May 15, 2014

Finally, something to really rally against in Abbott’s Australia

This is a budget worth taking to the streets over, Crikey's writer-at-large reckons. It's time the collective Left organised itself to fight for a tradition of liberal democracy.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


“First they came for the independent filmmakers. But I said nothing, because I was a ballerina …” — Martin Niemoller (adapted)

Watching the reaction to the Abbott government’s first budget, one is tempted to coin the headline: “Right-wing government in right-wing budget shock!”. That’s particularly so when you see the reaction, largely scrolling down through Twitter, of the class of 1972, whose sense of horror seems to be unleavened by any notion of politics.

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96 thoughts on “Finally, something to really rally against in Abbott’s Australia

  1. Karen

    What passion, Guy. Love it. It’s either political guts, demos and political graffiti or the Murdoch government shaft. Take your pick.

  2. cairns50

    great article guy but you have overdone a bit by going on about people on the dole having cones, lots of people have cones including those working

    i cant understand why your so dirty on anybody who is on the dole

    they are a very small minority

    drop off them

  3. Coaltopia

    “in the name of the fair go” – long forgotten.

    And to shift from the punitive to the ideological, let’s not forget:

    “[ARENA] is generating a 7.3 per cent return on investment, which is nearly four per cent above the standard government bond rate.”

    .. and the NBN was designed to recoup its costs.

    Roads! indeed.

  4. Guy Rundle

    because every sane person knows there are a lot of people dole surfing. i dont blame them given whats on offer, but if we just pretend theyre all out of work slurry miners, it becomes ridiculous. working people resent dole surfers. so they should. all the more reason to oppose simple cut offs – like the 6 month rule – as arbitrary and hating on the working poor.

  5. Mark Duffett

    “What will suffer most are arts and other related degrees…”

    Won’t this be counteracted at least to some extent by humanities degrees being generally cheaper to deliver, and presumably fees being free(r) to reflect this?

  6. kletch

    I suspect in the thrust to be punitive some policies won’t even achieve the promised savings. Case in point, the 6 month waiting period for the dole will discourage those on the dole (or nearly qualified) from taking work.
    Our labour market is increasingly “flexible”, characterissed by temporary contract work (low skilled like fruit picking and high skilled) and even permanent full time work comes with a try before you buy probation period. The opportunity cost of accepting potentially temporary work has now increased many fold, it’s a big disincentive where there shouldn’t be any.

  7. Guy Rundle

    no mark, arts degrees are still cheaper than their actual cost – as set by govt limits. whole point of norton-kemp is to abolish those limits. want to learn about foucault? fine. but it will coat as much as a law degree (or more!) yr call.

  8. Moving to Paraguay

    Looking at the front pages yesterday, it seemed clear that the non-Fairfax press are pitching the budget as proof of the government’s strength of will. The protests against the cuts will only feed into this narrative as the inevitable whines of cultural elites and bludgers. So what has happened with class solidarity? Why aren’t any of the press taking the side of ‘battlers’ against a regressive budget?

    I somehow think that the hysteria about asylum seekers is really about outsourcing our awareness of inequality from something within Australia to relations with our teeming neighbours. As the privileged ones in our region, we as a nation have to anxiously hold the line against the tide of resentment from outside. If we start thinking in terms of solidarity, we raise fears that our resource riches might have to be shared more broadly.

    As much as anything, the budget aimed at isolating Australia from our neighbours. More guns, fighter jets and border police. Less foreign aid, international broadcasting and action on climate change. This xenophobia helps keep progressive thinking in check.

    When I go along to the town hall meetings prophesised by Rundle, I hope there will be talk of Australia’s role as a regional neighbour, along with injustice at home. That seems the key to unlocking a new kind of politics.

  9. Liz Connor

    Yes, this budget is an example of real class warfare, as Hockey’s throw-away lines illustrate only too well. So all of us that care about Australia being (or, more accurately, becoming) the land of the fair-go are waiting to hear the call to arms. But where’s the leader who can guide us to victory?

  10. Mark Duffett

    I meant cheaper (than other degrees) to deliver i.e. relative terms, but nevertheless, point taken.

    Naturally everyone should want to learn about Foucault, being of course the chap behind arguably the most elegant geophysical experiment ever devised.

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