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Issue #1595      May 29, 2013

A worker’s glossary for Wayne’s budget

“Pathway to surplus”, “transitioning towards broader sources of economic growth”, “National Partnership on Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health Outcomes”, “loss carry-back and instant asset write-off reforms” – what are workers to make of last week’s budget if they can’t understand any of the language used in it? It would take years of training (or human resource development) to be able to fully understand what the Federal Treasurer said on budget night but The Guardian has provided the following glossary of some terms to help decode the content.

“Sensible pathway to surplus” = hack away at social security pretty much straight away but schedule big-ticket expenditure items sometime in the future when the Libs will shoot them down

“Transitions to employment” = dodgie courses combined with benefit cuts and harassment to get people into McJobs

“Alternative Pathways to the Trades”, “more flexible pathways” = the above-mentioned dodgie courses from private providers

“Over the forward estimates”, “the forwards” = a bit superfluous really. Are there such things as “rearward estimates”? Not to be confused with “drive the economy forward”, “looking forward”, “forward with fairness”, etc.

“Australia’s human capital” = its currently overpriced workforce (according to the bosses)

“Grasp the opportunities of the Asian century” = work harder, spend a fortune on your own training and accept lower wages for starters

“Core defence capabilities” – warships, dud Joint Strike Fighters and subs; the sort of kit the government will always find money for

“Critical infrastructure we need to drive our economy forward” = ports, rail and road links that Gina & Co. need to drive their exports to market.

“The Labor tradition”, “the Labor way”, “everything Labor stands for”, “proud Labor tradition”, etc. = used to mean something when social-democratic parties reformed to some extent in the interests of workers but anybody’s guess nowadays

“Support for families of newborns through FTB-A” = the Baby Bonus is scrapped in favour of fortnightly Chump Change for Children

“Living Longer, Living Better” package = elder workers “get back to work”, see also “turn Grey into Gold and harness the wisdom of our senior Australians.”

Help please!

Some of the camouflaging language is beyond even the Guardian team. If you can help with items like these it would be greatly appreciated:

“Continuing to improve the responsiveness of income tax instalments for all large entities” (sure sounds like less tax for big business)

“Changing tobacco indexation to make it more consistent with consumers’ purchasing power” (we don’t think this means cheaper smokes for the poor)

“Improving the sustainability of the family payments system by extending indexation pauses” (as opposed the improving the sustainability of families?)

And good luck to readers with next year’s budget. It probably won’t be any gentler but the language might be a lot blunter.   

Next article – Time to draw the line between Australia and Timor Leste

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