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BUDGET 2021: Budget a pre-election gift to Liberals' billionaire mates

Media Release
Adam Bandt 11 May 2021

Tonight’s Budget is a pre-election sweetener that fails to make billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax, while growing inequality and fast-tracking climate collapse.

While on the surface the budget may appear to do away with the Liberals’ years of austerity politics, it continues the myth that largesse to the super-wealthy will trickle down to everyday people.

Instead of a billionaires tax, the Budget locks in stage 3 tax cuts for billionaires and the wealthiest. Instead of making the big corporations pay their fair share, the Budget is full of more corporate welfare. Instead of investing in planet saving, nation building infrastructure, it hands billions to fossil fuel companies, further accelerating the climate crisis.

The Morrison government is handing $1.1 billion in new money to the oil, gas and coal industry, $11.4 billion next year alone, and with a total of a $51 billion across the forwards, this is one of the biggest handouts to the fossil fuel corporations in a Budget ever. Meanwhile one of the few paltry investments in the environment is for trashing our environmental laws.

The economic forecasts are built on sand and on an assumption our failed quarantine and vaccine program will miraculously start to work and that rest of world overcomes the pandemic. Wages go backwards for years, while more than $62 billion in handouts are directed to the billionaires and the big corporations.

The Greens pledge to amend this ‘Billionaires Budget’ to force billionaires and big corporations to return JobKeeper, following revelations that much of the money intended to save jobs instead went to profitable corporations that bought private jets and paid massive bonuses.

The government wants Australians to believe that this is a budget for women, but the numbers put a lie to that. In the first year of Stage 3 tax cuts will see $5.5 billion more into the pockets of men than women.

With Liberal spinners working overtime to convince the public that this is anything but an insult to working people, the Greens say this is growing evidence of a 2021 election, pledging to work overtime to fight for your future.

Lines from Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

“This is a Budget for billionaires and big corporations,” said Mr Bandt.

“1 in 3 big corporations pay no tax and billionaires increased their wealth by over 30% last year, but instead of making them pay their fair share, this Budget will make the inequality crisis worse.

“Billionaires get tax cuts and big corporations get handouts, but wages go backwards and job seekers are stuck in poverty.

“In the middle of a climate crisis, Scott Morrison is giving $1.1 billion in new money to coal and gas. With a total of $51bn in public money for coal and gas corporations, the biggest in recent memory, this Budget will fast-track climate collapse.

“This Budget should have invested in renewables, in clean and green manufacturing, in improving people’s livelihoods and building up our essential services. With this budget, Australia could have become a renewable energy superpower, putting us on a path to generate 700% renewable energy, exporting extra clean energy to the world, but instead the Liberals are giving public money to coal and gas.

“Josh Frydenberg has served up more than $62b a year in handouts for the ultra-wealthy billionaires and big corporations, and he’s pushing ahead with the $149b Stage 3 ‘tax cuts for billionaires’ package. Billionaires will keep making out like bandits.

“Meanwhile, he has locked in poverty for the many. Workers’ wages will go backwards for the next two years, then flatline after that, ensuring that wages will remain low while corporate profits skyrocket. Billionaire Gerry Harvey will be getting his workers at fire sale prices. Meanwhile, the government is failing to tackle insecure work, or put dental into Medicare. The pandemic turbocharged inequality and this Budget will make it worse.

“The election gun has been fired and we are ready to campaign to put the Greens in the balance of power in both houses of Parliament so we can get real action on inequality and climate.”

Lines from Senator Nick McKim, Greens Economic Inequality Spokesperson:

“Australia’s billionaires bought the last election for the Liberals. This pre-election cash-splash for the uber-rich and big corporates shows Scott Morrison’s desperate for it to happen again,” said Senator McKim.

“1 in 3 big corporations pay no tax and billionaires are making out like bandits, but this Budget fails to make them pay their fair share.”

“Australia’s billionaires made an extra $90 billion during the pandemic, and they have not been asked to pay a single cent of that towards paying for services that benefit all of us.”

“The Liberals have finally admitted that there’s money in the budget to change lives. Sadly, the lives they chose to improve are Australia’s billionaires’.”

“Gas is as dirty as coal and more handouts to the gas giants will fuel the climate crisis, as will the failure to rein in the $7 billion in fuel tax credits to the mining billionaires.

“This budget delivers more of the same policies that are turbo-charging inequality, pricing young people out of the housing market, and cooking the planet.”


The Bad, The Worse, The Ugly:

The Good:

  • The Liberals finally ditch their rhetoric slamming big-spending budgets (for now).
  • The Greens call to extend gender inequality survey to the public sector has been funded.
  • More funding for AAP, as the Greens have been demanding.
  • The Government has backflipped on $124m in cuts to housing and homelessness support services, following pressure from the Greens.

The Bad:

  • $6.5b vast majority of the infrastructure is in roads, including $173.6m for roads to gas projects.
  • No funding for ICAC, again.
  • $62bn in handouts for the ultra-wealthy billionaires and big corporations.

The Ugly:

  • Funding for aged care well short of what is needed and wages for aged care workers will continue to stagnate
  • More money to tear up environmental protections, destroy habitats, and fossil fuels than to protect Australia’s incredible natural biodiversity.
  • Government presses ahead with Stage 3 tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, instead of taxing the billionaires.
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