Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Australian Budget 2014 - Who Is Really Doing The Heavy Lifting?

When Joe Hockey, the Federal Treasurer made his budget speech last week, I very carefully took in every single word. I also paid strong attention to what was not said.

This Government went to an election in September 2013 making many promises to the voters regarding many issues. Tony Abbott promised to get rid of the carbon tax and stop the illegal boats coming into Australia. He has succeeded in stopping the boats and has tried to dismantle the carbon tax, however the Senate stood in his way. He also made many other promises to his voters.

Tony Abbott promised the following:

* No changes to pensions without going to election

* No new taxes without going to an election

* No cuts to health

* No cuts to education

* No cuts to ABC or the SBS

The cuts to education and health remain to be seen as it is not clear at the moment whether cuts have been made. There was money promised to the States and Territories by the Rudd/Gillard government, and it was revealed that these funds were unavailable, however Abbott did commit to funding the Gonski program in public schools. 

The ABC and the SBS were cut, however if the Government had any brains, they would sell both stations to private companies. The cuts to the CSIRO came out of the blue, and I don't know many people who are happy with this. As for the deficit tax, dressed up as a levy. I don't have a problem with this. But, why are Abbott and Hockey not going after companies like Google and Apple and making them pay the correct amount of tax. Last year these two companies paid about one percent of their fifty million profit in tax. Their tax bill amounting to $500,000. This is so wrong on so many levels, because it is one rule for one group of people and a different rule for the rest of us.

Despite the lies, I actually think that this a good budget and it is necessary to save money, however having said that I have a few criticisms. Picking on the pensioners, whether the Government has a mandate at the next election or not is unthinkable. I recently heard that Abbott intends to cut off the Seniors Supplement which assists aged pensioners with the cost of living, i.e power bills, gas bills, car rego and other things and this is to happen in July, this year. If this is true, then where is the mandate for this. The pension is also set to be indexed in line with the CPI which will reduce the amount pensioners receive in the long run. 

Increasing the pension age to 70 in 2035 is probably a good idea, given the size of our aging population and fact that people are living longer, however what about nurses, labourers, brickies, people who do hard physical labour. How are they supposed to retrain at 65 and find employment; something will need to give here. 

The one thing they should be doing is taking away the restrictions on superannuation. If the Government want people to self retire, then allow them to put as much money into their super without penalising them. And while you are at it, do something about the fees that are literally eating up people's retirement. And if this Government or any government raise the age that workers can access their superannuation to 70; this will definitely open the door for an election loss and the workers will start a revolution. Raise the pension age, but dictating to people when they can retire is not on.

The one group of people that they should have left alone are aged pensioners whose only income is the pension. These measures will hit these people harder than most and I do not think this is fair. Every single time someone from the media or the other parties have attacked Abbott and Hockey about what they are doing to aged pensioners, the Liberal spokespeople or Abbott and Hockey themselves very cleverly do not even mention that they are cutting around $60 per fortnight from what an aged pensioner receives. Doing some research into whether certain people with certain amounts of assets should receive a pension or part pension might be a better idea, rather than taking money that aged pensioners with very little in assets have. Perhaps the assets test is too generous, it might be feasible to do some research on this.

As for the lower and middle classes being hit the hardest by this budget and everyone telling them not to bitch and moan; well I think they have a right to be upset. They will be affected by a GP tax, which is not even going back into paying off the debt. Oh no, the government wants to spend the money on a Research Fund, oh and let's not forget the 24 billion dollars these fighter jets will cost. Why on earth are we spending 24 billion dollars on brand new shiny fighter planes when we have budget debt crisis. The Commission of Audit told the Government that we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Yet they want these shiny toys for Defence, so their answer is to make cuts to pensions, family payments and literally cut the unemployed off without a cent.

Family payments are being cut, unemployed people are set to be cut off their benefits for six months. Not to mention people on disability pensions will be re-assessed for work. Everyone of these lower class Australians will be hit by a GP fee according to the budget papers. Pensioners and children will be treated for free after ten visits. Families, single people and pensioners who are doing it tough already will be hit the hardest by this.

I am well aware that welfare fraud has to stop, however is this the way to go about it? Is it right to simply deny someone welfare assistance who has just gotten fired and has no savings or entitlements. For Australians under the age of thirty, this is the plan. The Government will cut them off benefits for six months. Somebody close to me falls into this category and I just cannot stomach this happening to someone who certainly does not deserve it.

What happens when they cannot pay the rent, let alone put fuel in their car or catch a bus to attend a job interview. This premise is simply ridiculous. Cutting people off benefits could lead to more homeless on the streets, more crime and higher suicide rates. I am personally already seeing how these measures are affecting the lower and middle classes. People are getting fired, tradesmen are losing work because the general public are already tightening the belt. Trades people and others in business are losing work left, right and centre and this will lead to more job losses. I have personally witnessed one case of someone seeking a referral to mental heath professionals because measures in this budget for them was the last straw on top of the extreme, hard times they are facing. The mental energy used worrying about all of these issues and how these changes will affect this person literally sent them off the deep end. It is my opinion that there is more of this sort of thing to come, and then some.

None of these measures have even come in yet and already people are scared, under pressure and wondering how they will cope financially into the future. There are many people who cannot work due to disability, illness or other medical conditions, such as blindness. Some of these people are terrified the Government will cut them back to Newstart and force them to find work, when there are close to one million people without jobs in this country. Just where do these people find jobs. Hiring independent doctors will cost the tax-payers a fortune and how do we know that they won't get it wrong and cut people off that need that support. Wouldn't it be cheaper to run a campaign to encourage the public to report the fraudsters to Centrelink.

I literally smile to myself when I read the polls and see that the Labor party are kicking ass over the Coalition. Tony Abbott will be out of a job if he insists on pushing this budget through as is and those vandals who put us in this mess will be in charge of this country again. Many people in this country are losing or have lost faith in the major parties and many are considering voting informally or voting for minor parties. Do we really need the Greens Party running this country, I don't think so.

My advice to you Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey is this: go out into the real world before you get the bright idea that people will survive without any kind of welfare assistance. Pensioners can not afford to have $60 odd dollar ripped out of their pensions and until you go and talk to them and see just what they are surviving on. If this is to happen in July, then you better get a move on and negotiate a much fairer budget for the lower class, hit these companies that get out of their tax responsibility and close any loopholes that income earners who are affected by the debt levy will use to get out of paying it. 

Tony Abbott and his mates are getting criticised and called liars and it's my opinion that they deserve it right about now. They are no better than Gillard; She said "There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead." And then did a complete about face.

Something tells me that Shorten and the Labor party and his Greenie mates would love nothing more that to force this budget to an election, especially when the polls say what they do right now. Right now Abbott and Hockey have a lot to do. Stop wasting tax payers money flying all over the country trying to sell this budget the way it is; because it is a waste of time. Negotiate with the enemy.

Some of the above facts could be based on rumours, however I do believe that most of the facts in this blog are correct at the time of writing.

Copyright © 2014 Janelle Coulton

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