My letter to my MP after the 2014 Federal Budget

Here is what I have just sent to my local MP

To: Peter Dutton
Member for Dickson

Dear Peter,

I told myself I wasnt going to bother giving you feedback anymore, because your responses showed an inability to do more than prate the party line so it seemed a waste of time.
However, the media says that MPs are not getting much pushback from constituents about the horror of the recent Budget, so I felt I should do my bit to tell you how upset I am about it.

I am absolutely furious about the choices made by the government in this budget.
I am so angry I have trouble articulating verbally how I feel about it.

Here are some of my problems with the Budget:

- a $7 co-payment on lots of medical services.
Having medical conditions directly affects one’s ability to work, which directly reduces income.
So those who most need medical care, if they are going to contribute at all, are those who are least able to pay for it.
What you have done is start the undermining what has been considered the shining light of medical care in western civilisation.
People will die because of your choices – people will see a doctor and be told to come back in a week and have to reply, “cant, there is no money left next week”. People will decide they can probably skip seeing a doctor after an injury and die from things that could have been treated had they seen a doctor earlier.
I have seen so many detailed descriptions of how ‘ordinary care’ for people will rise dramatically as a percentage of their income.
This will push more people into the emergency room at a later stage in their condition when it has become an emergency for things that could have been treated cheaply and easily had they been seen earlier.
If we as a nation are so short of money, how you can justify taking this money and using it to fund $20 billion of research, I cannot comprehend.
If we are not short of money, and can afford a $20 billion dollar medical research fund, then we can afford to take care of our sick.

- 6 months before under 30s can receive benefits, then benefits only last for 6 months then they have to wait 6 months again.
Are you people insane?
Have you considered what this will do to the crime rate when there is no other way to get money? How can you think this will be a saving to the community?
I agree with the concept of setting up a mentality that one should look after oneself then fall back on the social network, but how is a 20-something, fresh out of uni with no work experience supposed to have any funds to do so? Work for young graduates is nowhere near as easy to find as it was when we first left uni. You are asking the impossible of them.

- deregulation of university fees and interest on HELP loans. Having started my university career with no fees and ended it in the HECs system, I was never offended by contributing to my education, but we said at the time it was the thin edge of the wedge and I am horrified that it has only taken us 25 years to get to full deregulation.
If increased stratification of Australian society is what you want then this is exactly the way to get it. Lower income families will say to their teenagers ‘are you insane? you cant take on that sort of debt!!’ and some of our best and brightest will never realise their full potential, leaving all of us losers

- retirement at 70.
Yes, there is a problem with the cost of the pension – but, sadly, it is a short lived problem as people pass on with time.
By the time I am 70 and allowed to retire, the baby boomers will be gone and that bump in the demographic curve will have smoothed out and we won’t have the problem of ‘too many retirees’.
Locking my super away for so long will just make it even less valuable than it currently is.

There’s more. I could go on about spending yet more on poor quality fighter jets and buying new aircraft for government and cutting the ABC and selling assets, but I think I have made my point.
What really angers me is that there are much fairer ways to achieve most of what you wanted to do, but you couldnt seem to see it.
* The initial proposal for a copay after so many visits a year was much fairer – although I didnt like it, it didnt induce this chip-spitting fury I am experiencing
* Superannuation was supposed to keep people off the pension, but it has been implemented so poorly – almost untaxed on entry, not taxed at all at exit – that of course it is being abused. Reform the system. Make it taxed coming out so that people have less incentive to spend it all straight away and take it as an income over time (possibly the current funds would have to be sequestered to the current system, but thats not un-doable)
* encourage people to put money away for emergencies by making unemployment unavailable for longer, the older you are – for what is someone fresh out of school or uni supposed to do while they starve for 6 months while no one answers their job applications (because I know you havent applied for work in years, but recent experience in my family tells me clearly that one can put in 20 applications a week and get only a single response saying ‘no thank you’ per month), and living on the streets mean they smell at job interviews for the 2 interviews a year they can secure. Crime will be the only option for those without a family network to fall back on.

Judged by my social demographic – white, middle classed, high income professional – I should be a Liberal voter, but I don’t recall that I have ever voted Liberal federally as I have looked at your policies every time and shaken my head.
However, I have always done this quietly, I have never ‘discussed politics’ with people.
This is going to change.
In the future I will be actively proselytising against you and telling everyone I know just what is wrong with your policies, discussing your campaigns and pointing out how you break promises at every step of the way so there is no point voting for you, because the Liberal party does not deliver what it promises – it lies and lies and lies and lies and lies and the worse of all: hypocrisy. The Liberal party does what it damns the opposition for, 20 fold. The huge campaign on the base of a single ‘broken promise’ of the previous government and then you turn around and break 20.

I am so angry about this budget, where I have always just shaken my head in the past, that there must be a change from this.