The following article by rank and file Labor activist and freelance writer, Tristan Ewins examines the highs and lows of the 2012-13 Labor Federal Budget; the ways in which Labor has delivered to its core constituency; and the ways in which it could have and should have done better. He also considers the ways in which the performance of Tony Abbott continues to provoke fears for the future.
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However the flagship programs of Labor’s 2012 Budget were definitely its Cost-of-Living initiatives. The Labor website proudly proclaimed the following initiatives on May 8th” aimed squarely at “low and middle income families”:
- An expansion in FamilyTax Benefit A with an increase of the benefit to low and middle income families with two children to $600/year, and $300/year for families with a single child.
- A “Schoolkids Bonus” to help 1.3 million low and middle income families meet the costs of schooling: $410 for each primary school child, and $820/year for each child in high school.
- Support for “the most vulnerable Australians”; Cost of Living Assistance for a million Australians: “$210 a year for singles or $350 a year for couples”; with “lump sum payments will be paid twice yearly”
- “tax cuts will be delivered in 2015‑16 for all taxpayers with incomes up to $80,000” through an increase in the tax-free threshold”