The most striking reversal of LNP ideology though was the government’s decision to double the Newstart allowance and extend it to others. Hoping that voters would not see that as tacit acceptance of the repeated advice of countless social advocates, as well as hard-nosed economists, they ditched the name ‘Newstart’ in favour of the more benign-sounding ‘Jobseeker Allowance’. It was obvious to all that the LNP was devoted to the belief that Newstart recipients were bludgers, ‘leaners’ rather than ‘lifters’, people who ought to be out getting a job. It must have been a hard pill to swallow to accept that increasing Newstart would have large economic benefits, as so many have been telling them for months.
Morrison and Frydenberg have been given praise for their package, bordering on lavish from their media set. But we have to ask why it took a crisis the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic to bring about their awakening.