Reaction to Budget

13 May 2015


SUBJECT/S: Budget 2015

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Last night we got an election strategy, not an economic plan.  We got a strategy to win an election, not a plan to win the future of Australia in the economy of Asia.  We got a strategy for short term political survival, we didn’t get the long-term vision that Australia needs when it comes to job security, affordable education or succeeding in the economy of the future.

Joe Hockey wants us to believe this is a ‘give it a go’ budget, when it’s more of a merry-go-round budget of political fixes, half-baked and short-sighted ideas, and last year’s cuts.  The Government was hoping for an extreme makeover; instead they have given the impression that they’re just making it up as they go along.

When you cut through all the spin and all the politics of Budget Week here in Canberra, we’re still left with $80 billion worth of cuts to schools and hospitals, we’re still left with $100,000 university degrees and we’re still left with big cuts to family payments.  And when you go through the budget documents, you’ll see that the Government is predicting higher unemployment for longer, more debt, more deficit and a bigger and growing tax burden in this country.

So what we got last night was not a budget, it was a plea for survival. It was a political strategy, when the country was crying out for an economic plan for the future of this country. Instead they got a grab-bag of political fixes, short-sighted ideas and last year’s recycled cuts.                                                                                               

JOURNALIST: What’s your main concern for your electorate, if you could name just one?

CHALMERS: My electorate were desperate to see in the Budget last night the Government go back on the $80 billion cut to schools and hospitals in particular. But also in my community, parents are very worried about the idea that their kids might get priced out of higher education, when we need more kids from communities like mine in higher education.  And of course, the big cuts to family payments that Jenny Macklin just outlined to you are of tremendous concern to families not only in my electorate, but right around the country.

JOURNALIST: Do you think the Budget will save Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott’s jobs? You guys have been saying that’s the aim.

CHALMERS: Joe Hockey’s entire strategy throughout this budget process has been to save his own skin and to save the Prime Minister’s skin. The country was crying out for some vision, for an economic plan – a genuine attempt to address the big concerns that are coming at people over the coming years and decades. Instead they got a highly political document. They got something which isn’t a Budget, it’s a plea for survival from Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott. They got a plan to win the politics of the day, but not a plan for our future economic needs into the future.