Shorten's poll boost
Bill Shorten opens a lead as preferred Prime Minister as the government is hammered in the opinion polls. Nielsen's John Stirton puts the poll in context.PT8M55S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-38ivp 620 349 May 19, 2014
Tony Abbott is the true "inter-generational thief" for boosting fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy, increasing the likelihood of Australians paying a big price from climate change, Greens leader Christine Milne said.
Both the Prime Minister and Treasurer Joe Hockey have based their budget sales pitch on the need to raise taxes and slash spending to rein-in future debt that had been projected to balloon above $600 billion without policy changes.
"We could not go on running up massive debts for our children and grandchildren to pay," Mr Abbott told ABC's Insiders on Sunday. "That would be a form of inter-generational theft."
Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne says Prime Minister Tony Abbott has betrayed Australians over climate change. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Senator Milne, though, said the increases in subsidies for big miners – which rise by $720 million to almost $14 billion over the forward estimates – and efforts to promote more coal seam gas, coal mines and coal ports were the real form of "future theft".
"Not only is it bad for the environment but these will be stranded assets which the next generation will have to pay for," Senator Milne told media in Sydney. "Tony Abbott is the one selling-out future generations."
The Greens will use their votes in the Senate to try to block cuts to health and education as well as plans to scrap the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which promotes emerging clean energy such as concentrated solar power. They will also oppose the "repair levy" imposed on high-income earners because it is not permanent, Senator Milne said.
A Nielsen poll in Fairfax Media on Monday showed only one in three voters view last week's budget as fair, with 74 per cent of respondents saying they would be worse off. On a two-party basis, voters support Labor over the Coalition 56 per cent to 44 per cent, the poll showed.
Mr Abbott shrugged off the poor polls, telling ABC's Radio National on Monday that he was not in "a popularity contest".
The Greens would welcome a double dissolution election, if the Coalition called one.
"I say bring that on," Senator Milne said. "The Australian community has been betrayed by the Prime Minister. Nobody signed up for this budget. Nobody knew who the PM was before the election.
"People are well and truly ready to show him what a trust deficit looks like."
Senator Milne predicted voters would take a more favourable approach to climate-change related policies, including the carbon price, in light of the budget.
"The Australian community will now review everything the Prime Minister has said because clearly he can't be believed," she said.