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Hockey’s budget: a clear imbalance

shane-r

In delivering the Abbott Government’s first federal budget Mr Hockey said that we are a nation of lifters, not leaners.  Sadly though, this budget leans on the poor to lift the rich.

The load has not been evenly spread, with a thin tissue of alleged burden on high-income earners and big business while students, the unemployed, those on welfare, the sick, the ageing and the vulnerable take the big hits.

Professor Peter Whiteford from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy analysed the federal budget’s impact on households. He found that young, unemployed Australians will be hardest hit, losing up to 18% of their disposable income, and unemployed single parents are next, losing up to 12%.

This is in stark contrast to the impact of the Deficit Levy applied to those individuals on three times the average wage who will lose less than 1% of their disposable income.

There is a clear imbalance here that cannot be ignored.  Professor Whiteford applies the standard definitions of progressive, regressive or distributionally neutral, to the budget changes based on their relative impact on high and low income groups.

A change is regressive if it reduces the incomes of lower income groups by a higher percentage than for high income groups. By definition, we have a regressive budget.

There is no plan for new jobs, just a tunnel vision for motorways and stranded fossil fuel assets that will be worthless to our economy within decades.

The attack on the heart of Medicare – a mainstay of our modern and caring society – by removing free universal access to quality health care is a disaster for those on low incomes and a disaster for the health of our nation.

The Budget is a stay of execution to the majority of the nation’s housing and homelessness providers for at least a year, but has created uncertainty within the sector with a number of Federal housing agreements only extended for 12 months. Now more than ever the sector and the ACT Government will need to work together to prepare and engage with federal policy directions to ensure the ACT does not lose out further in coming years.

The budget cuts $15 million from legal aid over the next four years; on top of the mid-year budget update which already cut $43.1 million over four years to ”Legal Policy Reform and Advocacy Funding”.

This hurts the most vulnerable people in our society. Legal representation will become even more unattainable, forcing those experiencing disadvantage to represent themselves without assistance.

This is complemented by cuts to the Environmental Defenders Offices (EDO), putting them at risk of closure, especially smaller offices like the ACT.  The EDO takes on cases for environmental matters, but also ensures Canberrans can receive legal advice on issues such as cultural heritage, tree protection, planning and air quality.

The Federal Government has also cut funding for the Human Rights Commission. Not surprisingly, it cut the number of human rights commissioners, who help educate Australians on human rights and hear complaints on issues such as racial discrimination and vilification.  This comes while George Brandis declares that people have a right to be bigots, and moves to repeal long held racial vilification protection laws.

Not only has the Abbott Government’s first budget hit hard at some of the most vulnerable in our community and attacked some vital human services, it confirms that the Abbott Government doesn’t even care to hide the fact that they are opposed to action on climate change.

It’s an embarrassment to see what they are funding in Direct Action, but worse is that they are ripping up the price on carbon – a world leading legislative scheme already in operation.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was formed to develop new and emerging technologies and to fund world-leading solar research.  ARENA will go from having $1 billion of funds (already contracted) to a pathetically low budget of $15 million for the next two years. Clearly the Federal Government isn’t aspiring to have any kind of smart, modern, diverse renewable energy sector.

In contrast road funding will see more than $80 billion invested in road infrastructure over the next six years. Tony Abbott wants to pave over more green space, pump more carbon into the atmosphere and he wants you to spend more time stuck in gridlock.

This same money could build the entire high speed rail line from Sydney to Melbourne, via Canberra ($50 billion), and still have $30 billion left over for roads.

The High Speed Rail project would create just as many jobs; as well as provide a significant investment in construction, while at the same time creating a new, fast and more environmentally friendly transport system for Australia’s future.

It is clear that this really was a budget that hides from the long-term issues that Australia is facing – global warming and growing inequality. Australia needs better than that.

Shane Rattenbury MLA
ACT Greens Member for Molonglo

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24 Responses to
Hockey’s budget: a clear imbalance
miz 3:48 pm
22 May 14
#1

So in conclusion, it would be a good idea to ditch the light rail project we can’t afford and spend the money on more important things such as hospitals, no?

chewy14 3:58 pm
22 May 14
#2

One thing I’m definitely sick of with this budget is the false equivalence of welfare and earned income that certain people and news outlets have been spruiking

Instead of talking about the change in people and families “income”, why don’t you mention the total tax bill that each group is required to pay and how much total welfare they actually receive? Wouldn’t look so “regressive” then would it?

