Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his Treasurer Tim Nicholls continue to lie blatantly and shamelessly to Queenslanders about the size of the debt the Budget has to deal with.
It is one of many demonstrable lies (but by far the biggest) told by the LNP — which truly deserves the title of the Lying Newman Party.
It has also lied about the crime rate, hospital waiting lists, electricity assets and electricity prices — all potentially vote-changing issues.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls was at it again on Tuesday (October 7) in trying to convince Queenslanders that the State Budget has to deal with an $80 billion debt and interest repayments of $4 billion a year and, therefore, we have to part with the family silver.
It is a fact that the correct figure, using the LNP’s skewed accounting method, spelled out in State Budget Paper Number Two for 2014/15 (p96), is $$48 billion.
General Government borrowings of $48.141 billion are forecast for 2014-15, an increase of $3.162 billion over 2013-14. This increase is primarily to support the capital program of $5.972 billion in 2014-15…”
You might notice that not only is this $32,000,000,000 less than the debt claimed by the Treasurer as part of his “crisis” spiel but the LNP has added $3 billion to the debt with its own spending — an increase of nearly 7% in one year.
And repayments of $4 billion a year? Another lie.
Again the Treasurer’s own Budget Paper spells out the true figure on page 82:
“In 2014-15, the General Government sector has total debt servicing costs forecast at $2.379 billion…”
Yesterday, Treasurer Nicholls stood in front of a Government banner saying ‘No asset sales’ and insisted that the Government’s plan to lease major assets was completely different.
But on March 23 2010, Treasurer Nicholls told Parliament:
“…a 99-year lease is as good as giving away the farm….”
Then again, on 12 October 2010, the treasurer was adamant that leasing assets was equivalent to selling them.
He told the Brisbane Times that the then Labor Government’s decision to lease rail tracks was
“… a fire sale, and asset sales will not fix the structural deficit created by Labor.”
And notice: he was also adamant that asset sales wouldn’t fix the deficit.
On electricity assets, Premier Newman vowed in November 2012:
“The poles and wires transmissions stuff, I believe, should be owned by the people because they are natural monopolies.”
“I am not going to be bullied by the Prime Minister into selling electricity assets.”
On 7 October 2014, he announced the plan to privatise the poles and wires.
Another big lie in Budget Paper Two was that all the money from the sale of assets would go into reducing debt and
‘… investment funds and projects to help grow the State’s economy now and for future generations.’
Now $3.4 billion is going to be frittered away in buying Queenslanders’ votes by promising them, in the lead up to an election, that an LNP government will
“… relieve cost-of-living pressure”.
Mr Newman used a similar vote-buying tactic before the 2012 state election, when he promised tolower electricity bills by $120 a year. They’ve gone up.
But wait these more — including lies about crime figures.
On 5 August, Premier Newman released a Joh-style ‘Queensland Unlimited’ video segment on YouTube with a caption that read:
‘Premier Campbell Newman today joined Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Jack Dempsey and Police Commissioner Ian Stewart to reveal the rate of Queensland reported offences were dramatically down 11 per cent for the 2013/14 financial year.’
But media reports, typified by the ABC, reported:
‘The QPS data shows that in 2013-14 there were 436,720 offences recorded. That compares to 437,465 the year before. Allowing for population growth it translates to a 2.1 per cent drop in the crime rate.’
And then some lies about health.
On 9 September this year, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told Parliament:
“There has been a virtual elimination of surgical long waits in this state…”
But the LNP was at pains when it was in Opposition to say that there was a huge waiting list hidden behind the waiting list for surgery — and that this was a crucial measure.
On 14 February 2012, then LNP health spokesman Mark McArdle said in a media release:
‘When Ms Bligh claims Labor has the shortest elective surgery waiting times, she fails to admit there are over 220,000 patients waiting to get on the elective surgery waiting list.’
Is this the list which we should be talking about? Australian Medical Association Queensland president Richard Kidd said on 1 March 2012:
“The premier lied when she said that we had the shortest waiting lists … We need to talk about the waiting list; the waiting list for the waiting list; and the ‘I’m never going to get onto the waiting list’ waiting list.”
On August 4 this year Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg was asked on Radio 4BC:
“So how many people are on the waiting list to get on the waiting list?”
Mr Springborg confessed:
“There’s around 300,000 people as I understand it off the top of my head.”
He saw no need to change that figure after the interview.
That’s up from 220,000 in 2012. In other words, according to the minister, the waiting list for the waiting list has grown even longer — up by more than a third.
If it was a lie, as alleged by the Australian Medical Association in 2012 to ignore the waiting lists to see a specialist, it’s a lie today. And it’s a bigger lie by 80,000 people.
The list of lies goes on, of course, but this article must come to an end.
You can read more by Steve Bishop at stevebishop.net.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License