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2014 Budget overview, or considering how much of the egg is any good

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Well I suppose it is incumbent upon me as the author here at a blog that is mostly about  Australian  politics to say something about  last night’s budget. Up front I have to say that I have not read the original document or even watched the speech on the TV. I had other priorities last night. So instead I am going to respond to the summary written by the Guardian with what I think about the specifics enunciated there.

As leaked, it hits around 400,000 high-income earners with a three-year $3.1bn deficit levy and reaps a further $2.2bn by increasing petrol taxes in line with inflation.

The former will undoubtedly upset my more “economically dry” friends but I doubt that they will notice it beyond its existence as a line item  from their accountants, most will not even notice unless they are obsessive about the amount of tax they pay. A rise in the tax on petrol  will undoubtedly be noticed initially but soon forgotten by most people simply because the price of fuel has become so volatile anyway. Up here it jumped by nearly 20 cents a litre at Easter so I think this will soon become part of the economic background noise in our lives.

But the budget-night surprise was that much of the cash raised from cuts to benefits and tax rises is spent on the Coalition’s own priorities rather than on improving the budget bottom line, including a new $20bn medical research fund – to become the biggest in the world within six years – the Direct Action greenhouse emissions reduction fund and about $5bn in new roads funding.

Why that should surprise anyone is beyond me, Even in tough times a government wants to be seen to be capable of economic multitasking. That said who could complain about more money for medical research? Readers will recall that I would personally ditch, in its entirety, the Direct Action climate policy but in the absence of heeding my advice lets hope that there is the sort of secondary benefits from the spending that I have previously postulated, although I do remain sceptical that the scheme will deliver much for the nation.As a confirmed petrol head I welcome improvements to the road network and I also welcome the economic stimulus that the expenditure will bring.

Although the treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the aim of the pain was “budget repair” – a national effort in which Australians “fix the budget together” – he is not promising a surplus in the four years of the forward estimates, with a deficit of $2.8bn forecast for 2017-18: unemployment remains at 6% or higher for the next three, growth is almost unchanged and business investment is weakening.

Lets be thankful for that! I don’t think that I am alone in hoping that we never again see the false hope of a quick return to  surplus trotted out in every one of Wayne Swan’s budgets .

Hockey conceded the government “could have gone harder” in paying down deficits, but said “it would have detracted from growth”.

Well we all know that its a balancing act between the need to pay down debt and not kill the economy in the process.

He denied his budget was the start of an “age of austerity”, saying he was in fact ushering in a new “age of opportunity”.

No surprise in trying to change the way that the budget will be perceived.

But for unemployed people under 30, this “age of opportunity” means waiting six months to get the dole, then receiving a payment only for six months and only if they work for it, and then losing the payment again for the next six months, during which a potential employers may get a wage subsidy.

Well this is a great deal tougher than I expected and I can see some individuals could very well suffer severe hardship under such a regime. On the other hand it will clearly incentivise those in this demographic to both accept any work that they can get and to try harder to please their employers to avoid losing their jobs in the first place. I can’t see how it could work in remote indigenous communities that have bugger all jobs though.

For sick people it means paying $7 for every visit to the doctor and every medical test – $5 of which will be invested in a new “medical research future fund” and $2 will be kept by the doctor or test provider, in part to help them waive the payment in cases of “genuine need”. The co-payment will stop after 10 medical payments for concession holders and children. The co-payment for medicines will also increase by $5.

Which means that those sick with concession cards will mostly still be able to see a doctor for free as they do now but I am less than impressed by the increase in co-payment for prescriptions which will almost double with the $5 increase. No more coffee shop stop for me when I get my drugs then 😦

Hockey said the aim of the health changes was to “get the nation to invest in its own healthcare … and for people to accept personal responsibility for their own physical health.”

Most of us do this anyway

For students the new era means paying back a greater proportion of the cost of a degree, and this cost potentially rising as the higher education sector is deregulated – although government loans will be available for a wider range of courses.

I have repeatedly argued that tertiary education  is rather over rated and if it is going to cost those who benefit from it more than they will certainly chose their courses with greater care and a consideration of its benefit to their future career. The important thing to keep in mind though is the generous and universal loans scheme means that greater costs will not restrict anyone from doing the course of their dreams no matter what their background may be.

For single-income families it means losing up to $73 per week a child in family tax benefit B payments once the bread winner earns more than $100,000 (rather than the current $150,000) and losing the payment when the youngest child turns six, rather than 18.

Who could object to cutting this? Anyone on 100K a year does not need this kind of benefit at all.

And government payments including family tax benefit, Medicare rebates and private health insurance rebates will be frozen, as will eligibility thresholds for receiving them – instead of rising in line with inflation – an idea Tony Abbott derided as “class warfare” when it was tentatively tried by the former Labor government.

Likewise a reasonable move.

Many disability pensioners under 35 will be “reassessed” and those with “some work capacity” forced to seek employment.

As I have suggested elsewhere this is a largely symbolic matter and that the vast majority of those DSP recipients who will be re-accessed will in fact found to still be compliant with the eligibility criteria which are pretty hard to meet anyway. As for work well it has to be there and suitable for the disabled and I have my doubts that many in this cohort will be able to find work.

