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A ‘budget emergency’: it’s all about choices

Image by smh.com.au

Image by smh.com.au

The excuse for the draconian cuts made by Abbott and Hockey is that there is a budget emergency and a debt crisis. I in no way concur with this appraisal of our economy or our future outlook but, that aside, as those of us who are not independently wealthy know, if you have limited funds then prioritising expenditure is most important. The following article is to give you some perspective on how our money could be better spent.

In a display of largesse, Tony Abbott chose to gift $16 million to the profitable Cadburys factory, $10 million to his beloved Manly Sea Eagles, and $5 million to Rupert Murdoch’s Brisbane Broncos. This money could have paid for:

  • The Climate Change Authority which was allocated $6.2 million in the 2012-13 financial year
  • The National Preventative Health Agency which will be abolished, saving $6.4 million over five years.
  • The Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia which has an annual budget of $1.6 million from the federal Health Department.
  • The Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing which is to be scrapped – at a saving of just over $1 million a year.
  • The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) despite allocating $140,000 just two weeks ago in its 2014-15 Budget.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $6.4 million over four years by ending the Get Reading! Programme
  • The Government will achieve savings of $4.4 million in 2014-15 by ceasing funding for Building Australia’s Future Workforce — Connection Interviews and Job Seeker Workshops
  • The Government will achieve savings of $3.9 million over two years from 1 July 2014 by ceasing funding for the Experience+ Career Advice initiative

Joe Hockey’s $8.8 billion gift to the Reserve Bank of Australia could have funded:

  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payments and safety net thresholds which will increase by $5 (from $37.70 to $42.70) and for concessional patients by 80 cents (to $6.90) in 2015. PBS safety net thresholds will the increase by 10 per cent annually. The saving is $1.3 billion.
  • The threshold on Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) will drop by 10%, to $50,638 in 2016, at a repayment rate of 2%, saving $3.2 billion over 4 years.
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B), which will be cut for families when their youngest child turns six. Currently about 60 per cent of families with children under the age of 16 receive the payment, and the changes will save the Government $1.9 billion over five years.
  • All Family Tax Benefit payments will be frozen and remain at current rates for two years, saving the Government $2.6 billion over four years.

Kevin Andrews $245 million school chaplaincy program and $20 million in marriage counselling vouchers could have been spent on:

  • Indigenous legal aid which will have $13.4 million stripped from its budget over the next three years
  • Community Legal Centres – additional $30 million set to be stripped from community legal centres, legal aid commissions, and family violence prevention services.
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Education Programme saving $1.8 million over four years.
  • the HECS HELP benefit, which was intended to provide an incentive for graduates of particular courses to take up related occupations or work in specified locations will end from 2015-16. This measure will achieve savings of $87.1 million over three years.
  • Australian Research Council funding will be cut by 3.25%, saving $74.9 million over three years.
  • Funding to the Australia Institute for Teaching and School Leadership will be reduced, saving $19.9 million over five years.
  • The Better Schools Centre for Quality Teaching and Learning will end, saving $21 million over 5 years.
  • $14.7 million from Child Care Early Learning Projects
  • Live Animal Exports — Business Assistance Supply Chain and Official Development Assistance (Improved Animal Welfare Programme) saving of $2.3 million

Tony Abbott’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme, costing $22.2 billion could pay for:

