The Abbott government’s various measures since coming to power have antagonised most Australians – and the budget was the last straw.
Tim Colebatch, former economics editor of the Age:
The Abbott government’s problems began long before the 2014–15 budget, but now the budget is at the heart of them. It has failed to win support from the voters, and failed to win support from the Senate.
Why? I think there are two reasons. The first is that its measures, taken together, fail the test of fairness. That’s well known, and the opinion polls show the public’s reaction.
The second is not well known, but it may have been grasped intuitively by many Australians, which is why the government’s appeals to national interest have fallen flat. In short, the sum of the government’s actions is not to reduce the budget deficit, but only to rearrange it.
And now, as treasurer Joe Hockey will tell us on 16 December when he releases the heavily revised Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, or MYEFO, the plunge in mineral prices and the economy’s failure, yet again, to meet budget forecasts mean a return to surplus is now just a distant goal, and we will face big deficits all the way to the next election.