News National Budget architect hits back

Budget architect hits back

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The head of the Abbott government’s Commission of Audit, Tony Shepherd, has said that Australians need to abandon “narrow sectional interests” in favour of seeing the bigger picture.

“Rather than say ‘don’t touch me’, say ‘what can be our contribution to a sustainable surplus’,” Mr Shepherd told Fairfax Media.

His criticism extended to his “good mate” David Gonski, who has publicly disagreed with the government’s cuts to the education sector.

“I have the greatest respect for David Gonski, who is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met – but on this we disagree,” Mr Shepherd said.

“We would have loved to have kept education funding at the levels of Gonski but we had to go through every program and bring [spending] under control. To maintain Gonski you must answer the question: do we cut hospitals more? Or cut disabled pensions more? Lower the rate of growth in the aged pension?”

His comments follow a week of national protests and come soon after Nationals MP George Christensen also criticised budget reactions.

“Aussies should do tour of Asia & live like locals to put these 1st world complaints re budget in perspective,” Mr Christensen wrote on Twitter.