  • The GP co-payment, to apply from July next year, will raise $3.5bn over four years.
  • The changes to Newstart which will save the Government $1.2 billion over the four-year forward estimates period.
  • Australian foreign aid spending is being cut by $7.6 billion over the next five years
  • $1.8 billion over four years by tearing up the 2011 health reform agreement and 2007 public hospital funding arrangements, which saw any increased expenditure split 50/50 between state and federal governments. Instead it will move to a CPI and population growth model for any additional funds.
  • The government also outlined intentions to index pensions and equivalent payments by the Consumer Price Index, estimated to save $449 million over five years.
  • Apprentices will lose grants offered under the $914 million program Tools for your Trade
  • The Seniors Supplement will be abolished from July 1 this year, for a saving of $1.1 billion.
  • The Dependent Spouse Tax Offset, which until now was available to people with dependent spouses of age 60 or older, will be discontinued, a decision which will save the Government $320 million.
  • The Mature Age Worker Tax Offset will also be abolished, saving $750 million
  • The Government has also abolished the Pensioner Education Supplement, for a saving of $281 million,
  • They will not proceed with the planned pilot of Supporting Senior Australians: Housing Help For Seniors, a $173 million program that was to encourage older Australians to downsize to smaller dwellings.
  • The Government will save $1.7 billion over six years – by almost halving its expenditure on the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
  • The Government will save $89.6 million over four years by reducing the Medicare Benefits Schedule rebate for all optometry services from 85 per cent to 80 per cent commencing from 1 January 2015. This measure will also remove the charging cap that currently applies to optometrists accessing the Medicare Benefits Schedule, enabling them, in the future, to set their own fees in a similar manner to other health providers.
  • The government has estimated it will save $12.7m by ordering medical specialists to review veterans who are receiving military compensation payments for economic loss because of an inability, or reduced ability, to work because of injury or illness.
  • The government has deferred the establishment of 13 Partners in Recovery organisations which help people with severe mental illness by coordinating clinical, housing, education, employment, income and disability services to save $53.8m.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $10.0 million over five years from the Office of Water Science research programme, with the programme terminating on 30 June 2016 and a further $20.9 million over four years by closing the National Water Commission in December 2014.
  • $390 million saved by deferring the National Partnership Agreement for adult public dental services until July 2015.
  • $367.9 million saved by axing the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health
  • $2.9 million by axing the National Tobacco Campaign. Dept of Health to develop online and social media campaign.
  • The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples disbanding will save $15 million over the next three years
  • Funding for Indigenous languages has been cut by almost 10-million dollars over four years.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $196.8 million over nine years by terminating the Australia Network contract with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $201.0 million over three years from 2015-16 by ceasing reward funding to States and Territories under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services.
  • $115.4 million is saved by abolishing GP Education and Training Limited, shifting its functions into Health, and ceasing the Pre-vocational GP Placements Scheme.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $38.4 million over five years by ceasing the Displaced Persons Programme from 2013-14.
  • The Government will achieve net savings of $120.0 million over six years from 2015 by ceasing the Ethanol Production Grants Programme on 30 June 2015.
  • The Government will achieve savings of $134.3 million over five years by abolishing the First Home Saver Accounts scheme
  • $229 million saved over 4 years by axing the Dental Flexible Grants Programme.
  • A cut of $173.7 million over 3 years to the Research Training Scheme from 2016
  • Tightened eligibility criteria for the child care providers to access the community support program will save $157.1 million over 3 years.
  • $29.8 million saved over four years by cancelling the Improving Educational Outcomes program
  • $31.1 million saved by reducing funding for Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
  • $9.9 million saved by axing funding for the nursing and allied health scholarships in Tasmania.
  • $2.3 million cut in contribution to the World Health Organisation

This list of cuts is by no means exhaustive, just a comparison of how the Coalition chooses to spend our money. If we look at the hundreds of billions they intend to spend on defence in the coming years, we could have free health, needs-based funding for education, real NBN, an increase in research spending, a decrease in university fees, and an increase in Newstart, pensions, and foreign aid as well as taking action on climate change. It might cost us a few planes and submarines and Tony might have to cut back on a few of the war games he has been planning. How would you prefer the money be spent?

More great articles by Kaye Lee:

Hi ho, Hi ho….where am I spose to go?

My kids are ok, yours can go beg.

War games

Who are the real leaners here?

96 comments

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  1. Kaye Lee

    Oh, and instead of Operation Sovereign Borders, offshore detention, a never-ending search for a Malaysian plane, and thousands of kilometres of bitumen, could we have high speed rail please?

  2. SunLight

    Oh dog that photo again Kaye Lol
    I will just go and hide in a dark corner
    And the plane, she ain’t on bottom of sea
    It’s on land, this is the biggest con job ever
    And spent millions on a diversion, and to suck up to other nations
    by Tone’s and co that’s all

  3. SunLight

    Kaye have you the up to date figures on how much the search is costing
    To look for the missing plane, but the real cost is those peoples lives and their friends co workers
    And especially the families, but we don’t hear much about their stories, the real story here

  4. mars08

    And now Commander Chaos is getting all tingly and aroused at the prospect of playing soldier in Iraq…

  5. Kaye Lee

    So far, Malaysia has spent a total of 27.6 million ringgit ($9.3 million) on the search for the missing flight MH370, authorities said on Monday, giving a specific cost figure for the first time.

    Australia, in contrast, has spent more than $43 million since the search began.

