When the going gets tough, life only gets tougher. That’s the feeling among many voters after last week’s federal Budget.
In trying to spread the burden of cuts in order to return the economy to a fiscal surplus in two years, the Gillard Government’s self-proclaimed “tough” Budget managed to land a blow to almost everyone from the unemployed to double-income households.
But it was the effect on middle-class families that has become one of the main battlegrounds in the aftermath of this Budget, with plans to freeze family payments to families on a combined income of more than $150,000 a year - saving the Government $2 billion.
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“GET a job!” It was the response to a protester from Prime Minister Paul Keating during his ill-fated 1996 election campaign that epitomised the “dole bludger” tag.
The nation’s unemployment rate had spiked during his previous term and many school leavers were seen as aimless, finding it easier to rely on government welfare than to look for paid work.
More than a decade on, the jobless figures have done an about-turn. In some areas there are more jobs than willing workers. But it seems the legendary dole bludger is alive and well.
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It’s the great Australian amnesia. We sometimes forget who we are and where we came from.
For a nation of immigrants, whose cultural diversity helped shape this adopted homeland, there are those who would like to keep Australia just as it is – or was.
The ongoing debate over who to let into the country and who to keep out found new impetus last week when Immigration Minister Chris Bowen delved into a 1970s timewarp and resurrected the multicultural mantra - the policy that launched a melting pot of ideals on living together in perfect harmony.
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THE final week of Federal Parliament before winter recess proved to be more intriguing than a plot from the popular board game Cluedo.
And comments to online news forums were closely following the action as each new card was drawn in what many thought was a concocted blame game.
The hunt for the culprit in the Utegate case saw each of the suspects come under scrutiny and ticked off one by one by bloggers (and voters) as they assessed the veracity of the key characters.
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