By Janine Perrett

And this would be one of those "here we go again" columns.

You know, the ones where I say haven't we heard that before.

Or in this case, is the new gee whiz, shiny latest model PM sounding frustratingly like the old one?

I'm talking about the tax reform debate of course. Or lack of it.

Most of last year I was highly critical (alright, downright scathing) about the performance of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey on the so-called tax reform debate.

Firstly they got up and announced one, adding that everything was on the table.

"Nothing will be ruled in or out" claimed the erstwhile Treasurer Hockey.

Within days they had both begun ruling everything out. And on it went from GST rises to negative gearing.

And it was all done through the prism of bitter partisan political fighting and not through any desire for the nation's good.

There was much speculation that the then government was looking at tightening up superannuation concessions, but when Labor came out mid last year with a well reasoned policy, they were quick to attack it.

We are now seeing a repeat in the negative gearing issue under the Turnbull Government.

There was renewed speculation that negative gearing was being addressed in the renewed tax debate but when Bill Shorten quickly announced a proper policy on the issue, they suddenly turned into Abbott attack mode.

PM Turnbull even channeled his unpopular predecessor with a hasty doorstop interview last Friday claiming Labor's negative gearing changes would halve the price of your family home.

It was virtually a repeat of the scaremongering words used by Tony Abbott in parliament last year.

Yesterday it was changes to capital gains tax which were ruled out; again, a perfectly valid area that should form part of any reform much less the debate beforehand.

No wonder they are plunging in the polls.

A Treasurer who looks barely more capable than the last one and is resorting to the same simplistic manner. 

A PM who is resorting to political attacks reminiscent of the reason he claimed he ousted his predecessor.

Malcolm Turnbull would have looked much more like the new leader he promised to be, if he had taken the Labor negative gearing policy and said it was an area on which they both agreed and that there should be some changes. He should have looked like a true leader and agreed that there might be some bi-partisan consensus on change.

Sure he could have said their policy was not what he would do, and they would do something different, but it could have been made to feel less like the negative Abbott years and more like the positive Turnbull ones that had been promised.

The conventional wisdom is that the electorate if fed up the government has done nothing.

It has only been five months, with a summer break, and the GST backdown does not necessarily mean that all tax reform is over; nor the entire government as the hysterics are claiming.

However, time is running out and the PM and Treasurer need to at least appear to be on the same page.

Just stop talking about reform, do the tax changes as part of the budget and get on with the election.


Less talk, more action to use one of those simplistic terms.