    In its budget last month the federal government also set aside nearly $90 million for the search over the next two years.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mh370-search-malaysia-and-australia-to-share-costs-20140609-zs2an.html#ixzz34a1X6riu

  6. Kaye Lee

    The cost of the Iraq war to Australian taxpayers is estimated to have exceeded A$5 billion. The cost of Australia’s involvement in Iraq has risen since the initial invasion gave way to a protracted insurgency. Excluding debt relief, the annual cost has risen from just over $400 million in 2003–04 to $576.6 million in the 2007 financial year. Ancillary costs included:
    $494.5 million in the base wage and personnel costs for Australian Defence Force troops deployed in Iraq not included in the net additional spending figures;
    $211.5 million spent by Foreign Affairs and other departments on aid, reconstruction, Australia’s diplomatic presence in Baghdad and tax concessions for soldiers; and
    $668 million in Iraqi debts waived by Australia.

  7. margaret millar

    Thankyou Kayleen for listing in all its greed and menace, the sheer number and subsequent costs to us of Hockey/Abbott ‘s cuts!! the nastiness is apparent- there is no thought for those who struggle to make ends meet or are unemployed–It is a very horrible outcome !!!
    If cash is short businesses will close and unemployment will grow–Then they can explain to us about the subsequent recession !! They cannot blame Labor! And how much has Abbott and Co -with all the very big accompanying business partners -cost us on their terrible selling of Oz world trip! Open for Business means come and do whatever! no Worries !

  8. SunLight

    Yes interesting that’s an awful lot of money
    To spend on a speculation, cos they have no idea
    They want us to believe its in the sea, and it’s worked on most
    So why is this missing Malaysian plane being put in front of the needs of this country and people
    It’s a con job, the plane landed, and they are pulling the wool over the whole worlds eyes
    We need to question, the reasoning behind this logic, it just makes Tones look like the hero of the world pfffffttt

  9. SunLight

    Missing plane was a reason for the big boys to play with their big toys
    And wars are the same, it costs a lot for the war machine to keep going, even without a war
    They have to try out their military investments, war is big business

  10. John921Fraser

    <

    Australians could have saved a lot of money, a lot of embarrassment, a lot of angst …………. if they had not voted for Abbott.
    Don't blame me, I did not !

  11. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    I don’t think high speed rail has any hope under a Coalition Government given their stated philosophy of not funding passenger rail projects (that being a State responsibility). The new Moreton Rail Link here in SE Qld would never have gone ahead if Labor hadn’t set it in stone. Mind you, doesn’t stop Luke Howarth (new member for Petrie) from attempting to take credit in Government “pamphlets”.

  12. SunLight

    The sad thing is nothing has “hope”under this rabble
    It’s all smoke and mirrors

  13. SunLight

    I would prefer to cut my right arm off, than vote for libs
    They have always been a lot of elite, zealots

  14. mars08

    Australia does NOT have a budget crisis… it has a priorities crisis!!!

  15. Kaye Lee

    Between 46 million and 111 million passengers are forecast to use HSR services for intercity and regional trips, if the preferred HSR network were fully operational in 2065, with a central forecast of 83.6 million passengers
    per year.
    • By 2065, HSR could attract 40 per cent of intercity air travel on the east coast and 60 per cent of regional air travel (primarily long regional).
    On the three main sectors, Sydney-Melbourne, Sydney-Brisbane and Sydney-Canberra, HSR could attract more than 50 per cent of the air travel market.

  16. Kaye Lee

    mars08,

    Truer words were never spoken!

  17. Kaye Lee

    HSR would substantially improve accessibility for the regional centres it served, and provide opportunity for—although not the automatic realisation of—regional development.

    The HSR network would comprise approximately 1,748 kilometres of dedicated route between Brisbane-Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne.
    The preferred alignment includes four capital city stations, four city-peripheral stations, and stations at the Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.
    Once fully operational (from 2065), HSR could carry approximately 84 million passengers each year, with express journey times of less than three hours between Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane.

    ….or we could buy jet fighters and submarines and patrol boats and unmanned drones and orange life rafts

  18. Shaun Newman

    There is no budget emergency but if there was it would not be debt, but revenue with $60 billion of profits diverted to offshore tax havens in 2012. The LNP is the natural party of big business although the ALP does not tighten laws either. Big business not only diverts their profits but we also subsidize them with $13 billion of diesel fuel rebate only the tip of the iceberg.