But clearly hesitant to break an election promise that no changes would be made to the pension, the government has delayed paring back aged pensions until after the next federal poll.

What the government takes to the next poll will be judged by the people.

It is then proposing major changes – linking pension increases to inflation rather than average earnings, which will see their buying power decline over time compared with current arrangements, freezing the threshold for assets and income a pensioner can hold even though their value will rise over time, reducing the amount a pensioner can earn from their assets.

It seems to me that this is a reasonable change that brings the aged pension into line with the indexation of other government benefits. As for changes to the assets valuation well I’m undecided on that one.

The pension age will rise to 70 by 2035, but addressing criticism that older people often find it hard to get a job the government is offering a new wage subsidy to employers taking on a worker over 50 who has been unemployed for more than six months.

The subsidy will undoubtedly be welcomed  by both small business and older job seekers and is to may mind far more significant than a raising of the pension age in twenty years time.

As I predicted in my last post this budget is not the horror that the pundits were suggesting it would be. Its certainly not perfect in every aspect and only time will tell if the assumptions and expectations that are at its heart will be correct. However one thing we can be sure of is that it has to be better than any of the flights of fantasy delivered by Wayne Swan that were inevitably entirely made of tat hope and bullshit. All big picture instruments like the federal budget are going to be like the curates egg “good in parts” and at this one will be no exception there certainly are some parts that are a bit off smelling but on the whole its seems to be quite reasonable given the mess that we inherited from Labor.

Cheers Comrades

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69 Comments

  1. Ray Dixon says:

    It’s a gutless budget, Iain. They’ve only gone after the easy targets like young people, reducing medical rebates, increasing petrol excise and cutting back on hospital spending. I agree with the extra tax on high income earners but they have not gone hard enough at the top end and have basically constructed a budget to suit mining companies and other big corporations. Without improving the bottom line! This is a budget that could actually stunt growth because it will make people cut back on spending. They’ve hit the wrong targets, mate. It’s a Clayton’s budget – the one you have when you’re not having one.

  2. GD says:

    Yes Ray, it’s better to release budgets promising a surplus while all the time continuing to borrow from China. Yes, that’s the way to run the nation. Put it all on the tab. That was the Labor way. Well Ray, the chickens have come home to roost. It’s time to take stock after six years of hopeless mismanagement. Thankfully, the adults are in charge again.

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    They haven’t reduced the deficit or debt, GD. And anyone who keeps proclaiming “the adults are in charge” (as you & Abbott do) without actually detailing and demonstrating how it will work, are in fact talking down to people by the use of simple/stupid rhetoric. It’s dumb and patronising. There’s nothing “adult” about this budget – please point to one aspect that improves the economy – and all I can see is that it will reduce spending and add to the cost of living. With no economic gain.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    Its a budget that is designed for a government who intends to be in power for a while and one designed to fix the problems created by your mates in Labor. Even you must have inwardly groaned every-time Swan would be promising another surplus because he destroyed the credibility of the budget process by being so off the mark not once or even twice but EVERY time he stood up on that Tuesday in May.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    For Christ’s sake, Iain, you don’t get any points for referring back to Swan’s figures that were thrown out by a decline in revenue. This is the now and your lot ain’t delivered.

  6. GD says:

    They haven’t reduced the deficit or debt, GD.

    The debt and deficit is that big that it will take years to clear it. The Coalition has taken steps to begin paying it off. Anyway, why are you now concerned about the debt? When Labor was in you reckoned it was of no importance.

  7. GD says:

    thrown out by a decline in revenue.

    No that’s not correct. I’ll throw some links at you later. As I’ve said before, you should have Bruce Hawker’s job, you’re even better at spinning bull*hit than he is. Seriously Ray perhaps should you go back into the kitchen and check that your wealthy muslim guests are being served halal meals. I hope you’re better at that than political commentary.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    Firstly, GD, we don’t “serve meals” here. If you continue to lace your arguments with that sort of irrelevant and offensive reference to my business I’ll be telling you to STFU. Now retract it please.

  9. Ray Dixon says:

    And try to put your arguments into some form of coherence, GD, instead of a series of rapid one-liner ‘sound bytes’. You’re getting very boring (as well as obtuse).

  10. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    To be wrong once could be slated down to “declines in revenue” but to be as consistently as wrong as Swan was shows that he was just not learning form his mistakes because a wise treasurer would have learned enough from the first balls up to scale back his assumptions. Swan NEVER managed that in any of his six years.
    That said you are right that this is now and I am Judging Hockey on his budget but I am doing so from an understanding of just how bad the books were when he took over. I’m giving it about a seven and a half out of ten depending on how well things pan out over the next year.

  11. Richard Ryan says:

    To cut a long story short—–Tony Abbott is a f^cking liar, end of story.

  12. Ray Dixon says:

    Prefacing yourself (as Abbott is doing) by saying “we inherited a mess” is weak, Iain. This budget is an admission that the Coalition are no better at managing the economy than Labor were, despite the years & years of constant bullshit the Coalition put out. In fact they’re worse, because (as I said) this is a budget that will reduce spending. It has too, Iain – $7 extra every time we go to the doctor is $7 not spent in the economy. And that’s just the start of the costs and cuts they’ve made at the wrong end.

