a lapse in judgement on Labor’s part.
Everything that Labor talked about had to do with the future and yet the financial crisis is happening right now. Increasing the pension is good but it won’t increase spending to a great extent. Helping small business would gain immediate results and that’s why Turnbull’s ideas were impressive.
As for the increased tax on cigarettes, that was a good idea too and it would have demonstrated that the Government was willing to attack an industry that is killing thousands of people each year. It’s what the Health Minister should have suggested if she cared for the well-being of Australians.
So full marks to Turnbull for his speech last night and the one he made at lunchtime today as well. We needed to know what the Opposition would suggest in response instead of just hearing criticism about the Government. That sort of whining is very annoying and gets the Opposition nowhere. Concrete alternatives are what we want to hear.