Budget 2017 shows ‘basic inequalities’: Shorten

Bill Shorten says the government is only pretending to deliver a fair budget, but is actually helping the top end of town at the expense of the bottom end.

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Speaking to ABC24, the opposition leader rejected suggestions the government had moved to implement many of Labor’s policies.

“This is a government who want to look like they are doing something but they are not really, are they?” he said. 

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“On one hand, they have got a bank levy and we are not going to get in the way of that, but on the other hand they want to give them a corporate tax cut.

“Malcolm Turnbull thinks if you look after the top end of town, the crumbs off the table will help everyone else.

“We don’t believe it. We will keep fighting. 

“Malcolm Turnbull thinks fairness, if you repeat it enough, makes an unfair budget fairer and it doesn’t. It is what you stand for. We know and the government doesn’t.”

Mr Shorten took aim at the government’s proposal to gradually unfreeze the Medicare rebate over the next three years saying the move did not “fix” Medicare.

“The Liberal government under Abbott froze it for a number of years,” he said.

“We campaigned at the last election, Mr Turnbull said we were making it up.

“Last night we watched the Liberals recant and say they have a credibility and trust problem with Medicare, but the devil is in the detail. They are not unfreezing the rebates which ordinary patients get across the board until the next three years.”

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Mr Shorten also rejected the idea that the government had to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which was put in place by former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard.

“The National Disability Insurance Scheme was funded,” he said.

“This is a government who is looking to find money in the budget for other purposes.

“The fact of the matter is if you want to fully fund schools or going to university or Medicare or the National Disability Insurance Scheme, don’t give a $50 billion plus company tax cut.”

He also took issue with one of the more controversial budget measures, a bid to randomly drug test certain welfare recipients.

“We are not into kicking the unemployed,” he said.

“The government needs to explain what it thinks it will achieve. We will look at their measures.

“The best thing we can do for unemployed is get them a job.”

Mr Shorten said the budget was “about Malcolm Turnbull’s survival but it is not a budget for the future”.

“The basic inequality at the heart of the Turnbull government is still there,” he said.

“If you look who the real winners were last night, if you earn $500,000 you get a tax cut. If you a large multi national you are getting a tax.

“But everyone else: school funding is cut, university fees are going up and a whole lot of measures that don’t deal with the real future of this country.”

Watch: Treasurer Scott Morrison delivers Budget 2017 0:00 Share

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