The Greens Have Savaged Tuesday’s Budget As Good For The Rich, Catastrophic For The Planet

adam bandt

Greens leader Adam Bandt has savaged the government’s once-in-a-lifetime Budget, describing it as essentially good for the rich, and catastrophic for the planet.

Tuesday’s Budget, delivered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, will see Australia’s net debt blow out to a record $966 billion dollars – not necessarily a bad thing, but one that makes it even more crucial where the money is spent.

It includes $1.9 billion in new funding to address climate change, help lower emissions and support renewable technologies, but it’s also putting $28.3 million aside to develop plans to unlock five gas basins.

“Satire is dead, and the planet will be too if the Liberals get their way,” Bandt told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

“It’s a budget to fast track the climate collapse. There’s no room left to open up new gas fields. We’ve got to keep coal and gas in the ground. And we certainly shouldn’t be using public money that could be going to universities instead.”

It’s increasingly evident climate change is becoming too expensive not to tackle, and yet that’s exactly the route Australia is taking.

“If the penny has dropped for Boris Johnson, then I hope it will for our government at some point, but the Budget doesn’t give me much hope,” Bandt said.

He’s deeply critical of the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme, which would see young Aussies have their wages subsidised by the government to the tune of $200 per week (ages 16 to 29) or $100 per week (ages 30 to 35).

The scheme is intended to get young people back into work, after the pandemic saw them hit particularly hard (the latest figures show the youth unemployment rate – i.e. ages 15 to 24 – is at 14.3%).

However, Bandt claims it will lead to insecure, low paid work by throwing money at big corporations.

“The government is just going to give a subsidy to McDonald’s to employ someone on minimum wage,” he said.

“The way that the subsidy will work will encourage employers to put two young people on for fewer hours on a more insecure basis, because that way they’ll get double the subsidies. You can put two people on for 20 hours per week, rather than put one person on full time with a decent wage.”

What he’s most critical of, however, is the $50 billion in tax cuts per year brought forward to help stimulate the economy, which will mostly go to big corporations and the already wealthy.

“For half of that – so, $25 billion per year added to our debt, spread over 10 years – we could get to 100% renewables, have free education, have a guaranteed job for every young person, and build half a million new public housing units and help end homelessness,” he said.

“The money is there, to create an equal society where we all look after each other, where everyone has free education and decent work, but instead the government is giving the money to big corporations and the wealthy.”

In a video posted today, Bandt measures out grains of rice to compare the tax cuts going to the average worker, versus those going to the top 0.01% (we’re talking the Gina Rineharts of the world here). It’s a nauseating visual demonstration of absurd wealth, tbh.

There is one Budget announcement Bandt has a positive view on, though: the additional 10 Medicare-subsidised psych sessions per year, bringing the total to 20.

“The government has recognised that looking after people is more important than getting to a budget surplus,” Bandt said.

“It’s good that the government has finally realised that budgets and government spending is to make sure that people are looked after. It’s just a shame that instead of spending money on looking after everyone and making out society more equal, they’ve chosen to give their money to their millionaire mates.”