Our Stories

A Fair Go

Bill Shorten has written a short op-ed on the impacts of the Budget on working families and how this Budget seeks to end the Australian fair go. Read it below.


Tony Abbott lied to The Daily Telegraph’s readers. He lied to you when he said he wouldn’t increase taxes. He lied to you when he said he wouldn’t change the pension. He lied when he said he wouldn’t make cuts to health or education.

This Budget is built on Tony Abbott’s lies and it is struggling families and pensioners who are being forced to pay the price.

You’ll pay a new GP tax when time you visit the doctor and you’ll pay a new petrol tax every time you fill up your car.

Our pensioners, who aren’t on Easy Street, will be forced to cut their already modest standard of living.

Hospital beds will be closed. Kids won’t get the chance to go to a great school that has the fair dinkum resources parents have paid taxes for.

I believe this is unfair, and I think a lot of people in Sydney would agree.

Like me, they understand that our economy faces some big challenges.

They get that budgets are always about tough choices and they are prepared to do their bit.

But these aren’t tough choices from Abbott, these are the wrong choices.

The so-called “budget emergency” Abbott likes to talk about is just another lie, cooked up by a Prime Minister desperate to explain away his broken promises.

You don’t help our economy by jacking up taxes, increasing the cost of living and pushing pensioners into poverty.

Labor did make tough decisions in government to keep the economy on track. All up, we took more than $180 billion in responsible savings measures. And we did it without kicking families, pensioners and students in the guts.

When Labor introduced a means test on the private health insurance rebate, we saved the budget billions of dollars. We did it because we didn’t think low- and middle-income families should be subsidising the healthcare of wealthy people.

Abbott called that class warfare. He voted against it. Now he wants you to pay an upfront fee every time you take your sick child to the doctor. The difference in our priorities, and in our values, couldn’t be any clearer.

We also abolished the baby bonus. It was a difficult choice, but we thought the savings would be better spent on giving our kids a world-class education.

Joe Hockey compared this decision to China’s one-child policy.

Labor won’t be repeating this juvenile attitude to opposition.

I’m not a brawler like Tony Abbott. If there’s a good idea, I’ll sign up to it.

I won’t say “no” just for the sake of it, but I also won’t be a rubber stamp for anything that makes it harder for families to get by.

And I won’t give Tony Abbott a free pass to break his promises.

If Abbott and Hockey need some tips on how to cut spending, the first thing they should do is get rid of their ridiculous paid parental leave scheme. It is a $22 billion hit on the Budget, and it is offensive to every single person in Sydney who is being lectured to about the “age of entitlement”.

It’s a scandal that while pensioners are being told to tighten their belts, the Abbott government wants to give $50,000 to millionaires who don’t need it.

I accept that at the last election, families in Sydney felt it was time for a change. They were prepared to give Abbott a go, and they were ready to take him at his word. Abbott has betrayed that trust, and the Tele’s readers have every right to feel betrayed by him.

This Budget is built on lies Abbott told before the election and now the people who can least afford it are being told to foot the bill.

Labor is opposing these unfair changes. Not because we want to play politics, but because it would be unconscionable to sit back and watch on as Abbott tries to wreck everything that is good about our country.

Medicare, a secure retirement, good schools and hospitals, the fair go — it’s time Tony Abbott understood that these things are not for sale.

And if the Prime Minister wants to fight an election on his unfair Budget, I say bring it on.

This article was first published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday the 22nd of May 2014.