This budget would look extremely different, I believe, if it had been drafted by economists that had a full grasp of the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of all Australians and not a select few that are politically and financially aligned. This is not the time for politicking or showing off. This is a time for humility and compassion and an understanding of what life is like for ALL Australians.
This budget fails the Australian people. This budget harms individuals for the benefit of business, and by business, I don’t mean the businesses that are small employing the people within our communities, I mean the businesses that employ foreign workers and have the majority of their operations offshore or employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers in their facilities here in Australia. The budget benefits the type of big business that pillages the earth of its natural resources with the sole interest of profit guiding decisions. The resources that belong to ALL people are benefiting and profiting businesses that support this government to ensure they continue to thrive financially to the detriment of the people of this nation. And that is only one side of the coin, the environmental implications of these businesses is incomprehensible!
The rhetoric in the lead up to this budget illustrates the character of the government delivering the budget. The national debt was blown out of proportion in order to scare monger people into thinking that the drastic cuts made by the government were necessary. The government was disingenuous in failing to provide context and the big picture to the people, in essence, the government was underestimating the people of this nation to read between the lines and understand the numbers thrown around.
There are too many issues with this budget to go through each and every one, but here is a brief summary of some key points that have raised my eyebrows and anxiety levels:
· The Company tax rate is being reduced by 1.5 percentage points down to 28.5 percent, because let’s face it, those poor companies really need a tax cut (cue next financial years’ record profits from the big banks and Gina Rineheart);
· Working mothers or fathers supporting a spouse or dependent child, will no longer be entitled to an offset;
· The Paid Parental Leave Scheme is going ahead. It will include 6 months full pay including superannuation for mothers earning up to $100,000.
· The new tax for the purported debt reduction will see those earning $180,000 or above, in addition to the increase in Medicare Levy, paying 49 percent of their earnings in tax. Regardless of anyone’s thoughts on people who are fortunate enough to earn an income of this magnitude, paying almost half of those earnings in tax, when companies pay only 28.5 percent is an absolute farce!
· The Medicare Levy is being increased to 2 percent, whilst those reliant on Medicare (and most certainly paying the levy because their budget does not stretch to include private health), will not be entitled to the free universal healthcare that ought to be guaranteed. Instead, they will be paying for all medical practitioner appointments, all x-rays, emergency department attendance at hospital and as if that wasn’t bad enough, the cost of prescriptions will be increasing by $5 per prescription on average.
· Retirement age to increase to aged 70 for people born after 1 July 1958, so those people working hard for their lives and investing into superannuation that gets hit by a share or global market crisis and lose a large portion of their superannuation and then require the aged pension in order to survive, will have to keep working until they are 70 (if they are lucky enough to have a job at that age and not be discriminated against on the basis of this age and if they don’t have a job, tough luck, live on air until you’re 70).
· Anyone under 30 years of age will need to wait 6 months for any assistance from Centrelink if they lose their jobs or are unemployed following school. So for those foster children who turn 18 and do not have a job or a home once they are no longer a problem of the system, you may need to live on the streets for the 6 month waiting period because this government wants to “crack down on welfare.” I am all for coming down on welfare cheats, but not at the expense of those who need assistance. Again, patriarchal decision making without an ounce of empathy for those who were not born into families on the north shore of Sydney with opportunities abound.
· Hardly surprising that this government who doesn’t believe in science has cut science budgets, CSIRO and ANSTO are receiving cuts in excess of $100 million. These scientific organisations are pillars of the science community and this will lead to our educated and brilliant scientists taking themselves elsewhere to apply their skills because there would be no draw to staying here with a government clearly against the development of this area of research and discovery.
· This government will allow coal seam gas mining which is destroying water supplies and land without raising an eyebrow, but considers wind farms a blight on the landscape. So they are getting rid of this environmentally friendly energy source at a “saving” of 1.3 billion. Who needs clean and healthy water and land? As long as we have $1.3 billion dollars on the books to prove what smarty pants we are right?
· Dental healthcare was drastically cut in the budget, so don’t get a toothache people, and if you do, you might need to YouTube some dental procedures because you won’t be able to afford the dentist and won’t receive any assistance from this government.
· So those men in blue that are there to keep your community safe and prevent crime, yeah we don’t need them right? Good, because the government has cut $54.2 million from the police budget.
· The government receives taxes from cigarettes, so it is no surprise that the anti-smoking education and advertising programs have had $3 million cut.
· Health has taken a major hit in funding with final figures not outlined with any clarity but it is safe to assume that it will be far worse than we can imagine.
· Fuel prices are likely to go through the roof with twice annual indexation reintroduced.
· If you are planning to go to university, get ready to pay ridiculous fees and if you’re a HECS student, you will be paying hefty interest.
So what are the priorities for a government hell bent on making living life in this very expensive country even harder?
· $122 billion on defence aircraft.
· $1 million on a residence for ballet dancers in Melbourne.
· Paying the national debt (the national debt when considered in the context of GDP is less than the average Australian having $20,000 in personal debt, clearly a manageable amount with a payment plan over 5-7 years).
The national debt is not small, I am not trivialising debt. Debt is serious and needs to be paid. The people of this nation ought not suffer through this budget because this government is short sighted and cannot see that the money expended in accumulating that debt ensured Australia averted a national recession. As the government cannot recognise fundamental concepts of fiscal policy, then they need to go back to study the basic concepts of economics.
This budget has no heart or soul, this budget does not even have intellectually clever albeit clinical economics. This budget is a political pissing contest amongst men (and one token woman) that need to overcompensate for their lack of size in the……………………brains department.
This government does not have a long term vision. This nation is fast losing all industries that contributed to Australia being one of the top economies in the world. All the developed nations are now looking at China and marvelling at the economic powerhouse it is becoming. WHY? Because it has INDUSTRY!!!! It is not solely a service based economy. It has production.
We as a nation (and by nation, I mean the liberal government voted by the people of Australia) have not supported our industries. There is nothing in this budget that will meaningfully support our farming industry. Our farming industry is essential not only to our economy, but to the health and welfare of Australians because we can ensure the production meets with our regulations.
We as a nation have not supported our production industry. Metal works, sawmills, car manufacturing, food manufacturing and the list goes on. These industries are the foundation of Australia being such a strong economy but we have not provided the financial support that we have provided media moguls or mining magnates to ensure it flourishes.
We let the grass roots industries take a hit or completely fizzle out so Gina Rineheart can stand on her soap box and bang on about Australians “helping themselves” when her hypocrisy is as obvious as a punch in the face because she has inherited her wealth and not worked a hard day in her life. The government has thrown around terms of ‘the age of entitlement being over,’ well perhaps the government ought to pass that on to the entitled, not the everyday Australians that are treading water simply to survive.
It’s interesting that when the average Australian goes for a job, they need to have a set of credentials in order to ensure they are capable of performing the necessary functions of the role. The treasurer? No credentials, but Abbott considered him capable of drafting a budget for an economy the size of Australia’s? The depth of Tony Abbott’s intellect will never cease to amaze me. I mean, I seriously need to meet this man so I can stand in awe of him and wait for some small parcel of knowledge to pass from him to me and I will then walk around for the rest of my years marvelling at the brilliance of the man.
On a serious note, get ready Australia, we are in for some seriously rough years. Years where the sick cannot afford to get treatment, the elderly work themselves to the bone, the young become a generation of homeless or endless renters and the socio-economically advantaged solidify themselves on the top of the political and financial hierarchy.