Opinion · Rant

The budget: It’s all about choices

In which our heroine backslides on her vow to lay off the politics

Image courtesy @pepeMcGee

The Age of Entitlement is over and we have to make Hard Choices. Like taking a private jet home after a party for the bargain price of $30,000 tax payer dollars. Hello, Julie. Or claiming a fat MP pension while living on the taxpayer in a cushy diplomatic post. Hi, Joe! That’s a step up from charging us to live at your wife’s place, eh, bro?

Yes, the federal government, with  $77,344,000,000,000 of your money to spend, has to make Hard Choices. A chunk of that money is borrowed, of course, but seeing as its your taxes that will repay the loan, we’ll call the debt your money, too. So let’s have a look at some of the choices they’ve made.

We can’t afford to invest in Australian-made film and television, so they’ve cut Screen Australia’s funds by $38 million. We can, however, afford to invest $47.3 million in the Thor and Alien franchises. And when I say invest, I mean subsidise. I don’t want you to be thinking we’ll be banking any fat merchandise cheques.

Hard choices, hard choices. We can afford to subsidise those films, which is confusing because the Treasurer is very clear that we can’t afford to subsidise pathology services.

Morrison quote
Treasurer Scott Morrison quoted in The Guardian

So chronically ill people, who are often elderly or unable to work due to their illness, will be forced to pay more for essential tests so we can save $639 million. It might cost us more in the long run because it will prevent early diagnosis but don’t you worry about that.

We will not, however, be asking fossil fuel companies to give up the $47 billion they receive in subsidies. I mean, its tough out there for those global fossil fuel giants. BHP Billiton only made $US6.4 billion in profits last year. Poor old Rio Tinto expect they’ll only deliver $US6 billion to their shareholders this year. We can’t be expecting them to pay their own costs, can we? Much better to ask pensioners to stump up. They’re just taking up space, apparently.

We can afford to pay more than $1 billion per year to keep asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention (that’s roughly $400k per annum, per person) but we can’t afford schemes like Meal on Wheels that help older Australians stay in their homes.

Much of the latest budget statement by the LNP is smoke and mirrors. $13.9 billion in “savings” in the figures are measures that have already been rejected by the Senate. That’s another choice of this government: they’ve chosen to mislead the public by publishing impossible figures.

Time and again, this government demonstrates through its choices that it has absolutely no regard for the average Australian. Their policy choices, time and again, hurt the average Australian while lining the pockets of a wealthy few. After lying to you about a debt crisis, they’ve doubled the debt, while cutting services that improve our lives. Instead of reviewing measures that have already been rejected- like Medicare co-payments – they’ve just put the same shit in a new package. They are choosing to make your life harder.

We deserve better than this. Next time you exercise your right to vote, remember the choices this government have made and make your choice count.

 

 

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