Malsplaining explained how malcolm turnbull aims to control tax debate

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It’s sneeringly called “Mal-splaining” and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be doing more of it as the government wrestles to gain control of a sprawling tax debate.

The Prime Minister is trying to settle apprehensions in his own party and the broader electorate over the prospect of GST increases, and counter Labors attacks on a policy that doesnt exist.

Labor critics define Mal-splaining as a variant of man-splaining, a condescending style of lecturing by a male to a woman as if she were a child.

The difference is the target of this type of patronising is everyone, not just one gender.

Once a hashtag now a verb and a noun, this is what set off a round of Mal-splaining accusations yesterday.

I think it may be helpful if I explain for honourable members some of the complexities in this tax debate, Mr Turnbull told Parliament in what might have been considered a useful and worthy offer.

But Opposition backbencher Terri Butler immediately tweeted, At least he is telegraphing his intention to malsplain now.

At least he is telegraphing his intention to malsplain now #qt

And the day before, her colleague Tim Watts had tweeted, After 141 days of his leadership we could put together a #malsplain greatest hits album by now.

After 141 days of his leadership we could pull together a #malsplaining greatest hits album by now #qt

Credit for the term might go to @MissDissentEats who last September 17 tweeted to Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek that with the new Prime Ministers man-splaining had becomes Mal-splaining.

The term and the attacks are a product of Mr Turnbulls quirky and naive belief political problems can be reasoned through, and that he is captain of Team Reasonable.

His problem is this approach has left the government with an unfocused tax policy debate that wanderers from scare to scare, levy option to levy option, and sectional interest to sectional interest.

And because there is no official policy, apart from broad objectives, the forces of reason have littler to argue for.

Mr Turnbull continued yesterday: Compared with other countries, Australia has in its revenue mix a very large proportion of income tax levied on both individuals and companies; and, of course, average wage earners are moving into higher tax brackets.

Those are issues that need to be addressed. Some economists and, indeed, politicians including the Labor government, in its 2010 budget, and the Shadow Treasurer last year have argued that cutting company tax would boost investment and real wages and ultimately benefit workers.

And there is merit in that contention. At the same time, we need to constrain government expenditure.

As the Treasurer [Scott Morrison] has just reminded us, there is around $20 billion of savings held up in the Senate by the Labor Partys refusal to assist in cleaning up the fiscal mess they left us.

The only realistic option for very significant income tax cuts is by changing the tax mix, and that is why a number of people have advocated increasing the GST for the purpose.

Of course, there are people in the Labor Party the South Australian Premier and the NSW Opposition Leader who have argued that the GST should be increased in order to pay for additional government spending in terms of health and education.

Indeed, Paul Keating advocated a 2 per cent increase to do that.

He went on to give a neat outline of the problems, but no solutions.

Which left some on his own side continuing to feel jitters, and the Labor Party scoffing at what was considered peak Mal-splaining.