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Scott Morrison’s 2017-18 Federal Budget: Some Good Measures Amidst the Typical Austerity

Many media commentators are responding to the 2107-18 Morrison Federal Budget by branding it as ‘Labor Lite’ or ‘worse’. But how much of that actually stands up to scrutiny?

Yes the Government is attempting to appear ‘fair’. And many media figures are throwing around terms like “cash splash” which are commonly reserved to use against Labor governments. There are pressures in the right-wing monopoly mass media for a ‘right-turn’ in response to any moderation of economic policy under Turnbull. Bernardi’s ‘Australian Conservatives’ and the libertarian ‘Liberal Democrats’ stand to gain most from this. But despite years of conditioning from the monopoly mass media Australians may resist these trends given the remnants of our ‘egalitarian spirit’. The point of all this appears to be stigmatisation of social investments and expenditure; ultimately leading to a US-style political culture. Which in turn would support a US style class system based on the absolute destitution of many, and the blatant exploitation of a class of working poor. To the extent Turnbull and Morrison resist pressures for an ‘economic hard right turn’ then that is welcome.

Some Budget changes do appear at the least superficially ‘Labor-esque’. Many of the billions in cuts and savings originally proposed in the nightmare 2014 Hockey Federal Budget are laid to rest permanently here. The increase to the Medicare Levy will be welcomed by many, and will help provide for the NDIS. (National Disability Insurance Scheme.) The Government claims a ‘$56 billion shortfall’ for the NDIS; though most of that could have been made up for immediately by jettisoning the Government’s $50 billion in planned corporate tax cuts over 10 years (much more over time). $8.2 billion will be taken via the Medicare Levy increase over the first four years.

A so-called ‘Google tax’ targeting corporate tax evasion is also expected to net more than $3 billion over four years (though it is quite insignificant compared with corporate tax cuts elsewhere).

Further, the ‘big banks’ (including CBA, ANZ, Westpac, NAB) will be hit for $6 billion over 4 years; apparently including an effective payment in return for the ‘government guarantee’ for the sector (which began with Rudd’s response to the Global Financial Crisis). In response there is the question: will the banks hit customers or will they hit shareholders? If somehow larger shareholders could be targeted that would ensure the most equitable outcomes. A payment by the big banks in return for an effective government insurance policy makes sense. Without it ultimately there could be impositions on workers, citizens, tax-payers. So on this front at least the Government is doing the right thing. And if the Banks respond by upping fees and charges arguably the co-operative and mutualist sector could ‘step into the breach’. Were the Commonwealth Bank still in public hands then assuming a ‘competitive charter’ it could have held the rest of the sector accountable, countering tendencies to pass costs onto consumers. That’s also a good reason for Labor to consider restoring a public-sector bank – perhaps taking advantage of existing Australia-Post infrastructure.

Meanwhile, foreign home owners who leave properties vacant six months or more will be taxed – a measure apparently borrowed from the Andrews Labor State Government in Victoria. As well as raising some revenue, this measure should also influence investor behaviour; and effectively increase available housing supply; with downwards pressure on housing and rental affordability.

The ‘Gonski 2.0’ measures, meanwhile, are a significant improvement on past Liberal policy, and include needs-based funding. David Gonski is due to present another report by the end of the year. The Catholic sector appears to be in the firing line. More broadly, Shorten points out that despite the gains, here, (including some cuts to some of the richest private schools) the proposals nonetheless still involve an overall $22 billion cut to the sector over ten years compared with the deals previously negotiated by Labor.

Other constructive policies include significant tax breaks for ‘empty nesters’ to ‘downshift’ to smaller, lower-maintenance accommodation. That could also increase effective housing supply. The housing bubble will eventually deflate (or ‘burst’ disastrously). But government could step into the economic breach with public housing. There is still the need to expand supply to meet underlying human need. Planned Negative Gearing and Capital Gains Tax reforms from the Government are welcome, but do not go anywhere near far enough, saving just $1.6 billion over 4 years. Stronger action on Negative Gearing is necessary to lessen competition between first home buyers and investors, correcting the Housing Bubble over time.

Also there’s $10 billion for rail as part of a suite of infrastructure commitments (though these are not as significant as some think when compared relative to infrastructure investment under a ‘traditional’ Labor Government).

