The 2018 budget delivered by then-treasurer Scott Morrison had clear priorities: more funding for statues of Captain Cook that literally nobody asked for, less funding for the ABC.
The 2019 budget delivered by now-treasurer Josh Frydenberg also has clear priorities: getting everyone to like now-PM Scott Morrison and his government.
How are they doing that? Sex, rock’n’roll, and cold hard cash.
The thing that’s going to affect the most people is that they’ve doubled the tax offset for low and middle-income earners. So if you earn over $18,200 and under $126,000, you could get the maximum offset of $1080, instead of the $530 you had last year.
The other big splashy announcement was a budget surplus of $7 billion, and the PM took a sultry, AC/DC-quoting photo to prove it.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 1, 2019
A surplus is basically the government saying “I reckon we’ll have *stretches arms out* thiiiiiis much money!” and hoping we’ll forget about all this if that doesn’t actually happen.
But it’s also a pre-election budget, which means they’re trying to prove how Financially Responsible they are while also handing out pressies to buy your love like a workaholic parent who missed your tenth birthday.
Literally, Frydenberg ended almost every segment of the budget speech with “And all of this without increasing taxes!”
Taxpayers – $158 billion of additional tax relief for those earning up to $126,000 a year. About 10 million Australians will be about $1000 better off when they do their taxes this year, as the low-income threshold has been doubled. The 19% threshold is being raised from $37,000 to $45,000 in a couple of years.
Jobseekers – 80,000 new apprenticeships announced and an extra 1.25 million jobs over the next five years. $24 million is dedicated to getting Aussies to pick up seasonal work. (There’s no Newstart increase, though.)
Pensioners, carers and veterans struggling with energy bills -These groups are getting a one-off cash bonus to help with energy bills – but if you’re on Newstart, you don’t get it. (Jobseekers are too busy going out looking for jobs to use electricity, right?)
Small business – The instant asset write-off has been increased to $30,000 and expanded to businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.
Women in sports – $150 million funding package for women’s sport.
The sick – $80 billion for better access to life-changing equipment, services and medicines. There’s a $700 million dedication to mental health services, including 30 new Headspace centres and $461m specifically for young people’s mental health.
The ABC, kinda – They’re pouring $44 million back into the ABC, although it’s just continued funding specifically for the news-gathering fund – and nowhere near the hundreds of millions cut from the broadcaster’s budget over the laast few years.
Big banks – There’s a $600 million boost for financial regulators ASIC and APRA to deal with the ongoing fallout from the banking royal commission.
Tax and welfare cheats – The Tax Office and other agencies to crack down on welfare cheats and tax dodging. They reckon $3.6 billion can be picked up from investing more in the Tax Avoidance Scheme.
Migrants – Migration cap to be reduced to 160,000 from 190,000.
Motorcycle gangs – the government is cracking down!
Getting “out of the red” but having more tax cuts means other cuts have to happen somewhere.
This budget also confirms that the economy is not working for everyday Australians – everything is going up except wages, economic growth is slowing and household consumption is down.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) April 2, 2019
Building a stronger economy & securing a better future for all Australians is the focus of #Budget2019. We’ve returned the Budget to surplus, delivered more jobs, provided lower taxes & are guaranteeing essential services like Medicare, schools & hospitals #BuildingOurEconomy
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 2, 2019
And just remember, there are just a few sitting days left before the May election – so anything they genuinely want to lock in whether they win next month or not, the government has to try and legislate them before then.
Otherwise, it’s all just promises.