First salvos

FEDERAL Perth Labor MP Patrick Gorman has deemed last Tuesday’s federal Budget a “cash-splash” lacking a long-term plan beyond poll day.

Prime minister Scott Morrison announced a May 21 election this week, on the back of a Budget described by treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s as “responsible and targeted” assistance to help Joe Average cope with the rising cost of living.

Measures included halving the fuel excise which has already helped ease petrol off from its $2 a litre high, a one-off $250 payment to 6 million eligible welfare recipients, and a $420 tax-offset for low- and middle-income earner. 

“I call this the botox budget; it’s great for three months then the effects wear off and all the wrinkles and frown lines are back”, Mr Gorman said. 

But telling voters you’ll stop the gravy train if you win the election is a big call for a party, so Mr Gorman acknowledges Labor isn’t going to try to block the measures.

“We’re not going to stand in the way of the temporary measures.” Mr Gorman said. 

“What we’re taking to the election is those long-term economic reforms.”

Greens candidate Caroline Perks also criticised the budget’s short-term focus.

“(This was a) really political budget, this budget was really focused and aimed on winning votes in the short-term, not on long-term outcomes,” Ms Perks said. 

But the Morrison government’s continued lack of attention to climate change remains her biggest issue.

“The Morrison government is reducing the climate budget by 35 per cent over the next four years,” she said.

“It’s akin to tossing pennies at genuine emissions reduction initiatives. 

Ms Perks said the Greens are champing at the bit to get the balance of power in the Senate through Upper House candidate Darinda Cox, a Yamatji-Noongar woman who would be the first First Nation’s woman to be elected as a WA Senator.

“It’s a chance to make history,” Ms Perks said.

Liberal Party candidate David Dwyer was contacted for an interview but was unavailable.

by PATRICK REILLY

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