A once-off payment of $75 for singles, $125 for couples – to assist with energy costs – is very insignificant when you consider the rising cost of living. The Liberals point to renewable energy as the alleged ‘culprit’ here; but what of privatisation?

Finally; Annual TV Licenses are scrapped in favour of a much lower ‘spectrum fee’ – which makes sense given the changing media landscape – which is hurting traditional media. Arguably the licenses aren’t worth as much anymore. But diluting media ownership laws will still enable the likes of Murdoch to dominate traditional media.

The Down-Side

But there’s a very significant ‘down-side’ to this Budget as well ; including ‘traditionally Liberal’ attacks on vulnerable groups; and treating tertiary students like ‘cash-cows’.

Higher Education stands to lose almost $3 billion a year – with students hit hardest. The Turnbull Federal Liberal Government claims that its fee increases – and its reduction in the minimum repayment threshold to $42,000 a year (down from $55,000) “better reflects the lifetime benefits reaped by higher education graduates.” But these measures will start ‘kicking in’ affecting people on approximately half the average wage. Hence in places the measures really bear no relation to any alleged private financial benefits for students. The logic behind these measures also neglects entirely the gains by business and society at large from a more highly educated populace. There is some progressivity as those with much higher incomes will repay at a significantly higher rate. But this does not excuse or make up for a 7.5% average increase in tuition fees. In response Labor needs to raise the threshold somewhere much closer to the average wage, and higher over time, while entrenching a progressive scale in the rate of repayments. Exceptional groups such as the disabled should probably be forgiven their debts, here: or at least have them frozen. The inevitable effect of this will be to deter many poorer students from study, reducing the nation’s pool of ‘human capital’ over time, and impacting on ‘equal educational opportunity’. It is dubious at best to consider educational investments a ‘bad debt’.

The 0.5 per cent increase in the Medicare Levy is supposed to reassure voters that Labor’s warnings on health are only a ‘scare campaign’. But while the Levy is re-indexed the forsaken increases to Medicare’s coverage in recent years are not made up for. Medicare might still be eroded by stealth; and that is ‘de-facto privatisation’ in the sense of intermittently eroding the coverage of ‘socialised’ public health proportionately. This was always what Labor alluded to, but for some reasons ‘the waters were always muddied’ in the mass media, with throw away lines like ‘Mediscare’.

Also, while the Medicare Levy is rising, the 2 per cent Deficit Levy is gone – directly benefiting the wealthy in the final balance. There are ‘traditionally Liberal’ distributive outcomes, here, despite claims of the Budget being ‘Labor Lite’ (that is, the Budget favours the wealthy).

Payroll tax on foreign workers will also be replaced with a levy of $1500 to $5000 per employee raising $1.2 billion over four years “to improve Australian workers’ skills.” To an extent this will take some of the wind from Labor’s sails on related issues.

Other measures include punitive attacks on the rights of the unemployed, with the threat of payment suspension for those who miss a job interview or refuse a job offer they don’t want. And reversion to a ‘cashless welfare card’ for anyone found to have illegal drugs in their system. 5000 people will by thus tested – and effectively humiliated – in order to create a ‘Trojan Horse’ for the introduction of cashless welfare. Already Australia has one of the most negligent and punitive unemployment benefit regimes in the advanced capitalist world. But ‘cashless welfare’ will see Australia revert to Depression era ‘Susso’ style ‘payments’. The ‘Susso’ basically provided threadbare material subsistence (rations and vouchers) for the long-term unemployed.


Claims to the effect this Budget is ‘Labor Lite’ do not really stand up in the longer view historically when you consider pre-1980s relativities on the Economy; and more recently with the ‘relative economic centrism’ of former Liberal leaders like John Hewson. The reality is ‘convergence’ on right-wing, economically Liberal policies; though Shorten has begun to ‘break away’ to something more recognisably ‘left of centre’. Ironically, the “Abbott Purists” will likely claim the austerity has not gone far enough. Though they may be upset by the attacks on Catholic education. But it is they who have abandoned ‘traditional Catholic Centrism’ on welfare, labour and the economy (a tradition which interestingly had parallels with other ‘Christian Democratic’ parties in Europe).

