This Budget is deeply offensive to the people who wage a daily battle to survive.
The government would like us to believe that this Budget is tough but fair, but for the people who struggle to make ends meet it can only be described as being tough but cruel.
There are measures in this Budget that rip the guts out of what remains of a fair and egalitarian Australia. These measures will not help people into jobs but they will force people into poverty.
You don't help young people
or older people
or people with disabilities
or single mums
by making them poor.
You don't build people up by putting them down.
And as even the OECD acknowledges, you don't build a strong economy by increasing the level of inequality.
You don't create a strong country on the backs of the already poor.
There's nothing human or humane about humiliating people because they are outside the labour market or on its low-paid fringes.
There's nothing smart about making it unaffordable for people to see a doctor.
This government has walked away from its responsibility to its people.
It has shied away from the challenge to build a broader and more sustainable revenue base so that no one misses out on the essentials of life such as a place to live, a place to work and a place to learn.
We are not in the throes of a fiscal crisis but if we embark on this treacherous path of US-style austerity we will be staring down the barrel of a social crisis.
Dr John Falzon is Chief Executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council and is author of The language of the unheard.
Comments should be short, respectful and on topic. Email is requested for identification purposes only.
15 May 2014
As a devout Catholic who accepts Catholic social teaching, I have my own objections to the budget. It's nowhere near free market enough. And so the poor will continue to be hurt. We need to free up the labour market allow the weakest bargainers to climb onto the first rung of the ladder. Eg, abolish the draconian "Fair Work" regulations which won't allow those school kids in Terang, Vic, to happily and conveniently work 2 hours after school in a newsagency instead of 3, without coercing the boss to pay them at the next level. Give me a break! And so on. The coalition government has missed a great opportunity to radically free up the market and give the poor and vulnerable opportunities to create wealth for themselves. Australia is to a significant extent still not open for business. So much the worse for the poor.
16 May 2014
As a SVP member for the Norwood Conference in S A, I fear that there will be an increase of people needing help to pay their basic Utility charges, J P K
16 May 2014
Sorry HH, but you ignore the clear lessons of history if you think 'Chicago School' trickle-down economics leads to anything else than vastly growing equalities in society. When you have a system and its acolytes with dollar signs for hearts, humans simply become support systems for the economy, rather than being at the centre of our concerns as the gospels tell us they should be. I am a member of vinnies and regularly visit the poor, young and old, in boarding houses in Kings Cross. Try telling them that this is a budget which doesn't go far enough, and that they need to do more heavy lifting. Particularly when many affluent people get off scot free because negative gearing, capital gains tax, trust arrangements for minimizing tax and vastly over- generous superannuation provisions are left untouched. I struggle to find anything vaguely Christian (or Catholic) in any of that. Good on you John for your forthright defence of those in need!
17 May 2014
How will people denied the dole afford train fares for job interviews? Seniors get a $2.50 fare in Sydney, but for everyone else train and bus travel are expensive