Tuesday, 27 May 2014

PM Abbott governs for his mates in a score-settling budget

Peter Martin telling it like it is in The Sydney Morning Herald on 19 May 2014:

The budget was an exercise in settling scores and looking after mates.

Sure, it improved the nation’s finances. But at every turn it took the opportunity to punish or threaten the Coalition’s critics while protecting its supporters. Australians on benefits get their incomes cut by up to 10 per cent and in some cases 18 per cent. They will be charged for previously free visits to the doctor. Organisations that normally speak up for them such as the Council of Social Service have been told their government funding will be extended by only six months this year and then the contracts put out to tender.
Big food, big tobacco and big alcohol have been thrown the carcass of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency. Like the introduction of Medicare co-payments the move won’t actually save the budget any money because the savings will be redirected to medical research, but it will please corporations which have been amongst the Coalition’s biggest backers. Coalition pets such as the banks, private health insurance industry and private schools get off lightly. The government will hand private schools $6.8 billion in the coming financial year - no cutback on what was scheduled - and $9.3 billion the following year. The private health insurance rebate survives with barely a scrape. It’ll cost $5.5 billion this coming financial year and $5.8 billion the next.

And the banks profit hugely from the tens of billions of dollars handed out every year in superannuation tax concessions, also untouched.

They are about to be given a second helping. Hurriedly pushed on to the back burner in March when assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos stepped aside over questions about his behaviour at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, the government is about to revive its attempt to neuter parts of the financial advice law.

It wants what the banks want. They want to remove the requirement for financial planners to always act in their clients' best interests, and they want to reintroduce limited commissions….

Read the rest of the article here.

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