Now, Clive Palmer has initiated a fresh political party with himself at its helm, the Palmer United Party and we shall soon hear more on fiscal management as the Australian Federal election draws nearer. (media.smh.com.au)
In a recent Christian Today article titled "Fiscal analysis lays bare the old adage we deserve the government we elect" deals with some of these fiscal issues. (au.christiantoday.com)
That article detailed that in the recent US Presidential election the US voters (voluntary) decided against the proven money manager Mick Romney with his remarkable turn-around when the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, who bought-to-book a wasteful financial administration to one that was the envy of the nation. Romney, a multi-millionaire knew how to make a business work and make loads of money besides, and he applied that 'know-how' to the State's economy.
Rather, for other reasons the US electorate voted for the incumbent Barack Obama whose fiscal management has shown to be not one of his strong points.
Australians have generally voted on economic grounds except on two occasions. In 1972 change was in the air from Billy McMahon's Liberal Country Party Coalition to Gough Whitlam's Labor Party with the famous slogan "It's Time".
Again we saw it in 2007 with the change from John Howard's Liberal National Party Coalition with a full economy and Treasurer Peter Costello had plenty of money in the nation's coppers (as it were) to Labor's Kevin Rudd where, after 11 years, change was in the air.
With this in mind, how much value does the Australian electorate place on fiscal responsibility when they are alone in the ballet box. Election analysis always has a good dose on the economy but that has shown to be only one of many considerations upon which Australians cast their ballot.
Other broad national trends has seen the environment come to the fore, in recent history we can think of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania as a huge issue. Asylum seekers has been another recent national issue, the Tampa incident had a huge impact.
There are major fiscal considerations that any Government must take under its wings and play the right tune on the fiddle – two examples, the nation's defence is unmistakably one of these, a national medical program is without doubt essential, now we see disability funding added to this equation.
There are enormous outlays on national infrastructure that are mandatory along with special needs finding for drought, flood and fire, and to engage in some of these, loans are sought offshore to meet these fundamental expenses – issues that the nation as a whole expect to see met. Politicians after all, are judged at the ballot box on such things.
International interest rates and the value of currency is uppermost on the minds of those who run the economy and with some multi-nationals right up there with GDP's bigger than 95% of countries, Government is simply unable to call every shot on their terms.
Therefore, how might a Government be able to run a country in credit? The surplus idea is a good one and governments of all persuasions work toward such a goal and in good economic times as was the 11 year Howard era, Treasurer Peter Costello was able to engage in such fiscal benevolence.
Governments have a wide variety of sources of income. These range from taxes to duties to charges and fees across a wide range of activities along with percentage cuts from various types of enterprisers, an occasional sale of an asset, allowing multi-nationals into the market, export and import, or that of creating a business base and selling on components. Communications is such an example. It is a huge undertaking.
This part of the problem when political antagonists start throwing around figures and more so the inevitable drama when a new government of a different colour is elected - up goes the hand in horror about the 'true' state of the economy just discovered – and as a result the promises can no longer be fulfilled. It's politics 101.
Cyprus, Spain, Greece to name but three have gone through hell and high water in fiscal management. We wait with baited breath as to whether the Australian electorate votes with fiscal considerations or with other matters on their mind.
Churches and Missions don't have the same multi-layered configurations of fiscal management as does Government. But Churches and Missions must find ways to keep within their fiscal restraints. Recently a Perth church has the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford AM, Principal of Morling (NSW Baptist Seminary) preach followed by a Q&A all on Skype. This proved providential to church finances.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html