Budget still bad
Over the last five weeks, the government has supposedly been selling its budget. Well, let me tell those opposite: I have spent the last five weeks out in the community, and Australians are not buying what you have to sell. I have held community forums, seniors' forums, university forums; I have run mobile offices and I have been doorknocking; I have visited businesses, small and large, and I have visited schools and universities. The message is clear: Australians do not want this stinker of a budget. Canberrans do not want this stinker of a budget.
I have spoken to pensioners who will struggle to make ends meet because their pensions are being cut. I have spoken to parents who worry that their children's dreams of attending university are now unaffordable. I have spoken to people which chronic illness, who simply do not know how they will afford the increased costs of GP visits, prescriptions and pathology tests. And I have spoken to families who feel cheated by a government that promised to ease cost-of-living pressures but has instead done the opposite.
Five weeks away from parliament has not made this budget any more palatable or any less unfair. This is still a budget that has the biggest impact on those who can least afford it: low- and middle-income earners, the sick and their carers, pensioners, the unemployed and the young. This is still a budget that is full of broken promises and this is still a budget that Australians see as an attack on our very social fabric.