Unless you think that everyone deserves to have the exact same disposable income regardless of work effort or value that is.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:06 pm
22 May 14
#3

chewy14 said :

One thing I’m definitely sick of with this budget is the false equivalence of welfare and earned income that certain people and news outlets have been spruiking

Instead of talking about the change in people and families “income”, why don’t you mention the total tax bill that each group is required to pay and how much total welfare they actually receive? Wouldn’t look so “regressive” then would it?

Unless you think that everyone deserves to have the exact same disposable income regardless of work effort or value that is.

There was a story doing the rounds of the commercial media last week about how the bottom third of families in a socioeconomic sense receive more in benefits than they pay in tax anyway.

Codders111 4:15 pm
22 May 14
#4

Good response Shane! I wonder if Zed will send one in…

bigfeet 5:39 pm
22 May 14
#5

chewy14 said :

One thing I’m definitely sick of with this budget is……

Good start to a sentence…how about we all have a go at finishing it!

Here’s mine…

One thing I’m definitely sick of with this budget is…..the Canberra Shire Council pretending that they are a real state government.

Ah wait…actually it’s cute when the kids pretend to be grown-ups!

Masquara 6:13 pm
22 May 14
#6

How about charging the $7 levy to all comers other than OAPs – and refunding it to people whose household receipts show that they haven’t bought cigarettes or alcohol in the previous three months?

Masquara 6:14 pm
22 May 14
#7

If solar energy is all that good, it will be commercially. Why exactly does it need taxpayers’ money?

MrBigEars 9:23 pm
22 May 14
#8

Masquara said :

If solar energy is all that good, it will be commercially. Why exactly does it need taxpayers’ money?

So it can compete with coal fired power?
http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/mining-subsidies-over-$4-5b-australia-institute

gooterz 9:24 pm
22 May 14
#9

Masquara said :

If solar energy is all that good, it will be commercially. Why exactly does it need taxpayers’ money?

We don’t have any solar plants in Australia. We should..

I don’t mean power generating but making solar cells and electronic components.

newvista20 9:29 pm
22 May 14
#10

It disappoints me to read posts such as # 5 by bigfeet. Comparing our Territory government to a municipal council is sick and dumb and exposes where you are coming from, so far right you can`t see the centre. You are an ungrateful person, living almost in paradise here in the ACT., with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world. All that our government does on the limited tax base that is available is amazing. The ACT public employees are in my experience most pleasant, helpful and courteous. I`ve been a liberal voter all of my life, small l liberal that is, until during the Howard years I detected the infiltration of a once great party by religious zealots.
So our current assembly government is Labour in name, but it is not a socialist party, no broken down former union bosses that I am aware of. More like my kind of liberal or centre party. But back to the thread, by any measure the recent budget by Messrs. Hockey and Korman is outrageous. These people have no idea what the real world is about. They down talked the economy for six years, trashed the parliament, now in power they want to turn our country into a third world economy, depress, demoralize our young, worsen the revenue stream by creating more unemployed.

Codders111 10:00 pm
22 May 14
#11

Codders111 said :

Good response Shane! I wonder if Zed will send one in…

Silly me, Zed’s no longer involved in local politics. The real question is will Jeremy Hanson?

HiddenDragon 9:11 am
23 May 14
#12

miz said :

So in conclusion, it would be a good idea to ditch the light rail project we can’t afford and spend the money on more important things such as hospitals, no?

Bravo! – or better yet, just borrow a bit less money and stop pretending that the ACT Budget will right itself “over the cycle” (being a cycle, the duration of which is never clearly and firmly specified).

miz 9:19 am
23 May 14
#13

“. . . . living almost in paradise here in the ACT, with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world” . . . spoken by someone who has clearly not had much experience of ACT public ed or hospitals.

I have had three children go through the public school system in the ACT (one part way through) and various friends and close family members experience the ACT health system, including TCH, since returning to ACT from regional NSW in late 1990s. While the ACT continues to big note itself as ‘the best’ in these areas I can personally vouch for the fact that public education and health are far, far better in regional NSW than in the ACT. Key problems are the heavy admin requirements on teachers that take them away from actual teaching, and the number of 457 visa nurses that have replaced registered nurses, leaving an almost chaotic lack of structure in relation to the ongoing personal care of vulnerable hospital patients. It’s such a pity the ACT govt continues to be blind to this.

rommeldog56 8:38 am
24 May 14
#14

miz said :

So in conclusion, it would be a good idea to ditch the light rail project we can’t afford and spend the money on more important things such as hospitals, no?

