The release of the Australian budget on Tuesday is now being overshadowed by news reports that Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison, is maneuvering to take over the job of treasurer. The move has been linked to the National Party’s dissatisfaction centered on budget policies that seem to “fetishize” paid employment over duties at home. However, Morrison has refuted claims that he is trying to become the next treasurer, instead putting the reports down to “gossip”.
The Australian’s Media Diary reported on the eve of the federal budget that Morrison had conversed with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in relation to being given the job of treasurer if budget items under his social services portfolio are received well and passed into legislation. Morrison has been the face of this year’s budget. Some reports suggest that it is only because the major elements of the budget relate to an overhaul of pensions and childcare, but according to the opposition, Treasurer Joe Hockey is “missing in action”.
According to the Prime Minister, reports of the discussion between him and Morrison, are a “complete invention”. Andrew Leigh, the opposition’s spokesman for assistant treasury, said Hockey seems to need the assistance of Abbott and Morrison to sell his own budget to the Australian people. Leigh said he does not know another treasurer that would have been sidelined during their biggest announcement period. Many Australians are shaking their heads at the move, he said.
The main Australian budget announcement has been focused on a complete overhaul of the Australian childcare system, prior to the full Australian budget being handed down Tuesday. The changes proposed to the childcare system have raised concerns around the country.
People are citing that a number of children may be disadvantaged as a result of the proposed overhaul. The new childcare plan proposed by the Abbott government will see some families not qualifying for childcare subsidies.
Families earning a pay packet of $65,000 or under will continue receiving 12 hours of subsidized care a week for their children. For those families with an income of more than $65,000, and if a parent is not studying or working for more than eight hours on a fortnightly basis, they will not receive any government assistance. This has been met with much concern that some children may not receive opportunities for early education.
The Australian budget includes a package worth $3.5 billion, which promises to give an extra $30 a week to Australian families with income up to $165,000 a year. Families earning $185,000 or more will also have access to government assistance. The childcare overhaul will result in most families receiving childcare assistance, but at the expense of families, who have a stay-at-home parent.
The childcare plan aims to not only make childcare costs more reasonable, but to give more avenues for parents to engage in more paid employment. The changes to the childcare system is set to give 240,000 families more paid employment, including nearly 38,000 Australian families without jobs, the Prime Minister has revealed ahead of the handing down of the Australian budget on Tuesday.
By Rebecca Brown
Photo by Lis Ferla – Creativecommons Flickr License