Media Circus: Budget 2014 Edition

The ABC website has a handy special Budget summary page that will be updated as the announcements roll in:

Budget 2014: What we know and what to expect
What is likely to happen to education, health, sports and family tax breaks in the budget? Get the lowdown from the ABC’s team of reporters.

Meanwhile, First Dog On The Moon’s latest cartoon in the Guardian makes one wonder why this government didn’t consider cutting one particularly huge line item by stopping paying $400,000 per refugee detainee offshore (subjecting them to indignities and injustice all the while) when we could be paying only $20,000 per refugee onshore (paid directly into our very own local economy) if they were integrated into our local communities and developing productive local relationships instead? Let alone the switch and bait prestidigitation of sacking public servants only to hire “consultants” instead.

I have, naturally, added this post to HaT’s Abbott Watch series.

What news story/commentary/analysis has grabbed your attention lately?


As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).



Categories: economics, ethics & philosophy, media, parties and factions

Tags: , , , ,

32 replies

  1. I might be naive but I just don’t understand how they think people are going to make ends meet if they cut all these jobs and cut all these payments or make the payments harder to get. Are we going to end up like the US with millions of people sleeping on the street? People are already struggling to make ends meet and here are these well paid pollies telling everyone we need to tighten our belts. Well some people are up to the tightest notch already, there is no more room for any more tightening to be done. I have worked with homeless people, in women’s shelters and other such places and I have seen people struggle. I was a sole parent for quite a few years there and I struggled even though I was a lot luckier and better off than a lot of other sole parents. I just don’t get how the LP are justifying this to themselves. And the article I read today about 75 millionaires paying NO TAX at all just made me feel ill.

  2. Worse than I expected.

  3. I have two chronic health conditions. I’m currently on Newstart Sickness Allowance because of these two chronic health conditions. I get about $500 a fortnight, all up. Our rent is $380 a week (we’re in Perth – rents over here are ridiculous). Fortunately, I’m 43 years old, and thus likely to continue receiving Newstart for the whole year. Unfortunately, I’m only 43 years old, and thus no employer is eligible for a subsidy if they employ me. Our current budget is tight, even with my partner’s parents subsidising our rent. Tight enough that for me to be able to afford essential health maintenance treatments for my two chronic conditions with the added $7 per visit co-payment for GP visits, I’m going to have to give up on replacing clothes, underwear and shoes when they wear out.
    Or, alternatively, I could just neglect my chronic health conditions once the current treatment expires, and wait until I’m ill enough to require hospitalisation. Which will wind up costing the Australian taxpayer a damn sight more than $70, let’s be honest. As a policy, the GP co-payment is basically the government cutting off its nose to spite its face for ideological reasons.

  4. This pretty much spells it out…
    I am appalled and disgusted. But unfortunately, not that surprised. [broken link removed by mods to save futile clickage]

  5. Gods, it’s worse than I thought. I mean, I know it’s the Liberals, and I know they’re contractually obliged to kick us while we’re down, but really… did they have to switch to the pointy-toed steel-capped boots for it?

  6. Not sure how to unbork the link but it was on the ABC news page titled Winners and Losers of the Budget.

    • OK, I’ve looked on that ABC news page and can’t find anything with a title of “I am appalled and disgusted. But unfortunately, not that surprised.”. Google doesn’t find other than your comment here either, so I still have no idea which particular part of the Budget you are referencing?

  7. Tim Thornton in The Age: The problem with the way we educate economists

    Why do so many students care, and why should we care, about the narrow and uncritical economics education they are receiving? The students correctly point out that the way economics is taught has consequences far beyond the university walls: it shapes the minds of the next generation of policymakers, and therefore shapes how societies respond to the substantial challenges of the 21st century.
    Because the big choices that face our society are increasingly framed in economic terms, it is critical that students obtain an education that allows them to properly assess the options in front of them.
    The students are dissatisfied for three reasons. Firstly, there is generally no required study of economic history or the history of economic thought. This produces graduates with dangerous levels of historical amnesia in regard to the world and to the discipline they assume they understand.
    Secondly, contemporary economics students will rarely encounter any of the schools that compete with the neoclassical school: institutional, post-Keynesian, behavioural, Marxian, Austrian, feminist or ecological. These economics schools, which come from all points of the intellectual and ideological compass, make crucial contributions to building up our understanding of a complex and ever-changing economic and social world.
    Thirdly, the curriculum fails to incorporate crucial insights offered by other disciplines such as politics, philosophy, history, sociology and psychology.