  13. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    The bad starting position is irrefutable and as a consequence it is neither weak nor strong its just a simple fact. Its silly on your part to suggest that having the courage to address that bad starting point means that the quality of the government’s economic management can not be fairly judged now, that will require runs on the board and maybe this time next year we will be able to judge them but now any judgement you can make will be more about you political prejudices than it will be about the government performance.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    Iain – $7 extra every time we go to the doctor is $7 not spent in the economy. And that’s just the start of the costs and cuts they’ve made at the wrong end.

    You forget that the needy will be treated without having to pay the levy likewise there is a limit of ten times a year that they will have to pay before being exempt

  15. Jeff G. says:

    I am not so doom and gloom about the budget. As I have said before, I would rather see GST lifted to 12 or 12.5%, with an increase in pensions to offset this. I suspect that will happen at some point.

    Pros:
    As Iain says, I don’t think the co-payment is too damaging. It’s two cups of coffee for most people, while the disadvantaged won’t have to pay it.
    Good to see investment in roads, although more investment in public transport is required (yes a state area, not federal, but still.)
    The medical research fund is a very good idea! Big pat on the back for that one.
    So too the $10,000 subsidy for employers who hire someone over 50.

    Cons
    Big business gets off too easy, like it usually does in Liberal budgets.
    Personally I think the “deficit levy” should have kicked in at $150,000 or even $130,000. Anyone who argues that a person earning those figures is not “well off” is kidding themselves.
    Negative gearing should be scrapped, or limited to one property. It costs us $6 billion a year and just makes rich people richer.
    Cuts to the CSIRO and the death of Gonski. We will never get anywhere in the future if we don’t invest in education, research and science.

  16. Ray Dixon says:

    You’ve both missed my point about the $7 co-payment. I’m not talking about the hardship it may or may not create, I’m talking about the damage it will do to the economy – by taking $billions out of it. You see, the vast majority will, as you suggest, cut back on other consumables like two cups of coffee, etc. Purchases that would otherwise flow into the economy and create jobs and tax revenue. And where will this $7 go now? $5 to ‘medical research’ and $2 (extra) for the Doctor, which pretty much takes it out of circulation. It’s isolating money when tax revenues are already way down. Any measure that inhibits consumer spending will backfire big time on the economy.

    The $10,000 subsidy is paying lip service and I doubt many will take it up. What company is going to hire a 50+ yo who has been on the dole for at least 6 months? Considering the average wage is about $50,000+ (plus super etc), the $10,000 isn’t sufficient reward for hiring a possible dud.

    Sure, medical research is a worthwhile cause but funding it via the $7 co-payment is wrong. Maybe fund it by taxing wealthy specialists & surgeons a bit higher. Oh, and private hospital operators. They’re the ones profiting from illness & medicine.

  17. Ray Dixon says:

    As for scrapping negative gearing on property, the damage that would do to the economy would probably be more than the $6 billion per year investors currently save in tax via that method. Not to mention the social impacts of less rental housing being available. it’s a long & complex issue and if I get time I’ll put the full argument up but, for starters, it would mean no capital gains tax at the other end.

  18. byron webb says:

    Its good to be back Iain and Ray. Your comments on the Budget Ray are spot on. This is not what we were told we would get from an Abbott Government. This issue of if these harsh spending cuts and increased tax grabs are needed or not, this is not what we were told was going to happen. If we were told the truth before the last election, the public would understand but we were not. As for GD, you have to understand that we were not informed of these measures before we voted. I myself voted for the Coalition and have been let down.

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    G’day Byron, good to hear from you. And your honesty is refeshing. Yep they made a rod for their own back by claiming they could get the budget under control without increasing taxes or making certain cuts. In hindsight they really didn’t need to promise anything because they were always going to win the election. Die’s cast now and I wonder what the next opinion poll will tell us? My guess is Labor 54+, Coalition 46-. Landslide territory.

  20. byron webb says:

    I would say 55 – 45. How can you strip funding from education and health like that? Please tell me. Taking funding away from medical research that may soon lead to cures of cancer is really disturbing. Some pensioners go to their doctor 2 or 3 times a week and will now have to pay $7 for every visit.

  21. Ray Dixon says:

    Um, they’re not taking funding away from medical research, Byron, in fact they’re using the co-payment ($5 of it) to build a $20 billion med research fund. That’s a good thing but I don’t like the way they’re funding it by making lower income people carry the burden (via the co-payment). And, as I’ve pointed out earlier, that $7 extra everyone now has to pay with every visit will go out of the economy and stunt growth (and reduce Govt tax revenue). I agree it will hurt low income earners the most and I think they needed to hit the top end harder – problem was they promised “no new taxes” and to repeal the mining tax. Like I said, these were promises they didn’t have to make. Egg on face right now.

  22. Ray Dixon says:

    But they did strip funding for hospitals & education. You’re right about that.

