THE Abbott government’s claim that its first budget asks all Australians to shoulder their fair share of the financial burden necessary to bring the national budget back to surplus looks more ridiculous with each passing day.
Two separate reports, one looking at the impact of the budget on household incomes and a second at families dependent on welfare support from the Salvation Army, paint a picture far removed from that painted by Mr Abbott and his Treasurer Joe Hockey.
The impression voters were left with after Mr Hockey resumed his seat on budget night was of an Australia where most people receiving family payments could afford to live without them, an Australia where the young unemployed could get by without any income for six months and where the nation’s wealthiest people were being asked to make an equal sacrifice.
Leaving aside the deceitful nature of Mr Abbott’s campaign pledges and the hidden agendas in the budget’s attack on state funding, the claim that all Australians are being asked to do the heavy lifting simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
Analysis by the National Centre for Social and Economic modelling finds that people earning over $200,000 lose about $400 a year while the poorest families in the country will lose several thousand dollars.
Simply put, the impost on the wealthiest 20 percent of the population will be negligible while the impact on the least well off will be crippling.
But the most worrying aspect of the budget and the rhetoric that accompanies it is that neither Mr Abbott nor Mr Hockey seem to have any idea how low and middle-income earners and their families live.
In Orange the Salvation Army and Anglicare are dealing with everything from people working hard to make ends meet through to grinding poverty that is impacting on hundreds of households, the vast majority with children.
The question is if Mr Abbott or Mr Hockey were to spend a day in Orange with the Anglicare food service, or with the Salvos or Vinnies, would it make any difference?