Originally published in The Canberra Times on April 25, 2014

Despite the skill of individual musicians, orchestras still need a conductor to bring the whole performance together. It is one thing to know how to play the horn, but someone needs to decide when the best time to honk it is. This week the Abbott government sounded like an orchestra without a conductor – there was lots of honking but it was hard to pick the tune. 

On Tuesday, for example, the Defence Minister announced a record $12 billion purchase of Joint Strike Fighters, while on Wednesday the Treasurer gave a major speech designed to soften up the public for the need for big spending cuts to the pension and health. Talk about a mixed message. 

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