The first and major reason is that it looks no further than beyond the next federal election.
There are plenty of short-term problems that it addresses. The first is the rising cost of petrol. The reduction in the fuel exercise will reduce the cost of petrol for many families by $10 every time they fill the tank. But this is a short-term measure and will have little long-term impact as will the one-off $400 payment to pensioners. Similar payments to workers in aged-care will have little long-term effect. The income tax cuts are similarly short-term and likely to be overtaken by increases in interest rates.
Whether these palliative measures will save the terminally ill federal government will be seen in the election results.
What is immensely disappointing is what this budget does not do.
It does nothing to address or mitigate the impacts of climate change. Lismore is currently being flooded yet again. They haven’t had time to rebuild the levy banks even if they had money to do so.
The government says that we are heading for the zero emissions by 2050. That nearly 30 away years. It is far too late. We need a 40% reduction well before the end of this decade. We are going to be nowhere near that and the impact of failing that benchmark is being seen in the disastrous bushfires and flooding in the last five years.
This budget is an indication of what a re-elected Morrison government will do to rectify these problems: Nothing.
This budget does nothing to address the problems of aged care which became obvious during the Covid crisis. The federal government’s model of private enterprise running aged care is clearly deeply flawed. This budget goes nowhere towards solving this problem.
This project does not speak towards the problems of the equities in the funding of state and private schools.
It does not increase the problems that have developed tertiary education sector as a result of the universities being denied Jobseeker payments. The loss of intellectual capital in the sector will be felt for decades. The anti-intellectualism of the Morrison government has wrought severe damage on the staffing structures of universities. Most particularly, this damage has been done to young researchers on short-term contracts who have been lost to the industry and who may never return.
The government has yet again failed to address the problems of negative gearing and franking credits. The totally irresponsible scare campaign that was room during the last federal election denied the Federal budget an opportunity to correct one of the structural inequalities in the taxation system. Gerry Harvey, one of Australia’s richest men, reportedly receives $1 million in franking credits. There must be quite a few like him who receives this concession who don’t really need it. Similarly, people do not need to receive negative gearing concessions at their marginal tax rates.
It will be interesting to see whether the Australian electorate has a view beyond the end of April