"When Labor turns banker, don’t taxpayers always have to pick up the tab?" is the current line that Malcolm Turnbull thinks will help revive his electoral fortunes. He used it several times yesterday as he tried to justify the Opposition's decision to vote against the Australian Business Investment Partnership Bill of 2009 in the Senate. The Liberals and Nationals really think there are votes to be gained from preventing the Government setting up a joint venture with the private banks to provide finance to property developers if and when current loans provided by foreign banks are not renewed. "I ask the Prime Minister," Mr Turnbull said in question time, "to detail to the House the Labor Party’s record in commercial property lending and advise honourable members how many thousands of jobs and billions of taxpayers’ dollars were lost through the Labor government run state banks in Victoria and South Australia."
Outside of Parliament House in the real world of voters I doubt there would be many people at all who had any idea what he was talking about. The Prime Minister might just as well have replied that Australians fondly remembered the great success the Labor Government of 1911 had with the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank. Certainly the idea that once again there should be a Government owned bank to ensure competition with the current oligopolists would have plenty of support among voters.