Well said miz. The Territory’s budget is deep in deficit. The light rail/tram will cost M620+ just for Gunghalan to City (and no, it will NEVER be extend further). Going by experience in other States for like projects (and admitting that its hard to compare “apples to apples”) and track record of ACT governments cost blowouts for major infrastructure projects, the cost is almost certain to blow out by another m$200+ or so.

So, given the ACT budget deficit and the Fed’s slashing another m$250 (?) off that, why, why, isn’t the light rail/tram at least put on hold/scrapped until the Territory’s budget is in better shape. It’s fiscal madness !!!! The ACT Gov’t has already spend mega bucks !

Oh yeah – now I remember why, they will just jack up Annual Rates and other ACT Government charges for all ACT residents to cover the capital call have to pay for this loss making folly.

So, Mr Rattenbury, rather than rave on about the imbalance in the Federal budget, I suggest u look much, much closer to home to see the imbalance and economic madness being undertaken by the Gov’t you are a member of !!!

dungfungus 9:50 am
24 May 14
#15

MrBigEars said :

Masquara said :

If solar energy is all that good, it will be commercially. Why exactly does it need taxpayers’ money?

So it can compete with coal fired power?
http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/mining-subsidies-over-$4-5b-australia-institute

The Australia Institute exists on 100% taxpayer funded subsidies.

dungfungus 9:53 am
24 May 14
#16

newvista20 said :

It disappoints me to read posts such as # 5 by bigfeet. Comparing our Territory government to a municipal council is sick and dumb and exposes where you are coming from, so far right you can`t see the centre. You are an ungrateful person, living almost in paradise here in the ACT., with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world. All that our government does on the limited tax base that is available is amazing. The ACT public employees are in my experience most pleasant, helpful and courteous. I`ve been a liberal voter all of my life, small l liberal that is, until during the Howard years I detected the infiltration of a once great party by religious zealots.
So our current assembly government is Labour in name, but it is not a socialist party, no broken down former union bosses that I am aware of. More like my kind of liberal or centre party. But back to the thread, by any measure the recent budget by Messrs. Hockey and Korman is outrageous. These people have no idea what the real world is about. They down talked the economy for six years, trashed the parliament, now in power they want to turn our country into a third world economy, depress, demoralize our young, worsen the revenue stream by creating more unemployed.

miz said :

“. . . . living almost in paradise here in the ACT, with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world” . . . spoken by someone who has clearly not had much experience of ACT public ed or hospitals.

I have had three children go through the public school system in the ACT (one part way through) and various friends and close family members experience the ACT health system, including TCH, since returning to ACT from regional NSW in late 1990s. While the ACT continues to big note itself as ‘the best’ in these areas I can personally vouch for the fact that public education and health are far, far better in regional NSW than in the ACT. Key problems are the heavy admin requirements on teachers that take them away from actual teaching, and the number of 457 visa nurses that have replaced registered nurses, leaving an almost chaotic lack of structure in relation to the ongoing personal care of vulnerable hospital patients. It’s such a pity the ACT govt continues to be blind to this.

Australian Gen Y nurses do not want anything to do with bed pans.

Queen_of_the_Bun 10:58 am
24 May 14
#17

dungfungus said :

newvista20 said :

It disappoints me to read posts such as # 5 by bigfeet. Comparing our Territory government to a municipal council is sick and dumb and exposes where you are coming from, so far right you can`t see the centre. You are an ungrateful person, living almost in paradise here in the ACT., with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world. All that our government does on the limited tax base that is available is amazing. The ACT public employees are in my experience most pleasant, helpful and courteous. I`ve been a liberal voter all of my life, small l liberal that is, until during the Howard years I detected the infiltration of a once great party by religious zealots.
So our current assembly government is Labour in name, but it is not a socialist party, no broken down former union bosses that I am aware of. More like my kind of liberal or centre party. But back to the thread, by any measure the recent budget by Messrs. Hockey and Korman is outrageous. These people have no idea what the real world is about. They down talked the economy for six years, trashed the parliament, now in power they want to turn our country into a third world economy, depress, demoralize our young, worsen the revenue stream by creating more unemployed.

miz said :

“. . . . living almost in paradise here in the ACT, with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world” . . . spoken by someone who has clearly not had much experience of ACT public ed or hospitals.

