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”

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.

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?

  1. Russell Boucher  

    It is very interesting the comments by Mr Costello when the mention of tax reform come up every one concerned skirts around the core issue like they will get the plague, Government spending on Jet fighters and Subs that will be a complete wast of money just lining the pockets of other countries and are just for show like beating your chest big saving’s there, Now he biggest one of all how come most of the Australians that I have talked to and listened to have mention that forbidden word G.S.T. which has to rise by at “least” 2.5 percentage point’s to start getting us back on track and a big look at how the states manage their money as our real debt are in the states owing money to overseas interests as well,

  2. Greg Hills  

    I never did like Mr. (Not Ms) Costello’s political ideology, but saying that he is right on our need for tax reform.
    I advocate the abolition of every indirect tax and excise, coupled with a reduction to a uniform 25% for the tax rate for everybody – regardless of income level or entity status. The compromise for this will be to increase the GST to 15%.
    Then, increase the Medicare Levy to 5% (double what it is now). This will substantially fund our Health System.
    Then, remove all fiscal responsibility from the states. All their income and expenditure will be managed by the Commonwealth. We do this by merging all state government departments such as Health, Education, Transport, Main Roads, and Licensing/registration into one of each Commonwealth department.
    There will be merely branch offices of each in each state, basically arranged in a “government hub” at or near local council offices.
    In fact, State a governments will become mostly redundant but will have to be retained, at least in this modified form, because Australia is a Federation of States. In the medium to long term, eventually, the respective state senators will be given the responsibility to run their State.
    Once this happens, with the appropriate constitution change, we can do away with all edited state politicians – saving billions.
    This will take a while though, as Australians don’t vote YES easily to any referendum. A fact that the anti-marriage equality campaigners are banking on, by asking for a plebiscite.

  3. Wendy Burton  

    Costello, was the BEST Treasurer the country has ever had..and unfortunately those days of Howard and Costello are long gone. Today, they can only think of themselves and very rarely answer a question as they really have no idea whats going on. I am sick and tired of ALL parties. Do we ever know the names of the front bench!!! do they REALLY know what their Portfolio is all about, !!! Has our Treasurer got the qualifications to do his job to run a very large business!!! ..IF we have to tighten our belts WHY is it that those in Parliament DON”T tighten theirs..they get all the perks plus a wage, and they don’t have to plan for their retirement either…I am over the lot of them.

    • Mareela  

      Wendy, I have to disagree with you. Costello WAS NOT Australia’s best treasurer, although he looks good compared to Morrisin who has no idea what he’s doing. Howard and Costello were responsible for spending all the mining boom money on middle class welfare. Costello sold our gold reserves for rock bottom prices and then of course gold prices soared and again we lost out. During all the years they were in power they built NOT ONE infrastructure project with all that money they had to play with. To top it off, they sold everything that wasn’t nailed down in the way of public assets just so they could say “we’ve got a surplus”. You need to read some history Wendy of what actually happened during their years of mismanagement. It is mostly thanks to them and the current conservative government that Australia has such a fiscal problem at the moment.

  4. Jacaranda  

    Costello is wrong. The Liberal Party’s “motivation” is exactly the same as in his time. However that was years ago, and enough people know perfectly well its not what they want. The Liberals are only interested in the top earning 20%, because thats their own territory. To hell with the rest. They scraped back in with the connivance of the media, but its not going to happen next time. Costello and Howard had a dream run, the mining boom and no social media to contend with. His major achievement was setting up the Future Fund. People thought it was for the future of Australians, but no, it was just to ensure politicians would always get their generous entitlements. They missed a wonderful opportunity, just because they are blinkered, self interested Liberals (a misnomer, if ever there was one).

  5. Tim Janes  

    The libs lost their way when a socialist hijacked the leadership. It will never get support that it had till it gets a leader of traditional conservative pronciples.

  6. Truth 13  

    It is easily said than done. The biggest problem the country has now is, ruling parties in the last 30 years, have sold everything the country had. Sold Commonwealth Bank, sold Qantas, sold Electricity, Telstra, Airports, State Insurance, State Banks, Energy, Gas, Oil, Mining, Tabcorp, Oil refineries & many other business that made profit to the country. What is left are the Medicare & politicians asses & testicles, which has no value to anyone. No wonder the country is struggling & our debt is nearly $ Half a Billion, and growing. On top these blunders, ALL foreign companies, hardly pay any tax. There’s only one question the 24 million Australians have to ask. What type of IDIOTS are running the country. The the clowns in the Liberal party now wants to do is to deny the pension to the older Australians who paid various taxes, paid for medicare, educated the children & saved some money for their future, while they are having a ball with all types of benefits. Before they cut the benefits to the Older Australians, the Parliament shroud start cutting down their own very lavish benefits. Otherwise, the way the country is been run by these fools, in the next 50 years, we might end up as a part of Indonesia or China. Then all can say, Thanks to the idiots we had. They have no vision for the country, and don’t know what to do to review the life style of the people.All they know is to say cut, cut & cut to the people, and more, more & more to the benefits of the politicians.

  7. Diane Neumann  

    I agree with Mr Costello’s comments. Any thinking person can realize that we have an aging population, a shrinking workforce and an overburdened health system. As mentioned above there are simple and effective ways to increase the tax revenue and spread the burden evenly across the population. I too agree that the gst should be raised. Given the high cost of private health insurance I believe it would be very difficult to gain support for raising the Medicare levy. I believe that the $5 fee to visit the doctor was a good idea. Most people think nothing of spending that amount on a cup of coffee but were horrified at the idea of paying to see a doctor for their health. I truly believe that most people only appreciate what they pay for. Maybe a $5 fee would have stopped a lot of unnecessary wasted time for our doctors. What we need our politicians to do is to be courageous and stand up for what they truly believe. What I continue to see are supposedly intelligence well educated men who have one eye on the next election and the other looking behind to save their back from their own party. They are so busy attacking each other – does any legislation actually get debated. Our politicians need to respect the people who have elected them. They need to realize that we no longer live in the 1960s. The general population are well educated, well informed and not prepared to believe everything that is told to them.

  8. Peter  

    Mr Costello is correct once again. I only listen to people who have the runs on the board and he certainly has that. I just wish he would run for pre-selection again in his old seat of Higgins. His successor, Ms Kelly O’Dwyer wouldn’t know what day it was compared to Peter. If Peter ran again and got in, Turnbull would get tossed out in a jiffy and Peter would become PM in record time. After that, within ten years the nation’s finances would be back in the black and Australia would be well on the road to economic recovery, well and truly. All the people that criticize Peter are the ones who haven’t achieved anything in life and simply just don’t like him. He was Australia’s greatest Treasurer and he could still be Australia’s greatest PM; but only if he wants it badly enough!

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