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Labor promises to scuttle budget

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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Labor will oppose around $13 billion worth of cuts and tax hikes, including the changes to university funding and student support.

In a combative budget reply speech, Mr Shorten said cuts to pensions and family benefits, the $2.3 billionfuel excise increases, delays on Newstart payments and the $7 GP fee were all on Labor’s hit-list.

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“Tonight I rise to speak on behalf of millions of Australians who feel shocked and angry,”  Mr Shorten told parliament tonight.

He said “the Australian people have been ambushed” and “betrayed” by the Abbott government’s “blueprint for a radically different, less fair Australia”.

“This is just the beginning, turning Australia into a place most of us won’t recognise – colder, meaner, narrower,” he said.

“This is a budget that would seek to demolish the pillars of Australian society – universal Medicare, education for all, a fair pension, full employment.”

“This is a budget that will push up the cost of living for every Australian family – a budget drawn up by people who have never lived from paycheque to paycheque,” Mr Shorten said.

Labor has been critical of dramatic changes announced in the budget to the higher education sector – that would allow universities to set their own fees and force students to pay back their loans earlier and at a higher interest rate.

Mr Shorten ended his budget reply speech daring Mr Abbott to go ahead with the threat.

“If you want an election, try us,” he said.

“If you think that Labor is too weak, bring it on.”