The Australian government has announced an additional $4.1 billion for long range missiles, $9 billion towards the AUKUS submarine deal, and an extra $6 billion as part of the review of the Australian Defence Force. This funding comes just after ANZAC Day and is part of a larger $42 billion spending plan over the next decade.
The Defence Strategic Review was commissioned by the Albanese government a few months after it arrived in office last year. The timing of the release of this review, just before ANZAC Day, has led to criticism that the government is using the occasion to boost military funding.
While national security and defence spending are important, some Australians are questioning the prioritisation of defence over other issues such as health, education, and transport. Defence spending is often considered a “beast that keeps needing to be fed,” with little cutback compared to other sectors.
There are concerns that this funding will not adequately address veteran welfare and the transitioning of soldiers into civilian life. Critics argue that the funding focuses more on big-ticket items that politicians can use as political props.
There is also criticism of Labor governments using military alliances and arrangements for political gain. The current government has been criticised for its involvement in the Quad meetings and extending the AUKUS deal. There is also disappointment from some Labor voters who are questioning if they made the right decision in supporting the current government. Critics are also calling into question the foreign minister’s performance in promoting defence spending.
The government has not addressed these criticisms directly, and there is uncertainty about the long-term strategy for defence spending. Some are calling for a review of priorities to ensure that funding is distributed more evenly across different sectors, including cultural defence, border defence, medicine defence, and biological defence.
Single parent payments to change?
Changes to single parent payments and pension support are expected in the latest Budget news, with the government suggesting modifications to the current system. While the exact details of these changes remain unknown, experts and politicians alike are calling for action on other areas, such as the rate of Jobseeker payments.
Former Secretary to Treasury Ken Henry and former Reserve Bank Governor Bernie Fraser have both voiced their support for a substantial raise in Jobseeker payments, as have several Labor backbenchers. On election night in 2022, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese emphasised the need to support the disadvantaged and vulnerable, stating that “no one should be left behind”. However, despite their previous suggestions for change while in opposition, the Labor party has been criticised for being dismissive of the issue now that they are in government.
The pressure for change is building, and if not addressed, it could lead to a leakage of votes and support for the Australian Greens and other independent parties in future elections. While some argue that there are other areas where support could be provided, such as through universal service provision or rental assistance, the refusal to raise Jobseeker payments substantially could be a major political problem for the Labor government.
In the context of other substantial spending, such as the $240 million support package for building an AFL stadium in Hobart, the optics of this situation are not good. It remains to be seen what changes will be made to the single parent payments and pension support system, but it is clear that action is needed on the rate of Jobseeker payments to ensure that those in need are not left behind.
In the wake of the controversial decision to rebuild a sports stadium in New South Wales, questions are being raised about the necessity of a new stadium in Hobart, one of Australia’s smaller capital cities. While many argue that a modern stadium could attract a variety of events and provide a space for community gatherings, others are concerned about the cost and whether the benefits would outweigh the expenses.
Critics of the proposed stadium are pointing to the previous NSW Government’s experience, where a decision to rebuild a stadium instead of minor modifications cost them dearly. The backlash from the public eventually led to the government’s downfall, and some believe that a similar fate could befall the federal government if they proceed with the Hobart stadium.
Despite these concerns, some still believe that a new stadium in Hobart could be a valuable addition to the city. By attracting concerts and other events, the stadium could provide a much-needed economic boost, while also serving as a community gathering place.
However, the question remains whether the people of Hobart are willing to foot the bill for such a project. With the cost of living on the rise and many struggling to make ends meet, the idea of spending millions on a new stadium may not sit well with some residents.
As the debate rages on, it remains to be seen whether a new stadium will be built in Hobart or if the idea will be shelved in favour of other priorities.
Calls for Australian Government to tax resources more adequately
There have been increasing calls for the Australian government to start taxing resources more adequately and receiving a better return on these resources that are owned by all Australians. This comes amidst concerns about the country’s $1 trillion national government debt and endless cost of living debates.
Mining and resource companies have been the primary beneficiaries of Australia’s abundant natural resources, and it’s time for them to pay their fair share of taxes. According to a recent report, Australia collected only $2.6 billion in tax revenue through the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, while Qatar, which has similar energy exports to Australia, collected a massive $76 billion this year alone.
Some critics believe that the Labor government should follow the example of other countries with substantial mineral and mining resources and tax these companies to a level comparable with other nations. This would generate much-needed revenue that could be used to fund critical programs such as social housing and Jobseeker payments.
While some people have suggested waiting for the budget announcement, it’s essential to remind the government that this is a long-term budget problem that needs to be addressed urgently. The government must take action and stop being limited by budget restraints.
Despite the potential backlash from the mining and resource industries, it’s time for the government to put the interests of all Australians first and tax these companies fairly. The possibilities of what we could do with the additional revenue are endless, and it’s time to take action now.
Labor Government to reveal budgetary issues on budget night, highlighting its true nature
As Australia eagerly awaits the upcoming budget, the Labor government has hinted at addressing some critical budgetary issues. The budget, set to be revealed on 9 May, is considered one of the most important ones in recent times, with experts speculating that it will unveil the true nature of the Labor government.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers had earlier put out a budget in October 2022, but it was deemed as more of a warm-up act. This budget is expected to be a more definitive show of whether the Labor government is a ‘business-as-usual type’ of government or a real reformist government.
Prime Minister Albanese had earlier mentioned modeling himself on the Hawke government, which was known for being a visionary and expansive government. However, critics suggest that the Albanese government has not displayed the same level of boldness and adventure as the Hawke government.
There have been suggestions that the upcoming budget will be the Labor government’s first significant opportunity to demonstrate the type of government it intends to be. With only a few seats required in the next election to move the government to a minority, experts recommend that the Labor government should not waste time and start reforming from the outset.
Looking at previous successful reformist state governments like those run by Anna Palaszczuk (Queensland), Dan Andrews (Victoria), and Mark McGowan (Western Australia), the federal Labor government should be prepared to take bold steps in the first term.
The government has a sympathetic Senate, but things can change at any moment, and the government needs to take advantage of the favourable circumstances while they exist – now is the time to do the reforms and make an impact.
The budget night promises to be an interesting one, with expectations about whether it see the Labor government’s true nature and whether it will be a real reformist government that makes the necessary changes for Australia’s future.