Please Mr Hockey can we have a Budget of gradual reform?

May 08, 2015
Please Mr Hockey can we have a Budget of gradual reform?

By Everald Compton

My first visit to Parliament in Canberra to attend a Budget speech occurred half a century ago when Harold Holt was Treasurer and he delivered it in the old Parliament House.

He gave a calm and rational account of the nations finances and this was widely accepted because it frightened few people and provided a sense of stability.

I have been at Parliament for most Budget speeches since then. Some were good and others quite mediocre.

I used to think that the worst I heard was from Billy McMahon until I listened to Joe Hockey in 2014. It was delivered confidently enough, but it hit all the wrong buttons.

My disappointment was magnified because I had expected better and knew that most voters had been ready to support him in making sensible changes to the economy.

That unfortunate Budget has still not passed the Parliament.

Now the Prime Minister has said we can expect a dull Budget for 2015 with no shocks, but I hope it is not that.

We need a courageous Budget that takes the economy forward in many small positive steps to meet the challenges that Australia faces in a rapidly changing world.

Voters will accept unpalatable medicine if it gradually leads to results that build the nation in a fair and equitable way.

This year we must take the first deliberate steps to meet the fast growing challenge of Ageing, the restoration of the Environment, the creation of the right type of Housing in the right places at the lowest possible cost and, above all, create jobs.

I await Budget Night 2015 with anticipation and I wish Joe Hockey well as he attempts to blot out the sad memories of 2014 and in the process give voters a sense of hope that is currently lacking.

Editors note: Everald is Chairman of ATEC Rail Group Ltd, Surat Basin Rail Pty Ltd, Steel Mississippi Pty Ltd and Tenement to Terminal Pty Ltd. Professionally, he is a Certified Practising Accountant and a Certified Practising Marketer. He is the former Chairman of National Seniors Australia and has taken-up a new role as Chairman of the Federal Governments Panel on Positive Ageing. He is also Chairman of the Everald Compton Charitable Trust, an Elder of the Uniting Church and an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast. Everald became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1993 and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for his services to the Transport Industry.

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