Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has gone on the front foot over claims his budget is unfair, saying that only “old style socialism” could deliver “equality of outcomes” in any society.
“We have moved on,” says Hockey.
But where to?
Criticism of the Hockey budget has come from a wide range of sources, not just from the labour movement and the “class warriors” of the Opposition, as Hockey sees them. Welfare groups, students, pensioners, doctors and even former Liberal leader John Hewson have said that it is inequitable.
Hockey says these criticisms are “political”! But then so is the government’s Thatcherite vision of a society where everyone is essentially on his/her own in life’s race, with government providing only the flimsiest of safety nets.
Old age, unexpected illness, work-related injuries and disease, lack of educational opportunity, racial and sexual prejudice, redundancy arising from structural change – these realities play no central part in the Coalition’s political outlook.
In fact not only does the Coalition want to ignore those things that stand in the way of “equality of outcomes” in our society - the measures announced in the budget will actually increase social inequality by increasing the cost of essential services such as health care and higher education.
The Hockey budget sets Australia on the road to experiencing the kind of inequalities that are now being seen in the US and parts of Europe. That a large number of Australian’s reject this path is becoming clearer every day.