The Morrison Government’s 2020 budget is – *drumroll please*
And sure, Australian Unions is pretty much expected to rag on any budget from a Conversative government, but boy… this one’s a doozy!
It’s so disappointingly bad, we could really start anywhere. Of course, there’s the usual suspects: the complete ignorance of science and the climate crisis; the continued stripping of our public broadcaster for spare parts; the turning of a blind eye to the needs and disadvantages of our Indigenous population; and the arts again treated like it’s nothing but a lefty waste of time.
All this is what you’ve come to know and expect. But let’s introduce you to our two biggest losers: workers and women.
For reference, the Australian economy wobbles at its weakest since World War II. By December, we’ll have more than 800,000 Australians without a job, and many more lucky to have one but severely underemployed – as our unemployment rate hovers around 6 per cent until 2023.
And it’s this COVID-darkened landscape in which Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg choose to slash JobSeeker and JobKeeper, pushing an estimated 740,000 more Australians into poverty.
For those with jobs, the wage crisis will continue. Wage growth for the next year will be negative, and increase no more than 0.25 per cent over the next four years. This amounts to a full decade of little to no rise in wages for working people, bookended by the fact Josh Frydenberg said the word “wage” just once in his entire speech.
His and his Prime Minister’s solution to all this is tax cuts for big business and good ol’ trickle-down economics.
It’s these billions of dollars in tax cuts that headline this budget… the problem being that $27 billion of them are going to straight to corporate profits and executive bonuses. This is actually the greatest spend in the entire document, without any fail safes to ensure those savings make it down to the workers who so desperately need it, and don’t simply line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders.
Those at top end of town, on more than $200k a year. The ones this Government sees fit to hand out the biggest, lasting personal tax cuts of anyone in the country. The ones who’ll save thousands in the years to come, while the workers save a few hundred as a once-off.
And maybe some of them will be women. Let’s hope so, because more than half our population are getting next to no relief despite losing more jobs and hours through this pandemic than men.
To his credit, the Treasurer did at least acknowledge this point, as he announced a completely inadequate $240 million women’s economic security package that will equate to maybe 500 cadetships for educated, deserving women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
He could have rolled out something like – oh we don’t know – universal free childcare. It’s an industry staffed by roughly 97 per cent women, with the added benefit of allowing far more parents to re-enter the workforce in any number of industries – not just a select few.
But what would be the point in that when you have the much celebrated [by the Government] JobMaker scheme. Frydenberg estimates 450,000 young Australians could find work through this policy… and yet he’s slapped an age cap on it!
Sorry women over 35, despite you being at far greater risk of living in poverty by the time you’re 60, it looks like you’re out of luck.
So while you’ve come to know and expect bad budgets and disappointments from this Government – and us telling you about them – could you ever have expected something this bad… at time when working people so desperately need their Commonwealth in their corner?
Rest assured, Australian Unions is with you. And we’ll fight tooth and nail to fix this mess.