  23. Jeff G. says:

    You’ve both missed my point about the $7 co-payment. I’m not talking about the hardship it may or may not create, I’m talking about the damage it will do to the economy – by taking $billions out of it. You see, the vast majority will, as you suggest, cut back on other consumables like two cups of coffee, etc. Purchases that would otherwise flow into the economy and create jobs and tax revenue.

    I see your point, but when any spending is cut, or any tax raised, money is going to be sucked out of the economy. So you could make that criticism of most of the policies in this budget. I don’t think there is anyone out there who is arguing that at least some cuts needed to be made.

    The $10,000 subsidy is paying lip service and I doubt many will take it up. What company is going to hire a 50+ yo who has been on the dole for at least 6 months? Considering the average wage is about $50,000+ (plus super etc), the $10,000 isn’t sufficient reward for hiring a possible dud.

    That’s pretty insulting to all the 50+ workers who have been on the dole through no fault of their own. With all these car plants and heavy industries closing, there will be a lot more of them over the coming years. I still say its a good policy. How much impact it will have? Well, that remains to be seen, but I don’t think it can hurt.

    As for scrapping negative gearing on property, the damage that would do to the economy would probably be more than the $6 billion per year investors currently save in tax via that method.

    I have heard all the arguments for and against negative gearing, so you don’t need to repeat them. My view is that while it was brought in with good intentions, it now just it helps the rich get richer. It should be abolished or wound back, may be restricted to one investment property. Yes this will have an impact on the rental market in the short term. But it will correct itself over time. Better to have some short term pain than policies that widen the wealth gap.

  24. Ray Dixon says:

    I see your point, but when any spending is cut, or any tax raised, money is going to be sucked out of the economy

    That’s not how it works. The cuts to some areas are offset elsewhere. Likewise, the extra tax on high income earners gets spent on general programs and will not affect the taxpayers’ spending habits. No money from the Govt cuts or extra taxes will leave the economy, whereas this co-payment will reduce the spending power of millions of people at the lower end, while going into a specialist area (medical research) isolating it from the wider economy. The $2 that goes to the Doctor, a high income earner too, will simply be stashed away as Doctors already have enough income to cover their spending and then some. The Govt will also lose GST and income tax revenue from that $7, which I bet they haven’t factored in. It’s a dumb idea and unnecessary as the medical research could easily be funded by higher taxes on the top end and/or those corporations living off the ‘sickness industry’, so to speak.

  25. Ray Dixon says:

    That’s pretty insulting to all the 50+ workers who have been on the dole through no fault of their own

    No it’s not, you’ve misunderstood my “possible dud” reference. I’m saying that many employers will be reluctant to give a $50,000+ job to a 50+ y.o. who has been on the dole for 6 months or longer (which is the stipulation for the subsidy). And it’s a bad policy because even if companies do start taking up the offer, the ones they hire will be replaced on the dole by the newly retrenched ones who don’t qualify the employer for the Ten G handout. In my opinion though, I reckon most employers would rather not take on someone who hasn’t found a job for 6 or more months. “Hmm, I wonder if he really tried and, even if he did, why did other employers reject him”. The $10,000 is not going to overcome those doubts.

  26. […] Pingback to Mssr Ian Hall. […]

  27. Paul Murray says:

    Six months on/six months off. Best way to survive is to be a bogan in a family with six kids, all on the dole. We will see small communities that pool their dole. Getting away from these communities will be impossible, because in six months time when your dole stops you will need them again. It’s a budget that will create lawless tribes and beggars in the streets.

  28. byron webb says:

    Yes Paul, there will be an increase in crime and beggars for sure. What`s your opinion Ray?

  29. Jeff G. says:

    And it’s a bad policy because even if companies do start taking up the offer, the ones they hire will be replaced on the dole by the newly retrenched ones who don’t qualify the employer for the Ten G handout. In my opinion though, I reckon most employers would rather not take on someone who hasn’t found a job for 6 or more months. “Hmm, I wonder if he really tried and, even if he did, why did other employers reject him”. The $10,000 is not going to overcome those doubts.

    The first point you have made here sounds like a conspiracy. Are you suggesting that companies will lay off workers then take on 50+ workers to claim the subsidy? Don’t forget that when you retrench someone you have to pay out their holiday pay, sick leave and usually some kind of redundancy. I’m not sure there would be much to gain after that. As for the “doubts” about a potential worker being on the dole for six months, so what? You could ask those questions about a 20yo as much as someone on their 50s. The subsidy is intended to overcome “ageism” in the job market by encouraging companies to take a fresh look at older workers. Don’t think that can do much harm at all.

    It’s a budget that will create lawless tribes and beggars in the streets.

    Not sure about that but I suspect it may increase crime, esp. the move to pay no dole to school leavers for six months. The other knock on effect is that young louts will now be forced to stay at school or in training, when they don’t want to, which means they will behave like prize dickheads and disrupt it for everyone else.

  30. Ray Dixon says:

    Are you suggesting that companies will lay off workers then take on 50+ workers to claim the subsidy?

    No, I didn’t suggest anything like that and it’s beyond me how you’d interpret it that way. I’m saying (quite clearly) that if – and it’s a big “if” – the subsidy encourages employers to employ a 50+ yo who has been on the dole for 6+ months, that means other 50+ blokes more recently retrenched will be denied the job and forced onto the dole in their place.

