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Published: Australian Financial Review

The federal government is floating the idea of a community levy to raise funds to cover costs that will arise as a result of recent flooding in the eastern states. Bill Shorten has drawn the short straw to argue the case, as the nearest equivalent to a used car salesman in the cabinet.

Julia Gillard, displaying none of the characteristics she says she admires in the Australian people, is casting about to avoid criticism from the Opposition for breaking an election promise to return the budget to surplus in 2013.

Somehow this craven government has allowed a budget surplus in 2013 to become a holy grail. Puerile and pointless, given the need for reconstruction, the mindless mantra looks more like an albatross around Julia’s neck.

A levy imposed on the Australian people for flood reconstruction, amounts to a fee to try and ensure Labor Party re-election.

It is a fee imposed because of the failure of government to implement a national disaster insurance scheme, the first part of which should now be a coherent climate change policy.