Abbott says to Palmer - respect our mandate & pass Supply


Abbott's mandate? Yes or No

We are suddenly in new unknown territory with "passage of the money bills by the Upper House" uncertain.

A useful overview of current state of play from   where Abbott asks Clive Palmer to respect his mandate:


Right to govern & right to Supply

On 15/9/2013 I argued that Abbott had a right to govern and a right to Supply but had no significant mandate; See

Joe Hockey blew that right to Supply 13 May 2014 with a Budget that noone saw coming! (Note: See one example of a Budget item that bears significant similarity to almost every item in the Budget: )

Clear mandate?

There are a couple of exceptions to this general "lack of mandate". Abbott could rightfully argue that he had a mandate to (a) remove the previous government's "mining tax", (b) remove the previous government's so-called "carbon tax" (referred to elsewhere in the world as a "price on carbon (POC)") and (c) introduce "6 months full-pay paid parental leave (PPL)". These policy items had been seriously promoted and discussed in front of the voters prior to the election, and for anyone to now claim that Abbott had "pulled a swifty" on these couple of budget items is laughable.

Abbott is hung up on the 'mining tax' for obvious reasons saying (listen to his statement above)

… we need the cross-benches in the senate to respect the government’s mandate and we did get a clear mandate to get the budget back under control; we got a clear mandate to repeal the mining tax and the spending associated with this tax; it's raising little money but causing a lot of disruption to investment and to employment and so … look um we will sit down with the cross-benchers and we will respectfully talk to them about what we have in mind but um what they have to accept is that we have a debt & deficit disaster; we are borrowing a billion dollars every single month just to pay the interest on Labor’s debt and we cannot continue to spend money that we just don’t have ...

Lack of mandate?

So forget for a moment the reason he offers, Abbott is pretty clear about his mandate to remove the mining tax and I would have to agree with him. I would also agree that he has a mandate to repeal the POC and introduce the PPL. I don't agree with either of the policy initiatives and both have received widespread condemnation from experts in the fields, including for the POC from experts across the world; but that is not the point; in the election the people have spoken and have given him a clear mandate to implement his policies. 

However, when you look at the Budget, almost every other item in the Budget lacks any sort of mandate. That is to say, if you take any other major 'Item of Change' in the Budget and check that change back to Abbott's promises in the run-up to the election, you would have to conclude, for one reason or another, that the mandate he is now seeking support from the cross-benchers for does not exist. 

What is a mandate?

That is of course if you accept my definition of 'mandate'. Let us just revisit that for a sec to understand clearly what a mandate is.

The concept of 'mandate' relates to the incoming government's right to govern free of impediment from an Opposition who may be in a position to block or delay the introduction of these changes. If a government has a mandate, it is said that these changes are 'legitimate' and any attempt by the Opposition to block or delay these changes is 'illegitimate'. [...]

So mandate relates to the legitimacy of a particular policy. By outlining this policy to the electorate prior to the election and making it a key part of the party's political platform, the incoming government is said to earn a 'mandate' to introduce this policy, free from the fetters of opposition within the parliament, an opposition keen to restrict the ability of the new government to perform. [...]

But there are a few provisos:

If you are going to argue you have a mandate, you have to have fulfilled the requirements as detailed above:

  1. You have to have stated clearly the policy and detailed the impact of the policy, prior to the election. New governments who attempt to introduce a policy that they did not make public during the election campaign are said to not have a mandate to implement that policy.
  2. You need to have been open and transparent about the costs and the benefits of the policy. New governments who hide the costs and or the benefits of that policy from the public are said to not have a mandate to implement that policy.

What should Abbott have said in the run up to the election to be able to claim a mandate now?

The absurdity of Abbott's claim now for a mandate to implement changes represented in the Budget are best reflected by a re-write of what Abbott should have said to the electorate in the run-up to the election in August 2013 to be able to claim that he has a mandate now:

Imagine Abbott had said this in August last year:

