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Crikey Says

May 14, 2014

Crikey says: cut the guts, bugger the consequences

A vindictive budget? That's Bernard Keane's assessment. Plus Richard Denniss on the political reality. Where will the ABC cut? Arts companies living in fear. Infrastructure spending: what's really new? Reaction from the health sector. Our abandonment of foreign aid goals. Plus how the media commentators reacted. And all the gossip from budget night in Canberra.

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This is a budget that hurts the most vulnerable Australians and breaks promises on the back of a confected debt campaign. And that’s not us saying that, it’s Clive Palmer.

Palmer as a voice of reason? These are strange times, indeed.

Australians got screwed last night. Not just the families who lose benefits; the students who will pay more for higher education; the sick who will pay to visit a doctor; the disabled who face tighter criteria for receiving the pension; the unemployed who will find it harder to access financial support; senior citizens who lose concessions and welfare supplements, the public servants who will lose their jobs; motorists; viewers of public broadcasting; anyone who cares about the environment … We’ve all been had, every voter, rich or poor, by a government that carefully crafted a web of lies to recast the nation in its own image. Nobody signed up for all of this.

And after plundering billions of dollars in health and education funding from the states, Tony Abbott has the hide to tell his colleagues to be “adults” and find the money for themselves. This government isn’t even prepared to own the consequences.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird — a Liberal — said this morning it was a “kick in the guts” to the state. And the rest of us.

It’s economic pragmatism. And gutless politics.

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