Politics

Everything You Need To Know About Tonight’s Budget, Plus A Bunch Of Drake GIFs Because Why Not

Budget dreams money can buy.

Federal treasurer Scott Morrison has finally dropped the Budget and, as we expected, it’s pretty bad for young people. Most of the key Budget measures had been announced beforehand but in tonight’s speech to parliament Morrison outlined a few surprises, including an income tax hike, some minor changes to housing policy and a new plan to drug test welfare recipients.

There’s quite a lot to get through so to make the whole exercise more bearable we’re going to sprinkle in a few a lot of Drake GIFs, just to make things a bit more fun.

Let’s get to it.

The Biggest Surprises

The Coalition loves calling Labor a party of “big government” but the reality is this is a high-taxing and big spending Budget. The government is increasing the Medicare Levy to help pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. That means most taxpayers will pay 0.5 percent more in income tax.

A surprisingly fair policy, tbh.

On top of that the government is hitting the banks with a $6 billion new levy, and a new charge on businesses seeking to hire foreign workers will raise another $1.2 billion.

That’s a pretty big tax increase across the board, and most of it is going into health funding. A far cry from the days of Tony Abbott and his plans to charge a Medicare co-payment.

Universities And Students Will Be The Hardest Hit

The government is planning on saving $3.7 billion by cutting university funding and increasing fees for students. Graduates will also be forced to pay their HECS debt back sooner, something we’ve already explored.

The higher education plans aren’t as radical as Abbott’s policy of fee deregulation, first announced in 2014, but that is both good and bad news. It’s good because this isn’t a massively insane plan to Americanise our higher education system. But the bad news is that because it’s more palatable it has a higher chance of getting through parliament and becoming law.

Student activists have already foreshadowed a campaign against these cuts, so expect them to dominate the news over the next few months.

What’s Happening With Welfare?

Unfortunately governments of both political persuasions love targeting welfare recipients in the Budget. They’re seen as an easy target and they generate a lot of headlines.

This year’s Budget is no different. Welfare recipients who miss their Centrelink appointments could have their payments cut and the government has even proposed drug testing recipients.

Five thousand welfare recipients will be tested for marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy use as part of a new trial program. If they repeatedly test positive their payments will be quarantined.

The new drug tests, along with other proposals to crackdown on welfare, will save the government more than $600 million.

How About That Huge Existential Climate Change Thing?

Nothing. Literally nothing.

Will I Be Able To Buy A House?

Probably not. There are some minor new housing policies in the Budget but nothing that will actually do much to improve housing affordability. There’s some tax breaks for first-home buyers and a new tax on foreign investors but this is really fiddling at the edges.

The big issue of negative gearing was left largely untouched and rumours that the government might help chip in the funds to help young people crack into the housing market proved unfounded.

Young people will be able tap into their superannuation to save up for a deposit, but we’ve already discussed why that’s an incredibly dumb idea.

Sorry everyone.

There’s Other Cooked Things Too

The government is also cutting the foreign aid budget by $300 million, partly to fund a massive budget increase for the Australian Federal Police and our spy agencies.

If you smoke rollies, I’ve got bad news: the tax on loose-leaf tobacco is going up.

High-income earners are actually getting a tax cut. Even though most taxpayers are facing a 0.5 percent tax hike to pay for the NDIS, people in the top income tax bracket will actually get a 1.5 percent tax cut thanks the end of the deficit levy.

That was a temporary tax introduced by Joe Hockey in 2014 to help balance the Budget, but it expires this year. The government has decided not to extend it, shifting the burden onto everyone else. Cool, thanks guys.

So! All up, the Budget reflects political reality. Over the past few years the government has struggled to get it’s more ideological policies through parliament. The Coalition knows it can’t continue its ideologically driven attacks on education and Medicare. It just wasn’t getting anywhere.

Instead, they’ve decided to raise revenue to fund healthcare, while rejigging the higher education cuts to make them more palatable to the public and to the parliament.

But for young people the news is still pretty bad. Graduates and students will pay more. Welfare recipients will face harsh new measures, including drug tests. And there’s basically nothing on the housing front.

Oh, and did I mention climate change? Yeah, it wasn’t even in the Budget once.