Budget Backlash

From impassioned public demonstrations, to sliding poll results and intense media coverage, reaction to the 2014 Federal Budget has not gone unnoticed.

The Abbott government’s first budget has caused a monumental reaction from the Australian public, not to mention countless responses from key political figures, spectators and media commentators.
In a recent statement, Tony Abbott himself admitted that ‘we nearly always get a critical reaction to a tough budget… and we certainly expected a reaction to this Budget.’

But with sliding polls, tough resistance from opposing political parties and dramatic public protests (such as those witnessed towards Julie Bishop at the University of Sydney), it seems the Government has its work cut out for it to sell the Budget. Aside from the general public, State and Territory Governments have also been very vocal about loss of funding.

A recent opinion poll suggests that voters believe the Abbott government’s budget unfairly targets the elderly, low-income earners and average families. The Essential Poll published in late May reveals that the Government’s most unpopular measures include the deregulation of university fees, increase in pension age and co-payments for prescription drugs and GP visits.
Results from the survey go on to suggest that more than half of the voters agree with statements such as ‘This budget hurts the most vulnerable in Australia’ and ‘This budget only cares about the bottom line and not the people.’

The perception that people are ‘worse off’ has the potential to impact household consumption and consumer confidence.

In terms of Australia’s opposition party, data is varied, but results from Newspoll, Nielsen and Essential are all clearly in favour of the Australian Labor Party, while Tony Abbott’s personal approval rating has taken a substantial hit.

The response from other political figures has also been strong.

Clive Palmer, Leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP) expressed his disapproval towards the range of broken promises in the Budget as well as the impact it will have on the vulnerable.
‘There is no debt crisis so this is an excuse to have an ideological budget, one that can hit people that they don’t like’ he said.
The PUP leader has also vowed to oppose large parts of the Abbott budget in the Senate, citing that Australians have not received what they were promised.
‘People thought they were voting for one thing and [are] getting something else’ he said.

This is a sentiment that’s being echoed by many others who are disgruntled by the Government’s breaking of clear pre-election promises, such as not increasing taxes or making cuts to education spending.

So indeed, a substantial backlash to the 2014 Budget has been witnessed. But just like all political issues, opinion is divided. There’s no better place to witness this than on the Prime Minister’s own official Facebook page for example.

While some dogmatically oppose Abbott and the Budget, others continue to applaud it and never fail to mention the prospect of a sustainable future budget. The good news is the Reserve Bank has decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

To keep informed about the latest Budget developments follow AADA on Twitter (@AADA_ASN) and LinkedIn.

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