Well, get ready for it, an experiment in democratic politics, an unpopular budget aimed at no constituency at all:
Radical reforms to health and education will be outlined today in a searing assessment of federal finances that also calls for the family home to be included in the asset test for the age pension.
Action on the asset test is a key recommendation in a far-reaching review that identifies huge cuts to “middle-class welfare” to prevent budget spending climbing to $690 billion within a decade.
Tony Abbott will also be urged to scrap federal agencies and delegate more services to the states as part of a blueprint from his commission of audit that is already sparking resistance from key cabinet ministers.
The closely held report stops short of calling for the dismantling of federal health and education departments but warns of a massive cost to taxpayers from the duplicated effort between Canberra and the states.
In a deeply controversial finding, the commission identifies billions of dollars in savings from including the family home in the eligibility test for the age pension, arguing it is unfair for ordinary workers to subsidise pensions for the wealthy.
UPDATE: If you cut government services without lowering personal taxation, you have lowered our standard of living. You would have to be a good deal more informed about the economy and our prospects than I am, and I even try to keep up, for me to buy into this.
PAINFUL cuts to welfare and basic government services are being urged in a five-volume plan to slash $70 billion a year from federal outlays that presents Tony Abbott with dozens of deeply controversial measures he will be challenged to reject.
The “formula for the future” from the National Commission of Audit outlines savage cuts to the age pension, unemployment benefits, family tax benefits, the Medicare Safety Net, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and other programs used by millions of Australians.
If it requires five-volumes to set out its recommendations and arguments, it will require more time than anyone can possibly muster to absorb the fine details and project a better future for themselves out of the mishmash presented. What people will notice are the “PAINFUL cuts to welfare and basic government services”. I have a few descriptive words that come to mind but I will leave it to others to say what they think which is probably what I think.