  31. Ray Dixon says:

    Or to put it another way: This scheme diminishes the chances of a 50+ yo retrenched worker getting a job until he’s been on the dole for 6 months. Get it? If it works (as you suggest it might) it forces blokes onto the dole instead of looking for work. In reality, Hockey has just looked at the data and noticed that once an older bloke is on the dole for 6 months he’s likely to stay unemployed and cost the Govt much more than $10,000 in welfare payments. It’s just a calculated gamble by Hockey to make it look like he’s doing something. But it’s stupid because it can only work by encouraging more people to go on the dole.

  32. Jeff G. says:

    I’m saying (quite clearly) that if – and it’s a big “if” – the subsidy encourages employers to employ a 50+ yo who has been on the dole for 6+ months, that means other 50+ blokes more recently retrenched will be denied the job and forced onto the dole in their place.

    The subsidy is not about creating more jobs or less unemployment, it’s about alleviating unemployment among older workers. From what I can tell, the Liberals are trying to deal with unemployment at either end, i.e. forcing the youth to stay in school / complete training, and encouraging companies to take on older workers. Like I said, I don’t know whether these moves will succeed, indeed they may not. But at least they are trying something. You are just playing the doom and gloom merchant because it’s a Liberal policy and you are anti-Liberal, just as GD and Iain are anti-ALP.

  33. GD says:

    I’m saying that many employers will be reluctant to give a $50,000+ job to a 50+ y.o. who has been on the dole for 6 months or longer…t’s a bad policy because even if companies do start taking up the offer, the ones they hire will be replaced on the dole by the newly retrenched ones who don’t qualify the employer for the Ten G handout

    Ray, newly retrenched staff will be on the dole either way. If companies don’t take up the offer, what is the damage to the taxpayers? Nothing!

    I hope you’re not suggesting that employers would sack a 50 year old person earning above $50,000 to take on a person who has been unemployed for six months or more? So the employer receives $10,000 and has to train the new person. Yep, that makes sense, not!

    As Jeff said, you’re against this simply because it’s Liberal policy. Jeff is correct in saying that Iain and I are against Labor policy. However, we have the last six years to judge them on. The Coalition has been in power for seven months.

    Labor’s legacy is $600+ billion debt, five deficits and a myriad of failed policies and schemes, many which have been detailed on this blog.

    The Royal Commission into the Pink Batts scene is underway. Stooge Peter Garrett has admitted that he is responsible for his department’s actions. Rudd on the other hand cowardly attempted to shove blame onto public servants, saying they didn’t inform him properly. He later recanted.

    So much for the wonderful leader you reckoned would win the election if re-instated.

    Meanwhile, Shorten, who has gone against Rudd’s promise to get rid of the carbon tax, has said Labor will block Abbott’s budget in the Senate.

    What does he want? Another election? Bring it on. What do you want Ray? A return to a Labor government? A government that will continue driving up debt to appease the welfare class?

  34. richard ryan says:

    SPEAKING of Pyne using the c-word or not in Parliament, matters little to me.I still reckon Pyne has a head like the c-word. But that is only my opinion

  35. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    I think that you misunderstand human psychology a bit here because several district effects are in play here. Firstly for an employer the issue with employees is reliability and commitment to doing a good job. Older workers, especially those who have had a period of unemployment are often very grateful for the chance to get back into the game and will as a consequence try that little bit harder. For an employer this valuable in and of itself. Secondly as GD implies its a big effort to select new staff, an effort that is very time consuming and a distraction from the core purpose of their business. A wage subsidy to take on someone who may end up being well worth their full salary at the end of the six months can certainly help their business.
    Like you I think the regime for younger applicants to Newstart is excessively harsh but I think that you may find that moderated in the attempt to get it through the senate. That said if I was hearing right the government proposes to extend the scope of “youth allowance” as well as that there are moves to get rid of weekend penalty rates in hospitality which will help improve prospects for the young and unemployed.

  36. Ray Dixon says:

    You are just playing the doom and gloom merchant because it’s a Liberal policy and you are anti-Liberal, just as GD and Iain are anti-ALP.

    Wrong again and you can drop the amateur psycho analysis. Neither of you seem to understand that the scheme is a non policy. A zero sum game. And that’s why I’m criticising it, because it does nothing for the budget or the economy or the unemployment issue for older workers. If your comment were true I’d be criticising every aspect of the budget, but I haven’t, in fact I have repeatedly said I agree with the extra tax on high income earners and I have only singled out a few policies that I disagree with like this one and the co-payment.

    As for you GD and the rest of your comment, give it a bone. Even some hardened Coalition voters are pissed off with this budget and the projected future direction of the Coalition Govt. So much so that you’re likely to see the opinion polls give Abbott a giant kick up the arse. He would not dare go to an election on this because he’d lose it.