  19. SunLight

    Yep it’s choices and they have got theirs skewed Kaye
    To have an efficient public transport system would surely be
    More a valuable service to unemployed young people in regional areas as well as cities/ burbs
    Than all that money on other choices, that they tell us are good for us
    But looking for a plane is the biggest waste of our tax payers money I have ever witnessed
    And should be exposed for what it is, a con job for Tones to play hero and get his pic taken
    Maybe a portion of money can go to families that have lost family and bread winning partners
    To help them and their children, like Danica Weeks and her very young children
    It cannot bring her husband back but would help with her families daily needs
    Choices yes we all have choices even Tones and co

  20. Kaye Lee

    john,

    “rorting in the industry in Queensland amounts to about $1.25 billion annually.

    Mr Varty said the industry suffered from white collar criminals posing as construction companies.

    “This is the biggest robbery going on in the country and not one detective is on the case,” he said.

    “We don’t hear about the multiple suicides that occur when subbies lose everything.”

    But let’s have a RC into what Julia Gillard did.

  21. Dan Rowden

    The difference between Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman is the former is a moronic ideologue, the latter an overt Fascist. Either way Queenslanders are screwed.

  22. SunLight

    They will find nothing on Julia
    They are once again playing a fools game
    And they will lose 😉

  23. SunLight

    Dan
    My daughter and gran kids live in qld
    Give me some hope 🙂

  24. Shaun Newman

    Compassion is not an LNP trait.

  25. Shaun Newman

    Kaye,
    Labor usually had a good purpose for spending money, this mob are all about vengence and cover-up.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Shaun, I agree.

    Glancing over this article again, I realise it is tedious to read. I should point out that the numbers in those lists actually add up to the expenditure mentioned above them. Tony’s PPL could fund that huge long list.

  27. John921Fraser

    <

    @Dan Rowden

    A moron with a simpleton follower.
    Actually the could be said of the entire Abbott gang.
    newman's gang are idiots.
    "Those with an IQ of 0 to 25 (an IQ of 100 is average) were called idiots, 26 to 50 were called imbeciles and 51 to 70 were called morons. Morons could communicate and learn common tasks; imbeciles stalled mentally at about six years old; and idiots couldn't respond to stimulus or communicate with any level of competency.".

  28. Shaun Newman

    Dan, You are a hard man to disagree with.

  29. Shaun Newman

    With ‘OUR’ money of course.

  30. Shaun Newman

    The only ‘hope’ for Queensland is in 9 months time when an election is held.

  31. Dan Rowden

    Shaun,

    Interestingly enough, despite the enormous majority the LNP holds, polling has actually given us cause to be modestly hopeful.

  32. Shaun Newman

    Dan, just imagine if the ALP was actually a democratic organization in touch with their members and reflected that membership through democratically derived policies it wouldn’t be a modest hope, it would be a stampede.

  33. mars08

    Dan Rowden:

    The difference between Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman is the former is a moronic ideologue, the latter an overt Fascist….

    Oh don’t underestimate Tony’s talents… he CAN be both…

  34. abbienoiraude

    Reading your post Kaye, I was holding my breath.

    “..the numbers in those lists actually add up to the expenditure mentioned above them. Tony’s PPL could fund that huge long list.”

    I got that, that was why is was breathtaking.

    Some I had not even known were going to be implemented; Cuts to adult dentists, support of elderly to stay in their own home, housing help for seniors etc.

    Shocking and under reported in MSM. Do those with dependent spouses over 60 realise they are getting the knife?

    Thank you again Kaye and your wish for light rail is admirable. I will be dead before it is even started.

  35. Diannaart

    Thank you Kaye Lee

  36. SunLight

    thanx Kaye for all your work/info/links
    you save others a lot of time, looking for relevant and up to date
    info, that helps us all 🙂
    especially the computer illiterate like me…..

  37. abbienoiraude

    Thanks Dan Rowden.
    If knowledge is power then to be forewarned may be helpful.

    I am not sure what we (DSP and Carer) can do now. No use writing to National Party Rep..he is useless.
    We have our house but we don’t know for how long.
    I am already suffering PTSD from six major events in my life ( including my husband near death three times). I work hard keeping him well and at all doctors appointments, but if it costs even more than what is the point?

