Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Budget Blues.

I'm a bit heart-sick today.

Everybody is talking about the budget.

Me, I will be fine. I am a high income earning medical researcher. I may be a beneficiary of the paid parental leave thing. I don't have kids in school. None of the raised taxes will be anything more crippling than an annoyance and a "golly, that's expensive". I do watch the ABC though...

I am fine because, as the daughter of a struggling single mum, I had the opportunity to go to university, to go and get a good vocational degree where the graduate employment rates were near 100%. I got youth allowance, which was enough to pay the rent on my dilapidated inner-city accommodation. It was bugger-all but it was enough.

Things have become a lot harder since then.

The government implores everybody to do the work, the heavy lifting, to get the budget back in the black.

I think it is grossly unfair to ask the poorest and most vulnerable to do as much, or more heavy lifting, than a big business.

I think it is beyond cruel that under-30's will be made to go without any income for 6 months if they can't get a job. People will lose the roof over their heads. There will be homelessness and despair. How do you expect people to recover from that?

It absolutely defies logic that we are limiting benefits and cutting jobs at the same time. In a world which demands high throughput and good results, we are forcing those about to retire into work until they are 70.

It is sorely ironic that 20 billion is being put into medical research, when it is being made more difficult for the poorest of us to see a doctor to benefit from the wonderful advances in medicine.

We don't need school chaplains. We need properly paid teachers and workable class sizes. What exactly are they playing at? Clowns.

It is alarming that most of the commentary on the budget in the Herald Sun was made by Andrew Bolt. Unfortunately, he influences votes. I wonder whether his readership will be affected, and whether that will cause any dissonance when they read his vitriol.

I want my taxes to go to the poor and vulnerable. I believe in universal health care and access to good and appropriate education for all.

If a society is unequal, we all suffer, one way or the other. There are many countries which demonstrate this.

I am sad for this country. I did not vote for these people. That is all I can say. I hope things change, for the better.


  1. I agree with you. I am retired (I worked in the National Archives) my husband died last year and I am on a superannuation pension. I know how fortunate I am and I worry about people who are doing it tough and I feel sick when I read about jobs being lost - we are talking about people here and that seems to be forgotten. I read this in The Canberra Times this morning in the letter pages:

    "If being in the black means we lose our compassion, our environment and leave a wasteland for our children, I would much rather be in the red, thank you very much."

    So sad.

    Even worse, just to glance at the headlines in the Murdoch papers is to be confronted with an alternative universe that has no heart and soul.


    1. Sue, welcome and thankyou for this thoughtful comment x

  2. I didn't think this was a terrible budget. Maybe we've been reading different sound bites in the media?
    Regarding class sizes etc, I read an interesting book recently "Free Schools" (which was a slightly gimmicky title) - it's essentially a history of education in Australia, and how we've ended up with our current system, and a look at what works in other countries. Countless studies have shown that limiting class sizes to low numbers largely has no impact on educational results (up to 40 children, then it does have an impact), paying teachers a high starting salary that then does not grow according to performance (as it does in other professions) means that you lose great teachers, and over pay under performers who cannot be sacked.. there was lots more, it made for interesting reading. Mentoring young teachers was a biggie, and had a huge impact on educational results longer term, which is not done in the current public system. Certainly, as someone that has agitated for lower class sizes for her own children, it was actually quite eye opening on a lot of fronts.
    Back to some of your points - we have amongst the highest minimum wages in the world, benefits schemes, and education that is within reach for anyone that wants it. No, it is not utopia, and there are people that still struggle and are disadvantaged despite the limited help the government gives, and cutbacks where ever they are are felt .. and I understand that with your family background you feel this particularly strongly... but there is no where on earth that is a utopia. Look at France with its very generous welfare, work conditions etc - it's falling over economically... or Greece where everyone was doing well, until they discovered their gaping black financial hole. You also can't just tax big business constantly to fill the gap in funding - Big Business will stop hiring, or shed staff, or close up in Australia and move offshore (which has already happened). They are not bottomless pits of money, and the government walks a fine line when adding more tax to our already highly taxed business economy. It's a very easy sound bite to say that "Big Business" should pay more, and it's wheeled out a lot, but the reality is that we already tax Business in this country fairly highly - add in our high wages etc and it makes it unviable for many to operate if taxes or levies are jacked up every year.
    I don't identify with any single political party ideology, and am generally cynical about politics in general, but I have to say we'll have to agree to disagree about this Budget. Unfortunately all the NBN, Pink Batts Schemes and $900 stimulus cheques that went almost directly to Harvey Norman and their Television department have to be paid for at some point. You should at least feel pleased that most of that in this budget is being paid for by the so- called high income earners of this country:)

    1. Thankyou for your input Heidi. Interested to read your book. I take your points. I really just don't want to see those most vulnerable affected the most.