Are you enjoying the relative quiet now that the May federal election is over?
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and most other politicians are certainly hoping you are.
They’re depending on the old adage that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ to work in their favour.
Politicians know they’re despised these days almost as much as parking inspectors and distrusted even more than used-car salesmen.
Yet they’re too afraid to swear off the negativity politics that’s responsible for their bad reputation, in case their opponents can’t kick the addiction either.
Instead they’re trying the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach, keeping their fingers crossed that nothing will particularly agitate voters between now and the summer holidays (which are closer than you think).
This will allow our politicians to emerge for the new year’s Parliamentary sittings pretending that the terrible events of 2018-19 never occurred.
But if there’s one certainty in politics it’s that things never go to plan.
In fact, there’s a good chance that an eruption of voter anger will occur once a number of unmentionables emerge over the coming weeks.
First, there’s the pitiful number of days that federal Parliament will actually be sitting this year.
Over the past decade, there usually has been 60 to 70 sitting days in non-election years, dropping to around 50 sitting days in election years.
However, 2019 will earn the dubious distinction of having the lowest number of sitting days in that period, with 35 of its 45 sitting days occurring after the May election.
The next lowest number occurred in 2013, with 48 sitting days.
On its own, the thought of our part-time politicians might not be enough to raise the ire of voters.
That is, until some Australians realise the bounties ‘promised’ to them by Mr Morrison at the federal election might not be as attractive as they first appeared.
Once taxpayers’ returns start to trickle into their bank accounts, they’ll be confronted with the realisation that not everyone will get the full $1080 income tax rebate.
Only people earning between $48,000 and $90,000 a year will receive the full amount and, even then, it could be gobbled up by their Medicare obligation or HECS repayment.
Then there are retiree Liberal voters who, according to the Labor opposition at least, didn’t pay sufficient attention during the election and are now waiting for the government to send them the franking dividends that the PM so fiercely defended.
If these seniors really did vote for free imputation credits, they’re going to be very disappointed.
They’ll likely join pensioners angry about belated improvements to the ‘deeming rate’, which the PM has promoted as a ‘$800 pension bonus’ but – as The New Daily reported yesterday – has since been branded a slap in the face for retirees after it emerged that only seniors who don’t own a family home have any chance of securing the full amount.
Individually, these issues are manageable for the Morrison government, but combined they could whip up a perfect storm of voter resentment, disenchantment and anger that even six weeks on the beach will not placate.
Then there will be no chance for the government to attempt a ‘clean slate’ approach to 2020.
And it will make victory an even harder task for the Liberals contesting four state and territory elections in the new year.