Peter Dutton must acknowledge the Liberals’ tainted legacy

There’s been a fundamental change in government in Australia: it’s about active and engaged government, not shrinking government away. Peter Dutton needs to understand that.

(Image: Private Media)

One of the tasks of being in opposition after you lose government is understanding and dealing with the legacy of your time in office. It can be difficult, regardless of whether that legacy is positive or negative. Labor struggled with the seemingly positive free market economic reforms bequeathed by Paul Keating, but learnt well from the toxic Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. The Coalition effectively used John Howard’s relative fiscal discipline during its time in opposition.

Now Peter Dutton and the remnants of the Coalition have to deal with a legacy both toxic and alien to its professed principles. There’s the personal taint of Scott Morrison, who ended with a profoundly poisonous political personality and was deeply unpopular, and there’s his large, incompetent government.

Under Morrison, the Coalition permanently increased the size of government in Australia to around 27% of GDP. It wasn’t a short-term increase to deal with the pandemic; it was forever — the last Coalition budget predicted ~27% of GDP in government spending into the 2030s, well above the 24-25% inherited from Labor in 2013.

Read more about the tainted Liberal legacy Dutton must deal with…

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