The following articles were published in "The Guardian", newspaper
of the Communist Party of Australia in its issue of Wednesday,
May 22nd, 2002. Contact address: 65 Campbell Street, Surry Hills.
Sydney. 2010 Australia. Phone: (612) 9212 6855 Fax: (612) 9281 5795.
CPA Central Committee: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
"The Guardian": <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subscription rates on request.

The Federal Budget wages war on the poor, on the sick, the aged, the
unemployed, people with disabilities, working class families, working women,
and Indigenous Australians. It wages war on the environment. It wages war
against the people of Afghanistan and whoever else the US might decide to
fight in its so-called "war on terrorism". It wages war on asylum seekers
who come to our shores for assistance. It wages war on those who dare to
criticise or take action in opposition to the Government's big business

By Anna Pha

"It's a blatant class Budget", Peter Symon, CPA General Secretary told "The
Guardian". "Working class families and those most disadvantaged in our
community are having their living standards forced down substantially. Many
will be driven into poverty.

"Absolute priority is being given to military spending in preparation for
future military adventures against the multitude of 'enemies' being named by
US President Bush.

"On the other hand billions are being channelled into the pockets of the
private insurance companies, to military contractors, private health
providers, to private schools and other big business friends of Howard and

"The discriminatory intentions of the Government have never been clearer",
said Mr Symon.

Talkback radio has been flooded with desperate callers, panic-stricken that
they will not be able to afford essential medications or will be removed
from their disability pension. Some even talk of suicide.

"This budget is committed to big spending on the 'War on Terrorism' and
preventing asylum seekers from reaching Australia at the expense of our 'War
on Poverty' at home", said Father Norden, spokesperson for the National
Coalition Against Poverty.

"It is time the Government got serious about eradicating hardship and
poverty in Australia rather than continuing to introduce measures to make
life tougher for those on low incomes", said Father Norden.

Thousands of people with disabilities will be forced into the Job Network
system if the Senate passes the Government's measures. (See page 5)

Their income will be reduced by $52 a fortnight, many of their concessions
will vanish, at the same time as their medication rises by $1 (28 percent)
per prescription.

The government hopes to drive more people into the private health sector by
continuing to underfund and undermine Medicare and the public health system.

The "savings" from its callous and cruel health and social security cuts
(including cuts to unemployment assistance) will be poured into the war
machine, policing, security, intelligence communications, locking up asylum
seekers and turning people away from our borders.

The only military threat to Australia is the Government's blind allegiance
to the warmongering of US President Bush.

There will be a new battlespace communications system for the development of
intelligence infrastructure called e-security. The Government speaks in
terms of sharing information with the private sector.

Later in the year we can expect further increases in military spending which
are not included in this budget.

ASIO receives a huge boost to its funds, as does the Australian Federal
Police for "Threat Assessment". These funds are to enforce the new terror
laws currently before Parliament.

   Priorities back to front

The "defence" allocation is a whopping $13.144 billion with another $2
billion on "public order and safety".

The education budget is less than $12 billion and an increasing proportion
of that are handouts to the private sector at the expense of public

Tax on superannuation is to be cut for those on high incomes, but not for
low or middle-income workers.

"Choice" of superannuation fund is back and aims to destroy the industry
schemes which were initiated by trade unions. They are to be replaced with
retirement accounts and other investment schemes being promoted by the
finance sector.

The proposed Baby Bonus is geared to assist high income women who could gain
as much as $48 per week. The 30 per cent of working women on low incomes
will receive less than $10 a week.

Privatisation is high on the agenda, with plans to sell the remainder of
Telstra, Medibank Private, Sydney Airport, ComLand, assets of the Defence
Housing Authority and many other government properties.

Taken as a whole, the budget represents a further retreat by the Government
from its responsibility to provide social security, health, education and
other essential services to the community.

The areas in which the Government is not retreating -- military spending,
intelligence operations, building of concentration camps, etc - are all
designed to protect the interests of US and Australian corporations and the
system of capitalism itself. They provide the iron fist, to shore up these

The Budget is also noteworthy for its failure to act in areas of critical
need such as job creation, the raising of pensions, additional funding for
public health and education, and the building of essential infrastructure.


The overall Labor response is totally inadequate. Their opposition to the
cuts to disability and health provisions is welcome. But Labor has remained
silent on the basic corporate thrust of the budget. It has no intention of
challenging the US alliance or Australia's war preparations.

The Greens have taken a principled stand opposing the Government's war on
social security, on health, education, the environment and its military

The Democrats have taken a good stand on a number of issues but, like the
Labor Party, are prepared to negotiate with the Government on policy

Pressure will need to be maintained on these two parties as well as on the
Howard Government to ensure that the most vicious and callous measures are
not implemented.

Next week "The Guardian" will have further articles on the budget including
an alternative strategy -- what the Government should have done.


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