This government is restrained by its own inflexible “small government no matter what” ideology (spending is set at no more than 26 per cent of GDP; well below the OECD average). This drives various ‘cuts to the bone’ (as Gillard would have put it), because it leaves no other option than harsh austerity. Ultimately, Scott Morrison will have to make a choice: real people or Economically Liberal ‘small government’ Ideology.

Terry McCrann of The Herald-Sun calls the Budget ‘a disgrace’ for not sufficiently addressing government debt. And Jeff Whalley (also of The Herald Sun) argues that government debt amounts to “$375 billion” or “$15,300 for each man, woman and child.” But while government spending can have a positive ‘multiplier effect’ on economic activity, austerity also has a negative multiplier effect; dragging the broader economy down in sympathy.

Also we must remember that private household debt is the much bigger problem, and is connected with falling real wages. (Why the cuts in Penalty Rates, therefore, we might ask! ; which will lead to lower tax revenue also.) And reducing investment in PUBLIC owned infrastructure presents its own associated problems of passing inferior cost-structures on the broader economy. Indeed, investments in some services (eg: education) and infrastructure add to productivity – and the public sector (natural public monopolies) can often do the job more efficiently. So Morrison’s ‘good debt’ and ‘bad debt’ has some substance. (A pity in the past they did not apply those principles to Labor governments!)

In conclusion, The Herald Sun reports with an air of alarm that taxes will be up $23 billion over four years; and spending up $15.7 billion over four years. Indeed, Commentators are complaining that income tax is becoming more significant proportionately. Though really, this need not be a problem if total income tax is progressively restructured, and also the rest of the taxation mix. Also keep in mind the economy is worth approximately $1.6 trillion. So in reality spending is up by less than a quarter of one per cent of GDP. The revenue gap has at least been appreciably narrowed.

In some ways this budget is better than we might have expected from the Liberals after the horror Hockey ‘Lifters and Leaners’ Budget from 2014. But a lot of that Ideology is still there. And the cuts are still significant ; with the introduction of ‘cashless welfare’ setting a precedent for the further future humiliation of job-seekers. And shutting many lower-income Australians out from Higher Education. An Opposition with strong, traditional Labor policies on distributive justice can still ‘outflank’ a Liberal Government which cannot help but govern primarily in the interests of its core constituency: the unambiguously well-off.

This article was originally published on ALP Socialist Left Forum.


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  1. wam

    An example of fair increase to the Medicare Levy will be welcomed by many.
    Who welcomes a tax increase? Usually those who don’t pay it. To be fair the rich, the unemployed and the retired?
    You follow this fair assessment with another example of ‘trying to be fair’ and suggest there is no need to increase the medicare levy ‘by jettisoning the Government’s $50 billion’.

    To be fair what desk bound twit thinks a primary producer can pay a picker and the government with the money they get from colworths?

  2. vaughann722

    wam ; Tristan Ewins here ; actually I support an increase in the Medicare Levy regardless. Without the corporate tax cuts it’s not necessary for NDIS. But it could have gone into expanding the scope of Medicare ; including more drugs on the PBS and shorter waiting lists.

  3. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Good one Tristan.

    Thanks for identifying the smack in the face to all UNemployed people on Newstart.

    Also, the changes to HECS fees is another barrier attempted by fascists to dumb down the population. My fervent hope is that every person planning to take on Higher Education will do so regardless because we need both enlightened and skilled community participants.

    Something else missing was my proposal that low and welfare people should be encouraged to OWN their OWN homes and not be forced to pay off another person’s negatively geared mortgage.

    Mr Morrisscum failed to see the beauty of how government-backed mortgages CAN be provided according to Modern Monetary Theory and repaid according to government payment and interest rate plans.

  4. silkworm

    Michaelia Cash has just announced that the mutual obligations test (daily dole diary) will apply to welfare recipients over 55.

  5. Helen Bates

    I think the Budget was alright with the lifting of definitions of small business from $2 million to $10 million which will benefit our family with lower taxes and the Medicare levy increase is a small charge to ensure a universal health scheme and NDIS.
    Uni fees may rise but what doesn’t and we are already saving for when our children go to Uni so they won’t incur debt. So overall not much to worry about and The Turnbull government might just win back some support.Media seem to think it’s ok and I don’t personally see to much wrong with it

  6. vaughann722

    Helen ; but what about families on lower incomes ‘living paycheck to paycheck?’ ; People who could not afford to subsidise their kids’ education. And what about the fact these measures will kick on affecting people on roughly half the average wage? Also I was surprised to see the measures postponing availability of Newstart to people with $12,000 in savings or more. If you’re on a low income this might have taken years to save. But if you lose your job even due to no fault of your own you’re forced to exhaust your meagre personal savings before seeing a cent. Preposterous. Labor must block that measure specifically.