    Living on pension/allowances is hard enough. It is shameful enough. We have done our best and have five years to go to aged pension…by then it too will be miniscule.
    What to do now?
    I wish the Labor Party were encouraging and reassuring coz we sure aren’t going to get that from LNP EVER!

  38. Matters Not

    While we can criticise the way money is allocated (and such criticisms are both valid and necessary) let’s not forget the bigger picture.

    For me, the problem is not so much the money and the way it’s allocated but the ‘values’ that drive those allocations or lack thereof. Human life shouldn’t just be about ‘money’ is must be about ‘values’.

    It’s this focus on ‘money’ that allows Morrison to boast about budget savings (illusory as they are) while completely ignoring the misery of refugees stranded on Manus and Nauru. It’s this focus on money that allows Pyne to discriminate between rich and poor while completely ignoring the individual and social consequences.

    One could go on, but the point is that ‘money’ now substitutes for ‘values’, broadly defined to include ‘morality’. And we are the ‘poorer’ for it.

  39. Dan Rowden

    abbienoiraude,

    The point you make about Labor being reassuring is an important one. They should be vocal and obvious in their message they will either not allow or be prepared to reverse any changes this Government is trying to make to people in vulnerable circumstances. The softer their voice in such matters the less confidence it affords us with respect to their actual intentions. Yes, you’re absolutely right, they need to be more reassuring. God knows people such as yourself could use some of that right now. Indeed, I think we could all use a little bit.

  40. David A

    Cadbury I believe was a sponsor for abbotts pollie pedal Battle Lies look at me I’m an idiot tour & also connected to his assistant health minister Fiona Nash’s husband who is a sugar lobbyist who also just happened to be on his pedal tour. Cadbury obviously didn’t need the money because they have been flooding the airwaves & TV with their ads. Always some scam going on with these “grubs”.

  41. Terry2

    Kaye

    In Texas, Abbott has been talking up his world class medical research fund ; I’m waiting, probably in vain, for somebody to ask how he will pay for this commendable piece of philanthropy and Tony will have to tell them that it will be by way of a levy on the aged, the sick and the infirm each time they go to the doctor.

    That’s capitalism folks !

  42. corvus boreus

    David A, Tony’s peddling mountebank tour was sponsored by Cadburys tooth-rot, Amgen pharma and the Australian taxpayer.

  43. Dan Rowden

    Funny that when Abbott sits on his saddle he’s peddling a whole lot more than just his bike and managing to take the whole damn country for a ride.

  44. H13

    Many thanks for another cogent and lucid analysis from Ms Lee, which highlights the LNP’s attempt to drag Australia into a far more inequitable direction. Latest evidence is Joe Hockey’s saddening comments which argue for a rejection of many significant elements of our Fair Go society. In fact, Joe Hockey seems to have very little idea that Australia is a society at all. For the LNP, we’re strictly an economy, about which they appear to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Therefore, eloquent voices in our media such as Ms Lee constitute our first line of resistance to pressure the LNP to return to the more moderate and tolerant party it was during the period when Malcolm Fraser was their leader. PM Abbott’s finding time in his tight schedule for an event to accept of the title of “Honorary Texan” from Rick Perry today is a strong indication that he harbours the fantasy of moving Australia even further to the right if he’s re-elected.

    All the same, I reckon that we will be counterproductive in persuading our friends that progressive policies are best for the country if we simply resort to name-calling. Newman and Abbott are not fascists in any meaningful sense. Rather, they are akin to current far-right USA Republicans such as high-ranking Congressman Eric Cantor, who this week learned it was still possible to lose his party’s primary to an even more radical challenger backed by the Tea Party. Obviously, I expect many here will disagree with my contention about using the term fascist, As a Vietnam Veteran I never engage in online disagreements and won’t be commenting further in this forum, but have greatly appreciated all the compelling points that others have written here.

  45. Jason

    “Draconian cuts” Fair enough. But the national economy operates differently to a household budget so it’s pointless to build any argument in that context.

    Australia has to do something about its structural deficit. Australia does have to do something about its debt. I agree it is not presently a “crisis” or “emergency” but it has to be addressed.

    Kevin Rudd spent too much it’s as simple as that. And continued to spend.

    The mistake Wayne Swan made was not to completely distance himself from Rudd once Gillard became PM. He got sucked into making promises of a return to surplus when he shouldn’t have. He gave commitments that were dumb.

