Scott Morrison’s campaigning revolves around very little aside from photo shoots, attacking Bill Shorten, and making announcements about money in marginal seats.
He tells us they are better economic managers which might sound true if you were a large corporation or a rich individual. Their wealth has certainly increased.
But to the more than three million Australians who live in poverty, to the 120,000 who are homeless, to the 10% who are underemployed or the 5% who are unemployed, to the workers whose wages have stagnated, to pensioners struggling to pay rent and power bills, to parents unable to afford childcare, to young people starting their working lives with a large debt for their education and skills training – this is not their lived reality.
Morrison tells us that only the Coalition can keep us safe. I guess if stopping 1,000 refugees from starting a new life in Australia makes you feel safe, he has done that.
The boats carrying refugees actually stopped when Kevin Rudd introduced the policy that boat arrivals would never be resettled in Australia. Boat turnbacks have enforced that policy. A flood of asylum seekers much larger than those who arrived by boat have come by plane instead.
But I’m not sure that the tens of thousands of victims of domestic violence are feeling safe. And I wonder how safe the rainbow community feel as their lives are judged and voted on and with religious organisations insisting on their right to shun them regardless. How safe are our kids in the institutions to which we entrust them? How safe are our elderly when in aged care? How safe are Indigenous people in our judicial system? How safe are women in their workplaces or to walk alone at night?
With excruciating predictability, Scott Morrison has promised more CCTV cameras. Does that really have to be dragged out every election? Just do it.
And of course – taxes.
Morrison tells us that the Coalition wants us to keep more of our own money in our pockets.
Except they were the ones who undid the freeze on fuel indexation, an increased tax burden on everybody both directly and indirectly.
They imposed a budget repair levy on high-income earners, didn’t repair the budget, but got rid of it before an election in order to claim they were reducing taxes.
They hugely increased the taxes on smoking which was, arguably, a good thing. Except it was a Labor proposal that they adopted after having previously lambasted it as an unfair tax on poor people.
After promising not to change superannuation, the Coalition reduced the threshold at which high-income earners pay an extra 15% additional contributions tax from $300,000 to $250,000 as well as other changes limiting contributions and capping pension phase accounts.
They got rid of a carbon price which was working to reduce emissions and introduced a carbon price through their inefficient safeguards mechanism which has seen public money used to pay polluters yet emissions have increased.
And if you wanted people to keep more of their own money in their pockets, why would you reduce penalty rates for the lowest paid workers?
All of these things have happened. But what is even more concerning is what might happen if Scott Morrison was given the reins for a third term.
Let’s not forget, it was the Coalition who introduced the GST and made the decision to impose it on power bills (and tampons) despite essential items being supposedly exempt. Shower caps are apparently more essential than electricity.
In January 2016, then treasurer Scott Morrison made the argument that the GST needed to be on the table if the government was going to deliver income or company tax cuts.
Morrison said it was a “fantasy” that cracking down on multinational tax avoidance, or reducing the generosity of superannuation tax breaks, would deliver sufficient scope to enable the government to counter the impact of bracket creep, or deliver broader personal income tax cuts beyond basic bracket creep compensation, or cut company taxes.
Businesses, of course, get to claim back any GST they pay – not so for normal working people or pensioners.
The Grattan Institute calculated that, in order to achieve its arbitrary cap on taxation as a proportion of GDP, the Coalition will need to cut spending by about $40bn a year by 2029-30.
They warned that “achieving such a reduction [in spending] would require significant cuts in spending growth across almost every major spending area, during a period when we know that an ageing population will increase spending pressures, particularly in health and welfare”.
Will the GST rise? Will GP co-payments make a comeback? Will the retirement age increase to 70? Will eligibility for pensions get harder? Will young people be cut off from unemployment benefits? Will family benefits be further cut? Will remote communities be cut off from government services?
These are all things the government has wanted to do or already done.
They have to pay for their tax cuts to big business and the wealthy somehow.
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