IT HAS been confirmed the Baby Bonus — a Howard government initiative introduced by Peter Costello to drive population growth — is to be abolished; with it goes more assistance for the “working families” this government claims to represent even as it attacks them on as many fronts as possible.
This latest “initiative” by Wayne Swan — predicted several weeks ago in this column — simply underscores the obsessive mentality of the government when it comes to a handful of its “signature reforms” at the cost of anything standing in their way.
Our position at The Red And The Blue is that tonight’s budget will be devoid of credibility; and whilst Labor types may describe the decision to axe the Baby Bonus as an example of a “responsible save” — to help fund the NDIS and Gonski reforms — the truth is simpler.
The Rudd-Gillard government has spent five and a half years attacking families; the Baby Bonus has been fiddled before, reducing the rate for second and subsequent children from $5,000 to $3,000, and splitting its payment into instalments to dilute its value (indeed, this was initially presented as “parental leave” by Gillard, until government hardheads realised such grotesque spin simply didn’t pass muster).
We will be watching the budget very closely this evening; my tip is that the axing of the Baby Bonus won’t be the last nasty to remain under (official) wraps up to this point.
And I will be posting again late tonight.
But the point simply needs to be made that robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn’t necessarily clear the invoice; and given families are doing it tough as it is — with income levels over $80,000 per year enough for this government to decree a household as rolling in clover when, in reality, it isn’t — at some point there won’t be any kids to educate, or disabled folk to insure: it’ll be too damned expensive to have them in the first place.
Yet again, the government has thumbed its nose at the great silent majority in the middle of Australian society, and in doing so it shovels a little more dirt out of the grave it has been digging itself in readiness for its date with destiny on 14 September.