  37. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, nice try but in the real world employers by and large do not have the social conscience you seem to be suggesting they have when it comes to hiring staff. I don’t think there’ll be any board room discussions along the lines of, “This company is going to recruit its staff from the dole office pool of long term unemployed people in their 50s” anytime soon, regardless of the $10,000 token offer. And in the real world companies do indeed take great care and put much importance, time and effort into hiring decisions, dedicating whole departments whose sole job is to pick the very best workers.

  38. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    in the real world this scheme is going to be more attractive to smaller business needing staff than the bigger players with their distinct HR departments.

  39. Ray Dixon says:

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the way businesses work, Iain.

  40. Jeff G. says:

    Wrong again and you can drop the amateur psycho analysis. Neither of you seem to understand that the scheme is a non policy. A zero sum game. And that’s why I’m criticising it, because it does nothing for the budget or the economy or the unemployment issue for older workers.

    “Psycho analysis”?? You don’t have to be Sig Freud to know where you, Iain and GD all sit on the political spectrum. As for the policy, you are right about it being zero sum but wrong about it affecting employment for older workers. It should tip the scales in their favour. Employers will be encouraged to take a fresh look at 50+ workers who they might otherwise have ignored, when looking at candidates. No it won’t create new jobs. I’m not saying it’s a magic policy or a brilliant idea, but it’s something and it’s worth a try, esp. with ageing workers coming into the work force thanks to all these closures.

  41. byron webb says:

    The whole issue of this pathetic budget is very simple. The public were not informed about what this budget would be like before we voted. If these measures were needed or not is not the issue. We were lied to. Myself who voted for the Coalition feel very let down. This Government would be swept from office if a poll was held now.

  42. Iain Hall says:

    Byron,
    are really trying to tell me that Labor incompetence would be better now?

  43. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, Byron is speaking what I would call a very ‘innocent truth’ here. Meaning that he (although a previous Coalition ‘diehard’) feels severely let down by what Tony Abbott et al have delivered, just 8 months after promising so much. And, as you would appreciate (I’m sure you do), it doesn’t take a great deal of shift in voter sentiment to tip the scales dramatically the other way. The simple reality is that Abbott has gone too far with his proposals and has lost the middle ground, mate. Already. People would rather be ruled by a Govt that has some semblance of care about the average Joe – clearly this Govt does not.

    You don’t have to be Sig Freud to know where you, Iain and GD all sit on the political spectrum

    That’s right, Jeff, but unlike Iain & GD I don’t take political stances based on my inherent beliefs/prejudices. I think you know that.

  44. Jeff G. says:

    Byron, are really trying to tell me that Labor incompetence would be better now?

    That’s not what he said at all Iain. Why is it you Liberal lovers can’t answer a question about your own party without reference to Labor? Yes we know they were a shitty government and a lot of their policies flopped and/or were too costly. But the ball is now in your court and the eyes are on your people and policies.

    Re: Abbott, he would have known about introducing these cuts and new levies before last year’s election. But like a lot of politicians, he chose to conceal it. Now people are angry and justifiably so. The alternative was to “come clean” about his intentions. That would have cost him votes. He would still have won the election but the Senate might have been a write off. He traded honesty for votes.

    That’s right, Jeff, but unlike Iain & GD I don’t take political stances based on my inherent beliefs/prejudices. I think you know that.

    We all do Ray, even when we don’t realize it. But I think Iain and GD are a lot more partisan than others here.

  45. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    As I see it Abbott promised very little beyond stopping the boats, which he has done, and fixing the woeful budget position which the budget is trying to do. As I said in my post even I think that some of these proposals go too far but I have also said that I think that some of these measures may well be moderated by the time that they go through the senate. That said this is a classic case of a government giving all of the pain in their first budget knowing that they will be “forgiven” by the time that they come up for re-election.

    Jeff

    That’s not what he said at all Iain. Why is it you Liberal lovers can’t answer a question about your own party without reference to Labor? Yes we know they were a shitty government and a lot of their policies flopped and/or were too costly. But the ball is now in your court and the eyes are on your people and policies.

    Well its hard to do that under our system when your team is reacting to the circumstance that they inherited from the mob you barrack for.

    Re: Abbott, he would have known about introducing these cuts and new levies before last year’s election. But like a lot of politicians, he chose to conceal it. Now people are angry and justifiably so. The alternative was to “come clean” about his intentions. That would have cost him votes. He would still have won the election but the Senate might have been a write off. He traded honesty for votes.

    As I said in my post I don’t think that this was my dream budget, heck even my title suggests that I dislike some aspects of it a great deal. That said all political players are “economical with the truth” to a greater or lesser extent but on this occasion I think that he was a great deal more honest than Rudd was. My position has always been that when it comes to our democracy we end up having to choose the lesser of two evils. Our choice at the last poll was quite clear choose an incompetent Labor party or a potentially harsh and austere Coalition, given the debt that Labor had racked up, the issues with the boats and the utterly incompetent Labor administration Abbott was clearly the best choice. That all said you can bet London to a brick that in the event of Labor winning the next election that they will not be rushing to reverse any of the changes to welfare or restoring any of the federal entities that are to be abolished or amalgamated.

  46. richard ryan says:

    This budget is as popular as Rolf Harris at the moment.

  47. richard ryan says:

    OR Ray Hadley the grub.