    The ALP needs to grow a spine and be honest about how it would address the economic problems confronting Australia. If it goes to the next election without having taxation reform as part of its agenda it will condemn itself to political oblivion. Surely the present interest in inequality gives the ALP the opportunity to be bold. But I doubt they’ll make the most of it.

    The ALP is an industry with those that hang on to it and who are happy with the status quo. Nobody’s going to derail their gravy train just to bring about a meaningful alternative to Australian politics. The duopoly – and the parasites who feed off of it – rule supreme and they all know how their bread is buttered.

  46. Dan Rowden

    Jason,

    If it goes to the next election without having taxation reform as part of its agenda it will condemn itself to political oblivion.

    What sort of tax reform do you advocate?

  47. corvus boreus

    Thank you H13, I respect and agree with your view regarding tags such as “fascist”; inaccurate and overused.
    I offer a personal deep bow of respect for the sacrifice of your younger years, may we all remember and learn from those dark times.

  48. Jason

    I don’t advocate anything. Way out of my domain of expertise. But surely something close to the “Henry tax review” that the ALP commissioned and then abandoned would be good.

    Progressive taxation seems to be coming back in vogue a dinner party topic of conversation. Perhaps the ALP might rediscover its “progressive” roots and actually do something “progressive”.

    A greater consumption tax and abolishing other taxes might work.

    Raising the tax free threshold would be a good way to get money back into the “real” economy. Increasing “welfare” payments would also boost the economy where it matters most with regards to local businesses etc.

    The ALP will not canvas any of that going into the next election and Australia will be left with more of the same. That wonderful Neoliberal conglomerate of LNP/ALP that so many attach themselves to.

  49. Dan Rowden

    Ok. I asked because I figured that if you’re pressing the importance of a particular thing you must have some reason to do so, and therefore ideas. I’ll take “Henry” as an answer. So many recommendations, so few adopted. If Labor actually agrees with some of them it should have the fortitude to sell their necessity.

  50. Judith

    Unbelievable. Not only does he take from the poor to give to the rich, but he takes from the many to give to the few!

  51. Dan Rowden

    Not only that, when he steps into the Tardis, it’s smaller.

  52. Garth

    Another excellent article Kaye Lee. This may be a minor point and others may disagree with me but I would like to see a change to some of the terminology used when refuting this budget; especially the term ‘saving (or save)’. I think it would be a much better representation of the situation to say, for example, ‘The Commonwealth Human Rights Education Programme “had/is to have spending reduced by” $1.8 million over four years.’. So rather than ‘saving’ (which to me tends to have a positive spin), it is clearly articulated that the spend is just being cut. As I say, maybe a minor point but as the coalition have shown over and over, words are a powerful weapon. I just need to say though that I love your writing …. I only found AIMN about 6 weeks ago and I am now on here daily. It is such a refreshing change from the MSM where here facts are used to develop an argument rather than lazy journalism or an appeal to fear. Well done !!

  53. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    I would suggest a financial transactions tax. I have spoken about it before so won’t bore you with repetition.

    Jason,

    I agree with a lot of what you say. we need governmental reform in many directions. the two party system is too open to corruption and laziness.

    Garth,

    Your point about terminology is very relevant, and I agree with your rephrasing. My excuse is I copied and pasted a lot of the article so didn’t rephrase (laziness/time deprivation on my part). My favourite example of terminology manipulation lately has been Tony’s refusal to put “climate change” on the agenda of the G20 but he is willing to talk about “energy efficiency”…..sigh

  54. mars08

    H13:

    …Newman and Abbott are not fascists in any meaningful sense. Rather, they are akin to current far-right USA Republicans…

    And there are many in the US who are calling the Tea party a bunch of fascists!

    But I take your point. Using that word when trying to convince the swinging voters is probably pointless and counterproductive. I just hope that the Australian people are canny enough to detect if (and when) Abbott steps over the line into full-blown fascism.

  55. Kaye Lee

    I have always found labels unhelpful and unnecessary. Labels group people who may have similar characteristcs but, as any person who has read a pregnancy/early childhood book will tell you, bits of it are true but it isn’t MY kid.

    Everyone is an individual. The reasons they do as they do, think as they think, be as they be, are myriad. This individual Prime Minister is like no other. Any one conventional label may indicate influences but cannot adequately describe the whole that is Tony Abbott.

    If I had to use one word I would say….inadequate.

