The government, supported by One Nation, Day and Leyonhjelm, want to cut a further $6 billion from welfare payments including:
$2.9 billion in Family Tax Benefit end-of -year supplements the government still was to abolish; $1.3 billion carbon tax compensation for future welfare recipients; $1.2 billion by stopping the “double dipping” of paid parental leave; and $600 million in assorted measures including freezing eligibility thresholds, ending a pensioners education supplement and making dole recipients wait a period before receiving payments.
We must be in dire straits if you would choose this most vulnerable group of people to find savings.
Perhaps to deflect attention from this, the government reannounced $100 million in funding for a domestic violence package. We are apparently expected to ignore the fact that they have announced this same money before, and that it falls way short of the funding they have already stripped from this area.
As Rosie Batty mentioned on the Drum last night, it is amazing how the government could find a lazy $200 million for an unnecessary marriage equality plebiscite, but can only scrape together $100 million to address domestic violence which kills so many people and destroys the lives of so many more.
They seem to have plenty of money to waste when it suits them.
Barnaby Joyce spent $272,000 on a cost benefit analysis about relocating a department to his electorate which he then refused to release. He also spent $80,000 on engaging Ernst & Young to review his departments public information processes in an attempt to stop a damaging letter from being released, and then fought the matter through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal before giving up the fight just after Parliament rose for two weeks last Friday.
George Brandis likewise spent well over $50,000 appealing the direction that he release his diaries, his excuse being it would take up too much of his staff’s time? He also found $1 million to give to a ballet school who was a tad short for the $5 million mansion they wanted to buy.
Malcolm Turnbull found $90,000 to install a luggage lift in the Lodge.
Julie Bishop spent $30,000 on a private jet to return from a charity dinner in Perth to Canberra. She also spent $125,000 taking foreign diplomats to Kangaroo Island, along with seven of her staff including the office receptionist.
We are spending millions on “special envoys” and “commissioners” – Special Envoys Molan, Ruddock and Robb and Wind Commissioner Dyer to name a few.
Amongst 252 grants from the Australian Research Council last year was $191,394 to assess strategies on how winemakers use websites and share information.
Another $215,378 went to a project which sought to “understand how communities mobilise in Melanesia through the integration of digital media, mobile phones and music” and $166,442 to investigate how art-science collaboration generates “new modes of intradisciplinary knowledge”.
The Centre for Independent Studies through its Waste Watch project, documented numerous excesses of government: $850,784 for a study of Italy’s Catherine de Medici through her correspondence promising an “exciting new analysis” and $451,000 to a marketing research company to undertake formative research for the national Binge Drinking Strategy.
And let’s not forget Tony Abbott’s $100 million educational centre to be built on the site of the Australian Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux in northern France.
If we can spend $400 billion over the next twenty years on military hardware largely produced overseas, then surely we can afford to leave the pensioners alone?