Australia 'Deceived' by Tony Abbott; Labour Says New Budget Divides Country

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After the Abbott government's budget revelations on May 13, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has declared in a speech that "Australia has been deceived." In an official response to the budget, Shorten told Parliament that the average Australian household will be earning $6,000 a year less by the 2016 election.

Shorten has moved to mobilise families against the Abbott government in the next election. He went on to say that the budget has no shown "no understanding or respect" for the budgets of nine million families.

He argued the people of Australia will not forgive Prime Minister Tony Abbott by election time for a budget that sets out to divide the nation and disregards their values. Mr Shorten said Australians are shocked by the "brutality" of the Abbott government's attack, and voters are angry at Mr Abbott for "pretending to be on their side."

The Opposition leader described Mr Abbott as a hard-right conservative who had officially launched extreme policies with "extreme" impact on Australians. Shorten told Parliament that it was only just the beginning as Mr Abbott will turn the country into a "colder, meaner and narrower place."

The Australian Labour Party will be opposing the budget's $7 Medicare co-payment, changes to age pension and the indexation of petrol excise. 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.

Shorten took a personal shot at Mr Abbott and his personal credibility for a "budget of broken promises built on lies." The prime minister has rejected Labour's accusations that he had deceived voters in the last election with promises of leaving pension arrangements alone and not to increase taxes.

Since the story broke, international media has raised concerns that Australia's budget cuts will have a negative effect on consumer confidence since the economy has been doing well than most of its counterparts.

According to BBC, the budget under Tony Abbott was "either brave or foolhardy." BBC Sydney correspondent Jon Donnison said Australia is doing relatively well and added that it was not Greece, Portugal or Spain.

The Wall Street Journal agrees with Australian economists and analysts that budget will hit consumer confidence at the wrong time.

Before the budget was released, an ANZ Bank survey has showed an 11 per cent decline in consumer confidence. It was the lowest level of consumer confidence in the country since May 2009.

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