  56. corvus boreus

    Garth,
    I just saved three lamb chops for my dog.
    Sorry kids, dinner’s off.

  57. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Not just individuals, but ever-changing ones, that’s biology.
    My word for Tony; inappropriate.

  58. Kaye Lee

    Corvus,

    Garth made a valid point. People respond to language and the Credlin/Textor/Loughnane triumvirate exploit that. It will be my children and grandchildren that will bear the burden of the words I type here….(she says as her children smile indulgently saying whatever makes you happy mum)

  59. Kaye Lee

    Oh yes, I prefer inappropriate. Much better describes how I feel

  60. corvus boreus

    Yeah Kaye, I got Garth, just my sense of the ridiculous, which I use to counterfeit humor. That, along with semi-suppressed stupidity and kinda-controlled clumsiness, is how I roll.

  61. corvus boreus

    Ps loved the triumvirate.

  62. Kaye Lee

    corvus,

    I truly appreciate how you roll. I love cryptic crosswords. Those two statements ,may or may not be linked. Oh for an anagram to start me off.

    Baby Tonto

  63. abbienoiraude

    I never knew what ‘neo-liberalism’ meant before but have been reading up on it. It is FAR more concerning and so maybe that term could be better applied to Abbott and his cohort than ‘fascist’. ?? Just sayin’.

  64. corvus boreus

    Sadly, Kaye, this one has little skill with cryptics,
    it gets Alexandrian on the Gordian.
    Impetuous bird that it is.

  65. REX Taylor

    Better managers needed

    But how to stop this insanity

  66. Margaret-Rose Stringer

    This is about my favourite post on the topic, Kaye: it puts everything in perspective for anyone who reads my blog and may be thinking I must be over the top.
    This is the kind of post that should be turned into a sticky, in order to ensure that no-one forgets, when these useless BASTARDS start filling up the piggy-trough come election time.

  67. Shaun Newman

    Jason,
    I only wish I could argue the point with you, sadly I can’t. the elephant in the room is big business who legally and illegally avoid paying their ‘fair share’ of taxation to the country from which the derive their enormous incomes, it appears that neither side is prepared to tackle them on our behalf, and for our continued welfare.

  68. Shaun Newman

    Dan, I couldn’t agree more, sadly the ALP is run by gerrymander from the right wing weak anti member unions.

  69. Shaun Newman

    Judith, yes, and will continue to do so until or unless the population rise to tell him that this is not acceptable.

  70. Shaun Newman

    Garth, I agree, I continually refer to “cuts” or “cutting” in my letters to editors, perhaps that is why they don’t publish them, they don’t like the truth.

  71. Shaun Newman

    Jason, there is nothing mysterious about the federal budget v the household budget, both rely upon incomings and outgoings, the major problem with the federal budget, although it is not an emergency is on the revenue side of the budget where at least $60 Billion every year is allowed to be skimmed off to tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, to avoid paying big businesses rightful share into the revenue of their host country.

  72. Shaun Newman

    Jason, I too agree completely with your lines

  73. Shaun Newman

    H 13 also makes great points.

  74. Shaun Newman

    Kaye, that’s unregulated capitalism, let er’ rip USA style, bugger the population as long as the rich get richer, it’s a disease an incurable disease.

  75. Shaun Newman

    mars08, do you mean to say in your opinion he hasn’t stepped over the line already?

  76. Shaun Newman

    Matters not, I agree the “must have more money” disease among the rich can never be satisfied it is an obsession that the world has gone along with thus far, and now is the time for a change back to “values” and human decency.

  77. Shaun Newman

    abbie we are in a similar position, the LNP have chosen to persecute the poor by cutting our pension concessions, it IS a class war, robbing we poor people to put more money in the hands of people who already have more money than they know what to do with. The obsession with money that billionaires have should be classified as a mental illness. When no amount of money is enough and you have to have more, even at the expense of the poor who struggle from fortnight to fortnight on humble pensions is USA style, let er’ rip capitalism, not before seen in this nation. My hope is that people in Australia will rise up and tell the LNP that enough is enough!

  78. Shaun Newman

    Dan,
    While the ALP has the softly spoken right wing anti worker former Australia’s Weakest Union Secretary as gerrymandered leader we will be left in free-fall

  79. Shaun Newman

    Margreat -Rose, I couldn’t agree more.

