A budget for the big end of town

Chris Bowen
Chris Bowen

Tonight we’ve seen Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull deliver their first budget and I want to give my first take on the detail.

Mr Turnbull and the Liberals had important choices to make with this budget, and I’m sorry to report that once again they have chosen the top end of town over families. In a nutshell, this budget puts high income earners and big business before everyday Australians.

The difference between Labor and Liberal could not be more stark tonight — we'll put people first, while the 2016 budget has shown the Liberal Party will look after high income earners and multinationals. Here’s what I’ve learnt tonight so far.

This budget fails to set Australia up for the future — by cutting services, cutting infrastructure, cutting skills and education. In the budget:

  • An extended GP Tax by stealth
  • Cuts to schools
  • Cuts to Medicare
  • Cuts to families and pensioners that will increase the cost of living
  • Cuts to higher education
  • Tax cuts for multinationals
  • Cuts to veterans’ hospitals

But of everyone, Australian families are the biggest losers:

  • Individuals who earn the most will get a double tax cut – someone on $1,000,000 will get a $16,715 tax cut tonight while three quarters of Australian taxpayers receive absolutely nothing.
  • A couple with a single income of $65,000 with three children in primary school are $3,034 worse off a year – and receive no tax cuts.
  • A single mother with an income of $87,000 with two children in high school is $4,463 worse off per year as a result of tonight’s budget.

Finally, the Liberals have done very little about repairing the budget:

  • Tonight’s budget forecasts higher taxes than at any time while Labor was in government.
  • It confirms the government has lost control of the deficit – it has tripled the deficit in three years, while debt continues to grow.
  • At the same time, the budget confirms unnecessary spending, including the government’s new $1,000 baby bonus.

The Liberals say this is a plan for jobs and growth — but it’s really a plan to deliver tax cuts for multinationals at the expense of Australian families. In fact, Mr Turnbull is so desperate to give a tax cut to the top end of town that he’s changed the definition of small business. Apparently in Mr Turnbull’s Australia, big businesses like Goldman Sachs are a small business!?!

Malcolm Turnbull’s budget puts big business over battlers. It isn’t a plan for Australia’s future, it’s a plan for cuts and unfairness. Over the coming days and weeks, together we’ll need to fight this unfair plan and make sure Australians know Labor has a better plan for our country in the lead up to the federal election. Share our content on Facebook here, put your hand up to volunteer here, make a contribution here or even just talk to your friends — but whatever you do, take the power you have to help us stand up and put people first.

Chris Bowen is the Australian Labor Party's Shadow Treasurer.