The Hypocrisy Dividend
From the Treasurer’s own mouth, the hypocrisy of this Government is now on display for all to see.
In his Budget address, the Treasurer said “…the fair go is at the heart of everything Labor stands for.” This is cold comfort for members of the defence community who have been denied a fair go once again through a failure of the budget to RESTORE the Government’s contractual obligation to current and former ADF members and their widows who rely on their paid for retirement benefits or invalid or widows pensions.
The Government has steadfastly refused to accept the inadequacy of the CPI as an indexation measure for this group in Australian society, but in a classic admission in his speech, the Treasurer declared that: “The price of a packet of cigarettes will also rise by 7 cents next March, after the Government changed the indexation arrangements, switching the link from the Consumer Price Index to average weekly earnings”.
This small statement blows a huge hole in the Government’s logic because it unequivocally demonstrates its belief that CPI is not a relevant index to maintain purchasing power and that a wage based factor must be involved. This is precisely why the Government changed the indexation arrangements for age pensioners in 1997 and why ADSO has consistently argued for the same arrangement.
The Government’s “military superannuation contract” provides for an indexed payment that maintains purchasing power: it hasn’t since 1989. We want restoration of the correct non-discretionary indexation of all Military Superannuation Payments.
If the government had a shred of integrity, it would acknowledge that by denying military superannuants fair indexation with a wages component in this budget, it has saved millions of dollars over the forward estimates.
Clearly, the sacrifice of servicemen and women while in uniform isn’t enough for the Gillard Government; its idea of a fair go is for their sacrifice to continue long after their service is done.
EXTRACT FROM THE BUDGET PAPER
Currently, the rates of excise and excise-equivalent customs duty for cigarettes and other tobacco products are indexed bi annually on and from 1 February and 1 August in line with the CPI. The 1 February 2014 CPI increase will not occur to ensure there are only two indexation adjustments in the 2014 calendar year.
Based on the average historical difference between annual AWOTE and CPI movements this measure would result in the cost of a typical packet of 25 cigarettes increasing by an additional 7 cents in the first half of 2014. This indexation would occur on 1 March 2014 instead of 1 February 2014.
Indexing tobacco excise and excise equivalent customs duty to wages will ensure that tobacco excise keeps pace with incomes.