Peter Costello gives brutal warning to the Liberal Party over tax

Australia’s longest serving Treasurer Peter Costello has unleashed on the Liberal Party, saying they’re in danger of being “psychologically blud­geoned” over the issue of tax.

Ms Costello says the Liberals have lost their core vision as a party and are trailing behind Labor in that way.

He says Labor “very clear view of what it’s there for”, but the Libs need to start getting better at explaining their values and beliefs to the public – especially if they want to hold onto power.

Speaking at a forum for business leaders organised by the Menzies Research Centre, he said when he was in parliament things were different.

“When I got in there, I could have told you it was to balance the budget, cut taxes, introduce a GST, free up industrial relations, privat­ise Telstra,” he said reports The Australian.

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He said now it was not clear. “What is it, what are their motivations? That would be an interesting thing to ask them.”

He said the Government had failed to convince voters to believe in their ideas about tax reform – traditionally a major issue for the Party.

“I regret the fact that we’re not generating what I think is enough concern about these issues,” he said.

“You go to the doctor, before you’ll take the medicine you’ve got to know what the illness is. Before the public’s going to take the medicine on spending, taxes, whatever, you’ve got to tell them what the illness is. They’ve got to be convinced it’s an illness worth treating.

“Have we told them that? Do they understand that? They look around and they say: ‘Gee, everything’s going all right, no big problem here, no recession, not that many people out of work, trains are still there, buses seem to be running. It’s still pretty good.’

“All I’m saying is, as your position slips, suddenly you find out you’ve run out of choices. And you don’t want to go there, because then your future goes into the hands of someone else.”

Do you agree with Peter Costello? Has the Liberal Party lost its way? Or is Mr Costello wrong on this one?