Culture

Let’s Review All The Times Joe Hockey Had His Poor Little Heart Broken This Week

He got yelled at by Paul Keating and now he's in court. This week's not all about Abbott.

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

When you think about it, Joe Hockey is pretty lucky he’s working under Tony Abbott. In any normal or even slightly less abhorrent government, his budget plan to fuck over 99 percent of the country or his lack of basic knowledge of the physiology of a human person would make him a national embarrassment. Public outrage would have surely seen him fired long ago.

But, since his boss is running around defending his right to torture refugees and shitting all over the lives of our Indigenous population it seems like Hockey has something akin to a free pass. How can we muster the strength to care about what the Treasurer is doing when the Prime Minister has worse approval ratings than an eight-year-old boy?

But even with this increasingly regular insanity, Joe Hockey’s been having a certifiably shit week. And worse than that, people are starting to pay attention.

Here’s the carnage so far:

No One Likes His Super Helpful Superannuation Plan

Last Friday, Hockey casually floated the “thought bubble” that we should be allowed to dip into our superannuation funds when buying property. And, though it might seem tempting for those currently house-hunting, it’s not so great for those who like the idea of affording food when they’re 80.

simpsons

“Uh, we’ll need that to live.”

The idea seems to be a vision brought to him during a panic attack after the government’s Intergenerational Report released one day prior. This was a report which indicated Australians are probably going to have much longer life expectancies, and when they do, the government are kind of fucked from an economic standpoint.

“I am concerned about rising house prices and the accessibility to homes and homeownership for younger Australians, but we’ve got a limited pool of savings. We need to have these conversations,” he said.

But even this statement doesn’t make a whole lot of sense: if homes are already scarce and unattainable, wouldn’t a huge influx of cash just make the market worse? Isn’t that how basic supply and demand works? The answer, according to everyone who actually knows what they’re talking about, is yes.

Hockey’s idea was quickly slammed by the Opposition, former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello, the Grattan Institute, economists in the broader community, and (unsurprisingly) the superannuation industry itself. It even inspired former Prime Minister Paul Keating to pen an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald.

“[This would] would destroy universal retirement savings at its core,” he wrote. “[It] would amount to the wilful destruction of one of the best retirement systems in the world.”

He then talked about the Liberals “pulling the plug out of the bath of Australia’s universal superannuation pool” so many times it gave me visions of Joe Hockey excitedly running around hospice wards gleefully yanking out someone grandmother’s life support and/or throwing plugged-in toasters into the baths at retirement villages.

With that, his thought bubble was officially burst.

Malcolm Turnbull Got In The Action Too (Because Of Course He Did)

Since Tony Abbott showed support for Hockey on Monday, Malcolm Turnbull decided to jump on the anti-Joe bandwagon too. While speaking in Brisbane yesterday, your Prime Minister-in-waiting labelled it all a “thoroughly bad idea,” staying consistent with his policy to distance himself from his own government in any way possible.

He then threatened to crush the Treasurer’s still beating heart in front of him with a 23-minute smackdown of the nation’s economic situation focussing on Hockey’s controversial budget.

“[The] fundamental problem the 2014-15 budget faced was that the public was not persuaded tough measures were necessary in the first place,” he said. “We — and I include myself and every member of the government in this criticism — did not do a good enough job in explaining the scale of the fiscal problem the nation faces and the urgency of taking corrective action.”

Turnbull finished the speech with an overview of what a bang-up job he’s done with the Communications portfolio. Weirdly, it wasn’t described quite as you imagine.

His Plan To Sue Fairfax Ain’t Going So Well

Because this really isn’t enough public humiliation for one week, Hockey is also in the midst of a defamation case against Fairfax. It’s all centred around an article called ‘Treasurer For Sale’; a story we probably would have forgotten about, if it weren’t for Joe launching this case.

Published in May last year, the piece raised questions about his treatment of a certain group of businesspeople and lobbyists responsible for enormous donations to the Liberal Party. It was alleged that the group, The North Sydney Forum, were offered special meetings with the Treasurer as a result of their contributions.

page

Subheading: ‘Auction House Sets New Record As Item Receives Zero Bids.’

When Hockey initially objected to the piece, asking the papers to print a personal apology, its only real effect was spurring a discussion about the need for journalistic free speech — and the trial seems to be having a similar effect.

Sean Nicholls, the journalist who wrote the piece, has maintained the story was in the public interest, and as such the majority of the trial has seen Hockey on the offensive. His connections to the potential funding body have been consistently questioned, and further connections to the organisation have been unearthed along the way.

Despite his claims that Fairfax have run a “relentless campaign” against him for some time now and his somewhat saddening remark that “words are bullets,” it’s all coming off a lot more like a corruption inquiry than a defamation suit.

Everyone Remembers How Much He Loves Nickelback

After the prosecution criticised Fairfax for the way they presented the story on social media, the method was quickly turned back on Hockey himself. Awkwardly, he’d made similar if not much more accusatory statements about other high-profile politicians in the past.

Also there was that one time where he did this while inadvisably using the word hypocrite.

I like to imagine the barrister put extra special emphasis on that word when reading the tweet, and then just made this face until everyone awkwardly left the room.

Either way, it’s satisfying that some of the most respected legal professionals in the country were paid to comb through the old tweets from Hockey’s Nickelback period.

The court case is expected to finish up within the next week and I have all my fingers crossed that last tweet will be brought up in closing arguments. Because, really, what better way to effectively question someone’s character and judgment than with concrete proof they like Nickelback?

Feature image via Joe Hockey/Liberal. Yes, he even looks dodgy in his official press photos.