Painful measures in the Abbott government’s first budget are unnecessary to balance the books, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says.
Mr Bowen told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday the government had attracted widespread anger over the budget not only because of broken promises but because “this government has thrown equity out the window”.
Labor has pledged to oppose a $7 co-payment for doctor visits, to any change to the formula for indexing the age pension and freezing the benefits of jobless under-30s.
We will not rubber stamp policies we find unconscionable.
The government says any such moves will prevent it from making savings to return the budget to surplus and from paying off debt.
“For those who ask whether the nation can afford to block some of their cuts, I say, can we afford not to?” Mr Bowen said.
“We will not rubber stamp policies we find unconscionable.”
He said the government could fill the same savings gap by scrapping the $22 billion paid parental leave scheme.
Mr Bowen said an analysis of the budget showed that of the 10 electorates most affected by the budget, nine had Labor MPs and the most adversely affected was his western Sydney seat of McMahon.
He challenged Mr Hockey to debate the budget in western Sydney.
Mr Bowen used the speech to announce Labor was considering a legal framework for a policy for crowd-sourced funding of new businesses and the introduction of an “entrepreneur” visa to attract migrants with access to significant capital and business skills.