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Malcolm can’t repeat Abbott’s mistakes, The Australia Institute

Posted on Jul 17, 2016

Key opportunities exist for the Turnbull Government to work with, rather than against, the new Senate.

Given the potential costs and savings the Senate could impose on the budget, it would be prudent for Malcolm Turnbull not to repeat the mistakes made by Tony Abbott where the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes were implemented first, while leaving surprise spending cuts to be rejected by the Senate.

Good budget management, this time round, would see the superannuation reforms put to the Senate with the company tax cuts deferred.

In particular, by abandoning key parts of the company tax cut the new minority government would likely gain Senate favour as well as significantly improving the budget bottom line.

The company tax cuts were found economically wanting and unpopular with voters during the campaign and it would be politically wise drop them.

Some Coalition positions, such as cuts to renewable energy or education spending face a rocky prospect in the Senate.

Successful governments work with the Senate, not against it. The Constitution made it deliberately hard to pass laws.  This is not chaos, it actually provides stability.

The new Senate is obviously complicated, but bringing on revenue measures, while abandoning other expensive measure like the company tax cuts could lead to workable and positive economic outcomes.

Further changes to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation or cuts to renewable funding or attacks on environment groups would likely only enrage key parts of the Senate. It would seem wise to abandon these unpopular and largely ideological legacies from the Abbott period.

Ben Oquist is Executive Director of The Australia Institute