What they can get away with is the only limit to Liberal bastardry

The media are preoccupied with the scintillating tale of the government filing cabinet full of classified documents that ended up in a second hand furniture sale.

But the entire narrative is focused on national security, bureaucratic procedure, the identity of the person who handed the files to the ABC and whether the national broadcaster should have reported on them or immediately called the federal police.

The real story is the content of the cabinet documents.

Those that have been reported on confirm the callous and anti-human political opportunism of successive governments, from Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett’s fatal insulation scheme to Scott Morrison’s hands-on approach to banishing refugees from Australia.

And they provide an insight into the sadistic work-shopping process that brought us the 2014 budget.

Three separate proposals to kick young people off welfare were drafted and considered by PM Tony Abbott, treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann.

The first proposed that those with work experience be denied Centrelink payments. The second cast the net a little wider, advising that those living where there are job opportunities be made ineligible for the dole. The third did away with the technicalities and proposed that everyone under the age of 30 be cut off welfare.

We’ve known for a long time that the Liberals relish every opportunity to knife workers. The image of Hockey and Cormann smoking cigars as they applied the finishing touches to the budget was proof of that.

So was the revelation that Hockey was dancing around his office to “This will be the best day of my life” on budget night.

So was the sound bite of Abbott panting excitedly as he declared that he had brought down a budget worthy of his idols, former Liberal PM John Howard and treasurer Peter Costello.

So was the content of the 2014 budget, which was a declaration of class war.

That the Liberals considered going a lot further – to the extent of literally starving out hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people – tells us something about their hatred for the working class.

The budget was an overreach. It was met with mass protests and ongoing mobilisations of students, which included the biggest day of student protest in a decade.

Cabinet members were hectored constantly by an outraged majority who would not and did not let them get away with it. The budget was a delicious failure that led to the downfall of Abbott and Hockey.

But regressive attacks on welfare and education have been pushed through since 2014. And reactionary policies continue to be dreamed up and canvassed in Canberra.

The politicians haven’t changed their minds. They have just slowed the pace of the attacks – for now.

Let’s hope they can all be relegated to a dusty beige filing cabinet one day.