  1. I will modify Labor's National Broadband Network (NBN) programme, dumping any idea of fibre to the home (FTTH) and replacing it in some key places with fibre to the node (FTTN). As the Internet is already operating at the speed of light, linking the local small business or the home to the FTTN with copper wire provides little or no benefit to the household/small business as the benefit over the small distance of the fibre from the major city link to the node is virtually zero. So those who will benefit from my new policy are only a few big players who have the money to run fibre from a nearby node and fit out their major buildings with fibre. You little'uns can do it but the costs per business or home will generaly be unsupportable when compared to benefit.  I hope you understand that big business needs this node much more than you do! I am making this change to obtain benefit for one key person only. Of course he is not an Australian citizen but he runs important newspapers & TV stations across Australia and will use these newspapers & TV stations to help me get elected, so he is entitled to a bit of benefit, isn't he? If the NBN as originally designed was to be implemented, a major investment of his, that makes high profit by providing access to films in the home, would be quickly worthless and we can't have that, now, can we?
  2. I am going to dump Gillard's plans for widespread improvement in education, known as the Gonski school funding plan. I was going to guarantee her commitments dollar for dollar, but we just can't afford it. I am going to cut $2.67 billion in state schools and $1.21 in private schools which will nullify any improvement from Gillard commitments on Gonski. I will be making other significant cuts in government commitment to education but I will however be spending some $245 million to get some religious chaplains back into state and private schools, even religious private schools will be eligible for this commitment to reintroduce the religious chaplaincy of the nineteenth century into the modern school environment. After all, they don't call me a man of god for nothing. Does this include Buddhism & Islam? Oh come on now!
  3. I am going to make a huge saving in government funding by cutting the loans to students under HECS & HECS HELP. At the same time the education fees are expected to rise dramatically as government funding to colleges and unis are reduced and unis encouraged to pass on increasing private funding to the 'user' via higher annual fees. This fits with our new world view which Joe Hockey will spell out in May which he will call the 'Age of Entitlement'. I know this will make it impossible for many poor working class kids to get to college and university and it's a bit like returning to a privileged elite that went to college & uni in the seventy odd years prior to Whitlam, leaving those that do get there with a huge debt to repay to the public purse once they start working but Labor started it and if we don't do this the students just won't realise how lucky and privileged they are. People have come to expect education as a right not a privilege and they have to realise that some are after all more entitled than others.
  4. I intend to set aside funds for funding naval vessels to give to Sri Lanka in an attempt to cut off attempts by those tortured by the Sri Lankan government to come our way on the high seas. If I can get away with it in the High Court I will also seek to return Sri Lankan asylum seekers back directly to the Sri Lankan government. I know that it is generally understood that this is against the human rights of those asylum seekers and illegal under international law but this will act as a useful deterrent to others seeking asylum. Anyway, Labor started it by introducing 'mandatory detention', which is also against human rights; we are just tougher than they are.
  5. I will make myself out to be a man of fairness and honesty and justice by declaring myself to be the 'prime minister for aboriginal affairs' but this will just be a nicety. I will water down the impact of aboriginal affairs on the national purse by including religion and big business on the advisory committee and removing aboriginal activists from the committee and I will offer strong bipartisan support to Labor's decision to entend the John Howard racist 'Northern Territory Intervention' campaign for another 10 years even though it is seen across the world as against the human rights of Indigenous peoples. I will make major cuts in the Budget to all levels of 'aboriginal affairs' funding, selling the cuts to the Punters as simply an improvement to bureaucratic efficiency and the cutting of wasteful over-servicing. This fits well with long-standing traditions of 'aboriginal affairs' since federation.
  6. I will sell the need for major changes in the Budget as a 'debt & deficit disaster', cuts to social spending necessary to "bring the budget under control"; at the same time I will double the deficit when I get into power claiming it was necessary because of global risks (even though the Reserve Bank will disagree) and double it again in the Budget's forward estimates period, all the time making public statements that it is Labor's debt that I am dealing with and that this Budget is finally bringing it under control. The MSM (especially the conservative talkback shock-jock radio hosts) and the dickhead voter will cop every one of my and Joe's claims as being a justification for cuts they will need to cop and continue to blame Labor for it. At the same time, when I or Joe are overseas we will claim to key foreign government Treasurers and ministers that the Australian economy is robust and there is no disaster at all. My newspaper magnate friend will keep that from the punters using his ability to control the news of the day.
  7. I intend to introduce, through Medicare, payments for medical services that are at present free in an attempt to curb overuse of medical services by patients who should know better. I know medical practitioners and health industry agencies will provide strong evidence that the Australian medical industry does not suffer from this problem but we will do it anyway, just in case. 
  8. I intend to extend retirement to the age of 70 in an attempt to curb burgeoning public welfare payments as the population ages and life expectancy improves due to better health choices and better life choices (unless of course you are in Indigenous populations). I mean in the age of entitlement we can't have ordinary people feeling they have a right to sit around and enjoy life just because wealth is generally improving and they have worked hard all their lives to earn this right, now can we?
  9. Every social payment made to the punters will suffer from cuts in an attempt to distribute in a fair and equitable manner (unless of course you are a mining magnate or a rich industry magnate able through smart rehash of outcomes (such as my friend suing the ATO to get nearly a billion dollars refunded by introducing accounting niceties) cut the level tax payable to a tiny percentage) the cost of government tightening its belt. These cuts will include:
  • Medicare levy (increase to 2%)
  • Medicare levy low-income threshold for families increased 
  • Medicare rebates reduced 
  • Increased qualifying age of pension to 70 years
  • New Debt Levy of 2% for taxpayers earning over $180,000
  • First Home Saver Accounts scheme to be abolished
  • Company tax rate falls to 28.5%
  • FBT increases to 49%
  • Super rate increases to 9.5%
  • Changes to HELP repayment thresholds reduced,indexation, and loan fees increase 
  • Mature Age Workers Offset scrapped
  • Dependent spouse tax offset abolished 
  • Newstart eligibility age increased & tests harsher 
  • FTB & Single Parent reduced 
  • New PPS maternity leave payments up to $50,000 
  • Changes to ATO trust MIT R&D etc rules 