  8. Or, alternatively, I could just neglect my chronic health conditions once the current treatment expires, and wait until I’m ill enough to require hospitalisation. Which will wind up costing the Australian taxpayer a damn sight more than $70, let’s be honest. As a policy, the GP co-payment is basically the government cutting off its nose to spite its face for ideological reasons.

    I think the attack on universal healthcare is the worst part of the budget changes. Universal healthcare is the most significant feature that makes our society different from places like the USA as flows through to so many other things.
    Co-payments on tests are I think especially stupid – the number of people who want to have say a blood test or CAT scan for fun must be miniscule. And there’ll now be a bunch of sites that will have to handle cash and electronic payments so it will further push up the cost of the services.
    If they wanted to save money in the healthcare budget I’d rather they’d look at how inneficiently the medicare payment systems work at the moment. There is so much pointless paperwork and money literally going around in circles via paper cheques. The administrative overhead is definitely non trivial. And then they could look at the inneficiencies (both cost and direct health implications) due to different medical computer systems not talking to each other.

  9. Sorry tig tog. The ‘appalled and disgusted’ line was my own comment and wasn’t part of the link. I was just linking to the budget summary that was on the ABC page. Sorry I messed up doing the link thing.

  10. I think this is the link BK wanted: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-13/budget-winners-and-losers/5433178 (minus the “mobile” I suspect, but that’s where this is coming from).
    I always wondered why economics was such an unattractive subject to me (I’m a knowledge omnivore in general), until I figured out that it was because only neoclassical is taught and used, and it’s a tiny fraction of the total spectrum of economic thought.
    It’s also, as I understand it, a dead end – I believe no Nobel prizes have been awarded to neoclassical economics for forty years or so (although I don’t know the field well enough to confirm that myself, it is my interpretation of what someone else told me).

  11. I might be naive but I just don’t understand how they think people are going to make ends meet if they cut all these jobs and cut all these payments or make the payments harder to get.

    BK, I don’t think they give a damn, any more than the Republicans do in the US.

    • I think you are right kittehserf. It is really upsetting me that they just don’t give a damn about the most vulnerable people in our country. I feel defeated in a way.

  12. Thanks Aqua of the Questioners, that was exactly what I was trying to link to (and didn’t do it very well!)

  13. Good god I’m on Newstart and I already dumpster-dive or otherwise stealthily acquire most of my food, and live in a horrible house that is falling apart, I spend all day at the library for free entertainment (and to get out of the horrible house), and I’m still doing ok because I can still ask my parents for money. The fuck hurting the poorest of the poor? How does it even make sense? How are people supposed to live on no money?

  14. Things are really bad when even Wayne Campbell disapproves.

    I tried listening to the budget speech: had to turn it off. The Orwellian double-speak was too much.

    People voted for this. They think we should be crueller to refugees, that young unemployed people are bludgers who should be punished, and that the sick and poor deserve to suffer. Tony Abbott is giving them the world they want.

  15. This study written up in the UK’s Independent – British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows (and according to commentary elsewhere voters in the USA and Australia (and probably most other countries) show similar acceptance of counterfactual beliefs regarding welfare, crime and immigration) – points out a major problem with voter education which allows ideologues like Abbott and Hockey to manufacture faux crises which only their policies can “fix”.
    Given that mass media corporations are only to happy to run with the counterfactual narratives about welfare, crime, immigration etc I’m not sure what can be practically done to change the general level of voter myth-acceptance.

