Budget roundup

Posted 15 May 2013 9:00am
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Commentary
Flawed beauty in back-to-the-wall Budget

"With Labor's back to the wall due to fiscal pressure and an election only four months away, last night's Federal Budget represented this Government's last statement of its values and priorities." Paul, O'Callaghan, Eureka Street.

Financial genius or fiscal magician?

"And yet again, Mr Swan and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have committed to unprecedented social spending programs based on assumptions and forecasts that in the past have been diabolically wrong." Simon Benson, Daily Telegraph

Surplus hopes pinned on heroic assumptions

"A key budget aim appears to be getting to a rounding error surplus in 2015-16, and therefore at least appearing to deal with the long-term deficit." John Daley, The Conversation. 

Treasurer resists urge to wield axe

"In the face of enormous pressure to return the budget to surplus quickly, Wayne Swan has run the other way." Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald.

Cornered Labor chooses brave way out

"The purpose of this budget is not vote-buying – it is reputation-rescuing, a last-ditch attempt to influence what history will say about the Rudd-Gillard government as an economic manager." Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald

Booby-trap that confirms Swan humiliation

"This is a booby-trap budget designed to force the Coalition into sticking with major reforms to disability care and school education funding." Peter van Onselen, The Australian. 

Targeting Tony the last shot in locker

"It is not just a long-run financial lock-in - it is a pre-election political dagger at Abbott's heart. Labor's tactic by producing $43 billion of savings is to force Abbott into the hard choices he has avoided so far." Paul Kelly, The Australian.

Liberals worse than Labor on middle class welfare

"Joe Hockey rails against the age of entitlement, but his party has been worse than Labor on extending the financial dependence of households on the state - albeit, while also booking up huge surpluses. The Liberal Party spruiks the values of the individual, the principle that governments should only ever do for people what they are unable to do for themselves. Yet for the merest political edge, this principle is routinely ignored." Mark Kenny, Sydney Morning Herald. 

Class warfare

"Wayne Swan's budget speech contained a number of appeals to class issues, mostly through reference to postcodes." Editorial, Daily Telegraph. 

The postcode treasurer

"You'd think he might have learned that his class war, wealth distribution rhetoric, doesn't strike a chord with aspirational Australians whose votes Labor needs." Miranda Devine, Daily Telegraph.

Budget faces up to Australia's economic reality

"The years of rivers of gold in company tax revenue are gone and we now exist in an economy which will have to rely on less tax revenue than we have expected for much of this century." Greg Jericho, The Drum.

Swan Delivers But Fails To Sell

"Swan presented it like a death in the family. The whole atmosphere was lifeless and pre-determined. Even the journalists looked bored." Ben Eltham, New Matilda.

Reporting
Mixed reaction to federal budget

"Catholic Social Services Australia ... took a balanced view of the budget, congratulating the government on its ground breaking DisabilityCare scheme, but also saying it dropped the ball by not increasing unemployment benefits." 9 News.

Budget 2013-14 winners and losers

"Here is a snapshot of the winners and losers from this year's budget." Joel Zander, ABC. 

Disability scheme to be bigger than first estimated

"The number of people expected to be covered by DisabilityCare has been revised up by 50,000 because of population growth and a decision to allow those who enter the scheme before the age of 65 to remain in it after they turn 65." Dan Harrison, Sydney Morning Herald. 

Family payments crackdown to save $650m

"A crackdown on the family payments system will save the budget $658.7 million over five years by cutting money to families once their children finish Year 12 and stopping them from claiming their payments if they take longer than a year." Patricia Karvelas, The Australian. 

Government scraps baby bonus in deficit budget

"The Federal Government has taken a swipe at so-called middle-class welfare by abolishing the baby bonus in a deficit budget that delivers almost no traditional election-year sweeteners." Emma Griffiths, ABC. 

Coalition will be uncomfortable about replacement of Baby Bonus

"The new proposal to axe the baby bonus in its current form is likely to cause tension in Coalition ranks. Fiscal conservatives in the party, including Joe Hockey, have clashed with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott over whether to support Labor’s plans to cut baby bonus payments." Joanna Heath, Australian Financial Review. 

Boat arrivals cost blows out by $3.2b

"The asylum seeker budget has blown out by more than $3.2billion since the government's February forecast, as Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor admitted the record rate of boat arrivals 'is not acceptable in terms of the risks to human life, or the impact of the budget'." Bianca Hall, Sydney Morning Herald. 

Caritas disappointed over aid spending delay in Budget

"Caritas Australia has expressed disappointment that the government in its Federal Budget has not followed through on its long-standing commitments to increase the foreign aid budget to 0.5% of Gross National Income, the organisation said in a media release." CathNews. 

Budget delivers $99.4m for farm households

"The federal budget has delivered a new $99.4 million Farm Household Allowance as part of the National Drought Program Reform." The Land. 

Reciprocal obligations linked to farm income support

"Nearly $100 million will be spent on the National Drought reform from July next year, including paying producers the equivalent of the dole for up to three years. But while the drought reforms were a significant new Gillard government policy, producers will have to sign up to 'reciprocal obligations' and reduce their exposure to future natural disasters, among other on-farm measures." Adam Carroll and Daniel Burdon, Sunshine Coast Daily. 

ATO Taskforce to Target Trust Misuse

"The Federal Government will provide the Australian Tax Office with $67.9 million to target the use of complex tax structures by high wealth individuals to avoid tax." Pro Bono News. 

Why were the budget forecasts so wrong?

"In the end, forecasting something as complex and unpredictable as the Australian economy is pretty difficult. Treasury says it does about as well (or as badly) as other forecasters overseas." Ben Eltham, New Matilda. 

Interactive tools

Today most of the major media outlets have online interactives to help you put individual budget measures in perspective. With total spending of $398.303 million, the largest part of the budget (34.68%) goes to social security and welfare -- $138 million. 

AFR's interactive Budget Explorer: "The Australian Financial Review's exclusive Budget Explorer allows you to delve into every major aspect of the federal budget. Each interactive graphic in the tool draws on a database of the latest budget figures and archive data going back more than three decades." Australian Financial Review. 

Budget 2013: where will your tax go? "See how the government is spending taxpayers' dollars, and how expenses have changed from last year." ABC.

You be the Treasurer: "Finance Minister Penny Wong says the federal budget faces a $17 billion shortfall. How would you balance the books. Have a go at being the Treasurer with our interactive. Just click on the items to find the missing money." Sydney Morning Herald

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