Joe Hockey talks endlessly that the days of entitlement are over. They may be over for the unemployed, students, the sick and pensioners – in fact the majority never had days of entitlement. But they are certainly not over for the miners and the financial sector. These two sectors survived unscathed from the budget. This tells us a lot about who is running this government.
For the miners, the mining tax and the carbon tax will end at a cost to the taxpayer of at least $10 billion per annum. The rebate on diesel fuel will remain. The government tells us that it had to honour these promises. The same commitment to honouring promises was easily discarded in the case of the unemployed and the sick.
And then there were the promises to the financial sector and particularly to the superannuation industry and the private health insurance industry. Promises to them had to be honoured. There was no attempt to scale down the tens of billions of dollars in rip-offs in these sectors that benefit the rich. Not only is the government determined to protect the privileged position of the financial sector, but it is also trying to water down the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation to advance the position of the banks and AMP. Senator Sinodinis and the government are obviously determined to allow the conflict of interest by the banks and the AMP and their financial planners to continue.
The $5b p.a. corporate welfare subsidy to private health insurance sector will continue. But not content with this corporate handout PHI will seek to get a foothold in the new Primary Health Organizations, formerly known as Medicare Locals.
Just look at who is untouched in this budget – the miners and the financial services sector. That tells us a lot about who is pulling the strings. This is crony capitalism. As Paul Keating put it the Liberals are about business, not markets. Or as Tony Abbott put it on election night – ‘Australia is open for business’ – the business of the miners and finance sector. Their entitlements will continue.