  48. Ray Dixon says:

    It’s the ‘Shit Sandwich’ budget.

  49. Jeff G. says:

    Well its hard to do that under our system when your team is reacting to the circumstance that they inherited from the mob you barrack for.

    I’m not “barracking” for any mob Iain. I am a swinging voter and have praised/criticized both parties. Why are you so obsessed about dropping people into pigeon holes? Is it because you are incapable of thinking outside your own?

    My point still stands. You Liberal flag wavers will have to learn to sell your own policies without constantly referring to Labor. If not then Abbott may well end up being a one term prime minister who will be remembered for nothing except whinging about the other side.

    That said all political players are “economical with the truth” to a greater or lesser extent but on this occasion I think that he was a great deal more honest than Rudd was.

    You think? What did Rudd lie about exactly? I think Rudd was batty but I don’t think he purposely lied about anything of importance.

    My position has always been that when it comes to our democracy we end up having to choose the lesser of two evils.

    Well I am glad you are finally admitting that Abbott and his friends are “evil” and were elected not for their competence but for being less incompetent than the others!

  50. Jeff G. says:

    Interesting that there has been no discussion of this here at the Sand Pit?

    I thought the “adults were back in charge”?

  51. richard ryan says:

    Pyne did call Shorten a cunt in Parliament. And he denies saying cunt. What a cunt of a so called man.

  52. Ray Dixon says:

    I hadn’t seen it before, but Pyne just went up in my estimation. I didn’t think he had the balls. And look at how Julie is looking at him, all fixated and desirous of his manly bits … and that’s even before he said it! She’s all his now.

  53. Ray Dixon says:

    He denied saying it? He just went down again in my estimation.

  54. Jeff G. says:

    Julie Bishop looks like the kind who would spank your bare arse, drip hot wax on your nipples, then crush your balls with her stillettos. Mind you Christopher Pyne looks like the kind who might enjoy that.

    Ray he reckoned he said “grub”. Last I recall, grub didn’t have an “-nt” sound on the end of it.

  55. richard ryan says:

    ………………………………………YEAH I reckon Julie Bishop would give that bloke a run for his money in Wolf Creek 3. What about that stare, her body language, telling you she would laugh at your best effort, very sexy politician, the older the fiddle the sweeter the tune, they say.

  56. Ray Dixon says:

    Pyne finally has an ‘Alpha Moment’ then blows it with his pissy denial. Of course he said “C###”, why not own up to it and keep Julie hot?

  57. richard ryan says:

    From his body language watching the video here—-he was saying look at me I can use four letter words here in Parliament, did you notice the smirk after he said it. Julie has the hots for Pyne for sure, wish my wife would look at me like Julie.

  58. richard ryan says:

    Got to go and get some ice cubes, I am getting an erection, thinking about all this.

  59. Byron Webb says:

    To all you supporters of this budget out there. Why were all the Premiers in Sydney today meeting about what to do with there cutbacks? And I believe it was organised by the NSW Premier.

  60. byron webb says:

    Tomorrow`s Fairfax poll has just been leaked. ALP 56% Coalition 44%. Newspoll will look the same later this week. In Victoria this would see the loss of Deakin, Corrangamite, La Trobe, Aston, Dunkley and Mc Millan with a few more seats in play.

  61. GD says:

    Tomorrow`s Fairfax poll has just been leaked. ALP 56% Coalition 44%. Newspoll will look the same later this week.

    Well then, Prime Minister Tony Abbott should call for a double dissolution and a new election. Clearly the electorate are unhappy with his government. Perhaps it would better for Australia if we voted Labor and the Greens back in.

    That arrangement worked seamlessly for the last six years, even though all of Labor’s schemes failed, pink batts installers died on the job, the NBN was out of control with costs and only delivered a handful of connected homes.

    Despite the GFC, Labor opened our borders and welcomed 50,000 unidentified so-called asylum seekers, thus providing them with Centrelink welfare for life. Labor splashed cash when there was no longer cash to splash.

    Labor used the GFC excuse to continue borrowing on the nation’s credit card, ie, loans from China, while splurging money on ridiculous and costly green schemes.

    Labor left the nation owing $600 billion, the previous Liberal government left Australia with an $11 billion surplus.

    Labor squandered it.

    Yes, let’s get rid of the Abbott government and re-elect the Labor Party to run the nation.

    Paul Sheehan, Fairfax journalist, calls it as it is.

    Yes, let’s get rid of Abbott and put Labor back in charge..

    Good luck with that Australia..

  62. Ray Dixon says:

    What the poll says, GD, is that the electorate is unhappy – extremely unhappy – with the performance of the Govt to date, or more correctly, its budget proposals, its hard line against the lower end & average Joes and its softcock approach to the higher end and large corporations. A 1.5% cut to company tax only benefits big business, not small ones and everyone under $100,000 is actually taking a bigger hit proportionately than those over it. People don’t like the balance (or lack of) mate. But Abbott won’t call a Double Dissolution election because he has no credible grounds to go back to the public and say “please re-endorse me”. He has two choices being (1) rethink his Budget and fiscal approach and make it more acceptable or (2) muddle through the next two years and hope like hell he scrambles home at the next election. The point is that, despite your exaggerations re Labor’s performance, they are indeed seen as a viable alternative should Abbott not get the message the public is swiftly sending him.

