I have been very distracted over the past couple of weeks by the Australian Government’s budget. I worried about what the Government might cut, and how it might affect the poor. My concerns were realised when the Government produced a horror budget that attacks Australia’s most vulnerable.
Hurting the Unemployed
The budget’s most appalling measure is that people aged 25 to 30 will have to wait six months to claim unemployment benefits, then be kicked off them after six months and have to wait another six months before they can get back onto them. Imagine the stress of having to live on nothing if you had no family to fall back on. A 25 to 30 year old who moved to the city to work and lost that job would probably have to move back home again.
Hurting the Sick
The government wants to introduce a seven dollar co-payment for doctor appointments. Seven dollars can be a lot of money to the poor. This appears to be an attempt to destroy the universality of the Medicare scheme. A scheme that was designed to provide quality free health care to all.
Hurting People with Disabilities
People who were given a disability support pension after 2008 will be reassessed. Imagine the stress they are going through now. Will the so-called independent government appointed assessors get bonuses for the number of people with disabilities they remove from the disability support pension?
Hurting Education and Health
The government wants to cut university funding by 20% and then let the universities charge whatever fees they like. This will leave universities little choice but to put up fees, massively. It will make university less affordable and leave students with greater debts when they finish. Imagine if you started a course and then were incapable of finishing it. I predict the collapse of Victoria University due to a lack of students.
The government wants to cut $80 billion out of the health and education budgets of the states over the next decade. It appears to be an attempt to get the states to demand that the government increase the GST, which it would obviously be happy to do. The GST is a regressive tax that hits the poor harder than the better off.
I am not so fussed about the fuel excise increase, which will add only about one cent a litre per year to the price of petrol. And I really think anyone earning over $180,000 who can’t afford the debt levy needs to seriously look at their spending.
One strange thing about the budget is that the government has stopped funding the energy discounts for pensioners. This is after them repeatedly screaming before the last election that the carbon tax was hurting the ability of pensioners to pay their energy bills. The pensioners will be much more impacted by the end of the discount then they are by the carbon tax, which they received supplementary payments for.
No Budget Emergency
Why does the Federal Government want to do this? Evidently we have a budget emergency, even though our budget deficit as a percentage of GDP is just about the lowest in the western world.
If there was such a drastic need to cut spending in a hurry than why get rid of the half billion dollars or so the mining tax brings in? Or the $6.7 billion the carbon tax makes. Why use the $7 Medicare co-payments to create a research fund instead of using it to pay off debt? (Obviously to try and wedge the opposition by saying they don’t want to fund research.) And why are does the government want to spend billions on a gold plated maternity leave scheme when there is already a pretty good Labour scheme?
An Ideological Budget
This is not a budget designed to fix the budget deficit, it is an ideological budget designed to hit those people and institutions like the CSIRO and the ABC whose views and lifestyles differ from the rich white men who are currently running the government.
It is a budget designed to please Rupert Murdoch who tweeted after the coalition won the last election that now it was time to cut all the welfare fraud.
It is a budget that will divide Australians into two classes, the very rich, and the rest of us. I hope many in the rest of us underclass wake up before they lose their lifestyles, and vote those rich white men who have no empathy for them out.
If the measures in this budget go through, I predict a very different Australia in the future. A land of security guards protecting gated communities as crime rates sour. A land were illiteracy flourishes. A land where anyone born poor will stay poor. A land where people die in the streets from lack of medical care. A land of hatred and confrontation. Mad Max, here we come.
Next week I hope my mind will be back on to science fiction and writing.