Some are interpreting the Morrison Federal Budget as 'modest' and 'non-controversial' ; A closer look reveals that much of the Hockey austerity agenda remains
What is more, while the Coalition’s ‘Youth Jobs’ initiative is a significant improvement on existing Work for the Dole programs, nonetheless it amounts to another form of labour conscription and exploitation. The good news is that the program links into the skills which may actually lead to work later down the track. The unacceptable side of the equation is that young workers will be paid a pitiful $100/week extra for working a 25 hour week. ‘The Age’ fears the policy may create “a conveniently revolving door for cheap labour.” The question is whether or not the opportunity for skills development will ‘break the cycle of unemployment’, or whether competition will simply increase for a limited pool of jobs. (where there is only one job for every five job-seekers) This raises the question of whether government needs to intervene more directly with an industry policy that links skills with additional new jobs over the long-term.
The goal of raising Defence expenditure to 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21 remains : but if the Liberals want bipartisanship with Labor, here, they must ensure this is not at the expense of other important programs. If bi-partisanship is ‘in the nation’s interest’ the Liberals must disregard Ideological qualms and accept a small increase in ‘the size of government’ to lock in Defence commitments. And Australia’s military assets should always be reserved for the actual defence of Australia and its allies, and not in adventures and wars of aggression overseas. (as with the Gulf War of Bush, Blair and Howard)
As considered earlier, Aged Care requires many billions new expenditure annually to wind back regressive user pays structures, and improve the quality of care and infrastructure.
And Mental Health spending needs to rise absolutely and proportionately with billions new funding as well. There is a truly shameful National Emergency whereby the mentally ill are on average dying 16 years earlier than the general population, and those with Schizophrenia (maybe 300,000 Australians) are dying 25 years earlier than the general population average. Catherine Armitage of ‘The Age’(‘A kind of creeping euthanasia’, 11/4/16) has pointed out that 9000 Australians with a serious mental illness are dying prematurely as a consequence of this situation every year. This far outstrips the road toll and suicide rate combined several times over. Both Labor and the Liberals need to support fully-funded government programs to ‘Close the Gap’ on life expectancy for the mentally ill, much as there are programs to ‘Close the Gap’ for Indigenous Australia.
The Age: 4/5/15 ; 6/5/16