The federal budget – our response so far

We’d like to take a moment to summarise The Future Party’s response to this year’s Federal Budget.

Prior even to the budget itself, rumours and early announcements of cuts to research prompted our Fund Our Future campaign, culminating successfully in the Rally for Research at Sydney Town Hall – and we will, of course, continue to make the vital case for the government to prioritise science and innovation in the weeks, months and years ahead. We have been and continue to be staunch opponents of the government’s agenda to dismantle all meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions, in blatant disregard of the science on climate change – and indeed, we go further than any other party in our consistently strong stance on this issue, whether its our support for fuel excise indexation or for renewable-enabling smart grids and nuclear energy research. Likewise we are long standing advocates of more generous tax and welfare treatment for low income Australians, rather than the cruelarbitrary cuts favoured by the government.

Equally, though, we don’t oppose the budget for opposition’s sake, or take the politically easy path of only ever supporting tax cuts and spending increases. For instance, we called on the ALP and Greens to support even a temporary tax increase on those earning $80,000+ p.a (subsequently watered down in the actual budget, in the face of ALP and Greens attacks, to affect only the $180,000+ bracket where it is unlikely to raise much or any revenue). We backed the government’s earlier moves to end the cycle of never ending corporate welfare for the car industry. We agree with the sale of Medibank Private and are open-minded about other potential federal privatisations on a case-by-case basis.

However, in the lead up to next federal election, we’d like to go further. We want to construct a platform comprised, not just of responses to individual budget measures of the government, nor even a suite of separate proposals of our own, but a comprehensive alternate plan for how to repair the structural deficit through a mix of fairer spending cuts and deeply necessary revenue increases. This is a hugely ambitious goal – one that oppositions of the modern era shy away from, for fear any credible alternative will lose them votes in one way or another. Without the resources of the Federal Treasury or even the Parliamentary Budget Office, we will of course never be able to model and cost every plank of our platform to anything like the detail of a federal budget. We’d like to think, though, that as a party who views robust, quantitative reasoning as one of the keys to greater understanding of the world and better policy in government – and not just an occasionally useful debating tool – we can at least do better than most or all of the other minor parties. Certainly we want to be able to produce a useful, high level overview to prospective voters, and to show that, whatever the Treasurer might say, there IS a fair, intelligent alternative to the kind of budget he has just handed down.

If we’re going to get there, we will need your help. Contact our volunteers manager if you’d like to help out, on this or in any other aspect of our policy process, state or federal.