  7. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    It’s not Small Biz if turnover is $10mill/year!

  8. Kaye Lee

    If you have a business turnover greater than $2 million then you are not your average family. You may well be able to save enough to pay your childrens’ HECS debt but the vast majority of us are not in a position to do so. All of the concessions go to business and none to the workers that make that business run. If we keep just making the rich richer, which is what every move by this government is designed to do, then you will end up with no customers.

    While funding for unis has been slashed, defence got a 6.1% increase. They have more money than they can spend. Why is this recurrent expenditure never mentioned in “bad debt”? How can it possibly compare to the economic benefits of having an educated workforce?

  9. 245179

    JM-S………..totally agree ( $10m per yr, is not SMALL business ) would love to know how they came up with that figure.

  10. Kaye Lee

    vaughann, the liquid assets test for Newstart was already in place. My son lives at home and has no assets but, after a year’s work, he had saved $15,000 towards buying a car. He became ill and was hospitalised for three months followed by a long convalescence. As a contract employee (for a government department), he was not entitled to any sick leave and they would not hold the job for him. The social worker at the hospital applied for Newstart for him but he was not eligible for three months because of his savings which is all he had in the world. That also meant that his pharmaceutical bills were not at concession rate – the first bill was over $600.


    I should add that when he came home he was still attached to a vacuum dressing machine for several months with daily visits from community nurses. During this time the Jobsearch people sent letters insisting he attend interviews. I couldn’t get through to them that he couldn’t do that. I had to ring the minister (Marise Payne at the time) to get her to intercede. It was a nightmare.

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Such scenarios as Kaye’s son’s predicament need immediate rectification upon the arrival of the new Alternative Government.

  12. Helen Bates

    Kay Lee-I think your sons case is wrong as there were genuine reasons for his need for Newstart but they have to start to rein it in a bit as some see Newstart and other benefits as career choices rather than a helping hand WHILE THE SEEK WORK.
    Six months should be enough and if they still want to claim Newstart they should be compelled to work voluntaily for businesses or charities for the number of hours at the minimum wage rate of about $16 till it is the equivelent of Newstart,That would get those seeking to be lion tamers or surfboard testers back into the wotkforce damned quick

  13. Kaye Lee

    That would be fine and dandy if there were any jobs to be had Helen. Where I live, youth unemployment is among the highest in NSW. My son commuted for over 4 hours every day to take a job in Sydney which definitely contributed to the deterioration of his health. The idea that people are living the life of Riley on $38 a day is ludicrous.

  14. Helen Bates

    Well where I live properties struggle to find workers and in the main resort to backpackers but a drive to the Bay or any popular surf spots will find many quite willing to tell you their career choice is the dole.
    Others,like some on here must be very picky as I read one allegedly is a Lawyer and there are thousands of jobs advertised there

  15. diannaart


    On the surface, maybe.. not a very confident maybe either.

    More like, a Neo-con budget dressed in social concerns – dressing is all you get.

    I exist/manage to survive on a DSP and consider myself lucky, even though there are days when I am struggling. Imagine an ill worker losing their job (as I did) being expected to live on Newstart and meet all its requirements (I did for a long while) I managed to be approved for a DSP after a debilitating illness-worsening game of hurdles by Centrelink. I just survived before the rules were changed so ensure that DSP is near impossible and Sickness Benefit, a benefit that appears to belong to a golden age.

    Kaye Lee’s son is bearing the brunt of the New Austerity – and many from the right believe it is not austere enough.

    We keep hearing from the self-righteous right that a Turnbull government is too far to the left.


    No mention of climate change or Indigenous solutions in 2017/18 budget, because neither exist?

  16. diannaart

    @ Helen Bates

    Who pays for town and city dwellers to reach the rural regions in need of workers?

