Broken Promises Galore – Budget 2014 Reaction

The saying goes that a week is a long time in politics. I can only imagine that Tony Abbott hopes each week that has passed since the election is much longer in the minds of the voting public.

Tuesday, May 13 2014: a day that will live in infamy. Dislike the Liberal party as I might, I simply believed that all the pre-Budget negativity was cleverly spun by the LNP, and that the real budget would be much better; a chance for Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott to stand proudly and say that despite all the doom and gloom, despite what others had made it sound like, there’d be no broken promises, and whilst a shade tough, the budget would be a monumental triumph.

Education is also facing drastic cuts and universities will soon be allowed to charge what they like for courses. This from the people who received their university educations for free.

I couldn’t imagine being so wrong.

The election wasn’t all that long ago, and we all remember the plethora of slogans thrown around by Tony Abbott.

The GST, touted by the opposition-elect as being firmly in Abbott’s cross-hairs, is thus far untouched. On the other hand, though, there is a list of broken promises that defies belief. The two public broadcasters (ABC and SBS) were off limits pre-election, but will now find themselves $43 million worse off over four years. Pensioners had nothing to worry about six months ago, as the pension wouldn’t be altered at all. Now, instead of being indexed on wages, pension changes will change according to the lower rate of inflation. Hockey is desperately trying to define this as anything but a cut, but I can’t find any other term for pensioners getting less than before.

Taxes weren’t going to be altered either pre-election, but now the nation’s top earners will part with an extra 2% of their income in a ‘debt levy.’ Last time I checked, money given to the government based on income is a tax, no matter how temporary it may be. Petrol excise is also set to rise, and again I iterate: an exercise that takes money from the people and gives it to the government will now and always fall under the tax banner.

Health was another portfolio that would remain untouched, but as we speak the bells are knelling the death of universal healthcare, long a badge of honour worn by Australia. Now, people will have to pay to see a GP. Anyone arguing that everyone has $7 should try fitting it into the expenses of students or the unemployed. Unfortunately, accidents and illness don’t follow a pay cycle. The price of prescriptions is set to rise despite a promise of no cuts to health.

Education is also facing drastic cuts and universities will soon be allowed to charge what they like for courses. This from the people who received their university educations for free.

Given that I was trying my best to be succinct I quite simply cannot believe how long Abbott’s list of broken promises is. I scoured Abbott’s pre-election rhetoric for other major promises that haven’t been brushed aside as inconveniences by this budget, but I quite simply cannot.

Despite my LNP bias, I really hope someone can find a swag of promises that aren’t broken. I really do. As it stands, I am embarrassed and ashamed of the Prime Minister and Treasurer, given how much Julia Gillard was attacked on a personal and political level for trying to bring in a Carbon Tax after assuring the country she wouldn’t (oh, for the days when governments only broke one promise).

This is also given how much words like “integrity” were thrown around at election time and that we were quite firmly told that this government would feature no surprises and no excuses. Because as I see it, the last two months have been spent making excuses, and I’m still surprised by the pain this budget brings. Abbott has said on public record that political parties shouldn’t say one thing pre-election and another afterwards. He was photographed in front of one of his own signs that cheered five election promises, four of which now lay in tatters.

I’m sorry, people of Australia, but the “government you can trust” has lied to you.

Image source: Al Jazeera.

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