Is there a mandate, really Tones?

Anyway, I could go on and on. My point actually is a simple one. In order to claim a mandate Abbott had to have given us some inkling as to what was in store for us, once he got to power. He didn't do that and his mandate therefore cannot be found.

This lack of mandate is the reason why the vote by Latika's SMH readers is so biased against the passage of the money bills. Usually people respect the government's right to Supply. But if you lie to the electorate, you better be ready to cop a backlash.

The passage of the money bills is up to cross benches and not up to parliamentary traditions. It is an interesting moment.

Clive, were are hooting for you!



, political editor

"Tony Abbott was jubilant after his government persuaded the party of a mining magnate to repeal a mining tax. The deal – while “imperfect” – proved Labor was irrelevant and the Coalition was getting on with the job, he said.

"It also proved, once again, that Palmer is an easy touch in behind-closed-doors negotiations, and that neither Palmer, nor the government, are all that keen on Australia’s world-leading system of retirement savings through compulsory superannuation."


"Abbott once described compulsory super as “one of the biggest con jobs ever foisted by government on the Australian people”.

"Palmer said on Tuesday it was 'just the way to allow merchant banks to make large fees out of the Australian population, or many union movements that manage their own super to have a good time.'

"And they both made the point that superannuation increases come at the expense of wage rises – meaning families have less disposable income now in order to have more money for their retirement later. Abbott said this proved superannuation was not a 'nirvana' – whatever that might mean. Palmer suggested it showed super was in fact a bad thing because lots of people would be dead before they ever received it.

"At the end of the last chaotic session of parliament I wrote that a 'Palmer pattern' was emerging – cause maximum disruption and then support the government after extracting cobbled-together concessions during chaotic backroom meetings from which all stakeholders are excluded.

"This time it is worse – far-reaching changes to a crucial economic policy in a last-minute deal without any scrutiny. Yes, the government has abolished the flawed mining tax, as it promised, and just in time to tick the box for its first year anniversary. And yes, it had no choice but to deal with Palmer. But it came at a very high price for public policy."

READ more: 5 DAYS AGO AUGUST 26, 2014 2:03PM

"CLIVE PALMER has labelled the GP co-payment 'dead', declaring his party won’t be supporting the fee even if it’s just a cent.

"The Palmer United Party leader explained his party’s position on the way to their morning meeting on the first day back of Parliament after the winter break.

"In Melbourne this morning, Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters he believed the GP co-payment would pass in its current form.

“'We certainly think it should, this is what we’re working towards', he said."

READ More:

Current state of play from

"Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing dissent from within his own party over a proposal to introduce a debt levy, with one MP saying it would be 'absolutely crazy' and amount to a broken election promise.

"Mr Abbott says the Government is 'mulling over' a range of ideas, but has confirmed he is considering a temporary levy to help repay the nation's debt.