  17. vaughann722

    Helen Bates ; let’s see you work for a business for nothing – with your boss making a profit out of you while you struggle to feed yourself. The name for that is *exploitation*. But not just any kind of exploitation ; rather exploitation of the worst sort. Labour conscription of the kind you would expect from a fascist government. (really this is similar to how Hitler ‘got the economy moving again’; that is through labour conscription to build public works) Some would quite reasonably call it slavery. (nb: I am talking about Helen’s suggestion here rather than the government ; but the government is also pushing effective labour conscription of a different sort)

  18. Ill fares the land

    Some issues standout out for me.

    One is that it is a monumentally dumb idea to make it harder for kids to get into university. The entire sector needs a major, major shake-up. By that I don’t mean de-regulation. What I mean is somehow moving away from the “business” models that now permeate many universities, so that students are “customers”, so the competition for foreign students is intense – which invariably must lead to greater difficulty being encountered by local students. On the back of the quest to maximise full-fee paying foreign students comes million dollar salaries for the university CEO’s. They are, after all and in there own vernacular, “running a business”.

    Personally, I believe the rich should be paying considerably more tax. I would leave the “deficit levy” in place, since its removal is ONLY about optics for the LNP – it affirms that there is a deficit “problem” and the LNP want us to stop thinking in that way. They had to get the LNP automatons like O’Dwyer to stop using the mindless “debt and deficit disaster” slogan in every sentence, because they now have to take ownership of both debt and the deficit and criticising Labor leaves their own ineptitude as economic managers on rich and glorious display. It might still be a problem, they just don’t want to draw attention to it. However, I would go further with a tax levy. If a buffoon like Aussie Home Loans – Symons can afford to spend $75.0 million on a private yacht, he is most definitely not paying enough tax. I would change the name of the deficit levy, but increase it progressively, so that it rises to say 5.0% on marginal income over $1.0 million per year.

    The pathetic measures to aid first-home buyers and to encourage boomers to downsize will, to the extent they have any impact, drive house prices higher, even if only in specific areas or sectors. The prices of the smaller properties the retired boomers move into will still go “through the roof” – cashed up boomers who have just sold a $2.0 million Melbourne or Sydney property will be more than happy to pay a premium to get their “special” new property – and in many cases, they will have change to buy ….. an investment property! Really smart Scomo. Try to solve a problem by ignoring the root causes. A problem might be people not having enough money, but that is not the root cause. Giving people more money only exacerbates the core problem – excess demand driven by over-generous tax concessions. I realise this is not an easy problem to solve, but the LNP in general and Scomo in particular lack the wherewithal to even get close to a smart solution.

    On the matter of bracket creep, I think it is exaggerated. The perception of someone moving into a higher tax bracket is generally worse than the reality. Over the later stages of my professional working life, my salary pretty much trebled and I have to say that in spite of being a tax consultant and understanding the tax system, the additional tax did not prevent me from expanding my lifestyle and accumulating significant wealth. But the Budget figures also assume a veritable wages “explosion” to feed that bracket creep (all governments say they don’t like it, but all are addicted to the extra revenue it generates. That prediction about wages is remarkable given that governments for the last 20 to 30 years, and this LNP government is probably the worst of them; have adopted a large number of policies deliberately designed to suppress wages. Think about it – the influx of large numbers of foreign workers to expand the labour pool; the accelerating casualisation of the work force and the vicious attack on unions on top of the reduction in the union member base that has long been occurring; changes to penalty rates – these are only examples. The LNP actually needs unemployment to be around 5%, because that is now thought to be the unemployment rate that “keeps a lid on wages growth”. I know that at the “triple point” of water (a combination of the right temperature and pressure), water can co-exist as a gas, a liquid and a solid – the Budget seems to think you can achieve the same with wages – they can rise when the only significant pressure is downwards or sideways (certainly in real terms for most).

  19. Helen Bates

    diannaart If people are really concerned and want work THEY MOVE.away from the cities
    In our case we pick up workers from the major town {M’boro} and take them the half hour and return them each day.Some chose to stay on the properties {at our cost} depending with property

  20. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Ill fares the land,

    what are your thoughts on Modern Mondetary Theory and the Job Guarantee for everybody who wants and needs it?


    Helen Bates,

    please enlighten us as to where the thousands of legal jobs are. Are you an authority?

    BTW, not all jobless live in the cities. Regional unemployment is a major problem too.

