Look, I’m not a journalist. Never have been, shouldn’t ever be. Like every other self-respecting political ’blogger, I regularly criticise political reporting in the (cliché alert) MSM, but I’m not actually saying I could do it better. I often wonder if I could, but that should be seen as more a reflection on their standards than my ability.
However, last night I came across something that I really think someone ought to have picked up on if they are paid to observe and write about politics.
During the Western Australian leaders debate, the issue of the state’s 18 billion dollar debt was put to premier Colin Barnett several times. Towards the end of the debate, he said:
“Yes, debt is an issue because we’re building this state for the future. We’re taking advantage of this unique time in our history. For health care, for education, for industrial development, for public transport. And if we don’t do it in this decade, we won’t have a chance. That’s not arrogant, that’s seizing the opportunity.”This seems to be completely at odds with Tony Abbott’s mantra that all debt is all bad all the time, regardless of the fact that we have had a global financial crisis to deal with since his party was last in power. Part of his slogan in 2010 was Pay back the debt.
Now I know we shouldn’t conflate state and federal issues. I don’t know whether the issues behind the Western Australian debt and the federal debt are the same. As I said, I’m not a journalist. But still, it ought to be fair to assume that being in the same party, Tony Abbott would support Colin Barnett as premier of Western Australia and endorse him for another term, and that Colin Barnett would support Tony Abbott’s position on federal issues and endorse him as the potential next prime minister. Therefore, I would think it might be worth putting Mr Barnett’s view that there’s a time and a place for going into debt and that it’s not necessarily a sign of poor economic management to Mr Abbott to see if he agrees or disagrees, and why.
I think the answer would be especially interesting considering the fact that when launching the WA Liberals’ campaign, Mr Abbott said he would model himself on the Barnett government should he win the federal election in September.
In fairness, we all know how hard it is to ask Tony Abbott any kind of question, but if anyone gets the chance, please do.