Thursday, May 11, 2006

Budget response isn't Beazley's Guadalcanal

Predictably they're saying this is his big test, a kind of final chance to show his wares. I'm very much in the Beazley doubter camp but I think that's simply setting him up, unfairly, for failure.

This is weak ground for Labor, unfortunately. It isn't Labor or Beazley's fault that people don't like to have money taken back out of their pockets, so any argument for redirecting these tax cuts into more responsible social investment is going to be difficult to put. The strongest potential for attack is at the periphery; too much to the very wealthy perhaps, not enough for the needy.

Going in hard for young singletons and asking how many waves of additional 'family' benefits they must pay for is unfashionable in marginal seats. I'm married and on the cusp of considering the family thing, yet I think it's palpably unfair that they get continually snubbed because they don't form a significant enough voting bloc.

Not only that, it makes no sense to keep giving them incentive to head offshore. We aren't there yet, and to take up from my previous post Gen Xers and Ys haven't done all that badly, but society is in a transition which if it keeps going could leave the young professional class feeling that their role is to pay huge student debts, rents and taxes and work themselves to the bone for the more influential family and grey votes.

If I was just starting out and had the kind of debts Ys are now being saddled with, the temptation to spend a decade somewhere with lower taxes coupled with a stronger currency would be very strong.


Realistically for Labor, any attacks on this budget, a product of largess that is likely to be overwhelmingly popular among key voters, need to be modest and well-targetted. Certainly Beazley's ability to mount any sort of attack on it would reflect well on him. But he shouldn't be expected to pull a flame out of his arse- he needs to do that attacking the IR laws, or working up stronger health and education policies. That's where Labor can win, that's where he needs to prove himself.

UPDATE: Two comments in a row that sum up my concerns about this budget, and the ongoing saga of the generations, on an Age blog.

This budget totally leaves out young professional people, it is Australia's loss though, UK/Europe, Asia and USA's gain.Not to worry, i am joining many of my friends and younger sister in Europe to work permanently. There is no future in a little known country that cares not for young people who stive for excellence and work hard and is only a parochial quarry with a view. Ciao.
By the time anyone under 55 gets to drawn down super I will bet that the economic conditions will have changed and the newly abolished 15% withdrawal tax will be re-instated.
Given what happened to Higher Ed fees that's not an unrealistic fear...

1 comment:

Boysenberry said...

To be honest, with each budget it's a "what's in this one for me?" thing. Hoping that a scheme initiated in 2006 will still be there in 2044 (when MrB is 75) is a bit of wishful thinking...

So, I think there will be a young brain drain again, and the government will continue to pander to whatever sector it thinks will continue to elect it. Is the ALP a viable alternative? At this stage, sadly, no.