ABC, MIGRANTS AND CLIMATE AMONGST BIG BUDGET LOSERS
The ABC, migrants, welfare recipients, foreign aid, progressive taxation and climate action are amongst the biggest losers in the federal 2018/19 budget, which in turn favours churches, tax cuts, pensioners, spies and superannuation.
As Crikey’s election night coverage reported, losers include (deep breath): the ABC, who will have its funding slashed by $83.7 million over three years from 2019; migrants, who will now have to wait four years to receive welfare benefits; welfare recipients, with no announcements on Newstart but an expansion to the error-riddled Robodebt crackdown; and foreign aid, which will be cut by another $140 million to reportedly its lowest level ever. Climate change was also ignored completely, progressive taxation was diminished to the point people on both $41,000 and $200,000 will pay the same rates, and, unsurprisingly, refugees and people seeking asylum have again lost out, this time to the tune of $68m cut in support services.
On the winners’ end, the controversial school chaplains program will be extended by a whopping $250 million over four years, early income tax cuts are aimed at low and middle-income earners in a package that will stretch to $140 billion over the next decade ($), pensioners will be able to earn up to $300 a fortnight without affecting pensions, ASIO and ASIS will get funding increases, and super exit fees will be abolished.
HOME AFFAIRS LEGISLATION PASSES
While journalists were busy in last night’s budget lockup, legislation to consolidate the Home Affairs passed the lower house.
As News.com reports, tepid concerns over the concentration of power did not stop Labor from voting with the Coalition to bring the ASIO into the portfolio and boost oversight powers for the attorney-general. The Greens’ Adam Bandt and Independent Andrew Wilkie were the only two MPs to vote against the super-ministry, which was began forming under Coalition regulation in December.
In other Home Affairs news, US President Donald Trump’s travel ban means all Iranian and Somali people seeking asylum Australia put on Nauru are basically stuck there.
HORSE RACING DOPES FOUND GUILTY
Five trainers and three stable hands have been found guilty of forming a long-running doping ring that used sodium bicarbonate and other alkalising agents to “top up” horses prior to races.
The Guardian reports that Victoria’s Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board has found that eight people, including the former director of Aquanita Robert Smerdon, were guilty of drugging horses in “probably the biggest scandal and the most widespread investigation in the history of Australian racing”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
At the same time, we have our priorities. We invite people to come to this country to make a contribution, not take one, and we don’t apologise for ensuring that we have systems that don’t encourage more people to jump on boats.
The Treasurer tries, and largely fails, to explain why the government has doubled the wait time for refugees accessing job services.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Strong income tax revenue growth has fuelled a surge in government spending aimed at securing re-election in tonight’s 2018-19 budget. The return to surplus has been brought forward a year, with a $2.2 billion surplus forecast for next year and a more substantial $11 billion in 2020-21, while this year’s deficit has been significantly pared back to just $14.5 billion.”
“One of the largest aspects of the budget — and the most surprising — is the amount of extra revenue the government expects to be able to gain by cracking down on the black economy. It is expecting to gain an astonishing $6 billion over the next four years by flushing out illegal activity and getting them to pay tax. This is all part of a ‘Black Economy Package’ that includes the famous war on ‘chop-chop’.”
“I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to draw a ‘colour’ piece out of a federal budget on an overcast day in Canberra, but a phlebotomist would have better luck with a chunk of igneous. Former Crikey journo Sally Whyte last year lamented the lack of celebrity journos on her plane ride. But at least she got one: Anna Bligh. This year, all I got was a man in plaid working frenetically on a very average-looking PowerPoint presentation. Come on, Canberra! When does Laurie Oakes show up? And how long do I have to wait before Christian Kerr starts some biffo with a News Corp braggart?”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Treasurer Scott Morrison will deliver a post-budget address to the National Press Club.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud will speak at Croplife Australia’s federal budget breakfast.
The High Court will rule on Labor Senator Katy Gallagher’s dual citizenship case.
Day one of Safeguarding Australia’s two-day National Security Summit, with speakers including Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Angus Taylor and security experts.
ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie will respond to the federal budget, as will, separately, president of the Australian Education Union Correna Haythorpe.
Public celebration of the 30th anniversary of the opening of Australian Parliament House.
PwC’s Federal Budget Breakfast will include speeches from former Prime Minister John Howard, former Victorian Premier John Brumby, ABC journalist Ellen Fanning and PwC corporate tax expert Paul Abbey.
Day three of Melbourne Knowledge Week, featuring Digital Rights Watch conducting a “live hack” of actor, writer and comedian Candy Bowers’ metadata.
University of Melbourne teachers’ union will strike over a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.
Workers will protest as part of the latest Changes the Rules Rally.
Wizard of Oz cast will walk a yellow brick road to launch an RSPCA adoption drive.
Former chief of WA’s Treasury John Langoulant will address a public hearing for a Corruption and Crime Commission inquiry into public sector procurement.
WA Police will appear at a counter-terrorism inquiry into protection of crowded public places.
Protestors will demand more action to mitigate the risk of shark attacks, with the rally organised by the state Liberal opposition and set to feature former shark attack victims, families and surfers from the South West.
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s annual Out There Summit will focus on Sydney’s growth debate and feature business leader and philanthropist Dick Smith.
Supported by Amnesty International and the Australia Tibet Council, ‘Peppa Pig’ will call on the Chinese Government to free Tashi Wangchuck, a Tibetan language activist held since 2016.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin will respond to the Federal Budget and discuss a continuing campaign over vegetation management laws.
Indigenous activist and lead applicant of the successful $30m Palm Island racial discrimination class action, Lex Wotton, will address a community meeting.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation is getting a home, with parents of the murdered 13-year-old, Bruce and Denise, and with the Honourable Di Farmer to turn the first sod at a ground-breaking ceremony.
The country will be holding both federal Parliament and state assembly elections.
Never mind lofty talk of ‘tax reform’. This budget is about political survival — Katharine Murphy (The Guardian): “The longer the government’s ‘tax reform’ story goes on, when we finally start hitting flat tax territory after the resurgent Turnbull government wins the next two elections (stop laughing), the more unfair the carve-up becomes. Tax relief for low and middle-income earners morphs into a massive handout for high-income earners, with workers earning $41,000 paying the same tax rate as those on $200,000.”
Knee-deep in blood – AMP feeds directors to baying crowd — Adele Ferguson (The Age): “Financial giant AMP was wading knee-deep in blood on Tuesday as three more directors fell on their swords in the wake of damning revelations at the royal commission, including repeatedly lying to the regulator, deliberately ripping off customers and doctoring an ‘independent report’. But unlike the usual blood spills which happen privately behind closed doors with shareholders politely warning boards of a protest vote if they don’t step down, this played out in full technicolour.”
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