I haven’t read through the entire Federal budget document, but there are a couple of issues that are obvious.
The budget includes a great many handouts to people who are likely to vote Labor: people in public housing, people on benefits, people who want someone else to pay the bill when they go to the doctor. These look good – let’s be a generous and caring society, etc. Except that it is very easy for governments to be generous with other people’s money, and tempting to do what looks good without adequate regard for long term consequences.
These handouts have to be paid for via either taxes or inflation.
Increased taxes necessarily apply most heavily to people who don’t rely on the government for income; those who produce useful things, provide useful services, and employ others. Increased taxes mean less money to buy new equipment, to buy stock, to pay wages. When governments make harder it for people to run a business, fewer people will try, more businesses will go bankrupt, fewer people will be employed, more businesses will move overseas. All of this results in higher unemployment and even more demand on benefits, which means more demand on taxes.
The alternative is simply printing money to pay for handouts. But this has an almost immediate push effect on inflation which will cancel out any benefit for those most in need within a year or so.
The second concern is the almost complete omission of major infrastructure projects or maintenance, or rural services.
Although most people live in cities, Australia still relies hugely on its primary industries for export income and economic stability. Neglecting rural and remote Australia is a recipe for long-term decline.
Neglecting infrastructure and maintenance means the much touted (very small) surplus is an illusion. It is actually creating an infrastructure and maintenance debt which will have to be paid with heavy interest in future years.