In a clear signal the Prime Minister has taken lessons from the US presidential election, he said last night that Donald Trump’s victory had shown politicians that policy changes must be “fair in a very broad sense”.
Mr Turnbull said next year’s Budget must balance between “constraining future spending growth and allowing revenue to recover”.
He said higher taxes would not help young Australians get a foot in the door of the job market and save for a housing deposit. It comes a week after he conceded Tony Abbott’s slash-and-burn 2014 Budget had “come as a shock” and forced his administration to “rebuild the trust of the Australian people”.
Mr Turnbull told last night’s Business Council of Australia Annual Dinner in Sydney that fairness did not mean looking at “a narrow set of winners and losers”.
“It means making sure our overall system is fair, examining the transfers of goods and services over a person’s lifetime and asking ourselves, does this reflect the benchmarks we set ourselves of an open, fair and just society?” he said.
Mr Turnbull said ratings agencies had made it clear they were concerned that “belligerence and partisanship” in parliament would put a return to surplus at risk.
He vowed his government’s approach would be “driven by pragmatism” and it had already passed $12 billion in Budget improvement measures with the support of the Opposition. “But these cannot be one-off deals or goodwill gestures,” Mr Turnbull said.
“We cannot entertain another term of parliament that features three years of political posturing by Labor, followed by a series of conveniently timed backflips when promises are put under the microscope during an election campaign.”
Mr Turnbull, who left for the APEC summit in Peru overnight, will test the support of the Senate on his return next week to bring two key industrial relations changes.
The Registered Organisation Bill and the restoratio of the Australian Building and Construction Commission could be voted on next week.