An unusually feisty Bill Shorten delivered a stinging attack on the Abbott Government’s first budget last night.
His opening shot was the claim that millions of Australians would be ‘shocked and angry at the attack on their way of life’, before going on to accuse Tony Abbott of fostering a ‘colder, meaner, narrower’ culture in Australia.
He spoke of a loss of a sense of ‘fairness and community’ in a country where young people’s prospects ‘should not be determined by their parents’ wealth and postcode’. And warned older Australians, ‘If you rely on a pension, you will be punished’.
Moving to specifics, Mr. Shorten promised that his party would block key aspects of the budget, including:
- Medical co-payment of $7
- Changes to funding of higher education
- Changes to Newstart
- The proposed fuel tax and
- Changes to pension age and indexation.
In total, this represents about half the $37 Billion proposed cuts in Budget 2014-2015, creating a significant threat to the ability of the Abbott government to carry out it’s economic vision. Already the Palmer United Party and the Greens have indicated that they, too, will oppose many of the above measures, so it seems unlikely this legislation will become law in the short term.
What do you think?
Was Mr. Shorten’s response a good one? Or was he merely negative? And should the Federal Opposition oppose such a large proportion of the budget measures?