Broken promises, and trust betrayed
Australians had every right to wake up on Wednesday morning feeling more than a little angry at the Prime Minister. Angry at a Prime Minister who pretended to be on their side. A man who promised one thing before the election and has done something completely different after.
Everything Tony Abbott said before the election now lies in a heap of broken promises. Millions of Australians now know that in the Abbott Australia pensioners, people on low and middle incomes and families will face the incredibly tough choice of having to find extra money every time they fill up the car, buy medicine or go to the doctor.
Tony Abbott’s Budget is heavy with broken promises, it is filled with the wrong priorities but it offers nothing in the way of decency and fairness.
If you sift through all the broken promises and check the fine print, the Budget papers reveal Australia’s economy is strong — low inflation, low interest rates and a triple-A credit rating from all the rating agencies — one of only eight countries in the world with this achievement.
In fact, if you check the fine print you quickly realise Tony Abbott’s budget emergency is nothing more than a cheap attempt to justify unnecessary taxes and unfair cuts.
Completely missing from the Budget is jobs. No plan for creating jobs, despite telling Australians they need to work for longer. No vision for how to create new industries despite telling Australians he expects everyone to work until their 70.
This Budget betrays the people that voted for Tony Abbott and leaves every single Australian paying for his broken promises.
All the hardworking families trying to make ends meet, repay the house, juggle the bills and hope just around the corner nothing goes wrong.
Now, thanks to Tony Abbott, something has.
Now, under this government the GP tax, the hospital tax, the increased cost of medicines and the petrol tax will cost them more than an extra $450 each year.
In Abbott’s Australia every time someone in the family gets sick, getting help will cost money. This assault on Medicare is an attack on the Australian way of life.
Labor created Medicare because we believe the health of each of us is important to all of us. It is one of the pillars of our society and differentiates us from the US-style system where your wealth determines your health. Imagine getting sick and only being able to get access to the treatment you can afford — unthinkable for most of us — but probably not for Tony Abbott, if this Budget is anything to go by.
Labor will not stand by and let Australia become a country where the old and at risk have to choose between eating or seeing the doctor.
Labor will fight this government to stop the GP tax. We will fight to make sure Medicare remains something that belongs to all of us and is there to help all of us.
Labor believes Australians that have worked hard all their lives, who have paid taxes all their lives, have earned a dignified and secure retirement.
What we saw in Tony Abbott’s Budget is a manifesto that has no regard or respect for Australia’s pensioners. Before the election Tony Abbott kept repeating he would not cut or change the pension. That betrayal threatens to hurt some of our most vulnerable people.
Pensioners shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they can turn on the heater, visit the doctor, buy a treat for their grandkids or take their dog to the vet — that’s why Labor introduced reforms when we were in government to guarantee that the pension would keep pace with the cost of living.
Tony Abbott wants to change this. He thinks the pension goes up too quickly.
Try telling anyone making ends meet on $20,000 a year that their pension is too generous.
Australians living longer shouldn’t be treated as a burden, Mr Abbott.
They might not warrant your respect, Mr Abbott, but they certainly do ours.
That’s why Labor will fight this government’s cruel attempt to punish pensioners. We will fight for a fair pension.
The ink is barely dry on Tony Abbott’s Budget but it is already threatening to demolish what makes our country a great one — Medicare, education for all and a fair pension. The very things the Prime Minister promised not to touch are the first casualties of an Abbott Government.
Labor will not stand by and let this Prime Minister trash the living standards of all but a few of his cigar chomping mates.
Labor will stand up for opportunity, reward and the fair go. We will fight for an Australia that helps everyone, s not just the few.
This piece was published in the Daily Telegraph, Friday 16 May 2014.
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