  16. The number of people who are completely unconcerned that Pyne used a sexist slur in Parliament on Wednesday is really doing my head in tonight. Isn’t it wonderful when the grubs voted in by a deluded public have so little respect for 50% of the population they freely use slurs like that.

  17. I don’t think that PUP is clearly a right wing populist party. There’s some right wing aspects but fundamentally I suspect PUP is about what Palmer wants (eg no mining tax) rather than a right wing ideology. And whilst populist he does appear to be strongly opposing the medical copayments and changes to Newstart for under 30s because he accessed similar payments when he was young. I find it kind of weird he may end up being the key to blocking the dismantling of universal healthcare.

  18. Did I hear right? Did Bill Shorten actually espouse a value for a society that takes care of its vulnerable members? Is the Labour party finally going to start having different policies to the Liberals? They’re going to block the new Newstart rules? They learned something from the last election?
    Is there hope?
    I’m not getting too excited: they voted to screw over the refugees and settle them on Manus Island – clearly no difference there.
    Re the sexist slur: they know it was wrong, everyone hurried to say he said “grub” , which is Not Sexist. It would have been worse if they’d gone “So?” We’ve gained enough ground that they know they have to apologise/cover up.
    I think the word for Palmer is reactionary. He’s anti most socialist/liberal views so he ticks the right-wing box; but, as Chris says he fills the space marked “not a major party/independent” and also “Lord Raving Loony” who was voted for in the English elections regularly.
    I’ve always blamed Howard for One Nation.

  19. Apparently the childcare measure this year is to freeze eligibility for the Child Care Benefit? Which is the means-tested portion of the childcare welfare payments. The two payments are really complex, the Child Care Rebate may cover some of the lost benefit for some families. I’d guess poorer 5-day-a-week childcare users are likely to be worst off as those families are most likely to be consuming the entire $7500 CCR as it is and will thus simply lose real money as childcare prices rise and their CCB remains the same.
    As best I understand the economics, it’s the (non-means-tested) CCR that is really begging for reform! Giving every buyer in the market half their childcare fees without regulating childcare fees simply enables centres to raise their fees to absorb the subsidy.

  20. eilish it wasn’t the pollies I was whinging about it was all the blokes on Twitter who don’t have a vagina who don’t see using the c-bomb as an issue at all. Pyne was just like a naughty school boy who knows he has done the wrong thing. It is the grown men you would expect to know better that make me angry/frustrated/sweary.

  21. Yay SBS news (TW for stalking)
    They were doing a news story on a man who is stalking women jogging in a park with headphones in their ears.
    The newsreader said that police were hunting a male sexual predator who is stalking women who are jogging in the park. Huge ticks for no suggestion about what the women should be doing and centring the man doing the stalking. So nice to hear it wasn’t the invisible unicorn fairies this time.

  22. I’m not surprised LF. Sad but not surprised.

  23. Urgh, no money to spend on sick people or the unemployed but plenty to sneak religion to our children. From Crikey

  24. Mindy, Twitter seems to be the go to spot for all the professional misogynists in society. Also the comments section on the ABC website and the Guardian. It’s soul destroying to read.
    Tony’s up this morning saying he told everyone before the election he was going to repair the budget, so he hasn’t lied.
    Umm. I want to strangle him with his blue tie.

  25. People are starting to come out and openly call him a liar now. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Labor are also more openly challenging the Libs to call a double dissolution election if they want their changes passed.

  26. I don’t think they will actually do it, but telling the electorate that the Libs promised a DD and don’t have the guts to call it will underline the whole lying thing. I think PUP will be a significant reason why they won’t want a DD either. But it is handy to bash the Libs with.

  27. I am feeling a spring in my political step with the backlash against Tone and Joey. I am concerned that Clive is going to be the winner out of this. But as we reap.
    Tony wasn’t ever going to DD. Most unpopular move any government could make: make people vote again.
    Tig Tog no doubt understands this perfectly.
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2014/may/19/questionable-budget-maths-politicians-agenda
    I love Greg, but I rarely understand a word he is saying. Chaucer is easier.

  28. #MorePopularThanAbbott is currently trending for Australia.

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