Which budget measures will make it through the Senate?
A whole budget agenda stalled — how’d that happen?
After a frantic fortnight of action by GetUp members, the Abbott Government remains unable to muster the numbers in the Senate to make headway on their key budget priorities. Legislation on university deregulation, Medicare, Newstart and Family Tax Benefits is effectively stuck in parliamentary limbo.
But sudden, surprise deals with the crossbench (like last week on the Government’s ‘Direct Action’ climate plan) show the absolute necessity of keeping up the pressure — especially with just one voting session left this year.
To get fired up for the last big push, take a few minutes to check out where key budget measures stand, what we’ve done together to stop them, and the threats that remain.
A key Senate report released Tuesday bore the mark of 2,801 GetUp submissions and dozens of members making their presence felt at public Senate hearings. The Government’s own senators called on Education Minister Christopher Pyne to rethink his much-despised plan to charge students interest on HECS debt.
But despite noting considerable community concern about the impact on student fees, the report stopped short of ditching deregulation altogether. So with the legislation slated for debate, GetUp members drove in 6,843 emails and calls to the Senate crossbench. The outcome? This week, Clive Palmer reiterated PUP’s promise to vote against deregulation, telling ABC radio he considers himself the “last sentry to the gate to ensure [students] have a good future“.1
With intel that Senators Muir and Wang are the weakest links on this issue, we’re looking at ways for GetUp members to speak with them directly in the lead up to the November sitting period. In addition, our new TV ad funded by over 2,300 GetUp members will start airing this Monday to key demographics, including Senator Muir’s Victoria and Senator Wang’s WA.
If you’re yet to sign the petition to keep our universities affordable, add your name now: https://www.getup.org.au/higher-education.
700,000 Australian families under threat of losing $3,000 per year? Undecided politicians? A critical vote scheduled just days away? It was a moment built for the magic that GetUp members bring to politics.
The Abbott Government was trying to ram legislation through the Senate this week that would cut off family tax benefits for low- and middle-income families when their youngest turns 6. 10,304 GetUp members leapt into action, calling and writing their crossbench senator to highlight the impacts of this hidden budget nasty.
Denied the crossbench votes they needed, the Abbott government (you guessed it) put off the vote. But with GetUp members reporting back that 6 of the 8 crossbench senators are undecided, we’ve got a big lift ahead to keep Australian families safe from this unfair new tax burden.
If you’re yet to contact your senator to let them know that the job of a parent doesn’t stop at 6, you can do so here: https://www.getup.org.au/family-tax.
We’re close. The finish line is in sight, the final sprint before us.
In September, the Abbott Government exposed the weakness of their hand on social safety net cuts by splitting up the legislation based on what they could agree on with the ALP. That ‘struggling’ bit includes the drastic changes to Newstart — including a 6 month waiting period for young jobseekers — that GetUp members have been fighting tooth and nail.
But we’re not counting our chickens before they hatch. As we head to the end of the year, GetUp members will continue to lift up the promises of the Palmer United Party, and hold them to their word to defend young jobseekers.
If you haven’t already, add your name to the petition protect young job seekers: https://www.getup.org.au/newstart.
The GP copayment, publically discredited and politically toxic, has no current path through the Senate — but continues to lurk in the shadows of the Coalition party room. In fact, suggestions emerged this week that the Abbott Government could try to sidestep the Senate and force the GP fee through as regulation.2
What’s more, the Government’s furthered plans to Americanise our health system by opening up its new ‘Private Health Networks’ to be run by private insurance companies.3 That could mean insurance companies telling your GP what and who they can and can’t treat. We’re talking to peak health bodies right now about what this could mean and what can be done. Watch this space!
SO, WHAT’S NEXT?
As the budget continues to expose the Abbott Government as unfair and out of touch, GetUp members have been keeping energised and vigilant against sneaky horsetrading, and watching the crossbench’s every move. We’ve just one month left to drive our campaigns home and bolster the budget blockade before Parliament breaks for the year.
But despite months of success by GetUp members holding pollies to account on this budget, this week’s surprise agreement on the Government’s climate package proved that lightening strike deals with the Senate crossbench can happen at any moment.
Heading off bad deals before they happen means having the resources always on hand, which is made possible by the regular donations of GetUp’s core members.
Which Budget Measures will make it through the Senate
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