Treasurer Wayne Swan this week announced the end of the baby bonus.
Well, not exactly the end, but a reduction and repackaging of payments into new family tax benefits. The reduction is not quite China’s one child policy and the community reaction has been mixed. Let’s take a look at some of the responses.
Businessman Bernie Brookes was the first big name to speak out against the reduction, ‘First it was an increase in Medicare taxes to pay for the NDIS, now a decrease in the baby bonus! That money would probably have been spent with Myer – most likely on a plasma TV and not baby products, but that is beside the point – now we’re more than $3,000 down on each customer after these two budget announcements. With this amount of downturn, we may have to follow in the footsteps of Target, Big W and K Mart and look at opening factories in Bangladesh, simply to maintain our profit margins.’
Kim Williams, Chief Executive of News Ltd in Australia expressed similar concerns, ‘Long term we expect the readership of the Herald Sun, The Telegraph, Courier Mail and other News Ltd publications to steadily decline, that is, if birth rates in outer metropolitan suburbs falls.’
Wayne ‘Rigger’ Rendell of ‘Awesome Tattoos’ in Frankston was also pessimistic, arguing small businesses such as his tattoo shop, his cousins mag-wheel import business and his brother’s ‘Off Ya Tree’ store were all sure to suffer, ‘Last year was a record breakin’ year for us. I reckon we musta done about a fousand Suvven Cross tatts, close to da same of Collingwood ones an about five ‘undred Ned Kelly’s, now deres none baby bonus any more I reckon we’ll be doin’ a lot less than that. Fuck Swannie, I’m votin’ for Abbott, must be all them boat people comin’ what’s the reason for stopping’ that baby bonus. I got a family to feed, my wife Tyeneesha, me daughter Bonnie and her bruva Tyler and me dog Killer, bloody no more doin’ tatts for people now, gunna be hard.’
Not all feedback has been negative. Many ‘Letters to the editors,’ have expressed positive community feeling. Roger from Parramatta wrote, ‘Thanks Swanny! Less baby bonus will mean shorter queues at Centrelink and Liquorland! Nice work mate.’ Michael from Doncaster wrote, ‘Praise for Wayne Swan who has single handily ensured a slow in the growth of Collingwood memberships. Go Tigers ’13 – eat ‘em alive!’ Jane from North Adelaide wrote, ‘Future contestants for Big Brother, The Biggest Loser and all those home renovation shows will be harder to find, now that Wayne Swan has cut the baby bonus. Two thumbs up!’
The Australian Education Union has also applauded the move, stating it will ease significant pressure on teachers, who struggle with the strange names many baby bonus recipients give their children. Branch Secretary Gillian Robertson stated, ‘We welcome this move from Treasurer Wayne Swan. Less children in our schools with names such as Taliysha, Shaynee, Dakoda, Tayleigh, Jayden, Talya, Rhiley and Shannaya the better, I mean I could go on and on for bloody hours with some the awful names children are burdened with these days, but I have a strike to get back to.’
The impact is also expected to be felt internationally, with bookings for flights to Bali, Siem Reap and Phuket all expected to fall with the $2000 reduction in payments.
Social researcher Hugh McKay believes that overall, the reduction will have a positive impact on Australian society, ‘Now if you look carefully and take all factors into account the net result is positive. There will be less places like ‘Forest Springs’ or ‘Garden Valley Hills’ popping up all over the place; less Taylah’s, Sheralin’s and Ryley’s running around town and in between their mothers, father, grandparents, step-fathers, step-mothers, aunties, uncles and cousins houses because their parents can’t stand the sight of each other and are ‘over’ being parent’s and would rather play Playstation all day than work to support their children; a downturn in Southern Cross tattoos, prams, Centrelink customers and staff; and less people watching Sunrise, Home Makeover, Home Renovation Challenge, Home Fix Up, Celebrity Home Restoration and The Biggest Big Brother Home Loser Renovation All Star Celebrity Splash Challenge. Then again, because all Australians know the true measure of a National Budget is how it will affect your life – what do I get out of this budget? – there are going to be a lot of pissed off voters out there who will probably vote against this. Oh shit, that means…’