Australian Politics 2014

We all have lists of things we wish should never happen.  Abbott Coalition’s attacks on living standards in Australia include:

1. The worst budget in living memory with no sense of fair play or regard to pre-election promises. It cruelly attacked the poor while granting bonuses to the wealthy – creating outrage in the community.  And the government still don’t get the reality that their budget made life harder for Australia’s most vulnerable people.

  • It ripped more than $500 million out of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs
  • It slashed $4 billion from Higher Education and introduced plans to deregulate fees, leading to $100 000 degrees
  • It savagely cut the ABC and SBS, which resulted in the closure of regional radio services, not to mention Adelaide’s television production house (which, in an act of jaw-dropping hypocrisy, Minister Pyne theatrically bemoaned)
  • Already downgraded, there were further cuts to science and innovation. Funding in these areas is now at their lowest levels ever
  • Perhaps the most callous piece of spite, a $7 GP co-payment to visit your doctor. The plan was wholeheartedly rejected by the community and a Parliamentary majority, but the Government plans to bring it back in the form of an “optional” $5 co-payment in 2015
  • The unemployed became a cheap target with draconian requirements which even the Government was finally forced to acknowledge were simply impractical.

Read more here

2. Meanwhile, while the rest of us were told we must tighten our belts for the good of the nation, the Government rewarded the big end of town.

  • It scrapped the Clean Energy Package and Minerals Resource Rent tax. The big polluters and the big miners were delighted
  • It introduced measures to allow the burning of native forest woodchips as ‘renewable energy’
  • And, if Abbott can get his way, the wealthy will be paid handsomely when they cease work to have a baby while the young unemployed will sing for their supper
  • Secret free trade deals provide for multi-nationals to sue our government, to employ cheap labour from overseas while introducing lower health, environment and labour safety standards for workers at home (Remember the Minister who said Australian ship building workers couldn’t be trusted to build a canoe.)

Read more here

3. Claiming some perverse sort of moral victory, the Government piled on the pain  with appalling treatment of refugees including the reintroduction of Temporary Protection Visas, and the dirty deal to send refugees to Cambodia.

Read more here

4. The rest of the developed world watched with dropped jaws the savage cuts (aka “savings”) to overseas aid, diverting funds to other internal areas not even closely related.

Read more here

5. With no policy on climate change, the Government has failed  to protect the Great Barrier Reef from dredging, dumping, shipping, climate change and poor water quality by approving an expansion of fossil fuel exports at Abbot Point and Curtis Island.

Read more here

6.  Attorney-General George Brandis (“even bigots have rights”) finally backed down on ill-informed changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Read more here

7. Yet, it introduced draconian laws to allow the Government to monitor citizens under the guise of “anti-terrorism”.

Read more here

8. Today, Prime Minister Abbott congratulated himself on doubling the number of women in his Cabinet – there are now to be two!  For him, it’s all a matter of merit.

Read more here

Now that’s visionary!