"'There's been speculation, as you know, about a deficit reduction levy,' the Prime Minister told Fairfax Radio.

"'Certainly it is my intention that people like myself, high-income earners, should bear a significant quantum of the burden when it comes to sorting out our problems.

"'We do have a short-term problem and we do need to deal with it.

"'Do I say that no charges will rise? No, I don't.'"


"But a federal Coalition MP, who did not want to be named, told the ABC the levy was a 'crazy idea' and a 'clear breach' of the Government's pre-election commitment.

"'I will be raising this in the party room,' the MP warned.

"'This is absolutely crazy. This is an absolute breach of our election promise. This is the type of thing that makes people quit political parties.

"'This is absolutely nuts. I for one won't be standing for this.'

"'I'm not in favour,' said another Coalition MP. 'We're just being inconsistent, quite frankly.'

"Another Coalition MP confided to the ABC that a deficit levy would be Mr Abbott's 'no carbon tax political tombstone'."

READ More:

Social services budget bills propose major changes to welfare

Posted to the Pariamentary Library Flagpost 22/08/2014 by Luke Buckmaster



"The 2014-15 federal budget included proposals for major changes in the social services portfolio, including payments to the unemployed, aged, people with disability and families with children. With most of these measures being introduced through two large and complex pieces of social services legislation, there is likely to be some confusion about the changes being made and which changes are being introduced where. This FlagPost provides a brief outline of what is in each of the social services bills.

"Most of the significant (and contentious) changes are introduced in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014.

"This Bill includes proposals to:

  • change the indexation of pensions to Consumer Price Index (CPI) only, along with a number of other changes to income support indexation arrangements
  • gradually increase the qualifying age for Age Pension from 67 to 70 from 1 July 2025
  • introduce six-month waiting periods for new applicants for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) who are aged under 30, and only allow these payments to be paid for periods of six months for recipients in this age group
  • introduce new, more stringent participation requirements focused around Work for the Dole for those aged under 30 in receipt of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other)
  • change eligibility rules for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) so that those aged under 25 years can only receive the latter (which has lower payment rates and tighter eligibility rules)
  • remove eligibility for relocation scholarships from students who need to relocate within or between major cities to take up their studies
  • limit Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B) eligibility to families where the primary income earner makes $100,000 or less (down from $150,000), and where the youngest child is aged under six years
  • pause indexation, reduce supplementary payments and tighten eligibility for other family payments
  • include tax-free superannuation in the income test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)
  • lower the income thresholds used in the income test for all social security payments to assess deemed income from financial assets
  • limit the period for which Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients can travel overseas and remain eligible to 28 days in a 12 month period (with some exceptions for special circumstances)
  • remove the three month backdating from the date of claim for Veterans’ Disability Pension and
  • abolish the Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment .

"Explanation and analysis of each of the measures introduced in this Bill can be found in the relevant Parliamentary Library Bills Digest.

"Changes proposed by the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 include:

  • applying participation requirements to certain DSP recipients aged under 35 years who have had their eligibility reviewed against the current Impairment Tables
  • ceasing payment of the Seniors Supplement for holders of the CSHC or the Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
  • renaming the Clean Energy Supplement as the Energy Supplement and permanently ceasing its indexation
  • indexing Parenting Payment (Single) to the CPI only by removing benchmarking to Male Total Average Weekly Earnings)
  • applying the Ordinary Waiting Period of seven days, currently applying to Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, to recipients of Widow Allowance, Parenting Payment and Youth Allowance (Other)
  • limiting the six-week overseas portability period for student payments and
  • maintaining Family Tax Benefit (FTB) standard payment rates for two years from 1 July 2014.

"For further details and analysis, see the Parliamentary Library Bills Digest.

"Many of these measures are opposed by the Opposition, minor parties and independents. Of these, the Opposition has declared that it opposes:

  • changing the indexation method for pensions
  • lowering the deemed income thresholds
  • abolishing the Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment
  • changing the age eligibility age requirements for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other)
  • introducing six-month waiting periods for new applicants for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) aged under 30
  • reducing FTB end-of-year supplements
  • restricting eligibility for FTB-B to those whose youngest child is aged under six
  • raising the Age Pension eligibility age to 70  
  • removing the three-month backdating provisions for the veterans’ Disability Pension
  • abolishing Seniors Supplement for holders of the CSHC or Gold Card and
  • freezing FTB payment rates.

