Typically, it came to light and passed without comment. However, the Federal Budget ignoring the needs of 12 million needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
Over the past week, the Australian Treasury has been reminded that females exist after admitting they failed to conduct modelling to assess the impact of the 2017-18 financial budget on women. Modelling is essential in understanding the social repercussions of the policy platform. The deliberate omission of the budget’s disproportionately negative effect on women is an insidious attempt to obscure the reality of being a female in today’s Australia.
The government failed to consider how their budget would impact upon 12 million females. The unimportant half of the population, right? Ignoring an entire gender is a pretty fucking obscene oversight. It is obvious that this exclusion is deliberate when considering that the government has also been entirely impotent in fulfilling the 2014 G20 pledge to research the tax systems’ impact on women.
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Analysis by the National Foundation for Australian Women in their independent report Gender lens on the budget demonstrated that key budget fixtures such as freezing the family tax benefit rate, increasing the Medicare levy surcharge and lowering the threshold for HECS debt repayments disproportionally affected women. Additionally, the overrepresentation of women in lower income brackets and funding cuts to health and social services would further contribute to the disparity. It is no surprise that the Treasury would prefer to keep this buried.
Moreover, the analysis revealed by the Gender lens on the budget report is a damning account of how the federal government is actively contributing to the structural disadvantages Australian women face. The independent modelling proves that budget measures are entrenching gender socioeconomic divides – the government’s solution to this is to simply ignore the data. A stellar idea from our “innovation nation”.
All levels of government should be expected to deliver transparent and thorough modelling data for all demographics. This will more reliably define each budget’s impact. Organisations like the National Foundation for Australian Women should be applauded and supported for their work in unmasking the budget reality.
The deliberate inaction by the government to create this essential modelling data is an implicit acknowledgement of the budgets’ inherent failures towards women. I think you’ll find that’s called sexism, Prime Minister.