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Issue #1735      June 15, 2016

On the trail of election spin

Treasurer Scott Morrison claims the budget delivers the government’s economic plan “for a brighter, more secure future, in a stronger, new economy with more jobs” in three key ways.

Treasurer Scott Morrison.

1. “Jobs and growth”:

  • a $1 trillion military budget over 20 years. The same money spent on health care, education or renewable energy would not only be of benefit but create almost double the number of jobs.
  • expansion of free trade agreements, deregulating the entry of overseas workers, their wages and working conditions resulting in more “7-Elevens” and other exploitative schemes.
  • yet another “work for the dole” scheme for 120,000 unemployed youth, to provide employers with heavily subsidised and conscripted, slave labour with no guarantee of a job at the end. These jobs would replace paid labour.
  • slash or abolish penalty rates, thus reducing purchasing power of workers and hence demand for goods and services. The results would be sackings.
  • “real wage increases” by cutting the taxes of small business and those on highest incomes. Small business would use the tax cuts to replace workers with technology, not increase workers’ wages, or they would simply pocket the additional profits.
  • cuts to social security payments, reduce the amount of money in recipients’ pockets for the purchase of goods and services. It results in a shrinkage of the economy, not growth.
  • sacking more public servants which also shrinks the economy.

2. Education and innovation:

  • skilling Australia – by cutting funding to universities and deregulating university fees.
  • innovation and science – by continuing to privatise and destroy CSIRO, ignore climate change and the destruction of the Barrier Reef.

In addition, the $26 billion cut to schools in the Coalition’s first budget in May 2014 has not gone away. The government still plans to withdraw from spending on schools.

“Nevertheless, the government is committed to providing universities with additional flexibility to innovate, differentiate themselves and offer students more choice and higher quality offerings,” says Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

How will he do this? It is clearly spin when Birmingham claims to have shelved plans to deregulate university fees.

This year’s budget commences the process of deregulating fees limiting the deregulation to a few courses – the thin edge of the wedge.

Student fees will increase, students will be required to pay back loans faster, HECS debts will be recovered from deceased estates where they have not been paid back and universities will have their funding cut by 20 percent.

The outcome will be more sackings of staff, academic and non-academic, course closures, lower standards, corporate sponsorship with courses dictated by corporate sponsors and narrowly directed to their specific needs.

3. Taxation:

By giving the corporations and rich tax cuts Morrison would have us believe that is going to grow the economy. Utter spin and rubbish!

Once again, the only things that will grow are profits and the gap between the rich and poor.

If pensions, unemployment benefits, other social security payments and the minimum wage were increased, people would spend more and at the same time see an improvement in their living standards.

But the Treasurer is not interested in the poor, the vulnerable, the disadvantaged or workers. It’s called class struggle and the distribution of income through the budget is one form of that struggle.

Next article – Thoughts on Tales of a City by the Sea

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