The election of the Tony Abbott government in September last year signalled an intensification of attacks on workers' rights, the public sector, jobs and what remains of the social wage.
As the global economic situation deteriorates, the ruling class is intent on imposing widespread privatisation, outsourcing of public services, job cuts and wage cuts.
$300 billion worth of cuts that will target welfare payments, raise the age of retirement and introduce a $6 charge for visiting a GP.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has been preparing the public for a painful budget. In a speech at a function in Sydney on April 23 he said: “Australia is not doing as well on the task of repairing its budget as many other developed countries.
“Australia’s most recent Budget update forecasts a deficit of $47 billion this year … To put it in the simplest terms, we are spending money we don’t have.
"The inescapable truth is that we need budget reform. There will be difficult decisions, but all Australians must help to do the heavy lifting.”
In the same week, the government promised to spend $12.4 billion on 58 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, built by the US.
This makes it clear, Hockey’s excuse that the cuts are needed to fill a “budget emergency” is a lie. The heavy lifting will be shouldered by ordinary people, while the rich will enjoy the benefits, as the government carries out its promise to get rid of the mining and carbon taxes.
Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary and member of the Socialist Alliance Tim Gooden said: “The ruling class is running out of money. This is what they do when they have no answer for the future, they tax the poor and go to war.
“But it’s not in our interests. Our priorities are not strike fighter jets, nor is it the priority of workers in other countries. If the government is going to push forward on this, the people should demand a new system.
“Our priority is to be able to retire before we’re dead. It would also be nice to go to hospital when we’re sick and for our kids to get an education, so they can take over from the jobs we used to do. There are any number of things that are far more important for us, than for big business.
“One thing that has changed is big business has stopped paying their fair share. In the past 30 years, big business has gone from paying 49 cents in the dollar in tax to less than 30 cents — and that is if they’re paying tax at all.
“That’s why services are being cut. Without big business paying their share, it’s hard for the government to keep things going.”