BUDGET 2013: Howard says budget was to disadvantage opposition


Former prime minister John Howard says the federal budget was more about politically disadvantaging the opposition than the future of the economy.

Mr Howard has told a business breakfast in Brisbane the most extraordinary thing about Tuesday night's budget speech was that for the first time he can remember, it was entirely focused on the opposition, not the government.

"The government was saying, `We are committed to these great reforms in disability care and Gonski', saying, `we will do everything we can to put opposition in a difficult position of either supporting those reforms or alternatively getting rid of support for other measures'," he said.

"In other words, the budget last night was not about the future of the economy, rather it was about politically disadvantaging the opposition."

The former Liberal leader said the economy was still in a good position but the budget bottom line was not after five-and-a-half years of Labor governments.

He accepted it was necessary for Labor to spend money to get through the global financial crisis, but he thinks the spending went too far.

"I accept when you go into any type of downturn, revenues are affected," Mr Howard said.

"I don't accept the magnitude of the wasteful expenditure that occurred.

"The first $11 billion was acceptable, the next $42 billion comprised some of the greatest series of waste that we've seen.

"This government has spent beyond its means."

While Mr Howard said he was still enormously optimistic about the future of Australia, the real challenge for the elected government would be to continue to compete in the "foot race" of globalisation against the rest of the world.

More from Business Spectator


Please login or register to post comments

Comments Policy »
Labour offers Australian utopia and dare the opposition to match with. If they won the election by luck, they just walked away because of things out of government's control (not me!). It would be either low tax revenue, low carbon price at the other end of the world or GFC . That's what happened in last two elections. Now the question is DO WE STILL HAVE FAITH ON THIS GOVERNMENT?
Agree Ares. To be exact, labor offers communistic utopia. Take from 'rich' and give to poor. But they made huge mistake, with their stupid carbon tax they took from poor, gave them back small part and said that poor become better !!! Now labor panic, they cooperate with hedge funds to devalue ausi$ !!! Do we really believe that that G. Soros can see the future? Maybe just insider info that labor started ausi$ devaluation !!! Now comes the most interesting part. Should all foreigners who invested in ausi stock market wait while their profit disappear with dropping ausi$ ?!
Alan Kohler described John Howard's 2006 budget in The Age as " gloriously irresponsible and amazingly profligate".He criticized Howard's squandering of over $140 BILLION on vote catching welfare and tax cuts when nation building infrastructure was completely neglected by the Howard government.Kohler stated in 2006 that Howard's budget had made interest rate rises and budget deficit's far more likely and a budget crisis in future inevitable. The IMF wholeheartedly agreed with Alan Kohler's sentiment's in 2006 last year ,saying it was the most wasteful Liberal Party government in the history of Australian politic's. Now John Howard has the gall to stand up and say the ALP is setting Tony Abbott up. What a load of paranoid,buck passing rubbish. Should Tony Abbott rid the country of the Carbon and Mining Taxes upon winning the 2013 federal election ,business confidence will be restored immediatedly.Just because big mining corporation's won't do business with the Gillard government doesn't mean they won't do business with Tony Abbott.Already Tony Abbott has surprised many with a well thought out IR plan that has shown measured restraint and sought to address some of the critical failures of Gillard's IR legislation. There can be no doubt Tony Abbott will seek to address the issues surrounding the Live Cattle trade which with a better negotiating response can be revived and saved from the disaster it's currently facing.Talking up the economy instead of talking it down with the unparalleled support of Rupert Murdoch's media interest's will no doubt too help Tony Abbott restore consumer confidence. Howard underestimate's in my opinion Tony Abbott's economic credential's.He needs to remind himself too ,that no one could do any worse than he did with this country's economy when he was so called Prime minister of this country.
I am a Liberal voter But I blame John Howard for the mess that Australia is in The Liberals never banked enough money from the mining boom Had Howard handed over the reins to Costello, the Gillard government would never have got into power
To be honest mate I doubt you are a liberal voter. It is not the role of government to run cash deposits. After repaying public debt, putting 60 billion into the future fund - what do you want them to do 2 years before the GFC happened. Continually tax you more so they can put it on deposit. Keynesian spending is suppose to occur as you feel you are going into recession - that happened on Kev's watch. What do people expect of Howard - that he had a crystal ball to know about the GFC 2 years before it happened.
Adam You miss the point Had John Howard not been so proud he would have handed over to Costello who would have been elected We would not have this sham of a hung parliament with the independents only interested in hanging on to their own jobs for as long as possible.
Baloney Costello was never as popular as Howard but in the eyes of the left their combined crime was to run a series opf surplus budgets ,pay off government debt,put money into a future fund and hand back money to taxpayers thereby making the Rudd/Gillard?swan combinations look incompetent by comparison.
Whatever fault anyone wants to attribute to the Howard-Costello government, the fact is they repaid 90 billion in labour debt. They got the economy on a sound financial footing and whilst they were in office business had confidence people had confidence about the future, Look at it now what a shambles or mess. Labour has talked the economy up and down to suit it's political agenda rather than show leadership to give people some confidence.Mr swan is running the biggest smoke and mirrors job in Australian history, How can you be that bad at forecasting and still keep your job. Isn't there anybody else? The main point id that Mr Rudd destroyed any chance of Labour had before they even started. In the lead up to the Keven07 Mr Rudd told everyone over and over that he was a fiscal conservative. (?) Then when the GFC hit he saw it as a big spending opportunity under the guise of saving the economy. The reason for the excessive spending was to guarantee themselves a second term so that Mr Rudd would look like Santa Clause at the next election. That is why everyone was instructed to complete the spending programs " FAST" eg, Mr Garret. If those programs were implemented in a orderly fashion over 4 years instead of FAST 2years in time for the election, the cost blowouts and profiteering would not of occurred. Anyone with construction experience knows when government wants something built fast all cost control goes out the window. Labour did not need to put the country in this much debt. They could have spent the money in stages and withdrawn what was not required.The IMF has come out and said Australia has a spending problem not a revenue problem. The bank guarantee with a stroke of a pen Mr Swan wiped out second tier lenders overnight. How did treasury not understand this? Who is going to rein in the big four's power now. Take a look, record profit after record profit. I am for strong banks but this is a bit rich. The mining tax ( dogs breakfast tax) The petrol commissioner etc. too many to list.
John Marks you are spot on. I've always said that JWH should have named his successor, and obviously that should have been Peter Costello. But, oh no. The trappings of office were too much for him to let go. Such a shame to see a man who did such a good job of being P.M. to be forced out by the public and lose his Seat as well. And, we got Rudd and Costello is lost for all time.