The Guardian calls this budget a ‘massive moral failure’ and that is about right. From the cutting of the foreign aid budget to the further disadvantaging of those who already have little (students, the sick, families, the poor and unemployed), this budget is for the top 1% and the billionaires they aspire to become.
It’s also a huge affront to Australian democracy in general. It would seem that the banks, billionaires, mining companies and an international medical industry has voted in this excuse for a government. Those who tried to punish Labor by voting Liberal are now surely regretting their short sighted decision.
The vision of Australia that is emerging here is a nasty, distorted one that harks back to the pre-welfare era where there was nothing for so-called neo-liberal economics to destroy yet. The same semi-feudal zero-opportunity society that Pikkety’s famous new work describes from the past and paints as our new future: where wealth inequality rules reality and only inheritance determines your life chances. In other words the top 1% get everything and everyone else can toil for little, get sick and die without much help and only a massive societal upheaval (such as the Great Depression and two World Wars) can tilt the order back towards more equality and democratisation. But this time we may not have those forces.
Australia is probably one of the few societies left that can easily afford to play nice internationally, help prevent an environmental catastrophe, keep it’s relative equality and maintain its egalitarian outlook without being utterly misguided about its actual reality. And yet we have again squandered that chance with a ruthless conservative government who is now shamelessly dismantling what was left after the Howard government’s wholesale vandalism.
Looking forward to the revolt. Because revolt we must or risk our future replicating a nasty past we do not want to see ever again.