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Wednesday, 18 September 1996
Page: 4624

Debate resumed from 17 September, on motion by Mr Costello:

That the bill be now read a second time.

upon which Mr Gareth Evans moved by way of amendment:

That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, the House notes that:

(1)   the Budget betrays the Australian promise of working towards a more fair, just, inclusive and united society;

(2)   the Budget is both mindless and heartless, and its prescriptions are not what the Australian economy needs at present;

(3)   the Budget will have a savagely contractionary impact on economic growth and make impossible the job creation necessary to reduce Australia's still unacceptably high level of unemployment;

(4)   with stronger economic growth the Budget could be restored to underlying balance over the life of this Parliament through a much more moderate program of fiscal consolidation;

(5)   the spending cuts and tax increases contained in the Budget are, on the evidence of the Government's own Budget Papers, not necessary to reduce the Commonwealth Government's debt-to-GDP ratio and will not produce a significant improvement in the current account deficit;

(6)   the Budget not only offers no hope to the unemployed but actively harms their prospects of finding a job by cutting labour market programs and privatising the previously publicly provided employment service function of the CES;

(7)   the Budget will have unfair and unjust consequences for the struggling and disadvantaged in our midst—the poor, the old, the sick, indigenous Australians and newly-arrived migrants;

(8)   the many spending cuts concerned with education and training, research and development, trade development (including breaches of promise with respect to EMDG, ITES and IAMP), production bounties, and other business support, will be counter-productive in their longer term consequences;

(9)   there is deception involved in the family tax package contained in the Budget, whereby what the Prime Minister appears to be putting into one pocket is for most middle Australian families being taken right out of the other by the Treasurer in higher education fees, Austudy changes, higher nursing home charges, higher fees and charges;

(10)   there are many breaches of Coalition election promises contained in this Budget, which amount to over $17 billion over four years, and which will cause hardship, insecurity, and dismay for millions of Australians;

(11)   the Budget involves a massive betrayal of regional Australia through the abolition of the $150 million regional development programme, large cuts to road funding, the closure of regional Government offices such as Medicare and CES offices, and the cuts to the ABC and university funding;

(12)   the mean-spirited decision to introduce large, up-front entry fees and massively increased daily fees for nursing homes, and increase user-charges will harm elderly Australians;

(13)   the abolition of Childcare Operational Subsidies will impact heavily upon community based child care centres;

(14)   the reduction of $800 million over four years in public hospital funding will cause longer waiting lists for the sick and reduce the quality of hospital and medical assistance for millions of people;

(15)   the Budget involves a breaking of the Government's so called `core' commitment to maintain Medicare in its entirety through cuts to rebates for numerous items under Medicare;

(16)   the cruel decision to abolish the Commonwealth Dental Health Programme will cause serious problems for the less well off;

(17)   harsh and promise-breaking decisions will force Australian families to pay substantially more for the cost of their prescription medicines;

(18)   the massive funding cuts to education, the increased HECS charges and AUSTUDY changes will penalise the less well-off;

(19)   the Budget's comprehensive and ideological assault on the public sector will cost 10,500 jobs in 1996-97 alone;

(20)   the Government has failed to honour its election commitment to maintain the environment budget and to provide an additional $84 million in the 1996-97 Budget, instead cutting by 13 per cent the environmental budget and forward estimates;

(21)   the reckless decision to reduce funding for the National Highway by $622 million over four years, breaches a clear Coalition election commitment at the 1996 election, and with other decisions will reduce the level of public infrastructure investment, especially in regional Australia;

(22)   the decision to impose a 500 per cent increase in the taxation arrangements for visits to the Great Barrier Reef will discourage tourism and cost jobs in Queensland;

(23)   the Government has failed to honour its promise to not cut Australia's foreign aid beyond the election commitment to abolish the DIFF program, and in doing so will allow the estimated ODA/GDP ratio for Australia in 1996-97 to fall to 0.29 per cent;

(24)   the Government has failed to honour its election promise that Defence expenditure would not be cut, whilst cutting $165 million from the 1995 Defence Budget estimates for 1996-97, and reducing Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP to its lowest level since 1939;

(25)   the mean-spirited and discriminatory approach to migrants and ethnic communities will harm outworkers, hurt newly-arrived migrants and refugees, cut humanitarian aid and penalise asylum seekers;

(26)   the substantial cuts to ATSIC and to indigenous-related Commonwealth programs represent a massive setback to the process of reconciliation in Australia;

(27)   the savage cuts to the ABC, of $209 million over four years, are in complete breach of the Coalition's solemn election promise to maintain existing levels of Commonwealth funding to the ABC;

(28)   the Budget has failed to honour the promise to maintain levels of arts funding and spend an additional $60 million over three years; and

(29)   the Government's plan to substantially increase Commonwealth court and tribunal fees, coupled with deep cuts to legal aid, will result in a severe curtailment of access to justice by many Australians".