Bust the Budget Rally 12 June 2014

While Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey hit the airwaves today trying to sell that his recent “horror” budget was “fair” – the wider public response was already evident in the streets of Melbourne.

A union movement rally, organised by the VTHC and supported by a wide range of community groups, took over the down town CBD.

In no uncertain terms there was anger and outright rejection of Mr Hockey’s pro-big business budget, handed down three weeks earlier. His spin today was a crude attempt to play off ordinary working Australians against each other.

He declared that “government payouts are too widely available and an average worker labours more than a month each year, to pay the welfare of another Australian”.

What an insult to the long history of Australia with supporting “a fair go” for everyone, including those less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times.
The union movement has fought hard over its history for a safety net social wage. Working Australians expect the government to manage its finances well, and over time, improve all the established ingredients of social assistance to those who need it.

Those Australians who need assistance eg; pensioners, retirees, the chronically ill, have contributed to the country’s wealth in their lifetime and don’t suddenly become a burden on a current workforce at some artificially and arbitrary designated point in time.

The responsibility for monitoring the social assistance required by an evolving population falls on the likes of Joe Hockey himself as Federal Treasurer. His department should be analysing the data, making recurrent provision for what is needed and collecting the necessary taxes to underpin the established social policy frameworks. It’s been done for years. It’s not rocket science. If he can’t do the job then get someone who can.

Attacking working people and trying to cause social division is unacceptable. Joe Hockey’s comments show just how much his federal budget is all about supporting big business, not the community.

Brian Boyd
Secretary VTHC