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June 02nd 2016 print

Christian Kerr

A Thumping Six Goes Un-Hit

Perhaps the PM prefers to ignore the polls which insist it is a tight race to July 2. Or maybe he believes his appeal is such that he need only take the crease in order to be awarded a victory lap. Whatever his thinking, the latest GDP numbers were a missed opportunity to knock one over the fence

turnbull down in mouthAnd with one bound he was free, or at least that’s the theory. Heroes escaping desperados need to take that leap, not pause for a little discourse on how the opportunity to flee the evil-doer’s clutches has came about, punctuating their discourse  with a few tenuously-linked but largely extraneous explorations for their current advantageous situation if they wish to take full advantage of that situation.

Yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull was given an enormous opportunity — a game-changing, election winning opportunity. The above-expected gross domestic product figures finally provided some much needed substance to his otherwise entirely abstract “plan for jobs and growth” slogan. There, in the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, was concrete evidence of growth. And in economics – or at least economics as it is presented by politicians – jobs follow growth as sure as bright day follows the night.

Scott Morrison seized the opportunity. Indeed, he spun quite a dramatic tale of dogged struggle around it. “In this tough economy you take every inch of growth you can get,” he declared at a press conference with the Prime Minister. “You take every job you can get. As a government, we’re not going to be dismissive of the ability to increase investment and the jobs and the growth that comes from that.”

The Treasurer further suggested that Bill Shorten, on the evidence of his policies, might not be so enthusiastic about growth, and he continued, “Every inch of growth matters, as small or as large as it can be” before returning to plan, this time clad in at least a hint of flesh and sinew. “We will fight for every inch of growth,” he said, “every job that can be created as a result of our tax plan and our broader national economic plan.”

And the Prime Minister? He took to social media to offer a suite of interesting international comparisons. “Our economy is growing faster than every economy in the G7, the Euro Area and the OECD average,” he said – instead of spelling out what the figures meant in the marginals.

Played properly, the GDP results should have given the government a whole new campaign competitiveness.  Played properly, not wasted on waffle.