  80. abbienoiraude

    Dan;
    “The softer their voice in such matters the less confidence it affords us with respect to their actual intentions. Yes, you’re absolutely right, they need to be more reassuring. ”
    Thank you for the validation on this,.
    Shaun Newman;
    Thank you for the understanding of our situation. By personalising by telling our story I hope others will see the horror of not only the budget but the attitude of those in power.
    Margaret-Rose….YES! They will pull us to the edge then feed us the line that they are our saviours so they will get back into power. They will use what works for them…the ‘hip-pocket’ nerve…aka taking a three course meal to proffer a few crumbs for which we are suppose to feel grateful. Stuff the bastards.

  81. Barbara Pyett

    M-R, this is a fantastic look at the useless waste Abbott has engendered, and spending on football teams and the like has taken money from other important areas. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

  82. Terry2

    A press conference in Houston Texas that may or may not have taken place: you be the judge:

    TA: I am delighted to be at this world leading cancer research facility here in Houston Errr…in Australia I have recently announced the creation of a $ 20 billion medical research foundation that will bring Australia into the forefront of medical research.

    Press: This foundation here in Houston was created and funded as a philanthropic endowment by one of our wealthy oil families, how will your, research facility be funded ?

    TA: Well…Errr… unlike our predecessors it will not be by way of a great big new tax..ha ha ha.

    Press: You may have misheard the question [repeats the question]

    TA: Well….Errr…Ummm in Australia it has never been our practice to call on our billionaires and mining magnates to make a contribution to social infrastructure . That’s why we got rid of the mining tax and the carbon tax, does that answer your question ?

    Press: Not really, it doesn’t explain how you will fund your $20 billion research fund ?

    TA: Err… we don’t believe in big new taxes so, we looked at a way of getting a constant source of incoming revenue to fund the medical research fund that I have announced : are you from the ABC ?

    Press: And that was ?

    TA: Well …err….ummm….we conducted a study and found that people who are sick or infirm or old tend to go to the doctor on a regular basis, some say eleven times a year ; you see they have no choice. So we thought we would apply a levy on these people of $7 for each visit and we share that with the doctor who gets $2 for gouging it out of them. It’s really quite innovative and a constant, ongoing source of revenue.

    Press: So it’s a punitive tax on the most unfortunate people in your society rather than on the whole society or even on the wealthy ?

    TA: No..No…we would never ask the whole society, particularly the healthy and wealthy to contribute…that would be socialism wouldn’t it : are you sure you’re not from the ABC ?

  83. Kaye Lee

    Anyone got a coal question? How about Mike and the boys at the World Cup. And no I won’t be saying anything about Hilary Clinton or the ranga. Isn’t she spose to be at the Royal Commission? Where are Kevin and Peter? Sorry…that’s all we’ve got time for. I have to go talk to Jeb Bush, adviser to Lehmann Brothers.

  84. corvus boreus

    Umm.. ahh..Any one here from Fox?
    If YOU’VE got a question, I’ve got an answer prepared.

  85. Kaye Lee

    Considering the topic of this thread it was remiss of me to leave out another stellar choice this government has made…to redirect funding from the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse into the 9th Inquiry into the Home Insulation Program.

  86. corvus boreus

    How to minmalise deaths in specialised construction… um, maybe regulation and oversight, with possibly a small dose of “analysis paralysis”.
    How to to prevent the pandemic of sexual abuse by clergymen… um, maybe regulation and oversight, with full legal compliance enforced(no faith exemptions).
    Seems to me the current government is stymieing solutions to both travesties

  87. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    I think that was when I boiled over into meltdown.

    There is no logic, reason or humanity with this government. If I had a cave, would be checking in until the next election – hibernation is what I need.

  88. John Armour

    This is really sad.

    The government could probably easily just “fund” that list of yours Kaye Lee.

    It doesn’t need taxes. The restraints, or limitations, are what economists call “real”…nothing to do with money.

    If it can be done, we can “afford” it. I think Keynes said that.

    But nobody on this board, after nearly 100 comments, has made that point.

    Doesn’t anybody here read Bill Mitchell ?

    If the Left doesn’t get it, we’re basically stuffed.

  89. Michael Taylor

    I like him.

  90. John Armour

    I like him.

    I think he’s probably a pretty likeable sort of bloke.

    But I think he’d prefer we made some effort to take on board what he’s been telling us (the wider audience outside academia) for the last 10 years.

    Or is the Left just too thick ?

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