A few dollars to seniors and a little easing of childcare costs — these were the miserable bribes tossed around by the Howard Government in its pre-election budget. A compliant media kept everyone focused on whether they’d get some personal relief, even if just a bit.
But once the dust settled, a couple of details came to light, showing a real boost consistent with Coalition budgets over these past years. Twenty-two billion dollars — a 47% increase in real terms since 1995-1996 — is going toward the military. That’s 10% of the whole budget expenditure. Increasing Australia’s combative capability (more forces, technology, jets and aircraft), intelligence and security (spying and border control) are a priority. So are an extra $703 million for Afghanistan, $389 million for Iraq, $135 million for East Timor and $52 million for surveillance of our northern neighbours. Added to the effort to ethnically cleanse Australia back to its Anglo purity is the $124 million allocated for the development of a citizenship test. To do this, the government is cutting welfare — again. It’s going after more “welfare cheats.” Last year’s budget introduced 17 punitive measures to return almost $550 million over five years. This year, a new taskforce will extend the dragnet to haul in another $270 million from age pensioners, veterans, students and families.
Working people see through the scam. Many interviewed by the media said that the environment and other social issues were ignored for cheap vote-getting throwaways. Education, health, housing, childcare, aged care, welfare, solving the water crisis and taking responsibility for global warming are where they are saying their taxes should go.
Imagine working people controlling taxes. First, we’d have massive infusions from the removal of all tax concessions for big business and the rich. Then, we’d set our priorities. Out would be wars for profit, racist citizenship tests and subsidies to business. In would be everything working people need, like schools, hospitals and a living wage for all. There’s a thought! Let’s grab it.