federal budget

The recent federal budget announced a terrible new policy — drug testing 5000 new recipients of Youth Allowance or Newstart. The drugs tested for will be cannabis, methamphetamine and MDMA.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended the policy as "aimed at stabilising the lives of people with alcohol and drug abuse problems by encouraging them to participate in treatment as part of their Job Plan". At the same time, people with diagnosed substance abuse disorders have been excluded from disability benefits.

Complaints by conservative commentators that Treasurer Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have delivered a “Labor budget” show how low expectations are that any federal government in Australia will deliver a budget aiming to advance genuine social justice in this country.

Sometimes there are things that appear in the media that just make you shake your head in disbelief. Take for example the tale of Duncan Storrar, the man on ABC's Q&A who dared to ask why the budget was looking after higher income earners while ignoring those on the lower end of the scale.

For his trouble, Storrar was mercilessly attacked by sections of the media for everything from his tax record to his criminal history — all because he publicly dared to question the economic orthodoxy of the federal budget.

Treasurer Scott Morrison presented his proposed budget for 2016-2017 on May 3, but what does the budget mean for young people today? How does it address higher education and growing youth unemployment?

From April 1 next year, job seekers under 25 who are receiving welfare payments such as Newstart and have been looking for a job for at least six months, will be able to participate in intensive pre-employment skills training within five months of registering with jobactive.

The Daily Telegraph exposed the latest example of political correctness gone mad by revealing in a March 30 front page exclusive that the University of New South Wales is teaching students that Australia was “invaded” by Britain and was not actually “discovered” by Captain James Cook.

I guess there were some people who thought that the leopard Tony Abbott may have changed his spots after his look-we've-changed 2015 federal budget. The polls certainly suggest this.

As William Bowie wrote in his Poll Bludger column in Crikey.com: “A flurry of post-budget opinion polls adds up to a solid increase in the Coalition’s standing, with Tony Abbott’s personal standing now rivalling his least-bad results since his short-lived post-election honeymoon.”

I often wish this government would cut the crap and just admit it governs for the rich and is determined to shift as much wealth as possible into their hands. We'd be saved their mind-boggling attempts at “logic”.

Like their argument that we have a budget emergency, so we must absolutely take action now or our children and our children's children and our children's children's children will all die horrific deaths from starvation, so that is why we must abolish the mining tax.

More than 45,000 people rallied against the federal budget in cities around the country on July 6, with sizeable crowds in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

The “Bust the Budget” Sydney rally was organised by Unions NSW. Union flags were prominent in the crowd, which reached more than 10,000, making it one of the bigger union mobilisations in recent times.

Much of the public debate on the Senate “blocking supply” suggests that it is an all or nothing tactic. However this is not the case. The Senate can carefully cherry-pick the elements in the budget that it demands be amended and force the Abbott government to either accept those amendments or see its budget fail.

This is a short explanation of the Senate’s powers and its ability to force a budget debate on its terms with the government-dominated House of Representatives.

THE BILLS

The Federal budget contains two main pieces of legislation:

Radical changes to university and TAFE education were announced in the federal budget on May 13.

These changes include removing the cap on university fees and changes to welfare payments. People under 25 are no longer eligible for the Newstart allowance.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said the theme of the budget was "contribution and building" and "sharing the pain", but it will make it even tougher for struggling families.

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