The Treasurer has delivered his budget speech and (predictably) everyone has an opinion about the Government’s financial plan for Australia.
To sum up, we’ve all been slugged with more taxes (but it’s going to fund the NDIS), new welfare recipients are going to be drug-tested and the big banks are facing a new levy. You can check out our cheat sheet for more.
As you can probably guess, a whole lot of people are divided about where they stand on the major issues.
Here’s a quick guide to who’s said what about the budget.
Taxing the major banks.
It’s no surprise that a new tax on Australia’s major banking institutions — which the Government says will bring in $6.2 billion in the next four years — has sparked some debate.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended the policy this morning, pointing out that our banks are the “most profitable” in the world.
“It is only fair that they pay this levy to help bring the budget back into balance.”
But it hasn’t gone down well with the banks in question. To put it mildly, they are NOT happy.
Former Queensland premier Anna Bligh, who now heads up the Australian Bankers Association, said the levy would hit the millions of Australians who are customers or investors in the banks.
“It is a tax that will hit Australians by hurting investment and could have unintended consequences.”
(The banks are hinting this tax could be passed onto customers).
This was reinforced by Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
“They either have to be paid for by lower dividends for shareholders, many of whom are mum and dad investors, or there have to be lower dividends to the big superannuation organisations”
Remember that $50 billion tax cut to business? Opposition Leader Bill Shorten sure does. And he thinks the Government’s explanation for a Medicare levy doesn’t stack up against a business tax cut.
“The fact of the matter is if you want to fully fund schools or going to university or Medicare or the National Disability Insurance Scheme, don’t give a $50-billion-plus company tax cut.”
But Senator Nick Xenophon is all for it if it will help deliver the NDIS.
“It was a real problem and we want the NDIS to be successful and to work and to deliver the enormous potential it can for the people with disabilities. We will look at that favourably.”
New welfare recipients are going to be drug-tested.
“The lesson is, don’t do drugs.”
You might have heard it a million times, but Mr Turnbull believes it’s sound advice for welfare recipients facing drug tests under the Government’s new policy. It certainly sums up the Government’s approach to the issue.
And it appears the Government’s got support from Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie, who says she’s been calling for this for a while.
Although the Government might not be interested in taking up her advice to expand the policy further.
“It would be nice to see Parliament leading by example and do drug testing at their own doors.”