  63. byron webb says:

    Yes GD the coalition has done well on Border Protection. Yes the economy does need to be fixed but not like this. We should have been told. I must ask you GD. Why was there a meeting of all the Premiers bar WA In Sydney yesterday? Abbott or Hockey did not have the balls to face them. Pathetic I say and this is coming from myself who has always voted and supported the Coalition. I don’t think I am alone.

  64. GD says:

    What the poll says, GD, is that the electorate is unhappy – extremely unhappy – with the performance of the Govt to date

    Well, boo-boo. The same electorate didn’t scream so loudly while Rudd and Gillard were trashing our economy, imposing the useless carbon tax, wasting money on futile green schemes and attempting to impose censorship on the media (Roxon) and the internet (Conroy).

    Let’s chill out for a moment. These are early days. Yes, Abbott is bringing in tough measures to repair the damage that Labor inflicted on the nation. Rudd, on the other hand, had free rein, with an $11 billion surplus to play with. Of course he wasn’t castigated in his first eight months in power, he was spending money from the LNP piggy-bank.

    The electorate that is unhappy with this budget is that part of the electorate that regards welfare as a human right. That includes those who demand free tertiary education and unrestricted access to the dole, ie welfare for life.

    despite your exaggerations re Labor’s performance

    No Ray, they weren’t exaggerations, they were the truth. Why can’t you face up to that?

  65. GD says:

    Yes the economy does need to be fixed but not like this. We should have been told

    byron, no incoming government knows the true state of the economy. It’s always an unknown. In the case of Labor, it’s always a pleasant surprise ie, they have money to spend. In the case of an incoming LNP government, it’s always a case of ‘what do we have to clean up here.’

    As for the Premiers’ meeting, really, byron, when haven’t state premiers moaned and groaned about the federal budget?

    It’s par for the course.

  66. GD says:

    Ray said:

    Pyne just went up in my estimation. I didn’t think he had the balls

    I agree with you on that one. He shouldn’t have recanted, after all he used it so masterfully.

    More power to your arm Christopher Pyne. Well said!

    I like Madam Speaker’s retort:

    ‘The minister will refer to people by their correct names’.

    She has class and a sense of humour.

  67. Ray Dixon says:

    No Ray, they weren’t exaggerations, they were the truth. Why can’t you face up to that?

    Do you want to rethink that statement, GD? Look, it’s about time you were called on your wild claims like saying Labor left Australia $600 billion in debt. That is not the “truth” and is exaggerated by more than double. Australia’s debt as of 30 June 2013 (just before Labor lost office) was $257 billion, not $600 billion. And as of 28 February 2014, the gross Australian government debt was $300 billion, the increase being added to by guess who? Joe Hockey.

    I know that economics is not your strong suit, GD (you’ve proven that over and over), so maybe cut back on the bullshit a little, is what I suggest. For your further information, John Howard – contrary to your claims – did not leave Australia debt free either. These are the historical gross Austn debt levels as of 30 June in the following years – 2007 being Howard’s last:

    2007: $58 billion
    2008: $60 billion
    2009: $101 billion
    2010: $147 billion
    2011: $191 billion
    2012: $234 billion
    2013: $257 billion

    So Labor’s 6 years increased debt by $200 billion, which considering what they spent it on (infrastructure and stimulating the economy to avoid the GFC, a thing that you clearly don’t understand) was not reckless. Nor did it put us in any position of “crisis” as you and the Coalition falsely claim. I know you don’t get it, GD, but maybe this – from the same source – will explain it to you:

    The Australian government debt is the amount owed by the Australian federal government. The Australian Office of Financial Management, which is part of the Treasury Portfolio, is the agency which manages the government debt and does all the borrowing on behalf of the Australian government. Australian government debt consists of Commonwealth Government Securities (CGS)—treasury bonds, treasury indexed bonds, treasury notes and Aussie infrastructure bonds—the combined value of which was limited by s.5 of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911, until December 2013, when that section of the Act was repealed.

    Australia’s bond credit rating is rated AAA by all three major ratings agencies. The current ratio of Australian government debt to gross domestic product (GDP) is compared favourably to the average ratio for developed countries of 90%. The very low levels of debt have permitted flexibility on behalf of the Australian federal government to use expansionary fiscal policy at their discretion to counter the effects of the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

    In October 2012, Justin Fabo, ANZ’s senior economist, said there was little good reason why the government should not take advantage of historically low yields on government securities to fill Australia’s infrastructure gap.[8] In recent years Australian government debt has seen an increase in demand as faith is lost in European and US government debt. Reserve managers see Australia as a safe haven for investment.

    As of 28 February 2014, the gross Australian government debt was A$300,628 million

    There is no debt “crisis”.

  68. byron webb says:

    GD I have never seen the Premiers jump up and down like this. Even the Liberal Premiers don’t like this Budget.

  69. richard ryan says:

    This budget is about as popular as Rolf Harris singing “Thank Heavens For Little Girls” at a children’s party.

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