THE 2016 FEDERAL BUDGET
The 2016 Australian Budget has been launched at a time of significant uncertainty. The Australian economy is presently characterised by a declining growth rate, falling business and consumer confidence, a cooling housing market and an increasing budget deficit (a projected $41.7 billion for 2015-16). In combination, this adds up to the emergence of deflationary pressures and Australia’s AAA international credit rating could be at risk. Moreover, the prospects of these pressures easing over the year are unlikely given that global markets continue to be unnerved by the longer-term prospects (however unlikely) of a British exit from the European Union and a Trump Presidency. Against all of this, levels of trust in government and politicians in Australia are at the lowest level since 1993. Only 5% of Australians trust government, 74% exhibit a critical perspective, only 25% trust government ministers and satisfaction with democracy in Australia is now at its lowest level since 1996. While the Howard years provide evidence of a culture of contentment, 2007 to the present day has clearly been a period of profound discontent. In sum, these are capricious times for delivering a budget that will launch an election. This booklet provides a compendium of our pre-budget commentary. It includes expert commentary from some of Australia’s leading political and economic journalists and academics including Tim Colebatch, Patrick Dunleavy, Saul Eslake, Mark Evans, Michelle Grattan, Geoff Kitney and it also includes analysis of reactions to the budget on social media by Jinjing Li and Mike Jensen. We hope you enjoy the collection!