Liveblog – Budget 2015 Commentary

Edited 9:34pm: Post was originally put together with 24liveblog, I’ve scraped the content for a static page as I’m not a fan of the ever loading javascript.

20:27 Thank you for tuning in

And this concludes the #budget2015 liveblog!

In brief:

  • Rebates and a minor tax cut for small business are dressed up as if they will provide significant economic stimulus. They wont.
  • Measures to crack down on tax avoidance sound good, but with the treasurer boasting that the public service is the smallest it’s been in years, enforcement will be another matter entirely.
  • The limits on FBT concessions will actually hurt a raft of underpaid workers in the SACS sector. Not that anyone seems to care.
  • The security state grows again. Quell surprise.
  • The funds for northern development are more significant than most will realise. Just as state and federal governments are closing indigenous communities and driving people from their lands, the government will spend significant amounts on infastructure to facilitate the (white) economic exploitation of these same areas.

Time for a beer.

20:20 RET, power prices, and interest rates

Hockey takes credit for power prices and interest rates:

We have helped to bring down the cost of living — Australians today are paying less for their electricity and less on their mortgages.

Yet his government attacks the RET as renewable power prices successfully competes with coal.

When he was out of government, Hockey himself claimed that low interest rates meant economic weakness and government incompetance!

20:15 Jobs growth bullshit…

Hockey claims the government has created jobs:

We have helped create a quarter of a million new jobs and there are more to come … a lot more.

This is a slight of hand by Hockey. Hockey is taking credit for the basic level of jobs growth that occurs as a result of population growth. Employment growth has fallen below population growth and as a result the unemployment rate has significantly increased.

20:12 The dissonance…

Hockey says this:

This is despite the fact that we have lost $90 billion in expected tax revenue over the same period.

And this:

On the economic front, iron ore prices have fallen dramatically and the recovery in the global economy has been weaker than expected.

But then acts like this is a good thing(!):

Since we came to Government, we have abolished job‑destroying taxes like the carbon tax and the mining tax.

Does he think we’re mugs?

20:07 Income management trials extended

Income Management in Playford, and the other current sites, including the NT, Bankstown, Shepparton, Logan, and Rockhampton, will be extended till June 30th 2017. Funding was due to end on June 30th this year.

H/T Stop Income Management in Playford.

20:02 Billions for war, as always

It sure is expensive propping up a weak government’s authority:

This year we will commit a further $1.2 billion to make Australia safe and secure. This builds on the $1 billion of extra funding we committed last year.

19:59 FBT changes an attack on community sector workers

The FBT entitlements were given to the SACS (Social and Community Services) Sector to compensate for the absurdly low rates of pay in that sector. It is a female dominated sector that routinely requires a tertiary qualificaton, for rates of pay comparable to a job at a supermarket.

We are limiting Fringe Benefits Tax entitlements on overly generous meal and entertainment expenses, capping them at $5,000 a year per person, saving $295 million.

If the government is going to attack the FBT provisions, SACS workers must demand some serious pay increases.

19:55 New anti-avoidance laws.. what about enforcement?

As a result of Tax Office investigations we have identified 30 large multinational companies that may have diverted profits away from Australia to avoid paying their fair share of tax in Australia.

Hockey’s rhetoric on tax avoidance is transparent nonsence. This is the man who slashed the enforcement capabilities of the ATO over the last year.

19:53 The ASIO behemoth grows again

ASIO is a bloated carcass that should be deflated; Hockey announces more money for spooks:

Tonight the Government is committing an extra $450 million for our intelligence capabilities, to ensure that we have the very best equipment and skills necessary to keep our communities safe.

ASIO will no doubt justify this by expanding the scope of people and behaviors it deems threats, as it has for a decade and a half

19:50 Pension is a right not a privilege

This is how they dress up an attack on the pension:

The Age Pension is our Budget’s biggest item of expenditure, $44 billion a year. This is more than 10 per cent of all government spending.

The Age Pension is a critically important safety net for many Australians.

Everyone has the right to a retirement with dignity. Want to make it sustainable? End the absurd tax concessions on the super of the wealthy.

19:46 The ‘northern frontier’

He called it a “frontier”, interesting that he chose such blatantly colonial era language.

