Abbott Government Budget Shortfall Looms Amid Labour's Openness to Negotiate in Senate
By Reissa Su | May 26, 2014 5:40 PM EST
An early budget shortfall is looming as the Australia's Abbott government struggles with existing and new members of the Senate who said they will not support "backdated" legislation.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott gestures as he gives a speech on a business event at the Shanghai International Expo Centre in Shanghai, April 11, 2014.
According to Labour finance spokeswoman Penny Wong, the party would pass a temporary deficit levy of 2 per cent on high income earners which will generate $600 million in 2014 to 2015. Ms Wong said other measures that were supposed to take effect on July 1 may be delayed.
Labour has promised to oppose the $7 fee for visiting a doctor and said it only undermines the universal aspect of Medicare. Reports said that Treasurer Joe Hockey and the federal government is willing to talk with Labour and incoming senators about the budget but warned they will not be the only ones frustrated of everyone will immediately say "no" to everything.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he will not give up his government's budget to the Senate. He alluded to a "double dissolution election" if negotiations in the Senate will fail.
The Abbott government proposed $5 out of $7 as co-payment to a Medical Research Future Fund to fund breakthrough research in treating diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. The remaining amount will be given to GPs for consultations. Mr Hockey said the government will not budge on this matter.
Reports said Labour will more likely allow another $2.6 billion of the government's savings in the Senate. However, other budget measures are ready to be blocked since the Palmer United Party (PUP) has vowed it will "not speak to Coalition" at all.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has declared in a speech that "Australia has been deceived." In an official response to the budget, he told Parliament that the average Australian household will be earning $6,000 a year less by the 2016 election.
Mr Shorten had ignored the demands of ministers to outline his own plans to reduce the budget deficit and pay for pensions and other long-term programs.
PUP Clive Palmer said the Abbott government's budget is "an attack on Australia's way of life," and his party has agreed not to talk to National and Liberal parties at all.
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