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(Image: AAP/TRACEY NEARMY)

It's an article of faith in politics that the Liberals are the party of welfare cuts -- and one not discouraged by Liberals, who portray themselves as the best fiscal disciplinarians (despite their record as Australia's biggest taxers and biggest spenders), the most devoted enemies of "waste" and the most committed advocates of the principle that the best form of welfare is a job.

It's also linked to the belief on the left that welfare cuts are central to neoliberalism. A writer at Overland accused the Liberals of a "campaign to undermine welfare through continual cuts to unemployment spending" intended "to perpetuate the policies of neoliberalism."