  21. diannaart

    @ Helen Bates

    YOU claim to pick up and return workers from major town. Good for you. Now what about all the other workers struggling on Newstart in other towns and cities – the support network is not there for them. That was my point.

    Most people do REALLY want to work. Why not make it easier instead of harder?

    Backpackers are travellers who have the plans and the money to travel – people on Newstart do not.

  22. RonaldR

    I just visited a page that is aimed at the Banks but they have just confirmed what I Told them they are Idiots and don’t have a clue
    But do you think Turnbull would allow Morrison to hit the Banks for 6 Billion when they have been setting up Bail-In for us to pay the Bank losses and stop them going under. Would the fools on the page against the banks did not notice that there was no safe guards put in for the Australian people to have the Banks pay the 6 Billion not the Australian people . The Banks have already told the Government they will recover the $6 Billion with interest from the customers. So is it a smoke and mirror Austerity measure on the people of Australia
    The solution to the national budget deficit that actually helps people, instead of killing them, is a tax on the damaging financial speculation that drains the wealth out of the real economy.
    A 0.1% tax on financial speculation is a tiny little tax, only $1 on every $1,000 of transaction, compared to the “great big” taxes such as, say, the GST ($100 on every $1,000).
    BUT… it will raise a massive amount of money: $135 billion in one year—enough to cover the $123 billion of deficits that Hockey is projecting over the next four years!
    This is because the scale of financial speculation that it will tax is mind-boggling.
    Australia’s annual gross domestic product is $1.4 trillion; by contrast, the Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA) annual report reveals that for the year 2012-13 total turnover of all financial markets was more than $135 trillion!
    Virtually none of this $135 trillion turnover had anything to do with the real economy: government bonds, which the government issues to borrow money, accounted for $1.7 trillion of it; turnover in shares on the stock market was $1.15 trillion; and foreign exchange on the import and export of goods and services was $620 billion.
    The balance of over $130 trillion was in all manner of speculation in derivatives—futures, options and swaps—and speculation in foreign exchange (only 1.4% of foreign exchange trade relates to import/export).
    The 0.1 per cent speculation tax is a win-win: not only will it raise more than enough tax revenue, it will kill the speculation it is taxing.
    A tax of $1 on every $1000 will not be a burden on genuine investors in stocks and bonds and genuine foreign exchange transactions.
    It will, however, destroy the “business model” of the financial speculators, who rapidly buy and sell and buy and sell on massive volumes in order to skim profits from driving down prices for producers and driving up costs to consumers. It will end this unproductive, predatory and parasitical paper-shuffling that is draining the life out of the real economy.
    Consequently, it will be a short-term source of tax revenue, but the real economy—farming and manufacturing production, skilled trades, etc.—will, freed from this burden,

  23. Kaye Lee

    The idea that young people can all move to where they will get some itinerant work for a short period is naive. You are asking them to give up their entire support network – partners, family, friends, health professionals who know them home etc – for nothing concrete other than a bit of seasonal farm work. My son has a partner who is working locally. Is he to be expected to leave her? Is he expected to abandon any hope of a career? He chose to study a degree online so is racking up a large debt with no guarantee of future employment.

    This demonisation of unemployed people is so ignorant.

  24. helvityni

    …yes Kaye Lee, very sad, now Morrison has confirmed sewage will be tested to find areas of high drug use to trial drug testing of welfare recipients…. Where are Mal, Mutton, Morrison and Michaelia taking Australia….It’s getting scarier by the day.

  25. halfbreeder

    I am not aware how defence expenditure is accounted for in the budget but how much do the F 35 Joint Strike Fighters contribute to the national debt? Trump administration now estimates that each of the Joint Strike Fighter will cost approximately $240 million (yes that’s each!) The US has refused to provide the security and access codes for the jet’s weapon systems so the weapons on the jets are inoperative without USA consent. Without the codes the jets are just reconisance planes flying surveliance missions. The cost does not include the actual weapons and this will be an additional cost. The jets do not give air superiority and are intended to fly with F 22 not alone. The USA does not sell F 22 planes to anyone and only it operates F 22. The JSF is a strike fighter/bomber that only countries wishing to invade other countries require. Defensive aircraft are interceptors that do not need bombing capacity only interceptor air to air missiles.Thanks to the moron Abbott, Australia has ordered 72 of these joke planes. That’s an approximate cost of $300 billion not including the weapons, maintenance and training costs. No doubt the LNP morons will claim this is ‘good’ debt. Do the simple arithmatic. That’s where the money is going – on this crap – and its why the deficit keeps growing…these f..ked up useless planes. The LNP are very poor economic managers. Serious questions need to be asked about this -Abbott’s -decision

