Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance councillor for the City of Fremantle, via Green Left Weekly:

“This mob were always going to introduce a budget like this. The question is — how seriously are we going to fight it? The Victorian Trades Hall has called a mass meeting and demonstration, which is a good start. This has to happen in every town and city. This is the time for some serious resistance, not a token demo and then, ‘That’s it. We’ve done all we can.’

“If the government is intent on taking us down the path of austerity like we’ve seen in Europe, then we need to build a movement of resistance like that in Spain and France, where millions of people have mobilised against austerity.

“I think the Greens are wrong to support an increase in a regressive tax like the fuel levy, as it hurts the poorest while doing little for the environment. At the same time, they have announced they will oppose the deficit levy on high income earners. While this is a temporary and inadequate measure, it is still a more progressive tax.

“When you read that the top 75 earners in Australia paid no tax, you start to see where the revenue crisis really lies. We need to remove regressive taxes (especially the GST) and increase the top marginal rate and company tax.

“If the Greens are serious about resisting these attacks, they should commit to blocking the budget in the Senate, as should the ALP.

“Unless we can push the government back now, the budget won’t be the end of the pain. Worker’s rights and entitlements, including penalty rates are next. A full-bench decision by Fair Work Australia on May 14 means that hospitality workers will have their penalty rates cut by 25% now. Following a review of the Fair Work Act amendments due out in June this year, and the Productivity Commission inquiry, due to report to the government in April next year, further attacks on workers and penalty rates are a certainty.

Budget day may well have been the best day of Hockey’s life, but it’s up to us to make sure the feeling doesn’t last.”

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