Budget 2011: Brickbats and bouquets
Well, it’s the morning after the night before! What’s your assessment of the Budget? Too tough? Not tough enough? Who missed out?
Weeks of drip-fed leaks failed to elicit much excitement about this budget, as Australia collectively rolled its eyeballs at the now-traditional claims that this was going to be the toughest of tough budgets. The general consensus seems to be that it could have gone further, pushed through some serious reforms, and Australia would’ve had some respect for it - instead of just pitying the poor thing.
Anyhoo, for all the latest news, head to news.com.au, where there’ll be graphs and experts and analysis and blogs, the budget speech video, and all sorts of goodness.
09:45am Watching other people make the Budget interesting is one fun way to survive all the coverage. Here, you can watch Herald Sun cartoonist, Mark Knight create the cartoon he ran on today’s front page.
Something less fun, albeit quite helpful would be to try the income tax calculator, care of The Australian. Just type your annual income into one box and see how much tax you can expect to pay this year.
06:00amThe Government is sure to be keen to see what we thought of their performance. Middle class welfare has taken a hiding, as have the unemployed and uni students. Wayne Swan himself said he’d “imposed the strictest of spending limits” in this Budget. But has he?
To see what it means for you, check out this interactive tool created by Jane Lee at News.com.au.
In a huge shock, the Business Council of Australia welcomed the crackdown on welfare recipients. And that’s all from us for tonight, see you in the morning.
This’ll go down a treat - apparently there’s a massive blowout in the cost of managing boat people - it’ll increase by more than 400 per cent to more than $1 billion next year, AAP reports.
The Punch went for a post-Budget drink here, sorry for the gap.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout welcomes investment in skills and training, says there’s genuine reform - she’s also happy with skilled migration moves, but says more would be welcome. AWU national secretary Paul Howes says he’s fairly enthused at return to vocational education and says budget measures will help solve skills shortage.
Oxfam’s applauded an increase in foreign aid of almost half a billion dollars.
Crikey’s Bernard Keane says: “Wayne Swan has promised The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and delivered Twilight, with a suite of modest spending cuts over the remainder of this financial year and then the four years over the forward estimates”. Nicely put.
Here’s the ‘path to surplus’, thanks to news.com.au:
The Public Health Association of Australia says the winners are: mental health, regional health, dental health and immunisation services. The losers are: aged care, pathology and hearing services.
Skeptics ahoy! Peter van Onselen says he reckons claims of a surplus by 2012-13 are a crock.
Everyone’s seems over the moon about the mental health spending. Australian Social Inclusion Board spokesman Monsignor David Cappo says it’s a “breakthrough”. Even GetUp are happy - now there’s a first.
Over at The Oz, Dennis Shanahan is calling it a surplus by “thousands of tiny cuts”.
Our very own Mal Farr says the $3.5 billion is like a surplus, only smaller.
“Tough love” welfare to work measures will be counterproductive, the Australian Council of Social Service says.
Greens Leader Bob Brown criticised the lack of environmental initiatives, with cuts to solar energy rebates and no new funding for public transport.
The Mental Health Council of Australia is pretty happy with the $1.5 billion boost to mental health services.
Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says the budget’s “full of pain” and doesn’t reflect reality. “The absence of the carbon tax means the government’s claim to deliver a surplus in 2012/13 can’t be taken seriously,” he says.
Catholic Health Australia’s worried about a new tax on charities - although it’s only on their commercial enterprises. Meanwhile, the Cancer Council’s chuffed that bowel cancer screening will be funded, but they want it sooner than 2015.
The AMA’s not happy - Federal President Dr Andrew Pesce says changes to patient rebates’ll make it more expensive to see the family doctor.
There’s a quick budget-at-a-glance right here, so you can wrap your noggins around the basics.
Swanny’s up, full of charisma and exitement as always, and we’re away!
Right now there’s this weird ritual happening inside Parliament House. Hundreds of journalists – although maybe fewer each year – have surrendered their mobile phones and attachments to the outside world, picked up kilos of budgetary paraphernalia, and found their cramped little desk to begin the lock up process.
There are banks of intensely serious looking folks from The Australian and the Fin Review, and Fairfax, then the slightly shabbier and smaller banks of the tabloids.
Keen young things are desperately flicking through the budget papers hoping to spot that one elusive ‘savings measure’ that everyone else misses, or the Holy Grail, the budgetary black hole.
The corridors are lined with platters of food, which looks appetising when it’s first wheeled out but positively dangerous after a few hours and many murky fingers have devastated the neat ranks of sandwiches. Bad coffee. Soft drinks. Stress. The occasional murmur as the Treasurer wanders through ensconced in cameras.
The big rooms start to feel full of stale farts and sweaty armpits as the end of the lock up approaches, and Treasurer Wayne Swan will prepare to give his speech to Parliament.
Then the journos will all flood out, to quickly check the internet and the wires and make sure they missed nothing… a few beers will be passed around, just a warm up for the night of endless drinking ahead…
7:35am The morning papers claim today’s budget will see people with disabilities getting a fairer go (cue this week’s Angry Cripple column) while the unemployed will be hit hardest. News.com.au reports that “long-term unemployed people, who have been on the dole for two years or more, to do more for their welfare cheques.”
The Greens have slammed key budget measures, according to The Australian. They’ve already questioned the urgency of a return to budget surplus and want miners to foot the bill for Labor’s health, eduction and welfare spending.
6:00am To kick things off, here’s the highlights of the ‘known knowns’ so far:
$292 million for the Malaysia Australia Refugee Solution, no details on carbon tax, almost $3 billion for flood recovery, corporate tax cuts funded through the mining tax, changes to tax treatment of salary-sacrificed cars, a whole bunch of savings adding up to around $20 billion, a boost to skilled migrants, a couple of billion for mental health, a $12 billion deal with the pathology industry, changes to private health insurance rebate, a crackdown on welfare recipients, extra money for students with disabilities, the famous set-top box giveaway, performance-based bonuses for teachers, tax breaks for retirees, education for teen mums, a radical plan to make charities pay tax on income with no charitable purpose.
Got all that? And now, on with the show…
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