  26. diannaart

    @ helvityni

    Morrison has confirmed sewage will be tested to find areas of high drug use

    I wonder how our overlords will choose the areas. Would love to see Canberra’s… high levels of cocaine?

  27. helvityni

    Here’s more:

    When asked whether he thought aeronautical engineers would need to take jobs in cafes to avoid punishment under the Coalition’s proposed welfare changes, Christian Porter said any job was better than welfare.

    After making those Lattes and avocado toasties all day, are you still going to have enough time and energy left to apply for those jobs you were trained, or will you be sacked for taking time off for possible interviews…. Oh dear …

  28. helvityni

    Maybe all the peeing will be done, or at least flushed, in Scottie’s or Mal’s neighbourhoods, potties and bottles contaminated with drugs will be transported to the big end of the town…

  29. Freetasman

    Helen, can you tell us which kind of work are you offering.

  30. Freetasman

    I cannot understand how people and those in the health industry support the Medicare levy when the reduction of company taxes cost 6.5 billion a year for the next decade.
    That money can go towards health and not to the elite.
    Are people so ignorant or naive?

  31. helvityni

    Freetasman, yes what about the company tax cuts, it will cost us 65.4 billion dollars for the next ten years….

    And the little people have to pay for it, take away something here, cut a bit there….and so it goes in a true Liberal fashion…..

  32. Kaye Lee


    Defence will spend $6.6 billion on its Top 30 major acquisitions programs in 2017-18, budget papers show.

    Of that total some $1.1 billion (over 17 per cent) will be spent on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as acquisition of the RAAF’s next fighter begins to ramp up considerably. The acquisition of 72 F-35As under Project AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B has a total budget of $16 billion, of which $1.5 billion will have been spent through to June 30 this year, the Portfolio Budget Statements show

    “Major activities during 2017-18 will include: progressing the production of Australia’s next eight F-35A aircraft, including delivery of four aircraft; commencing the procurement of a further eight F-35A aircraft; continue maturing the development of a sustainment model for Australian based support; commencing detailed planning and support for the ferry of the first two Australian F-35A aircraft to RAAF Williamtown in 2018; and Australian pilots and maintainers,” the budget notes.

    BUDGET 2017 – F-35, P-8 top project expenditures for 2017-18

  33. Halfbreeder

    Thanks Kaye. the budget estimates for the F35 do not match usa treaury estimates for the same plane. See article in The Australian dated 27 Dec 2016. As that rag is murdoch it is unlikely to be lying on this point. It quotes a cost figure per plane from US Treasury of $250 mll i.e. each. i think we will be hearing more about this very soon

  34. Stephen Brailey

    I’m appalled by Helen’s ignorance of how hard it is to just survive on the dole. I spent 4 years at university as a mature age student on full austudy, worked part time and every holiday and still spent $10k in savings, ran my car into the ground and ended up with 6k in loan debts. I’ve never met any of those lazy kids at the beach on the dole, are you still stuck in the 60’s. In point of fact those beach bumbs are probably working two jobs just to pay the rent and put fuel in their cars. Also I know how much back packers are ripped off in wages and they only do it so they can travel then get back to their own countries where they can earn a decent wage!

  35. Halfbreeder

    ok maybe its just the way its reported in the budget papers. 1.5 bill on 8 planes for 2017/18. That works out about 200 mill each. no explanation why the other 64 only cost about 15 bill as the budget states. its also not consistent will usa treasury statements. think this smells funny. could be a bit of under estimation here like there is over estimation in the forward estimates for the economy’s future performance. eg iron ore price dropped 5 % the day after the budget. sorry my maths in my.original reply post are a bit askew. the cost of these planes is likely to blow out again soon i would say.

