This is one of the soundest budgets which has been delivered by any government in over a decade.
There is a respected understanding from the public that the Liberals are good economic managers, and this has been absolutely proven by Scott Morrison’s announcements on Tuesday.
Election budgets are usually opportunities for governments to spend big and buy themselves some public good will. This is a precedent which has finally come to an end. The 2016 Budget was a dry but responsible offering to the community.
I extend my sympathies to my counterparts in Labor, the Greens and the broader student union movement. It is an unavoidable reality that through this budget the “$100,000 degrees” scare campaign has been exposed as the sham it always was. Not only is higher education not being deregulated, but the government is spending over half a billion dollars to get low SES students into campus across Australia.
For immigration, the Liberal Government is committed to the humanitarian efforts of the world refugee crisis. But this commitment is underwritten by the imperative to protect and strengthen Australian Borders. The left are quick to offer their shrill sermons on how much more they would do if only they were in government. But as we’ve seen the effects of these knee jerk and emotion driven policies are unstainable and amoral.
The government has extended an offering of 12,000 places to the affected people of Syria and Iraq. The Liberal Government’s border measures have delivered both financial and spiritual savings to the people of Australia. Not only do we not have to spend money on onshore immigration centres, but we are also free from the Labor tragedy of over 2,000 children being raised in detention.
On other measures in education, pensions and welfare; the budget has continued to deliver needs based funding. A stand out example is the maturation of “Work for the Dole”. ‘Prepare, Train, Hire’ (PaTH) is a stepwise, full scale program which aims to take the unemployed and unqualified into real, paying and meaningful employment. As Scott Morrison has said in the past, “the best form of welfare is a job”. The PaTH program is the policy that walks the talk.
But above these examples, the core take home from this budget is that the crisis of extreme government over-spending has been halted. There is so much more work that needs to be done. We need to reign in large scale public programs. We need to expect less from government provisions, and rely more on the natural enterprise and innovation of ourselves. We need to privatise the ABC. And the government needs to give us the freedom to build our own lives.
Whilst the budget doesn’t go far enough, it is heading in the right direction.