Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Federal Budget 2012 - Reactions

With the Federal Budget announcement behind us, we can turn our attention to the next stage in the process: analysis.

There are many typical components to this each year. There are the weary talking heads, the dot point heavy charts, the cartoons of the Treasurer cutting up a cake and dropping a piece called 'Hope' on the floor while the Prime Minister strangles a cat called 'Opinion Polls,' each a familiar and comfortable sight to politics watchers.

Still another annual element of the Budget coverage is commentary from the people it effects; the regular folks, the real people, the joes from the suburbs. These are people particularly beloved by our newspapers, as they trawl around trying to find anyone made especially better or worse off by the Government's recent brace of initiatives. The papers normally feature some sort of photo spread of different demographic stereotypes from among the regular folk in the budget aftermath, a pictorial representation showing what these different groups wanted, what they got and how they felt about it afterwards.

And as I've always said, why spend time coming up with some new concept of your own, when you can much more easily pilfer someone else's...


Dan and Jen Klimpson, with daughter Sasha-Brionne. Household income $100 000, paying mortgage in East Struggletown.

WHAT THEY WANTED: A hundred thousand dollars dollars paid to them six monthly, indexed at 4800% of the Consumer Price Index. Discounted or free child care, study benefits, car rego, medical treatment, Foxtel. A disproportionate say in  how the Government spends its money.

WHAT THEY GOT: All of the above, in addition to a surprise announcement of a new public holiday, only for people with kids, to be called 'Family Day.'

THEIR REACTION: 'It's really disappointing to see that once again this Government has overlooked and ignored the working families that are the backbone of this nation.'

John Taylor, 38. Unemployed for 8 months, formerly a middle manager at a small shoe company. 

WHAT HE WANTED: Proper cost of living increases for his unemployment benefits. Funding to help provide affordable inner city accommodation for poor people. Hope.

WHAT HE GOT: A share in a small packet of Aldi brand rice crackers, to be distributed evenly among Australia's 5 000 000 dole recipients. A pledge from the Treasurer to personally visit each unemployed person in Australia and give them a punch in the face.

HIS REACTION: Well, who cares? Unemployed people don't count.

Caroline Yan, 23. Third year of an International Studies Degree at Monash University.

WHAT SHE WANTED: A working light bulb in every class room and a new high def flatscreen for the student union office.

WHAT SHE GOT: A reminder of how little Australian Government's care about education.

REACTION: Bought a cask of wine and watched 'Mad Men' episodes downloaded from Pirate Bay.

Martin and Chameena Cox-Kupinder, and son Atticus. Household income above $250 000. Paying mortgage in Cityfringe.

WHAT THEY WANTED: Bonus payment when purchasing an investment property AKA a 'Fourth Home Buyers Scheme.' A Government funded nanny. Lower taxes.

WHAT THEY GOT: Promise from the Government to only speak of the non means tested payments that they receive in a hushed tone.

THEIR REACTION: 'When are people going to recognise that $250 000 is not a high income in contemporary Australia?'

Maxine Alexander, 37. Owns clothing store in Hawthorn.

WHAT SHE WANTED: A return of the Howard Government.

WHAT SHE GOT: Nothing much that would prevent that, or the nearest equivalent, from happening.

HER REACTION: 'The sooner we get a posse together to light the torches and burn that witch, the better!'

Bill Farmer, 67, lives on a combination of Government and private pensions.

WHAT HE WANTED: Better support services for older Australians. Easier access to medical treatment. Friendlier staff at his local MP's office. A cup of tea.

WHAT HE GOT: Oh... er... shit! Er... turn the lights out, pretend we're not home.

REACTION: 'Well, back in my day, you never even had to deal with these wallopers. Course, round here, in those days, this was all fields. I remember...'