Budgets are complicated documents in which a multitude of complex changes to expenditure and taxation are delivered in one go. It’s for this reason that media organisations helpfully break the detail down into concise lists, usually with groovy little graphics like these ones.
Which I suspect makes you the winner and me the loser.
Joe Hockey said that this was “a budget for a start‑up business in Adelaide”, which is fabulous news for whoever owns it. There will undoubtedly be more, as the City of Churches is inundated by froyo shops.
Travellers on working holidays visas will no longer have access to the tax-free threshold that’s available to Australian residents, so they’ll have to pay income tax on all of the non-cash-in-hand income they almost never earn.
WINNERS: Small business
Assets worth less than $20,000 will be able to be deducted immediately. There will also be lots of work for accountants, as the threshold of $2 million will see all major Australian businesses restructured into related entities with turnover of $1,999,999.99.
The US device maker is being targeted, along with 29 other multinationals, in an attempt to bypass its complex tax minimisation and profit-shifting measures. Fortunately, any increased tax it pays will be more than offset by the deluge of small business owners buying tax write-off iPads.
WINNERS: Smash repairers
Not only will they be able to invest in new equipment, but there’s a bonanza on the way from all the small business owners who misunderstand Hockey’s invitation to go out and write off their assets immediately.
They’ll now have to pay back the HECS they’re using their degrees to earn money in London or New York instead of here. And if they don’t pay it, presumably we’ll seize the sweet little apartment they bought themselves with the first home owner’s grant. That’ll teach you to abandon Australia, brain-drainers. Or to leave to get educated even earlier.
Sure, customers will have to pay an extra 90c a month to use their service, but does anyone really think that’ll make any difference when figures published this week say that their market share’s already ahead of Foxtel’s? After all, they have Orange Is The New Black, while their local competitors may discover that their new black is red.
Along with our ambassador, we just recalled 40% of our aid, presumably because if the country can afford to send air force jets to escort a handcuffed pastor and painter from one prison to another, they don’t need so much of our help any more. Although we might want to pay for Joko Widodo to get an answering machine, so he can do a better job of returning Tony Abbott’s calls. That said, phones have been a contentious subject in recent years.
WINNERS: Waterslide lovers
The Treasurer promised an “immediate tax deduction for new investment in water facilities”, which we can only hope inspires the construction of dozens of aquatic theme parks right across the country.
Their childcare payments will be reduced unless their kids are inoculated, although if their approach to the science of mathematics is the same as their approach to the established science on vaccination, they might not actually notice.
WINNER: Hockey Real Estate
The Treasurer mentioned how his family’s family real estate agency “put a roof over our heads” and “gave all of the family a chance at a better life”. No doubt the whole country was listening, and thinking hey, why not ask the Hockeys to put a roof over our heads too? No word on whether you get a cigar for a successful transaction.
LOSER: Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey
Do you remember that guy, who said things like “[Wayne Swan] wants you to believe he can deliver a Budget surplus, but as each day goes by there’s increasing doubt that he ever will (2011)” and “Labor’s planned return to surplus is not credible and presents a potential black hole in future Budgets (2013)”? Being unable to resisting the direction of the global economy seems far more forgivable when you’re on the Treasury benches.
WINNER: Northern Australia
$5bn of loans will be made available for anybody who wants to build a port or other major infrastructure up there. Which is presumably the government saying it can’t be bothered, because it’s just so incredibly hot and humid up there – but sure, knock yourself out, Gina et al.
LOSER: Bill Shorten
Last year’s budget was so unpopular that Bill Shorten went on a months-long spree in the polls. But now the government has remembered that it needs to make people like it to win re-election, so it’s been doling out money to the voters whose support it needs, the way John Howard used to. Which means Bill Shorten’s job just got a whole lot harder than it was when he was ahead in the polls as a proxy for “anyone else”.
LOSER: Bill Shorten again
This time because it was his birthday on budget night. Seriously, who wants to spend their birthday wading through financial documents? (Well, Albo would have been up for it, but that’s still an awkward subject.)
WINNER: Joe Hockey
After the criticism he’s weathered from the media, the pollsters and even some of his colleagues over the past year, it’s a huge triumph for him even to be delivering this budget – even though Scott Morrison got to sell the most attractive bits. Nobody can say that Joe didn’t follow his own advice and have a go, even if some of his colleagues ultimately conclude he has to go.