Dear Tony

By Troy Treeby

Dear Tony,

I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but you know that first budget of yours, well it’s a massive fail mate.

In a way though you really ought to be congratulated, because you have managed to do something positive for progressive forces in this country, uniting and firing up the left in a way that hasn’t been seen in a long time.

Surely you must have a fair indication of the disdain towards this budget, when even, former high profile Liberals come out publicly saying that you’ve taken things too far.

If you wouldn’t mind Mr Abbott, I have a couple of questions I would like you to think about carefully and answer truthfully.

Why are you attacking the aged, the poor, the sick and downtrodden in our society, when you expressly promised before the election that there would be no cuts to education, healthcare, pensions, or the ABC and SBS?

Don’t you find it somewhat hypocritical to ask us to pay even more for our university education when you got your degree courtesy of the taxpayer?

It’s all well and good to argue that the “age of entitlement” is over, and that everyone has to do their “fair share” but it smacks of insincerity when stacked against the massive corporate welfare handed out to mining companies and big business.

A majority of those I’ve spoken to are appalled by the unravelling of the very fabric of society and the drive towards an uncaring user-pays world, where all that matters is the size of your wallet.

For me personally, what is most concerning is the underlying neoliberal agenda implicit in this budget which promotes a world where the ‘market’ and the ‘economy’ are put before people and the environment which sustains us all.

Tony, I would also like to share with you some of my fellow students concerns about your freshman budget.

Engineering student James is very concerned about your plans to deregulate university education:

“The government argues that university education will still be accessible, but I say that it will widen the gap between those who can afford to pay and those who can’t.

“I find it surprising that the so-called ‘infrastructure Prime Minister’ is funding the construction of roads, which are really only a Band-Aid solution to our traffic congestion problems.

“For instance in WA, the looming threat of having the Beeliar Wetlands bulldozed as part of the Roe Highway extension will come at a societal and an environmental cost – that has been largely ignored, all done under the mantra of ‘progress’,” James said.

Courtney a psychology and criminology student is also troubled about the changes to university education and wonders how she is going to pay for her degree and the impact of the new Medicare co-payments to see the doctor.

“I just don’t understand why the government wants to make it harder for people to get an education,” Courtney said.

“I have friends with young children and I’m worried about how they are going to afford the new Medicare co-payment. Seven dollars might not be a lot to Joe Hockey, but to a single mum raising two kids that’s a significant amount each visit to the doctor.”

It’s not only people you’re hurting Tony, but it’s the environment as well and in particular your decision to handball environmental responsibility to the states is laughable.

Recent university graduate Carmen is most worried about the changes to environmental protection laws and the denigration of our World Heritage listed areas.

“I don’t trust the states to be independent enough when assessing projects, especially when they are the proponent in some cases, I think it will just mean open slather for development,” she said.

So you see, Tony you have miscalculated with this budget, and I would urge you to go back to the drawing board and redesign your budget with people, not numbers in mind.

We want to see politicians who are genuine and have the best interests of the people and this country at heart.

Next time you are at the dispatch box or on a doorstop, just remember that, and know that you don’t speak for me or a lot of other people in the community.

Yours sincerely,

Troy Treeby

A disappointed citizen

Metior Magazine