Executing a 180-degree turn is a tricky manoeuvre for a naval fleet as big as the one sailing into Sydney Harbour this weekend. While there's less danger to life, limb and rigging, it's also difficult for a coalition that's spent the past four years fighting a phoney war about government debt.
But there are more signs that Joe Hockey is signalling that just such a turn is in the offing. The big bloke is about to attempt a backflip with half twist – everybody stand back.
The latest instalment comes from the AFR's Laura Tingle who reports that Hockey "is considering identifying government borrowings raised to fund infrastructure as separate from debt raised to cover the budget deficit as the Abbott government contemplates an infrastructure spending splurge". Suddenly I'm running into senior Liberal types wanting to explain what a good idea infrastructure bonds would be, and not just John Hewson expanding on his July National Press Club speech.
The semantics are wonderful: the Labor Party generated evil government debt that will enslave your children; the Liberal Party will access capital markets to set your children free.
And that is a good thing, however galling the about-face might be for those who suffered the fiscal ranting of Hockey as shadow treasurer.
The immediate problem though is the speed of the change of rhetoric. It takes time to prepare the ground, to work out a structure and then to develop a narrative and sell it to an electorate that has just bought the idea that all government debt is bad – but in the meantime the window of greatest need for infrastructure stimulus is already upon us.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/20th-century-solutions-to-21st-century-transport-problems-20131003-2uv4e.html#ixzz2gdRCP1Mo