  36. Halfbreeder

    kaye. heres a link to the article i was relying on. made a mistake in that too. trump treasury estmates the true cost of the f35 to be $290 mill each. how is the discrepency between that estimated cost and the one in the budget explained?https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/robert-gottliebsen/time-to-drain-f35-joint-strike-fighter-swamp/news-story/771153b81b85c155849636eb35154b5f#ampshare=http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/robert-gottliebsen/time-to-drain-f35-joint-strike-fighter-swamp/news-story/771153b81b85c155849636eb35154b5f

  37. Johno

    Fully agree with you. This exorbitant waste of money on WOMD is a disgrace. The world needs peace, not massive military expenditure.

  38. Johno

    How come Tony ordered those planes anyway. Didn’t he already have enough toys in his sandpit to play with.

  39. Kaye Lee

    In the defence materiel paper produced last year ($195 billion over the next ten years and that’s on top of the normal defence budget) they put these costings under fighter aircraft –

    Joint Strike Fighter Acquisition Stage One(72 aircraft)($15.3bn)
    Joint Strike Fighter Facilities ($1bn-$2bn)
    Air Combat Capability Air-to-Air Weapons & Countermeasures ($3bn-$4bn)
    Air Combat Capability Air-to-Surface Weapons & Countermeasures ($750m-$1bn)
    Air Combat Capability – Maritime Strike Weapons ($1bn-$2bn)
    Air Combat Capability Facilities & Enablers ($500m-$750m)
    Air Combat Capability -Fourth Squadron($6bn-$7bn)

    Giving a total of over $32 billion

    And the budget just says they will be “progressing” the production of 8 new planes. That doesn’t mean actually paying for them in total.

    This is an interesting document. Look at page 77 for Proposed Future Force (Maritime & Anti-Submarine Warfare) and page 93 for Proposed Future Force (Strike & Air Combat). There are similar diagrams for each acquisition category. The sums are mind-blowing.


  40. Johno

    Re defence spending, we are a very primative unevolved species. Our stupidity is mind-blowing.

  41. Alan Baird

    An illustration of the strange political world we live in where left is right and vice versa despite their loud protestations that Labor is left and Liberal is right (with the rider that the SMALLER the difference between the two sides, the louder the protestations accentuating the gaping chasm between them). I realise that the impost on the big banks may be illusory as it plays out however I find it amusing that ScoMo is leading the “sting” on the banks and Anna, an ex-Labor premier embraced by the improbable arms of the well-off, is defending them. It all smacks of fat pink oinking animals on that well-known literary farm. It bears all the seriously genuine concern for the underdog acted out by Paul Eddington as he grasped his lapel, looked off into the middle distance with a stern statesmanlike gaze and spoke some nonsense confidently in Churchillian tones. We need this rubbish scotched in Australia. And no wonder lies have been christened “porkies”.

  42. diannaart

    Why Australian Governments, particularly conservative governments react as they do towards spending on Australia’s health and welfare compared to defence spending (interesting that education runs neck and neck to defence).


    The above chart is from 2013-14, during the Abbott period, imagine how such a right wing administration, obsessed and fear mongering, used this chart to formulate budgets, in fact include Labor in this – they find cutting spending on the well-being of Australians far too tempting.

    Turnbull has not retracted on any of the Abbott government’s military spending.


    If levels of alcohol were to be tested for, would politicians score higher than the unemployed?

  43. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Interesting question, diannaart.

    One difference between the alcohol levels of politicians compared with some elements of the unemployed is that the politicians can afford top shelf plonk whereas the unemployed are likely to drink cheap wine and beer.

  44. diannaart


    Exactly my thoughts. No doubt top-shelf plonk has higher % of alcohol.

    Be interesting which groups wind up with the greater share of alcohol related illness, such as liver disease, pancreatic cancer (ask Mark Latham about his) and general brain damage (my father died of brain haemorrhage – but he wasn’t in public eye). I like to check out our public leaders for a rosy blush across the nose and cheeks, still in consideration on Barnaby Joyce.


  45. Johno

    Or top shelf white powder ??

  46. Freetasman

    Two more nails in the coffin ?
    Well the Greens and Nick Xenophon have expressed concern about the Medicare levy so looks like that will pass the senate.
    Also they are not kin in finishing the 2% deficit levy.
    Are we going to have another collection of zombie policies?
    Can Malcolm and Morrison survive this?
    Interesting times ahead.

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