Image from Australian Political Memes.*
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On this one we take on the budget – introduced by the grubs in government. We start off by discussing “grubgate” – where Liberal party politician Christopher Pyne apparently called Labor leader Bill Shorten a “grub”. We discuss the “nitty gritty” of the budget, covering a number of different aspects. A starting point is that this is not really an austerity budget significantly reducing government spending, but rather there are some cuts and some increases. Economist Richard Denniss has pointed out that military spending has gone up, for example. We explain that this is a “class war” budget that will increase the already vast wealth inequality in Australia. Greater inequality results in poor health outcomes and other negative results across the board. Cuts have been made to essential services despite the fact that the “budget emergency” does not exist.
One way the poorest and most vulnerable people will be affected is the new $7 co-payment for doctor visits. Treasurer Joe Hockey has dismissed this as costing ‘less than two middies’ but we argue this is a significant move towards a US model of healthcare. It has already led to less people visiting doctors in Australia and will lead to less preventative healthcare. Stevie has written a powerful article on how these policies would affect people close to her. There have also been changes to education such as the deregulation of uni fees, meaning they can charge students as much as they like – which only the UWA Vice-Chancellor is happy about. Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Tony Abbotts’ daughter received a $60 000 scholarship from one of Abbott’s political donors. On welfare, the budget proposes that people under 30 should wait 6 months to receive payments. Another unpopular part of the budget is raising the retirement age to 70 – which is opposed by 70% of Australians. This unpopularity was also shown in the Q and A episode where Joe Hockey was roasted on the budget by a crowd made up of many Liberal party voters.
There is widespread opposition to the budget in parliament as well – a number of political parties have pledged to block many of the budget proposals. Despite this, a double dissolution election is unlikely. Even if it did go ahead, Labor has followed a neoliberal agenda just like the Liberal party, showing the importance of social movements in opposing the budget. On this topic, we play an interview with March in May organiser Alex Bainbridge. He is interviewed by Caroline Smith on the Indymedia show. We also discuss an article on the potential for technology to be used to exploit animals (following on from our discussion on the role of virtual technology in bringing about positive social change) and we encourage people to check out The Angry Hippie’s Podcast.
This episode is brought to you by “Man Next Door Michael”. We encourage people to follow Michael on Twitter – @mikkelbot. Thanks a lot to Michael for becoming a member of our show – you can become a member and sponsor an episode too!
W.Paulo S ‘What Did Christopher Pyne Call Bill Shorten’, Rap News (featuring Christopher Pyne) ’Australia, Yeah C**t – Australia’s new National Anthem’, Q & A featuring Treasurer Joe Hockey, Q & A with Hockey, Clerks ‘Vilification’, Q & A with Hockey, Austin Powers, Interview with March in May organiser Alex Bainbridge by Caroline Smith on the Indymedia show, Anti-Flag (featuring a special guest vocalist) ‘The Project for the New American Century’.
*Link to the picture for this episode.
You can listen to a short (6 minute) version of this episode here: Prog Podcast vs the Budget. You can subscribe to these short versions of our episodes through Omny.