"The Opposition has said that it will support a number of measures, including reducing the FTB-B primary earner income limit from $150,000 to $100,000; limiting DSP portability; removing eligibility for the relocation scholarship for students relocating within and between major cities; and ceasing indexation of the Clean Energy Supplement.

"Both Bills have passed the House but are yet to be debated in the Senate. They have been jointly referredto the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 4 September 2014."

READ More:


Lenore Taylor, political editor, Wednesday 20 August 2014 05.55 BST

"Having spent the last three months insisting the budget emergency meant there would be dire consequences if the budget did not pass, it appears the government is now facing the reality that key budget policies may indeed not pass – despite its best negotiating efforts over the winter break.

"Lest anyone then try to assert that by the government’s own arguments we were facing some kind of emergency or crisis, the government has dramatically shifted its rhetoric, insisting there is in fact no crisis or emergency at all.

“'Most of the budget has passed through the parliament, but we are now dealing with some of the structural challenges, and we are working on the structural responses,' says treasurer Joe Hockey.

“'A number of the measures that are the subject of the most intensive post-budget debate are not due to take effect for some time … there is ample time to keep engaging with the Senate cross benchers.' says finance minister Mathias Cormann.

“'No government in recent political history had passed all of its budget measures through both houses of parliament by the end of August.'”

"The truth is, as it has always been, that the budget does need 'repair' over the medium term. Many of the particular choices and decisions taken by the Abbott government to try to repair it are likely to be blocked in the Senate. The government’s attempts to bully those measures through with claims of an immediate crisis did not work and its attempts to negotiate them through over the winter break appear to have made only minimal headway.

"The new strategy appears to be to claim that having much of its program blocked in the Senate doesn’t immediately matter. Crisis, what crisis?"

READ more:

Stephen Koukoulas, Monday 18 August 2014 05.43 BST

"The Coalition came to government last year with no substantive plan for the economy.

"It seems obvious now but the raft of promises for a 'stronger economy' and 'fixing the budget mess' were mere platitudes with no policy substance behind them.

"The proof of this cluelessness shows up in the fact that after 11 months in office, the budget bottom line has worsened as a result of government policy decisions and the economic growth outlook has deteriorated to a point where the unemployment rate has already exceeded the downbeat forecasts in Treasurer Hockey’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

"This is extraordinary given the clear improvement in the global growth outlook since this time last year and the fact that the Reserve Bank of Australia has been doing its bit to promote the economy by keeping interest rates at record lows."

READ more:

"Former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin has suggested a new election may be needed to resolve the Senate impasse holding up key budget savings, as he lashed the political populism of the Greens and Palmer United Party.

"And Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Saul Eslake has suggested a mini-budget was 'one of the options the government needs to think about' as consumer confidence falls, unemployment rises to 6.4 per cent and, if the political uncertainty continues, business confidence potentially falls."

Read more:

LAURA TINGLE FinReview: 09 AUG 2014 03:01:00 | UPDATED: 11 AUG 2014 07:48:20

"Somewhere along the path between our Treasurer with a plan and this week, the whole budget process has gone seriously off the rails as a political exercise.

"It is not all Hockey’s fault. Much of it lies at the feet of his prime minister. But the result is that, three months after the budget was brought down, we face the prospect that not only will the government not be able to achieve the fiscal consolidation it has promised, but that the budget bottom line could actually be worse than it was before the government started.

"That’s because the Senate has been prepared to repeal taxes, as the government has asked it to do, but not the spending measures that they were supposed to fund. The sad state of the budget is a result of a combination of seriously flawed politics, some ­seriously flawed policy formulation processes, and of course the uncertainty of the new Senate.

"Lying at the heart of the mess is the Coalition’s declaration at the time of last year’s budget of a 'budget emergency' – a device used to justify dumping a whole range of commitments or not supporting Labor changes – but one which fed the then opposition’s story that the budget was in a nation-threatening calamitous state which required immediate action.

"The problem with overstatement is that it creates its own problems and expectations.

"Call an emergency and people expect you to respond urgently and dramatically.

"Instead, the government was elected in September and waited until May to do anything about the emergency."