I have had three children go through the public school system in the ACT (one part way through) and various friends and close family members experience the ACT health system, including TCH, since returning to ACT from regional NSW in late 1990s. While the ACT continues to big note itself as ‘the best’ in these areas I can personally vouch for the fact that public education and health are far, far better in regional NSW than in the ACT. Key problems are the heavy admin requirements on teachers that take them away from actual teaching, and the number of 457 visa nurses that have replaced registered nurses, leaving an almost chaotic lack of structure in relation to the ongoing personal care of vulnerable hospital patients. It’s such a pity the ACT govt continues to be blind to this.

Australian Gen Y nurses do not want anything to do with bed pans.

Why do you always blame the young people?

Pork Hunt 4:43 pm
24 May 14
#18

dungfungus said :

newvista20 said :

It disappoints me to read posts such as # 5 by bigfeet. Comparing our Territory government to a municipal council is sick and dumb and exposes where you are coming from, so far right you can`t see the centre. You are an ungrateful person, living almost in paradise here in the ACT., with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world. All that our government does on the limited tax base that is available is amazing. The ACT public employees are in my experience most pleasant, helpful and courteous. I`ve been a liberal voter all of my life, small l liberal that is, until during the Howard years I detected the infiltration of a once great party by religious zealots.
So our current assembly government is Labour in name, but it is not a socialist party, no broken down former union bosses that I am aware of. More like my kind of liberal or centre party. But back to the thread, by any measure the recent budget by Messrs. Hockey and Korman is outrageous. These people have no idea what the real world is about. They down talked the economy for six years, trashed the parliament, now in power they want to turn our country into a third world economy, depress, demoralize our young, worsen the revenue stream by creating more unemployed.

miz said :

“. . . . living almost in paradise here in the ACT, with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world” . . . spoken by someone who has clearly not had much experience of ACT public ed or hospitals.

I have had three children go through the public school system in the ACT (one part way through) and various friends and close family members experience the ACT health system, including TCH, since returning to ACT from regional NSW in late 1990s. While the ACT continues to big note itself as ‘the best’ in these areas I can personally vouch for the fact that public education and health are far, far better in regional NSW than in the ACT. Key problems are the heavy admin requirements on teachers that take them away from actual teaching, and the number of 457 visa nurses that have replaced registered nurses, leaving an almost chaotic lack of structure in relation to the ongoing personal care of vulnerable hospital patients. It’s such a pity the ACT govt continues to be blind to this.

Australian Gen Y nurses do not want anything to do with bed pans.

Just your bed pan or all bed pans?

dungfungus 6:07 pm
24 May 14
#19

Pork Hunt said :

dungfungus said :

newvista20 said :

It disappoints me to read posts such as # 5 by bigfeet. Comparing our Territory government to a municipal council is sick and dumb and exposes where you are coming from, so far right you can`t see the centre. You are an ungrateful person, living almost in paradise here in the ACT., with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world. All that our government does on the limited tax base that is available is amazing. The ACT public employees are in my experience most pleasant, helpful and courteous. I`ve been a liberal voter all of my life, small l liberal that is, until during the Howard years I detected the infiltration of a once great party by religious zealots.
So our current assembly government is Labour in name, but it is not a socialist party, no broken down former union bosses that I am aware of. More like my kind of liberal or centre party. But back to the thread, by any measure the recent budget by Messrs. Hockey and Korman is outrageous. These people have no idea what the real world is about. They down talked the economy for six years, trashed the parliament, now in power they want to turn our country into a third world economy, depress, demoralize our young, worsen the revenue stream by creating more unemployed.

miz said :

“. . . . living almost in paradise here in the ACT, with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world” . . . spoken by someone who has clearly not had much experience of ACT public ed or hospitals.

I have had three children go through the public school system in the ACT (one part way through) and various friends and close family members experience the ACT health system, including TCH, since returning to ACT from regional NSW in late 1990s. While the ACT continues to big note itself as ‘the best’ in these areas I can personally vouch for the fact that public education and health are far, far better in regional NSW than in the ACT. Key problems are the heavy admin requirements on teachers that take them away from actual teaching, and the number of 457 visa nurses that have replaced registered nurses, leaving an almost chaotic lack of structure in relation to the ongoing personal care of vulnerable hospital patients. It’s such a pity the ACT govt continues to be blind to this.

