A serious budget for serious times

Yesterday I was privileged to again attend the Budget Lock-up, but what exactly is a budget lock-up?

A serious budget for serious times, Blog, Debbie, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Budget Lock Up 2012 2013, Canberra, Clean Energy Household Assistance Payments, Carbon Tax, Seniors, Australia, High earners, tax, age pensioners

Yesterday I was privileged to again attend the Budget Lock-up, but what exactly is a budget lock-up? Simply put, all of the country’s media gather in Parliament House in Canberra and, at 1.30 sharp, are locked up in a series of rooms to wade through through the details of the budget papers and come up with their take on the contents. Oh, and you can’t leave until 7.30pm when Wayne Swan begins his budget speech. And did I mention there was no coffee available throughout all of this?

Yet, despite the long day, stuffy rooms and no coffee, I do still consider it a privilege to have been included. It offers a unique insight into how our political system works. Being in the heart of Parliament House on one of the most important days on the political calendar is exciting. Ministers come and go, as do media personalities and no one bats an eyelid, the star of the day is the Federal Budget. Even if most of the content has been announced in the preceeding weeks.

At four o’clock the Treasurer himself addresses the media horde, all desperate to grab a snippet, a gem of a comment which can be replayed throughout the evening news programs and headlined in the morning papers. For me, this is where Wayne Swan comes in to his own. Delivering what is perceived as being a negative budget, an unrealistic budget or a budget which is simply a grab for the working class family vote, can’t be easy when the media are baying for your political blood. But deliver it he did. Answering questions thrown at him with ease and showing just why he is the right man for the job. And this is the source my headline of the day, Wayne Swan proclaims that it’s  “A serious budget for serious times”.

When it comes to the budget itself, there were few surprises. High earners were hit, foreign workers lose some tax benefits and small business gets some relief but not the 1 per cent cut in company tax. Age pensioners get no extra money, unless you count the Clean Energy Household Assistance payments, meanwhile families and low-income earners get tax cuts and additional payments galore.

In the weeks leading up to the budget,  I had been quite scathing of Wayne Swan’s obstinance to deliver a budget surplus. Why couldn’t he understand that people, especially pensioners, are struggling to make ends meet? But after yesterday I’m a little more balanced. I’m not saying I think he’s a hundred per cent correct but I certainly have a better understanding of why he’s pushed the ‘back to surplus’ message.

This is Wayne Swan’s fifth budget and maybe it’s just that he's getting better with practice, or perhaps it’s simply that he knows what he’s doing.


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    9th May 2012
    I would rather have a job than increased handouts. This budget is all about handouts, not encouraging the creation of jobs in the productive areas of society. If each small business and farm was given a break that enabled it to employ just one more person, what a better more satisfying life for hundreds of thousands of the young and old and those in between.
    11th May 2012
    Dead right grannysally, and that is what Tony A was trying to convey but lefty Kay did not hear that message as indicated in her later blog.

    Growth equates to jobs and business creates jobs but the government needs to lay the ground work.

    None so deaf as those who do not want to hear.
    10th May 2012
    If a succession of Treasurers really wanted to assist low income earners, they would raise the tax threshold well above the miserable $6000 level where it has been stuck for yonks. That would guarantee that ONLY low income earners benefit.
    10th May 2012
    You were not listening to Mr.Swan on Tuesday night were you.

    10th May 2012
    I could rave on about this budget for hours, but, there is no way that we will have a budget surplus in the next year. The pensioners had been carefully prepared to expect a cut. As I have said many times, that was never going to happen. By leaving the aged pension alone & way below the poverty line, all the recipients are breathing out & saying quietly, thank you Wayne Swann. It is not a case of increasing handouts. It is a case of altering the mind set. The budget has made a big dent in the defence spending, ignoring the fact that we have the smallest defence budget $ per capita, in the modern world. This government has lifted the number of over paid Public Servants in Canberra by more than 20,000 since they were elected. The nanny state attitude is costing us a massive $3 1/2 Billion P/A in Canberra alone. According to the budget, they will be getting rid of 3,000 in Canberra, but there is no mention of selling off any of the 11,000 plus Gov., owned dwellings!!! I am really surprised that the aged pensioners are not up in arms.
    10th May 2012
    Wayne Swan was never going to please all of the people - let's face that fact. It seems that the raising of the tax-free threshold must be of benefit to a lot of people. The dental scheme must also benefit pensioners along with others. Seems to me that by introducing such benefits Mr Swan has done more than simply give out handouts to the "poor". The school payments will be gratefully used by the parents of school aged children that I know. Asked if we should have to claim such payments instead of having them "forced" on us - only those with time to spare (& probably an accountant) would bother wading through the necessary procedures for that exercise. Most struggling parents are simply too busy providing education, co-curricular activities, working to provide food, clothing, etc, & providing a balanced life for their kids to take the time. If he gives us more money but doesn't improve other areas he would be wrong. If he didn't give more money but introduced other schemes from which, hopefully, more people will benefit he's wrong as well. Poor man - I really wouldn't wish this job on anyone! Look at the alternative - did anyone see Joe Hockey respond on the 7.30 Report?

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