News

Federal Budget 'a contradiction'

GREENS Leader Christine Milne has criticised the Federal Budget as a "confused" document that was "great for teeth but bad for brains".

Giving her first major speech in the Senate since taking the leadership, Senator Milne found little to praise in Treasurer Wayne Swan's fifth Budget other than a handful of initiatives she said had been secured or instigated by the Greens.

Chief among those measures were the $345 million allocated in the budget to help clear dental waiting lists in Australia over the next four years and the deeply unpopular carbon pricing package.

"In Tuesday's Budget, we saw from the government a fundamentally confused and internally conflicted picture," Senator Milne said during her Budget reply on Thursday night.

"We saw a government that wants to make Australia the country of the fair go by handing out cost-of-living payments while at the same time cutting benefits to single parents and saying it cannot afford to increase support to our poorest, most vulnerable people to help lift them out of the cycle of debt and unemployment.

"Its budget is a contradiction that is great for teeth but bad for brains.

"It sets up some big reforms and ignores others in its drive for the surplus."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's Budget reply did not escape Senator Milne's scorn.

"What we just saw from the Leader of the Opposition's reply to the Budget was a picture of irritating static and no ideas for the future," she said just minutes after Mr Abbott delivered his speech in the House of Representatives.

Senator Milne said the Budget fell short of providing the support regional Australia needed to flourish.

While she welcomed funding for biosecurity and carbon farming, she said more was needed for research and development and mental health services.

"The greatest challenge for rural and regional Australia is to lift productivity without access to more land and without access to more water," she said.

"That means massive investment in research and development.

"I am pleased there is money for the Beale review but disappointed there is not more R&D money, particularly for the apple and pear industries, which are now having to respond to competition from New Zealand apples.

"They (regional Australia) also need an investment in mental health services, because there are huge consequences for individuals and communities in rural and regional Australia, who have very limited access to mental health services, and they are entitled to their fair share."

Senator Milne said more investment in nation-building was needed to move Australia "away from the resource based economy it is dependent on and towards a creative, brain based, service and information based economy".

And she urged a move away from using gross domestic product figures to measure a government's success in managing the economy.

"... the GDP is quite inadequate for this task. It covers only market activities, excluding work done in the home and by community volunteer groups," she said.

"GDP makes no allowance for how income is distributed across society. It does not capture the health or happiness of our people or the quality of our environment."

Topics:  christine milne federal budget 2012


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

It is all a plot in the reptile world

Dr Airdre Grant  is the writer of the column, Veranda Talk, in  The Lismore Echo.

Questions raised over who really rules us

Radio Rentals finds 2.5m carpet python

DOZING OFF: This 2.5m carpet python was found snoozing in Goonellabah.

Snake finds warm place amongst computer equipment

'Shark' needs help

Bullshark with a volunteer carer from the Animal Rights & Rescue Group.

Young dog showing signs of distress

Local Partners

Answer The Salvos knock for help

Salvation Army is calling for volunteers and funds to help with its annual Red Shield Appeal

First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Pauly puts stereo back into stereotypes

PAULY: Paul Fenech is a comedian of Maltese and Aboriginal descent.

'A bourbon-fuelled bogan subwoofer bonanza of comedy.'

MOVIE REVIEW: King Arthur - Legend of the Sword

Why the critics have got Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur all wrong.

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

There have been multiple confirmed deaths after 'explosions' heard at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

"We saw blood on people when we got outside."

Nattali Rize at the top of the charts

ARTIST: Australian reggae artist Nattali Rize has Native American and Samoan roots and lives between Byron Bay, Cairns and Jamaica.

Her debut album hit the top at the Global Reggae Charts

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!