As the WA and federal governments collude to close indigenous communities and drive aboriginal people from their lands, Hockey announces he is going to open the north for business…

I announce tonight a new $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility which is the first major step in our plan for our great North.

We will partner with the private sector and governments of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, to provide large concessional loans for the construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure that will open our Northern frontier for business.

19:42 The myth of the start-up

A popular myth, but simply untrue:

Every big company in the world started small.

Every big idea in the world came from just one person, or a handful of people working together.

19:40 The entire budget speach has already leaked

New Matilda has the full text of the Hockey’s speech, online here now.


If I won the lotto every day I would be really rich too Joe.


Selling more and more iron ore hey? Chinese demand for iron ore is softening and will continue to soften Joe.


The “job destroying mining tax” barely collected a cent. The Australian state would be in a stronger position in the face of the revenue collapse you identified, if the state had actually made the mining sector pay a reasonable price for the looting of the countries mineral wealth!


“Fair share of challenges”. Playing the terrorism card won’t get you out of this.

Now that the mining boom is over, don’t you wish that mining capital had paid it’s fair share?


Here we go… Prepare for shout-y incoherant postings.

19:19 $330 million unemployment package…

According to the ABC Hockey will announce $212 million in funding “for a new youth transition to work program”, “$14 million … to encourage people leaving school early to enter into work or training”, and “$106 million will go towards helping young people struggling to get work due to their personal circumstances”.

There is a very basic problem with all such programs. Unemployment is not caused by “welfare dependence”, or a lack of encouragement to find a job, or personal circumstances.

First and foremost, people are unemployed because there are simply not enough jobs. 11 people are looking for work for every advertised vacancy. No amount of additional education or additional persecution directed at unemployed workers will change this.

19:07 Cuts to foreign aid

I didn’t realise there was still a foreign aid budget to cut!

It’s worth remembering how little “foreign aid” actually means when it comes to the Australian budget, governments of both stripes have used the aid budget to fund the persecution of asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG.

18:56 Cigar primed and ready…

18:41 That waiting period…

Hockey is expected to back down on last years “Wait for the dole” announcement:

The Abbott government is backing down on its controversial plan to
make younger people seeking the dole wait up to six months before
receiving welfare in a radical departure from its tough “lifter or
leaner”; language seen in last year’s budget.

Instead of asking people under 30 to wait six months before receiving the dole, the Coalition will now seek to extend the existing one-week waiting period to four weeks for people aged under 25.

No waiting period is acceptable, a month without pay can destroy your life as effectively as six months without pay when you are living on the edge of the poverty line.

That said, with the delays in processing new claims that have been engineered by cuts at Centrelink there is already a defacto waiting period in place.

18:18 Tax cuts for small business… groan

This morning Hockey announced the budget will include a tax cut for small business:

The tax cut of at least 1.5 per cent is set to deliver a two-tiered tax system, with big businesses still paying 30 cents on the dollar.

If there is a “budget emergancy”, why the tax cut? There was never, of course, any budget emergancy.

This cut will do little to nothing to support smaller firms in their competition with the behemoths that dominate the Australian economy; the largest firms barely pay tax.

18:06 Welfare attacks

Last year’s budget featured massive attacks on welfare claimaints, in particular unemployed workers. Check out the Dole Action Group for more on the ongoing fight against those attacks.

18:00 Who should pay for childcare?

The big pre-budget announcement was a $3.5 billion dollar childcare package. Abbott has stated that adoption of the package is contingent on senate passing stalled cuts that were proposed in the 2014 budget.

But should the government even be funding childcare? Don’t worry, I’m not about to go full market libertarian!

The real benificiaries of childcare are capital. The state is involving itself in childcare subsidies and alike because capital needs parents back in the workforce sooner. The bosses are the real financial benificiaries of childcare, we should demand they pay for it.

In a world where all workers are expected to work and raise the next generation of workers simultaneously, it is entirely appropriate that workers demand that business provide or pay for adequate childcare.

17:45 Out with PPL and in with Nannys!

The incomparable David Pope on that announcement:

17:42 Good evening

Good evening and welcome to my first attempt at liveblogging. Stay on this page for my scream-y reactions to Joe Hockey’s second budget speach.


  1. This is going to be fun


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