WE SAY: Joe’s statement a defining quote
OUR VIEW: AS SOON as he said it, Joe Hockey knew he was in trouble.
"The poorest people either don't have cars or actually don't drive very far … in many cases".
The "in many cases" revealed all.
Of course, the words haunted the Federal Treasurer all week, and may even stick for the rest of his political career.
He made it all the worse by using statistics to try to back an assertion Australians know is wrong.
It was a relief when the Prime Minister stepped in, pouring oil on very rough waters.
The irony is that Mr Hockey's comment was made while trying to argue for the reintroduction of the Federal fuel excise, one of the proposed taxes that it would be wise to bring in.
The problem for Mr Hockey is not so much poor arguments for reintroducing a fuel excise, but the fact that the government has failed to convince much of Australia that the economy is in dire trouble in the wake of global ructions.
On top of that, Mr Hockey's Budget last month targeted those least likely to be able to afford it.
If the government is not careful, the Budget could become the instrument of even more damage to an economy at a time when we can least afford it.