The Federal Government’s first Budget continues to dominate the media, with all manner of lobby groups and politicians having their say.
Even the agriculture sector got some press as being one industry to bear the Budget's brunt. Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said the Abbott Government's first Federal Budget can only be described as "business as usual” for the agriculture sector. Mr Fitzgibbon said "Barnaby Joyce's focus (as Agriculture Minister) is that he wants to improve farm gate profitability. But other than a modest increase in Research and Development spending, I see nothing in this budget that improves farm-gate returns, but I can see farm family costs rising sharply.”
Delivering his “budget-in-reply” speech to Parliament last Thursday night, Opposition leader, Bill Shorten said Labor would campaign on behalf of the states against $80bn in cuts to schools and hospitals. They will also oppose deregulated university fees, the Medicare co-payment, the fuel tax rise and hits to pensions and the dole.
The Liberal Government requires 6 out of 8 cross bench Senators to support new policies should either Labor or the Greens withhold support. It is possible the Budget levy and the indexation of fuel excise could win the support of the Greens, possibly if the Government compromises on some aspects of these measures which would be enough to pass these Bills. However there may not be sufficient support for the rolling back of welfare entitlements or government services.
Looks as if the Government may have a job getting the Budget passed in the Senate.