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Response to the reactions to the Budget reply

By Alan Austin - posted Monday, 20 May 2013


The reaction of Australia's media to Opposition leader Tony Abbott' Budget reply speech last Thursday was a surprise to some.

Observers familiar with Australia's economy would have noticed in the presentation several stated or implied falsehoods and other curious claims. And might have expected some criticism from the commentariat.

Well, not only was media reaction completely devoid of fulmination against the fibs, but it seemed none had even been detected. Somewhat bizarre.

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So what were the problematic propositions? There were more than twenty. Here's a top 12.

1. "Our musicians, artists, actors and film-makers are making their mark all over the world."

Thanks to whom? Advancing the arts was a major focus of the Hawke-Keating years – resisted by the Coalition. Labor after 1983 boosted arts funding enormously with impressive results.

The Gillard Government has also revamped support for the arts. The Coalition opposes this also.

2. "The Coalition's Plan has two objectives: first, to take the budget pressure off Australian households."

This implies pressure has been put on. The opposite is true. Of course, many are struggling. But pressure on households has been reduced significantly.

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The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recently reported on taxation around the world.

It asserts that taxes on wages in Australia are now among the lowest in the developed world, with only five small countries taking less; households are paying less now than during the Howard years; and the biggest tax breaks have gone to the poorest.

Other pressures alleviated include interest rates and costs of imported products.

3. "Only by delivering a strong economy can government deliver a sustainable National Disability Insurance Scheme ..."

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About the Author

Alan Austin is an Australian freelance journalist currently based in Nīmes in the South of France. His special interests are overseas development, Indigenous affairs and the interface between the religious communities and secular government. As a freelance writer, Alan has worked for many media outlets over the years and been published in most Australian newspapers. He worked for eight years with ABC Radio and Television’s religious broadcasts unit and seven years with World Vision. His most recent part-time appointment was with the Uniting Church magazine Crosslight.

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