READ more:

"The first Abbott budget has proved to be a debacle. The opinion polls provide the proof. The content, the fairness and the selling of the budget have seen a spectacular adverse turn in the fortunes of Treasurer Joe Hockey. He’s gone from being the best performer in Parliament to the best target in Canberra. His key policy of introducing a $7 service fee for visits to the doctor and putting the bulk of the proceeds into a giant fund for medical research (rather than into reducing the budget deficit, something people could understand) is one of the most maladroit policies I have ever seen.

"Armed with a self-harming budget, the government is now facing something worse than the rejectionism of the Greens in the Senate. It is facing asymmetrical political warfare from Clive Palmer and his Senate team, plus a tactic of a blanket rejection of almost everything from Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten.

"Abbott can crash through this dysfunctional, asymmetrical impasse through a double-dissolution election. But his polling numbers are dreadful. The polls say, consistently, that Labor would return to government if a federal election were held now. [...]

"The government has yet to make serious inroads in clawing back the adverse polling numbers but there are some fair winds that could lift its sails. First, a new budget. The Prime Minister has a perfectly reasonable excuse for introducing a remodelled budget: reality."

Read more:

"Clive Palmer says he’s due to meet Treasurer Joe Hockey for dinner in Brisbane this week, but ahead of the talks the leader of the Palmer United Party is offering little joy to the Treasurer over his embattled budget.

"Palmer reiterated on Sunday that PUP would not support the $7 Medicare co-payment under any circumstances, saying it was a matter of principle. “We don’t believe there should be a payment at all. Whether it’s 10 cents or $10 doesn’t matter – you can always increase it,” he told The Conversation.

"Palmer also criticised Prime Minister Tony Abbott for his trip to the Netherlands and Britain, saying the economic situation meant he should be here.

"Health minister Peter Dutton has had talks with the Australian Medical Association about changes to the co-payment plan but former treasurer Peter Costello told Ten the government should cut its losses. It was 'not going to happen – let’s move on'”.

Michelle Grattan - Professorial Fellow at University of Canberra - 10 August 2014, 9.56pm AEST
READ more:

Daniel Hurst, Guardian Australia political correspondent, Sunday 10 August 2014 06.50 BST

"A senior Abbott government minister has warned against presenting all-or-nothing reform demands to the Senate, saying such a strategy simply invites crossbenchers to reject the bills outright. "The education minister, Christopher Pyne, who faces a fight to secure his higher education package in light of opposition from Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United party (PUP), said he subscribed to the maxim of John Howard 'that 80% of something is better than 0% of nothing'.

“'We are going to try and get as much as we can through the Senate … recognising that we don’t have a majority in the Senate. That doesn’t mean a retreat; it doesn’t mean a backdown. It is a simple realistic understanding that we don’t have the numbers in the Senate,' Pyne told Sky News on Sunday."

READ More:

Ross Gittins
"A big reason Joe Hockey isn’t getting much support from independent observers like me in his battle to get the budget through the Senate is that so few of his contentious measures are worth fighting for.
"If he were facing opposition from vested interests struggling to protect their privilege, or even just unthinking populism from the punters, it would be a different matter.
"Who did Hockey imagine would join him at the barricades apart from the mindlessly partisan commentators?
"For a bit I thought I’d be in the trenches with him defending a plan to impose a temporary deficit levy on individuals with incomes above $80,000 a year but, as we now know, his boss insisted on lifting the threshold to a far-less-contentious $180,000 a year.
"What would have made the lower threshold defensible is the inconvenient truth that so much of our present distance from budget surplus is explained by the folly of eight tax cuts in a row, the savings from which were skewed in favour of higher income-earners. This would have clawed back a bit of it.
"It’s remarkable anyone could put together a budget at once so unpopular and so lacking in Paul Keating’s “quality cuts”. Who did Hockey imagine would join him at the barricades apart from the mindlessly partisan commentators?"


A Double Dissolution can bring this about.

In discussing this in Twitter I was asked the question doesn't he already have Supply?
In the haste of getting the piece out I probably made a mistake in the heading & it should have said "Respect our mandate and pass the Budget bill(s)". But that doesn't bring into question any matter of substance in the article. That is because under the Constitution, if that Budget bill is unable to get through the Senate the Governor General does have the power to refer the matter to the people and bring on a double dissolution. So these are serious moments and cannot be taken lightly just because the government already has the passage of supply bills that allow the bureaucracy to continue until this time.