Australian Gen Y nurses do not want anything to do with bed pans.

Just your bed pan or all bed pans?

I knew the subject of bed pans would flush you out.

dungfungus 6:20 pm
24 May 14
#20

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

newvista20 said :

It disappoints me to read posts such as # 5 by bigfeet. Comparing our Territory government to a municipal council is sick and dumb and exposes where you are coming from, so far right you can`t see the centre. You are an ungrateful person, living almost in paradise here in the ACT., with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world. All that our government does on the limited tax base that is available is amazing. The ACT public employees are in my experience most pleasant, helpful and courteous. I`ve been a liberal voter all of my life, small l liberal that is, until during the Howard years I detected the infiltration of a once great party by religious zealots.
So our current assembly government is Labour in name, but it is not a socialist party, no broken down former union bosses that I am aware of. More like my kind of liberal or centre party. But back to the thread, by any measure the recent budget by Messrs. Hockey and Korman is outrageous. These people have no idea what the real world is about. They down talked the economy for six years, trashed the parliament, now in power they want to turn our country into a third world economy, depress, demoralize our young, worsen the revenue stream by creating more unemployed.

miz said :

“. . . . living almost in paradise here in the ACT, with a caring inclusive government providing hospital and schooling services without equal in Australia, probably the world” . . . spoken by someone who has clearly not had much experience of ACT public ed or hospitals.

I have had three children go through the public school system in the ACT (one part way through) and various friends and close family members experience the ACT health system, including TCH, since returning to ACT from regional NSW in late 1990s. While the ACT continues to big note itself as ‘the best’ in these areas I can personally vouch for the fact that public education and health are far, far better in regional NSW than in the ACT. Key problems are the heavy admin requirements on teachers that take them away from actual teaching, and the number of 457 visa nurses that have replaced registered nurses, leaving an almost chaotic lack of structure in relation to the ongoing personal care of vulnerable hospital patients. It’s such a pity the ACT govt continues to be blind to this.

Australian Gen Y nurses do not want anything to do with bed pans.

Why do you always blame the young people?

I only blame them when Tony Abbott’s weekly blame quota has been used up.

Walker 10:58 pm
24 May 14
#21

dungfungus said :

I only blame them when Tony Abbott’s weekly blame quota has been used up.

Are you referring to the blame outgoing from, or incoming to, Mr Abbot?

dungfungus 8:42 am
25 May 14
#22

Walker said :

dungfungus said :

I only blame them when Tony Abbott’s weekly blame quota has been used up.

Are you referring to the blame outgoing from, or incoming to, Mr Abbot?

Incoming.

Grimm 1:13 pm
26 May 14
#23

Oh, Comrade Rattenbury, you amuse me so…

These terrible “rich” people are the people who keep this country going. There should be an incentive to work hard. Not everybody is equal, and that’s reality. A lot of those people are not equal due to their own poor choices in life. Many of the people you are claiming will be hardest hit pay no tax anyway. It’s about time everybody contributed to fixing the mess the ALP and your Federal Watermelon party Comrades have created with your socialist utopian ideals.

You claim this budget is short sighted, but we all know that is not correct. It is addressing an immediate issue which will benefit all Australians in the long term. Having a strong economy and the ability to promote growth by not being flat broke is definitely looking to the future. Continuing to allow some to contribute while letting others continue to just take and take is not sustainable by any means.

dungfungus 1:50 pm
26 May 14
#24

Grimm said :

Oh, Comrade Rattenbury, you amuse me so…

These terrible “rich” people are the people who keep this country going. There should be an incentive to work hard. Not everybody is equal, and that’s reality. A lot of those people are not equal due to their own poor choices in life. Many of the people you are claiming will be hardest hit pay no tax anyway. It’s about time everybody contributed to fixing the mess the ALP and your Federal Watermelon party Comrades have created with your socialist utopian ideals.

You claim this budget is short sighted, but we all know that is not correct. It is addressing an immediate issue which will benefit all Australians in the long term. Having a strong economy and the ability to promote growth by not being flat broke is definitely looking to the future. Continuing to allow some to contribute while letting others continue to just take and take is not sustainable by any means.

It was one of those nasty rich people who made a record $1.6 million electoral donation to The Greens. I guess there are good rich people and bad rich people.
> http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-01-08/record-greens-donation-no-longer-a-wotif/1898404

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